Showing posts with label Drinks and Cocktails. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drinks and Cocktails. Show all posts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday Tipples 03 / Tipsy Peach Iced Tea

drunken peach iced tea

I used to think of myself as strictly a coffee only girl, but things have definitely changed. I sometimes still have a coffee in the morning or if I'm out with friends, but I'm predominately a tea drinker these days!

I have a problem walking past T2, but an even bigger problem if I end up walking in. This photo only shows part of my collection *blush!* If you've been reading for a while, you'll know that I love tea in all manner of desserts, from earl grey ice cream to chai doughnuts, but I am always intrigued when I see tea used in cocktails.

Last summer I started making iced tea regularly because it was so delicious and refreshing, and I couldn't help but think that some kinds of tea would be awesome with a few shots of booze - because what isn't improved with booze, really? - and served as a pitcher cocktail.

drunken peach iced tea

The possibilities are endless of course - a fruity tisane with vodka, lemons and strawberry pieces, or a twist on the mint julep with peppermint tea, bourbon and fresh mint (I can tell you that this is in fact delicious!)

For this month's Thursday Tipples post, I experimented with a vanilla black tea combined with peaches, spiced rum, vodka and a little Cointreau, and it turned out even better than I'd hoped. This drink feels very summery because of the peaches, and I loved the subtle spices that came through from the tea and the rum.

So here's something to do this weekend... Make a big pitcher of tipsy iced tea and drink this with friends at sunset, sitting on the balcony or out in the backyard - perfect! You can thank me on Monday ;)

drunken peach iced tea


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thursday Tipples 02 / Pomegranate Gin Smash

pomegranate gin smash

I feel like a completely different person since I started working full time freelance. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love. Of course running my own business is brand new to me and fraught with all kinds of new challenges. I'm learning every single day. But the thing I love the most is setting my own schedule. Taking my laptop to work from anywhere and being able to sneak out for a short break at the beach in the afternoon when the mood strikes on a sunny day (!)

For the first time in a long time I feel like I'm actually getting to enjoy summer. And after a dip at the beach and a walk back up the hill, you need a refreshing sunset drink. Or perhaps you're looking for a Christmas or New Years Eve party starter? This second instalment in my Thursday Tipples series fits the bill perfectly.

pomegranate

I was a sort of late bloomer and only discovered gin last year. This resulted in a summer of gin where I drank quite a lot of G&T's. This year I'm branching out to try gin (my pick is Hendricks, I love it) with some of my favourite flavours like fresh pomegranate and mint. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this is only the second time I've used my cocktail shaker in the five or so years since I bought it, but I think that will all change over the next few months.

This drink is super refreshing and perfect on a sunny day. Tall, cold, a little bit tart from the pomegranate and lime, a little bit sweet, and looking very Christmassy too. It's easy to make, and definitely adaptable to use your favourite flavours. Enjoy!

What's your favourite summer drink? Tell me in the comments below!

pomegranate gin smash


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday Tipples 01 / DIY Rhubarb Berry Syrup and 2 Delicious Drinks

rhubarb berry fizz

Today I’m super excited to introduce a new monthly feature celebrating all things boozy called Thursday Tipples. I love cocktails (well that’s no secret) and I want to explore the world of making them at home with fresh, seasonal ingredients and share my experiments here.

To kick things off I bring you a homemade berry and rhubarb syrup that can be used in any number of delicious ways. I tried two - a fresh and fruity vodka fizz perfect for summer, and a creamy ice cream float that both kids and grown ups will love. I actually can’t pick a favourite between the two drinks, I really loved both of them! I think the syrup would also be lovely with gin or bourbon, or even just a splash of soda.

rhubarb berry spider

There’s something very nostalgic about a ‘Spider’ or ice cream float. It was always a special childhood treat, but boozed up versions for adults are having a bit of a resurgence lately, which I totally love! The best thing is that they’re so adaptable - you can use any kind of ice cream you like (I think strawberry would definitely be a winner, or maybe something homemade?) or try different fizzy drinks, like maybe ginger beer or pink lemonade, which Schweppes finally brought back here in Australia, and that makes me very happy!

Which one would you choose?


Friday, September 20, 2013

Spiced Dark & Stormy

spiced dark & stormy

Happy Friday everyone! Hope it's been a great week for all of you. It's been a little topsy turvy over here as my last day at work gets ever closer. Today I'm bringing you a twist on a classic cocktail that has been a favourite of mine for a while now - the Dark & Stormy.

I've also come to the conclusion that there are not nearly enough cocktail and drink recipes on this blog, which is pretty strange given how much I like to drink them. It's a serious situation that I'm going to give my full attention over the coming months. You're welcome.

spicy ginger syrup

I made a very easy and very versatile ginger syrup that I flavoured with fresh ginger, lots of chilli flakes and some coriander seeds. But keep in mind this recipe can be adapted in any number of ways depending on your preference for spices. The syrup will keep indefinitely stored in a sterilised glass bottle in the fridge - all the better for mixing up some cocktails on a whim. Or it would make a lovely little gift too!

And for some other great ideas for using your new homemade spicy ginger syrup, check out this great post from Design*Sponge. I also think it would be great with in cocktails with chilli vodka, Malibu, or Asian flavours like mint, coriander and lemongrass. Or keep it super simple and serve on ice with soda.

spiced dark & stormy

Making the cocktail itself couldn't be easier, as you can see above (who doesn't love an animated gif). Lots of ice and fresh lime, a dash of the syrup, a glug of Spiced Rum (I used Sailor Jerry's), top with ginger beer and give it a stir. Or make it in a large pitcher to share with your friends at the next BBQ.

It's a great refreshing and summery drink with a nice hit of ginger and the spice from the chilli coming in as an aftertaste. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

spiced dark & stormy


Monday, September 17, 2012

Salted Caramel and Bourbon Milkshakes

salted caramel & bourbon milkshake
I’m going to keep it short today, but oh so sweet. I had a little bit of caramel sauce leftover from another dessert and an extreme case of baking indecision over the weekend. I’m not sure what made me think of milkshakes, as I generally never drink them - unlike Steve, who finds it impossible to pass up ordering a milkshake or spider whenever he sees them on a café menu!

Then I remembered the Salted Caramel milkshake at Reuben Hills that he ordered when we visited for brunch and decided to try my own very grown-up sort of milkshake, because when I say caramel sauce, I don’t mean any old sauce. I mean Salted Caramel and Bourbon sauce. Oh yeah.

This milkshake is seriously indulgent. If you wanted to go all out you could use a homemade salted caramel ice cream too. As far as milkshakes go, I reckon it was one of the best I've ever had, although it was seriously rich and I couldn't finish it (!) but I know Steve would have loved it.

Hope everyone has a delicious week! xx

salted caramel & bourbon milkshake

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spiced Mulled Cider

spiced mulled cider
It's a very special week here on Spicy Icecream and I've got a lot in store for you, lovely readers!

Oh my, time has flown since I decided to start this blog, but here we are... five years later. Five whole years! I seriously can't believe it. I can hardly remember what I did on the weekends before I started spending them baking and photograhing. I’ve made some wonderful friends, shared so many wonderful meals, and so to celebrate, this week I’ll be posting five spiced up recipes over five days.

Warm spice recipes in the dead of winter is the perfect combination and I've had a lot of fun putting this series together. Even though it feels like I have barely any time in the kitchen these days, I still love the whole process of blogging – from coming up the recipe ideas (and often brainstorming them with other fab food bloggers) to making, photographing, writing about them, and then finally sharing them with you guys.

First up we have a seriously fabulous winter drink that I only discovered very recently at The Winery, but I couldn’t get enough! Mulled Cider is a great drink during cooler months, to warm you up from the inside out. Best yet, you can play around with the spices depending on your preference and even do a booze-free version with apple juice for the kids. I like cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves and a teensy bit of vanilla in mine, but perhaps some peppercorns, nutmeg or even some bay leaves would be nice too!

And as an added bonus, it will also make your whole house smell seriously amazing, like Christmas. I think it would also be delicious with pear cider too. I’ll be back tomorrow with another spicy recipe. Stay tuned!

spiced mulled cider

Friday, March 9, 2012

Boozy Lemonade

boozy lemonade

Friends, it’s been a lonnnng week. Work has been rather hectic, I can feel the beginnings of a cold starting to sap my energy, and let’s not even start on the weather Sydney’s been having! But you know what they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But some weeks are so trying that lemonade isn’t enough, so I boozed it up. It is Friday, afterall.

The inspiration for this recipe actually came from a bar called Fringe in Paddington that I used to frequent almost every Thursday night after work with my cousin. We’d order pizzas and jugs of the Lynchberg Lemonade, which was everything you’d want lemonade to be – super refreshing, sweet, and deceptively boozy. Until that sad day, when it was taken off the menu, and the cocktail jugs that replaced it were never quite as good.

boozy lemonade

I recently set about recreating it from memory, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out! Feel free to play around with the ratios of ingredients, and make it as boozy or sweet as you like. I think this would also be great for any BBQ’s or garden parties you may be planning before summer slips away entirely.

Have a lovely weekend, guys! I’ll see you back here with another tasty recipe on Monday!

boozy lemonade

Boozy Lemonade
Inspired by the Lynchberg Lemonade at The Fringe Bar in Paddington
Makes 2L

• 3 lemons, juiced
• 2 or 3 shots vodka
• 2 or 3 shots whisky (I used Jack Daniels)
• 1 shot Cointreau
• Sugar syrup, to taste (recipe here)
• Ice, lemonade and lemon slices, to serve

Pour lemon juice, vodka, whisky, Cointreau and sugar syrupinto a 2 litre jug and give a little stir with a long spoon. Add ice, lemonade and lemon slices. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if desired. Serve immediately.

PS, thanks Steph for my lovely vintage citrus juicer!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Candy Cane Spiders + 13 Ways with Candy Canes!

candy cane spider

Well well, it’s Christmas Eve Eve. Most of us are finishing up work for the year and finishing off preparations for a big weekend of celebrating! Hopefully you’re nearly finished all your shopping, but if you’re still stuck on what to make for Christmas dessert, hopefully this post will help! I thought I’d get into the festive spirit with a pepperminty round up of Christmassy recipes featuring candy canes!

candy-cane-title.jpg
I had a lot of fun putting this together because it’s such a great chance to see how creative other bloggers can be! From show-stopping cakes to gorgeous homemade gifts and celebratory cocktails, I never realized how versatile those red and white striped candies could be.

bake-it.jpg
13 Ways with Candy Canes
Picture Credits: Tartelette & Gourmet Traveller

1. One of my favourite bakers, and macaron maker extraordinaire Tartelette baked up some gorgeous Candy Cane Macarons, which I think are totally stunning. Her detailed recipe also makes macarons seem a little less scary!

2. If you’re a more experienced (or adventurous!) macaron maker, you could attempt Adriano Zumbo’s Candy Cane Macarons. Red and white mixture is marbled together and actually piped into candy cane shapes! They’re absolutely beautiful but I think I’ll leave this one to the experts! The caramelized candy cane ganache filling sounds wonderful though.

13 Ways with Candy Canes
Picture Credits: Cake and Allie & My Recipes

3. Out of all the Candy Cane Cupcake recipes out there, this one from Cake and Allie has to be one of the most beautiful. I love the marbled red and white frosting!

4. This amazing Candy Cane Cake would absolutely steal the show at Christmas lunch! Coated with pulverized candy cane pieces, I think it would also be totally deliciously decadent if you used a fudgy chocolate cake as well.

13 Ways with Candy Canes
Picture Credits: My Recipes & Spicy Icecream

5. I think these cute Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies would make delicious little gifts for friends and family this Christmas. But to make them even more awesome, they are sandwiched together with peppermint icing. Yum!

6. This recipe has fond memories for me, baking with my sister. Which is kind of appropriate as she also helped out with today’s recipe, but more on that later! These easy Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies were inspired by a Donna Hay recipe and are the perfect treat to make with the kids, or to leave out as a bribe, I mean, snack for Santa.

chill-it.jpg
13 Ways with Candy Canes
Picture Credits: Tablespoon & Hungry Girl Por Vida

7. This recipe for Candy Cane Martini Jelly Shots is so creative, not to mention pretty! Perfect little adults-only treat for a Christmas party, and a great concept to experiment with.

8. I have just discovered this gorgeous blog, Hungry Girl Por Vida but I’m totally in love with the gorgeous photos and recipes such as these Candy Cane Truffles. Give them as gifts or stir into warm milk for a decadent peppermint truffle hot chocolate, you can’t go wrong with this great, simple recipe!

13 Ways with Candy Canes
Picture Credits: A Taste of Koko & Raspberri Cupcakes

9. I’ve been obsessed with chocolate “bark” since I made that crazy Sprinkle Bark Cake, and so of course I had to include Peppermint Bark in this roundup! A Taste of Koko has a beautiful version with not one but three layers of chocolate and a generous sprinkling of crushed up candy cane pieces.

10. I love the sound of the Candy Cane Chocolate Syrup (also known amongst us as “awesomesauce”) that my friend Steph made to top this stack of festive red and white pancakes. I can only imagine how awesome this would have tasted!

drink-it.jpg
13 Ways with Candy Canes
Picture Credits: Country Living & My Recipes

11. If you’re still looking for a delicious homemade gift, this Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix might fit the bill! Packaged up in a pretty jar, I know I’d certainly love a thoughtful (and delicious) present like this! Or, you could make a batch of this for yourself in case hot chocolate cravings strike. It will last for up to six months in an airtight container.

12. Of course I had to booze it up at some point, and this Candy Cane Martini fits the bill nicely! I think this minty martini would be absolutely perfect for holiday parties.

candy cane spider

13. I’m totally thrilled with how this crazy idea turned out – a Candy Cane Spider! Americans might know these better as an Ice Cream Soda or Float but in Australia, we’ve always known them as “Spiders”, but whatever you call it, it’s a delicious creamy drink made with ice cream and topped up with a carbonated drink like Coca Cola or root beer.

I decided to get creative and try a festive version made with candy cane ice cream, white crème de cacao and lemonade. I used a fantastic and easy “no churn” recipe which was also delicious on its own. After that, just put two scoops of ice cream in a tall glass with the white chocolate liqueur (if you like, if you’re making this for the kids, just leave it out) and top with lemonade! An easy Christmassy drink in seconds! I also just want to wish all my wonderful readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe break! Hope it's filled with lots of good food! xox

candy cane spider


Candy Cane “Spider”

Serves 1

No Churn Candy Cane Icecream (adapted from Vanilla Bean Blog)
• 1 can sweetened condensed milk
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon peppermint extract (or to taste)
• 2 tablespoons white crème de cacao (optional)
• 2 cups cold heavy cream
• Crushed candy canes (I used 6 regular candy canes)

Candy Cane Spider
• Crushed candy canes, extra, to line rim
• Glucose syrup or honey
• 2 scoops candy cane ice cream
• 15ml white crème de cacao (optional)
• Lemonade (or Sprite) to top up

To make candy cane ice cream, stir together condensed milk, vanilla, peppermint and white crème de cacao in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl or in a stand mixer, beat cream on high until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into condensed milk mixture. Stir in crushed candy canes and pour into a regular size loaf pan. Freeze until firm, for about 6 hours or overnight. Keeps up to one week in the freezer.

To make the spider, rub a small amount of glucose syrup or honey around the rim of a tall glass with your finger. Place crushed candy canes onto a plate and press rim of the glass into the candy. Place 2 scoops of candy cane ice cream into the glass. Pour over crème de cacao and top up with lemonade. Serve immediately.

Monday, December 12, 2011

White Wine Sangria, plus Jacobs Creek Cool Harvest giveaway!

white wine sangria

Have you decided what your summer tipple will be this year? Last summer was all about the Pimms Cup for me, the one before that I sipped cider, but this year I have a new favourite. There is something that I just love about jugs of cocktails, both while out and about, and definitely for entertaining at home. I love how easy they are to make for a crowd and the endless variations you can come up with. Today I want to share a nice and fruity White Wine Sangria, which is looking very promising to be the drink of this summer.

Perfect on a hot afternoon, or when you have friends around for a casual dinner, this drink ticks all the boxes. Simple to make, festive and summery, customisable depending what you have in the fridge, and of course delicious! I used a combination of apple slices, lemon, lime and strawberries but you can use any fruit you like. I can imagine that slices of peach, or even some fresh lychees would be just lovely.

jacobs creek giveaway!

The lovely folk at Jacobs Creek sent me out a sample of their new range of Cool Harvest wines, the grapes are harvested in the cool of night to create a cool, crisp drop for a hot summer, perfect for sharing with friends at picnics and BBQ’s during the warmer months. I thought the Pinot Grigio was perfect for this refreshing Sangria, although I also loved the tasty Shiraz Rosé. And because it is the season, there are presents for you dear readers too!

This competition is now closed

I’ve got three sets of the Jacobs Creek Cool Harvest range to give away to three lucky readers, just in time for Christmas and summer entertaining!

Each prize includes a bottle of each of the following:
Jacob’s Creek Cool Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2011. Refreshing and zesty balance of lychee, lemongrass and citrus. The palate shows lovely balanced acidity which is vibrant to the finish. Delightful on its own or with soufflés, Thai curries or any citrus based dessert.
Jacob’s Creek Cool Harvest Pinot Grigio 2011. Refreshing and zesty pear and citrus flavours balanced by nuances of crème anglaise to finish. Delightful on its own or with any form of shellfish or a great match to fresh fruit desserts.
Jacob’s Creek Cool Harvest Shiraz Rosé 2011. Bursting with fresh berry fruit, reminiscent of biting into a summer strawberry, followed by a gentle finish of nicely tempered spice and quince. Delightful on its own or with coconut based curries, stir fries or berry crepes.
Jacob’s Creek Cool Harvest Sauvignon Blanc Cuvée NV. Refreshingly effervescent with zesty flavours of lychee, lemongrass and citrus carried through by a vibrant acidity to the finish. Delightful on its own or with soufflés or citrus-based desserts.

If you are over 18 and an Australian resident, all you have to do is tell me what is your favourite summer tipple? The three winners will be picked at random and announced on 19th December. Winners will be notified in a post on the blog and by email, so sorry but no anonymous entries will be eligible. Good luck!

white wine sangria

White Wine Sangria
Adapted from Sip Your Style
Serves 2-4

• 200ml white wine (I used Jacobs Creek Cool Harvest Pinot Grigio)
• 400ml cloudy apple juice
• 50ml bourbon whisky (optional)
• Ginger beer
• Garnish: strawberries, lime wedges, lemon wedges and apple slices

In a 1L jug, combine white wine, apple juice and bourbon. Add fruit garnishes, top with ice and ginger beer. Stir well and serve.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pimms Cocktail

pimms cup

As much as we love to complain about the heat, summer is kind of magical. Although this summer people seem to be complaining more about the fact that we’re still wearing long sleeves in November! I love the long days and sultry nights, the way that work days almost feel like holidays, cooling down with an iceblock (or a cold beer) on a hot afternoon. Long time readers would know that I have a penchant for list making, and after enjoying most of the things on my winter list, here’s a few things I’d like to experience over the summer months:

Perfecting an up-do, Riesling and Rosé, wearing dresses, eating cherries, New Years Eve with the boy, afternoon siestas, guacamole, camping at a music festival, grilled corn, homemade ice cream, eating outside, walking on the beach, iced tea, lunch at Greenhouse, pulled pork tacos, bare shoulders, road trips, afternoon thunderstorms, BBQ’s with friends, running through sprinklers, Pimms jugs.

pimms jug

Pimms is a quintessential part of a British summer. The gin-based tonic was originally produced in 1823 by James Pimm, who owned an oyster bar in London. It became so popular that soon he began making it commercially to supply to other bars. Pimms jugs make me think of garden parties with finger sandwiches and boys in bowties. It’s the perfect thing to sip while sitting somewhere like Madame Brussels or Gazebo with a bunch of good friends.

I’ve been trying to perfect my own Pimms cocktail recipe (hard work, I know), and I’m happy to share it with you now! I like a mixture of cucumber, lemon, strawberries and mint in mine but feel free to mix it up with other berries or citrus to your liking. I can’t decide whether I like it better with lemonade or ginger ale, so I usually just use whatever I happen to have on hand, this time it was lemonade. Give this a try on the weekend, or on a warm night. Cheers to summer!

Pimms Cocktail
Makes 1 litre

• 60ml Pimms
• 60ml Gin
• ½ cucumber, peeled lengthways with a vegetable peeler
• 1 small lemon, cut into eighths
• 6-10 strawberries, hulled and halved
• 5 mint leaves
• Ice cubes
• Lemonade or ginger ale

Combine Pimms and gin in a 1 litre jug. Add cucumber, lemon, strawberries and mint. Top with ice cubes and lemonade or ginger ale and stir with a spoon or chopstick to combine.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Homemade Ginger Ale

ginger ale

Long time readers will already know that I’m a lover of all things ginger. It’s sort of funny actually, because as a child I hated it. I didn’t like gingersnap biscuits or the ginger ale my Nan would offer when I went to visit, but then I will admit, I was a pretty fussy eater. I also didn’t like mushrooms or any type of seafood, which now that I am older and wiser, I’m learning to love. It seemed like the obvious next step would be to try making my own ginger drinks, since I love them so much. Which brings me to this fabulous recipe for homemade ginger ale, which I discovered on Gourmet.

ginger ale

I am still a little too freaked out by the possibility of exploding bottles to attempt brewing my own ginger beer (yet) but I will get there one day. In the meantime, this ginger ale is ridiculously easy to make and comes together in hours rather days, and you can even spend most of that time doing other things, like catching up on Gossip Girl over the long weekend. Just peel and slice some fresh ginger and simmer on the stove with some water. Turn off the heat and steep for another 20 minutes, add some sugar, strain, cool and drink. That’s it!

I have made this recipe before, when I was visiting Perth earlier this year, but we drank it all before we got to snap a photo. It tasted remarkably similar to the ginger cordial at Bills, which I thought could benefit from just a little more sweetness. This time I think I’ve improved on it, and it’s totally delicious. I like mine with gin, lime wedges, mint and lemonade, but you could try vodka, rum or Pimms if you prefer, perhaps with slices of cucumber or fruit to make a lovely summery drink.

ginger ale

Ginger Ale
Adapted from Gourmet
Makes 1 1/2 cups (enough for 6-8 drinks)

• 200g chopped, peeled ginger
• 2 cups water
• ¾ cup caster sugar
• 1 litre lemonade
• Gin, lime wedges, mint leaves and lemonade to serve (optional)

Cook ginger in water in a small saucepan at a low simmer, partially covered for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep, covered for 20 minutes. Strain mixture through a sieve into a heatproof jug, pressing on ginger and then discarding the solids. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Chill syrup until very cold.

To assemble drinks, (the way I like mine) place ice cubes, 30ml gin, lime wedge and mint leaves in a glass. Top with cold ginger syrup to taste and lemonade.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rhubarb & Ginger Cordial

rhubarb ginger cordial

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I have quite a few cooking fears. I can bake like a demon and deep-fry with the best of them, I’ve made macarons, a croquembouche and bread galore. But I’ve never attempted making jam, because I freak out about sterilising jars. I also have issues with making cocktails and drinks for some reason. I’ve been bookmarking recipes for ginger beer for months now, but the instructions always sound more like a science experiment and then there’s the whole “bottle may explode” thing to contend with.

rhubarb & ginger cordial

So while those projects sit untouched for now, I’m taking baby steps. When I saw a recipe for Rhubarb and Ginger cordial in Jamie Oliver magazine, the first thought I had was “he stole my idea!” and the second thought was, “well I guess I better make it then.” The flavour combination sounded absolutely fantastic. Rhubarb is in season at the moment, and I already had some fresh ginger at home. The process was much less painful than I thought it would be, and I’m not sure why I was ever concerned about it in the first place.

rhubarb & ginger cordial

I replaced the caster sugar with an equal amount of vanilla sugar that I had for an extra dimension of flavour. This cordial was pretty sweet though, so I would even suggest dialling down the sugar to 150g if you prefer. What I really loved was the subtle ginger flavour. It wasn’t overpowering but it was definitely present and made this a really nice, refreshing drink. Definitely one for rhubarb lovers like me!

I can imagine taking this on picnics in spring to drink alongside a lunch tasty sandwiches, cakes and cookies. And I imagine it would also be absolutely delicious with vodka and lime. Now I’ve made one fantastic cordial, I can’t stop thinking of other flavour combinations that would be fabulous as well. Next up, home-made ginger beer, and hopefully no exploding bottles!

rhubarb & ginger cordial

Rhubarb and Ginger Cordial
Makes about 500ml
Adapted from Jamie Oliver magazine

• 1 orange
• 400g rhubarb, chopped into 2cm pieces
• 150g vanilla sugar (or golden caster sugar)
• 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, sliced
• Soda water or lemonade, to serve

Cut thick strips of orange zest then squeeze the juice into a saucepan. Place the rhubarb with the vanilla sugar, ginger and orange zest in the pan with the juice and set over a high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Place a sieve over a mixing bowl. Carefully press the rhubarb through the sieve with a wooden spoon, pressing down to extract as much of the juice as possible. Discard the solids and allow the juice to cool before pouring it into a sterilised bottle. Chill, then dilute to your taste with soda water or lemonade.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bite Size

gougéres + cocktail

With October all but over, we are now well on our way to the festive season. Melbourne Cup is next week, the Christmas decorations are up in all the shops, and we’ve already started doing artwork for New Years Eve at work. I’ve got no idea where the year went, but I can’t really complain, because this means cocktail parties, and lots of them! Canapés served at functions can be very hit and miss sometimes, and it’s often hard to balance a tricky morsel on a napkin when you have a glass of wine (or a camera!) in your other hand.

gougéres

These gougéres are this month’s recipe from the Tartine cookbook, a perfect bite-size puff of savoury choux pastry, flavoured with Gruyére cheese, thyme and black pepper, although you could use any herbs or spices you like. I’d never made or eaten a savoury choux before – usually I stick to the sweet varieties – but this really worked. They are the perfect finger-food, and so moreish, in fact I would say completely addictive. The whole batch disappeared more quickly than I’d like to admit.

honey & thyme daiquiri

I paired them with a fantastic Honey and Thyme Daiquiri, adapted from this one on the Gourmet Traveller website, and finally christened the cocktail shaker I bought over six months ago! I cut back on the rum, upped the amount of honey and thyme water, and also added some vanilla sugar to the shaker, because I like a sweeter cocktail. The thyme flavour made it a perfect match for the gougéres.

I am also very excited to be a Featured Blogger on I Eat I Drink I Work for the next 12 weeks! It’s a great resource for food and hospitality news, and I’m thrilled to be involved. And don’t forget to check out Mark’s gougéres on No Special Effects.

Gougéres
Recipe from The Tartine Bakery Cookbook
Makes about 30

• 1 ¼ cups non-fat milk
• 140g unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup all purpose flour
• 5 large eggs
• ¾ cup Gruyére cheese, grated
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

Topping
• Pinch salt
• Grated Gruyere, for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
2. To make the choux pastry, combine the milk, butter and salt in a heavy saucepan and place over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan. This should take about 3 minutes.
3. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed, incorporating each egg before adding the next. The mixture should be thick, smooth and shiny.
4. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, add the cheese, pepper and thyme and mix in with a rubber spatula. Use a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop to drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 4-5cm apart. Lightly sprinkle the top of each pastry with grated cheese and a small pinch of salt.
5. Place in the oven immediately and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they have puffed and are nicely browned. Serve hot or warm, or at room temperature. Or they can be cooled completely and re-crisped in the oven for 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Summeriest

sangria

It was hot this past weekend, really hot. On Saturday, the temperature got up to 43 degrees in some parts of Sydney, and up pretty close to that where I live. I am certainly thanking my lucky stars that the air conditioner is working again! But, it is a little bit hard to complain when you’re wearing your favourite summer dress, your hair is in a messy but stylish bun, and at dusk you’re eating perfect home made pizza, cooked on the barbeque (something that you will be hearing more about soon, I promise) and sipping the summeriest of drinks – a wonderful pomegranate and white wine sangria.

I still had a bottle or two of POM Wonderful in my fridge from Darcie at Zing, and it recently occurred to me that I haven’t shared a single drink recipe here! Pomegranate juice is just wonderful in so many different cocktails, from the Pomtini, a modern twist on the classic martini, to a refreshing pomegranate and lime caprioska, the pomegranate juice is not only a delicious addition but so pretty too. I don’t know about you, but I think cocktails taste so much better when they’re pink!

While not your traditional red wine sangria, this one is an inspired and delicious combination of ingredients, and I’m only too keen to find another occasion to make it again. The flavours complemented each other perfectly, with the lemon and mint making it nice and refreshing. The deep red colour was absolutely stunning. Served ice cold, this is the perfect drink for casual entertaining on a summer night.

sangria

Pomegranate and White Wine Sangria
Serves 6
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller

• 45mL lemon juice
• 200mL POM Wonderful juice
• 250mL white wine (I used a nice Sauvignon Blanc)
• 60mL white rum
• 60mL sugar syrup
• 10-15 mint leaves
• 1 lemon, cut into thin slices
• ¼ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
• Ice cubes, to serve

1. Add the lemon and pomegranate juices, white wine, white rum and sugar syrup to a 1 litre size jug or carafe with the mint leaves, lemon and pomegranate seeds.
2. Mix and top with ice cubes just as guests arrive. Pour into wine glasses and serve.

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