Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

The making of absinthe

The Making of Absinthe

Absinthe recipes abound in bartender’s literature. Whether you are looking to make a palate-pleasing French absinthe or an astringent version of Spanish absinthe, here are some basic rules — as well as variations on the general theme.

Your first step is to procure what’s known as a “neutral spirit.” This can be vodka, grain alcohol, or wine. (Traditionally, wine has been used in the most respected commercial formulations.) Make sure your base isn’t too concentrated or flavorful. Your next step is to “macerate” the spirit with a prepared batch of herbs. In general, for every three quarters of a liter of spirit, add a third a cup of herbs. In the Spanish formulation, herbs include: wormwood, anise seeds, angelica root, and coriander. For the Winston La F?e Verte formulation, use wormwood, anise, angelica root, peppermint leaf and hyssop. Other spices to add could include thyme, cardamom, lemon balm, mint, nutmeg, and sage. Please note, however, that if you use a lot of sage, star anise, wormwood or nutmeg, you may toxify or partially toxify the absinthe. One of the reasons why absinthe is banned or regulated in so many countries is that certain preparations contain a chemical called thujone, which can damage receptors in the central nervous system. A small amount of thujone won’t likely cause a toxic reaction, but if you are making a home formulation, avoid using wormwood stems or macerating your spirit for more than a few months.

Keep the absinthe in a cool location at a constant temperature away from sunlight. Once this process is finished, distill the beverage. This will leave you with a liquid that’s not suited for drinking – it will likely be brown in color and highly astringent. Next, you will need to “finish” the batch to produce appropriate coloration and taste. You can finish with an array of herbs (and even wormwood). Common herbs used in finish include hyssop, melissa, peppermint leaf, and mint.

An alternative way to go is to create multiple distillates with separate flavors to mix later to taste. For instance, you can create a pure “anise” absinthe as well as a pure “peppermint” absinthe and then mix them after the process is finished to create a flavor, color, and bitterness level to your taste.

After macerating the finish, filter the absinthe again and prepare for either bottling or consumption. You can play with both the coloration and taste even at this stage. Add corn syrup or Splenda to sweeten the brew. Alternatively, dilute the beverage with water or add vodka or another base spirit to punch up its alcohol content.

Be aware that if you use too many herbs or too strong a maceration in your preparation, your drink will likely end up tasting bitter or overwhelming. You might also overwhelm the wispy natural green color of the concoction if you steep too long. Conversely, if you add too much base spirit, you can overwhelm the flavoring. If you water the absinthe down too much, you will get an effect known as “louching” — your beverage will cloud.

Once you finish your formulation, you can bottle the absinthe in mason jars, bottles or other glass casings. Be sure to keep your absinthe corked, stored in a cool dark place, and rotated regularly to ensure evenness of flavor and body.

Not all absinthes must be made via distillation. You can find herbal kits (on the internet and elsewhere), which can help you make absinthe, bypassing the distillation stage. You can also create what is known as clear absinthe (also known as Suisse la Bleue), in which there is no finish applied. Although the Suisse la Bleue will be clear (or near clear), you can still taste the flavor traces left over by the initial maceration.

Make sure to prepare all of your ingredients on clean surfaces. Vary up your blend of preparatory herbs to explore different finished products. In fact, you can vary your recipe practically every step! Experiment with the fineness of your herbal preparation, the dimensions of your storage containers, the temperatures at which you store the beverage, the duration of maceration (both initial and finished), the type and strength of the base spirit, your method of filtration and distillation, and the length of time you age your finished product. Above all, make sure that you enjoy the process — experiment often, but experiment safely.

Chai tea – the spices of life

Chai Tea – The spices of life

Contrast to the Asian way of drinking tea without added ingredients, the European, India, and now American are drinking Chai, a creamy tea with many spices.  Originate from India, the main ingredients are inexpensive black tea with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger powder, and black pepper.  Sugar and milk are added before serving. 

There are endless ways to make this tea.  With the verity of tea choices today, this drink can now be decaffeinated using Rooibos or decaf breakfast blend.  Black teas have changed over the years.  The best tea in India comes from Darjeeling, Northeastern India.  Due to top soil and high elevation, Darjeeling tea can stand on its own without any added ingredients.

Other Chai I have seen in the market are Pumpkin Spice Chai and Green Tea Chai. Sometime Latte is added to Chai referring to a creamy drink.  Latte is an Italian word that describes a drink made of steamed milk.   Listed below is a recipe calling for Chai tea. Try it and let me know how you like this Chai Spiced Tiramisu. If you are a tea connoisseur, why not make Chai with all of the best ingredients  and add some spices to your life!

·  Chai Spiced Tiramisu

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup marscapone cheese
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 bags Chai Tea
  • 1 tsp. spiced rum
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 12 ladyfingers

Cinnamon/Sugar Mix:

  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

 Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Beat egg yolks with sugar until creamy. Add vanilla extract. Fold in cheese until mixture is smooth and velvety. Bring water to a boil. Pour over Chai tea in a small bowl. Let steep for 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool. Add spiced rum and 2 teaspoons of sugar. In a clear bowl, spread butter on bottom and sides of bowl. Sprinkle some of cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of the butter. Carefully dip ladyfingers in Chai tea. Place on bottom of clear bowl. Add 1/3 of cheese mixture. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture. Repeat this step 2 times until leftover cheese mixture is the top layer. Sprinkle rest of cinnamon/sugar mixture on top. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Rooibos tea-your toast for refreshment

Rooibos Tea-your Toast for Refreshment

The definition of cooking varies greatly among individuals. In my professional career, I have come across a million people who really don’t bother about what is being served to them. They have other important things to worry about. For them, eating is just a perfunctory duty that is a part of their daily chores.

On the other hand, there are folks like me for whom cooking is fun. It is the innovation, flavor, and a persistent urge to make the dishes more delicious which provides me the fuel to experiment with new ideas.

Cooking is an art of enhancing the flavor with the simplest possible recipe. In case of cooking, less is always more. Off late I have been experimenting with different varieties of tea and possible delicacies that could be made out of it and I must say Rooibos is one of the types I have been infatuated with for long. One cannot classify Rooibos as a kind of tea in particular. Unlike most of its counterparts, Rooibos tea is not a part of the Camellia Sinensis tea family. These are tiny leaves, flat in structure with a red glow like that of ruby.

Rooibos tea is found in South Africa, mainly in outskirts of Cape Town. Though it originated in Africa, Rooibos tea soon gained recognition in other countries as a popular connoisseur.  The most popular connoisseur drink prepared out of Rooibos tea is the one where it is tangled with Orange juice. The recipe is simple enough. All you need is a cup of boiled water, orange, ice and the loose Rooibos tea leaf. At first, pour the tea on boiled water and let it soak for a few minutes. Extract juice out of the orange and stir it with sugar cubes. Add ice with the mixture made out of Rooibos tea and then pour the orange juice over it and shake it well. If you are not particularly fond of orange juice, you may very well replace the same with honey. Once the drink is ready, serve it with a cup of hot chocolate.

If you do not want to stick to the stereotyped recipes, you may want to experiment by adding more spices. All you need to do is boil a mixture of loose tea leaf, sugar, a slice of lemon, a cinnamon stick and some crushed cloves. Once the mixture is considerably hot, pour a cup of red wine and boil it once more. Get rid of the cinnamon stick and the lemon rind and serve the drink with cookies.

In a similar way, Rooibos can be effectively combined with other drinks like Vodka and other cocktails. Some people prefer mixing Rooibos leaves with dishes like desert, coups and also as a part of the main dish. The inherent sweetness of the Rooibos makes a delicious connoisseur in almost every drink made out of it. Rooibos is a powerful antioxidant and its decaffeinated properties make it a promising health drink for consumers of all ages.

Reap the benefits of tea

Reap the Benefits of Tea

We know that tea can provide a bounty of health benefits and you don’t just have to sip a cup to get those benefits. You can use your favourite healthy teas in cooking which can add flavour and health benefits to meals.

Tea Soup Base

Start making your soup with a tea base and you can reap the health benefits of green tea, wulong tea, black tea, white tea, chai or any other.  Tea has so many health benefits that getting it into your recipes is a great way to add both flavour and health.

Not only will you get antioxidant, metabolic or antibacterial benefits depending on the type of tea you use but the flavour is awesome.  Green tea or white tea make a nice and light base for Asian or traditional soups  whereas oolong or wulong is more of a woodsy flavour perfect for a hearty beef and vegetable. If you want something exotic tasting, start your base with Chai.

White tea is increasingly popular for those feeling sick and making your chicken noodle soup with an organic white tea base could dramatically reduce the length of your illness becuase it can fight strep and staph infections.

Gravies and Cooking Liquid

Start your gravies the same way and use tea instead of plain water when making rice or couscous. Whether you’re doing a detox diet, want more antioxidants or just love the flavour it’s a great way to help you get the many benefits of tea.

September 2020
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