If we were having coffee together this morning, you are in for a surprise.
It is now definitely mid-winter here. The temperature has dropped below zero. We have had rain, rain and more rain, followed by mud, mud and more MUD. Having horses means having mud everywhere. Beautiful pastures are churned into knee-deep mudbaths within days of persistent rain. If your soil is mostly clay, it means that mud follows you everywhere. It sticks like glue to your boots, even to the inside of your wellingtons, because sooner or later you are going to step into an innocent looking puddle (see video below) and discover that it is deeper than the top of your wellies. It sticks to your socks because your will soon realise how tightly clay can grab hold of a rubber boot, when you want to lift your foot, find that you have left your boot behind and have to put your foot down to keep your balance. I f you don’t manage to keep your balance, you will find it sticks to your backside when you find yourself sitting pretty (deeply) in the sticky stuff. When this happens, if you can refrain from swearing, you are a better person than I am.
Mud – in your hair, on your face, in your ears…what I really don’t understand is why horses find the stuff so irresistible that they have to roll in it several times a day. So before we can have coffee together, I have to do a wee bit of grooming, in the freezing cold. Luckily it is now mostly legs and feathers as all 6 are now wearing rugs, some more willingly than others. Two days ago we decked them all out – two blue rugs, two purple rugs, a dark-red one and a camel-coloured one. Today they are all wearing rugs of the same colour – mud colour. Rolling in the mud while you are wearing a horse rug is obviously even more fun than when you are not wearing a rug. Now you know why we don’t host Mindfulness Meditation Retreats guided by said horses here during the winter!
When I fall through the kitchen door, having rid myself of wellies, waterproof jacket, woolly hat, scarf, gloves and the worst of the mud in the mudroom, half frozen and desperate for my first cup of coffee of the day, it would be understandable if you were expecting a steaming mug of coffee with maybe a croissant or two to dip in it and a cozy chat in front of the log burner.
Eh bien, non, not today. I would be rushing to the fridge, from where I would grab a huge jug of pitch black, ice-cold looking liquid, as well as a tray of dark-brown evil-looking ice cubes.
« What is this? », you might ask, eye wide with surprise.
As you may know, we are soon leaving on our annual 24h trek to the southern tip of the African continent. I have looked at the weather forecast, and it is 30°+ there most days, however unimaginable this may sound here. As you also may know, I LOVE coffee, but drinking coffee in sweltering temperatures may be a challenge, even for me. So I have been looking at Iced Coffee recipes and I have found one that is SOOOOOO good, one can even drink it in mid-winter. Here is the recipe:
French Cinnamon and Vanilla Iced Coffee (using a cafetière/French press)
1/3 cup whole coffee beans
1 1/2 cups cold water (I use the water from one of our mountain springs, ice cold winter and summer)
Ice, to taste (ice cubes to be made from frozen coffee)
Milk/cream, to taste (I have been known, on occasion only, to use condensed milk – so deliciously decadent, non?)
1/2 drops of vanilla essence
Grind the 1/3 cup of coffee beans until they are coarse enough to be filtered by the French press, yet fine enough to infuse well. Add a ¼ spoon of cinnamon powder before you grind the beans.
the ground coffee into the French press and top with 1 and 1/2 cups of water.
Gently stir the coffee with the water until well-blended.
Put on French press lid with the plunger is in the up position.
Steep the coffee overnight in the fridge: Leave the plunger in the up position so the grounds infuse the water overnight.
The next morning, plunge the French press to separate the coffee from the grounds.
Fill a glass with frozen coffee ice cubes and add with milk/cream/condensed milk to taste. Fill the rest of the glass with iced coffee. Add vanilla essence and sweetener. Stir to mix well. Now you can add a scoop of vanilla ice cream of and/or top the coffee with whipped cream (chantilly) and sprinkle with cinnamon powder. Stick in a vanilla stick for decoration and for stirring and enjoy!
Funny how this coffee ends up having the exact same colour as the mud in my hair…