Friday, September 30, 2011

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

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Here are some easy ideas to make the preparations easier for the long week end of entertaining.
Make double the quantities of grilled vegetables and salads. Do not put dressings and do not cut the tomatoes and cucumbers. Just wash everything and keep in plastic dishes or packets, to be combined at the last minute.

Wash and trim baby leaves. Spin dry. Arrange them on a flat plate. Cut up four or five cooked and peeled beetroot into cubes, add thinly sliced pears, grated goats cheese and a tasty dressing of balsamic, olive oil and salt and pepper. I  toast brown bread and cut into thin strips and  sauté them in a little olive oil. Arrange them on top.
Slice six zucchini, a cup full of thinly sliced leeks, two diced apples, three or four sliced figs, two sliced onions and three cloves of garlic. Sauté all of this with vegetable salt and pepper and  thinly sliced yellow pepper.
When done place it all of a bed of lettuce and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of chopped parsley over it all.  Serve with hot bread and butter.


 Wash two cups of cherry tomatoes, four or five garlic cloves and chopped basil and four or five bay leaves. Place the pricked tomatoes and cloves of garlic in a pie dish in circles. I oil the dish with olive oil. Arranger the chopped basil  over it and a few bay leaves on the side of the dish. Sprinkle olive oil and bake in a medium oven for twenty minutes. Serve with grated feta cheese on top and a baked potato or  quinoa.

Use a few cups of mixed mushrooms. Slice and arrange in an oven dish. Cover with low fat cream, vegetable salt, three crushed garlic cloves, two thinly sliced onions or a cup of shallots. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of olive oil and half a teaspoon of black pepper. Cover and bake for twenty minutes in a medium oven   Serve on a bed of cooked polenta. Use a large platter, place the polenta on the dish and pour over the mushrooms and sauce. Decorate with thinly grated parmesan cheese.
 Have lots of carrots and fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, radish, kohlrabi, apples and grapes on hand for quick salads. Grapes can be added to any green salad. Kohlrabi can be used in any stir fried dish. Cooked beets are great for salads and with any greens like spinach.
Have a lovely week end, fun and happy meals.---------------------------------


Friday, September 16, 2011

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At the end of the evening, when all the food has been consumed and guests have enjoyed conversation and a good time together, we serve the sweet ending. Please believe me, there is always space for the sweets things at the end of a meal. Even the people on a careful eating routine, will have something to taste and enjoy.

I use a large tray or glass plate. Doilies or individual cookie cups look good with the sweets in them
The best way is to set them out in rows,or in circles.

Use the following. Dates, good chocolates, nougat, almonds, halvah and marzipan, dried mango, small fruits like cherries or grapes. The grapes should be firm, red and white. I use nuts and dried raisins too. Baklava is a welcome sweet with a good coffee, and in season watermelon, Bulgarian cheese and arrack, is great.
Good toffees and candies always fit in anywhere………………

Strawberries, and small fruits in season, are a welcome addition to any candy plate

Dates. Wash and slit the dates and fill with pieces of marzipan that has been rolled in coconut.

Apricot and raisin clusters.
113g plain chocolate, 2 large tablespoons honey, 55grams chopped dried. apricots and 55 grams of seedless raisins.
Break chocolate into pieces and put into a bowl with the honey. Stand bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Stir the mixture. Add chopped apricots and raisins. Drop teaspoons of the mixture into small paper cups. Decorate with a small cherry or nut.

Chocolate Fingers.
See the recipes of 25th July 2009–

Chocolate truffles.
These are features in the column of 25th August 2008.

Date Balls
A favorite candy. Easy to make and you can freeze these and remove as needed.
Look at the article of 18th August 2008

I use slices of nougat and dip the ends in melted chocolate.

These can be served in squares in a paper cup.

Apricot and almond candies.
I soak twelve dried apricots in a little liquor overnight. Just enough to cover the apricots. Then I cut them tiny and mix with four tablespoons of crushed almonds and a little ginger. Roll into balls and coat with coconut.

Enjoy you sweet platter of delights with a good coffee or a well chilled glass of Recanatti dessert wine.

Have a sweet year. Love and Light Rona

Sunday, September 4, 2011

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         We all enjoy sitting down at a table that is attractive. A good cloth, serviettes ,dinnerware and glasses that are  crystal clear. They create an ambience that will match the efforts of the hostess

Recently I was given a cloth that I am delighted with. It is a hand blocked printed fabric, subtle coloring, glorious design and so easy to launder. The company sell online . They are called SAFFRON MARIGOLD. They make linen ware for the table, curtains, cushions, bed linen,, sheets , pillowcases and covers for eiderdowns.  Just treat yourself. You will be amazed at the designs and colors. They have all shapes including round tablecloths .

I have a collection of candles,  pottery pomegranates, crystal grapes, ornaments and little bits and pieces that make a good centerpiece. People like some toothpicks on the table, some look for sugar substitutes or hand wipes. These can be incorporated into the décor or centerpiece.

I also use my soup plates for décor, fruit dishes that match the set for a final course of nuts, chocolates and candies.
Remember one does not need to spend much to make a table look good. Just imagination and a few leaves or flowers. Use little wine glasses at each setting with a flower, or a little bracelet for a serviette holder.

 When you have guests, prepare the items for dessert and coffee or tea , on trays. You will be glad you do not have to scramble to look for spoons,  little milk jugs and all that…keep extra  serviettes and  a choice of teas ready. It is now the trend to choose a tea. Have a  caffeine free coffee as well.
 When you have kids, the best dessert is a large salad glass bowl filled with ice cubes and a variety of all kinds of ice lollies, ice pops, mixed ice creams in wrappers. Just watch them disappear. The adults love to tumble into a choice of ice cream…….whatever is not used, is just popped back into the freezer. Soya based parave ice creams are a good addition too.

Have a fun holiday and enjoy the extra fussing that makes life special
 Love and light