Making grape wine at home

I’ve read so many resources on making wine at home over the years. Wine making can be extremely confusing as on the one hand we find Westerners making wine in a laboratory kind of setting with grape crushers, de-stemmers, presses, hydrometers, racking canes, clarifiers, carboys, sanitizing chemicals like sodium metabisulphide and fancy equipment designed for wine making.

On the other hand you have those elderly French and Italian gentlemen who have learned these skills from their fathers when they were around and who have been making wine regularly for as long as they can remember. In spite of not using any of the above, (except for the grape crushers and pressers which are required due to the large volume of grapes they process) their wine comes out as per their expectations. I’ve also see them drink a bit of the juice to quench their thirst and pour the remainder back or suck on a pipe used for racking the wine without any ill effects of oral bacteria on their wines.  Continue reading Making grape wine at home

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Surviving on fiat money

This was among one of my first posts written on SimplySimple. However it never took shape as I was too busy juggling my blog hosting, learning WordPress and fiddling around with design issues and AD placements…. Fast forward to last week. Our fantastic Prime minister (and his team) pulls another one of his half baked political stunts. He decides that currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 should be demonetized. This is not the first time that someone has thought of it. It has happened twice before in Indian history -once before India  gained independence from the British and then later on in 1978, under prime minister Morarji Desai. Coincidentally, both of them are from the state of Gujarat and have similar ideology.

Continue reading Surviving on fiat money

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The Chir Pine: Pinus roxburghii

I’ve been fascinated by the chir pine Pinus roxburghii (Pinus longifolia) for quite some time and realised that I haven’t yet put down a post on it. I’ve marvelled at its beauty both at Sattal and also Mussoorie in Uttarakhand, India.  Unfortunately it is sad to see villagers set whole slopes of the forest on fire which is taken up by the layer of dry pine needles covering the mountain slopes. The villagers do it so that grass would grow again on the ground between the trees for them to take home back to their cattle. It is also suspected that the land mafia does this to deliberately deforest areas in connivance with the authorities which they can then encroach upon and sell. This is easy to do as the pine is rich in resin and catches fire easily even when wet. Continue reading The Chir Pine: Pinus roxburghii

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Extracting coconut milk

 

Back to the main post on the coconut tree

Whenever I think of coconut milk, my mouth waters. Although she is no more, three dishes prepared by mum come vividly to my mind and I can almost taste it in my mouth as I write. The first is a common breakfast dish of steamed/boiled sweet potato served with salted coconut milk sweetened with a bit of  jaggery. The other dish is peppered (black pepper) mutton stew with green pumpkin and coconut milk and of course the payasa or kheer made from padengi (green gram), coconut milk, clarified butter and dry fruit.
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Using a banneton to bake bread

In my previous post on How to bake your own wholewheat bread, I have not told you the whole story of my my bread experiments. The goal was to get the loaf done right, and the only way to figure out where I was going wrong with sourdough was to go back to the basics and use easier instant yeast. Once the output confirmed that my techniques and timings were right, I went back to my struggle with sourdough. Continue reading Using a banneton to bake bread

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Home made whole wheat bread

This has to be one of my longest experiments ever, partly due to me getting the baking bug only in the winters. The first two were disastrous failures and the end product could have been the choice of weapon used by Cain to kill Abel. The first one, used -wait for it… Champagne yeast and placed in a pressure cooker which doubled as an oven. It was pretty cold too -around 2 deg C in Delhi and the bread never rose. If I had saved the baked bread it could have replaced a brick in my garden wall back home. Continue reading Home made whole wheat bread

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