Sunday, December 29, 2019

Nature Photography at Amico Island - Deer and spectacular Sunset behind Phiadelphia Skyline #WindPhotography

Doe a Deer
Hobbies like nature photography get us out of the house for hours and moving more. Harry and I took our cameras to Amico Island Park located in Delran Township, NJ - part of Burlington County Parks System.
I was hesitant at first thinking how can I ever capture anything like my first visit to Amico Island photo. Do you remember the magnificent blue heron showing off his full wing span? That was on Amico Island.

On this visit, soon after our arrival, an excited photographer came up to us telling us she saw a large number of deer in the woods. I quickly went in that direction to see if I could find them. Harry stayed behind taking pictures of a beautiful landscape of tree reflections on a pond.

When I found the deer, they allowed me to take their pictures. The deer stayed together hiding in the woods as they listened for other walkers and kids riding their bikes. 
As you can see, I got close enough to see their sweet faces. Their color tones blended perfectly with the dried weeds and grasses in the winter landscape. A large buck strolled by too; I was in awe and could not react fast enough to snap his photo. The late day light streamed through the trees outlining the deer's bodies, even their whiskers! 
This was the first time I noticed deer had whiskers and distinct markings on their faces. They are such beautiful animals. 

Besides having white underside their tail, white-tailed deer display white rings around their eyes and nose that remind me of our cat Sammi. Sammi's eyes have beautiful, thick white outlines above and below her eyes.

After my hike thorough the woods and getting lost after wandering off to find deer to photograph; I finally found Harry on my way back to the car at a scenic overlook of the Philadelphia skyline.

Within minutes, just before the park closed, we had a chance to view a most spectacular orange glow across the Delaware River as the sun set behind Philadelphia!
Amico Island Sunset - Philadelphia Skyline by Diana Wind

Blog post and photographs Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Christmas Pavlova dessert : Before and After decorating with fresh sugared cherries, cranberries and pomegranate #GardenCuizine

Christmas Pavlova
On Christmas Eve my first Pavlova cake went into the oven! The big decision was white or gold? The kind of vanilla extract makes a difference. I prefer natural vanilla flavor, so I didn't go with the clear vanilla. As you can see, the whipped egg whites turned a pale gold hue. It looked festive on the table beside the flickering candlelight.

Pavlova is really like a large meringue. It was baked on low heat for 1.5 hours. After baking, the Pavlova stayed in the oven overnight until crisp and light.
On Christmas Day it was time to decorate the Pavlova. For the frosting, in place of the cream cheese, I used freshly whipped cream and pureed, unstrained, cranberries and pomegranate seeds. Sugared cherries and cranberries served as a decorative topping, along with a few handfuls of glistening, juicy pomegranate arils (seeds/juice sacs).

I'm not a big fan of fresh rosemary (or mint) on desserts, so I used fresh bay leaves instead. We happen to have a potted bay laurel tree growing inside during the winter. The leaves were just for decoration. Of course, you don't want to eat a bay leaf!

This holiday Pavlova dessert was pretty straight forward and easy to make. The link to the recipe can be found in my previous blog post.

 Notes: Pavlova is light and delicious and would make a wonderful dessert any time of year. Meringues hold up best in dry versus humid conditions.
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Blog post and photography Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Holiday Dessert: Pizzelles, Gingerbread Cookies and ...Pavlova?

Christmas Holiday Dessert
During the holidays I make the usual Italian Pizzelles with Anise oil from the Italian Market in Philly. We usually have gingerbread cookies too; but, I haven't made them yet. We are low on all purpose flour; today, I'll buzz to the store to buy more. Besides Christmas cookies, I like to have a plan for a main holiday dessert feature. 

It is hard to think of dessert after eating Mom's traditional Italian lasagna dinner. Something on the lighter side would be most appealing. This year it is going to be something new for us - Christmas Pavlova. Have you ever made a Pavlova? Pavlova isn't exactly an Italian dessert, but I want to try it.

Pavlova originated in New Zealand and Australia and is made using a few simple ingredients that include egg whites, sugar and fresh fruits. A meringue is formed into one large or several small wreath shapes and baked. 

When ready to serve, the dessert is topped with fresh whipped cream and fruit. Pavlova cakes emerged around 1929 in honor of a famous Russian Ballerina named Anna Pavlova.

In looking online for Pavlova recipes, you'll find lots of ideas. One that struck me as Christmassy and gorgeous and interesting was by Lily and Dimitry at They used sugar-coated, whole cranberries and Pomegranate arils. Both fruits are readily available at this time of year. In fact, I picked up both yesterday at Walmart of all places!!

One thing I'll probably change from Lily's online recipe is the rosemary sprigs garnish. (I also saw rosemary used in a Pavlova featured in Victoria magazine.) I do love rosemary, but rosemary has strong oils and flavor that I don't want seeping into the delicate topping. Instead, I'm considering fresh green mint leaves. 

If I have time to take pictures and post more details of how our Christmas Pavlova turns out, I will. ...Stay tuned.

Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!

Related Links
Pavlova - Sally's Baking Addiction  
Blog post Copyright (C) Wind. All rights reserved.
Photo public domain Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (1881-1931). Paris, 1st part of 1920s