Avent candles

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Until last year I always had my advent wreath hanging from my living room’s ceiling. This year our sofa’s just standing at that place. That’s why for these holidays I won’t have a traditional wreath. I found some lovely, stripped railway sleepers of different sizes that fit perfectly with my sliding curtains. I wrapped each log with large felt strips and fastened little stars to them. These stars a made with offwhite felt and dark brown willow twigs emphasising thus the natural appearance. Four large ball candles in a dull brown shade turn my sleepers into an advent ensemble. Little wax pads keep the candles in place so that they can’t fall down. It’s difficult to find railway sleepers but you may take round wooden logs as well. You will probably find them in crafts stores, shops offering firewood and even some lumberacks do sell them.

 

Healthy and yet delicious

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One of the few things I like about autumn is those mellow persimmons. Preferably I’m savouring them in my yoghurt but every now and then I’m trying a new recipe. Today it’s a lettuce composition with sliced persimmon and pomegranate seeds.

Ingredients:
1 persimmon, 2 hands full  of  lettuce per individual (lamb’s, frisée, crisphead lettuce, spinach leaves or whatever you like), 1 pomegranate, 1 camembert, 100g walnuts coarsely chopped, olive oil, vinegar, pepper and salt for your dressing

Wash salad and put in a bowl. Cut pomegranat in halves and remove the seeds. Do this when holding each half over a large bowl. Then firmly knock at the top of the fruit with a spoon so that the seed will fall down. Peel the persimmon, cut it in halves, take off the hard inner part and cut into thin slices. Put the walnuts in a skillet and heat them until starting to toast. Slice camembert and cut it into small pieces. Add fruit to the lettuce. For your dressing whisk together olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. If you prefer a sweater version add a teaspoon of honey. Place camembert cubes and walnuts on top of the salad and toss with dressing. Serve with some whole-grain bread.

 

 

 

Midget forest

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Autumn and winter, that means a lot of things to be found outside for crafting. When calling my Mum to hear what’s going on at home she told me of some sweat little fly agarics made with acorns and their hats that she had seen somewhere in a showcase. I just didn’t need more information to grap my bike and look for all the places known for enormous funds of acorns and beechnuts. When drying the acorns usually loose their hats so that I could easily paint them in red and put some white dots on top. The acorns need to be painted in white and then glued (best will be hot glue) to their hats again but upside down to get the shape of the agarics body. For my personal decoration this year I chose an old piece of branch to glue some cones, my little fly agarics, a chestnut casing on top. Then just add some beechnuts or little conifer cones, wind some green fairy wool around and here you are with a lovely midget forest.

 

Autumn roses

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Autumn has arrived and with it all the wonderful colored leaves, pumpkins and different nuts. For my decoration however I wanted to take something else as a center piece. It was just by chance that I found the video instruction for lovely roses made with florist felt strips. These strips are available in different sizes from 3-10 cm. I chose a roll of 4cm wide felt and cut a strip of 1m for the red rose. The brown one is made with a smaller strip. I didn’t even use the florist wire to fix my flower. I just inserted the end of the strip at the backside of the flower and sat it down in some moss.

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These little roses are made with 3cm wide strips only 30cm long. They’re cut from traditional crafting felt sheets. Put them on a small birch wreath or directly on your table cloth. If you need a decoration just for one day then you may take natural leaves to go with your roses instead of felt leaves.

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A further use for these flowers is to take them as a napkin holder. Cut out a paper leaf to put the name of your guests on it. Small and flimsy feathers go well with the flowers too. I like the contrast between the felt’s dense structure and the rather delicate feathers. It’s best to prepare some roses and just play a bit with accessories mostly available at home.

 

Marinated potato salad

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For our last barbecue I was asked to make a potato salad, one of the Germans’ favorites. There’s still home-grown rocket and radish available. That’s why I chose this recipe from a Dr. Oetker’s book with potato and pasta salads. Thanks to marinating the potatoes over night you may prepare this salad the previous day.

Four servings will need:

Marinade: 125ml vegetable stock, 2 tbsp vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil
Salad: 750g small potatoes boiled in the skin, 1 rocket bunch, 1 radish bunch, 50g walnuts
Horseradish creme: 1 can of crème fraîche, 2 tsp creamy horseradish, salt, sugar

Cook vegetable stock and put aside to cool. Pour in vinegar and fold in olive oil.
Cook potatoes in their skin. Cool them, peel them and slice them before giving them in a large bowl. Mix potatoes with vegetable stock and marinate over night.
Wash radish and rocket. Slice radish and cut rocket into bite-sized pieces and give both to the marinated potatoes.
Mix crème fraîche and horseradish, season with salt and sugar and add to potato salad. Fold it in carefully an hour before serving. Finally chop the walnuts and disperse them on top of the salad. Serve it immediately then.