Créme de Cassis

creme de cassis - trust in kim

Earlier in the summer I harvested the black currants from my community garden plot.  A number of years ago I made this beverage with my good friend Connie, and we enjoyed sips of the sweet liquor.  Créme de cassis can be served on its own, in sipping portions, in some white wine as a Kir, in champagne or sparkling wine as a Kir Royale, or on some vanilla ice cream.

I looked at many recipes, and then mainly went by this one, although I used Brandy instead of Vodka.

What you need:

1.5 lbs or about 680 grams fresh or frozen black or red currants (I didn’t have enough so I used some raspberries)

3 cups brandy

2 & 1/4 cups white sugar

1 cinnamon stick

What you do:

1. Clean a large canning jar, and wash and de-stem the currants.

2. Smash the currants up and put them into the jar with all the other ingredients.  Give it a few shakes, then put the lid on tightly and store it in a warm sunny place for about a month.  Shake it around once or twice a week.

3. After about a month, strain the liquid through a fine sieve, lining it with a piece of cheesecloth if you want to get a really pure liquid. Bottle the liquid and enjoy as you wish.

You can also keep the fruit solids to make into other recipes, like an ice-cream sauce.

creme de cassis - trust in kim
sitting in the window for a month

Honey-Ginger-Lemon Healer

trust in kim - honey lemon ginger healer

When my sweetheart was suffering from bronchitis, and everyone else around me seemed to be getting sick, I concocted this hot drink.  It soothes a sore throat, with the honey acting as an anti-inflammatory, fighting infection and tasting great.  Ginger has antibacterial and pain-killing properties, and warms you up. The lemon has vitamin C and boosts the immune system. Black pepper can help ease a sore throat and is an appetizer. The warmth of a hot drink itself makes you feel good, and drinking liquids is important, and since this is so yummy you should have no problem getting it down.  You can also add whiskey, which will numb your throat a bit, and might make you sleepy so you can get the rest you need when you’re sick.

What you need:

a knob of ginger

black peppercorns

honey

fresh lemons

whiskey (optional)

What you do:

1. Slice the ginger and put it in a small pot with some water and 8-10 peppercorns. Let this boil for at least 10 minutes.

2. Boil some water.

3. Put about 1/3 cup of the ginger liquid into a mug.

4. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 a large lemon, or one whole small lemon.  Pour this into the mug.

5. Add about a teaspoon of honey, or more to taste.

6. Add a shot of whiskey if you are using it. Top the mug up with the boiling water, give it a stir, and it’s ready to go.

Jimtini – cranberry lychee martini

Image

For a Thanksgiving beverage I was treated to this tasty creation of my friends Jim’s.

What you need for 2 martinis:

juice of 1 lime

2 capfulls Soho Lychee liqueur

3 oz vodka (he used Grey Goose)

cranberry juice

ice

What you do:

Put all the ingredient in a martini shaker and top up with the cranberry juice. Shake and pour!

Lychee Mojito

This summer I went to Nana Restaurant and Bar in Brooklyn, New York and had the most amazing lychee mojito.  Along with some fabulous appetizers like homemade ravioli and seared tuna… yum!  This is my attempt to recreate the mojito, and it’s pretty good!  A nice drink to sip and escape the heat on the patio.

What you need:

limes

canned lychees

white rum

fresh mint

club soda

What you do:

For each drink, squeeze half a lime and put it in a short glass with about 3 tablespoons of the lychee syrup.  Add a shot of white rum.  Take a spring of mint and squish it up a bit, then put it in the glass.  Add some ice, then top it up with club soda.  Give it a little stir and enjoy!

Ginger Beer

I love ginger beer that has a strong ginger bite, and not too much sugar.  Here’s a really easy recipe that costs very little to make your own ginger beer.  You just need to plan a couple of days ahead of time to let the yeast work its magic.  This is a non-alcoholic drink; nothing to do with real beer!  Some people like to mix it with beer, though, but I prefer a little rum, or just on its own.

What you need:

a clean 2 litre plastic pop bottle

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger(I keep my ginger in the freezer – it grates easily that way)

1/4 teaspoon baker’s yeast

juice of 1 lemon or lime

What you do:

1. Using a funnel, pour the sugar into the bottle.  Add the yeast.

2. Mix the lemon juice with the grated ginger.  Add this mixture to the bottle.

3. Add some cold water, put the cap on the bottle, then give it a shake until all the sugar dissolves.

4.  Add more cold water to the bottle until it is filled to about 3 cm away from the top of the bottle.

5. After closing the bottle, place it in a warm place for a day or two.  If you give the bottle a squeeze now you will notice that it has some give to it. You will know the ginger beer is done when you squeeze the bottle and it is firm and no longer has any give to it.  At this point you need to put it in the fridge so the yeast stops working.

Because there are bits of ginger in the bottle,  you need to strain it before you serve it.  I just do this as I am pouring each glass.

Charcuterie dans Paris

After a visit to the Castle of Saint-Germain0en Laye, just outside of Paris, I went with my hosts Julie and Jeremy to gather supplies for our charcuterie.  We visited a fromagerie, boulangerie, cave aux vins, le marche plein air, et le Monoprix to find what we need.

Here’s what we had:

cheeses: a brie, de melun lait cru

a chèvre, cabri cendré fermier

a tantation lait cru from St. Félicen

a Tomme de Savoie from Abondance Fermiere

The meats: jambon cru fumé de la forêt noire

jambon cru Espangnol

jamón serrano

salame di milano

chorizo Espangnol

We also had: pimento olives

olives stuffed with almonds

apple , figs and melon to wrap the meat around

dried strawberries

The wine was a Chateau Chavrignac Bordeaux 2009

and a fabulous baguette from the Boulangerie au Petit Duc!

We ended with a decadent chocolate treat called a Royale, chocolate mousse decorated with some praline and topped with chocolate ganache.

Alleosse Affineur Maitre Artisan dans rue Poncelet, Paris

London Fog Tea with homemade vanilla syrup

This picture actually shows London Fog teas with whiskey, on a gorgeous early spring day in the sunshine.  It was still a little chilly, so the hot tea and whiskey warmed us up a bit!

It’s ridiculously easy to make the syrup, and you can substitute the vanilla for your favourite extract for other uses.  Almond is great too.

This tea is pennies a serving, saving you the many dollars that coffee shops charge.

What you need:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon pure vanilla

milk/ plain soy milk

strong Earl Grey tea

What you do:

1.  Heat the water and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil.  Boil, stirring for about a minute, then add the vanilla, stir and remove from the heat.  This syrup will keep indefinitely, so pour it into a jar, and stick whatever you don’t use into your cupboard for next time.

2.  Make some very strong Earl Grey tea.

3.  Heat some milk/soy milk.

4.  Pour about 1/3 cup of the tea into a heated mug, then add 2/3 cup of milk.  If you’ve got a frother, go ahead and add some frothy milk to the top.

5.  Add about a tablespoon of the syrup and stir it in.  Taste it to see if it’s sweet enough for you.

Sit down and enjoy your hot cuppa with a friend, or take a quiet moment to yourself.

The view from Rudy and Maureen’s, where we enjoyed a hot cuppa.