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For the cream: 4 big ripe Bananas, peeled, 2 passionate fruits, 75 g sugar, lemon juice, 100 g Mascarpone, 100 ml whipped cream
For the cream: 25 g icing sugar, 300 g whipped cream, 1 vanilla stock
For the choco sauce: 300 ml milk, 90 g Butter, 400 g black or fondant chocolate (60% cacaos) chopped, 4-6grenn cardamom seeds
For the garnishing: 1 big peeled banana, 2 passionate fruits, roughly chopped pistachio
Directions for the cream
1.Half the passionate fruits and spoon out the seeds.
2.Peel the bananas, break them with a fork and place into a bowl. Add passionate fruit juice with seeds to bananas. Flavor with sugar and lemon juice. Add the fruit mixture to Mascarpone and mix well with a mixer.
3.Whip the cream until stiff. Fold it carefully into bananas mixture.
For the cream
1.Pour cream into a bowl, add icing sugar and vanilla flesh. Whip cream until stiff but don’t whip until cream becomes butter.
For the choco sauce
1.Pour milk into a pan, add cardamom seeds and butter plus the chocolate. Cook on medium temperature until chocolate dilutes then wait until it turns into a thick sauce.
2.For the decoration half the passion fruit, spoon out the seeds and the juice and put into a bowl. Add the finely puréed banana to it.
3.Divide the Mascarpone-banana cream mixture into four ice cream glasses. Pour chocolate cream over the bananas mixture and finely add the whipped cream.
4.Garnish smoothie with chocolate sauce and one tablespoon of cream and decorate with chopped pistachios.
You need only three ingredients, eggs, cream cheese and white chocolate and the cake will be soft, light and fluffy!
Ingredients: 3 eggs, 120g/4.3oz white chocolate,120g/4.3oz cream cheese
Separate the eggs and place the whites in a large bowl. Let the egg whites sit in the fridge to make the meringue more stable. Preheat the oven to 170C.
Break the white chocolate into pieces and break into a large bowl. Then melt it in a double boiler over a pan of hot water.
Meanwhile, whisk the three egg whites with an electric whisk until firm peaks form. If it’s thick enough you can turn the bowl upside down without it sliding out.
Mix the chocolate until smooth and add the cream cheese. Then remove the bowl from the double boiler, add the three yolks and mix well.
Add a third of the meringue into the cream cheese batter and blend well. Add the remaining meringue, a half at a time and mix well.
Rub some oil or butter on parchment paper to line the sides of your tin so the cheesecake can slide down when it shrinks to prevent it from cracking.
Line a 15cm/6in round cake tin. Pour the batter in.
Drop the tin lightly on the counter to raise air bubbles out of the batter.
Place the cake tin on a baking tray and fill the tray with hot water.
Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 170C, then bake at 160C for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 15 minutes.
Place on a wire rack and cool completely, dust with powdered sugar and serve.
(where is the missing piece from the picture, well, I ate it!)
Ingredients: 4 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots, 2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms, Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1 pound sea or bay scallops, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, a pinch of cayenne
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a saucepan and add the shallots. Cook briefly, stirring, and add the mushrooms. Cook until wilted and add the salt, pepper, and wine. Add the scallops and bring to the boil. Cook until all the scallops are heated through, stirring gently as necessary. Take care not to let the scallops overcook or they will toughen. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside the scallops and mushrooms. Reserve the liquid. There should be about 3/4 cup of liquid. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring rapidly with a wire whisk. When blended add the reserved liquid, stirring until thickened and smooth. Add the milk and 1 cup of the cream. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of cayenne. Whip the remaining 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Fold it into the sauce. Use 6 individual scallop shells or ramekins. Spoon equal portions of the scallops and mushrooms into each shell. Spoon the sauce over the scallop mixture. Preheat the broiler to high. Place the filled shells under the broiler about 6 inches from the source of heat and bake until a nice brown glaze forms on top. As the scallops broil, turn shells occasionally for even browning, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately with saffron risotto and rocket flavored with balsamic vinegar.
The Feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated in parts of Europe on 6 December. On the preceding evening of December 5, Krampus Night , the wicked hairy devil appears on the streets. Sometimes accompanying St. Nicholas and sometimes on his own, but Krampus visits homes and businesses. The Saint usually appears in the Eastern Rite vestments of a bishop, and he carries a golden ceremonial staff. Unlike in Hungarian versions of Santa Claus, in these celebrations Saint Nicholas concerns himself only with the good children, while Krampus is responsible for the bad. Nicholas dispenses gifts, while Krampus supplies coal and the ruten bundles!
A Krampus running is a run of celebrants dressed as the wicked beast, often fueled by alcohol. The tradition resurrects a centuries-old ancient ritual meant to disperse winter’s ghosts.
It is customary to offer a Krampus schnapps, a strong distilled fruit brandy. These runs may include Perchten, similarly wild pagan spirits of Germanic folklore and sometimes female in representation, although the Perchten are properly associated with the period between winter solstice and 6 January.
The origin of the Krampus running
In Austro-Bavarian Alpine folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as “half-goat, half-demon”, who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts. Regions in Austria feature similar figures and, more widely, Krampus is one of a number of Companions of Saint Nicholas in regions of Europe. The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists have postulated a pre-Christian origin for the figure.
In traditional parades and in such events as the Krampuslauf (English: Krampus run), young men dressed as Krampus participate; such events occur annually in most Alpine towns. Krampus is featured on holiday greeting cards called Krampuskarten.
The history of the Krampus figure has been theorized as stretching back to Pre-Christian Alpine traditions. In a brief article discussing the figure, published in 1958, Maurice Bruce wrote:
There seems to be little doubt as to his true identity for, in no other form is the full regalia of the Horned God of the Witches so well preserved. The birch – apart from its phallic significance – may have a connection with the initiation rites of certain witch-covens; rites which entailed binding and scourging as a form of mock-death. The chains could have been introduced in a Christian attempt to ‘bind the Devil’ but again they could be a remnant of pagan initiation rites. Discussing his observations while in Irdning, a small town in Styria
The Saint Nicholas festival incorporates cultural elements widely distributed in Europe, in some cases going back to pre-Christian times. Nicholas himself became popular in Germany around the eleventh century. The feast dedicated to this patron of children is only one winter occasion in which children are the objects of special attention, others being Martinmas, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, and New Year’s Day. Masked devils acting boisterously and making nuisances of themselves are known in Germany since at least the sixteenth century while animal masked devils combining dreadful-comic antics appeared in Medieval church plays. A large literature, much of it by European folklorists, bears on these subjects.
Austrians in the community we studied are quite aware of “heathen” elements being blended with Christian elements in the Saint Nicholas customs and in other traditional winter ceremonies. They believe Krampus derives from a pagan supernatural who was assimilated to the Christian devil.
The Krampus figures persisted, and by the 17th century Krampus had been incorporated into Christian winter celebrations by pairing Krampus with St Nicholas. Countries of the former Habsburg Empire have largely borrowed the tradition of Krampus accompanying St Nicholas on 5 December from Austria. Towards the end of the century, a popular resurgence of Krampus celebrations occurred and continues today.
Luckily the Krampus tradition is being revived in Bavaria as well, along with a local artistic tradition of hand-carved wooden masks (I’m really looking forward to the event which will be held on 11th and 18th of December in the city center Marien platz)). There has been public debate in Austria in modern times about whether Krampus is appropriate for children. Although Krampus appears in many variations, most share some common physical characteristics. He is hairy, usually brown or black, and has the cloven hooves and horns of a goat. His long, pointed tongue lolls out, and he has fangs
Krampus carries chains, thought to symbolize the binding of the Devil by the Christian Church. He thrashes the chains for dramatic effect. The chains are sometimes accompanied with bells of various sizes. Of more pagan origins are the ruten, bundles of birch branches that Krampus carries and with which he occasionally swats children. The ruten may have had significance in pre-Christian pagan initiation rites. The birch branches are replaced with a whip in some representations. Sometimes Krampus appears with a sack or a basket strapped to his back; this is to cart off evil children for drowning, eating, or transport to Hell. Some of the older versions make mention of naughty children being put in the bag and being taken. This part of the legend refers to the times that the Moors raided the European coasts, and as far as Iceland, to abduct the local people into slavery. This quality can be found in Belgium in other Companions of Saint Nicholas such as Zwarte Piet who is a young Moorish man.
On the first week of Advent my Christmas cactus has already in full blossom. That reminded me of that it’s time to make plans for the festive season: what to eat, how to decorate the house the table etc. Today I went to shop around in the flower market and these were the top 10 Xmas flower offers:
Christmas cactus flower
Christmas cactus, also known as orchid cactus, often blooms around Christmas time. Pendulous stems of Christmas cactus make it a great choice for hanging baskets. There are a number of different cactus species sold as “Christmas cactus.”
One plant called Christmas rose is regarded as a true Christmas flower in certain parts of the world. Christmas rose (Serissa) is also known as the “snow rose” or “winter rose.” Originally from tropical regions of Asia, cultivated Serissa often blooms during the winter. On the occasion of Christmas Eve, it is traditional for young women in North America to exchange specially designed Christmas roses with each other resembling their spirit of fraternity.
Another plant known as Christmas rose is Helleborus niger.
Holly is the plant most associated with Christmas in many European countries. Holly wreaths are hung on doors, and sprigs of holly used to trim Christmas puddings.
Like most of the other Christmas flowers, ivy leaves symbolize eternity and resurrection. The ivy leaf has been associated with the Egyptian God, Osiris, and the Greco-Roman god, Attis; both of whom were resurrected from the dead.
Mistletoe is a Christmas plant whose origin is said to date back to the Pagans. Druid priests used this Christmas plant two hundred years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. A more modern tradition is to exchange kisses under a sprig of mistletoe
trained on a sheltered south or west-facing wall will reliably produce shiny olive-green shoots studded in pallid yellow flowers from November on. The spiky twigs can be picked, although they don’t have the heady scent associated with jasmine. Cut the shoots back hard after flowering to encourage new growth
You can grow your own, but I’m in favour of buying a plant that’s about to explode with bright trumpets. Opt for glowing scarlet or a pure white. ‘Red Velvet’ is a classy single, ‘Red Dragon’ a fiery double. ‘Papilio’, an elegant red-striped white and ‘Benfica’, dark red, are both excellent
Paper white narcissi
Paper whites can be planted in mid-October for Christmas flowers. Half-fill glass jars with stones, glass beads or gravel. Cluster five or 10 bulbs together, not touching, pointed end up, then add gravel until only a third of each bulb shows. Water to just below the base of the bulbs. Place in a cool, dark spot and bring into a warm room a few days before you need flowers
Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’
The festive creamy flowers of this winter-flowering clematis are heavily splashed and freckled in bright red – hence the name. Clematis cirrhosa is a Mediterranean species, so good drainage and the protection of a south-facing wall are vital. It reaches up to 10ft and has pendent bells. ‘Freckles’ is the earliest cirrhosa to flower
The simple Christmas rose, such a failure in most gardens, is now grown under glass. Small plants make excellent displays in a cool porch or windowsill when mixed with ivies. Place several in a basket and top-dress with moss
Almost always out by Christmas Eve, this bright yellow miniature daffodil was named after the artist (1889-1982), who founded the East Anglian School, by his friend Beth Chatto. It has a shallow trumpet and the outer petals are shaded in emerald green where they meet the stem. Sir Cedric found it over 50 years ago on a rocky ledge in Spain
This Algerian iris is perfect to plant at the feet of your winter-flowering clematis. Soft blue flowers unfurl from pointed buds from November onwards. Pick single flowers and let them unfurl indoors. ‘Mary Barnard’ was collected by the lady herself near Algiers in 1937. Snip out any untidy leaves twice a year. Other than that, neglect is the best option
Skimmia confusa ‘Kew Green’
The head of pale green buds on this choice and compact evergreen are arranged in a tight, lilac-like raceme. Place ‘Kew Green’ in a container by the front door, add some variegated trailing ivies and forced crocus, tiny narcissi or white muscari. Replace the bulbs as they fade with other early flowers.
In many nations, seasonal flowers and plants such as Poinsettia, Christmas cactus, holly, Christmas rose, ivy, mistletoe, form a major part of traditional Christmas decoration.
After buying some pine tree twigs and one advent wreath with four candles I decided to surprise my family with a divine dessert:
Pears poached in Porto wine
Serving for 8, prep time max. 35 minutes
Ingredients: 600ml port, 140g caster sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, halved, 8 ripe but firm pears, peeled with the stalk intact
For the meringue cream: 425 ml double cream, 1 tbsp icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 meringue shells, broken into pieces (bought ones are fine), good pinch of cinnamon
1.Pour the port into a large pan with 600ml water, add the sugar and cinnamon, then heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the pears, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until tender all the way through. They are ready when a cocktail stick can be easily pushed through each one. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook the pears in 2 batches using the same port syrup, or turn the pears several times as they cook so they become an even color. Let the pears cool in their syrup, preferably overnight to allow the syrup to really stain them. Will keep for 3 days in the fridge.
2.Check the consistency of the syrup. If it is very thin, boil it in a pan to reduce the amount and concentrate the flavor.
3.To serve, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until it holds its shape then fold in the meringue. Sprinkle with the cinnamon. Arrange the pears in a shallow dish and spoon over the syrup. Allow guests to help themselves to both pears and cream.
Floating island, île flottante, snowy egg, or bird milk it depends on where you live, but the dessert is of French origin, consisting of meringue floating on crème anglaise (a vanilla custard). The meringues are prepared from whipped egg whites, sugar and vanilla extract then quickly poached. The crème anglaise is prepared with the egg yolks, vanilla, and hot milk, briefly cooked.
There is some confusion about the name. In French cuisine, the terms œufs à la neige (“eggs in snow”) and île flottante (floating island) are sometimes used interchangeably; the latter is the source of the English name. The difference between the two dishes is that île flottante sometimes contains islands made of “alternate layers of alcohol-soaked dessert biscuits and jam.”
Floating island is made of egg whites served floating on a milky custard sauce. Some variations use a thicker sauce, served on top of the dumplings, but usually the milk mix is thin, almost liquid, and the dumplings “float” on top.
The egg whites are beaten with sugar and poured into a mould lined with a thin layer of caramel. Alternately, the whites can be shaped with spoons and allowed to cook gently in sweetened milk with vanilla flavoring. The custard is made using milk, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolks; the mix is cooked in a bain-marie for a few minutes, but must remain thin enough to pour. The custard is topped with the egg whites dumplings. The dish is served at room temperature or cold.
Ingredients: 250 ml or 1 cup milk, 250 ml cream, 1 vanilla bean, 5 egg yolks, 100gr or 1/3 cup sugar, sugar for deco,
For the gnocchi: 4 egg whites, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 125/1 cup gr sugar, 1 package vanilla sugar, 1/2 l milk, almonds
Bring milk to a boil, then remove from heat. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise, add to milk, cover and steep for about 15 minutes.
Separate whites and yolks of eggs. Set aside 4 of the egg whites and freeze the other 2 for another use. Beat yolks and slowly sprinkle in 1⁄3 cup of the sugar. Continue beating until thick and pale yellow in color.
Remove vanilla bean from milk. Scrape seeds from bean and add to milk, discarding pod. Pour milk, in a fine stream, into egg yolks while beating them continuously. Pour mixture into a pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until it forms a custard thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes; don’t rush the process or the eggs will scramble. Pour custard through a strainer into a shallow serving dish. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
Beat egg whites until foamy, then add 1⁄3 cup of the sugar very slowly, continuing to beat until egg whites are shiny and stiff but not dry.
Put remaining milk in a large shallow pan and bring to a low simmer. Using a large slotted spoon, form big egg shapes out of whites and poach them in the milk for 30 seconds on each side. Do not overcook. Put the “eggs” on a clean towel to drain.
Combine remaining 2⁄3 cup sugar with 1⁄3 cup water in a small heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar caramelizes, turning amber in color. Remove pan from heat to prevent caramel from burning. This can happen very quickly, so it is best to take the pan from the heat just before the sugar darkens, as it will continue cooking. Cool for 5 minutes or until caramel forms into threads when drizzled from the tines of a fork.
Using a slotted spoon, carefully arrange the “eggs” on top of the custard. Dip a fork into the slightly cooled caramel you will have to work quickly—and wave the fork over the dessert to form threads of caramel that crisscross and tangle. Scatter with almond seeds and serve immediately.
Basic recipe for leaver (basic dough)
Ingredients: 200 gr of wheat, 1 heaped Tbsp of special baking enzyme (available in health or organic food shop), 1 cup lukewarm water
Mix all ingredients well to form a smooth dough. Cover well and leave to stand for 15-24 hours at 30 degrees until fine bubbles come up.
The next day add to dough 300 gr wheat, 1/2 cup of warm water (the dough should be soft and not sticky)
Cover and leave to stand for 5 hours at 30 degrees (on a radiator or in a heated cooling box). When the volume of the leaven has increased 3-to 4 times it is ready. The dough can be kept for app. 6 month in a large screw jar in the fridge.
Basic recipe for bread
Prepare dough the previous evening!
Ingredients: 350 gr rye, 1 level tsp of baking enzyme, 1 heaped tsp of leaven, add lukewarm water and whisk into a light dough. Cover and leave to stand overnight at app. 20 degrees.
The next morning prepare the main dough from 500 gr wheat, 1 tbsp caraway seeds, 1 level teaspoon of salt, 100 gr sunflower seeds. Add to the other ingredients with enough lukewarm water to make a soft but not sticky dough.
Important: now knead the dough for app 5-10 minutes in a large bowl, working from the outside to the inside, slowly turning the bowl in a clockwise direction. Avoid using a mixer if possible (because if the warmth skin contact is better) In the meantime grease the RÖMERTOPF baking form evenly and spread it out with flour or sesame seed. After the dough has risen to twice its original height, briefly knead again, place in the pot and leave it for about 10-15 minutes in warm water. The dough will rise. The RÖMERTOPF stores enough water to develop the perfect humidity during baking process. Place pane now in the cold oven. Set temperature at 220 degrees Bake on the bottom shelf for about 1 hour.
You can vary this basic recipe and prepare multigrain bread or pumpkin seed bread, carrot bread, barley, oat, linseed bread etc.
Of course bread can also be baked using yeast, natural leaving of baking powder, furthermore honey, salt bread can be baked as well. The most important that place the bread baking mould always in the COLD oven!