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Cooling Summer Recipes

January 3, 2010

Last month on a whim I decided to treat myself to a yoga retreat. It was such an amazing weekend spent in the Cedarberg doing yoga, meditation, pranayama, yoga nidra and just relaxing. Apart from the great yoga, what made the weekend super special were the beautiful dishes Veena prepared for us every day. I was so amazed by the wonderful flavours that I asked if she would be willing to share some of her favourite quick and cooling summer dishes in our January newsletter. And yes she agreed!
What I love about the recipes below is that they are quick and easy to prepare with no major cooking – perfect for summer!
Enjoy them all!
Namasté Nina

Nimbu Pani (Lemonade)

This is an amazing drink that not only cools one down nicely but at the same time works at re-hydrating the body especially if one has spent too much time in the summer sun.


  • 5 lemons juiced
  • ½ cup of fresh mint leaves
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger paste
  • Jaggery (raw Indian sugar – available at your local Indian grocer)
  • 1 grated apple
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1 litre filter water


  1. Blend mint leaves with ½ cup of lemon juice
  2. Mix all ingredients together and serve well-chilled


Chilled Cucumber Soup


  • 1 cucumber peeled and diced
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 150ml tomato juice
  • 150ml low fat yogurt
  • 150 ml cream
  • 2 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Blend cucumber until smooth
  2. Add remaining ingredients
  3. Chill for 2-3 hours before serving


Couscous Salad


  • 1 cup couscous or quinoa prepared as per instructions
  • 1 cup steamed whole chickpeas
  • 1 de-seeded and finally chopped red pepper
  • 1 de-seeded and finally chopped yellow pepper
  • 1 de-seeded and finally chopped green pepper
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 1 medium tomato diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin or coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Mix all ingredients well and refrigerate until served


About Veena Vassen:
I attended my first Art of Living course in 1998 and over the years have done several more. The wonderful teachings of Guruji led to changes in all aspects of my life including my diet, which gradually changed to vegetarian. This was not a difficult transition for me as part of my family has always been vegetarian and vegetarian cooking was part of everyday cooking.

Others however who have changed to a vegetarian diet often find themselves at a loss as to what to eat, some existing only on salads, pasta and cheese sandwiches. My son and daughter-in-law, who are both Art of Living teachers, suggested that I share my knowledge with those who wanted to know more about a healthy vegetarian diet.

Thus begun my vegetarian cooking course. It is a basic course which covers the various categories of food. While it is not a strictly Ayurvedic cookery course, I tried to follow the broad principals. It is held over five Saturday mornings, each dedicated to a particular aspect of food. It is based largely but not entirely on Indian cuisine. I provide the spices and ingredients needed to start your cooking immediately as I realise how daunting it is to go out and look for them.

My involvement with the Yoga Retreat at Gecko Retreat began approximately two years ago. My daughter-in-law, Gerlinde, began it with my daughter Priya and they need someone to cook! It was inevitable that I would be drawn in. What a wonderful experience it has been. The Cedarberg Mountains are a magical and sacred space and once you enter it you literally feel yourself leave the baggage of the every day behind.

Contact Veena Vassen for cooking course in CT: 084 657 5584 / 021 696 5879

Have you got healthy yummy recipes that you would like to share with our readers in the next newsletter? If you do, send them to

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