From Ginger Booze to Chocolate Shoes

I am a foodie. I LOVE food. I love cooking it and experimenting with it and buying it and eating it . I remember, years ago, I worked on a Tv project with a woman who was a little eccentric. She wore two gold rings on every finger and her two thumbs, her arms carried so many gold bracelets she jangled when she walked and she had about ten gold necklaces around her neck. She was incredibly thin and side-on she looked like a stick to hang jewellery on. She accused me of being a foodie, ‘of enjoying eating food.’ I agreed with her, I love sitting out on a balcony with a glass of wine in hand and a good steak. She was very disapproving and told me quite loudly, in front of a room full of people, that food is merely fuel, and if she didn’t have to eat, she wouldn’t.

I digress, the real purpose of this blog is to give you a tip. I make marinated chicken and it is GOOD. The marinade is a fairly standard mixture I invented myself, chopped garlic, ginger, salt and pepper, maple syrup, soy sauce and cooking oil. I marinate for at least six hours, usually in a plastic bag tied tight, and toss and massage the marinade in regularly. The secret to the flavour of the chicken is my secret tip, what I do to the ginger…

Take a jar, a medium-sized jar, and heat it well to make it sterile. Get a large root of fresh ginger and peel it and chop it up into pieces, each one roughly half the size of your thumb. Put the ginger in the jar, but don’t fill it up, about two-thirds to three-quarters is good. Then take a bottle from the booze cabinet, brandy or bourbon or whiskey, and cover the ginger with the alcohol and put the jar in the fridge and forget about it. I did this for the first time in about 1985 and that jar lasted twenty years, new ginger and new brandy when it needed a top up. If the ginger is always covered, it’ll be fine. The ginger takes on the flavour of the alcohol and the liquid takes on a rich ginger flavour.  Towards the end of its life the syrup in that jar was the greatest thing you’ve ever tasted over vanilla ice-cream. Then I started two new jars, one with bourbon and one with whiskey. I am almost at the stage of needing to refill the only jar left, I have a new root of ginger and I will get a small bottle of brandy this time.

This ginger can be chopped up finely and used in stirfrys, marinades, salad dressings, even Asian soups…and the syrup is divine in sweet dishes. It takes awhile to get to a really delicious stage, so start today.

Wednesday I harvested about a kilo of lovely ripe figs from our tree and made a delicious, sticky fig and ginger jam. Cut up the figs and cook with the zest and juice of a lemon and about half a cup of sugar and a good squirt of maple syrup and some cut up ginger and a little of the ginger/alcohol. It made four jars and it will WORK on fruit toast.

My novel writing at the moment has a strong chocolate focus and I’ve tried several very beautiful, handmade boutique chocolates lately, all in the name of research I assure you. Chocolate and chilli, chocolate and salt and caramel….I found a website where you can order you’re own custom blocks of chocolate (if you live in the USA or Canada), it’s called chocomize.

http://www.chocomize.com/personalized-chocolate-bars

And I found a picture that perfectly sums up what you can do when you combine two of the great loves of many women’s lives. Yes, you can get these, you really can. Now, who wouldn’t be a foodie?

 

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