Maple Pumpkin Butter


I was a little hesitant on making this. I didn’t think I’d know what to do with it honestly. When one of my many pumpkins started going (and I’d found that I’d already made my repitoire of pumpkin goodies) I figured it was time.
Tasting along the way, this sugar-free variety kept it’s promises of tasting like the best of all pumpkin pies, but did I want that on my toast every morning? As delicious as it was, only days after making it, I’m finding that I didn’t make enough. A spoonful into pancake batter or with soy milk for french toast, pumpkin butter is perking up and making already great treats extraordinary.

MAPLE PUMPKIN BUTTER

2 Cups Pumpkin Purée
1 1/2 Cups Apple Juice
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger

Mix everything together in a food processor until well blended.
Add the mixture to a large saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Continue to cook on a low heat until the colour deepens and the purée reduces, about 1 hr.
Store in an air tight container or can to preserve, if desired.

Bicerin



Or should I aptly rename it: An Introduction to My New Best Friend Michelle.
Michelle hosts the blog Sugar and Spice and sent me the most wonderful package.

You see, there’s this lovely event that takes place amongst some bloggers, so nicely organized by Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness. “Blogging By Mail” matches bloggers from around the globe to send a little something about where they’re from, their common culinary ingredients and their most favourite things. As my package was en route to Amrita in Singapore, Michelle was busy travelling from home to home town to jam pack the parcel she was preparing for lucky, little ol’ me.

Inside there were stuffed olives, beautiful fabric for me use in pictures, gouda, fruit snacks, ginger chews, note cards, Jordan Almonds and the cutest Heinz ketchup bottle, that I’ve always wanted but never had the courage to steal while on vacation in the States.:)

…And the chocolate, chocolate chocolate! As I pulled the items from what seemed to be my bottomless box of complete generosity, I found bars, sauce, biscotti, chocolate pretzels and it perfect breakfast match, coffee!!

As I drank my freshly ground Joe, I flipped through The Chocolate Deck, which Michelle also included!
It’s a deck of chocolate recipes so fantastically photographed by William Meppem and written by a former editor of Gourmet, Lori Longbotham. I was truly inspired by some of the recipes. Some for their beauty, others for their simplicity. Like this one; Bicerin.

Bicerin is described to have been a cafe favourite in Turin, Italy during the nineteenth century. Still enjoyed, it looked good and sounded better, plus with the help of Michelle, I had pretty much all the best ingredients to give my inspiration a go.

BICERIN
(as Adapted From Lori Longbotham)

2 Cups Plain Soy Milk
2 Cups Strongly Brewed, Hot Coffee
3 Ounces Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons Sugar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Orange Flower Water, optional
or
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier, optional

Over a medium heat, warm the soy milk to a low simmer and remove just before it begins to boil.
Meanwhile, in a heatproof pitcher, pour the hot coffee over the chopped chocolate and sugar, whisking until smooth.
Whisk the milk and Grand Marnier or orange blossom water, if using.
Taste and adjust sweetness, adding more if necessary.

Serves 4 – 6

Candied Orange Peels


Inspired by the urge to make hot cross buns, marmalade and reading Orangette.

CANDIED ORANGE PEELS

5 Oranges, any kind
3 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Water

Soak and scrub the oranges in warm soapy water and rinse well.
Cup the tops and tails from the oranges, then peel.
Cut as much of the pith as you can without getting too crazy about it.
Slice the peels into strips and add them to a sauce pan with enough cold water to cover.
Once the water begins to boil, drain and repeat 2 – 3 times to reduce the bitterness.
Dissolve the sugar in the one cup of water and bring to a low boil, heating 230ºF.
Once the sugar syrup reaches the magic number, reduce the heat to just a simmer and add the blanched peels.
Soak the peels in the simmering syrup for 35 – 40 minutes, or until they are translucent.
If you’re finding it irresistible, infrequently spin the pan but try not to stir it since it will create sugar crystals.
Remove the peels, separate them and lay them out on a cooling rack to dry. (Or be sure to toss them in sugar first, if they’re just for snacking.)
Reserve the syrup for other uses. (Like sweetening cocktails, iced tea or as a glaze.)
Once they are cooled, store the oranges in granulated sugar until ready to use.