Thursday, November 28, 2019

A taste-bud drama

As I settled down for the night with a glass of vodka and cold water a few weeks ago, I had a very unsettling experience.  My vodka had a horrible bitter taste. A bad batch  of vodka?  I opened another bottle. Same result.  So I opened a third bottle.  Same result.  So it seemed that my taste-buds had gone awry.

And the curious thing was that all my other tastes were OK. It was only alcohol that tasted bad.  And alcohol is supposed to be odorless and tasteless.

So I abandoned my usual dinner wine -- Tyrrells Verdelho -- and sought a sweeter wine that would drown out the bitterness.  I chose Rosemount Traminer Riesling.  I knew Traminer as a grape that Germans make their "fruity" wines out of so suspected that the Rosemount product might be a bit sweet too.  And it was, though not Chablis sweet.  It was a very nice wine in general, and only around $9 from Murphys.  I drink it to this day.

I tried various things to jolt my tastebuds back into normality but not with much success.  I eventually tried a FULL glass of cranberry juice.  Cranberries have a very strong taste and commercial juices generally combine them with a lot of sugar or other sweetener.  Even so, half of a glass of it is all one would usually be able to drink.  And that big glass did the trick. Alcohol gradually lost its bitterness after that.

What was it all about?  I think I know.  My cumquat tree was in fruit and I had recently discovered lemonade with a dash of cumquat juice in it. It gave lemonade a real tang.  Cumquats are however a very bitter fruit so a dash of their juice is all you need.  So to extend the discovery I started to have it with vodka as my going-to-bed drink.

And I think my brain began to associate cumquat bitterness with alcohol.  So it returned any experience of alcohol as bitter.  And the strong taste of the cranberrries over-rode that. That's the best I can make of it, anyway.  I threw all my cumquats out.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

An Achar Gosht variation

Indian shops have a masala called Achar Gosht -- "pickle curry", originally meant for use with mutton

I have made up curries from it as per the instructions on the packet and found it quite good.  I made my own variation on it tonight, however,  which in my view was much better.  It was a very tasty curry, though a bit on the "hot" side.

I poured a can of diced tomatoes into a big frypan, added an equal amount of water, a chopped up onion, a good sprinkle of salt, a dessert spoon of ground ginger, the WHOLE packet of masala and 500g of mince meat (ground beef).  So it was low-fat cookery, with the only fat being whatever was in the beef, and the beef was described as "lean".

So I mixed everything in together as far as I could and cooked it on a fairly low heat for half an hour.

Shortly before the curry was ready to be served, I mixed in a mini-can (125g) of corn kernels and a mini-can of baked beans -- just to give the meal some variation in texture.  I served it with boiled rice.

The result was delish! Simple, low-fat and delish. That has got to be good! It was probably even gluten-free.