Did you know that there are two days a year dedicated to honouring bartenders?
World Bartender Appreciation Day is an international celebration for bartenders and is held on the 24th of February, while Bartender Appreciation Day is a US national celebration held on the 1st Friday in December. Bartender Appreciation Day was founded by Sailor Jerry Rum in 2011. This year it will be celebrated on Friday the 3rd.
As the name suggests, Bartender Appreciation Day is a day to honour those who tend our drinks, and often our emotions. As someone who has spent a lot of time in bars, I’d like to say thank you to all those bartenders who mixed me awesome drinks, listened to my drunken stories, commiserated with me when I was sad, and celebrated my happy times.
A great way to celebrate a day dedicated to mixologists is to experiment with your favourite cocktail recipes. I like playing around with the ratio of ingredients, so I was happily surprised when I discovered reverse cocktails! To make one, you simply reverse the proportions of the main alcohol ingredients. For example, a Lone Tree Cocktail (one of my favourites) is 2 parts gin to 1 part sweet vermouth. To reverse it you’d do 1 part gin to 2 parts sweet vermouth. Reversing a cocktail can have a dramatic effect on the flavour, and sometimes on the alcohol content as well.
An extension of this concept is to play around with the ingredients themselves. So with the Lone Tree example you could do 1 part gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part dry vermouth. You could also use a blood orange gin to add an orange flavour. With all the different gins and vermouths available, your combinations could be endless!
Fairy Bread is an Australian treat, comprised of buttered white bread sprinkled with hundreds and thousands. There is no real recipe for this sweet but there are a few non-binding rules. The bread should be sliced white bread, the spread can be butter or margarine, and the sprinkles must be round, coloured hundreds and thousands and not the rod shaped ones. (Hundreds and thousands are also known as nonpareils sprinkles). Fairy Bread is usually sliced into triangles with the crust left on.
Fairy Bread was first mentioned in a 1920’s Hobart newspaper article which reported children eating it at a party. The creation of Fairy Bread may have been inspired by a Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem called “Fairy Bread” published in A Child’s Garden of Verses in 1885.
“Fairy Bread” Come up here, O dusty feet! Here is fairy bread to eat. Here in my retiring room, Children, you may dine On the golden smell of broom And the shade of pine; And when you have eaten well, Fairy stories hear and tell.
Normally I’m a bit of a rebel and love to play around with recipes, but in the case of Fairy Bread, I’m a traditionalist! If you really don’t like crusts, I think cutting them off is fine. I also think cutting or rolling the bread into creative shapes is an acceptable tweak and a way to get creative with a basic, but very tasty, recipe. 🙂
I’ve recently discovered a less messy way to get the hundreds and thousands onto the bread. Instead of covering the buttered bread with the hundreds and thousands, which usually leads to the round, sugary balls sliding off the bread and rolling all over the kitchen, pour the hundreds and thousands onto a plate and press the bread butter side down into the hundreds and thousands. This is particularly helpful if you’ve cut your bread into unusual shapes.
October 19th is International Gin and Tonic Day. It is a day to celebrate and drink Gin & Tonics. That’s it! As a lover of gin and also of tonic I need no excuse to imbibe this refreshing drink.
The Gin and Tonic was introduced during the reign of the British East India Company in India during the 1700’s as a treatment for malaria. Tonic water gets its distinctive bitter taste from quinine which was used as a natural medicine to treat malaria. To counter the bitter taste of quinine, sugar, lime and gin were added to the medicinal tonic water, giving birth to the Gin and Tonics we love today.
A Gin and Tonic is simply a mix of two ingredients – gin and tonic poured over ice. The ratio between the two ingredients depends on personal taste but you can start with one part gin to three parts tonic water and work from there. Garnishing with a slice of lime is traditional but I prefer lemon on the rare occasions that I add a garnish.
I love the flavours of Gin and Tonic so much that I just had to have a go at making Gin and Tonic Cupcakes with Gin and Tonic Icing. I wasn’t sure if they would work, and the thought of wasting a large amount of gin, inspired me to scale down my recipe to one generous Texas muffin sized cupcake. I’m happy (and somewhat relieved) to say it was a success! The cupcake has a hint of gin flavour which is enhanced by the icing. They are a perfect match – just like a G&T. 🙂
Gin and Tonic Cupcake
You will need 1 Texas muffin size silicone liner or a Texas muffin pan and paper liner.
Ingredients for the cupcake
1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
30g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons tonic water
1 teaspoon gin
for the icing
1/2 cup powdered (icing) sugar
2 teaspoons gin
1 teaspoon tonic water
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white and sugar until combined.
Whisk in the melted butter.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until combined.
Add the gin and tonic water and stir until just combined.
Spoon the batter into a silicone liner or a Texas muffin pan lined with a paper case.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Mix together the icing sugar, gin and tonic water in a bowl.
The icing should be thick enough to drizzle so add more gin or tonic water or more powdered sugar if needed to get this consistency.
Drizzle as much icing as you like over the top and smooth over with the back of a spoon.
World Gin Day is celebrated on the second Saturday in June. This is a day to enjoy all things gin. For some of us, World Gin Day is every day!
I’ve always loved gin. I love the aromatics and the infinite flavours you can play with. The only things gin needs in order to be called gin is distilled alcohol and juniper berries. After that you can add anything else and it’s still a gin. In fact the name gin is derived from juniperus, the Latin word for juniper.
One of the more interesting gins I have recently discovered is an Australian gin called Ink. It was the deep blue/purple colour that drew me to the bottle. I then discovered that this blue/purple colour changes to a light purple/pink when you add tonic water. I was entranced! I was also very happy that this gin was not just a gimmick, but a beautiful tasting one as well.
Ink is infused with 14 different botanicals including butterfly pea flowers. It is these flowers that give the gin its bright colour as well as its colour changing properties. Butterfly pea flowers are considered an aphrodisiac as the flowers resemble female genitalia. Not surprisingly their scientific name is derived from the Latin for clitoris – Clitoria ternatea.
With that in mind I started thinking of a way of showcasing this delicious and unusual gin while adding a feminine touch 🙂 After much thought I really couldn’t go past a classic gin and tonic with the addition of strawberries. Strawberries are associated with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, after whom aphrodisiacs are named.
Strawberry Gin and Tonic
1 strawberry, sliced lengthways
90ml tonic water
Pour the gin into a glass.
Add the sliced strawberry.
Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
Add the tonic water.
Makes one mixed drink.
Today is International Coffee Day. Its origins are a bit obscure but who needs facts to celebrate coffee!!
I was wondering what I should do for my blog to honour this day and thought I could talk about the different types of coffee or the different ways to make coffee or coffee paraphernalia but I just wasn’t inspired. Then I thought I could share some of my favourite coffee photos or share some of my coffee recipes. That’s when inspiration struck! I was about to have a late lunch and feeling lazy today I was going to make my “Cheat’s Sushi” which is simply a bowl of rice mixed with tinned tuna – I do season my tuna and add other ingredients so it’s not as boring as it sounds 🙂 But, in the spirit of International Coffee Day, I decided to make a lunch that featured coffee.
The thought of combining coffee, rice and tuna wasn’t grabbing me but boiling udon noodles in coffee and adding seasoned tuna was! So here is how I went about creating my fancy named:
Coffee Udon Noodles with Sesame Tuna
I started by bringing to the boil 4 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of instant coffee.
I added 90g of udon noodles to the boiling water and, following the packet instructions, cooked for 10 minutes.
While the noodles were cooking I opened a 125g tin of tuna in oil and drained most of the oil before placing the tuna in a bowl and lightly flaking. I added a 1/4 teaspoon of white sesame seeds, a 1/4 teaspoon of black sesame seeds and a sprinkle of ground ginger and mixed them through.
Once the noodles were ready I drained and rinsed them under running water before placing them in a serving bowl. I added the tuna and tasted my creation. The noodles definitely tasted like coffee but they had a slight bitterness which wasn’t pleasant. I thought a bit of sweetener might work so I added some mirin (a type of Japanese sweet rice wine) and tasted. It was nearly there. After splashing in some tamari (Japanese soy sauce) I was ready to eat!
This is definitely a dish in progress and I will explore different flavour combinations. I really want to try it with fresh tuna. The basics of tuna, coffee and noodles is a real winner for me. If you give it a go just add enough mirin and tamari to suit your personal taste. You can also play around with the amount of coffee if you want weaker or stronger flavoured coffee noodles. It would be great served with Asian greens.
You can see my food and other photography at my Red Bubble site v-something 🙂