Around the Home: A Cut Above The Rest

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It's Halloween on Tuesday! Have you all gone out and gotten your pumpkins yet? Better go and get that done, then come back and read on. I've got a few cool ideas for a different type of face for ole Jack this year.

For those unfamiliar with the Halloween history and those thinking "Who is Jack?", allow me to explain.

This is not something that originated in the USA as some might think. As a matter of fact, Halloween originated among the Celts in Ireland and in Northern France as the Pagan Celtic harvest festival, Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1, the day marking the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. The general belief was, on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On October 31 they celebrated Samhain, believed to be the night when the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. The Celts thought that the presence of these spirits made it easier for the Druids and their priests to make predictions about the future. These people were entirely dependent on the volatile natural world and such prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. During the Samhain festival, the Celts wore costumes and told each other's fortunes.

In the 19th Century the Irish immigrants to North America brought this tradition with them. In the 20th and the 21st century this festival is celebrated all over the world as a part of American pop culture.

Jack is the pumpkin carved for Halloween. Full name Jack O'Lantern. Irish legend tells us the story of a lazy but clever farmer called Jack. He tricks the Devil and refused to free him until the Devil agrees never to let jack into Hell when he dies. When Jack really died the Devil kept his promise and refused to let him into Hell. So, Jack carved out one of his pumpkins, placed a candle in it and wandered the Earth for a resting place. He became known as "Jack of the Lantern". The term jack-o'-lantern actually means a night watchman or a man with a lantern.

Before the pumpkin became the trademark for Halloween it was associated with the harvest season in North America.

Right - close those History books and let's get to the fun part.

Get fresh pumpkins if possible. Straight off the vine are best, leaving a few inches of vine on the stem. After carving, your pumpkin will last 2-5 days before they start to shrivel.

Of course the usual face for Jack is a tradition, but how about trying out a few other ideas. Here are mine.


Flower Power




You'll need:
A pumpkin - I used a smaller one.
An apple corer
A sharp knife
A spoon or an ice cream spoon
A bowl
Newspapers
Hairspray
Candle

How To:
Spread the newspapers across the table. Using the sharp knife, cut the top off of the pumpkin. Scoop out the insides into the bowl. Save the flesh and make a soup out of it. With the apple corer poke holes into the pumpkin, making a nice design. I tried to go for a little flower like pattern. Spray the insides with hairspray. This seals the pumpkin and it will keep a day or two longer.

I placed this on the window sill of my kitchen at first I used a small candle but then I had another idea. I had a small set of fairy lights (string of lights that you put on a Christmas tree) and placed those inside the pumpkin. A few of the bulbs, I stuck out of the holes. That looked amazing.



The Boo Pumpkin



You'll need:
A large pumpkin
A sharp knife
A spoon or an ice cream spoon
A marker
Toothpicks
A bowl
Newspapers
Hairspray
Candle

How To:
Spread the newspapers across the table. Using a sharp knife, cut the top of the pumpkin. Keep the design for the top simple. Scoop out the insides into the bowl keeping a 2 cm thick edge on the pumpkin. With the marker write the word "BOO" (or any other word). For beginners keep the letters as "squarish" as possible as it is easier to cut out. The inside of the letters - "B" "O" - can be fixed by inserting a toothpick on both sides and fixing it to the pumpkin. Spray a generous amount of hairspray to make the pumpkin last a few more days. Place a candle inside and "BOO" away everyone that comes over!!




If you've got your pumpkins carved out, leave a link to your photos in the comments of the box. It'll give us all more ideas for designs.

Check out Asha's great Spooktacular Halloween.

Happy Trick and Treating folks. Hope you have a great Halloween wherever you are.




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Savory French Toast - A Scandalous Affair

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I have had my eye on the various recipes of this version of the French Toast. I always knew the sweet version. I admit that seeing it in it's savory flavors on the blogoshphere was the first time.

The first time I saw it, I was a little taken aback and thought "Naaah! Nothing for me!" But then I saw it on Ashwini's and thought "Hmmmn! Looks good!"

A while later Tamana tried it out here and said it tasted pretty good. I was really getting inquisitive about the whole Savory French Toast thang.

Finally, Nandita blogged about it here and one or two will remember the scandal it caused ;-).

It was at this point I had to find out for myself what all the hype was about.

I liked Ash's use of cheese and inspired by this I went in search of my own version of the savory French Toast!


Upcoming Event On WFLH:

Monthly Mingle: Give Thanks
Deadline: November 16, 2006
Please note: I will require a 75 x 75 picture of your dishes too. Those who do not send a picture, will be included without one in the roundup. Sorry folks, spending too much time on running after the pics.



Music while enjoying this:

Jay Sean - Eyes on You
Album: Me Against The World - WOW! My Recommendation

*Artwork and Music courtesy iTunes



Ingredients:

For one person

2 slices of toast - I used a wonderful three flour toast with sesame seeds
1 egg
a splash of milk
Aglio Olio
Italian Herb Mixture
Parmesan cheese - grated








Method:

Whisk the eggs, milk, Aglio Olio, grated Parmesan and the
Italian herb mixture all together in a mixing bowl.

Heat a pan with some oil. Soak the toast slices with the batter and fry in the pan until golden brown.

Serve with some fruit!



Verdict:

I have got to say. This is one delicious tasting toast. I always was a huge fan of the sweet type and thought nothing could come close to it. As of now the sweet French Toast has gotten competition. I liked the mix of the italian herbs and the cheese. It was really smooth and herby.

So, if any of you have seen different recipes for this and are still (like I was) hesitating in trying this, go on give it a whisk. You won't be sorry.

Oh and just for the record I had mine with an Espresso.

Tune in on the weekend for great Jack O'Lantern ideas and a Halloween special.



For Nandita's Weekend Breakfast Blogging.




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Baked Potato with Ricotta and Chanterelle Mushrooms

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Do you know what I did this weekend? First I spent most of my Saturday with my brother-in-law at Ikea. He is finally moving out of the parents home into his own place and wanted my opinion on a few things. Then on Sunday I sat with him planning and color scheming the possibilities we had for the interior.

OK that was not really the story I wanted to tell you. I wanted to tell you that I have been so headless lately that I actually forgot my purse at Tom's parents place. My wallet, mobile phone, driver's license - the whole lot. So, I was penniless, unreachable and could not officially drive for the past two days. Imagine a woman without a credit card! It was terrible.

Besides being so headless I was a bit down this weekend too. This year the Diwali thing really got to me. As I watched all my Indian friends prepare for the feast and party I wanted to be a part of that feeling so bad. Just being with my family and enjoying, laughing and eating good food. Golly I thought I was kind of prone to all that. But obviously it still gets to me. That's the disadvantage of living so far away. I never missed this in Qatar or Dubai because it is just like living in India. Presumably, since I never actually lived in India at all. In Weimar I must be the only Indian. So no one who I can bond with when it comes to such festivals.

Maybe as I get older I am trying to grasp at my roots a little more. These things never bothered me before. Now, I look at Soeren and see that I am able to offer him so little of his Indian culture. He is half Indian but is living a 100% European life. I do my best to show him a bit of my Sikh religion, a bit of the Punjabi passion (although I think that has been inherited in the genes LOL). It is hard because I myself am so out of touch with that. We listen to Hindi music with a crazy passion and I am to bring my iPod with me everyday when I pick him up, so that we can listen to the tunes in the car. Those are the happy and great moments.

Anyway, I really hope those who celebrated had a great Diwali. Cherish these moments.

After all that eating I am sure you will enjoy what I have in store. Even those who did not go into excess eating over the past few days, think of the feasts that are coming up in the next couple of months. I am sure you will appreciate this. I think it would also make a great side to the Turkey or roast you'll be preparing.

We had this as is. A baked potato like nothing you have had before. The delicate filling of ricotta, chanterelle mushrooms, plenty of herbs and radish make this whole dish flavorful and appetizing.

Chanterelle Mushrooms
I find these to be the most flavorful of all sorts of mushrooms. Delicate and just delicious. The Morel mushroom might be the most popular of all mushrooms, but it is the Chanterelle that has the finest chefs in the world in a frenzy and prize above all.

The Italians call it Girolle and Germany it is called Pfifferling. They are prized around the world for their fine and delicate flavor.

The Chanterelle has a tough yet mild flavor and a bit spicy edge to it. It really has that distinct flavor of the forest - where it grows.

The Chanterelle has a tender texture, however unlike other mushrooms it does not disintegrate easily. With whatever you serve the Chanterelles with it holds up its taste like a winner - cheese, tomatoes, fish and poultry or like here potatoes.

Selecting and Storing
Fresh Chanterelles should be clean and just about dry to the touch. When you hold them to your nose, the aroma should be fruity and spongy to the touch. There might be signs of the woods - pine needles or moss, just pick them off.
Fresh Chantrelles should not be washed when not necessary. The best way is to brush them or just pick of any dirt. I use a kitchen towel and rub the dirt off. If they really are very dirty soak them quickly in salted water and as soon as possible to avoid storing them wet.

Fresh Chanterelles keep in the fridge for up to seven days or up to a year in the freezer. Dried Chanterelles should be stored in a container, in a cool and dry place.


Upcoming Event On WFLH:



Give Thanks and spread warmth around you. Join me fill up the table with dishes that you create as a special thank you to or for anyone special. In November I would like to invite you to my warm home to sit around a cosy fire, eat and talk about the things you appreciated the most this year. What are you thankful for this year?




Music while cooking

James Morrison - You give me something
Album: Undiscovered - New on my iPod and already a hot fave

*Artwork and music courtesy iTunes




Ingredients:

2-3 large potatoes
6 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
250 g Ricotta
2 teaspoons zest and juice of a lemon
1 small bunch chives - chopped
1/2 bunch chervil - chopped
1/2 bunch cress - chopped
6 small radishes - finely chopped
200 g Chanterelles
3 Spring onions - chopped





Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Scrub the potatoes clean. Brush the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle some salt over them. Place on a baking tray and bake for approx. 70-75 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes.

In the meantime mix the ricotta with the lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of juice, salt, pepper, chives, chervil, cress and the radish in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a pan heat up some olive oil and fry the chanterelles quickly for 3 minutes on high heat. Add the spring onions and reduce the heat. Saute for 2 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Slit a cross in the potatoes and pop them open by pressing on both sides. Fill with the ricotta herb filling and spread the chanterelles over the top.

Enjoy with a chilled white wine.



Verdict
A potato with style, character and jam packed with flavors. This dish uses natures bounty in perfect harmony. Simple to make and sensational in taste.
Tom and Soeren just loved this and did not even complain that there was no meat to go with the potatoes - Germans usually need meat with potatoes. Tom especially mentioned that even though there are lots of herbs the aroma of the chanterelle comes through perfectly, but not over-powering the rest of the flavors.

If you do plan to make this as a side dish use smaller sized potatoes or slice the potatoes into an ovenproof dish and spoon the ricotta and chanterelles onto the potatoes. A great Thanksgiving side dish.



A recipe for Weekend Herb Blogging at Fiber's 28 Cooks.




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Greek Religion

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Keri, Zakynthos in Greece

Another favorite picture from our recent vacation in Greece. A lovely village with an awesome view. The church looks so colorful and makes a great contrast to the natural greens and blues. This view will blow you away.



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Treats - Pesto Spirals

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As all my Indian buddies are busy with preparations for Diwali, I envy them a bit. Diwali is my favorite Indian festival. I love the lights, candles, the family and friends getting together, the sweets and the celebrations. Here in Weimar I am on my own and no one to celebrate with. I do light my diyas around the house and my mum always calls so in way I get family and a bit of tradition that way. At least I get to virtually browse through my Indian buddies' blogs and share the celebrations too.

So to all my lovely Indian blog buddies - I wish you a very

HAPPY DIWALI!

Eat a laddoo, gulab jamun, barfi, jalebi and a ras malai for me. LOL!

After all that sweet stuff you might need something savory. I have prepared a little treat for you all and anyone else who likes the look of these.

These are easy to make and quick to bake special treats for those who want something savory in between the sweets.

Halloween and Thanksgiving are all coming up soon too and a lot of us will be entertaining. Over Halloween I'll be having a monster party for Soeren and his buddies. This is the perfect treat for them to nibble on. These nibbles are just perfect for practically any entertaining you do in the next few days.

Now, when you read on and see how easy it is to make them, I am sure you'd wanna hug me LOL!






Ingredients:

Pizza dough - either self made or self bought. Enough for one baking tray. I used fresh pizza dough from the grocery market that can be found in the cool shelves. The are easy to use as they are pre-rolled and that saves a lot of time.
10 teaspoons Pesto Rosso - store bought or self made.
10 teaspoons Pesto alla Genovese - store bought or self made
1 tablespoon toasted bread crumbs
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese - grated




This photo was entered for DMBLGIT #11

Method:

Pre-heat oven at 200 degrees Celsius.

If making your own dough, prepare according to instructions. Roll the dough out into a large rectangular shape. If using store bought check the thickness and if needed roll out to the required thickness.

Spread the pesto rosso on the upper part of the pizza dough and on the lower part the pesto alla genovese. Sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese over the entire surface.

From both sides start rolling the dough (horizontally) towards the middle. At this point there are two ways you can make the spirals.

  1. You cut the dough (horizontally), separating the rosso from the genovese. These will give you single spirals like the ones I made.
  2. You leave the dough as a whole without separating the two types. These will give you two joined spirals, one with the rosso and the other with the genovese as one entire nibble. Follow me?
Whatever you decide wrap the roll/rolls in some plastic wrap and cool in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Take the roll/rolls out of the fridge and cut them in approx. 1.5 cm thick pieces. Place the spirals onto a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.


Verdict:

I made these the other day when Soeren had a few friends over. I wanted to test them if they would be accepted by these gourmet tasters as little Halloween treats. I am still not too sure because all I got in between stuffed mouths was "mmhhe", "ymmn", "mmnnn"! But judging from the fact I had to make a second batch I understood that these were great.




I'd like to send these treats to the gracious VKN for the VCC - Festival Foods.




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Photo Session: Foodography 9

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In September the theme to Foodography 9 was "Let them eat Cake!" A great theme and I really enjoyed taking the shots for this challenge. My shots were:


No, I did not bake these gorgeous looking pieces of cake. I bought them extra for the session, but enjoyed eating them afterwards ;-)!



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Mixology Monday: The Roundup

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Get your shakers, stirrers and mixers out folks! Here is the Mixology Monday Roundup for your Exotic drinks.
It was Paul from The Cocktail Chronicles that started this amazing event where we can share a few good drinks with each other. I jumped on board just a few events ago and am addicted ... not to the alcohol but to the event. It has really opened new spectrums where my knowledge about cocktails and beverages goes and I have learned plenty.

Without much chit chat I serve you the drinks.



Of course we kick of with the creator of the event. Paul is serving up a gorgeous Tahitian. Pineapple juice, rum and a dash of Angostura bitters are just some of the ingredients that make this drink "mighty friendly".



Erik makes up a Goombay Smash that brings the sound of the Caribbean into our rooms. How exotic is that?



Jimmy sends in 5 classic exotic drinks that seem to have disappeared from bar menus. He calls out to us to take part in the cocktail revival the next time we hit the bar.



Riana, uses Dutch Eggplant to make her Red Mystery. It really does sound mysterious. Wondering what this is all about - head on down to Riana and check it out.



Darcy uses the exotic Arrack and makes a variation to the Royal Punch. Fit for a king and just perfect when taken hot for the upcoming cold days.



I am so glad that Asha accepted my invitation. Being one of the regulars here at WFLH, I was very happy that she put certain hesitations behind and joined us here. She stirs us a gorgeous looking Caruso. Her pictures look awesome and the drink is just heavenly.



Barbie2be takes peaches and prosecco and makes a sparkling Peach Bellini. Refreshing and tastes great.



Michael braved an earthquake and was still able to send us his Exotica. His email cracked me up as he asked if he was too late ... his excuse was "we had an earthquake". You're right Micahel! Never heard that one before.



Mike was a bit intimidated with this theme, but boy am I glad his intrigue got the better of him. He serves up not one but two cocktails for us to enjoy: Noa Noa Cocktail and El Floridita 1.1.


Anna serves up a liquid dessert. Her Pavlova Martini sound and looks amazing. With creme de framboise and passionfruit vodka I will never say NO to such a dessert!



Matt puts on his Sean Connery accent and serves us a Triple Pousse Cafe , a cocktail he picked up from the Wall Street Journal!



Haalo is my kind of gal! When she thinks "Exotic" she thinks of palm trees and islands in blue oceans. On her little exotic island she will serve you delicious Frozen Pina Coladas. So let's all fly down under to Haalo's island!



Becke, remembers only one good thing about her "awful trip" to a Spanish restaurant - the Caipirinha.



Bri did not invent her cocktail but she did invent a wonderfully original name for it. Her Juba combines the tastes of Cuba and Jamaica to make a cool refreshing drink.



Sarah does invent not only a new name but also offers a new adaptation of another cocktail. The Bloody Port Royal is a dramatic name with a dramatic story behind the name.



Got one more that must have disappeared in email nirvana of Hotmail (that's why the switch to Gmail!). Anita went for the Painkiller that they drank on their trip to Tortola. Exotic setting for a potent drink.



Missed another Anita. She sends in her wonderful looking Hibiscus Red September. Sorry Anita for that one.




Then there's me! I overcome my shyness (normally this is NOT a personality attribute that you would find on my list) and serve you Sex on the Beach.




Hope you enjoyed the great cocktail party we had here. It was fun and I was glad to be hostess. I now hand you over to Mike over at A Dash of Bitters for the next MixMo - Bitters.

Cheers!




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Mixology Monday: Exotic - Sex on the Beach

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Are you all going to join me later this evening for a few cocktails? It's Mixology time.

I get to host this great event right here on WFLH. I am pretty excited about it. I chose the theme Exotic wanting everyone, who joined in, to try their hand at something different and not what they had everyday.

I knew the exact drink I wanted to make, the only thing was I was not sure if I dared to print the name on the post. So, if you look at the title you'll see I finally did. This drink is a bit exotic for me because I can never bring myself to order it in a bar!!

Imagine me saying to the waiter "I'd like sex on the beach please!" I'd die of shame first.

No, I am not a prude nor do I have a problem talking about the subject. It's just one of those things I cannot bring myself to say or order. I had the same apprehension here. I did not want you all to think I was changing the content of my blog or giving you gory details about our vacation in Greece LOL!

I do enjoy this cocktail. It mixes fresh juices with schnapps and vodka making it amazingly refreshing yet with a bit of potency. It's easy to make and I hope you raise your glasses with me and lets all order a round of SEX ON THE BEACH.



Music with drinks:

Buttons - The Pussycat Dolls
Album: The Pussycat Dolls - Great stuff

*Artwork and music from iTunes



Ingredients:

1 1/2 oz. Vodka
3/4 oz. Peachtree schnapps
1/2 oz. Grenadine syrup
2 oz. Orange juice
2 oz. Cranberry juice
Ice





Method:

Pour everything into a shaker and shake with the ice. Strain into a glass with ice cubes. Decorate with a orange slice.


Verdict:
Brilliant, tangy, fresh and incredibly satisfying. It's perfect for those times when you want to sit back and daydream about palm trees, sand and the blue ocean.
As for me, my next mission will be to really go out and order one of these in a bar.

Cheers!


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Spice is Right: Seasons of Love

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Danielle over at Habeus Brulee is hosting the famous Spice is Right event created by the lovely Barbara. Barbara has just recently given birth to their baby daughter and is taking a well deserved time out.

Danielle's choice for the Spice is right theme is Seasons of love. We are supposed to create our spice/herb mixture that we most commonly use in our kitchen. In our kitchen, as you all know, we love to cook up Italian food, so it is no surprise that my spice/herb mixture also comes from Italy.

In the summer I had shared the Secrets of my Kitchen with some of you. I thought Danielle, who found the idea great, would find it too good to resist.

Thank you, Danielle.

Check out all the other entries for Seasons of love!
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Monthly Mingle: Roundup 5 and Theme 6

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Fall Colors


I took this picture last weekend when Soeren and I went to our favorite place for a walk. Although it is October, in Weimar all the glory of Fall has not really set in. It was really warm the last few days where we had sunny warm temperatures of 20-22 C. Just yesterday it started to get a little cooler and the typical foggy Fall days have begun to mark the change of season. Still I managed to capture a few glorious shots. This was one of my favorites.

After our vacation in Greece I was in no mood for the new season. I am a warm hearted and souled (is that a word?) person by nature and the idea of cold, snow and rain never does appeal to me. However, this photo reminds me that there are brilliant sides to Fall and Winter. Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas are events to look forward to and preparing for each makes time fly so quickly.

As I sat back and thought of what I could use as a theme for the next Monthly Mingle my thoughts were distracting by all that I have done this year. For one I started this wonderful blog. Through it, I was able to unfold my passion for photography and discover a complete new side - food photography. I met some of the most delightful people that I think I will cherish for a long time to come. When I think it was only 8 months ago that I started to blog!

I also have plenty to be thankful for. I have a caring and loving man on one side and an adorable son on the other. I have the most thoughtful and patient parents and a fantastic bro! The buddies I met through photography and blogging have always been helpful and thoughtful. Without all these people in my life I could not have achieved so much this year.

The theme for the next month's mingle just had to be something that related to these feelings because I am sure everyone has something to be thankful for.



Thanksgiving, is a wonderful tradition. Most of us always think of the great American Thanksgiving celebrations but I think we all can sit back and think about what are we thankful for or to this year. So this month's theme is "Give Thanks". Thank your mother, brother, father, sister or friend. Thank the weather or thank the farmer. Thank you neighbor, Dankeschoen Baecker. Dedicate a dish your thank you dish to someone or for something special this year and bring it along to my next mingle.

Guidelines:
  1. Create a dish that fits this theme and post about it, using the logo above and linking to this post (Please do link here. Others from your blog might want to join the party too).
  2. Send your link and a 100 x 100 picture of the dish you made to: blogmeeta@gmail.com (Note: new email address).
  3. Deadline for all entries is November 16, 2006.

Now on to the roundup for the roundup of Take Two.

I had asked to take two ingredients and make something out of it. Using sage and zucchini, you all came up with some on the most divine looking dishes. It is unbelievable how much thought and effort you put into this challenge. I thank you for it ;-).

Furthermore, it encouraged some to use a herb that not everyone commonly uses and I think you were pleasantly surprised.



Updated:

I seemed to have missed one gorgeous looking dish. Riana had sent the link to my Hotmail address and just like I had expected the mail was probably lost in nirvana. Well she kindlly re-sent her post to my Gmail address and here I am updating it to include Riana's Yellow Pickles Stir Fry. What a gorgeous looking dish and I am so glad Riana took part. Sorry for the confusion! Picture will be uploaded as soon as Blogger allows me too.


Marie-Laurie sent her recipe for Torti with zucchini and sage a little late, but better late then never.








After being encouraged by the devil on the shoulder Dolores was determined to make a soup that was healthier and cheaper than those store bought ones. She makes a thick and creamy Roasted Zucchini Soup with Fried Sage. Something I just have to try out soon.






Glad that Johanna took part in this Monthly Mingle. She missed it the last few times, but was determined to take part this time round. If she hadn't we'd all have missed out on a delectable Zucchini & Sage Terrine. She uses scamorza to give it a smoky flavor.





Pavani creates a popular way to prepare zucchini. She was a little hesitant as she never used sage in her cooking. After doing a thorough research she created a beautiful Stuffed Zucchini with sage, using quinoa. As she was unsure about the taste she decided to stuff only one zucchini, after tasting her creation she was disappointed - because she did not use the other zucchini too. LOL!






Bri was actually going to make something else, but decided to star the two ingredients along with it and came up with Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with special guests Zucchini and Sage. It looks brilliant and Bri also mentioned that she will be using Sage more often in her kitchen.





Vanessa joins us for the first time and was worried if she missed any etiquettes. She did not, but even if she had i would have excused her. She brings along a totally divine Biscuit Crust Veggie Pot Pie that no one should miss. My mouth was watering at the recipe. Welcome, Vanessa!





I was looking forward to Anu's dish as she tries out sage for the first time too. She creates delicious looking Zucchini Sage Fritters. What's more her son tried zucchini for the first time - and loved them. YAAAYY!





It was a premier for Asha. She has never used zucchini or sage in her cooking before. A huge bravo for creating these lovely Zucchini, Carrot, Sage pancakes. She is now certain she will be using both more often .





Reading the post on Esther's blog I could taste every little ingredient she used to create a lovely sounding stuffing which she shed to stuff a pheasant her dad brought for her. Ladies, a perfect tip for the Christmas bird!! Esther joins the mingle for the first time too. Welcome!






Isis
left her favorite pass time, ironing, and prepared a wonderful courgette (the French have lovely names for everything) and sage pie. Actually she wanted to make a lasagne, but her imagination guided her perfectly to this pie.





Sarah came up with another super recipe. She is inspired by her upcoming vacation in Tuscany and presents a Cavatelli with zucchini, sausage and sage.





Sara finally made it to the mingle. She was glad about the chosen ingredients as she loves both. Sara uses the sage from her beautiful looking plant and brings Zucchini Saltimbocca. Yummy!





Ulli does it again! She creates a dish that looks too good to be true. Light and fluffy looking are her Courgette, carrot and sesame roulade with creamy leek filling. Combining leek and sesame adds other interesting flavors to the aromas of zucchini and sage.






Becke was not too sure if the combination of zucchini and sage would go harmonize too well. After she searched for a easy to make recipe she found one for Zucchini con Salvia. After having a taste of this she was convinced that this combination is not for her tastebuds. Too bad Becke! Maybe you won't give up so easily and try one of these other gorgeous recipes.






Jen takes a break from all the food festivities she has encountered the past few weeks and decides on a simple Zucchini and Burnt Sage Butter Sauce with Sage pasta. I love the gorgeous photos.





Lisa was another person who does not use sage too often in her kitchen. She was a little worried about coming up with something adequate for the mingle. Well, folks, she prepared a wonderful Sage, Zucchini and Green Onion Risotto. How yummy does that sound. Check the recipe! As for Lisa, she will be making this again and again!




Flavours

As for me I serve you my simple yet full of flavors Spaghetti Zucchini e Limone




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Monthly Mingle: Spaghetti Zucchini e Limone

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Hungry? Missed breakfast and snacked on some useless junk at lunch? Now you are scavenging your kitchen looking for something good to eat that does not take hours to make?

I know the situation you are in. It happens to me on those days when I am home alone and Soeren is away. See, with Soeren I have more or less routined meals - at proper hours, healthy and tasty. However, when he is away for the weekend I quickly fall into that lifestyle where there are no responsibilities in that department. Then I can spend hours taking photos or blogging and when I look at the time, I realize "OMG! How fast the time flew!" and it already dinner time.

That fact is also determined by the vicious growling in my tummy that reminds my to get some food in there fast.

If all this sound familiar then I have the perfect answer for you. This pasta dish! It is simple, wholesome and boy does it taste good. So good that the simplicity should not be taken for granted because I would even serve this to my guests. I am pretty confident that this would go down well for an elegant dinner party and it only takes approx. 25 minutes to prepare. Rachel Ray would be proud of me!!

The flavors here harmonize so well together that it becomes a very lavish dish, tastewise.

Zucchini (Summer Squash)
The zucchini is probably the most popular of the summer squashes, members of the Cucurbitaceae family. It contains a large amount of vitamins A and C. They also contain high levels of potassium and calcium.

Did you know?
  • The flavor of zucchini is best when it is less than six inches long
  • Zucchinis can grow as large as baseball bats but have little flavor when they reach this size
You can buy zucchinis in green or a lovely yellow color. Although culinarily, zucchini is considered to be a vegetable, biologically, the zucchini is a fruit. It is he swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.

It is considered to be one of the easiest vegetables to cultivate in a temperate climate. The zucchini flower can be male or female. The female flower has a golden blossom on the end of the zucchini and the male flower grows on the actual stem of the zucchini plant and is slightly smaller than the female. Both flowers are edible and can be prepared in several varieties.

Selecting and Storing
The skin of the zucchini should be fresh, glossy, tender and free from blemishes. Over ripe zucchini tends to be a bit stringy and bland in taste. The smaller ones are the tastiest so look out for those that are 8 to 10 inches long.
Zucchini is best eaten soon after purchase. You can store it in the fridge for 3 to five days. Another way to store a large amount of zucchini is to dice them and place in plastic bags, seal well and freeze. You can always take a handful out for salads, soups and quick pasta dishes.

More interesting information and recipe for sage.

As so many of you, who left the wonderful comments, would come over without any hesitations, I invite you all to join me at my Monthly Mingle and help me finish the food that will line the tables. Every single entry looks so good. If you are curious check back on the weekend for the round-up.



Music while Cooking

James Blunt - Wisemen
Album: Back to Bedlam - I recommend this!


*Artwork and music courtesy of iTunes





Ingredients:

1 lemon - juice and zest (part of the zest should be finely chopped and save a few strands for decoration)
500g Spaghetti
1 zucchini - diced
1 onion - finely chopped
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
4-5 tablespoons - extra virgin olive oil
salt
freshly cracked black pepper
handful of sage leaves

Method:

Boil a large pot of salt water and prepare your spaghetti. If you are using fresh pasta this should take a couple of minutes. If you are not, then this should take approx 8-10 minutes.

In the meantime, heat some of the oil in a large pan. Saute the onions and garlic gently until slightly caramelized. Add the diced zucchini and saute for a further few minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Using some of the sage leaves finely chop them and add to the zucchini. Pour the lemon juice and add the chopped zest. Remove from heat.

Mix the spaghetti with the lemon zucchini mixture well. Place on individual plates. Pour a few drops of the remaining olive oil and sprinkle the remaining lemon zest and sage over the top. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Verdict:

Perfect for the big hunger!
Looking at the dish one cannot imagine all the flavors this little creation contains. But one bite and the tangy lemon, sweet sage and the soft zucchini bring wonderful smiles to all sitting at the table. Tom at first was skeptical because it looks a little plain on the plate. However, after he tasted, he was amazed how well all the aromas combined with each other.

Next time if you are being attacked by that big hungry tummy growl - attack back with a big bowl of this pasta. Enjoy!



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Happy Birthday MOM!

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It's my Mom's Birthday today!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!

Here's wishing you all the very best in life. You have been the best Mum in the world. Given up your desires to see us through in life, loved us no matter what we did, taught us the values in life and guided us the through our lives.

I thank you for being there for me whenever I need you.

Huge hugs and kisses all the way to Dubai!!

Love you!

Artwork courtesy of Hallmark
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EBBP # 2- Look what I got and what I am sending!

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This is what the postman brought for me on the weekend. More on the contents of this chocolatey package and a sneak peak at the package I sent off to a mystery person, a little later today.



It was time for EBBP again, this time being hosted by my friend Johanna over at The Passionate Cook. I was glad I was able to take part in it, as just in the nick of time I was able to register myself before my vacation and Johanna accepted me posting my parcel after my vacation.

On Saturday I received my surprise parcel from the very gracious and thoughtful Xoch of Xochitl Cooks. Xoch's blog is new to me and after browsing through it i believe I will become a regular!

Xoch put together an amazing collection of chocolates from around the world. For a chocolate freak like me it was a fantasy come true!! I had to hold myself off from jumping into the box and living there for the weekend LOL!

After reading her card I really laughed and almost cried at the same time. Laughed because she writes about the English cream chocolates that she bought from a chocolatier near her flat:
"I really like the floral taste even though it reminds me of old ladies."
Xoch yes ... they really do, but are delicious.

I almost cried because I was so touched that she took the time to find my taste:
"Fortunately I saw that you are "mad about chocolate"! I therefore decided to send you a chocolate tasting pack."

Xoch, thanks a million for putting this parcel together I love every bite!



Then there is a mystery person who will be receiving the package I sent off yesterday. I decided to pack a few goodies that celebrate the upcoming seasons, one of which is a traditional German "Stollen". What could be in the rest of the little pouches? Your guess is as good as that of the recipient. Why don't you all have a go at guessing?


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