mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

Toasting a Half Century

In Drinks, From the Garden, Fruit, Preserves, Road Trip, Travel, Under 30 min! on August 5, 2015 at 4:49 pm
Road Tripping!

Road Tripping!

I’ve been away a while. Well, we were planning this vacation-of-a-lifetime, a six-week holiday in another part of the world! How many people can manage that today! The preceding month was crazy at work; the blog had to take the backseat again. Vijay was at his desk till an hour before we were to leave for the airport. We didn’t even get the time to dig out winter woollies from the big trunk in the storeroom. I was going to arrive in the US with no fashionable warm clothes. The taxi arrived and V was still to shower and eat. Eventually, we did manage to zip-up the cases and leave for the airport in time. As long as we had money and passports, we didn’t need to worry.

The following six weeks turned out to be a vacation to remember. Friends and family shared generously their time and their homes and we got another peek at the amazing country that is the USA. How much of it I will be able to recount here I don’t know – it took me over a month and five posts to cover our 10 days in Ladakh last year! But I love to go back and re-read all the travel posts here. It is surprising how much we forget as time passes. The brain stores but foggy memories and none of the detail. I do want to remember this trip. I turned 50 last month and this vacation turned out to be quite the celebration! It wasn’t planned with that in mind though.

raising a toast

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Calamondin Caipirinha

In Drinks, From the Garden, Preserves, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on November 21, 2014 at 12:09 am
calamondin caipirinha

Calamondin caipirinha



Growing up, I had no idea we could eat this fruit.  There were many bushes on the big mound of the Rose Garden at IIT Delhi.  While playing there in the summer evenings, we would try to avoid the gardeners’ eyes and pluck a few.  They were too sour to really be enjoyed.  One time I and my sister ended up with throats so sore that we never ventured near another narangi.  Sometime back kumquats surfaced on Indian food blogs and I thought maybe the idea needed a rethink.  But no one I knew cooked with them.

A couple of months back we were at Vijay’s cousin’s house for dinner, and his wife, Jyotsna, a fantastic cook, served us narangi pickle made much the same way I make my sweet and sour lime pickle.  The fruit was from the trees her mother-in-law had planted outside their ground floor flat. Even in a mature pickle the fragrance of the fruit was remarkable.  She told me the next crop would be ready soon.  I reserved a portion of the harvest and early this  month I got a call from her that the fruit had been plucked and I’d better collect my share as soon as possible.  I went that very morning – there was no time to waste – and brought home the bounty.

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Couch Potato

In Drinks, Eating Out, on the side on October 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

L’aperitivo Italiano at The Grey Garden

I have been vegging the last two days.  TV and the couch have been a major part of this weekend.  Before the weekend comes to an end I think I should clear a few pending things [too late…it’s midweek already almost end-of-week the weekend already!].  Reviews for one…

Washington Apples

In March this year (yes, you cannot depend on me for a timely post) I was sent a box of picture perfect Washington apples by the India representatives of Washington Apple Commission(!).  I was invited to a tasting session which I declined since my 9-6 time is usually spoken for during the workweek, and hence, the delivery.  Each one of those seven specimens (Braeburn, Cripps Pink, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith) were easily amongst the best apples I have ever eaten.  Crisp, juicy, and flavourful.

The only problem with the apples is that they are not local.  Far from it.  They really are from Washington, USA!  I was hoping that they had just been named after some Washington varieties grown in Himanchal.  It is one thing to occasionally try out exotic fruits (and ingredients) but quite another to eat apples on a regular basis that are flown in all the way from the US of A!  Is it the same as Indians in the US splurging on the recently-allowed-to-be-exported Alphonso?  Perhaps not since our own apples here are neglected for lack of proper storage and transportation facilities.  Look for good apples from Kinnaur and Kashmir; crisp, with just a hint of tartness.  It is impressive that the imported ones sell at all since they are priced at double the local ones (Rs90 vs. Rs 180/kg!).  But, then in summer Delhites will buy the ones imported from New Zealand at almost Rs300/kg!  I think I might be too middle class for Delhi. If only we would import quince… Well, we could encourage the Kashmiris to plant some more quince trees instead, I suppose.  Here’s a promise – if I am ever safe to return to my homeland I will start my own quince and sour cherry orchard! Read the rest of this entry »

Kanji One Sunny Spring Day

In Drinks, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Punjab, Under 30 min! on March 29, 2009 at 1:15 am

Natural.  Home made. Brew with a (nonalcoholic) kick.  Lip smacking. Kanji.

Every winter I look at the black-purple carrots that appear in the vegetable markets of Delhi and the rest of Northern India, and make a mental note to track down a recipe for kanji. As far as I know, they are used only in the making of this fiery colourful end-of-winter drink. And every year passes just the same as the previous one.

Now, this blog has given me a lot of readers. Some of the readers have gone on to become good friends. Friends who share their views and opinions – and I am glad you are opinionated – share their likes and dislikes (of people, of colours and pictures on this blog and in general, punctuation and pronunciation, and of course, food related stuff). Some have been willing to risk sharing their blog… only to end up fuming later at some very persistent confusion regarding ‘the real owner of IFR’ as the movement spread! I wasn’t complaining about the unintentional link-love it brought. Especially, since I haven’t exactly been in the thick of it all this past year.

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Recharge those batteries: Express Breakfast

In Drinks, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on October 17, 2008 at 11:28 am

Banana Milkshake

1 medium banana, sliced
1 C (about 200ml) medium-fat milk (I use 3% for everything), chilled
sugar to taste (optional)
1/2 t vanilla extract

Blend everything. Pour into a glass – I make mine in a cup using a hand-blender and drink straight from that. Garnish with a few pieces of sliced banana if desired.

This is a great way to start off your busy day. In these roughly 200 calories I have covered a lot of ground for my daily recommended intake of calcium, Vitamins A, most of the Bs, C, and D, Magnesium, Potassium, and only 6-7 grams of fat (daily recommendation for healthy people is 25 depends on your age, gender, height, and fitness. For me it is 50 grams* of fat)! Calculate your recommended fat intake. Never forget that some vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are fat soluble and can’t be absorbed unless there is some fat in your diet.

Power up your breakfasts.

* Remember that this includes all kinds of fats – butter and oils you can see in your food, as well as those that are invisible but present in all food and produce – and that all fats are not created equal!

Dad’s Drink

In Drinks, Random Musings on January 30, 2008 at 12:15 am

I am exploring my new camera… and it’s taking frustratingly long to re-learn the ropes. I really wish I could just use my ancient NikonF4 and have the film change into a chip somehow… Someday someone will do something like that I am sure. Till then I have to get used to focusing by half pressing to ‘lock’ the focus… grrr.

On a dear friend’s advice I am trying to carry my camera wherever I go and shoot ‘from the hip’. A couple of days back we were visiting my parents. My dad is very fond of his drink and it is natural for TH to sit down with him for one. Or two. The spread of Sunday papers and magazines seemed to be the perfect backdrop and I suddenly felt inspired. So I took a few shots, reviewed them, moved a few things around (the almond dabba), and also managed to get one in focus (amidst all the impatient folk wishing to get to their drinks)!

Without much further ado, it is going to the Click event: Liquid Comfort! And by the next Click deadline, I should have really figured out my camera! 😉

Dad's Drink

Camera: Panasonic DMC-FZ18
Exposure: 1/4 sec
Aperture: f/2.8

Here’s to the old…

In Desserts, Drinks, Random Musings on December 31, 2007 at 1:49 pm

I hope it has been a good year for all of you. If it’s been a mixed bag, as most years are, you’ll find yourself looking back at it with much nostalgia soon enough. The past has a way of turning rosy.

There was much that was good with this year for me too. Even though I slowed down in the frequency of my posts, it was always fun to discuss with you, dear reader. I have to admit that you are the best part of blogging! After each post, I eagerly await your response. Since I usually post in the night, checking the comments is the first thing I do next morning, with my morning cuppa by the side. For some of the posts there is as much information in the comments as there is in the post… even if occasionally the discussion gets off topic 😉 .

gifts yay!
Thanks to some of you I got to taste many new flavours this year – some quite exotic!

Thanks to this blog I have made new friends at an age I never thought it possible; friends with whom I have found much in common, and much to learn from. What did The Learned One say about surrounding yourself with smart people? …some of it will rub off on you. So true.

hot chocolate

I am late for Nupur’s event: Best of 2007, but I do want to do the roundup… Come along, grab some hot chocolate (while it is still snowing here) like I did, let’s walk the year again together…

My ten favourite posts (and recipes) from 2007:

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Sunny Salubri-tea

In Drinks, From the Garden, Fruit, Low Fat, on the side, Tea Party on September 10, 2007 at 1:17 am

black tea leaves

The spirit was willing…but the flesh very weak. But here I am after a not-too-long hiatus from blogging. I guess, we all need a break now and then, to get the juices flowing again.

JFI:Rice came. And went. Nothing from the Kashmir stables after having admitted “there is much Kashmiris do with rice.” That too when I have, at the least, nine varieties of rice in my pantry! And I had so planned to cook ver, the Kashmiri rice gruel/konji/risotto named after the spice mix that goes into it, that is cooked to kick off all auspicious functions. It will have to wait for some time, though I do have just the rice for it.

Meanwhile, let me serve you something cool and refreshing, while there is still some heat in the sun and warmth in the weather. Just in time for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle: Liquid Dreams.

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When Life Gives You Limes…

In Drinks, Fruit, Low Fat, Tea Party on June 30, 2007 at 12:07 am


When life gives you lemons…well, actually I got limes, Persian limes, to be precise…make limeade.  I have finally established that what we use in India are not lemons! The most common yellow nimboo (from Persian – limoo) that we use day in and day out, goes by the name Key Lime in the US. What my Dad has in his garden are two Persian Lime trees.


The crop is in – I have 90 kilos of Amrapali mangoes, and 20 kilos of the most beautiful limes to deal with! Usually, I have to tackle just about a third of this, but with my parents away for the summer I have to consume/process the major part of this lot. A third has already been sent to my sister who lives in the neighbouring city of Gurgaon. She is going to have to make her own pickles and jams this year 🙂 – I have too much on my hands.

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Kahva – no ordinary Cup of Tea, and a Quiz

In Drinks, Kashmiri, Low Fat, Tea Party, Under 30 min! on May 21, 2007 at 11:56 pm

the cup

A cup of tea is just what I need tonight. Even in this stifling heat. Just the act of making the tea is a sort of unwinding. The relaxation comes as much from the process of making tea as it does from the cup itself. And a cup of tea is what we are going to have.

As a typical Indian, I am a die-hard tea-aholic. And no matter how low-brow it may be, I really love black tea served with milk and sugar. I love the Punjabi tea which is more milk than water that has been boiled with black tea leaves, and some ginger (during cooler weather), and not a little sugar. I also like what I drink everyday – a mix of equal parts (by volume) of granular black tea (Brooke Bond Red Label) and green tea (Brooke Bond Green Label) steeped in hot water for a few minutes to which I add a little milk and just a wee bit of sugar.

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