355 Days

Wife, mechanic, gardener, animal lover, artists, cook and student of life. I like to talk about all of it.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Blueberry Vodka

Beautiful Blueberries!

I found berries on sale so I bought three punnets (I ate one).  Now I'll make some blueberry infused vodka because the strawberry vodka I made was a hit.

Here is what you need blueberries and vodka.  That's it.

I used 250 grams or about 8 oz of blueberries.

Wash your berries. 
Slice the berries or just puncture them.

Add them to a quart size clean mason jar. 

250 grams filled the jar about half way.

Fill the jar with vodka.

Don't they look lovely soaking in their alcohol bath?

Put a lid on the jar and give them a good shake.
Put in in the cupboard and every few days give it a shake.
Always label everything you jar!
This photo is taken after one hour and already the
berries are tinting the liquid.
This is 17 days later. 

This is with the sun light filtering through.

Looking down into the jar.  The colour is deep and bold. 
Separate the liquid from the berries. 

The berries are plump, full of liquid.  

The vodka first strained. 

Put the vodka back into your jar.
You can put it in a pretty jar if you're going to gift it.

These are what the berries look like after they've been soaking.
When I made strawberry vodka they looked similar and I just mushed them to get the remaining liquid out.

I tried mushing.
I tried squashing them between two spoons. 

It didn't work well.  They were much harder to squish than strawberries. 
So I crushed them with my hulk like hands. 
They didn't yield much fluid.

The fluid that came from the berries was opaque and not crisp looking like the vodka that was originally poured off.  I chose to keep this mashed liquid separate to keep the original jar looking good. 

I ended up with 600ml of lovely vodka and 60 ml of mashed vodka.

The light shining through my lovely blueberry infused vodka.  I can't wait to add some to my soda water.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Roller Skate Maintenance

I played roller derby for quite a few years.  I retired last year after a series of injuries and a new business taking up my time but still look at it as a wonderful experience.  Today I was cleaning out some files and came across my powerpoint for a class I used to teach about roller skate maintenance.

I have a mechanical background and used that to teach other skaters, who'd never held a tool in their life, how to care for their skates.  It's really very simple if you can just dive in and do it.  I think it's empowering and it needs to be done to stay safe.  Besides roller derby skates are expensive so take care of them.

This is Skatenenance 101 and very basic.  It teaches you the parts of your skate, how to clean your bearings, lubrication and inspection.  This is general information and you should check with the manufacture for specific recommendations. If you are really nervous find a seasoned skater on your league and ask her/him to walk you through the first time.  Also the shops where you buy your gear are usually full of really knowledgable and helpful people so ask them.

I noticed that I neglected to say that you should inspect the nylon on the inside of your axle nuts.  Technically  they should be replaced every time you remove them but in reality as long as there is nylon all the way around the inside of the nut you should be alright.

I hope you enjoy my presentation, get dirty, skate hard and ask me anything if you don't understand.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Black Bean Soup

You've probably noticed that my recipes are simple.  I am not opposed to complicated recipes but for the most part I keep to the KISS (Keep It Simple Squeaky!) method of cooking.  My black bean soup recipe is no different, minimal ingredients and amazing flavour.

I use dried beans for two reasons.  1. I buy them cheap in bulk and they are easy to store. 2. I live in Australia and it's difficult to find canned black beans.  There are a lot of opinions about which are better for you but that is for another post.  Today is all about making soup.

You'll need:

4 cups of soaked or 2 15 oz (450ml) cans of black beans
1 1/2 cup vegetable
1 cup chunky salsa
1 tsp ground cumin
1 small can of corn kernels which I forgot to add.

Get your dried beans soaking.  I used 1 3/4 cups dried beans.
When they swell it will be to more than twice their original size.
I am going to need 4 cups of soaked beans.

Put them in a pot and cover with water.
Water level should be 2 inches over the level of beans.
The next day I rinsed (3 times) my beans and now they
are ready for my soup.
Add 3 3/4 cups of beans to the food processor (save 1/4 cup as whole beans)
Pour in broth.

Add one cup of chunky salsa.  Can be as hot or mild as you like. 

Mix it up! I did about one minute on medium to high speed.

This is the mixed up soup.  Not too pretty but it will taste good.

Remember that 1/4 of whole beans we set aside?  Add them to your mix.
Add your cumin and
you can add a small can of corn kernels too I forgot mine. 

Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer
for an additional 20 minutes.
It's really thick.  For a thinner consistency use canned beans. 

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy.

This soup freezes beautifully so make extra and put it aside for a rainy day.