'Today Sydney, Canberra and other NSW centres experienced extreme temperatures, with records being set for Sydney at Observatory Hill (45.8°C); Sydney Airport (46.4°); Canberra (41.6°); and a range of other communities along the coast from Bega (44.6°) to Williamtown (44.8°). The highest temperature recorded in the Greater Sydney Area was 46.5° at Penrith.'
According to a Special Climate Statement produced by the Bureau of Meteorology on this week, 'Large parts of central and southern Australia are currently under the influence of a persistent and widespread heatwave event.' The report indicates that 'this event' is ongoing, with further significant records likely to be set.' In fact, the last four months of 2012 were abnormally hot across our country, and particularly so for maximum (day-time) temperatures.
Put simply, it's been [insert your choice of expletive] hot!!
With this in mind, I'd like to share with you a refreshing non alcoholic spritzer. I shared a photo of this recently on Twitter and several responses came back asking if I would home deliver the said beverage to help tweeps chill out. The answer is no, but I can provide you with the instructions on how to prepare one for yourself. It's dead easy.
Fresh lychees (longans and rambutans too) are a favourite summertime snack for me. They're sweet, refreshing and great eaten fresh from the hand, but can also be served in a variety of sweet or savoury recipes. If you can't access fresh lychees, use canned fruit for this recipe.
LYCHEE AND LIME SPRITZER
250g fresh lychees (peeled and deseeded) or 230g can lychees in syrup, chilled+
juice of half a lime, to taste
2 cups ice cubes
1.5 litre good quality carbonated mineral water*
lime wedges and sprigs of fresh mint, to garnish
Puree the lychee flesh in a blender or food processor. Stir in the syrup and the lime juice. Pour into a freezer proof container, seal and fast freeze for 1-2 hours, until frozen. Remove from the refrigerator about 10-15 minutes before you intend to serve (this will allow the mixture to soften), then run the prongs of a fork through the ice crystals.
Spoon the mixture into tall glasses that you have pre-chilled. Top up with the thoroughly-chilled mineral water, stir and garnish with wedges of lime and sprigs of mint. Serves 2-3.
+ Reserve 1/3 of the syrup from canned fruit, a little more if you like a sweeter drink. If you are using fresh lychees, make a small quantity (1/2 to 1 cup) of a basic sugar syrup and allow it to cool before use.
Notes: the seeds from lychees can be removed with the right sort of cherry or olive stoner! If you would prefer an alcoholic cocktail, you can add a tablespoon or two of good quality vodka if you wish, but I'd suggest the drink is more refreshing on a very hot day without it. * Peter and I buy our San Benedetto mineral water from Aldi. It's particularly good, as it's fizzy but is less effervescent than some other brands.
The process in pictures...
Kick back, slurp and chill, s'il vous plaît...
Tell me, when you need to chill, what food or drink do you reach for? And how are the temperatures in your part of the world?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.