Could there be a better combination than that of books and food? For someone like me, it's a match made in heaven and quite early in my first year at DK India, I realized the foodie in me would be very well taken care of. I approve wholeheartedly of how we take our food very, very, very seriously. So naturally, when the DK Healthy Summer Treats kicked off 2015's very first food sale, I was right there, mixing and stirring with the best of them!
The run-up to the food sale was quite exciting – all that goes on behind the curtains: a whole lot of meetings, chains of emails, brainstorming, and participation. Everyone comes with their own set of ideas: is it to be glasses or clay cups? Should we do cold food or steaming hot? Won't finger food be better than cumbersome courses? And hey! What about the name?
The decision that the Healthy Summer Treats should definitely have a dash of “green” was taken quite early. It tied in beautifully with the DK Nature Walk plus, the blistering heat made it a no-brainer – Go Healthy! I mean, who would want to pick on greasy food in this searing 43° heat! Discourses on ingredients and meticulous menu planning kept us on the “healthy” track and many spent time trolling the World Wide Web for recipe substitutes.
Finally, there we were, armed with an array of pick-me-ups, salads and chilled mocktails... it had been a lot of work, running around to find fresh ingredients, the rushed morning decorations – I was up at one in the morning squeezing the juice from a kilo of lemons. That's like a million lemons, people! But in the end, when the crowds thins out and you look down at the table to see that all the glasses have been picked up, the feeling that sweeps over you... So gratifying!
But to tell you the truth, a gathering like Healthy Summer Treats is so much more than just an event around food. It is a celebration. It is lovely to see people bond over food, the laughter and smiles as they share a serving, the delight of that first bite, the relish of that first sip, to be among friends, share a chuckle in that photo booth before you go back to your workstation... such small things but so memorably beautiful.
Our Special Summer Sangria
My colleague, Tanvi, and I zeroed in on the Spanish party favourite – the sangria. The super-easy pomegranate sangria recipe in Vikas Khanna's Shaken & Stirred pulled us in. Anybody, and I mean anybody, even those who have never stepped into a kitchen, can make Khanna's two-step recipe blindfolded (provided they have passable chopping skills). But we tried our own little spin: kept to only two fruits to reduce cost (pineapple and mango, the quintessential summer fruits and our personal favourites were a natural choice) and used brown sugar instead of white. We made around 60 glasses but I'm giving you a much saner version of the recipe. for a little more than 1 litre sangria.
Remember, we deviated from Vikas Khanna's original – feel free to deviate from ours by using your own favourites. What you need to keep in mind is that soaking fruit in liquid will puff it up, so go with small square pieces. It's not very classy to be dipping fingers or spoons, or shaking the glass to get to the fruit. Another tip: you won't be in a gooey mess if you chop refrigerated mangoes.
Here's my recipe:
Pineapple (fresh or canned) – 2 cups diced
Mango – 2 cups diced
Pineapple Juice – 1/2 litre Tropicana 100%
Brown Sugar – 1/4 cup (You can use the syrup that comes with the canned pineapple slices)
Lemon juice – of 2-3 lemons
Mint – 10 small leaves (chopped)
Club Soda – 1/2 litre
So then! Mix all ingredients except the soda and mint. Soak the fruits in the juice for at least an hour. Ten minutes before serving, add the mint. Lastly, pour in the soda.
Voilà! The Pineman Sangria!
Appreciatively guzzled by a flattering number of people – many more than anticipated.