Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Joy Of Easter

The Joy Of Easter

Easter is one of my favorite celebrations, a new awakening for mankind and nature and a celebration of life.
In Austria, it marks the beginning of springtime as well.
Even now that I live in the southern hemisphere and we are approaching the end of summer I still associate it, curiously enough, with springtime.

As they say: Old habits die hard :)

I love to bring this spirit of joy and celebration to our home and would like to share these pictures with you.
It was not easy to find a special dye  for Easter eggs, so in the end, after looking in many shops and supermarkets, I had to boil the eggs and simply paint them afterwards with food dye and not dye them during boiling as usual.

This is why the coloring is a bit irregular but it adds a little bit of personality to it, don't you think? :)

Most of my adornments miraculously survived the transport from Italy to Peru, so I was able to arrange a little easter tree.

Sadly, some of the most precious adornments, which were hand-painted  by my grandmother, didn't make it.
Here is one of the "survivors"

And here is one of the less fortunate ones

Anyhow, on Sunday we will enjoy a nice Easter Brunch "Al Fresco" with still warm weather and (hopefully) sunshine.

We will be enjoying these cupcakes we found at a local pastry shop, which are all handmade and really cute.

Only this little Bunny needs a bit of a cheer up :)

So, my dear friends, I wish you all a happy easter and a wonderful celebration with your loved ones!

See you next Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

La dolce vita at its best: Tiramisu

La dolce vita at its best: Tiramisu in a glass

There are many versions of  this Italian classic and many families like to add their personal touch to the preparation of Tiramisu.

This dessert comes originally from the northern Italian region of Veneto but  it became soon very popular in and outside Italy's borders.

Tiramisu is an easy and elegant dessert and can be served  as a  big non bake cake or in individual portions.

I prefer to serve it in small portions, presented in a glass because I think it simply looks prettier that way.

To prepare Tiramisu you need:

250 g (8oz ) of Mascarpone

1 spoonful of thickened cream, lightly whipped

2 egg yolks

2 spoonful of caster sugar

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

1/8 of cold espresso (or strong black coffee)

2 EL of Amaretto or another almond liqueur     

100-150 g (4.8 oz ) of sponge fingers

2 spoonful cocoa for dusting

1 cup fresh raspberries and some mint leaves for decoration


Pour coffee and Amaretto in a pot and set aside.

Beat egg yolks, sugar ,Mascarpone and lemon zest with an electric beater until thick and creamy.

Add the whipped cream, combine gently with the other ingredients.

Place sponge fingers in a large dish and brush generously with the espresso Amaretto mix, until  soaked.

Break sponge fingers into smaller pieces, fit them into a martini glass, pressing down gently.

Cover the layer generously with the Mascarpone mixture.

Repeat layers once.

Dust with Cocoa, top with fresh raspberries and a mint leave.

Serves 4

See you next Tuesday  :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Breakfast De Luxe

Poached Eggs with Spinach and Crisp Prosciutto

Easter is near and at this time of the year there is nothing better than to enjoy a relaxed brunch with family and friends.
I love to celebrate this special occasion and try to surprise my guests with little treats and traditional, seasonal dishes.
Today's suggestion is a delicious, timeless recipe and by using crisp prosciutto instead of bacon it's lighter and healthier than the classic version.

You need:

2 extra  fresh eggs
200g (6.4 ounces) fresh spinach
1 teaspoon of vinegar or rice vinegar (optional)
2 slices of prosciutto
1/2  teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Wash the spinach and in the meantime boil water in a large pot. Cook the spinach for only 1 minute.

Once done, drain the water and press out excess liquid from the spinach. Then, chop the spinach roughly.

Lastly, add salt and pepper.

Crisp Prosciutto

Place the prosciutto on a baking sheet. If you want to make the prosciutto extra crisp, brush it with a bit of olive oil. Afterwards, bake it in a preheated oven at 200C (375 F) for about 15 minutes or until the proscuitto gets a darker color. To drain the excess fat, place the baked proscuitto on a paper towel.

The prosciutto will crisp after cooling down.

Poached eggs:
For the eggs, heat water in a medium pot until it is about to boil. Add a bit of salt and the vinegar if you wish.
Break an egg into a cup and put a ring mold in the water.

Then, drop the egg carefully into the ring mold. This way, it will keep a nice round shape.

You can also slide the egg gently into the water and, with the help of a spoon, push the eggwhite gently
towards the yolk until done.

Don't panic if the whole procedure looks a bit messy. This is happens but in the end everything will work out fine. Cook in almost boiling water for about 4 to 5 minutes until the eggwhite should is cooked, but still a bit wobbly.

Serves 2
Enjoy, see you next Tuesday!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Discovering markets and hidden treasures

Whenever I travel to a new country one of my first visits is always  to a market.
It somehow reveals you the spirit and atmosphere of the place as well as the way people are living their daily lives.
Organized tours are OK but they only show you the sights people would like you to see and that makes you  just a tourist, not a traveler.
Or, to quote G.K. Chesterton, : "The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see"

Markets here are fantastic places to discover. There are so many products I've never seen before a and when you ask people about their origin and use they are friendly and very proud about the interest shown.

Usually I go with my shopping list and then end up often with some totally different products, but it's great fun to learn something new about the local cuisine and sometimes other shoppers even passed on some their favorite recipes.

At this market stall I found an incredible variety of potatoes in different shapes and colors: yellow, purple, pink... side by side with purple corn. What looks like harmless Capsicum at the right side of the picture is a devilishly hot chili called "Rocoto". 

Between the apples and oranges you can see  gorgeous Chirimoyas, great for light desserts and juices.

Exotic fruits and peeled Grenadines, ready to be prepared in fresh juice or for  decorating, laying side by side with apples and raspberries.

An old man, selling traditional medicinal herbs like Lanten (a great anti-inflammatory ), Coca leaves (excellent for altitude sickness. It's also used as a mild anesthetic and to damp excessive appetite), Eucalyptus ( for respiratory problems and influenza) and many others which I still need to investigate.
More about it in one of my next posts.

At the end of the day we went to a beach restaurant where we tried a delightful " Pulpo al Olivar" or Octopus with Olive Mayonnaise.

 And encountered "The Three Graces" enjoying the sunset under their colorful umbrellas.

Have a great week ahead,see you next Tuesday!
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