Category Archives: Beverages

Food Monday ~ Nana’s Barley Water

I was asked to share this recipe, I promised to do so last Monday, but alas, I missed the date.  I apologise for the delay.
Nana’s Barley Water
approx 2 litres

1 light cup Pearl barley –6 to 8 ounces
2 litres water, more or less depending on how thick you want it.
Juice of 1-2 lemons.
Honey or sugar, to taste*

Rinse barley. Put it in a large soup pot with the water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for at least an hour, until the grains are cooked and softened. Add more water if needed.

Strain the liquid and add honey/sugar and lemon, to taste. Cool refrigerate. Use within three to four days.

The finished drink will be cloudy and settle when stored in the fridge, Stir before pouring and drinking.

*Cranberry juice, can be used to flavour the Barley water.

NB: Avoid cranberry juice or extracts if you’re taking warfarin, Cranberry juice can make the effects of warfarin more potent, so there’s a risk of excessive bleeding.

Note: Mammy was known as Nana once the grandchildren arrived!

I like coffee

But not like that!

This end of my counter is not usually so cluttered* the photo is to show you the mess one single cafetiere can make when the beaker bursts! It happened suddenly and the liquid went everywhere. Over my trousers and my shoes, on the counter, across the floor, on the sides of the cooker and the washing machine beside it.

can you see the hole

can you see the hole

Can you see the hole at the bottom of the Bodum® cafetiere? It is just behind the upright bar with the name embossed on it.

rinsed for a clearer photo

rinsed for a clearer photo

I found the larger piece of glass on the floor at the side of my cooker when cleaning up the mess.

I have been a Bodum® customer for many years now. I have an Assam Tea press and cafetières in several sizes, that are in regular use. I am very careful with the glass and always wash & dry each one by hand, I do not have or ever possessed a dishwasher.

This break was spontaneous, and the first time it ever happened to me!  I decided to get in touch with Bodum®, explain my problem and I added photos for evidence purposes. I asked if there was a reason why this should happen when, instructions are followed to the letter?

I had an immediate reply!

It would seem to us that your question is answered in the photographs you have provided.  It would appear from the first to [sic] photographs that a metal spoon was being used.  In the third photograph the instructions for use are shown where it states that coffee should be stirred with plastic or wooden spoons not metal. 

By this stage my glass beaker was in the bin, so I immediately went to look at the larger sizes in my cupboard. They do not mention anything about metal cutlery, one way or the other.

I then went rummaging in the bin for the object of my complaint. The print on the glass is smaller and in a place close to the handle, so more difficult to read.

Why must the print of what is considered to be an important issue, be so small? 

I have taken another photo of three cafetieres. The tissue in each is to make the print more readable.

Bodum Cafetieres

Bodum Cafetieres

I did write back, admitting that I had not read the instructions, as I had been using the cafetieres successfully for many years and did not expect them to have changed.

I  did wonder if there has been a recent spate of problems and the small instruction about the non use of metal cutlery was to cover the company in these days of a compensation conscious culture. I made no suggestion of compensation. I was not burned. I only wanted to let them know of my disappointment.

“Metal cutlery should never be used with glass.”

I grew up in the days of china cups and fine glasswere. My mother taught me to use a metal spoon when pouring hot liquid into a glass or china cup, to diffuse the heat and prevent the glass/china cracking. I have done that for over fifty years without a problem, even with Bodum® cafetieres.

Now go back and take another look at the last photo. The single one with the broken glass has a metal frame, while the others are made of plastic. If it is not considered safe to use a metal spoon inside the glass, surely it is not a good idea to market them with a metal frame. 

With each purchase of a Bodum® cafetiere, I found a plastic measuring spoon in the pack. Perhaps it might me a helpful marketing idea for Bodum® to switch the measuring spoon for a long handled plastic spoon with the brand name on it!

What do you think?

* My Microwave had to be moved a couple of weeks ago, when water began dripping through my ceiling ( a story for another day).  It is now on the far end of the counter and I am waiting for help to set it back up on the wall brackets. My arms can no longer take the weight and lift it up onto the wall brackets, while standing on a step ladder. Grrr!

Food Monday ~ Christmas Cranberry Punch

Christmas Cranberry Punch

2 cups Cranberries
2 cups Water
1 cup Sugar
3 Lemons
2 pints Gingerale
Red and Green Cherries

Place the cranberries, water and sugar in a saucepan and cook to a pulp, lift off the heat and cool slightly, then strain.
When cooled, add the lemon & lime juice plus 2 pints of Gingerale.
Add red and green cherries to decorate..
6 – 8 servings.

To add the Woo Hoo kick:

In a tall glass pour 25ml of vodka, a 1/4 peach schnapps and fill with the cranberry juice garnish with a wedge of fresh lime.

Food Monday ~ The Bishop

Please don’t report me to Paddy Anglican or Ian Poulton, they might write me off their Christmas card lists! 😉

The Bishop or Princely Hot Port

This is ideal for serving to cold and cheerful Carol Singers with warm Mince Pies. Do people go carol singing any more? I always thought of it as a great community builder and great fun.

A rather less intoxicating drink than hot whiskey that’s practically as delightful and just as historic. Dickens drank bowls of it…. well so we are told, I cannot say for sure since he was a few years ahead of me at school! 😉

Wash an orange, stud it with 16 to 18 cloves, put it in a baking dish, and place it in a preheated 350 ° oven. Roast until browned, 60 – 90 minutes, and set aside to cool.

Heat 1 bottle ruby port and 1 cup water to a simmer, stir in 2 oz sugar, a pinch each of grated ginger, freshly grated nutmeg, and allspice.

Cut the orange into quarters, add it (and any juices that have run out) to the port mixture, stir, and serve in small glasses.
For a little more bite, add 4 oz cognac.

Sing well!

Food Monday ~ Hot Toddy (Whiskey)

Will asked if I would share my version of a Hot Toddy. Do you think he is going to have a party?  I hope I’ll be invited! 😉

Hot Toddy (Whiskey)

For each serving:
1 measure of your favourite Irish Whiskey*
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
2 slices of freshly cut lemon
6 cloves
8 ounces (or less) of boiling water

Rinse out a mug or hot-whiskey glass with boiling water to warm it. This is as essential a step with hot drinks as chilling the glass is with cold ones. Standing a teaspoon in the glass before adding the hot water helps prevent it from cracking.

Cut the lemon slices in half and stud the white pith between the flesh and the peel with whole cloves.

Pour whiskey and sugar into the heated glass & add the lemon slices.

Add the boiling water and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Serve immediately.

*In the South of Ireland the choice of whiskey might be Paddy or Powers
In Northern Ireland it would have to be Black Bush.


Way back in the dim and distant past I posted a medicinal Cold Cure version. Now that we begin the season of sniffles and colds, it might be worth checking out.

Food Monday ~ Sea Breeze

I slept in a different bed last night.
In a different room!

Don’t worry it was in my own house and I was on my own.

This morning I awoke to a surprise…

The sun was shining!!!

I spent the morning being reacquainted with the weeds in my garden.

I wonder which of my Toyboys will prepare a pleasant refreshing drink for me later in the afternoon? I fancy a…

Sea Breeze

500ml  Cranberry juice
225 ml fresh orange juice
1 lime
A few ice cubes

Combine the chilled cranberry and orange juice with the juice from half the lime. Add the ice cubes and serve with slices of lime.

For an extra kick, add a good splash of chilled Vodka.

Food Monday ~ Cherry Brandy

Since this is a holiday weekend I have something a little Special.
A treat from The Magpie’s Nest.   Regular visitors here will be very familiar with hints, tips and recipes added in the comment box by Magpie 11.  On the day we were talking about Skittles Vodka, Magpie asked if we would like a recipe for Cherry brandy.  How could I refuse?  So over to Magpie 11:>

Cherry Brandy

Take as many ripe black cherries as possible and  snip the stalks off then prick the cherries a few times with a bodkin (or other large needle).  Place the cherries in a large jar and add sugar (just sling it in) cover well the whole lot with not too expensive Brandy or Marc cover/screw down the lid. Leave to mature for a minimum of 4 months (or, if you forget it’s there, for four years!!!!) in a dark place. (the dark place is actually important.)

After six months taste from time to time (you may want to add a bit more sugar or Brandy, or even more cherries) too much testing can lead to unforeseen results such as…nothing left at the end of the process.  When you are satisfied strain off the liquor and bottle in dark bottles.

The cherries can then be eaten a few at a time or fed to your local school site services officer (aka caretaker).

I once left a container full in the staff room fridge. The head accused the caretaker of drinking on the job. We let her taste the cherries and take a few home and she withdrew the accusation. Well, he wasn’t drinking.

Myself…I don’t actually like Cherry brandy or brandied cherries… I did enjoy the one I made with Blackcurrants and vodka(and a few leaves of lemon balm) and apparently using gin and blackcurrants makes a great drink…. and of course there’s Sloe gin or Sloe whiskey…..

Unfortunately I am not allowed  to set up a still other wise I’d be well set to experiment!

Food Monday ~ Smoothies

Mango, Banana and Orange Juice
Makes 2-3 glasses

This smoothie is filling and fibre-rich, but you have to drink it more or less straight away, as the bananas and mangoes will give the drink a sludgy grey colour in quite a short time.

1 large mango, peeled, stone removed and sliced
2 bananas, peeled
300ml orange juice

Blend all the ingredients until smooth.   Serve immediately.


Banana Smoothie
Serves 1

1 ripe banana
½ cup non-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1 cup crushed ice
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
lime wedge or banana slice, for garnish

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour the smoothie into a large glass and garnish with a lime wedge or banana slice.


Tropical Fruit Smoothie
Serves 2

1 frozen banana
1 cup fresh pineapple
¾ cup soymilk
1 tablespoon honey or sugar (optional)

Blend all of the above ingredients in a food processor or blender for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.

Food Monday ~ To quench a thirst

With all the good weather about it is time for outdoor living and BBQs.  There is nothing like a good punch to to get the party going.

Gin Punch

3 Bottles of medium sweet white Wine
1 Bottle Gin
2 Bottles orange (dilute able)

Mix wine and gin with one bottle of orange. Add extra orange to taste.Serve in a large bowl decorated with sugar and orange slices.
(75 glasses approx)


Punch with Champagne and Cointreau

1 bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine
2 bottles white wine
½ bottle Cointreau
1 punnet of fresh strawberries, washed & halved.

Mix champagne, wine & Cointreau add halved strawberries just before serving.


And if you want something for the drivers why not try this one:

Sea Breeze 

1litre Cranberry juice
450ml fresh Orange Juice
A few ice cubes
1 lime

Combine the chilled cranberry and orange juice with the juice from half the lime.Add the ice cubes and serve with slices of lime.

If there are no drivers try adding an extra kick with a good splash of chilled Vodka.

No Nancy, that was Vodka and not Vinegar! 🙄

Food Monday ~ Mulled Claret

A winter weekend with friends around a real fire is bliss. Add a jug of mulled wine for a heart warming experience!

Mulled Claret
Servings: 8 Glasses

1 Bottle Claret
3tblsp Brandy
¼ pint Water
2ozs Sugar
1 Nutmeg
pared Rind of 1 Orange

Put claret, brandy, water, sugar and nutmeg into a saucepan.Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, making sure the liquid is really hot.Remove nutmeg and pour into warmed glasses.Put a small piece of orange rind into each glass.