Spruce and Ginger Beer from Scratch to Toast a HUGE Giveaway from Mortimer Snodgrass

Yes…Mortimer Snodgrass! I can’t help but giggle every time I read the name. I also cannot help snicker at every other item I pick up in this unique gift store in beautiful Old Montreal; their inventory is so cool, funky, unusual and yet practical. Mortimer Snodgrass, the store, is 10 years old this year and the owners decided to celebrate with a BIG BANG on Cheap Ethnic Eatz. You do not want to miss out on this giveaway, it is so awesome!

I’ll tell you more about this store, the contest and where the name came from in a bit at the bottom of this post. But first I want to share my latest cooky kitchen experiments: Homemade Spruce and Jamaican Ginger Beers. These 2 unique beverages are perfect for toasting a quirky store’s 10th birthday.

Don’t let the word beer throw you off, these are non-alcoholic but fizzy soft drinks. The idea for the Spruce beer was a light bulb moment after my Mastic Ice Cream post when I compared Mastic’s flavor to Spruce Beer…which apparently not a lot of people were familiar with. Yep I found an online recipe on the Daring Kitchens forum by Audax Artifex.

And yes I made my own extract. I went to my park and identified a Spruce. See I took a pic from my balcony to show you the conifer in question! How do you know you have a Spruce conifer? If the twig carries its needles singly and the actual needle has four sides and, thus, rolls easily between your fingers, it’s a Spruce. Pine needles cluster and Firs have 2 sided flat needles. This beer is not as overpowering as the fake flavored one you by in stores.

Ξ Spruce Beer Ξ

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of baker’s yeast, in powder form
  • 40 grams of outer twigs of spruce fir
  • 1 tablespoon of hops
  • a 2-litre soda bottle with a screw cap, thoroughly cleaned and completely dry inside

Directions

  1. Using a funnel, pour the sugar into the bottle and then pour in the yeast. The yeast must be ground for best result, I whizzed mine in a coffee grinder. If you skip this step your soft drink will be less bubbly. Shake bottle well to mix.
  2. Make you extract by bringing to a boil your spruce fir twigs and hops in 500ml of water and simmer to reduce until you have 1 tablespoon of extract remaining, if it is very sticky even better.
  3. Again with funnel, pour in beer extract and then fill bottle half full with water from tap.
  4. Remove funnel and swirl contents in bottle until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Fill bottle with water until there is approximately a one inch gap at the top and screw cover on tightly.
  6. Let bottle sit at room temperature for 12 to 48 hours or until the bottle feels hard. The gas has expanded.
  7. Store in refrigerator and chill thoroughly. Loosen cap VERY VERY SLOWLY allow gas to escape and avoid liquid fizzing over.

 

Normal Ginger Ale makes me nauseous. I hate the stuff. Not sure if it is the taste or an associated memory of my mom giving me flat ginger ale when I was in bed for a week with a major flu. But one day I bought a can of Jamaican Ginger Beer, there was a rooster on the can. The very spicy and intense ginger taste totally caught me off guard, I was hooked. I found this recipe on The personal blog of Giles Paterson. It is fabulous, strain the ginger out if you like before serving but I like having a little bit in there to chew.

Ξ Jamaican Ginger Beer Ξ

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of baker’s yeast, in powder form
  • 1½ to 2 tablespoons of grated ginger
  • 1 lemon
  • a 2-litre soda bottle with a screw cap, thoroughly cleaned and completely dry inside

Directions

  1. Using a funnel, pour the sugar into the bottle and then pour in the yeast. The yeast must be ground for best result, I whizzed mine in a coffee grinder. If you skip this step your soft drink will be less bubbly. Shake bottle well to mix.
  2. Extract the juice from one lemon. Mix the grated ginger and lemon juice together in a cup.
  3. Again with funnel, pour in ginger/lemon mixture and then fill bottle half full with water from tap.
  4. Remove funnel and swirl contents in bottle until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Fill bottle with water until there is approximately a one inch gap at the top and screw cover on tightly.
  6. Let bottle sit at room temperature for 12 to 48 hours or until the bottle feels hard. The gas has expanded.
  7. Store in refrigerator and chill thoroughly. Loosen cap VERY VERY SLOWLY allow gas to escape and avoid liquid fizzing over.

A few important notes for both recipes: a) if the pressure builds too much your bottle could explode. Place the bottle in the fridge overnight as this halts the yeast and stops the bottle exploding; b) you will notice that the basic procedures for making the sodas are identical so go ahead and experiment with flavors; c) no the ginger beer is neither radioactive nor does it glow in the dark as the pictures lead to believe; d) yes is will be carbonated almost like a soft drink…the natural way; e) until you really get the hang of opening it without making a huge mess….open your bottles outside. Trust me on this one !!!!!

Welcome to Mortimer Snodgrass! Located at 56 Notre-Dame W you will find a gem of a store when you need to buy a gift for a friend or a party….and you will leave getting a couple of extra items for yourself. They have a bit of everything: accessories, pets , balloons, spa beauty products, kids, decor, toys, office and an impressive kitchen area. The outside is adorable with Old Montreal charm, the entrance great you with a larger then life mosaic store logo..I believe made out of Jelly Beans. And the name, where did they come up with Mortimer Snodgrass?

Mortimer is the owner’s 11 year old rescued mutt. There is yellow lab in there and the rest is for anyone to guess! He is the store mascot and when he was younger he came to work every day greeting customers. Explaining Snodgrass is a whole other ball game, literally. One of the owners is a huge baseball fan and he knew of a little known baseball player named Chappy Snodgrass who played for Baltimore Orioles in 1901. Mortimer Snodgrass, it works!

Can you guess what purpose in the  kitchen my whale has? No hints we’ll see in a bit. The inside has a loft industrial feel a bit, but not in a modern exaggerated way. It’s really the shell of the store. The store’s colors are a nice pale blue with a calm orange. This is the store where you will find that unusual item you cannot find anywhere else: the ice mold to make those ice vodka shot glasses, a guitar shape silicone spatula, a blood red bath gel in a drip bag like you would see in the hospital, a cool pet treat for your pouch, fun and educational toys for kids no one else will have, neoprene designer lunch bags. And on and on and on!

I got to take a few items home to to play, oops cook, with. The first is the whale can opener. Yep the irony of opening a can of tuna with a whale that will be served to my cats…too funny. Amazing can opener by the way, made by Kuhm Rikon from Switzerland. I also got a very fashionable extra-long protective oven mitt made by Built, you know the kind that won’t still burn you threw like a cheap mitt. And finally the coolest dish brush dude ever. Dirty dishes watch out cause I will rock on while scrubbing you. Fun, quirky and all practical!I bet you would love to get you hands on some of these cool things.

Well you can! Because I am hosting with Mortimer Snodgrass the coolest giveaway ever. OK maybe not ever but close. We will be giving away not 1 but 2 gift baskets full of fun kitchen items. I was actually asked to come into the store and pick the prize packages myself for you guys. That was so fun! Each package has a retail value of $50 and there is more: each package comes with a $25 gift certificate which can be used online if you are not in Montreal. Each prize is worth $75 and the contest is open to EVERYONE worldwide! Let me show you what I picked:

Gift basket #1 includes a home sprouting kit made up of an Ancient Eastern Blend with fenugreek, lentils, kamut and adzuki beans sprouts. Next is a yellow lady citrus reamer. Lastly a set of chili shaped plastic ice cube – just pop them from the freezer to your glass, wash after and freeze again. Don’t forget the $25 gift certificate also included!

Gift basket #2 includes a grown your own edible flowers kit (marigolds) . Next is Sud Green the coolest dish brush dude around, just like the one I got too . Also we have a nifty “pull tab lid” that will keep your warm drinks warm and you cool one refreshing. Lastly this prize includes a ‘saw’ perfect for cutting up limes and lemons to add to your drink or food, and the handle also doubles as a bottle opener. Don’t forget the $25 gift certificate also included!

So do you want to win one of these baskets? Are they not awesome? Here is what you have to do to enter the contest:

– Leave a comment about my ‘ramblings’ in the post, just to make sure you read it and  did not just look at the pictures!

Many ways to get extra entries…

– Tweet Two 75$ Gift BasketsGiveaway with @mortsnodgrass & @cethniceatz http://t.co/PYit9iXj
– Follow Mortimer Snodgrass on Facebook, come back and tell me you did
– Follow Cheap Ethnic Eatz on Facebook, come back and tell me you did
– Follow Mortimer Snodgrass on Twitter, come back and tell me you did
– Follow Cheap Ethnic Eatz on Twitter, come back and tell me you did
– Download the Cheap Ethnic Eatz Mobile App, come back and tell me you did

You have till October 15th 2011, 23h59 EST to enter.

And of course the 2 winners will be picked randomly. What I will do is I’ll give the owners the total number of entries and ask them to give me 2 random numbers. Let’s get everyone involved. GOOD LUCK!

Thursday’s Thingamajig: Taylor Connoisseur Mechanical Timer Double

I am calling this on Retro Timing!

The Taylor Connoisseur Mechanical Timer – Double – Stainless steel has a definite 50s look to it…similar to the one we still use at the family cottage.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Thursday’s Thingamajig: Govino Wine Glasses

I am going to share a an embarrassing secret with you: Four years ago someone placed a curse on me. I am cursed to break wine glasses.

Don’t believe me? I swear it is true. I do not know whom placed this curse on me but it started at a party on a Dec 30th. I broke by accident a glass at a friend’s place….he still talks about it….a wedding present from a now defunct marriage. Ever since then I break wine glasses to the amount of about 20-30 a year.

I am not kidding. Thank god I have only broken my own since then. I now buy them at the dollar store or Ikea when I am there. My really nice 50$-a-glass glasses I am very careful with (1 has broken only). A couple of times I even broke a glass while I was not even in the room. Once a vibration from knocking the wall outside the kitchen was enough to tip over a glass in the drying rack on the counter and send it into the sink to shatter.

I was so exasperated I went online to hunt for an unbreakable wine glass – one that was not for a 1 time use and disposable AND that looked decent enough to use for everyday dinner…even with close friends as guests.

This search led me to the Govino Wine Glass.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Ironing your Coffee?

So its a lazy Sunday morning and I am doing some totally random net surfing. I fell on a site I thought would be food related called Cafe Press but it turns out it was a custom tshirts website, not what I expected at all. Or was it?

Well it certainly made me laugh in the end so I thought I would share. The actually have a food tshirt section with some pretty funny tshirts I think any foodie would appreciate. There actually a lot of sub categories. And its not just tshirts, there are also cooking aprons (could be a great gift idea), magnets and mugs. Check some of them out.

Aren’t those cute? You can even make your own tshirt. Maybe I should start selling Cheap Ethnic Eatz t-shirts and mugs he he. If things go well with that I can learn How to Make Your Own T-Shirts and have a side business…..yes another one as if 3 side business’ is not enough already. Not enough hours in a day I tell you.

Thursday’s Thingamajig: O Kitchen

OK, are you sitting down for this one! I am not kidding. Sit!

Need a kitchen? The hole freaking thing I am talking about.A kitchen that you can travel with, or lock up for your secret recipes? Your prayers have been answered with the O Kitchen. Now this is just a design concept, not an actual thing in production but I thought it was to good to share.

Design by : Julio seleghin + Maria das Graças Seleghin + Fábio Moschioni Moneda + Eduardo Sant’Ana Palhares + Guilherme Maglio from Brazil
Designers’ own words:

The integration of all compacted structures in a unusual and clean pattern makes the “O” Kitchen a highly environment transforming element in which it is installed and perverts the whole conceiving of an actual kitchen. This inedited and compacted form with a high appeal of perfect combination between design and functionality composes the futurist tone of this promising project that pursuits the status of sensation and desire of every gourmet: a complete kitchen built entirely in a sphere that literally guards the kitchen.

Open or closed, the “O” kitchen shows its double functionality: compact and complete and an excellent partition of rooms with a real art installation touch, occupying a space of 210 cm (82 inches) high and 230 cm (90 inches) wide or 460 cm when open (181 inches); and requires just one socket to fully work. In its central column, all the lighting and equipment power distribution converge in the “O” Kitchen: unified microwave and electric oven (1); refrigerator (2); dishwasher (3); cooktop (4); smell and steam exhaust (5); lighting (6); control panel with: internet access, mp3 player function, CD/DVD reader, digital cookbook, kitchen management software, built in sound system (7); cabinets (8); automatic disposal system (9); high temperature alert display (10). The opening system is operated through remote control, considering that both sides smoothly open together due to sliding structures underneath. When closed, locking system is activated through an access code.

So what do you think of the O Kitchen concept?

Will it bring you to the brink of culinary ‘O‘rgasm…or leave you feeling cold and unfulfilled?

Thursday’s Thingamajig: Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker

When I was a kid we had in the basement a yogurt machine. It remained in the box always. As far as I know it was never ever taken out or used. And for me it was a mystery magical machine. It stuck with me and when I saw this yogurt maker it brought back feelings of the unknown and marvel:

Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker – 7 × 6 oz

Prepare all-natural, thick and creamy yogurt with this electric yogurt maker. Making yogurt at home allows you to control the sweetness, ingredients, fat content, and thickness of the yogurt. Make up to 7 different flavors at one time. A clear lid allows for monitoring of the cooking process, and a built-in timer with auto shut-off turns off the machine when the yogurt is done (6 – 10 hours, depending on the thickness desired). Includes seven resealable 6-ounce glass jars which can be used to provide airtight storage in the refrigerator.

Product Features

  • Care: Glass jars are dishwasher safe
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Capacity: 42 ounces/1.2 litres
  • Dimensions: 24.1 x 15.2 x 24.1 cm ; 1.9 Kg

Thursday’s Thingamajig: Oxo Good Grips Jar Opener

Oxo Good Grips Jar Opener

Open any size jar effortlessly with this jar opener. Simply hold the jar opener by the handle, wedge onto the jar lid, and twist to open. The sharp stainless steel teeth on the jar opener grip the lid firmly, as the soft, non-slip handle cushions your hand and absorbs pressure. The V-shape of the jar opener enables it to be used on any size lid.

OXO is based on the concept of Universal Design. But what is Universal Design and how does it benefit users? In simplest terms, Universal Design means the design of products usable by as many people as possible. In the case of OXO, it means designing products for young and old, male and female, left- and right- handed and many with special needs.

Product Features:

* Works on any size jar lid
* Sharp, stainless steel teeth grip lid firmly
* Soft, comfortable handle
* Dishwasher safe
* Oxo’s satisfaction guarantee