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Archive for September, 2010

Mulled wine is my favorite fall and winter drink.

It’s hot and sweet and it possesses a very special power – it makes both your limbs and your soul beautifully warm.

 

I got this recipe from my beloved Mom. It’s traditional in our family, it’s simple, it’s fragrant and it’s beyond delicious.

If you’ve never tried it before, you definitely need to.

It’ll make you happy!
 
 

Here are the ingredients.

Simple, right?
 
 

These are the ingredients posing again just for you.

The water couldn’t make it to the picture ’cause it’s just too slow.

(Oh, yes, I am drinking the wine when writing this… how could you guess that?)
 
 

Cinnamon.

I love cinnamon.

Cinnamon is the spice of my life.
 
 

1. To make your own mulled wine, pour the wine into a medium saucepan.

2. Add the water.
 
 

3. Add the lemon juice, sugar and spices.
 
 

4. Place the saucepan over low heat.

5. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

This mixture shouldn’t be boiling – that would make the alcohol evaporate. And, gee, that is the last thing in the world we want, right?

 
 

6. Remove from heat and strain into a large jug (or just remove the spices).

7. Serve in glasses while still warm.

 
And most importantly – enjoy, dear friends!
 

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A Lady

I took this picture last Saturday.

Finding a name for it was a piece of cake.

‘A Lady’.

Her presence is just so massive and heavy.

Or what?

 

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Textiles are food’s best friend.

That is the reason why textiles are my best friend, too.

Whether they are tablecloths, table mats, kitchen towels, napkins or just spare pieces of fabric, I love them all.

Dearly.

Well, welcome to the universe of my addictions.

This is one of many.

Many, many.

 

As with any other obsession, buying colorful textiles is completely out of my control and I see no end to this activity.

The only thing I need is MORE!

 
 

This week, I was ‘lucky’ enough to stumble upon these cuties in Tesco.

I immediately saw perfect props for my photographs in them.
 
 

They were being sold as color-matching sets of two under the official name ‘Tea Towels’.

 

There was a blue set – this could work perfectly in pictures with biscuits or bread.
 
 

Then there was this olive-green set.

I love it.

It could help salads of any kind stand out.

Pasta salads included.
 
 

A red set.

What a color!

Hypnotizing!

It’s delivering a very brave statement.

When I look at it my brain keeps screaming ‘RED’ for the next five minutes.
 
 

And then I grabbed this brown set, too.

Can you see the top towel?

There are prints of cakes and steaming cups of coffee on it.

Well, how was I supposed to not buy it?

How?

How could that be done, I ask?
 
 

Have I already told you how much I love them?

Can’t wait to use them all.
 

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These muffins are like treasure boxes.

Cute, little treasure boxes.

The moment you take a bite the muffin welcomes you with its moist and tender texture.

After a while you’ll notice that a couple of refreshing assorted berries have come to greet you too.

‘Yum’ – that’s exactly what comes to your mind!

And then, as if this wasn’t enough already, you’ll stumble upon these wonderfully rich and creamy white chocolate chunks that counterbalance the tartness of the berries in a way you’ve never even dared to dream about before.

And you think: ‘I thought “Yum” before… so what am I supposed to think now? Shall I scream? Or call somebody? Or shall I run really fast?’

These muffins, they are amazing.
 
 

This is the cast of characters.

 

I’ve noticed that for some reason the number of ingredients in my recipes rarely exceeds ten.

If ever.

Who knows why?

‘Cause I don’t.
 
 

1. To make your own ‘treasure box’ muffins you’ll need two bowls.

One bowl for the ‘wet’ ingredients and the other one for the ‘dry’ ones.

Then you just combine the two, bake it and that’s it.

Bye!

 

No, no, no, just kidding – don’t you expect me to leave that quickly.

You know me, don’t you?

I’m here to reveal the whole story in every specific detail.

Otherwise my brain would break.

 

So (and this really is the step number one), in a bowl pour all the wet ingredients – the lemon juice, oil, milk and egg.
 
 

2. Whisk them to combine.
 
 

3. Then grab the white chocolate.
 
 

And chop it roughly into chunks.

Of course, you can also use store-bought chunks or even chips.
 
 

4. Place the dry ingredients (the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and chocolate chunks) into the second bowl.

Set about half a cup of chunks aside for decorating.

 

5. Stir to combine.
 
 

6. Now pour the wet mixture into the dry one.
 
 

7. And stir -and this is important when it comes to muffins – just until it combines.

Small lumps are perfectly all right.

Overmixing a muffin batter might result in tough muffins.
 
 

8. Finally, add the berries.

If you decide to use frozen berries, don’t let them thaw before baking. That way they won’t bleed into the batter and the batter will remain yellow(ish).

Which is exactly what I didn’t do.
 
 

9. Gently, fold in the berries and admire the beauty you’ve created.

Yes, I see a lot of beauty in batters.

Yes, I am feeling all right.

Why do you ask?
 
 

10. Line the muffin tin with paper liners.

If you don’t want to use papers, then just oil the tins with some vegetable oil.

 

11. Using a spoon, fill each cup full of batter and sprinkle a few chocolate chunks over the top.

The extreme amount of batter per cup might surprise you, but that way you’ll achieve those nice domed tops more easily.
 
 

12. Bake at 356 F (180 C) for about 20-25 minutes…
 
 

… or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
 

13. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Then let cool completely.
 
 

Here it is – standing proud in all its irresistible deliciousness.
 
 

Oh my!

Enjoy, dear friends!

 

This recipe makes 11 large muffins.
 

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The early fall is truly magical.

These days I love to revel in all the pleasant impressions that this time of year evokes in me.

I love the calm… as if everything is coming to rest after all the hard work.

I’m excited when I see first signs of the glitter party that nature is going to throw soon.

Also, I love to go for long walks and enjoy the nice and warm days.

And if I didn’t sleep so late I’d definitely enjoy the crisp and cool mornings.

Hm, you can’t have everything, I guess.

 

But most of all, I enjoy the fruits of this season.

Like apples, for example.

In my world, there’s nothing more wonderful than the smell of apples and cinnamon coming out of the oven.

That’s why I end up making all sorts of apple-cinnamon creations these days each year – Apple Crisp being one of my favorite.

Yum!
 
 

The ingredients are simple and economical.

And that’s great.

 

Now I invite you to have a look at what crazy stuff was going on in my kitchen…
 

1. First, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
 
2. I placed all the ‘topping’ ingredients into one bowl – namely the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, salt, oats and walnuts.
 
Okay, maybe it wasn’t that crazy.
 
 

3. Using a fork, I combined them all just until this crumbly mixture had formed and no large pieces of butter were visible.

The topping is finished.

Easy!
 
 

4. Then I grabbed six medium apples.

These are Golden Delicious.

Also Empire, Gala, or Braeburn are especially good in this recipe.
 
 


5. I peeled, washed, cored and sliced them.
 
 

6. And then I cut the slices into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks.
 
 

7. To make the filling, I placed the apples, the lemon zest (I used dried lemon zest) and the sugar in a larger bowl…
 
 

8. …and tossed it to combine.

Mmmm… can you smell that?

Instant home!
 
 

9. I am brushing a dish with vegetable oil here.

Instead, you can butter the dish or just spray it with some cooking spray.

Also, although I used a slightly larger dish, I recommend to use a 9 inch (23 cm) deep dish pie plate or an 8 x 8 x 2 inch (20 x 20 x 5 cm) baking dish.

 
 

10. Fill the dish with the fragrant apple filling.

 
 

11. And, using your fingertips, spread the topping evenly over the apples.
 
 

12. Pop it in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly and the topping is golden brown.

 
 

13. Remove from the oven, place on the cooling rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Then dig into it with a spoon and check whether everything is all right.
 
 

And if everything is perfectly all right, and it definitely will be, proceed to another step – fill a bowl with some more spoonfuls of this flavorful, juicy and crispy wonder.

Add a nice, fat scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Or two.

Or four.
 
 

And have a great time!
 

If, by any chance, you end up with some leftovers, refrigerate them and reheat them before serving.
 
 

Enjoy!

 

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Huge

Sometimes me and my man spend our weekends doing the strangest things.

Like watching ships getting in and out of huge chambers.

Unbelievably huge chambers!

Even to a girly girl like me, this process was completely captivating.
 

Oh, and also, this is my first animation.

I’ll explain how to put it together later.

It can’t be simpler to make.

 
See you soon!

Love,

Petra
 

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I’ve been carrying an idea to prepare a tuna sandwich in my head for quite some time.

Cause I love tuna.

It’s my favorite fish of them all.

Maybe because that’s the only one I eat, actually.

 

Anyway, recently, when making this delish Potato Soup, I ended up with one unused celery root and was looking for a dish that would incorporate it somehow.

Things have come full circle when one of the first recipes that I came across was actually for a Tuna Sandwich.

There was no question about the celery root any more.

Task completed.

Case solved.

What needs to be done, has to be done.

 

When I searched some more I also found out that people have produced about a zillion Tuna Sandwich recipes throughout the history.

It looks like it’s some kind of a popular ritual that we all share and enjoy.

Okay folks, I wanna play this game too and this is my addition…
 
 

Please, meet the ingredients.

They are yummy.
 
 

Let’s start with this handsome buddy, if you don’t mind.

It’s a celery root aka celeriac.

I write about its life story and why it needs your love here.
 
 

1. Slice off the skin of the root, wash it and grate it finely.
 
 

Like this.
 
 

2. Grab one half of red onion and chop it.

It will add a wonderful taste and also a wonderful color to the salad.
 
 

3. Let the onion and the celery make friends in a larger bowl.
 
 

4. Now break the Chinese cabbage into individual leaves, wash them and drain them.
 
 

5. Slice the leaves into thin strips, leaving out the firmer parts.

And I don’t mean fingers here.

Which you should of course leave out.

 
 

6. Then chop the cabbage even more finely and add it into the bowl.
 
 

7. Drain the tuna and throw it in too.
 
 

8. And now the best part (for some of us) – add nice eight heaping tablespoons of mayo.

That amount might sound a little devilish, I agree.

But consider that we are making a lot of sandwiches here – about ten – so it’s kinda all right.

Right?

Are you with me?

 
 

9. Season it with the Worcestershire sauce and mix until combined.

 

10. And then taste it and add some salt if you wish to.
 
 

11. Spread the newly made salad mixture on a bread slice and top with another slice of bread.
 
 

Then have a bite and enter heaven instantly.

It’s beyond delicious!

Enjoy, dear friends.

(This recipe feeds one smaller army – it makes about 10 sandwiches.)
 

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