Monday, March 25, 2013

Red & Black

I would not be exaggerating if I said Les Miserables changed my life. My parents introduced me to theatre at a young age, probably to try and instill me with a whisper of culture instead of a lifelong fanaticism. Les Mis was not only one of my first shows, forming some of my earliest memories, but one that I have carried with me all the way into my current "adulthood." I still remember lying on the carpet in the piano room at home as a kid, reading the lyrics out of the CD booklet, trying to memorize the words while my mom blasted the music, even though I couldn't read all of them or even grasp the plot. 

As I grew, the characters grew with me, the music stayed in my blood, and I had wild dreams of being a singing actress. When I finally cracked open Victor Hugo's 1000+ page masterpiece in my teenage years, I saw the story in a different light, becoming obsessed with French revolution (history was one of my strongest subjects in high school), the city of Paris, the culture.  It's so complex it's humanity's blood. Hugo wrote the novel over 16 years, as a critique of the treatment of the poor in France. It spans decades, encompassing all walks of life, all motions of the heart from anger to heartbreak, from pride to despair, Godless to saintly, revolution, love, passion, fury, the outcry of wounded masses, the hunger of the soul and-- I-- you should just watch the trailer or go read the book.
It is safe to say that, in its own way, Les Mis lead me down the road I have taken, moving to a French speaking province to study English literature, seeking a job in charity work to help change the world.

To say I was excited when I heard they were adapting one of my favourite musicals, NO, favourite STORIES of all time into a film would be like saying that Robespierre "kind of had a habit of beheading people." Seriously, I fanatically watched production updates. Only to be moved and devastated by how much I loved it it in theatres-- twice. I don't think I've ever cried so hard in a room full of strangers. This past Friday, they released the movie on DVD (FINALLY) and in honour of that, you see the post you have today.

I know what you're thinking: Sangria on a Monday? Or maybe you're thinking, sacré bleu, she GETS me. (You're sooooo welcome. Drink with me, to days gone by.) Regardless of whether you're an author, a revolutionary student or a food blogger, Mondays suck for everyone. Solution: wine. Sweet, delicious wine with fruit, because it's err...healthy. 

The name of this sangria comes from the song below. Let's get drinking, I mean cooking.

Red & Black Sangria

(Based on the recipe by Spinach Tiger)
Serves one small group of misfit, rowdy revolutionaries looking to overthrow their king.


3 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
1-2 cups of sugar (to taste)
1 cup blackberry syrup, store bought (For getting drinksy in a hurry!)

1L bottle of red wine
2 peaches, peeled & slices
1 orange, halved. (Juice one half and slice the other for fanciness.)
1 lime, sliced.

1. If you're making the syrup from scratch, put the berries in a saucepan and add enough water until they're just covered. Add the sugar and bring it to a boil.

 2. Reduce the heat so the mixture is simmering, and let it go, stirring the mixture every once in awhile so it thickens...

 3. When the mixture is reduced by half, turn off the heat and strain through a sieve. Set aside to let cool. 

4. While this is working its magic, you can gently press the liquid out of the berries, and I even saved the unstrainables, because it's basically DELICIOUS jam with a shorter shelf life. Think about it. Cut the orange and lime in half, squeezing the halves into a pitcher for the juice. Thinly slice the other halves, plus the peaches and put them in the pitcher.

5. Measure out a cup of your blackberry syrup and add it to the fruit. THEN, add the REDDDD, the colour of the wine! (You really need to watch that video to get this joke...) Add the entire bottle of wine and refrigerate.

Vive la France!

1 comment:

  1. You write very well Riley, very well. And great recipe ideas. Bravo.