Sunday, August 26, 2012

St George Spirits

A couple of weekends ago my wife and I made a trip over to Alameda Island to the St George Spirits. I had sampled a few of their products over the last couple of years, specifically their Single Malt Scotch and their excellent Teroir Gin which uses botanicals from Mt Tam

From the outside the Distillery looks like any other building left derelict when the military left the area. However the view of San Francisco from the parking lot in itself is worth the trip (phone camera didn't do it justice sorry).

You enter into the tasting room and tastings are $5 but my advice is to get the tour. The tour is probably the best tour I have ever been on, full of information delivered in a humorous fashion. You will learn about the philosophy, why they use only whole fruit in their eau de vie de,which botanicals go into their absinthe and why they can call it such, the difference between vodka and gin and how they plan to break into the Bourbon market....yes I said Bourbon

After the tour you have your tasting, you can taste before the tour but I recommend the tour first so get there close the hour mark. The tour and tasting costs $15 and well worth it for the experience.

I am not going to go into details on the tasting....why? You may ask well, I want your all to visit so you can understand the process and the passion that St George brings to the art of artisanal spirits.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Real Butter

Making your own butter is probably the simplest thing you've never done. All you need is a decent stand mixer.

Get some decent cream, organic or raw or just one those cartons in the dairy section. Dump it all into the mixer bowl, attach the whisk and whip the cream, just like if you were making a fancy desert.

Now for the clever part, when you have achieved whipped cream, keep going. In fact if you haven't done so, turn the machine onto full speed. Then get a bowl and put some ice and cold water in it. You can basically ignore the cream until you hear a sloshing noise. The contents of your bowl will now look like a horrid roiling mess. Don't be scared keep going until you see something like this.



You have achieve butter! scoop it out and place it in your ice water. Now massage it into a ball. This will squeeze the rest of the liquid out.

Now take the butter and wrap it in parchment or cling film. What you made is unsalted butter, if you want to salt it then weight your butter, measure salt to 2% of the butter weight and mix it with butter.

Now what about what is left in the mixer bowl, well that is Butter Milk. The real stuff not the artificial thick stuff you get from the supermarket.


The goods is that this is acidic and be used in baked goods. So you might want to search this blog for Soda Bread and make, or perhaps, scones or muffins. Just don't throw it away.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Simply Marmalade

Around this time of year you might find yourself with a glut of citrus fruit, perhaps you have a tree or simply just left over from an impulse buy at the supermarket over the holidays. This year mine was due to a surplus due to my weekly veg box delivery.

Marmalade is great way to preserve the citrus fruit and unlike jam it is relatively simple to make. So here is my easy general purpose Marmalading process.

  • 1Kg of Citrus (feel free to use any selection you have or a single variety)
  • 75ml Lemon Juice
  • 2Kg of sugar

Take the whole fruit and scrub well, removing the stub where the stem connected and place them whole in 2.5 Liters of cold water. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 2- 2.5 hours until the skins are soft and be easily punctured with a fork.

Strain and reserve the liquid you should have about 1.7 liters, if less top up with water, if more boil and reduce. Meanwhile cut the fruit in half (careful they are hot) and remove any seeds adding any liquid released to the pot of strained cooking liquid. Cut the fruit into thick, medium or thin shreds and return it all to the pan of strained liquid. Add the lemon juice and sugar and bring to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil rapidly until setting point (104.5C/220F) is achieved - about 10 - 15 mins

Let cool for 10 mins, then stir slowly to remove any foam on the top. Finally place into warm sterilized jars (see blog post now we're jaming below) and seal. This should keep for about 2 years.

If your feeling a bit Scottish you can add about 50ml of whiskey at the end of cooking time.

Happy New Year