Vanilla Vodka – The Experiment

Vanilla Vodka – The Experiment

This was an experiment and as you and me know, some experiments turn out better than expected while others barely pass the mark. This fell into the latter category. Vanilla is a much used ingredient in my kitchen, it’s up there on my Vital list, right next to cinnamon, Italian seasoning and garlic. Since it’s expensive and hard to find here, I decided to make some myself because I had a packet of best-quality (18-20 cms) vanilla all the way from Madagascar (perks of having international classmates).  Rum isn’t easily available here and I thought, a good substitute would be vodka. Both being white, and me not into hard liquor< just liqueurs for me please> assumed they were pretty much the same thing. Interesting fact when I Wiki-ed ‘rum’

       ‘development of fermented drinks produced from sugarcane juice is believed to have first occurred either in ancient India or in China, and to have spread from there’  

Can’t trust that because Wikipedia has a lot of rubbish information.

So, moving on, I got vodka for a decent price at Metro (our source of luxury here, we get real butter there ! ) .   

Two days ago (i waited 11 months instead of the required 2 months) , I checked on the bottle in all anticipation 

             *pause, let’s mentally groove to ‘I like to move it , move it, I like to MoVE it! * 

and was thoroughly disappointed. There was a distinct whiff of vanilla, but it wasn’t ‘essence-y’ enough (I make-up words to support emotions, that’s allowed right, artistic freedom and all? ) . The sadness was worth a bottle of vodka and more expensively so, all my vanilla beans (assumed that more would give me a stronger flavor, did not save any…sob!). 

Click on the link below to see how the vanilla essence was made, you can go ahead and try it but use rum NOT vodka.

              How to Make Vanilla Essence at Home  (Step-by-step ) 

The idea of this post was to say, DON’T substitute ingredients if you don’t have enough of it to spare or if you are attached to them so much that you really want to make good use of it. Experimental substitutes have a high percentile of FAIL unless someone else has proven it.  

I have made good use of the flavored alcohol and will put it up in a recipe sometime later. 


Rule of thirds

Can this be considered a rule of thirds Photo Challenge ? A lot of snowfall over the weekend, but it’s not all wonderland for some people here in China, as you can see over in my post on Instagram .


Happy Year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram

Happy Year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram

     I get to experience yet another Spring Festival in China, as an onlooker. Haven’t really celebrated it the complete Chinese way. Although, after asking my Chinese friends how they (过年 )celebrate NYE, it rather sounds like my trips back home – filial duties, endless visiting, gluttony, and empty pockets. Well, my trips home are way better but those are part of it. The modern urban Chinese don’t seem to have much going for them on their special festival.
     Not to feel sorry about that though, my school hosted a spanking good banquet. Long tables of decorated food. Sadly, the actual taste of it didn’t do much justice to the grandeur. Who cares though? They made for good Instagram posts , yay! Read more

Weekly Writing Challenge: Going Gonzo with a Runny Nose vs. Frozen Digits

Weekly Writing Challenge: Going Gonzo with a Runny Nose vs. Frozen Digits

It was five in the evening, or night, depending on whether you look at the clock or the sky.  I decided on how much to wear. Two sweaters or three? Two pairs of long johns /thermals or one? The usual complex decisions, you know. A mere 20 below zero Celsius does not require much, nevertheless one can never be too warm in Harbin.

(brain nudges) Oh yes, I need to mention that it was unusually warm till about last week when things got into place. By things I mean, icicle-decorated nostrils,  icy roads, icy lashes, and stuff like that. Hooray! It’s winter! My happiness sounds like this ‘tadatumtum!’ . No I’m not crazy. The minus tens were scary, brought global warming so close to home! So after the very warm #NYE (New Year’s Eeeve, dad, that’s how it’s referred to now, you really need to get an Instagram account ) , we in Harbin are singing in the ice, just singing in the ice, what a gloooorious feeeli.. whoops .. getting derailed here. Gosh I love musiiicahhls! Read more