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My Oscar night

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Light! Camera! Photo! That is no way for anyone to watch the academy awards. I couldn’t make it to the Kodak theatre “this year”, thus last week I created my own glamour on the Oscar night with a vintage Hollywood bash at home. Eaten in front of the television, of course invite my own “Rat Pack” over it was a great fun.846x

The menu was:

Horse d’oeuvres: Smoked salmon roulades

Main course:        Pork fillet with French potato salad

Dessert:                Rasp and strawberry tiramisu

Setting the table/the scene: I sent invites in film canister with an awards ballot tucked inside. (downloaded from oscar.com)

The décor was: white, black palette accented with white, grey and black candles

I arranged flowers into vases of varying heights-(such as white tulips, lilies) and on the buffet, and lower arrangements on the coffee table. I entertained my guests with best song nominees from the past year (some classics downloads).

The winner was… I placed an Oscar ballots tray for completed ballots near the front door. After guests arrived, I passed out pens and had each guests pick another guests ballot to score during the show. During commercials I tested my friends Tinseltown knowledge with trivia questions.

For instance: What does Oscar stand for? What film and sequel both won a best picture Oscar? What was the first X-rated film to win best picture? etc.

Prizes were a bottle of champagne, and I gave some trivia champs gift certifications to a local movie theater ticket and a DVD of a past best picture winner

Recipes

Smoked salmon roulades

Ingredients for 12: whipped cream cheese at room temperature, 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill, chives, salt, pepper smoked salmon, thiny sliced

In a small bowl combine cream cheese, chives, salt and pepper. On clean work surface place 11×30 sheet of plastic wrap, with shorter sides positioned to the right and left. Carefully center a piece of salmon vertically on plastic wrap about 3 from the short side at left. Continue to lay pieces of salmon, overlapping each other about 1, until all salmon is used. Finished salmon layer should measure about 6×24 and should end about 3 from the right edge of plastic wrap. Using a cakefrosting metal spatula, gently spread cream cheese mixture over salmon. Sprinkle with dill. Starting at long side, roll up salmon into a log and wrap in plastic. Secure ends. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate until serving time. Then unwrap the salmon roll and slice into half thick pieces, which will resemble pinwheels. Arrange on platter and accompany with toast points if desired.pork-fillet2

Pork fillet: 6 oranges, 5t sugar, 2 garlic cloves, 2 pork fillets, 300g baby spinach, 1/4C pecans, 100g mange tout, half spoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon, 1 tbsp olive oil

For the glaze:
3 oranges, juiced and 1 zested
4 Tbs sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 pork fillets
Salt and pepper

For the salad:
300g baby spinach
¼ cup pecan nuts, toasted and chopped
100g mange tout, halved
3 oranges, segmented

For the dressing:
2 Tbs orange juice
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs olive oil

Methods:

Combine the ingredients for the glaze in a pot and bring to boil.
Reduce the liquid until a syrupy consistency.
Season the pork with salt and pepper then brush with the glaze and fry in lightly oiled pan for about 5 minutes per side.
Continue basting with the glaze until the pork is cooked through.
Combine the salad ingredients  in a large bowl
Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing  and pour over the salad and toss
Serve the pork fillet sliced on top of the salad.

French potato salad

Ingredients: 1/4 cup dry white wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, 4 green onions, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons drained capers, 1 teaspoon of dill, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of estragon, 3 1/4 pounds of 2 1/2-inch-diameter red-skinned potatoes

Methods: 1. Whisk first 7 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (It can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

2. Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 35 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes to pot. Place pot over low heat until liquid from potatoes evaporates, about 2 minutes.

3. Cut warm potatoes into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Add to dressing. Toss gently to coat. Let stand at least 1 hour at room temperature. Toss again and serve.

Rasp and strawberry tiramisu

Place this recipe on top of a completely cooled homemade or store-bought cheesecake or tiramisu

Ingredients: 2 cups raspberries, 1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar divided, 3 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered

In a bowl of food processor combine raspberries and half cup sugar. Pour into stainer. Using rubber spatula, press raspberry mixture through to remove seeds. Add strawberries to raspberry mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.img_0892

 

Picknick with Claude Monet

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51PSE02HX7LAfter an exhusted non-stop touring in the beautiful French capital I had a rest at my Parisian godmother’s. After the dinner our conversation was somehow diverted to Monet’s house in, Giverny. -By the way where is Giverny?-I asked Sylvie.- She responded it shortly: -Beside Vernon.-

All right, and where is Vernon?-

– In Normandy, more precisely circa 80 kilometres from Paris.-Why? Do you want to go there? His garden is breathtaking! The waterlilies in his pond look exactly like in his paintings.

So it gave the idea to visit Giverny but I didn’t know that then I will return with “his” cook book!

The house of Monet in Giverny

Monet, who was one of the most influential painters of modern times, lived for half his life in a famous house at Giverny. He had already discovered that little town whilst he was looking out of the train window in 1883. He became very enthusiastic about the spot. At the end of the 19th century the village was very placid, consisted of two streets on the hillside lined with low houses in a pink or green roughcast with slate roofs, their walls covered with wisteria and Virginia creeper. The streets were crossed by narrow lanes running down the hill. There were about 300 inhabitants only, most of  them farmers, and a few middle-class families, so he thought it would be perfect to live there with his large family. But he could only afford to buy a house there in 1890. He had moved in with his second wife Alice Hoschedé, with his two sons and her six children as he became the owner of the so called Cider-Press house and gardens. He lived there more than forty years. During this very long time, he layed out the house to his own tastes, adapting it to the needs of his family and professional life. When he bought the Cider-Press house (an apple-press located on the little square nearby gave its name to the quarter) it was much smaller but Monet enlarged it on both sides (the house is now 40 meter long per 5 meter deep only). The barn next to the house became his first studio, thanks to the addition of a wooden floor and of stairs leading to the main house. Monet, who mostly painted in the open air, needed a place where to store and finish his canvases. Above the studio, Monet had his own apartment, a large bedroom and a bathroom. The left side of the house was his side, where he could work and sleep. Monet, who didn’t care for fashion, which was very dark and heavy in Victorian times, had it painted the walls of the house in two tones of yellow. The walls were packed with Japanese engravings that Monet chose with an expert eye. For fifty years, he collected the prints by the best Japanese artists, especially Hokusai, Hiroshige and Utamaro. The dining room was connected to the kitchen to make service easier. Monet wanted a blue kitchen so that the guests would see the right color in harmony with the yellow dining room when the door to the kitchen was open. The walls of the kitchen were covered with tiles of Rouen. The coolness of the blue contrasted with the warm glow of the extended collection of coppers. An enormous coal and wood stove kept the kitchen very warm year round.

Monet was very happy in Giverny not only because his work finally achieved recognition but his growing success meant that that he was able to indulge his passion for comfort and good living. Family meals, special celebrations, luncheons with friends, picnics: all reflected the Monets’ love of good food. Just as the inspiration for many of Monet’s paintings was drawn from his beloved gardens and the surrounding Normandy landscape, so the meals served at Giverny were based upon superb ingredients from the kitchen-garden (a work of art in itself), the farmyard, and the French countryside. A moody, reserved, and very private man whose daily routine revolved totally around his painting, Monet nevertheless enjoyed entertaining his friends, many of whom were leading figures of the time. As well as his fellow Impressionists — in particular Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas and Cezanne — other regular guests included Rodin, Whistler, Maupassant, Valery, and one of Monet’s closest friends, the statesman Clemenceau. They came to dine in almost ritual form, first visiting Monet’s studio and the greenhouses, then having lunch at 11:30 (the time the family always dined, to enable Monet to make the most of the afternoon light). Tea would later be served under the lime trees or near the pond. Guests were never invited to dinner; because Monet went to bed very early in order to rise at dawn. All the guests were familiar with Monet’s rigid timetable. Monet was not only a very good cook himself but also he collected recipes and wrote a cooking journals. He had encountered in his travels or had come across in restaurants he frequented in Paris as well as recipes from friends, such as Cezanne’s “bouillabaisse” and Millet’s “petits pains.”

In 1997 Claire Joyes, the wife of Madame Monet’s great-grandson, decided it was worth to create a cook book from his recipe collection. She has spent years selecting the Monet’s favorites and writing a wonderfully evocative introductory text. All of the recipes have been artfully prepared and brought back to life in Monet’s own kitchen by master chef Joel Robuchon. Illustrated with some sumptuous reproduction of Monet’s paintings, spectacular original four-colour photographs of Giverny selected shots of finished dishes, and facsimile pages from the notebooks themselves. The book provides fascinating and unique insight the turn-of-the century lifestyle of one of the world’s most celebrated Impressionist painters.
Here are some recipes from the book:

2012. július 22 039Claude Monet’s Sorrel soup

Ingredients: 200 gr sorrel, chervil, 1 iceberg salad, 1 tbs of butter salt, pepper, 5 tbs of rice, 1-2 spoons of extra butter, 1 egg white

Wash and rinse everything (sorel, chervil, salad) cut, chop them into small pieces. Melt butter in a pan, soaté vegetables, salad, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over 1 litre of hot water, and cook for 15 minutes.

Add rice to soup, and cook until rice is well cooked. Whisk egg white adding a pinch of salt to it, then spoon on the top of the soup. To finish add 1 spoon of butter sprinkle with some fresh spring onion or crouton.

Pork chops Normandy

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, salt and pepper, to taste, 1/4 cup butter, 4 (8 ounce) bone-in pork chops (1/2 inch thick)

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced,1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 cup Calvados brandy, 1/2 cup apple cider, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325  degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Place flour in a shallow dish and season to taste with salt and pepper. Dredge pork chops in flour to evenly coat both sides. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a skillet over medium heat; add pork chops, and cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Add mushrooms to the same skillet, and stir in 1 tablespoon butter. Cook mushrooms until tender. Remove skillet from heat.
  3. Pour the brandy over the pork chops, and carefully light with a match. Let the flames burn off,  then remove the pork chops to a serving plate, and keep warm in preheated oven.
  4. Using the same skillet, pour in the apple cider. Cook over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half. Add the cream to the skillet, and cook until reduced by half. Stir in the apple slices and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Arrange the pork chops on 4 serving plates. Spoon the apple-mushroom sauce over the pork chops, and serve immediately.

Chicken a la Normande

Ingredients: 1 tbs olive oil, 2 tbs butter, 1.5kg chicken thigh fillets, halved, Ground nutmeg, 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced, 1 large brown onion, finely chopped, 125ml (1/2 cup) dry apple cider, 125ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock, 80ml      (1/3 cup) apple cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1 tbs plain flour, 2-3 tbs water, 2 Granny Smith apples, extra, peeled, cored, thinly sliced, 125g  (1/2 cup) sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat the oil and half the butter in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook one-third of the chicken for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Repeat, in 2 more batches, with the remaining chicken.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add the apple to the frying pan and cook for 2 minutes each side or until light golden. Place over the chicken in the dish. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook onion in pan, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add to the dish. Cover and bake for 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the cider, stock, vinegar and thyme in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Combine the flour and a little water in a small bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to the cider mixture, whisking constantly, until well combined. Stir until thick.  Simmer for 3 minutes.
  4.  Heat remaining butter in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the extra apple and cook for 3-4 minutes  each side or until golden.
  5. Add the sour cream to the cider mixture and stir over medium heat for 1 minute or until the sauce is just heated through.
  6. Transfer the chicken and apple mixture to a serving platter. Pour over the sauce and top with the apple rings. Serve this dish with mashed potato or steamed rice.

28_+PruimenclafoutisGreengage cake a la Normande

3/4 cup (110g) flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, pinch of salt, 1 kg greengages (a mix of varieties), 2 large eggs, at room temperature, 3/4 cup (150g) sugar, 3 tablespoons dark rum, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.

2. Heavily butter an 8- or 9-inch (20-23cm) springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Core the greengages, then dice them into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.

5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter

6. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.

7. Fold in the greengages cubes until they’re well-coated with the batter and scrape them into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little with a spatula.

8. Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no greengages are stuck to it. Serve with vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.

As mad as a March hare

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FFB market 051With the coming Easter children usually put up us, by the way the logical question, that why the rabbit brings the chocolate eggs and not the hen?
To find the correct answer we have to go back to the ancient Greece where hares, like rabbits and eggs, were fertility symbols. Since birds lay eggs and rabbits and hares give birth to large litters in the early spring, these became symbols of the rising fertility of the earth at the March Equinox. Rabbits and hares are both prolific breeders. Female hares can conceive a second litter of offspring while still pregnant with the first. This phenomenon is known as superfetation. Lagomorphs mature sexually at an early age and can give birth to several litters a year (hence the saying, “to breed like bunnies”). 
Thus knowing all these facts it is not surprising that rabbits and hares should become fertility symbols, or that their springtime mating antics should enter into Easter folklore.

 
But another animals bring their successors into the world at Easter time as well, so why the hell is the sex maniac hare has become the symbol of the fertility? The answer is very simple: because in the ancient folk the birth of the rabbit litters meant for people the end of winter, the rebirth, rejuvenation etc. There is one more question to answer: why the rabbit became the responsible of the distribution of the red egg and not the fox, hen or the stork as they give birth to their litters in March as well? Probably because the rabbits lived near to the man, and they were always liked as a domestic animal, unlike the fox or the hen.

Finishing the thoughts of the Easter rabbit, the essence is, that the children believe it, that like Santa Claus, the rabbit brings a gift secretly to them.FFB market 044

The egg-laying rabbit and the egg painting

The precise origin of the ancient custom of decorating eggs  is not known, although evidently the blooming of many flowers in spring coincides with the use of the fertility symbol of eggs—and eggs boiled with some flowers change their color, bringing the spring into the homes. Many Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day typically dye their Easter eggs red, the color of blood, in recognition of the blood of the sacrificed Christ (and, of the renewal of life in springtime). Some also use the color green, in honor of the new foliage emerging after the long dead time of winter.

German Protestants wanted to retain the Catholic custom of eating colored eggs for Easter, but did not want to introduce their children to the Catholic rite of fasting. Eggs were forbidden to Catholics during the fast of Lent, which was the reason for the abundance of eggs at Easter time.

The idea of an egg-laying bunny came to the U.S. in the 18th century. German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the “Osterhase” (sometimes spelled “Oschter Haws.Hase” means “hare”, not rabbit, and in Northwest European folklore the “Easter Bunny” indeed is a hare, not a rabbit. According to the legend, only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter. In 1835, Jakob Grimm wrote of long-standing similar myths in Germany itself. Grimm suggested that these derived from legends of the reconstructed continental Germanic goddess *Ostara.

In Britain, the hare was associated with the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre and whose pagan attributes were appropriated into the Christian tradition as the Easter Bunny. The hare also appears in English folklore in the saying “as mad as a March hare” and in the legend of the White Hare that alternatively tells of a witch who takes the form of a white hare and goes out looking for prey at night or of the spirit of a broken-hearted maiden who cannot rest and who haunts her unfaithful lover.

In Irish folklore, the hare is often associated with Sidh (Fairy) or other pagan elements. In these stories, characters who harm hares often suffer dreadful consequences.

However the Easter rabbit does not bring eggs in France and Belgium, but rather the Easter bells (cloches but Pâques) drop the eggs from the sky.
In England, America on the other hand adults hide eggs in the garden and the children need to hunt them.

Many cultures, including the Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican, see a hare in the pattern of dark patches in the moon; this tradition forms the basis of the Angelo Branduardi song “The Hare in the Moon”.

Decoration 008The hare was a popular motif in medieval church art. In ancient times it was widely believed that the hare was a hermaphrodite. The idea that a hare could reproduce without loss of virginity led to an association with the Virgin Mary, with hares sometimes occurring in Northern European paintings of the Virgin and Christ Child.

The hare was regarded as an animal sacred to Aphrodite and Eros because of its high libido. Live hares were often presented as a gift of love.

Let’s paint the town green on St Patrick’s day!

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Saint-Patrick-chocolate-at-Patrick-Roger1

Tomorrow is St Patrick’s day in Münich!

Munich is one of Europe’s most pulsating cities. There is always something going on, from the world renowned October Beerfest, multiple city
and street festivals, music for all tastes, theatre and not to mention the Continental Europe’s biggest St Patricks Day’s Parade..

Since I’ve been living here I try to participate on the events every year.

Apropos by St Patrick’s day here are some little thoughts:

Patrick (before he was not yet a saint) is said to have originated from England, came to Ireland as a slave and was the first writer in history to pen eye-witness accounts condemning slavery. There are many legends and stories associated with St. Patrick. The legend goes that during his wanderings through Ireland he came to Dublin – no more than a village at that time, poor and mean. Before entering the village, he climbed a hill, gazed out over the landscape and said, “One day, this little village will flourish as a great, important city, growing ever wealthier, and one day it will house the seat of the kingdom.”

In 1776, during the American War of Independence, St. Patrick’s influence is even said to have helped the Americans to victory over the British. General George Washington’s army was besieging the city which would later bear his name, and at the time was defended by the British army. Washington chose the password “St. Patrick” as a mark of respect to the many Irish in his ranks. And so it happened that on March 17th, the feast-day of St. Patrick, the British surrendered – without a struggle. As they left the city, an American band struck up the lively melody “St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning”. The tune has been played in Washington on every St. Patrick’s Day since that time.

In “The Truth About the Irish ” (St. Martin’s) Terry Eagleton sums up the story of St. Patrick like this:

“As a patron saint, he has quite a few disadvantages:

  • We don’t actually know who he was.
  • We don’t actually know where he came from.
  • He was not the first Christian missionary in Ireland.
  • There may have been two of him.
  • He may not have existed at all!

Apart from that, he’s a fantastic patron saint.” I couldn’t agree more.

Long live St. Patrick – however you decide to celebrate him! I’ll go to see the parade in Münich tomorrow for sure!

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Masquerade ball in Vienna with Mira Sorvino

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imagesCA8E5P46With the snowdrop, tiger lily, tulip, roses and fresia decorated salon, feathered hats, cilinders, masks scatter everywhere foreshadowing a piquant adventure in the prom of the Opera ball in Vienna. Before reading further this blog be aware of the danger of nostalgia!

Just 140 years ago happened when empress Elizabeth of Austria and queen of Hungary fell in love with the young Fritz von Pacher Theinburg ministerial employee at the Vienna Academy of Music’s masquerade ball. The romantic love story was captured by the Austrian novelist Hubert Wittenbach who wrote the next about it (I didn’t cite it word by word)

dekoráciok 020“The famous masquerade ball of the Vienna Academy of Music was regarded the most exclusive ball of the party season. To increase the excitment, papers, magazines reported every day who would wear what and who would participate on the ball so it was no wonder that everyone in the upscale city were speaking of the season opener masquerade parade.

In 1873 late January, the 36-year empress Elizabeth was bored to death in her study. A nasty, rainy winter hit the capital, snow did not fall, so due to the bad weather she could not go for a ride and could not leave the city for warmer lands either, until Franz Joseph, the emperor returned to the capital. On one gloomy day Elizabeth was just sitting in her room and tried to concentrate on her book, but she couldn’t because the inaction tortured her so deeply like never before. Until that point when she discovered the programs of the ball of the Academy of Music in one magazin. The big event was due on that evening! Elizabeth became totally thrilled with the news, decided that at all costs but she would go to the ball in incognito. Her Hungarian abigail (lady’s maid) Ida Ferenczy initially opposed the plan, but eventually Elizabeth managed to convince her that no one will recognize them under masks, so Ida decided to go with the queen. One more person had to be involved in the adventure, the hairdresser madam Schmidl. She dressed up Elizabeth of a brocade yellow dominoe dress, put a strawberry blonde wig to her gorgeous hair, covered her face with a black lace mask so her white face, long swan neck was not be recognizible. However Ida Ferenczy dressed in red dominoe cloth, with a black wig. Half-hour later the two excited ladies in the dominoe costumes managed to get into the hall of the Academy of Music unobtrusively. They took the gallery seats and watched the cheerful, debutante crowd for a while. Elizabeth in her gorgeous costume was still excited and was eagerly waiting for that someone would discover her, but when nothing happened until midnight she became totally depressed, and finally said to Ida:” if I had to come to the ball, I want to dance, please bring someone up to me”. At the beginning of the ball she had already picked out a good-looking blond man, who was standing next to a “shepherd” girl. So she pointed at that guy and sent Ida down to him, wanted to know who he is. As it turned out the man’s the 26 year-old Fritz von Pacher Theinburg ministerial official, who willingly followed the mysterious lady’s maid to her mistress. After a few polite words, Pacher immediately guessed that the woman could not be other than Empress Elizabeth because of the way of talking and as she held her head, as she waited to broach the people out of the way when they started to dance, so he was absolutely sure about her identity”.

Masks 005When later love was consummated in Pacher suites, the Empress was still in the faith that Pacher didn’t recognize her. The love affair lasted about 3 months, and during all that time Elizabeth believed that no one knows about the relationship but it could not remain a secret because Fritz Pacher von Theinburg was not very discreet man, he even captured the adventure with the Queen / Empress in a poem, which Elizabeth, if she had ever read it, would have found out the truth, namely, how much wrong was she when she thought that Theinburg loved her head over heels, and was completely fascinated by her beauty etc, but probably she realized that 3 months later when she ended the unilateral adventure because Elizabeth did not like that he did not dance the way she wanted, anyway, the banter just entertained the Empress but did not the young man. ”

A lot of water had flown down the Danube river since Elizabeth’s love affair, and many people have fallen in love at the Viennese balls, but Vienna had to wait until 1992 to draw the attention to the world again of the Vienna Opera ball. Thanks to Richard Lugner, the Austrian shopping mole owner, investor, industrialist tycoon, who organizes every year a charity connected ball at the Vienna Opera House, where world-famous celebrities waltz to Strauss’s music, and every year’s sensation, who will be the guest of honor! This year the ball will be held on February 7 and the guest of honor of the prom will be the Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino!

One surprise after the other one

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2012. december 8 006Talking about parties & menus before Christmas

The ideal party when all guests feel themselves at home. We may achieve this for example with an abundant choice. My suggestion is the next excellent dinner what is ready at a glance.

Starters:   Espuma of celery with truffle oil

                Goose liver terrine créme brulée

                Prawn with lemon mellisse

Main course:Tajine of duck with fresh figues, with ginger and green pepper

Dessert:  Hazelnut cream with gold leaves

Espuma of celery and truffle oil

Espuma (vanilla foam) with mint

Ingredients: half of a celery, 1 chicken stock, 30 cl milk, 30 cl cream, 2 teaspoons truffle oil, salt and pepper you can prepare cream one day ahead.

Directons: 1. Peel the celery and cut into cubes. Let it cook for 15 minutes in the chicken broth. Purée with a blender or food processor, add milk and cream to it. Salt and pepper. 2. Pour over truffle oil. Spoon mixture into the professional creative whip maker. Screw on the iSi cream charger with the charger holder and shake it vigorously. 3. Cool cream in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Espuma is ready for dispensing after the cooling time. 4. Press celery cream into nice glasses. Gild with shaved truffle pieces.

Wine suggestion: Crémant Alsace Bru 2002

Goose liver terrine créme brulée

Ingredients: 6 egg yolks, 50 gr sugar, 40 cl cream, 4 chestnut (candid), 1 gooseliver terrine, pepper and salt

Directions: 1. Preheat the oven for 150 grades. Whisk the egg yolks with sugar until stiff. Add cream to egg. Flavor with salt and pepper. 2. Cut 3 chestnuts into four, slice the goose liver terrine, place into small baking forms, bestrew them with candid chestnut. 3. Pour egg mixture over goose liver portions and place the baking forms into the oven for 10 minutes. When it’s ready adorn with shredded chestnut. You can consume it cold or warm.

Tiger prawn with lemon melisse

Ingredients: 2 lbs large raw tiger shrimp (18), in their shells, thawed if frozen, 1/2 cup butter, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 6 garlic cloves, smashed, 2 limes, juice and zest of 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped warm tortilla, to serve, lemon slice, lemon melisse, for the finger bowls

Directions: 1. Chop the onion and cut the melisse fine, salt and pepper. Put into a blender squeeze some lemon over it and make a pesto. Put aside. Rinse the prawns in a colander, remove their heads and leave them to drain. 2. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic and fry over a low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. 3. Add the lime rind and juice. 4. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or more. 5. Add the prawns and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes until they turn pink. 6. Remove them from the heat, sprinkle with coriander and serve with the warm tortillas and the melisse pesto. (Give each guest a finger bowl filled with water and a slice of lemon, for cleaning their fingers after shelling the prawns, and provide also of paper napkins).

Tajine of the duck with fresh figues, ginger and green pepper

Ingredients: 8 small potatoes, 6 fresh figues, 15 cl ginger syrup, 30 gr green peper, 2 duck filets, pepper and salt

Directions: 1. Cook the peeled potatoes for 15 minutes until tender. Wash the figues and cut into four. Place figues into a casserole, pour over ginger syrup, and let it cook for 15 minutes. Stir it time to time in order to protect from burning. Season with green pepper. 2. Prepare the duck. Salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes in a bit of butter on high temperature. Reduce heat (onto medium temperature), flavor duck with thyme and let it simmer for two more minutes. Slice filets nicely. Place them onto figues with the juice, season with salt and pepper and arrange potatoes nicely on the plate.

Wine: Clos de la Grande Boissiere 2001

Espuma made from green tea

Hazelnut parfait with gold leaves

20 minutes+4 hours rest

Ingredients: 4 egg yolks, 50 gr sugar, 5 gr vanilla sugar, 20 cl milk, 13 cl cream, 100 gr nuts, decorate with 4 leaves of gold

Directions:1. Beat eggs with sugar and with vanilla sugar until stiff. Heat the milk and the cream together, add egg mixture. 2. Cook everything together on medium heat until dense. When it’s ready place into deep freezer. 3. Take cream off from the freezer and put into blender. Add grated nuts to crunchy cream. When it’s ready divide cream into glasses and keep in the fridge until serving.

Wine: Santa Carolina 1996 Late Harvest

Christmas in Belgium

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Philippe and Brigitte De Naeyer are the owners of the Pottenbrug restaurant in Antwerp. During Christmas the restaurant will be closed for three days because the family would like to enjoy the yule tide season simply with their five children and grandchildren. Two in five lives abroad, so not surprisingly Brigitte and Philippe’s most joyous celebration of the year is Christmas. – ” I enjoy the Christmas season especially the hustle-bustle and that as everyone wants to make itselves useful.- says Brigitte. “One of my son decorates the Christmas tree, the other one does the garden, the girls help with the cooking, the grandchildren assist in the preparation of the menu board. By the way about the decoration we usually decide at the end of November: last year the gold was our fav this year we voted for the traditional red and green’s combination.

I like the best the Christmas morning. I wake up with a smile on my face. I jump out of my bed and run to the fireplace, throw pine branches into the fire so by the time my children arrive the air has already been filled with fine fragrance. After a liquid lunch we dress the table together. The dinner is our treatment, to exchange gifts for the great regret of my grandchildren comes only after the dessert.

This year’s menu will be: Foie gras in pastry, rolled in serrano ham, French fish soup with saffron, Mallard, with wild mushroom and goat cheese flavored potato souffle, date cake with cinnamon flavoured ice cream.

Recipes: Foie gras with serrano ham in filo pastry

Ingredients: for 4 servings, lollo bionda or rosso lettuce, eight layers dough (the best is the thin Turkish pastry called filo pastry) 1 egg, sesame seeds, 8 slices of Spanish serrano ham, 4 slices of duck liver, one bottle of red onion marmalade

for the dressing: sherry wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon mustard, 1 tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoons oil, pepper, salt, curry

Prepare the sauce: Mix the sherry and mustard with oil, add a pinch of sugar. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, lubricate the filo pastry with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Place pastry in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange the washed salad on plates. Remove the dough from the oven, place onto plate the first layer, 1 slice of ham, 1 dose of ducks, and the onion chutney, place the second dough layer on it, add ham, liver, onion, and so on.  Sprinkle the top of the dough with the sherry sauce.

French fish soup with saffron 1 lobster, 1 leek, 1 carrot, 1 teaspoon red paprika powder, 1 celery stem, saffron, parsley, fish soup broth, chicken soup stock, 1 dl white wine

Simmer the lobster in butter. Throw the chopped onion, celery stem, 1 carrot, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the paprika powder as well. Pour the chicken bouillon over lobster and cook for 15-20 minutes. When the vegetables are tender strain broth and keep only the crab meat and the vegetables, discard the fishbones and the hard parts of the lobster. Put vegetables back in the pot and pour the wine over soup. Boil soup again, flavour with the saffron. Offer with a fresh baguette or toast.

Mallard with wild mushrooms and goat cheese potatoe souffle: 2 mallards, 1 bottle of red wine, 1 bottle of Trappist beer, 1 tablespoon sugar, 750 g wild mushrooms, oil, pepper, salt, 1 onion, 2 carrots, thyme, basil, rosemary, 1 clove of garlic, butter, 1 liter of water

First, prepare the duck soup. Chop the onion and grate 3 cloves of garlic, fry them together with the diced carrots in the oil. Add the boned mallard (keep the flesh for later) pour in the red wine and the water, add the spices (bay leaf, thyme, rosemary) and cook/simmer on low heat for 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

The goat cheese and potatoes soufflé: 200 g potatoes, 100 g goat cheese, 100 ml cream, 50 ml milk, 1 egg yolk, 1 egg white, nutmeg, salt and pepper

Prepare mashed potatoes (cook and mash) and then add butter, milk, and goat cheese. Add egg yolk whisk egg white until stiff. Add to purée. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with nutmeg. Place purée into soufflé tins and cook for 35-40 minutes in water bath (up to 180 degrees).

To finish the duck broth, filter soup and add a pinch of sugar and stir Trappist beer, plus add a bit of butter. Fry the duck breasts and thighs in its own grease or in butter on both sides for 5-6 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Place the duck breast slices in a deep bowl, add the in butter cooked wild mushroom (seasoned with pepper and salt and chopped parsley) and serve with in baking tin cooked goat cheese purée. Spanish red wine suits it the best.

Date cake Ingredients : 250 g dates, extra 8 pieces aside for garnish, 10 g flour, 200 g almonds, 140 g sugar, 1 package vanilla sugar, 4 egg whites, 250 gr of cinnamon-flavored ice cream

The cream filling: 1,5 dl cream, 1 tablespoon milk, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 pack vanilla sugar. The frosting: 4 slices of chocolate, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, 10 g butter, 3 tablespoons apricot jam

Add chopped-unpit dates into flour, mix with the ground almonds, vanilla sugar, and add the sugar as well. Grease the pan with butter, beat the egg whites until stiff, and add the flour with the dates to this mixture. Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes. Cut the cake in two when it is cool, and spread with apricot jam. Prepare the coating, melt bitter chocolate in a bowl, with 1 tablespoon hot water and butter over boiling water. Beat the cream. Coat the cake with the chocolate glazur, decorate it with halfed dates. Flavour vanilla ice cream with cinnamon. Serve cake with ice cream and cream on top. Catalan sparkling wine suits well.

I lived like a Tropezien in St Tropez!

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The story of three hotels in St Tropez that created turbulences for couple of decades

Each year five million visitors are enchanted by the beauty of St Tropez, a small village at the Cote D’Azur. Maybe because the village cultivates a unique way of life. More notably St Tropez is where light hearted spirit, simplicity and freedom prevail. Art de vivre as the French people say, whether you are keen on cultural events, water sports, shopping, (by the way it is a paradise for fashion lovers the best brands, extravagant, sensual boutiques are all) night life and partying-St Tropez offers the best.

At the end of September, when I was in St Tropez, my intention was to reveal the success of three cultic hotels: La Hotel Ponche, L’Escale and Villa Romana. At the same time I also wanted to learn more about the myth of the village.

When I was heading for the Hotel La Ponche (it was the first on my list) I came across with a photo exhibition: St Tropez and the stars by Daniel Angeli. His pictures were so striking, (mostly taken in the 60s and 70s) so I couldn’t resist to stop there and to take a look at them. Mostly snapshot portraits, revealing the soul of the 20th century, a salute to the golden years of cinema and the elite. Later on I realized that, that studying first Angeli’s photos were the best warming-up for the interview with the proprietor of the legendary Hotel the La Ponche as Agnelli’s photos came alive by listening the stories of madam Simone Duckstein.

Hotel de la Ponche in the 60s

The Hotel de La Ponche (located in downtown of St Tropez) is probably the most intimate hotel in St Tropez, and the only four stars of the Rriviera, was born of a simply fisherman’ bar. -“In the early 60s when St Tropez became the centre of the world, -paradise for young and beautiful and later famous people- thus they needed a cosy-hidden nest where they could enjoy life to the fullest”.- began Ms Duckstein the story-telling. „It’s annoying when people say that St Tropez is not the place anymore like was before, it’s not entirely true. There are the lights and the sea, there are always extraordinary people and the sweet way of life remained unchanged. Since the only thing that has disappeared perhaps is the simplicity in communication that created a bridge between people of all backgrounds. Today’s society is individualistic, the mobile phone has replaced writing while in the past, people had to talk to another to meet. -”Oh but in the sixties I met many famous people”-she sighed a big nostalgically then she continued- “such as Francoise Sagan and her group Jacques Malraux, Juliette Greco etc did. Sun, speed, parties and humour!- that was Francoise’s motto, the carefree attitude of the era, a French way of art. They regarded the hotel de La Ponche as a family boarding home. Everybody loved Francoise!”- broke Simone Duckstein into a smile remembering to her.- “She was very charming, generous, exquisitely polite and insomniac.” And I knew the Bardot family as well. Madam Bardot, Brigitte’s mother came on the Blue Train, had her breakfasts at the hotel with her two daughters Brigitte and Milanou. Later The Bardots had bought a family house on Rue de la Misericorde. Couple of years later was very fascinating to see again BB, when And God Created Woman Roger Vadim’s film many scenes were shot in the old town, and she changed her clothes in our hotel. Half nude but totally innocent, my other clients were stunned by the presence of the world’s most beautiful woman. And BB was the gist in our Tropicana club as well, once when she was with Sacha Distel, BB was singing, Sacha Distel played on his guitar and the whole Riviera could hear their band”.

L’Escale and the 70s

In the 70s Hotel L’Escale became the festive heart of St Tropez. Felix Giraud, who managed the Escale in that time (died in his early 90s), was a pioneer in terms of partying, maybe the greatest character of St Tropez. He started by working in the torpedo factory, he operated his first business in St Maxime, in addition later he had opened un unpretenious bar called the Esquinade which quickly became the place where people had to be, to be seen with the royalty, singers, heirs, and American stars. The gathering place of celebrities. Everything was decided there at 6 pm. The aperitif with rowsof people in front of the bar, elegant women in long dresses, pretty girls back from the beach, fishermen, tourists or passing byers… The Aston Martins and Ferraris were neatly parked in front of the door. Maybe because in that time there were no musicians, the mood was very „love and peace”, of an infinitive sweetness, no dress code and no social barriers. Being young, smiley and beautiful that was the only passport imposed to access the most private parties in villas or yachts. The tables were booked from one year to another. I have a funny story about Richard Burton who was a heavy drinker and therefore man of moods. So he came only once to France. His boat moored in the harbour of St Tropez. He dined at L’Escale. Then next day he set sail annoyed by the fact that he couldn’t watch his favorite English channel! At the same time Onassis booked his table for the whole summer at L’Escale. Prince Rainer, Romy Schneider, Gianni Agnelli, the good looking Italian heir of the Fiat empire was always accompanied by beautiful blondes here. And all these people mixed with one another in all simplicity, drinking Pimm’s” -said Beatrice Mangins hotel proprietor of the L’ Escale with a big pride.

La Villa Romana and the 90s, password: Live like a Tropezien!

In May 1996 when Luc Fournier bought Mina Siri’s pizzeria, -the place was once very popular in the eighties,- first he changed the furniture, then he discovered the lush of the vegetation and flowers in the garden and became inspired by the Florentine style-thus he created a place under the name of Villa Romana. With the mingle of ancient frescoes, crystal chandeliers and modern baroque furniture a visual revolution was born. Not miracle, that the famous stars discovered it soon. Heirs of the elite, actors, pretty girls gather in this place for crazy nights. Nowadays sometimes people come here for just a dinner because Villa Romana has a great restaurant. Besides of this there is no deficiency in the delights: Playmates in bikinis parading between tables, the champagne flows. Billioners are frequent visitors for instance Kevin Spacey, George Clooney, Paris Hilton, Bruce Willis. No jet setter worthy of the will miss the date in 2016 the 20st anniversary of the Villa Romana!-said with a huge smile Luc Fournier.

The exhibition of St Tropez and the stars was created in 2011 and first was shown at Paris.  It has been presented in Sidney, Melbourne, Paris, Milan and will be in Moscow, New Delhi, Bombay, Brisbone, Buenos Aires, New York, Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco.

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www.privatepicturesgallery.com website proposes unique and exclusive photos taken by paparazzis, photographers who have witnessed times when stars offered rare, now legendary moments commencing a tour around the world’s capitals.

Dille and Kamille, a store like no other

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Imagine that you are in the Netherlands, in the early seventies. In the cities there are many uniform stores when in this climate, in an empty yard in Utrecht basement of only 130 square meters Dille & Kamille opens its first shop. A store with wonderful combination of products: antique furniture and baskets of dried flowers, kitchen appliances, utensils, bake wares, cookwares, culinary products such as: pasta, oil, vinegar, herbs and spices, wine, chocolate, liquorice, wine and cheese and numerous tea blends. For the bathroom: towels, soaps and massage oils, beeswax and mirrors sold China. Everything is made ​​from natural materials, because the password is: plastic is forbidden.

That was new, that was different from the other conventional shops. No wonder that it was an immediate success. Since then, the Dill & Kamille has conquered twenty cities in the Netherlands and 5 in Belgium. The concept of that first store, the wonderful mix of products that are still great together and the belief in natural simplicity, standing still as a rock. During 36 years Dille & Kamille has survived all fads, economic crises and changing ideas but it is flourishing….

The pleasure of good service, the convenience of kitchen appliances, the seductive scent of herbal tea and lavendel,- that was my first impression when I entered the Dill & Kamille store in Bruxelles. On the shelves there were plenty of products what make life more enjoyable. Rattan baskets and wooden chairs, pots & plants and garden tools, children’s toys. A range that simplicity radiates with a preference for trade, crafts and natural materials. There was no superfluous decorations or fancy shapes, because natural simplicity is the core of Dille & Kamille. And hospitality. A casual atmosphere, a place where you can be yourself.  And Hospitable. Advanced cooking for friends. Carefully set the table. Or just spoil yourself with a bottle of wine or with a delicious tea. Or a personalized gift.

No more word is necessary because at Dille & Kamille the products spoke for themselves. Living in harmony with the environment was the message here. Between the hustle and bustle in the streets Dille & Kamille was a relief. No frills, garish displays, neon, fashion statements or piercing music from the speakers: classical music and the seductive scents of soaps, oils and spices filled the room.

Dille & Kamille opened its shop in Brussels in 1995, in Bruges in 2001, in Roeselare in 2002, in  Aalst in 2004, in Turnhout in 2005…

Gina, Sophia and Claudia in the kitchen

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In July, the keyword, in regard to eating, the Mediterranean “diet”, which doesn’t mean dieting at all, but rather a way of eating. The following recipes are special because they come from three great Italian filmlegends (veterans) who shared their secrets to the public.

Allora pizza, pasta with pesto “- would exclaim Sophia Loren, but Adriano Celentano would reply that, ” Forse vitello di tonnato, cara Sophia! ” (perhaps in red wine braised veal rolls,-don’t you think, darling Sophia?)

Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale

With the three Italian filmicons have in common not only that they were discovered in beauty contests, but also all three ador Italian cuisine. The first star from the era of dolce vita is Gina Lollobrigida, (who has just turned 85 on 4th of July).

-“I studied painting and sculpting at school and became an actress by mistake.” -told Gina once in an interview (we’re glad she made that “mistake.”), however-“The Mona Lisa of the Twentieth Century”-started her career with modeling. In 1947 she entered a beauty competition for Miss Italy, but came in third. After appearing in a half-dozen films in Italy, it was rumored that the film tycoon Howard Hughes had her flown to Hollywood; however, this did not result her staying in America. By the time she returned to Rome, thanks to her curves and beauty, she was nicknamed la “Lollo,” as she embodied the prototype of Italian beauty. In the sixties Gina made 6 good films and had won many awards such as David Donatello, Golden Globe, Bambi (her most memorable films were: Solomon and Sheba, Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Trapeze, Good evening Ms Campbell etc.).

In the 1970s, Gina’s career had slowed down, as she took a break from acting and concentrated on another career: photography. Later on she became a successful photojournalist and scooped the world’s press by obtaining an exclusive interview with Paul Newman, Salvador Dalí and Fidel Castro (Gina collected of her work in a book “Italia Mia”, and published in 1973).

“I’ve had many lovers and still have romances. I am very spoiled. All my life, I’ve had too many admirers” summed up her life Gina in an interview. Nowadays I have a simply life.  I have always lived in my home town in Subiaco, Sicily and nobody has ever put her or his feet in my property without my permission!” Then we are lucky that she shared her recipes to us.

Lollo salad and panettone

There’s a type of curly lettuce named “Lollo” in honor of her cute “earthy tossed salad” hairdo. “The purple one (Lollo Rosso) or green one (Lollo bionda) lettuce have many advantages”, -says Gina,- “as these lettuces are not only more crispy but also work good with olive oil, balsamic vinegar dressing. In the summer you can make an excellent appetizer from them”. In addition I have found the recipe of her homemade panettone (in an Italian magazin: Casa mia Cucina mia), what she makes with her own hands once a year (before Christmas) to her loved ones. Here are the recipes:

Lollo rosso with carrots and fennel

Lollo rosso salad, one small radicchio, 2 carrots, 1 fennel bulb, 4 lemongrass leaves for garnish.

For the dressing: 2 tablespoons lemon flavored olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar or raspberry, salt, black pepper

Cut the radicchio and the Lollo Rosso. Clean, peel and grate the carrots. Wash the fennel and cut off the stems. Pick off the tender green leaves of fennel, chop them and set them aside for garnish. Add the grated carrots to it.

In the dressing, mix the lemon flavored olive oil, lemon juice, sherry vinegar together. Season with salt and pepper and pour over grated vegetables. Wash the lemon balm leaves and place it in the green salad with the fennel together.

PS: The fennel is more easily digestible when it is cooked in lightly salted water for 5-7 minutes.

Panettone alla Gina

Ingredients for a giant panettone (Gina’s recipe): 300 ml milk, 50 g butter, 450 ml flour, 80 g sugar, salt, 3 egg yolks, two ounces of yeast, orange, raisins, pistachios, dried fruits

for a normal sized panettone: 250 g flour, 100 ml milk, 80 g butter, 60 g sugar, ¼ cube of yeast (12 g, or 1 teaspoon dried), 3 egg yolks, 1 lemon zest, a pinch of salt, 50 g of raisins, 30 g of candied orange peel, candied lemon peel 30 g, 30 g figs

Topping: 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon milk, ½ egg, 10 g almonds or pistachios

First prepare the dough. If you use fresh yeast, stir yeast in the 3 tablespoon of lukewarm sweetened milk. Add the flour in a large mixing bowl, pour the yeast with milk, melted butter, add sugar, egg yolks, lemon rind, salt and almost all of the milk to it. 

Knead dough until it is loose, then cover the bowl, place it in the oven for 50 degrees for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and let the dough to rise (1-2 hours). 

When the dough rose, knead it for 5 minutes, then rotate gently into the dried fruit (cut everything into small pieces). Butter the baking tin thoroughly with a paper towels, place the dough on it and let it rise in room-temperature like the first time, but does not cover it.

If the dough has risen make a cut on the top of it with a sharp knife, smear it with butter, sprinkled on a little milk, brush with egg, toss over almond chips and pistachios. Turn the oven to 170 degrees and let dough bake for approx. 45 minutes. If the panettone is baked, let it rest about 15 minutes in the baking tin.

Sophia Loren

As a child, she had the nickname, “Toothpick” regarding her way to thin look but for the age of 14 she had blossomed so beautifully that when she participated in a beauty contest was placed as one of the finalists. It was there that Sophia caught the attention of film producer Carlo Ponti, some 22 years her senior (whom she eventually married in 1966 once he finally obtained a divorce from his first wife. Perhaps he was the only father figure she ever had). Under his guidance, Sophia was put under contract and appeared as an extra in ten films beginning in 1950, before working her way up to supporting roles. In these early films, she was credited as “Sofia Lazzaro” because people were joked that her beauty could raise Lazzarus from the dead. She had a short-lived but much-publicized fling with co-star Cary Grant, (who was 31 years her senior, 22 contra 53) but she rejected a marriage proposal from him. While under contract to Paramount Pictures, Sophia starred in many films but before returning to Italy she got the leading role in the Two women (1960) and for her brilliant performance she had received international acclaim and was honored with an Academy Award for Best Actress. Sophia remained a bona fide international movie star throughout the sixties and seventies, making films on both sides of the Atlantic, and starring opposite such leading men as Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck, and Charlton Heston. Her American films included El Cid (1961), the Fall of the Roman empire (1964), Arabesque (1966), Man of La Mancha (1972), and Cassandra-crossing (1976). So far she has received a second Oscar nomination and won five Golden Globe Awards, and on the top of that Sophia Loren, who is seven years of Gina’s junior, has always had good knack of using her name and her husband’s relations. In the 70’s she appeared in business and at first she published her cook book then she had launched her trendy and sophisticated design glasses.  

Sophia has always loved cooking (and eating). About her eating habits there are many interesting anecdotes. I couldn’t resist to pick up one of them. A fellow actor wrote about Sophia (during making the film of Cid (1961): “Sophia appeared by bicycle on the set (by the way she rode her bike like an absolute beginner with fully outstretched arms). Since Carlo Ponti owned the film studio, she felt at home, and enjoyed very much when everybody addressed her La Signora. In the studio there was a small dressing room specially made for her. It was not at all intended to relax between two scenes, but more for dining. At 10 am or at 2 pm or any time she felt hungry she had just opened a small picnic boxes, which were filled with delicacies. By the way, she ate everything with lots of bread and red wine. Sometimes she even invited her fellow actors, actresses to dine with her. I heard that when she had to go to another city, in the hotel room it was set up a separate kitchen for her, where she could prepare one of her favorite Italian dishes “.

It was easy to get some of her recipes because Sophia Loren has already published two cook books (Cooking with heart and soul! (1972), Memories and Recipes!) According to her recipe collections her most loving dishes are: Involtini in Sicilian style (veal rolls), Salsa Genovese, Spaghetti alla carbonara in Rome and the Zabaglione.

Involtini alla Sicilia

Ingredients: 100 ml olive oil, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 pound of carrots, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 15 ounces parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, 8 sirloin (scallopini Milanese very thinly sliced), 1 tablespoon flour, 1/2 liter of dry white wine, a bay leaf, a canned tomato puree, 250 grams of peas, prosciuto ham

Simmer the grated carrot with the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon oil and butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heater and wait a bit. When it is nearly cold, add the Parmesan cheese.

Salt the meat. Place 2 tablespoons of cooked carrots and onion mixture to each slice of meat. Wrap them up. If it’s necessary affirm the rolls with a toothpick.

Heat the remaining oil and butter mixture. Roll the meatrolls in the flour and bake them on both sides. Pour over the white wine, scrape up the crusted layer. Add the tomato and discard the bay leaf. Cover and simmer it for approx. 5 to 10 minutes.

When the meat is almost done, add the peas and prosciuto ham. If you need it to season with salt and pepper do it. Remove the toothsticks from the meatrolls, then pour over rolls the sauce. Serve with fresh bread or polenta.

Chicken hunter style (Sophia’s younger son Eduardo’s favorite)

1 tablespoon oil, chicken giblets, (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 breast meat) 1 onion, 1 green pepper, black pepper, half a liter of white wine, salt, sweet peppers, fresh tomatoes, basil

In a skillet cook the chicken legs, wings and breast (with the skin). When they are  golden brown, add the onion, red pepper and simmer them together. Occasionally turn the chicken, in order to protect from it burning, and pour over the white wine. Season with salt and pepper and let the wine evaporate. Add the tomatoes. Cover and simmer it another 30 minutes of moderate fire without touching-turning the meat. Place the chicken breasts into a plate, sprinkle the chicken with plenty of fresh basil and pour over the remaining fat and cook for 2 minutes. Pour the sauce onto the chicken, serve with steamed noodles.

 Zabaiglone delizioso alla Sophia Loren

Ingredients: 4 egg yolks, 80 g sugar, 4 tablespoons white wine, 4 tablespoons Marsala or sweet vermouth, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ladyfinger

Put the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl. Add the grated lemon rind, a pinch of cinnamon and vanilla extract. Pour the Marsala wine (you can substitute with sweet vermouth). Steam it over moderate heat, stirred constantly until a thick cream is obtained. Approximately for 10 minutes. When you reach the desired consistency, the zabaglione is ready. Add whipped cream and stir gently to the zabaglione. Serve cream with ladyfingers and with some fresh raspberries, blueberries. You can serve the cream in warm, or in cold- then let it stand for 15 minutes.

The vegetarian star, Claudia Cardinale

Signora Cardinale’s most memorable films Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, and the Once Upon a time in Wild West (Sergio Leone, 1968) have become cult movies.

Claudia was born under the name Claude Joséphine Rose Cardin in Tunis by a Sicilian-Italian father and a French mother. Her mother tongue was French, by 18 years of age she didn’t really speak Italian. Originally she wanted to become a teacher but after winning a beauty contest in 1957, in Tunisia, soon she had found herself at the Venice Film Festival, (that was the prize) where her beauty was immediately noticed by the Italian filmmakers (it resulted a seven-year contract). The contract imposed on her a lots of bounds: without permission she couldn’t have her hair cut, she couldn’t put any weighs and was not allowed to go to marry.

The great European films

In the 1960s, she made a number of films, mostly Italian productions (because of her limited Italian language skillsin the films her voice was dubbed). In 1960 Luchino Visconti, the famous filmdirector choose her for a supporting role in the Rocco and His Brothers neorealista’s film. In 1963, in the film The Leopard (also directed by Visconti) she already got a major role (with such stars like Burt Lancaster and Alain Delon on her side). In the same year she played the role of Maria Luigi Comencini: Bube lover (La Ragazzi di Bube) ‘s film, for which she received the Silver Ribbon Award. But when she played a memorable role in Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ ‘s film she became the third leading Italian female sex symbol (after Gina and Sophia). Even Brigitte Bardot became jealous of her making the next remark: “I know who takes over my place soon, after BB, CC comes in the alphabet doesn’t it?

But according to Claudia the movie was a kind of medication to her, once even saved her life (her son Patrizio was born out of wedlock. His father was a mysterious Frenchman who raped Cardinale at age of 17. Later her son was adopted by her former husband Franco Cristaldi). The 74 years old Claudia is currently working on a film- Effie- with Emma Thomson and Dakota Fanning.

Claudia’s recipes

Before sharing her vegetarian recipes there is an interesting fact: a cocktail was named after Claudia (it is called Claudia). The drink was inspired by the Luchino Visconti’s film: The Panther.

Ingredients: Rum, Vermouth, pineapple, caramel syrup, Maraschino cherry liqueur, Cranberry juice, celeriac chunk and  lime piece cut into a star form (which hangs around the celeriac as a ponytail)

Claudia is vegetarian and she likes soups and pastas very much. Here is one of her favorite Italian minestrone soup

Ingredients: 1 courgette, 1 kidney bean canned, two pieces of fresh tomatoes, 1 onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 chicken broth, 15 ounces Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon parsley, orecchi pasta

Prepare the vegetables. Peel the onion and garlic and chop finely. Wash the courgette, (do not peel it completely). Cut into small cubes. Simmer courgette in butter and oil mixture with the onions and garlic together, pour over 1 liter of water. Add the diced tomatoes, and the chicken stock, season with salt and pepper, (if you must). Cook courgette up 10 to 15 minutes (it cooks fast)

Finally, add the orecchi pasta and the canned kidney beans. Flavour with parsley, basil and sprinkle with plenty of green. When the pasta is al dente, serve with grated parmesan.

Her dessert: In Sherry marinated peach, with vanilla cream and cottage cheese

Ingredients: 8 apricots, 3 tablespoons sherry (creamy), vanilla extract, lemon juice, 500 g cream cheese, 8 tsp sugar, 250 g blueberries

After cleaning and unpitting the peaches cut them half and throw them into boiling water. Peel them and put in a bowl, pour the sherry over them and let them soaked/marinated in it for half an hour.

Scratch off the vanilla pod, press lemon juice into a bowl, add lemon curd and 4-5 tsp of sugar. Stir them together well.

Place blueberries into the blender with some addition of sugar. 

Finally, dipped the tablespoon in hot water, take one spoon of the quark and form with the spoon almond’s shape. Take out apricots from the Sherry marinade place into a dessert plate, place on the quark and on the top with the black currant purée.

Buon appetito!