Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Drink of the Week

Coquito CirocCiroc drink

1.5oz Ciroc Coconut
1/4oz Pineapple Juice
1/2oz Coconut cream
1oz Milk
1 Egg White
1 dash Cinnamon
1 dash Nutmeg
1 dash Allspice

Combine all ingredients. Shake and strain in to a Collins Glass

Garnish: Coconut Shavings

I was totally craving a Pina Colada the other day (no doubt missing Hawaii) when I recieved an email from Ciroc telling me about their signature holiday drinks.  As most of my readers know, I try not to advertise particular brands on this site (unless I think they are necessary for the drink) and I RARELY pick vodka as a base…however this one recipe spoke to me.

Minus the rum, it has all the makings of a Pina Colada but with all the spices and warmth of Fall.  It is creamy, refreshing and tropical but with that wonderful seasonal twist. Quite simply, this is a great Holiday drink that works particularly well for those of us stuck (oh it’s so hard! ;))in warmer climates in the holiday season eg. Australia/Los Angeles/Singapore etc… it tastes like Summer and Autumn in one! 

Ironically I don’t like Coconut shavings or cinnamon, yet I love coconut flavored drinks. This one calls for the shavings on top and the cinnamon is subtle enough so as not to overpower the drink.  If you are totally against flavored vodkas (I totally understand!) you can always substitute the Ciroc Coconut for Rum, Gin, Malibu or just plain vodka. It’s quite a versatile little drink. At the end of the day, the coconut cream and pineapple kind of mask the base spirit. Seeing as this recipe was created by Cicoc, I felt it only fair to write it as they intended but as you know, switching it up is always an option. 🙂

If you want to try something a little different this Winter, I say give this recipe a go.

Enjoy!

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A “British” contribution to Thanksgiving Dinner!

Today my post will be a Fussy One first… I am going to give you a FOOD recipe! As everyone in the United States should be aware, yesterday was Thanksgiving.  This means there was probably a lot of drinking and even more eating across the country. As most of my readers know, I myself am not from the US, however I have been living here in Los Angeles for 5 years in January (is it already that long??!!) and have plenty to be thankful for.

I live with my Beverage Consultant boyfriend, (known on this blog as FutureGreg or FG) and his wonderful family.  Every year on thanksgiving we have a big sit down dinner with extended family and friends, and although FGs Dad does the majority of the cooking, most of the guests bring a dish as part of the meal.  For the past few years I have been contributing the following dish and it’s proved so successful I thought I would document it for the blog this time.  So here you go, the first cooking recipe on the fussy one…

STEAK AND GUINNESS PIE

This recipe is a variation of one originally created by British Chef Jamie Oliver.  I admit, it does take a little while to make this one (a good 2.5 hrs in the oven stewing the ingredients) but it is well worth the effort because the pie itself is delicious.  Jamie calls for mushrooms in his recipe, but considering I can’t stand the texture of mushrooms when they’re hidden in food I have chosen not to include them.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 2.2 lb.. (1kg) Brisket of Beef
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 30g of Butter
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary (leaves picked and chopped)
  • 2 Sticks Celery
  • 2 Carrots
  • 3 Medium Red Onions
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 can of Guinness (440ml)
  • 2 Heaped tbsp of Flour
  • 200g Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 large Organic Egg (beaten)
  • Pastry Sheets (pre rolled) or 500g ready-made all-butter puff pastry

Making the filling

  1. Ok, first off lay out all your ingredients and equipment to check you have everything you need. I don’t cook often so when I do I get pretty frustrated when I realize half way through I don’t have the correct pan or am missing a vital herb!! This recipe calls for a pan that can transfer from the stove top to the oven, so double check you can do that. I have had issues before when I realized the pan i’m using will not last in the oven.
  2. Pre-heat your oven  375ºF/190ºC/gas 5.
  3. Next start chopping the ingredients.  Bare in mind that 3 medium red onions looks like a lot when chopped up and I always worry it’s too much, but it reduces completely in the stew so don’t be put off by how much there is.  I personally think it’s a good idea to finely chop the celery and carrots (mainly because I hate the texture of ‘bits’ in my food) but you can chop them larger if you prefer.
  4. Cut the meat in to 1 inch thick cubes.
  5. Pour a ‘glug’ of olive oil in to the pan. A glug is the ‘technical term’ Jamie Oliver gives, I take it to be about a tablespoon or so…just to get the onions frying without burning. Add the onions and on a low heat start to reduce them, stir for about 10 mins.
  6. Add the garlic, butter, celery and carrots once the onions start to go clear (but don’t let them burn).
  7. Mix everything together before adding the rosemary and then the chopped beef. Season with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of black pepper. (You will season more later.)
  8. Fry fast for 3 to 4 minutes then pour in the Guinness, the flour and just enough water to cover all the meat. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan then place in the preheated Oven for 1 1/2hours.
  9. After an hour and a half take the stew out the oven, give it a stir and place it back in for another hour. The house will start to smell so yummy by this point, but don’t be deceived…still a long way to go!!!
  10. When the time is up and you take it out, the meat should be tender and the stew  should be rich, dark and thick.  If there still seems to be a lot of liquid (almost always is with mine) then reduce it on the stove for a little longer. A good filling needs to be robust. At this point stir in half the grated cheese too. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you want to stop at this point you can cool the mixture and place in the fridge over night until you’re ready to fill the pie. I always make my mixture the night before, then cook it in to the pie an hour before I plan to serve it the next day.

Filling the pie

  1. The next stage varies from person to person. The original recipe calls for “Puff Pastry” but I have established that most Americans don’t know what this is and certainly don’t sell it pre-made in Los Angeles.  You can choose to make your own puff pastry or buy a pre-rolled regular  pastry.  Puff Pastry, for those that don’t know, is a deliciously flaky pastry used in pies in England. It is buttery and divine, but don’t be disheartened if you struggle to find a recipe because regular pastry works fine too…it’s the filling that makes this pie in my opinion!
  2. Roll out your pastry (if needs be) to make sure it will fit a deep dish pan.
  3. Line a deep dish pan with the first sheet of pastry and make sure the edges are dangling over the sides so you can fold them together at the end.
  4. Pour or spoon the mixture in to the lined pan and even it out.
  5. Sprinkle the rest of the grated cheddar on top.
  6. Roll the second sheet of pastry over the top. I like to twist the overlapping pastry together to make it look pretty, but you can simply crush it with a fork and cut off the excess if you like.  Poke some holes in the top and brush with a little beaten egg.
  7. Place the whole pie in the oven on the bottom shelf for 45 minutes at 375ºF/190ºC/gas 5.  
  8. When the top is golden, take it out and serve. DELICIOUS!!!

I hope you like this recipe, it’s very British to have a pie on a cold day and although it never gets THAT cold here in LA, it still is a great dish to make once in a while.  If it’s not a holiday you can serve it simply with mash potatoes and peas, always goes down a treat. 🙂

Thanksgiving is a day when we get to say what we’re thankful for, and so I want to say “I am thankful for my American family.”  My loving boyfriend and his wonderful parents have always made me feel so welcome in their home and I appreciate them so much…his brother and grandparents, Aunties and cousins have done the same and made me feel part of the family every year.  I am also thankful to my parents in England, and this British pie is a representation of them too.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

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Drink of the Week

The Brown Turkey

  • 1oz Aged Rum
  • 1oz Fig and Brown sugar reduction
  • 3 dashes Orange Bitters

Shake in ice and strain in to a flute

  • Top with 2oz Sparkling Wine

Garnish: Orange Twist

Fig and Brown Sugar Reduction:

In a pan on medium heat, dissolve 1 cup of brown sugar in 1 cup of water. Add 1/2 Cup of chopped fresh figs (or substitute dried figs if no fresh available) and bring to a boil.  Cover and remove from heat, let steep for 25 minutes. Fine strain into a glass bottle and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

* * * * *

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought this sounded like a fun and somewhat different kind of drink option for the holiday.  I found this recipe in this months ‘Special Holiday issue’ of Imbibe Magazine and think it sounds really quite yummy.

Imbibe Holiday issue Nov/Dec 2012

I have to say, this is the first time I am putting up a drink as ‘drink of the week’ that I have actually not yet tasted!

It’s an intriguing recipe that sounds like it would be quite tasty though. I love figs and find them to have such a delicious natural sweetness that I believe would pair beautifully with aged rum.

The drink itself was created by Justin L Chamberlin of ‘Sagra Trattoria and Bar’ in Austin, Texas and is described in the magazine as being;

‘A formula that combines subtle spices of aged rum with the sultry sweetness of figs and a pop of sparking wine’.

I’m curious to see if the addition of bitters comes through strongly or not though.

I do intend on having my boyfriend create it next week to go with our thanksgiving feast, and I will be sure to report back on how it turns out. For now here is the recipe for all my Fussy readers who may wish to attempt it themselves, feel free to get in touch if you do make it and let me know how it goes.

Enjoy!

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Drink of the Week

Acero

  • 2oz Rye
  • 3/4oz Lemon juice
  • 3/4oz Maple Syrup (Organic Grade B)
  • 1 Egg white

Garnish: Bacon piece

This drink was created by Greg Bryson for the new Fall menu that just rolled out at Hostaria Del Piccolo in Santa Monica (it will also be featured at their new location in Venice, which opens next month). The recipe was inspired by a drink called the Woodstock, which uses Gin as the base, orange bitters, Maple and Lemon juice.  I couldn’t find ANY notable history on The Woodstock i’m afraid, however the history of the Acero is simple. Greg wanted a drink using Maple Syrup for his Fall menu and after several variations found the above combination of ingredients to be the best! Hostaria Del Piccolo is an Italian Restaurant, therefore they named the drink ‘Acero’ which means ‘Maple’ in Italian.

I love this drink because it’s deliciously sweet, has a creamy texture from the egg white and the lemon balances with the Rye and Maple flavors perfectly.  The bacon garnish tastes great too, and the sweet salty pairing is a great combo.  It basically has a Whiskey Sour taste to it, only more autumnal because of the maple syrup.

I am told it does make a difference with the kind of maple syrup you use, Greg specifies to use Organic Grade B because other grades can end up being too sweet and throw the balance off.

Have a go making this at home (a great option for Thanksgiving dinner) or if you’re in Los Angeles, make a point to head over to Hostaria Del Piccolo in the coming months to try this and other great new drinks off of their menu.

ENJOY!

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