Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cold Coffee with Ice Cream

I have not been so much of a cold coffee/ heavy chilled drinks person.It is maybe the chai effect that i never got around to making coffee in any form.  The last week we had cold coffee at a cafe, all i was thinking was that this is such a simple thing to make. And that it can be easily whipped up, sans all that overdose of ice. Some people prefer all of that ice. But i feel that so much ice dilutes the milky effect of the drink.
I had some vanilla ice cream in the freezer and with the sun looking up, it seemed like the perfect time for a cold drink. Like i said, i did not add the ice to the cold coffee. I chilled the milk enough for the drink to be cold, but not to the extent of numbing the palette and inducing a brain freeze.
It takes just five minutes to put together the drink if you have all the ingredients at hand. Here is how i made it.
Cooking Time: 10 Mins
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
Serves: 2


2 cups Milk
3 scoops of vanilla ice cream
3 tsp of sugar
2 tsp instant coffee powder
half cup of water
1/2 inch cinnamon
1 tsp of cocoa powder

The ice cream is mostly filled with air. So it does not really add to the quantity of the drink much. I used two tall glasses that i picked up from hypercity. They come with different colored stripes and are currently trending on the dining table.

My measuring cup with milk fills the glass upto 3/4th its brim. The rest is taken care of by the ice cream and the decoction.


Boil the milk. Add the sugar to it and stir well.

Once it slightly cools down, put the milk in the fridge to chill. Put the glasses that you are going to use into the freezer. This might take about half hour to an hour depending on the cooling settings of your fridge.
Just about five minutes before you want to serve the drink, boil half a cup of water and add the coffee powder to it to make the decoction.

 Now take out your blender jar, and simply dunk in your chilled milk, the decoction, three scoops of vanilla ice cream and give it a whizz.

Take out your glasses from the freezer.

Pour and top it with some cinnamon powder and cocoa powder. Serve!

Today's evening snack was cold coffee with zucchini-spinach fritters. The sweet-bitter-savory combo is a fab thing! Even if you do not have anything savory, serve the cold coffee with some cookies. It is really simple to make. Now your neighborhood cafe does not need to be your stop for cold coffee!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Those smells and scents that i miss!

It has been close to three months since i moved to Mumbai. Setting up a new home, familiarizing myself with the surroundings, taking in the sights and smells of the place, and of course, battling with the incessant rains has taken up almost all of that time. I am not against the rains, but not when it pours bucket fulls, day in and out ; not like how it is back home - a bout of rain doesn't last longer than an hour. And what you get after that are the beautiful rain washed roads of Mysore, the smell of mud and a really cool breeze! How I miss that now!
In stark contrast, it gets all gloomy here, no sign of the sun and there is no escaping the feeling of the dampness in the air. So much, that i have resorted to boiling used limes with cinnamon and letting the vapors waft around the house.
And using potpourri and scented candles and aroma oils and what not!

Had it been back home, Amma would have opened up the windows, not given a damn about the neighbors and burnt a good amount of sambrani to get rid of any damp odors. And would have proceeded to make hot rice with vatha kozhambu to be served with a big dollop of ghee. While the roti-sabji-dal-curd rice drill is something that i am used to now, i really miss those days when i could smell the tangy gravy simmering away in the kitchen, or the jeera-pepper tadka on the rasam, promising a hot filling meal after which ek small nap toh banta hi hai! I miss secretly opening the fridge to eat the chakkai varetti ( jackfruit jam) made by my grandmother and invariably getting caught because of the strong smell of the fruit lingering near the fridge! 

I miss the fragrance of the Champa and Sugandraj flowers that would adorn the gods for the puja. I really miss the floral-girlie-happy fragrance that comes from having three ladies in the household, especially the sister, whose doesn't just spray but drowns herself in deodorant.
While i was at home, i remember being vehemently against the overdose of the jasmine fragrance - in the agarbatti, the soap, the perfume and not to forget in the floor cleaner that the maid would be ever so generous with. Now it is that same fragrance that i crave for the most. Cause Amma smells of jasmine. I crave for that hug and sleeping on her lap and her lovingly applying that strong smelling brahmi oil, much to my olfactory revulsion. Cause my hair is not what it used to be under her TLC. Now that i am away, i long for all those smells that i had taken for granted-  the elaichi in the sweets, the flowers in the urli, Amma's freshly starched sarees that we would fold up together, the smell of the blooms on the terrace, the smell of sunshine, the smell of the place that is home. I may have moved but the fragrances and the memories still linger in my mind!

P.S. This post is written for the Smelly to Smiley contest run by AmbiPurIndia about the memories associated with the smells at home. As an afterthought, i think that AmbiPur might just be what i need to freshen up the home until the sun starts looking up nice and bright!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ginger tea

My day begins with a cup of this goodness. Another dose mid-morning. And then of course, the evening cuppa. Sometimes i feel that all those posters that say - keep calm and drink tea are overrated. But there are those days when i know that the cup has really uplifted my mood.
I cannot remember the last time when i made my tea plain. For days when i am lazy, i have the pre-mixed tea masala. But i really prefer the kick that i get from fresh ingredients.
So every morning, before the pressure cooker goes up for the day's cooking, a pot of water goes on the stove. Many people get their tea ready in a jiffy. But i like to let mine boil on really low flame, so much that it takes a good ten minutes for it to get done- enough time to call out the husband three times to wake up.
Depending on what i am feeling like, i throw in different things into the tea - mint leaves, pepper corns or elaichi. The way it rains here, the tea needs all the fortification from the spices to keep that irritating throat and the cold at bay.The latest addiction is lemongrass. I get fresh lemongrass in the vegetable market here. I wash it and cut it into bits and store it in a box - a bunch lasting me a week. It has become an absolute necessity in my weekly grocery.
Making tea does not really need so much storytelling, or a post even, you may say. I say that it is my fuel. And i love tea.  And tea drinking with the newspaper and biscuits on the side is a ritual at home. Its the calm before all the running around for the day begins. Now i shall stop and give you the recipe for my one cup of tea. While this tastes great, i always get better tea when i make it for two :)

Cooking Time : 10 Minutes


1 tsp Tea leaves
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
Half a cup of water
Half a cup of milk
an inch of ginger
a few bits of lemongrass

After a lot of experimentation, i have come to the conclusion that Society tea leaves give me the strongest tea. A spoon suffices for a cup.
I am also really loving my latest acquisition of the small hand grater. I stopped chopping ginger and use ginger shavings from this instead. It really gets out the juice from the ginger.

It also works great for grating cinnamon and nutmeg into the bakes. Anyways, coming back to the tea.


Bring half a cup of water to boil. Once it does, add the grated ginger and lemongrass to it.

Let them boil together for a few more minutes, until the fragrance of the lemongrass and ginger starts wafting through the air. Add the sugar and tea leaves at this point. Let it boil until you get a rich reddish brown decoction.

Add the milk. If you like your tea black, replace milk with half a cup of water. I like my tea milky. So i add half a cup of milk and a little more to make up for all the water that evaporates.

Allow it to boil and come together. Once the tea starts boiling over, turn off the gas, and let it rest for a few seconds. Strain and press down the tea leaves in the strainer with a spoon, to ensure that you squeeze out all the juices.

Enjoy your tea in your favorite mug with some biscuits or a piece of cake or something savory on the side. Hearty, flavorful and warm, for that perfect start of the day!