The Classic Champagne Cocktail


​This the time of year to pop those corks! Well, you are probably reading this after your New Year’s revelry (or was it debauchery??), and you are in no state of mind to even think about another glass of the bubbly. But, champagne (or sparkling wine which is more readily on hand) isn’t just for welcoming in the new year. I have this friend who is constantly goading me to drink the stuff. It’s getting old. Here’s an easy way to spruce things up.

1 sugar cube
3 dashes Agostura bitters
Chilled brut Champagne (or dry sparkling wine)
Lemon Twist for Garnish

Mixing it up
1. Add sugar cube to flute glass in any manner you see fit. Add 3 dashes of angostura bitters over cube.
2. Fill the flute almost to the top with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve immediately.

Other Variations: It can be fun to switch around your bitters. Both Angostura and Peychaud’s do nice things to the end result. And instead of a lemon twist, try an orange.

Hangover Noodles

Several years ago when I was living in Germany, I used to buy Shanghai Noodle flavor packets from the supermarket when I wanted to have something “Chinese” tasting. There were not that many authentic ingredients around. I’m not from Shanghai, but I was pretty sure this flavor didn’t taste anything like Shanghai noodles (or noodles from any area in China). But strangely, I felt quite comforted by this flavor of “home”.

Months ago, I tried a recipe by chance. I hadn’t expected much until I started to mix the sauce. Ginger and sesame oil were something I seldom used together, and yet it turned out to be something quite magical. The taste from these two ingredients sparks in your mouth, nose, even your eyes, and imprints deeply on your mind. How more magical could it be: something that made me feel “homesick” while being at home.

The sauce is absolutely the highlight, simple and fantastic! You can mix it in a few minutes. There are lots of choices for noodles and vegetables; pick the ones you like. My suggestions: freshly made egg noodles, not too thin; green vegie leaves and beans. Because of the ginger, the noodles taste refreshing. It has picked me up on many a hungover morning. Who says we can’t have both a hangover and a great breakfast…? We have much celebrating to do in the near future, what with New Year’s and the Chinese New Year’s approaching. This recipe is perfect, not only for hungover folk but also for people who’re looking for a little bit of the atmosphere of Chinese festivals.

Ingredients (serves 2)
200g Egg noodle
Chinese cabbage, roughly chopped
Green beans
Spring onion, roasted peanuts or sesame, chili for garnish
A fried egg on top if you like

5 tbsp Soy sauce (light)
1 tbsp White vinegar
1 tbsp Sesame oil
1 clove Garlic, grated/finely chopped
Fresh Ginger, one garlic clove-sized, grated/finely chopped

1. Mix all the ingredients of the sauce, add less/more ginger if you prefer a light/heavy taste.
2. Boil the water, add some salt and oil. Put the cabbage and green beans into the boiler for 2 minutes till about cooked. Drain and leave aside.
3. Cook the noodles in the same boiler for 4-5 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, till the water’s boiling again. Drain, leave in warm place if you want to fry an egg.
4. Mix the noodle with vegies and sauce thoroughly.
5. Serve in bowls, add the egg on top, garnish with some chopped spring onion, roasted peanuts or sesame, also a little bit of chili to spice up the cold winter.

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