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Five Factoids About Daiquiris (other wise known as “hope this helps you win Trivial Pursuit one day”)

One: A wide variety of alcoholic mixed drinks made with finely pulverized ice are often called frozen daiquiris. However, strictly speaking a Daiquiri is a family of cocktails whose main ingredients are rum, lime juice, and sugar or other sweetener. The Daiquirí is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury’s classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. A recipe for a classic daiquiri is:

2 oz White Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Two: The name Daiquiri is also the name of a beach near Santiago, Cuba, and an iron mine in that area. The cocktail was supposedly invented about 1900 in a bar named Venus in Santiago, about 23 miles east of the mine, by a group of American mining engineers. Consumption of the drink remained localized until 1909, when Admiral Lucius W. Johnson, a U.S. Navy medical officer, tried a daiquiri. Johnson subsequently introduced it to the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C., and drinkers of the daiquirí increased over the space of a few decades.

Three: The drink became popular in the 1940s. Wartime rationing made whiskey, vodka, etc., hard to come by, yet because of Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor policy (which opened up trade and travel relations with Latin America, Cuba and the Caribbean), rum was easily obtainable. As a consequence, rum-based drinks (once frowned upon as being the domain of sailors and down-and-outs), also became fashionable, and the Daiquirí saw a tremendous rise in popularity in the US.

Four: The daiquiri was one of the favorite drinks of writer Ernest Hemingway and president John F. Kennedy.

Five: The basic recipe for a Daiquirí is also similar to the grog British sailors drank aboard ship from the 1740s onwards. By 1795 the Royal Navy daily grog ration contained rum, water, ¾ ounce of lemon or lime juice, and 2 ounces of sugar. This was a common drink across the Caribbean, and as soon as ice became available this was included instead of the water.

Suddenly thirsty? Try a Hemingway Daiquirí, or Papa Doble – two and a half jiggers of Bacardi White Label, juice of two limes and half a grapefruit, six drops of maraschino liqueur, served frozen. Warning, one commenter on the web says of this drink: ” 4/5 sitars: Makes you feel like a suicidal alcoholic in a third-world nation. But in a good way.”

As for me, I did my drinking before I did my research, so I had a blended strawberry daiquiri before knowing that I could try to procure something more classic, or Hemingway-esque. But you know what? On the patio, with the sun in my face, it was delicious. 🙂

~Deanna

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Pound cake is one of those desserts that everyone has eaten at some point.  If you haven’t made one yourself someone in your family probably has.  No dessert table, picnic basket or bake sale is complete without some version of this baking basic.  The original recipe is British in origin and dates back to at least the early 18th century.  By the 19th century, pound cake recipes had appeared in American cookbooks.  The question is, with all the ingredients and techniques available to us now, how has the humble pound cake defended its place amongst the gastronomic giants of the pastry world?

Pound Cake with Blueberries and Lavender Syrup from Epicurious.com

Sorry, no original photos today.  Never got home to bake a cake especially for today.  But I have made the one pictured above and it is fantastic. Check out the recipe at Epicurious.com.

One might also wonder, what makes a pound cake a pound cake? It’s a piece of genius really.  The name is the recipe, as long as you can remember four ingredients that is.  A traditional pound cake is a pound each of flour, sugar, butter and eggs.  There are no artificial leaveners in the original.  All the lift comes from the air whipped into the eggs.  Of course, most modern recipes make use of baking powder to create a lighter cake.  That said, the heavier and denser original has its merits and in some applications is the better cake.  The other great thing about the basic recipe is that you can reduce or increase the recipe according to your needs without the typical disaster incurred by messing with the chemistry of other pastry recipes.  Just remember to maintain the 1:1:1:1 ratio.

Here’s the basic recipe, the one I can give you since the copy right for a 300-year-old recipe has probably expired.  As for variations, I’m afraid, I have to send you to consult the cookbook library.

Pound Cake

  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 1 pound sugar
  • 1 pound eggs (about 10 large)
  • 1 pound cake flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

With an electric mixer whip butter and sugar together until light in colour and very fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between additions.  Stir in vanilla and salt.  Turn mixer speed to low and add flour in three batches.  Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Mixing the Batter

How easy is that?!  If you want to jazz things up a bit, add a couple teaspoons of lemon zest to the batter and drizzle a lemon glaze over the glazed cake.

The real beauty of pound cake, beyond how ridiculously easy it is to make (remember I am a confirmed non-baker) and how it lends itself to be the ingredient in other things.   A big slab of pound cake, toasted on the grill with a slice of grilled pineapple and a drizzle of caramel sauce is a fantastic “barbeque” dessert.  Cubes of pound cake are perfect for dipping in a chocolate fondue. For the fondue, I really do recommend the traditional recipe.  You’ll need a nice dense cake for dipping.  I like a heap of strawberries and nice dollop of sweetened whipped cream with mine, a sort of strawberry shortcake.

It’s easy to see why pound cake can still be found in modern cookery.  Pound cake is one of those simple, versatile and delicious creations that needs little embellishment but can take anything you throw at it.  All on it’s own or as a component of something much more grand pound cake deserves a place in your culinary repertoire.

Bon appétit,

Della

National Strawberry Day. I know to those of you currently obsessed with all thinks olympic, if I were to play a little word association game with you and say “red”, as a response “strawberries” would be far below “flag” “hockey jersey” and “screaming crowd”. But while you’ve been hanging on ever second of the hockey game and the crashes at the sliding centre, spring has been quietly creeping into Victoria (Exhibit A: to you right is a photo of the chives in my garden!). I for one have no trouble embracing spring and the fair strawberry.

For National Strawberry Day I decided to make a strawberry syrup. It’s a simple 15 min process, and you can adjust the amount of sugar and lemon to taste. I think the next time that I make this, I’ll try it with maple syrup to make it more robust (and well, maybe a little more patriotic! 😉 ).

Simple Strawberry Syrup

1 pound sliced strawberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice

Bring strawberries, water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt to boil in medium pot over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer vigorously, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add lemon juice. Strain, pressing on solids – a sieve lined in cheese cloth works well. Cover and keep in the fridge.

I decided to  save the pulp separately, and use it as a spread on waffles, or maybe bake it into muffins? (I’ll let you know what I come up with!)

Now for the fun part – enjoying the fruits of your work.

I can see this syrup would be great on ice cream, or as a garnish on a nice plated slice of cake. You could eat it on waffles or pancakes, and mix it into a marinade. But I decided that I wanted to use the syrup to make italian sodas. My inspiration for this was from one of my favorite restaurants in town, a little place called Devour. Autumn, one of the women who works the counter there, has lately been cooking up a variety of savory sodas which are really tasty. Yesterday I had thyme, pink peppercorn and cardamon soda, with a little simple syrup. It was a great change from your regular lunch choices.

For my drinks, I mixed the strawberry syrup with in 1:4 or 1:3 proportion with fizzy water. In one I muddled in fresh rosemary and in another cup I tried fresh thyme. The latter was too strong for me, but I really liked the rosemary and strawberry combination. Also, they are very pretty, just like Eva. 😉

~Deanna