Friday, 30 October 2009

Celebrating Autumn: Colors

Colors are God's way to help us deal with the gloom of autumn. Below are some colorful inspirations from today morning's walk in the park. Enjoy!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Celebrating Autumn: And What if I Get Ill

It is hard to celebrate or enjoy autumn if you have to do it from your bed with a sore throat, headache and 40C degree fever. In the capricious autumnal weather it is easy to catch a cold. Luckily, nature provides us as well with a lot of natural remedies and immune system boosters. Today 3 ideas of how to go through the fall using your own kitchen stock.

The Terrible Mixture

What for:
Sore throat, general cold and muscle soreness. Garlic has the qualities of natural antibiotics and can kill germs! Ginger and honey smooth the aching throat and lemon provides your system with C vitamin.

1. garlic
2. ginger root
3. honey
4. lemon

1. Chop garlic and ginger
2. Pour hot water over it and let it brew for 5 minutes
3. Add lemon and honey
4. Drink while warm

Onion Milk

What for:
Does wonders for sore throat.

2. milk

1. Peal onion and cut it to several pieces
2. Boil the onion in milk
3. Drink milk while hot

4. You can add honey to sweeten the drink

Zombie Elixir

What For:
Kills the germs and makes sure your cold won't develop.

1. 40% vodka (any kind, the taste really shouldn't be your main concern)
2. 250g of garlic

1. Chop garlic
2. Pour alcohol over choped garlic and keep it in closed jars for two weeks. The jars should be kept in warm place, possibly in the sun.
3. After two weeks throw away the garlic and keep the alcohol (it will reach the color of muddy kiwi juice...yummy)
Hint: don't use jars or bottle you actually like - you won't be able to get rid of the garlic smell.
4. When you feel a cold is coming on drink 10 drops of elixir in a glass of water before every meal.

Remember: the remedies work and can support your immune system in fighting the head cold but they are not a substitute for medical advice in case of prolonged illness.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Celebrating Autumn: And All That Jam...

So I live near this botanical garden, which is in fact a big park, and no one pick up the apples from the trees in there ... anyway, long story short: I had a few spare apples on my hands. I am not the biggest fan of jams, jellies, marmalades etc. but the apples were a bit too sour to eat them like just like that - so jam it is. The recipe below was taken from Polish newspaper but then considerably modified and adjusted by me.

The recipe for Spicy Apple and Ginger Jam (For roughly1,5l of jam):

1kg apples
300g of ginger (or less if you don't like the jam too spicy)
500g sugar (or less if you don't like your jam too sweet)
1 table spoon of dried ginger
a few cloves
3 table spoons of cinnamon
(you can also add vanilla or cardamom - depends on your taste)

1. Peel and cut the apples removing the seeds and put it in a large pot
2. Peel and cut ginger and add to apples
3. Add 0,5l water and boil until soft (around an hour). Don't boil it too hard and consider adding more water if you see there is not enough left in the pot (don't overdo it or you'll make the jam too watery)
4. Add spoonfuls of sugar and stir. Add as much sugar as you think is necessary for your taste.
5. Add the spices and stir - let it boil for another 10 min.

If the jam comes out too watery you can either boil it longer until the water steams away or you can add a bit of jelly fix powder.

Ginger has the tendency not to get entirely soft during boiling - if you prefer you can put the apples and ginger into food processor before cooking or use hand blender after.

6. Put the warm jam into clean jars. Screw the tops tight and boil the jars in hot water for 10 minutes - the jam is now pasteurized and can keep in closed jars for up to one year.

This jam is ok for sandwiches, waffles and crumbles but I also like to add it to my black tea.

Let me know if you tried this recipe and what came out of it!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Celebrating Autumn: The Pumpkin

First of all, I love pumpkins! This is what it will say on my grave...or at least in my post-mortem biography.

I love everything about pumpkins: the colors, the shape, the smells and the tastes. And most of all I love the fact that so few people in Europe know what to do with pumpkins which makes them at cheap and, at the same time, exotic food.

There are many pumpkin varieties but here in Denmark you can only buy two kinds of pumpkins, the halloween kind (they are destined to end up as jack-o-lanterns) and the hokkaido. The former one is watery, large and very cheap and is perfect for pumpkin curry soup (recipe below) and the later is more expensive but sweet and is prefered for the pies.

So, the other week I took a trip to a place called Bazaar (a topic for whole other post) and bought myself some pumpkin, Baby! And here is what I did with it.

Jack-O-Lantern/Halloween Pumpkin Preparation

1. Cut pumpkin in half and remove the seed nest with a spoon
2. Roast it in the oven, skin up, for 1h at 180C - remember to roast pumpkin in a deep dish. It will give out a lot of juice and can flood your oven otherwise.
3. After an hour check if the pulp is soft and let the pumpkin cool down
4. Scoop out the pumpkin pulp, divide it in portions and freeze for further use

Sweet and Spicy: Pumpkin Curry Soup

You will need:
- pumpkin pulp
- curry powder (or ingredients for curry powder)
- olive oil
- onion - sliced
- 2 carrots - sliced
- 2 potatoes - sliced
- you can also use other root vegetables such as celeriac or parsnip
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up the oil in a large pot, add curry powder and let it fry for 2 minutes
2. Lower the heat to medium and add onions
3. When onions are glossy add carrots and potatoes (and any other roots) and steer well
4. Add pumpkin pulp
5. Add water and boil till the vegetables are soft
6. Blend the soup and spice it to taste (cayenne pepper fits well with this soup)

You might also want to add some vegetable stock with the water. You can also use fresh (not roasted) pumpkin - in that case cut pumpkin in smaller pieces and remember that it will take a little but longer to boil until soft.

Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds or garlic bread croûtons (mhhhmmm).

Monday, 5 October 2009

What is Craft?

--A craft is a skill, especially involving practical arts. It may refer to a trade or particular art. [Wikipedia]
--trade: the skilled practice of a practical occupation;
--skill in an occupation or trade;
--make by hand and with much skill;

But do these definitions accurately describe the present day phenomenon of craft? Is cooking a craft? Is baking? Jam making? Hair styling? And what about blowing circles out of cigarette smoke? What do you consider a craft? What definitely is not? Do you have your own definition that describes the concept better? I would like to hear from you before I tell you what I came up with. Leave comments and take part in the poll to let me know what you think.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Not Really on Holidays

I haven’t been posting much in the last 2 weeks, my twitter activity has also gone waaaaay down and my Etsy shop is closed. But, despite how it looks like, I am not on holidays.

I have now finally moved to Denmark and my days are filled with unpacking and arranging, cleaning and sorting out.

Also my crafty activities have now been replaced with window cleaning and soaping of wooden shelves to smooth out the surface (which is btw. a very interesting process and I will write about it more, once the shelves are finished and I can see the result with my own eyes).

So, due to all the work that is still left to do at our new home and the fact that I do not have internet connection for now, I will post less for the next few weeks. To make sure you will not abandon me during this time, here comes a few lovely pictures from our trip to Pułtusk near Warsaw and down the river Narew. Please, make note of the fact that we did this trip on the 26th of September...have a look at the colors and the weather.