Author: Ruth

Detoxifying Drink: Cleanse and detox your body with this delicious and easy to make juice

This juice does not only cleanse your body but it is also packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals.  A   perfect drink for the  warm coming days, due to its colour, freshness and sweet taste.  The carrots and grapes provide plenty of natural sweetness, which match perfectly with the mild  pungent taste of the celery and the  crisp scent of   parsley. When juicing your herbs, do not remove their individual stalks since they are full of flavour and nutrients.  We suggest that you drink this juice regularly to give your system a complete clean-out and to  keep  light and fit, so you can feel more comfortable in  your favourite summer dresses and swimsuit.  Serve this drink cold and decorate with some celery sticks (to stir). Sip it on a deckchair by the pool while enjoying the sun and a favourite book or a magazine.

To make 1 large or 2 small glasses

Ingredients 

1 celery stick

300g/11oz carrots

150g/50z green grapes

several large sprigs of parsley

celery or carrot sticks, to serve

Method 

1. Using a sharp knife, roughly chop the celery, carrots and grapes through a juicer, then add the parsley sprigs. Add the remaining celery, carrots and grapes in the same way and juice until thoroughly combined.

2. Pour into one or two glasses and serve with celery or carrot stick stirrers.

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Enjoy other juices and smoothies recipes in this book: Juicing smoothies & blended drinks by Suzannah Olivier and Joanna Farrow

Other related links: http://my.blackmores.com.au/fitness-nutrition/detox-juices.html

http://www.thekitchn.com/5-healthy-juice-recipes-to-kickstart-your-new-year-182093

The shoemaker – beautifully crafted shoes made by my late grandfather

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My grandpa Joseph Scerri working in his roof garden…I love the 60s-style orange shoes which is lying on the floor..

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One of my fondest memories from my childhood is the time I used to spend with my grandpa in his workshop. I couldn’t wait to leave my mum`s house to escape her obsession of playing Barbara Streisand’s songs all day long, and go to my grandparents, especially during the holidays. Between the smell of my grandma`s baking and the scent of wood, glue, leather and clay, this was a perfect playground, compared to my mum`s boring routine. I used to spend hours  trying to make small furniture for my doll house with the help of my grandpa, and sculpting small statues with his clay casts. I learned so much from him and I am sure that my love for practical work and maybe also drawing evolved from these playful experiences. He used to let me paint his workshop door in all sorts of colours; can you image leaving a paint job to a seven year old, given their colourful taste? Sometimes pink, sometimes orange and maybe with some flowers and suns on it as decoration :).  As long as I was enjoying myself and learning something he did not complain. I used to come up with something new every day; sometimes I wanted a bed for my doll, a handmade present for a friend or a wooden frame for one of my drawings. I used to drive him crazy, but he was so patient. He used to ask me “What`s new today Ruti? What are you going to come up with today?” all with a suspicious sweet smile.

Losing him when I was nine years old was one of the most painful experiences in my life, however all the experiences and discoveries continued to grow with me. He did not leave just beautiful memories behind him but he also left a lot of beautiful shoes 🙂

My grandfather was a shoemaker. He used to make and fix all kinds of shoes. He was one of the few shoemakers left in the Cottonera / The Three Cities. Actually there was a time when he was the only shoemaker in Birgu. Although he made some shoes for me as well, I was not lucky enough to have him alive when I was growing up, you can imagine how many shoes I would ask him to make for me. My mum on the other hand was an extremely lucky girl. He used to make her a pair of shoes for every new outfit, including that of her wedding. I am sure that this is a dream come true for most women. Now I am the new owner of all these shoes and I also wear them for special occasions. Apart from shoes, he used to make leather belts, jackets, bags and other accessories. It is a pity that trades like this are becoming very rare. I am very grateful that my grandpa had shared all this talent with us. He was a person who was gifted but  humble at the same time, given that his trade, although requiring skill, patience and creativity, was just a common job that was already dying at the time.

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An interesting detail of one of the shoes…I still wear this one..it is one of my favourites

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Some of my grandpa`s Sketches and scribblings

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My mum`s wedding shoes also made by my grandpa

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Different photos of my mum during the 70s wearing my grandpa`s shoes..she looks so proud:)

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A beautiful leather camera bag made by him in the early 70s

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I couldn’t believe my eyes when I discovered these. One of my greatest treasures..my first shoes made by my own grandpa. Super cute.

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my grandpa when he was 20 years old

BODY DIY: Boost your metabolism with natural remedies – Part 1

In this post  I want to share with you some natural remedies that helped me to lose weight and keep healthy throughout the years. Today (part 1 of this post) we are going to discuss chili peper and ginger, both very particular in taste and both very helpful  during cold winters (since they can boost our Immune system). They can make our  dishes and drinks heartier and less boring.  Ginger can also serve as a home-made remedy for cold and flu, by adding it to warm water with  lemon and Hanukkah honey.

Chili: 

Spicing up your food does not only make your meals more adventurous but also gives you a lot of benefits.  Spices like chili are thought to raise the  metabolism by up to 50 % for up to three hours after eating; since it increases the heart rate. I enjoy chillies in everything (most of the time fresh); in savouries, chocolate and also herbal teas.  If you are not  adventurous with hot spices you can start introducing them slowly to some of your favourite meals. You will build your tolerance gradually and you will begin to appreciate its versatility and gain the benefits. If you have tried and you really  can`t take the heat and your body can`t  handle it you should go for other natural remedies.

http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/calories/burning_calories/boost_metabolism.htm

“Eating chillies can have a very positive impact on people that are overweight or suffer from diabetes, say a team of researchers at The University of Tasmania, whose research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in July 2006”

http://www.chilli-willy.com/chilli-health-benefits/

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My own chili plant:)

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Illustration by one of the world’s first scientific illustrators (and entomologists!), Maria Sibylla Merian
http://www.goplaymagazine.com/

Ginger: 

One of my long time daily rituals is starting my day with a cup of  warm water with lemon and ginger (peeled  and grated). I suggest that you drink this delicious warm drink early in the  morning on an empty stomach.  This will help the bowel move regularly and it will serve as a tonic, thus it is easier to lose weight and avoid having a bloated stomach. Ginger also heals many digestion problems, it is  ideal for people who are going through chemotherapy, due to the fact that it  helps relieve nausea and heartburn. 

“Researchers found that participants who consumed ginger displayed greater levels of thermogenesis — the warming effect of energy produced by metabolising food in the body — and reported lower levels of hunger. While calling for further scientific studies on the topic, the researchers cautiously concluded that ginger could prove to be a helpful tool in managing and losing weight.”

http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/can-ginger-metabolism-5086.html

You can also use ginger in cooking both in savoury and sweet recipes.

We will be discussing other remedies in the upcoming BODY DIY post. Watch out:)

 

Easter Sweets and Gifts

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Easter eggs from Belgium…yummy:)

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A really cute sheep soft toy from my sister in law. I named her Doris:)

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A present from my mum. Easter candles. I love the packaging:)

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Lindor Stracciatella Chocolate. Inspired by the classic Italian ice cream recipe. Super delicious.
http://www.lindt.com.au/swf/eng/products/lindor/lindor-gift-boxes/lindor-stracciatella

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A present for myself. Wooden wall hook.

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another present for myself:) NEW LOOK wedge heels

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Figolli Easter traditional sweets

Today we are sharing a well-known traditional Maltese sweet, perhaps a new discovery for our followers from oversees. One of my fondest memories when it comes to Easter is “helping” my grandma Bice making the Easter Figolli. I will never forget the table covered in flour amongst other ingredients. I used to love that mess and the smell of almonds and dough baking in the oven. Heaven:)

Later she used to place on the table an impressive number of these almond cakes in a variety of forms and shapes (most of the time symbolic shapes) and cover them in chocolate or royal icing. Obviously being a chocoholic  I used to have mine in chocolate:) As a finishing touch she would decorate the Figolli with tiny edible silver balls and an Easter egg in the middle.

This year I have tried to go back in time by making the Figolli with my mum and my sister in law Maria. I couldn’t resist trying a piece with a cup of coffee and it tastes delicious, maybe not the same as my grandma`s but it’s close enough. This time we experimented a little bit with the decoration, but we have tried to keep it traditional as much as we can. Up to a few years ago in Malta, children (including me) used to take their Figolla with them to the procession of the resurrection Christ on Easter Sunday and when the statue was passing by, they would start shouting with the Figolla held up in their hands, “Bless it for me!”. Sadly this sort of enthusiasm for simple rituals such as this is a rarity nowadays, however it is still a sweet and fond memory of mine.

We hope that you will enjoy and try our recipe so you can share it with your families and loved ones, and you have a peaceful and happy Easter.

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EASTER FIGOLLI RECIPE

Pastry

800g plain flour

400g butter, cut into pieces

350g  sugar

4 eggs

1 lemon/orange (grated zest)

dark, milk or white chocolate  (you can decorate your Figolli in the traditional way, with Royal Icing)

Filling 

600g pure ground almonds

2 drops of almond essence and vanilla essence

600g icing sugar (sifted)

Grated zest of one lemon

4 egg whites

Sift the flour into a bowl, add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips.

Add the Sugar and the lemon/orange rind and mix.

Mix in the egg yolk and gather the ingredients into a dough.

Knead the pastry and cover the pastry in cling film and leave it in a coll place for 30 to 40 minutes.

In the meantime mix together the ground almonds, essence, sugar and lemon rind in a bowl. Add the egg whites and mix well.

Roll out the pastry over a floured surface and cut  the pastry into shapes (using figolli cutters)

You will need to pastry shapes for each figolla. Place  3/4 tablespoons of almond mixture on 1 pastry shape . Moisten the edges of the pastry with a little water water and then top with another pastry shape.

Press down to seal the edges together well.bake in a moderate and to slightly hot oven for 35 minutes (until the figolli are golden)

Brush the melted chocolate over the cooled figolli (2 coatings) Decorate with easter eggs, sweets, vermicelli, etc…

Have fun and and be creative when you decorate your Figolli:)

Other related recipes:

http://www.raycalleja.com/gprec06/gp06mar26.html

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Home-made Protein Bars

Protein bars are ideal for a hectic and busy lifestyle and they can be eaten as a healthy snack before or after exercise (approx 1 and a half hour before). However some of the ready to buy bars are not always very tasteful (artificial taste) and  they are quite pricey.  They are candy in disguise;  full of sugars and preservatives and artificial colouring.  Some of these bars contain low quality ingredients such as soy protein isolate, high fructose corn syrup/solids (55% made in laboratory) and trans-fats.

Learn how to make healthy delicious protein bars by following our  recipe which I borrowed from my friend and  professional fitness instructor Alice Galea.  I have tried them myself and I promise you that they taste super delicious; like eating  cake or  pudding but healthier 🙂 These bars contain fibers, protein, natural sugars and other beneficial vitamins.

Ingredients:

8 apples (chopped with skin)
8 pears (chopped with skin)
3 mashed bananas
1 litre egg whites (you can use whole eggs instead but you will be adding much more calories , use 6-8 eggs)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 teaspoons almond essence
15 scoops (3 full mugs) vanilla whey protein powder
200g to 400g  nuts ( any kind)
200g  rolled oats (Quaker oats)
3 teaspoons Cinnamon

Optional Ingredients:  WARNING:) the more ingredients you add the more calories you will be adding

You can add peanut butter, dates, coconut flour or shredded coconut, sultana, dried fruit, concentrated apple juice

You can also add cocoa powder to make it more chocolatey (very similar to a traditional /pudding/pudina)

Original recipe makes 30 to 35 bars (depending on the cutting size)

Method: 

Put the fruit in a blender or chop manually  (do not totally puree)

Stir in  all the other ingredients with the chopped fruit

Pre heat oven on 180° for 7 mins before and bake in a shallow dish for 25-30 mins , the shallower the dish the less time it takes to set and bake

Leave it to cool , cut it into portions , wrap in cling film and freeze

This can be a complete meal , you can eat it for breakfast , lunch or dinner (or before and after exercise/ approx 1 and a half hour before). Bon appetit:) Eat well and Stay healthy.

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BODY DIY: Benefits of the lavender plant

“Lavender is native to the mountainous zones of the Mediterranean where it grows in sunny, stony habitats. Today, it flourishes throughout southern Europe, Australia, and the United States. The oil in lavender’s small, blue violet flowers gives the herb its fragrant scent. The flowers are arranged in spirals of 6 – 10 blossoms, forming interrupted spikes above the foliage. The name lavender comes from the Latin root lavare, which means “to wash.” Lavender may have earned this name because it was frequently used in baths to help purify the body and spirit. However, this herb has also been used as a remedy for a range of ailments from insomnia and anxiety to depression and fatigue. Research has confirmed that lavender produces slight calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its scent is inhaled.”

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/lavender-000260.htm

I have been using lavender for the past fifteen years now; initially I used to burn its pure essential oil in a burner (diluted with water).  The relaxing and fresh smell helped to relax me and make me sleep easier. Unfortunately I have been using this ritual for so long that my sense of smell became immune to these benefits and it did not affect me anymore; now I still use lavender in a variety of different ways. I use it to moisturise my skin; by mixing it with sweet almond oil and frankincense or any other preferred essential oil. I also apply it on any blemishes and small cuts; since it  has regenerative properties, and it is an anti-infection, analgesic and anti-flamatory substance.   I also add dried lavender to camomile and drink it before I go to sleep; actually this is one of my favourite daily habits. Lavender is so versatile and it has so many properties that one can also use it for cooking (sweet and also savoury).

Here I have some lavender recipes, just for your mind, body and soul:)

Recipes: 

Lavender  and camomile bedtime drink:

Add dried lavender (1 teaspoon of dried lavender flowers in a tea strainer) and a camomile tea bag into a cup of boiling water. Drink it before you go to sleep, you will sleep like a baby:)

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dried lavender. It can be purchased from http://www.suma.coop

Body massage oil:

Mix 4 drops of lavender pure essential oil, 2/3 drops of frankincense essential oil and sweet almond oil as base oil.  Massage this mixture all over your body in the morning after showering or bathing. You will feel and smell good all day long:)

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dried lavender. It can be purchased from http://www.suma.coop

Bath oil: 

  Add 6-8 drops of  Lavender essential oil after running  water, stay in it for a couple of minutes while listening to relaxing music. Great for aching muscles, relaxation and stress relief.

Burning lavender pure essential oil:

Add 2-4 drops of lavender with water in a burner. Light a tea light and place it underneath the burner to heat the water and oil so they evaporate and fill your room with a fresh and comforting pleasant smell.

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dried lavender. It can be purchased from http://www.suma.coop
burner from the body shop http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/

http://www.afternoontea.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=830&Itemid=1#.UTULdzCkq5I

Granny`s Lavender Shortbread

300g flour

50g cornflour

50g caster sugar

50g icing sugar

250g unsalted cold butter, cubed

25g dried lavender

1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have a crumbly, almost pastry consistency.

2. Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper or a baking mat and place the mixture on top.

3. Cover the dough with greaseproof paper and roll it out until it`s about 4mm thick and bake for 15 minutes at 165C.

4. Using a shape cutter cut out the shape 5 minutes after removing it from the oven.

5. Sprinkle  a light coating of caster sugar on top.

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Lemon and Lavender Sugar Biscuits

(makes about 30 biscuits)

200g caster sugar

2 tbsp dried lavender, plus extra to serve

2 tbsp lemon zest

245g plain (all purpose) flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

180g butter, chopped

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

icing sugar, to serve

1. Put sugar in lavender in a bowl. Rub the mixture together with your hands to bruise the lavender petals. Set aside for 20 minutes to infuse. Add the lemon zest to the bowl and mix.

2. In a food processor or blender, add the flour, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine. Add the sugar mixture and pulse again. Add the cubes of butter and pulse until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Transfer to large bowl.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until ingredients come together to form a dough. Roll dough into a cylinder and cover tightly with plastic wrap ensuring dough is completely sealed. Chill in the fridge for two hours.

4. Preheat oven to 175° C (345°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper.

5. Remove dough from the fridge and discard plastic wrap. Allow to sit for five minutes to soften slightly and make it easier to roll out. Dust the work surface with a bit of flour and using rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circular shape, about 5mm thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes and carefully transfer to the baking tray ensuring a little space is left between each.

6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cookies  are slightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Dust with icing sugar and scatter a few dried lavender petals onto each before serving.

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Other related links: 

http://www.allthingslavender.com/

Forget the winter blues and prepare for springtime

With all the special moments that winter time brings now I am getting a little bit fed up of chunky scarves and heavy clothes. I am craving for longer and warmer days wearing just a light dress and maybe a cashmere cardigan, and going for long walks by the sea or sipping cold white wine somewhere outdoors on the island. Here we prepared for you a playlist that makes you forget the winter blues and prepare for springtime. Click here or the image below to be directed to the Groovessehark Playlist.

Milord – Edith Piaf

The Winner Is – Mychael Danna

What Sound- Lamb

Again – Lenny Kravizt

Black Cherry – Goldfrapp

Mad About You – Hooverphonic

Pink Fluffy Dinosaurs – Hooverphonic

Smashed Bird – Soley

Taken By Trees – Lost and found

Riverside – Agnes Obel

Clap Your Hands – Sia

Magic Day – Lou Rhodes

Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey

We Won’t Run – Sarah Blasko

Arms – Seabear

Il cielo in una stanza – Mina

Aqua e Sale – Mina and Adriano Celentano

Come Away With Me – Nora Jones

La Bambola  – Patty Pravo

Fine and Mellow – Billie Holiday

I Just Want To Make Love To You – Etta James

I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone

Che cosa c’è – Giusy Ferreri

I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool

This time in our mystery literature box you will be discovering a world of dazzling beauty and sophistication.  A world which will be experienced again in one of the most anticipated films of this year. Finally it is time to drink champagne and dance on the table;) Enjoy…

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Have you guessed? It`s of course The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

Full Description: 

“Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. But one thing will always be out of his reach …Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby – young, handsome, fabulously rich – always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.”

(Source for Book Description and Purchase)

Other books by F.Scott Fitzgerald: 

The Beautiful and Damned 

This Side of Paradise 

Related material that you might like:

the-great-gatsby-2012-movie-trailer-0_0

The Great Gatsby Movie. Release date: May 2013
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1343092/?ref_=sr_1

Suggested place to read: outside in a garden or a veranda 

Suggested time: tea time or a on a clear breezy spring evening 

Suggested food/drink:  a glass of  Veuve Clicquot or Moët & Chandon champagne

great gatsby drink

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152422915720593&set=pb.240462150592.-2207520000.1359377308&type=3&theater

Things to wear while reading it: white pearls

Fabulous Photos of Famous Flappers (3)

Body DIY: Beetroot Soup

Every now and then here at Design Sorbet, we will be dedicating a special place in our blog to share with you a couple of simple things that you can do yourself to take care of your body and your health. The best thing about these posts is that we will offer you advice and projects that you can enjoy doing whilst enjoying their benefits in the process. Hopefully these natural remedies will make your day brighter and will also get you feeling good (or better) in your own skin.

If you are craving for something warm but still colourful and unusual I suggest that you try our nutritious sweet beetroot soup. Once again I am sharing a recipe which I borrowed from my mum. I just love the dense texture and the combination of the sweet beets with the pungent notes of the garlic and onions. Perfect for winter; filling and delicious but still helps with your Post-Holiday Detox. Apart from being a low calorie food, beetroot is also rich in healthy fibres, Vitamin A, B, C and Magnesium, very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. Beets also contain phytonutrients known as betalains which give this vegetable root its unique deep-red colour, these have been shown to be potent anti-oxidants, helping as anti-inflammatories and as excellent detoxifiers. From the Middle Ages, beetroot was used to treat conditions, especially diseases that are related to digestion and the blood. Due to its distinctive colour and sweetness this soup can be suitable for children and those who want something different from  the usual green winter soups.

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Ingredients: 

1 Kilo Beetroot

4 large onions

6 large garlic cloves or shallots

2 large potatoes

1 chicken cube/stock (preferably organic)

water (enough to cover ingredients)

Methods:

Place  all ingredients except the beetroot in a large pan and cover with water.

Cook over a low flame and allow to simmer.

Pierce the potatoes and other vegetables with a knife to see if they are well cooked.

Wrap each beetroot individually in foil and bake for 45 minutes at 180°.

When ready peel the beetroot and add it with the other  ingredients.

Leave all ingredients to cool and blend them with a food processor or a hand blender.

Reheat and serve.

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