Better Limeade and Mango Salad with Sweet mint Pesto

I am a little sad that Gilt Taste closed down.   More than the high-end grocery shopping that the site offered, I was more drawn to the recipes and the stories.  Well, at least as of now, I do not see any way of going back to those sections.   I however did try some of the recipes that I liked from the site, the most recent being yesterday.  However, like my most of the other recipes, I had my own variations and substitutions.

Better Limeade based on Ruth Reichl’s: How to make a better lemonade article on Gilt Taste.  

For me the basic component of the entire recipe that makes it a super hit is the sugar syrup. I have been making lime and lemonades for many years before, but never this way and this is decidedly a really better tasting method.


  • Juice from 2 large Lime/Lemon
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Mint leaves (optional)


  • Make the sugar syrup- dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 3/4 cup of water and heat till the water is clear.
  • Turn off the heat, zest the lime/lemon and let it cool. (this can be stored in the refrigerator upto a week)
  • Add the lime juice to the water (use water per your taste and how tangy you want the drink to be).
  • Stir in sugar syrup, mix well.
  • Serve over ice and garnish with mint leaves.Image

Mango with Sweet mint pesto

This was one of the recipes on the Gilt taste that was on my must try list.  Francis Lam has a funny and witty way of telling his stories and I have always enjoyed his recipes.  The original recipe calls for using ripe peaches.  I am sure it would taste great with peaches but for now, I have abundance of mangoes in my pantry and decided to give it a try.  Turns out I was not wrong to try.  It was delicious.  I have already decided to use it as a dessert for my guests sometime. A healthier option for sure and an interesting twist to your everyday fruit.

For the Sweet mint pesto.

  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Almonds ( as in the original recipe). I used cashew nuts for this one.
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice.


  • Toast the nuts lightly.  Pulverize them in a processor.
  • Add mint leaves and make into a coarse paste.
  • Add lemon juice and olive oil.  Add the salt and the sugar.
  • Make sure that it is not too pasty, you would want the pesto to be able to coat all of your fruit.

The Salad:

  • Cut the mangoes into 2 inch pieces.  Arrange them in a dish.  Zest lemon all over and shake well.
  • Add the sweet mint pesto and rub evenly with your hands.
  • Chill the salad for 30 min and serve.Image

Carrot and Orange Soup

Winning points for this soup- bright, refreshing, filling and healthy.   I admit when I first heard of this soup, I was a little apprehensive about using orange juice.  I must say, that was the best part of the soup.


Source: Anne Sheasby: Fat-free Vegetarian


  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 sprig of cilantro with stems intact
  • 1 lb carrots, sliced
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • Orange rind-grated
  • Orange juice from 2 oranges
  • 1/2 tsp of grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Melt butter in a large pan. Add finely chopped cilantro stem, carrots and stir well, coating the vegetables with the butter.
  • Cover and cook for about 10 min, until vegetables are soft.
  • Add the stock, orange juice and the rind.  Add nutmeg powder, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to boil, reduce the heat.  Cover and simmer for about 40 min, till tender.
  • Cool and process the soup in a blender.
  • Return to heat and add yogurt. Reheat gently, stirring.
  • Ladle the soup into bowl and top off with a dollop of yogurt and garnish with cilantro.


Pistachio & Rose Syrup Oranges

The original recipe from Anne Sheasby’s cookbook “Fat-free Vegetarian” uses rose water for this Middle Eastern dessert.  I substituted rose water for rose syrup (a slightly more concentrated and sweeter version).    A refreshing twist to the routine peeling of oranges and certainly makes it more interesting.

Pista Rose oranges


  • 3 large oranges
  • 2 Tbsp Rose water/Syrup in my case
  • 2 Tbsp of  pistachio nuts- roughly chopped


  • Slice the top and bottom off the oranges to expose the flesh.  Using a serrated knife, slice down between the pith and flesh, around the fruit, to remove all the peel and the bitter pith.  Slice into regular sized rounds.  Save the juice you get while cutting the oranges.
  • Once all the oranges are cut, arrange them in a serving dish.  Mix the reserved juice with the syrup and drizzle over the cut oranges.
  • Cover with a clear wrap and chill for about 30 min.
  • Sprinkle the choppoed pistachio nuts before serving.


Note:  You could get some more flavor by sprinkling cardamom powder along with the nuts.




Simple mixed vegetable rice salad

I am back after a much needed break.   My ill-health last few days has resulted in an incredible increase on unwanted weight ( I am not kidding when I say, I put on close to 11 pounds in a week, not at all good, I know).  I feel much better right now and have decided it is time to let go of the extra pounds that I gained.

Let the “diet” begin 🙂

This particular recipe is easy to make, colorful and quite wholesome by itself.


  • 1 cup long grain rice (I used Basmati)
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • Corainder
  • 2 medium tomatoes- skinned and chopped
  • Salt and pepper- to taste


From the original recipe:

  • 6 Tbsp low-fat French or Tomato Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • Place the dressing and mustard in a screw top jar and mix well.

Note:  I used my own tomato home-made dressing:

  • Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet, add mustard seeds, let them splutter, add chopped tomato and a handful of coriander.  Cook till soft, add some salt and red chilli powder and blend till smooth.


  • Cook the rice in a pan of lightly salted boiled water for 10 min until tender but not overly cooked.
  • Drain the rice, rinse under cold running water and drain again.  Cool completely
  • Place rice in a large serving bowl.  Add the chopped vegetables.
  • Stir the dressing into the rice and adjust seasoning per taste.Untitled 7