Fresh mint tea and lemonade

Fresh mint is a great cooking resource; expect to see it again in a few more recipes. You can buy packaged bunches of fresh mint sprigs or potted mint plants in supermarkets. The plants can survive a suprising amount of neglect (unlike, say, basil), thus they’re compatible with nerd kitchen. Of course, once you’ve discovered fresh mint for yourself, you’ll likely consume your plant to stumps before it has a chance to wilt.

The most straightforward use is to give a handful of mint sprigs a quick wash and then steep them in piping hot water. Sweeten to taste (honey is traditional, but artificial sweetener works just fine too). Voilà: fresh mint tea. Try it; it’s quite different from the dried mint that comes in bags.

Fresh mint tea as I like it best: With added black tea and just a bit of sweetening (artificial sweetener works fine).

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Bread pudding alla Ticinese

This delicious traditional treat has its roots in the sunny italian-speaking canton of Ticino in the south of Switzerland, from where it was passed down through my grandmother Irène’s cuisine. The preparation may take a bit of time, but it’s pretty much foolproof. The only skills required are mashing and waiting.

Source family recipe  Difficulty trivial  Time a few hours, but only about 20 min of that is actual work; the rest is waiting  Serves 4–8 people depending on appetite, keeps a few days in the fridge.

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