Sunday, 19 December 2010

spiral cookies - WHB #264

I have a very very good news!
it is my pleasure to show you the work my oldest son has done.
he works for a German Photovoltaic company and yesterday they finished a big job.
putting photovoltaic panels in a roundabout in a village here nearby.
it has been a 2 year long job, not the actual mans work but all the bureaucratic work behind.
I'm so proud of Erik and all his team of colleagues!
I do hope this is the first step to get more people in Italy to understand the importance
of alternative energy!

here is a photo of the roundabout 4 days ago almost ready. the photo was taken by my husband from a helicopter.

photovoltaic in the roundabout in Affi

Spiral Cookies

chiocciole - spirals

this recipe comes from Iris, she made this cookies every year.
we had some difficulties finding the recipe, not knowing exactly very to look.
it was rather painful reading here notebooks, but with Manfred's help in the end we found the right recipe.
usually she prepared everything one day and then the kids made cookies with the ready dough the next day.
so, also this year the tradition went on.

making cookies 5 dic 2010

you need:
for ca 90 cookies

500gr of flour
350gr of butter (room temperature)
1 egg
2 yolks
200gr of sugar
1 package of vanilla sugar

fot the cacao dough:
 add 2 tbsp of cacao (not sugared) to the white dough

mix the dry ingredients and the add the soften butter, the egg and the 2 yolks
work quickly with flour on you hands.
make a ball of the dough cover with plastic folie and put 12 hours to rest in the fridge.
make another dough with the cacao and put that dough to rest in the fridge too.
the next day, roll out the white dough not thicker than 2cm
and then roll out the cacao dough on a baking paper not thicker then 1,5cm
put the cacao dough over the white one and roll together in a narrow roll.
put to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
the cut out cookies not thicker then 1cm
put on trays covered with baking paper and bake in oven
180°C for 12min.
will conserve for over 20days in a tin box.

chiocciole - spirals

in these last days we have had soo cold, snowy and frosty
pool with snow 17 dic 2010

cat in the sun, cat on ice 2 18 dic 2010

 I send this recipe to Haalo hosting this week's herbal blogging

I wish to thank Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen
for the WHB idea
for giving me the chance to try doing

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Lussekatter - St Lucia Buns WHB #263

In the Scandinavian Countries we celebrate St. Lucia the 13th of Dicember.

I found this on

The Santa Lucia holiday is celebrated in Norway and Sweden on 13th December each year. This holiday, also celebrated in some of the United States, such as Minnesota where there are many Scandinavian communities, honours an Italian martyr named Saint Lucia. Like many Winter festivals, its central feature is lights.

Throughout Sweden the feast day of Lucia, or Lucy, is celebrated as a festival of lights. Traditionally, in the early hours of the morning of 13th December a young woman, dressed in a white gown, and wearing a red sash and a crown of lingonberry twigs and blazing candles, would go from one farm to the next carrying a torch to light her way, bringing baked goods, stopping to visit at each house and returning home by break of day. Every village had its own Lucia. The custom is thought to have begun in some of the richer farming districts of Sweden and still persists, although the crowns are now electric lights.

In Norway and Sweden it is still a custom on December 13 for a girl in a white dress (representing the Saint), to bring a tray of saffron buns and steaming coffee to wake the family. She is called the Lussibrud (Lucy bride) and her pastry (saffron buns) is Lussekattor. Today many families have a Lucia-Queen in their own home, often the youngest daughter, who wakes the rest of the family with song.

The historic Saint Lucia is said to have been beheaded by the sword during the persecutions of Diocletian at Catania in Sicily. Her body was later brought to Constantinople, and finally to Venice, where she is now resting in the church of Santa Lucia. Because her name means "light" she very early became the great patron saint for the "light of the body" - the eyes.

Lucia symbolises light and growth for man and beast as she emerges out of the darkness. Many of the ancient light and fire customs of the Yuletide became associated with her day. Thus we find "Lucy candles" lighted in homes and "Lucy fires" burned outdoors. Before the Reformation Saint Lucy's Day was one of unusual celebration and festivity because, for the people of Sweden and Norway, she was the great "light saint" who turned the tides of their long Winter and brought the light of day to renewed victory.

Before the calendar reform, her original feast day (the day of her martyrdom) happened to fall on the shortest day of the year. The winter solstice was 13th December by the Julian calendar (rather than 21st December, which it became with the change to the Gregorian calendar in the 1300s), linking it with the far older Yule and Winter festivals of pre-Christian times. Lucy's lore survived the Reformation and calendar reform, which brought the Solstice to December 23.

Another Scandinavian custom, on the eve of December 13, was for children to write the word "Lussi" on doors, fences, and walls. In ancient times the purpose of this practice was to announce to the demons of Winter that their reign was broken on Saint Lucy's Day, that the sun would return again and the days become longer. "Lucy fires" used to be burned in many parts of Northern Europe on December 13. Into the bonfires people would throw incense, and while the flames rose, trumpets and flutes were playing to celebrate the changing of the suns's course.

I just want to add, what I was told as a child
that there was this rich nobel young man how fell in love with Lucia, but she devoted to Christ
refused him. the noble young ordered to punish her by tore her eyes out.
she didn't change her mind and so she was beheaded (and became the patron saint of the eyes)
have you notice how many saints have been beheaded? also st caterina (25 november) was beheaded, because (as for many other martyrs) there martyrdome tool didn't work or broke. st caterina was condemned to die by the wheel, but when she touched it it broke, so she too was beheaded
ah, I could go on forever, because it fascinates me so much!

I better give you the recipe of

Lussekatter (st Lucia's cats) - St Lucia Buns

I usually use this recipe, but this year I will try a recipe I have had from my dear friend Berit's mother (they are Norwegian) but they are ready tomorrow morning.
will but recipe and photo tomorrow
these are my st Lucia buns from last year


you need:

900gr of plain flour
500ml of milk
200gr of butter
200gr of sugar*
10gr of fresh yeast**
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate
3 tps ground cardamon
1gr of saffron
1 yolk to brush the buns with
raisins for decoration


melt the butter in the milk (lukewarm)
add sugar, saffron, cardamon, salt and the fresh yeast.
whisk until the yeast is melted.
add the flour and work the dough energetically. taste the dough, eventually add more cardamon if you like)
let the dough rest over the night in a cool place (not under 5°C)

the next day, let raise in room temperature for an hour
the take small pieces from the dough make sausages and the start roll the two ends ass-backwards
you should come up with "s" formed buns
let rest until double size, put a raisin in the "curls" of the S
bat the yolk and brush the buns
bake in a preheated oven at 225°C for 10-12min (depends how big "cat tails"you have made) this is the meaning of form of the buns)
lussekatter means Lucia's cats (or more likely cat tails)


* for me 100gr of sugar is enough
** the original recipe says 50gr of fresh yeast
if you are in big hurry you can use all of it, but I prefer putting less and let the dough raise longer.

I wish you a very nice week
and leave you with some photos of today. Finally the weather was nice enough to go snow shoe trekking on the MOnte Baldo!

lago con foschia

in mezzo alla neve

this week we are hosted by Huan from Eat.Read.Live 
thank you Huan for hosting!

I wish to thank Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen
for the WHB idea
for giving me the chance to try doing

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

pasta with mustard - Presto Pasta Night #193

I wanted to post a recipe of another Christmas cookie
but then I was visiting my dear friend Rachel's blog
and there I read she was hosting this week's
Presto Pasta Night
ooooh, I could miss that could I :-DDDD

so I looked through my pasta recipes and found a very simply, tasty pasta!

Pasta with Mustard

spaghetti con senape

the first time I made this pasta, and told people what was in, they all said
"aaaaaaaaaah, you so swedish!, no real Italian would ever ever put mustard in a Pasta!"
then they tried it and said: "not bad, not bad at all!" :-DDD

you need:
long pasta like Spaghetti
leerdamer or edamer (some hard tasty cheese)
red onion
fresh basil
mustard (half mild)
extra virgin olive oil

cook the pasta the time it is written on the package.
I usually keep 2 min less, because we like it very "al dente" here.
(my mother says it's raw!)

while the pasta is cooking, wash the tomatoes and chop in small cubes, do the same with the two cheeses (the mozzarella and the hard cheese)
tear the basil in small pieces by hand (you should not use knives or scissors to do this)
put all in a bowl and add some olive oil (just a few drops) and the mustard
mix all and taste, eventually add mustard.
when the pasta is ready, let it cool a little, add some olive oil and mix so it will not glue together.
add the pasta to the mustard mixture and mix well.
add some basil leaves and serve immediately.

spaghetti con senape1

I served it in white ceramic flower pots from IKEA.
a funny way to serve a funny dish.

we have some very strange weather here lately, it is raining so much.
I've leaved on the Garda Lake for almost 30years, and had never seen a autumn/winter so wet.but when the rain stops, the clouds open up, some rays of sun shines through
and we all remember that we live in one of the most charming places in Italy

without leaves against the sky 2 dic 2010

gold spots on the lake 2 dic 2010

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Kleine Früchtestollen -Small fruit Stollen - WHB #262

pizzocolo, san vigilio, monte bre, monte are, monte luppia,

I could put these photos without saying anything I think, the colors and the peace talks by it self.
I really love this place, the Garda Lake. So beautiful in the summer, but much much more
significative in the winter.
with the lake changing color every day, the sunsets displaying colors so incredible it takes you breath.
and I feel sorry for those, that thinks this place is lonely and boring in the winter.
how wrong they are!
now you can walk for kilometers without seeing anybody, you can here the wind howling
in the woods with no interference, you can stay all alone on the promenade and hear the
sound of the water.
it is so peaceful, so healing.
 even if I love the Monte Baldo, I love the fatigue going up, the panorama from up there, the silence, the flowers and the animals.
it is so relaxing just trekking along the lake, with the rumor of the water and the wind whistling in you ears.


The tradition of baking ‘Christstollen’ in Dresden is a very old one. Historians have traced this noble delicacy back to about the year 1400. The Stollen is mentioned for the first time in 1474 in the accounts of the Christian Hospital of St. Bartholomew in Dresden where it is referred to as a cake for the fasting period, consisting of only flour, oats and water as required by Church dogma. 
However, without butter and milk the Stollen, also called Striezel, was rather tasteless. Therefore, Elector Ernst of Saxony and his brother Albrecht asked the Pope to revoke the ban on butter. The Holy Father softened his attitude and sent back what is known as the “Butter Letter” stating that milk and butter could be used in the Stollen with a clear conscience and God’s blessing, subject to a penance payment. 


kleine Früchtestollen -Small Fruit Stollen

kleine Früchtestollen - small fruit stollen - piccoli stollen di frutta

you need:

100gr of almonds
50gr of candid ginger
200gr big raisins
100gr of small Korint raisins
50gr candid orange
50gr candid lemon
100ml of rhum
3tbsp of ginger sirup
10-15gr of fresh yeast*
125gr sugar
125ml of luke warm milk
120gr of butter or margarina
600gr of flour
1 tsp of lemon zests

for the decoration:
150gr of butter or margarina
150gr of icing sugar

kleine Früchtestollen - small fruit stollen - piccoli stollen di frutta

prepare the doug:
melt the yeast in the like warm milk together with a tablespoon of sugar.
let rest for 30min.
melt the butter and in the meanwhile add the flour, the lemon zest and the sugar to the
milk and yeast mixture.
while mixing add the melted butter,
work until you have a dough that is rather hard.
cover and let rise over the night in a tepid place (for 14-16h)

roughly chop the almonds, the raisins and the candid fruit
put in a bowl and pour over the rum, let marinate over the night.

the next day add the marinate to the dough and work well.
divide the dough in 7-8 pieces and form small stollen (look like small breads with a cut in the middle)
cover and let rise in a tepid place for 3-4h, until they are doubled
(put them in the oven if you don't need it)
bake in a preheated oven at 175-180° C for 50min.
when the stollen are ready melt the butter and brush them with the melted butter while they are still hot. cover with a lot of icing sugar.
if putted in a tin box they will conserve for at least 15days.

kleine Früchtestollen - small fruit stollen - piccoli stollen di frutta


*the original recipe said 60gr of fresh yeast, put I prefer to put less and let rise much longer.

I send this to my dear friend Rachel from The Crispy Cook
thank you so much for hosting, Rachel!

I wish to thank Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen
for the WHB idea
for giving me the chance to try doing

Friday, 3 December 2010

Pepparkakor -Swedish ginger cookies - Pink saturday

la cassapanca delle spezie - spice settle

I have a settle where I keep my spices I use in baking and cooking.
my kitchen is very small, so I "moved" out 
in the living room, in the entrance, near the stairs
everywhere there was a free space to put a cupboard, 
a settle or other kitchen furniture.

la cassapanca delle spezie - spice settle

some spices are not very easy to find in Italy, 
so the times I have the opportunity to go to Austria, Germany or Sweden
 I buy anything my eager hands touch and what I put my dreamy eyes on :D
the settle has a wonderful perfume inside!

some weeks ago Gokki (daughter n°3) had a very touching idea.
 she proposed to Manfred, her Grand father to continue the tradition of making Christmas cookies as they always had done with Iris.
he was very touched by her thought, and agreed at once.
she also wanted all other cousins to join, 
the 2 in Austria, the 4 in Verona and 1 in Germany even if she is a second grade cousin.
unfortunately, it is a very busy time at school and some of the cousins aren't doing very well,
so in the end just my four kids could go.
so today they have prepared 3kg of doug and
 tomorrow morning they will make a lot of cookies!
we are invited for afternoon tea (and brulè) with Christmas cookies!

Manfred was very nice and brought all Iris's recipe books 
to help us find the recipe she used
to make cookies. one he left to me, I'm very honored even if it hurts a little looking through the book. makes my remember many things

ricettario di iris

Beverly asks us to tell what our favorite Christmas cookie is.
that's difficult!!
I've chosen one of many, but perhaps this is the one that has followed me from my childhood in Sweden.

Pepparkakor . Swedish ginger cookies


you need:

350gr of sugar
100gr of maple syrup
130gr of water
250gr of butter
700gr of flour
1 tps of ground cinnamon
1 tps of ground ginger
1 tps of ground clove
1 tps baking soda

put to boil the water together with the butter and the sugar. when it is melted add the baking soda and whisk.
in a bowl mix the flour with the spices.
pour the hot mixture over the spicy flour, and mix until it is cooled.
taste the dough and eventually add some more spices if you like, it should prinkle a little
on you tongue.
when it is cooled (it will be rather stichy and fluid) make a ball of it,
cover with plastic foil and let rest for the night in a cool place.
the next day, work the dough very quickly (take small piece and live the rest in the fridge)
it is a little difficult but try not to add flour, cut out cookies and put on a baking tray covered with baking paper (this is difficult! :D)

bake at 225°C for 5-7min
when cooled put in a tin box. if you leave them in a tin box or in a glass jar they will conserve for 20days. if you forget them on a plate in room temperature they will get soft.


remember to stop by at Beverly and visit my other
Pink Saturday blogger Friends.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Advent candle decorations - 119th Tablescape Thursday

sunday it was First Advent, I don't know if you have the custom to make a wreaths with four candles, and lit a candle every Sunday until Christmas.
We do, it is custom in all Scandinavian countries, Germany and also Austria.
at home with my parents we used an old candle holder bought years ago at IKEA, but since
I live in Italy and near my german parents-in-law I learned to make them my self.
my mother-in -law had such a touch for these things, could make beautiful pieces with two sprigs, three leaves and one rose.
since she is not with us anymore, the feeling and her gentle touch are missing.

I've tried to pass this on to my italian girlfriends, it is funny how they are suspicious in the beginning not knowing exactly the meaning of it all, and then get so involved.
some even forget where they got the ideas from :DDD

an original Advents wreaths should be round and possible made of Norway spruce

but you can also make square ones, rectangular ones, use plates, trays or pots.

I usually make one big on the top of the fireplace, 4 big white candles together with
Blue Spruce( Picea Pungens ) and Ginger pine (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)
they smells so good, and they look fresh for at least 3 weeks in normal room temperature.

and then I make a little one, to put on the table.
this year was our 25th Anniversary of Marriage, so I thought silver could be a nice color :D
I used empty tomato cans, colored them silver and glued small shining stars here and there
4 rectangular silver candles, sprigs of the Blue Spruce (Picea Pungens) and plastic dark grey plastic pearls

advents candle decoration in silver

Advents candles in silver

advents candle decoration in silver

for two of my friends
a glass plate with small red colored stones, tiny silver stars and bows of red/white ribbons.

Red & white for Monica

Red &white for Simoo

Red & white for Simoo

and for Manfred my father-in-law a very simple one with terracotta candle holders, colored with some gold and Blue Spruce (Picea Pungens). I changed the red candles to white ones and added some red berries it looked better.

terracotta &pine for Manfred

terracotta &pine for Manfred

terracotta &pine for Manfred

this is my contribution to Susan's Tablescape Thursday
please remember to stop by my fellow tablescapers

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