Rhubarb Syrup. Panty Remover.

In Spring, this young man’s fancy turns to rhubarb. Follow me through this.

I make rhubarb syrup during rhubarb season. It’s simple, and it’s amazing in cocktails. Any cocktail that calls for grenadine can be rhubarbified. The trick to making a good rhubarb syrup is to maximize the rhubarb flavour in as small a volume of liquid as possible.

Continue reading “Rhubarb Syrup. Panty Remover.”

Dawa – a simple tropical cocktail

While on vacation in Kenya with my sister, we stumbled upon (and later, because of) a fantastic cocktail. Simple to construct, lots of flavour and extremely refreshing. It’s called a Dawa, which is the Swahili word for “medicine.” I assure you, the name speaks to the effect rather than the taste.

A simple tropical cocktail
Washed-up, shore-worn sea turtle skull for scale.

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Bay leaf liqueur

Among my many long-term goals is to train a bay laurel into a standard. I want it to look like a child’s drawing of a tree: stick + ball. This year’s seasonal pruning was harsh, and yielded more fresh bay leaves than ever. Given that one man can eat a finite number of pots of soup between prunings of his bay laurel standard, something had to be done.

The answer, as always, was booze.

Gin, bay liqueur, cucumber. Continue reading “Bay leaf liqueur”

Gardener’s Revenge (2 of 3) Preparing Homegrown Escargot

Even though they’ve been boiled already, once out of the shell, snails still need to be cooked. There are lots variations on what exactly escargot can be poached in, but the goal is essentially to cheat a court bouillon. It is a matter of preference, but I go for a red wine base.
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Gardener’s Revenge (1 of 3) Processing Homegrown Escargot

Om nom nom
Helix aspersa, eating comfortably in captivity.

Last Spring I got frustrated with replacing my herb seedlings weekly, and made an effort to rid my potted garden of the scourge of hungry snails. In a search for the perfect species-directed pesticide, I identified the particular species of nocturnal basil-destroyers as Helix aspersa*. That’s where my poisoning plan took a hard right turn. Helix aspersa, it turns out, are one of several European native terrestrial snails that are edible. Delicious, even. The French call them “Les Petits Gris”, and favour them over the larger species Helix pomatia. Introduced to England from Italy by the Romans, they were regularly eaten well beyond WWII by poor East-Londoners who used a meal of snails to get around the Anglican Church’s no-meat-on-Friday rule – by dubbing them “wall fish.” Such rich history behind these varmints.
Continue reading “Gardener’s Revenge (1 of 3) Processing Homegrown Escargot”