Posts from October 2011

Yummy Bones, Milk Chocolate Vampire, Late Finds at Hotel Chocolat

Making sugar masks as is common practice in Mexico for Day of the Dead will be too much for many of us so we will settle for Yummy Bones (40% milk chocolate and 70% dark chocolate) as the centerpiece of our Halloween treats.

Kids might take another route and vote for the friendly looking vampire (above).

Both are late Halloween sweets I found via Hotel Chocolat in the UK

Tempestad, Perfect White Wine for October Snowstorm, 100 Percent Godello

If I had not been in Copenhagen during Hurricane Irene, I could have written then about this Spanish wine.

The October snowstorm hitting my area gives me another opportunity to showcase this tempestuous white.

The Tempestad 2009 comes from the Valdeorras denomination, 100 kilometers from Santiago de Compostella. The area around Ourense in Galicia is often battered by storms and this wine is an hommage to the effort it takes to pick grapes on steep terraces that host the vineyards where this wine was born.

Tempestad is 100% Godello ( a lesser known native grape) and I enjoyed its crisp minerality and fresh character.

Snow Cover Recipe, Scheiterhaufen with Schneehaube from Austrian Desserts and Pastries

Austria strutted its stuff in New York with the Austria Pop Up in October.

Vienna is known as a dessert capital and if you cannot afford a round trip ticket to Austria, Austrian Desserts and Pastries (Skyhorse Publishing, November 1) by Dietmar Fercher and Andrea Karrer is a great introduction to Viennese treats.

If you never studied German, pronouncing the names of many of the 108 recipes found in this tome might be a challenge.

Some of them like Rigó Jancsischnitten come with their own story (quoted below).

"Rigó Janci is a Hungarian specialty cream Torte. It was named after the Hungarian Gypsy violinist Rigó, who was playing at the Cafe Gerbeaud in Budapest when Prince Joseph Chimay et de Carawan and his young American wife, Claire, were guests there. Claire and Janci fell head over heels in love, quietly left the cafe one after the other, and were never seen again."

With apples being plentiful, I picked Scheiterhaufen with Schneehaube as a first cut from Austrian Desserst and Pastries.

The Scheiterhaufen with Schneehaube is a very descriptive term for the visual appearance of this dish: the Scheiterhaufen was the stake where heretics or witches were burnt, and Schneehaube literally means “Snow Cover.”

It is doubly timely as a snow storm warning is hovering over the East Coast.

Scheiterhaufen with Schneehaube

Yields 10 servings
(as dessert)

just under1 lb (400 g) apples (such as Cox Orange, Jona Gold)
about ½ cup (1/8 l) white wine
3 tbsp granulated sugar
½ cinnamon stick
1/3 cup (50 g) raisins

12 oz (350 g) milk loaf, Striezel (Austrian plaited bun), brioche, or white bread
3 eggs
peel of ½ lemon (untreated), zested
1 ½ cup (350 ml) milk
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1/3 cup (60 g) granulated sugar
3 ½ tbsp (50 g) ghee or clarified butter*
approximately 3 ½ tbsp (50 g) butter and ½ cup (30 g) bread crumbs for the mold

3 egg whites
¾ cup (140 g) granulated sugar
powdered sugar for sprinkling

Raspberry Sauce:
3 ¼ cup (400 g) raspberries (frozen)
heaping 2/3 cup (100 g) powdered sugar


Wash apples, peel, core, and cut into thin slices. Bring white wine to a boil with sugar and cinnamon, insert apples, and poach over low heat. Remove apples from the liquid with a straining ladle and drain well. Wash raisins in hot water and drain well on absorbent paper.

Remove crusts from milk loaf and cut in about 1/5 inch (½ cm) thick slices; place in a bowl. Separate eggs. Stir yolks with lemon zest, milk, salt, and vanilla sugar and pour over milk loaf slices. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Beat egg whites with half the amount of sugar until stiff, add remaining sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form. Carefully mix egg whites into the bread mixture. Fill half the mixture into a buttered dish sprinkled with bread crumbs, smooth the surface, distribute apple slices evenly on top, sprinkle with raisins, and pour remaining mixture onto the apples. Heat the ghee or clarified butter and sprinkle onto the Scheiterhaufen; bake in a preheated oven at 325°F (170°C) for about 1 hour. Take Scheiterhaufen out of the oven.

Schneehaube: Beat egg whites with sugar warm over steam (104–113°F or 40–45°C), remove from heat and then beat cold (continue beating until the egg whites are "stable"). Spread 1/3 of the Schnee onto the Scheiterhaufen. Fill remaining egg whites into a pastry bag with a serrated tip and decorate the Schnee with it; sprinkle with powdered sugar and bake in the oven at 500°F (250°C) until the Schnee is lightly browned (doesn't take long!). Cut Scheiterhaufen out of the dish in portions and serve with raspberry sauce.

Raspberry Sauce: Puree raspberries with sugar, strain through a sieve

*Clarified butter: Melt butter, heat, and skim foam from the surface

(* Recipe from Austrian Desserts and Pastries by Dietmar Fercher and Andrea Karrer-Skyhorse Publishing, November 2011- Photography by Konrad Limbeck- reproduced by permission of the publisher, all rights reserved)

Bruno Paillard Rose 1ere Cuvee and Scrambled Eggs with Truffles for Champagne Day

In her new book Simply Truffles (William Morrow, November 8), Patricia Wells offers wine suggestions for a number of her recipes.

As I was thinking of elegant ways to celebrate the second edition of Champagne Day, today, October 28, she saved me the trouble of searching by picking Bruno Paillard Rose Premiere Cuvee (Non Vintage) as her first choice for Scrambled Eggs with Truffles.


Epernay Champagne Direct (a UK retailer) came up with these tasting notes:

"Lovely salmon pink with a touch of bronze, with a persistent, fine bead. Pronounced Pinot nose with dark red berries and hints of truffle before a sweeter profile of red summer fruits emerges.. On the palate it is clean and fresh, with raspberry fruit and a core of citrus acidity. That hint of earthy roughness shows up again in the finish, adding depth."

Any alternative pick according to Patricia Wells should be the best bottle of Champagne you can afford.

I had the pleasure to meet Bruno Paillard a couple of times this year most recently at event reaffirming the commitment of 15 wine regions to Protect Wine Place and Origin in New York.

We exchanged a few words by the Champagne table of course.

Read Bruno Paillard Profile and Tasting Notes (April 4, 2011) on Grande Marque Champagne Blog.

(* Image of Bruno Paillard Rose 1ere Cuvee from Epernay Champagne site)

No Haunted House, Halloween 5 K Run or Walk Sponsored by Realtor Hermann London, October 29

There will be no underwater theme or ghost or haunted house on the itinerary of Halloween 5 K sponsored by realty company Hermann London in Missouri.


Dogs are welcome as you can see from their 'Dress your Pet to Impress' invitation.

Proceeds go to The Women's Safe House and Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Race starts at 10 am with Check-In at 9:00 a.m. at the Marietta parking lot, 7359 Marietta Ave, Maplewood, MO 63143

Tokyo Drifter by Tetsui Matsue Premieres at TIFF Tokyo International Film Festival 2011

The 24th Edition of TIFF or Tokyo International Film Festival concludes on October 30.

The Japanese selections include Tokyo Drifter directed by Tetsuaki Matsue (not the 1966 classic) described as follows in program:

"In May 2011, the director of Live Tape (2009 Japanese Eyes winner) shot his latest work on the neon-less streets of post-quake Tokyo. Musician Maeno sings and yells as he wanders on a rainswept night."

Tokyo Drifter has its World Premiere at TIFF Festival with second screening on October 29 at 5 PM at Cinemart Roppongi.

Life couched on the screen for Tokyo Thursdays # 210


4 Decades of Photography Covered in An Evening with Daido Moriyama, Japan Society, NY, November 3

(* Trailer for Tokyo Drifter from TIFF Festival's program pages)


On 4th Day of Diwali, Festival of Lights, comes Padwa, Did you Lift any Mountains?

On 4th day of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, comes Padwa.

According to Diwali 2011 site, it is said that on that day "Krishna defeated the god of rain and the heavens Indra. He lifted Mount Govardhana to save people's life from the floods" and to celebrate "people cook mountains of food resembling Mount Govardhana."

A variation offered on same site is that "according to another legend followed in South-India, Vishnu defeated the demon-king Bali on this day."

New Yorkers who celebrate Diwali and looking for a sweet treat rather than mountains of food might want to know that some of Kaurina's Kulfi Ice Creams are now available at Union Market stores in the big appple, most of them in Brooklyn.


One of the most popular sweets for Diwali seems to be Barfi (above).

Happy Diwali!

Did you move any mountains?

(* Barfi picture from Ambala Foods website)

Sicilian Watermelon Pudding Recipe from Dolci Cookbook by Francine Segan

I learned during New York stop of Vinitaly Tour 2011 that Sicily produces more grapes for wine than the whole of Australia.

I don't know where they stand for watermelon crops on the world map.

I was instantly taken by Dolci, Italy's Sweets (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, October 2011) by Francine Segan when it landed on my desk.

The book takes us on a tour of Italy with 100 recipes for all types of treats from cookies to frozen delights.

Dolci goes beyond Cannoli and other staples and also offers regional fare like Sweet Rosemary and Grape Foccacia, Licorice Granita and uncommon Chocolate Eggplant.

Here's a taste of Italy south with a recipe that tastes like Summer.

Sicilian Watermelon Pudding

Gelo di anguria

Serves 4

Region: Sicily

Watermelon juice thickened with a little cornstarch creates a light, nondairy, nonfat treat that’s perfect for a hot summer day. The bits of chocolate, which whimsically mimic watermelon seeds, add nice flavor and crunch.

This watermelon custard, or gelu di miluni in Sicilian dialect, is served all summer, but especially on July 15 in Palermo, in honor of the city’s patron saint, Saint Rosalia. It’s also commonly served on Ferragosto, August 15, Italy’s national holiday that marks the start of summer vacation.

3 to 4 cups (About 1 lb/450 to 600 grams) diced seeded watermelon, plus more as needed

3 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup (2 1/4 ounces/65 grams) sugar, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons Maraschino liqueur

Dark chocolate, finely chopped

Chopped pistachios

Fresh jasmine flowers (optional)

Sicilam Watermelon Pudding

Puree the watermelon in a food processor until liquidy, and then press through a fine-mesh sieve. You will need 2 cups (16 fluid ounces/480 milliliters) liquid, so process more watermelon, if necessary.

Combine the watermelon juice, cornstarch, and sugar in a saucepan and, off the heat, whisk until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Simmer the mixture over low heat until it thickens, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Maraschino liqueur. Taste and add more sugar, if you like. Pour into 4 serving cups or molds and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

To serve, unmold onto a serving plate or serve in the cup and garnish with chocolate, pistachios,
and jasmine flowers, if you like.

Un Altro Modo

Orange Gelo: Substitute 2 cups (16 fluid ounces/480 milliliters) freshly squeezed orange juice for the watermelon juice.

Lemon Gelo: Substitute 1 cup (8 fluid ounces/240 milliliters) freshly squeezed lemon juice diluted with 1 cup (8 fluid ounces/240 milliliters) water for the watermelon juice. Adjust the sugar to taste.

Coffee Gelo: Substitute 2 cups (16 fluid ounces/480 milliliters) freshly brewed coffee or espresso for the watermelon juice. Dilute with water and season with sugar to taste.

Cinnamon Gelo: Steep several 2-inch (5-centimeter) cinnamon sticks overnight in 2 cups (16 fluid ounces/480 milliliters) water. Bring to a boil and strain, substituting this liquid for the watermelon

(* Sicilian Watermelon Pudding recipe from Dolci, Italy's Sweets by Francine Segan - Stewart, Tabory & Chang- October 2011- reproduced by permission of the publisher, Photos by Ellen Silverman, all rights reserved)

Halloween Dance, Ballade de la Sorciere in Vinon, Sancerre, October 29

To build your appetite for Tartiflettes, join revelers for a ballade de la sorciere in Vinon (near Sancerre) on Saturday, October 29.

This French town continues its Halloween celebrations with a Halloween Dance.

Soiree halloween sancerre

I wonder what's brewing in the caldron.

(* Poster via Sancerre Tourism on Facebook)

Illuminate your Halloween, Read 'Day of the Dead' by Kitty Williams and Stevie Mack

Kitty Williams and Stevie Mack open their book Day of the Day (Gibbs Smith, September 2011) with this quote from 'The Labyrinth of Solitude' by Octavio Paz.

"To the inhabitant of New York, Paris, or London, death is a word that is never uttered because it burns the lips, the Mexican on the other hand, frequents it, mocks it, caresses it, sleeps with it, entertains it; it is one of his favorite playthings and his most enduring love."

Kitty an Stevie take us on a journey to discover the roots of the Day of the Dead, from street celebrations to offrandas, art and of course favorite dishes.

In their introduction they note that 'because the Day of the Dead is celebrated at roughly the same time of year as Halloween and the two share some common roots, Day of the Dead is sometimes referred to as the 'Mexican Halloween', However, the focus of the two holidays is quite different. With its emphasis on remembering and honoring the dead, Day of the Dead is in some ways more similar to the American observation of Memorial Day."

The authors recognize that there are regional nuances and that the holiday is especially important in Oaxaca and Michoacan.

We learn that most of the festivities take place between October 31 and November 2.

They highlight that 'according to the most common tradition, the souls of departed children (los angelitos, or the little angels) return to earth first, followed by the souls of adults."

An image found all over Mexico during Day of the Dead is 'Catrina' (below). It was created by Jose Posada who the authors write "used this common name as a double entendre: in Spanish, a catrin is a dandy, or fancy man, so catrina is the female equivalent."

Day of dead 2

The authors mention that "particularly in Oaxaca, intricate sand paintings are often created on the floor in front of the ofrendas."

I am not sure many couples outside Mexico would appreciate the following gift featured in Day of the Dead:

'The bridal couple is also a very popular theme. often presented as a gift to a newlywed couple, the skeletal bride and groom symbolize a love that will endure even after death."

DIY fans will enjoy guides like 'how to make and decorate sugar skulls' like the one below.

Day of dead 1

Kitty William and Stevie Mack conclude their book with traditional recipes including Pan de Muerto, the spicy chile and chocolate combination known as Mole Sauce and drinks like Cafe de la Olla (a sweet cinnamony coffee) and Atole, a corn based beverage with roots going back to the Aztecs.

(* Quotes and photographs from 'Day of the Dead' by Kitty Williams and Stevie Mack -Gibbs Smith, September 2011- reproduced by permission of the publisher, all rights reserved)