Australian Summers are not generally known for their lovely, mild and mellow weather
No, rather they are generally hot... really hot, scorching hot. Concrete that sears the soles of your feet, car interiors that can kill you in 6 minutes from the trapped heat, and heat that bad that it leaves with very little energy for cooking- let alone eating
I know that the Northern Hemisphere is trapped in a mini-Ice Age at the moment, but with our current temperatures hovering at 40*C/ 105*F we Aussies are also hibernating in our homes, trying to keep the heat OUT instead of IN
This recipe may not be on the menu plan for any of my Northern Readers for a while, but maybe it's one that can looked at wistfully, whilst dreaming of warmer days, tropic isles and palm trees- definitely not bush fires, sweat and blow flies
The basis of any good Fruit Salad is great fruit to start with. You can use any you enjoy or that are in season, but I always like a mix of soft, firm, crisp, tart, mellow and sweet fruit.
Today I've picked: soft, sweet mango; firm tart pineapple; mellow papaya; fragrant lychees; crisp honeydew melon; tart passionfruit and the surprise bursts of flavour and texture that grapes would bring instead of using berries. I would have loved to include some guava, starfruit and even dragonfruit but there were none at the markets for me to find
Tropical Lemongrass Fruit Salad
A gorgeous selection of fresh Tropical Fruit
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1 stick Lemongrass
juice of half a Lime
spray of Mint- sliced very finely
First things first, time to make the lemongrass syrup
Bash the stem of lemongrass to release the oils and flavour
Place the lemongrass, sugar and water in a small pan and simmer until the liquid is nice and syrupy. Let the lemongrass continue infusing while it cools, then strain out
While the syrup is cooking and cooling, chop the fruit into nice bite sized pieces. I always like to cut the grapes in half as they are easier to eat that way and can also absorb some of the flavours from the syrup.
I'm going to share a secret with you Dear Readers... the easiest way in the world to peel a mango!
Instead of trying to slice the mango around the middle, then removing the seed, it's much easier to slice off the cheeks by cutting alongside the seed on each side leaving you with two nice flat cheeks and the seed with just a little rim of mango meat around it.
Take a thin edged metal spoon and slide it as close as you can get to the skin of the mango. Now run it underneath the flesh, following the curve of the skin and working your way around the whole piece
You should be able to pop the whole cheek out nice and neatly, leaving very little waste attached to the skin. See, a nice tidy result with no squishy bits
Gently combine the chopped fruit, sliced mint, lime juice and enough of the lemongrass syrup to coat it all nicely
A Big Bowl full of Beautiful!
I like to leave the salad overnight for the lemongrass and mint to infuse through nicely. With the acidity of the lime and sugar in the syrup, the fruit salad should stay fresh in the fridge for a few days without breaking down if you've used good quality fruit.
I find that if you let the chill come off the fruit salad before eating, so much extra flavour comes through. The subtle lemongrass and zing of mint is a lovely way to start your day for breakfast, or end a meal for dessert- or of course as a snack anytime at all!
Serve a big scoop or two of this lovely, fragrant fruitiness with a dollop of lactose free yoghurt or a drizzle of coconut cream for extra decadence if you must- but I love it just on it's own
So Dear Reader, do you enjoy the taste of lemongrass, and what's the weather doing in your part of the world?