Regular readers will know that Knidos Cookery Club loves a summery cocktail – in the past we’ve made a Figito, with fresh figs, and a Prickly Pear Pick-me-up. In past summers we’ve been able to call on these more exotic ingredients but this year we’ve been in the more prosaic setting of Almaty, Kazakhstan because of the pandemic.
So, we’ve taken a look at what’s to hand and come up with a simple mixer that combines barley water with lemon and ginger. We made our cocktail with white rum but it will work equally well with tequila as the base for a tart Margarita, or it could also pair well with gin.
Whatever you have in store, put one part spirit with three parts LGB tonic and six ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Give it a good shake, pour into a tall glass, top up with fizzy water and add a slice of lemon and then sit back and enjoy what’s left of the summer.
Lemon, Ginger and Barley Tonic
Ingredients (for 2 litres)
150 g pearl barley
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 cm knob of ginger, grated
1.5 litres boiling water
To make the barley water, wash the barley until the water goes clear. Zest the lemons and add to the barley in a large bowl. Grate the ginger into the barley and lemon zest and then pour the boiling water over it all and leave to cool. Add sugar or honey to taste if you have a sweet tooth – we prefer it without.
Juice the lemons and divide into two one litre jugs. Strain the barley water – reserve the soaked barley for use in another dish. Pour the resultant liquid on to the lemon juice. Top up with cold water and leave in the fridge to cool. Use within a few days.
We’re turning our attention back to Georgia to take a look at how walnuts form the backbone of the nation’s cuisine. This versatile nut can be made into a sauce, bazhe, and slathered on slices of fried aubergine or poured over a cucumber and tomato salad. It’s also used liberally in the vegetable dip, pkhali, in the thicker satsivi paste and in the red bean dish, lobio.
We made some bazhe to roll up in slices of fried aubergine, a favourite from the days of visiting Georgian restaurants. These aubergine rolls, nigvziani badrijani in Georgian, are usually served at the start of the meal, especially at lengthy wine and chacha (a grape-based spirit akin to Italy’s grappa or Greece’s tsipouro) fuelled banquets, but we think they’re great to eat at anytime and they’re particularly handy for picnics or barbecues.
To remove the bitter taste of the aubergine, sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse in cold water and pat dry with kitchen roll. Make sure the oil is very hot when frying the slices – this will help them not to soak up too much fat while cooking.,
Ingredients (for 16-20 aubergine rolls)
3 or 4 large aubergines
100 ml cooking oil
100 g walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon vinegar (red or white wine or apple)
1 tablespoon pomegranate sauce
1 teaspoon blue fenugreek (use cumin seeds if you can’t find this)
1 teaspoon marigold flower (use turmeric if you can’t find this)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
50 ml cold water
Salt to sprinkle over the aubergine slices
Fresh basil and coriander leaves to garnish
Make the walnut sauce first. Crush the nuts using the back of a wooden spoon on a wooden chopping board. This method gives the sauce a more crunchy texture. Mince the garlic and mix with the nuts in a bowl. Add the spices, vinegar and pomegranate sauce and combine all the ingredients into a smooth paste. Add water until the sauce has a more runny consistency but is still quite thick.
While the sauce is chilling in the fridge, fry the aubergine. Heat 50 ml of oil in a heavy based pan. Top and tail the aubergine and slice off a thin layer of skin on both sides. Cut the aubergine into 0.5 cm slices lengthways and then fry on both sides until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
When the slices have cooled down, spread the walnut sauce onto the slice and then roll it up. Garnish with fresh herbs such as coriander and basil, and pomegranate seeds (if you have any – we’re not expecting any until autumn) and serve cold with other Georgian starters such as pkhali and crusty bread.