Happy Valentines day! Did you know that in some countries only the girls are expected to give gifts on this day?

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Happy Valentines Day!

Hope everybody will give attention to someone they hold dear as well as receiving.

In South Korea and Japan, it is usually the women who give gifts and attention to their special man or male friends on this romantic day, it is to express their love, tenderness, courtesy, friendliness or social obligation.

Handmade chocolates are preferred by the receiver, it shows sincerity and effort from the giver. I can remember stores filled with everything you need to make chocolate treats, tools, molds, ingredients, and boxes.

Some told me during my stay in South Korea that girls usually gave gift to as many male friends as possible.

Why you wonder?

The reason is that there is a day called White Day and it is celebrated on March 14.
All men who got attention on February 14 must reciprocate the gifts they received and the norm is that the gifts should be worth two to three times more than what the women gave. Ha ha ha, In other words you should not have to many admirers.

It was the business community in Japan that started the day and the first one was celebrated in 1978.
Color themes around this day is white. White cake, white chocolate, etc.

On April 14, Koreans unofficially celebrate a day.
Can you guess what kind of day that is?

The day is called Black Day. This is the day for those who did not receive anything the other two days. If you are single, you are supposed to wear black, eat and drink black, and then complain a little about being single.

Otherwise this day is part of the liturgical celebration in honor of the many Christian martyrs named Valentin.

The Christian celebration of this day may have roots in Roman celebration of the goddess Juno, who represented women and marriage, and the beginning of Lupercalia festival, a fertility celebration that began February 15th.

The valentines celebration we know today began in 1700s England, the day was used to express love and affection through gifts like flowers and chocolates and Valentine cards.

Again have a nice Valentines day 🙂

Fastelavn buns 2016

Fastelavn 1 2015 agj

Christmas wasn’t that long ago and it is already time to fatten up again, this time as “tradition” goes fatten up before Lent.

Do you know of any christians that still fast during Lent? I don’t, but it is nice to keep some traditions.

This years Fastelavn (Scandinavian Mardi Gras) is on Sunday the 7th of February, and I am making traditional buns but heart-shaped and filling them with strawberries and cream as I usually do.

Here are links to other buns I have made, last years(2015) Fastelavn buns  and the year before(2014).

I have used my regular bun recipe.

DOUGH

1 package  active dry yeast

300 ml warm  milk

75 ml  warm water

100 g butter, melted

100 ml granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1200 ml flour

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

20160123_121900-1In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and some of the sugar., stir and let it sit for a few minutes. Add the milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, salt, and 3/4 of the flour. Mix and add enough of the remaining flour to form a firm dough.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Do not over-knead, which will yield a tough, chewy bread. The dough is ready when it is smooth and when you can poke it with a finger and it springs back. Form dough into a smooth ball and place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let it rise to double size.

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Roll the ready dough flat about 1-1,5 cm thick and cut out heart shapes or make the shape you want.

Put the buns on a bakingpaper lined baking tray, cover them and let them rice to double their size.

Bake the buns in a pre heated oven on 180 C for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

You can also brush the buns with a little eggwash before you bake them to give them a glossy look.

Serve with whipped cream and freshly crushed strawberries.

Heart buns agj

Hot panzerotti from Luini in Milan

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Feeling a little peckish or just plain hungry, if you are in the vicinity of the Duomo in Milan walk straight and take a left when you have passed Rinascente and follow the crowd, you will happen up on a small shop called Luini. This is a must go to place if you are in Milan.

I asked my friend The Operasinger “If I want to taste something that is a must try in Milan, where should I go?” She answered “Luinis” and then she showed me where it was.

“Oh, is this it?, I have been wanting to try this place every time I have been here, but the line has always been too long or it has been closed.” I can remember being curious to see what they were selling, but has always ended up going somewhere else to get a bite to eat.

This time we were lucky the line wasn’t so long, and I finally got to try some.

Luini has become somewhat of an institution since they opened in 1949.

Panzerottis that Luinis is famous for has become a staple meal for businessmen, students and children a like, people keep coming back bringing the next generation to pass on the tradition.

These turnovers wasn’t known to Milan before Mrs. Josephine Luini brought the recipe from her home region of Puglia. In Milan she started producing and supplying bread for restaurants and downtown hotels. But her interest was for  the traditional baked goods from home. One day, looking through the recipes passed down from her grandfather, she found the recipe for these popular turnovers.

Luini

Everybody wants these soft and doughy turnovers filled with savory or sweet filling. Pazerotti is like a cross between carlzone and a beignet.

There is always a line during opening hours, but the place is popular specially among students, like these girls below and non of them are Italian. Luinis fame has gone beyond the italian border.

My favorite was the one filled with mozzarella and tomato
luini mi

Yummy doughnuts

Doughnuts are one of the seven traditional Christmas bakes in Norway and there are many different doughnut recipes out there but this is my favorite. They are quite similar to the ones sold at food trucks you used to find outside shopping mall here in Norway. I haven’t seen one for a while, but no matter I can make the my self 🙂 This recipe came with the doughnut dispenser I bought but with a few adjustments.

For this recipe you get about 60 doughnuts

3 egg
225 g sugar
2 dl whole milk
2 dl kefir or soured milk
1,25 dl cream
1.5 tsp ammonium bicarbonate
1/1 tsp baking soda
3,5 tsp cardamom
650 g flour
Lard and oil for frying

Beat the eggs and sugar white, whip the cream and sift the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the rest. Mix all the ingredients together and fill your doughnut dispenser and fry the doughnuts in a mixture of lard and oil for frying 50/50 on medium heat.

I had a little troubble getting the batter out of the dispenser, but a quick telephone call to the producers they understood what the problem was. I had not clicked the handle properly in place. This time I just had to figure out how much batter ro let out of the dispenser.

It took a few tries to figure out how much batter to dispense, but I did manage in the end.

When the doughnuts are done they will float up to the surface and have a nice golden color.

Place the doughnuts on a tray with kitchen towels to drain.
Eat them as is, dip them in chocolate or sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on them

Apple gløgg consentrate

Gløgg is Norway’s equivalent of mulled wine. The traditional Gløgg is dark with a red wine base and seeped with a wide range of dried fruits and spices. This version is more like spiced apple cider and a little lighter than the traditional one and not as sweet. A bottle of this would be a nice addition to any food hamper you give away for christmas or just as small hostess gift for when you visiting.
I dried apples slices to serve with this drink and also to give away with a bottle of this concentrate.
1 liter good quality apple juice
1 bottle of white wine
1 dl sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
8-10 whole cloves
4  quarter inch slices of fresh ginger
1 vanilla pod
For garnish
Dried apple slices
Dried cranberries
Cinnamon sticks
If you want to make more just adjust the recipe.
Putt all the ingredients in a pot and cook to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the liquid is halved. Strain the drink and pour it in sterile bottles.
When serving this drink I take one part of the concentrate and one part juice or white wine or a mix of both.
Heat up the mixture and pour the warm liquid into glasses and garnish with dried apple slices, dried cranberries and cinnamon.
How to dry apple slices
Cut the apples in fairly thin slices and put them on a rack in the oven or a dehydrator.
In the oven you can leave them overnight on 50-60 C.
Super easy to make:)

Eggnog

Whenever I get an eggnog in hand I get a  little nostalgic and dream about Christmas in California, a different christmas than what I was used to. Back then an American christmas to me was an overflow of lights and decorations compared to the more sober Norwegian celebration and I guess it still is.
The few Christmas holidays I spent away from home was with my room mates family, at their ranch in Sacramento. Northern California can be chilly around the Holidays, but I can still remember running arround i shorts and t-shirts.
Those were the days, young and carefree. My first Christmas there I did a little attempt on herding the little calves on an ATV, but I just spread them arround 😀
Riding around on an old docile Saddleback and remember getting the poor old thing to gallop. “Analiza, was that the old Saddleback and you I saw speed along by the old tree? I haven’t seen the old gal gallop that fast in a long time” Oops.  It was a fun and different Christmas, but it was not all just rosy, I went back to San Fransisco with a huge bruise on my shoulder. It was my own fault for not holding the shot-gun properly when skeet shooting.
Eggnog is a creamy and sweet drink full of holiday cheer. To get as much flavour out of this drink, starts with infusing milk and cream with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla beans. Then slowly stream the warm infused milk into beaten eggs and sugar, before you add the bourbon and brandy. After a cool-down in the refrigerator for all of these delicious flavors to marry, add fluffy egg whites before serving to give i an airy lift. This drink can be served warm or cold.

1000 ml/4 cups whole milk

250 ml/1 cup  heavy or double cream

3 cinnamon sticks

1 vanilla bean pod

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish

8 eggs, separated

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup Whiskey/Bourbon

1/2 cup Brandy/Cognac

Combine milk, cream, cinnamon, vanilla bean, vanilla seeds and nutmeg in a saucepan, bring to the boil over a medium heat. Once boiling, remove from the heat and allow to steep.

Beat egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl or in a mixer until thick ribbons form when the whisk is lifted. Slowly whisk in the infused milk and continue to mix until the mixture is combined and smooth. Add bourbon or rum, and stir. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.

Before serving, beat the egg whites in a large bowl or mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold into eggnog until combined. Serve and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

If you want to serve this warm, heat the eggnog up in a double boiler or very carefully in a sauce pan.

A little suggestion, what if you use coffee or chocolate liquor instead of Bourbon and Brandy instead.