Showing posts with label bourbon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bourbon. Show all posts

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Muddling Together Memories - Muddled Mulberry Manhattan

Cocktail Hour - Muddled Mulberry Manhattan

When I was in primary school, we went through a phase of silk worms. Every second family had silk worms. I’m actually surprised there wasn’t a massive rise in silk shirts worn in the local area. I’m assuming it started off as a classroom “pet” or lesson or something. My childhood memories are sketchy at best. But I remember two things about that Silk Worm Saga:

  1. Disused washing machines are a great silk worm home
  2. Silk worms love eating mulberry leaves.

Kids would bring in big bags of mulberry leaves to share about for all the other kids with silk worms. This was my first real memory of mulberries. The second memory I have is visiting my grandma when I was around 12 and seeing her arms and legs scratched to pieces and her triumphantly showing us the ice cream containers full of mulberries she’d picked from the bramble growing wild down the back of her yard. Then we’d get to eat some mulberry compote with ice cream. Good times!

So when I was offered some mulberries, I grabbed a few to take home. Despite most of my recollections of mulberries being deeply rooted in my childhood, I thought a more adult offering was required for their use. Muddling a few with some rosemary and boozing it up with rye and vermouth; Manhattan style was where my tastebud’s imagination took me. Instead of bitters, I layered a teaspoon of Laphraoig whisky on top to give it a smokey edge. The resulting cocktail is strong, mildly sweet and intensely berry-flavoured. Garnish with a chocolate cracker or biscotti.

Cocktail Hour - Muddled Mulberry Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Muddled Mulberry Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Muddled Mulberry Manhattan

Muddled Mulberry Manhattan

5 mulberries
1 tsp panela sugar (or raw sugar)
4 fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/2 shots (50mL) rye whisky
3/4 shot (30mL)sweet red vermouth
1 tsp Laphraoig whiskey

Chill a martini glass.

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mulberries, panela and rosemary. Add the rye and vermouth, then top up with ice. Put the lid on and shake until the outside of the container is frosty. 

Strain through the lid, through a tea strainer into the martini glass. Gentle pour the Laphroaig over the top. Enjoy!

Cocktail Hour - Muddled Mulberry Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Muddled Mulberry Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Muddled Mulberry Manhattan

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Using Leftovers - Smokey Duck and Lentil Empanadas

Using Leftovers - Smokey Duck and Lentil Empanadas
Using Leftovers - Smokey Duck and Lentil Empanadas

If you are lucky enough to have some leftover bourbon molasses braised duck, then this is the perfect way of utilising some of that delicious saucy meat. If you do not have any left, never fear – any leftover meat could be shredded to be added to the lentils. Or even some refried beans and a little grated cheese. Or the sweet potato and bacon filling from my bagel bombs. The recipe here is more for the dough than anything. The dough itself is flavoured in such a way that it lends itself to the smokey, BBQy flavours of the duck dish, so I would recommend using a little good quality BBQ sauce to coat the meat and lentils before forming the empanadas. Alternately, make sure you have a good dipping sauce if you have a plainer filling.

I make my pastry doughs in the food processor because it’s so much simpler, but it can be done by hand.

Oh, and my New Year's Resolution last year to eat more cornbread was a huge success. This year, I think it might be to practice making prettier looking empanadas!
Using Leftovers - Smokey Duck and Lentil Empanadas
Using Leftovers - Smokey Duck and Lentil Empanadas

Smokey Empanadas with Duck and Lentils

2 cups plain flour (‘00’ if you have it)
½ cup cold butter, cubed
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ancho chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ cup bourbon
2 eggs
1 tbsp molasses
1 Egg + 1 tbsp cold water for the egg wash

400g tin lentils
Few twists of salt and pepper
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup shredded duck

Remove the duck from the fridge to take the chill off.

Sift the flour, salt, paprika and chilli powder together and put it in the food processor. Add the butter and pulse until it is combined and resembles breadcrumbs. In a bowl, lightly beat the bourbon, eggs and molasses to combine. Add to the flour mixture and pulse until it comes together into a ball. Don’t overwork it.

Remove the dough, flatten it into a disc, wrap it in plastic and pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.

Take it out of the freezer, divide it into two pieces and roll each piece out into a rectangle about 5mm thick that you then cut into 4. So when both pieces have been rolled and cut, you’ll have 8 rectangles. Place on lined baking trays, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 10 minutes while you make the filling.

Rinse the lentils well as they come out of the tin and drain. Place in a bowl, season and add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine, then drain the excess vinegar and measure out 1 cup of lentils. Reserve the rest for another use (I added to a salad). Mix the duck meat into the lentils.

Preheat the oven to 175C

Place around 1 ½ tablespoons of filling mixture along half of each piece of dough, leaving a 5mm-1cm rim around the edge. Brush the rim top and bottom with egg wash, fold the top over and crimp together with a fork. Poke a few air holes with the fork tines and brush the whole thing with egg wash.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

Serve with greek yoghurt or sour cream
Using Leftovers - Smokey Duck and Lentil Empanadas
Using Leftovers - Smokey Duck and Lentil Empanadas
Using Leftovers - Smokey Duck and Lentil Empanadas
Using Leftovers - Smokey Duck and Lentil Empanadas

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck

Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck
Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck

I have mentioned before that Lance has been experimenting a lot with smoking. Meat. He gets some funny looks when he tells people he’s really into smoking. He built a tray holder and bought a rotisserie and turned one of our garden sheds into a smoker. Last time he did a great big smoke, we had around 50 sausages, half a kilo of bacon, 6 chorizo links, a roast pork and a whole chicken. We now have a few piles of various woods drying out, ready for him to experiment with, things like macadamia and plum. As well as the traditional hickory blocks that we buy from the store. As an offshoot from that, he’s started experimenting more with roasting meats on the rotisserie in the BBQ. Or “rotisserating” them, as he likes to say.

This style of cooking is most suited to things with an outer layer of fat, so when it rotates, that layer of fat gets crunchy and delicious, whilst the interior meat is protected and stays gloriously moist. Even if you slightly overcook a roast, it stays moist inside. Lamb and pork legs and whole chickens have all had the rotisserated treatment to great effect. He’ll often throw some hickory and mesquite chips in to add an extra flavour boost. He did a whole baby pig for my sister-in-law's 30th!

This passion and experimentation has led him to the idea of rotisserating a whole beef fillet which is almost entirely devoid of fat, so he wants to encase it in a layer of duck fat and see how that changes the flavour profile and generate moistness in a roast that is notorious for drying out. He figures if duck fat roasted potatoes are the holy grail or roast potatoes, then surely the same will be true for duck fat roasted beef. Which led to a Sunday afternoon of kitchen prep side-by-side. Me making baked bean casserole and banana bread for the week ahead. Him skinning a duck. Yep. He skinned a whole duck. Which meant I needed to find a way to cook a skinless, fatless duck.

Obviously that rules out roasting it. The general consensus of all my cookbooks is that you can cook duck breasts quickly and to medium, and that duck legs you slow cook into confit style dishes and the rest of the duck is pretty useless for anything but stock. There isn’t a great deal of meat on ducks beyond the breasts and legs. My Peruvian cookbook had largely tomato based dishes, which didn’t really jump out at me. A Mexican cookbook had some slightly more inspired spice-based dishes. My Treme cookbook had slow roasted duck with bourbon molasses sauce and sweet potato fries. Bingo! I used the same base flavours, but changed the dish to suit my skinless duck. Opting to section it, brown it, then braise it.

To make life easier, you can get an already segmented duck and either pull the skin off yourself which will be a lot easier than skinning it whole. Or, you can still brown each piece leaving the skin and fat on, but you’ll need to brown it for longer on the skin side, and removed the majority of the fat from the pan before adding the liquids.

This resulting dish is rich and sweet and sticky and moreish just all kinds of perfect. I deep-fried some sage leaves in duck fat for garnish, and instead of making fries, I made a sweet potato mash with orange and cinnamon that complimented the sweetness just so. Although that as a dish by itself makes a fantastic side. I lazily made it in the microwave and it takes less than 10 minutes. Couldn’t be simpler!

And as a side note, molasses can be hard to find, but I really suggest you seek it out. The flavour profile is so much richer than any other sweetener you would try using as a substitute and it really makes the dish. In the end, I found it in a Woolworths, but I had gone to the Nanna Shop, a Coles and an IGA before I found some.

Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck
Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck
Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck
Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck
Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck
Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck

Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck

(adapted from the Treme Cookbook)
1 duck, approx. 2.2 kg, sectioned into about 8 pieces and skinned
2 tbsp reserved duck fat (from skinning the duck)
1 brown onion, sliced into half moons
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, diced
8 large sage leaves, plus 1 tbsp chopped sage leaves
1 tbsp thyme leaves
2 tsp black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup molasses, divided in two
½ cup bourbon, divided in two
¾ cup apple cider vinegar (plus a splash)
330mL bottle apple cider
Salt and pepper

Place the duck fat in a large lidded pan (I used my tagine) and bring up to a medium high heat. When the majority of the fat has rendered out, remove the little bits that remain and discard. Carefully drop the whole sage leaves into the hot oil, they will sizzle and crisp up in about 30 seconds. Remove to paper towel and set aside.

Season the duck pieces with salt and pepper and in batches, brown on each side in the duck fat. Around 3-5 minutes per side should do it. Set aside on a plate.

Add the onion to the pan and cook until golden, stirring here and there so it doesn’t catch too much. Around 10 minutes. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pan if necessary, then add the shallots and garlic cloves. Cook until translucent, around 3 minutes.

Add the sage, thyme, pepper, chicken stock, ¼ cup of molasses, ¼ cup of bourbon, apple cider vinegar and apple cider to the pan. Stir well to combine, then add the duck pieces back into braising liquid. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, turn the duck over, re-cover and cook for a further 20-30 minutes or until the meat is falling off the bone.

When cooked, remove the duck from the pan and add the remaining ¼ cup of molasses and ¼ cup bourbon and leave simmering with the lid off to reduce.

Shred the duck meat from off the bone, discarding the bones.

When the sauce is a thick, syrupy consistency, check for seasoning, then stir the duck back through the sauce.

Serve with Orange Cinnamon Sweet Potato Smash and crispy fried sage leaves

Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck
Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck
Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck
Starting the Year off Right - Bourbon Molasses Braised Duck

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan

Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan

My friends and I like playing a game called “What’s your favourite cocktail” with bartenders when we go out. And, it’s as simple as it sounds. If you don’t have a hankering for a specific drink, then you let the decision lie in the hands of the bartender by asking them to make you their favourite drink. Since the small bar licence regulations changed, Perth has cultivated some of the best cocktail makers and it makes the game so rewarding! Often, they’ll make you the most amazing concoction, not off their lists…just because they love the creativity of it. Mixing different flavours to create something unique. It’s so much fun! A common question back, to make sure they make you something along your taste lines is – what do you normally drink. Fair enough. Giving an Old Fashioned to a Cosmo drinker is not going to make you popular. I have a few different answers, depending on what style of drink I’m leaning towards that night, but my most common cocktail is the Manhattan. A Manhattan is a mix of Rye Whiskey, sweet vermouth and a cherry. I am a sucker for that cherry. It’s a punchy, strong drink that relies on the quality of the ingredients, because there’s only a few of them. You can’t hide inferiority behind sweet mixers and sugar syrup. Vermouth has an annoyingly short shelf-life. Once opened, it should ideally be used within a few weeks. Which, for the home bar, isn’t really ideal. But, Vermouth is a form of wine spirit, fortified and aromatized with herbals to get it’s flavour and sometimes hide inferior wine (I learnt all this at one of The Classroom's Spirit Faculty's!). In this version, instead of Vermouth, I use a Muscat. Which is also a form of fortified wine but is more of an after dinner drink than an aperitif and relies on raisoned grapes for it's flavours. 
Monty’s Fine Old Muscat is from my favourite winery – Cape Naturaliste, and it does the job here making this Manhattan a Mont-hattan. This Muscat is aged in oak, and the fermentation is stopped using cognac which gives it a delicious smokiness that really plays well with the rye. For the rye, I've gone for Rittenhouse as it's my go-to "top-shelf" rye.

As a side note - the only martini glass I own is a novelty plastic one I got when I went to see Wicked the musical! Hence the disco photos!

Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan


1 1/2 shots rye whiskey
1 shot Monty's Fine Old Muscat
2-3 dashes Angosturra bitters
maraschino cherry

Fill a shaker with ice. Add the rye, muscat and bitters. Add the lid, shake then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry (and eat another couple whilst you make it!)

As another side note - this drinks really well with spiced nuts as pictured. But possibly even better with Chilli Lindt Chocolate.

Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan
Cocktail Hour - Monthattan, a Muscat Manhattan

Monday, April 28, 2014

TV Inspiration - Rye Buttermilk Punch

Over the last year or so, I’ve become more and more of a Rye Bourbon drinker. It started with drinking Manhattans and has sort of developed from there. So when Lance and I started watching the new season of Justified with all their bourbon drinking, I bought a bottle to enjoy alongside Raylan Givens. Add to that the half bottle of buttermilk I had leftover from making this honey and buttermilk bread and I had the idea for a cocktail brewing. 

Have you ever had a Brandy Milk Punch? It’s one of the official cocktails of New Orleans and is a sweetened milk-based cocktail, similar to an eggnog without the egg. It’s pretty delicious and deceptively potent. I thought I’d make a Kentucky inspired version with the distinctly Southern ingredients of Rye and Buttermilk. Add some maple syrup for sweetness and you have what was for me the perfect cocktail. I must say though, I am a huge fan of buttermilk. I don’t know many Australians who would drink buttermilk, it’s usually reserved for cooking with. But it is quite a sour, tangy drink as it is cultured. It’s like drinking thinner unsweetened Greek Yoghurt. Which I love. So I love buttermilk. So whilst I love this cocktail, my husband thinks it could do with some extra sweetening. He doesn’t really like yoghurt at all though. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it! Like the Brandy Milk Punch, it is deceptively potent. So, take it easy on them. Rye isn’t hugely common at bottleshops Perth. My pick is Hogs 3 Bourbon, available at most Dan Murphy’s and extremely reasonably priced. If you can’t find it, you can use your favourite bourbon.

 Rye Buttermilk Punch(makes 2 drinks)120mL rye bourbon (such as Hogs 3) (4 shot glasses)240mL buttermilk (8 shot glasses)60mL maple syrup (2 shot glasses)Icenutmeg In a large glass or jug, mix the rye, buttermilk and maple syrup together and whisk until frothy. Pour into old fashioned glasses filled with ice cubes. Dust with nutmeg and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Birthday Meals - Fig and Apple BBQ Pasta Sauce

My husband and I both tend to have birthday week, at least. Sometimes birthday month. We generally don't buy each other presents unless there’s something specific we find (this is true for all gift-giving occasions). Instead it becomes a week or so full of birthday-related activities. This year, his parents threw their annual party. The day of his birthday I met his boat after work and we had tapas and beers at Monk Brewery with a few friends and the next day I cooked him this for dinner for his Birthday + 1. I had told him I wanted to cook him something special for his birthday and he told me he doubted I could. Everything I cook was special. Bless him.

We are both big fans of ribs. Sticky, BBQ sauce smothered ribs. Preferably smokey. Along with my collection of hot sauces, I have a handful of different BBQ sauces in my pantry, too. I was thinking about how they all have a similar base flavour, and started contemplating what it was that makes a BBQ sauce taste like a BBQ sauce. Basically it’s a combination of sweet, salt and vinegar. The ‘sweet’ is usually fruity. And then it’s got some spice in there. Pretty simple, really. I knew I didn’t have enough time to come home from work and cook ribs (they are so much better slow-cooked), but I still wanted that sticky sweet sauce. I got it in my head to make a pasta, but didn’t want to just use a BBQ sauce from the bottle because they tend to be a bit ‘much’ in large quantities. The vinegar and sugar can take over.

I had been given a few sundowner apples from my parents’ after an orchard trip. I’m not the hugest fan of them to just eat, I find they can be a bit ‘floury’. I like my apples tart and crisp – like pink ladies, or fujis. But, I thought they’d make the perfect sweet base for a BBQ sauce. I added some figs, because I had some. You can always substitute another apple, or maybe a few nectarines or peaches seeing as they’re in season. To me, the sauce turned out perfectly and Lance swears up and down that it wasn’t BBQ sauce but was delicious. I asked him what it tasted like and what BBQ sauce tasted like. He repeated back all of the same flavours for both. What was ‘missing’ was it being further reduced to concentrate the flavours like the traditional condiment – but this was the reason I didn’t want to just use a bottled sauce in the first place. So, I am going to make this again, but cook it in my slow cooker for a few hours to reduce it further, then puree it to make a condiment BBQ sauce. And as a compromise, I am calling this a BBQ Pasta Sauce instead of just a BBQ sauce.

To make the pasta, I had some beautiful little yellow squash and zucchini, then some leftover roast beef that I shredded. Some pork or chicken would go well, too. Then I added a tonne of basil and flat leaf parsley at the end. I wanted it to be more of a vegetable than a herb.
This recipe has a lot of ingredients, but most of them are spices, so don’t get too overwhelmed by that. For me, they are all pantry staples. The mustard seeds and cumin seeds I measured before I toasted and ground them. If you have pre-ground spices, then you’d probably need a little less.

Fig and Apple BBQ Pasta Sauce
(serves 4-6)
2 shallots
4 cloves garlic
2 apples
6 figs
1 shot bourbon
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp smokey paprika
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp pepper
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
½ cup apple cider vinegar

Assembling the Pasta
6 yellow squash, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1 cup shredded cooked beef
Bunch basil leaves, roughly torn
Bunch flatleaf parsley leaves, roughly torn
500g egg noodles

In a large, tall sided pan (I used my tagine pan) on a low heat, add the olive oil and when it’s warmed up, add the shallots and garlic and sautee for about 5 minutes until translucent. You don’t want to colour them, you want it sweet and soft. Then add the apples, figs, salt and bourbon. Stir well, then cover and leave to simmer around 10 minutes while you prep the rest.

In a dry pan, toast the cumin and mustard seeds for 15-30 seconds until the mustard seeds ‘pop’. Add to a spice grinder or mortar & pestle with the peppercorns and grind until fine. Add the two paprikas and chili powder to the spice mix. Mix together the water, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and honey. Pour into the apple mixture. Add the spice mixture into the pan as well and mix everything really well. Cover again and simmer away for at least 20 minutes. The fruit should break down and go mushy turning into a delicious sticky sauce. Check for seasoning.

Meanwhile, place a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Cook according to packet instructions. Add the squash, beef and zucchini to the sauce and cook until warmed through and the vegetables have softened – 10 minutes. Add the pasta when al dente, and the herbs, and stir through. Serve!