Thursday, 6 March 2008

Cabana Cachaca

This time on Monday I was in London for a cocktail competition to promote Cabana Cachaca. It was held in the Floridita. An interesting atmosphere change from the one I did in September up in Edinburgh (I don't know why I'm saying "up", I'm here all the time) in that it seemed to be more about image and the pazazz (sp?) of the presentation, than of the drinks themselves.. although there were 40 odd entrants so I imagine that they start to blur into each other a bit. I didn't mind it really (being at home in a, .. well .. acting essentially, environment).
Anyway. Here's my two drinks. The usual setup: One twist on a classic and one "contemporary" (although by contemporary I don't mean as in dance - "My drink is an empty coconut shell, to reflect the inner turmoil of an unenlightened being" :> )

Drink 1: A Burst of Passion.
(Recipe is for 2 drinks and measures in 25ml)
2 measures Cabana Cachaca
1 measure Gomme
1/2 measure Lemon Juice
Flesh and seeds of 4 passion fruits

Method: Shake vigorously and double strain into glasses.
Glass: Sours glasses
Garnish: None

It's a "Three twist drink".
1- A twist on a sour (usually just spirit, gomme and lemon juice).
2- A twist on a Batitda (see Batida de maracuja). Batitas are made with a variety of different fruit juices, as well as coconut milk and condensed milk.
3- A twist on a passion fruit: The experience of crunching down on passion fruit seeds is much like a sour should be - The sour hit of the seeds complimented by the sweetness of the flesh. My analogy of a good sour (a really good sour, and I'm not saying this one fits that description, as it just doesn't have enough kick) is that it should slap you, apologise and then give you a kiss that leaves you wanting another sip. Those being the sour hit, the refreshing middle and the sweet curl as you swallow.

This one went down pretty well, although it could have been less sweet I think. I may try grinding up some seeds to see if they add to the kick at all.

Drink 2: Cabana Cachaca Cashew
(Recipe is also for 2 drinks and measures are still in 25ml)
3 measures Cabana Cachaca
3 measures sweetened coconut milk (2/3 coconut milk, 1/3 gomme)
1 measure Franglelico
2/3 of a cup whole cashew nuts ground to a paste.

Method: Shake the nut paste and coconut milk with some ice, to make it easier to blend. Then blend this along with everything else and strain over crushed ice.
Glass: Rocks glasses
Garnish: Cashew nuts and chocolate powder. I had been wanting to use grated hazelnut instead of chocolate, but it turns out that they are not brown inside, so asthetically wasn't as pleasing.

The inspiration for this came from a traditional way of drinking cachaca called a Caju Amigo (Friendly Cashew) (this is also mentioned on this page). The way this is done is to take a cachew nut, chew it and take a shot of cachaca. I wanted to make a drink that used this interesting flavour match. Now, there is a recipe for a Batida that uses cachew juice, and I didn't know about this at time of competition. I'll try and get my hands on some cachew juice (I've now idea how one juices a cachew - research time I think!) and see how similar it is to my drink. It's a great drink though, one of my favourites at the moment, and a really good one for a caipirinha party as it is creamy and so contrasts with the lime acidity of the caipirinhas.

Anyway, Competition was much fun and met loads of great people - I network like a maniac after a couple of drinks!


Saturday, 1 March 2008

Synchronicity and Ketchup

  Isn't it odd how people come up with the same things at the same time. I have been wanting to do a dish with a sweet, tomato ketchup style sauce for ages . 
  I made the dish (I'll post it soon, honest, I've just forgotten to bring my camera with the photos on it on the trip I am on) and had some of the tomatoes left over. I also had a mango, that was quickly going off, and some strawberries (both also left over from the dish). Seeing as the sauce for the dish had turned out so well, yesterday I decided to use up these ingredients making a tomato, mango and strawberry ketchup.
  The recipe was derived from the recipe in "In Search of Perfection" (by Heston Blumenthal) for a strong tomato ketchup which he uses for his hamburger. 

Loose Recipe: 
  Take some ripe tomatoes (I used plum and cherry) and chop them up roughly. Simmer them in a pan until they are soft. Push through a sieve into another pan. 
  Take the flesh of a ripe mango and do the same (sieving into the same pan as the tomato). 
  Do the same for the strawberries.
  Simmer this melange of fine fruit pulp until the consistency of ketchup. 
  Add salt and vinegar to taste (you might not need vinegar... you might not even need salt.. it's up to you).

  My ketchup turned out really well.
  Here's the strange thing, as I was simmering the sauce I went into my living room and caught the end of Jamie Oliver's show... He Was Making Ketchup!! ... Isn't that a coincidence!
  I just checked my rss reader for the first time today and saw this from Ideas in Food: Home Made Ketcup. Now I may have just watched Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure too many times, but this all seems very coincidental to me.