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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Purple Delight | Black Grapes and Pomegranate Cooler | Summer Cool Drinks



Colours are an important spice of life.  Imagine your life without colours – boring right? I believe it is the same with our food – it should be colourful and pleasing to eyes. When I was thinking about all the cool drinks I was indulging in this summer, I realized they were all of different colours. My Kairi Panna is a soothing shade of green as I use a lot of mint in it; the Masala Chaas is as usual white, my Herbal Iced Tea was a bright shade between orange and brown. That’s when I thought of creating a different coloured drink to sip on.

I had lots of black grapes and pomegranate in my refrigerator and with these two star ingredients; I set on to make a drink. When I was done, I was pleased with the result at hand, so much so that I took it to a friend’s place for her to taste. She has become my unannounced official taster for most experiments in my kitchen. When she okay-ed it, I made it again the next day and while sipping on it, this name – Purple Delight came to my mind.

The other day when I met her and amidst our usual banter, I told her I have named the drink – Purple Delight and she was into a riot of laughter.... which reminds me of another spice of life - laughter. Laugh as often as you can and be with friends who can make you laugh out loud.

The pomegranate juice typically has a slight bitter note in the end which compliments beautifully with grapes juice which is sweeter. A dash of lemon juice adds a subtle tang to the overall flavour and the spices adds some earthiness. If you want to try something different from your regular lemonade, try it for sure.



Purple Delight

Serves 4
Ingredients:

1 cup black grapes
1/2 cup pomegranate pearls
2 tbsp sugar syrup (optional)
1/4 tsp black salt
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/4 tsp roasted jeera powder
Soda water to top up
Lots of Ice cubes
2 tbsp Chopped grapes and pomegranate pearls for garnishing

Process:
1. In a blender jar add the grapes and pomegranate pearls and churn till pulpy. Sieve the mixture to extract the juice.
2. Add the juice to a large jar; add sugar syrup, black salt, black pepper and jeera powder. Stir well. Add this to 4 medium glasses.

3. Add some ice cubes to each glass. Top up with soda water. Garnish with chopped grapes and pomegranate pearls. Serve chilled.


Notes:
1. The black grapes I used were quite sweet. If you are using grapes that are tart, adjust sugar syrup quantity accordingly.

2. It is best to consume it fresh and chilled.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book Review - Half Pants Full Pants by Anand Suspi


“This is a book about childhood, best enjoyed after you have left it behind.”

What the renowned filmmaker RR Balki has to say about the book:

"After Malgudi Days, I could never imagine that somebody could create another childhood classic for adults to regain their innocence even for a few hours. Suspi’s tales would have made R K Narayan smile. Oh! That beautiful Kannadiga gene!"



'Half Pants Full Pants' by Anand Suspi is an endearing read. It is the author’s debut novel where he recounts his real-life childhood tales from Shimoga, a then sleepy town in the state of Karnataka.

This book was sent to me by paperboatdrinks (Hector Beverages) and was with me for over 2 months before I picked it up to read. Well, as the adage goes – better late than never; I am so glad to have read it. Reading it was such an amazing experience. As I turned pages after pages of this book, I often got transported to my own childhood days and to my own stories. A wave of nostalgia often hit me and I wished if I could relive my childhood again. It is perhaps our lives' biggest irony - when we are kids, all we want to be is grow up and when we do, we wish we could travel back in time and enjoy the pleasures of childhood again.

There are altogether 38 stories in the book – some from the half pant days and other from the full pant days of the author. And each one succeeds in evoking a sense of nostalgia in the readers. In some way of the other most of us – from the pre-internet and gadget-free childhood days, will be able to relate to these real-life childhood tales of the author in some ways or the other.

The first story in the book revolves around a popular idea that did the rounds in my school days too – when a coin in put on railway track and a train passes over it, it turns into magnet! Back then, I didn’t have any mean to check it. The author being the son of a railway employee had the opportunity to find out the truth of the idea first hand. But, instead of a magnet what he got was a 5 paisa badly shaped chapati!



The author has had a fair share of adventures in his childhood. Some of them are exclusive to him – how many of us can boast of driving a train? I guess none of us can boast of that. But, there are so many other anecdotes - on fighting mosquitoes to imagining self to be some sort of detective (most of us must have been thorough that phase after reading famous five books), to climbing trees, saving pocket money, to delving deep into philanthropy, to detesting gourds (same-pinch), and so on. One thing that is sure this book will do to you - it will make your revisit your childhood.

Thank you Anand Suspi for crafting a book of your childhood tales; and thank you paperboats for publishing it so that it could reach the readers.

Highly recommended. You can buy it on Amazon or Flipkart. It makes for a great gift to friends and family.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chikoo Ice-cream | Sapota Ice-cream | How to Make Chikoo Ice-cream From Scratch

Chikoo Ice-cream

I have always been a fruit lover. My mom never had a chance to complain that I didn't had my share of fruits. The same cannot be said for veggies though - it was a different story altogether. Till date, I am very much a fruit person - in fact, there are very few fruits that I don't like much.

Few years back, when I had the fresh fruit flavoured ice-creams at Naturals, I was sold to the idea. Since then I am in love with all sorts of fresh fruit ice cream. So, here I am today with a fresh fruit ice-cream - made with chikoo fruit. Chikoo is quite a sweet fruit and is particularly great in ice creams. I had some ripe chikoo fruits and I couldn't think of another better way to use them. I went ahead and made this ice-cream and I am so happy with the results.

Here is would like to tell you that when I was a kid, I didn't get to eat chikoo much. You see, this fruit wasn't local to my hometown and in those days eating local and seasonal was the norm. I remember having it first time when we had gone to visit our grand parents.  I remember enjoying it - it was sweet, tender and succulent. Today, I relish a scoop of chikoo ice-cream as much. Now,  I have one more weapon in my arsenal to beat the Pune heat this summer. The recipe is a breezy one, with no fancy ingredients. You can double or triple the recipe if you want to make it in bulk. 

Here is how you can make it.

Ingredients:

3-4 medium sized ripe chikoo/sapota/sapodilla
400 ml full fat milk
250 ml fresh cream (25% fat) - I used Amul fresh cream
200 g or 1/2 tin condensed milk - I used Amul Mithai Mate



Process :
1. Boil the milk in a thick bottom pan on low to medium heat till it is reduces to half in volume. It will take about 20 minutes or so. Keep stirring it while it heats to avoid burning. When done, let it cool down to room temperature.

2. Peel the fruit and cut them into chunks. Remove the seeds.

3. In a large blender jar, add the chikoo chunks and blend till finely puréed. Add the reduced milk and blend it for a few seconds.

4. Add cream to the mixture and blend it for another 1 minute. Now add the condensed milk and blend again for a minute so that the mixture is uniform.

5. Tip the mixture thus prepared to a freezer safe container. Put on the lid and freeze for 2 hours.

6. When it looks half frozen, take it out again and blend it in the mixer one more time and then put it back to freeze.

7. It will take about 5-6 hours to set. Take it out 5 minutes before serving. Scoop into serving bowls and enjoy!

Notes:
  • These can be frozen in kulfi/ popsicle molds for chikoo kulfi.
  • Use chikoo that are perfect ripe and not overly ripe and mushy for best flavor.
  • Instead of chikoo you can use equal amount of custard apple/ sitaphal pulp to get sitaphal ice-cream.
Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Yellow Moong Dal Dhokla | How to Make Moong Dal Dhokla From Scratch |Gujarati Steamed Snack


Summer is the season to stay away from oily and greasy food. No 'pakoras' and 'wadas' for me - at least till the rain sets in. So, when I think of snacks these days - I think of all the healthy things I can indulge in and things like Khaman Dhokla, Khandvi or a bowl of hearty Chickpea Salad comes to my mind. 

So, one fine day when I was feeling inspired I decided to try making yellow moong dal dhokla instead of this regular khaman dhokla. I pretty much made it the same way and the results were good. These Dhoklas are packed with nutrition and tastes best when eaten fresh with dollops of green chutney and tamarind chutney. If you are making in bulk, you can reheat it in microwave with some sprinkling of water and they are as good as fresh.




Yellow Moong Dal Dhokla

Ingredients:

1 cup yellow moong dal, soaked overnight 
1 tbsp ginger- chili paste
1/4 tsp hing
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ENO fruit salt
Oil for greasing the dhokla plates

For tempering

A sprig of curry leaves
2-3 chilies
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 to 1 tsp red chili powder
2 tbsp oil
Handful of chopped coriander leaves




Process:

1. Drain the water from the soaked moong dal. Tip the soaked dal into a grinder jar and using about 1/4 cup water grind it to a smooth paste.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the moong dal paste. Add rest of the ingredients except ENO. Mix it to form a batter. If it seems too thick add water little by little till you get a pouring consistency batter. 

3. Add water to dhokla steamer and put it on high heat. Grease the plates on which you will pour the batter.

4. When steam starts forming in the steamer, lower the heat to medium. Add ENO to the prepared batter and stir gently. Pour the batter into the greased plates and place them inside the steamer. Cover and steam for 15-20 mins.

5. When done, take off the lid and check for done-ness. Take the plates out. Set aside to cool while you prepare the tempering.

6. Heat the oil for tempering. When hot, add the mustard seeds, sesame seeds, green chilies and curry leaves. When it splutters add the red chili powder. Take it off gas and spread the tempering over the Dhokla.

7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with green chutney, tamarind and dates chutney or good old tomato ketchup.


Notes:

1. This recipe requires no fermentation. ENO is used for leavening, so put the batter to steam as soon as you add it.

2. Moong Dal need to be soaked over-night for best results. So, a bit of planning is needed if you want to make these.

3. I have used a dhokla steamer to make these. If you do not have it, then use a large kadhai or saucepan with lid to steam. You can use a can tin that fits into the saucepan to steam the batter in.

4. I used 2 around 6" inch plates for this quantity of batter. If you are adding all of it in one smaller plate/tin, you will have to steam it 10-15 mins more.


Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Herbal Ice Tea | How to Make Herbal Ice Tea from Scratch | Summer Cool Drinks





I have never been an ice tea person. I do order it some times at food joints, but it has never been one of my go-to cool drinks.

But, after trying this recipe I am a convert. I wouldn't mind saying that this herbal ice tea has become one of my latest favorite chilled drinks to beat the heat this summer. 

Long ago, I had tried a fruit punch recipe that used tea decoction and it turned to be a super flop. Since, then I was wary of trying any drink recipe with tea decoction in it. But, when I chanced upon a herbal ice tea recipe in one of the cookbooks I own ( did I tell you I am a hoarder of cookbooks?) I decided to give it a try.

The recipe involved making a herbal decoction first - a combination of lemongrass, ginger and mint. The recipe did interest me; but I had an even better reason to try it. Sometimes back I had planted lemongrass and mint in my terrace garden and I was delighted at the idea of using my garden produce.



The best thing about this recipe is that you can prepare the herbal decoction in bulk and freeze them in ice trays and use them when needed. You can play around with the ratio of the herbs, depending on which herb flavor you want to be prominent.

Here is how you can prepare the herbal decoction:

1/2 cup ginger, washed, peeled and grated.
1/2 cup lemongrass leaves, washed and chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves
1" cinnamon stick

Process:

1. Add all the listed ingredients in a saucepan and add 500 ml water. Bring it to a boil and then simmer it on medium heat for 15 to 20 mins.

2. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan. Let it cool completely before straining. Strain and set aside the herb extract.

3. You can add another cup of water to the residue and simmer it for 15 mins. The decoction prepared the second time will be milder in flavor. You can combine both the extracts thus prepared or you can store them separately. If you do not need to use the entire decoction in one go, freeze them in ice cube tray. When frozen fill them in a zip-lock bag.




Herbal Ice Tea

Makes 2 tall glasses

Ingredients:

2 teabags 
100 ml boiling water
10-12 herbal ice cubes or about 60 ml of the herbal extract
3 tbsp simple syrup ( sugar syrup prepared by mixing and boiling equal quantity of sugar and water till the sugar is dissolved)
300 ml chilled water
Ice cubes, mint leaves and lemon slices to garnish (optional)

Process:

1. Add the tea bags in boiling water and let it steep for 10 mins. Take the tea bags out and set aside the tea decoction.
2. If you are using herbal ice cubes, add them to the warm tea decoction so that they melt faster. Else add the herbal concoction equally into two glasses. Pour prepared tea decoction. Add simple sugar syrup and top with chilled water. 
3. Add ice cubes, mint leaves and lemon slices as desired. Stir and serve chilled. 





Notes:

1. Add a squirt of lemon juice for Herbal Lemon Ice Tea.
2. You can add the herbal ice cubes to your regular lemonades for added flavor.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

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