along with the two stone pots, my parents also brought me something else that evokes memories of california. shaved ice with sweet red bean, fresh fruit, and sometimes even ice cream hiding in the middle! a popular treat in korea, hawaii, china, and probably every other country heavily populated with asians. unfortunately by the time i received it summer was already on the downhill. we've had lots of warm, rainy days that made me feel more like a soup and a shower than anything else. however, weather has never stopped me from frozen treats in the past...
it's made by setting an ice form (in this case, short cylinder) inside and hand-cranking it over a thick razor. it's not much effort and makes a nice, lowfat sweet treat for all you ladies on a diet out there. unless of course you drown it in those funny flavourings. my parents brought me watermelon, guava, and the ever-puzzling 'blue vanilla,' all of which contain a strange list of ingredients after water and sugar. i'm more into the simple topping of red bean, fruit, and maybe a bit of condensed milk.
but if you don't like what hawaiian sweet offers, it's too easy to make your own shaved ice syrups. the other night i had a really refreshing granita during a dinner with several courses. sadly it was the most memorable part of the meal and yet served in the smallest portion. the ginger and star anise cleaned my palate and the apple was even more refreshing. i think my version comes pretty close.
apple and ginger syrup
8cm knob of ginger
3 star anise
cut the apples and ginger into small pieces (i used a mandoline to create more surface area). throw everything into a pot and bring to a boil. add more sugar if you have a ferocious sweet tooth, but remember that it's a syrup! simmer for 5 minutes and take it off the heat. wait until cooled before straining the syrup, squeezing out every last drop.
serve over granita/shaved ice or just add sparkling water for a soda a little more on the natural side.