One of the things both J and I wouldn’t live without is coffee. We’re not the typical coffee-obsessed persons – we have an Americano and a cappuccino in the morning with our breakfast, and an espresso after lunch. On rare occasions we have another espresso round about four, but that’s that.
I have been waiting for quite a while to post this. A year – simply because asparagus are now in season. I have to honestly say that sometimes I’m not very good with the seasonality of ingredients, mainly because I have not been to a market for ages. Not good I know but life and travel get in the way of practicality. Nowadays travel for me means going back and forth to Malta, the land of sunshine, fresh produce, bread, lemons and the best almond sweets. There’s no need to tell you how much I eat and when I come back home I know that I’d have to shift some of the weight. Back to life, back to reality.
I cannot tell you how easy this is to make. I will not even call it a recipe, because frankly it’s not. One morning I needed some cheering up. It was raining
of course and I, like everyone else on this little island, was having a bad day. The rain would not stop. The town centre was completely flooded. After a while I stopped reading the papers; I just couldn’t take any more bad news. Thankfully, fingers crossed, the rain has now stopped and Spring is almost here. You can imagine the joy!
Fact is I’m not much of a drinker. I do enjoy a glass of red with dinner sometimes and I am also partial to some port or brandy in the colder months.
Yes I’m getting old. This is a first for me, in that today I’m giving you a cocktail recipe. From what I have read, there are, apparently two schools of thought on Bloody Mary: the love it or hate it. I would like to propose another: the occasional one a.k.a. it’s-good-for-brunch. I won’t go into whether it can cure a hangover or not. I haven’t tried that, and I wouldn’t want you to, but hey I’m not your mum…but don’t get sloshed! No, I’m not lecturing you.
very very really salty, but it’s fantastic for a brunch party any time of the year. I was once told a story (true or not I have no idea) about a host inviting a so-called-friend for brunch simply because this person mixed the most delicious Bloody Mary ever! One thing I can tell you for sure is that I wouldn’t have liked to be this friend, but I would have liked one of these. Happy Holidays!
- 45 ml vodka
- 150ml tomato juice
- 15ml fresh lemon juice
- pinch celery salt
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
- freshly ground pepper
- celery stick
- lemon wedge as garnish
Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour in the tomato juice and lemon juice. Add the vodka, celery salt, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. Give everything a stir, then add the pepper. Garnish with a lemon wedge, a celery stick and a stirrer if needed. And you’re done.
I hope to give you one more recipe in the next post before taking a break. So hold on for one more! Enjoy the holidays and Happy Christmas!
A very good friend of mine always asks me for more muffin recipes. I get this. Unlike cakes, my personal preference if I were to choose (I don’t think so), muffins are charming little things. Even though I may have a muffin with my coffee when out running errands, I prefer homemade ones. Somehow shop-bought ones seem too big, too out there if you know what I mean.
Sometime ago I was invited to a YSL event at a local store. In one corner the ladies prepared a spread of pretty little cupcakes, which seem to be all the rage nowadays. To me they looked more inviting than all the expensive stuff in the shop. They were good, a bit on the small side, but good nonetheless. One would argue that you cannot look sophisticated while devouring a large chunk of cake! I went home and I wanted to bake something in between.
Homebaked muffins will be smaller than the huge things you might get at the store but don’t let that deter you. You can make the mixture in five minutes flat and they are so convenient when you have people round for afternoon tea. All you need is coffee! Blueberries are great here, but you can use whatever you want…strawberries, raspberries, or perhaps a mixture of both. Makes 12.
- 250g plain flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 120g unsalted butter, softened almost melted
- 120g golden caster sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 100ml milk, preferably full-fat
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 180g blueberries
Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases and preheat the oven to 190ºC.
In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
In another bowl, beat the butter together with the sugar, eggs, milk, lemon zest and juice till everything is just combined.
Fold in the flour mixture gently into the wet ingredients preferably with a spatula. Tip in the blueberries, and don’t overmix. A lumpy batter is exactly what you want here!
Using an ice-cream scoop, distribute the mixture evenly in the tray and bake for approximately 15 to 18 minutes. They should be ready by then but always check by inserting a skewer in the middle of one muffin just to be sure.
Place them on a cookie rack to cool, and eat them when they are slightly warm on the same day. They should keep in an airtight container until the next day – good excuse to invite a good friend for tea. Enjoy!
(Adapted from River Cottage Handbook No. 8: Cakes, Pam Corbin, Bloomsbury, 2011.)