Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mulling over Mulled Wine

There is so much I could write about now, and anytime for that matter – I’d love to write more often, but am quite busy with work and other commitments (called life! ; ) – especially lately, as there have been some interesting occurrences.

You could say I have been mulling about my next blog posting after the last one, including whether to write about mulled wine, something totally and completely different for a (pardon-the pun, refreshing) change.

I truly have been pondering over mulled wine aka (also known as) Gluhwein, pronounced glue-vine) since drinking this concoction at the Vancouver Christmas Market (http://vancouverchristmasmarket.com/) last December. (I really think they should change the name of this market, though situated in Vancouver, as it is a German-based market.)

Gluh wine or Gluhwein (in German) translates more or less to "glow wine" apparently from the hot irons once used for mulling – what is that?! – and the effect of the wine: it makes you glow inside.

It is a mulled wine or (European alcoholic) cider (not apple juice), a beverage popular in German-speaking countries (such as Austria); is usually made with red wine along with various spices, citrus and sugar; served hot or warm; alcoholic (with a shot of rum or other liquor) or non-alcoholic; and is a traditional drink during winter, especially around the Christmas holidays.

In the Netherlands (where I was born), it is known as bisschopswijn (literally "bishop's wine"), though I am not familiar with it. It is made using oranges rather than lemons and is a typical drink during the Sinterklaas holidays (the Dutch version of Santa Claus who looks like a bishop). (Info from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page)

Walking outdoors at the Christmas market downtown warranted a little – or perhaps a lot – of something to keep the chill at bay, and Gluhwein was the perfect answer. I was grateful for it as it warmed up my innards reflected by my rosy (or glowing) cheeks.

Having tasted a sample of mulled cider during a Christmas tree festival at the nearby Nourish Market (www.nourishmarket.ca) in North Vancouver made me curious enough to ask for the recipe. So I asked. And it is simple to make.

You can check online for various recipes though I used sweet apple juice, citrus fruit (of oranges, lemons, and limes) as well as spices (cinnamon, cloves, and the like).

For my recent birthday, I celebrated with a friend at Jagerhof, a restaurant specializing in Austrian/German food where I ordered their GluhWein. Delicious! I highly recommend it along with the Weiner Schnitzel, a traditional Austrian meal (though my Mom who is from this homeland used to make it with veal).

Next time, I’ll make the alcoholic version! Prost! (German) or Proost! (Dutch) (A European toast pronounced ‘Prohst’)

What is something different you have tried recently?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Foggy Future

How will 2013 be? How will it be for you? And how will it be for me?

So far in 2013, the future feels like a fog similar to the photo that I took recently from the Seabus heading to work (as shown).

When I was in my teens, the future seemed bleak to me, worse than foggy weather. It appeared black and felt like an abyss. I was afraid of the future: it intimidated me and threatened to engulf me or so it felt.

Since then the future has come to me in different ways. Depending on my mood and/or life's circumstances, it sometimes shows up crystal clear like a bright, sunny day, though more often than not it's hazy or cloudy.

Armageddon hasn't occurred as a number of people suspected with the end of the Mayan calendar - we're still here on planet Earth. Thank God for that! I still haven't used all my unused talents!

My hope and dream for you and me is that we bring forth our unique talents and gifts before we die - why not now? this year? - and contribute them to the world.

What can you (and I) do to begin that process? What is the first step we can take?