Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rhubarb, Strawberry, Maple & Lavender Agua Fresca

As summer has arrived officially via the solstice, let's celebrate with a refreshing agua fresca, a light, fruity beverage. Taking advantage of the still juicy rhubarb stalks along with some lavender in the garden, frozen strawberries/coulis, and astonishingly, enough maple syrup to sweeten more than adequately, I concocted a thirst-quenching drink with a sweet tang and a distinctive pink cloudiness which imparted just the right amount of body.

Gather a medium-sized, washed, trimmed-of-any-poisonous leaves rhubarb stalk, several large strawberries, either fresh or frozen, a few lavender buds, maple syrup, and 16 ounces/475 ml of cold water of which I keep a few bottles in the fridge during summer.

Any nicely coloured bits can be reserved for garnishing

To increase the zing, deepen the colour, and to have as a garnish, I used a good amount of frozen strawberry coulis (link to how to make it is at the end of this post) made from berries harvested the previous season. That incredible abundance is nicely complementing the meagre one at present. Though being frozen for nearly a year, their flavour is still tremendous.

Put the fresh (rinsed and hulled) or frozen strawberries, one-inch chunks of rhubarb, lavender buds, and water in a food processor or blender. Mix for a few minutes until everything is broken down; the texture will be far from smooth.

Pour the mixture into a fine-meshed sieve positioned over a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, work it until nearly dry.

If using coulis, add it along with the maple syrup to taste.

If suitably cold it can be quaffed down right now, but the flavours do intensify and commingle when kept overnight in the fridge.

Left over from making Chicken Pot Pie, some pastry dough once it was rolled out, well pricked, and baked in a hot oven for about ten minutes made just the right companion especially when topped with frozen coulis.

The melting strawberry ice oozed ever so wonderfully into the crevices of the crumbly pastry.

As much as I love the alluring taste of this agua fresca, I equally love its resembling the palest pink shantung silk flecked with purple and red.

In the garden the calla lily is the Queen of Cool!

Though I appreciate the vivid colour of the bougainvillea's bracts, I adore its true flower, a tiny, delicate star twinkling in a blazing sky.

Shasta daisies never fail to make me smile when I am in their company.

These daisies are a fast way of filling up the bare parts of a garden.

That's English lavender in the background, which is almost finished blooming

The second blooming flush by the super fragrant climber, Falstaff, has this pair of quartered-roses caressing each other's velvety petals.

Though the sky overhead provides all the blue anyone could want, I still love when it manages to make an appearance in the garden. Right now, that job rests completely on perennial geraniums.

The sun setting behind this anemone dahlia infuses it with a muted glow.

Coral bells may not consciously use their wiry stems to touch tenderly a lavender bloom on the other side of the path, but there's no harm in imagining they do.

With summer, come consistently high temperatures and as the potager faces south, I only can tend the garden with any amount of effort before ten o'clock and after eight o'clock. The rest of the time I can be found indoors sipping agua frescas!

The first tomatoes are coming in on the lower right corner!

À la prochaine!


Iced coffee caramel float
Cantaloupe granita and caramel cream parfait
Carmelised blackberry ice-cream sundae
How to make strawberry coulis