Chiswick’s Spicy Passionfruit Margarita

Makes: 2

When shopping for Agave Nectar last week – a key ingredient for this cocktail – I remarked to the lady at Dan Murphy’s (a big chain of liquor outlets in Australia) that we had reached the stage of lockdown where we were now investing in more complex cocktails.

“You’re pretty late to it” she said, walking me over to a part of the shop which really showed how late to the party we were. Lordy.

Empty shelves.

Nat made this cocktail and it is bloody wonderful. Seconds were definitely a requirement.

It isn’t exactly the cocktail from Chiswick though we are claiming it. It’s damn close.

And as I said. It is bloody wonderful.

Ingredients

90ml Patron Silver Blanco Tequila
30ml Cointreau
30ml fresh lime juice
30ml Agave Nectar
4 fresh passion fruits
4 slices red chilli
Ice
Mint sprigs to serve
Shave of orange peel to serve

Equipment

Shaker
Muddler
Strainer
Fine sieve
Jigger

Method

  1. Scoop the passion fruit into your shaker.
  2. Add the chilli slices and muddle.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except those to serve.
  4. Add ice and shake.
  5. Double strain into two glasses over ice.
  6. Garnish with orange and fresh mint.8

Nat and Rob’s Long Lunch

Serves: 30

Last Saturday, Nat and I finally did it.

We got married! In Palm Beach. In front of our family and very closest friends.

It was a close to eloping as Nat’s mother would allow.

Here we are:

And our three monkeys, Oliver, TT. And Max:

Rather than a traditional wedding – which neither of us wanted – we based the whole thing around a long lunch (with a very short wedding to begin). Because long lunches we do, weddings much less so.

Six courses. And plenty of champagne and wine.

My mother Ellen was a genius planning the menu, a process that took weeks and weeks to refine, test, refine and debate. We really would not have gotten there without her, especially the part where she cooked 20 duck confit two nights beforehand.

Hats off to Nat too: she sliced 16 kilos of onion, made 4 litres of corn stock, cubed 5 kilos of snapper, cured a salmon and reduced 10 litres of cream and fish stock two, one and zero days to the d-day. (These are qualities anyone should look for in a wife!)

And so it’s on the record, firstly, thanks to everyone that helped on the day…

Ellen: the menu, cooking half the food, looking a million bucks on the day:

Court: planning, support and advice for the day as well as cooking a cookie for the cookie course… and setting up and cleaning up after:

Bec, Woodles and Lob: for their amazing contribution to the cookie course.

(And Woodles again for her beautiful, off-the-cuff speech that could have dissected me, though instead just reinforced what a beautiful person Nat is…)

Sare Bear: for her incredibly generous contribution of the flowers and photography. We owe you big time.

Rob A, Greg and Sean: for being the logistics backbone of the day: hauling up wine and champagne, setting up in the rain, cleaning up in the pouring rain the next day.

Rob A (again) and Deb: for running around for weeks beforehand helping organise things and always asking what more they could do… the best parents-in-law anyone could ask for:

(And thanks for the cracker speech Rob. Unusually light on me! And Deb’s toast: Mazzeltov!)

Bill: for his really moving speech… it is clear how much he loves Nat and there wasn’t anyone that wasn’t really touched by the end of it:

Giles: my best mate and someone who can be relied upon to have a brilliantly funny speech up his sleeve for any occasion, even if I still can’t understand a word!

Oliver and Tom: these young men delivered two wonderful speeches that were as touching as they were funny. The entire house was in tears:

Brooke: for the beautiful bouquet:

Christian (The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay), Laura (Palisade) and Vincenzo (Appetito, Rockpool in Perth): the best trio of cooking and waiting we could have ever asked for. Serious professionals:

Daniella: our always dependable friend who can help out with our kids on a Saturday night, plate 31 snapper pies, speak Italian and flip our AirBNB whilst we are in the Maldives.

Secondly, for everyone that asked, here are the dishes we served on the day:

#1 Soup and Sandwich

#2 Cheese and Salad

#3 Duck and Cherries

#4 Snapper Pie

#5 Mexican Wall

#6 Cookies and Cream (a shot of Baileys):

– Cookie 1 – Lobba’s Choc Chip
– Cookie 2 – Court’s Peanut Butter-Stuffed Cookies
– Cookie 3 – Woodle’s Butter Cookies
– Cookie 4 – Bec’s Hazelnut Cookies

Thirdly, here is the shortlist of photos from the day.

And the photos from our guests.

And finally… thank you to my gorgeous wife and best friend. Thank you for agreeing to marry this old dog.

I promise I’ll make it worth your while NB:

Moscow Mule

Serves: 2

This week’s cocktail… the Moscow Mule, a simple-to-make and really refreshing number, perfect for the remaining sunny weekends of this Autumn.

There is a tradition of serving it in a copper mug, though from what I can gather, this is more about keeping it cold than anything.

Fill a tumbler with shaved ice and that will do the same trick.

Better still, use low calorie Ginger Beer and your Moscow Mule will come in with less calories than a Pure Blonde!

Enjoy this weekend.

Ingredients

60mls vodka
20mls lime juice
Ginger Beer, to top
Ice
Lime wedges to garnish

Method

  1. Add the lime juice and vodka to a copper mug or highball glass and fill with ice. Top with ginger beer, stir and garnish with lime wedges.

Low Calorie Margarita

Serves: 2

Nat and I are complete suckers for Margaritas – the frozen type are especially amazing to me – and at an afternoon/evening with our good friends Tom and Lisa, we were offered up some wonderful Margaritas… without the sugar.

The irony of typing this cocktail up is that the only other cocktail we have published was an Espresso Martini Nat whipped up in Koh Samui (Thailand) when we were there for Tom’s 40th.

Seems cocktails are a theme when we get together!

Anyway, the key point of this Margarita is the use of a low-calorie sweetener.

We mixed Stevia with some boiling water and then added cold water until we had the sweetness right. Pour into a bottle and refrigerate.

It tastes the same, looks the same and feels the same.

It’s just that you can have one or two more than you could with the traditional calorie approach.

Ingredients

4 shots tequila
2 shots fresh lime juice
2 shots Stevia mixture
Salt
Lots of ice

Method

  1. Fill two (Margarita) glasses with ice and allow the glasses to cool for a minute or two.
  2. Spread salt on a dry surface; empty the ice from the glasses and salt the rims of the glasses.
  3. Combine the tequila, lime juice and Stevia mixture in a cocktail shaker. Top with lots of ice and shake rigorously for a minute.
  4. Pour the Margarita mixture through the strainer into the glasses.
  5. Enjoy

Boost Juice’s Banana Buzz

Boost Juice’s Banana Buzz

Serves: 1

The only drink I ever order from Boost Juice is a medium, Banana Buzz; I had one just yesterday and they’re just awesome.

Here is your way to try the amazing Boost Banana Buzz and save $6.40.

It is spot-on.

Ingredients

1 large banana
1 cup (skim) milk
2 large scoops Bulla Frozen Yoghurt (original flavour) or similar, frozen, plain Greek Yoghurt
½ tbsp honey
1 cup ice cubes

Method

  1. Combine all and blend to a smoothie.

Mulled Wine

Serves: 4

A simple question to ask a prospective friend: “Mulled wine?”

Because if the answer is ‘yes’, you have a friend.

Because mulled wine is also your friend.

It’s the acceptance that wine is great though worthy of a reboot from time to time. That wine isn’t the end-point and really just part of the heavy-lifting.

It’s winter and we are all bored.

Get the music cranking, mix up a batch of this wine and toast the best part of winter.

Nat and I did.

Ingredients

10 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
¼ cup caster sugar
1 roughly grated nutmeg
2 cups water
Roughly grated rind of 1 orange
1 apple, roughly chopped, skin on
750ml (1 bottle) fruity red wine such as merlot

Method

  1. Don’t drink the wine yet.
  2. Heat cloves, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, water, orange rind and apple in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add red wine and simmer for another 5 minutes. Strain and serve.
  4. Again and again and again.

Nat’s (holiday) Espresso Martini

 

IMG_7047
Eat your hearts out: this is not stock photography!

IMG_7043
The magic resting on ice in a mineral water bottle. Not sure where the mineral water went though not nonplussed.

Serves: 2

First off the bat, Nat wants me to remind anyone reading this recipe that she worked in a bar for five years. So that she can make a mean cocktail, refill a cigarette machine or call last drinks should surprise nobody.

So here we are in gorgeous Koh Samui, me just waking from an afternoon nap, when Nat appears with a coffee martini.

And what a coffee martini!

Literally, the best I have ever had. Not too sweet, not too bitter, just perfect.

I knew this was coming after we got some Kaluah after lunch, though the completeness and presentation was what made the whole thing so extraordinary. With an empty mineral water bottle, the Nespresso machine in our room and a bunch of Macgyver tricks, Nat delivered as good as any bar or club could.

Even better were the glasses she found under our television. I would have been happy drinking it from out of a shoe, though the glass was a real added bonus!

Enjoy! And thank you Nat. What a treat!

Ingredients

2 shots (50ml) vodka
1 shot (25ml)  Kaluah (basically 2 parts vodka to 1 part coffee liqueur)
1 shot espresso
Ice

Method

  1. Pour the vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso into a cocktail shaker.  Fill the martini glass with ice to chill and then fill the cocktail shaker (or mineral water bottle or shoe) with ice as well. Shake the shaker and shake it crazy.
  2. Empty most of the contents into the glasses and then strain the rest to get a rich froth.
  3. Garnish with three coffee beans.