It was boiling hot here in Toronto last week. No, seriously! It really was! No one outside Canada ever believes how hot it can get here. But it was like a sauna out there. In fact Wednesday’s temperatures broke some record set in 1949. The weather people even issued a humidex alert and the city of Toronto opened a few air conditioned centers for weary folks to cool down when it got just too hot to be outdoors. Again, I kid you not! And lest you think this is the desi-living-in-phoren syndrome where the NRIs complain of the heat and dust, let me assure you, it isn’t. Even my cousin, who is a pakka Bambaiyya and has come to Michigan (a measly 350 kms from here) for a month, expressed shock at how hot it was.
Now the heat doesn’t affect me so much, since I am sitting at home these days, hunting for a job and waiting like a good little wife for her husband to come home. But when he gets home, he turns the house upside down cribbing about the heat, cranking up the cooling and turning on fans full blast. And this on normal days when it isn’t even that hot. So when the heat wave set in last week, I thought I’d have something cool and spiffy waiting for him when he’d step in.
Luckily, the preceding weekend hadn’t been very hot and I had gone strawberry picking with friends in this amazing farm and had come home with loads and loads of strawberries. Of course, much of the haul went into the freezer, so I’m guaranteed good strawberries for the next few months. But at least a third of the pickings were for immediate consumption (indeed, we’re still making our way through them).
So I decided to make this pink strawberry lemonade (something else that reminded me of out perfect anniversary vacation at the Bed and Breakfast since our hostess had served us this lovely cool drink). I’m sure you’re all going awwww right now, thinking what a good wife I am, having chilled homemade lemonade ready for my husband when he comes home after a hot commute. Well, it didn’t quite happen that way. I started too late, didn’t have any ice in the freezer, didn’t realise just how long it takes to squeeze enough lemon juice when you’re using just your hands, and how long it takes for the lemonade to be chilled. Hrrrrrmmphhh! Well, to cut a long story short, we had the lemonade about an hour and a half after Tanmoy got back home. I still say, its the intention that counts.
Prep time : 20 mins
Serves : 6
WHAT YOU NEED :
3 large Lemons, juiced
1 cup Strawberries, hulled and halved
1/3 cup Sugar
1.5 litre water
Salt to taste
WHAT YOU DO:
- Add the sugar to a cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then simmer untill the sugar is completely dissolved and reduce the water somewhat. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Take the lemon juice in a small bowl. Take a fine metal sieve (I used a fine tea strainer), place a strawberry half cut side down in it and using the back of a metal spoon, push it through the sieve. Collect the drippings in the lemon juice bowl. Keep mashing the strawberry until all the juice is extracted. Mash at least three or four strawberries in this manner.
- In a large pitcher, mix strawberry-lemon juice, salt and the remaining water. Stir well, and gradually add the sugar syrup, tasting and adjusting salt or lemon juice or sugar as per preference.
- Add 3-4 lemon wedges, the remaining halved strawberries and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Serve over a a couple of ice-cubes.
Plan a little ahead of time and prepare at least a couple of hours before serving.