Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hypocras

What with so much going on, I haven't had much time to devote to food chemistry or pattern recipes. My apologies, and to make up for it, here's an actual recipe! Soon I should be back to regular posting routines, but sometimes life just happens!

Hypocras is a medieval drink, dating from the days when the Roman Catholic Popes moved to Avignon. This is a refreshing and hearty wine punch which can be served either hot or cold, and will certainly add flair to a Medieval- or Renaissance-themed party!

Ingredients:
Dry Red Wine (Syrah or a mixture containing Syrah and Cabernet is best--you want rich tannins)
Honey, Brown Sugar, or Sugar
Cinnamon
Ginger
Galangal
Clove
Grains of Paradise
Nutmeg
Mace (the spice)
Cardamom
Black pepper



Pour the wine into a heatproof dish with a tight lid that can later be placed in the refrigerator. Add spices and sugar or honey, and mix with a wooden spoon until the honey or sugar is completely dissolved. Cover and leave to sit in a cool place overnight. The next day, taste it. If it's too sweet or too spicy, add more wine. If it's not sweet or spicy enough, add more sugar or spices. Reseal and leave overnight. The next day, filter your wine by pouring it through a towel. (The original medieval recipe specifies filtering it nine times through a clean sock.) Seal tightly and keep in a cool, dark place. As with other wines, once you open it, try to drink it within a week. Serve hot or cold.

  • For a shortcut, most pumpkin pie spice mixes contain ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
  • Medieval recipes do not have precise measurements, so start with a small quantity until you work out the correct proportions to suit your taste. I like mine very spicy! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Herbs, Part 4

Without a doubt, I'm a big fan of fresh herbs. I grow them myself, not only on my own property but at my friends' and neighbours' houses, too. And always people ask me, "How do you use all those herbs?"

One of my favourite ways to use herbs is infusions. Whether I infuse them in water (to make tea), in cream (to make sauces or custards); in stock (to make soups or gravies); in liquor, or in just about any liquid, herbs add a great kick to just about anything.Buy at Art.com

Need to spice up a recipe? Simple. A day or so before you make it, look at the recipe (you have to look at it anyway, before you go to the store, right?) and see what liquid it calls for. Okay, now take that liquid and measure it out. Stick some fresh herbs in it and put that liquid in the fridge. Now when you go to make that recipe, simply pick out the herbs with a tweezers and voilĂ ! You've just found a way to use those fresh herbs!