The Dos and Don’ts of cooking with Alcohol

After a hard week, a favorite leisure time activity that a lot of people see as a great form of relaxation is firing up the grill in their backyard with an ice cold beer or a glass of wine in hand. Whether you partake in drinking alcohol or not, all of us do however, like a bit of spirit tossed into some of our favourite meals. It’s not surprising at all that alcohol is a very commonly used ingredient in a lot of kitchens. It has various uses which make it a versatile ingredient.

In order to get started, one must have a basic understanding of pairing food and alcohol as part of the finished meal. The rule to cooking with alcohol is based on keeping it simple. Cooking with alcohol is also very similar to food pairings with alcohol. Which goes to say darker spirits work with darker meats, sauces and dishes that are heavy on proteins. On the other hand, light coloured spirits belong with lighter and white meats, sauces and low-protein food.

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Another imperative rule of cooking with alcohol is also a safety tip of sorts – avoid the flambé technique if you’re not an expert. Flambé is a style of cooking where a generous amount of any spirit is poured on food and is set ablaze as alcohol has highly flammable properties. This is a big no-no to avoid any kind of home accidents.

Here are some of our favourite recipes, made using different kinds of spirits that you can easily experiment with at home.

Penne A ‘la Vodka

This dish is hearty and quite filling — not to mention the fact that it makes for great leftovers.

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 30 min

Total: 40 min

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Ingredients

  • 500 gms dried penne pasta
  • 500 gms Italian sausage
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 500 gms button mushrooms, sliced
  • 30 gms chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. vodka
  • 4 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until cooked through; remove and drain on paper towels.
  3. Melt butter in the same skillet; add onions and salt, and sauté until tender, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, red pepper, and mushrooms; cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, cream, vodka, and return the sausage to the pot. Allow the mixture to come to a slow simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes uncovered.
  6. Prior to serving, fold in the pasta, followed by the spinach, and toss until spinach is wilted and incorporated. Serve with grated cheese.

Beer Can Chicken

Often tried, but rarely perfected, this is one of those techniques which marks the real marriage of cooking and alcohol. The beer lends extra flavour and moisture to the chicken throughout the cooking process. To get the best results, use a gas grill over indirect heat. You can go old school and just invert the chicken up on the can.

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 60 – 75 minutes

Total: 1 hour 10 min – 25 min

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Ingredients

  • 2-3 kgs young chicken, washed and rinsed clean
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Creole seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 can beer, open and with a couple sips taken
  • Beer can chicken stainless stand
  • Butcher’s twine

Instructions

  1. Prepare a charcoal smoker or gas grill for indirect heating/smoking over medium heat, about 130-150 degree celsius.
  2. Meanwhile, coat chicken in oil, and evenly rub the Creole seasoning into the chicken, including the cavity. Stuff cavity with garlic and lemon, and place the chicken on top of the beer on the stand. Secure by tying the legs together with butcher’s twine.
  3. Smoke the chicken, rotating on occasion, until the internal temperature reaches 75 degrees celsius.
  4. Tent with foil and allow the bird to rest for 20 minutes prior to cutting and serving.

Blueberry and Peach Bourbon Granola Crisp

This is a simplified version of a classic cobbler, full of fresh peaches and blueberries. You can use this same fruit mixture for traditional cobblers or pies, the crispy granola crunch on top is what it’s all about though (apart from the Bourbon of course) – and is also much easier to prepare.

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 40 min

Total: 55 min

Serves: 6

crisp

Image Source: go.brit.co/1MWIEc8

Ingredients

Fruit Mixture

  • 3 ripe peaches — pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, washed
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Topping

  • 1 cup granola
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. cold butter, cubed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degree celcius.
  2. Toss the fruit mixture together into a greased cooking pan until evenly combined.
  3. Next, add the topping ingredients in a mixing bowl, cutting the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a coarse crumble.
  4. Spread the topping over the top of the fruit mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  5. Cool slightly before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Any kind of alcohol can be used for cooking as long as you have a recipe in place. Browse through our vast collection of different spirits that can be used as an ingredient in any of your meals: http://bit.ly/1y5bcyo

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9 reasons #Octoberfest is the time to shop

Festivals in India are always over the top, loud, colourful and happy. Shopping for new clothes, shoes, jewellery and home ware is a big part of the traditions. Gifting too.

We love that we can pamper you with retail therapy this October making it a really unforgettable #Octoberfest.

Here are a few great deals you should indulge in or perhaps even indulge a loved one.

  1. Godiva Chocolate

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Silky-textured chocolates are a definite winner when it comes to gifting and might we add, a better alternative to the box of ‘mithai’ you had in mind. Browse through our collection ranging from $6 to $42 and pre-order here: http://goo.gl/xx0Roh

  1. Elizabeth Arden EDT, shower gel & body lotion set

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If you combine an exciting fragrance with a shower gel and a body lotion, you have got yourself a day long experience of smelling like a goddess. This matchless trio is a steal at our offer price. Get this heavenly deal for a mere $36 : http://goo.gl/WJiubA

  1. Calvin Klein Miniature

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A set of miniature perfumes for men by Calvin Klein, makes a sensible gifting option or great for all your upcoming end of year travel plans. With a selection of the best fragrances for men, all together in a single pack at an astonishing $54, how can you look away? http://goo.gl/7eYUc2

  1.  Revlon Super Lustrous Lipsticks

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It’s a great time to add colour to your wardrobe with this astonishing set of five lipsticks. These chic lipsticks are your go-to glam quotient not just for festivals but on any given day of the year. Buy five intense lip shades in a flash at a whopping $33! : http://goo.gl/i29qRm

  1. L’Oreal Hydrafresh Spa Experience Pouch

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This mini kit contains a Hydrafresh Gel Foam, Hydrafresh Mask-in lotion, Hydrafresh Deep Boosting Essence, Hydrafresh Supreme Emulsion and Hydrafresh Mask. All this with a special pouch at just $43. Ideal, much? : http://goo.gl/m1tWct

  1. Russell Desire Food Slicer

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This has to be one of the top most things on the list of things women really want. Festival food needs lots of prep and this kitchen gadget is designed to make the whole process of cooking easier. Make the right choice this Dasara for just $55. Now, this is a quite the deal: http://goo.gl/c1VOMj

  1. Sony Headset Canal

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What better gift to give than the sound of music? A sturdy and reliable pair of earphones with unrivalled sound quality at a price that is going to make your jaw drop! Get it here now, at a steal for $17! : http://goo.gl/nMtCwo

  1. Jack Daniel’s Whiskey

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If you are going to be hosting friends during the upcoming vacations, then be the perfect host with the right drinks in your home bar. Just spend $74 for a couple of bottles from the Jack Daniel’s portfolio, and you will even get a free selfie stick to capture the good times. Peek through our collection starting from $35: http://goo.gl/RzfGLO

  1. Jacob’s Creek Wines

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A very thoughtful and reasonably priced gift for any occasion have got to be the various Wines from the Jacob’s Creek selection. Whether it’s a glass of the sparkling rose or classic Chardonnay, there’s a bottle for every mood. At a very affordable price range of $11 to $19, Jacob’s Creek should be your choice this festive season and this Australian wine is definitely one for the wine cabinet at home too. Take a look at our selection: http://goo.gl/FOoBKJ

The Difference between Red Wine and White Wine

Yes, they are two distinct colours, but ever wondered why? Also is the colour the only differentiator? Hmmm… turns out there is more to that alluring glass of wine than you may have thought. But no worries, it’s never too late to learn something new. Just keep reading and you shall be a Wine Guru in no time.

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Wine is a highly popular alcoholic drink that is made by fermenting grapes. Red wine is produced using dark grapes which either have a deep red or blue tint, making them look almost black. White wine uses light skinned grapes that can be green, yellow or a mix of both. Often, white wine is also produced using just the clear juice from dark grapes.

When making red wine, the skin, stem and seeds of the dark grapes are left in the juice.  During fermentation, the pigments and tannins from them seep out, adding colour and complexity to the wine. Tannins are compounds found in grapes. They provide the astringent taste in red wines and also help age the red wine longer as compared to white wines; due to their preservation properties. Tannins are also responsible for preventing the oxidation of red wines while they age.

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White wines are made using only the juice from light or dark skinned grapes. The skin, stem and seeds are completely removed after extracting the juice. White wines don’t have any strong colour because of the lack of pigments in light skinned grapes. If made using dark grapes, the pulp and skin are completely removed, preventing the pigments from reaching the juice. Tannin content in white wines is much lower than red as it does not use the skin or other parts of the grape where Tannins are found.

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Red wines are often described as being complex with very sharp and rich flavours while white wines offer a much lighter touch to the palette. When deciding on which wine to have with a meal, we suggest you pick red if your dish has strong flavours, otherwise white would work well. However in the end it really depends on what you find most suitable.

So there you have it, a glass full of wine knowledge! Be nice and share it with others.

For a large collection of Red and White Wines at great prices, check out www.bengalurudutyfree.in

5 things you can gift yourself this Women’s Day!

Take a break this weekend from trying to save the world, fixing problems, solving mysteries and focus instead on making YOU happy!

Here are five of our best selling products you could use to pamper yourself this Women’s day!

Clarins Extra-Firming Day Wrinkle Lifting Cream

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How do you like the idea of rejuvenating your thirsty skin with one of the best skin care products of all times – The Clarins Extra-Firming Day Wrinkle Lifting Cream? Say good-bye to skin woes like dry and dull skin, wrinkles, patchy skin, etc. This cream gets easily absorbed into your skin, gives it a lift, and firms it up while fighting skin slackening. It nourishes your skin making it soft and hydrated leaving you with younger looking skin.

Pre-order this genie-in-a-bottle today at http://bit.ly/1zJtS38

YSL Touche Éclat

YSL

An award-winning product, Touche Éclat is the secret weapon for many international makeup artists and models. A few magical strokes with this complexion highlighter and all your dark circles, scares, fine lines, and signs of fatigue disappear! It is sleek and sophisticated and can easily fit into any of your clutches or handbags. There are multiple colour shades you can choose from! A great aid for doing touch-ups on the go.

Pre-order this magic wand at http://bit.ly/17A3GAl

OPI Soft Shades Nail Lacquer

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OPI is known for their wide range of exceptional nail lacquers. Be sexy, cute, classy, romantic, be whatever you want to be with OPI’s rich and glorious colours. Now, buy 3 shades and save $14!

Check out the palette of shades and pre-order today – http://bit.ly/1DcokPC

Gucci Guilty Eau de Toilette

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Wearing Gucci Guilty is synonymous with being hypnotic! With a distinct oriental-floral fragrance, Gucci Guilty is suggestive of deep femininity, power and strength. Isn’t that like the definition of every woman? Wear this fragrance this Women’s day and Gucci Guilty will take care of the rest!

Pre-order this magic potion today at http://bit.ly/1xwZAhK

Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay 

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End the day with a little celebration. A bottle of Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay to celebrate YOU! You know what we are talking about 🙂

Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay is one of our best selling Wines at Bengaluru Duty Free. Pick it up while stocks last! Pre-order at http://bit.ly/17A3P6X