I've had a busy few days with my blog. Writing many posts that were in one way or the other important to me and I just felt I had to share them with you.
I guess I really am the "Christmas Crazed Chick" I mentioned in one of my earlier posts. I am sure for those of you who come over to visit me regularly must have realized by now we are right in the middle of my Christmas specials.
We started off with the lovely Dundee Fruitcake - by no means dry, rather it was moist, rich in flavor and packed with dried fruit and nuts.
Then we recently had those crumbly, flaky and nutty Vanilla Kipferl that melt in your mouth and fill the air with vanilla.
This week we had the spectacular Nutology - a comprehensive "Know-How" for many of the nuts used in your Christmas baking, cooking or simply to snack on. That post was certainly a lot of hard work. I've wanted to do it for quite sometime now and I finally got a day where I spent 2 hours just doing the photo shoot for the post. Boy did I have a back ache after that one LOL! The write-up itself was quite extensive and took a lot of research. But I am so glad I finished it and am able to share it with you. Hope you all enjoyed it to.
December is a wonderful month filled with the joy of the holiday season and excitement of children all bundled up in fluffy scarves and warm jackets. Colorful, glittering streets and the smiles on peoples faces. The crisp cold air and the warmth of a sparkling fire, in the distance you can hear the chimes of bells and Christmas carols and the air is filled with aromas of rich spices. The joy of Christmas is everywhere!
I'll be spreading more delicious Christmas joy around here in the next few days too. I am going to be presenting you with a complete 3-course Christmas dinner idea, tried and tested by the hard WFLH jury - Tom & Soeren!
I'll show you suggestions for lovely side dishes with a hint of cinnamon and some red jewels, a scrumptious main dish glazed in apple and spiced with thyme and, of course, dessert combining the flavors of mango and coconut to make sweet dreams come true.
To start with however, I present to you the first course. A soul-warming and simply aromatic soup made of fine potatoes and nutty chestnuts. It is paired with sweet and sour apples to give a fantastic harmony of flavors. This is no ordinary potato soup! It has been refined and jazzed up with fine herbs and vegetables and elegantly topped off with cream making it simply perfect to start any meal off.
Before I leave you with the recipe I would like to bring to your attention this year's Menu For Hope fund raiser. We want to raise enough money to support the school lunch program in Lesotho, Africa. I hope you will join me and other bloggers raise money by biding for one of the many great prizes offered.
My own prize is a fantastic cookbook - Duchy Originals Cookbook (Prize code EU35) - it's not just about recipes, it's about using wholesome, good food and celebrating a better way of living. You'll find traditional recipes and newer modern dishes. Filled scrumptious desserts and mouthwatering dishes - the book offers an extensive insight on organic farming and breeding. As a special bonus I am also offering a photo print of any one of my photos. For more details regarding my prize and how you can bid please refer to this post.
Printable version of recipe here.
200g onions - finely chopped
1 kg potatoes - cut into small cubes
200 g parsnip - cu into small cubes
400 g chestnuts, pre-prepared in vacuum packed boxes - 200 g coarsely chopped, 200 g halved
75 g butter
Handful of marjoram
1 3/4 l vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper
2 apples - cubed
250 g cream
1/2 bunch of chives - chopped
In a large pot melt about 60g of butter, add the onions and sauté until transparent. Add the potato and parsnip cubes and sauté for about 2 minutes. Stir in the halved chestnuts and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
Sprinkle in the marjoram and pour in the stock. Bring to a boil on a medium heat. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes then finely puree the soup using a pureeing machine or the blender. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Melt the remaining butter in a separate pot and add the apples and the remaining chopped chestnuts. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add to the soup. Gently bring the soup to a boil.
Whisk the cream until frothy and half stiff. Mix into the soup gently. Serve soup in pre-warmed bowls with a dollop of cream and a sprinkling of chopped chestnuts.
It's such a perfect way to start off a Christmas meal. Warm, soothing and flavorful to the last spoon. We enjoyed the combination of the earthy potatoes with the sweet and nutty chestnuts paired with just a hint of sourness from the apples. Simply gorgeous. This soup will leave your guests with anticipation of what's to come. Hope I too am leaving you warm, mellow and filled with anticipation of what's to come ;-)
You'll find more ideas for starters here:
Coconut Mango Soup
Creamy Ginger Carrot Soup
Porcini Mushroom Cream Soup with Parmesan
Roasted Pumpkin and Mushroom Salad
Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese & Avocado
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.
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