Friday, 20 October 2017

Skeleton Key

Most Halloween cocktails seem spicy in nature. Why? I do not know. The Skeleton Key has all the backbone of a very moreish fall cocktail. An enchanting spicy floral beverage that is sure to unlock... or rival any Halloween trick or treat.    

Skeleton Key

1 1/4 oz Bourbon
3/4 oz St. Germain liqueur ( and elderflower liqueur)
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 to 5 oz Ginger Beer, top as needed
8 dashes Angostura Bitters

Place the bourbon, St. Germain, and lemon into a cocktail glass, like a Collins glass, fill with ice. Top it off the the ginger beer. Garnish with the 8 dashes of Angostura Bitters and serve with a straw. 

The few days of warmer temperatures may have lifted my spirits; as this terrible cold is still lingering. Have a fabulous weekend everyone! - JD 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Leftovers #40 ~ Macaroni and Cheese with Ham and Mushrooms

Leftover mushrooms and slices of ham, not a problem. Just slice and cube, then gently sauté both in a frypan and add to the cheese sauce of your favourite homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. Fantastic comfort food. 

A few warmer days have been great; as I have been run down with a terrible cold. Hope everyone is having a good week so far. - JD 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Coconut Pineapple Scones

These scones have a prominent coconut flavour marked with hints of sweet pineapple. Lovely for a weekend brunch or tea time. Excellent with whip cream and crushed pistachios or just a pat of butter. 

Coconut Pineapple Scones

2 cups flour 
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
grated lime zest of 1 lime, reserve the juice for later
1/4 cup cold butter, cut up
1/2 cup milk 
2 eggs
1 teaspoon coconut essence 
1 398ml can of crushed pineapple, drained well

freshly squeezed lime juice   
vanilla sugar
shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment paper.

In a large bowl blend all the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, coconut, and lime zest together. Set aside.

In another large bowl add the milk, eggs, coconut essence, and crushed pineapple. Set aside. 

Cut the cold butter into smaller pieces and add it to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or fork cut the butter into the flour mixture. Once an oatmeal like texture is achieved make a well in the centre. Whisk together the wet ingredients and add to the well. Using a rubber spatula incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until a dough has formed. Place the dough on a well floured surface; knead a few times; shape into a large circle and pat to 3/4 inch thickness. Using a round 2 or 3 inch cutter, cut into circles and place on the prepared lined baking tray. Repeat, until all the dough has been formed. 

Squeeze the juice from the lime, if you haven't already done so, and brush the tops of each scone with the freshly squeezed lime juice. Then sprinkle each with a bit of vanilla sugar and shredded coconut. Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 22 minutes or until well risen and lightly brown.

Notes: I doubled the recipe and used a 3 inch round cookie cutter. I baked the scones for a total of 24 minutes. Ovens vary therefore baking time may vary.   

Hope everyone had a great weekend. - JD 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Red Rum

This dark, spicy and spooky cocktail is perfect for Halloween or anytime one is in the mood for something dark and suspiciously delicious!    

Red Rum
makes 2 cocktails

1 orange
Angostura Bitters or any bitters that has a reddish tinge 
4 oz dark spiced rum
Ginger beer
2 whole cloves

Cut two round slices off the orange. Making sure that the slices are slightly smaller than the rim of the glass you are using. Squeeze a little bit of the juice from the sliced orange into the bottom of each glass. Add a dash of bitters. Add two ounces of rum into each glass; top with a handful of ice. Fill the glasses, almost to the top, with cold ginger beer. Stir gently. Place the pointy end of one clove into the centre of each orange slice; and gently place the orange slice, with the clove side up, on top of each cocktail. Before serving add generous dashes of bitters on top of the orange slices. Serve.  

Notes: the sliced orange is supposed to resemble a pumpkin and the dashes of bitters is supposed to mimic blood. 

It has been one of those weeks. Have a lovely weekend everyone! - JD  

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Double Chocolate Walnut Waffles

Sometimes long weekends are made for brunches where chocolate waffles grace the table. These are quite filling and will satisfy any chocolate lover for breakfast, brunch or dessert. They are reminiscent of brownies and are especially good topped with whip cream and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. 

Double Chocolate Walnut Waffles
makes 5 full waffles (approximately 20 wedges)

2 cups (500ml) unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup (125ml) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (150ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 tablespoon (15ml) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2ml) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (125ml) finely chopped walnuts
2 cups (500ml) milk
2 large eggs, gently beaten
1/4 cup (5ml) (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
approximately 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Combine all the dry ingredients, including the walnuts in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a whisk to blend. Make a well in the centre of the now blended dry ingredients; then add the milk, beaten eggs, melted butter, and vanilla into the well. Whisk until nicely blended and smooth. Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes before using.

Meanwhile preheat a waffle maker to a desired setting.

Pour 1 heaping cup of batter onto the centre of the lower grid of the preheated waffle maker; spread evenly with a heat proof utensil. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the batter and close the lid of the waffle maker. When the waffle maker makes a sound, like a beep (letting you know the waffle is cooked), the waffle is ready. Open the cover and carefully remove the baked waffle. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve while warm.  

Hope everyone had a nice long weekend, we did! - JD 

Friday, 6 October 2017

Ulanda Martini

The Ulanda martini is an exceptionally strong one. Crisp, clean with a distinct anise bite.  

Ulanda Martini
makes 2 martinis

4 oz Gin
2 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Pernod

Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and shake well. Strain into chilled martini glasses Garnish with an orange twist if you wish. 

Have a lovely weekend everyone and for those a Happy Thanksgiving!  - JD

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

This pumpkin pecan pie gives a twist on the traditional holiday pumpkin pie by adding a rich nutty sweet crust on top. It was my first time making a pecan topping for a pumpkin pie therefore I was fussing over this throughout it's entire baking time. My flurried excitement aside, I would make this recipe again only next time with a bit more ease. It is quite a substantial pie so a deep pie baking dish is a must for this recipe.   

Pumpkin Pecan Pie
makes one 9" pie

1 can (398ml) of pumpkin purée
1/2 cup (125ml) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2ml) ground ginger
1 teaspoon (4ml) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2ml) nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 (1ml) teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (125ml) Evaporated Milk

homemade pie crust or ready made pie crust shaped into a 9" deep oven proof pie dish 

Pecan Topping
2 eggs
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans

In a bowl combine the 2 eggs, corn syrup, white sugar, melted butter and vanilla. Stir in the chopped pecans. 

Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Place rack in centre of oven.

In a large bowl mix the brown sugar and spices together.

Beat in the eggs and pumpkin until well blended. Stir in the evaporated milk and mix well. 

Place the deep pie dish, with the formed pie crust inside, on a flat baking tray; then pour the pumpkin mixture into the bottom of the formed pie shell, spreading it evenly, and place the pie dish with the baking tray underneath in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Reduce the heat to 375ºF (180ºC) and carefully remove the pumpkin pie from the oven, allow to cool slightly. 

Mix the ingredients for the pecan topping together, if you haven't done so already. Spoon the pecan topping over the slightly set, slightly cooled pie and place back into the oven for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, or until the topping has set and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. 

Remove from oven. Cool for just a bit. Serve warm.

Notes: You can use pumpkin pie spice to flavour the pumpkin mixture. I also added a bit of British Mixed Spice. Ovens vary so there may be some adjustments to the baking time. 

Just muddling through the week until the holiday weekend. - JD