Thursday, 19 May 2011

Home Made Wine Part 1

A bit of Wine-making today, I have this huge Elderflower tree in my front garden and the flowers are open and giving off a fabulous scent. Having failed to keep a record of all the wine recipes that my parents and grandparents used, I'm starting fresh with Home made Wines, and having a bit of nightmare. The first thing you have to remember is, don’t believe everything you read on the internet. And the second thing is, you don’t know that its gone wrong until its probably too late to fix it, or do it again.

Back in April I spent all morning collecting nettle tops, (the small new ones) for nettle beer, which I remember from my Grandmother (Her of the Dresser) and boiling up the results as per a little recipe I found online. After a week, it became obvious that either I had done something wrong, or the recipe was incorrect.

As the recipe only had about 3 steps, and I'm pretty sure that I did them all, I conclude its the quantities of ingredients that caused that one to be added to the compost. After looking at other recipes I don't think that there was enough sugar in the one I chose.

Next was the Dandelions, next door kindly let me pick all the ones on his lawn? And after a forage around near home my wife found a lot more, so we had the right quantity. All went well, fermentation started and it was time to put the must into a demijohn. The recipe recommended filling the airlock with a sterilizing solution, which I did, however some of it got into the must, more compost! Now I fill my airlocks with water, what my wife’s friend Marilyn used to call an A.F.G.O. (Another F***ing Growth Opportunity)

But my Rhubarb wine is going well, learning from my mistakes I have successfully completed fermentation and its now clearing, hopefully bottling in a month or two. Not only that, all the Rhubarb and sugar pulp left from the syrup extracting stage made a very nice crumble!

On safer ground, I have made Elderflower Champagne from a previously tried recipe, no problems there.

I'm now on the Elderflower wine and the second lot of Champagne, I have enough pressure bottles for three brews of Champagne (And you do need pressure bottles- believe me)

The plan is to make some elderflower cordial and freeze it but that requires a huge amount of flowers, not a small job as there don't seem to be that many wild trees around here and you have to leave some flowers or you wont get berries later in the year.

After all that work I fancied food, here’s a simple idea for quick Egg fried rice style meal.

Take an onion, chop it up very fine and fry in sesame oil for a couple of minutes. Whilst its frying whisk three eggs in a plastic jug and put in the microwave. Back to the pan, add a handful of frozen peas, the same amount of frozen sweetcorn, a teaspoon of five spice powder and a tablespoon of plum sauce to the onion and continue frying, Give it a couple of minutes then add some cooked prawns and small pieces of cooked chicken to the mix. Then the radical bit, add a packet of pre-cooked rice, keep stirring and turn the microwave on for a minute. When it dings check the eggs, if they are lightly scrambled add to the frying mixture, if not give them another 30 seconds then add and stir it all together. When piping hot and well mixed serve, with prawn crackers and sweet chilli sauce.

No photo for several reasons

1) Daughters borrowed my camera for her holiday
2) Ate it too quick, before I could get my phone camera going

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