In the darkness of winter we have our most festive holidays. By necessity they are filled with lights and candles and the warmth of the glowing fireplace as well as fireworks. These not only replace the natural light missing at this time of the year but also serve to remind us that the darkness will not last forever. At this time of year we come together to renew our bonds of family and friendship, gathering together as the ancients must have over the fire pit in their caves waiting for the return of the light. No matter where you live you can join in the celebration.
Since fire is an important element you must use special care at this time of year. Never leave candles unattended even for a short time. Be especially careful in the bedroom. If you accidentally fall asleep with burning candles disaster could result. We also like to have candles in the bathrooms for more than one reason. Do not put them on the back of the toilet tank. Someone could light their hair on fire inadvertently. And be careful near towels and other fabrics as well.
Nothing is quite as cozy as a roaring fire. Of course use the usual precautions such a having your chimney cleaned and using a fire screen. Be aware that fire in certain sections of your home can create issues. When you have fire in a metal section of your home such as the West or Northwest you initiate the controlling cycle. Fire dominates metal by melting and destroying it. You might find you have more respiratory problems or more difficulties for the breadwinner of the house.
Balancing the Darkness
Use holiday lighting to balance the dark areas of your home. Finding a usually dark corner glowing with fairy lights will bring a smile to anyone’s face. You can find battery operated strings of lights in most hardware and holidays shops. With the new style of decorative lights there is little fear of over heating, but if you are using older types or your lights are several years old be sure to test them and turn them off when you are not home or have turned in for the night.
Because it’s the holidays let depart from the usual mission with a fun recipe.
Fire and Ice
On the theme of fire, why not add a little fire and ice to your holidays with an easy but impressive dessert-a Baked Alaska. You can find many recipes online and can vary the flavor of ice cream to suit your taste. Peppermint might be especially suitable to the celebration. Basically line an 8 inch mixing bowl with plastic wrap and then pack it with your favorite ice cream flavor. Cover the top with wrap and place it in the freezer until firm, at least several hours.
Bake a pound or sponge cake or use a cake from your favorite bakery to save time. Trim it to an 8 inch round to match the ice cream bowl. Chill or freeze your cake on an ovenproof plate or cookie sheet. Unmold your ice cream-this is where the plastic wrap helps. Wrap the bowl in warm towels if it is stubborn. Remove the plastic and place the ice cream on top of the chilled cake. You can then wrap and return to the freezer for up to two days at this stage.
Just before serving make a meringue. In an immaculately clean glass bowl beat 8 egg whites with 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. Remove your cake from the freezer and quickly spread the meringue over it making lots of peaks. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven until lightly browned. Serve immediately. You can make a depression in the center of the meringue and spoon a little brandy into it. Turn off the lights and carefully light the brandy for a special fire and ice effect. Enjoy.