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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Pundi

As a kid, this was not one of my favorite dishes, but it did rank above the idli. Now I have no such reservations and I actually regret that I did not enjoy these special foods when I had a chance to do so. This was on my list of To Do’s last Christmas, actually one of over 75 different posts that I had planned to write in December during my annual leave. Unfortunately, it was barely enough for data collection. So here is how you make Pundi. Pundi sounds like and is probably derived from the Tulu word pundi which means fistful. You will soon see why :-)

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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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Experiments with sugarcane wine

Long story and experimentation, that’s what this post is all about. I’ve always made wines from fruit or rice, never from fruit juice…. and then I saw this post from a survival blog which said, “What do you do with all your stashed away emergency supplies as they near their expiry dates? Use them up of course. And how would you use up the gallons of so called “natural” tetra packed grape juice? You add sugar and turn it into wine! ” Continue reading Experiments with sugarcane wine

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Akki Otti

I went to visit my cousin sister and her husband in Coorg one last time. They will soon retire and move out from the beautiful coffee estates which are interspersed with orange trees and pepper creepers. I’m sure they’ll miss the place and the joy of tending to their kitchen garden in addition to encounters with wild pigs and elephants and cooking with firewood. I first visited them in Pollibetta when I was still in school. I still remember the tall silver oaks and the old English cemetery next to the church rolling up and down covered with a carpet of yellow flowers. I fell in love with the place and its people immediately and even so many decades later memories still put a smile on my face. Continue reading Akki Otti

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