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.

Halloween Witch’s Brew

Would you like to try my Eye of Newt Brew?  It is guaranteed to make you ten years younger, but you get to keep the wisdom you have already attained.

The Eye of Newt sinks to the bottom, leaving you with a little surprise at the bottom of your cup.  Enjoy, and bottoms up!

Here’s the recipe:

Pureed newt skin (Happy Planet Extreme Green fruit smoothie or other green beverage)

Bat saliva (vodka)

Eye of Newt (frozen grapes)

Blood of a werewolf, cooked until no colour remains (club soda)

How to brew the concoction:

Carefully combine the ingredients whie chanting the following:

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble,
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Lots of people are drinking pumpkin spice lattes on these cooler fall days.  Here’s a homemade version to warm you up.  Just whip up a batch of the syrup, then add it to your coffee with some hot frothy milk.  I know it’s supposed to be a shot of espresso, but I don’t have an espresso machine at home, and I drink decaf anyways… but this is still really yummy, and it’s waaay less than five bucks a pop!

Oh, and there’s actually no pumpkin in it.  Just the spices!

What you need:

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 -1& 1/4 cups water

1 cup sugar

a piece of cheesecloth for straining

What you do:

1.  Bring water to a boil in a small pot.  Add the spices and boil on low for about five minutes.

2.  Line a sieve with cheesecloth and strain the liquid through it.

3.  Pour the liquid back into the pot and add the sugar, heating until the sugar has melted.  Stir in the vanilla and remove from the heat.

4.  Once the syrup has cooled you can pour it into a jar.  Use a teaspoon or two per cup of coffee, depending on how sweet you like it.

I just make some really strong coffee, heat some soy milk, add it to the coffee along with some syrup.  I froth the last bit of the soy milk, then add a dusting of nutmeg to the top.

The Perfect Cup of Tea

Tea tastes best in a real china tea cup. I am lucky to have a few hand-me-downs from Omas and Tantes, but I have found a few treasures at thrift stores as well.

How to make the perfect cup of tea, according to me

you need:

a tea pot

strainer with lots of room for the tea leaves to expand

fresh water

loose leaf tea

tea cups

teaspoons

sugar – I’m using organic demerrera now

Here’s what you do:

1. heat the teapot with hot water from the tap

2. put tea leaves in the strainer, 1 teaspoon per cup

3. heat the water and as soon as it begins to boil, pour it over the tea leaves into the empty teapot

4. put a little of the boiling water into each cup to pre-heat so your tea stays hot for as long as possible

5. let the tea steep for a few minutes – some people like it dark, some like it light.  I like it medium, so I leave the leaves in for about 3 minutes. 

6. take the strainer with the leaves out of the pot – this is important because it will turn bitter if you leave it on for too long

7. pour tea into the tea cups and stir in a little sugar if you like

8. let the first sip remind you of all the times you’ve enjoyed a cup of tea with a good friend or in a moment of peace.  May this be another one of those times.