Thanksgiving Feast: Cranberry Relish

Here we are once again, the annual eat-a-thon, the, “thanks to who?” event filled with a decadent ensemble of grandma’s recipes, casseroles, pies and equally, uncle’s deep frying disasters; a turkey day to all Americans and a stuff-your-face month for the rest. I am of course speaking of Thanksgiving.
This thanksgiving I will be preparing a meal for the Ocean Beach International Hostel that I currently work at- but if the chef industry, the cooking houses of my past have taught me anything, it’s prepare and plan. Attack this holiday meal with a skillfully crafted agenda and you wont be left thinking of the mash potatoes as you whiff a now charring turkey. (You hurry over to the oven but you already know it’s too late.)
Given this, I prepared the cranberry relish this afternoon. I know that it holds well and will be as tasty and fresh as if I prepared it that day.
Here is the recipe I used, serves a good portion of about 5 ounces to 50 people:

Cranberry Relish

  • 2.5lbs of white cane sugar
  • 3x 2lb bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 bottle of dark, sugary, port wine.
  • 1 can of frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • 4 packs of gelatin, normally flavorless but orange or strawberry work.
  • Ingredients- Cranberry Relish


Place all cranberries and sugar into an adequate size soup pot.
Set on the stove on medium-high temperature with a few cups of water.
Add entire package of orange juice concentrate and bottle of wine.
Mix and let it go for about an hour. Watch it so it doesn’t boil over.

The goal is to soften the cranberries, soak the juices, and remove any sharp bitterness.

The next stage is to strain all juices from cranberries. Set cranberries aside for later.
Take the strained juice and split in half in bowls or however you wish.
Let Chill.
When cold or room temperature, bring one half of the juice to a boil in a pot and add gelatin.
Stir gelatin until dissolved then add the other half, the cold or room temperature juice.
Add the cranberries to the juice and gelatin mix.
Divide contents into as many bowls or cups as your prefer.Setting the gelatin- Cranberry Relish

Let cool until room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for several hours.

Keep posted for more thanksgiving recipes and stories as my plans and dinner unfolds! Good tidings and cheers,

Joe Foley

The Caledonian Backpackers Hostel, Edinburgh; Character and Value

Just a few pleasant blocks away from the Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station, going west on Princes Street, is The Caledonian Backpackers Hostel (Trip Advisor Reviews). With all the construction as of late (new tram lines) it is a bit confusing to manoeuvre around but with some tenacity you’ll be able to find the spot on Queensferry Street. When you step inside you are impressed with the color schemes, the funky designs, a grand set of stairs leading up to the action and the off-beat but friendly reception desk crew, ever ready to whisk you away. The facilities are impressive and a welcome relief to any beleaguered traveler; a self-catering kitchen with all the cooking equipment you’d expect and need, a movie lounge decked with bean bags and loafing hikers, a cheap laundry facility (at a pound for a wash or dry, it is rather unbeatable.) and The Swamp Bar, a full service groovy-styled bar that is built in the center of a multi flavor-radical common room. Seriously, I wouldn’t be able to express it better if I tried. In the common room there are heaps of comfy leather couches, stools and tables to enjoy a beer or a conversation at, board games to engage yourself and friends with, a reading and lending nook for the book worms, a pool table for the sharks and all manner of odds and ends to beat around with.

One of my favorite ammenities of the Caledonian is its Cucumber Room; the Cucumber Room is a wooden-floor, oval shaped room, flooded with bean bags and cushions. I reckon, the managment meant it to be a semi quite room, for example, if the music from the adjoining common is too loud, one can find a retreat here. The accoustics are great as well in the Cucumber and to test my theory, you’ll find a beat-up but decent classic guitar floating about. It is free for all to use.
(Here’s a few pictures of the funky art that lends to the chilled atmosphere.)


The Bads: The staff can be a bit off putting at times; helpful but largely indifferent and clingy to their groups. The trick with hostels is that everyone is coming and going, so experiences will vary. The showers are lukewarm at all times, which isn’t terrible as the pressure is alright. The dorms are very large- up to 32 people at the most and the beds are old, meaning you can feel the springs. The breakfast is basic, basic, basic! Toast, jam, vegemite (salty, Australian spread), coffee, tea etc.
My closing thoughts: You have to keep in mind that this is a hostel, though better than most, it will not be as accomodating as a Hilton!

Did I miss something? Questions comments or thoughts about the Caledonian backpackers? Please Share!

Events of Foreign Sojourn, Collage

Events of Foreign Sojourn, Collage