After searching through the pile of new cookbooks and the like, I settled upon one that I've yet to use - Gennaro Contaldo's Italian Year. My neglect of this book was due to the other cookbook purchased at the same time - Locatelli's masterful tome Made in Italy. So it was time to make amends.
With the hot weather returning, I sort solace in my other new acquisition of the mechanical type - some my say I have an unnatural attachment to the gelateria - to create a wonderfully refreshing and quintessentially Italian, Granita al Caffé or Espresso Granita.
150 grams caster sugar
200-mls espresso coffee
Place the water and sugar into a saucepan and place over a medium heat - stir to dissolve the sugar and then allow to come to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using.
Make the espresso and allow that to cool completely.
When making any ice-creams, sorbets etc. to get the best result it's important that the ingredients are allowed to get as cold as possible - don't be trying to make it with warm or tepid mixtures.
When both mixtures cold add the coffee to the sugar syrup and chill.
If you have an ice-cream maker, churn according to manufacturer's instructions. It won't get as hard as ice-cream, it will be kind of sloppy but that's what you want. Transfer to the freezer until you are ready to use it.
If you don't have an ice-cream maker - place the combined mixture into the freezer for an hour then remove it - beat it with a fork and then return to the freezer for another hour. You then repeat the process until it has that creamy consistency that you'll find with sorbets.
To serve, scoop out into glasses and top with whipped cream if desired.