mondino granita

I have a deadline quickly approaching, which makes today a very good day to distract myself with the autumn sunlight, a Bavarian amaro, and tales of a boozy granita. 

Summer is arguably the season for granita; however, as September turns into October, I'm hoping that there will be a few more afternoons golden enough to sit in the sun and to eat your spritz with a spoon instead of drinking it with a straw.

If Campari Granita is a good idea, then Mondino Granita is an even better one. For those of you outside of Bavaria, Mondino is our own local version of Campari. I first stumbled upon it around Christmas time two years ago. I was in a store, and the saleswoman saw me admiring the well-designed label and asked me if I would like to try some with some warm orange juice and cinnamon. When I asked her what it was, she replied: "It is like Campari, but good." Made by hand in Bavaria, its ingredients include bitter oranges, rhubarb and yellow gentian (a plant indigenous to the Alps).

I left the store with three bottles, having found a great Christmas gift and my new favourite amaro. 

The recipe for this granita comes from Jennifer McLagan's Bitter, which also gave us Belgian Endives Bathed in Butter. These two recipes alone make her cookbook a home-run. The original recipe calls for Campari and offers either an orange version or a grapefruit version. Since I am a firm believer that bitter is better, I went for the grapefruit. I have no regrets. 

Mondino Granita

adapted from 'Bitter' by Jennifer McLagan, via Orangette

yields 4-6 servings


1 cup (250 ml) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1/2 cup (125 ml) Mondino 
2 tbsp (25 grams) sugar
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Stir together the juice, Mondino, sugar, and lemon juice. Pour into a metal pan (around the size of an 8-inch metal pan). Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer.

Every hour or so, remove the pan from the freezer and use a spoon to stir the mixture and break up the ice crystals. For the last stirring (the third of fourth hour depending on the temperature of your freezer), use a fork to stir to make the ice crystals finer and fluffier.

To serve, spoon the granita into chilled glasses and eat right away, when it is still very cold.



black and white: currant and lentil salad

I'm back home after a couple of hot and hectic weeks on the road. Yesterday, as I was out restocking my fridge, I noticed there were still some baskets of currants hanging around, so I thought I would share this quick recipe.

Nigel Slater is my go-to-guy when it comes to cooking quickly, efficiently, and deliciously when you have only a little time and a lot of hunger. So it is no surprise that this salad recipe comes from his book Real Fast Food. I have mentioned before that in moments of week-night hunger I usually resort to pasta, so I bought this book in an effort to mix things up.

Nigel is teaching me that lentils are just as quick, tasty, and reliable as pasta, and when paired with white currants pretty beautiful for a quick meal. The lentils are nutty. The currants are tart. The effort is minimal. It checks off all of the boxes.    

As with all lentil dishes, overcooking the lentils is the death of this dish. If you are planning ahead, go ahead and soak the lentils overnight or for a few hours in water. However, this recipe is great because it is simple, fresh and good and can be made on a whim. In other words, don't worry if you forgo soaking. But if you do soak, make sure to keep an even more attentive eye on them so that they do not overcook. 

Black Lentil and White Currant Salad

adapted from Nigel Slater's 'Real Fast Food'

serves 2


180g / 6oz beluga lentils
100g / 400z white currants
a half dozen or so fresh chives, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper

Wash the lentils in a sieve under running water. Place them in a pot and fill the pot with water so that the lentils are covered by a good inch. Bring the water to a boil and cook until they are tender but not mushy, about 12 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl.

Top and tail the currants and add to the lentils. Snip the chives into 1-cm lengths (1/2-inch) and add them to the lentils, as well as the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix everything gently, so as not to crush the currants. Serve. 


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