What a typical Londoner might call a bright sunny day, we, the residents of Dubai, call a well-deserved break from the blistering summer sun that beats (mercilessly) down upon us for a good six months each year (five-and-a-half if we’re lucky). I personally love the Dubai winter, especially because it brings with it, a plethora of fresh seasonal fruits from the Middle eastern region, the most noteworthy of which are the strawberries flown in daily from Egypt.
I couldn’t resist myself from buying a kilogram of these tantalizing berries when I last went grocery shopping. Needless to say, we got tired of eating all these strawberries pretty soon, so I thought of making a refreshing drink out of it. I added some coconut water and lemon syrup to compliment the sweet and sour berries and the drink turned out better than expected.
Here’s the recipe if you want to replicate it at home. It serves two people.
3 cups fresh coconut water (I use yellow Srilankan coconuts as they are a bit on the sweet side)
6-8 medium strawberries
2 tablespoon lemon syrup (alternately, you can use 1 tsp lemon juice and 2 tsp honey)
2 medium strawberries (coarsely chopped)
3-4 mint leaves
5-6 ice cubes
Wash the strawberries and remove the leafy part; add them to a blender
Add coconut water and lemon syrup the blender and mix well
Pour the juice into mason jars and add in some ice
Top the jars with chopped strawberries and mint
Hope you enjoy this drink as much as I did making it. I’d appreciate your comments if you do try this at home!
Who doesn’t love ice lollies? It’s easy to buy one from a supermarket freezer if you’re OK feeding artificial content (refined sugars, colours and flavours) to your kids. I prefer making one of these insanely delicious coolers, filling the lolly moulds with whatever’s left over. Three hours and a thousand are-they-done-yets later, I have happy smiling kids devouring refreshing/hygienic lollies. These especially come in handy during the summer months and are ideal as an after-school treat for kids.
You can try experimenting with other fruit juice combinations; some that work well together include:
With the heat-wave that’s causing abnormalities in the global seasonal patterns, we all knew what to expect this Ramadan, especially my fellow fast-ers (using this for lack of a better word) based in the Middle East. Just today, the weather in Dubai peaked at a whooping 47 degrees (Celsius, not Fahrenheit); I was soaking with sweat and completely parched by the time I got home from work. With still a good four hours to go before I could officially break my fast, it got increasingly difficult not to think about something cool and refreshing that would not only quench my thirst, but also give me the much-needed energy boost.
They say the best ideas come to you when you need something most. I came up with the Watermelon and Strawberry Cooler on a whim, without even giving the pairing of the ingredients a second thought; my hands automatically picked out the things from the refrigerator as they just ‘felt’ right.
The watermelon I had bought a few days back was slightly mushy (and I do not like mushy watermelon) so instead of throwing it out, I scooped out the flesh, placed it in a bowl, and mixed in a few ingredients instinctively. The result was a tasty sweet-and-tangy beverage perfect for Iftaar (breaking of the fast). Let me dive straight into the recipe so that you can try it out for yourself.
2 kg watermelon (with the skin on)
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
4-5 tbsp strawberry syrup (the one you use as a base for carbonated drinks)
Scoop out the red fleshy part of the watermelon and place it into a deep bowl
Using a hand-blender, puree the watermelon, seeds and all
Take a sieve with a super-fine mesh and remove the pulp from the juice
Add the lemon juice and the strawberry syrup to the watermelon juice; stir well
Keep it in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving
Garnish with mint leaves (optional)
Enjoy the refreshing drink at Iftaar and remember me in your prayers
The quantity mentioned is good for SIX servings of roughly 225 ml each. You can adjust the quantities according to your serving requirement. For those of you who do try this, do let me know how you liked it.