Sunday 27 April 2008

grape & spiced nut salad

I love Maggie Beer. Her enthusiasm about food is infectious. She places so much emphasis on using seasonal and regional produce and all her recipes look simply delicious. Almost every dish she cooks are exactly the kinds of flavours, ingredients and recipes that inspire me.

Her cohost on The Cook and The Chef, Simon Bryant, is also inspirational. He’s a chef with amazing skill but he’s down to earth and has no airs about making food. He promotes good food, not wanky food and even if some of his dishes are more complicated and advanced they are never esoteric. And he’s a vegetarian, so he gets Jonas’ vote.

If you’re looking for interesting, delicious dishes using ordinary ingredients in extraordinary combinations then I suggest you peruse their website where their recipes from every episode are shared with the world.

Maggie Beer was pretty much responsible for introducing verjuice as an acidulate in Australia. I remember, as a teenager, coming home from school and seeing a fancy 750ml bottle of “verjuice” in the fridge. I poured myself a nice cold glass and gasped when I realised it was almost vinegar. I learnt about verjuice pretty fast!

Maggie drinks verjuice over ice, but as I discovered this is pretty sour, so instead she developed one of the most beautiful non-alcoholic drinks I’ve ever had: Desert Pearls.

Made from Cabernet grapes, Desert Pearls has a champagne bead and seems almost like a wine, but then you taste flavours like rose and green tea and the drink ends with a sour finish, almost like sour cherry. I absolutely adore it and could easily drink an entire bottle on my own. Luckily it’s not alcoholic! They recommend you drink it with “anything with mushroom, game, kangaroo or venison but also the richness of duck or goose…brochette with sardines, white bean puree and shaved parmesan, a beautiful quail egg with caviar, seared tuna with a black pepper crust”.

Other Maggie Beer products which have become an institution in Australian gourmet circles are her burnt fig jam, her fruit pastes and her pates.

Last year The Cook and The Chef March autumn episode featured a lot of grape dishes and, since I noticed an abundance of delicious grapes in the shops this year, I decided to replicate this delicious salad.

We served it as part of an autumnal feast that Jonas and I made a few weekends ago. After a white truffle and cauliflower soup, we ate this grape salad alongside Hungarian chicken paprikas (mushroom for Jonas). It cut through the richness of the main course and added sweet, juicy freshness. Superb.

Grape, Rocket & Spiced Nut Salad
Recipe from The Cook and The Chef. Serves 4.

1 cup grapes, halved
1 green apple, julienned
Rocket leaves
60g sultanas soaked in verjuice or marsala
1 cup mixed nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts)
2/3 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon coriander seed
½ teaspoon cassia bark
¼ teaspoon allspice
3 cloves
10 green cardamom seeds (not pods).
1 tablespoon olive oil
Drizzle of walnut oil, to finish
1. Put all the smoked paprika, coriander seed, cassia bark, allspice, cloves and cardamom seeds in a grinder to make a spice blend.
2. Lightly dry fry the nuts in a pan. Add spice mix. When they start to glisten add a little olive oil and fry. This process is really important to stop the nuts from going soggy in the dressing.
3. Cool, and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and a little more paprika then spread over the serving plate.
4. Pile up the grapes, apple, sultanas and rocket on the plate.
5. Dress with walnut oil and a touch of salt to finish.

Grapes, of the genus Vitis, are very useful fruits coming from a woody, perennial, deciduous vines.

Most grapes are Vitis Vinifera cultivars, which originated in the Mediterranean and Central Asia. Only a few grapes came from Asia or the Americas, such as Vitis labrusca (US/Canada) and Vitis amurensis (Asia).

According to Wikipedia, the top ten wine grape producing countries are, in order from most to least: Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, United States, Iran, Romania, Portugal, Argentina and Australia.

Around 71% of the world’s grapes go towards wine production, 27% are sold as fresh fruit and 2% are dried.

These days seedless grapes are by far the most popular and since most vines are started from cuttings, this doesn’t seem to be a problem for farmers. Ironically, seedless grapes do not contain the important nutrients attacged to the grapoe seeds and are therefore less healthy.

Raisins, currants and sultanas share a confusing history. While sultanas were once the dried fruit of a specific Turkish grape, raisins were named after a French word for any dried grape and currants were dried Zante grapes, a corrupted word from the French raisin de Corinthe.

Grape skins and seeds seem to contain a polyphenol antioxidant called resveratrol which is suppsed to act as an antifungal as well as prevent heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, viral infections, mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease and even cancer.

Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted by Margot from Coffee and Vanilla. Be sure to check out the round-up!


Friday 25 April 2008

jerk pork

Carrying on the Caribbean theme after my Bajan pikelets, here’s something straight from Jamaica: jerk!

No, I’m not shouting insults. I’m talking about Jamaica’s dry-rub spice used on chicken, goat, pork, fish . . . hell, I’m sure you could spice up anything with jerk.

From all recipes, it seems the two most important components of jerk are the allspice berry (pimento) and the scotch bonnet pepper.

The scotch bonnet, a habenero cultivar, is one of the hottest chillies in the world and ranks third after the Naga Jolokia and Red Savina Habanero. It's Scoville rating is 100,000-350,000 whereas a Cayenna is only 30,000-50,000 and the Jalapeño is a piddly 2,500-8,000. Yes, the scotch bonnet is one hot chilli!

Authentic jerk is cooked slowly on allspice wood over coals. Since it’s a little difficult to gets your hands on any allspice wood in urban Sydney, I had to forgo the allspice wood for a regular barbeque.

The word jerk originates from jerky, an anglicised version of the Spanish charqui (dried meat).

Jamaicans serve their jerk alongside foods that cool down the spices such as dumplings, rice, potatoes and beans.

The exact recipe for jerk spice varies and many Jamaicans keep their blend a closely guarded secret, but there are enough published versions to develop a spice rub to suit your own tastes.

This one I got from Lonely Planet World Food: Caribbean, but I added fresh ginger, garlic powder and orange juice.

Jerk Pork
Recipe from Lonely Planet World Food: Caribbean. Serves 6.
1 tsp allspice berries
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 dried red chilli
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup cider vinegar
Juice of 3 limes
Juice ½ orange
Scotch bonnet peppers, add one at a time to taste
6 pork chops
1. Dry fry allspice berries, cayenne powder, black peppercorns, nutmeg, cinnamon and red chilli until aromatic. Cool and grind in a spice grinder with the thyme leaves until a powder if formed.
2. In a blender, combine spice mix with all the remaining jerk spice ingredients and blend until smooth. Be sure to only add one scotch bonnet pepper at a time and taste in between because they are lethal!
3. In a non-metallic dish, place meat and cover completely with marinade. Ensure everything is coated. Cover and marinate in fridge overnight.
4. The next day, slowly cook the meat on the barbeque, basting with jerk sauce as you cook.


Wednesday 23 April 2008

plantain pikelets w rum-butter sauce

When the weather starts getting cooler, I start craving warm desserts.

Pikelets are great afternoon treats, perfect served with a blob of jam and even a dash of whipped cream if you're feeling decadent.

Here I went for a Bajan (Barbadian) flavour, using Barbados' Mount Gay dark rum and squishy ripe plantains which taps into my plan to discover Caribbean-style food over 2008.

Bajan Plantain Pikelets w Rum-Butter Sauce

Based on a recipe from Mossop Honey. Makes 15 pikelets.


1 cup self raising flour
1 egg
¾ cup milk
1/8 cup sugar
25g butter, melted
1 ripe mashed plantain
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of salt
Butter, for frying
Rum-Butter Sauce¼ cup dark rum
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons honey
Toasted coconut, garnish


1. Make sauce by combining over a low heat until honey and butter has melted. Simmer for 1 minute then remove from heat and keep warm.

2. Start the pikelets by beating the eggs and sugar together.

3. Stir through small batches of flour and milk alternately until just combined.

4. Add salt and melted butter and combine.

5. Combine mashed banana, rum and honey together then add to mixture.

6. Heat fry pan and grease with butter. Spoon pikelet mixture into pan, turning when bubbles appear on upper side.

7. Serve with rum-butter sauce and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.


Saturday 19 April 2008

rosemary & cheese biscuits

Jonas and I made these cookies for the first ever housewarming party we threw, a few weeks after Jonas arrived in Australia in 2001. Those were the days when sweet and savoury confusions were not so well known and our friends scoffed when we presented savoury biscuits.

It was funny to serve these biscuits again, a few weeks ago, to some of the same friends who scoffed at them the first time. Perhaps they tried them with more mature concepts of food (or palates), but this time they declared them a success.

Jonas and I smiled at each other. It only took them seven years!

These are a type of savoury shortbread, heady with the aromas of rosemary. They are a wonderful contribution to any selection of snacks and appestisers and are perfect picnic food too.

They are easy to make and very addictive.

Rosemary & Cheese Biscuits
Cocktails and Finger Food by Murdoch Books. Makes 50.

1 cup plain flour
100g chilled butter, chopped
1 tablespoon sour cream
60g cheddar cheese
60g parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
3 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped
½ teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 180’C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Sift flour into mixing bowl. Using fingertips rub butter into flour until the mixture is fine and crumbly. Do not overmix.
3. Add remaining ingredients, mix well with a knife. Press mixture together into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 10-15 minutes.
4. Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on baking trays, allowing space for spreading. Flatten slightly with fork.
5. Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on wire rack
Variation: instead of mixing the salt through the recipe, sprinkle crushed rock salt over the biscuits just before baking.
Note: cookies can be stored in airtight container for 1 week or dough can be stored in the fridge for 2 days before cooking.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a woody, perennial herb which is native to the Mediterranean region, which is still the main source of commercial dried rosemary today.

Despite the many connotations to Christian beliefs and Jesus’ mother Mary, the word rosemary derives from Latin rosmarinus, which translates to “dew of the sea” and was probably named because it grew in arid, coastal areas. It was also closely linked to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love who rose from the sea.

There was an ancient belief that rosemary stimulated and strengthened the memory. Ancient Greek students would bring rosemary to their exams and in European cultures the herb has always symbolised remembrance.

Rosemary has been used as a medicinal treatment for thousands of years. External applications of rosemary oils and spirits can relieve muscular and arthritic pain, rheumatic conditions, bruises, and circulatory problems, stimulate the hair-bulbs to prevent premature baldness and prevent/treat headlice.

Internal ingestion shows rosemary is a good source of the minerals iron, calcium, manganese, Vitamin B6 as well as dietary fibre. Due to its levels quinones, which inhibit carcinogens, it is high on the list of anti-cancer herbs and is said to protect from free radicals, lowering the risk of strokes and neurodegenerative diseases.

Rosemary is supposed to assist gall bladder and liver diseases, act as an anti-inflammatory to reduce asthma attacks, treat dizziness from inner ear infections, and is also used as a sedative, diuretic, stomach relief, aromatic, antispasmodic and antiseptic.

As an antiseptic it is used to treat flu, viruses and colds and infused in warm water is a good gargle for mouth ulcers and canker sores, and as a mouth wash for halitosis.

Consuming a lot of rosemary, however, can lead to spasm, vomiting and fluid in the lungs, which can be fatal! It can also cause autoimmune diseases.

Health professionals warn pregnant women against eating too much rosemary, even if they are just breastfeeding.

Epileptics are also warned against medicinal rosemary, which can aggravate seizures.

Fresh rosemary should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel, while dried rosemary will keep fresh for about six months if stored in a tightly sealed container. Fresh rosemary sprigs can be frozen with water in ice cube trays then added to soups and stews.

This week the WHB host is Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook. Be sure to visit her blog to read over the recap!

One last thing - I scoured the web for other interesting rosemary recipes, and this is what I found:
Breads & Snacks
Rosemary Popcorn
Rosemary & Lemon White Bean Dip
Rosemary Provencal Almonds
Pinenut Rosemary Shortbread
Rosemary & Polenta Breadsticks
Rosemary Feta Beer Bread
Rosemary & Ham Scones
Rosemary Jelly
Sides & Soups
Potatoes Boulangeres w Rosemary
Rosemary Polenta
Walnut Rosemary Quinoa
Lamb Stew w Rosemary Dumplings
Chicken Soup w Rosemary Matzo Balls
Lamb & Rosemary Pies
Potato & Rosemary Tart w Onion Jam
Rosemary & Smoked Paprika Chicken
Braised Lamb Shanks w Rosemary
Pork w Rosemary & White Wine
Diver Scallops on Grilled Rosemary
Rosemary-Anchovy Lamb
Rosemary Duck w Apricots
Turkey on Rosemary Skewers
Grilled Rosemary Trout w Lemon Butter
Pork Belly w Honey & Rosemary
Rosemary-Lemon Lamb Rack
Spinach, Garlic & Rosemary Griddlecakes
Rosemary Scented Chocolate Truffles
Rosemary Loaf Cake
Castagnaccio (Chestnut & Rosemary Cake)
Grilled Pineapple w Lime, Chilli & Rosemary Syrup
Rosemary Honey Ice Cream
Lemon & Rosemary Popsicles
Pear Rosemary Crème Brûlée

Rosemary Liqueur
Rosemary Schnapps
Peach & Rosemary Lemonade



Wednesday 16 April 2008

mixology monday - fruit liqueurs

Mixology Monday is two years old this month! Congrats to everyone who was there from the outset and to those who have made it every month since its inception. Extra kudos to Paul from The Cocktail Chronicles, for the great idea in the first place.

On this two year anniversary I have the pleasure of hosting a “fruit liqueur” theme.

I must admit I may have confused some people by stating “sweet” as a perquisite and then listing dry alcohols such as Kirsch and Calvados as potential ingredients. Mea culpa.

We had 28 entries and a good assortment of fruit liqueurs covering 16 different fruits, with a heavy emphasis on citrus and berries. There were dry drinks, sour sips, and creamy coolers of all kinds.

And here they are:

Purple Orchid
Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant)
Shawn from Rijiggered (Virgina, USA)
This pretty cocktail is a simplistic but rich (and probably not too sweet) combination of mandarin vodka, crème de cassis and lemon juice. Apparently it’s very easy to drink, so have enough ingredients for seconds, or thirds!

Lemon Frappé
Limoncello (lemon)
Marleigh from Sloshed (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Using Danny DeVito’s own limoncello, this cocktail brings on all the fresh flavours of citrus, lemons and limes, with gin. No, you didn’t misread, that’s Danny DeVitos’s limoncello, and Marleigh assures us it’s good!

Asian Orange
Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb (orange)
Cameron & Anita from Married With Dinner (San Francisco, CA, USA)
The Married with Dinner duo got their paws on an orange liqueur from the Caribbean island of Martinique and were blown away by its “dusky mysteriousness”. Paired with gin, bitters and the gingery flavours of Domaine de Canton, Anita declared this blind date a roaring success.

Banana Split Martini
Banana Liqueur
Felicia from Felicia's Atomic Lounge (Ithaca, NY, USA)
In defiance of dessert cocktail snobs, this speakeasy hostess has opted for a liquefied banana split with vanilla vodka, strawberry liqueur, banana liqueur, chocolate sauce and a little cream to sweeten the deal.

Polish Orchid
Cherry Vodka
Neil from At My Table (Melbourne, Australia)
Using his homemade sour cherry vodka, Neil whipped up a cocktail he described as “not overly sweet or overpowering in flavour, just wonderfully sophisticated”. The composites of this potent beauty are cherry vodka, regular vodka and a little elderflower syrup for frangrance.

Flying High
Peter Heering (cherry)
Doug from Cocktail Capers (Ohio, USA)
Now here is a man who seeks perfection, trialling three before deciding which one he’d recommend. His final combination of Peter Heering (cherry brandy), gin, egg white, bitters and fresh orange and lemon juices is sweet with the “frou frou” but looks a little scary. That shouldn’t be a problem for a man running his own business for murder mystery parties.

Star-Eyed Daisy
Calvados (apple)
Blair from Trader Tiki's Booze Blog (Portland, OR, USA)
Reintroduce old school style with this take on the Daisy from the 1900s. Combine Calvados, grenadine and limoncello with ginger beer and you’ve got what Trader Tiki’s wife describes as “spicy apple-juice”.

A Georgia Thunderstorm
Crème de Peche (peach)
Marshall from Scofflaw's Den (Arlington, VA, USA)
This post proves all you need for inspiration is a night of rollicking thunder. Try this storm to wet your lips: dark rum, crème de peche, allspice (pimento) dram, bitters and ginger beer. Warm, spicy flavours with the sweetness of peaches.

Summer Crash
Crème de Mure (blackberry)
SeanMike from Scofflaw's Den (Arlington, VA, USA)
Now I must state I’m biased towards this post since it uses one of my favourite fruit liqueurs of all time, a certain brand of crème de mure. But ask you how anyone could go wrong with this fruitastic concoction of fresh blackberries, apple brandy, Cointreau, crème de mure and lemon juice.

Massa Mojito
Limoncello (lemon)
Jacob from Jacok Grier (Arlington, VA, USA)
Using his own homemade limoncello, this cocktail fiend delved up a twist on the mojito using fresh lemon, mint, limoncello and club soda. Refreshing, effervescent with a citric tang.

Midori Margarita
Midori (melon)
Christian from Cocktailwelten (Germany)
German cocktail enthusiast Christian tells the tale of Midori from humble origins in Japan, to 70s it-drink in the US to present-day manufacturing in sunny Mexico. Accompanying the history of the green drink are two cocktail recipes, the Midori Daiquiri and then the Midori Margarita which a surprised Christian has put on his “best of” list.

Ewok Exilir
44 Cordial (orange)
Orlando from El Machete's Rum Reviews (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
This drink would certainly win any naming competition. I’m a sucker for Ewoks. But better still El Machete has gone to the trouble to brew his very own white rum infused with orange and coffee. This then went into the tropical myriad of unfiltered apple juice, coconut rum, apple brandy, mango nectar, dark rum, lemon, orgeat and grenadine.

China Blue
Lychee Liqueur
Seamus from Bunny Hugs (Auckland, New Zealand)
If you need to woo girls with exotic blue drinks, why not try this combination of grapefruit juice, lychee liqueur and hues of blue curacao. The tart grapefruit is balanced by the sweet lychee and the curacao makes everything perfectly blue.

Caribbean Dreaming
Crème de Banana
Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once (Melbourne, Australia)
This is one adult milkshake. Creamy milk blended with fresh banana, crème de banana and the coconut aromas of Malibu. Another great liquid dessert with fruity themes.

Spring Break
Banana Schnapps & Pineapple Rum
Amanda from Mrs. W's Kitchen (New York, USA)
Recalling her former life in the Florida Keys, Amanda brings back some of the tropical flavours she enjoyed in her very own Spring Break. Coconut cream, banana schnapps, pineapple rum and frozen berries make this daydream complete.

Normandy Bates Cocktail
Calvados (apple) & Mathilde Orange X.O
Jeff from Rants of a Hedgehog (Portland, OR, USA)
After navigating through various cocktail combinations, and recruiting underage tasters with palates sophisticated enough to recognise “murky molasses”, this very determined hedgehog went for a very citrus theme of Calvados, Mathilde Orange X.O., valencia orange juice and orange bitters

The Catherine
Framboise Liqueur (raspberry)
Vidiot from (New York, NY, USA)
Vidiot is no idiot. He basically wrote this synopsis for me. Yes his cocktail is named after Catherine Deneuve. Yes is an amalgamation of the Corpse Reviver No. 2 and the Pegu Club, but there a twist: he used raspberry instead of orange. Try gin, framboise liqueur and Lillet Blanc with lime juice and peach bitters!

East of Eden
Elderflower Liqueur
Jeffrey from Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Eugene, OR, USA)
Here’s a case of stretching the theme a little, but seeing as it looks so good we’re just going to move right along to the punchline: fragrant elderflower liqueur is tempered with lemon juice, jazzed up with homemade pinot gris syrup and given a kick with gin. Pure elegance.

Tom Morello
Cherry Marnier
Darcy from The Art of Drink (London, Ontario, Canada)
With the express purpose of making us all green with envy, Darcy is flaunting his bottle of Cherry Mariner, which he describes as “moderately sweet”, “hints of almond”, “extremely smooth” and “some spiciness in the finish”. What do with such a prize? Why, mix it with Canadian whisky and Punt e Mes of course!

Midori Margarita
Midori (melon)
Cynthia from My Brilliant Mistakes (Butler, PA, USA)
Here is another very satisfied customer of the margarita made with Midori. Perhaps everyone has a never-used bottle of Midori in their cupboard, but this drink seems to be the answer. Midori, tequila, triple sec and lime then shake, shake, shake.

Brambleberry Roffignac
Blackberry Brandy
Craig from Tiki Drinks & Indigo Firmaments (Portland, OR, USA)
This cocktail has a beautiful rich colour and a nice little history, originating from fortuitous discovery of a jar of homemade blackberry brandy. Add a little rye whisky, a few drops of Herbsaint, a splash of soda and serve over ice.

Canton Cocktail
Maraschino Liqueur (cherry)
Stevi from Ana Bolena perdió su cabeza (Redmond, WA, USA)
Not keen on overly sweet drinks, Stevi decided to finally trial a recipe a recipe she’d book marked ions ago. The flavours build on rum and Maraschino, but also includes orange curaçao, grenadine and aromas from an orange twist.

Kirsch & Cassis
Kirsch (cherry) & Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant)
scomorokh from Science of Drink (Ukraine)
Read this blog in English or Russian, but be prepared to wet your lips for the double berry hit of Кирш энд Кассис. Soda water, crème de Cassis and kirsch are mixed over crushed ice to create a deep, vibrant drink.

The Comet
Van Der Hum (tangerine)
Paul from The Cocktail Chronicles (Seattle, OR, USA)
On this event’s two year anniversary, its founder delves into a South African liqueur flavoured with tangerine peel and herbs, mixing up a fast paced cocktail including cognac, yellow grapefruit juice, Van der Hum and bitters.

The Black Forest Epistle
Kirsch (cherry)
gilrain from Lunar Policy (USA)
After confusing the heck out of Gilrain but saying liqueurs must be “sweet” and then listing dry kirsch as a possibility, I’m lucky I got him to join at all. Lucky that wine over dinner made him cocky enough to try. This cocktail required “intense mixological experimentation” using gin, Kirsch, Frangelico and Absinthe to deliver a “roguishly dry cocktail”.

El Diablo
Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant)
Robert from Drink Dogma (Houston, TX, USA)
This post not only reviews the dangers of ordering a margarita in Mexico, but advises on alternative such as the feature drink using lime, tequila, crème de cassis and ginger ale. But our author doesn’t stop here. Look out for more advice on which crème de cassis you should use and links to ginger beer taste tests too. Now that’s service.

Golden Compass
Grand Marnier (orange)
Jimmy from Jimmy's Cocktail Hour (Los Gatos, CA, USA)
Crispy, dry Pinot Grigio is the key to this cocktail, which was not named after the now famous film from Philip Pullman’s book The Northern Lights. Other ingredients include gin and the orange notes of Grand Marnier. Bitters and orange peel finish it off.

Strawberry Schnapps Spiders
Strawberry Schnapps
Anna from Morsels & Musings (Sydney, Australia)
Here’s my own contribution to MxMo. Taking inspiration from an Indonesian soft drink I came up with an adult version of ice cream spiders. Strawberry schnapps is mixed with strawberry syrup, strawberry ice cream and strawberry soda. It was berry, berry nice.

And don’t forget the crew at eGullet who always seem to come up with a wide variety of contributions to any MxMo theme. This week they’ve got instructions on how to make The Bellamy and The Cassiopaea (Dan), some infused liqueur, a cocktail using mirto de sardegna which is from myrtle berries (bostanapothecary) and even pineapple flavoured rum that turns into a Brazilian Daiquiri (Anon).

Well, that's it folks. If I left anyone out, please do email and I’ll fix that. Things got kind of confusing between some people emailing their posts and others leaving links in comments. I hope I tracked you all down!

Thanks and enjoy this bountiful bevy of beverages!


Monday 14 April 2008

strawberry schnapps spiders

I got this idea all the way back in July 2007 when I was poolside in Bali, sipping cold strawberry calpico.
Strawberry whaaaat?
That’s calpico or calpis (カルピス).

This deliciously sweet-sour soda is one of my absolute favourites. It’s a Japanese product made from water, powdered milk and lactic acid and tastes just like you’d imagine a yoghurt soda would.

I always try to convince my friends to drink it, but they never seem too keen on the idea. I suspect it’s because the pronunciation of the name sounds unfortunately like “cow piss”.

But I’m distracted.

While I drank my can of strawberry calpico, I conjured up a brilliant scheme to make strawberry spiders using strawberry schnapps, strawberry ice cream and the strawberry flavoured calpico.

It took me a while to do it, but in February I had a dinner party and made a trio of strawberry desserts, including this alcoholic spider.

My strawberry syrup was actually the by-product of making strawberry cannoli, so either check out the original batch I made or you can use the below amended recipe as a general guide.

Strawberry Schnapps Spiders
Anna’s very own recipe. Makes 4-6.
100g strawberries, halved
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ teaspoon orange rind
1 shot of strawberry schnapps per person
Strawberry ice cream
Strawberry soda
1. In a saucepan, crush the strawberries with a fork then mix through zest and sugar. Add a few drops of water then heat until the sugar melts and strawberries soften.
2. Cook until syrup thickens a little, then put the strawberries into a blender and purée.
3. Strain most of the large pieces and cool completely before chilling in fridge.
4. When ready to serve, fold strawberry schnapps through strawberry syrup then divide between shot or sherry glasses.
5. Gently float the ice cream balls on the syrup then top with strawberry soda. Remember the ingredients will fizz and potentially overflow.

This is my contribution to Mixology Monday’s fruit liqueurs theme which I am hosting right here on Morsels & Musings.

If you want to contribute your own MxMo fruit liqueur cocktail, check out the instructions. I’ll be posting the round-up on Tuesday (Wednesday at the latest) so you’ve still got a bit of time.

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