Tag: winemaking

weekend cooking


We were due at a Transition Town film meeting on Saturday afternoon, with tea and cake afterwards, so I baked muffins in the morning: I had some brown bananas, and a couple of rather tired clementines, so did a dozen each of clementine and poppyseed, and banana and bran flake. We were greedy, and kept 4 of each back for ourselves, and in the end, not many people turned up for the film, so I brought several muffins back home with me, which are safely stowed in the freezer for when I have a “must have CAKE!” moment.

It’s worth mentioning that the banana muffin mix freezes really well, and I’ve no reason to suppose that the clementine won’t do the same; certainly takes a lot less space than baked muffins, and they’re so much nicer freshly made.

Vegetable Tagine
Sunday, I took an aubergine, a courgette, a red and a yellow pepper, chopped them up and put them in the slow cooker. Chopped up a sweet potato, a butternut squash and a huge carrot, and parboiled them for about 7 minutes. Drained them, added to slow cooker. Chopped an onion and some garlic, fried them off in some olive oil, then added some home made Ras El Hanout and stirred it round for a couple of moments, then added a tin of tomatoes and some water, brought to the boil, added to slow cooker with some salt and pepper. Stirred, regarded, added a tin of chick peas (should have been organised to soak some overnight, but ho hum). Voila, vegetable tagine – after about 6 hours in the cooker. Made 8 portions.

Also knocked out a couple of gallons of fruit juice wine – one prune, one red grape. I’ve not tried this before, but Tesco were doing 3 for 2 on fruit juice last week, and so for about a fiver including sugar it had to be tried. That makes [counts] ten gallons on the go, and about 20 bottles in the rack, so we should be able to continue our alcoholic lifestyle for a while yet.

baking and winemaking weekend

Sorted out some wine – filtered and bottled one gallon of parsnip, although the other one went cloudy again, racked the three gallons of rhubarb (which was really 2.5 gallons and racked down to 2 + a bottle), racked the two gallons of apricot and stopped the fermentation, made a gallon of Earl Grey just to see what it’s like.

Had a baking session on Sunday – made Norwegian cinnamon buns for tea – I followed Nigella’s recipe slavishly, but the dough was ridiculously sticky, and a quick Google finds I am not alone.  I’ve amended the recipe on Nibblous to reflect, but they really were rather delicious.  We had no powdered cinnamon, and had no desire to go out, so just whizzed up some cinnamon quills in the little blender, and that was fine.  Also made some bread dough for lunch today/tomorrow, which has just come out of the oven.

We had reactive sausage rolls for tea too – frozen puff pastry (because life really *is* too short to make your own; I did it once, just to prove it), and the stuffing left over from the Christmas goose, which had been shoved in the freezer.  It was sausagemeat, breadcrumbs, lemon sage, cranberries, shopped shallot, garlic, if I recall correctly.  Pete manfully did the rolling out, and they were fab.  We ate them all. Oink.  There was some filling left, so I shall fry it up for lunch, accompanied by egg, and freshly baked bread.

For Saturday supper we had spring greens in coconut milk – I recommend this to you, it’s utterly delicious, dead cheap and very quick.  Try it! It works with kale, or curly cabbage (but not white, I wouldn’t think), or purple sprouting broccoli.

I've got to try this – teabag wine!

8 x fruit teabags of choice, 1kg sugar, 1 teaspoon yeast, 1 teaspoon nutrient, 2tsps lemon juice.

Pour boiling water onto teabags and sugar in a large jug and leave until lukewarm. Discard bags and pour liquid into a demijohn. Top up with water to the ‘shoulder’ of the demijohn. Add yeast and nutrient. Fit a suitable airlock – and away you go!

I have a wine filter kit!

A friend who used to do a lot of home winemaking told me that I should get a filter kit to “polish” my wine.  They’re not cheap cheap (about £22 or so with carriage), so I trawled eBay and found somebody selling his father’s old Boots kit.  I offered him £8 including postage, and a deal was done, and it arrived this morning.  This is handy, as I have two gallons of parsnip for bottling.

With great excitement I took it out of the box, read the instructions (which must have been written quite a long time ago – I might scan them for your edification), tried to work out where the filter papers should go (and failed), but assembled it reasonably successfully nonetheless with one of the filter pads.  Then I realised that it could probably do with a wash, and indeed a sterilise, before polishing my parsnips (that’s a nice alliteration, and is not in any way a euphimism, I assure you).

So I ran a bucket of water, put some sterlising powder in it, and dunked in the filter kit.  Pad and and all, damnit.  It’s now drying on the hall radiator – wonder if it’ll be useable …

reactive winemaking!

I’m getting the hang of this winemaking lark now, and I’m much more confident than I used to be.  We did our monthly trip to Makro on Saturday (first time the car had been out for a fortnight!), and they had a 5kg bag of carrots reduced to £2.30.   “Wine!”, I thought, and bore the bag home in triumph, along with 96 cans of cat fud and other essentials.

5kgs is a *lot* of carrots, I may tell you, but Pete and I topped and tailed them and chopped them up, and then I boiled them up in my preserving pan (bought from eBay a couple of years ago, and so useful).  We had to do it them in two batches.  You want the liquor for wine, and the carrots can be repurposed for eating.

I had a little ham hock in the freezer, and I put it in the slow cooker yesterday before I went out.  So, in a serendipitous style, I had a load of nice ham stock for soup.  One half of the Jordan carrot mountain went through the Magimix and into a big pan with the stock, and that’ll be this week’s soup, or the start thereof.  And I have some coriander to go with it, which will be nice.

The other batch of carrot will be liquidised and, somehow, shoehorned into th freezer for another soup.  I really can’t get used to living with just one freezer, and it’s always full to bursting, with me wanting to cook still more.

I have a big batch of Gujuerati beef curry in the slow cooker right now, and space will have to be found for that too … I’ll write the recipe up tomorrow.

And there are cheese scones and some cocktail sossidges in the oven for supper …

season of mists and mellow fruitfulness …

10lbs of bramleys and a bag of windfalls

A friend was selling Bramleys from her garden at £0.15 per lb, in aid of the local LibDems.  I said I’d take 6kgs, and she delivered them yesterday, and threw in a bag of windfalls.  I was amused to see the apples delivered in a Louis Vuitton bag – a less Vuitton woman than Deborah is hard to imagine, unless of course it’s me.

So my first foray into winemaking begins.  I’ve chopped up and boiled the windfalls, and the resultant mush is sitting in a bucket with yeast and sugar, and will be put into a demijohn tonight.  It’s really quite exciting!

The rest of the apples will be boxed and put into a cupboard somewhere; they were going to go into the shed, but I’m a bit worried about slugs and snails and so forth in there.