Spring and Summer mean strawberries and blueberries, and often they are so cheap that it is worth grabbing several punnets when shopping. Ok, blueberries are never cheap, but sometimes they are cheaper. Both make great icecreams, jams, frappe, lassis and smoothies. And they are wonderful juiced.
It is nearly Spring time, the garden is blooming (my first ever daffodils are flowering), and we have started juicing our own drinks again. We love to have home-made juices through Spring to Autumn.
While the apples are at their best, they are especially suited to late Winter and early Spring juices, providing a sweet base for many different combinations.
In the suggestions below, we don’t include quantities. My rule of thumb is – 2 large apples plus your combination fruit and vegetables will a little water to dilute the intensity of the flavours, will make 3 – 4 glasses. Enough for breakfast for a small – medium family.
In case you are wondering, I use Harom, a cold press juicer, but any juicer will make great drinks. I love cold press juicers because of the way that they extract the juice and the drinks are not as frothy as when you use a centrifugal juicer. It is also said that cold pressed juices are more nutrient dense than those produced with a centrifugal juicer. However the cold press ones do not handle greens or stringy vegetables such as celery as well as the centrifugal ones.
You can also make fruit juices in your High Speed Blender. I use a Vitamix. Simply blend the fruit for 2 or so minutes with a little water, then strain the juice as your pour it into a jug or into glasses. (I am not sponsored in any way by Vitamix or Harom.)
Enjoy the juice combinations below. Similar recipes include Strawberry and Blueberry Juices, Beetroot Based Juices, Zucchini Juice, Green Tea, Apple and Strawberry Juice, and Watermelon Juice with Mint and Ginger.
The varieties of Chai are seemingly endless, and here is another one, incorporating the beautiful Tulsi herb. Tulsi is available as a plant from some nurseries and Indian shops, or dried leaves can be bought as tea bags in health and organic shops. If you can’t find Tulsi, substitute basil.
What a powerhouse herb Tulsi is, everyone should have a plant or at least dried leaves in their pantry. We have a few recipes featuring it, and today, another one. An iced tea for the hottest of weathers. We have 40C days in Summer, sometimes hotter, so our minds will be on cooling drinks for afternoons under the grapevines.
For this chai, use the leaves of either the Ram Tulsi or the Krishna Tulsi (Tree Tulsi or Red/Shyama Tulsi). If you don’t have access to fresh tulsi you can also purchase Tulsi teabags in health shops, or use sweet basil or perennial basil leaves. I have even included some Thai Basil in this Chai. Surprisingly, these also taste very good and are relaxing. But use Tulsi if you can, it has many health benefits.
Such a Summery drink, gorgeous for sunny days, eating snacks. laughing and giggling while you sit on the lawn under the shade of a large tree or umbrella. Tangy and gingery, it is also cooling and will lift the spirits of anyone.
We even made this in Autumn, with the last of the watermelons for the season, and the weather is sunny and lovely. A last hurrah to Summer and watermelon.
Winter comes, and the rains too, and colds and flu inevitably do the rounds. In India it is the monsoon time that is the worst. Luckily there are a range of drinks – chais and infusions – that at least alleviate the symptoms, and perhaps even shorten the length of the suffering.
A Karha, or Kadha, is an Ayurvedic drink made with herbs and spices that are simmered in water to extract their benefits. Karha are generally made with whole spices, herbs and other ingredients found in all Indian households, so they are inexpensive ways to strengthen immunity and fight infections.
One such herb is Tulsi, or Indian Holy Basil. It is a powerful herb in many respects. We have a number of recipes that make use of the properties of Tulsi.
In this recipe it is combined with the classic trio of spices called CCF – cumin, coriander and fennel, and it adds some cloves and cardamom as well. I know you will enjoy it, and it will help your cold if you have one. It also makes you feel incredibly warm and toasty. May you get well soon.
This is a recipe for a tonic (kashayam) that is like a tea, but is called a coffee. Indeed some recipes actually include coffee powder, but the version that we make will leave that as an option. The reason that it is called a coffee, we believe, is that a powder is made and then a teaspoon or so of the powder is used to make the hot drink. Just like making instant coffee. We might call it a tea, as we call most infusions a tea, whereas in India, the term chai (tea) is reserved for drinks made from actual tea leaves. In the same way that we reserve the word coffee for anything made from the coffee bean. Language can be a maze sometimes.
It is a South Indian recipe, and is excellent to drink at any time (once per day), and 2 or 3 times a day if you are ill. It is good for a number of ailments – colds, nasal congestion, fever, headaches, and digestion issues.
The amount of dry ginger (Sukku) in the drink may be too much for first time users. The Malli (coriander seeds) tempers it, but reduce the amount of powder used until you get used to the heat.
I do love a good cup of Chai, and now that the evenings are cooling I find myself making Chai rather than a herbal tea late at night. There are infinite ways of making Chai, and so far we have a dozen or so of them here. This one is a nice mix too, and I recommend that you try it.
The composition of Chai spices differs from region to region. For example, in Western Indian, cloves and black peppers are avoided. In Kashmir, green tea is used instead of black tea, and they include almonds, cardamom, saffron, cloves and cinnamon in their spice flavourings. In Bhopal a pinch of salt is added to the tea.
I read this heartfelt ode to Chai this morning.
Chai is relevant in any situation.
Guests are coming, make chai
Headache, make chai
Very far away, make chai
Death is coming, make chai
Make ginger chai – with ginger
Rain is coming – Make chai with Pakora
Do not get the blues – Make fennel chai
Make chai to avoid doing nothing !!
Some rhythm is probably lost in translation, but I get the point and love the little poem. How important chai is to everyday life in India. So, we have a different chai for you today – one with liquorice root. There is generally some on hand to make Yogi Chai, so when I saw a simple version of that chai using only liquorice, I leapt into action. It made a delightful afternoon Chai on the first cool day after a string of 40C (105F) days.
Liquorice is generally regarded as more as a medicinal herb than a flavoursome one in India, but if you love it as I do, there is nothing to stop you making this tea at any time. Otherwise, it is used to relieve sore throats, dry coughs or acidity in the stomach.