I remember my mum attending some workshops on food preservation when I was about 10 or so. From those classes, there was always homemade tomato ketchup, pineapple jam and some kind of cordials. We used to call them squash and hardly anyone uses that term anymore. The other day I wanted to buy a cordial and all the options had a very small percentage of actual fruit and the rest were fillers plus preservative! So I decided to make my own based on the memory of what my mum used to make.  This can be had cold with soda or hot with water. I used Meyer lemons as the juice isn’t too tart. You can also scale the recipe up.

Lemon Ginger cordial


1 cup sugar

2 cups hot water from a freshly boiled kettle

100g ginger, peeled and grated fine

Rind of one lemon

1 cup lemon juice (about 6-8 lemons)

1 teaspoon corn starch, mixed with a couple of teaspoons of cold water


Measure out the sugar in a small saucepan. Pour the hot water in and turn the heat on. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent sugar from clumping.

Toss the ginger in. Mix and turn the heat off after two minutes. Throw the rind into the saucepan and let steep for five minutes.

Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Pour in the lemon juice. Stir to combine and add the corn starch water. Put it back on the heat until liquid becomes slightly cloudy.

Lemon ginger cordial

When cool, bottle the cordial. Refrigerate and use within four weeks. Makes 3 cups cordial.


My neighbours have a well-established Meyer lemon tree that keeps on giving. Lucky for me, they share generously with us. This year, the tree produced huge, juicy lemons some that look like grapefruit and weigh just over half a kilo! I am always searching out for recipes where lemon flavour is oozing and the vibrant colour is showcased. So, I decided to try the no cook lemonade and the result is just such a delicious drink with a balance of acidity and sweetness. This is an easy way to get primary school kids interested in science and cooking!


6 large lemons, washed

1 cup sugar




Mai Tai

This is the real McCoy. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the ones you have been having on the beach in Bali or Waikiki are fake. They are a sweet and murky drink, filled with assorted fruit juices and syrups


60ml Appleton Extra or other aged Jamaican rum

30ml lime juice

15ml Cointreau

1 plus ½ teaspoon orgeat

1 plus ½ teaspoon simple syrup

Mint for garnish


Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds and strain into a double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lime shell and a sprig of fresh mint.

Serves 1


Side car

Reminiscent of the 1920’s – it was the time that The Great Gatsby was set and there was prohibition in USA! It is believed that the side car was originally made at the Ritz in Paris. The drink was directly named for the motorcycle attachment.


60ml VSOP Cognac

30ml Cointreau

22ml lemon juice


Combine Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well until chilled, about 10 seconds. Strain into prepared glass; garnish with a twist of orange or lemon peel.

Serves 1


Fresh limes

When there’s an abundance of limes from the garden, then it’s time for mojitos. The key is to have your limes and mint fresh. This is an easy classic cocktail and yet I have been served flavourless mojitos in bars and the reason being not using the freshest of ingredients.


1 lime

6-8 mint leaves plus a sprig for garnish

2 teaspoons of sugar

60 ml white rum

A splash of soda water


Slice the lime into wedges. Place the wedges in a cocktail shaker. Muddle the limes with a muddler or the end of a rolling pin or other such implement until all the juice is extracted. Add mint leaves and sugar and muddle to combine. Add the rum followed by ice and shake. Strain out into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of soda and finish with sprig of mint.


New York Sour

Friday night drinks have become a ritual in our household. Weeknights are busy with work, school and gym but Friday night is special as we are all relaxed and we get together around the island in the kitchen. This one was my son’s creation. Looks decadent and tastes amazing.

60ml rye whiskey

½ teaspoon triple sec or Cointreau

15ml simple syrup

30ml lemon juice

Egg white

Red wine (Shiraz/Malbec/Bordeaux

Soda water (optional)


Put whiskey, triple sec, simple syrup, lemon juice and egg white in a shaker. Shake without ice to mix ingredients. Then shake with ice to chill and dilute. Pour into a desired glass. “Float” wine into glass by pouring over spoon. Top with soda and serve immediately. Makes one drink.