Well, I don't need to tell you it has been Valentine's Day today... just about everyone has created a Valentine Post today!
However, we've had a good day and I want to post a little bit about it. Anyway, I promised someone to post about a certain part of the proceedings anyway...
So, I made a Card for D. It was a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants job... I ran out of time and ended up sitting up til midnight to get it done, especially as I forgot where he had put the photo I wanted! Once it was finally printed, this is what I put together, on a large A4 blank card:
I'm quite pleased with it, but would have liked to spend more time. He likes it very much, so I'm happy with the result.
The papers were from the BellaBella "Bellezo" range, by My Minds Eye. I had the "French Boutique" paper which I used for the backing, also a sheet of die-cuts, which included the butterflies, the circle with butterflies and the spotted edge strip, also the "You & Me" heading. The dark pink rectangle that I matted the photo onto was the back of the "French Boutique" paper.
The pink heart was cut from some paper by Basic Grey. The bracket tag was also from the MME sheet, but I added a rub-on from a Crate Paper "Lemon Grass" set. It fits beautifully. I cut the left hand end off the tag and tucked it under the edge strip. The other two embellishments are printed vellum stickers, which I got from my local scrapping shop (don't know who made them).
I used the rest of the 12x12 Bella sheet to cut a big strip for the inside of the card and stamped and wrote a message on it. Overall, I'm quite pleased with the result. It's like a rectangular scrap page really (though I'm not used to this particular format for scrapping - I normally use square or smaller horizontal rectangular mini-books).
I bought D. some nice Belgian chocolates, in a box with hearts on it, also a new leather wallet, as his has been a bit old and ill for some time. He was most pleased with the wallet - which is good, because the chocs were only a bit of fun.
This is what he gave to me:
The first picture shows the design better, but in the second you can see the 3d effect better.
This is a piece of Swedish Glass Art. D. has been working in Stockholm and he bought this while he was there. The design is one of the traditional Swedish Dala horses, which are usually carved out of wood and painted in bright colours (traditionally red, blue or grey, but I have seen a dark orange more than other colours). D. asked his Swedish colleagues if they were a special thing for Valentines' Day, but they said no, although they were a traditional gift. I'm not sure the Swedes really celebrate Valentine's Day as a tradition anyway. I think they've just picked it up in recent years - it's more of a commercial event than a tradition.
If you are curious, here is a link to the Dala horse entry in Wikipedia, where you'll find out lots more!
Anyway, I have always liked these little horses. When we had Swedish students to stay with us, from the local English Summer School, they often brought my mother one of these. I think they are a traditional gift for your host if you stay with someone. We did have a girl to stay, from the Lapp region of Sweden. She brought a little model of a Lapp house, together with a boy and a girl doll dressed in traditional Swedish Lapp costumes. I kept those for years, but they were lost long ago...
So, with all this happy gift and card-giving, we were feeling in the mood for a nice dinner. We decided to eat at home and have a "Pizza Party". I bought nice pizzas from the small supermarket in the next village, also the ingredients for A Valentine's Day Ice Cream Cake!
Here are my photos of the creation of this masterpiece of confectionery (well yummy cake anyway!).
This was inspired by a post from the wonderful Rachael of LaFujiMama (go and look, it's lush!). This is my take on her adaptation of the family recipe:
Valentine's Day Pink and Red Ice-Cream Cake
1) Crushed biscuit layer.
I used chocolate and plain shortbread biscuits, put in a plastic freezer bag and crushed with a rolling pin. The crumbs were mixed with melted butter, to help them stick together.
In the picture, the pan on the right has the finished biscuit base, complete with melted butter. The pan on the left just has biscuit crumbs.
This needs to chill in the fridge for a while, so it is cold and set.
2) Ice-Cream Layer
I spread a layer of strawberry yoghurt ice-cream over the biscuit layer (note that Rachael also had a layer of melted chocolate, but I thought it would be too rich for us today).
The ice-cream needs to be allowed to soften before you try and spread it, so either keep it in the fridge for an hour or two, or put it out on the worktop as soon as you start making the biscuit base. While the base is cooling, you can prepare layers 3 and 4. By the time they are ready to use, the ice-cream will be soft enough to spread.
3) Raspberry Sauce Layer
Rachael uses caramel or chocolate sauce over her ice-cream, but I thought a layer of nice, red fruit would be appropriate for a Valentine's Day dessert. You could use ready-made sauce if you preferred, but I made mine.
This is Raspberry Coulis. It's made with tinned raspberries in syrup. I poured the tin of fruit into a nylon sieve, to strain off the syrup (keep this in a jug/bowl!). Then I put the sieve over a bowl and pushed the fruit through the sieve with a spoon, to make a nice puree, leaving the seedy pulp in the top. This is a bit more time-consuming than just blasting the fruit in a blender, but you get a better flavour, as the seeds can make it bitter and grainy. I added just a little icing sugar, to sweeten it and give it a nicer texture.
You can use fresh raspberries - or any other berry or soft fruit. It can be pureed straight away, or simmered in a little water and sugar, to make it soft and slightly syrupy. Strain and puree through a sieve, as above. Throw away the pulp and seeds (unless a greedy person in your home actually likes this, in which case...).
Spread the raspberry sauce over the ice-cream layer. I also added a layer of crushed meringue. I thought this would add extra interest and a bit of crunch!
Place the desserts in the freezer and leave to set (I left mine for a good hour or so).
4) The Cream Layer
Whip some double or whipping cream. I added a little of the raspberry syrup from the tinned fruit and a spoonful of raspberry coulis. This added a little flavour and colour to the cream layer.
The picture shows the whipped cream, with crushed meringue pieces being folded in.
In case you're wondering, I used a ready-made meringue nest to make my crushed meringue pieces.
I took the desserts out of the freezer about an hour before serving. I used a knife dipped in hot water to go round the edges of the desserts. I turned out each one onto a little plate, so it was upside down, then I was able to pick it up carefully by its biscuit layer and put it right-way-up on a serving plate.
Then I put the whole thing back in the freezer to set. About fifteen minutes before serving, I transferred the plate to the fridge. However, it was a bit too frozen when we came to eat it and I think five or ten minutes at room temperature might have been a good idea (or longer in the fridge, perhaps).
A slice of Valentine's Ice-creamy yummy-ness! You can see the lovely layers very well in this shot.
This tasted super-nice! The shortbread and extra butter gave the base a wonderful flavour, which was just right for the fruity raspberry sauce and the yoghurty ice-cream. The choccy and meringue pieces were sweet and a little bit crunchy and it was all loooovely and cooold!
I think you could call this dessert a success!