Showing posts with label amore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label amore. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping & Tips for Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

Happy Valentine's Day! I know it's a silly holiday but I can't help getting all lovey dovey when I see big red and pink hearts everywhere.  I'm a hopeless romantic at heart what can I say. :-)


I hope you are enjoying this day with your sweetheart and if you're single: friends, chocolate, and some wine are just as good... if not better!

If you're in the mood for baking today, here's a flourless chocolate cake recipe you should try. It's the recipe for the Italian Caprese Cake which I topped with a meringue frosting.  It's pretty easy, there are just a few tricky steps but I'll explain them through. This is Mr. Amore's favorite cake so I made it for him this Valentine's Day. 

Ingredients for the cake: 
Skinned almonds - 200gr
Sugar - 180gr
Butter (room temperature) - 200gr
4 eggs
Dark Chocolate - 150gr

The first step is to roast your almonds for about 10 minutes in the oven at 400°F. Just lay them flat on a baking sheet and they should brown some once done. 


Next place them in a blender or mixer (I used my Nutribullet) and set aside. 


I got a creamy, buttery texture with my Nutibullet but if your consistency is drier and more flour-like, it's fine as well. 


Next step is to melt your chocolate in a double boiler (or in a microwave if you prefer).



Now mix the egg yolks, butter, sugar and almonds until thoroughly blended and set aside the egg whites. 


The batter should be pretty thick at this point as pictured above. 

Now in a clean glass or metal bowl whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 


This is the tricky part... you have to very slowly and gently incorporate the two being careful not to  over-whip the egg whites. 


This is what the final batter should look like. 


Add to cake pan and bake in preheated oven at about 340°F for one hour. 


Now for the meringue topping, whip up 4 egg whites, half a cup of powdered sugar, a tablespoon of lemon juice and whip as done above, until stiff peaks form. Add a few drops of red food coloring if you like for decoration. 


Now add the meringue topping to the cake and decorate as you wish. 


Return to oven for about 10 minutes and voilà! If you have some  topping left over you can make little meringues like these. 

And if you happen to receive a lovely bouquet of flowers this Valentine's Day and want to keep them fresh for as long as possible here are some tips to make them last longer. 

Cut the ends off under running water or in a bowl of water to make sure no air enters the stem. 


Try adding half an espresso cup of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar to the vase water. This is a homemade flower preservative that balances the pH of the water and helps keep the flowers bright and vibrant longer.



Happy Valentine's Day!


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Year of Hope.

Hello my friends and Happy New Year!  I hope you are well and that you had a pleasant holiday. The holidays are way past us now and in the beginning of every new year, as most of us do, I find myself thinking about the future...thinking about what's going to happen this year. For starters I will be turning 35.... ugh. 

When I was younger, I imagined I would be a mother to three beautiful children by now (my perfect number...3).  That's all I ever wanted. I'm not career savvy, I'm not one of those women who do all that they can to climb the ladder and have a wildly successful career...that's just not who I am. Things don't always go as planned so instead of my three children I have a job that I enjoy and am thankful for and two fur babies that mean everything to me. I have a man by my side that loves me like no other man has ever loved me and I have a house that embraces me with a feeling of warmth and comfort every night when I come home from work. I have friends and relatives that I laugh with until my belly hurts...but I am missing something important. 

I know there are many options out there for couples like us but my faith comes from God and only Him. "Unexplained infertility" is what we were told...which is worse in some ways because if we knew what was wrong we might actually be able to fix it but there IS nothing wrong....

Sometimes I get very frustrated and upset because I feel like my prayers are ignored but I continue praying and that small light of hope dims somewhat as time goes by but never burns out. Right before New Years, I was in my car stuck in traffic and the radio station I was listening to aired the final General Audience speech that Pope Francis gave of 2016. 

The Pope focused on the story of Abraham from the Book of Genesis.  Here's a summary:
Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.”  And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
This is a translation of the Pope's speech in regards to this passage: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Our continuing catechesis on Christian hope leads us in these Christmas days to consider the example of Abraham, who, as Saint Paul tells us, “hoped against hope” in God’s promises.  Trusting in the Lord’s word that a son would be born to him, Abraham left his home for a new land.  Although the fulfillment of God’s promise was long delayed and seemed to be impossible, Abraham continued to hope.  Even his discouragement and complaints were a sign of his continuing trust in God.  Abraham, our father in faith, shows us that sure trust in God’s word does not mean that we will not have moments of uncertainty, disappointment and bewilderment.  It was at such a moment that God appeared to Abraham, called him forth from his tent and showed him the night sky shining with countless stars, assuring him that such would be the number of his descendants.  Hope is always directed to the future, to the fulfillment of God’s promises.  May the example of Abraham teach us not be afraid to go out from our own tents, our limited outlooks, and to lift our eyes to the stars.

These words touched my heart and were the words that I NEEDED to hear in that exact moment to nourish that dimming light inside me. 

I wanted to share this with you just because I know how it feels to be frustrated and discouraged. I want this year to be my year of hope. As Pope Francis said...if all we have left is to look up at the stars, it's time to put your trust in God. There is nothing better than gathering up all your worries and putting them in God's arms. Hope never disappoints. 



Speaking of bringing hope to others... did you hear about what Chris Martin the lead singer of Coldplay (band that I absolutely adore) did on Christmas Eve? He showed up at a crisis center in West London on the night of Christmas Eve and surprised a huge crowd of homeless, volunteers and staff by playing all his songs and rocking out with everyone there without any publicity at all.  Someone that worked at the crisis center posted a picture with Chris Martin on Instagram writing "That moment when Coldplay's Chris Martin drops into the Crisis at Christmas shelter, with no fuss, no fanfare and no press, to help make tea and coffee and also play guitar so the guests can have a sing song. Thank you for coming down and getting stuck in."

via 


I loved this story.... This is what we need more of in this world. These are the things that give people Hope. 


Thanks for reading and God Bless. 

xoxo,

Silvana

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fall is In the Air ...

Well finally the feeling of Fall has hit southern Italy these past few weeks and I love it! I came down with a really bad cold last week but I'm feeling much better now. I had such a lovely and relaxing weekend. I didn't do anything exciting but it was just nice to stay at home and relax. Mr. Amore and I fixed things up around the house, I cleaned as I usually do on Saturday mornings, and then I went for a run and took in the fresh autumn air.   I don't run on a regular basis but I like to on the weekends when the weather is nice. 

I decided I was in the baking mood over the weekend and  I happened to have 4 very ripe bananas laying around that I was probably never going to eat so  I made some delicious Banana Nut Bread so that they wouldn't go to waste.  I've been having a slice every morning with my coffee and I love it. 


I love banana nut bread. I have some Italian readers that follow my blog so before you say ...boring another banana nut bread recipe... let it be known that this is a very typical American recipe so I'm happy to share it with my International friends.

Silvana's Banana Nut Bread Recipe

4 ripe bananas
400 grams of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
50 grams of walnuts
50 grams of butter
120 grams of sugar
1 egg

It's a simple recipe, it's delicious and your house will smell great.

Mash up the bananas with a fork and mix in the ingredients. That's it. Complicated, no? I like to add the walnuts last and keep them whole. I prefer them that way but you can chop them up if you like.






Grease and flour your baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes at 200°C.


...and there you have it...


YUM!

On a different note, I still haven't done much fall decorating but the pictures my mom sent of the pumpkin patch ride my sister and her friends went on have put me in the fall mood so hopefully soon I'll show you my fall decorations....better late than never right? 

Fall in Pennsylvania is just gorgeous. Here are some pictures of the beautiful pumpkin patch my sister visited. I so wish I could have been there with her. 


Those ladies in the back (including my mother) are angels on earth. They are so good with all of the children. It puts my heart at ease and I thank God everyday for the care they give these children. 


This looked like such a fun place to visit. I wish we had a place like this in Italy. 

The farm is called AGA Farms and here is the link if you're in the area and would like to visit. 

I guess I'll just have to make due visiting through Face Time calls from across the Pond! 


Have a great week ahead and God Bless! 

xoxo

Silvana

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On the Isle for a While - Capri

This past weekend we took a quick trip to Capri. What an amazing place to visit! If you've never been there I hope that with this post you are able to see what a magical Island it is through these pictures.


The boat ride from Naples to Capri takes about 40 minutes. It was kind of cloudy that day but at least we didn't get any rain. Below is a picture of Marina Grande, the main port of the Island of Capri.


Once we arrived, we hopped on the "funicolare" a sort of cable car which takes you to the top of the Island where all of the upscale hotels and shops are.



It's a quick ride which lasts about 10 minutes or so and gives you a chance to really get a good look at the island on your way up. He are some pictures I took from the funicolare. 




Once we arrived at the top we stopped to have a bite to eat. Obviously all of the seafood is fresh and is the specialty of the area so this is what we ordered and it was exquisite to say the least. 


This is what I had - Spaghetti in a garlic clam sauce. You can find the recipe here.  


This is "Scialatielli ai Frutti di Mare" which is basically home made pasta with mussels, clams and shrimp in a tomato basil sauce. Similar recipe here. 


And fisherman's risotto, a recipe which I've shared before but my version is without tomato sauce. In Capri, they typically add some tomato. Here is my recipe for Fisherman's risotto

After all that deliciousness we did a lot of walking and window shopping. Capri is filled with so many original shops and the merchandise is like nothing I've every seen anywhere else. 





Needless to say everything is mad expensive and of the highest quality...

...And the JEWELRY...UUUHHHH...





A girl can dream, right?



I saw these boots in the Roberto Cavalli window display and I had to take a picture of them.  


They reminded me so much of the boots Madonna wore in the movie Desperately Seeking Susan.  Do you remember that 80's movie? It's funny how fashion comes back in style. 


So we made our way past the Piazzetta where all the upscale Hotels are located and up Via Krupp towards the Gardens of Augustus. 


I had to take some pictures of the gorgeous Villas that are located along the main street.


I love these wrought iron gates.


Once you reach the Gardens you see the Carthusia Perfume shops which Capri is also famous for. 


The fragrances are all very fresh and citrusy and they fill the streets with their scents which are diffused outside the shop windows. 





Once you reach the Gardens you are exposed to the famous view of the Faraglioni of Capri which are the 3 large rock formations on the side of the Island.


The gardens are very well kept and they even have a little "dog bar" for our four-legged friends :-)




Unfortunately we weren't able to visit the Blue Grotta that day which was unfortunate because it is a Sea Cave on the coast of the Island which passes through an underwater cavity where the sun shines through creating an electric blue reflection that illuminates the cave. 

Via
So that concludes our trip to Capri. It's a magical and very romantic place to visit.  I hope you can see it for yourselves one day if you've never been there before. 

I'll leave you with the lyrics from one of my Grandmother's favorite Frank Sinatra songs that she would sing when she visited Capri many years ago... 

"Isle Of Capri"

It was on the Isle of Capri that I found her
Beneath the shade of an old walnut tree
Oh, I can still see the flowers bloomin' 'round her
Where we met on the Isle of Capri

She was as sweet as a rose at the dawning
But some how fate hadn't meant her for me
And though I sailed with the tide in the morning
Still, my heart's on the Isle of Capri

Summertime was nearly over, blue Italian sky above
I said, "Lady, I'm a rover, can you spare a sweet word of love?"

She whispered softly, "It's best not to linger"
And then as I kissed her hand, I could see
She wore a lovely meatball on her finger
It was goodbye at the Villa Capri

Summertime was nearly over, blue Italian sky above
I said, "Lady, I'm a rover, can you spare a fine word of love?"

She whispered softly, "It's best not to linger"
And then as I kissed her hand, I could see
She wore a plain golden ring on her finger
It was goodbye on the Isle of Capri
It was goodbye on the Isle of Capri
It was goodbye on the Isle of Capri