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recipes and stories

Big Citrus Energy

We've hit peak summer in Sydney where you can't take more than five steps out the front door without breaking into a sweat. I know it's peak summer when the face wipes share freezer space with the lemonade icey poles and suggestions to leave the house for groceries comes with a firm "no". The only solution then is to draw the blinds, set the ac to a climate change "friendly" setting, tune into the Australian Open on the telly, and make yourself a citrus spritzer.

I had a few oranges and limes knocking around in the fruit bowl so decided to recreate the delicious freshly squeezed narang juice I downed while I was in Colombo earlier this year. The citrus I'm referring to comes in the size of a large lime and combined the sweetness of orange and sour notes of lime - it's the perfect combination for those of us who likes sour gummies. It's hard to find narang citrus here, so I combined the powers of orange and lime to get to a close second to the flavours of my first island home.

I wanted this drink to be more than a citrus juice, so I decided to add the cooling affects of sweet basil seeds and freshness of mint. A no-brainer, even on the days when it feels like everything is at melting stage. The sweet basil seeds are the jelly-like seeds you find in faluda and are sometimes called casa-casa or sabja seeds. When you buy the sweet basil seeds they look quite simple, almost like black nigella seeds. They come into their own once soaked in hot water for half an hour. Once bloomed; a little jelly forms around them making them slippery and cool in a drink.

I first had the seeds in a drink with when my mother started serving a cold rosehip tea with dinner, so it's something I associate with summer holidays, the Australian Open, and crab curry. The seeds are known to help with cooling and other compelling health benefits that I won't go into here. I just like them for their jelly crunch factor here and a promise of a cool change.


Citrus Spritzer with basil seeds and mint

3 medium oranges

2 limes

2 teaspoon sweet basil seeds

1 teaspoon mint, finely sliced

Sparkling mineral water to top up


To start

Place sweet basil seeds in a cup and cover with boiled hot water and allow to sit until seeds have bloomed; about 20-30 minutes.

Using your preferred juicing method; extract fresh orange and lime juice into a pouring jar. Wash and chop mint, set aside.

Once the sweet basil seeds have bloomed, add them to the orange and lime juice along with the mint. Mix to combine.

To finish

Fill each glass with ice and pour the citrus juice mixture until the glass is 3/4 full. Top with mineral water for some spritz. Serve with your favourite salty snack.

Serves 2.



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