Category Archives: Beverages/Drinks

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail

I do not follow seasons when it comes to cocktails. And whenever we make at home, it’s usually based on the stash that’s available in the bar cabinet. When I dine out at restaurants, then I would pick a cocktail that sounds interesting or different, something I have never tried before.

Tea based cocktails are really amazing and I have tried out quite a few different ones over the last couple of years. One of the best I have had was at Monkey King; wish I could get the bartender to share that recipe with me.

Inspired by all my past experiences with tea cocktails, I thought it’s time I did one too. And that’s how this Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail happened.

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail - thespiceadventuress.com

Sweet Tea cocktails are very famous, especially in the Southern regions of US because it is essentially, a summer drink. It is light, refreshing and very simple to make in large batches, hence very popular for summer backyard parties.

There are many variations but essentially the drink contains tea, citrus, sweetener and good quality bourbon.

But for today’s drink, I tweaked it slightly by using an iced tea recipe (from this cookbook) that I use often which has spices like cinnamon and star anise for that extra punch. And both these spices work like magic with both tea and bourbon.

The Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail is extremely simple to make. The tea infusion can be prepared ahead and chilled, a time saver if you are making large batches for a party. Good quality bourbon…don’t compromise on that because it does make a difference to the flavour.

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 5 cups water
  2. 2 tbsp black tea leaves (or 2-3 tea bags)
  3. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  4. 1 star anise
  5. Peel of 1 medium lemon
  6. Sugar, to taste
  7. Orange juice
  8. Bourbon
  9. Star anise, for garnish
  10. Orange slices; for garnish
  11. Ice cubes

Method:

  1. Bring the water to a boil and take it off the heat.
  2. Add the tea leaves to the water along with the lemon peel (remove using a peeler), cinnamon and star anise. Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea and allow to cool. Refrigerate in a closed bottle until use.
  4. To make the cocktail, add a few cubes to the glass and fill half of the glass with the tea infusion. Add 15 ml orange juice and 40ml bourbon. Stir and taste; add more orange juice or bourbon to suit personal taste.
  5. Garnish with a star anise.
  6. Cheers!!!

Note: If you want a non alcoholic version, mix the orange juice with the tea infusion to taste. Serve in a glass filled with crushed ice.

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail - thespiceadventuress.com

The Pink Lady

After being down with one of the worst flu experiences I have ever had in my life, I am slowly returning back to my juice/smoothie routine in the mornings.

Breakfast has always been a challenge for me; I just can’t get myself to eat a full, proper meal in the mornings. Over the years, I have tried a zillion different ways to do this but I have finally come to accept my body and listen to it instead of eating the way that is often described as ‘ideal’.

I love to eat fruit in the mornings and that’s what I generally do on most weekday mornings after that mandatory mug of coffee. Sometimes, I have a whole fruit while working and sometimes, it’s a juice or smoothie. It might seem like very less food to most of you, but that’s all I can bring myself to eat in the mornings.

And since my appetite had gone all haywire during the flu, I felt completely drained of energy even though I have recovered mostly. So I decided to have The Pink Lady, because this concoction is great for energy and immunity, both of which I need generous amounts of.

The Pink Lady - thespiceadventuress.com

I also decided to add bee pollen, which has a whole lot of health benefits. Not usually a person who reaches out for fancy ingredients, but I was given a couple of ingredients like these to try out by the generous folks at Dandenong Market. And since the bee pollen is so good for the body, I have made it a frequent addition to my smoothies.

The Pink Lady is a simple drink; but what makes it high energy is the use of bananas and cranberry juice. This one’s also high in Vitamin C and B complex, again nutrients that are great to build immunity and gut health.

Most of the smoothies I make in the mornings are posted on Facebook, and very few make an appearance here. So if you like to get more of those recipes, follow me on any of the social media channels.

The Pink Lady - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you make this drink, do tag me in your post using #thespiceadventuress so that I can view it too.

(Recipe adapted from 101 Fantastic Juices and Smoothies)

Ingredients:

  1. 2 ripe bananas
  2. 6-8 raspberries
  3. 200ml cranberry juice
  4. ½ tsp bee pollen
  5. A drizzle of Manuka honey

Method:

Blitz all the ingredients in a blender and enjoy.

The Pink Lady - thespiceadventuress.com

 

The ‘Green’ Mojito

Green coriander seeds! I cannot tell you the joy and excitement at seeing these for the very first time in my life…..

Green coriander seeds - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Growing up with parents who were passionate about gardening, I must admit that a bit of the ‘green thumb’ has rubbed off on me too. I have a very basic garden at the moment, mainly herbs and succulents, but I definitely do intend to expand it in the coming months.

One of the first herbs to get planted in my garden was coriander, simply because I use it almost every day and realised that growing it is not only super easy but also an affordable option when you are a food photographer. I highly recommend growing coriander if you are starting out with the whole gardening experience. Quite a sturdy, all season herb that grows easily (giving you that much needed confidence when you are a novice) and works well in a tiny apartment space too.

I have always mentioned how social media helps bridge distances and is a source of positivity and encouragement if you use it in the right manner. When I posted a glimpse of my tiny herb garden, a very kind gentleman Mr. D got in touch saying he would like to send me some seeds that he grows in his garden. He lives in Perth and has an amazing garden filled with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, some of the varieties bought specially from India. And he got my address and send me the seeds of quite a few vegetables including some native greens, carrots, radish and coriander. I thoroughly appreciate your gesture Mr. D and I will forever be indebted.

While the carrots and radish were not a success in my apartment terrace, the coriander grew and blossomed much to my delight. But there was one problem….I didn’t know how to collect the seeds for the next growth cycle. My ‘duh’ moment!

So back to Mr. D, social media and YouTube it was, to understand how to collect the seeds. Until then, I would always snip away the flowers to encourage growth of new leaves and I realized that if I needed to get the seeds, I needed to let the plant flower. The flowers turn to seeds…..can’t believe I forgot my basic botany lessons from school!!

And this spring, I let that happen and soon the tiny pretty white coriander flowers had blossomed into vibrant green coriander seeds. The ‘spice adventuress’ in me was intrigued on how these seeds could be used in cooking as it had the most intense delicious coriander flavour….I would describe it as a cross between the leaves and dried seeds. I did dry one batch of the seeds for the next season but I also got plenty of green seeds for my flavour experiments.

There isn’t much info available on using green coriander seeds but a bit of research and speaking to friends who go gaga over spices and herbs like I do resulted in today’s drink which I fondly call, the ‘Green’ Mojito.

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

Now it is almost impossible to buy green coriander seeds so the only way you can enjoy this drink is to grow some yourself or get some from your gardening enthusiastic friends. The seeds can be crushed and infused in vodka or you could infuse it into the sugar syrup like I did. The sugar syrup keeps well in an airtight container for upto 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

So there you go…..a very summery, vibrant and delicious Mojito with green coriander seeds!

Sugar syrup infused with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 30 ml sugar syrup (infused with green coriander seeds)
  2. 30 ml lime juice
  3. 45 ml white rum
  4. Sparkling water/soda
  5. ½ tsp green coriander seeds
  6. Lime slices; for garnish
  7. Coriander flowers; for garnish (optional)
  8. Ice cubes; crushed

Sugar syrup:

  1. 1 cup raw sugar
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2 tbsp green coriander seeds

Method:

To prepare sugar syrup:

  • Crush the green coriander seeds lightly
  • Add the sugar, water and coriander seeds to a pan and place on low heat. Stir occasionally till the sugar has completely melted.
  • Cool well and keep the seeds in for at least an hour to further infuse the flavour.
  • Strain and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To make the mojito:

  • In a tall glass, muddle the green coriander seeds along with the sugar syrup and ¾ ths of the lime juice.
  • Add the white rum and crushed ice cubes. Stir well to combine and top the glass with sparkling water.
  • Taste and add the remaining lime juice if necessary.
  • Garnish with lime slices and coriander flowers.

Note: If you do not like the seeds to remain in the drink, strain after muddling with the sugar syrup and lime juice.

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

The Breakfast Smoothie

So I am back peeps, after a brief hiatus…..with a delicious breakfast smoothie.

The Breakfast Smoothie - healthy, nourishing and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

As many of you are already aware, I moved homes last week. Just a couple of streets away, but the move didn’t turn out exactly how I had envisioned in my head. It was more intense, full on and plenty of work involved; coupled with bad organization, it turned out to be more stressful on our minds and bodies.

But finally, we are almost settled in the new place. There are still boxes to unpack but the basics are sorted and we are all beginning to feel at home again. Feeling at home again…..that’s a hard one to achieve when you move into a new space. A couple of my friends said that I invest a lot emotionally and physically in a rented property but for me, this space is home. It doesn’t matter who holds the ownership rights….for now, it’s our space and our home which we want to fill with happiness, stories and memories. So yes, I have always and will continue to invest a lot physically and emotionally in every home I live in.

One of the biggest changes has been the fact that after 3 years of our life in an apartment, we moved into a free standing house.  I am ecstatic about the larger space, more storage (for my props!) and a small but real backyard, but I feel a little lost at the same time. I keep forgetting where I have put stuff and then I run around like a headless chicken searching for it. Sigh.

So when it came to doing a blog post, I thought of sharing something simple and everyday like this breakfast smoothie which I made a lot during the past couple of days. High on nutrients to keep me nourished till lunch time and with that dash of chocolate and peanut butter for an indulgent luxurious feel.

The Breakfast Smoothie - healthy, nourishing and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

The Breakfast Smoothie - healthy, nourishing and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

 

I thoroughly enjoy using oats in my smoothies rather than the porridge form; gives the drink a lot more body. I went for almonds because it’s my favourite but use any you wish to or maybe even a handful of different ones. If you have never used peanut butter in a smoothie, then do give it a shot folks; lends such a rich, silky and amazing texture with that hint of nuttiness to the drink.

And of course the chocolate….I was initially leaning towards coffee but then couldn’t look past the delicious blocks of Australian chocolate with 60% cocoa and hints of smoky oak, raisins and dried spices that I picked up from the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice CreameryYarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery (if you haven’t been here, you do need to check it out; perfect for a spring/summer day trip).

The Breakfast Smoothie - healthy, nourishing and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

PS – That ladder has become my new best friend; the cupboards are so high in this house that my puny self cannot function without it!

The Breakfast Smoothie:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup oats
  2. 10 almonds
  3. 1 tsp chia seeds
  4. 1 tbsp grated chocolate
  5. 1 tbsp peanut butter
  6. 2 cups milk
  7. ½ cup water
  8. A dash of honey

Method:

  • Blitz all the ingredients together in a blender.
  • Enjoy

Note:

In summer, add ice cubes and extra milk for a chilled drink; children will love it.

I used honey as a sweetener but you may use fruits like bananas or dry fruits like dates or prunes for the same.

The Breakfast Smoothie - healthy, nourishing and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

 

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail!

I have spoken about my need for change before in this post.

I get bored easily, especially with food, which I would say is the driving factor that gets me into the kitchen experimenting. I crave for creating something new, something I have never done before which gives me that adrenaline flush. A new ingredient, a fusion dish, a new cuisine, it can be anything as long as it is new for me.

People often confuse this as a need to keep the blog going. But to be totally honest, I have always been like this in all aspects of my life (which is why I never lasted in the corporate world).

After a week and half of doing familiar stuff in the kitchen, I wanted to start experimenting again. And this time, it’s this pretty cocktail which I have named The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan.

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail! - thespiceadventuress.com

Every time I spoke to my family and friends in India, I have been hearing just one thing – ‘It’s so damn hot here that we don’t feel like doing anything enjoyable’. The whole of India seems to be reeling under a heat wave at the moment. And this sparked off the idea of a drink with Rooh Afza.

Rooh Afza needs no introduction at all for those who hail from India or Pakistan. In fact, it has become quite famous in several Middle Eastern countries too.

For those who do not know this product, Rooh Afza is basically a concentrated squash (non alcoholic) that is prepared from a range of fruits (pineapple, apple, orange, cherry, blackberry and many others), herbs (chicory, blue star water lily, coriander, purslane etc..), vegetables like spinach and carrot, and also the essence of some flowers like rose, kewra, lemon etc…. Truth be told, this is a special formulation with a ton of ingredients in there.

Rooh Afza - product photography - thespiceadventuress.com

This product is manufactured by the Hamdard Laboratories which has extensive operations both in India and Pakistan. Quite a bit of history as it was formulated by Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed in 1906 and has been in use since then. Rooh Afza is extremely popular among the South Asian Muslims especially during the months of Ramadan and also popular during the summer months. The formulation is believed to be based on the Unani system of healing and hence considered to be healthy and cooling for the body.

Given its heritage and its popularity among the Muslim community, Rooh Afza is hardly ever used in alcoholic drinks or cocktails except for whacky, adventurous souls like me. It is mostly used as a syrup to flavour ice creams, desserts, cold milk drinks. It has a thick consistency, a vibrant red colour and a strong aftertaste of rose essence with undertones of citrus. And this is exactly why the thought of a Cosmopolitan came to my mind.

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail! - thespiceadventuress.com

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail! - thespiceadventuress.com

In a classic Cosmo, cranberry juice is used which gets replaced with the Rooh Afza in my Indianized version. Since the syrup has a distinct rose flavour, I used both lime and orange juice for that desired citrus punch.

So here is a delightful, delicious and pretty version of the classic; The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan, for those hot summer days and balmy nights.

Note – Rooh Afza is commonly available at most Asian/Indian/Pakistani grocery stores in most of the countries so finding it should not be a difficult job.

Ingredients:

Makes 1 serve

  1. 15ml Rooh Afza
  2. 20ml Triple Sec
  3. 15ml lemon juice
  4. 15ml orange juice
  5. 15ml sugar syrup
  6. 35ml vodka
  7. Ice cubes
  8. Orange wedge; for garnish
  9. Chilled cocktail glasses

Method:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and add all the ingredients.
  2. Shake, shake, shake…..really shake
  3. Double strain (very important) into a chilled cocktail glass
  4. Rub the rim of the glass lightly with the orange wedge and garnish with the same.
  5. Enjoy…….responsibly.

Note – Making sugar syrup is really simple. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a saucepan; heat till the sugar has dissolved completely. Remove and cool; stores well in an airtight container in the fridge for upto 3 weeks.

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail! - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Summer Fun with Kopparberg Cider Cocktails – Recipes for Swedish Mule and Sgt. Pepper

Yup, I know I wrote summer. Though ‘autumn’ is in officially, we all know that summer has not truly left us yet letting us enjoy all the backyard barbeques, beaches, short dresses and thongs just a little while longer this year.

Apart from doing all this, I got to enjoy my summer a bit more. An exciting project with Social Soup and Kopparberg Cider where I got to don the role of ‘Summer Ambassador’ along with a bunch of other totally cool and fun loving people.

Now I am a big cider fan; I love it for its refreshing and fruity flavours. So naturally I was pretty excited when Social Soup got in touch with their latest project – an Instagram based Kopparberg campaign for the release of its two new flavours in Australia.

Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime Cider and Kopparberg Strawberry & LIme Cider - launched in Australia - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Let’s talk a bit about Kopparberg and what makes me so excited about these two new flavours.

Kopparberg is a premium Swedish cider that takes its name from the beautiful town Kopparberg in Sweden where it is brewed. What makes this cider extraordinary in flavour is the soft water used along with the fermentation of the fruit. This soft water is exclusive to the region of Kopparberg and has a unique mineral content which draws out the natural flavour of the fruit.

Apart from the traditional apple and pear cider (considered to be the best selling in the world), Kopparberg has now launched some interesting flavours like Mixed Fruit, Strawberry and Lime, Naked Apple, Elderflower and Lime etc….

Grilled Scallops with Garlic Butter and Chillies served with Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime Cider - thespiceadventuress.com

And I am going to talk about Elderflower & Lime and Strawberry & Lime today….

Elderflower and Lime – just wow! Amazing is the word guys; it had the most beautiful sweet flavour of elderflower coming through with just that hint of lime for that citrus burst. As much as I love my pear cider, I have totally fallen head over heels with this one. A clear winner and a must try!

With Strawberry and Lime, I had my reservations. But it turned out to be much better than I expected. Usually I find berry flavoured ciders and pre-mixed drinks too sweet and tangy. But this one, inspite of its berrylicious flavour, was more balanced.

But it’s the Elderflower and Lime that is the clear winner for me!

Kopparberg also shared with us a bunch of cocktail recipes using their latest flavours – simple and interesting drinks that can be made in a jiffy for your cocktail Fridays or for those backyard parties. In fact, it makes a great excuse to invite some friends over, pour out some cocktails, make some great food and chill out.

 

So with the long weekend upon us, I decided to share two of my favourite cocktails recipes using both the flavours.

Sgt. Pepper

The traditional Sgt. Pepper (a cocktail steeped in history) gets a cider twist!

A peppery kick to the sweet tangy freshness of the Strawberry & Lime completed with the undertones of vanilla. Finish off with crushed pink peppercorns for that extra spice kick!

Sgt. Pepper, a Kopparberg cocktail - A peppery kick to the sweet tangy freshness of the Strawberry & Lime completed with the undertones of vanilla - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Sgt. Pepper, a Kopparberg cocktail - A peppery kick to the sweet tangy freshness of the Strawberry & Lime completed with the undertones of vanilla - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 200ml Kopparberg Strawberry & Lime
  2. 5 cucumber rings
  3. 2 tsp vanilla sugar
  4. 30ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  5. 5 crushed black peppercorns
  6. 3 crushed pink peppercorns (optional), for garnish
  7. 2 cucumber rings, for garnish
  8. 1 lime wheel, for garnish

Method:

  1. Add the vanilla sugar, black pepper and lime juice to a tall glass.
  2. Stir till the sugar has dissolved and then add the cucumber rings.
  3. Add the ice cubes and top with Kopparberg Strawberry & Lime cider.
  4. Sprinkle with crushed pink peppercorns and garnish with cucumber rings and lime wheel.
  5. Enjoy!

Sgt. Pepper, a Kopparberg cocktail - A peppery kick to the sweet tangy freshness of the Strawberry & Lime completed with the undertones of vanilla - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Swedish Mule

‘Move over Moscow Mule, the Swedish Mule is here to stay!’

With the freshness and slightly spicy undertones from the ginger, zingy bursts of passionfruit and the sweet refreshing vibrancy of the elderflower and lime, the Swedish Mule is an awesome cocktail and one to be included in your repertoire.

Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime Cider - a premium cider from Sweden - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Swedish Mule, a Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime Cocktail - Freshness and slightly spicy undertones from the ginger, zingy bursts of passionfruit and the sweet refreshing vibrancy of the elderflower and lime - thespiceadventuress.com

Swedish Mule, a Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime Cocktail - Freshness and slightly spicy undertones from the ginger, zingy bursts of passionfruit and the sweet refreshing vibrancy of the elderflower and lime - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 200ml Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime
  2. 2 inch ginger; finely chopped
  3. 1 large passion fruit
  4. 2 lime wheels, for garnish

Method:

  1. Peel the ginger skin and add the finely chopped pieces to a tall glass. Muddle it lightly to release more spice and flavour.
  2. Scoop out the contents of half of a passion fruit into the glass and mix with the ginger.
  3. Add ice cubes to the glass and fill with the Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime cider.
  4. Garnish with the remaining one half of the passion fruit and lime wheels.

And as always…..drink responsibly!

Swedish Mule, a Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime Cocktail - Freshness and slightly spicy undertones from the ginger, zingy bursts of passionfruit and the sweet refreshing vibrancy of the elderflower and lime - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post but Kopparberg and Social Soup provided me with the cider packs.

Chambord Margarita

Christmas is almost here, isn’t it?

Well, technically there is more than a month but anyone who hosts a Christmas dinner or party would know the pressure and the need to prepare ahead of time. I have not yet decided if it is going to be a Christmas party or a New Year’s one that we are doing. We tend to alternate it every year as our anniversary also falls during the New Year’s time.

Now I have already started to look for recipes, inspirations and ideas for the party. And the first one I wanted to get sorted was a party cocktail. Believe my luck when I received a bottle of Chambord as part of a work assignment.

chambord

For those who aren’t too familiar, Chambord is a black raspberry liqueur that is crafted in a French château in the province of Chambord. The liqueur is a delicious combination of the freshest blackberries and raspberries which are first soaked in French spirits to get an infusion and is then masterfully blended with cognac, vanilla, herbs and other extracts.

I have been wanting to try out this liqueur which comes in a beautiful deep reddish black bottle ever since I first laid eyes on it. But it is slightly on the pricey side and so was reserving the purchase for a celebration time. But as luck would have it, I got this bottle which I am currently carrying around like a baby.

Ok to get back to the recipe, I wanted to make a simple, tried and tested cocktail using Chambord which is also perfect for the warm, summery Christmas that we have down in Australia.

And a margarita seemed to tick all the right boxes. It didn’t need many ingredients, is simple to prepare and can be made in large batches relatively easy during a party. Winner!

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The Chambord Margarita is light and refreshing; sweet, fruity and citrusy but above all, the prettiest cocktail I have made in a long time. A beautiful blush of pink that tastes as delicious as it looks!

And I admit I got carried away clicking this beauty.

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Recipe Courtesy – Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:

Sugar syrup:

  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1 cup water

Lime salt:

  1. Zest of 1 lime
  2. 2 tbsp sugar
  3. 2 tbsp salt

For the cocktail (makes 2 glasses)

  1. 6 oz silver tequila
  2. 3 oz fresh lime juice
  3. 2 oz sugar syrup
  4. 1 oz Chambord

Method:

To prepare the sugar syrup:

  • Heat the sugar and water in a pan on low heat till completely melted. Cool before use.
  • Can be stored for up to 2 weeks inside a refrigerator.

To prepare the lime salt:

  • Process the lime zest, salt and sugar in a food processor or blender to evenly mix. Store in an airtight container.

Now comes the Margarita: (For 2 glasses)

  • Rub a lime wedge over the rim of the margarita glass and dip in the lime salt.
  • In a cocktail shaker, add ice cubes followed by 6 oz silver tequila, 3 oz lime juice, 2 oz sugar syrup and 1 oz Chambord.
  • Shake shake shake….shake baby shake!
  • Strain the margarita into the glasses and serve chilled.
  • Drink Responsibly.

 

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Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive the Chambord for free. 

 

 

 

No Udder Dairy Free Yoghurt + Recipes for Green Smoothie and Coconut Yoghurt Zucchini Dip

Important: Please read this before you proceed. 

No Udder and NuLac Foods has bought to my notice that the coconut yoghurt has been recalled due to a cross-contamination issue. Those of you who are allergic to dairy products or vegan or do not include dairy products in your diet for any personal/medical reasons, kindly return  the products to your nearest supermarket for a full refund.

For anyone else, this product is not dangerous in any manner and poses a risk to only those mentioned above. The company assures me that the product will henceforth be released only after revised and strictly enforced quality checks. Please get in touch with the company if you need further clarification on this.

Here is the statement from the company;

‘A statement from the owners, John Gommans and Penny Gandar.

We are taking note of all your comments and we fully appreciate all your concerns.

Our first priority in the recall was to protect those at health risk from the dairy contamination. We have followed the Health Department guidelines in this recall. As well as following these proscribed procedures we also wish to convey that we are personally devastated that this need for a recall has occurred. We are acutely aware of the needs of our allergen free, dairy free and vegan customers and to provide a product people could trust.

We do also process dairy products, our procedures and staff training have always been committed to preventing contamination. Our staff are dedicated and care very much about the quality of our products. We have only sought and used ingredients certified to be allergen and dairy free and are shocked to find that a contamination has recently occurred. We are re-testing and investigating all aspects of the ingredients and manufacture but until this is completed we are unable to give a definitive reason for what has happened. We deeply regret what has occurred and that we have lost the trust of our dairy free and vegan customers.

We are truly sorry.’

 

My love for smoothies has become legendary on my Facebook page.

It all began when I started sharing pictures of my daily morning smoothie with my readers. And soon, there were so many people writing to me asking for more recipes, tips, blender brands, dairy-free options etc…. While I could answer most of the queries, I really did not have much information when it came to dairy-free or vegan friendly options.

So, I was quite thrilled when NuLac Foods wanted to partner with me to develop some recipes for their new range, No Udder Dairy Free Yoghurts. Just what my readers were asking me…..

NuLac Foods is an Australian company that develops both dairy and dairy-free products. All NuLac products are prepared from the highest quality ingredients which are sourced from their own and other farms across Australia. And above all, the products are free of preservatives, colours, additives or flavours – natural and pure. Love their philosophy of being a local business using local ingredients which always reflects on quality.

NuLac has several different brands and two of their highly popular ones are ‘No Udder’ and ‘Alpine’. And it’s No Udder that I will be speaking about today as it is the dairy free and vegan friendly one. The range includes No Udder Almond Yoghurt, Coconut Yoghurt and Coconut Probiotic Drink.

Available at most supermarkets and independent stores in Australia.

No Udder Almond Yoghurt Green Smoothie:

The dairy free almond yoghurt is a great substitute for milk in your daily smoothies. It is not only a good source of calcium but very low in saturated fats and contains a good amount of dietary fibre.

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I admit I was a little skeptical about how it would taste but I actually liked it very much. It was sweet and creamy with that hint of almond flavour; but somehow it also reminded me of this coconut milk pudding.

And since we are on the topic of good health and nourishment, I decided to use the No Udder almond yoghurt as the base for my green smoothie. There is a good amount of pre- and probiotics in this one and at the same time, it is super delish too.

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Ingredients:

Makes 3 glasses

1. 1 ripe avocado
2. 1 ripe green pear
3. ½ ripe red apple
4. ½ banana
5. 2 cup greens (I used chard, use any you wish to)
6. ½ cup parsley
7. 1 tbsp chia seeds
8. 200 ml No Udder almond yoghurt
9. Water/ice
10. ¼ tsp cinnamon powder

Method:

Blend all the ingredients with enough water or ice until smooth.

Note:

• The beauty of this recipe is that it is a basic guideline to making your favourite green smoothie. As mentioned, use any kind of greens you wish to.
• Rotate between chia, flax or hemp seeds and add nuts if you wish to.
• Use coconut yoghurt instead of almond for a sweeter and creamier smoothie.
• You can use regular milk or yoghurt too.

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OCT (1)

No Udder Coconut Yoghurt Zucchini Dip

With live probiotic cultures, the No Udder Coconut Yoghurt is an extremely healthy option and one that is dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian friendly. It is sweet and creamy, perfect for smoothies, desserts or as a snack but I am thinking savoury.

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Yoghurt dips are a common feature of most meals in Meditteranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. In India, it is often referred to as ‘raita’ in Hindi. And there are hundreds of raita varieties that exist depending on the cuisine of each region.
Today’s recipe is a savoury yoghurt dip, adapted from a common preparation of Kerala known as pachadi.

The coconut yoghurt is sweet and deliciously creamy which makes it the perfect base for finely chopped zucchini sautéed with shallots and a hint of spices. This is a delicious yoghurt dip that makes the perfect accompaniment to flatbreads for your mezze platter or to accompany your favourite lamb curry or to pair with that delicious pilaf/pulao.

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Ingredients:

1. 1 medium zucchini; finely chopped
2. 400ml No Udder coconut yoghurt
3. 2 shallots; finely chopped
4. 1 tbsp crushed cashewnuts (optional)
5. 1 tbsp vegetable oil
6. ½ tsp mustard seeds
7. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
8. ½ tsp red chilli powder
9. 2 sprigs coriander leaves; finely chopped
10. Salt, to season

Method:

• Whisk the coconut yoghurt till smooth and without any lumps.
• Heat oil in a pan and crackle mustard seeds.
• Then add the shallots and zucchini; sauté for about 2 minutes on medium to high heat stirring constantly.
• Next lower the heat and add the turmeric and chilli powder. Mix and also add the crushed cashews.
• Sauté for another few seconds, remove from heat and mix through half of the coriander leaves.
• Allow to cool.
• Once cooled, add most of the mixture to the beaten yoghurt and season with salt. Mix well to combine.
• Garnish with the remaining mixture and coriander leaves. Refrigerate till serving time.

Note:

• Again, a very flexible recipe; substitute zucchini with baby aubergines, squash, beets or just nuts.
• Use cow’s milk yoghurt if you wish to.

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Disclaimer – This post was brought to you in partnership with NuLac Foods but the recipes and opinions expressed remain my own.

Lychee and Cardamom Bellini

2015 has been an absolutely rocking year for me so far. There have been so many unique experiences to add to my book of memories. And today I am going to share one such experience with all of you.

Earlier this year, I got the opportunity to attend a ‘Spice and Wine’ Masterclass held as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Chef Adam D’Sylva of Tonka and Shashi Singh of Avani Wines took us through a learning process on how to pair and match wines with Indian spices and flavours.

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All of us who attended the event were encouraged to participate in the #socialfeeds cookbook competition hosted by Bank of Melbourne who was the official sponsor of the festival. I can’t seem to turn down any challenge these days and to cut a long story short, one of my recipes was chosen as a winner in the contest. And that meant, my winning dish gets to be featured in an e-cookbook curated by none other than Chef Benjamin Cooper of Chin Chin. The book is a first of its kind featuring recipes from home cooks across Victoria and is a beautiful showcase of how important food is to Australia and drawing inspiration from the multicultural vibe of this country.

(My winning dish was Fish Mappas – a traditional seafood preparation from the backwaters of Kerala, India which I am sure many of you have already seen on the blog. If you would like to download this ebook, just visit here. It’s free!)

Apart from this, there was another special prize….a copy of ‘Chin Chin – the Book’ by Benjamin Cooper. A collection of amazing recipes from Chin Chin, with a lot of detailed information on basic Thai cooking like making curry pastes and broths from scratch.

chin chin

This cookbook is going to be a much treasured one, not just for the beautiful memories now associated with it but also because I finally get to learn how to make these curry pastes from scratch, a long cherished culinary activity I have wanted to indulge in.

But today we are not having a Thai curry although the weather is just perfect for it. The cocktails included in this book were rather fascinating and so today, we are making a simple Bellini with Asian flavours.
Cocktail lovers would know this one for sure; for all others, Bellini is an Italian cocktail traditionally made using peach nectar and Prosecco sparkling wine.

But instead of using peach, today we have a Lychee and Cardamom Bellini. As far as cocktails go, I fall in the ‘rarely make and often drink’ category. So this Bellini was exciting as it was a very simple recipe with easy to find ingredients and hardly require any bar accessory as such. A simple blender would do the job!

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A very refreshing drink and one more suited for the summery months; but I don’t mind drinking this all year through. The sparkling freshness of the Prosecco, tangy sweetness from the lychee sugar syrup and just that hint of spice from the cardamom….this Lychee and Cardamom Bellini is just gorgeous.

Even though my photographs don’t do any justice to the actual drink, I strongly urge you to give it a go if you are a wine drinker.

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Ingredients:

(To make 1 drink)

1. 30ml lychee and cardamom syrup
2. 90ml Prosecco
3. Lemon slice/twist, finely cut; to garnish
4. Lychee, to garnish

For the syrup:

(Makes enough syrup for 10-12 drinks)

5. 250gm white sugar
6. 5 cardamom pods
7. 1 can lychees

Method:

To make the syrup:

1. Heat 250ml warm water and 250gm sugar in a pan. As it starts to boil, crush the cardamom pods and add to it. Continue to heat till the syrup turns aromatic and turns a shade or two darker (should take approximately 15-20 minutes). Remove and allow to cool.
2. Blend one can of lychees along with its syrup till smooth.
3. Combine equal quantities of the sugar syrup with the lychees to get the lychee cardamom syrup.
4. Store in a bottle and refrigerate; use as necessary.

To make the Bellini:

5. In a champagne glass, pour 30ml of the lychee cardamom syrup and then gently top with the Prosecco.
6. Garnish with a lychee and lemon twist.

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Banana Coffee Smoothie

My first post for 2015 has to be about coffee – my poison!

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I had been a ‘milk drinking’ gal for the longest time. But while doing my Master’s, I realized that my humble glass of milk could not keep me awake during the long, intense (and sometimes, boring) lectures on genetics, virology, immunology etc….

My classmates recommended the strong, dark potion called coffee sold at our in-house café, and that’s how the addiction started. This particular brew was full on – high on sugar, high on caffeine and the habit stuck.

Today, I simply cannot function without my cuppa coffee. For a brief period, my caffeine levels were dangerously unhealthy but luckily, common sense and will power prevailed. I have cut down my coffee intake to 1-2 cups a day now. But I still need it high on sugar, high on caffeine. And whenever I order my cappuccino at a café and say 3 sugars please, I still get the ‘3 sugar-really-look’?

When I first saw this smoothie on Nigella Lawson’s (well, who doesn’t know the domestic goddess) channel, it was love at first sight. Coffee with banana…..what a delicious way to hide my caffeine beneath a lot of nutritional goodness!

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The banana coffee smoothie is the simplest one to make. I always store peeled bananas in my freezer; it comes so handy to whip up a smoothie and you don’t need to hunt for ice too. The smaller varieties of banana work best as these are sweeter and you don’t need to add any extra sugar; and if you must add honey to sweeten the smoothie.

While in India, I was a Nescafe girl but here in Melbourne, Moccona is my go-to instant coffee powder. It’s rich, dark and delicious…..and makes me the perfect cappuccino.

So if you are a coffee lover like me, then this smoothie is a must try…a great pick-me-up for those rushed mornings when you need more than a caffeine kick. And if you don’t like coffee, you can still make this smoothie; just replace the coffee with chocolate – as my son has it!

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Ingredients:

1. 2 small bananas; fresh or frozen
2. 1 cup milk
3. ½ tsp Moccona medium roast coffee (adjust measurements to taste)
4. ½ tsp honey
5. Ice cubes, optional

Method:

1. Blend all the ingredients together into a smoothie consistency.
2. Enjoy your caffeine kick!

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