Coffee?

I’m developing a very questionable addiction and I need your opinion. It’s nothing new, you’ve heard it from me before. You see, I’m developing an addiction to coffee.

It all started a good while back with my experience with the perfect flat white and it has become a bit of a thing with me since then. After that flat white coffee post came a spirited (animated) “chat” with my pal Conor who thinks his daily fix is the best flat white in London and comes courtesy of Nude Espresso (there’s one on Hanbury Street off Brick Lane and another on SoHo Square). He fits his coffee breaks into his intense studio routine, where at the end of a rewarding painting session he has a coffee.

I’ll tell you, when it comes to kick-starting my grey matter before I even start a project, nothing delivers quite such a hard blow than a good coffee. Yup I adore tea but putting ‘tea’ and ‘kick’ together in the same sentence doesn’t seem right somehow, unless you like it strong and I don’t. However I don’t mind my coffee being strong which is maybe why if I miss my morning coffee then my head will tell me. Ow!!!

So when I saw a nifty little machine that could brew me up a cup at home, I couldn’t resist the idea. No, trudging outside first thing in the morning even if wrapped up in my favourite scarf well it’s not the same as being able to have a coffee the minute you want it is it? So no more rain soaked hair. Yay!

It took one morning of fiddling about a bit with the different functions on my new machine to get used to it. I’ve never owned a coffee machine so one month in and well, if I’m to be honest, I’m pretty much hooked. It does have a few drawbacks however…

1. Yesterday, I had to restock its coffee pods at a department store where upon arrival, the whole place was geared up to make me feel like it was CHRISTMAS EVE!!!! Music, baubles, smell of Christmas, the whole nine yards… so I did what anyone in a hurry would do and walked in a straight line from the escalator chanting the words “coffeeeeee, coffeeeeee, coffeeeee….” to get to the Lavazza section without buying THE ENTIRE STORE. You’ve done that, right?

2. Another drawback is that each box of sixteen pods is just one type of coffee blend pod (or one colour if that makes more sense) and there are so many to choose from one can be easily convinced to “try a new colour”. A fellow pod shopper was clutching the last box of little blue ones. According to her “It’s the colour that’s the highest in demand.” “Why?” I asked “Because they’re decaf” she replied. Seriously? Do I even know a decaf drinker? Tell me, is it a thing???

3. Another pod shopper explained that “the office has bought a machine and girls (and boys), we buy our own pods depending on taste and preference.” So not only is there a decaf thing, apparently now there’s an office swapping thing as well. A sort of bartering coffee pod system where different coloured pods get swapped around offices like packed lunches at school. Is this a thing at your workplace? Tell me. See, most days I’m at the coal face alone and have little opportunity to swap anything. Fast-forward to me lugging a few boxes of pods home where I can swap them with um, myself.

So at this point, I should probably tell you the pods go into a little machine called a Lavazza A Modo Mio (I got the cappuccino model one called the “Favola Cappuccino”). The messieurs and madams for whom I’ve brewed a cappuccino say it tastes great. So please, tell me that I’m not ridiculously stupid, a total whack job and making my own coffee at home isn’t a completely stupid idea. My sister thinks that my one coffee a day habit (my morning fix) isn’t worth the bother. Just say it : Gisèle, you’re a lightweight. Okay

What’s your take on these homemade coffees? A trend on the rise? Love ‘em or hate ‘em?
Do we think it’ll become a thing?

The Bermuda Triangle

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I don’t know how to break this to you. Perhaps it’s best just to say it out loud. Okay, here goes: I think I might love chocolate a bit too much. On my way through an airport last week, during an intense moment under the glaring duty free red lights we decided (that is you and I on Twitter decided) that we should  bring home the compulsory duty free large Toblerone (way tastier than those Austrian Motzart balls any day).

I am a great believer in instinct: if it feels right, I do it

Anyway one thing led to another, and that’s how I ended up trying to smuggle a giant Toblerone home along with my already overweight luggage. I’m not trying to bludgeon you with a)the blame or b)tales of my Twitter airport shenanigans, but I am a great believer in instinct: if it feels right, I do it – in life, in work and hauling that giant Toblerone home felt very right.

The flight to London was peopled mostly with smiley tanned tourists, a few stressed young mums dragging reluctant children and middle-aged business men with one piece of carry-on. Things started to unravel quickly when the airline staff first ran out of hot water, then patience and then any clue and the will to live. They remained surprisingly calm though and I particularly liked the member of staff who suggested I “sit back, relax and have a giant piece of your duty-free purchase”.

“Um let’s not get carried away now lady,  I usually only eat giant Toblerone between the 25th and the 29th of December, and only in Ireland in front of a roaring fire with my Mum and Dad.” But the flight was unraveling around me (Oh c’mon now, you’ve never felt the tug and comfort of chocolate?) and seeing as I was traveling alone…. I very nearly caved. YES rereading my above text so far I have to wonder what they pump into the cabin air during flights these days.

AND SO… to end my story, I cracked open my make-up bag and my Shu Uemura products and painted on the illusion of rest to meet Mr. Goddess at the airport. On the drive home I explained ‘the trouble is you know, once the Giant Toblerone wrappers lay strewn about, it never actually offers the comfort you think it will – quite the contrary’. FACT boys don’t understand chocolate love.

So what was I going to do with all that chocolate???? I decided I’d comfort cook – prepare food not out of need or duty, but because I wanted to hang out in the kitchen and make something nice for someone so I decided to make a Toblerone cheesecake for Father’s Day. And making this cake meant I could share my chocolate equally with everyone (plus a slice of this chocolate Toblerone cheesecake is so rich you won’t even want more).

So big hugs!  And just one more time, sorry, if you’re not the slightest bit interested  in chocolate, cheesecake or triangular adventures.  Really though, my apologies.

PS: And let me thank you all for your lovely comments all along. It’s a pleasure to read everything you guys write. You’re each unique. There really is just no other word… Thank you. And I definitely have enough chocolate talk done for a few weeks now…

Here’s the recipe

Ingredients

1 packet of Orio cookies

A quarter cup of butter

A half cup of light Muscovado sugar

3 x 200 packs of cream cheese

2 x 400g Toblerones (one for the mixture and one for decoration)

Gelatine sheets

You’ll also need a 20cm wide cheesecake tin with a removable base

Method

1. Split the Orio cookies and using a knife carefully remove the cream filling. Take the black split cookies and place on a large piece of foil on a chopping board and crush into crumbs using a rolling-pin. Pick up the foil and transfer the crumbs to a little bowl.

2. Mix the Orio crumbs with the melted butter making sure not to wet the mixture too much.

3. Grease the cheesecake tin with the paper from the butter you’ve just melted.

4. Press the butter and Orio crumbs mixture firmly into the bast of the cheesecake tin.

3. Beat cream cheese until soft with a mixer or electric whisk and mix in brown sugar while beating.

4. Melt 200g of Toblerone chocolate (half one of your Toblerones) gradually in a bain marie (a glass bowl sitting in a pot of water). Let the chocolate cool slightly.

5. Fold the chocolate in batches into the cream cheese and sugar. Then chop 200g (the other half) of the Toblerone in thick pieces and fold into the mix.

6. Mix 3 teaspoons (1 sheet) of gelatine into a quarter cup of warm water. Fold the mixture carefully in tiny batches into the cheesecake chocolate mix.

7. Transfer the cheesecake mixture into the cheesecake tin and refrigerate for four/six hours of preferably overnight.

8. Serve topped with roughly chopped Toblerone. Enjoy!