Folks, I’m glad to announce the launch of my self hosted website
I look forward to seeing you there!
Red wine is certainly one of the most popular and more socially accepted drinking options in winter; well, it just got exponentially better with mulling spices added to it. It is a fantastic option for several (valid) reasons,
1) It is a brilliant concoction to keep yourself warm in the colder months
2) Easiest to make and requires absolutely no expert culinary skills
3) And most importantly, it enhances the flavour of cheap wine!
And the joy of making something as fine as this within a $10 budget is unparalleled, and trust me when I say it leaves you patting yourself on the back. Although googling Mulled Wine brings up a plethora of recipes, mostly with the same set of details, my recipe is probably the most simplest. Yeah, like how could a four bulleted recipe get any simpler? This way,
What you’ll need and mind you, this is a bare minimum, less fussier and straight to the point RECIPE; after all who wants to waste time with these sort of things, right?
SPICES – Get cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves; Don’t get anything more, this will impart enough flavour! And just QTR a handful will do. It’s precious, let’s not go overboard !
Lemon – 2 wedges
Raw sugar – 1 tbsp
Orange/ Orange Juice – doesn’t matter; I tried with both, and I can tell you whichever is around is just fine. Although if you are using oranges, you need to use some water initially to brew the spices.
Red Wine – I preferred using the Precious Earth Shiraz Merlot 2013. Bought it at Aldi for $2.69. No, don’t judge me yet! It’s a pretty decent wine and hey, that’s the point here, we are transforming mediocre drinks into delectable ones!
Now get a brewing pot and add the spices(a little at a time), sugar, the bitters and a splash of wine. I wouldn’t use more in the fear of losing it to alcohol evaporation!
Keep it brewing; keep spice levels in check – I like it spicy – you may not, so I suggest you add as you taste it from time to time!
Once you are happy with the flavour, simmer the heat and add the wine and wait for a few mins.
That’s it ! Serve immediately into your fancy tumblers. Simply delicious! Want a twist, add a dash of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum – ‘n now ye’ll better be swin’in’ along wit’ a glass in one hand ‘n a rusted hook in th’ other! Arr Arr Arr..watch it !
DRINK RESPONSIBLY ( they just say that everywhere, so I thought I should it up too)
This was probably my first attempt at making a salad – well, never been a fan of making one although I’ve often wondered how some of the salads in cafes taste so yum!
All the while, I’ve been under the ‘wrong’ impression that it takes salad dressings, exotic ingredients & that mammoth of a toss in the air with all those ingredients, to make a good salad. Well, glad to announce that I made a brave attempt, albeit cautiously and have emerged with a fine salad that is easy to make, healthy and most importantly YUM. Yeah, often when easy to make and healthy goes together, taste doesn’t follow so naturally, I know! But try this recipe and you’ll see otherwise.
So here’s what you’ll need –
3 eggs – semi-boiled the better; refrigerate till cold
100 g green spinach – shredded & steamed; wait to cool
1 tsp – Japanese soy sauce
1 bread – yes, this certainly is the twist; grilled/toasted crisp
Salt & Black pepper – as per taste
Parmesan cheese – just a small sprinkling
Cut up the eggs into a bowl. Add in the spinach, soy sauce, salt & pepper and combine it with a spoon, we are not going to TOSS, ha!
Now break the crispy bread lengthwise – you may use a knife; you could even just crumble it into coarse bits and add them into the rest of the stuff in the bowl – Now it’s a salad !
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the salad and mix it vigorously !
And voila !
Since the time we were in Pune, we always had this crazy craving to go buy a huge bucketful of KFC original recipe chicken and hog ! But you see in India, KFC is probably not the most cheapest option and somehow we never got around to buying it actually for two reasons – calories & price, well it was primarily the price to be honest. KFC in India unlike McD & other fast food joints, never used to include the taxes in the listed prices of items on their menu. It was always a surprise factor, introduced right after you painstakingly produce the exact change (feeling quite proud of yourself); And I didn’t like that marketing stunt. Giant corporates vs us minions !
In Australia, KFC is probably the last place you’d go to buy fried chicken, for it’s not very popular, although it well might be the cheapest option ! Anyway, that didn’t bother us – it is affordable, the cost is justified etc. etc. So we decided to trade a night’s home prepared meal for our bucket fantasy !
As Indians we love bargain. I mean we literally get a high when we know we’ve saved few bucks buying on promotion. So get this, here in the local KFC, a bucket of 5 fried chicken pieces is $12.95, whereas a streetwise feast of $19.95 is “6 pieces of fresh Original Recipe Chicken, hand coated in the 11 secret herbs and spices, 3 mouth wateringly tender Crispy Strips, 6 delicious Kentucky Nuggets, 2 sides of seasoned large chips and 2 of our famous dipping sauces.” !! Oh WOW, we thought – now isn’t that the biggest bargain ever?!
But what we did not realize at the time, even in our worst dreams gone bad is that the “hand coated secret recipe” was the last thing we would taste because of the overwhelming amount of salt and oil on the chicken, which by the way I’m sure, was how it was killed in the first place!
The coating was coming off the chicken and drenched in oil. The chicken itself tasted extremely bland and we certainly had to hand coat it back again to make it palatable.
Back when I was in school in India, the tales about how wonderful KFC chicken is, used to make us drool. I even remember the time I was at a friend’s place and was offered a piece of the original KFC chicken, which was just flown in on a flight from Dubai – and I felt so blessed to have had the opportunity to savor it ! Ha, which brings me to the question – Does KFC chicken taste so horrible everywhere in the world? Or is this Australia’s master plan to promote Red Rooster over KFC?
Even at KFC back in India, I don’t recall the chicken tasting so bad. In India, we are so fond of KFC that, especially in my hometown in Kochi, we have all these KFC wannabes – AFC (Asian Fried Chicken), FFC (I don’t even know what it stands for), ChicKing (which by the way is now in UAE too) and couple more of others I just can’t remember now! And these places are packed.
Hmm, I think I’m going to stand by my conspiracy theory and from now on, if I give in to a craving for fried chicken in future, it’s gonna be Red Rooster !!
So how does one feel about taking coffee with a dollop of butter or ghee? Well it’s just a insanely rich latte if you think about it, you know? Apparently this is something that is slowly yet steadily being experimented in parts of the world, and now in Australia. News has it that some of the famous baristas of Melbourne are also secretly perfecting the recipe before they can let their patrons taste it.
You’ve all probably heard of yak butter tea that’s served in Tibet, and perhaps about the paleolithic diet as well? Although Tibetan Yak butter tea has almost nothing to do with the paleo diet, it is a neat invention with chances of a runaway hit in a country which loves coffee where it is being promoted as a paleo alternative to regular coffee.
Paleolithic diet, which emphasizes on a high protein intake, has long been marketed as the solution to obesity and henceforth being championed more than ever in the developed nations of the world. Marketing butter coffee as a paleo alternative to regular coffee is on the assumption that the butter being added to coffee is low on saturated fats, unlike traditional yak butter which has traditionally been added into beverages in Tibet only to fight the cold ! Although it’s yet to be seen the variety of butter/ghee which will find it’s way into these ‘butter coffee’ recipes, several nutritionists have already expressed their concern over the consumption of this highly fattened coffee.
But as the saying goes, anything in moderation is okay! Or is it?
I was at The Little Mule cafe today for a quick bite & coffee. This place popped up on my radar when I foursquared “best lunch places around you”, at the Elizabeth St/Collin St X. While I don’t vouch for Little Mule as the best place for lunch, I certainly will be headed back again for their coffee.
I love specialist cafes that serve single origin coffees, cold drips, siphons, you know..the lot. Coffees here are a treat; leaves you feeling “money well spent”; although, it’s probably “more” money spent on a cup of coffee. But, what the heck – makes you feel better, when you know you’re supporting a coffee farming community in Africa or South America !
Little Mule had 2 single origin brew offerings – espresso (sourced from Colombia) and filter (sourced from Ethiopia). I was in a mood for cappuccino and henceforth went for the espresso. This particular blend was from the Caicedonia region in Colombia; which contributes only a meager share of the globally available Colombian coffee. The lion’s share of Colombian coffee comes from the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis.
The cappuccino tasted extremely smooth, with absolutely no hint of bitterness. The strong notes of honey and cocoa well pronounced. On previous occasions, whenever I’ve had coffees made from beans which claimed to have imbibed intricate flavors from fruits and nuts, the notes were much too subtle to hit home. Unlike wine, tasting which is an art and unless you are well versed in it, you really can’t tell the difference between a $10 one and $ 25 one, drinking coffee is relatively straightforward; this is not to belittle the technicalities of the coffee; but the point is, this Colombian brew is a winner to all – laymen and connoisseurs alike !
The Little Mule vs Sensory Lab – I’d say Little Mule for a cup of joe !!
What are your thoughts??