“Tris di Fragole”- Strawberry Variations

In Italy, you can find the main dish Tris di pasta quite often on restaurant menus. “Tris” means “a combination of three” and refers to a pasta dish with three different noodle variations.

pasta

In the northern part of Italy, we had the opportunity to enjoy a so called “Knoedel- Tris”, which is a combination of three different dumplings.knoedel

But I am getting off track here… this post is all about strawberries. To be precise it is about three simple, fast and delicious strawberry recipes. After getting back from the supermarket the other day with a full bag of fresh and juicy strawberries I spontaneously decided to use them all right away.

First, I needed a refreshing after school snack for our kids. Given the fact that it is incredibly hot at the moment I decided to whip up some ice cream. I always have frozen chunks of banana in my freezer which makes a great base for ice cream. Add some lemon juice and honey to give it a little extra flavor, puree all ingredients in a high speed blender and voila, here is the most creamy and delicious

banana strawberry lemon honey ice cream

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The kids decided to decorate it with some non dairy chocolate chips- “just for the picture”, as I was reassured… Yeah, right. By the time I took the picture outside the ice cream had melted  significantly.

Next on my list was dinner. Because of the heat, none of us is very keen at the moment on eating a hot dish- and I am not keen on getting a heat stroke in my kitchen or paying an arm and a leg for the electricity bill for using the air condition ( very expensive in Australia!). So I came up with a cold and fruity salad- topped with a mineral rich strawberry poppy seed dressing. What a delight!

strawberry, spinach and almond salad with poppy seed dressing

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Slightly toasted almond slices add a little crunch and a little more color to this fruity green and red bowl.

A fancy salad needs to be accompanied by a fancy drink- I chose to pair the strawberries with cold watermelon,  give it a little extra kick with a bit of lemon juice and honey and some freshness with a handful of fresh mint leaves.

watermelon honey lemon mint strawberry juice

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The juice tastes best when served “on the rocks”- poured over ice.

Mint leaves are probably best known  for their refreshing flavor. But Mint is an ancient herb that has been used since antiquity because of its culinary, medicinal and aromatic properties. The origins of mint are honored in a Greek myth that tells the tale that the plant was originally a water nymph called Minthe, who was transformed into a plant.

mint

According to the story, Minthe was a beautiful water nymph who attracted the attention of Hades. Hades was the stern ruler of the Greek Underworld and the husband of the goddess Persephone. It seems, however, that even Persephone’s obvious charms could not keep the attention of Hades at all times. The Underworld god therefore engaged in an illicit – but not terribly well hidden – affair with the Naiad Minthe.

mint2Naturally, Persephone found out about the relationship between her husband and the water nymph. And in a scenario that is all too familiar in Greek myth, the spurned wife took revenge on her husband’s mistress. Minthe became the unfortunate object of Persephone’s wrath. The goddess of the Underworld began to step on Minthe, beating the poor nymph with furious kicks. Minthe however was transformed into the mint plant, and with each tread of Persephone’s foot, this plant released a delightful scent. This is the myth of how the aromatic mint plant received its name.

I hope you enjoyed this little excursion into the Greek mythology- it brings back memories from my high school years in Austria. We learned Latin for six years and were sweating over ancient Roman texts trying to figure out what the story was all about- they ranged from extremely smart to witty, funny and even absurd. Maybe its time I to get the dusty copy of “Metamorphoses” of OVID down from the bookshelf and read some of the poems to my kids (of course in the English translation…)

Cheers,

Ursula

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