Wednesday, 22 February 2017

International Margarita Day

Happy International Margarita Day! Margaritas have to be my favourite cocktail. So much so that i have 9 Lime Trees planted in anticipation of unlimited fresh Limes always on hand. And at $30- a kilo i'm going to be rich! Haha! 

Here's my list of Limes planted in the garden.......
6x Tahitian
2x Australian Fingerlime
2x Key Lime
1x Kusaie

2x Kaffir

International Margarita Day is officially observed annually on February 22nd. This is perfect for us in Auckland, NZ as Limes are just maturing into ripeness. Margys, as they are known in our household (or "Troygaritas"), are the most common tequila-based cocktail. It is a cocktail that consists of Tequila, Triple sec and fresh Lime juice. A key ingredient is the freshly squeezed lime juice. The most common Lime to use is the Tahitian (Persian) Lime. However, margaritas in Mexico are generally made with Mexican limes (Key limes). These are small, thin-skinned limes and have more tart flavour compared to Tahitian Limes. Margaritas can be made with Lemons, they have a much softer taste. But i recommend to keep it authentic and use fresh Lime juice only. To juice my Limes i use a Lime Juicer like so:

Manual juicing is often messy but this is as efficient as a machine juicer without making a mess. You simply slice the lime, face the flesh towards the holes, hold it over the measure, and give it a good squeeze. The mechanics of it make is simple to get enough pressure to juice a lime without having to go all Hulk on it. Then you just give it a quick rinse & dry off. It’s easy to use and easy to clean.

So here's a couple of my go-to recipes for a Margy. You can keep it Classic or funk it up with my Mescal Margarita or get really fruity and go for a Oaxacan Gold Pineapple Margy the choice is up to you! 

Classic Margarita.

70ml Tequila.
40ml Cointreau.
30ml Fresh Lime juice.
Agave Syrup or Caster Sugar (to taste).

1. Rub the rim of glass with a Lime Wedge then dip the rim into a shallow plate of Salt.
2. Shake all ingredients with Ice.
3. Carefully pour into the glass with some Ice.
4. Garnish with a Lime wedge.

For the Classic i like to use a nice Anejo Tequila such as Patron or Herradura for a oaky aged smooth flavour or you can use Silver Tequila for a bright, clear flavour.

Mescal Margarita.

 70ml Mescal.
40ml Grand Marnier.
40ml Fresh Lime Juice.
10ml Agave Syrup.
Maldon Salt.
Lime Wedges.
*For a less smokey drink 35ml Tequila/ 35ml Mescal.
**You can Cointreau instead of Grand Marnier if you wish.
***For the rim you can make a blend of crushed Dried Chilies with the Salt.

1. Rub the rim of glass with a Lime Wedge then dip the rim into a shallow plate of Salt.
2. In a cocktail shaker add the Mescal, Grand Marnier, Lime Juice & Agave Syrup. Add a handful of Ice & Shake.
3. Carefully pour into the glass with some Ice.
4. Garnish with a Lime wedge.

Oaxacan Gold Margarita.

30ml Oaxacan Mezcal
15ml fresh Lime juice
75ml Grilled Pineapple-Vanilla Puree.

6 to 10  ice cubes.
Chilli Salt.
Roasted Pineapple-Vanilla Puree

1 Large ripe Pineapple, peeled & cut crosswise into 2cm thick pieces.

½ cup Sugar

½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract.

Roasted Pineapple-Vanilla Puree

1. Grill Pineapple until it is softened & caramelized. Cool.
2. In a blender, combine the grilled Pineapple with the Sugar, Vanilla & enough Water to bring the quantity of the total puree to 5 cups (about 2 cups water). Cover & pulse until the pineapple is roughly chopped, then blend on high until smooth & foamy.  Strain into a storage container, cool & refrigerate until you're ready to use, up to 3 days.

3. Rub the rim of a glass with a Lime Wedge then dip the rim into a shallow plate of Chilli Salt.
4. In a cocktail shaker, combine the Mezcal, Lime juice, Grilled Pineapple-Vanilla Puree & Ice. Shake until frothy & cold. 
5. Pour into the prepared glass with Ice.

For more Margarita recipes check out my book called 'Viva La Mexico' its available for free download as an e-book at

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Late Summer in the City.

If you ask any Aucklander, this Summer has been pretty awful with all the rain we've been having. The gardener in me however, has been pretty thankful it hasn't been such a scorching Summer like some of the past few years. Previously we've suffered a many casualties during February & March due to the searing sun and dry, parched soil. This week especially we had a welcome thorough drenching to a very dry garden. The Garden has responded quickly with lots of new growth sprouting out, fresh blooms of flowers and Fruits swelling with engouged deliciousness. I find rainwater especially, makes the plants take off in a way that watering with the hose never achieves.

The most exciting examples of this has been one of my Australian Finger Lime has finally started to flower. I have been very intrigued by the prospect of its fruit with it's "Lime Caviar" inside. It has been in the ground now for roughly 2 years now so hopefully we will get some of its fruits to try soon!

Tahitian Limes are getting very close to harvest time aka "Margarita Season". Looking back on last year it was March that they were fully ripe, though i could probably pick some very soon i'd say.

My Meiwa Kumquat is fruiting prolifically even though it is only a recent acquisition & is still in its pot. It has an alarming amount of Kumquats on it that i'm worried it might snap a branch. I am thinking of making some Marmalade with them, probably the smallest batch ever made i'd say:)