Pumpkin Spice Latte

pumpkin-blog copy

To temporarily suspend our belief that the first signs of nippy air and falling leaves heralds the imminent doom of winter, we take every opportunity to savour summer’s fleeting memories.  Besides the visual display of multicoloured grandeur around us, autumn also blesses us with a bounty of sumptuous and hearty vegetables which bless our daily cooking with glorious flavours.  The Pumpkin Spice Latte has recently risen to the title of “Autumn’s Quintessential Beverage”.  While most coffee shops offer variations of this delectable beverage, most fail to actually include the core ingredient that this drink is based on: pumpkin.  Here is a PSL that proudly elevates the pumpkin and takes your espresso to the next level.

Makes 8 drinks


5 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see recipe below*)
Finely ground black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 shot espresso
Frothed milk or whipped cream

Mixer, whisk, or hand blender, to whip cream
Wooden spoon
Espresso maker or coffee maker


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, use a wooden spoon to stir the pumpkin puree with the pumpkin pie spice and a dash of ground black pepper for about 2 minutes or until it heats up and changes to a darker colour.
  2. Add the brown sugar and continue stirring until the mixture starts bubbling and turns into a syrup.
  3. Add the milk and vanilla extract and turn the heat to medium low so that the mixture warms up but doesn’t boil. Stir for 5-8 minutes, or until the mixture has completely warmed up.
  4. Brew the Lavica espresso of your choice in a regular sized mug. Add ¼ cup of the pumpkin spice mixture and stir. Using the Lavica milk frother, froth some milk as a topping or, for a more decadent drink, top off the drink with whipped cream. Sprinkle some cinnamon over the frothed milk or whipped cream topping. Enjoy!

Note: If coarser ground spices were used, or for a less “rustic” beverage, strain the mixture before portioning into the espresso. The remaining mixture can be refrigerated in an airtight container for a week and warmed up as needed.

*Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe

Mix 4 tablespoons of ground cinnamon, 4 teaspoons of ground nutmeg, 4 teaspoons of ground ginger, 3 teaspoons of ground allspice and 2 teaspoons of ground cloves.  Store in an airtight container to use in all pumpkin-related recipes.


Lemon Curd

lemoncurd“What would you like for your birthday?”

“Oh, I dunno, just make me something.”

Frustrations!  As an art student, this request was a whole lot easier to grant, with unlimited access to fully-equipped studio space, art supplies and surrounded by inspiring peers.  Today, living in a two-bedroom 1,200 square foot condo (with the second room acting as the office/odds & ends and musical instrument storage), creating something gift-worthy (besides a simple card) is next to impossible.  Especially for a picky, umm, particular sister who’s a vegetarian, freegan (check it up, yikes!) and will single-handedly bring back the barter system. While we don’t see eye to eye on most subjects, I still love her dearly and make it a point to rack my brain around Christmastime and her summer birthday to come up with a suitable gift.

This time, I decided to make something that didn’t require a darkroom exposure unit, spray booth or acid (for intaglio copper plate etching of course, what were you thinking, gosh).  As you’ve probably read in my previous posts, I enjoy baking, so creating a little jar of lemon curd seemed to be best solution to the gift conundrum, to be paired with her homemade bread.  Lemon curd + toast = divine!  I also heard from a secret source (thanks mom!) that she lost her bike lock, so I broke the no-purchase rule and bought a “Montreal bike thief-resistant” U-bar.  Thankfully, bike-related gifts are exempt from said rule.

Thirty minutes later, the curd was cooling, and my freshly-designed label was ready for printing.  My next endeavour will be to learn proper canning techniques for future delectable gifts.


Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Yes, goat cheese cheesecake.  Having a lactose intolerant in one’s household calls for a little extra creativity when it comes to baking.  Although this delicious dessert does contain some cream cheese, the addition of goat cheese greatly reduces to lactose level.  I’m sure goat cheese cream cheese exists, as I just discovered goat yoghurt (umm  “go-ghurt”) the other day, however our nearest grocery store has not yet stocked up on such exotic products.

It concerns me how food allergies are becoming more prevalent, and although I’m thankful for scientific advances which provide alternatives, I can’t help but wonder if by meeting quotas and tweaking genetics to create more robust vegetation, we’re harming our body’s delicate natural balance.  Food for thought.

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