During this past chilly week I have discovered a lovely way to make coffee, and it makes me feel like I am sitting in an exotic bedouin tent as opposed to being freezing in a drafty old house mid-winter. Being a coffee fanatic, I drink coffee according to mood. Latte usually in the day as a norm. But I also love those little strong numbers, from gritty thick Turkish coffee served in weeny cups to brutally strong espresso which could put hairs on your chest.
I was at a meeting last week and was served coffee in this way, and it is LOVELY. It smells and tastes heavenly, a bit spiced and moorish. You can have it black or white, and serve it as a strong small coffee or as a base for latte’s and cappucino’s.
The magic ingredient is cardamom.
An aromatic spice indigenous to south India and Sri Lanka, cardamom seeds come from a plant belonging to the ginger family. They are contained in small pods about the size of a cranberry. Cardamom has a wonderful aroma and an enticing warm, spicy-sweet flavour.
- You can use either a stove-top coffee maker or a cafetiere.
- Use one seed per cup. Using the back of spoon, crush it so it splits.
- Add to your normal ground coffee and brew.
- Leave to stand for 5 minutes and the flavour and scent is released into the coffee.
- Add milk and sugar if desired.
I already have used dried cinnamon in coffee at Christmas before, but this cardamom version scales way higher on the yummy scale. The next trial will be star anise….
IT IS READY….
For 3 months I have daily been shaking my bottles of sloes, gin and sugar. I picked them in the autumn, you can read about how to make them here. They have been stored in a dark place, and have now turned the most amazing shade of deep red. I left space in each bottle for vigourous shaking. I read somewhere that one sloe gin maker leaves it in the boot of his car for 3 months, so it rolls around every day. I did not risk it myself, just in case mine broke and my car smelled like I was a gin-soaked alcoholic!
I used a jam strainer bag made of muslin to pour the sloe gin through, as I wanted all of the sediment out of the drink where I have been violently shaking it every day. Then I just decanted it into pretty little 500ml Kilner preserving bottles. Job done.
This morning I woke up very early to a huge frost, everything was blanketed in it and looked fuzzy with ice, and then the sun started to shine. It looked amazing. So I rushed outside, (coat over dressing gown plus hat etc – probably made my neighbours wonder what on earth was going on if they did see me crawling around in the flower beds), and I took some pictures. Here is one:
I could not really go any more macro on shots with the basic camera and lens I was using, so decided to investigate what lens would work. Along my googling journey I came across these stunning close ups of Ice by Oystein Johnsen.
I also found a large collection of ice macro shots by various photographers on Gizmodo, all amazing. This page is also really handy for lens information as the photographers discuss how they took the shot and with what cameras and lenses.