Jasmine Grapefruit Green Iced Tea

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This is a winning combination! I made some sangria the other day and had leftover grapefruit simple syrup and I’ve put it to great use here. Very light, slightly floral and bright in flavour, this is a lovely and refreshing drink for the hot summer (or as it is right now where I am, a hot spring) coming up.

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Grapefruit Simple Syrup (Simplified version of this recipe)
Makes 2 cups

Zest of one pink grapefruit
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

Zest the grapefruit and add it to the granulated sugar. Stir the zest into the sugar, making sure to use your muscles. Cover the mixture and let it sit for an hour. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add the sugar. Stir to combine. Let it boil for a couple of minutes. Take off heat, strain out zest (don’t be too fussy), and set aside to cool.

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Jasmine Grapefruit Green Iced Tea
Makes 2 litres

8 jasmine green tea bags
1 litre boiling water
1/2 cup grapefruit simple syrup
Juice of half a grapefruit
Plenty of ice
Lemon slices, for garnish

Add the boiling water to the tea bags and let them steep for five minutes. Remove the tea bags and let cool enough to pour into your serving container. Add the simple syrup, grapefruit juice, ice to the top of the two litre container and the lemon slices. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with more lemon slices.

Melon Cupcakes with Matcha-Melon Frosting (Vegan, Gluten-free)

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I make cupcakes because coming up with new combinations for a format you totally understand is a dream come true for a foodie, they photograph wonderfully and my cake decorating skills are not up to snuff on whole cakes just yet. I love the way these look – kind of old fashioned with the green and red colour combination, yet with an entirely modern flavour!

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When I worked at Starbucks many years ago, I learned exactly two things: I cannot work for a corporation and matcha is traditionally paired with a melon flavour. I used one of these life lessons in coming up with this really EXCITING cupcake. I’m also really close to finally perfecting a vegan vanilla cupcake – which you may or may not know is my culinary nemesis. More on that when I get there, though.

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These are a light and moist cupcake with a POW KABLAM from boozy frosting. If you don’t like or use alcohol, you can sub a melon syrup for the liqueur.  No worries, though, the frosting definitely tastes of matcha buttercream and not shots (shots shots shots)! 

1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2 cup firm silken tofu
Juice of half a lemon
1 1/3 cup all purpose gluten free flour (mine)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 non-dairy margarine, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 teaspoon good quality vanilla
1/4 cup Midori liqueur

In a blender, whiz together the non-dairy milk and firm silken tofu and whiz again, until combined and no solid tofu bits remain. Add the lemon juice, blitz one more time and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Add liners to the cupcake tins. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together. Using a hand or stand mixer, add the non-dairy margarine one piece at a time. Add the oil and mix until the mixture starts to look like wet sand, or little clumps have formed. Add the milk mixture and stir to combine. Finally, add the liqueur and mix until the mixture is smooth. I haven’t been able to over mix this – the air just allows for a lighter texture with what tends to be heavy and dry (Vegan = heavy; gluten-free = dry). Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes, until the tops have achieved a golden brown hue. Set aside to cool completely.

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Melon-Matcha Frosting

1 cup non-dairy margarine, softened
5 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons matcha powder
1/4  teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1/2 cup Midori liquer

Using a hand or a stand mixer, whip the non-dairy margarine on high speed for at least 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, matcha, and one cup of icing sugar, beating for an additional 2 minutes.  Add the remaining powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time with a splash of the Midori in between. Alternating between the powdered sugar and small amounts of the liqueur is the key to not having this frosting separate on you. Once the frosting is fluffy, pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Top with a raspberry.

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