Cosmic Cocktails | Taurus | Creature Comforts


Creature Comforts Cocktail

With the exception of having a green thumb (I’ve killed rosemary, folks, and that’s one of the easiest plants to grow, or so I’ve been told), I am pretty much the quintessential Taurean. Both the good and the not-so-good.

Methodical, creative, loyal and proper, I have had my moments of greed, possessiveness, control-freakishness and, above all, stubbornness, though as the years go by I’m getting better about those last ones. I’m still not all that great with change, though, unless it was my idea to begin with or I’ve had time, privately, to react (aka freak out) and review the situation.

But this isn’t just about *me*, the preening bull has to be reminded from time to time…

An excellent example is Ferdinand the Bull, that old Disney cartoon about the bull that would rather sit under his favorite tree and smell the flowers rather than be all rough and menacing with the bullfighters. Until we get a bee sting in an uncomfortable spot, yup, that about sums up the typical Bull.

Lovers of comfort, those born under a Taurus sun are often very hospitable, generous to those we love, and willing to splurge on the finer things. It’s that love of the creature comforts that can sometimes lead to excess, and that can lead to sloth and gluttony, but an enlightened Taurean can resist the siren song for long enough to keep some sort of equilibrium. After all, a dessert is even better after a fabulous day of exertion, right?!

In the spirit of such hospitality and indulgence, today’s cocktail serves two.

Creature Comforts

3 oz Whipped Cream-flavored Vodka
2 1/2 oz Godiva Liqueur
1 1/2 oz Kahlua
1 oz Spiced Sugar Syrup
splash Rosewater
garnish of sugar crystals, chocolate whipped cream, and edible gold leaf

Rim 2 cocktail glasses with sugar crystals and set aside. In a shaker over ice combine all of the liquid ingredients and shake until nice and icy cold. Strain into the prepared cocktail glasses, top with some whipped cream and a few flakes of edible gold. Share with a friend.

What’s the perfect gift for a (female) Taurus? Roses, chocolates and something sparkly. Could I be putting in my own birthday request? (*ahem* 17 days away *ahem*) Maaaaaybe.

You have heard the phrase ‘subtle as a bull in a china shop,’ yes?

ICC: Manoharam


After missing out last month due to a crowded schedule, it’s nice to be hanging out with the cooks of the Indian Cooking Challenge again! This month’s recipe is for a sweet treat, Manoharam, which started out very similar to the Kara Sev I made in July but with a finishing twist that makes me think this batch won’t last the week!



I did some liberal rewriting of this particular recipe (shared by Lataji), namely skipping the encouragement to grind your own flour bit–not going to happen at this time. Instead, I did some substitutions based on the Kara Sev recipe and added some spices based on the finished product:

Ingredients for Manoharam


1 c Rice Flour
1/2 c Gram Flour
1 T Ginger
1/2 T Cinnamon
2 t Salt
1 t Nutmeg
1/4 c Olive Oil
1/2 c Water (or as needed)

Adding the oil to the dry Combine dry ingredients and mix until spices are spread out among the flour.

Make a well and pour the olive oil into it. Mix until dough is clumpy and then add water a little at a time until the dough starts to hold together. Knead gently until the dough is smooth.

Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll into balls.

Pressing, frying and draining Heat about 2 quarts of frying oil in a pot or deep fryer to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Oil a murukku press or (as in my case) a potato ricer fitted with a large die and load the first ball of dough into the press.

Press out long strings into the hot oil, using a knife to carefully cut the strings away from the press, if necessary.

Draining and crunching Frying should only take a minute or two, depending on the thickness of your strings. Drain on paper towels until cool.

Place the fried sticks into a gallon-size plastic bag and crush–but don’t pulverize–the sticks. I could be nice and say it looks somewhat like bran cereal about now but it really looks like kitty kibble.

Measure the resulting pieces. I came up with right around 20 oz, dry volume. According to the original instructions, the powdered sugar used in the next step should be approximately a quarter of the volume crumbled murukku.

I call foul, here, as that was nowhere near enough to coat it all. I think the major issue is that while it says volume on one line, it actually goes between grams (weight) and Liters (volume) in another.

Sugar Syrup at hard-ball stage Instead, make a sugar syrup of

2 c Powdered Sugar
5 oz Water

and cook to hard ball stage (250-265 degrees Fahrenheit). Generally you want to stir the mixture while the sugar is dissolving but not stir once it comes to a boil. Washing the sides of the pot as it boils will keep the sugar from collecting on the walls while the syrup comes to temperature.

Manoharam Remove from the heat (carefully–this can do serious damage so no sudden moves and no sloshing!) and carefully pour over the crushed murukku bits.

Oil your hands and, once the mixture is cool enough to handle, form the sticky bits into 1-inch balls.

This may or may not really work, all depending on your sugar mixture and how quickly it cools.

It might not be as pretty, but just breaking up the large brick-o-manoharam works just as well and is still just as tasty!

Before the sugar syrup was applied they were perfectly serviceable snacks on their own–much better than the last batch of Kara Sev which suffered from a lack of flavor. After the sugar, those, these little bits of brittle keep calling us back into the kitchen for continued snacking. As I suspected, it’s similar to pretzel or popcorn balls (though obviously without the airiness of the latter) and a nice candy to have around.

Limoncello, Week 6

Limoncello, Week 6

Limoncello, Week 6

It grew!

It’s so nice to report a change for once!

Of course, this is the week where we sweeten things up. Make a sugar syrup of 1.75 cups of white sugar and 2.5 cups water. (Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves and boil for 5 minutes or so.) Let it cool to room temperature before stirring it into the lemon-infused alcohol.

It’s going to get cloudy but this is expected. This is the same thing that happens with a lot of the high-proof aperitifs that are usually served with water. The zest also chose to float instead of settle at the bottom like it did with just the alcohol. Relative densities and all that.

Now that we’ve introduced sugar into the mix and exposed it to a little bit of air, I’m going to be on the lookout for any molds that may start to form. The alcohol content should still be high enough, even though it’s now diluted about half, to prevent it but stranger things have been known to happen.