Wedge of Orange

Another hot afternoon finds me waiting at the bus stop looking up at the hot sky with not a cloud in sight. The simple joys of my school days come back to me as i try to make the most of my melting orange popsicle – my frail solace against the blazing sun. Orange against orange, the smaller one melting its way to defeat but not without giving me cool respite. Like most children i used to wait for the school bell to ring, so that i could go and get one. The ice candy man became our pit stop, for last minute chit-chat on the way home after school. Life has changed a lot from those carefree days, but some things stick with you – my love for orange ices being one of them.

One cold morning about a hundred and seven years ago, 11 year old Frank Epperson woke up to find that he had invented the Popsicle. Forgetful Frank had left his fruit flavoured soda outside on the porch with a stir stick in it. Overnight, the drink froze to the stick and Voilà! the Popsicle was born.

It’s a paradox that while the orange is a winter fruit, its this tangy burst of flavour and colour that you thirst for on a hot summers day. Take a thick bite of the ice (only the very brave can do that) and an electric sensation creeps up from your jaw to the temple – that’s the numbing pain of the “brain freeze”. Drawing from a wealth of personal experience, i’d say that this is the mind forgetting all else and focusing its attention on getting the most of Vitamin O. As the coolness spreads,you feel the oppressive heat of the day melting away.

As i board the bus juggling popsicle, mobile, purse and person – a golden trickle drips on to my shirt. As i knit my brows, a small voice inside me pipes up ‘what would life be without orange popsicles?’

and i think to myself ‘blue..very blue…’

Shweta 🙂

Edge of blackness

Last week i had my socks knocked off when a friend brewed me a cup of the short black from some freshly ground coffee beans. I said ‘so long’ to the tripe that i used to down thinking ‘ah, black Coffee’. This, my friends, is the real McCoy.

‘Ho humm’ i said to myself like martin luther king once might have, “I must do something to help my fellow brethren who‘d be swilling the same wretched, vapid stuff. No more…!’ said i (quoting him again) and without much ado sat down to digitise my thoughts on this doubtless weighty issue.

So…

Let me acquaint you with the process of making a really satisfying cup of black coffee.

I have a bag of waitrose coffee – medium dark roasted beans, with a strength of 4. These numbers probably vary across manufacturers, essentially they reflect the degree of roasting that the bean has undergone. These can range from mild – rated 1, through medium to espresso to an extreme roast which may be rated 6. The particular one i have is a medium roast with a wonderful aroma and flavour and it’s not too bitter either.

An interesting side note – Dark roasted coffee has a lower caffeine content compared to light roasted coffee because roasting lowers caffeine content. Therefore a single shot of espresso may actually have lesser caffeine than your regular cup of drip brewed coffee ;). However other factors also weigh in, like the type of coffee plant – arabica or robusta etc.. More on that over here :  link

Now getting back to the business of making a cuppa, i put in about a tea spoon and a half of freshly ground coffee (every 3-4 days i grind about a fistful of beans and store it in an airtight container – why? ) into the phin coffee filter which holds about 180 ml. Now pour water that is just off the boil and fill to the brim.

The water seeps through the grounds and ends up in the cup in a matter of 2-3 minutes. Add a bit of sugar if you like, but not much since it veils the true taste of the fiery fluid. In case you don’t have a filter you can always use a filter paper cone or a strainer lined with muslin. and if you want to be really adventurous and add that cowboy touch, use your sock for extra flavour and aroma!

I’m a die-hard tea drinker, but must admit – this here is one hell of a persuader, almost.

– raghu