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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Tag Archives: recipe

My concoction…

Some people just can’t help but get their hands dirty. As do I.

Instead of just talking about how lovely Elderflower cordial is again, I actually got stuck in and made one.
I was surprised about how easy it was.

We had cut back a long branch off the Elder, so the initiative for this event was mostly due to the lovely scent of the severed flowers.
Picking the small flowers off the corymbs takes a little work, but eventually it is quite satisfying to find yourself surrounded in the sweet smell and your hands covered in pollen. (so this is not for the pollen averse, drinking the home made brew might have the opposite effect though…)

Pity the flowers are only around end May, early June…

For the recipe:

1. you add equal measures of sugar (preferably raw cane) and water (half a cup each ~120gr.) and boil it up to a thick syrup.

Then pour the hot syrup over the plucked flowers (about 1 ounce of flowers ~28gr.) and leave to steep, over night outside of the fridge, or 3 days in the fridge.
Most people add lemon or citric acid at this point, as a preservative and to add some zzing.

Just pour through a fine sieve or piece of cloth and keep in a nice bottle or jug in the fridge.

One table spoon is enough for a large glass…

I just wanted to try mine pure before diluting the flavour… I found the plain stuff on its own or with a slice of lemon most refreshing.

Whether this is really the most powerful potion the druids wrote about, I am not sure.

But it surely works like a tonic on me.
It is always such a pleasure to have a new experience… learn a new skill.

Now all we need is a sunny day so we can drink the brew in the shade.

Summer and a slice of lemon, do we need anything more?

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First the eggs, now the chicken!

Ha-a-a-tchou!

There is a monster of a cold virus roaming through the Netherlands.

I am not sure how it entered the house, but now it has, it certainly is here to stay.

This one has it all, the teary eyes, the sneezing and sniveling, the clogged nose, muscles aching and a pounding head…

So I have done the only thing one can do…

Make chicken soup and stay warm.

The recipe I use is simple:

My kind of bird...

1. Put an old bird in a pot, add onions, garlic, loads of fresh thyme (as if you will taste anything) and water in a pot.
(I added some laurel and juniper berries for more flavour)
2. cook for 3 hours (get back to bed or read a book under a blanket)
3. scoop out the carcass, leave to cool.
4. Strain the stock while warm (to get rid of any loose onion skins etc.)
5. once the carcass is cool enough, pick off all the meat from the carcass and add back into the strained stock.
6. add salt and pepper to taste (you could add vegetables, rice or noodles if you like, but I prefer plain.)
7. reheat soup when necessary (it will get better every time you reheat it.)

Feeling better already!

Hatchou!
(or may be not)

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Got eggs?

After missing Halloween last week I am not getting ready to miss Thanksgiving.
Around this time last year I was wondering why the Americans make stuffing outside of a bird and still call it stuffing?
Curious…  Anyway I digress… (I will write more about those experiences some time soon)

During a chat with an American friend, all of a sudden I had an enormous craving for EGGNOG! Last year, I gained 6 pounds in two weeks because of this brilliant stuff. May be it was the fresh eggs from our own chickens or my native Dutch respect for freshly ground nutmeg… I don’t know, but it is just too good. So try with caution… but for those working out and needing protein, it doesn’t get much better than this…

There are always a trillion variations on a traditional recipe. But in general the best recipes are usually the simplest…
You can spend forever splitting 20 eggs or add all kinds of strange ingredients. But why would you?

The one I found and use is the following, from a site dedicated to this liquid gold: http://www.eggnogrecipe.net, try the Alcoholic version. But if you leave out the booze it is just as yummy. (and great at breakfast too! It only has 3 million calories per sip, so it will keep you going for a while…)

Sink or sip?

Ingredients

6 eggs + 2 extra egg yolks
4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of sugar
pinch of salt (optional)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup bourbon (optional)

Directions

Start by whisking the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a large pan until well-blended. Keep on whisking while you slowly pour in the milk until it is completely mixed-in. Next, set the pan on your stove’s burner and turn it to the lowest possible setting. Continuously whisk ingredients for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture reaches 160°F (71°C) and will coat the underside of a spoon. (use a thermometer for this, really!)

Next, remove the mixture from heat and strain it into a large-sized bowl, making sure to get out any pieces of cooked egg. Now stir in the bourbon, vanilla, and nutmeg, and transfer your mixture to a covered dish. Refrigerate the mix for at least 4 hours before proceeding.

Finally, when you’re ready to serve your eggnog with alcohol, grab the heavy cream and whip it well. Now just fold in the chilled mix, pour, serve and enjoy!

Makes 14 servings. (or 3 depending on whether you can stop yourself.)

Now I better go and find myself some fresh eggs…

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Fortnums does Alice's party..

Off course this Post can not be a surprise… You could see this one coming a mile off…

So let’s talk TEA…

Presently I am in the Netherlands, at my parents in Rhenen, where the tap water is the softest you will ever find.
I am sitting here sipping a cup of really exquisite Chai, warming and smooth on a tropical day…
Still tea is the most quenching beverage in the book. The hotter it is, the more it will cool and calm you down!

Off course I have had the extended privilege to some brilliant teas in the UK.

Fortnums has its own bees on the roof...

Most people flock to Fortnums (short for Fortnum & Masons) to get their kicks. Piles and piles of differently coloured tea tins welcome you upon entrance.
But don’t let this fool you. Even if their well dressed service is lovely and their marketing excellent, this is not automically the best place to buy tea.

Proper Tea at the Parlour...

Personally I prefer the Tea House in Covent Garden.
I agree it isn’t as grand as F&M, but their shop is certainly well stocked…
(and much more easy to wander round without getting lost if losing the will to live)

Taking tea is a completely different issue.
F&M is brilliant to have a casual cup of tea with a friend, on the 1st floor Parlour. You get a large lated pot of tea to yourself (and as much water to top up if desired)

Secondly I can recommend having tea in hotels. These places are usually a lot more private and quiet if you feel like catching up with a friend.
I can recommend The Chancery Court Hotel and the Athenaeum Hotel. Service and selection is excellent at both, and please remember to smile at the jolly doorman at the Athenaeum. 🙂

Alternatively Liberty’s is a great alternative. Their bustling tea room can be found on the ground floor… Please sample the rose jam on your scones! (service can regretfully sometimes be slow, but not bad to look at in the meantime)

Then thirdly there is the Tea itself.

Kousmichoff's traditional tins...

Everyone has their own favourites and recipes… (my grandmother passed on her to me, but I can not publish that online 😉
At my house you will always find a selection of at least three of the following teas:

Infusions
I love Tilleuil (lime blossom) and Verveine (Verbena) for the evenings or in between…Just add a dash of Lime blossom honey to give a light lemony sweetness to the infusions and enjoy!
Chai blends of spices are a wonderful opposite of the light and refreshing herbs above. Lovely in winter with some warm milk to warm you outside and in…

Green tea
Gen Maicha (Japanese green tea with puffed rice) always packs a punch with anti oxidants and the smoky smell of the rice.
Chung Hao (Chinese Green tea dried under a blanket of Jasmine) The Tea House and Simon Levelt in Holland have the best kind.

It's all good...

Black tea
Formosa Oolong (half fermented tea, so between black and green) reminds me of the lovely tea time by the fire in Sparham.
Troika (with bergamot and mandarin), Traktir (smoked with bergamot and spices) and Prince Vladimir (with spices and vanilla) and simply every other Russian blend from Parisian based Kousmichoff teas. If you think that the UK is the only European country with a tea tradition, you really should visit Kusmi teas old factory at Avenue Niel in Paris…

All you need is a warm fire, some soft water… a good kettle and a good friend.

(and my gigantic Spode tea cups/buckets haha)

Enjoy…

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Roll on...

In our family we have several traditions regarding comfort food and nibbles at our get-togethers.

Salmon salad is one of them, mainly consisting of a tin of salmon mixed with ‘whiskey cocktails sauce‘ spread on toast.

Another favourite is ‘Saucijzen broodjes’ or Sausage Rolls.

These rolls are the only thing to make our lively family banter and discussions stop. Once a large dish of them is passed round, accompanied with napkins, it takes about 1 minute before all of us stand with a strange stare with open mouth, trying to cool the scorching hot bite we just under estimated.

At the family celebrations last weekend, this delicacy off course could not be missed. So I went to my trusted butcher and asked his advice on the British approach to sausage rolls.
Off course he more than helped me out.
He showed me that they sell sausage rolls by the yard from the freezer.
He makes the sausage meat and pastry himself and freezes large batches, so they can be defrosted and sliced before use.

I must admit that these rolls really impressed the family…
I sliced the strip into 9 pieces, topped them with some egg and left them in the over to brown and puff up.
These rolls were enormous and needed to be eaten with knife and fork instead of  napkin from the hand…
Best ones we ever had…

Even with a completely different origin and recipe I was so very happy to achieve the same moment of silence, and gasping for cool air.
Some things never change. 🙂

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