I am lucky to be living in Bangalore where we experience beautiful weather almost throughout the year. Yet, monsoons have an unmatched charm even for me. Watching the rain pitter patter down, sometimes a slow drizzle and at other times pouring its heart out is a strangely soothing experience. There are times, when I pick up my laptop and sit in my balcony watching the rain provide the perfect backdrop to my thoughts as I work. Yes, I know that rains can create issues like traffic snarls and rivers on roads, but luckily I work from home. Hence, I truly enjoy the beauty of monsoons, its calming effect with the green carpet that it leaves in its wake.
A perfect monsoon day would be one where I could wake up late and curl up in a comforter with a book to read. Seriously, what can be more blissful than that? Oh yes, some good food is always welcome for company. Since the slightly chilly weather calls for it and because I don’t need an excuse to have coffee, I use my Morphy Richards coffeemaker to brew that perfect cuppa.
As the aroma of freshly brewed coffee percolates through the house, I am tempted to fix a tasty yet filling snack like a sandwich using my easy-to-use Morphy Richards sandwich maker and grill. Another favorite of mine is masala chai and pakodas, but these days I generally avoid fried foods often.
Catching a movie on TV is another favorite way of spending a rain-washed day. Of course, that has to be accompanied by home-made popcorn and masala chai or coffee depending upon the mood. Playing loud music and singing along especially romantic rain songs are also very high on the list of things I do on a rainy day. Rains cheer me and bring my crazy side to the fore.
And evenings, I help my son float paperboats in the puddles created by the rain. Oh, what fun that is! Kids everywhere love rains. The potential for mischief reaches the sky for them. I also love going for my brisk walk outdoors when the rains have ceased and the firmament is sparkling and beautiful. The sparkling green soothes the soul and the dark skies sometimes make for the perfect, breathtaking setting to bring the curtains down on a very satisfying rainy day spent doing what I really enjoy.
One of the saving graces of the hot summer months in India is aam or mango. Our country is blessed with an amazing variety of mangoes. I have enjoyed Dussehri, safeda, langda, chausa in the North, Alphonso and Kesar in the West and Banganpally, Neelam, Malgoba, Mallika and so many others here in the South. Each one spectacular and lip smackingly yummy. But before the ripe mangoes arrive, we get the bounty of raw mangoes. Raw mangoes are consumed in many fabulous forms in our country. Raw mango chutney or ambiya ki chutney was made all through summer in my home. Raw mango was also used to make sour dal that was tangy and yummy.
Today, I am going to share a really simple Aam Panna or Raw mango cooler drink recipe. This drink we enjoyed after we came to live in Bombay. You can make the concentrate and keep it in the fridge.
For 10 glasses
Firm, raw green mangoes 2 (Approx. 1/2 Kg.)
Jaggery powder 10-12 tbsp. or more depending upon taste
2 tsp. black salt
2 tsp. roasted cumin powder
Boil the green mangoes in the pressure cooker till soft. Remove the pulp and discard the peel and seed. Mash the pulp nicely. If it is too fibrous, you may sieve it. Now add the jaggery powder. I love using jaggery as it is better than white sugar and I also had some good quality jaggery powder from Patanjali at home. You can easily substitute it with normal sugar. Because, I have used jaggery, you see the dark color of Panna. Else it is pale yellow in colour.
Now add jaggery powder or sugar to the raw mango pulp. Mix well till well dissolved. Add black salt and cumin powder. Use this concentrate to prepare Aam Panna. Just add about 2 tbsp. of concentrate and top up with water. Add sugar cubes. Serve chilled. This sweet sour mango cooler is tasty and also keeps your body cool in summers. You may also add soda instead of the water for a frizzy natural twist. This easily beats your colas both in nutrition and taste. Try it.
The concentrate keeps easily for about a week in the fridge. It does not last that long though.
Summer is upon us. And the heat makes me quite crazy. Seriously, I feel more hot than other people as I have been told. These natural, summer coolers are just perfect to provide a nice cooling to the body. They also keep the body hydrated. Mattha or spiced buttermilk is quite common in the North of India in summers. No, it is not the same as the savory lassi which is heavier. The one I make is made by diluting churned yoghurt. It really is very simple to make, and you can keep some in the fridge. There is no perfect recipe as such. You can add and remove ingredients as per taste. This is how I make it:
To make 6 glasses:
1/2 Kg. fresh yoghurt
a few springs coriander leaves
A few pudina (mint) leaves
1/2 tsp. black salt
1 tsp. salt or to taste
1/2 tsp. finely grated ginger
1 green chilli
1/2 tsp. powdered roasted cumin
Chilled water to dilute
Recipe: Finely chop coriander leaves, mint leaves and green chilly. Take yoghurt in a vessel. Churn it using a mathni (churner) or you can whip it in a blender. Dilute it with chilled water. Add salt, black salt, cumin powder along with chopped ginger, coriander, mint and chilly. Mix everything together and serve cold. You can add ice cubes if the water is not cold enough.
You may keep it in the fridge and serve it next day as well. It is a great drink that you can also serve with food or just have whenever you feel thirsty or are in a mood of having something refreshing.
Thandai is a refreshing drink consumed for Holi and in summers. It has ingredients that nourish and cool your body and also make for a nutritious milk drink. You can make the mix and store in the fridge. Add cold milk to make it with this mix.
Here is my recipe:
For about 2.5 litres or 10 glasses of thandai
For the thandai mix:
2 tbsp. watermelon (magaj) seeds
2 tbsp. melon seeds
20 black pepper whole
3 tbsp. Poppy seeds
2 tbsp. saunf
8-10 Green cardamoms
1 cup sugar or as per taste
To prepare the mix, soak almonds, cashews, melon, watermelon and poppy seeds in a little water for about 2 hours. Grind them to a fine paste with a little water and keep aside. Now finely powder the seeds of green cardamom, black pepper, saunf and sugar. Add everything together with a little water to form a thick mix. Pour this mix to 1/4ths of a glass. Add cold milk and mix well. Your refreshing thandai is ready to consume. It is quite yummy and is very beneficial as it has some really natural and cooling ingredients.
Store the remaining mix in the fridge and make thandai with cold milk when desired. Some people mix saffron strands too for colour and taste. If you are doing so, immerse the strands in warm milk for sometime and then add to to the mix. It is quite simple. Even your children will love it. Try it.
Strawberries are my favorite berries. I love their tart sweetness. And, they are in season currently. Apart from consuming them raw or slathered with Nutella, I also whip up some quick strawberry milkshake with them.
Here is the simple recipe:
Makes 4 servings
250 gm. fresh strawberries (1 box)
2 cups milk
2 large scoops ice cream (You could use strawberry or vanilla. I had some rich pista at home so I used that)
Sugar to taste.
First coarsely pulse the strawberries in your blender. Add the milk, sugar and ice cream to make a thick milkshake. Pour it out in glasses and garnish with chopped strawberries. You could also add ice cubes if you like. It is tasty and so easy to make.
Kids especially love them. You know what else my kids like with their milkshakes? It is pizzas. So, sometimes when I am in an indulgent mood, I order pizzas as well. Since I am a sucker for discount, I always check out Domino’s coupons before ordering.
I have been loving my Hamilton Beach Espresso and Cappuccino Maker that I received through the BlogAdda activity. I use it every single day and can’t be happier with how smoothly and easily it operates. I get my daily cuppa in a matter of a few minutes. It is tastier than any coffee that I have prepared so far.
I love the chocolaty coffee flavors of café mocha that I normally consume in upscale cafes. It was a pleasure to whip up the same at home at a fraction of the cost using Hamilton Beach Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. It was really simple as well. I prepared the espresso shot as explained in my previous post. You can watch the video too.
For 1 cup:
1/3 cup espresso
1 tbsp. chocolate syrup (I used Hershey’s. You can use any you like)
1 tsp. sugar
Heated and frothed milk 2/3 cup
Add Espresso to your cup. Add sugar to taste. Add in the Hershey’s syrup and stir. Now top up with heated and frothed milk and your Café Mocha is ready. I prepared the Espresso and frothed milk using Hamilton Beach Espresso and Cappuccino Maker.
Easy Cappuccino Recipe:
For 1 cup
1/3 cup espresso
½ cup heated milk
1/3 cup milk froth
Take the espresso in a cup. Add the heated milk and top with stiff milk froth. Your café style cappuccino at home is ready. I prepared the Espresso and frothed milk using Hamilton Beach Espresso and Cappuccino Maker.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this activity. Some other recipes I created using this machine were cold coffee and Irish coffee.
#CreateFearlessly and unleash your creativity using Hamilton Beach products.
Those who know me know that coffee is a part of my identity. I need my daily cuppa in the morning. I don’t have too many cups, but I enjoy my coffee well brewed. I never miss an opportunity to have filter coffee when I visit darshinis. None of the instant stuff in a bottle works for me. I want the real thing — well brewed coffee. So, when I got my Hamilton Beach Espresso and Cappuccino Maker, I was super excited. Now, I could be a barista at home whipping up exquisite cappuccinos, lattes, mocha and what have you.
Here is the unboxing video of the sleek machine:
The product has stylish looks with its chrome and black structure. Its classy looks are complemented by exceptional functionality. It has a 15-bar Italian pump to extract better flavor. It is really simple to use. I hardly take about 5 minutes for a steaming-hot satisfying latte or cappuccino every morning. If you are an espresso drinker then you would love the punch this machine packs. I really have no complains. It has thoughtful features like a sturdy filter which uses both ground coffee and pods. It hasa removable container that collects any leftover brew. The steamer spout and filter are easy to clean. All in all, it is a machine you would love to use every single day and also to showoff your barista skills when your friends visits. It also saves you a ton of money on visiting cafes for your coffee fixes.
Here is the video of preparation of Cafe Latte using Hamilton Beach Espresso and Cappuccino maker:
1 espresso shot
3/4 cup cold milk (about 150-200 ml)
1 tsp. sugar
Recipe: Pull the shot as shown in the video. Froth/steam your milk first in your coffee mug. Add the espresso to your foaming, hot milk. Now add sugar. Stir and have it hot. It is delicious.
You could also get a flavored latte by adding vanilla or chocolate to your coffee. The possibilities are immense.