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Beat the Heat Series ~ Rose Falooda

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Rose Falooda

Rose Falooda

This blogging is a dangerous activity, yes it brings you in touch with like minded people, you make friends, you connect offline, but it also means that you can get quite obsessed with making / cooking what someone else is eating because you are bombarded with pictures or descriptions!

R of Hungry and Excited blog, was talking nonstop for a couple of days about replacing her meals with Falooda that she made at home to combat the heat and I was insanely jealous. I usually make falooda at home. We love having it to beat the hot summers here in Hyderabad. There are also a lot of popular places where one can have falooda that people flock to. But it was past 10:30 PM and I didn’t have ice cream on hand so I made K drive me to the nearest place and slurped more than sipped this sickeningly sweet but yummy drink/ dessert.

kesar falooda

kesar falooda

We had the special kesar falooda with dry fruit. The other popular flavours are pista, khus and ofcourse kesar

Falooda is by no means a low calorie indulgence. It is sugar laden and very filling. No wonder R was replacing her meals with it.

Falooda (makes 2 servings)

2 cups chilled milk

4 teaspoons sabja seeds soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained (basil seeds)

1/2 cup falooda sev (if not use regular semia, cook in 1/2 cup water with 2 teaspoons sugar)

3 scoops butter scotch/ vanilla or pista icecream

1/4 cup rose syrup / rooh afza

Divide all the ingredient equally as you layer in the glasses first add the rose syrup next add the soaked and drained sabja seeds

Next add the cooked falooda semia and gently pour the chilled milk so that it doesn’t mix with the rose syrup

Top with icecream & drizzle some more rose syrup, serve immediately

Instead of rose syrup any other syrup like khus / pista or kesar syrup can be used.

The pairing of icecream is as follows khus/ pista syrup with pista icecream

kesar with butterscotch or vanilla icecream

rose syrup with vanilla or strawberry icecream

Soothing Lemongrass and Ginger Tea ~ Monsoon Special

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And just as we thought there would be no respite from the long hot sweltering heat, the rains have come in and surprised us yet again. Mornings mean a few extra minutes spent tugging at the ends of the blanket while wishing the alarm would snooze itself. Everything around, even that sad patch of forced green grass between the street and the entrance to the office looks happy to be growing and puts out the most spectacular green display. Most of us will not admit it, but we secretly wish to spend as much time as we want watching the rain pelt the window panes. Many a monsoon have been romanticized by images of curling up on a comfy couch, toes tucked under, with a book in hand and sipping on a soothing hot drink and munching on something crisp and hot. The very thought of dark clouds pregnant with rain makes one want to reach out for something deep fried and sinful. There is some untold comfort in doing this.

The delight of curling up with something hot and soothing can not easily be replaced by anything else. A hot cup of tea steeped in the warming properties of spices such as  ginger and lemongrass makes for a delightful and soothing drink. Tea is known to be an effective way to boost metabolism and increase mental awareness as well as strengthen the immune system. Brewed, boiled, steeped or infused, tea can be enjoyed in this season to calm and comfort.

I have coffee and tea rituals. Coffee to wake me up, most mornings even before sunrise and evenings are reserved for tea. I am a big chai fan, I drink my evening cup of tea in utmost silence, savouring its flavour and enjoying warm sips. I do like my tea slightly milky, strong and reasonably sweet. whenever I have a craving in between this morning and evening ritual, I reach out for non milky teas ~ green, flavoured, tulsi, fruity.  I hoard tea bags of different kinds. Offlate though, I am enjoying my own concoctions.

Like this ginger and lemongrass tea. Ginger has well documented medicinal properties and is used in all kinds of home remedies for treating stomach ailments, coughs, inflammation of any kind, relief from nausea and combats many viruses. All of which are beneficial to remember during the rains. I have a huge patch of lemongrass that I planted last year in the little green patch of our apartment building. It has grown like Savannah grass and I miss no opportunity to use it in Thai style curries, Soups and love it in my tea. Lemongrass also has a lot of medicinal properties and like ginger is beneficial in treating stomach ailments, fever and the common cold, aches and pains and kill germs as it is a mild astringent. I for one love the aroma of fresh lemon grass and hence look for an excuse to use it.

Whatever way you choose to enjoy the rains, keep an eye out for your immune system. Drink and eat foods which are nutritious and beneficial in this weather. That curling of toes under the blanket while you watch the haze of traffic lights against a rain soaked window pane will take on a lovely note.

Lemongrass and Ginger Tea

Lemongrass and Ginger Tea

Ingredients (serves 2)

Water              3 cups

Tea leaves       ½ teaspoon

Lemongrass    2 inch piece from near the root

Ginger             1 inch piece, sliced fine

Honey             to taste

Thoroughly wash the lemon grass and ginger to remove any traces of dirt.

Slice the ginger into fine slices. Lightly crush the lemon grass with a rolling pin or the back of a heavy spoon.

Boil the water, add the tea leaves, lemon grass and ginger. Cover immediately and let it stand for 2 minutes.

Strain and pour into two glasses, add honey to taste and serve. Must be served hot.

After what seems like eons, I am sending this as an entry to Weekend Herb Blogging, an event started by Haalo and now in its 393 edition, hosted by the very lovely Siri of Cooking with Siri. Wait up for the round up on monday to see the various ways in which we use herbs in our food.

A Crowd Pleaser ~ Oreo Cookie Shake

Oreo Cookie Shake

Oreo Cookie Shake

As a child,  I loved Goldspot so much, that I braved the unpleasant burps after drinking it. Am not much of a drinker… I don’t crave hot or cold drinks although my morning cup of freshly filtered coffee is sacred. I savour it in the silence of the morning and it gives me the energy to go about my day. Tea in the evenings, and most of the times, I skip it. Sometimes, late at night, if K and I are still up and a bit hungry, we share a hot chocolate. yet, I try and experiment with drinks both hot and cold. some of them are here… like this orange scented spiced tea ~ very soothing. Or this Kairi ka panna which kept me sane through the summers.

I make this Oreo shake regularly. Am not too fond of the cookie, neither am i a big chocolate fan, however, K loves it. So does everyone who has tasted it. I posted this picture to my instagram feed and a few friends asked me for the recipe. There is not much by way of one… but here goes…

Oreo Cookie Shake (Serves 1)

5 Oreo Cookies (or any other rich biscuit like dark fantasy or bourbon)

1 scoop of vanilla icecrea

1 cup of chilled milk

4-5 cubes of ice

1/4 cup water

Reserve one cookie for the garnish, place everything else in the jar of a blender and whizz on high for 30-40 seconds. Pour into a tall glass, crumble the reserved cookie on top, serve immediately with a straw.

I cant believe I am still on the NaBloPoMo bandwagon! yay!

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Festive Aftermath ~ Orange Scented Spice Tea

Hope you all had a wonderful Deepavali whichever way you chose to celebrate. We had a lovely though tiring time. We headed to K’s parents home quite early in the day. Had a lovely family time over breakfast and lunch, much laughter and leg pulling. The one that is the most happy is always Sage. Everyone makes such a big deal out of him and his presence that I have a tough time getting him to sleep. We chose not to burn firecrackers this year and headed back home at 4 for a much needed nap.

Later in the evening, we headed to my friend’s J and B’s lovely home for a Diwali together. We got home way past midnight with a dog on steroids in tow. Surprisingly, Sage is unaffected by firecrackers. When I walk him, I am the one who jumps in my skin each time a ‘bomb’ goes off. he is so unaffected (touchwood) that last year it led me to believe briefly that he may be deaf!

To help you recover from all the sweet laden rich food indulgences over the festive season, here is some refreshingly fruity tea. Its pretty simple to make and if you have tea leaves, an orange and know how to boil water, you can make this!

Spiced Black Tea (Makes 2 Servings)

Water                                                 – 3 cups

Cinnamon Stick                              – 1 inch long piece

Honey                                                – 2 teaspoons

Fresh Ginger                                   – 1/2 inch piece, peeled and crushed

Star Anise                                         – 1 whole flower

Tea Leaves                                       – 1 teaspoon leaves or 1 tea bag

Orange peel                                     – 1/2 teaspoon (fresh is better, frozen or dried is fine too)

  1. Bring the water to boil in a saucepan and add the stick of cinnamon, orange peel, star anise and crushed ginger. Boil this for a minute till the spices infuse their flavour to the water.
  1. Strain the spices and add the tea leaves to the spiced water. Cover and steep for 2-3 minutes.
  1. Stir in the honey, strain the mixture into serving cups, top with a stick of cinnamon or a slice of orange and serve hot.

am really enjoying this non stop blogging. Thank you dear readers for all the encouragement and the kind words!

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Beat the Heat Series ~ Kairi ka Panna/ Aam ka Panna

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This is a thirst quencher for hot summer days. Of which there seems to be no end in sight in my part of the world. But since there are mangoes as compensation, I will not crib just a little :).

Raw mangoes are almost on the wane now, so before they finish, i made kairi ka panna. Its an easy to make drink that can be made and stored in the fridge, either as a concentrate or diluted in a ready to drink form. It keeps in the fridge for about 10 days in a closed bottle.

Kairi ka Panna

1 cup pulp of raw mangoes (i skinned and sliced about 2 medium sized raw mangoes)

3/4 cup sugar (adjust according to the tartness of the mango)

2 cups water

large pinch of salt

in a pan (i use the pressure cooker and cook upto 3 whistles) add the mango pulp, sugar and the water and boil till the mango is fully cooked. cool and add to the liquidiser and pulse till it forms a frothy mix. this will be like a thick sauce. add the salt, check and adjust salt / sugar. this is now the concentrate.

To serve: dilute with chilled water in a 1:5 ratio, top with ice and serve. Alternatively dilute the whole amount with 1.5 litres of water and store in bottles.

Note: a lot of recipes will call for a spice mix of pepper, black salt and cumin to be added, but i prefer it plain. go ahead and add the spices if you enjoy it.

Beat the Heat Series ~ Cold Coffee Recipe with Filter Decoction

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The mercury touched 45 degrees C yesterday.  it was unbelievably and unbearably hot. K has refused his morning coffee all of this summer and prefers to have a glass of cold coffee. I joined him with a glass of my own yesterday. I made mine with filter coffee decoction, since we dont have instant coffee at home. It was the most soothing drink to chill with.

Cold Coffee (makes 2 servings)

1 cup strong filter coffee decoction

250 ml frozen milk (i stock extra milk in the freezer for emergencies, i used this. alternatively use 2 cups of very cold milk)

3 teaspoons of sugar (add more or less according to preference)

8 cubes of ice (increase if not using frozen milk)

Put all the ingredients in the blender jar of a mixer and whizz for a minute in short 10 second bursts, till everything is incorporated and frothy. pour into tall glasses and enjoy.

Beat the Heat Series ~ Strawberry Lassi Recipe

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Its all Valli’s fault…there she posted a status on fb asking what everyone’s favourite lassi (yogurt drink) was….and i replied with an choice between Rooh Afza and strawberries… i just couldnt concentrate on my work after that cos i kept thinking of the boxes of frozen strawberries i had in the freezer…. around 3 p.m, unable to take it anymore and taking solace in the fact that i needed this somehow to think clearly on a hot summer afternoon, i was slurping on a glass of thick delicious strawberry lassi to die for…. make it and see how addicted you can get….

Valli’s having a summer fest with cold treats for the season…sending off this lassi there~

Strawberry Lassi (serves 2)

1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled, washed and chopped roughly

1 cup ice cubes

1 cup plain yogurt ( i used home made 3% fat, but anything will do)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

2-3 tablespoons sugar (optional, i didnt use it, depending on how tart the strawberries are)

take all of the ingredients in a blender jar and whizz for 1 minute in short bursts till everything is well blended and you get a thick frothy lassi. check for sugar and adjust bu adding if needed. if too thick, add 1/4 cup of cold water. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

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