Quantcast
DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 02/28/14

Friday, February 28, 2014

THE CARNIVAL OF VENICE FROM ITALY!!!



    The Carnival of Venice is a festival that's steeped in history, vibrant colors, outlandish costumes, spectacular masks and of course a whole host of events make the Carnival of Venice one of the most popular times to visit the wonderful City of Masks!!
    Venice is such a beautiful and amazing city that it really doesn't need a Carnival to attract even more tourists, but the Venice Carnival is definitely one of the city's top events, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors during a time of year that might otherwise be quiet. During the 1970's, the Italian government decided to bring back the history and culture of Venice, and sought to use the traditional Carnival as the centerpiece of their efforts.





    You have nearly two weeks to come to Venice and enjoy the carnival festivities and to really be involved in all the fun, you'll also want to buy or make a mask to partake in the festivities and to really enjoy them to their fullest capacity. The costumes, masks and an assortment of events that happen around Venice Carnival time, means that families with children can enjoy it too, after all, what child doesn't like dressing up in a costume?
    Once you've got your costume and mask sorted out you'll want to know where all fun is taking place! There are events around most of the city during the Carnival so you shouldn't have to look very far.





    The Carnival of Venice historically had a reputation for attracting Europe's aristocracy, but it was also a time when the poorer of society could dress up and mingle with the upper classes. Venice still has a reputation for being a very expensive city though, if you're on a budget don't let this put you off on visiting the Carnival of Venice as you can actually visit Venice on a shoestring budget.
    The Carnival of Venice starts around two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.






Venetian Carnival Masks

    Masks have always been a central feature of the carnival; traditionally people were allowed to wear them between the festival of Santo Stefan (St. Stephen's Day, December 26th) and the start of the carnival season and midnight of Shrove Tuesday. They have always been around Venice. As masks were also allowed for Ascension and from October 5th to Christmas, people could spend a large proportion of the year in disguise. Maskmakers (mascherari) enjoyed a special position in society, with their own laws and their own guild.





    Venetian masks can be made in leather or with the original glass technique. The original masks were rather simple in design and decoration and often had a symbolic and practical function. Nowadays, most of them are made with the application of gesso and gold leaf and are all hand painted using natural feathers and gems to decorate.

Bauta

     Bauta is the whole face, with a stubborn chin line, no mouth, and lots of gilding. One may find masks sold as Bautas that cover only the upper part of the face from the forehead to the nose and upper cheeks, thereby concealing identity but enabling the wearer to talk and eat or drink easily. It tends to be the main type of mask worn during the Carnival. It was used also on many other occasions as a device for hiding the wearer's identity and social status. It would permit the wearer to act more freely in cases where he or she wanted to interact with other members of the society outside the bounds of identity and everyday convention. It was thus useful for a variety of purposes, some of them illicit or criminal, others just personal, such as romantic encounters.




    In the 18th century, the Bauta had become a standardized society mask and disguise regulated by the Venetian government. It was obligatory to wear it at certain political decision making events when all citizens were required to act anonymously as peers. Only citizens of Venice had the right to use the Bauta. Its role was similar to the anonymizing processes invented to guarantee general direct, free, equal and secret ballots in modern democracies.
    It was not allowed for the wearer to carry weapons along with the mask, and police had the right to enforce this ruling.

Moretta

    The moretta is an oval mask of black velvet that was usually worn by women visiting convents. It was invented in France and rapidly became popular in Venice as it brought out the beauty of feminine features. The mask was finished off with a veil, and was secured in place by a small bit in the wearer's mouth.





Volto or Larva

   The "Volto" was the more common mask used in Venice for centuries. Volto, means "face", a design that is was the most common, simplest mask.




Mask Makers

   The mascherari, or mask makers had their own statute date 10 April 1436. They belonged to the fringe of painters and were helped in their task by sign painters who drew faces onto plaster in a range of different shapes and paying extreme attention to detail.

HOW TO MAKE PUFF PASTRY THE EASY WAY!

   This diy comes from www.thepinkwisk.co.uk.   Baking desserts and pastries don't have to be have and difficult.  I have watched quite a few chefs make this.  They seem to make it a long drawn out labor intensive ordeal.  Follow this recipe and diy and it shouldn't be all that bad.  Tell me what you think?


How to make Puff Pastry




It’s not complicated but it does take a bit of organising in advance. I do use shop-bought puff pastry and generally have some in the freezer. Making your own is quicker than the time it takes to defrost some
(and it’s not difficult either)
This version of puff pastry is referred to as rough puff pastry, the idea being that you only get 75% of the rise that you would get with traditional puff pastry – getting technical there! However, when you see the rise you get with this its far above and beyond shop bought.
Puff Pastry takes a couple of days to do and also means you have to wrestle with a full pat of butter – hmmmm, I can be organised but not that organised!



Ingredients:


250g strong plain white flour
250g butter, cold
juice of 1/2 lemon
5-6 tbsps cold water to combine
To make the rough puff pastry add the flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor and give it a quick pulse to mix.
Cut the cold butter into 1/2cm slices and add to the food processor bowl.





Using the pulse function whizz until the butter is broken up but still in visible lumps. Tip the mixture out into a large mixing bowl.






Make a well in the centre and add the juice of half a lemon and then enough super cold water to make a dough. Use the blade of a table knife to mix the dough rather than your hands as you don’t want to melt the butter.








Once the dough is into a ball wrap in clingfilm and pop it into the fridge for an hour so that the butter hardens up again.
After an hour take the dough out of the fridge, lightly flour your work surface and then roll out the dough into a rectangle shape.






Fold into three like an envelope (see pictures below).







Turn the dough 90 degrees to the right so that the folds are now left and right. Roll again to a large rectangle and fold into three again. Turn and then repeat this step twice more, turning before each re-rolling and folding.






Each time the pastry gets smoother and more refined. Wrap again in clingfilm and allow it to chill for another hour in the fridge.






See? – It wasn’t difficult was it?
The pastry is now ready to be used for whatever you need it for. It can be frozen, wrapped well in clingfilm for upto six months. When defrosting, just make sure it stays dry and doesn’t sit in a pool of water.






Half a block is sufficient for a puff pastry top for a pie so it may be a good idea to cut it into half before freezing.
Traditionally you shouldn’t re-roll puff pastry trimmings. It disturbs the buttery layers within the pastry which you’ve worked so hard to create. However, you can. In these times throwing away pastry trimmings is wasteful and I just can’t do it. Gather together the trimmings and gently squeeze them back together as a ball.  Chill this wonky ball of pastry for half an hour or so until firm again.
This ‘wonky’ trimmings puff pastry is ideal for Palmiers – see recipe here. You can’t guarantee a huge rise or that the rise is in the right direction but it still tastes delicious all the same (and its better than heading for the bin!)

10 MULTIPURPOSE KITCHEN ITEMS THAT WILL MAKING COOKING AND BAKING EASIER!

   The kitchen can either come with great amounts of pleasure or great amounts of stress. Luckily, with a few great kitchen tools that have multiple purposes, you'll be able to fret less and whip up many more delicious meals. These 10 affordable tools are essentials in any kitchen, and you probably have several of them in your own. Read on to find out the many uses for each tool and share your tips in the comments!


Silicone Spatulas

Silicone Spatulas

   Silicone spatulas come in pretty colors that brighten up your kitchen, and they come in very handy while baking, but I like to use mine for frying or scrambling eggs. They're delicate on the egg and help keep things from sticking to the pan too much.


Pastry Scraper

Pastry Scraper

   Typically, pastry scrapers are used for handling pastry dough. This handy tool is also incredibly useful when it comes to transferring chopped vegetables from your cutting board to your pan.



Microplane Zester/Grater

Microplane Zester/Grater

   One of my very favorite tools in the kitchen, the Microplane zester/grater is perfect for zesting all kinds of citrus fruits, as well as for grating garlic finely, which brings out excellent flavor. You can also use it to grate whole nutmeg and hard cheeses.



Mandoline

Mandoline

   This simple handheld tool speeds up prep work by a lot. I use mine for evenly and thinly slicing onions so that they're more palatable, and all different fruits and vegetables to get great texture in dishes. I particularly love using my mandoline to slice vegetables for pizza toppings. You can also slice up salami and cheese for great presentation. It's not as bulky as some of the other mandolines on the market, and it's a cinch to clean.



Cheese Grater

Cheese Grater

   Grate all the cheese you could ever want on this sturdy grater, but don't forget to try grating onions as well! Grated onions imparts a lot of flavor into recipes without adding texture, making it a great base for soups and stews. I also love to grate carrots for salads using my cheese grater.



Pyrex Baking Dish

Pyrex Baking Dish

   I can't sing the praises enough of the Pyrex baking dish. I'm convinced that it plays a role in roasting up a deliciously moist chicken, and I am a huge fan of how it evenly bakes sweets. I use my Pyrex dish on a daily basis. Roast vegetables, meats, and bake up all kinds of sweet recipes in yours.



Pyrex Measuring Cup

Pyrex Measuring Cup

   The clear glass cup makes for easy measuring, but I use mine primarily for mixing up salad dressings. You can adjust your measurements along the way and easily pour your homemade dressing all over your salad. It's also incredibly useful for pouring eggs out one at a time, which many cake recipes call for.



Cast-Iron Skillet

Cast-Iron Skillet

   Once you start cooking with cast-iron pans, it's very difficult to go back. This heirloom pan comes in all different sizes and it ensures even cooking. A number of recipes can be cooked using cast-iron, including bread, pizza, cakes, meat, and they will all turn out with excellent flavor.



Mason Jars

Mason Jars

   From vases for fresh flowers to more traditional jam or pickle containers, mason jars are one of the most useful containers you could ever own. Use yours to store leftovers easily in your refrigerator or bring meals to work or school (salads, soups, rice bowls, smoothies, etc.). They are easy to clean and last forever. Never again taste the undesirable flavor that comes from plastic containers in your food.



Mesh Strainer

Mesh Strainer

Dust powdered sugar on your chocolate soufflé with a mesh strainer, or rinse rice and beans before cooking. Strain stocks and soups or position it on top of a pot of boiling water to steam vegetables.