I never liked Coke growing up. Nowadays I like a sip or two of someone else's coke, especially in a frosty glass with clinky ice cubes, not crushed! But it is really too sweet for my taste; I thought I'd try to come up with a cola syrup that had more bite and less . . . cloy? I would love to use this in a soda via fermentation but for now this is a syrup for club soda. WARNING: if you try making this take care when caramelizing the sugar and adding the spiced liquid. —Sadassa_Ulna
Fill a small saucepan with 1-1/2 cups water. Add the black pepper and coriander. Bring to a boil and keep on a high simmer.
Meanwhile peel the limes and lemons with a vegetable peeler. If you get a lot of white pith along with the peel use a small sharp knife to peel it off. Drop the strips of peel into the boiling mix.
Juice the limes, set aside. Grate the nutmeg, set aside. When the pepper water has cooked for 20 minutes and reduced by approximately a third, lower heat to lowest setting and add the cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and lime juice. Simmer on low another 10 minutes. Strain liquid and pour back into saucepan; keep on low heat.
Please take extra care in the following steps and have a bowl of ice nearby.
Pour sugar into a 2 quart saucepan. Place on burner and turn heat up to medium high. Without stirring, allow sugar to melt. Use a wooden spoon to carefully stir the center of the pot. As the sugar liquefies it starts to turn golden. Start stirring the clumps of white sugar into the pale gold liquid sugar. When the mixture is mostly liquid and a deep honey color turn off the heat and continue stirring until all the clumps are gone.
Slowly and carefully pour the pepper water into the caramelized sugar. It will bubble up and spatter a lot. The sugar will form clumps but they will dissolve back again.
Growing up I was the world's pickiest eater, that is, until my children were born. Karma. Neither of my parents were much into cooking; it was the height of eating fat-free or anything with oat bran added. I taught myself some basics, mostly baking, following the guidelines of a well-worn copy of Joy of Cooking. I was a ballet dancer and a teacher suggested I lose weight. As I began reading about diet and nutrition I became interested in natural foods, which led to a job at a macrobiotic natural foods market in Center City Philadelphia; this was way before Whole Foods came to the area. I learned a lot about food in general. I ate strictly vegan for a while, although I don't now, but I still like it when a recipe can taste great without butter or bacon! In short, my approach to cooking is idiosyncratic, and I don't know very much about cooking meat or proper technique. I love to bake and I am still working on expanding my palate and my repertoire. The hardest part is getting the whole family to try new things!
So aside from my food status, I am an architect who likes to garden and play music. I'm married with two kids, and I hope to get a dog someday.