lemon

Oh I Say

Yay, the heat is on! It's that time of year where I have no qualms of switching the television on during the day, casting aside any work that needs to be done, all in the name of that prestigious lawn tennis tournament that is Wimbledon. This tournament has been a big part of my childhood. From Dan Maskell's velvety voice and his iconic phrase 'Oh I say,' whenever a player produced an outstanding shot, to the traditional eating of strawberries and cream and of course most importantly, the spectacular tennis. Bjorn Borg was my tennis hero and I was lucky enough to witness his dominance of the grass courts at Wimbledon, in his legendary semi-final match against Vitas Gerulitis.

Wimbledon has been basking in the heat over the last few days and Pimm's seems to be the order of the day. There is a Punjabi version of a non-alcoholic cooler which is prepared during the sweltering hot days of the Indian summer. An Indian lemonade called Shikanjvi is made using lemons or limes, sugar, black Himalayan salt, (Kala Namak) and roasted cumin powder. This thirst quencher is an acquired taste and a sweetened version can also be made. It's basically the lemon juice that makes the drink so refreshing. I've concocted a summer cocktail that is cool and reinvigorating. So whether you're at Wimbledon, Henley Royal Regatta, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show or the F1 at Silverstone, revel in in these balmy nights, sip slowly and enjoy this delightfully refreshing cocktail.

Lemonade Cucumber Mimosa

Serves 4

  • 1 Large Lemon
  • 4 cm Piece of Cucumber, grated
  • 3 Sprigs of Mint
  • 3 Sprigs of Lemon Verbena
  • 120 ml Water, chilled
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 35 cl Prosecco
  • 4 Long Pieces of Cucumber

Method

  • In a small pan heat up the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is clear and not grainy. Allow to cool.
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemon and place into a cocktail shaker.
  • Add the cucumber, mint and lemon verbena. Muddle all the ingredients together in the cocktail shaker.
  • Add the chilled water. Put the top onto the cocktail shaker and shake away.
  • Divide the lemon mixture between the 4 Champagne flutes through a small sieve, filling a third of each glass.
  • Top each glass with Prosecco.
  • Concertina each length of cucumber onto a small cocktail stick and place into the glass.

Tips

  • I am a Champagne purist and I don't like to use it for Mimosas and Bellinis, therefore it is better to use a good quality Prosecco.
  • Obviously adjust your quantities according to your needs.
  • If you don't have any lemon verbena, just use mint, although I grow both in pots in the garden and it's easy enough to grow. It can also be used in Pimm's.
  • This Mimosa also makes a great brunch drink.

Time to Detox?

The term 'detox' is being bandied around rather a lot these days. We are told that we need to detox physically, mentally and emotionally. This colloquialism refers to healthy eating, healthy living and healthy thinking. We are lured into a world of smoothies bursting with greens, spiralized vegetables hoodwinking us into thinking we are eating pasta, super finely grated vegetables impersonating rice; and salads loaded with micro leaves, sprouted beans, seeds and nuts. Does all this healthy eating cleanse our chocolate binging, our overt weekend wine quaffing or our post-drinking craving for greasy foods?

Admittedly, I've been quite cynical about all the detox hype, despite the fact I'm all for nutritious, healthy eating. Freshly pressed vegetable juices are a great boost to our immune systems and fresh leafy green cruciferous salads are full of antioxidants. The star of the show at the moment is kale, it's the trending superfood vegetable of the season. From Beyonce's kale t-shirt to Gwyneth Paltrow advocating kale chips, kale it seems is here to stay. It has made an appearance in every supermarket and curly kale is King. With its anti-cancerous properties and with enormous amount of iron and calcium, it's definitely the super model on the catwalk of vegetables and it's strutting its stuff!

So in honour of the mighty kale, I've decided to follow the herd and I've created my very own detox kale salad. 

Detox kale salad

Serves 4-6

  • 200g Kale, very finely shredded or grated with the stalks removed
  • 300g Red Cabbage, shredded or finely grated
  • 2 Carrots, shredded or finely grated
  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped into small dice
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped into small dice
  • 2 Ripe Avocados, peeled and chopped
  • 110g Paneer, chopped into small cubes (Optional)
  • 1 400g Can Kala Channa (Dark Brown Chickpeas), drained and rinsed 
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Lime
  • 50g Coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Green Chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 Handful of Pine Nuts

Method

  • Place the very finely chopped kale into a large bowl.
  • Add the red cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, red pepper, avocados, paneer, chickpeas, pine nuts and the coriander. 
  • Mix everything together and add the juice of the lemon and the lime.
  • Add the salt and the green chilli and mix well into the salad.
  • Allow the salad to rest in the fridge for at least thirty minutes, allowing the flavours to develop and the citrus to work its magic on the kale before serving.

Tips

  • You can toast the pine nuts in a dry frypan on a low to medium heat for a couple of minutes. Just keep an eye on them as they burn very quickly.
  • I sometimes chop up leftover homemade polenta into cubes and shallow fry until crispy. Sprinkle over the salad just before serving.
  • Cans of kala channa (dark brown chickpeas) are available from some supermarkets, however if you can't get these, just use a can of the regular chickpeas. The kala channa has a much nuttier flavour than regular chickpeas.
  • This salad is also the perfect accompaniment to my brunch dish, Indian Eggs with Tomatoes and Paneer.