Saturday, August 8, 2015

AN ODE TO COFFEE: WITHOUT YOU, WE ARE NOTHING / HAPPY 10TH BLOG ANNIVERSARY TO MY BLOG

Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.
- Charles Maurice de Talleyrand 
The fresh smell of coffee soon wafted through the apartment, the smell that separates night from day.
- Haruki Murakami
Without my morning coffee I'm just like a dried up piece of roast goat.
- Johann Sebastian Bach
Coffee, a marvelously fragrant, suavely bitter, darkly intense and dreamily frothy brew that has the power to instantly uplift your mood and make you see things from a different perspective. A devilishly magical potion that immediately confers happiness, helps us wake up from the deepest of slumbers and stay active all day long. A social and ritualistic drink that brings people together around a table, seals friendships and creates warm memories. A romantic beverage that inflames baristas and java aficionados from all the corners of the world. A unique decoction from Ethiopia without which we pathetic humans cannot survive. An elusive glimpse at paradise. A confidant and a muse. A delight to the senses. A crutch on which to rely. Cement that keeps our lives together. An euphoric stimulant. High octane. Fuel for the body. Muddy water. An ink black drug for the soul. Nectar of the gods; sacred, bewitching, psychedelic, ethereal and therapeutic. Pure gold.

Enthrallingly powerful like God, yet sinfully sweet as the Devil himself. Both a poison and a medicine. Pleasure and pain. Heaven and hell contained in a simple vessel of porcelain.

Cupe Of Coffee
We all know how it went when Europe changed from a culture addicted to depressants to one high on stimulants [...] Within two hundred years of Europe's first cup, famine and the plague were historical footnotes. Governments became more democratic, slavery vanished, and the standards of living and literacy went through the roof. War became less frequent and more horrible.
- Stewart Lee Allen
No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness.
- Sheik Abd-al-Kadir
What would our mornings be like if we couldn't rely on a strong cup of joe? Would we be able to get rid of our head fog and start work normally? Would we still be enchanted at the prospect of "going out for a coffee" if we would be deprived of our espressos, lattes or cappuccinos? How would we feel if meals ended with an uninspiring glass of orange juice or water? Would we enjoy Tiramisù or moka cake as much if they were deprived of their star ingredient? Probably not!

Coffee rules our existence. Whether we want it or not, it is omnipresent in daily life (at home, at the office, at the restaurant, on the train, etc...) and is part of our culture (most countries nowadays have a deeply rooted relationship with it). We are addicted to this precious liquid and there's no way of escaping its seductive grip or subjugating call.

So why fight back? Sooner or later, you will give in and capitulate to the Grandmaster of cosmic foam and diabolical murkiness. Resistance is futile and you know it.

                                                     ____________________________________

Today my humble blog turns 10. Yes, you read it correctly. Ten!!!

It really feels surreal to think that I first hit the publish button a decade ago, when I was considerably younger (in my late twenties), naiver and the whole blogging universe was a great deal more laid-back, uncomplicated and friendlier than nowadays.*

Anyway, I can't believe that I have made it so far, even if this activity has cost me a lot of blood, sweat and tears! It would be a lie if I told you that I hadn't had restless nights because of my blog and that Rosa's Yummy Yums has only made me happy. All the contrary. There were/are times when it seems that all my efforts are in vain and I want to throw it all away, and hide in a corner and cry. But thanks to my readership whose faithful and encouraging support means the world to me, and despite my meltdowns, ups and downs and vacillating commitment, I have persevered. Every follower's kind word, sincere compliment and visit gives me the energy to continue putting one foot in front of the other and makes me want to try to push beyond my boundaries. 

Each little encouragement fuels my hope and prevents me from capitulating, so I wish to thank you all for being around, regularly checking on my posts and always finding the right way to motivate me. I owe it all to you!

* Money, stardom, superficiality and over-sized egos had not yet corrupted the small community of enthusiasts that we were and transformed that seemingly simple milieu into an absolute jungle... I'm not saying it is all bad, but a bit of the authenticity and honesty of the blogosphere has died the day foodism became hugely (and unreasonably, might I add - in 2015 it appears that everybody's a gourmet) fashionable and big corporations have discovered that they could benefit from bloggers (we all know how profit and trends can kill things).

Saturday, April 4, 2015

LET US REJOICE! OSTARA IS UPON US AND SPRING IS UNFOLDING...

Easter 2015
Winter is already a lost shape, forgottenin the ground. Instead, here is Springwith all the grace of a woman smoothing out her apron.
- Cecilia Llompar
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Every time a season comes to an end, I enthusiastically greet the next one with open arms. After three months of the same regime, it always feels good to see nature promptly metamorphose itself again and offer us a completely different experience. A real breath of fresh air.

I'm pretty sure, we would go bonkers if we were stuck in the same boring rut day in and day out. Routine kills us at a slow pace. On the other hand, change is positive, inevitable, primordial and constant. It infuses our existence with vivid colours and gives us perspective as well as hope. Transition is life and and life is all about transition.

This is the reason why climatic standstill isn't my cup of tea and why I am particularly fond of roller coaster weather. As a matter of fact, I am very happy to live in a moderate climate country. To have the opportunity to enjoy four distinct periods of the year is a blessing and each of them fills my heart with pleasure.

So as you can imagine, it is a delight for me to make the leap from winter to spring. And even though February and March have been quite mild and vernal, I am really looking forward to Earth's magical rebirth and the powerful cosmic stirring inside of me.

Easter 2015

Easter 2015

Easter 2015
And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
April's air stirs in
Willow-leaves...a butterfly
Floats and balances.
- Matsuo Bashō 
Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.
- John Muir
Like an enthusiastic child beginning to discover the world surrounding him, I am bubbling with exhilaration and trepidating with anticipation, and I get excited about anything and everything. The late afternoon song of blackbirds sends tears to my eyes, crows tearing off branches in order to build their nests bring a large smile to my face, primroses blooming crazily pour joy into my soul, the sweet caress of the warm west wind delights me intensely and longer daylight hours motivate me in my daily chores. Oh, what a glorious feeling!

However, while the flora and fauna are brashly awakening and general frenzy is palpable everywhere, we humans are still sluggishly emerging from slumber. The endless weeks of darkness and bone-chilling cold have taken a toll on us and all the slothing around has transformed us into rusty and pasty caricatures of ourselves. But with the sunshine hitting hard on our skin and the loud chirping of birds, our torpor is fastly chased away and new energy starts to flow in our body once more. Slowly yet surely, at our own pace, we join the celebration of renewal, embarking on this wonderful adventure that is called spring.

Get your t-shirts out, let your hair down and merrily dance in circles for euphoria is prevalent !



Easter 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

GENEVA WINTER BLUES



The brown waves of fog toss up to me
Twisted faces from the bottom of the street,
And tear from a passer-by with muddy skirts
An aimless smile that hovers in the air
And vanishes along the level of the roofs.
- T.S. Eliot

So dull and dark are the November days.
The lazy mist high up the evening curled,
And now the morn quite hides in smoke and haze;
The place we occupy seems all the world.
- John Clare

What a fog! Plane been buzzin' around overhead for the last half hour. Must be like trying to find your way through the inside of a cow. I never did see such a country. Even the birds are walkin'.
- Dalton Trumbo
Residing in the Geneva area or in a Swiss valley isn't always fun and can have its downside. As a matter of fact, winters in Calvin's city are mostly known for being gruesomely bland, appallingly dark and hideously characterless. So if you are a person who loves light and azure firmaments, and if winter blues are your nemesis, then you'd better not stay there during the cold season, otherwise chances are high that you’ll go loopy and depression will creep on you frequently.

You see, this small canton at the end of Lac Léman is embedded among mountains (the Jura in the north, the Salève in the south, the Vuache in the northwest, the Mont-de-Sion in the southwest, and the Voirons in the southeast) and it is literally situated in a basin ("La Cuvette Genevoise" as we call it in French), hence a dull, dense, murky and damp sea of high-altitude fog regularly covers this particular region of good old Switzerland and night tends to fall very early when sunlight is scarce.

Day after day, and sometimes week after week, we are deprived of luminosity. This situation can be outright unnerving, testing and oppressing as it feels as though we would be living in a closed box or in a kind of jail. This makes us prone to cabin fever symptoms such as mood swings, restlessness, tiredness, lack of motivation, lethargy, discontent and general discomfort.

Even for someone like me who adores Jack Frost's chilly embrace and enjoys heavy mist, it is unbearable in the long term and although I am quite an optimistic person by nature, I often suffer from low spirits. Boringly glum weather transforms me into an apathetic, grumpy, anxious and miserable lump of flesh.

Winter 2014-2015

Winter 2014 - 2015

In my opinion, there's nothing really comparable to bright hazy November days, radiant December afternoons, jovial January mornings and fiery February sunsets! This period of the year can be so joyful provided that our brightest star blesses us with its reddish rays, vivifying power and soothing warmth which's impact on our mental wellbeing is far superior to that of any drug and a hundred times more healing than any chemical medicine. The perfect cure for a numb and bruised soul!

But what do we do when the heavens above refuse to open up and we are stuck under a persistently funereal blanket of clouds? Well, there are many ways to fight against the negative side effects of this irritating nebula. For example, you can listen to pleasant music, have a relaxing bubble bath, read a book, cook a uplifting meal or bake a comforting treat, dance madly to your favorite song, light scented candles and meditate, meet friends, go out for a reinvigorating walk, break out of a rut, cozy up your home, wear bright colours, take up a project, host a movie night or visit museums. The options are endless.


On the condition that you keep busy and peel your limp body off the sofa, things can only get better in the little head of yours. Physical and intellectual activity will reduce your receptivity to the greyness outside and will push the gloomy thoughts out of your mind. 
And remember to smile (think positive) and eat lots of healthy vitamin-laden foods as both impact on your overall welfare and help you cope with melancholy. In this manner, time will pass a lot faster and the vernal equinox will be at your doorstep before you know it.

Hello March! Spring is almost here and my little heart is bursting with anticipation...


Winter 2014 - 2015

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

SEASON'S GREETINGS

All across the virgin snow
And through the naked trees
On a cold winter's night
His song is on the breeze
Where the moonlight paints the frost
Upon the robin's song
He's come a-calling for us all
Now the summer's gone!


Hark! Hear the children sing
Glory to the Holly King!
- Hail The Holly King by Inkubus Sukkubus


~~~~~~~~~~~

Wishing you and yours a Merry Holiday Season and a joyful celebration!

May 2015 bring you happiness, joy, peace, harmony, inspiration, successs and health.

Thank you for your support and interest in my humble work!

Cheers,

Rosa xxx

Xmas 2014
P.S. As I am in desperate need of recharging my batteries, living life less virtually and getting my creative mojo back, I henceforth announce that Rosa's Yummy Yums is going on a hiatus (until further notice)... But don't worry, I will not let my blog lie fallow forever and you'll still be able to find me online via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc...).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

BLACK AND WHITE WEDNESDAY #153 - HAZELNUTS: KERNELS OF JOY

Hazelnuts are very common at British Neolithic sites, being probably the most frequently represented of the "other plants" mentioned by Whittle. Nutshell fragments are often not counted but are just mentioned as being rare or numerous, and in such instances we record "few", "some" or "many"...
- Sue Colledge and James Conolly, The Origins and Spread of Domestic Plants in Southwest Asian and Europe
This picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". This week it is hosted by Lynne at "Cafe Lynnylu" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

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Corylus avellana. A word that sounds like music to the ears. Also know as hazelnut, cobnut or filbert, this little fruit full of promise, and ancient symbol of peace and health is a kernel of joy and a gourmet's best friend.

Rare are the people who don't like hazelnuts and it is quite understandable as they are extremely versatile, wholesome and a wide variety of desserts, confectioneries as well as savory dishes can be prepared with them. From gianduja and cakes to spice mixes, condiments, soups and salads, there are large quantities of recipes that employ this delicacy.

Whether this nutritious nut is eaten raw or roasted, taste is always at the rendez-vous. The elegant, luxurious, earthy, sweet and buttery aroma of hazelnuts is quite addictive and intoxicating (especially when they have been toasted), and just like cocoa, its preferred partner in crime, not only are they good for the body, but also for the soul.

Hazelnuts have a very distinctive flavor and that's why they are highly regarded by pastry chefs and cook all around the world. They pair beautifully with dried and fresh fruits, mushrooms, root vegetables, bread, pasta, legumes, fish, meat, cheese, wine, spirits, and more particularly with chocolate (the Holy Grail!) for which this culinary hero has a particular affinity.

Their popularity is universal and many countries have been cultivating orchards since centuries. Hence, hazelnuts are rooted deep in our food culture and their use is widespread.

In Switzerland, we love to bake with those fragrant nuts and we have an abundance of hazelnut-based treats (cookies, tarts, cakes, chocolate bars, etc...). Around Christmas time, stores sell gargantuesque quantities of whole and ground hazelnuts and Swiss people enjoy preparing traditional hazelnut "biscuits de Noël/Weihnachtsguetzli" such as "Berner Hasselnussleckerli (Leckerli Bernese-Style)", "Hasselnussrollen (Hazelnut Rolls)", "Hasselnussmakronen (Hazelnut Macaroons)" and "Totenbeinli (Leg Of The Dead Cookies)" with their family and friends...

As I'm sure you are now craving hazelutty foods by now, I thought that you might be interested in the recipes I have decided to share with you today. Some of them could even come in handy during this festive season. Enjoy!

- Old House In Chur, Switzerland -

My Hazelnut Recipes
. Apple Tart With Hazelnut Frangipani (link)
. Beetroot And Orange Salad (link)
. Chocolate Ganache-Glazed Hazelnut Cake (link)
. Cornflake Terrine (link)
. Hazelnut Date Truffles (link)
. Hazelnut Meringue Clusters (link)
. Hazelnut Nougatine (link)

Great Hazelnut Recipes Found On The Net
. Baci Di Dama (Food 52)
. Baked Apples With Hazelnuts, Maple Cream and Crème Fraîche (Yummy Supper)
. Bread Pudding Cake (Juls' Kitchen)
. Butternut Squash Ravili With Oregano-Hazelnut Pesto (Saveur)
. Cauliflower With Brown Butter, Pears, Sage And Hazelnuts (Fine Cooking)
. Celery, Blue Cheese And Hazelnut Slad (Simply Recipes)
. Espresso And Chocolate-Hazelnut  Swirl Ice Cream With Coffee Tuiles (Lisa Is Cooking)
. Fig, Halloumi And Hazelnut Salad (Cooksister)
. Hazelnut Fruit Cake (Good Food)
. Hazelnut Meringue Cake With Berries (Life's A Feast)
. Individual Hazelnut And Chocolate Clafoutis (Jamie Oliver)
. Mini Piedmontois (Almond Corner)
. Orechiette With Squash, Chiles And Hazelnuts (Bon Appétit)
. Quinoa Salad With Hazelnuts, Apple And Dried Cranberries (Food 52)
. Shredded Brussel Sprouts With Bacon And Hazelnuts (Cooking Light)
. Swiss/Berner Hasselnussleckerli (Sweet Artichoke)
. Swiss/Bernese Hazelnut Tart (Vagabond Baker)
. Swiss Dairy-Free Hazelnut Crescent Rolls (Dairy Free Switzerland)
. Swiss Totenbeinli (Linno-Yum)
. Torta Di Nocciole (Domenica Cooks)

Friday, December 12, 2014

REMEMBERING THE SUMMER - PART IV

Summer 2014 - Flowers & Plants
There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.
- Linda Hogan
Summer 2014 - Flowers & Plants
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
- George Gordon Byron
Summer 2014 - Flowers & Plants
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
- E.B. White, Letters of E. B. White
Summer 2014 - Flowers & Plants

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

BLACK AND WHITE WEDNESDAY #152 - FRAGILE


If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg. Why? Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us is confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system which forces us to do the things we would not ordinarily see fit to do as individuals . . . We are all human beings, individuals, fragile eggs. We have no hope against the wall: it's too high, too dark, too cold. To fight the wall, we must join our souls together for warmth, strength. We must not let the system control us -- create who we are. It is we who created the system.
- Haruki Murakami, Jerusalem Prize acceptance speech, JERUSALEM POST, Feb. 15, 2009.
This picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". This week it is hosted by Aparna at "Stories from the Mahe Coast" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Friday, November 21, 2014

REMEMBERING THE SUMMER - PART I

Summer - Geneva Countryside
Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.
- Yoko Ono
Although I love autumn's ravishing beauty and serene atmosphere, I must admit that this year, and for the very first time in my life, I am missing the warm season. Having had a grim spring and a depressingly glum July as well as August, I just wasn't ready for fall's arrival. Much to my regret, it came surprisingly early...

You see, I am the kind of person who needs to fully enjoy summer in order to get sick of it and look forward to cooler and moodier weather - in fact, it is exactly the same as with food; one needs to eat a few savory dishes before the urge for dessert makes its appearance. Hence, I feel nostalgic for summer's suffocating exuberance and insolent nonchalance.

Having said this, I am nonetheless really thrilled that autumn's here and that winter's on our doorstep as I am particularly fond of this time of the year. So, bring on the cold weather, frosty sunlight and snowstorms!

Summer - Geneva Countryside

Summer - Geneva 
Countryside

Summer - Geneva 
Countryside