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.

Corn Chowder, lactose-free

The sweetness of corn works well here with the salty-smokiness of the prosciutto and smoked paprika.  Roasted garlic comes in handy to perk up soups – sometimes when I’m baking I throw a bulb of garlic in the oven, wrapped in foil.  Then I store it in the fridge for future use.

If you don’t need to make this recipe lactose-free, feel free to use milk or half milk, half cream in place of the soy milk.

What you need:

100 grams prosciutto, chopped into medium-sized chunks

1 large onion, diced

1 leek, sliced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 large potato, chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 bulb roasted garlic

4 cups chicken stock

2 cans corn or a few cobs

2 cups soy milk

a few dashes of hot sauce

a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

What you do:

1.  In a large pot, cook the prosciutto for a few minutes, then add the chopped onions, leeks and celery.  Cook on medium heat until they are soft.

2.  Stir in the paprika and cook for a few more minutes.

3.  Add the chicken stock, potato, parsley and roasted garlic.  Cook for about 30 minutes on medium low heat.

4.  Add the corn and soy milk and let them heat up but not boil.  Add hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

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.