I decided to give myself a Christmas present this year. It's been something I've been thinking about for a long time now but for some reason I was a bit hesitant. But this week I did it. I went out and bought myself 8 square frames with thick wooded panels and wide cream colored passepartout and today I picked up the 8 chosen pictures.
The pictures in question were all taken by yours truly. Carefully, I unpacked each photograph and placed it in the frame. I was like a little kid smiling, giggling, excited and a bit nervous. Finally I hung them up and - WOW! they looked splendid. I could not hide my joy.
You see I do have a few of my pictures stuck on the fridge or simply frameless pinned on the kitchen wall but nothing special. It's the first time I have actually bought expensive frames for my own photos with the mission to hang them up on the living room walls. Don't ask why! I do like my pictures but I always thought it kind of strange to flaunt them on my home walls. I am a bit modest and although I do love all the attention I still kind of feel shy when I am asked "Are these yours?" Then I start to stutter and feel like a huge spotlight is pointed right at me. There is nowhere to duck or hide. My hands feel a bit moist and a film of sweat covers my brow. What's going to come now?
It's different with you and my blog - you all have given me so much courage and motivation. I owe much of what I have learned to you. I do have a few good friends who have been nagging at me to finally hang up some of my own photos. They said it is a disgrace to actually have photos taken by other photographers on my walls. So, I listened to my dearest friends and today I took those gorgeous but disgraceful photos from other photographers and put up my own. It's weird. I find myself constantly glancing at them when ever I am in the room. Hehe! These are mine - and not some fancy-schmancy professional photographer's.
My Christmas present feels good.
This dessert? This will make you feel good. The perfect finale to our spectacular Christmas dinner. We started with a delicious and comforting chestnut potato soup, then worked our way to the main course with apple glazed duck filets with pomegranate red cabbage and now something to tantalize your tastebuds. A wonderful creamy mousse made from coconut milk and drizzled with a sweet mango coulis. So smooth and delicious you'll be asking "Is it Christmas yet?" Yes it is!
Coconuts are the fruit grown on the coconut palm, which is grown throughout the tropical world, for decoration as well as for its many culinary and non-culinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm has some human use.
The coconut itself provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. On many islands coconut is a staple in the diet and provides the majority of the food eaten. Nearly one third of the world's population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy.
Coconut is highly nutritious and very rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Classified as a "functional food", it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations.
Known as the "tree of life," the wonderful fruit of the coconut palm is rich in certain fats that have incredible health benefits. Traditional tropical populations that consume a lot of coconut oil are seldom overweight, and traditionally have been free from the modern diseases that afflict most western cultures.
There are several different ways to enjoy fresh coconuts, which can be young or mature. Young coconuts generally have either a green shell or a white "husk" if the outer shell has been removed. Mature coconuts are the more familiar-looking brown, hairy variety. As a coconut matures, the nutrients and physical characteristics will change. Young coconuts have more ‘water’ and soft meat, while mature coconuts have firm meat and less ‘water.’
Many people presume that coconut milk is the liquid inside the coconut, this however, is not the case. The liquid inside the coconut is known as coconut water or juice. Coconut cream is made from pressing the coconut meat. Coconut milk is made from the expressed juice of grated coconut meat and water.
Coconut oil, on the other hand, is the fatty oil that comes from the coconut meat. It is important to note that coconut oils offered on the market vary dramatically in terms of quality. Just like olive oil, low-quality coconut oils should be avoided. They are often processed by chemical extraction, using solvent extracts, which produces higher yields and is quicker and less expensive.
Coconuts can add flavor, variety and healthy nutrients to your diet. Coconuts are rich in lauric acid, which is known for being antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, and boosts the immune system.
Fresh coconut juice is one of the highest sources of electrolytes known to man, and can be used to prevent dehydration.
The coconut has many other positive sides too. It can help you lose weight, or maintain your already good weight and lower your cholesterol. Coconut also increases the metabolism and promotes healthy thyroid function and boosts the overall daily energy. Whats more, it helps to rejuvenate your skin and prevent wrinkles. Splendid!
Selecting & Storing
Select coconuts that slosh when gently shaken. The more liquid you hear sloshing around, the fresher the coconut. Avoid ones with damp or moldy eyes or cracked shells. Whole coconuts can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 month. After the coconut is cracked, tightly wrap the coconut meat and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Fresh coconut milk and water should be used within 2 days. You can freeze shredded fresh coconut in a freezer bag for up to 6 months.
After opening, keep canned, packaged, or dried coconut in an airtight container. Canned or packaged coconut keeps 5 to 7 days, and dried coconut keeps 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
Cracking a Coconut
To open a coconut, locate the three soft eyes at the top of the shell. Pierce them with the tip of a knife or an ice pick; drain off the milk. With a hammer, gently tap the shell all around until it cracks and splits on its own.
Peel the brown husk from the coconut meat, and chop the coconut meat into uniform pieces. Use your food processor or a hand grater to shred or grate the coconut.
Drop In & Decorate with freshly baked cookies and treats. Hope you will join me baking for a good cause. Look forward to having you all over.
Details can be found here.
Deadline: January 7th, 2008.
Printable version of recipe here
For the mousse:
6 sheets unflavored gelatin
40g confectioner's sugar
400 ml coconut milk - canned and unsweetened
5 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 tablespoons Batitda de Coco
200 g heavy cream
For the coulis:
250 g mango pulp
1/8 l pineapple juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water. Mix together the sugar, coconut milk, pineapple juice and Batida de Coco in a mixing bowl.
Take about 3 tablespoons of the coconut mixture and mix into the gelatin until it has dissolved then pour this into the rest of the coconut mixture.
Place in the refrigerator until it starts to set, stirring in between. After about an hour take out of the fridge.
Whisk the cream until stiff and then fold into the coconut mixture. Fill into 6 forms and place in the refrigerator overnight.
For the coulis, cube half of the mango pulp, puree the rest with the pineapple juice. Add the lemon juice and fold in the mango cubes.
Turn the mousse out onto a plate and drizzle the mango coulis over the mousse. Decorate with a few mint leaves.
If you cannot find fresh mangoes use canned mangoes. Make sure however that they are unsweetened.
This is so good and takes you away to a far away tropical island. Creamy, light and fruity a slightly different mousse to end a wonderful dinner. We enjoyed this immensely. Soeren totally loves fruity desserts and Tom creamy ones, so this was perfect all around. The best thing is as this does not have too much sugar in it one indulge almost guilt - free.
So as this is a tried, tested and eaten pudding I am sending this off to Zorra who is hosting this month's Sugar High Friday.
More puddings on WFLH:
Banana Brioche Pudding with Bailey's Caramel Cream
Creme Brulee with Berries
Mousse au Chocolat
Panna Cotta with Blackberries
Sweet Potato Flan
Finally if you are looking for ideas to decorate your home and tree this Christmas I have just posted a fantastic and hopefully helpful article on The Daily Tiffin. It takes you through the trends of Christmas decorations and gives you a few ideas for table decorations too. You'll also find more details about my own centerpiece for my Christmas dinner table this year. Check out It's in the decoration.
The centerpiece is being sent off as my Centerpiece of the Month to Janelle and Sandi.
If you are looking for more great ideas please do have a peak at my Home & Design section.
In the meantime I wish you happy decorating, cooking and gift wrapping.
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