Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I love all things beautiful and romantic and therefore decided that it was time to host a tea in our garden. I took out some of my favorite teacups and went for a walk in our garden and picked some beautiful bougainvillea. I baked a delicious cheesecake and set the table. I kept things very simple and enjoyed the afternoon with loved ones...
1-1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
750 g smooth cottage cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 cups of frozen strawberries
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons port
Preheat the oven to 350*F.
Mix the crumbs, sugar and melted butter together and using the back of a large spoon, press crumb mixture firmly on the bottom and up side of a 9" nonstick springform pan.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. Add the lemon juice while beating. *I prefer using cottage cheese instead of cream cheese and put my cottage cheese in a blender to make it very smooth. Stir in the cottage cheese, cream and flour and mix. Turn the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 275*F and bake for 1 hour or until the filling is firm but still slightly soft in the center. Switch off the oven but leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven. Remove from the cake tin when cold and transfer to a serving platter.
Bring the strawberries and sugar to a boil and simmer slowly for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the port and bring to the boil again. Leave to cool and serve with the baked cheesecake. *If you do not have strawberries you can use blueberries or any other choice of berries.
I can honestly say that I am living my dream life! I am so grateful for the wonderful life I live together with my husband and children. Is everything always perfect? No, not at all because we live in an imperfect world but I try to think and speak positive on a daily basis because I firmly believe "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7) My husband is a great role model to me and for hope and encouragement you can visit his blog at http://theprophetspeaks1.blogspot.com/
All images taken by me.
Friday, November 12, 2010
I absolutely love Mediterranean food and these tarts are delicious and can be served as a lunch with a Greek salad. If you prefer not to have any meat, mushrooms can be used instead of the beef.
1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions (4 cups) thinly sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
3 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese
2 large tomatoes cut into slices
3 tablespoons fresh julienned basil leaves
4 slices of all natural deli beef (I use all natural Boar's Head brand)
10 fresh mushrooms thinly sliced (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425*F. Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly. Using a 5 to 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide and cut 4 circles from the sheet off pastry. Repeat with the second pastry sheet. I used the scraps, made it into one piece and rolled it and cut more circles from it. In the end I had 12 circles. Place the pastry circles on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Sauté and stir frequently until the onions are limp and there are almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add half a teaspoon of salt, quarter of a teaspoon black pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for a few minutes until the onions are lightly browned. remove from the heat.
Using a sharp paring knife (I used a wine glass) and score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border. Place a heaped-up teaspoon of the onion mixture on each circle, staying within the scored edge. Add small pieces of beef on top of the onion mixture. Crumble small pieces of goat cheese on top of the beef (or mushrooms). Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper. Scatter some grated Parmesan cheese on each tart. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Sprinkle some fresh basil and serve warm with a Greek salad. Enjoy!
I decided to show you some pictures of our garden. I love the combination of red and green colors that can also be seen in the tomato and basil in the tarts above.
I love beautiful interiors and I find most of my inspiration in nature!
Below are some photographs of interiors where reds and greens were used. Look closely at the color combinations in nature and use that in your interiors!
Images 1 to 4 taken by me. Images 5 to 8 from Architectural Digest
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Amboise lies on the banks of the Loire River in central France. It is half way between Orléans and Tours. Today a small market town, it was once home of the French royal court. It played a great part in French history especially during the Renaissance era.
Château d'Amboise was built on a promontory overlooking the Loire River to control a strategic ford that was replaced in the Middle Ages by a bridge. The château began its life in the eleventh century, when the notorius Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou rebuilt the stronghold in stone.
Myself having something cool to drink, it was very hot...look at the lady's hair to the left of me...
The Tower Clock
Myself taking a break at the side-walk...
Clos Lucé Mansion - the last house where Leonardo da Vinci lived by invitation of King Francis 1 of France before his death...
The gardens at Clos Lucé Mansion
My friend Ronelle and myself enjoyed shopping in the narrow streets of this beautiful town...
Image 3 by Wikipedia, Image 8 and 12 taken by my friend Ronelle, all other images taken by me