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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Bubble Fun

Blowing bubbles can be real fun.

Especially if you take your camera with you and find that dear special someone who’ll assist you in this exciting game and will make bubbles for you.

Furthermore, it is a great exercise for your shooting skills. I know it because that is how me and my man spent all afternoon yesterday.

Try it!

It’s awesome.

 

Love,

Petra

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This week there’s a lot of celebrating going on.

To my astonishment, summer is coming to an end. To say a proper ‘Goodbye’ I’ve decided to prepare this yummilicious summery salad.

Yum-yum!

Second, though one might guess so, fall is slowly breezing its way to our days. Recently, there was a strange click in my brain and suddenly I started to think about mulled wine, The Annual Fall Market and – may heaven forgive me – Christmas.

And all those thoughts felt so good!

Hey! Am I the only one?

HELLO!

Is there anybody out there thinking about Christmas already?

Anyway, to celebrate the arrival of the most flamboyant seasons of them all, I’ve made a wonderful potato soup today. I am posting the recipe soon.

And then, this maniacal site of mine is celebrating its first birthday in a couple of days.

This is just a gorgeous week!

 
 

These are the ingredients that I’ve use to prepare the Tomato and Bean Salad.
 
 

And these are the same ingredients in picture.

 

The story goes like this:

1. First, dice the tomatoes.

Begin by cutting them in half.

You can also seed your tomatoes at this stage (using a little spoon) if you don’t prefer ‘the water’ in your salad.
 
 

Then turn the tomato half face down and slice it horizontally.
 
 

Cut the tomato into strips.
 
 

And finally, hold the strips together and slice across them to have these cute little dices.
 
 

2. Throw the tomato dices into a bowl along with the beans.
 
 

3. Chop the green onions, fresh oregano and basil…

 
 

…and into the bowl they go, as well.

 
 

4. Now let there be some seasoning – add the salt, ground black pepper and fresh lemon juice.
 
 

5. And the olive oil, of course.

Olive oil is healthy and yummy.
 
 

6. Toss all the ingredients gently to mix.
 
 

Serve chilled.

This wonderful salad can be served as is, or with a crunchy toast (or two or five), or with some yummy chicken steak …or any way you really like.

Enjoy, dear friends!

And have a wonderful week!

Love,

Petra

(This recipe was adapted from AppleCrumbles.com.)
 

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I’m Back!

I’m back, I’m back, I’m back …FINALLY!

Yippee!

Yaaay!

Wheeeee!

My house sitting days are OVER!

I am nothing less than excited about going back to my old life and my old routine …and now even in a new town and in a new flat where me and my boyfriend have moved.

Today I spent the day concentrating on a very important task – walking around the flat for the whole day and watching how the sun moves in relation to my windows trying to find out which spots will work best for the thing I can no more live without – my food photography.

But every now and then my thoughts flew far away to a cute little someone I can’t stop thinking about.

It’s the baby in the picture, my little sister, my parents’ beloved sweetheart – little Georgina.
 
 


This is the baby I was looking after for almost three weeks.

Actually, it was her, a canary and a zillion of Mom’s plants.

Me and Georgina, we had the best time together. Still, there were moments when we really missed the parents. To cheer us up we needed to find various funny activities – like trying out different hairstyles for example (for Georgina, of course, I was wearing no hairstyles at all, I was channeling a nature fairy).
 
 

My parents arrived home safely.

That means that mine and Georgina’s sweet and careless days are over and we both have to start doing some proper and meaningful work.

In my case, the work consists of cooking, baking and taking pictures for my site (don’t I just have the best life ever?).

Georgina’s days, on the other hand, are filled with helping my parents with the gardening. She’s irreplaceable in this aspect (and in all other aspects, too).
 
 

Just look at how much enthusiasm, vigour and responsibility she has for the chores that looking after the garden involves…
 
 

Oh, Georgina, you are the sweetest little creature that I’ve ever met – my time spent with you was just wonderful.

I think I love you.

Of course, except for those gloomy, obscure moments when you were chasing frogs, maybe ate some of them, had a physical tremor afterward and ran after another frog as soon as the tremor was gone …that haunting stuff I hope to forget really soon…
 

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I know how it is.

Recently you’ve been craving something yummy but you just didn’t know precisely what it was.

And I am here to tell you exactly what it is.

That’s my purpose on this planet, actually.

What you’ve been craving recently is this wonderful, delicious, scrumptious and luscious lemon delicacy.

Call me a witch if you want to…but I just know it.
 
 

These are the ingredients that you’ll need if mere looking at these pictures isn’t enough for you.

This treat isn’t just wonderful in taste, it is also very interesting in structure – which only adds to its WOW factor.

Since half of it is baked and the other half is cooked you get two surprises in one dish.

Isn’t that amazing?

Come and have a look, I’ll show you what I mean.
 
 

1. To prepare you own Lemon Delight first place the softened butter and the sugar (1/2 cup – 100 grams) into a medium bowl.
 

2. Mix it with your hand mixer until light and fluffy.
 
 

3. Add three egg yolks…
 
 

4. …and mix again until smooth.
 
 

5. Add the flour and the baking powder and give it another mix, just until combined and well incorporated.
 
 

Very yellow, ha?

It might have something to do with the fact that I am using home eggs here – fresh from my Grandma.

They are so much richer in color.

Thanks, Grandma!
 
 

6. Then grab a lemon and juice it – any way you like.

If you are a Xena woman like me, you can squeeze it with your bare hand (okay, I am not that much of a Xena woman, I just don’t have the juicer here with me). That might actually be the reason why I am not showing the picture of me squeezing the lemon (oh, that was a stormy fight). But what I am showing here is a little trick that helps a lot…if you’d like to make things easier then just roll the lemon on the countertop (before you slice it). It will help to break down some of the fibers and the juice will flow more freely when you cut it.
 
 

7. Then, when the fight is over, pour the milk and the lemon juice into the batter and stir to combine.
 
 

8. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm.
 
 

9. Add the egg whites to the batter and, using a rubber spatula, fold together gently.
 
 

10. Spray you ramekins with some vegetable oil and fill them with the batter.

Since I used 1 cup (250 ml) dishes, there was just enough batter to fill three.
 

11. Place the ramekins into a deeper baking pan and gently pour boiling water to come halfway up the sides of  the ramekins.
 
 

12. Bake at 356 degrees F (180 degrees C) for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.
 

13. Remove from the oven and dust the top with some confectioner’s sugar.
 
 

So now you know what I meant when I said that half of this dessert is baked and the other half is cooked.

You’ll be amazed by how this process results in the dessert’s structure – the top half looks like a cake and the bottom half has a structure of custard.

It’s cute.
 
 

Yum!
 
 

Okay, it seems that I am done here.

And now only tomatoes for me for the next seven days.
 
 

Enjoy, dear friends!

(This recipe makes 3 portions if prepared in 1 cup – 250 ml dishes.)
 

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These hot summer days call for rather unusual measures.

The heat is so high that recently I’ve been finding myself freezing various things just to stay cool and within my senses – there’ve been popsicles (strawberry or yogurt), there’ve been tea and coffee flavored ice cubes, there’s been delicious orange granita…and now, coffee granita.

Though I feel a little cooler now there’s one thing that makes me feel a little uneasy.

In fact, my urge to freeze things has developed into such a state that I am becoming a little afraid…of myself (so, just for the sake of your own safety, if you don’t feel like ending up in a freezer, please, don’t come too close to me these days).
 
 

There’s nothing easier than making your own homemade coffee granita.

1. Just prepare two cups of your favorite coffee – espresso or instant, both are yummy.

2. Add 10 teaspoons of sugar…and pssst, just for kicks, pour in some flavored liqueur (coffee, vanilla, cream…anything that makes your soul happy).

3. Allow to cool.

4. Pour this coffee mixture into a larger, shallow container and use plastic wrap to cover the top.

5. Place the container into the freezer for about 1 hour.

 
 

6. After one hour, remove the mixture from the freezer and, using a fork, break up the ice crystals that have formed.

Hm, now I see what making granita is all about…it’s about a vigorous and aggressive fight against the crystal structure of ice.

7. Cover and return the container back to the freezer.
 
 

8. Repeat this procedure four more times – every hour, until the mixture is thoroughly frozen. Be sure to break any big chunks and keep your granita fluffy.

9. Keep frozen until ready to serve.

Yummilicious!
 
 

I am sure you or your guests will highly appreciate this interesting twist on coffee or dessert.

Enjoy, dear friends.

See you soon.

With love,

Petra
 

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Well, this might be the most interesting thing I’ve ever baked.

I’d describe it as decadent, fascinating and delicious.

The combination of a mildly sweet pie crust and a rather strong lemony filling will not allow you to stay indifferent to this tart.

You’ll either love it or…you’ll love it even more.

The taste is definitely intense, but very impressive, delicious and refreshing – especially to all the lemon lovers out there.
 
 

This is what you need to prepare this yummy treat.
 
 

1. First, we are going to use the flour, butter, egg yolk and the sugar (2 tablespoons).

Place all these ingredients in a medium bowl and with your hand, first combine them and then knead until you have a nice dough ball.

But don’t you work too much at this point, dear friends – I mean, don’t overwork the dough since pie crusts don’t like it, they want to remain flaky after baking.
 
 


2. Now, place the dough ball between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll it out into an 11 – 12 inch (28 – 30 cm) circle.

Wow, this rolling between two papers, that’s something. I definitely recommend it if you want to make you life easier.
So much easier. It’s a pleasure to work this way. No sticking to the working surface whatsoever – you can forever forget that.
 
 

3. Have ready an 8 – 9 inch (20 – 23 cm) tart pan (with removable bottom, preferably, though I didn’t use that).

Spray the pan with a little oil.

Remove the top paper from the rolled out dough and invert the dough into the pan (along with the remaining paper that will end up being on top now).

Lightly press the pastry into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan.
 
 

4. Remove the paper…
 
 

…only to crumple it and lay it out over the pastry again. Fill the paper with pie weights or just dried beans or peas.

Pop into the oven and bake at 375 F (190 C) for about 9 minutes, then remove the paper along with the weights and bake for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to only 300 F (150 C).

Yeah, we are blind-baking (or pre-baking) here. This process keeps the unfilled pie crust from puffing up in the oven or becoming too soggy when the tart gets filled and baked.
 
 

5. Meanwhile we can prepare the filling for our tart.

Squeeze the juice out of four small lemons.

Make sure the juice contains no seeds – we don’t want this kind of surprise in the tart. Unless we wanted that, for some reason…
 
 

6. In the bowl of you electric mixer mix the eggs with the sugar (1/2 cup – 100 grams) for about 5 minutes or until smooth, fluffy and almost white in color.

Then add the cream and the lemon juice and mix again shortly.
 
 

7. Fill the crust with the filling and bake at 300 F (150 C) for about 40 minutes or until the filling doesn’t wobble.
 
 

8. Remove from the oven and let cool on the wire rack.
 
 

9. We are going to cover the whole tart with a nice lemony and syrupy glaze.

To prepare the syrup, pour the water and sugar (1/3 cup – 70 grams) into a saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and heat the mixture up.

Peel the remaining lemon and slice it into thin rounds. Add the lemon rounds into the saucepan and let the mixture cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Then pour the mixture over the tart and spread it evenly.

And that’s it.
 
 

Mmmmmm…

 
 

Yummy!

I recommend chilling the tart before serving.

Also, store it in the refrigerator.

Enjoy, dear friends.
 

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Orange Granita

Mmmm…my first encounter with granita…that was something truly amazing.

It happened during my vacation in Italy a couple of years ago.

Oh, I will never forget that moment.

Actually, I was spending the holiday with my sister and her family then. One lovely morning we decided to have a proper look at the village we were staying in…so – under the burning Italian sun – we walked every street, saw every sight and met ever person possible.

Phew!

My feet still get depressed when they remember that.

After a couple of hours, as knackered as people can get, we decided to relax in a cute café sitting on top of a hill and offering a magnificent sea view.

And GRANITA.

First of all, the cup I was given amazed me with its wonderfully colorful content.

And then…wow…that first mouthful…OH, THAT FIRST MOUTHFUL…it was the most refreshing,  invigorating and memorable dessert in my whole life.

During all the years that followed, just until recently, I hadn’t even dared to think I could prepare that delectable treat at home (you know, they make it in those big ‘freezing-and-mixing’ tanks).

But now the things have changed.

And you know what?

Granita might be the simplest and easiest dessert there is.
 
 

THESE are the ingredients!
 

1. First, pour the juice into a saucepan and place it over medium-low heat.
 

2. Add the sugar and stir.
 
 

3. Add the lemon juice and continue stirring just until the sugar has dissolved.
 

4. Remove from heat.
 
 

5. Then find a larger (4 cup – 1 liter) ‘freezer-friendly’ container and pour the mixture in.
 

6. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and put in your freezer.
 
 

7. After about 2 hours into the freezing process, remove the container from the freezer and move the liquid around with a fork, breaking the forming crystal structure. Put back in the freezer.
 

8. Repeat this process about 3 more times (every 2 hours). Then let freeze for as long as you wish.
 
 

This is what I got after leaving the mixture in the freezer overnight.

Wonderful granita!

See? It’s doubled in volume.
 
 

To serve the orange granita, you can use some fresh oranges. Just cut an orange in half and, using a spoon, remove its flesh. Let freeze for a couple of hours. That way you’ll get a nice, cooling and impressive bowl.

Enjoy, dear friends.
 

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