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Taking a bite out of summer


Snacking is so summer, as we amp up the socialising, dash to our outdoor passions and host pre-Christmas catch ups.

 

FROZEN IS COOL
Invent healthy homemade ice-blocks with yoghurt or blended or squeezed summer berries, mint, lime or ginger – not just for kids. Pieces of fruit, like watermelon and strawberries, quenches straight from the freezer. And ice-cream with a sugar-free base of blended banana is a sinless snack.

YUM ON THE RUN
Petite pieces of filo pie power-packed with greens, or French-style tarts, think asparagus with goat’s cheese, are delish room temperature. Tabbouleh is summer in a take-out container. Flexible recipe versions include bulgur wheat, lemon, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomato and
olive oil.

PRETTY PLATTER
Prepare a summer scene with fruit platters of eye-catching dragon fruit, mango, persimmons and medjool dates, with dipping-pots of Greek and coconut yoghurts with zest, mint, ginger and honey. Spike melons and pineapples with a favourite tipple and sprinkle pistachios and pomegranate seeds.

HYDRATING HANDFULS
Wheels of cucumbers are refreshing vessels under a herby cream-cheese with smoked salmon, or a juicy prawn. Fill crunchy celery pieces with nut butters and soft cheeses. Chickory and curvy lettuce leaves make boats for morsels of creamy-dressed cold meat, seafood, peppers and herbs.


 

Festive Raspberry Ice Blocks


They’re the coolest little treat for the Christmas feast. In fact, one could argue they’re part of your five plus a day! Fill the freezer up and they’ll get you right through the summer holidays!

 

 

INGREDIENTS
Two punnets of fresh raspberries
1/3 cup caster sugar
One tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/3 cup water

 

METHOD
In a food processor, puree all ingredients until smooth.

Strain ingredients, or keep it rustic with chunks of fruit.

Pour the pureed fruit into a pitcher or a large measuring cup with a pouring spout and pour it into ice block moulds. Cover and insert the sticks, then freeze until firm.

When you’re ready to eat one, run the bottoms of the moulds under warm water for a few seconds in order to loosen the ice block from the mould.

Remove it from the mould and enjoy!


 

CHEWY CARAMELS WITH SALTED PEANUTS


Not only are these chewy caramels with salted peanuts a delectable treat for the Christmas table, they’re also the ultimate little gift, wrapped up for a loved one.

 

MAKES 50 

INGREDIENTS
3 cups (420g) salted peanuts
1.1kg white (granulated) sugar
1.125L single (pouring) cream
1 cup (350g) golden syrup
100g unsalted butter, chopped

 

METHOD
Line a 20cm x 30cm slice tin with non-stick baking paper. Sprinkle the base with half the peanuts and set aside.
Place the sugar, cream, golden syrup and butter in a large saucepan over high heat and stir with a metal spoon until the butter and sugar have melted. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, for 20–25 minutes or until the temperature reaches 122°C (251°F) on a sugar (candy) thermometer. Working quickly, pour the caramel into the tin and carefully sprinkle with the remaining 1½ cups (210g) of peanuts. Allow to cool completely at room temperature for 3–4 hours. Refrigerate for 25–30 minutes or until firm.
Turn the caramel out onto a board and, using a large sharp knife, cut into pieces*. Wrap each caramel in brown wax paper, twisting the ends to seal. Keep refrigerated and bring to room temperature to serve.

* If the caramel becomes too soft to cut, simply return it to the refrigerator for five minutes.

Pro tip: Store caramels, wrapped in paper, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Recipe from Christmas Feasts and Treats by Donna Hay, published by Fourth Estate.