I have many fond memories of partaking in iftar while being gainfully employed as a journalist in Bombay. Many of my co-workers and friends in the office (minus one famous character) were practicing Muslims and once the sun went down, bundles and bags of oil-soaked newspapers passed through the newsroom and were homed onto the desk of the conference room. After the reporters and editors prayed their namaz, the newspapers opened up to reveal samosas, bhajiyas, cutlets, bread vadas, vadas – all the BEST SNACKS to smudge the living crap out of the daily headlines.…
This is my first gatherer posts so please oblige me as I take you on this tiny adventure….
It’s that time of the year where if you’re not carting home 3/4 of your usual shopping bag weight in melons, you’re definitely not me. I have brought home slices or wholes of every kind of melon and bags of cucumbers (same family!) and I have been belching sighs of happiness ever since. It’s been a hustle to “make memories” before the cooler days set in, a phenomenon that occurs when you move out to a part of the Western Hemisphere where “seasons” are a real darn thing. I don’t like it but I let the weight of my decisions rest heavily on it nonetheless. I don’t know if it will strike me until we’re in the throes of the most disgusting season – FALL (I SAID IT) – but I love the days where I’m doing nothing but sitting outside hearing the birds shout as they rustle pine needles, the dogs bark at beeping sounds and I’m just sitting there pretending to read my book as the sun readies to force its beautiful energy on this goofy day.
Fall? Birch please.
I conceived this recipe not from anything original but rather from the way my Goan family thinks the best way to drink/eat a watermelon is. I can imagine people from around here (U>S>A) jaw hanging down to the ground watching my father sprinkle salt on a watermelon before serving it to us to eat. It’s the Indian way to take in-season fruit and vegetables and add seasonings to it. Not because they lack flavour but because after a while, you will easily tire of the same old same juice-dripping-down-your-chin-deep-burp-from-excessive-fruit-intake. The salt, chaat masala and chilli powder are the merry brigade of fruit flavour enhancers. They provide variety for your every fruit-eating experience all through the year. And in a country where there are more than one seasons for the same fruit, you need it. Trust. Even though I live in a one-summer place now, I don’t think twice about shuffling for my dabba of chaat masala. You should too.
You can make this recipe two ways: One with a blender and one without. I have you covered blenderless people. We are a team!
There’s a lot of talk about self-care going around in the anthropocene. I first heard the term about 2 years ago and my initial thoughts were “what a silly idea”, “self-care as in showering?” and “how?”. I soon understood the importance in my own upside down way: There are systems in place, running as smooth as we’re not, that profit from us not having the time to take care of our well-being. Of course, I am the over-analyser so I might be completely missing the point. But am I really?…
These late summer evenings pull at my heart strings in ways I’m unprepared for. As it gets darker earlier each day, I find myself walking out into the golden light to listen to chirping birds and traffic that sounds like the ocean. Just as the light begins to recede, it colours the tops of the trees in fiery hues of yellow and ocre mixed in with the darkest leaf greens. The ground is parched (I refuse to water the lawn) and the sky is blue. The temperature starts to drop after a day of heat and this natural A/C fills the rooms – that were stifling just a few hours earlier – through the backdoor and cracked-open windows. I am floating….
Birthday week has begun!
I went from being a birthday month person to cutting it down to a week. If there is any indication that I’m getting older, this is it.
That was a joke. I am as effervescent as always….
Hi family in India and blog family!
Before I change my mind about showing you my ways of the frozen smoothie, I am going to SHOW YOU THE WAYS OF THE FROZEN SMOOTHIE. Because I had no idea how to make one myself and I figured it out by accident, I want you to know that I’m now living the dream. Yesterday, pureed fruit in icy drink form was our second dinner after pizza and before Spy (holy smokes Nargis Fakhri ((I wish they let you speak)) and Melissa McC!).
You can just freeze fruit and blend and add toppings and leftover crumbles and ice-cream. WHAT. Nobody told me this. I always thought I’d need a fancy juicer and hence paid no heed to recipes that ended with juice or smoothie-like words. Turns out, even our shitty blender with settings like “ice crush”, “blend”, “grate”, “puree” can spin this magic, even though I’m sure all those words do the exact same thing. So if you have a shitty-ass blender like us, make this and lets have more time enjoying the outside and less time waiting for the oven to hit 375F. I’m cool with not waiting.
PS: Mama, you can have “ice-cream”!!! Jane, you can steal this party trick!!! Gayle, you probably already knew this so I’m going to just pretend you didn’t and forgot to tell me. !!!
Frozen mango-cherry smoothies
Notes: Fruit with more water (grapes, berries) or a pulpier texture (mango, peaches, bananas) tend to freeze and blend better into a consistent iced drink aka a smoothie. It’s as close as you’re going to get to ice-cream. However, I don’t think you can go wrong with trying out almost any fruit. If it doesn’t work, so what? We’re all winners when we DIY fruity slushies.
I uses only 2 cups of liquid because I wanted to eat this with a spoon and give myself a smoothie moustache. If you’d like a thinner drink – something you can sip through a straw – add more liquid.
Makes 2 tall glasses
- 1 cup cherries, halved and pitted
- 2 mangoes, cut into cubes
- 1 banana, cut into 1 inch rounds
- 1 cup milk (use any kind: cow, coconut, hemp, almond, rice, soy, cashew)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice (think about adding flavoured syrups too)
The night before making this, cut and freeze all the fruit in a Ziploc bag. You can do this 3-4 hours before you want to make the smoothie in case you forget the overnight thing. Just make sure the fruit is completely frozen.
Add all the ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Add more liquid if you want it to be thinner. Pour in a tall glass and drink cold.
The festivities at the D’Souza residence have simmered down. At an average of two weddings per person, we’re exhausted and thankful that nothing in this world can make us feel like we’re getting older like an open bar. That and the fact that people you used to make mud food with are wearing white dresses/red saris. I should be one to talk.
But just as adulthood starts to become more real, I see a new coloured vegetable and that’s the end of my plan to have a mortgage and a ceramic animal collection. “OH MY GOSH. That purple string bean looking thing is spicy! Taste it taste it. What is it?” And it’s always the purple ones.
I’ve come to realise that on some days I want to have it all figured out. I want to know if it’s okay that I still can’t understand what bank lady is saying when she’s trying to convince me to keep my bank account. Just like that, I also want to know why I should be so concerned about this “remittance” bank lady just told me about. As the offspring of a bank employee, I’m sometimes embarrassed. As grown up as I am, this holds me back.
I joke that my new brother-in-law is always counting money. Everytime I see him, he either has a big wad of cash or tea or he’s talking about fixed deposits and tea. All in very adult-like fashion. I have yet to figure out a savings plan that does not include stuffing loose change in a glass jar. I really think it will buy us a nice vacation but I also want a dining table and maybe, a house.
WE want a house.
Scared as I am about the possibility of having to start looking for this place, I think I’m ready. Getting to watch my sister get married took me back (look at me sounding like an old purse) to the day where I had to wake up to January 2, 2012. I was (still) sleeping on the sofa while Matt got my bed (thus setting a foundation for a solid marriage). I felt like i was having an out-of-body experience and that lasted the whole day. Actually it lasted two weeks. It’s a strange feeling when you know nothing is going to be the same again. That day was our big adult decision.
It’s been rough but it sure is sweet.
Everything else is just a big fat piece of a purple string bean-looking thing.
For the cashew milk
- 1 cup cashew nuts
- 2 cups water, to soak + 3 1/2 cups water, to grind into milk
Soak the cashew nuts in water overnight or for 12 hours. Drain out the water and put the nuts in a super amazing food processor or blender. Add 3 1/2 cups of water to the cashew nuts and grind until it all blends well into a liquid. Depending on your kitchen machine or choice, the milk might have some nut bits. You can strain these bits out through a cheesecloth or strainer. Or you can leave it be to add texture to your drink. This keeps (in the fridge) for a week and makes three faloodas.
For the rose water syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup rose water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 small red beet, chopped unevenly, but not too small (to colour the syrup)
In a small pot, mix together the water and rose water. Bring the liquid to a boil. Once it starts to boil, add the sugar, a little at a time, stirring constantly to let it dissolve. Throw in the beet bits for the colour. Keep it on the stove for about 1-2 minutes more (don’t stop stirring) and then you’re done. Don’t over-boil or the syrup will get too thick. If it does happen to you, just add a tablespoon or two of water and put it back on the stove and stir to thin it out.
For the coconut milk ice-cream
- 1 can of creamy, full-fat coconut milk
- Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tbsp honey or sugar to sweeten (optional. Amount of sweetener depends on your taste buds but remember that you’re also using rose water syrup in the drink)
Would you have guessed this is my favourite part? It’s also my first time making ice-cream without an ice-cream maker. Happy to report that you don’t need one to make it! You just need to make sure the can of coconut milk is chilled before you work with it.
Empty the can of coconut milk in a freezer-safe bowl and to it, add the vanilla bean seeds and your sweetener of choice. Put all the contents in a mixer/blender and let it all mix together for about 5 minutes. This process will help add “air” to it, which is responsible for the the fluffiness* that you see in regular ice-cream. If you don’t have a blender, you’ll just need to use thy favourite arm and whisk it vigorously.
Add the coconut milk back into the bowl and pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes. After the time has passed, pull the bowl back out and whisk the contents of the bowl, scraping the slightly frozen sides of the bowl for as long as you can. I could do 3 minutes so 3 is what I did. This also adds air to the mixture so don’t forget to add vigour. Repeat this process every 30 minutes until you see the coconut milk start to look and taste more and more like vanilla ice-cream. (YUM). For me this took 3 hours because I was making sure I didn’t under-whisk it. That would be a complete downer. Once you’re done whisking it for the last time, put it back in the freezer and let it set before you use it in the falooda.
* This is coconut milk based so it’s won’t be the fluffy you’re used to.
For the falooda
- 3 tsp tukmaria seeds (also called basil seeds or sabja. Very similar to chia seeds)
- Crushed cashew nuts
- Pomegranate seeds
To assemble the drink, you’ll need to soak the tukmaria seeds in water for about 30 minutes. They expand pretty quickly so as usual, it’s better to add more water than less. Add the seeds to a small bowl with water. They’ll expand almost instantly but be patient anyway and let them all get to the size they’re supposed to. I added seeds to fill a little less than a quarter of a glass. If you like more, go for it.
Once the seeds are done soaking, coat a tall glass with the rose water syrup. This is going to sweeten and colour the drink so add as little or as much as you’d like. I coated the sides of the glass and added a little more syrup to the bottom of the glass. Next, add the seeds. Pour the cashew milk to almost the top of the glass (so you leave enough space for ice-cream. Of course). Add a scoop of ice-cream and top with a little drizzle of syrup, crushed cashew seeds and pomegranate seeds. This is falooda. Drink it.