As the evening approaches, the weather is cooling down slightly and there is a gentle breeze.
The summers here bring abundant fresh fruit and vegetables and for tonight I am using fresh ingredients with reduced cooking time to retain all the flavors and goodness.
I am preparing baked crustless ricotta in earthenware dishes, a salad of roasted vegetables with local limes and olive oil and to follow a fruit plate of prickly pear slices and fresh figs. We are drinking infused water with herbs and rose peppercorns.
For the Baked Crustless Ricotta you will need:
Serves 2 as a starter or side or accompanied with a salad
Preheat oven to 175 C
Fresh Mint Leaves
Freshly ground pepper
Ovenproof dish lightly brushed with olive oil
Place ricotta in a large bowl. Mash with a fork. For larger quantities use a masher. Mix in beaten egg, fresh mint leaves torn up in large chunks, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle dried oregano on the top. Bake in oven for 25 minutes. Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving. Also delicious cold.
Infusion of Orange and Rose Peppercorn Water
I use lidded glass spaghetti jars for this water as they fit perfectly in the shelf of the fridge door… This is a totallly natural drink if you are a fan of flavored waters.
You will need:
Two oranges, I used blood red ones but if not available the regular ones are fine
Fresh basil leaves
A large bottle of still mineral water
Squeeze one of the oranges and chop the other one into small segments with the skin on. Crush a few rosé peppercorns to extract the full flavor and leave a few of them whole. On the island they grow abundantly but you can find them in most stores. Tear a few basil leaves roughly, do not chop up with a knife as they will discolor. Fill up jar with mineral water and stir everything into it. Cover with lid and put in the fridge overnight if possible, or at least for 6 to 8 hours. I usually top up the jar twice during the day with water and keep two jars in the fridge at any one time so that I always have the infusion available to drink.
Thirst quenching, full of flavor and a natural source of Vitamin C.
I stopped drinking carbonated and low calorie artificial drinks a year ago and limit them to a treat once in a while ….
Until next year, prickly pear season is coming to an end….