Category Archives: Drink

Raspberry Leaf Tea

Drying raspberry leaves for raspberry leaf teaThis is a quick one.  I just learned that raspberry leaves make good tea.

Pick the leaves, dry them in a low oven, and store in an airtight jar.

To serve, steep in hot water for 4 minutes, as you would any other tea, and strain.

I’m not good at describing the subtlties and complexities of something like tea.  To me, raspberry leaf tea tastes a bit like green tea…

It’s good.

Steeping raspberry leaf tea

Austrian Heuriger

Heurigen (“HOY-ree-gen,” singular heuriger) are special taverns in Austria that serve young wine or cider, depending on the region.

The word heuriger literally means something like “of the current year”.  So for instance new potatoes are called heurige erdäpfel.  With regards to wine it refers to wine from the last vintage, ie. wine that has not been bottled or aged.  Heuriger taverns open up for a couple of weeks at a time so that guests can drink young wine and eat plates of cold food such as cheese, spreads, bread, and charcuterie.  The word for these savoury accompaniments is brettljause (“BRET-tel YOW-ze”).  Brett means board, as the food is usually spread out on a wooden board.  Brettl, … Continue reading.

Rarebit

A plate of rarebit, hot cheese and beer on toastThis dish is most commonly called either “Welsh rarebit” or “Welsh rabbit.” “Rabbit” is the original name, though no one knows the origin of the term. Some say it was originally derogatory, suggesting that if a Welshman went out to hunt rabbit, he would end up eating cheese for dinner.  The dish is currently experiencing a revival, and modern authors and cooks prefer to use the corruption “rarebit,” as it avoids the obvious confusion with the hopping mammal.

At its heart, rabbit is hot cheese on toast. The best versions also include beer.  I borrowed a technique from Fergus Henderson’s book The Whole Beast. He makes a roux, then whisks his beer into it, creating what is essentially a beer … Continue reading.

Alberta Beer: A Thought Experiment

What makes beer “local”? Is it simply that it’s brewed in Edmonton? Do the grains and hops have to be from Alberta? Do the water and yeast? Could it be that the origin of the ingredients is only one part of the equation? What about how we brew and bitter our grains?

In modern practice, beer is made of grains that are malted, roasted, mashed, bittered with hops, fermented, and carbonated. Which of these processes are necessary, and which are a matter of cultural preference?

Strictly speaking, malting isn’t required, though something must be done to break down the cell walls of the grains, and to convert some of the starches to sugars. Malting prompts the germ of the … Continue reading.

Mulled Wine

And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China

-Leonard Cohen, Suzanne

 

Orange peel, clove, cinnamon, and star aniseI remember my dad telling me that when he was little he mostly got Christmas oranges (mandarins) and nuts in his stocking. When I was younger I thought that was unspeakably lame. I now realize that oranges would have been a novelty at any time of year, but to have such a sweet fruit in the dead of winter was truly a luxury.

I’ve been trying to cultivate a deeper respect for food we bring from afar. Given the season, I’ve been rekindling the ancient occidental obsession with oriental spices. To that end, I’d like to share a story from Herodotus:

What Continue reading.

Applejack – Concentration by Freezing

A glass of homemade applejackWhile reading the maple syrup section of On Food and Cooking, I came across a shocking bit of information.

Even though North American Indians didn’t have metal pots until the Europeans came, they had an ingenious method for reducing maple sap to make syrup. They would leave the sap in the cold air overnight. In the morning there would be ice on top. That ice would be mostly (but not exclusively) water, so in discarding the ice they were left with a higher concentration of sugar in the sap.

After reading this, I immediately turned to the section of the book on distilled spirits, to see if there was any mention of whether this method works to concentrate alcoholic … Continue reading.

Rumpot

The first layer of the rumpotRumtopf, literally “rum pot”, is a traditional German fruit preserve. As each type of fruit comes into season, it is macerated with sugar, placed in the pot, then covered with rum. Traditional rumtopfen are earthenware pots with heavy lids, but any wide-mouthed, non-reactive vessel can be used.

I use about one part sugar to two parts fruit, by weight, for each addition.

Once the last layer of fruit is added, the mixture steeps for a few months, and is traditionally eaten around Christmas.

The mixture goes through some profound transformations during aging. It loses the striking vibrancy seen above and turns a uniform burgundy. The liquor loses its clarity and becomes murky, with an exceptionally rich mouthfeel, verging on … Continue reading.

Austrian Dinner

But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is? It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it’s just there it’s a little different.

-Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction

 

I am part of a culinary exchange between NAIT and a school in Semmering, Austria. This past month I hosted an Austrian student named Dominik, whom a lucky few met at Valerie’s psychedelic taste-tripping party.

On Dominik’s last full day in Canada, we coerced him and two of his Austrian colleagues, Mike and Lena, to cook us a classic Austrian dinner.

First Course: Frittatensuppe – Pancake Soup

Domink requested that we make a good beef stock for the … Continue reading.

Mead

Testing the specific gravity of raspberry mead, or melomelI really want to like mead.

When I was a kid, before I knew exactly what mead was, I associated it with vikings and long wooden tables and serving-wenches. Even then, I wanted to like it.

My associations were correct in that mead has been a popular drink in northern Europe since antiquity. The epic poem Beowulf, for instance, is about a dragon (Grendel) that terrorizes the mead-hall of a Danish king (Hrothgar) and that dragon’s subsequent ass-kicking at the hands of a young warrior (Beowulf). So yes, vikings and mead go hand in hand, but the drink is part of cultures far beyond Scandinavia, in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America.

These days I’m trying to like mead … Continue reading.

Raspberry Liqueur

Ever since Neil brought me a recipe for limoncello from Capris, I’ve been eager to try some sort of fruit infusion of alcohol. My surplus of raspberries from Roy’s seemed like divine providence. Here is my recipe for raspberry liqueur.

Raspberry LiqueurRaspberry Liqueur
adapted from a souvenir-bar-towel recipe for limoncello

Ingredients

•750 g raspberries
•750 mL Everclear grain alcohol
•750 mL water
•750 g granulated sugar
•500 mL fresh lemon juice, strained of pulp and seeds

Procedure

  1. Pour the grain alcohol and raspberries into a large glass container. Mash the berries, cover the mixture tightly, and leave for two weeks. This is the infusion.
  2. Pour the infusion through a wire strainer to remove the berry pulp. Discard said pulp.
  3. Make a
Continue reading.