Posts tagged ‘Kitchen’

How To Make Old Wine Palatable Again

shirazbottle

A recent comb through the larder produced a forgotten bottle of Fergusson Shiraz 1999. This stuff, I think, was never meant to stay alive till now. Unreasonably optimistic nonetheless, I got it opened and tasted it… hmmm… not bad, no, no horns and tails and teeth to bite back… but there was no way Mr. Manx and I could get through the whole bottle. Yet, our thrifty streaks balked at chucking it down the sink.

I put on my thinking cap.

I decided to make jelly. Woo-hoo!

We went to the supermarket and got some konnyaku jelly powder. This comes in 10g packs which cost a dollar-something. It’s super-fine white powder that comes up in drifts when you pour it out, and looks like this:

kjellypowder

On a side note, konnyaku comes from a plant and is also known as devil’s tongue (how delectably sinister), voodoo lily (perfect name for a Marvel Comics character) and konjac (now we fall back to earth with a prosaic thud). Some years back, konjac jelly hit the headlines when several kids and old folks choked to death on it. You see, this jelly, unlike gelatine, does not melt in the mouth or smoosh under light pressure. You have to chew it good and proper before swallowing. Manufacturing companies have paid sums to the tune of US$50 million to affected families. Subsequently, konjac was banned in Europe as a dangerous food additive.

I don’t know. It’s not like it’s poisonous, and technically, one could choke to death on practically anything. There’s still plenty of it where I live, and it does come with warnings about choking. It has a lovely texture, and has almost no calories (and that clinches it). So, while I have teeth and my rational faculties, I have no problems about the existence of this goop.

Back to my jelly.

The konnayaku package called for 250g of fine sugar to be dry-mixed with the konnayaku powder. Freaked out by the calories, I only put in 200g, figuring that some fruit cocktail would add to the sweetness later. It was still a big bowl of sugar.

sugar

Putting that poison aside, I poured the whole bottle of Shiraz into the pan. As the konnyaku demanded 950ml of liquid, and the bottle only contained 750ml, I topped it up with 200ml of plain water.

waterwine

Praying that the pan would not explode, I turned on the heat. No explosion… but I started wondering about the package instructions to boil the liquid. I mean, if you boil wine, there goes the alcohol, and therefore the point of the whole thing, right? Hmmm.

I compromised by turning the heat to low, adding the sugar-konnyaku early and gradually, and stirring the heck out of the mess with an egg-beater. I also kept my nose firmly in the fumes. Waste not, want not, eh?

adding

As the mixture thickened and bubbled lazily, I ladled chunks of fruit cocktail into various receptacles. In lieu of actual jelly moulds, I used random bowls and a muffin tray. You need to get a little creative when resources are short. Then in went the konnyaku mixture on top.

ladling

I briefly considered using this ice tray too, but reflected that the result might look rather silly.

icetray

After the red gunk was all bunged into the fridge, I cleaned the pan, which was fun, because you can peel the sludge off and eat it. Check out this crazy strip of red wine jelly, peeled off the circumference of the pan. You could do the Lady and Tramp spaghetti stunt with this strip.

strip

Two hours later, voila! Red wine fruit jelly. And a fridge reeking of alcohol. I overdid the fruit in the muffin tin a little, but it was still really good. Yumz! No problem with the sweetness, but the jelly could have been a tad firmer. Next time i would use 50ml less water… which would also increase the potency of this jelly. Cheers!

result

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April 16, 2009 at 09:26 2 comments


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My blog-name is Katie but I will not respond if you call me that in real life because it's not my real name. Yes, I do practise virtual-world paranoia. No, I do not enjoy stalkers. But I do enjoy writing and having folks reading said writing, so welcome to my world. It's nice to meet you.

Playing in my head over and over again argh

I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce)

Book(s) of the moment

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

Books read in 2010 and 2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) - 'cos the movie's coming out!
Frankenstein: Lost Souls (Dean Koontz) - ah, bugger, it's part of a series! Now I hafta find all the books...
Dismantled (Jennifer McMahon) - oh, good one
Tigerlily's Orchids (Ruth Rendell)
Shutter Island (Dennis LeHane) - reminds me too much of work
Holy Fools (Joanne Harris) - it's official: I prefer her scary books
A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Unauthorized Autobiography; The Beatrice Letters (Lemony Snicket)
The Little Friend (Donna Tartt)
The main books - 11 so far - of the Southern Vampire series; the Aurora Teagarden series except for A Fool & His Honey - that makes it 7; Sweet & Deadly (Charlaine Harris)
The Woman in Black (Susan Hill)
Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
Room: A Novel (Emma Donaghue)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
The Bachman Books (Stephen King)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
Carpe Jugulum (Terry Pratchett)
The Fifth Elephant (Terry Pratchett)
Beauty (Robin McKinley)
The Sandman, Vol 1 (Neil Gaiman)
The Burden (Agatha Christie) - her crime novels are waaay better
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)

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I started my first photoblog on 3 May, 2009. Each post features one picture, with a little story of how it came about. Do take a look by clicking on: Manx Pictures
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Disclaimers: 1) I cannot help but bitch about work sometimes, but everything here comes under the realm of personal remarks, and nothing here is said in my professional capacity. Nor does anything here reflect the opinion of the institutions that employ me. This is just me shooting off. 2) Most identities have been anonymized, particularly those of folks I know on a personal basis. Same goes for my workplaces. However, commercial and public places and figures remain named. Otherwise some things just wouldn't make sense. 3) Links and sources have been provided where appropriate and possible. They are not meant to challenge anyone's ownership. If this causes any discomfort or offence, please let me know.

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