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cooler

“If it could only be like this always — always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe.”
Evelyn Waugh

Mulberry Lime Cooler for times like these when the season changes, when spring meets summer. With a very short and ‘finger staining good’ mulberry season in progress, life is good. This is the best time of the year, yet this time it’s unseasonably warm for April. With temperatures already threatening to touch 40C in North India, mulberries are literally raining off trees. How better to use these foraged beauties than in a refreshing summer cooler!I have loads of mulberries in the fridge. This fruit is very perishable. There’s going to be just about 2-3 weeks of mulberry joy, and then alas, wait for next year. I’m constantly thinking of things to do with this precious fruit, other than cramming them into my mouth of course!That’s how we spent our childhood. Climbing up trees in the heat of summer, foraging fruit, coming home with our hands and clothes mulberry coloured and happy. Now I want to use the fruit in more fun ways. The simplest I thought was a variation on the lemonade or our native Nimbu Paani. There was that bottle of 100% pure maple syrup from Canada that was calling my name.With summer here, it’s best to hydrate the body with loads of seasonal refreshing things. It’s fun to make coolers with fruit in season, so that’s where I begun. This Mulberry Lime Cooler is as simple as that. Basic ingredients – freshly foraged mulberries, lime juice, maple syrup and fresh mint.Mulberries are filled with nutrients that are important for our body, including iron, riboflavin, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, phosphorous, and calcium, as well as a significant amount of dietary fiber and a variety of beneficial organic compounds. Paired with pure maple syrup, this Mulberry Lime Cooler is certain to refresh you. Takes a few tablespoons of maple syrup to add a soothing natural sweetness. Maple syrup is a healthier alternative to regular sweeteners and sugar, and is known to be an antioxidant, has anti inflammatory properties, and is a rich source of nutrients.I don’t like to cook down berries unless required because they lose their Vitamic C. So I thought it would be best to muddle them with a little maple syrup. Love the deep colour berries released. No more to the simple summer cooler. Muddle well, strain by pushing through as much juice as you can collect. Then add a generous glug of maple syrup to sweeten. Also lime juice, a few whole mulberries and mint leaves to the pitcher. Chill well before serving, else pour over ice. It’s refreshing!There is so much more you can do with maple syrup. I made this Breakfast Berry Smoothie Bowl using a batch of gluten free granola I made last week with the maple syrup. Mulberries here too! This is just the simple kind of goodness that you can treat yourself to. Use fruit in season to get maximum benefit!So many possibilities, so  much fun. Am thinking of no bake energy bites next. Best to keep things quick and easy through summer!

Mulberry Lime Cooler
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Mulberry Lime Cooler for times like these when the season changes, when spring meets summer. With a very short and 'finger staining good' mulberry season in progress, life is good. How better to use these foraged beauties than in a refreshing summer cooler sweetened with 100% pure maple syrup from Canada!
Servings Prep Time
4 glasses 5 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 glasses 5 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Mulberry Lime Cooler
Yum
Print Recipe
Mulberry Lime Cooler for times like these when the season changes, when spring meets summer. With a very short and 'finger staining good' mulberry season in progress, life is good. How better to use these foraged beauties than in a refreshing summer cooler sweetened with 100% pure maple syrup from Canada!
Servings Prep Time
4 glasses 5 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 glasses 5 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Instructions
  1. Reserve 1/4 cup fresh mulberries for later.
  2. Place 1 cup mulberries in a large glass bowl or glass with the pink rock salt and 2 tbsps of maple syrup. Muddle well, mashing the berries on the sides of the bowl to release as much juice as possible.
  3. Strain into a pitcher by pushing through as much juice as you can collect. Add some water and strain again. {You can use the pulp in a smoothie later, or like me, just eat as it. It's quite delicious.}
  4. Add water, lime juice and a generous glug of maple syrup to sweeten. Taste and adjust sweetness adjusting the lime juice and or maple syrup as required. Add a few whole mulberries and mint leaves. Chill well before serving, else pour over ice.
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“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Phalsa ka Sharbat Phalsa Berry Sharbat … the much dreaded ‘loo‘ or hot summer winds, dry and dust laden, sweep across the plains of North India. Summer here becomes intolerable at times, with ‘fry eggs on the sidewalk‘ like temperatures threatening your very existence! Then along come some of the best fruit that nature has to offer … and life becomes worthwhile again! This Phalsa Berry Sharbat helps you survive…

Phalsa ka Sharbat With a slew of summer fruit now being offloaded by the truckloads, we could not have asked for more. Red, luscious, juicy cherries, mangoes falling off hand carts, watermelons piled sky high on roadsides, peaches just about beginning to surface, Indian java plums too. And then the phalsa berry, a beautiful, tangy, astringent much awaited native Indian berry!

Phalsa, Grewia asiatica Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, this humble little berry, Grewia asiatica, brings alive childhood nostalgia. Back then, almost 40 years ago, the silent afternoon would be pierced by the shrill cry of the ‘phalsa wala‘. You’d find him with a wicker basket, topped with a very wet gunny bag which he gently peeled back to reveal the precious little berries. The very fragile and perishable phalsa would change hands for a few pennies. Washed gently and tossed in rock salt, we would hungrily suck them, trying to extract the most from the almost impoverished looking fruit.

Phalsa ka SharbatSometimes if we were lucky enough, we would be rewarded with phalsa ka sharbat! It was pain staking to make and a special treat. Life is a little easier now, with gadgets that make life in the kitchen a breeze. Just one sip of this amazing cooler, in colours that uplift the soul,  memories of a quintessential part of Indian summer comes alive! Sharbats or ‘fruit and flower based coolers‘ are the answer to the beat the heat!

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This takes me to the launch of the KitchenAid Pro Line Cordless Hand Blender in association with Masterchef Vikas Khanna in Delhi. The launch is a part of multi city #Blendappetit Tour spanning across India starting from May 20, 2014. While, the cordless blender is a unique, first of its kind, versatile product, it comes with an ultimate experience of ‘anytime anywhere’ blending.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil This new blender from Kitchenaid India is a magic machine, ergonomically designed, a thing of beauty. It comes equipped with a rechargeable 12V lithium ion battery which gives it the power to perform efficiently. The super blender can blend, mix, whisk, chop, froth, puree, shred and whip up anything in a flash.

Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The very sweet and charming Vikas {I was fortunate enough to shoot with him recently} blended a lip smacking good kiwi smoothie from his new book.  The chef was affable as ever; entertaining, engaging, humourous! He connected instantly with the expectant crowd and soon had the gathering mesmerised. Ripples of laughter flooded the studio in Gurgaon with Vikas holding court, spinning out one anecdote after another. Stories of his home, his mother & grandmother, his inspirations, his journey from cooking a Rs 20 meal in Punjab to a Rs 20 lakh meal for Obama … yet humble and grounded as ever, a philosopher at heart!Kitchenaid Blendappetit  with Vikas Khanna Hymns from the Soil The afternoon witnessed the launch of his book- .Hymns from the Soil, his first book on Indian vegetarian food and a tribute to Mother Earth. It is full of nostalgic tales of his childhood, and in many ways ‘our childhood’. The ‘mitti ki khushboo‘ or the smell of the wet soil, planting his own vegetable patch, the vegetable vendors with fresh vegetables, seasons that spelt fresh produce {unlike now when you almost get everything round the year} … a touching evocative connect with the soil of the land. The book is beautifully written, with stunning pictures and recipes that call your name.

Phalsa ka Sharbat With so much talk of the connect of the earth, including the shrill call of the vendor that pierced the afternoon silence then, it’s a good time to share this recipe. I make the Phalsa Berry Sharbat every year, changing the recipe as I evolve, always in panic like the berries might disappear or go out of fashion. The phalsa season is a short one here just through May and June. Juicing these in my Thermomix is a breeze … which is why I make this quite often.

Phalsa ka Sharbat 6Phalsa ka Sharbat Not sure if taste buds change as the years go by, or the flood of flavours available and sugar laden options in packaged juices snatch simple pleasure away. Maybe it’s the slightly astringent aftertaste, but unfortunately, this isn’t the kids favourite sharbat. The boy loves his aam panna or raw mango sharbat, the daughter her cranberry juice. Thankfully both also love the daily fresh watermelon juice & smoothies.

Phalsa ka SharbatThe Phalsa Berry Sharbat takes the summer heat away, refreshes the soul, gives you a generous dose of vitamin C and antioxidants … what more can you ask for in these ‘oven like’ months? Oh yes, and if it takes you on a trip down memory lane, that’s even better! I’m loving it!!

[print_this]Recipe: Phalsa Berry Sharbat
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Summary: Refreshing, cooling and right for the Indian summer, the Phalsa Berry Sharbat is just what the doctor ordered! Sweet, tangy, uplifting, it’s a summer cooler packer with vitamins and antioxidants. Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 250g phalsa berries
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black rock salt
  • 250ml water

Method:

  1. Wash the berries gently, drain and soak for a few hours, or overnight in the water.
  2. Add the sugar and rock salt and squish well with hands {or Thermomix speed 6 , 1 minute}, then strain.
  3. Dilute with cold water as desired. Serve over ice cubes, garnished with fresh mint.

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