Category Archives: Drinks

Drink recipes

BRAAAAZZZZIIIILLLL Oh LALALALALALA – “Caipirinhas all round then”?

Well you may remember that I am quite a football fan….I enjoy cricket too but only when Sri Lanka play. So today I am on a natural high – we have the Sri Lanka & England Test series during the day and late at night the Football WORLD CUP! Work Shmork…..my eyes are fully glued to the TV for one month. I may get up now and then during the test series to run off a quick translation but don’t expect miracles – I would rather be poor than miss this.

Today the 2014 World Cup starts – I’m excited about the opening ceremony. Not entirely sure why – I mean Jennifer Lopez and that other fella (can’t remember his name)…..oh yeah Pitbull (had to Google it!) singing and performing. No the attraction is not only the football (with the exception of Holland) it’s the whole event, the excitement, the adrenaline, the buzz.

So what better than to honour the start of these 4 weeks with a Brazilian drink: Caipirinha 

Caipirinha

Caipirinha

Caipirinha (pronounced kie-purr-REEN-yah) roughly translates to “country bumpkin” is Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça (very sweet sugar cane hard liquor – pronounced Ka-Shah-Suh), sugar and lime. Cachaça is Brazil’s most common distilled alcoholic beverage (also known as Pinga or Caninha). Both rum and cachaça are made from sugarcane-derived products. Specifically with cachaça, the alcohol results from the fermentation of sugar cane juice that is afterwards distilled.

The caipirinha is the strongest national cocktail of Brazil and is consumed in restaurants, bars, and many households throughout the country. Once almost unknown outside Brazil, the drink has become more popular and more widely available in recent years, in large part due to the rising availability of first-rate brands of cachaça outside Brazil. The International Bartenders Association has designated it as one of their Official Cocktails.

Here is the simple way to make one (because we will be way too busy watching TV – so make sure you make pitchers of the stuff 😉 )

Ingredients (8 servings):

  • 4 limes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cachaça

Method:

  1. Quarter the limes lengthwise, then cut each quarter in half crosswise and divide pieces between glasses.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to each glass, then muddle the lime pieces by pounding and pressing with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved into the lime juice.
  3. Fill each glass with ice and add 3 tablespoons cachaça to each, stirring well

TIPS:

  • Experiment with other fruits – passion fruit, strawberry & kiwi for example.
  • Use fine sugar.
  • Choose the clearest type of cachaça rather than golden as this will be better quality. Try Liberty Plaza for the real stuff.
  • If you can’t find any cachaça then you can use rum  – Captain Morgans white rum will do and give you a hell of a hangover as well – to make a caipirissima or use vodka to make a caipiroska. Both are widely drunk but lack that certain Brazilian something (not sure what that is….I have images of beautiful women with pert bottoms in g-strings on the beach and kids playing football in slums simultaneously hmmm)!
  • You could always try it with arrack if you have a death wish.

Drink irresponsibly!

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Toddy – What is it and Why is it So Damn Tasty?

Palm wine: also called kallu (Telugu: కల్లు,Tamil: கள்ளு, Malayalam: കള്ള്), palm toddy, or simply toddy (Hindi: ताड़ी), is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the palmyradate palms and coconut palms (that paragraph was shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia (but that’s why it’s there hey?))

A toddy tapper

A toddy tapper

In Sri Lanka it is simply called Raa. You will not find it in a wine shop…this is part of the fun. You get it from toddy sellers (not to be confused with kassipu sellers, which is moonshine and horrid…not to mention deadly if you become addicted). Toddy is a cloudy palm wine (roughly about 7% or 8% alcohol content)….it’s quite pungent but tastes nice.

It is mostly drunk early morning when freshly made – like 5am or 6am…manual workers, agricultural workers etc. always pop in for a glass or two to get them set up for the day. Fresh is best. I have heard horror stories about rats in the vats etc. So if you really want to try it – go early and with somebody who knows what they are doing – oh and bring your own plastic bottle or plastic glass. Some of the clientele are not the healthiest lot. Alcoholics regularly frequent these places before the wine shops open. It’s dirt cheap. GO WITH SOMEBODY YOU TRUST.

But it’s a hell of a lot of fun and tasty. Like a plastic glass of warm Scrumpy at Glastonbury festival. It tastes like cider. For my Dutch and American friends I have no alternative – just try it (it’s like apple beer). Go easy though – it is also potent 😀

Toddy glass

Glass of toddy

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Bit pissed off – need a FUN blog to cheer me up – BURGERS & BOOZE

I have had a hard few weeks (sorry I don’t normally start a blog with “I” but you will hopefully get it as you read on).

So, I’m going to get the moaning out of the way first and get onto the stuff that inspires me….food…yeppers and alcohol; double (shot) yeppers.

Ah it’s nothing drastic, it’s just frustration at living in a country where things are done however and whenever one pleases. An example, we were at a reputable Colombo lunch restaurant recently and ordered two beers which arrived promptly. My other half asked for an ashtray (I quit 6 months and 2 days ago 🙂 – funny how one remembers inane dates like that and then forgets your best mates birthday). The ashtray arrived when our drinks were finished….errrr kind of defeats the object. He was too shy to light up and put the cigarette out on the floor because it’s a rather posh place. We declined the lunch menu because of that and went to the Colombo City Hotel which has the best chicken sandwiches at around 70 rups. No booze but plenty of other establishments around.

Another point of irritation – you get a tuk tuk from the World Trade Centre to the Galle/Matara bus stand – most ask for 250 rups. Find a metered tuk tuk and it will cost you 100, and usually the drivers are much friendlier too.

ANYWAY – I was going to complain about the new banking regulations about receiving foreign currency into a rupee account but I feel better at having vented the above so I’ll give that a miss.

So let me lighten up and share with you one of the BESTESTS comfort foods ever:

Indian Chicken Burger

Indian Chicken Burger

This is quite possibly my favourite burger in the world (although I am partial to Burger King but don’t go spreading that around). McDonalds are bearable only when enormously hungover and KFC zingers used to be ok until they started under cooking the meat and it was actually still bloody – yuk. Don’t let that put you off. This is a stunner.

Makes 4:

Ingredients:

  • 400g chicken mince (breast can be difficult to manage when minced so ask for a mix)
  • 2 or 3 ginger pieces, very finely chopped
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 2 onions – one finely chopped for the burgers, one sliced into rings (for serving)
  • as much coriander as you can stomach 😉 I use one large handful finely chopped including the stalks
  • Big tbsp of salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • bread crumbs – fresh – about 1 slice
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1/2 green chilies (optional), chopped & de-seeded
  • vegetable oil

Method:

  • Mix everything together except onion rings, rest the mix for 10/15 minutes in the fridge.
  • Mould burgers into 4 patties
  • Fry slowly in vegetable oil until slightly browned and fully cooked.

To serve:

  • Mix some mayonnaise with fresh coriander leaves, lemon, salt and pepper.
  • Toast burger buns if wished
  • Spread with mayo mix, sliced tomatoes, onions and lettuce, top with hot burger and add more mayo mix or ketchup if preferred. Or even some cheese – nom nom.

DELISH!

Oh and as for the drink. Beer (lager works best for me). If you’re not a fan…a nice glass of white would do the trick too….but no Chardonnay please 🙂 – that would be an insult to the dish. A softer Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would work much better. If you are a red drinker you can’t go wrong with a good Merlot or Cabernet (possibly better). May be a touch heavy but it will offset the coriander. If you’re into the harder stuff…I’m afraid only a Margerita or Caipirinha would be acceptable.

 

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Filed under Drinks, Food photography, Meat recipes, Sandwiches

Cucumber Curry and a Cool Cocktail

Did you know the cucumber originates from Southern Asia, but now grows on most continents? Many different varieties are traded on the global market.

The cucumber (cucumis sativus) is one of the most important market vegetables in the tropics and it is also the basis of an extensive pickling industry. In Sri Lanka, cucumbers are mainly grown in the dry zone (North and East of the country). They are abundant and come in different varieties as you can see in the bottom left-hand side of this market stall:

Vegetable stall in Sri Lanka

Vegetable stall in Sri Lanka

Cucumbers have not received as much press as other vegetables in terms of health benefits, but this widely-cultivated food provides us with a unique combination of nutrients. At the top of the phytonutrient list for cucumbers are its cucurbitacins, lignans, and flavonoids. These three types of phytonutrients found in cucumbers provide us with valuable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits.

Cucumber Curry

I know the concept of a cucumber curry sounds weird but trust me it’s delicious. Most varieties of cucumber can be used but I would recommend a variety with few seeds. Most Sri Lankan varieties do not have a lot of seeds so for this recipe I am using the common very pale green cucumber. Kekiri cucumber (aka cooking melon) can also be used.

Peel 2 local cucumbers and seed them. 
Then slice the cumber into half moons 
Gently fry the following spices:

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 green chili seeded and chopped
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds

Other ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Salt to taste

In a large pan add all the above ingredients and allow to cook on medium-high heat. Cook until the cucumbers become fork tender (but not mushy).

Then blend together:
5 cloves of garlic
2 tbs of raw rice (rinsed)
1 tbs of mustard seed
1/2 cup of coconut milk

Add the garlic/mustard paste and the milk into the cucumber curry. Stir well and allow the curry to cook for another few minutes until all the flavors are combined well.

Cucumber curry

Cucumber Curry

Feeling hot this weekend? Fancy a refreshing drink with a kick to cool you down? Then I have just the thing.

A cool cucumber cocktail!

This refreshing update on the classic gin & tonic is an easy sipper, thanks to summery cucumber slices and plenty of lime juice. A note on the cucumber slices: it may be tempting to nibble them out of your drink right away, but try to resist the urge. After several minutes’ contact with the lime juice, gin, and sweet tonic water (about as long as it takes to finish the drink) they pickle ever so slightly, taking on a lovely crisp flavor.

Makes 4 drinks:

  • 8 oz gin 
  • 8 tbs fresh lime juice (or more depending on your taste)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber (scrubbed but not peeled)
  • Tonic water
  • Some thicker cucumber slices and rosemary, for garnish

Fill four glasses halfway with ice. In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lime juice, cucumber slices, and a small amount of ice. Shake vigorously for 1-2 minutes, and pour into ice-filled glasses, making sure cucumber slices are evenly distributed.  Top with tonic water; garnish with a slice of cucumber and a sprig of rosemary.

Cucumber Cocktail

Cucumber Cocktail

14 Reasons You Should Start Eating Cucumber 

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Filed under Drinks, Sri Lankan food & recipes, Sri Lankan life, Vegetarian recipes

Glut of Rambutans? Have yourself a Rambutan and Lime Cocktail

In case you hadn’t noticed it’s Rambutan season in Sri Lanka. Stall holders are selling these little bright fruits absolutely everywhere and at frightfully cheap prices too (the cheapest I have seen is 3 rupees for 1 on the Kalu Ganga bridge at Kalutara near the Kalutara Vihara). I’ve been told these ridiculously low prices (last year they were more than double) are due to an abundant harvest this year.

Rambutan

Rambutans

This fruit, whose Malay name means ‘spiny’, is scarlet, maroon or golden-skinned and covered with short, fleshy hairs – not spiky as is commonly thought. Inside there is a translucent, sweet-sour pulp, which like that of its relative, the better-known lychee, covers the single seed. The pulp is sweeter in the better varieties, with those in which it easily peels off the seed being preferred.

So what to do when your house is full of these little gems but you have eaten too many and even the kids are turning their noses up?

Well, you have yourself a rambutan & lime cocktail. It’s easy to make and pretty damn tasty too. The recipe below is for two glasses – it doesn’t take a genius to multiply and make yourself a pitcher or two 😉

Rambutan and Lime Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. finely crushed jaggery (or palm sugar)
  • 4 limes cut into 16 pieces
  • 6-8 fresh rambutans, peeled, seed removed and chopped (canned is possible too)
  • 100ml vodka or Bacardi
  • ½ cup crushed ice

Method:

 

  1. Place crushed jaggery (palm sugar) and limes into a tall glass. Using the end of a rolling pin (or the pestle from a pestle and mortar…whatever you have to hand basically!) and crush until all the juice has been released from the limes.
  2. Add rambutans and continue to crush. Pour into a cocktail shaker along with the vodka and ice. Shake and pour into two tall glasses.
  3. Enjoy.
Rambutan & Lime cocktail - Enjoy!

Rambutan & Lime cocktail – Enjoy!

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Filed under Drinks, Sri Lankan food & recipes, Sri Lankan life

Euro 2012 Football Drinks – Ceylon Sailor

Forget the food tonight for Holland vs. Germany – I am way too nervous.

Try this unusual cocktail recipe using Ceylon arrack (a Sri Lankan spirit) and warming spices.

Ceylon Sailor - courtesy of BBC Goodfood

Ceylon Sailor – courtesy of BBC Goodfood

Ingredients:

  • 3 sprigs fresh coriander
  • 4 chunks of fresh ripe mango
  • 35ml/1¼fl oz Ceylon arrack
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp mango liqueur
  • 1 tsp mango chutney
  • slice fresh mango, for garnish

Preparation method:

  1. Place the coriander and mango into a cocktail shaker and crush with the end of a rolling pin.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and a handful of ice and shake hard. Strain the cocktail into a small wine glass.

I’ll be having a few of these I think!!

Sri Lankan Arrack

Sri Lankan Arrack

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Vodka-infused Party Snacks

To follow on from yesterdays Sri Lankan Fish Cutlet post about two of my best friends birthdays – Helen Lodge & Julie Allington, I am now going to give them ideas for Vodka-infused Party Snacks. All 3 of us love Vodka – can’t go wrong.

Vodka-soaked cherry tomatoes (or should that read “cheery tomatoes”? 😉 )

Vodka-soaked cherry tomatoes with dipping salts

Vodka-soaked cherry tomatoes with dipping salts – image from http://www.withstyle.me

There are many ways to prepare these but thanks to Anthony Worrall Thompson I have found the easiest way. I mean, why bother with placing cherry tomatoes in boiling water for 5 seconds and peeling them when you can avoid it?

Ingredients:

  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ pint/150ml chilli-flavoured vodka
  • ½ lemon, juice of
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 6 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • celery salt, to taste

Preparation method:

  1. Prick the tomatoes all over with a cocktail stick. Soak the tomatoes in a mixture of the next seven ingredients.
  2. Chill until ready to eat. When eating, sprinkle with celery salt & pepper (or have the mixture in a dipping bowl for the cherry tomatoes). The remaining liquid can be drunk as shots – or used as a base for an excellent Bloody Mary.

HOW EASY IS THAT?

This blog made me laugh today so I had to share it:

http://www.foodbuzz.com/blogs/us/wisconsin/madison/5693978-homemade-pineapple-infused-vodka

Boozy Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 6 plum tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed & minced (optional Julie!! x)
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, finely shredded
  • 2 tbsps vodka
  • olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper & a pinch of chili powder (optional) – all to taste.
One fresh French Baguette

Preparation Method:

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and let sit for a half hour.

Cut the baguette into diagonal slices. Toast or fry in olive oil. If toasted drizzle some good quality olive oil over the sliced bread to prevent it becoming too dry. Top with the tomato & vodka mixture and sprinkle with some fresh basil leaves to impress!

Courtesy of Food.com

Courtesy of Food.com

AND FOR THE GRAND FINALE… Helen Lodge’s contribution (cue lots of drum-rolling)…

“Halve a watermelon, pour over a bottle of vodka, chill then eat!”

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Filed under Drinks, Snacks, Vegetarian recipes