Tag Archives: Navratri

Dance, sing and drink a rose, pomegranate and lime cooler

8 Oct

 

Rose, pomegranate and lime cooler

Rose, pomegranate and lime cooler

We were at soft play the other day, the boy and I and guess who had a work out? I think I stared sweating when my arm was yanked and I heard the teeny, tiny and sweetly made command ‘Let’s go mumma, let’s do climbing’.

So we crawled through tunnels and shuffled through nets. We balanced on beams and swirled through tunnel slides then repeatedly bobbed up and down waved slides. My poor bottom, it’s not terribly well endowed and I get this from my mother. ‘Again mumma again’. Why I wore a jumper I don’t know.
My feet moonwalk towards the café for a bright pink and blue slush puppy, because I needed ice to cool down and as I popped my boy onto the carousel for a break, I reminisced.

Whenever I have a slush puppy it throws me back to Shacks in India that sell gola. I always feel a bit rude comparing dishes to English ones but at least you now know what I mean. The Indian ones are crushed on a large retro style wheel and as you may expect, offer the full show. Thick and fruity syrups of bright green or red and toppings of coconut and nuts make a full on cool, sweet and nutty experience. They’d move along the streets and kids would come running and bouncing with huge grins as the gola song was heard. You can’t help but love it.

It was my beautiful nieces birthday party at the weekend and she had a lovely gathering of friends and relatives with lots of fun stuff going on in a beautifully decorated hall. I spent the whole time talking and walking on heels and hands moving, bum opening doors and carrying my tot who didn’t want to part. He was glued to me when his aunts and uncles wanted cuddles and cute chat, but soon as the crowds left he was on the dance floor. Typical.

Party over, I was thirsty as heck. I wanted something soothing, fragrant , sweet and cold. I wanted the gola man from India to come and make me one whilst I had a foot massage (not from the gola man, let’s not get any ideas). I needed a good soak in the bath with flowery fragrances. I fancied enacting one of those scenes from period films where the queen bathes in a pool of rose petals and warm water, with people passing her towels and drinks.

Alas, I’m no queen and the m25 was calling, so a quick, but gorgeous drink it was. It hit the spot though and that’s why I am sharing it with you. Its Navratri now and if you are dancing, this will go down especially well. It’s fragrant, sweet, fruity and cold! Just look at that picture my royal friends!

Ingredients to serve 4

300ml pomegranate juice
200ml rose-water
5tbsp palm sugar
The juice of 1.5l limes
1/4 tsp crushed cardamon seeds
20 ice cubes

Method

1. Mix the sugar and rose-water in a pan with the crushed cardamon a heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Remove it from the heat and leave in to cool.
2. Put the pomegranate juice, like juice and ice in a food processor abs blitz it a few times until the ice is crushed
3. Once the rose-water is cool introduce it to the juice in the food processor and blitz again.
4. Chill it for 30mins and then serve.


Za’atar aubergines and toasted pine nuts on silky hummus

2 Oct Za'atar aubergines and toasted pine nuts on silky hummus

Za’atar aubergines with toasted pine nuts on silky hummus

Za'atar aubergines and toasted pine nuts on silky hummus

Za’atar aubergines and toasted pine nuts on silky hummus

Great things can happen, both in life and food, completely by accident…or rather in an unplanned or coincidental fashion. For example, today whilst putting my boy to sleep I thought of my regular Chinese restaurant, then of Navratri (hindu festival which involves nine nights of dancing) following which I realised I hadn’t made one of the Gujarati classics that I’m pretty darn good at doing, in a while. All of these thoughts inspired the creation a weird but outrageously good new soup recipe which I will soon share.

Back to this recipe, which is also unpremeditated. My parents came to stay last week when my husband was in Moscow for work. They, besides enjoying time with my boy and I, were so helpful in the kitchen. My dad was my kitchen assistant.
They have a habit of overcooking and under eating. They have also started to use a tongue-swelling level of chilli in their cooking, which I can no longer endure. During my late pregnancy I developed intolerable reflux so I cut the chilli and since then I never really reintroduced it. Anyway, they’re a bit obsessed with aubergines, my folks. They cooked thick slithers of fresh and slippery Aubergine in oil, without water and lots of indian spices but no tomatoes. Such a simple and garlicky dish.

I don’t know why I was reluctant to try it, but when I did I actually really enjoyed it. But then the chilli kicked in and in the absence of cooling yoghurt I grabbed the hummus. And thats how this recipe happened.

Za’atar spice is a tangy and herbaceous spice blend with a thyme like flavour. The tanginess comes from sumac, which is made from dried fruits. The za’atar spice blend also contains nutty sesame seeds and aromatic cumin. It’s fairly delicate so I like to let it sing for itself rather than mix it in with other powerful flavours. Simple is best with spice blends like za’atar.

This is no word of an exaggeration, this hummus is probably the best I have made. Nothing sexy; it’s a simple, smooth and silky hummus. It’s really good though. This is why I’ve allowed for a batch for your fridge, it’ll keep for about 3 days.

Ingredients to serve four

One large Aubergine, cut into 2 inch slithers
4-5 shallots,sliced
1 1/2 tbsp za’atar spice
3 tsp lemon juice
A handful of pine nuts, dry toasted on a non-stick pan
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

For the hummus

2 cans of cooked chickpeas
4 tbsp lemon juice
7 tbsp of ice cold water
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup tahini
1 1/2 tsp salt

Method.

1. Heat 3 tbsp of cooking oil in a non stick pan and add the onions and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes
2. Add the aubergines and mix well. Stir in the za’atar spice blend and the lemon juice. Turn the heat to a very low flame and cook for about 20minutes or until the Aubergine is soft enough to pierce through, but not until they lose shape or become squashed.
3. To make the hummus put the chickpeas into a food processor and blitz until they are a coarse paste.image
4. Add the tahini, garlic, salt and lemon juice and then blitz again.
5. Whilst the food processor is doing its thing, slowly pour in the water and it should loosen up to a lovely consistency.

To serve, top the hummus with the cooked Aubergine whilst they are still warm and when the pine nuts. Serve with flatbread or pitta bread. Don’t forget to tell me how you enjoyed this recipe!

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