Peach Lemonade & Peach Iced Tea


 

I love fruit iced teas and make a lot of variations. Any over ripe or bruised fruit goes into these delicious summer drinks. We sometimes make fruity cocktails too.

Years ago on one hot summer day after being knackered by housework and my crazy kids I just mashed one of the overripe peaches and added it to a big glass of chilled lemonade (not the usual shikanji with kala namak etc. This was sweet one). No one was willing to eat this orphaned peach and I wasn’t in mood for iced tea.

The lemonade tasted different and nice but not what I was looking for.  Many days later while making peach compote I added the warm sugary muddled peach pulp to the lemonade. It turned out absolutely divine and thus began my love for fruity lemonades. I then experimented with many fruits and till now these remain my favorite over the plain lemonade. Who said lemonades were only about lemons.

I had added sugar to that one but later I didn’t feel the need or the urge to sweeten the drink with added sugar. As I often used organic honey to make the lemonade. Adding it to the simply muddled warm peaches seemed a good idea. I evolved the recipe and made it differently many times with ginger and mint, with basil, with vodka and gin, with sugar instead of honey, blended or with chucks of peaches in it. I even froze lemonade in ice cube trays with soft peach pulp in it and added those to the pitcher. Sometimes adding the preferred alcohol to it.  Each tasted differently. My favorite is with soft muddled peach pulp along with some peach and lemon wedges. Simple and refreshing. Too many flavors mar the drink.

Here’s how I made it. There are two ways to do it and I will tell you both.

Ingredients :

2-3 large ripe juicy peaches

4 cups water

1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 inch Fresh Ginger Slice (crushed)

Few Fresh mint leaves muddled

2-3 tablespoon Organic Honey

Peach slices and lemon wedges to add to lemonade and to garnish

Steps – 

Method 1 :

Wash and cut the peaches in small pieces with the skin on. Discard the stone.

In a pan add those pieces and simmer on medium flame stirring constantly. When they become soft lightly press them gently with the back of the spoon and take them out in a bowl. Once they cool add honey and mix well. Keep the mix in the fridge for chilling.

Meanwhile, make lemonade by mixing lemon juice, ginger, mint and cold water.

Add the chilled peach pulp to the lemonade and throw in some slender peach slices and lemon wedges.

Keep the lemonade in fridge so it chills well. I avoid adding ice for it dilutes the drink. Sometimes I make ice cubes from the same lemonade and add those.

You can put it in the freezer for sometime and then crush it to make the drink super chilled. Spoon in some peach pulp in the glasses when you serve. You can make it as a slushie too.

You can keep the peach pulp for a day more in case you wish to make peach iced tea like I did.

There was some cold brew iced tea remaining from day before and added some of the pulp to that. I let it seep in the fridge while enjoying my peach lemonade. The resting gave a nice flavor to the tea and we had it later in the day.

Method 2 :

In a bowl add peach pieces and sugar. Mix and let it sit for some time. Heat a thick bottom pan and add the peach sugar mix. Keep the flame medium low and stir till the mixture becomes pulpy. Remove from heat and cool. Blend it in a mixer or blender and add to the lemonade. You can also bring to boil peaches, sugar and little water then cool and blend. Add this mix to a pitcher of cold water, add lemon juice , muddled mint etc and serve chilled. Use two cups of water for the peach syrup and two cups to add later in the pitcher.

As I use honey I don’t boil the water but warming the peaches brings out some nice flavors.

For the tea I sometimes just roughly chop the peaches and tip into the cold brew tea. Sometimes I make the tea by adding hot water (not boiling) over tea leaves and then straining it to desired strength. I chill it and add the peach pulp, lemon juice, lemon wedges, peach slices to it.

See, how many different way are there to enjoy this fantastic homemade summer drink.

Do try the Peach lemonade and / or the peach Iced Tea and you’ll see how refreshing and amazing it is. You’ll never go for the synthetic one again.

Spiking 1 liter of lemonade  or Iced tea with 60-80 ml of alcohol is good way to make a tipsy version. It depends on your taste. I add a little less vodka than peach schnapps when making the alcohol version. These are my preferred choices but you can add whiskey or gin too. A good peach vodka goes well with both the iced tea and the lemonade.

Do let me know if you make any of the the two.

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Cold Brew Iced Tea With Plum and Basil


 

Iced teas and coffees are simple summertime pleasures. I make a variety of Iced teas and Tisane every summer. You can find some recipes HERE. These are not cold brews though.

I am very fond of cold brewing as it is a gentler and slower and selective process of brewing than the hot brew and the subtle flavors of the tea leaves come out very well. I find them less acidic too. Another one is the Sun brewing where you keep the tea infusion outside in the sun and let the heat help in steeping. I have noticed that both ways the taste is different. Even the traditional hot brews and cold brews are chemically different from each other and taste different so do not compare them, instead enjoy them as different drinks.

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Cold Brew

For those of you who are not familiar with cold brew let me tell you how it is done. You take a tumbler, add tea leaves of your choice, add water, spices and herbs if desired and let it brew for 6-8 hours. The amount and quality of leaves and the time for steeping depends on which tea you are using and what strength you desire. Sometimes I use the infused leaves 3-4 times, enjoying the different consistency of flavors. At times I brew for 1-2 hours and it’s good to go.

You will have a lot of leeway when it comes to the proportions but I use the standard 4 tsp/1 liter ratio. Adding or reducing as per requirement. I usually steep the tea for 6-8 overs or overnight. Remember that you will need more tea leaves than you will need for a hot brew.

You can add spices like all spice, clove, cinnamon, star anise etc and herbs like lemon grass, mint, basil, thyme sprigs or rosemary sprigs to the infusion. I do them with fruits too. Peaches, plums, nectarines, kokum, mango, lemon, orange, various berries work beautifully with them. There are endless combinations you can explore.

You can freeze these teas to makes gorgeous slushies too and be adventurous to add some Vodka, Gin, Bourbon etc.

I recently went to the hills and got some lovely hand plucked small variety of plums.  Here’s how I made the Plum and Holy Basil infused Iced Tea with them

Unlike the usual way of  masticating plums with sugar or making a syrup with plums I prefer fresh fruit tipped into the iced tea. I also use the pulp of over ripe plums to add extra flavor.

Overripe and bruised plums work best with this tea and you can add a few slightly ripe but firm sour ones too.

Ingredients: 

4 tbsp Darjeeling Black Tea leaves or tea leaves of your choice

6 -8 Medium size Ripe Plums

2 tbsp Organic raw honey (optional)

1 liter water

1 tsp Lemon Juice

Lemon wedges

Few leaves of Holy Basil

Steps : 

Take 6 of the plums and remove all the pulp in a bowl. Discard the stone or pit. Add honey to the pulp and mix. Keep it in the fridge.

In a pitcher or tumbler add the tea leaves and basil leaves then top them with drinking water. Close the lid and let it seep overnight or for 6-8 hours.

When making the plum iced tea, strain the tea in a glass pitcher and add the pulp to it. Mix nicely. Test for sweetness. I prefer the fruity sweetness and don’t add too much of honey. I don’t use sugar but you can make a simple sugar syrup and add if needed. You can also mix a little hot water and honey to mix instead of mixing it in the fruit pulp. I like it that way,

Add lots of ice and slender wedges of plum along with lemon wedges. You can add a few plum and lemon wedges to the tea while brewing too. It gives an even more intense flavor. Before straining the tea leaves just take them out and add to the strained tea.

Use the tea leaves again if desired. I use this twice.  The green tea leaves I use at least 3 times.

Pour the tea in tall glasses with plum and lemon slices and the basil leaves. Keep a stirrer in each glass. You would love the deep dark plum slices and the soothing green basil leaves floating in the ruby red liquid.

Sip this delicious and refreshing fruity iced tea to battle the summer heat.

You can also freeze some of the Plum iced tea in ice cube tray and add that instead of normal ice cubes.

I froze some of the iced tea to make a super delicious slushie with intense flavors. Do try that too. I’m not a big fan of sorbet but you can go ahead and make that too.

Make these delicious fruity Iced teas this summer to stay hydrated the healthy, flavorful way.

Do leave a note if you make this.

एक शहर ये भी – कविता 6 – दिल्ली ६


आज युहीं पुरानी दिल्ली की उन जानी अनजानी
तंग गलियों में लौट जाने का मन हुआ
गलियां ऐसी की लखनऊ की भुलभुलैया
फीकी पड़ जाये, चांदनी चौक मेट्रो स्टेशन
से उतर हम भी हो लिए लोगों के उमड़ते
हुजूम के साथ, नयी दिल्ली का नक्शा
चाहे बदल गया हो यहाँ कुछ नहीं बदला
नूर से नहायी सहरी की सुबहें, इफ्तार
की पाकीज़ा शामें और जामा मस्जिद की
सीढ़ियों पे रेकॉर्डतोड़ गर्मी से बेपरवाह,
बेफ़िक़्र खेलते नन्हे रोज़दार जिन्हें
इंतज़ार है तो बसआने वाली ईद का
आसमां पे वही ढलते सूरज की लाली,
शाम ए इफ्तार की रंगत में सराबोर
बाज़ार, ख़ुशी से दमकते चेहरे,
मस्जिद से आती आज़ान की गूँज
दरगाह हज़रत सरमद शहीद
की जाली से बंधे लाल धागे में
लिपटी एक बाली और इबादत
की रौशनी से गुलज़ार मेरा मन
आज भी उर्दू बाज़ार से मटिआ महल
और चितली क़बर से हवेली आज़म खान
तक सिवइयों की खुशबू से महकती दुकानें
याद दिलाती हैं दोस्तों की वो अड्डेबाज़ी,
वो लौंग चुरी कबाब और कालना स्वीट्स
की पनीर जलेबी, वो लज़ीज़ निहारी कुलचे,
हाजी मोहम्मद अनवर की मिर्च मसाला बिरयानी,
कूल पॉइंट का शाही टुकड़ाऔर नवाब कुरैशी
का प्यार मोहब्बत मज़ा, वो तुम्हारा नज़रें बचा
फतेहपुरी मस्जिद से निकलना और तुम्हारे
इत्र की खुशबु से मेरी सांसों का महक जाना
मेरा तुम्हें चुपके से बालियाँ थमाना ओर
इसी बहाने तुम्हारे नाज़ुक हाथों का
छू जाना, गुड़ के शरबत सी मीठी
तुम्हारी हंसी, चूड़ियों की वो खनखनाहट
और चाट के तीखे मीठे सकोरों के बीच
कभी यूँही शरमा कर तुम्हारा मेरी बांहों में सिमट जाना
और ऐन मौके पर अशरफ चचा का बिज़ी हो जाना
जुगनुओं सी चमकती रात में जब हम आखिर जुदा होते
तो चचा अक्सर पैसे लेना भूल जाते, तुम नक़ाब ओढ़ना
और मैं घर का रस्ता भूल जाता
अब न तुम हो न फुर्सत के वो दिन रात है
और न ही वो दोस्त और न ही चचा जान
पर आज भी मैं शाहजानाबाद की इन रंगीनियों में
खिंचा चला आता हूँऔर यादों की मश्क़
कंधे पे उठाये यूँही हर नुक्कड़,
हर दर ओ दरवाज़े, हर झरोखे में

बस तुम्हें ढूढ़ता हूँ

इस कविता के बारे में कुछ कहना चाहूंगी | जयश्री शुक्ला से हमारी जानपहचान फेसबुक से हुई और ठोस ही समय में हम अच्छे दोस्त बन गए | जयश्री लाजवाब तस्वीरें खींचती हैं जो दिल्ली के हर रूप हर देखे अनदेखे पहलु से हमें रूबरू कराती हैं | आप उन्हें इंस्टाग्राम पर फॉलो कर सकते हैं. रमज़ान के इस पाक महीने में उनकी तस्वीरें देख मन उन्ही शाहजहानाबाद के गली कूचों में खो गया और कुछ यादें ताज़ा हो गयीं | कुछ फेर बदल कर इस कविता में हमने उन्हें ही संजोया है | इस इंस्पिरेशन के लिए जयश्री का तहे दिल से शुक्रिया |
अमिताभ मित्रा भी ऐसे ही हमारे एक कवी दोस्त हैं. पेशे से डॉक्टर हैं पर क्या खूब पेंटिंग करते हैं| कभी रंगों से तो कभी शब्दों से | कविता की दो लाइनें उनके एक अंग्रेजी कविता से प्रेरित हैं. तो उनका भी बहुत शुक्रिया |

Musk Melon & Lemon Sorbet


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I love melons of all sorts be it honeydew, cantaloupe or musk melons. Summer is bearable because of all the awesome stone fruits and melons and watermelons one gets. I love to binge on them and make slushy, sorbets, smoothies, FroYos, ice creams, Granitas etc. Add a little booze for the adult versions and you just can’t go wrong with them.

Stone fruits are another love. You can do so much with them.  This three ingredient sorbet is a favorite. I make it with the Honeydew melon too. The frozen melons /cantaloupes taste less sweet so if you are looking for an authentic sorbet taste so you need to add the sugar syrup or powdered sugar or honey as per your taste. It also given the sorbet like texture otherwise the blended frozen fruit may seem bland.

This no dairy alternative to ice cream is fabulous so do give it a try.

Ingredients :

Musk Melon /Cantaloupe / honey dew Melons –  1 Cup ( 1 medium fruit cubed)

Pure Honey – As required (2-3 Tbsp approx. )

Fresh Lemon Juice – 1 Tbsp

Lemon zest – 1/4 tsp

2-3 Tbsp water ( as required)

Steps – 

Wash and cut the melon into half. Scoop out the fleshy seeds and then cut it into slices. Chop it further into equal size cubes.

In a tray place parchment paper and arrange the melon pieces on it. Keep enough distance so that it doesn’t become a big frozen blob. Let it freeze for 3-4 hours or till frozen completely.

In a food processor or blender jar put these frozen melon pieces and churn till the fruit becomes a crumbly mix. Keep scraping the sides to ensure uniform blending.

Add lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and water to the mix and pulse again. Add a little more water so it gets blended properly but don’t turn it into a slush.

Taste to see the sweetness. Add a little more honey if required then pulse again till you a get a sorbet like texture.

Serve immediately or freeze in a freezer friendly container for an hour or so to get the firm texture.  You may pluck it with fork  or spoon after 30 minutes of so to make sure that there are no icicles. High water content makes it a tad bit difficult to handle but the end result is awesome.

Tip – 

To choose a good melon look for these signs.

There should be no bruises, cracks, soft spots etc. The fruit should feel heavy and the color of the skin should be yellow or golden in case of musk melons. Tap it with your hand, it should sound hollow. The fruit must have that sweet fragrance so go ahead and smell it.

A good fruit will ensure a good sorbet.

Note –

You can add powdered sugar or Boora cheeni to the sorbet instead of honey but I have noticed that adding honey helps in non crystallization of water so no icicles 🙂

To make the slushy you just need to blend the fruit till it becomes a slushy by adding the right amount of water.  Basil and mint go well in these sorbets and slushy.

I have stored this sorbet for two weeks in the freezer and it worked for me.

Add a little gin or vodka for that boozy taste.

Bring the summer in a bowl to your table and let me know if you liked this recipe.

2 Ingredient Banana and Dates Ice cream


A lot of my friends asked me about these one/two or three ingredient ice creams made without the ice cream maker. I have some recipes already on my blog which you can find through the search bar. Here is the link to the basic one ingredient banana ice cream. You can make many variations of this by adding chocolate, Nutella, mango, dates, vanilla, peanut butter, strawberry, almond butter.. Think more and be creative. There is no dairy in these but you can make with sweetened condense milk and cinnamon too.

Bananas, especially overripe ones are terrific for these ice-creams.  Frozen fresh bananas make for such a fantastic  rich and creamy custard like ice cream which you can eat as soft serve or freeze it more to make solid ice cream.

The sweetness of bananas and dates means no added sugar but adding a little honey ensures that there won’t be any ice crystals when you freeze the ice cream.

These fruity ice creams are dairy free, vegan, egg free, gluten free and very delicious. Don’t worry if you do not have those gorgeous food props or ice cream scooper and other such kitchen gadgets. You can still make this and relish.

For the dates banana ice cream you will need

Ingredients : (serves one) 

Ripe Bananas – 2 ( look for those brown spots on the skin)

Dates ( Medjool) – 5-6

Honey / Sticky date syrup – for topping ( optional)

Steps – 

Slice and line the banana pieces on a plate covered with parchment paper. Make sure the pieces do not touch each other. Freeze for 4-5 hours or overnight. I often put them in zip lock bags and freeze in advance.

Soak the dates in two tbsp of water after removing the seed. Once soft you may discard the flake dry top skin if any. Put it in freezer too.

To make the ice cream take a good food processor or a good blender. Put the frozen pieces of banana and the dates in the jar and give it some good churns. Scrape the sides of the jar to ensure smooth blending. This may require some patience so go ahead and blend till you get a soft serve custard like consistency. If you want to make a firm scoop ice cream then add a teaspoon of honey at this stage otherwise there is no need. I used it for topping.

Once you get he thick creamy rich texture you can scoop it out into a bowl and eat it as it is or spoon it in a freezer proof container and freeze for an hour.  Take it out and mix it with a spoon then put it back for freezing.

Once it is uniformly frozen scoop it out in a bowl and drizzle with sticky date syrup/honey or any of your favorite topping. It tastes delicious without any topping too.

This summer give these ice creams a try and let me know how you found them.