Saturday, 6 May 2017

Globecooking recipe : Limon bi-na'na (aka Polo) - Syrian mint lemonade #FoodForThought

I think I've just discovered the perfect summer drink - it's fresh, zingy, refreshing, packed with flavour and definitely much healthier than other fizzy drinks. It's also incredibly quick and easy to make and is a great way of making the most of the mint bush that is thriving on our patio.

I love the way that it's been nicknamed Polo, just like the mint with the hole, which I haven't eaten for years so they remind me of my childhood. Back then, you could still buy sweets at the school tuckshop with your leftover dinner money and we used to have competitions to see who could stick their tongue into the hole and let the sweet melt until it was barely hanging on ! (See how we kept ourselves amused before mobile phones were invented ?!)

Limon bi-na'na (aka Polo)


about 750ml of water (I used fizzy but still would work too)
2-3 lemons
2-3 tbsp sugar (to taste)
a good handful of fresh mint leaves
1 tsp orange blossom water or rose water (optional)

Rinse and wipe the lemons. Rinse and drain the mint and rip the leaves off the stems.

Halve the lemons and chop the mint.

Use your hands to roughly squeeze the juice out of each lemon half into a jug. Throw a couple of the used halves into the jug, add the chopped mint and toss in a little sugar. I also added a whole mint sprig, complete with stem, for decorative purposes.

Top up with water - I used fizzy spring water because I fancied bubbles but most of the recipes that I saw when I went browsing online seemed to use still water so that would be fine too. The lemon and mint already pack a punch but if you want a more exotic, Middle Eastern flavour, you can add a teaspoon of orange blossom or rose water too. Give it all a good mix and leave to infuse for a few minutes (or longer, if you're not using fizzy water), using a spoon to weigh down some of the lemon and mint to help the flavours develop. Taste and add extra sugar if required.

There are various ways to progress from here. You could pour it into a blender with some ice cubes and whizz it until it's smooth, run it through a sieve to remove the large pieces of mint or just pour the whole lot straight into a glass and drink through a straw (which is what I did). Add a slice of lemon and some ice cubes and you have the ultimate summertime drink, which may be just the thing to make me kick my diet coke habit !

As you know if you're a regular reader of my blog, I love globecooking and trying weird and (hopefully but not always !) wonderful recipes from all over the world. If you check out my globecooking recipe index, you can see that I've already cooked dishes from many different countries, but I still have lots that I haven't ventured into yet - including many of the war-torn and ravaged countries that feature in harrowing news reports every time you turn on the TV.

Two lovely food bloggers - Mandy from Sneaky Veg and Lisa from Lovely Appetite - have come up with a great way of helping raise awareness of some of these countries, by rounding up recipes in a Food For Thought collection, starting off with Syria. They have already shared recipes for Syrian Red Pepper Dip and Yogurt Flatbread and Tabouleh Style Salad.

Mandy has also set up a JustGiving page to help raise money for Médecins Sans Frontières (UK) who operate four health facilities within Syria and provide medical training and supplies across the whole country, as well as healthcare to Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. To give an idea of the scale, over just three months from November 2016 to January 2017, these facilities performed 291,000 emergency and out-patient consultations, 18,750 surgical operations, and 3,100 safe deliveries. MSF accepts no governmental funding for its work in Syria, in order to be demonstrably independent from political motives, so they really rely on donations. You can find out more about the Syrian conflict, as well as the great work that Médecins Sans Frontières are doing there, over on the MSF website.


  1. This sounds delicious and would be perfect for a hot summer's day. Thanks so much for joining in with Food for Thought x

    1. You're welcome - it's such a lovely idea :)

  2. Amazing! I don't drink alcohol so always on the lookout for nice alternatives ��

    1. This is so simple to make, even at a moment's notice :)

  3. Beautiful zingy lemonade! lol @ entertaining yourselves with Polo mints. :)

    1. Aahh back in the days before technology, we could keep ourselves amused for hours ! Fishermen's Friends were even better - it would make snow melt if you sucked one then spat it in the snow !


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