Stay as cool as a cucumber with this refreshing vegetable-based sorbet

Lilly Higgins: A light ice-cream alternative to savour this summer

Lilly Higgins' cucumber sorbet

Lilly Higgins' cucumber sorbet

 

We were building igloos a few months ago and making slow-cooked lamb shank suppers to warm us up and fuel further play in the snow. Now we need a completely different style of cooking.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been rustling up simple salads and the barbecue is my cooker of choice. No one seems to have much of an appetite until they can smell the barbecue heating up. I’m also looking for ice-cream alternatives as my kids seem to absolutely need an ice-cream every day. So I’m freezing ripe bananas and making ice-cold chocolate and banana smoothies for breakfast as well as fruity ice cubes to add to water.

I’ve bought a large glass Kilner drinks dispenser and have it on my kitchen worktop, filled with water and ice cubes, lemon balm or mint. It encourages us all to drink more water throughout the day and my kids love the self-serve tap on it.

Sorbets always seem lighter than an ice-cream so I’ve been experimenting with different fruits and flavours. A winning combination that’s light, simple to make and incredibly refreshing is this cucumber sorbet.

I’ve added a little matcha for colour and flavour, lime juice to lift it all and a burst of fresh mint leaves. Simply blitz everything in a high-speed blender and freeze. It really is that simple. I’ve paired it with strawberries here. I like to place the berries at the bottom of a glass and top with the sorbet and it melts slightly, coating the berries. Pure indulgence!

Basil works beautifully too with the strawberries, so use that if you don’t like mint. I only use a pinch of matcha green tea and it adds a gorgeous green colour. This can be frozen in ice-cube trays too for adding to a gin and tonic or jug of Pimm’s. For a refreshing drink for children I add a few cubes to a jug of soda water for a cucumber float.

Despite this being a vegetable-based recipe there is still a good amount of sugar in this, so don’t regard this as a health food. Any less sugar and it wouldn’t have that smooth sorbet texture and would be more icy like a granita but still delicious. I finally got a chance to taste Well Nice Pops, a Limerick-based company producing frozen ice pops from cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices.

It’s a fantastic concept and a great way to get your daily juice. In particular the All Hail Kale (kale, cucumber and apple) and The Lemon Sucker (yellow pepper, lemon and pineapple) ice pops are incredibly refreshing. 

Cucumber, matcha and mint sorbet with strawberries  

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 cucumbers
6 mint leaves 
Juice of 1 lime 
2 pinches matcha green tea powder 
85g caster sugar 

Method
Peel the cucumbers and halve them horizontally. Scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and discard. Roughly chop the cucumber and blend with the mint leaves, lime juice, matcha powder and sugar. Line a loaf tin with baking paper, pour in the sorbet mix and place in the freezer for a few hours or overnight till quite solid.

Tip on to a chopping board and cut into thick slices then blitz again in the food processor till smooth to break up any iciness. Return the smooth sorbet to the tin and place back in the freezer for another half an hour to firm up till it’s a good texture for scooping. This can be made weeks in advance. Simply leave the sorbet out of the freezer for 10 minutes before serving. Serve over freshly sliced strawberries.

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