Thursday, October 28, 2010

Poor Man's Black Velvet Drink-Thirsty Thursday

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Our jet lag hadn't worn off before we were up at 4 am BST time to catch the first flight of the day out of Bournemouth, England to fly to Dublin for a fast 2 days hoping to take in as much sightseeing as possible. In our hotel by 8:30am, we treated ourselves to a full Irish breakfast which probably saved our lives as we were completely knackered. Taking advantage of the Dublin City "hop on, hop off bus tour",  we hit all the high spots of Dublin and even had a chance to do some shopping at one of the local Irish products store. Most memorable was the famous Temple Bar section of Dublin and the Guinness Storehouse self-guided tour of the Guinness brewery ending on the seventh floor Gravity bar for a complimentary pint of Guinness beer. The panoramic view of the city is fantastic!

Now I love a cold beer and I can drink a Guinness occasionally, but a lighter option is preferable. A Black Velvet is a beer cocktail using Guinness Stout beer and champagne created by a bartender in 1861 to mourn the passing of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's Prince Consort. Tradition suggests the  glass is poured with half of the Guinness stout  and the champagne is poured over a spoon to create two layers.  A poor man's Black Velvet, however, consists of hard apple cider instead of the champagne. Because the density of the layers differs from the champagne, the cider is poured in the glass first, followed by the Guinness poured over a spoon to create the layers.  Try this version with your next Guinness.

Poor Man's Black Velvet

In a beer glass, pour Guinness Stout to fill half the glass. Pour cider into glass over the back of a spoon to make the two layers. Serve immediately. Makes one drink.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hachis Parmentier-French Fridays with Dorie

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The equivalent of the English cottage or shepherd's pie, hachis parmentier is prepared much the same, but instead of using minced beef or lamb, chunks of boneless beef are boiled with aromatics, drained, chopped, then combined with a saute of spicy or sweet sausage and tomato paste. This moist filling is placed in a casserole dish with a top layer of mashed potatoes, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses. The casserole comes out of the oven golden brown and bubbling. On my visits to England, I always order the cottage pie if it is on the menu. Most often, the flavor varies along with the choice of meat. Just recently, I had a cottage pie made with lamb and minced beef-do you call that a Shepherd's Cottage Pie? It seems the pie can be whatever you want it to be. Instead of boiling the beef, I cooked mine in the slow cooker with less water than the recipe called for. By the way, if you would like the recipe, I suggest you buy the book, "Around My French Table" by Dorie Greenspan. Exciting French recipes gathered over the years by Dorie, not haute cuisine, but delicious comfort food you would serve your family and friends.

An easier version of the pie made with ground or minced beef is posted on the sidebar. I imagine it's just as good and less work. If you are interested in joining the French Fridays with Dorie group, you can find more information here. It's a fairly loose group with no requirements for joining except buying the book.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hot Apple Ginger Tea-Thirsty Thursday

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To celebrate National Apple Month which fittingly coincides with Fall festivals, apple picking at nearby orchards and Halloween, this Thirsty Thursday features a hot apple tea redolent with fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves and the added zing of lemon juice. Apples are the new superfruit,  equal to two other superfruits, blueberries and pomegranates, according to a survey done by Supermarket Guru. Apples are available year round, rich in antioxidants, especially when the peel is eaten, a great source of fiber and may even improve brain health which could possibly delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. The health benefits are endless! Apparently the old adage-an apple a day keeps the doctor away-has some merit, after all. Ginger also has numerous health benefits; motion sickness prevention, colon cancer prevention, cold and flu prevention, migraine relief and more.

This hot ginger apple tea is cooked in a slow cooker, a perfect way to keep the beverage hot, and serves 8-10. Remove the spice bag and tea bags when the cycle is complete. If your slow cooker has a warm cycle, the tea will stay hot for several hours.

Hot Ginger Apple Tea

1 lemon, peel removed and juiced,
1/3 cup fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 quart organic 100% apple juice or apple cider
1 quart water
6 tea bags
Lemon slices for garnish
Ginger honey to sweeten

Chill lemon juice until needed. Place lemon peel,ginger, broken cinnamon sticks and cloves in a spice bag and secure.

In a 3-1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker, combine the spice bag, apple juice and water. Cover and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours or high heat for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. When cycle is complete, remove and discard spice bag. Add tea bags, (draping strings over the side of the slow cooker and securing with the lid) and chilled lemon juice to slow cooker. Let stand 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing gently to remove excess liquid; discard bags. Garnish with lemon slices and sweeten with ginger honey, if desired.

For more Thirsty Thursday posts-
Rasentin from Rossella of ma che ti sei mangiato.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DMBLGIT Judges Annnoucement

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October 2010
I'm thrilled that these very talented bloggers and photographers have accepted my invitation to judge the October edition DMBLGIT.  I appreciate the time and effort that each judge is giving to this very special food and drink photographic event. The entries are rolling in-thanks for participating!  The gallery link is here, so take a look for yourself. Remember the deadline is Monday, October 25, 2010-any time zone as long as it is still Monday. Without further ado-The Judges!  Please take a look at the work of these talented individuals-you will be impressed!

"Susan Wolfe (The Well-Seasoned Cook) is a freelance photographer and writer specializing in the culinary arts. Her work has appeared on the Desserts Magazine, Apartment Therapy - The Kitchn, and S. Pellegrino websites, as well as other publications. A regular contributor to Tastespotting and Foodgawker, her photography is also available commercially through Getty Images. When Susan is not cooking and baking in her tiny globally inspired galley kitchen, she can be found shooting for two upcoming books to be published by Harper Collins.  Susan has cooked, baked, written, and photographed for The Well-Seasoned Cook since March 2007.  She is the creator of the popular, long-running monthly event, My Legume Love Affair, and has been a previous host and judge for DMBLGIT? Susan lives in the New York City area."

Asha Pagdiwalla of Fork Spoon Knife-
"Two years back, I swapped out of the world of high finance to that of the high heat of the oven, traded in the excel sheets and complex models for the precision science of baking and art of flavors and moved from penning creative investment ideas to creative culinary experiments. My quest to satiate my voracious appetite takes me on a culinary journey across countries as I try, test, repeat, experiment and master techniques along the way. I am most comfortable swishing around a little of this and a bit of that, while crossing my fingers (secretly!), waiting for the magic to happen. So far, it has worked and it's been much fun sharing these experiences on my blog!!:) My work and photography can also be viewed at Facebook and Flickr."

Denise and Laudalino of Chez Us-
"Denise is a foodie who's first thought each morning is about what she'll be cooking that day. Laudalino is not a foodie; he's an eater and aspiring home chef. They met when he was a starving climber and bachelor who longed for his mother's good Portuguese cooking. She cooked, he ate and eight years later, he still prefers her food to any restaurant fare. Follow their culinary capers in their 20-square foot urbacn kitchen at their blog, Chez Us."

Nicole Young of Nicolesy-
"Nicole Young is a full-time photographer and author living in the Salt Lake Valley, Utah. She specializes in commercial photography and licenses many of her images through iStockphoto. Nicole is an accredited Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) in Photoshop CS4 and is a "Help Desk Specialist with the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. She is the author of the book Canon 7D: From Snapshots to Great Shots published by Peachpit Press."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Caramel Pumpkin Pie-Tuesdays with Dorie

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Just back from whirlwind trip to England and Dublin, Ireland, so haven't posted in a few weeks. I'm thrilled I was able to bake this Caramel Pumpkin Pie chosen by Janell of the Mortensen Family Memoirs. This pie looks like the traditional pumpkin pie, but the surprise flavor is a rich dark caramel sauce whisked into the filling before baking. The pumpkin flavor is definitely enhanced by this addition.

Janell has some helpful tips on baking the pie and also features the recipe on her blog. Even a non-pumpkin pie lover will be tempted by this delicious pie perfect for the upcoming holidays. Visit the TWD website to see what this group of talented bakers have come up with.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Does My Blog Look Good in This-"DMBLGIT" Announcement October, 2010

Print Friendly and PDF I am the proud recipient of 5 DMBLGIT honors of long ago, it seems, but I have never hosted this fabulous event showcasing some of the best of food and drink from bloggers all around the globe. The brain child of  Andrew of Spittoon Extra , DMBLGIT has been called by some "the grandest food porn event available on the web". Winners are selected in three categories- edibility, aesthetics and originality, plus three overall winners. Judges will be announced later this month. Looking forward to seeing your photos and reading your posts.

Here are the rules:

  • Only one food/drink photograph may be entered per person.
  • The photograph must have been taken by you.
  • The photograph must have been posted on your blog during September 2010.
  • The deadline to submit your entry is 25 October 2010 at midnight, Indian Standard Time.
  • A panel of judges will assess the quality of all of the entries before eventually selecting winners from the pictures. There will be winners in the following categories:
    • Aesthetics: composition, food styling, lighting, focus, etc.
    • Edibility: Does the photo make us want to take a big bite out of our computer monitor while drooling on our keyboard?
    • Originality: a photo that makes you stop, look twice, and think "wow, I never thought of photographing it like that before!"
    • Overall Winner: the photograph that scores the highest when individual scores for Aesthetics, Edibility and Originality are added up.
    • Results will be announced on 1st November 2010.
How can you join in?
  • Draft an e-mail with DMBLGIT in the subject line.
  • Attach one qualifying food or drink photo, preferably 400 pixels in width.
  • Include the following:
    • Your name
    • Your blog URL
    • The title of the image/what it is
    • The URL of the post where the photo first appeared
    • The camera you used
    • Send an email with the above information to
    • Please note that by submitting a photo, entrants agree to their photo being redisplayed and altered in size on the host's page and on the SpittoonExtra DMBLGiT page.
    • I have created a gallery in Picasa where I will be adding your photos within 48hrs of submission. I will also acknowledge your email. If you do not receive an acknowledgment within 48hrs. please leave a message in the comment section of this post.

Any questions, feel free to write me an email. Cheers!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Gougeres-French Fridays with Dorie

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While I have enjoyed being part of the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group as we near the completion of baking our way through Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From My Home to Yours", this new cookbook by Ms. Greenspan, "Around My French Table" has me very excited as it features  simple French dishes, sweet and savory gathered over Dorie's  many years of living in France. Classic home style recipes peppered with memorable stories and great tips to ensure success of the dish, or just to play around with substituting different ingredients for variety.

The "French Fridays with Dorie" group will cook their way through this lovely cookbook and post each week's pick on Friday. Today, the recipe is for the classic hor d'oeurve, gougeres-simply a cream puff pastry dough with grated cheese added. For my gougeres, I used sharp cheddar, but a classic French cheese  such as  Gruyere, Comte,  and Emmenthal cheese can be used as well as a smoked cheese. What's cool about the gougeres is that, although the recipe makes about 36, the gougeres can be shaped and frozen,  placed in airtight plastic bags, then pulled out as needed to bake.

If you would like to cook along with the French Fridays with Dorie, read more about the rules, etc. on the FFwD site. Around My French Table is available in many bookstores and online.
Gadget by The Blog Doctor.