Showing posts with label Cocktails n Mocktails. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cocktails n Mocktails. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Blueberry hibiscus chia chai

Gorgeous color and perfect drink for a lazy summer afternoon. I love the fruity flavors. 
#BlueberryHibiscusChiaChai #ChiaChai #IcedTea #SummerBeverage #FoodPhotography #SimiJoisPhotography

#BlueberryHibiscusChiaChai #ChiaChai #IcedTea #SummerBeverage #FoodPhotography #SimiJoisPhotography
Summer is all about lazy long days….atleast that’s the perception I had. For a stay-at-home mom that’s the best time of the year. No early morning schedules, no dropping or picking up. Not really! Summer is really the most busy time of the year, I see myself working like an ant and all the dreams I saw on winter snowy days of basking on the deck is really not happening. I feel myself chasing the next thing on the to-do list. I do have to admit I waste a lot of time browsing on Pinterest and FB. So starting last week I have started managing my time better. So far it has been working well. My dad was a great proponent of discipline, more self than imposed. It definitely boils down to that. Will keep you posted on how that goes.

Talking of stay-at-home mom I have a funny incident to narrate. A few years back I was at a friend’s place and she had invited a few people for dinner. As we were getting to know each other, I thought I hit it well with one of the other girls, till she asked me where I worked. I told her I was a  stay-at-home mom, and even before I had finished my sentence she had abandoned me for better  ‘intellectual’  company. I thought it was hilarious, I don’t think I have every felt the need to define myself or put myself in a box. It’s strange how some people are so quick to categorize you and label you. I am sure I was no use to her as a Linkedin contact….lol! We tend to run in pursuit of  who we are that we loose ourselves. I really hope my running is only about chasing my to-do list…

#BlueberryHibiscusChiaChai #ChiaChai #IcedTea #SummerBeverage #FoodPhotography #SimiJoisPhotography

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Watermelon, berries and orange mocktail

Super delicious and stunning mocktail, great for your bbq party or a hot summer picnic. all natural colors makes it so healthy and refreshing.

Watermelon, berries and orange mocktail, Mocktail, recipe, food photography, summer drinkr, cooler, non alcoholic, beverage
Lantana is the most unassuming flowers that you can find, but it is one of my favorites, I just love the colors. It is a wild flower, almost a weed in a tropical land like India. I remember it was everywhere when I was growing up, street corners,  by a neglected fence, ...no one really cared for it. I just loved the bright little flowers against the deep  green leaves and the multiple colors that it would have in one flower. At that time, it was not a well respected landscape annual and it was wasted in dingy corners.

A few years ago I saw it in on one the local nurseries in the US and I was so excited to bring it home. It brought back so many memories of childhood. When I was planning my lantana this year , I thought of the colors, the deep fuchsia, the orange and a hint of pink, I wanted to create a drink that resembled these colors. After a bit of thinking and experimenting, I came up with watermelon, berries and orange mocktail. All colors in the drink are natural, I almost never use artificial colors. I really worked on the gradation of color in the drink and loved the effect.

Watermelon, berries and orange mocktail, Mocktail, recipe, food photography, summer drinkr, cooler, non alcoholic, beverage

If you really do not care for the layering of colors, just mix it up and it's still a beautiful deep orange-fuchsia mix. I'll stop telling you that it is a picture heavy post, I almost always go overboard and there is no point of stating it, so this post is no exception. :)

Watermelon, berries and orange mocktail, Mocktail, recipe, food photography, summer drinkr, cooler, non alcoholic, beverage

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cardamom Coconut Horchata

Velvety,  smooth, earthy, aromatic vegan horchata. A perfect beverage for summer or winter. Add a shot of dark rum or brandy for grown-ups. Perfect beverage for  Valentine’s day dinner.  I just love the earthy aroma.

#Horchata #CoconutHorchata #VeganDrink #BoozeHorchata # SimiJoisPhotography
Some aromas have such strong associations. I have never made horchata but somehow the aroma of soaked rice and coconut took me to my childhood. There are many Indian recipes made from soaked rice….and something told me if dad had tasted it he would have loved it. It’s just his kind of beverage. As I was making it and taking pictures, all my childhood memories played right in front of my eyes….oh how I miss my dad and some days am consumed with memories of him. They always make me smile and cry at the same time. As I grow older I see myself turning more and more like him. I have certainly inherited his idiosyncrasies and his rigidity, am sure if my sister is reading this she will nod in consent.

#Horchata #CoconutHorchata #VeganDrink #BoozeHorchata # SimiJoisPhotography

#Horchata #CoconutHorchata #VeganDrink #BoozeHorchata # SimiJoisPhotography
Coming back to horchata, I loved the thick rich flavor. It is usually made with rice, sesame, and cinnamon. In Mexican cuisine, it is always with cinnamon. But then you travel to Ecuador and its made with the infusion of 18 spices. Lots of variations. It’s amazing to see the change in recipe from region to region. It is completely lacrosse free and is great for a vegan diet.
Here I took liberties and added an Indian twist by replacing cinnamon with cardamom. I used rice, almond, coconut, and dates to sweeten instead of sugar and added cardamom for flavoring and pistachio for garnish. It pairs so well with Indian curry.  If you are curious about the taste it is not like lassi at all, since there is no milk, the rice is very aromatic, maybe because I used basmati. It’s a gorgeous drink and flavors are fantastic. I wish I could teleport it right now….
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ayurvedic detox tea

#DetoxTea #AyurvedicDetoxTea #AyurvedicChai #SimiJoisPhotography
#DetoxTea #AyurvedicDetoxTea #AyurvedicChai #SimiJoisPhotography
I don’t know about you but I did over eat a lot these last two weeks. The kitchen was bustling with activity, rich curries, baked goods, exotic desserts, I  have lost count of what we ate lol ! Teen walked up to me early this morning and exclaimed, “can we just go back to our normal simple food". This was the kid who was planning to bake a pizza for dinner, she is a die hard pizza fan ( which teen is not) but I am glad she knows how to listen to her body and she knows when she needs to slow down and cleanse her system. I remember having this tea as a child, when I really needed to give my stomach a much needed break, it worked. I love the aftertaste, so refreshing, the ginger in it is a great palate cleanser. I have a lot of recipes that can help you cleanse your system, I will share a few here on this post.

Before writing up this post, I did not know what to call this drink, I knew it was an Ayurvedic preparation/decoction. When I tried and ‘goggled', I saw variations of this everywhere, am surprised it is so popular. I thought I was the only genius who knew the secret recipe to eternal youth ;) It’s called tea, am still surprised as it has no tea leaves, but I guess that is the name.

Detox for me is not a fancy diet that you follow for a month every few years, it is listening to your body, knowing what it wants to be fed. We are born with natural instincts and all we need to do is listen to it. To me detox is giving my digestive system a vacation, after heavy meals and eating lighter and cleaner.  This is a great tea/decoction for this time of the year and we have our thermos filled. Spend sometime to reflect inward and try and detox what is inside, not just the body but also your emotions, thinking, associations, it is a very rewarding process. I literally guard what I want to internalize, I do not allow negative energy to suck me. It took me a few years to detox that, unfortunately there was no chai for that, just deliberation. This is my two cents worth.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Roundup


#HolidayRecipes #HolidayBaking #HolidayCakes #HolidayTreats
It is that time of the year when you will be spending a lot of time in your kitchen. The gorgeous smell of baking and the cold snow outside….it’s just so romantic. Can an aroma be gorgeous, I don’t see why not. I still have to start thinking what to bake this year, I have bookmarked some cookies, let’s see if am able to photograph anything at all with the holiday frenzy. I am sure there will be cookies, a cake and panna cotta, mulled wine goes without saying…Am planning to skip making a meal, this could be it - all dessert meal: a new family tradition :)) A ten course dessert, am sure if my teen reads this she is going to hold me accountable. She loves desserts and will embrace the idea, I am not sure about hubster, he might go on a frenzy - he takes his meals very seriously and is looking forward to a good Christmas spread. But you do have to admit, “ desserts for meal” is a great idea. 

Any case if you are in a situation like mine and are still planning your menu, here is my recommendations for cakes. 


I almost forgot my ALL time favorite - Battenburg ( it’s a very old image - don’t judge people)
#HolidayRecipes #HolidayBaking #HolidayCakes #HolidayTreats
Now, if cakes are not your thing, I don’t relate to it but I’ll try Lol! Custards, panna cotta and gooey juicy desserts are what you prefer, here is what I recommend. In the eggnog pannacotta you can add chocolate liquor and make it a bit boozy, or I have Butterscotch pots de Crème which has scotch. 


#HolidayRecipes #HolidayBaking #HolidayCakes #HolidayTreats

Keep going I have cookies and more….
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Monday, November 3, 2014

Pomegranate, cranberry and ginger spritzer : great for the holidays, serve it chilled or warm



PomegranateCranberryGingerSpritzer #HolidaySpritzer #MulledWine #Recipe #SimiJoisPhotography
PomegranateCranberryGingerSpritzer #HolidaySpritzer #MulledWine #Recipe #SimiJoisPhotography
 Usually my mind is cluttered with all the things I want to share with you guys, but today it’s blank. I don’t know what’s going on but I think my brain is tired of thinking…so I will cut the chase and go straight to the recipe. 

Before I do that, I  need to thank a blogger friend of mine, Dolphia. I met Dolphia through blogging and over the course of two month, we have become great friends, so when she asked me to do an interview ( about food photography) on her blog, I was all game and excited. She’s an amazing person and very generous with her compliments,  don’t take everything she tells you about me  @ face value, it’s her generosity more than anything. Do stop by her blog and check out what I have to say about food photography. Hope you enjoy reading the interview and gawking at the images. Here is the link to the interview :  story of cooks.   

PomegranateCranberryGingerSpritzer #HolidaySpritzer #MulledWine #Recipe #SimiJoisPhotography

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer coolers : Watermelon n’ wine sangria or Virgin watermelon ginger ale


#WatermelonSangria, #WatermelonGingerAle, #SummerCooler, # WaterMelonDrink, #Recipe

As I rolled out of bed, I peeked outside though the windows, something I always do, even before I began to chase light as a photographer. I love this time of the day as the dawn is breaking and light brings to life everything around it. 

After my morning rituals, I sat down, I saw the watermelon by the kitchen door, screaming for my  attention, there was no way I could fit this huge thing into the refrigerator. It was way to early for my favorite watermelon sangria. I juiced half the melon  and made some watermelon ginger ale. Left the other half to make the sangria.  I finally sat down, looked outside to see the most glorious light, playing hide and seek between the clouds. I threw my flip-flops by the door and walked into the grass as it kissed my feet, the grass was still wet from the heavy dew or maybe it rained last night, whatever it was, it felt so good. I saw a few amber leaves on the grass, fall is right around the corner, I thought to myself. 

Fall is the most magical time of the year, the light has a golden hue, everything seems like it’s drenched in a light film of gleaming gold, almost surreal. As I turned around with my thoughts, I saw the most beautiful light falling through the tress, it was a bit cloudy so the light was perfectly diffused and it gleamed on the grass. The photographer in me was restless to capture. I laid down the scarf I was wearing, got some books I was skimming through the night before and styled my drink with some fresh mint from the garden. I saw through the viewfinder, the light embracing the drink…I press the shutter, took a deep breath, that moment felt more real than my existence. 

#WatermelonSangria, #WatermelonGingerAle, #SummerCooler, # WaterMelonDrink, #Recipe

#WatermelonSangria, #WatermelonGingerAle, #SummerCooler, # WaterMelonDrink, #Recipe

Of everything I cook and bake,  cocktails are my all time favorite,  not because of the intoxication factor ( I hardly drink). More so because I feel like an alchemist, something mystic about colored liquids in beautiful glistering glasses. The possibilities are endless.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Rose Lassi

Lassi/buttermilk  has been my favorite beverage since my childhood, be it salted and mildly spiced or mango or kesar (saffron), you name it and I will gulp it down like a meal. My better half likes to sip his lassi over the course of the meal, savoring the taste with every bite of food. I am more of the gulp kind, I love to have my mouth fill up with gulps of lassi goodness. As a result I end up making a meal out of it and I’m not ashamed to say I have stolen multiple sips from him after I have happily had mine. I have been seen ordering multiple glass of lassi for myself :), you tend to get judged when you do things like that at a fine dining place. But in the comfort of your own home, you could be drinking lassi from a hose or your blender jar…it’s a perk you enjoy with only homemade lassi. 

This lassi is made from gulkand. Gulkand is a sweet preserve made from rose petals. It is available at any Indian grocery store and has a beautiful rose aroma. It has some great health benefits, I am not going to get into the details of that but let’s just say it tastes amazing and is really good for you. 

#Lassi, #Buttermilk, #FlavoredButtermilk, #FlavoredLassi, #RoseLassi, #GulkandLassi


#Lassi, #Buttermilk, #FlavoredButtermilk, #FlavoredLassi, #RoseLassi, #GulkandLassi
#SimiJoisPhotography
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Friday, June 20, 2014

Mango ginger lemonade

We were at the grocery store and finally teen picked up a bottle of mango lemonade, I said, we can make this at home…,”it’s not the same” was her response. At first I said fine and we got the lemonade and moved on,  as we sat in the car I asked her, Why not…! “It will not taste like this, this is so yummy.” Well,  this to me is an open challenge. Lol! jokes apart, I did make my own version of lemonade. Made from real lemons and mangoes. No guesses for which one was guzzled,  the branded is still in the refrigerator and am very sure it will be enjoyed and it does have a longer shelf life. But I was told mine had a richer, color, flavor and more body from the mango. We all agreed that made from fresh ingredients is always a winner hands down. Did I say I just loved the bright color. 

Am so glad we bought the mango lemonade, I would have never thought of trying this, it’s definitely on my menu for the next outdoor party. I love sipping lemonade, green teas and prefer to make my own. My latest passion is  genmaicha - Japanese green tea. Am going to be posting a fruity chilled version of that soon, still trying to perfect the recipe. I can guzzle gallons of it, and it is great for your skin, so am really not complaining. 

My Raspberry sangria got featured on Brit + Co, some amazing cocktails to enjoy at the pool side, you might want to check it out.  I love pool parties but unfortunately I cannot swim, but I can surely enjoy the cocktails. ;)

Thanks to Daily Meal for featuring my strawberry shortcake in a shot glass, again many versions of shortcake in that post too. 

I must warn you that this is a picture heavy post, got kind of carried away with the lovely colors. 

Lemonade, Mango lemonade, Mango ginger lemonade, recipe, fresh lemonade


Flower, lemonade, spring

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Raspberry lemonade or a raspberry sangria….which will you pick

#RaspberryLemonade, #RaspberrySangria, #SummerCocktail, #SummerMocktail, #SummerCooler, #PartyDrink

#RaspberryLemonade, #RaspberrySangria, #SummerCocktail, #SummerMocktail, #SummerCooler, #PartyDrink
I could have never thought of myself as a loner. I have always been a people person, I love to chat n chat n chat. I do see a new avatar of myself growing in the last few years, almost threatening to take over the chatty me. I have begun to enjoy quiet moments with myself, observing the smells, sounds and colors and of course light around me. I just can’t get enough of how beautiful the silent word is, the mild wisp of breeze, the subtle rustling of leaves…the bird chirping at a distance…it’s all too beautiful. The stream that has no were to go, the trail that urges you to follow the untrodden path. There is no hurry, there is no busy, there are no schedules in nature’s calendar. There is a calm,  a sense of being. We all need some time to unwind and to connect. Spring and summer nights are spent star gazing and dreaming… And when I am gazing at the stars and looking at the deep blu skies, am usually sipping ice tea or lemonade or a sangria. Raspberry Lemonade or a raspberry sangria is a family favorite and is perfect refreshing drink for hot summer.

#Spring #Springgreen # SpringPhotography

#Spring #Springgreen # SpringPhotography

#Spring #Springgreen # SpringPhotography
I add some mint, raspberries in the ice cubes and freeze them, they add to the flavor and look so  pretty.
#RaspberryLemonade, #RaspberrySangria, #SummerCocktail, #SummerMocktail, #SummerCooler, #PartyDrink

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spiced Butter Milk - Chaas

#YogurtDrink #Buttermilk #SpicedButterMilk #Chaas #SaltedLassi #HowToPreserveCurryLeaf #CurryLeafPowder
#YogurtDrink #Buttermilk #SpicedButterMilk #Chaas #SaltedLassi #HowToPreserveCurryLeaf #CurryLeafPowder

Thanks a lot for all the encouraging comments, re-shares on Fb and google plus. If you don’t know what am talking about, you can read this. I was really touched. Thanks guys! Virtual hug.

Last week was the week of spring break and we took couple of days off, a very relaxing vacation. It’s amazing how we take ourselves for granted and work like crazy, till we take a break and realize how badly we needed one.  The two days were spent lazing around with magazines, searching for inspiration. And I think I got more than what I asked for. Sometimes it baffles me how talented people can be, so creative, bursting with ideas and inspiring…all at the same time. I wish one day I can create that kind of magic.

Chaas or spiced butter milk is a staple beverage in our house, it is ALWAYS there, specially in the summer months and is often substituted as water. The health benefits are immense, it is great for digestion, keeps you hydrated and the goodness of curry leaf, cumin and ginger cannot be undermined. What prompted this post was a query on Fb regarding storing and using curry leaves. What I do is wash the curry leaves, dry them on a towel overnite and leave them to air dry, when they become completely dry ( crunchy to touch) I blend them into a fine powder and sieve and store in airtight container, they are good for a couple of month and then they start loosing their aroma. If they do not dry well, slow roast them on a pan, cool then powder it.  They can be used for for daal, rasam, splice blends and a lot more. I have even tried it in dessert, recipe coming soon.

Curry leaf should not be confused with curry powder. Curry leaf is a herb used  in south Indian cooking. It’s said to be a high source of Iron. Am not a nutritionist, but have always heard my mother say it’s rich in iron and good for my liver, eat it up. It’s very aromatic and a small amount goes a long way, specially if you have powdered it.

#YogurtDrink #Buttermilk #SpicedButterMilk #Chaas #SaltedLassi #HowToPreserveCurryLeaf #CurryLeafPowder

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mulled apple cider chai


#AppleCiderChai  #MulledAppleCiderChai  #Chai  #Applecider

#AppleCiderChai  #MulledAppleCiderChai  #Chai  #Applecider

Coming from a land of die hard chai fans, where desi chai is boiled with spices and ginger with a generous helping of full fat milk as creamer…this might just look like boiled water lol! ( at least from where I come from) I must say over the years my taste buds have learned to appreciate the subtle blends of spices brewed with a mild tea. I really enjoy some light versions of tea more than the  kadak (strong) chai. Don't get me wrong, I still love a dialed down version of adrak (ginger) chai, but not as much. I remember when I was in Dehradun, India this summer and I was making myself some cinnamon tea, from fresh cinnamon leaves ( grown in my sister's  place),  my mother's cook asked me why I was boiling water with some leaf, when I told her it was tea…I think she was certain that it was some kind of medication for a stomach ailment or a chest congestion. When I was brewing this chai to serve it to some of my friends that evening, she told me that she rather serve them 'proper chai' least they think she's a horrible cook. I assured her that her name will not be associated with the chai, and I will take the full brunt of it. It must have been a shock to her that they asked for seconds… finally I convinced her to try it. The next moment she was taking some cinnamon leaves home ;) I dug up a picture of the fresh cinnamon leaves from my visit.
 I was trying to clean up my photographs from my hard drive, ( note the word trying) I was reminded of the cinnamon chai - and since there was no way I could get some fresh cinnamon leaves…I created something very different this has become a staple drink for cool ( read cold) fall evenings. I was not sure how finally teen and my better half will react to this concoction. Finally teen, did not like star anise  in her chai, so the next time I made it I replace it with cardamom. My better half lapped it up, he's pretty vocal about his taste preferences, and the fact that he asked for it this morning…makes it quite a hit.

I have got some email and messages on Fb about this mug, it is from good earth, my sister gifted this to me when I was visiting her this summer. Thank you Sista!
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Kale and fruit juice blend


We are back to a Monday! Is it me or the pace of time just got faster.  I really wish I could hold on to time, I am impatient to do so much and am always behind. A lot of last week was spent on a liberating exercise of rejuvenating my creative energy. I absolutely enjoyed reading an e-book Sharp Shooter by Martin Bailey, am amazing photographer. I must confess that at one time I did coil myself into a mess of numbers. The science behind razor sharp images. Thanks to my better half, I did uncoil myself to some extent. Am, not really done with the book and have a couple of pages left, and may have to re-read portions. I like books that challenge me and this one certainly did.  I am compiling a list of my favorite bloggers/photographers, so a lot of time was spent, going around blogs and photography sites. If you guys have any recommendations, that would be awesome. There is so much talent and inspiration out there, it is just an amazing world. I feel so energized, you can see the halo of creativity around me. LOL! Some of these artist are just amazing and absolutely mind blowing work.Do you guys want me to share the list ? Should I do it in a post or just the side-bar of TNS.

These photographs are from my archives, but. The morning sun was so beautiful and I was having my kale and fruit juice blend, I was itching to use the camera and I did :). I love the play of light in the photograph, if I may say so myself. Had to share it today and not have it sit in the archives. Am also going to work on a dessert after I am done posting this. Can't wait to create it and then style it, have so many ideas, either am going to overwhelm myself and mess it up or its going to be a liberating exercise. Let's see how that goes :))

Thank you for all the great comments on last week's post . Am so glad that you guys actually read what I write and encourage me to prattle more ;-).

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Enjoying the outdoors :Puff pastry sticks and berry lemonade


I must have read 'The Prophet' a zillion times and every time I read it there is something new I discover...  The book is truly timeless. This is one of my favorite quotes from the book and I almost have it to memory now.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.” 
― Kahlil GibranThe Prophet

Whenever I read these lines I think of a eagle in flight, free from any bondage, she flies not because she has a destination but she flies because she has wings that give her joy. There are always some people in our lives who give us that lift, to take flight.  The open skies have always enchanted me, be it star gazing at night or hot summer afternoons with impeccable blue skies...a meal or a snack under open skies is so romantic. It makes me realize how beautiful the world around me is, it helps me open my mind and realize what true flight and freedom is.

A simple snack,  walking on the grass with bare feet, lying on the sheet and watching tree tops... small things packed with life's biggest treasures. Here is a simple puff pastry sticks and berry lemonade packed with big fun !!

This is such a simple recipe, that I am wondering if I should post this... anyhow I am going to share it.

Recipe....
Puff pastry sheet, thawed, rolled out and cut in thin strips.

Mix garam masala, salt, garlic powder, chili powder into 4 tbsp of olive oil. Brush the seasoned oil on the pasty, twist it up for a nice shape and bake for 10- 12 min at 375 F or until golden brown. Let cool and serve.

For the berry lemonade 

Blend a cup of berries of your choice, squeeze 1 lime and add sugar, chaat masala and some salt. Now add some ice cold water - makes around 7-8 cups, instead of water if you add some sprite or a shot of vodka,  it takes it to a whole new level of awesomeness.



 Happy Father's day to all the awesome dads out there !



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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Saffron Infused Apple Chai




If you check the archives of my blog, I must have said some zillion times " I love summer " Well, I really do, I love sunshine and even as the temperatures rise to unbelievable heights, I never complain, ahem! well not as much as I complain about the sub zeros. Summer is all about ice-cold beverages and the supply in plenty. I have tried so many variations of ice-tea that I can write a book or start a blog - "just chai" as the caption. Well, not a bad idea. I can ask my brother-in law to co-author it with me as he is very well-informed about the history and geography of tea. Intact he makes his tea with a stopwatch, no kidding. Precision during brewing. We all have our obsessions, don't we? This particular crop of tea was gifted to me by him and it is white champagne tea,  first flush, from Darjeeling. It's got a mild aroma, a very delicate flavor  and infuses very well with saffron. It looks gorgeous right. Well the red strands are saffron. You are going to love this simple infusion 


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