Alison Boston, Beverages, Recipes

Mix Red Wine and Fruit Tea for a Summery Sangria!

CranRaspberry Sangria makes a zingy summer drink.

This Sangria is 1 part dry red wine, 1 part club soda, and 1 part cranberry juice/fruit tea. It makes a nice light beverage, with a zingy flavor.   To make the Sangria I improvised with a recipe I found on Spain Recipes which calls for Triple Sec and Brandy, but as it was an afternoon get together, I figured most people didn’t want to get smashed so kept the alcohol to a minimum.  These quantities make enough Sangria for 16 guests to drink all afternoon.  Some people had several glasses, while some had only one (or none!) The only people who got tipsy were the ones who opted for vodka and orange instead, and even they liked the Sangria, only switching to vodka because they wanted to unwind with a drink with more punch!

Mix together in a small saucepan, and heat to a slow simmer:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 and 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 1 sliced lime

Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add:

  • 4 Black Cherry Berry herbal teabags *
  • 4 Raspberry Zinger herbal teabags

Allow to infuse for 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile add to serving container:

  • 4 cups Cranberry Raspberry Juice
  • 6 and 1/2 cups dry red wine

Remove tea bags and add herbal tea infusion.

Cover and chill for at least 12 hours.

Just before serving add:

  • 6 cups of club soda

*I don’t like to promote brands as I am not getting paid here – YET -…but, for something like this, branded blends can make a huge difference. For the teas I used Celestial Seasonings for both flavors.  They blend the fruit flavor with hibiscus, rose hips, roasted chicory, orange peel and blackberry.  I found their blended fruit teas brought deep, rich flavors, but you could improvise with mulled wine spice blends.  The wine was Peller Estates Proprietor’s Reserve Dry Red, which is both affordable and drinkable, even without the tea and cranberry juice!

Alison Boston, Baking, Food, Recipes, Vegetarian

Bread Machine Baking

The remains of the Purity Flour recipe book I used as teenager, found in Mom’s recipe book cupboard!

I’ve always enjoyed the results of home made bread, and if you’ve followed this blog since the beginning (har har hardee har har) you will have read my Baking Bread post where I tell you all about how I learned to knead bread from a woman who was built like a mound of bread dough.  I am starting to acquire a similar shape despite my best efforts to change my diet and increase my exercise, and wonder if it may have something to do with the body reflecting the things we love – like bread!

In any case, I’ve always been frustrated by not having the perfect place and temperature to raise the bread.  Either too cold or too drafty, and in the oven, too hot.  When I was growing up in Northern New Brunswick (where I learned to make and knead bread), we had a hot air furnace, and I used to stand the bread dough over the hot air register.

Bread machine I picked up for $7.50 at a local charity shop!

I had the experience of using a bread maker when house-sitting for a friend in England, and said if I ever stumbled on one in a second-hand shop I’d give up the sensory pleasure of kneading the bread, punching down the dough, kneading it again and shaping it, and turn over the work (and all that pleasure!) to a machine.

Well, when out looking for bits and bobs for my new apartment, I stumbled on a Sanyo Bread Factory Plus in a charity shop for a mere $15.00.  As I stood there, humming and hawing as to whether or not I should drop a mere pittance on the enormous kitchen appliance, the shop clerk told me it was pink tagged, which meant it was half price, which meant it was $7.50, which was pretty hard to resist.

Of course there was no recipe book or manual with it, so I did a web search and found a basic bread-making-machine  recipe, and made a loaf with stone ground flour.  It was odd shaped and very dense (in my excited haste, didn’t sift the flour!!) and discovered what I thought was a Tablespoon on my set of charity shop measuring spoons was in actual fact half a Tablespoon (isn’t that the same as a teaspoon?) so no wonder the loaf turned out tasting like it did.  Not enough sugar, salt, or fat!

Recipe for Old Fashioned Porridge bread I adapted for the bread machine (and my modern taste preferences.)

I decided to try the old fashioned porridge bread my family loved when I was 14-years old and just learning to make bread, and went over to Mom’s and dug around in her recipe-book cupboard, and voila, there was the Purity Flour recipe book – looking much the worse for wear, but the recipe I wanted was there, so I adjusted the quantities to fit the bread machine (based on the basic recipe I’d found) and produced an amazing loaf of bread.

Third loaf from the bread machine.

Oh it is so easy.

Here’s the recipe in order of the ingredients as they go into  the machine:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 and 1/3 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons fat ( I used oil)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (instead of milk powder, which I don’t keep and don’t intend to buy)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • Stir with a rubber spatula to dissolve sugar and salt, and help soften the oats.
  • Add:
  • 3 and half cups sifted stone ground whole wheat flour (very important to sift the flour to make a nice, light loaf)
  • make a little well in the centre of the flour (DO NOT MIX INTO THE LIQUID) and add 2 teaspoons active dry yeast into the well (very important that the yeast doesn’t touch the liquid ingredients).
  • Close the lid, and set on the whole wheat bake setting (3 and 1/2 hours).

Check out the results!  Wow!  So easy, and when baked bread sells for between $4.00 and $5.00 a loaf you can bet I’ll be using this machine!

It’s light and moist, and well aerated. I prefer a denser loaf and will be experimenting to create the perfect loaf for my preferences. I’ll keep you posted.  What kind of bread do you like?  Have you ever tried a bread-making machine?  Do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share?