Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once In A Blue Moon

A hot cup of cocoa hits the spot on a cold, snowy evening. But tonight I took it one step further and made a batch of billowy marshmallows for our New Year's Eve cocoa, using this recipe.

Dusted with powdered sugar they look as pure as the driven snow falling right outside our window.

Who says you must drink cocoa from a cup?

It's half the fun of enjoying a quiet night at home together.

A celebration of New Year's Eve.

Where we may be fast asleep long before midnight.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

All The Little Birdies Say Cheap Cheap Cheap

Finches love Nyjer thistle seed but it's really expensive when you are buying a bag a week for them. So we decided to just start buying the less expensive sunflower seeds.

To our surprise, it's like they didn't even notice the difference.

Some pets get to go to pet day care, but some have to stay home and pretend.

Actually, Henri and Simon were watching t.v. while I was trying to solve a major eyesore problem in our basement studio. This is an old freezer that we keep our bait in for our lobster traps in the summer. It's the only spot we have room to keep it, so I had to figure out how I could incorporate it into the studio.

I had some leftover metallic copper paint and a few wooden letters that spell out raku. Problem solved.

And during the winter months when we leave it unplugged, we will use it to store our clay.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Table Setting For A Snowy Day

The snowy scene on these plates makes them perfect for using this time of year.

How lucky I was to score 10 of these at a flea market years ago.

The pattern on the back reads "The Old Grist Mill"

The rusty little bird figurine is heavy enough to hold down the table runner during a blizzard.

A blizzard just like we are having today.

See the beaded shade that fits over a tealight candle holder? I just found that at Goodwill last week.

The stemware was a T. J. Maxx find several years ago.

As was the table runner, that fits in well with my newly painted dining room set.

My funky cobalt blue glasses are fun to use with the plates.

After playing around with my place settings, I decided to go ahead and distress my newly painted table. This is the before.

I will show the after in another post.

Monday, December 28, 2009

More Scandi Treats

I wanted to show you this Finnish Coffee Braid that my friend Diane made for us.

I told her you would want the recipe, so here's how she makes it:
Nisu (Finnish Coffee Braid)
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
2 tsp. salt
combine first 3 ingredients in mixing bowl, then add
2 cups scalded milk
2 T.yeast dissolved with 1/2 cup warm water
4 eggs
2 tsp. cardamon
10-12 cups flour
Knead dough until it feels like your earlobes [yes, she wrote that].
Let rise 1 hour. Divide into 9 pieces.
Roll into long strips to braid 3 loaves.
Place in bread pans to rise.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Turn out onto racks and brush with coffee/sugar mixture.
Makes delicious toast!
Would you just look at how perfect the texture is.

Diane told me it's traditionally toasted and enjoyed for breakfast with your morning coffee. I had never had Nisu before, and the first thing that came to my mind about the flavor, was that it tasted just like Christmas to me. Really!

And in case you're wondering if I had my share of Ebelskivers yesterday, apparently not. I made blueberry ones today.

Still hot I dotted with butter, dusted with powdered sugar, and drizzled with some pure maple syrup. Mmmmmm

I believe we are spoiled forever for having just plain old blueberry pancakes for breakfast.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Today found me practicing with my new Ebelskiver pan (pronounced able-skeever) to make this unique sphere-shaped filled dessert that has its origins in Denmark. First you heat up 1/4 tsp. of unsalted butter within each well.

I believe one of the secrets of this light dessert are the whipped egg whites that you prepare beforehand and fold into the batter.

I just adore these curvy wooden ebelskiver skewers that are used to flip them over part way through cooking.

I had Henri capture my first attempt using the skewers.

Looks like they came out a tad on the dark side.

Our friends were on their way over, so I saved some batter for Diane to make a batch while I took pictures. This was her first attempt too. Starting in the center well you spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each well, moving clockwise, to ensure uniform cooking.

Then you add a tsp. of filling. In this case we were using melted semi-sweet chocolate morsels.

And then another tablespoon of batter to top it off.

Hey! Why are hers so perfect on the first try?

Her Scandinavian heritage is showing me up!

Add a little powdered sugar to both sides, and my goodness, they were so yummy I forgot to take pictures of all of us enjoying them.

Anyway, the book has so many recipes for making these puffy pancakes with a wide range of wonderful sweet and savory toppings and fillings. The basic ingredients are what everyone has on hand -- milk, eggs, and flour. But you need to get yourself an Ebelskiver pan to make them!

Who knew how much fun these are to make!!!

I look forward to more ebelskivering, as I have become quite fascinated with my new pan and my gorgeous wooden ebelskiver skewers.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Time Warp

Out on our walk today I found myself imagining what Sorrento looked like 100 years ago. Fortunately my new camera helped me envision it as I shot a few pictures in sepia. This is our public library that is open only in the summer months of July and August.

This is one of the summer cottages that has seen better days.

The scene as we walk along Ocean Avenue

A couple more cottages along Ocean Avenue.

I shot this one in color at the end of our walk. A welcome sight on this otherwise grey winter day.

For comparison, here's one I took on a sunny winter day here in Sorrento.

Whether in sepia or color, I love that it's hard to tell the past from the present while walking around our village in Winter.

Friday, December 25, 2009

How Christmas Traditions Get Started

Our perch potato

on Christmas night



for the very first time

It sure beats getting him to pose for a parrot in a pine tree Christmas picture.