Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

No, I’m not American, but people forget that Thanksgiving is the last of the harvest festivals, stemming from a time when giving thanks for a harvest was literally a gratitude for survival. Hence the feasting, from Lammas in the late summer to Thanksgiving in late November. And while our own bounty has been distracting me from writing about it, I do have a lot to be thankful for.

Thankful for my ever-loving partner, all she does and all she is.

Thankful for my extended family, and my friends who support us.

Thankful for finding my true self.

And, of course, most thankful for our little bundle of endless joy. Even when she’s robbing us of sleep, we couldn’t be luckier or happier to have her in our lives. And for that we give thanks.

And pie! I give pumpkin pie!

I essentially use the recipe from Libby’s Canned Pumpkin and it works every time. A few notes though:

  • Don’t bother using fresh pumpkin, it’s more effort than it’s worth. But don’t cheap out on the canned stuff, Libby’s is great.
  • You can buy a shortcrust pie shell to save yourself a lot of stress. This year I used pre-made sweetened shortcrust pastry; it worked, but not perfectly, pastry doesn’t come easily to me.
  • Instead of the separate ginger, cinnamon and cloves, just use a tablespoon of mixed spice.
  • Consider going 50/50 granulated (caster) sugar and muscovado sugar.

That’s it! Enjoy! And… thanks.

Recipe: Cold Brew Coffee

My last post was a bit of a rambling cavalcade of emotions, but on to more practical matters: staying awake. Sure, there are all the usual options: cups of tea or coffee. But, those are inevitably cold by the time you get to them, and when they are they’re disgusting. So, why not cut out the middleman of boiling the kettle in the first place? Bask in the glory of cold brew coffee.

sandow's coldbrew coffee

Sandow’s makes an excellent off-the-shelf or in your local cafe product. But why not make it yourself at home? All you need is some good quality ground coffee, cold water, a receptacle like a flask, and a coffee brewing device. As to the latter, I use an Aeropress which I’ve found to be easily the best maker of coffee. However, they can sometimes be fiddly, and will only do one cup of coffee at a time. You can also use a standard cafetière (French Press) or pour over coffee maker.

The process is simple:

  • Use one and a half times as much ground coffee as you normally would
  • Add cold water until the ground are just covered
  • Stir thoroughly for around 30 seconds, which releases important oils
  • Add the rest of the cold water to make the quantity you need
  • Stir very thoroughly, every minute
  • Allow to steep for twice as long as you would for hot coffee
  • Plunge the coffee, pour it int your flask, jar or bottle, and refrigerate
  • Serve with ice, or just swig it straight from the fridge for an instant pick-me-up.

And there you go: Easy, chilled rocket fuel. Perfect for when your tiny delight is desperate for something, but you’re too bleary-eyed to work out what it is yet…