Thursday, May 13, 2010

Around Town with Arina - Summer Break

With heat and humidity at their peak, I took a break from going around town and spent time indoors in the comfort of home. Summer brings cravings for cool, light meals or snacks that make one feel good in summer especially in Mumbai. And the best accompaniment to the delicious eats would be refreshing tall drinks packed with ice to combat the heat. In fact with summer vacations on, cooking at home can be a great activity for parents to spend time with their kids. Kids love tossing a salad, assembling a sandwich or mixing juices and sherbets to create their own concoctions.

The most ideal summer snacks, in terms of purchase, ease of preparation; taste and texture have to be dips. If you are up to it you could make a batch of your favourite dip like Hummus, Pesto, Chimichurri, flavoured cream cheese, herby hung yogurt, mayonnaise, tapenades, salsas or even pates the options are endless. Just serve up with wafers, fries, potato wedges, crackers, savoury biscuits, bread, bread sticks, and even crudités of veggies like cucumber, carrot, bell peppers. And if you are lazy (like me) or just busy, you have the option of picking up delicious ready options from tried and tested stores such as Nature’s Basket, Theobromas (Colaba & Bandra), and 210 Bakery (Churchgate & Nepean Sea Road).

After dips, the next choice of a summer snack is sandwiches. I think just like eggs and tea each one has their own personal style of eating a sandwich, some like it in white bread some in whole wheat and some in multi grain, be it sliced, flat breads, foccacia, Panini or a sub, plain, toasted or grilled. Light options filled with fresh veggies and greens like lettuce and watercress are easy to prepare at home but in case you are out and feel like bringing one home, there are a lot of places around town that do scrumptious sandwiches, you could opt to have one assembled to your choice or select from a wide range of vegetarian or non-vegetarian fillings. Try Mocha, Candies, Just around the corner, Theobromas, Which Latte or just stop by your local sandwich wala for the most satisfying desi option true Bombay (Mumbai) Style!

But I am always impressed most by the Salad; this is one dish that has come a long way from being just diet food to a light summer meal. Easy and quick to make, healthy and tasty to eat, light on the stomach in the scorching heat and yet filling enough to keep you going till your next meal. Salads offer endless variety, but summer usually calls for fresh salads full of as many greens as possible in light non creamy dressings. A salad plate or salad buffet has become a meal that is increasingly popular. Salad bars at restaurants around the city are full of salad converts. With so much variety one can never get bored there’s always something new that can be tried. And for those in the mood for something sweet, fresh fruits come at the top of the list. Had on their own or chopped up and mixed with yogurt or for the sinners with whipped cream on top. Look for salad counters at all the major hotels as part of the lunch or dinner buffets, but look out for restaurants like Candies, Just Round the Corner and Pizza Hut, they have lovely salad bars as well. And Nature’s Basket our favourite foodie haunt has ready to eat salads as well as a great stock of fresh veggies and greens and a huge range of ready to use dressings to toss up yummy bowlfuls with.

And Wash it all down with Indian delights like nimbu pani, aam panna, kokum sherbet, nariyal paani, sugarcane juice, jal jeera and fresh fruit juices. Try adding herbs to fresh fruit juices for a whole new dimension; fresh mint and/or ginger in watermelon juice, basil leaves in pineapple juice with a squeeze of lime or try mixing orange juice and nimbu paani for a delightful refresher. And if these don’t appeal cold coffees, thick shakes, iced teas, granitas and coolers offer other cool options on offer at cafes or at home.

Do tell us what are your favourite summer meals, drinks and activities by leaving comments here or on the APB Facebook Fanpage

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