Beat the Heat


With the past week of severe heat waves here in the Cape, I was struggling to find inspiration from any kind of food stuff that would snap me out of my Christ the Redeemer pose in front of the fan, and into a Nigella-esque one over the stove – especially with my kitchen hitting a high of 42.5•C on Wednesday.

It was whilst sucking back on a defenseless ice cube, that it hit me – I wanted a Granita. This delicious slushy type drink, albeit a more elegant one, is rarely found on menu’s in South Africa for some bizarre reason. The most refreshing flavor I could think of pairing with the slushed ice had to be watermelon, because truthfully nothing beats it’s sweet smack, complimented with the herby freshness of basil. I added a bit of chili for fun, and it actually worked really well – despite personally not being the biggest heat seeker when it comes to chili in food. Topped up with a splash of lemonade (and some white rum or vodka, if you are in the mood), it makes the perfect sundowner for guests, or an anytime slushy snack for when you need cooling down.

Tip: I froze mine in a non-stick metal loaf tin – and every hour or so, scratched the surface of the granita with a fork to fluff it up and create the desired texture.

Happy Drinking!

Watermelon, Basil & Chili Granita

Serves 4        Takes approx. 20mins prep  /  5 hrs freezing


1/2 whole Watermelon (approx. 8 cups)

1 Red Chili, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 cup fresh Basil

2 tbsp superfine Castor Sugar

1 Lime, juiced

Lemonade (optional for a more liquid drink)

White Rum/Vodka (optional)


1. Get out 2 medium sized bowls, a sieve and a colander. Rest a sieve on top of one of the bowls, and the colander on top of the other bowl.

2. Scoop out the innards of the watermelon with a measuring cup and place the scoops into the colander. Once finished, use a pestle to pound the flesh until most of it has pushed through the colander holes into the bowl below. The white seeds of the watermelon should remain behind in the colander.

3. Discard the pulpy, seedy mess in the colander, and pour the pulpy juice in the bowl beneath into the sieve over the next clean bowl. This will leave you with about 5 cups of pure, smooth watermelon extract.

4. Finely chop the mint and chili and add to the juice. Also now add the castor sugar, and juice of the lime – give a rigorous stir.

5. Blitz in portions in a blender and decant into a metal loaf tin.

6. Freeze for about 5 hours, scraping the ice surface approximately every hour.

1 comment

  1. Sugarlow says:

    How refreshing is that! What a wonderful way to cool down!

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