For me, autumn is the time of spices, veggie curry (usually involving butternut squash), and giant cups of something warm and tasty. And while last year I was lucky enough to still have almost a full bag of pepparkakor (Swedish for gingerbread) spiced tea brought to me by a dear friend all the way from a Swedish Christmas market, this year my store ran out – thus, new ideas had to follow. I came up with something terribly (yes, terribly!) simple and yet surprisingly addictive: a few thick lemon slices, some ginger, cinnamon, and honey (or cherry syrup, which I got as a gift and had absolutely no idea how to use until now) all mixed together in a cup of hot water. This concoction makes a good companion for a long evening of classes, as the spices and lemon keep you attentive, while the honey and warmth make sure you are still at your most comfortable. Enjoy – and don’t go easy on the lemon!
For those who hunger for culinary masterpieces, fall is for sure a renaissance – market stalls are packed with yummy colorful mushrooms and vegetables, good both for eating and making a still life on the window sill. However, if you, like me, are looking for joy in trifles, and aren’t a big fan of cooking, there’s nothing better than a cup of hot cocoa with a pinch of cinnamon (sorry for my platitude). This divine drink is a cure for autumn blues, broken hearts, and heating problems. To enhance the healing effect, I’d recommend making cocoa at home, mixing ingredients in proportions that seem right for you. When it’s done, take your time to enjoy the sweet rich taste that spills over the body reaching your very soul. Making a perfect match with your favorite sitcom and oatmeal cookies, cocoa can brighten up even a ruined day.
Fun fact! According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, flavonoids contained in hot cocoa increase the blood flow and oxygen to the brain and help you think better! Why not take advantage of it to stay focused this fall?
For me, fall recipes are all about warm and cozy comfort foods – apples (it’s still an apple season, and on weekends my apartment smells like a pie!), warm spices, and freshly baked goods. And nothing is quite as belly-warming as a hearty sharlotka in fall. It is a classic Russian apple dessert that can be whipped up at a moment’s notice with ingredients that usually are on hand: apples (or you can jazz it up and add any other fruit, for example, plums – yummy), flour, sugar, and eggs. It’s airy, tasty, and super easy to throw together. If you’ve never tried it, you’re in for a treat. Freshly baked or cold, dusted with powdered sugar or topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or any syrup – perfect for any food lover!
Last year, I wanted to celebrate Halloween but caught a cold right before it. At first I was quite disappointed, but then I did the best I could to create a festive mood – and hot cider helped a lot. You can make it either out of apple juice (preferably home-made one) or apple cider. Just mix it with some sugar or honey, add spices (pretty much those that are used to make mulled wine: cinnamon, cloves, and the like), and warm it all together for a while. Strongly recommend – it (along with the Halloweentown screening) saved the day.
My absolute favorite for fall is witch fingers. It goes against every lyrical Russian food, against the warmth of harvest and the comfort of cinnamon teas, and the general concept that food is not a toy. It’s crude like a bathroom joke and just as satisfying if you can get past the gore. Here’s how to make it: take one sheet of puff pastry, cut it up in narrow strips, twist each strip around itself to form a bony, scary finger, make an indent at the end of the nail (use an almond or just paint it with red jam). Add more red jam for “blood,” stick in the hot oven for about 15 minutes, let them cool and go tickle your friends before biting the nails off.
ITMO.NEWS Editorial Team