Gentlemen, don your fedoras and your double-breasted suits. Ladies, it’s time to channel classic Chanel or Greta Garbo or Joan Crawford. Because today we are stepping back into the glamour days of the 1930’s. More specifically Cuba in the 1930’s so you might also want to put your mambo shoes on….because by the end of this post and after a few Airmails – you might be doing your own little dance of joy. I certainly was.
I have added to the glamour by using a glass pilfered from her Maj herself! Or bought at the Buckingham Palace gift shop…you can decide which of those
a) makes a better story
b) is actually the truth
and believe accordingly.
But first…let’s take some rum, of course, we’re in Cuba after all. Then add a little honey for sweetness, lime for a sour note and to add that touch of glamour…what else but some bubbles….and voila…you have an Airmail. The Airmail was created in Cuba to celebrate the height of technological sophistication (and social correctness) that was airmail. You know, we may snigger these days but no one’s celebrating What’s App or FB Messenger with a cocktail. Are they? (Quickly googles…to ensure veracity of last statement). No they are not! Nor is anyone touting their social correctness either.
But let’s set the scene..this is Cuba…around the time of the birth of the Airmail and a few more happy snaps of the objêt itself.
For your own fun time, here’s the recipe!
And for a semi related link, here is some brilliant dancing, much of it from the era of the Airmail, mixed to Bruno Mars. This is my favourite youtube at the moment – I must have watched it about 100 times…and that’s just this week. We do this song in my dance class and I only wish we were busting some of the moves featured here…
Why not pour yourself an Airmail and watch. Hell, have two and join in!
Finally – if you love the thought of the rum, honey and lime but hate sparkling wine?
Leave it out.
Instead of an Airmail you now have a Honeysuckle.
I hope you all enjoyed this post. Ha…you didn’t honestly think I was going to let that golden opportunity for a pun pass with out comment did you?. I just hope it got your stamp of approval. I thought it was first class but if you feel that failed to address the issue, or that my delivery lacked some punch feel free to express your opinion in the comments below. Dont be a-freight….
This post’s name came from the fact that I totally read the name of this recipe incorrectly. More than once. I swear, the first four times looked at it I thought it was called Cheery Sangria. I even wrote it that way on my “meal” planner. Cheery Sangria. It was only when I was writing the ingredients on my shopping list that I paused. “Oh. It has cherries in it. That’s cute, they made a pun.” Well, it turns out, they didn’t. But I did. And we all know how much I love that! So, technically what we’re drinking today is CHERRY sangria. But you know what? It brought a touch of the sun and warmth of Portugal into a totally cold, wet and grey Melbourne winter day so I think Cheery Sangria works just as well!!
Yes, I’m back from holiday. And determined to make Sangria my drink of choice for this summer. It’s just so good!!! Wine and fruit and a little bit o the hard stuff….it really doesn’t get much better. Mind you, summer has to come first. And at the moment, it seems a long time away.
The best Sangria I had overseas was in Portugal – a teeny cafe in Faro. Here I am drinking one….
The Portuguese,they are a people after my own heart. They have a cherry liqueur called Ginja which is commonly drunk for breakfast. Speaking of which…when the breakfast buffet contains both Portuguese egg tarts and sparkling wine, I know I have found my people!
Cheery times! And cheersy times!!! But now onto some cherry times.
The cherry sangria I made is pretty hearty. It has loads of strong, spicy flavours which made it suitable for a cold winter’s day. I also totally forgot to add the cinnamon stick but that would have only made it even better! The gorgeous deep red colour is also so pretty and warming. I also used cherries and sparkling wine to remind me of the Portuguese breakfast drinks of Ginja and cava!
But let’s start with some fruit. Limes, blood oranges and, of course cherries make for a tasty and colourful combination!
Then add some tequila for a kick, grenadine for sweetness and a teeny taste of Tabasco for spice and muddle the fruit to get some juicy, fruity flavours. (Pre-muddle is also when the cinnamon should have been added).
Top with orange juice and some sparkling red wine…and voila…cherry sangria!
A hearty sangria, perfect for bringing the warmth of Portugal into the coldest winter's day.
Take a look at this super delicious snack plate. Good at any time – but my favourite? A snack plate, a sunny Sunday afternoon,sitting on my balcony with a good book and a cheeky glass of wine = heaven!
The star of this particular snack plate is some potted cheese. .
Which sadly relies on two ingredients that may as well be unicorn’s tears and dragon’s blood for the times they have ever been available in this kitchen. Just one of them is nigh on a miracle and as for both, you had better go outside and look up because that moon out there will be bluer than Tobias Funke!
So what are these two magical, nigh on mythical substances?
Whoever has them? No one I want as a friend!
My cheeses were the remnants….actually it even pains me to say that. The cheeses were items from a cheese platter (probably the previous weeks snacking plate) that I had just not got around to eating yet. And I cheated and opened a bottle of wine to make this.
I used a goat’s cheese, a blue cheese, a pecorino pepato and some cheddar. You can use any cheese you have.
First up, place all your bits of cheese into a food processor and whiz it up! Then add in your flavourings – I added port, a splash of red wine, Worchestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and then, because it was a little dry after the first whiz through, a little more port and a bit of cream. My recipe is based on a classic one by Jane Grigson but you can play with the flavourings to suit your palate and your mix of cheese.
Once you have whizzed it all up , pop it into a pot:
The next step is optional but traditionally the pot was then sealed with a layer of clarified butter:
Why Potted Cheese?
The idea behind potted cheese is simple. Back in the day when refrigeration was not as it is today, cheese was far more perishable than now. Potting your ends of cheese prolonged it’s life – I’m guessing the booze helped to preserve it whilst the clarified butter seal stopped bacteria getting in.
Nowadays, it is done more because it tastes delicious than for the preserving factor.
What Can You Do With Potted Cheese?
OMG, so much. Have it on crackers with a glass of wine! Quick, easy, delicious.
Replace regular cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich! Here is my salami, potted cheese, red onion and tomato version. With a pickle to add some sharpness.
So much oozy goodness!
I haven’t made these next lot but I think potted cheese would be delicious used in the following ways:
Replace sour cream in a baked potato. Or add it to chips and gravy for a take on a poutine.
Saute some bacon or steam some broccoli (or do both), cook up some pasta, top with potted cheese and stir through the bacon or broccoli
Fill celery sticks, add a topping of chopped walnuts
Replace crackers on a snack plate with slices of apple or pear
Heat up a dollop, add some more cream if necesary and use as a mornay or gratin sauce over anything you want to mornay or gratin
Spread it on bread, make up a savory custard and you have a super strata to go!
A delicious way to use up leftover cheese and wine! I
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
So, it’s Sunday and whilst not balcony sitting weather at all, I’ve got the fire going and Hollow City, the second book of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children good to go, so excuse me, I have a potted cheese snack plate to prepare! Dammit! Speaking of YA literature just made me realise I should have saved this for when The Cursed Child, the new Harry Potter comes out. I could have filled it with Harry Potter of cheese gags! Stay tuned for the re-post!
We are continuing the wartime theme from last time with a delightful gin cocktail called Rosé The Riveter.
I’m going to just come out and say it. I love this drink. Here are five reasons why:
The Name. I love a pun and this is the best!
The ingredients – gin, pomegranate liqueur, and rosé wine – all super delicious. This was never going to be not tasty!
It’s named after all round good girl and feminist icon, Rosie the Riveter.
It fits perfectly with my wartime theme from the last post where I made Lemon Potato Pie from 1941
I got to put a victory roll in my hair (worst Victory Roll ever but so much fun to do).
Now you might be wondering why there are two drinks in the pictures. It’s because I made the Rosé The Riveter two ways.
The first was with what is normally my favourite gin, Hendricks. Hendricks is also the gin used in the original recipe.
The second way, I used my brand new Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin. This gin is made locally in the Yarra Valley. Four Pillars make it by steeping their gin in shiraz grapes for 8 weeks. The gin is a gorgeous red wine colour and tastes super on it’s own or with tonic.
I loved both of these but it is amazing how two gins can taste (and look) so different. The Hendricks version was much paler in colour and much lighter in taste too. The it was lovely and floral, not to sweet. It would be a perfect summer cocktail. The Bloody Shiraz Rosé The Riveter was quite different. It tasted a lot dryer, a lot less floral but more berry, winey. This, for me is a more wintery cocktail – deeper and darker than the Hendricks version.
And here’s me doing my best Rosie the Riveter impression. I don’t have a chambray shirt because I don’t live in 1985 so my usual weekend wear of striped t-shirt had to suffice. Also, I had to steal the bandana from Oscar!
And here’s me bending an elbow of a much more preferable kind.
“Everyone knows what rockets at sea mean,” said the portly Boston Harbor pilot.
“They mean distress…It means, please come to me because I am in trouble. Simple as that.”
“But you see, that’s just my problem. If it is that simple, I’m trying to understand why the ship that The Titanic saw did not come….Is there any reason why the captain would not go to the aid of the distressed ship?”
“No, if he saw them, he must go. It’s the oldest tradition of the sea.”
The Californian was the closest ship to The Titanic on the night it sank, possibly only 8 miles away. It was close enough for crew members to see the lights on the sinking ship and the eight distress rockets sent up by The Titanic. They alerted the Captain. And, yet, they did not go to help.
This is the story of The Midnight Watch.
The Midnight Watch is a super read. I loved it and I’m sure it is going to rank high in my books of the year. Even though, it is also soooooo frustrating. Right from the start you know that The Californian did not go to help The Titanic. And of course, you want to know why. And at times you want to reach into the book and shake one of the people and yell “Why? Why didn’t you do something?” WHY?” Or, as one of the reporters in the book says to Captain Lord of The Californian
“If you’re the only one who can speak, then you must speak more!”
The writing is beautiful. From tales of heroism and gallantry to cowardice and inaction, The Midnight Watch covers the best and worst of human behaviour both in the face of, and following momentous events:
“Because by now we knew the numbers. Fifty-eight first-class men has found their way into the lifeboats but fifty-three third-class children had not. It was an almost perfect correlation. For almost every rich man who lived a poor child had died”
“What Franklin (Head of The White Star Line) thought of the Captain I couldn’t know, but I did know that if he, Franklin, had been accused of abandoning so many people, the weight of shame would have broken him. And yet, Lord’s head was upright, he seemed to bear no weight at all”
So, so good. The Midnight Watch not only brought the story of The Californian but the entire period to life. This is the kind of historical fiction that I love; writing that truly transports you to another time and place. Oh and, if you wiki Captain Lord, he looks EXACTLY how I imagined he would!
When I read I see the words as a movie in my head and I think that this would make a fabulous film. The journalist searching for justice, the proud, flinty Captain; the second officer torn between loyalty and a desire to tell the truth. It would be amazing.
I was initially disappointed with the “answer” posited by David Dunn as to why Lord and The Californian did not go to the aid of The Titanic. Although perfectly plausible, It felt to me like an anti-climax; such a little reason for such an appalling consequence. But then I realised – pretty much any answer would have been disappointing. Because the only acceptable answer to the question of “Why didn’t you save the 1500 people who died that night?” would have been “Because we were too busy saving 1501 people elsewhere”.
Nonetheless a totally brilliant read.
Punch Romaine was served To First Class passengers on The Titanic as a palate cleanser between the first and second courses on the fateful night of April 14th. It is a white wine, rum and champagne cocktail served over…wait for it…. a mound of crushed ice. Which is surely worth it’s own line in Alanis Morisette’s Ironic. Don’tcha think?
On a total tangent, Romaine was one of the names my parents had picked out for me before I was born. Can you imagine a more foodie name than Romaine Fryer? Then again, Taryn was bad enough growing up, can you imagine going through life with the same name as a lettuce?
You know what else is a lettuce?
Which brings us back to…..doh, oh, oh, oh….or Punch Romaine.
A white wine, rum and champagne cocktail that was served to First Class Passengers on the Titanic on the night it sank.