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Watermelon shaved ice with basil syrup

Watermelon makes for a refreshing summer treat on its own but with the addition of basil, its flavour is transformed into something altogether more delicious. Try this powerful combination in a shaved ice dessert.

  • 15 mins preparation
  • 1 min cooking plus freezing, cooling
  • Serves 4 - 6
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Watermelon and basil make an unexpectedly delicious combination - here in the form of a watermelon shaved ice paired with a basil-infused sugar syrup. Begin this recipe a day ahead to freeze the watermelon ice.


  • 200 gm caster sugar
  • 60 gm liquid glucose
  • 2 kg watermelon (about 1/4 small melon), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime, or to taste
Basil syrup
  • 250 gm caster sugar
  • ¾ cup (firmly packed) basil
  • Juice of 1 lime, or to taste


  • 1
    Bring sugar, liquid glucose and 300ml water to the boil in a saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 1 minute, then cool to room temperature.
  • 2
    Process watermelon in a food processor until smooth. Strain into a large bowl, add lime juice and sugar syrup to taste, transfer to a 2-litre container and freeze overnight.
  • 3
    For basll syrup, bring sugar and 150ml water to the boil in a saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve. Boil for 1 minute, transfer to a blender, add basil and blitz until bright green and finely puréed. Strain through a fine sieve (discard solids) and refrigerate until chilled. Add lime juice to taste just before serving.
  • 4
    To serve, turn watermelon ice out of container, shave with a sharp knife, spoon into chilled bowls and drizzle with basil syrup.