Category Archives: drink

DIY Pumpkin Spice Syrup

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup
Isn’t autumn glorious!! The colours, the smells, the flavours that are inspired by this time of the year are simply incredible.  Who doesn’t love curling up with a warm cup of coffee to read a good book while nature is getting ready for a long winter sleep. The only thing that makes a cup of coffee better is a slice of this Apple Spice Cake and a drizzle of Pumpkin Spice Syrup to go along. Pumpkin Spice Syrup
When we first moved to England three years ago Pumpkin Spice Latte at a local Starbucks was  something of a myth, a tale from a faraway land called America. The baristas heard of it but had not idea why anyone would want to consume pumpkins in a drink form. I complained loudly mostly on Facebook and a friend suggested making my own syrup. Now, since I own little and stylish Italian Gaggia, enjoying homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes has become an everyday treat. 🙂 My bank account and my waist line thanked me. Happiness is…Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Ingredients: (Makes about 750 ml)

  • Water-2 cups/500ml
  • Demerara/Turbinado Sugar- 2 1/2 cups
  • Cinnamon- 1 tsp.  and 1 stick of cinnamon
  • Nutmeg- 1/2 tsp.
  • Ground Ginger- 1/2 tsp.
  • Cloves- 1/4 tsp.
  • Canned pumpkin (or use your own like I did)- 4 tbsp.

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium pot and stir to combine, bring to a boil and then cook 5 more minutes over medium low heat.

2.  Strain the syrup through a fine sieve and bottle it. Keep refrigerated!

3. If you have an espresso machine chances are you know already how to make a latte, so just add 1-2 tablespoons of Pumpkin Spice Syrup  and a swirl of whipped cream for a special occasion. As for me, I rarely indulge ( by which I mean “never”) in a cream topping but I do love me some Pumpkin Spice Syrup!

4. If you don’t own an espresso machine, not to worry! Just brew some strong coffee and add steamed milk to it at 1:1 ratio,  then stir in some pumpkin spice syrup to taste. Relax and enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Note: If you do decide to prepare your own pumpkin puree here is what you need to do. Split your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Place your pumpkin halves on a baking sheet cut side down and roast at 400F/200C for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your pumpkin. Pierce it with a knife to check for doneness, it should go in and out easily.

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Salted Caramel Affogato

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Salted Caramel Affogato
Salted Caramel Affogato. Doesn’t it look heavenly! Do you know what else is so stellar about this dessert? It’s a dessert your children will not steal from you because it requires a sophisticated adult taste and a deep love for coffee…and caramel. Better yet, only two ingredients are needed. Ice-Cream and Espresso. Affogato is Italian for “drowned”, so literally what you get is delicious ice-cream drowned in a shot of espresso. I can’t imagine anything better for an afternoon pick me up. Just picture yourself with a good book or a magazine and a cup of that liquid delight. I am pretty sure it would also go nicely with my morning paper and a holiday in Sicily this summer. Alas, summer holiday in Sicily is not in my near future but it is in Angela’s who, once again offered her help and Italian expertise for creating this post. 

Salted Caramel Affogato
Ingredients: (for 2)

  • Salted Caramel Ice-Cream or your favourite flavour-2 scoops
  • Freshly prepared espresso- 2 shots
  • Amaretto or Bailey’s (optional)
  • Chocolate shavings or curls (optional)

Method:

Scoop ice-cream into two individual cups or short glasses. Prepare espresso and pour over ice-cream, add Amaretto or Bailey’s if desired and sprinkle with chocolate. Don’t wait any longer, enjoy immediately!!

Salted Caramel AffogatoSalted Caramel AffogatoSalted Caramel AffogatoSalted Caramel Affogato

Homemade Eggnog aka Christmas In A Cup

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Homemade Eggnog
In roughly three weeks from now we will be celebrating our second Christmas in England and so far this December has been much smoother than the last one. A year ago I was completely lost. As Christmas season was approaching I felt nothing but anxiety over where to do my Christmas shopping, how to stock up on seasonal goodies and keep them in a tiny London flat with no storage, and lastly I grieved the absence of Canadian holiday fare. Especially the last one. Once again December is upon us and things are quite cheery in my household. I personally credit mental preparation and my mad eggnog making skills to such success.

First of all, do you know that English grocery stores do not sell cartons of eggnog? Are you as appalled as I was a year ago? Do you share my love for eggnog? If you do you will understand what an important ingredient it is to the holiday cheer! You will also understand how crucial it is to have a great eggnog recipe. I’ve tried a few last year and made some pretty incredible drinks. Alas, they didn’t quite taste like the eggnog we were all craving. My morning coffee was downright unconsolable.

Yesterday I threw all caution to the wind, which is my custom to do and created my own recipe. The results were…well let’s just say as soon as I finished making it I left the house in a sprint to purchase a bottle of brandy because the taste was just perfect!

What I discovered is that the key to success is the right blend of spices and that’s very personal. The milk and the eggs are just the carriers of the taste-rich and delicious carriers.

spices
The recipe that I am about to share appeals to my taste but please feel free to adjust the amounts of various spices.

Ingredients:

egg yolks-4

whole milk-2 cups/500ml

sugar-1/2 cupeggnog whole pic

half and half/single cream-2 cups/500ml

vanilla bean-1

nutmeg-1/2 tsp.

mixed spice( a blend of cassia, coriander seed, caraway, nutmeg, ginger, cloves)-1tsp.

cinnamon-1 stick

Method:

Pour 2 cups of whole milk in the heavy bottomed sauce pan, slit open your vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk, along with the cinnamon stick and the rest of the spices. Heat the milk over a low heat until the milk is hot and steamy and about to boil. You don’t want the milk heating process to happen quickly because the milk needs time to soak up all the wonderful flavours.

While the milk is getting infused, separate your egg yolks from the egg whites and reserve the egg whites for a different use or freeze them. Whip your egg yolks with sugar in a medium sized bowl until the mixture is much paler in colour and doubled in volume. When your milk is ready take it off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick.

The next step is a little bit tricky. Our main goal here is to “cook” the eggs so they are safe to eat but not to end up with a batch of milky scrambled eggs- trust me it’s very easy to do and happens QUICKLY!

With your mixer still running slowly add half of the milk mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs, blend well. Tempering should prevent the eggs from curdling in the next step. Then empty the contents into the saucepan with milk and heat through while whisking continuously on low heat. It took mine 2 minutes. Take off the heat, strain through a fine sieve to ensure eggnog is smooth and silky, add single cream to it and chill until cold.

glass of eggnog from above
Enjoy with a dash of brandy or skip it if you prefer the non-alcoholic taste. My absolute favourite way to drink eggnog is in my morning coffee. Nothing can be more satisfying on a cold winter morning than sipping a cup of eggnog latte while watching your littles lazily eating breakfast by the light of the Christmas tree. Merry Christmas!!