Earl Grey Punch

Earl Grey Punch

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Whether it’s for Mother’s Day, Easter, or wedding shower, Earl Grey Punch is a lovely sipper! But don’t be fooled by the name, this punch packs a punch with its white rum and apricot brandy. Only slightly subdued by a generous dose of citrus juice from limes, oranges and lemons, it’s not for your grandma’s punch bowl with the glasses hanging off the side. It’s fresh and bright with a small undertone of earthiness from the tea, making it the perfect afternoon cocktail.

 

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Two glasses filled with Earl Grey Punch rest on a white tray draped with a light blue cloth, orange ribbon and fresh mint.
Earl Grey Punch
Print Recipe
    Servings
    4 - 6 ounce cocktails
    Servings
    4 - 6 ounce cocktails
    Two glasses filled with Earl Grey Punch rest on a white tray draped with a light blue cloth, orange ribbon and fresh mint.
    Earl Grey Punch
    Print Recipe
      Servings
      4 - 6 ounce cocktails
      Servings
      4 - 6 ounce cocktails
      Ingredients
      Servings: 6 ounce cocktails
      Instructions
      1. In a small bowl combine white rum and loose earl grey tea. Allow mixture to sit for 1-2 hours.
      2. Strain rum and add to a small pitcher. Add remaining ingredients except for ice and mint, stir to combine.
      3. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh mint leaves if desired.

      Apricot Brandy Sparkler

      Apricot Brandy Sparkler

      Cheers to a new year with Apricot Brandy Sparkler!

      Apricot Brandy Sparkler is my way of saying goodbye to 2018 and cheers to the new year ahead. Can you believe another year is already over?  Where has the time gone?  It is the sentiment I have often felt, but with the approaching new year, I have a sense of accomplishment and a strong purpose moving forward.  While 2018 was still a year of routine, plucking forward just trying to keep up with work, household and blogging, it was also a year that a few things got done.

      One of my greatest joys this year was the construction of our new deck/outdoor space, and for many, it would not be a big deal.  For me however, it was a project that was put off for a variety of reasons for many, many years.  It was also designed and built by my husband, who did an amazing job. It ’s a beautiful space, complete with furniture and gas fireplace.  I love it and couldn’t be happier to share it with family and friends or simply sit quietly spending quality time with my husband.  

       

      The Year Ahead…

      The past year was also a year of learning and working hard to create our first video for Mark Bouliane/Overland Explorer, which follows my husband and me on our over-landing adventures.  Creating and editing video is definitely a skill and has its own set of challenges. We are both excited to improve this skill and have fun being creative.  We hope it’s the first of many videos for both of us, which leads me to another goal for 2019.  Video production for Compelled to Cook is set for my 2019 to do list, as is monetizing my food blogging efforts.  Both are substantial goals for myself but definitely in the realm of possibility.  The learning, progress and firsts are what excites me for 2019.  So, even though 2018 must go, the new year looks amazing and I’m ready to get started.  How about you?

      Author: Compelled to Cook, from “Cooks Workshop” Cocktails & Party Drinks 1984

      Apricot Brandy Sparkler
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        1 cocktail 10 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        1 cocktail 10 minutes
        Apricot Brandy Sparkler
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          1 cocktail 10 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          1 cocktail 10 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: cocktail
          Instructions
          1. Combine vodka, apricot brandy, lemon juice, and Grenadine in a cocktail shaker. Fill half full with ice. Shake until cold, about 30 seconds. Pour into a champagne glass and top with champagne. Serve immediately.

          Gingerbread Roll

          Gingerbread Roll

          For me the perfect holiday roll is light chiffon gingerbread cake rolled with a cloud like brandied whipped cream, crowned with silky sweet icing and caramel drizzle. This lovely Gingerbread Roll not only signifies the holidays with its spices, but is also the perfect ending to a heavy turkey meal. With its featherlight cake and dreamy centre your guests will thank you!

          While the original recipe is not my own and pretty darn good as it is, I have made it several times and made a few adaptions along the way to suit my tastes. For my Gingerbread Roll I long ago omitted making the glacéed fruit from the original recipe, because frankly, there’s barely enough time during the holidays to get the cake done let alone fancying up the fruit. I find it quite a bit easier to dredge a cluster of fresh cranberries with sugar and place on the platter along side the roll. Simple, easy and you’ve probably already bought fresh cranberries for cranberry sauce. I’ve also omitted making the caramel from scratch and use store bought caramel sauce. For some this is sacrilege but for those who are pressed for time it’s a means to get it done with some sanity. Last week I worked 62 hours at my regular job and next week will be similar…..so in the end, something has to give. For me it’s fancy glazed fruit and homemade caramel.

          It’s important in this recipe to brush all the brandy on the cake. It seems like a lot, but it will help to keep the cake moist. Don’t worry about it being overpowering or too strong.  When combined with the cake and whipped cream it is quite subtle.  Secondly, it is important to dust the kitchen towel with plenty of icing sugar to roll up the cake. Without a good layer of icing sugar the cake tends to stick to the towel, so use a heavy hand here. The icing can also be made up to a week ahead and frozen. When ready to ice the cake, simply thaw completely and re-whip to fluff it up. The whole roll can be made up to one day ahead as well. Cover well and keep chilled.

          What I want people to see is a first rate dessert that doesn’t wear them down, because it is a lovely roll that is absolutely worth making. This Gingerbread Roll is one of my favourites because it’s light, festive and perfumed with ginger and allspice, making it the perfect addition to my holiday table.

          Recipe Source: Adapted slightly from Epicurious Gingerbread Roulade with Caramel and Glacéed Fruits

           

          Gingerbread Roll
          Print Recipe
          Light chiffon cake rolled with brandied whipped cream, crowned with a silky sweet icing and caramel drizzle.
            Servings
            10 people
            Servings
            10 people
            Gingerbread Roll
            Print Recipe
            Light chiffon cake rolled with brandied whipped cream, crowned with a silky sweet icing and caramel drizzle.
              Servings
              10 people
              Servings
              10 people
              Ingredients
              Cake
              Filling
              Icing
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              Cake
              1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Spray a 15 1/2" x 10 1/2" x 1" baking sheet with non stick spray and line pan with parchment paper. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar and ginger until light and tripled in volume, approximately 5 minutes. Add butter, molasses, and vanilla, whisking to combine. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Fold sifted ingredients into egg yolk mixture until just combined. Do not over mix.
              2. Using a separate clean bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add 2 tbsp of sugar and continue to beat until egg whites are just stiff. Add approximately 1/3 of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and fold in gently. Fold in another 1/3 of egg whites until just combined. Repeat folding with the remaining 1/3 of egg whites. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading gently but evenly. Bake in preheated oven on middle rack for approximate 13 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean. Do not over bake.
              3. Spread out a clean kitchen towel and dust generously with icing sugar. Loosen edges of cake and carefully invert cake onto towel. Remove parchment paper and brush cake generously with brandy. Roll warm cake in the towel starting at the long end. Tuck in ends of towel and allow cake to cool in towel.
              Filling
              1. Whisk together heavy cream, sour cream, brown sugar and brandy until stiff. When cake has completely cooled, unroll and spread filling evenly over surface. Reroll cake without the towel and place on serving platter with seam side down. Cover and refrigerate while icing is prepared.
              Icing
              1. In a small sauce pan combine brown sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla. Heat over medium heat until sugar has dissolved and the mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat and allow to chill completely in the refrigerator or freezer, stirring once or twice.
              2. While mixture is chilling, beat together butter, icing sugar, allspice and ginger until light and fluffy. Gradually add chilled cream mixture and continue to beat until combined and fluffy.
              3. Evenly spread icing onto cake and drizzle with caramel sauce. Chill cake for at least 2 hours. To serve, cut into thick slices on a slight angle and serve with extra caramel sauce.