Category Archives: coffee recipes

My Christmas Morning

written by Lori Thiessen

This year’s Christmas was very special so I thought I’d share my day with you.

My mom and I spent Christmas Eve’s at my sister’s place;  complete with our jim-jams and everything. My mom settled down for her Christmas sleep in the lazy boy and I in the fold-away sofa bed which tends to want to fold-away even if someone is trying to sleep on it.

At 5 am, Mom heard the pitter-patter of my niece and nephew’s feet and their stage whisper: “Santa’s been!”

Showing remarkable restraint for children on Christmas Day morning, they waited until 8 am to see if Grandma and Auntie (that’s me!) was awake. My nephew shone the flashlight in my face and said in a surprised voice, “Oh, they’re still asleep!”. Christmas Day had truly begun.

My sister asked me if I wanted o.j. or coffee. I muttered, “Coffee.” She asked what I would like in my coffee. The choices included such tantalizing offerings as Kahula, Bailey’s, rum, and other delicious but decidedly un-ordinary condiments.

I requested Frangelico. My sister who is the soul of generosity ladled in a hefty helping of the liqueur. The result was that by 9:30 a.m. I was feeling quite… tiddly.  It is only once a year.

The day wandered along wonderfully well. A multitude of presents were unwrapped and thoroughly enjoyed.  We breakfasted on my sister’s amazing baking powder biscuits, fruit salad and orange juice plus more coffee (however, sans frangelico because some propriety must be maintained).

I decided to have a short, pre-lunch nap. I awoke to my nephew exclaiming, “I can’t believe that Auntie Lori has slept for 3 whole hours!”Apparently, the spiked coffee had more of an effect than I imagined.

My mom and my sister were busy in the kitchen preparing the Christmas dinner.  Though I was planning on being an active member of the kitchen squad, I wasn’t. I sucked. Sigh. I did peel some potatoes later on and that made me feel a bit better, but not much.

My brother-in-laws parents arrived for the Christmas feast and we had a marvellous time.  The food was delicious, the company very pleasant.

After dinner, my nephew pulled out a book on making hand-puppet shadows he had received from his Nana and Papa. My brother-in-law produced the hand-crank camp light he had been given. The lights were turned off. Darkness was all around us, save for one bright light.

We saw reindeer, bats, alligators and other shadowy creatures on the diningroom wall.

As the peaceful darkness over took us all, my mom and I packed our bags, presents and memories. We thanked my sister and her husband for a truly magical Christmas.

We soon drove out of sight into the long, dark winter night.

Wishing you and yours a peaceful, joyous holiday season!

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Warming Coffee Drinks for the Dark Winter Days

Written by Lori Thiessen

My Dear Readers, the frost is on the meadow and we have all but hidden away in our respective burrows for the duration of this wintry weather. To help while away the hours, invite some close friends in for conversation and sample the following warming beverages.

The Polar Bear

Though there are many variations on this cocktail, most of them cold, I recommend the following concoction to warm the cockles of your heart. Pour into a heat-proof cup or mug:

  • 2 oz of Peppermint Schnapps
  • 3 oz of good quality hot chocolate
  • 3 oz of medium strength, good quality hot coffee

You may want to top the mixture with a dollop of whipping cream and a candy cane to give it a festive twist!

Christmas Coffee

Here’s a post festive dinner coffee that could double as dessert!

  • 6 cups strong, good quality coffee
  • 4 tbsps sugar
  • 1 organic, unsprayed orange studded with 3 whole cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 1/2 tbsps of Van der Hum, tangerine flavoured liqueur
  • 1/2 cup of brandy
  • 1 cup of cream
  • freshly ground cinnamon

Put the first 6 ingredients into a heavy bottomed cooking pot. Set the heating element to low — just warm the ingredients, DO NOT BOIL.

In a metal soup ladle with an insulated handle, warm the brandy near the coffee. BE VERY CAREFUL. Hold the soup ladle full of warmed brandy over the cooking pot of coffee. Light a match and set the brandy aflame. Carefully pour the flaming brandy over the coffee.

Pour the coffee mixture into heavy mugs (your fine china teacups cannot handle this!). Place a spoon over a mug and slowly pour a little of the cream so that it floats on the top of the drink. Sprinkle with freshly ground cinnamon. Repeat with each mug. Serve.

Special Christmas Morning Coffee

This coffee is a great way to start your Christmas Day!

  • 10 cups strong, good quality coffee
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened good quality cocoa
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup water

Whipped cream, optional. Frangelico, Amaretto or Bailey’s Irish Cream, optional. Freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg for topping. Milk and sugar for serving.

Brew your coffee in the regular way. Take the next 4 ingredients and put them into a small, heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil. Remove pot from heat. Pour mixture into the coffee. Stir well. Add Frangelico, Amaretto or Bailey’s, if desired. Pour into mugs. Top with whipped cream, if desired. Top with ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

I hope these recipes will delight you and your friends and keep you warm.

Please remember to limit your alcohol intake during the Christmas holidays and be responsible. Call a cab if you’ve had too much.

Until Next Time,

May your coffee always be freshly brewed!

Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee

written by Lori Thiessen

Making the perfect cup of coffee starts with good ingredients, good equipment and proper preparation.

I gleaned the following information on coffee preparation from Meta Given’s Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking.

Ingredients:

  • Buy good quality coffee in small amounts
  • If you buy already ground coffee, then buy only enough for a week’s worth.
  • Put the coffee in a glass container, don’t leave it in the paper bag
  • When taking coffee out from the container, do it quickly as possible so that none of the aroma is lost
  • Store the unused coffee in the refrigerator

Equipment:

Meta Given’s doesn’t recommend percolators because it violates the cardinal rule of making the perfect cup of coffee — never boil the coffee.

Whatever coffeemaker you use,  keep it very clean. After each use, make sure to clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Preparation:

If you have an automatic coffeemaker, follow the manufacturer’s instruction on coffee preparation.

If you are like me and have gone completely low tech with a French Press, or other low/no tech coffee maker, then Meta Given’s has a few tips.

  • Make sure you have the appropriate grind for the coffeemaker you are using
  • Scald the pot with hot water
  • Put in the amount of grounds needed to make whatever amount of coffee you want (2 to 2 1/2 level tbsp of ground coffee per cup)
  • Pour in 1/4 of the required amount of hot water, and let stand for 1 min.
  • Pour in the remaining amount of hot water (for a french press this is in the pot, for drip put the water in the water reservoir.)

For a French Press, let the pot stand for 5-8 minutes before you press it. For a drip coffeemaker, set the pot on a very low heat, make sure that the coffee does not boil. Pour the finished coffee into warmed coffee cups.

Meta Given’s also urges that a coffeemaker shouldn’t be left with grounds in it for very long. Clean your coffee making equipment as soon as you can after you have made the coffee.

Though it sounds like a lot of work, a good cup of coffee is a joy.

Q: What tips do have for making the perfect cup of coffee?

Until Next Time,

May Your Coffee Always Be Freshly Brewed!

Christmas Coffees

written by Lori Thiessen

One of my favourite movies to watch around Christmas is Babette’s Feast. The story revolves around a French maid in service to two elderly ladies in a remote village in Jutland.

After having won a lotto, the French maid, Babette offers to make the celebratory dinner in honour of the ladies’ father ‘ birthday which is in December.  He was a cleric who founded this village. Not surprisingly, he also had a rather austere view of the material world to which his followers adhere.

Reluctantly, the ladies agree. Babette makes a “vrai diner francais”. Such sumptuous fare the villagers have never before seen or tasted in their lives.

This amazing meal ends with a cup of fresh ground coffee and a small glass of champagne liqueur.

In case you haven’t guessed, I am a devout gourmand, or someone who enjoys fine foods, wonderfully prepared and served.  It sounds kinda snobby, but I believe most people relish eating good food, if given the chance. And fine food doesn’t necessary mean expensive either.

During this season of abundance, I’m  thinking about how to end the meal with flare or to entertain family and friends when they drop by for a visit.

Coffee is often the beverage offered to visitors. But just to make things a little more seasonal, here are a few options to spice up your brew.

  • Add your favourite Christmas spice. I like to freshly grate some nutmeg into the ground coffee before I perk or press. Lovely hint of extra flavour.
  • Add your or your guests’ favourite liqueur to their cup. I favour a wee drop of Frangelico.
  • Use eggnog instead of cream. Gives the coffee an extra richness and that spicy flavour all in one shot.

Which ever festive condiment you choose, be sure to use a light hand. You want to enhance, not overwhelm the coffee.

Also, please do respect the wishes of your guests if they refuse an alcoholic additive. They might be coping with addiction or just had enough liquor for one day.  Either way, the point of getting together is to celebrate not inebriate.

Q: Do you have any Christmas coffee recipes you would like to share?

Until Next Time,

May Your Coffee Always Be Freshly Brewed!

How to Make Coffee the Old-Fashioned Way

Written by Lori Thiessen

These days we are used to seeing coffee made almost as if by magic. Domestic coffee makers are push-button efficient and the professional coffee makers are overseen by those conjurers of coffee, the barista.

But coffee wasn’t always such a fast and fun process. In the coffeehouses of the 17th century, coffee making was a lengthy and skilful process. First the coffee beans were bought in their unroasted state. Have you ever seen an unroasted coffee bean? I know I haven’t.

Then the coffeeman whose job it was to roast the beans to perfection would get the fire started in the grate and pour a handful of beans into the barrel-shaped roaster. Round and round the handle went until the beans were roasted. However, due to the technology, the beans would likely be a mixture of warmed green beans, burnt black beans, and half roasted, half warm beans. The author, Jonathan Swift, had so little trust in the coffeeman’s ability to roast the beans well, he would often do the roasting himself when he wanted a cup of coffee. The landlady of the establishment didn’t take offense apparently. Celebrity has its advantages, even then apparently.

The freshly roasted beans would be put into a grinder and one of the coffee lads would grind away until they were mostly crushed. Water would be on the hob, boiling away in preparation for receiving the beans. The ratio of ground coffee to water was quite varied, but generally speaking it was something like 1 part coffee to 12 parts water. If it was a slow day, the coffee was saved and re-heated over and over again. Freshly brewed coffee was a fairly rare occurrence.

It produced a weak and watery brew that would be quite unrecognizable to any self-respecting modern day coffee drinker. Remember the show “Black Adder”? In the third series, which took place in 18th England, Blackadder walks into Mrs. Miggins Coffeehouse and orders, “Your best hot water with brown grit in it.” And that’s a pretty fair assessment of what coffee was really like back then.

Q; What is your favourite kind of coffee?

Until Next Time,

May your coffee always be freshly brewed!