Fresh summer ice cubes

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Sometimes sipping water can get boring, so let these fruit cubes make it a little bit different. They are so simple to make but make any drink seem more refreshing and are a great addition to drinks at a summer garden party!

We made these recently for our lovely friends house warming BBQ and they went down a treat. It was the perfect way to spend a summer evening after a stressful few months of contracts falling through and being let down by removal firms. Luckily they found an excellent replacement (they used Volition Removals and would highly recommend) the house move went ahead and we grabbed the chance to celebrate!

Don’t let the summer heat beat you. Just drop one of these fruity ice cubes into a tall glass of water, sit back and chill (literally)!

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FRUITS

When using fruit, simply juice, chop, dice, puree in a blender or pop in whole if they’re berries.

Pour into an ice cube tray  with water and freeze.

Add the Infused Ice Cubes into your water and enjoy the subtle release of flavours from the ice cubes!

Herbs/Edible flowers

Bruise the herb leaves. Bruising is simply a breaking down the herb to release the essential oils and flavours.

Place herbs into an ice cube tray and cover with water. Freeze.

Add the Infused Ice Cubes into your water and enjoy the subtle release of flavours from the ice cubes!

Tips:

These can be used in normal water or alcoholic drinks for a festive flare.

After freezing, you can pop them out of the ice cube tray and store in a large freezer bag for future use.

Serve in a clear jug/glass to show off the ice cubes.

Fill ice cubes with colourful ingredients to make drinking water more enjoyable and “fun” for children.

If there is an ingredient in a drink you already use to make  the drink (non-alcoholic or alcoholic) think of adding it into an ice cube to help chill it down while simultaneously adding the ingredient.

Summery warm lemon potato salad with fresh chives and crispy bacon

 This warm lemon and chive potato salad recipe with crispy bacon makes a really easy side dish that packs a flavourful punch. It’s a firm favourite at all our bbq’s and picnics and is much healthier and tastier than the usual potato and mayonnaise combination that normally gets left to the side. Fresh, zingy and perfectly summery, I usually have to double up this recipe because it goes so quickly!

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Ingredients

2lbs/900g new potatoes, skin on and washed
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
1 heaped tsp whole grain mustard
4tbsp olive oil (extra virgin is the best)
a sprinkle of black pepper
2 tbsp freshly chopped chives
6 spring onions
6 slices of bacon (smoked will add the most flavour)

Method

Firstly place the potatoes in a saucepan with enough boiling water just to cover them, add some salt, and simmer them for about 15-20 minutes until they are soft when cut with a knife.

Meanwhile, slice the bacon into small strips then fry slowly on a medium to low heat until they turn dark and crispy. Once they’re crispy I always take them out of the pan and lie them on some kitchen towel so that the grease can drain out.

To make the vinaigrette, finely chop the garlic then whisk in all the other dressing ingredients. You can use pre squeezed lemon juice if you like but it won’t have the same punchy flavour as fresh lemon. Roughly chop the spring onions and chives ready to garnish with the bacon.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain them in a colander and transfer them to a serving bowl. Pour on the vinaigrette dressing while they are still hot, toss them around in the dressing to get a good coating, then finally scatter in the crispy bacon, chopped chives and spring onions and serve.

Zesty Lemon and Raspberry Cupcakes

 After a quick break to sit my final year law exams at university I’m back! Seeing as it’s now officially summer time and raspberries are in season, I thought I’d upload my recipe for raspberry and lemon cupcakes. These cupcakes were inspired by the Hummingbird Bakery recipe but I’ve adapted it a little and made them my own way. I baked these cupcakes originally for my husband’s birthday and they turned out a treat! The sweet, juicy raspberries are a perfect pairing to the zesty lemon and together they add a yummy twist to the usual vanilla cupcake. They’re most certainly at the top of my list of favourite things to eat and they stayed moist for ages, not that they lasted very long with my husband around! You could also make this recipe into a large cake but I thought that cupcakes were more fun and less messy! Enjoy!

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Ingredients

110g softened butter or margarine
110g caster sugar (or xylitol for a sugar free version)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
110g sifted self raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk
the zest of 1 lemon

For the Icing:

140g softened butter
280g sifted icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
a few spoonfuls of raspberry jam
fresh raspberries or dried raspberries to decorate

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C and fill your cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and add in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
Fold in the flour. Then little by little, pour in the milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cupcake cases until they are half full.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a knife or skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

For the buttercream lemon icing, melt the butter and milk in a sauce pan. Once melted pour the mixture little by little, stirring continuously into a bowl with the icing sugar in it and beat until smooth.
Then fold in the lemon juice, adding more milk or icing sugar if necessary, until the mix is silky and creamy.
Once the cakes have cooled, cut a small hole in the tops of the cakes, and add some raspberry jam!
Spoon the icing into a piping bag and pipe onto the cakes using a spiralling motion. I decided to colour half of my icing with blue food colouring but you can use any colour icing you like or just leave it as it is!
I then decorated half of the cupcakes with fresh raspberries and the other with dried raspberries.

These are perfect for a summer garden party or for an afternoon tea sat outside in the sunshine.

Fresh, Crunchy Red Cabbage Coleslaw

One of my dad’s most requested recipes is his delicious coleslaw. He taught me how to make it and I’ve added a few extras into the mix. It’s a great side dish all year round and is incredibly versatile. It goes well with hot, buttered Jacket potatoes and is perfect for a summer barbecue. Personally I like mine on the side of a yummy lasagne, it may not be traditional but it’s super tasty! Homemade is so much better than anything you’ll find in the shops and it’s so easy and quick to make so give it a try!

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Ingredients

Half a red cabbage, sliced thinly
2 carrots, grated
Half a red onion, sliced into small pieces (optional but I like it!)
1 tsp of sugar or xylitol
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 large tablespoons of mayonnaise

Method

Place the sliced cabbage into a bowl and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. This will draw out the water and make the cabbage slightly softer. Leave the cabbage to stand for a minute or two, then throw in the onion and the carrot and give it a good mix. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Leave the mix to stand for maybe half an hour for the flavours to combine and the vegetables to soften. Then it’s ready to go!

You could also add some grated apple or my grandma swears by adding fresh cucumber.

I like to serve this alongside a big salad, homemade baked beans and some tasty barbecued meat.