A Little Bit of Ethiopia for a Stormy Day

Its rainy, and its cold, and what better way to feel cosy and warm than with a hot cup of freshly roasted and brewed coffee, all the way from Dodola, Ethiopia.

Yes, I said freshly roasted... if you love coffee, then you must try and get hold of some green beans and roast them at home. Having your whole kitchen fill up with coffee scented smoke is a near transcendent experience - seriously! We had brought some green beans back with us from our travels in December and after confirming that green beans can actually keep for quite some time, we got roasting.

We just used a heavy based pan on the gas stove, and as long as you keep the beans moving constantly - you should end up with a delectable end product. The whole roasting process is over quite fast, you will see the small green beans go from a light green, to a very light brown where the husks come off, to a light brown and then they just get darker and darker (this is where you have full control over what type of roast you would like), just make sure you don't go too dark and end up with little crunchy bits of charcoal with only a hint of coffee left - not so tasty!

Traditionally, the coffee is roasted over coals, then ground in a mortar and pestle and brewed in a coffee pot made of clay, the coffee granules settle to the bottom and then you drink from small handleless cups.

Drinking coffee in Ethiopia was one of our favourite things (and we did quite a lot of it too), it is incomparable with popping down to your local roastery and walking out 2 minutes later with cardboard cup in hand! 


Spiced Chocolate and Figs

Another birthday called for another cake...

This one was a spiced chocolate cake (pimento allspice, cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg) with a cream cheese icing and fresh figs to top it all off!

What better food than a food synonymous with romance (that's figs) for my love's birthday!

The cake recipe was from here and the icing is simple: 250g of good quality cream cheese, 2,5 cups of icing sugar and about 2 tbsp of butter all whisked together until light and ceamy.


Whisked Away on the Rails

On Monday, Curtis 'gave' me my birthday present - a trip on an old steam engine from the 1930's! 

The organisation Friends of the Rail restores old steam trains and every so often they do a trip for the public. It was so much fun, we explored the old station, watched the huge fire where they shovel in the coal to keep it all going and enjoyed the 'choo-choooo' at every passing station (yes - it really went 'choo chooo'!  We spent the day in Cullinan -a sweet little town with just enough to explore for a few hours. Plenty of quaint restaurants and some lovely green spaces! A picnic under a tree, a coffee and a stroll later, we were back on the train en route home.

It was the perfect day!


A Field of Wild Flowers

After one of the best birthday weekends (I am now the ripe old age of 23) - Curtis and I ended it off with a walk through Delta. The wild cosmos was out in full (and very high) bloom!

 Winter is on its way, which is fine by me most of the time, but when you can spend a lazy afternoon walking in the sun, through head high cosmos fields - you kind of wish it would hold out a bit longer...