James Aitchison


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Three Thanksgiving desserts that aren't pumpkin pie

November 17, 2017

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to start making meal preparations. Regardless of whether you’re entertaining, feeding your family, or just having a small intimate dinner, one of the crucial ingredients in any Thanksgiving feast is the dessert. Of course, pumpkin pie is the obvious choice.  But what if like me, you’re not particularly partial to that gourd-based treat? Fortunately, there are any number of fall-themed desserts..

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A beginners guide to Aglianico wine

November 17, 2017

After a couple of weeks exploring the wonders of extremely dry whites, it’s time to shift gears and have a look at a red wine for a change. I’ve always been a fan of full-bodied robust red wines, and one of my favorites is Aglianico. This Italian grape first originated in Greece and is one of the longest surviving vines still being used for wine-making.

 

Aglianico is almost exclusively grown in Italy, with the majority of vineyards located in..

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A beginners guide to coffee: Sulawesi Toraja

November 17, 2017

When it comes to high-end coffee, Indonesia has a bit of a bad rap. This is largely due to the fact that the region produces a large amount of Robusta coffee. As Robusta is often considered to be a lesser bean when compared with Arabica, most coffee enthusiasts do not consider the region to be of particular interest.

Despite this, there is some coffee grown in the region that is capable of going toe to toe with even the most well-regarded..

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A beginners guide to coffee: Kenya AA

November 12, 2017

After spending some time exploring Ethiopia Yirgacheffe and Harrar, it’s time to head south and consider the contribution Kenya has made to the world of high-end coffees. Kenya AA often regarded as one of the best coffee beans in the world. Several factors such as growing conditions, processing, and grading all contribute to the inherent quality of these sought-after beans.

History and geography

 

Despite the fact that coffee beans were first..

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Three ways to cook with licorice

November 12, 2017

If there’s one confection that’s gotten an unfairly bad rap over the years, it’s licorice. Often the least loved price of candy, in my house it was often passed over in favor of chocolate, hard candy, or taffy. However, in recent years this dark horse of the candy world has experienced a mini-resurgence. This renewed appreciation has not occurred in the confectionary world, but rather within the circle of high-end chefs.

 

It seems that one of..

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A beginners guide to Grüner Veltliner

November 12, 2017

While it may lack the intense mouth-puckering qualities of Muscadet, Grüner Veltliner is a fairly dry white wine in its own right. This wine is grown almost exclusively in Austria and is arguably the country's most famous grape variety.

 

Initially Grüner Veltliner was considered to be a fairly unremarkable grape. However, in the late 1940s cultivators began to discover its hidden benefits. Since then Grüner Veltliner has become highly..

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Three ways to use garlic scapes in the kitchen

November 5, 2017

A couple of years ago I joined a farm share. The sudden presence of a bounty of fresh veggies was instrumental in forcing me to start eating healthier and incorporate more vegetables into my meals. An added bonus was that every so often the farm share would include an unusual item in addition to the standard potatoes, peppers, and cabbages. One such item was garlic scapes.

 

Garlic scapes are the flower stalks of garlic bulbs and are a..

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A beginners guide to coffee: Ethiopian Harrar

November 5, 2017

Along with Yirgacheffe, Ethiopian Harrar is considered to be one of the best coffees in the world. This reputation is well deserved: Harrar is spicy and full-bodied with an almost wine-like texture and taste.

Region and growing conditions

 

Harrar coffee beans are one of the oldest still in production. The beans are harvested and processed by hand. Not only is the bean used for coffee, but the shells are also used to make hasher-qahwa, a..

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A beginners guide to Muscadet wine

November 5, 2017

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been spending a lot of time discovering sweeter wines that really pack a fruity punch. Today, however, we’re going to step over into the dryer end of the taste spectrum and explore one of the most mouth-puckering whites around, Muscadet. This French classic is known for its supreme dryness and works extremely well when paired with all manner of foods.

 

Muscadet is made from Melon De Bourgogne grapes which thrive..

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A beginners guide to Carménère wine

October 28, 2017

Today we’ll be exploring a wine that started life in the old vineyards of France but truly began to flourish when it was exported to the new world. Carménère was originally grown in the Bordeaux region of France but is now a major Chilean crop.

 

Carménère’s continued existence is a bit of a happy accident. About 150 years ago, Carménère cuttings were mislabelled as Merlot and shipped to Chile. Then in 1867, the Phylloxera plague wiped out..

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