Experiments 003: Mulled Nectarines

All the wines from Marks and Spencer

Guys, I confess… I’ve been drinking a bit. When you’re in a country like Australia where there’s lots of wine you just CANNOT take advantage of that. Right now, pantry staples include a bottle of white and a bottle of red. I’m still searching for a favorite red but so far, I simply the miss the ease of pulling out favorites from Marks and Spencer’s shelf. Back in Manila, I was pretty fine with a Rose wine. I think my friends R&R also made me taste some of their flavored prosecco too which was lovely. Anyway, in short, I’ve got wine and an excess thereof, as such, I’ve been experimenting a bit on what to do with wine.

I also tried reading a bit here. When I can. And while my interest in Game of Thrones  is mostly on John Snow, I’ve also been curious about its food. Apart from seeing or reading about mulled wine in George RR Martin’s Saga, this original English wine mix is actually a favourite in the land down under, Australia. In fact, the country has recreated the concoction with a unique Australian touch.

For wine enthusiasts who want to use a great quality red wine, here’s a useful tip from 40-year wine expert Chris Murphy who wrote on Marks and Spencer’s blog that, in finding the right red variant for your mulled wine, “you really need to taste the wine properly. This may sound simple, but there’s actually much more to tasting wine than simply drinking it.” Some of the best red wines which you may use are Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Merlot. For added flavor add mint leaves to give it a zesty flavour.

To give you a flavourful mulled wine with an Australian twist, a recipe from Food.com is provided below:

Roasted Nectarines With Mulled Wine Sauce

· 1/2 cup of soft brown sugar
· 6 whole cloves
· 6 nectarines
· 3 cm piece orange zest
· 1 1/2 cups of red wine (Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Merlot)
· 1 cinnamon stick
· 40 g butter
· 2 whole star anise

1. Preheat the oven at 200C (180C).
2. In an ovenproof casserole dish, add the nectarines—make sure they fit snugly.
3. Evenly sprinkle the sugar and add butter. Pour in the wine, orange zest, and spices in the mix.
4. Cover dish with foil and roast nectarines for a half an hour, until the fruit is soft.
5. Allow the nectarines to cool in the syrup. You may refrigerate and serve it cold.
6. You may add mint leaves for a wild variety of flavors. Alternately, you may serve it with yoghurt, ice-cream or custard.

Guys, this was so good. So good in fact that I finished it all and forgot to take a picture. OTL. This happens. I just… I… I have no excuse at all. I’m thinking of alternatives to this like pineapple or maybe pears and peaches. This experiment MUST continue.

Experiments 002: Pork Roast

I spend for pork roast. I love it and on difficult days, or at least once a month, I’d like to have a good pork roast.

Recently, I live in a place that hardly has a good raost around, not even Baliwag! Hence, this weekend I thought of giving myself a good roast for the weekend.

I’ve never made roast before and when I did, it often tasted bland. Maybe if I got myself into some online college classes to better my cooking skills, I might be able to make it taste better. But even Jamie Oliver’s videos were hardly helpful. Sorry Jamie O, your recipes look hopeful but it doesn’t seem to work with Philippine pork (or maybe I’m really just not doing things right).

But I saw this technique of Market Manila where he brined the pork first for flavor and slit it in the middle to put some stuffing in. Hence, with great courage, I went to my butcher and got me a good slab. Since I didn’t have a rotisserie, I figured that it’ll be all right if I just cook it in my oven.

Here’s where Jamie Oliver comes in. He does this roasting technique where he puts either onions or lemons under his meat to keep it from sticking and to making it really flavorful. I thought I’d do just that and as soon as I stuck it in the oven, I waited for magic to happen.

The result was… all right. I think I got too confident with the salt. It was a little salty at first but it got better much later. It was definitely flavorful and juicy. The skin still… needed some work. I couldn’t get the temperature right in my oven hence rather than being a smooth crackle… I got this oven popped skin. It was a little like chicharon but some parts were not worth eating.

The filling inside was simple yet glorious. It’s just a mix of kinchay (parsley), leeks, lemon, and garlic. It was a good flavor but I was aiming for a chimichurri-esque flavor. Next time, there will be peppercorns and chili. Also, next time, I will buy a smaller portion of pork. -A-) I cooked too big a slab that it was… yeah… too much. Overporked much.

Experiments: Wheat bread

A friend has challenged that my knack for familiar things has made me “incapable of becoming a Junior Master Chef.”

While it was said in a joke, I said CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

So last weekend, I chocked up the courage to make my own bread. *w*) I made whole wheat bread with… a breadmaker. And while it’s not particularly exceptional, it’s still something done!

The result was… not good actually. It was too hard and quite salty. It turned out that the yeast was too old.

Next time… Put live yeast. T^T)b