Tuesday, April 26, 2011
|street tulips by ana traina|
The Tale of the Tulip ~ A famous legend from Turkish lore tells of a handsome prince named Farhad who was stricken with love for the fair maid, Shirin. One day he heard that she had been killed, and in his grief, mounted his favorite horse and galloped over a cliff to his death. It is said that from each droplet of his blood, a scarlet tulip sprang up, making the flower an historic symbol of perfect love.
During the glory of the Ottoman Empire, the Sultans celebrated the tulip, and the flowers became part of the trappings of wealth and power. One famous story tells of a Sultan who spent too much on a tulip festival which ultimately led to him “losing his head.” Today, the tulip is still the national flower of Turkey.
Tulip Petal Ice Cream
300ml tulip petals (lightly-packed) from fragrant and well-coloured tulips
850ml double cream
200g granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
60ml rose water 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
Remove the white bases of the tulip petals (these can be bitter) then wash in cold water and pat dry. Place 2/3 of the petals in a heavy, non-reactive saucepan along with the milk, cream and half the sugar. Place over medium heat and bring to just under the boiling point. Take off the heat and set aside to infuse for 30 minutes. After this time beat together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar in a bowl. Whisk until thick and pale yellow then return the cream and tulip petal mix to the hob and bring back to just under boiling. Take off the heat and whisk 1/4 of the warmed mixture into the egg and sugar mix. Pour the resultant egg mix back into the pan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture thickens sufficiently to coat the back of a spoon (do not allow to boil). Strain the mixture into a clean bowl then mix in the rose water and food colouring before pouring into your ice cream maker and freeze. Transfer the finished (but not solid) ice cream into a bowl then tear the remaining tulip petals, mix into the ice cream and fold to thoroughly combine. Transfer to a freezer-proof container and store in the freezer.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
|riverside park, ny, 20011 by ana traina|
LOVELIEST OF TREES by A.E. Housman
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
|riverside park, ny, 2011 by ana traina|
Well, yes, it made me think on exactly how little I knew about the cherry blossom! So, of course, with my mind all a flutter, I ran home to check out some cherry blossom lore! So here is just a hint of what I was able to uncover and discover!
For the Japanese the cherry blossom is a very delicate flower that blooms for a very short time, representing the transience of life. This idea ties in very deeply with the fundamental teachings of Buddhism that state all life is suffering and transitory. The Japanese have long held strong to the Buddhist belief of the transitory nature of life and it is very noble to not get too attached to a particular outcome or not become emotional because it will all pass in time.
The fallen cherry blossom is not taken lightly in Japanese symbolism either. It represents the beauty of snow and to the life of a warrior whose life was ended early in battle.
In Japanese cuisine, during cherry blossom season in the spring, the flower blossoms and cherry tree leaves are added to many different kinds of food products from candies, noodles, teas, flavored rice, and condiments.
Salted cherry blossoms are paired with rice (in bowls and rice balls) and added to sweets, soups, or tea. They're most commonly made into a broth in which rice is cooked, then the rice is formed into a ball with more salted cherry blossoms pressed into it. Salted cherry blossoms are also found in many mochi sweets. They infuse a pleasant cherry blossom flavor to food, and the salt brings out the delicate aroma.
SALTED CHERRY BLOSSOM RECIPE
cherry blossoms (yaezakura) 80% blooming 500g
*Pick two blossoms as a unit
Rice vinegar 90ml
*ideally umesu (plum flavored vinegar)
Wash the blossoms and drain. In a container, lay blossoms flat, sprinkle salt and vinegar. Put lid over the blossoms and put 1~2 kg of weight on top and leave for 5~7 days. Take out blossoms, drain well and air dry in the shade for two days. After drying, put salt and preserve in a jar.
With heartfelt prayers, wishes and hope for a speedy recovery for beautiful Japan.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
|bryant park, NY, 2011 by ana traina|
Not bunnies, but witches and their spells are part of the folklore in Sweden.
Sweden, like most areas in the world, celebrates Easter as a religious holiday. However, there are some Easter superstitions attached to Easter that are far from Bible based. Easter week starts with Palm Sunday, commemorating Christ's triumphant entry in to Jerusalem.
In Sweden Palm trees don't exist, so many churches used budding varieties of willow trees. Some of those branches are brought into homes and offices so that they have developed leaves by Palm Sunday.
In many parts of the country these branches are even called "palms". There is one superstition that got started in Sweden on Easter and it has nothing to do with a bunny or an Easter egg. Some people believe that witches are especially active and their black magic especially powerful during Easter week. On Maundy Thursday they were thought to fly off on brooms and consort with the devil. Because of this superstition, on Easter morning many people were a bit hesitant when starting a fire in the fireplace.
They thought the witches returning from their trip would get caught in the chimney. While much of the superstition is old and no longer a part of annual customs it has left a legacy in modern times.
On Maunday Thursday or Easter Eve, Swedish girls and boys dress up as Easter hags (women who practice black magic are called hags) and pay visits to their neighbors. Some leave a small-decorated card, and "Easter letter", hoping for a sweet or coin in return.
In fact, the custom of making "Easter letters" is especially widespread in Western Sweden, where it is also the custom to slip the letter into a person's mailbox or under his door without being seen. The identity of the sender is a secret. Love, love love this!
Easter bonfires are also especially the custom in the Western provinces, where villages vie to see who can make the biggest fire. Many times fireworks are shot off in the night sky.
Eggs are the most common Easter food, and hard-boiled eggs are traditionally eaten the evening before Easter Sunday. While the eggs are often decorated, neither their decorations nor the traditions associated with them are as elaborate as in many other countries.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
|lauren swann, central park, 2011 by ana traina|
The Easter bunny has its origins in pre-Christian fertility lore. Hares and rabbits served as symbols of abundant new life in the spring season. It really is a hare – not a rabbit – that symbolizes Easter.
From antiquity hares have been a symbol for the moon, and the first full moon after the vernal equinox determines the date for Easter.
Hares are born with their eyes open, while rabbits are born blind. The hare was thought never to blink or close its eyes, and it is a nocturnal creature, like the moon, of course. The hare also carries its young a month before giving birth – like the changing moon erupting into fullness monthly.
According to one legend, the Easter bunny was originally a large, handsome bird belonging to the goddess Eostre. One day she magically changed her pet bird into a hare. Because the Easter bunny is still a bird at heart, she continues to build a straw nest and fill it with eggs.
So being "aflight at heart" I've concluded that these magical creatures who bring us an entirety of sugary wealth on this most festive of days fly or hop or leap through our windows. Windows that look out upon a moon full of hope and wonder. A moon filled with the wrappings of a new day to come. So yes dear zingertale readers, my counsel to you is keep your windows slightly ajar... bunnies like to hop into the clear, fresh adoring meadow of our lives!
Sunday, April 17, 2011
|photo by ana traina|
During the 1600's, England celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday," celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent. This was a time put aside for relaxation and enjoyment during the long Lenten fast. Servants would go home to see their families, bringing cakes and sweets to their moms. This custom was called "going a-mothering." I love that! Each mother would receive a Simnel cake and mother's would give a blessing to their children.
In the 17th century, Mothering Sunday became the day when girls and boys in service were allowed a day off to go and visit their mothers. This was their one and only holiday. The girls would bake their mothers a Simnel cake as a gift.
Simnel cakes have been baked since the middle ages and it is believed that the word Simnel comes from the Latin 'Simila,' which meant very fine flour made from wheat. Simnel cakes were difficult to make, but if made properly they would keep for a few weeks. Thus the baking of a Simnel cake for Mothering Sunday was not only a gift from a girl to her mother, but also a test of the girl's cooking skills. The cake would not be eaten until Easter Sunday, and the whole family would be anxious to see if the cake was still moist.
With the demise of service after the First World War, the Simnel cake began to be treated as an Easter cake in its own right. The cake is decorated with eleven marzipan balls, representing Jesus' disciples minus Judas the traitor. Originally it was also decorated with fresh flowers, but sugar flowers are often used today.
Simple Simnel Cake
• 1 ½ Cups butter
• 4 Cups flour
• 8 eggs
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 4 Cups sugar
• 2/3 Cup grated lemon and orange peel
• 2 Cups currants
• 8 oz. (or more) almond paste
Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs singly, beating after each one. Sift and add flour and salt. Dust peel and currants with flour and add to batter. Line 12" x 15" greased pan with waxpaper. Pour in ½ batter. Bake at 300 degrees for one hour. May be iced if desired. Cut cake into small 1" squares as it is very rich. (Freezes well.)
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
|photo by ana traina, central park 2011|
This past weekend I went strolling in Central Park and happened upon this happy and delightful scene, a Robin bathing in a little waterfall by the pond on 100th street.
I was mesmerized by its simple beauty and spent a joyous half hour just watching this stunning and playful creature. After I rushed home to edit my photos I took the time to learn a bit of robin lore. Here are some of things I have gathered...
The robin redbreast is a bird of spring, a time of new growth and new beginnings. It flies into our lives on the winds of change asking us to weed our personal gardens and plant new seeds for our future. Rebirth and renewal require changes in all areas of life that have become stagnant and outdated. The robin redbreast teaches us to how to make these changes with joy in our hearts. Its song is a happy one reminding us to let go and learn to laugh with life.
In Medieval Europe the robin redbreast was often depicted attending the Christ child, an emblem of the Passion to come. It was told how, at that fateful hour, it was the tiny robin who flew to Jesus' Crown of Thorns, striving valiantly to pluck the spines away with his beak. Unfortunately the bird succeeded only in tearing his own breast on the thorns. Ever since then it was thought that all robins wore red feathers on their bosoms as a badge of honor.
Last Bit of Odds and Ends: Said to be extremely unlucky to kill a Robin. The hand that does so will continue to shake thereafter. Traditionally the Irish believe that a large lump will appear on the right hand if you kill one, and in Yorkshire if the person owns cows then the milk will become blood colored. It is a reputed fact that whatever you do to a robin you will suffer the same tragedy. Breaking the eggs will result in something valuable of your own being broken. Flying in through an open window or tapping on the window is a sign of death being present. To see a robin sheltering in the branches of a tree indicates that rain is on the way & to see one chirping on an open branch indicates that fine weather is imminent. Some believe that the robin will not be chased by a cat. You should make a wish when seeing the first robin of the season!
And remember, tis the season, so happy bird watching to all!
Saturday, April 9, 2011
|photo by ana traina|
William Butler Yeats
What's riches to him
That has made a great peacock
With the pride of his eye?
The wind-beaten, stone-grey,
And desolate Three Rock
Would nourish his whim.
Live he or die
Amid wet rocks and heather,
His ghost will be gay
Adding feather to feather
For the pride of his eye.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
|photo by ana traina|