Product Review | Smoothies & Coolers … summer is here. #CreateFearlessly with the Hamilton Beach Multiblender

“You become about as exciting as your food blender. The kids come in, look you in the eye, and ask if anybody’s home.”
Erma Bombeck

#‎CreateFearlessly‬ ... with Hamilton Beach India & BlogAdda @ PABThe first words that grabbed my attention as I received the box were ‘Good Thinking‘…and that spiked my curiosity. Raised my expectations too! I’d heard great reviews about the Hamilton Beach line of products, and I have to say I am not disappointed. After a couple of mix ups and delays that are best left forgotten, the Hamilton Beach MultiBlend Blender and Chopper finally landed up on my doorstep, part of the #CreateFearlessly initiative, an association between Hamilton Beach India and BlogAdda.

#CreateFearlessly Starwberry Kiwi SmoothieI was quite pleased to be at the receiving end. A good quality kitchen appliance makes me want to sing out loud. With summer here in full force, or rather full steam ahead, an efficient hard working blender is more than welcome. So is a very happy kid who stepped out of my shadow and now wants to blend everything in sight, especially strawberries! That I am having a blast with it is an understatement.

Strawberries‘This is so easy and fun”, he declares, tossing in his once favourite fruit salad into the blender, pours in a glug of lychee juice and WHIRS it off! Withing minutes he sips from a tall glass … “It’s delicious! Made it myself! Can I do this everyday?”

#CreateFearlessly Starwberry Kiwi Smoothie 2Between frozen strawberries, fresh kiwi and orange tang, and fresh strawberries, fresh kiwi and lychee juice, he’s become quite a pro. The old Osterizer had kept me company for many years, but didn’t have such a ‘crowd appeal’! It was time for change, and this change is the best one!  A friend inboxed me the other day on FB asking for a recommendation for a blender for smoothies, juices etc. I have the Thermomix which is my first love, but cost is an issue there.

#CreateFearlessly with Hamilton Beach & BlogAdda @PABThe Hamilton Beach Multiblender gets my vote. I love the feel, and I love the design. The colours are all me. Standing tall in black with stainless steel accents, it’s got a much lighter body that I imagined. The spout for drip free pouring is fantastic. Very sturdy too, what with a 1.4ltr BPA Free shatterproof Tritan jar. Easy clean up as well. With 12 blending functions, it’s perfect for smoothies, purees, chopping and grinding … and a lot more.

One of the first things I made for ‘me‘ was a summer favourite, buttermilk lassi {video above}. It is savoury, it is garlicky and it is most delicious. Into it go things I like love. Bunches of fresh curry patta plucked straight off the tree in the backyard. Fresh spring sprigs are giving way to more mature young leaves, and they taste delightful. Also thrown in green chilies {as many as you can handle}, loads of garlic {or ginger if that is your call}, Himalayan pink salt, a dash of aesofoetida {hing}… and the blend begins.

savoury buttermilk lassiMy lassi is best slightly chunky, but you can process it more at a higher speed to get it smooth as silk! Customise it to your palette. Add a cucumber, maybe a dash of lime juice. You can even give it a sizzling tadka! Then more blending happened. Between sweet, malty cheeku/sapota milk shakes nostalgic of trips into Old Delhi, and mango yogurt strawberry shakes, we’ve been having quite a smooth time of late.

#CreateFearlessly Chikoo shake Did I forget the apple, cucumber, celery smoothie this morning? Yes that too happened. Did you hear #CreateFearlessly? Throw everything into the blender, throw caution to the wind, blend and drink up. I am currently catching up on fibre, with some yumminess thrown in. I can see some deep, delicious cold coffee creeping in some time soon.

Apple, cucumber, celery smoothie 2Next on my list to experiment with is a go at the chopper that comes with the blender. That’s a neat separate attachment, and I cannot wait to use it. Until then, have a smoothie good time. If you are looking for a blender that stands tall, is efficient, light and means business, then look no further. The Hamilton Beach Multiblender seems kid friendly too. The only thing missing was an inspiring colorful recipe book, but then again smoothies and shakes are no brainers. Time to #CreateFearlessly, think out of the box and enjoy blending magic in your kitchen.

What is your favourite ‘creation’ in a blender? I’d love to try it!

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No Bake | Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta … coastal flavours from friends #dessert #giftthanks #kokum

“I’m not a vegetarian! I’m a dessertarian!”
Bill Watterson

Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta … as if the Italian version of the panna cotta wasn’t delicious enough, the coconut milk version is glass scraping good too. So when the very sweet Ajit posted about a kokum cooler on FB, I was instantly on his case. “Want Want Want”, I said {read pleaded}. The fine, ever obliging and efficient man that he is, ensured that I had a ‘kokum’ package in my hands a few days later. It was a 100 watt smile on my face I tell you!

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India 26

Four Seasons Vineyards, Baramati, Pune, India Ever since we had the sol kadi {top left corner, and just above} at Baramati on the wine fam trip to Four Seasons Winery a couple of years ago,  kokum has had me smitten. Must be a taste bud thingy. I might bake and make a load of sweet stuff, but my heart belongs to savoury. Piquant, tangy, sharp, citric … flavours that make my mouth water. Add garlic, astoefetida, sumac, phalsa berries, raw tamarind to the list and you just might hear my heart sing out loud.Kokum Coconut Milk Panna Cotta Kokum or Garcinia Indica  is indigenous to the Western Ghats region of India located along the western coast of the country. It is used as a staple souring agent typically in Goan cuisine and some parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Kokum yields a peculiar flavour and blackish red colour. It is a preferred substitute for tamarind in curries and other dishes from the Goa and Konkan region.

So you can imagine my happiness when the package with kokum arrived. With it, a sweet hand written note from the A of A & N, a blog that I first connected with several years ago. At the time A & N were in the US, and regaled their audience with tales of getting flood waters in their home, food and a lot more. The they came back to India, and we reconnected. A and me exchanged notes over ingredients, oohed and aahed over experiments with 100% whole wheat bread, and a lot more…

Whole Wheat BreadThe N of course is the sweetest thing to walk the earth… joyful, exuberant and uber talented. She works with of my most fave online furniture stores Urban Ladder. Anyway, to cut a long story short, A in his note said “I’m sure you’ll work your magic and turn it into something wonderful. Looking forward!” The pressure that didn’t allow me to make just a simple cooler. I wanted to make something to embrace sweet & savoury for summer….

Kokum Coconut Milk Panna CottaI knew it was panna cotta. To tie in the coastal flavours from where kokum is born, it was going to be a coconut milk panna cotta. Vanilla bean because I love it so, and it flavours the panna cotta gently.  More flavours because I have bunches of lemon grass growing outside, and a box of kaffir lime leaves in my freeze. The pairing was beautiful. The basic panna cotta pairs well with most fruit …. so think strawberries, cherries, blueberries, mango, blackberries…

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Fresh | Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Salad … go light with summer #healthy #summerfood

Strawberry Kiwi Fruit SaladIt’s the time of the year where your palette changes as the season changes. Springs given way to summer, and thankfully it’s been kind of mild so far. The flavours are shifting gear from hearty earthy soups to salads and smoothies galore.

Summer foods, healthyGrilled is in … sandwiches & barbeque. With it comes breads – wholegrain, chewy, deep, delicious. Yes the yeast in action gives rise to some fine French fougasse and foccacias and no one is complaining. Healthy food in Delhi is in, and it’s fun to see the change in food trends.summer coolersThe past two years have seen a shift in gears towards light food in Delhi. Though the number of  stand alone salad bars in Delhi are still limited, most coffee shops and restaurants have a live salad counter which throw up the most amazing of fresh and cooked salads all day long. Nirulas Pot Pourri was possibly the first ‘salad bar in Delhi’, one that brings back old memories of the 1980’s. Stone Fruit SaladWe would hang out on the ground floor in Connaught Place, having ‘escaped’ from school, sinking our teeth into 21 Love and Jamoca Almond Fudge. the Hot Chocolate Fudge was slightly steeper, so that was for special days, toasted cashews on top and the works! We’d climb upstairs sometimes to treat ourselves to the occasional grilled sandwich, passing by the salad bar, but never stopping for any! The precious pennies were saved to buy real food in our eyes, not pineapples and Russian salad!!

Healthy food makeoverHow times change when you grow up. How food on the table changes too! It’s actually a combination of an internet explosion, social media, interest in food, spending time in the kitchen, reading cookbooks and blogs non stop that lead to awakening. One constantly questions ‘what is on the plate’? And it’s a great way for youngsters to learn too!Fruit salad The son will not eat a meal without salad, he begins every morning with a fruit salad … it’s the best thing in the world he declares! What’s the fuss all about you might wonder. Nothing at all. It’s the Strawberry Kiwi Fruit Salad that I’ve been making for years. This is a simple, refreshing, make ahead or make instantly glass of joy.

SaladsStrawberries and kiwi are two very vitamin rich fruit, though can try experimenting with maybe melons and kiwi, or mango and strawberries, maybe litchi and melon… whatever is in season and forms part of your local produce. Throw in a bunch of fresh herbs from the garden, sit back and refresh yourself this summer!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India