Sannel Larson

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sensual Chocolate Dessert for Valentine's Day

The weeks pass by so quickly and before we know it, Valentine's Day will be upon us. It's time to start planning that special evening so that everything will turn out the way you have fantasized and hoped for.



Sannel's "Couldn't Eat Just One Piece Without Wanting More" Dessert

Go Straight To The Dessert!
To prepare an amorous meal for that special someone, takes much hard work and time, but do not spend much energy on the main course — Heck, save yourself all the effort, and head straight to the dessert. As the saying goes, all work and no play. . . Well, setting the right mood for a frisky evening does not include a hot stove and dirty dishes.


Move You In The Right Direction

So what could be more sensual than to serve your sweetheart a tempting aphrodisiac that will put you both in a better mood, and get your blood flowing to all the right places. Chocolate is just the perfect appetizer that will melt-in-the-mouth and truly whet your partner's appetite for wanting more.


One mouth-full of this velvety, sexy and luscious natural aphrodisiac will get your pulses racing, and will in no time move you towards the right direction, the direction to the boudoir that is.




Chocolate - Gives You A Natural High
Chocolate has something that's called phenylethylamine and serotonin. It's a chemical that will lift your mood and give you a natural high. This feeling resembles the same feeling as when you feel love-sick, passion or even lust. Moreover, the cocoa in chocolate has a stimulant which is called methylxanthinesThis stimulant will give our sensuality a boost, and our skin will feel even the slightest touch against it. Those feelings cause a rise in blood pressure that will increase the heart rate and activate feelings comparable to lust.


Sinfully Delicious! 



Spark Of Sexual Hunger
Setting the right mood for a memorable evening, and to make that special guy or girl to be swept off his or her feet, well, then you definitely should serve them chocolate. Chocolate seems to have libido-boosting qualities. However, to call it an aphrodisiac might be stretching it a bit, but eating chocolate does activate certain feelings in you that will trigger of a spark of sexual hunger.

Golden Goblets Of Chocolate
The Aztec emperor Monteczuma with his 600 or so wives, had to do anything and everything in his power to keep those women happy. Apparently he drank fifty golden goblets of chocolate a day to keep up the strenuous work as an affectionate and lustful husband, and to keep his manly reputation intact. Whoa!


Women More Responsive To Chocolate

The famous lover Casanova, they say, consumed chocolate for its aphrodisiac boosting qualities before he went out for his amorous play with his conquests. However, if he had known that women are more responsive to the effects of phenylethylamine and serotonin, he should have brought some of that stimulating chocolate with him to give to the women, and not leave everything up to his charm alone to guarantee successful achievement.


Sensuality One A Plate


A Memorable Recipe
With this sensual recipe you'll make a memorable and unforgettable Valentine's evening, or any other evening noteworthy for that matter by increasing the energy, and testosterone levels of you and your partner.
A bite of this rich and scrumptious chocolate dessert may not turn you into Hollywood's sexiest hunk or the sexiest and hottest calendar model, but a mouthful of this visually appealing and sinfully tempting chocolate will sweeten the night, and make sure of a loved one's everlasting devotion.



An Unforgettable Evening Of Lust
This ice-cold dessert will trap your partner into a sensual evening of passion. With each spoonful, the velvety chocolate cream melts over mouth and tongue. The soft marshmallows swell in the mouth as a sensation of lust heightens. The raspberries sourness will dampen some of the guilt of arousal, but the last spoon of melting rich chocolate will make the consequences to be forgotten.

Finally, licking the last silky, chocolate cream from the bottom of the bowl the climax is near, and when the culmination is in a final state, the feeling of guilt of wanting more is so strong, knowing that only one serving of this sinfully moist and luscious dessert is not enough, and an evening of passion begins. 
There’s nothing sexier than chocolate!


Ingredients:


  • ¾ cup (170 ml) water
  • ¾ cup (170 ml) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (170 ml) cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cup (340 ml) heavy cream
  • 3 ½ ounces (100 gram) semisweet chocolate
  • 5 ounces (140 gram ) save some for decoration mini marshmallows
  • 5 ounces (140 gram ) frozen or fresh raspberries for decoration

How to:


Serves 6 to 8

1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, gradually whisk together water, sugar and cocoa powder until it is a smooth paste, (couple of minutes). Remove from heat. Cool. If you like you can place the bowl with the chocolate sauce in a bowl of ice-cold water to speed up the cooling process.

2. Meanwhile in a stainless steel bowl beat the heavy/double cream with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.

3. Chop the chocolate.

4. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream, chunks of chocolates and mini marshmallows into the cold chocolate sauce.

5. Line a plastic bowl with plastic wrap. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl and spread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap. Put in the freezer. Freeze the mix for at least 4 hours (overnight if you have the time).

6. Take the bowl out of the freezer. Take away the plastic wrap.

7. Just before serving gently place the dessert on a serving plate. Take away the plastic foil. Scatter raspberries and some extra marshmallows around the ice cream.

8. Serve immediately using a sharp knife.


Enjoy your Sensual Dessert!




 Soothing Sensual Music With Your Amorous Dessert 



Happy Valentine's Day! 





                                                                               
                                                                           





Monday, January 28, 2013

Facts of Tea

Today, I like to pay a tribute to one of my all-time favorite beverages - Tea.  Since January is The National Hot Tea Month, I find it fitting to write some important facts about tea - this easy and inexpensive addition to our daily lives. 

There are so many different kinds of teas that it can be rather bewildering. It is very difficult to know what is what when it comes to tea. First of all, where is tea coming from? What is the difference between Assam and Keemun? Which tea should we drink to fight against tooth decay? Hopefully, by reading all these facts that I have put together, you will not be so confused next time you are planning to purchase some tea. 





The Evergreen Tea Plant
Camellia Sinesis is the one and only plant that produces every tea in the world. The evergreen tea plant will grow into a tree of up to 15-20 meters tall when left undisturbed, with leaves ranging from smooth and shiny to fuzzy and white haired. Cultivated plant are pruned to waist height for ease of plucking.

Only the top 1-2 inches of the mature plant are picked. These buds and leaves are called flushes. A plant will grow a new flush every seven to fifteen days during the growing season, and leaves that are slow in development always produce better flavored tea. That is why tea plants that are cultivated at an elevation of up to 1,500 meters ( 4,900 ft) acquire better flavor, because at that height, the tea plant grow more slowly.


Camellia Sinesis - The Evergreen Tea Plant


More Than 3,000 Varieties

Tea has many similarities to wine when it comes to naming and growing. As for example the Bordeaux wine, which is named after the Bordeaux region in France. Assam is named after the Assam region in India, and Keemun is named after the Keemun region in China. The flavor of each tea determines where the tea is grown, in what climate and soil conditions, and how the tea is processed. Just like wine!

The Camellia Sinesis plant gives rise to more than 3,000 varieties of tea worldwide, each with its own specific characteristics, which can be roughly classified into six basic categories: white, green, oolong, black (the Chinese call these red teas), pu-erh and flavored. Some would also add the seventh category, blends.

And then of course there are countless herbal infusions and rooibos, informally referred to as tea, but unrelated to the tea made from the Camellia Sinesis plant.

White Tea

Delicate in flavors as well as color. The tea has a light slightly sweet flavor and a mellow creamy or nutty quality.

White tea is the rarest of all tea types, grown almost exclusively in the Fujian province on Chinas east cost. The name "white tea" comes from the almost colorless liquor, and from the hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which gives the plant a whitish appearance.
White tea is the least processed tea

The leaves are picked and harvested before the leaves fully open, and when the buds are still covered by fine white hair. White tea has higher proportions of buds to leaves. The buds and leaves are naturally dried, using either sun drying or steaming methods before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation or further fermentation. This protects the delicate flavor of the white tea, and also retains high levels of the chemicals responsible for the tea's health benefits. White tea has a high level of antioxidants and a low level of caffeine.





Green Tea
Different kind of green teas have different flavors. There is no "one" green tea taste. The flavor of green tea can be described as fresh , light, green or grassy. Some varieties have a bit of sweetness to them, and some are a little astrigent. Green tea is pale green to golden in color.

Green tea, is tea made solely from the leaves of Camellia Sinesis, that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. After steaming and before drying, green tea leaves are rolled to give them the desired shape.

Green tea have a high level of cancer fighting antioxidants, and is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Black Tea

Black Tea
Black tea has a broad range of flavors, but is typically heartier and more assertive than green or oolong teas. It has a hearty amber color when brewed and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas. Black tea is the most common type of tea worldwide, and accounts for over ninety percent of all tea sold in the west.

The health benefits of drinking black tea may reduce heart disease risk due to its partial prevention of cholesterol absorption. Black tea is good for blood sugar level and blood pressure regulation, and fight against tooth decay.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is not something that can be easily described as it tends to fall somewhere between the flavor of green and black tea, but it has a delicate, refreshing and aromatic taste. The liquor is pale yellow, with a floral, fruity quality, and a hint of smoke.

Oolong is produced through a unique process including withering under strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting.

It is rolled by hand or machine to bring the essential oils to the surface for oxidation. Then pan fried and allowed to partially oxidize. This process is repeated many times, until the desired level of oxidation is achieved. During this process the leaves may be rolled into long curly leaves or wrap-curled into small beads, each with a tail. Many oolongs are roasted after they have been oxidized in order to further develop their flavors and aromas. Oolong tea ranges from 10% to 70% oxidation.

Many of the health benefits of oolong tea are similar to those of green teas. However, the degree of oxidation somewhat trims down some of its health benefits.

Except for the antioxidants in the tea, oolong tea may help reduce cholesterol build-up in the bloodstream. It can prevent heart ailments, may promote healthier and stronger bones and fight against tooth decay.



Pu-erh
Either you like it or not!
This tea have long been used in China for the medicinal benefits. Pu-erh tea is not for the unadventurous drinker, since it makes a strong aromatic cup of tea. Either you like it or not! But before judging your first experience with pu-erh tea, there are things to consider.

The tea comes in an enormous variety, not just dark or green, but in many types of both categories. Many types smell earthy or even a bit fishy. Don’t be discourage, the aroma is going to be very different than the actual taste in your cup.

Unlike other teas, which lose their taste over time, pu-erh taste is actually enhanced with age due to natural secondary oxidation and fermention. The older the better! And the older the tea, the more expensive.

Pu-erh has the ability to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure. It is also widely believed in Chinese cultures, to counteract the unpleasant effects of heavy alcohol consumption.

Flavored Tea

Flavored tea is a well established tradition in China. While any tea can be a flavored tea, the more popular varieties for flavoring are black and green.

Tea can be flavored with every flavor imaginable, things from herbs, spices, flowers and berries to chocolate, mint, toffee pudding and red pepper . . . you name it!

Drinking flavored tea is a unique and fun way to experience tea, and with all the health benefits each cup of flavored tea has to offer, makes this a very popular tea indeed.

Blends
Blends are blending different teas together to produce a final product.


Rooibos also known as “Long life tea”

Rooibos
Rooibos tea is technically not a true tea. Rooibos tea is a herbal tea and is a member of the legume family of plants. The shrub can grow up to 2 meter in height, and produces small yellow flowers in spring through early summer. Only the twigs and leaves are used from the rooibos plant, and is harvested in the summer.
This herbal tea, which is also known as “Long life tea” grows only in a small area in the region of western Cape province of South Africa. It was first noted by the Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg in 1772. A century later, a Russian immigrant Benjamin Ginsberg, realized its marketing potential, and in 1904, began offering the legume plant as an herbal substitute to tea.

Rooibos tea is used for its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. Consumption of rooibos tea may relieve fever, asthma, insomnia, colic in infants and skin disorders. Rooibos contains no caffeine and is low in tannin. The low level of tannins will prevent problems with iron absorption.


Rooibos Tea - A Nutritional Supplement
There are actually so many minerals in this herbal tea, that it can almost be considered a nutritional supplement: 
  • Alpha-hydroxy ( great for the skin ) 
  • Calcium 
  • Copper
  • Fluoride 
  • Iron 
  • Magnesium 
  • Manganese 
  • Potassium 
  • Zink
Rooibos has a distinctive red color, and its taste is sweet and has a delicious, slightly nutty flavor.

Rooibos

Herbal Tea
Herbal tea has been imbibed nearly as long as written history extends. Herbal tea is not coming from the Camellia Sinesis plant but refers to an infusion or tisane of dried leaves, fragrant herbs, fruit, flowers, seeds, roots . . . or other plant material.

A cup of soothing Chamomile

Varieties of herbal teas are practically endless, and because of their fragrance, antioxidant properties,therapeutic applications and vitamins the herbal tea is obviously a fast growing trend since the interest in a healthier positive lifestyle grows. They also suit the needs of those who wish to avoid caffeine.

Common herbal beverages are: 
  • Chamomile, well known for its calming and soothing effects. 
  • Mint helps calm the digestive system, and is useful for temporary relief of sore throat. 
  • Rosemary improves circulation and ease joint pain and headache pain. 
  • Rose-hip is a great source of vitamin c and antioxidant. 
  • Echinacea can be used to reduce the longevity of the cold and also ease the symptoms.

Well, there you have it, now you really know the facts of tea! 

Let January's National Hot Tea Month, be the beginning of many more tea drinking months ahead of us, which may provide us with a wide range of health benefits and increase the body's immunity to colds and flu. 
So why don't you do something healthy for yourself right now, and make yourself some tea.


Enjoy a nice cup of  tea








Dear Readers, Have a Great Week!

I wish all my dear readers and followers to have a beautiful and healthy week ahead! I would like to thank you all for your visits and kind and supportive comments. They truly brighten my days. 
Hugs to you all,
Sannel




Saturday, January 26, 2013

Greek Herbs and History

Greece, a plethora of herbs and history

Climbing a steep, rocky mountain and smell the wonderful fragrance from the Greek mountain "tea". Walk through endless acres of olive groves, and through ancient sites, where chamomile and scarlet red poppies thrives.
Explore the breathtaking scenery and ancient history, all under a sunny, Mediterranean sky. Wonderful aromas and sweet-smelling scents from wild herbs such as; thyme, marjoram, fennel, sage, rosemary and lavender blowing in the hot sun. Greece is a hive where Mother Nature thrives.

Scarlet red poppies


Herbs and Greek mythology

Greek herbs are unique because of the mix of natural "ingredients" that make them as they are. The profusion of sunshine during the year, sea, air, rich soil . . . There are 7,500 different species growing in Greece, and about 850 will be found only in Greece. There are at least 52 herbs that are influenced by the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology.

Greek mythology has been in existence for at least 5,000 years and has influenced our lives, in our language, literature, culture, customs, medicine, politics astronomy, and our calendar. Greek herbs have always played an important role to the Greek people. Herbs have many apparent health benefits that have been handed down through generations. Greek herbs are a big part in their life, history, food and culture even today.

Thyme-covered mountains in Greece

Apollo, the god of medicine

The early Greeks believed that the gods was the first herbalists and physicians. They believed the gods taught the art of healing to people. They considered illness to be a dreadful curse and prayed to Apollo, the god of medicine, for recovery.

Hygieia & disease prevention = Hygiene

Asclepius (Greek) or Aesculapius (Latin) was a Greek hero, who later becomes the great god of medicine and healing. The most famous temple of Asclepius was at Epidaurus in north-eastern Peloponnese.
Asclepius was the son of Apollo and Coronis. His and Epione's daughters was:
  • Hygieia, the goddess of disease prevention, hence the word hygiene was derived.
  • Panacea, the goddess of cures, her power of healing though herbs.
  • Aceso, the goddess of recovery,
  • Laso, the goddess of recuperation.
  • Aglaea, the goddess of natural beauty.

They all helped their father to treat disease.

Asclepius healing properties was so strong that he started to raise people from the dead. Unhappy and jealous about losing the privilege of immortality, Zeus finally killed Asclepius by a thunderbolt.

Animals seek out healing herbs 

In the wild, animals instinctively seek healing herbs to help them when they are ill or undernourished. In fact, Asclepius respected dogs very highly for their aptitude to seek out and eat medicinal herbs in the wild. This ability is shared by other animals. We are imminent to understand nature often has the answer, but animals have always known this.


Basilika, Mint and Salvia


Mint a symbol of hospitality

According to the Greek Mythology, there were two strangers walking through a village. Nobody of the villagers paid them any notice, and offered them neither food nor drink. Finally, an old couple, Philemon and Baucis, invited the two strangers in to their home for some rest and a humble meal. When the two strangers sat down at the table, Baucis started to rub the scoured table with mint leaves to clean and freshen it. The strangers turned out to be the gods Zeus and Hermes in disguise. As a gift for the hospitality the couple had shown them, the gods turned their poor home into a temple. Therefore, given that mint became the symbol of hospitality. It is also a bee herb. The gods had fields of mint for bees to use to make honey.




Hippocrates- Father of Western Medicine 

The Hippocratic Oath

Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine 460-377 B.C. He was the first person to establish and set down a scientific system of medicine. The Hippocratic Oath, is named after Hippocrates. Up until recently, all doctors had to swear the Hippocratic Oath before they could practice.

The opening words were ( the original) " I swear by Apollo, the healer, Aesculapius, Hygieia, and Panacea and I take to witness all the Gods, all the Goddesses to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement." This demonstrates the link between early beliefs of medical scientists and modern medical practice.


A Cup of Greek Mountain Tea

Reflect on the history

So next time you open your cupboard, and smell the aroma from those wonderful herbal teas, and from the herbs you use to add extra flavoring to your cooking and baking. Stop for a moment, reflect on the history, and remember just how significant these natural foods and remedies have been in our everyday life, both practical and symbolical for many thousands of years.


Chamomile






























Shabby Chic Your Home On A Small Budget

You do not have to move away from the city or buy yourself a farmhouse, to create the feeling of an idyllic and romantic country-style to which you so desperately longed for. And you will definitely not have to spend a fortune to change your home into this rustic and charming decor.




A trend that suits the wallet

Shabby chic, sometimes also called cottage style is the perfect design if you are looking for old country vintage look. What's so great about this style is that it does not have to cost a fortune. With a bucket of white paint you can transform your old and ugly furniture into the trendy and very hot shabby chic look.

Or by going to yard sales or second hand stores you may find furniture that will suit both your wallet and make great shabby chic pieces that will give your home the genuine vintage country feeling.





Go for the distressed look                                                        

The shabby chic style is easy to get by faux painting using a glaze, or by painting, preferably with a white or off-white color. After the color has dried you will be sanding away some of the top layer coat specially on the corners to get the distressed look to show the wood or base coats.

Change the chair covers to a nice fabric that matches your color scheme in the room. Finish it of by nail tacks or matching ribbon.



Go vintage with tea

Go vintage with leftover tea

No country-style is complete without an abundance of old vintage lace and antique fabrics such as cotton and linen. If you do not have any worn fabric, you can easily carry out the vintage look by staining the fabric with tea to give it an antique look.





Searching for accessories

Take a look up in the attic or in the basement. They could turn out being gold mines when you are looking for accessories to your new, cottage-style home.

A rusty and worn bucket may look great and fashionable in one corner. An old clock may be just what you needed, to fill up that space on your distressed, white-painted table. A mirror with a very ugly frame, could be transformed into an eye-catching wall decoration, only by spray-painting the frame with silver paint.





With some fantasy

You may find old books and bibles that have been hidden under a layer of dust, that will now find a place on a table and be admired for their aged beauty.

An old door could become a rustic and charming coffee table. A wooden old fruit-box could be a great bookshelf.


Empty wine bottles turns into an art-form!



Drink your wine!

If you're not fortunate enough to have an attic or a basement you could roam your own cupboards, and find empty wine bottles and glass jars. By painting them white and decorate them with silver beads or stencil them, they will be great centerpieces on a shelf or beautiful accessories in the bathroom.


With some silver the ugly mirror becomes very chic and trendy


A natural simplicity

The result of shabby chic country-style, is to make an elegant overall effect. Try to give a prominence to the light and open spaces. By no means make it cluttered or overly garnished, by that I mean "frilly".

Give your home a natural simplicity with natural colors as white, off white, ivory and soft gray. The accessories such as pillows, rugs and table runners could make a dramatic flair with bold colors like purple, honeysuckle, beet-red, turquoise, yellow and brown.

This chest used to be pine-colored before its new Shabby Chic look


 Be creative and have fun!

As you can see, with some imagination the possibilities to make your home into a romantic country home are endless.
As always, it's very important to make a home that will show your personality. After all, it's you who is going to live there! So chose whatever inspires you, be creative and have fun designing your shabby chic cottage home!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm Blessed With a Path to Follow

As a girl growing up in Sweden, I realized quite early, I was not to follow the path that everyone else took. No, instead I was to follow a trail leading away from comfort, security and convenience. I had a choice, but my curiosity was too strong, knowing that a path with no hindrance, probably doesn't lead anywhere.


Sannel finding Chanterelles on a pathway in the Swedish Forest

Today looking back at my life. A life filled with more disappointments and let-downs than bliss and harmony, I still believe, I would have made the greatest mistake in my life, if I had stayed on that single path that was expected of me. Because of my choice to follow my own unique trail, I found inspiration, knowledge, compassion, strength, faith and hope.

A few years back, unexpectedly, I was to take a new pathway. A narrow track that I did not want to follow, but I had no choice. This was a trail, leading away from accomplishing my desires and dreams. However, after some time, I realized, a path full of battles and pain, probably is better than not having a path to follow at all.

Will I stumble upon yet another trail in the future? I truly hope so! Life is full of pathways that wind their way in and out throughout our life. It's not so much of a choice which path we will choose, but knowing we are blessed with paths for us to follow. Because if there is a path, there is life, and life is truly a wonderful blessing!


A Pathway to Somewhere

















Monday, January 21, 2013

Thought of the Day



Swedish Cinnamon Buns

The Swedish cinnamon buns or cinnamon rolls are hugely popular in Sweden. Those buns are a must at Swedish coffee get together. If you meet over a cup of coffee in a café or at someones home, there will definitely be some of those pastries on the table. And taking in the fact that Sweden is one of the heaviest coffee drinking countries in the world, there will be lots and lots of those cinnamon buns going around!



Freshly baked cinnamon rolls, sprinkled with pearl sugar

It is their own special little thing!

The cinnamon bun is very important to a Swede. I believe the cinnamon bun is sort of the way blechkuchen is to Germans, apple pie is to Americans or scones with jam and clotted cream is to the British. It is their own special little thing.
The matter of fact that this sweet yeast bread spiced with cardamom, layered with butter and cinnamon goes maybe as far back as five generations, makes it very special. The smell of the freshly baked cinnamon buns brings back dear childhood memories, and I don't think there is any Swede who don't like them. It's a symbol for home, security, family and tradition.

Swedish coffee get together's called " Fika"



No-nonsense swirl

The cinnamon bun started to flourish in the bakeries in the beginning of the 1920s. However, it was not until the 1950s, that this little bun started to roll and make its way into every household.

A soon as Our cookbook “Vår Kokbok” a book that considered to be “The cookbook” for the ideal housewife at those times, published the recipe for cinnamon rolls, this pastry became immensely popular.

In the beginning, the bun was sprinkled with cinnamon and nib sugar, and the bun got transformed into many different and complicated shapes and sizes. However, in the 1960s, when women started to work and spend more time in the workplace and less time in the kitchen, the bun established itself into a quick, no-nonsense swirl.



My very own Cookbook "Vår Kokbok" Old and well used!


The Cinnamon Bun Day
Not surprisingly, since this cinnamon bun is so popular in Sweden there is actually a National Cinnamon Bun Day. Every October 4th, there will be “kanelbullar” baking in every household.
Every bakery or convenience store in Sweden will have baskets abundant with straight from the oven cinnamon buns. The smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls will be in the air all over Sweden. While popular every day of the year, on October 4th, this Swedish symbol will not go unnoticed.

Pearl sugar makes all the difference!
The cinnamon bun is a baked sweet yeast bread, topped with brittle sugar crystals and baked in paper cups. If they are not freshly baked from the oven, you can briefly heat them in the microwave, and they will taste wonderful fresh.

What is it that makes the Swedish cinnamon rolls different from American cinnamon rolls you may ask? Well, it's definitely the lack of the thick sugary frosting or sticky glaze. The Swedish version will instead have a light sprinkle of “pearl sugar.” You may purchase it on internet, but if you are fortunate and have an Ikea store in your area, you can buy it from there.



The Swedish love pearl sugar on their cinnamon buns


Distinctive symbol for Sweden

It seems that the Swedish cinnamon bun takes the world by storm these days. Both cupcakes and over-sized muffins have to get out-of-the-way to make room for this very hot and trendy Scandinavian bun. Those swirly buns does a great job to outshine even its sweetest competitors.

I have tasted so many different versions of the Swedish cinnamon bun. I guess the sky is the limit when it comes to the imagination how to alter the recipe in some way or another. But as I always say; why mess with perfection? There is a reason why this bun is so hugely popular in Sweden.

When baking the cinnamon rolls in Sweden, we all use the same old and proven recipe from Our cookbook “Vår Kokbok”. If we altered it in some way it would not be the same, and the bun would without a doubt lose some of its popularity, because to a Swede, the traditional “kanelbullen” is indeed a very distinctive symbol for Sweden.
Our cookbook

This is the traditional recipe for Swedish Cinnamon buns from Our Cookbook “Vår Kokbok”

Makes 48 cinnamon buns

(A Tip! For best results, bring all the ingredients to room temperature before baking.)

Ingredients:

2 oz (50 g) fresh yeast

2 1/4 cups (500 ml) finger-warm milk

5 1/2 cups (1,3 kg) wheat flour

4 1/2 oz (100-150 g) caster sugar

4 1/2 oz (100-150 g) butter, melted

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cardamom


Filling:

3 1/2 oz (100g) butter, softened

3 1/2 oz (100g) caster sugar

cinnamon


Decoration:

1 egg, beaten with 1/2 tsp water

pearl sugar

Instruction:

  • Melt margarine over low heat in a saucepan.
  • Add milk and heat it up until it is a little more than lukewarm (37°C )
  • Crumble the yeast into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add some of the tepid milk and margarine mixture, and stir until the yeast is dissolved.
  • Add the rest of the milk, sugar, salt, cardamom and butter and 2/3 of the flour, save some (don´t over do the flour). Work into a smooth and silky dough.
  • Leave to proof, covered with a towel, for 40 minutes or to doubled size.
  • Knead the dough on a floured board until the dough is elastic and non-sticky.
    • Divide the dough into four. Roll out each part to a large rectangle (½ -1 cm thick)
    • Spread with room tempered butter, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
    • Roll each rectangle into a tight roll, starting at the long edge.

    • Cut each roll into about 12 pieces. Place each piece in a paper cup on a baking sheet, cover and leave to doubled in size for 30 minutes.
    • Beat the egg with 1/2 tsp of water, and brush this carefully on the buns. 
    • Finish by a light sprinkling of pearl sugar.


    Bake the buns in the middle of the oven at 500° F ( 250°C ) for 6 to 8 minutes or until they're as golden as you like them.
    Allow the buns to cool on a rack. Cover them with a clean towel. They freeze well and can be warmed up in the microwave.


    Freshly baked cinnamon buns straight from the oven!

                        



    Enjoy the Swedish cinnamon rolls warm from the oven, with a cup cup of coffee, tea or a glass of ice cold milk!










    Friday, January 18, 2013

    Kylie's Blossoms - A Review


    I was born and raised in Sweden, where famous Swedish authors like Astrid Lindgren and Elsa Beskow captivated the hearts and imagination of mine and every other Swedish young reader, with their imaginative and adventuresome characters, like Pippi Longstocking and Peter in Blueberry land. I especially loved the books with rich and whimsical illustrations. I could let myself get lost for hours in the world of imagination and in the detailed, colorful pictures. I can't but to think, that all those children's books I read as a child are the reason for my wild imagination and playful attitude that has followed me all throughout my life.

      Kylie's Blossoms by Maria Jordan

    Michael Friedman's richly illustrated pages with the vibrant colors of the seasons.

    The love of reading can be one of the greatest gifts you can give a child


    Even today, with my childhood years far behind, I'm still drawn to colorful book covers and can't keep myself from looking through children's books in libraries or book stores and revisit my childhood's delight of disappearing into a world of fantasy and magic. It's so important to introduce our little ones to books in their early formative years, and the earlier in their life, the richer their life will be. So I'm always on the lookout for inspiring and enduring books to give away to the children that's in my life, because a book and the love of reading can be one of the greatest gifts you can instill in children.


    The illustrations are colorful and so sweet

    Kylie's Blossoms – A must-own!


    Recently, I happened to stumble upon a book written by the author, Maria Jordan. As soon as I saw the whimsical illustration on the cover of “Kylie's Blossoms” and reading an excerpt from the book, I know that I just wanted to find out more. So I purchased the book from Amazon, and got acquainted with the 7 year-old Kylie and her friend Teddy.

    I would have to say, without a shadow of a doubt, that Maria Jordan's book “Kylie's Blossoms” is absolutely wonderful! It was such a delightful joy to open up the cover of this book and to find each page richly illustrated and beautifully written, with skillful and delicious rhythm, yet in a simple language. Kylie's Blossoms is a delight to both read and read aloud that both children and adults alike will enjoy.

    About:


    It tells the story of a girl named Kylie who with her teddy bear adventures out in the woods. Kylie and her cuddly companion explore the forest nearby her home. They will take us on a journey through the year and meet various floral friends that teach Teddy and her significant life lessons, compassion and empathy. Each month is centered around one charming flower and one sweet story. Each story surrounding an important and positive lesson to enrich Kylie, Teddy and every little reader's development and character.



    An excerpt from Kylie's Blossoms,"Happy Valentine's Day"



    Night after night, sight of starlight,

    Momma combed her hair, while Kylie said a prayer:

    "From heaven above, send us your love.

    Guide us by day, show us the way."

    "Sleep well, Kylie dear, with Teddy right here.

    A kiss will you get, there, all set!"

    'Twasn't long counting sheep, little girl fast asleep.

    Dreams were sweet and dandy, of Valentine hearts and candy.


    Maria Jordan was raised near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she has worked in the nursing field for 30 years. "Kylie's Blossoms" is her first publication, dedicated to her great niece, Kylie, with 12 timeless lessons for all little girls.
    Source: Maria Jordan


    • Title: Kylie's Blossoms
    • Author: Maria Jordan
    • Illustrator: Michael Friedman
    • Publisher: Mockingbird Books
    • Publication Date: First Edition 2012
    • Format: Hardcover 5.5" x 8.5" 32 color pages.
    • ISBN: 978-0-9860114-0-5
    • For Ages: 3+ years
    • Type: Picture book, Young junior


    A Charming and Lovable Read


    Kylie's Blossoms is a charming and lovable read and is such a wonderful gift to any child at any age. This book will definitely become a favorite year-round bedtime story with the children. I hope to see more Kylie and Teddy adventures soon! Kylie's Blossoms can be purchased at Amazon











    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Tea - How To Make the Perfect Brew

    " Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden " ~ George Orwell ( 1903-1950) ~



    photo by Sannel

    The British Writer George Orwell, was quite passionate how his favorite drink was brewed, and in 1946, he wrote down his eleven golden rules, how to make a perfect "nice cup of tea" .

    I believe we tea lovers all around the world are quite passionate about the particular methods we use for making our "cuppa", and we are more or less like Mr. Orwell when it comes to brewing a nice cup of tea. I think we all have our own special "golden" rules! However, here are some guidelines:


    Photo by Sannel


    How to brew your tea:


    1. Use freshly drawn water. When water is re-boiled, or stands for a while, it loses oxygen which prevents the full flavor of the tea being released.


    2. Warming the cup first. This helps the brewing process by maintaining the brewing temperature, and extract more flavor from the tea.


    3. Put approximately 2 grams or 1 tsp. of tea leaves per 6-8 oz of water in a strainer, tea basket or tea ball into your preheated pot or cup. Do not use tea strainers that are to small. It's important that the tea leaves have room to expand during the brewing process, to release their flavor.


    4. Be sure that the water comes to a full boil, otherwise it does not allow the tea to brew properly. Do not boil the water for a long period of time because this will deplete the water of oxygen.


    5. Then add hot water accordingly to the chart below for the type of tea you are brewing. The water temperature does not have to be exact. The main thing to remember is to not use boiling water for green or white teas. It will "cook" the leaves and destroy the tea and its flavor, creating a bitter tasting tea.


    6. Stir the tea in the pot or cup once or twice while its brewing.


    7. Remove the tea leaves out of the infusion. The amount of time that the tea steeps will determine its strength. Check the chart below for the tea type you are brewing. These steeping times are only approximate, and you should adjust them depending on your own personal tea taste.


    8. If you do not have a thermometer handy, you can tell the water temperature by watching the bubbles. Small bubbles will float to the surface of the water at 160-170 F ( 75-80C), and you will see string of bubbles from the bottom of the kettle at 180-190 F ( 85-90C). After that you will have a full boil at 200-212 F ( 95-100C).


    Another tip: Bring the water to a rolling boil, then wait 30 seconds for white tea and 60 seconds for green tea, before pouring the water over the leaves.


    9. Serve the tea plain, or if you prefer with honey or sugar and/or milk.


    This is only a guideline. it's a matter of personal choice and preference, and besides who can tell you, how you like your tea better than you!


    Enjoy your cup of "nice" tea.


    TEA
    WATER TEMP.
    STEEP TIME
    INFUSIONS
    WHITE
    65-70 C ( 149-158 F)
    1-2 min
    3
    GREEN
    75-80 C ( 167-176 F)
    1-2 min
    4-6
    OOLONG
    80-85 C ( 176-185 F)
    2-3 min
    4-6
    BLACK
    99 C ( 210 F)
    2-3 min
    2-3
    PU-ERH
    95-100C ( 203- 212 F)
    Limited
    several
    HERBAL
    99 C ( 210 F )
    5-8 min
    varied



    Photo by Sannel



    STORING TEA

    All tea has a shelf life. Black tea has longer shelf life than green tea. An exception, pu-erh tea improves with age. To preserve its freshness as long as possible, tea should be stored in a cool, dark and dry place, in a container that is airtight. Avoid glass jars, as this may expose the tea to light. An airtight opaque tin is best
    Tea absorbs other odors very easily, so its very important to store your tea away from any strong smelling foods. Do not refrigerate or freeze teas.


    Photo by Sannel


    I'm glad you could join me and share a nice cup of tea with me. Thank you for your lovely visit! 

    Sannel