“Do you know what it’s like to love someone without it ever being returned?”
I love this line from The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. There are few amongst us who don’t know what it’s like to love someone without it ever being returned. Unrequited love is one of the great tragic story lines. And a reminder that the ability to feel things deeply is both a blessing and a curse. The line makes me want to read Chekhov or at least perhaps, attend one of his plays.
But I’m not about to start on Chekhov, at least not quite yet. For the past few months, I’ve been suffering through Wuthering Heights, the ultimate unrequited love story. I’m reading this for the second time. I first read it as a teen, although I find it hard to believe I had the patience then, because as an adult, I’ve found this book both challenging and tedious. I must have speed read it when I was in high school, glossing merrily over everything, just hoping true love would prevail. This time around I’ve had to read most of it twice in order to keep all the anguish straight. I finish one chapter, start the next, and have to go back to the previous one to remind myself of the most recent convoluted plot twists.
The whole book relies on the nurse/nanny to tell the story. The all-knowing nanny who is lurking at every corner and who has never missed a single thing in the history of Wuthering Heights. As much as I love the whole tragic mess, I wonder if Emily Bronte would have found a publisher if she’d tried to publish this book today.
Tonight I’m going to finish the last chapter – already knowing the ending. I can’t wait for it to be over and then find something far more frivolous to read. I’m guessing that won’t be Chekhov, who apparently had a preoccupation with death.
Enter the Baileys. Whether you’re suffering from the February blahs or unrequited love or a preoccupation with death – – a drink might just be medicinal and Baileys is a good tonic for many things.
Last year I posted a recipe for home-made Baileys that I’ve had since my university days. Every now and then I make a batch but I always feel badly for dairy-free- daughter – since the recipe calls for both sweetened condensed milk and cream. Then I saw a reference to home-made sweetened condensed milk using coconut milk powder. I’ve just tried this and love it! Making your own sweetened condensed milk is brilliant – it’s less expensive and you can control the amount and type of sugar you use. This also makes it suitable for a vegan diet. Hurray!
Both the recipe for Baileys and the recipe for home-made sweetened condensed milk follow…
Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk – dairy-free or not (adapted from a recipe in Chatelaine magazine)
- 1 cup coconut milk powder (I used Mr. Goudas Coconut milk powder which I found in the international food section of my grocery store) OR 1 cup of dried milk powder
- 1/2 cup natural raw sugar (I used organic cane sugar but you could use regular white sugar, brown sugar, or whatever sweetener you prefer)
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
Place the raw sugar in the blender. Cover with the boiling water. Add the coconut milk (or dried milk) powder and vanilla. Blend until completely mixed and emulsified. Use this entire quantity in the Bailey’s recipe – or refrigerate and use as you would use tinned sweetened, condensed milk.
Homemade Baileys Irish Cream – dairy-free
- 1 quantity of homemade dairy-free sweetened condensed milk from the recipe above (or 1 can sweetened condensed milk for non dairy-free version)
- 1 cup almond or coconut milk (or cream for non dairy-free version)
- 1 cup Irish whisky or rye whisky or vodka
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder or one shot of espresso
Mix the ingredients together and pour into an empty bottle. Will last a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. (Actually I cannot be sure this is true – lasts about three days in my refrigerator before it is gone.)