Idiot’s Guide to Mulled Wine – Insanely Simple & Cheap !


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!

Insanely Mulled Wine Method

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)

\m/ theinsanefoodie

Egg & Spinach Salad – with a twist !


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

Directions

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 !

\m/ theinsanefoodie

Colombian Coffee at it’s best – Melbourne CBD


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.

Courtesy – http://www.beanhunter.com/australia/victoria/melbourne/melbourne-cbd/the-little-mule

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??

theinsanefoodie

Philly Cheese Steak Roll – The Quick Way


Philly Cheese Steak Roll - The Quick Way

This is probably the easiest way for making a tasty & healthier version of the original Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich !

Here’s what you’ll need,

250g Beef cut – I recommend using the less marbled Silverside Eye cut; sliced length wise
1 Red onion – sliced med. fine
1-2 Bird’s Eye chillies – sliced (subject to spice level !)
Handful of Light Tasty cheese
Olive oil – enough to brown meat
1 tsp White Pepper powder
1/2 tsp Salt – or as appropriate
1 Flat pan
2 Wholemeal Pita breads – cut into halves (4 nos.)

Heat the oil in the flat pan (med. heat), toss in the sliced meat, brown it. Add the pepper & salt. Let the beef sizzle for a few mins. Add the red onions & chilles. Keep tossing until the onions are caramelized in the meaty juices. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the tasty cheese. Let the cheese melt before you mix it thoroughly.

Roll it into your pita breads !

\m/ HOG AWAY \m/

Brewing in Melbourne – The Moka Pot


Coffee machines, broadly fall into these categories – the Espresso machine, Drip Filter, French Press & the Moka Pot.

Previously, I have owned and used the espresso machine & the drip filter (regular, cheap commercial ones).

Moka Pot

This was my first attempt at using the Moka Pot, considered by coffee aficionados of the yesteryear’s, as one of the finest forms of making coffee. A design patented in the early 1900s by
Luigi De Ponti.

I wasn’t quite sure initially how the whole experiment would turn out. But at the end of it when the brew finally collected in the collecting chamber, I couldn’t help but feel impressed by the simplicity of this stove-top espresso maker. As they say, the brew is much stronger (higher caffeine content) than what you’d get using a drip filter coffee machine.

Perhaps not the fastest to make a cuppa in the morning if you are in a hurry, but certainly the one that gives you the satisfaction of being your home’s own Barista !

Yours Truly