"This is a journey of my life since I was all of 12 yrs when I started my hand in cooking to now with displays of my learning and creations of recipes from around the world. My inspiration and role model has always been my Mum who has always created dishes from around the world and excellently well. I do not believe I would ever match to her culinary skills. I remember the times she could cook and bake almost 4-5 dishes in one go without ever letting one go under cooked or burnt! I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE and recently moved to India for family reasons. Kitchenette just means that over the decades, my kitchen has changed from that of my mum's to my uncle and aunt's, to my home in UAE and now in India. Pala't'te, describes both global cuisines ('Palatte'-diverse flavours) and pleasing diverse 'Palates'."

Monday, 20 March 2017

Spiced Homemade Wine

Cheeeeeers to a New Year 2017! Ahem, yes I know we are well into the New Year but mine seems to have just begun!

After a cleansing process that the Good Lord has performed in my life recently, I am now in a happy state of mind after the many, many months of downs and outs. On that note, dear readers,

Happy International Happiness Day!

My dearest Dad had a fairly invasive surgery and was living with us for a couple of few months. I truly was not in a state to write or share on my blog. A new made friend gave me the much needed inspiration and focus to get back to writing. Thank you dear friend (for reasons that may cause you to be shot/'bazooka'-ed ;) dear readers along with me, I will not share this friend's name...but yes I will thank you friend - you know who you are! :) :) ). I believe people come into our life for a reason and they sometimes exit without reason or without a good reason. 

Forgiveness is not something everyone can do. There was a time in my life where I felt revenge was the sweet return to victory. But not today! After having lost my Mom so suddenly, I really look right through evil or injustice or even meanness or rudeness as a weakness on the part of the person that delivers the same. What would life be when 'Love is (truly) all around"? Life is too short to hold grudges or to be mean. Live and let live. Or as Aunty Vinna principles, 'Do good and avoid evil'. 

Everyone around you is fighting a battle you know NOTHING about. So do not judge and bring down people just cause they have made choices which you do not understand anything about. Do not team up in groups and nail them to the wall through your words, actions or expressions cause that is what a pack of wolves or vultures would do. They just may be doing the contrary by blessing and praying for you each and every single day. 

Despite some of these unforeseen and rude departures that God allows someone to make in your life, there are some who depart along with others who stay or others who have to physically depart that would make a major impact in your life. You can even say, 
That friends may stay or leave but there are those that stay in your heart forever, never to leave!
At the end, always remember (this helps a lot!) 'Whatever happens, happens for your best!' (ALWAYS!! No matter how hard it seems)

On account of International Happiness Day, I hope I get a chance to make someone smile today! There are a lot of people who are depressed, lonely and have not a person to talk to right now. Find sometime today to reach out to a lonely person and make them smile even for a few minutes.

This aromatic wine is ideal for Christmas holiday time, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.Toast to Life today and be happy and bless ALL around you with a glass or two of this flavoursome Spiced Homemade Wine! Cheee...eeeers all! This Easter you can serve some of this wonderful vino along side your main meal.

You need:
  • 1 kg Seedless green or white Grapes
  • 2 kgs Sugar
  • 41/2 litres Water, boiled and cooled
  • 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 3-4 Cloves
  • 2 tsp of powdered nutmeg
  • 1/2 Cup sugar (for carmelising) (optional)

The Make:
Preparation time: 20 minutes | Resting Time: 42 days minimum

1. Sterilise the ceramic jar that you plan to use. You can also sun expose it to sterilise it or just use plain hot water and leave it out to air dry. You can also use a glass jar. I used the ceramic jar. Remember I said, everything happens for the best! There was a plumbing issue causing the internal walls of my kitchen cupboards to have some dampness. I had to clean out the entire cupboard including the jar and then sun dry it. This year being supremely hot and sunny also helped.

2. Boil the water and allow to fully cool down. Clean and de-stalk the grapes. Strain in a colander.

3. Dissolve the active dry yeast in the lukewarm water. Set aside for 10-15 minutes to activate.

4. Using a sterilised wooden spatula or crusher, bruise the grapes in a large pot. You can also alternate between using sterilised hands and the spatula. 

5. Next add half the quantity of sugar to the grapes and mix well.

6. Transfer the crushed grapes and sugar to the sterilised jar. Add the activated yeast.

7. Next add the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the jar.

8. Add the boiled, cooled water to the jar. Mix well. Keep the jar in a dry, dark place in the airtight jar. You can also place a kitchen towel over the mouth of the jar before securing on the lid. It has to remain like this for a minimum of 21 days. In my case, I kept it like this for 6 weeks because as I mentioned, I was busy taking care of my Dad. It worked out in my favour, so I am happy.

9. There would be some air bubbles on top during the fermentation process. Stir the mixture with a sterilised wooden spatula during the 21 days or thrice a week. I let it rest and stirred it once a week.

10. Strain the mixture into another sterilised vessel using gauze or a muslin cloth. Add the remaining sugar and mix well and allow the cloudy wine to stand for another 21 days. The sediments will settle down and the wine appears clear. A few days before the next steps you can add the caramelised sugar as what the home nurse told me who came to take care of Dad. This will give the wine a golden colour. I skipped this step.

11. You can either use a muslin cloth to strain the mixture or carefully ladle out the wine into a sterilised bottle. I chose not to add the caramelised sugar so my wine appeared pinkish/rose in colour.

I plan on letting my wine rest a little longer in the bottle. I will let you know how that turns out ;)

To caramelise the sugar,
In a non-stick sauce pan add the sugar and on medium heat allow it to heat up and then stir till the sugar melts and becomes dark brown. Then scrape down the sides of the pan with your wooden ladle to get an even caramelisation. Add a few tbsp of hot water to the caramel and mix well. Cool down and add the syrup to the jar and mix well. The wine will darken in a few days. The quantity of sugar can be increased or decreased to suit your taste.

Cheers to a fun today and a brighter tomorrow and pray that your year ahead is as fabulous as you are! God Bless! Happy Happiness Day!

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