Mumpkin-Pumpkin Make Me A Martini!

Last night on my drive home I started thinking about how great it would be to have a Pumpkin Spiced Latte… this thought soon leveled up to a Pumpkin Spriced Martini… Only problem, I have never had a Pumpkin Spiced Martini, or any idea how to make one.

Since it’s Friday and all, I have been browsing through many online recipes looking for one that uses plain vodka mixed with simple (and cheap) ingredients.

Below is the easiest sounding and best tasting I could find, thus far.  (Although I will make note to peruse Food & Drink magazine when I get home to see what ideas they have).

I have tweaked it from the original recipe, “Pumpkin French 75,” and made it my own :

Pumpkin French Canadian

  • 2 or 3 parts vodka (be generous, it’s a martini after all…)
  • 1 part pumpkin puree
  • 1.5 parts lemon juice (or frozen lemonade)
  • 1.5 parts simple syrup (try infusing with cinnamon and cloves)
  • Champagne (I’m going to use Bambino)

Shake all ingredients (except Champagne) in a
cocktail shaker with ice. Strain the mixture into your favourite cocktail glass. Top with chilled Champagne and serve.

 

I can’t wait to try this!  I hope my version turns out as pretty as the picture… I’ll be sure to post my first attempt.

Let me know if you have any more good ideas for Pumpkin-inspired cocktails.

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Actors Acting

I just came accross this interesting video series by the New York Times, have to share.

They asked 14 actors to show us what acting is in a few gentures with a few props, with no real story. (Although you find yourself making up a story in your head from their movements.)

Please watch the videos, they are beautiful: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/12/12/magazine/14actors.html#14

While the acting is amazing I think it’s also important to pay attention to the costume, camera angles, lighting and sound.  Would they be so dramatic in colour?  In a straight on static camera frame?  Without sound?

What do you think?

11:15 am »

The Cherry Factory

By Hannah Richards

In Norfolk County, the cherry trees grow

Field upon field, row upon row

The fruit smells sweet, but the job is sour

Standing, waiting, nine-fifty an hour.

Bucket after bucket, thirty pounds each

My mind aloof, with thoughts of the beach.

FROZEN SOUR (TART) CHERRIES

FROZEN SOUR (TART) CHERRIES

With no days off, for three weeks straight

My frustration grows with every missed date.

Instead, my time is spent on the line

Wishing, hoping, for something sublime.

The foreman passes with an unwinking stare

And forklifts sound off with obnoxious flare.

FROZEN SOUR (TART) CHERRIES

FROZEN SOUR (TART) CHERRIES

The label machine stinks of gas and ink,

Dizzying, foul, it makes my heart sink;

To think, I watch thousands of buckets a day

Passing me by, with mind numbing dismay.

Malfunction causes social interaction:

Blow the whistle! Get the boss! Pray for a decent reaction.

FROZEN SOUR (TART) CHERRIES

FROZEN SOUR (TART) CHERRIES

In solitude time passes by slow

With nobody to talk to, and nowhere to go.

Water on the floor makes my boots rot

Getting out of here is my happiest thought.

Once queen of the sun, now consumed by cement,

My new persona, the lead malcontent.

FROZEN SOUR (TART) CHERRIES

FROZEN SOUR (TART) CHERRIES

Pump Pump Pumpkin Up!

Driving to work today, I saw all the pumpkins popping out of their patches.  This is an exciting time for Waterfordians because next month is Waterford Pumpkinfest!

I have already “stumbled upon” countless pumpkin recipes and ideas for festive celebrations.  So, from now until October 31st, I will be positing lots and lots of pumpkin-y things!

Here is one idea I will definately be using for my Pumpkinfest party:

Perfect for filling with Pumpkin Ale!

(They should be out in the LCBO soon!!)

Now I just need to get out in the feilds and find a big enough pumpkin.

Thanks for the idea Martha… it’s a good thing.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

Before I begin my review of Outlander, I first must share how I came to discover Gabaldon’s writing.

At not so long time ago in Barcelona, I was at the end of my budget and found an excluded hostel outside of the city with a pool.  Since I would be there for about 5 days, there was nothing I wanted more than to relax, pool side, with a good book.

However, being nearly out of money and two train lines out of the city, when I finally came upon a book store that sold English novels, I picked the largest one I could find (over 1400 pages), and happily trod back to my accommodations.

It was a slow start into the book.  There seemed to be a lot of characters and I felt like I was reading some sort of mystery because the author kept alluding to things past.  I wondered through the whole book what I was missing, why I was so confused, and yet, the narrative was addicting.  Nearing the end, I realized there is no way the book is going to end with all questions tied in neat little bows.  No, no.  Miss Gabaldon ends her novel totally open, so many questions unanswered, and I still wasn’t sure who all the characters were or their significance.

Naturally, I turned to Google for assistance… It led me to Gabaldon’s home page, where I found out my novel, An Echo to the Bone, is actually the 7th novel in her Outlander series, and there is still at least one more on its way.  This proved quite annoying.  While her writing style doesn’t particularly awe me, especially the fact that she seems to have uncontrollable urges to use the word “dubious” on every other page, I just need to know what happened.

Now my tale leads me back to the present, whereupon returning to Canada and getting my life remotely back in order, I purchased, and have now completed Outlander – the first novel in the soon-to-be eight part series.

Alright, now to make things even a little more complicated, the entire premise of the series revolves around time travel.  Is it ironic I read the seventh before the first?  Well… it sure did ruin some of the mystery, but also made me want to know how the characters get to the places they are after a gap of so many years.

Gabaldon claims that Outlander has always been hard to describe; however, at its core, it is a romance novel.  The hero, James Fraser, is far too charming and such a wonderful specimen of manhood and a-typical hero that as much as it’s easy to love him, it’s hard to believe in.  Although you have to be an imaginative person to believe the premise that Claire has stepped through “standing stones” (think Stonehendge) in Scotland during the late 1950’s and they have brought her back to 17th century Scotland.

There is no point trying to describe the plot in detail.  All you need to know is there is time travel, magic, blood, sex (lots!), bloody sex, witchcraft, medicine, history, and it all takes place in Scotland.  Being a lover of fantasy and history and Scotland, I am hooked and will be reading the other five-seven novels.  But, if these main points don’t tickle your happy places, I would skip the series all together.

If you decide to read it or not, whatever you do, do not read the series out of order.

Work to Weekend, Fall to Winter

I need to warn everyone up front that I am H&M obesessed.

Now that that’s over with, I just have to share some of my fav new fall fashions from the king’s of retail:

Vintage cut and colour add sophistication. Perfect for work from fall to winter to spring. Change the colour of tights, from boots to flats, and voila, you have a whole new outfit to fit the season!

This men's military style jacket adds that "extra special" element to make you really stand out from the typical sea of black and brown coats. The scarf is an added bonus.

Sweater dresses are great for work and the weekend. Classic stripes will never go out of style. The burgundy 70's inspired hat is so "in" right now!

I love the layered T's underneath the country knit - I could easily slip right into his stylish arms!

Ah H&M, you never cease to please me.

Who wants to go shopping now?

Feast on Roast Beast

I know some people will be greatly offended by this statement… but: fall has arrived, ladies and gentlemen.

While I don’t enjoy the so-far rainy weather , I am actually quite happy because fall is my favourite season.  Not to mention the cooler weather means I can actually start using my oven again!

(This is also a useful strategy for heating our poorly insulated house.)

So to get your own homes feeling cozy and smelling wonderful, below is my own recipe for an almost perfect roast dinner.

20110919-041413.jpg

This recipe is easy to prep for and depending on the size of your beef, only takes about 1 hr – 1 1/2 hours in the oven.  And, the dishes you will have to wash will be minimal: 1 roasting pan, 1 chopping knife, 2 plates, 2 forks, 2 knives, 1 spoon, 1 cuting board. (This is also very important info when you don’t own a dishwasher.)

To chop:

1 red onion

2 parsnips

2 potatoes

2 carrots

1-2 cloves garlic

(You can use any combo of root veggies you happen to have in your pantry, and as much or as little as your pan will fit, in order to supply as many people as you need to feed.  For me, that is 2 people and enough left-overs for roast beef sandwhiches for lunch.)

You will also need:

Beef, for roasting

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Lots of olive oil

A titch of balsamic vinegar

Horseraddish (if you like… I love!)

S & P

To begin:

Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees.

Bring out the beast…ahem, I mean, beef.

Take your rosemary sprigs and tie with cooking twine to top of beef. Gently stab beef in random spots and place garlic peices inside. Also add onion wedges where possible.

Place the beef in your roasting pan, along with remaining onion, and all chopped veggies.

Douce with as much olive oil as you see fit… I reccommend lots.  Add a couple teaspoons of balsamic vinigar, and stir around the goodness.  Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

It may look something like this:

20110919-041850.jpg

Place roast in oven, uncovered, for 1 hr – 1 1/2 hours, depending on size and how rare or well done you like your meat. Proper chefs probably use a meat thermometer to assist at this point… I generally use my nose and the opinion of anyone else near by the kitchen.

Once done, it may look something like this:

20110919-041906.jpg

Let the poor beast rest to keep in all the yummy juices.

After 5 – 10 mins, slice.

Serve with horseraddish and red wine.

20110919-041926.jpg

Merry feasting, my friends.

Knobs For Hire

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

Seems like a good goal to strive for…

One issue that we have in our little house is that our entry way is also our dining room and kitchen, so we have very limited space to hang things.  Our coat rack is crammed into a corner so most of the stuff…keys, hats, sweaters, coats and the strange abundance of somebody’s purses, gets dumped onto the stair railings or counter or even chucked lazily on top of the stove.  Aesthetically, not very pleasing.

Below is a great “before and after” from my favourite interior design site, Design Sponge.  It seems like a fairly simple way to combine usefulness and creative antique style.

(To see the full “how-to” article, click here.)

Maybe I will try it one of these days…

Anyone have some knobs I can borrow?