Cocktails in Paradise

Writing can take a little time, if you are doing it thoughtfully, and it can be challenging to find that kind of time when you are on the road.  Still, it is the final Friday of the month, which means it is time for a cider recipe.  I’ve been drinking a lot of cider cocktails lately – cider can be an excellent constituent in all manner of mixed drinks – and as I am currently in a paradise of tropical fruits it seems fitting to share a recipe that combines the two, the Kehei Inu.


  • 2 1/2 ounces golden rum
  • 1 1/2 ounces lilikoi juice
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 5 ounces chilled pineapple cider
  • fresh pineapple to garnish

Mix the rum and juices together in a cocktail shaker, add some ice and shake well to combine.  Strain into a glass, add the cider and some more ice, then garnish with the pineapple.  Drink on a lanai surrounded by birdsong while watching the sun sink gracefully into the ocean.

Pots de Créme with an Iced Cider Gelée

This classic French dessert with a bit of a twist is modeled after a luscious variation I had at The Gilbert Scott in London several years ago. The dark chocolate custard is topped with a layer of ice cider gelée, whose tart apple underpinnings balance the creamy richness below. You’ll need some 6 ounce custard cups and a some sort of roasting or brownie pan that is about as deep at the custard cups are tall.

pot de créme

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 Tbsp superfine sugar
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup ice cider
  • ½ tsp powdered gelatin

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Mix the egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar together in a large bowl until they are fully blended but not frothy.

Break the chocolate into pieces and put them in the top of a double boiler along with 2 Tbsp of the cream and the salt. (If you don’t have a double boiler, you can make one by simply placing a metal bowl over a pot with a couple of inches of water in it.) Bring the water in the bottom of the double boiler to a simmer and let the chocolate melt, stirring from time to time so that the chocolate stays nice and creamy. Meanwhile, put the rest of the cream and the milk in a separate pot and heat until the mixture has just started to form little bubbles around the edge. Turn off the heat and reserve until the chocolate has completely melted. Once the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat and begin whisking in the hot milk/cream a little at a time. You may need to add a little, whisk a lot, add a little, whisk a lot for a while so that the milk/cream fully incorporates into the chocolate without separating. Eventually you can add more milk/cream at a time, whisking away, until all the milk/cream is in.

Pour about ¼ cup of the hot chocolate cream into the eggs, while beating them so they don’t scramble, then whisk the tempered eggs back into the chocolate cream. Fill 6 custard cups with the custard-to-be to about ½ inch of the rim, place them in the roasting pan, then fill the pan with boiling water – just enough so that it comes about half-way up the sides of the custard cups. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the custard seems fully set (it will jiggle a little in the middle, but will look more or less solid). Remove from the oven, and the roasting pan, and chill for at least 2 hours.

To make the ice cider gelée, put the ice cider in a small pan then sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let them sit for 5 minutes, then bring to a simmer. Simmer 1 minute, then let it sit off heat for 2 minutes. Pour onto the top of the chilled pots de créme, and chill again until the gelée has set, at least 2 hours.

Makes 6 pots de créme

Cooking with Cider – Cod with Garlic Sauce

Cooking with cider is just as rewarding as drinking it…well, almost. But if you like having a glass of cider while you’re working in the kitchen there will inevitably come a moment when you find you need a little extra liquid for some recipe and think, why not cider? Why not indeed. What you’ll find is that cider, like wine, can do magical things for many dishes. And in an effort to encourage you to explore cooking with cider, each final Friday of the month I will post a recipe that I hope will inspire you to give cooking with cider a try.

cod with garlic 2

This month’s recipe is a variation on a wonderful fish dish cooked for me by Jonatan Meana, the talented young chef at the restaurant El Cruce in Gijon, Asturias. Jonatan graciously invited me into his kitchen during early morning prep and demonstrated a whole range of modern Asturian recipes that incorporate sidra (Asturian cider). He used monkfish, but I’ve chosen a true cod. Any meaty mild, flavored fish would do just as nicely. For the cider, you’ll want something tart and dry. An Asturian sidra would be marvelous, but there are any number of New World ciders that would fit the bill. Farnum Hill’s Extra Dry, Virtue Cider’s Sidra, Dragon Head’s Wild Fermented, or a Troy Cider would all be excellent choices.

  • 1 lb potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold
  • 2 Tbsp of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup plus 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 dried spicy chili peppers, such as chile de arbol, left whole
  • 4 4 – 5 oz cod fillets
  • ½ cup sidra
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, finely minced
  • salt and ground black pepper

First, preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Peel the potatoes and slice them into 3/8 inch rounds. Put the them in a pot with enough water to cover by about ½ inch, add a healthy pinch of salt ,then simmer until just cooked through (they’ll be easily pierced by a sharp knife, but will still have a bit of resistance). Drain the potatoes and keep them warm.

Meanwhile, heat ½ cup of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the garlic and the whole chilis. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic has softened and developed just a little color, but don’t let it brown. This will allow the pectins in the garlic to release into the liquid and help to thicken the sauce, but they’ll break down if the garlic is cooked too much. Add the sidra, raise the heat, and simmer vigorously until the liquid has been reduced by half.

For the fish, season the pieces well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat 3 – 4 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. When you can see the surface of the oil rippling just a little, add the fish to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Keep an eye on the heat so that the fish cooks but doesn’t really brown much. Turn the pieces over, then put the pan in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes so the fish can finish cooking.

To serve, arrange slices of potato in a shallow bowl or a serving plate. Place the fish pieces on top of the potatoes, then cover with the sauce (remove the chilis before you do this). Finish with a little sprinkle of parsley. Serve with a tart, dry cider.

Serves 4
elastic tits