Smoothies and juices
Juices of one sort or another have been enjoyed for millennia, and shakes have been indulged in for decades, but the growing fascination with juicing and blending is something else again. Maybe this smoothies and juices obsession is triggered by our growing interest in health and nutrition and the desire to improve our consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, or because we’ve realized there’s more to liquid refreshment than a carton of orange juice. Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that homemade smoothies, juices and blends are one of the most exciting things happening in today’s kitchens.
The fast-moving world of kitchen technology has produced a vast range of affordable juicers, blenders and food processors that are all perfect for creating sumptuous, mouthwatering concoctions in your own home. No longer do we need to trek out to the health food store or juice bar for a freshly brewed smoothies and juices, or feel restricted by the selection of hum drum juices on the supermarket shelves. If you fancy a glass of carrot, apple and orange juice, a shot of beetroot (beet) juice or a banana and mango smoothie, all you need to do is step into the kitchen, open the refrigerator and in a few minutes you can have the drink of your dreams at your fingertips.
The improved availability of seasonal and exotic ingredients has also opened up a whole range of possibilities to the smoothies and juices enthusiast. Once unusual or rarely available fruits, vegetables and flavourings can now be found on most supermarket shelves, often all year round. Juicing and blending can really make the most of these ingredients, bringing them together and turning them into fabulous fusions of flavour.
Modern juice extractors can squeeze the liquid and flavour from almost any fruit and vegetable in a matter of seconds. Provided you consume these juices almost as soon as you’ve made them, the incredible injection of vitamins and minerals that they offer is incomparable. The nutrients contained within fresh, raw fruits and vegetables also include valuable antioxidants that have the most incredible health-promoting potential. Oxidation is now recognized as one of the main reasons for aging and is thought to cause a number of serious diseases and illnesses, so antioxidants really should be on everyone’s daily list of must-have nutrients.
Eating a diet with a high proportion of fresh fruits and vegetables can effectively decelerate the aging process and help prevent many of the life-threatening diseases that you’re more likely to encounter as you get older — and juicing is one of the simplest ways to increase your consumption of fruit and vegetables. So the moral of the story is clear: drink more fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies and juices and you’ll have a healthier, happier body. Just sip these wonder fluids and you can almost taste their goodness in the fresh, clean, cleansing flavours.
In terms of short-term benefits, juicing and blending is a fast, fun and easy way to enjoy all your favourite flavours. Blending fruits with chilled yogurt, honey, milk, seeds and nuts can be amazingly quick, yet tastes great. The speed with which you can whip up these drinks makes them perfect for breakfast, or for quenching your thirst at any time of day. Just make sure you’ve got a good supply of raw ingredients chilling in the refrigerator so you can get blending whenever the mood takes you.
Don’t be put off by the thought of all that peeling, chopping and preparation. Most ingredients need minimal preparation so the smoothies and juices can be ready to drink in a matter of minutes. From breakfast to bedtime, these delicious blends will offer the most fantastic liquid refreshment in an instant.
In the comfort zone
There are few things as wonderful as sitting back, relaxing and spoiling yourself with an edible treat just for the pure pleasure of it. A luxuriously creamy blended drink can be the perfect accessory to relaxation. Curl up on the sofa, or snuggle down in bed, with a freshly made juice or an indulgently rich smoothie or shake, and wallow in its divine taste and texture. Comfort drinks like these can be a total tonic and a fabulous way to escape from the manic pace of everyday life, transporting you into your own little oasis of calm.
Think of the most indulgent blend of smooth and succulent tropical fruits or the thickest, creamiest milkshake topped with scoops of vanilla ice cream — the sort you enjoyed as a child but somehow thought you should have grown out of. Imagine the tangiest, gloopiest fruit concoction, so thick that you need a spoon to drink it. Ingredients such as toffee and banana, rum and raisin, fragrant Turkish delight and melting milk chocolate make these drinks taste like they’ve been made in heaven — totally indulgent, definitely decadent and utterly irresistible.