Mint & tea sorbet

DSC_0722Since the gods are being all sorts of unkind with the sun, what with the blazing rays and scorching heat, it’s only natural to pour in copious amounts of coolants into your body, without skimping on the sugar.

This is where sorbets come into existence. Like feathery ice, kissing the insides of your mouth ever so daintily, melting softly on your tongue; sending shivers of exquisite chill to your temples. The flavours are so delicate that you’re forced to down a few dozen scoopfuls, before you realize you’re a being surreptitiously iced. Lighter than air, frozen sweets, they are like the elegant cousins to boisterous ice creams and much too easy to make.

Easier still if you have an ice cream/sorbet machine/maker, because making these sans modern contraptions takes away the chill factor from the sorbets, and you’re left churning semi frozen liquid every hour of the day, and we are not here for that. NO!

It’s about making life comfortable sometimes, and summers aren’t for survival of the self righteous. Summers are to chill, and that’s exactly what this sorbet is about. Accentuated with cool vibes of mint and earthy tones of tea, this is easier than going out to buy a frozen ice treat.



I didn’t lay out ingredients this time, because this is much too easy. This is the beginning of a simple syrup. Sugar + water that you bring to a boil till all sugar is dissolved.



like so. It’s hot, really hot so don’t go around poking your fingers in.



throw in a pinch of salt.



and fistfuls of mint, and a tea bag.


cover and let it steep for half an hour



fish out the tea bag and add in some lemon juice. Let it cool completely and transfer to a fridge for a few hours or overnight. The flavours mingle and intensify in the syrup.




I let mine stay in the fridge overnight and the next day the mint leaves were weepy and the liquid was a fabulous murky brown.



sieve into a clean bowl



bring out the heavy machinery and we are en route to making joy



turn on the machine, pour in the minty tea syrup (as per your machine instructions)



a few seconds in and you can see the early beginnings of snow



churning into polar beginnings of your personal sorbet



twelve minutes in, and the syrup was a sweet scrunched ice berg



the glacial quality of this bowl was an indication enough to stop. Took about fifteen minutes.



This sorbet right here, in its most sherbet form is good enough to eat, but not quite frozen to the point you could scoop.



transfer to a freezer safe container for a firmer consistency and freeze for a few hours. I let mine gestate for about four hours.



scoop and serve.


Water: 800 mls (3 cups)

Sugar: 350 g (1.1/5 cup)

Mint leaves : 1 cup

lemon juice: 90mls (5 tbsp)

1 tea bag



Prepare a simple syrup with water and sugar by dissolving them in a sauce pan over medium heat until sugar has dissolved into the water.

To the syrup add in mint leaves and tea bag. Cover and let steep for half an hour.

Discard the tea bag and add lemon juice into the mixture. Once its completely cooled, transfer to a fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Strain the now chilled mixture and pour into ice cream maker according to machine to instructions.


Transfer sorbet into a freezer safe container for firmer consistency.








Love letters.

DSC_0923How could you ever go wrong eating something so melodiously lyrical and so dramatically picturesque? These bountiful babies are rather romantically called love letters, and why not! Gracefully golden and poetically charged as they are, these fattened cigars are also tastefully sublime.

These happen to be a very popular Keralan tea time snack, of which rather embarrassingly though, I got to know of very recently through a dear friend I met on twitter called Febin Mathew, who also happens to be a fantastic writer and runs a wonderfully whimsical blog called ( or you can check out his writings here

Love letters, as gorgeous as they sound are really just thin crepes that are filled in with coconuts and sugar.

DSC_0879m copythe ingredients are simple enough. Sugar, desiccated coconut. flour, egg and cardamom pods.

DSC_0881this recipe requires cardamom powder and its a good practice to make some from scratch rather than buying the dried up bottled stuff. All you really need is a mortar and pestle.

DSC_0882to make a somewhat fine powder.

DSC_0883into a bowl, dump in your flour

DSC_0884crack in the egg and get mixing.

DSC_0885somewhere here I realized I should have used a bigger bowl, but a bit of mess never hurt anyone. we need a thin batter and an egg alone won’t thin it.

DSC_0886add in water, a little at a time to make a thin consistency. I ended up adding about 100mls of water, that is about 6-7 tablespoons

DSC_0889this is the consistency we are looking for. It should be thin and pourable, with no visible lumps.

DSC_0894add in about 3/4ths of the cardamom powder. Mix well and keep aside.

DSC_0895now this step is entirely optional and not a part of the authentic recipe, but I like to do it. Take a good heaping tablepsoon of vanilla sugar.

DSC_0896and half the sugar of this recipe and put it in a pot over slow flame.

DSC_0899until it very lightly caramelizes and just starts turning golden.

DSC_0900at which point we add in the remaining cardamom powder.

DSC_0901and all the desiccated coconut

DSC_0902turn off the flame and stir it all in. Put this mixture in a grinder and grind it for a couple of seconds.

DSC_0905and you’ll get this. It’ll have faint whiffs of caramel, vanilla and cardamom.

DSC_0906mix in the remaining sugar and reserve for stuffing.

DSC_0907put your pan on a low medium flame and add a dollop of butter/ghee. I’ve added ghee as per the recipe.

DSC_0908tilt it well to coat evenly.

DSC_0909take a ladle full of your batter.

DSC_0910gently on to the pan

DSC_0911spread as thinly as possible.

DSC_0912it will start cooking the moment it touches the surface

DSC_0913flip to cook the other side.

DSC_0916filling these crepes is fairly simple.

DSC_0917put a good heaping mound in the middle

DSC_0918fold over from the top and from the sides, like so

DSC_0919and like so.

DSC_0920and finally fold over to make neat little packages.

DSC_0922arrange on platter of choice.

DSC_0924sprinkle on some castor sugar and sigh a little, because this might be your only chance at receiving any love letters, and devour them with milk, coffee, tea or just plain.

DSC_0929this is what the insides look like.


all purpose flour : 100g or 3/4 cup

cardamom powder: 2 teaspoons

sugar: 80g or 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

desiccated coconut: 100g

water: 100mls about 1/2 cup

butter/ghee: 1 tablespoon

Preparation instructions:  make a thin batter from flour, egg and milk. Add in 3/4ths the cardamom powder and reserve.

In a saucepan, lightly caramelize the vanilla sugar and half of the sugar from the recipe. Just as it starts melting and turns light golden, turn off the flame and in remaining cardamom powder, and the desiccated coconut and mix. Grind this mixture and reserve.

In a non stick pan, melt the butter/ghee over a low medium flame and pour a ladle full of the prepared batter. Spread evenly to form a thin crepe and flip to cook the other side.

For filling, lay out the crepe and put a heaping mound in the middle. Fold over 1/4 of the top, then fold from both sides to pack and finally fold over from the top again to make a roll.

Sprinkle with castor sugar and serve warm.






Lemon meringue pie


This is the official dessert served to all sinners in hell. It’s also known as crack for angels! This slice of sunny gold is actually all the happiness in the world bound into a pie. It’s sweet, lemony, buttery and guilt inducing. Guilt you would happily live with, guilt that would never weigh on your conscience, guilt that would force you to commit this sin over and over again. Lemon meringue pie is also a perfect substitute for love and all those carnal pleasure everyone keeps raving about.

This is a time-consuming recipe, but that does not mean it is difficult. It’s easy and the time that takes making this is more than worth it, because time hasn’t eaten this and if it had, time wouldn’t be such an ass at times.

So let’s get the basic first!

DSC_0992this pie has three parts. The bottom pie crust which is like the tissues & the muscle fibres of a body, then it has the lemon filling which is like the soul of a body and finally the meringue which is like skin and makeup. So there you have it. This is easy stuff! let us begin

DSC_0906Pie crust ingredients: flour, water, butter, sugar and salt.

DSC_0908Make sure the butter is very cold and cut into cubes. Then into a bowl with the flour, sugar and salt we need to work the butter into the flour until it resembles fat breadcrumbs. you can either use a food processor/pastry cutter/fork or just use your finger tips and mush the butter and flour together, making sure the butter stays cold at all times.

DSC_0910this is what you want it to look like. Form this into a dough by putting in a tablespoon water at a time until it comes together to form a dough. DO NOT KNEAD!! we don’t want any gluten formation. using a spoon or a butter knife make criss cross actions until you feel the dough starts clumping at which time you shall stop and very gently with your hands form into a ball.

DSC_0913Like so!

DSC_0915Divide into two parts, Wrap them in cling film and stick into the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.

I do not have the rolling out pictures of the dough because my hands were greasy and floury but it’s very easy.

You only need one dough ball for this. Freeze the other one for the next time you want to make a pie.Once you’ve retrieved the dough from the fridge just roll it out on a lightly floured surface and keep rotating it so that it doesn’t stick on the platform. Once it’s the size of your pie tin, you need to lay it on to fit and cut the excess from the edges.

Another simple way it to break small balls off your dough and line them in the pie tray and with the back of a glass just flatten them evenly so that all the sides are covered with the dough.

DSC_0919Once you’ve lined the pie crust in the pie tin, poke some holes into it so that it doesn’t rise while baking. We are going to blind bake this pie crust, which simply means this..

DSC_0920Line your poked pie crust with aluminum foil and fill with beans/rice or pie weights if you happen to have them. This will ensure that there is no silly rising in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes

DSC_0922After 15 minutes let the pie crust out and let cool.

Now for phase 2

DSC_0924The soul of the pie: Lemon filling. You don’t need egg whites for this but you need them for the meringue, also I forgot to mention that you also need some butter (not pictured) because it’s forever alone okay?

DSC_0927Into thick bottomed sauce pan, add the sugar and the corn flour/ corn starch whatever you call in your part of the world.

DSC_0929Mix to combine

DSC_0931add water

DSC_0932lemon juice

DSC_0934On a low flame start mixing without stopping for even a second. Thou shalt not stop, no matter what. Keep stirring with a whisk, your arms will be sore but the pie will be delicious.

DSC_0939After a few minutes of whisking CONTINUOUSLY this is what will happen. It’s called magic. The corn starch/flour will form this..

DSC_0938This is what you want!

DSC_0940Put a spoonful of this hot mess into your egg yolks to temper them. You don’t want lemony scrambled eggs, so do this!

DSC_0942Put these tempered eggs back into the saucepan where we have some weird magic going, and now look at this transform

DSC_0943Very quickly add in the zest and the butter (not pictured, it’s forever alone).

DSC_0945Whisk, whisk and whisk. Keep the flame low.

DSC_0947Lift your whisk and admire your handiwork, Turn off the flame and keep it aside to cool for a bit.

Let’s get on to forming the skin & makeup of this pie.. I mean the meringue. Feel like a god!

DSC_0949Egg whites and a faithful beater

DSC_0950Beat till it’s all foamy, and add in sugar

DSC_0952Keep beating until it looks like this. It resembles whipped cream, but it is actually whipped eggs! The should look nice & shiny ok?


DSC_0954Lemon filling into the pie crust now completely cooled.

DSC_0955Even it a bit

DSC_0956Top with the meringue.

DSC_0960Take a good look. I made pretty peaks!! Push into an oven and wait patiently.

DSC_0962Once the meringue is nicely browned you know it’s done. Pull it out and let it COOL COMPLETELY! you have to wait for at least 2-3 hours before you push this in your mouth. The cooling step is absolutely essential if you want an awesome pie, and as I mentioned that wait is worth it. I went out for a movie while it cooled. Just giving you some ideas..

DSC_0967And once it’s cooled you can slice it and bathe in it.

DSC_0989This is how it looks from the top

DSC_0994and from the side. If you want to know what it tasted like, then let me tell you that you’d want to take it to bed with you.

Make it this weekend.


For the pie crust

Flour 350 g

Sugar 1 tablespoon

Salt 1 tablespoon

Butter 200 g (cold & cubed)

Cold water 3-4 tablespoon

For the lemon filling

 3 Egg yolks

sugar 100 g

cornflour/corn starch 5 tablespoons

Butter 30 g

Lemon juice 4 tablespoons

Lemon zest 1 teaspoon


3 Egg whites

Sugar 50 g

Recipe Into a large bowl sift in the flour, salt and sugar and add the very cold butter and work into the flour until the flour resembles fat crumbs. You can also process it. Add one tablespoon water at a time until the dough just comes together or starts clumping. Do not add too much water to the dough.

Divide the dough into two balls and wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. I use only one dough ball since my pie tin is 6 inches and freeze the rest for next time.

Roll the dough on a floured surface making sure it doesn’t stick to the surface, rotating every few seconds helps. Line in the pie tin and cut off the extra from the edges.

Make holes all over using a fork and line with aluminum foil weighing down with beans or weights. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180℃ for 15-18 minutes. Remove the foil and let it cool.

Lemon Filling: In a heavy bottomed sauce pan add the sugar, corn starch, water and lemon juice. Whisk continuously over a low flame until it starts coming together and looks weirdly congealed.

Take a spoonful of this mixture and add into the egg yolks to temper them.

Add the now tempered egg yolks into the sugar mixture and whisk again, adding the butter and the lemon zest. keep whisking for another few minutes until the mixture is hot and then remove from the flame and let cool slightly.

Meringue: Into a very clean bowl, beat the egg whites to form a somewhat foamy mixture and gradually add in the sugar and keep beating until it starts resembling shiny whipped cream and holds peaks.

Assembly: Fill the pie crust with the lemon filling and smooth it out evenly. Top with the meringue and bake at 170℃ for 30- 35 minutes or until the top starts browning.

Let cool completely for at least 2-3 hours before slicing.