Archive for July, 2009

A wee winter warmer

July 16, 2009

Here’s a recipe for a tasty treat on those cold winter evenings when you have friends and folk around – I made a couple of bottles of it for our Yuletide feast, an it went down very nicely!

Ravenwolfe’s Mulled Wine

  • 1x bottle red wine: I got a cheap bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m no wine drinker, so I’m completely in the dark about what would be best. If you look around the www for resipes, there are a number of opinions – sweet wines, fruity wines, dry wines….. like I said, I have no idea about wine – so I bought something cheap. Once you get all the ingredients into it, it tastes fine….
  • 1x vanilla bean
  • 1x cinnamon stick: roughly bashed
  • 1x whole nutmeg: roughly bashed
  • zest from one orange
  • 1x cup brandy
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4x cloves

I roughly bashed the spices together. Then I dissolved the sugar in the brandy on the lowest heat setting on my stove. Then I added the spices and vanilla bean. Once this had warmed, I added the bottle of wine, and kept this going until it was warm. Because I did this the day before, I retained all the spices in the wine, and then re-warmed it on the night of the feast.

It is really really important not to bring any of this to the boil, as the alcohol will evaporate – unless of course that’s what you want. Keeping the heat on lowest level assures this. If you start to see steam, take it off the heat immediately.

This will obviously not fit back into the wine bottle, so find something that will take a litre of liquid.

Like I said, I don’t like wine – but this was very tasty! It was nice and warming too!


All quiet on the gardening front….

July 2, 2009

Winter is most definitely here…. and things are definitely slowing.

All the various Brassicas are slowly getting to maturity (cabbages, broccoli, swedes, kale, etc); the snow peas are finally climbing their trellis after a very slow start; and we’ve just sowed some heirloom purple broad-beans.

The plan is to start sowing seeds into trays for late winter/early spring, so that the seedlings are ready to plant. Although between exams and holidays, its not certain when we’ll actually get this happening.

An exciting development is a large number of hard-wood cuttings of two different varieties of fig trees, which we hope will strike and provide us a number of fig saplings.

Of course, winter is the perfect time for brewing lagers and other brews requiring bottom-fermenting yeasts. After tasting the Golden Winter Steam, I was inspired to make another one. This is an interesting beer, one that definitely can be classed as a hybrid – a cross between a  lager and an ale. The first taste is reminiscent of classic lagers, but then followed by a hint of fruity-esters, and then an aftertaste of malt. The aroma is not what was aimed for, and may have been because I picked the hops flowers too late. There are at least two batches of my Happy Pils that need to be made in the next month or so – the Czech Pilsener yeast works best in these cold temperatures.

Surprisingly, our tomatoes, eggplants, and chilli plants are all surviving – there are even ripening fruit on the tomatoes!!!! Weird, huh?!?!?

We are having a pest problem that is destroying the mature broccoli – and its not something that snail-ale will fix – we think that possums are eating our vegies! Perhaps possum pie is in order….. grrrrrrrrrr….!!!!!!

It will be interesting to see how things pan out for this year. I predict that we may see an early start to spring this year…..