My Favorite Flower: The Rose-like Ranunculus


On of my absolute favorite garden flowers are Ranunculus, in particular the variation of Ranunculus Asiaticus. That wonderful rose-like full flowers that bloom in spring nearly in every garden in Europe and are a great addition in cottage gardens. I have them in pots, around my pond and in the kitchen garden. They are just beautiful and also great as cutting flowers.

Originally they are from the Mediterranean area where they grow wild, but more ‘simple’ than the super big and full petaled Ranunculus that you buy for the garden. There are more than 500 species, some are also living in the water, still or flowing. They have tubers or bulbs that look like claws, thin and multiple for one plant. The more they have the more flowers will come out but by the time they will make more and more.


They are also called Buttercup, maybe because of the yellow color the simple, wild form has and it’s believed that it gives the color to butter. Ranunculus is the Latin word for ‘Little frog’. That maybe comes because many species are found near to water. American Natives call then also Coyote’s eyes which has an interesting story behind of a coyote who lost his eyes and put these flowers instead for seeing again.

Ranunculus is poisoning. Animals don’t eat them. It gives problems like bloody diarrehea, colic and more. Instead, when it’s dried and e.g. mixed to hay it has no toxins anymore. But like always used in a right dosage it helps with rheumatism, intermittent fever and rubefacient.


Today it seems so that the typically sold Ranunculus is the Ranunculus Asiaticus. In the US and specifically in the flower fields of Carlsbad in Southern California, they use the Tecolote Ranunculus. The ‘father’ of most Ranunculus sold everywhere today is Edwin Frazee who owns the fields. There are so many colors and color combinations today there is really ALL in it (except blue): white, salmon, yellow, orange, bright red, pink and nearly black red. In between these colors there are a lot of combinations like orange and red, white and pink, yellow and white… it seems there is no combination missed. There should be also a color called Café with bronze blooms, didn’t see them yet.

The flowers can be to 5 inches wide but most of them are between two and three inches. They are full with countless petals, a very delicate looking inside. The leaves are bright to dark green and wide spread along the stem.

They are planted in fall about 2 inches deep, don’t need too much water then and only moderated when actively growing. Full sun is the best. You can cut them in spring, it will not harm them and helps them for blooming even more. Don’t cut the yellowing foliage when the plant is dying, it helps to take nutrients for the summer sleeping time.


You can also use seeds to sow them. But you have to sow thickly as they won’t grow all.

Put them into very full field like flower beds or mix them with snapdragon, calendula, sweet pea, forget-me-not or Iceland poppies. They are beautiful in one color only or also mixtures.

The flowers last up to 6 weeks and are around 12 to 18 inches high. They need cool springs.


Why I am telling you all this about a flower I like? Well, because I have been at the flower fields in Carlsbad, north of San Diego. The many fields of Ranunculus just overwhelmed me and I took literally hundreds of photos.

I give you a small selection here. I hope you will enjoy them like I did… running around with my tripod and camera and my personal assistant helping me to change lenses, giving me shadow where needed and distracting supervisors who sometimes were too strict with even a tripod (NOT me) standing in the field, saying I am damaging the flowers.

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Flower Fields, Carlsbad, California/USA:

For further information:
The Flower Fields in Carlsbad


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In the Colorful Flower Fields of Carlsbad


After last year I have seen the many, many spring flowers in the desert east of San Diego at Anza Borrego Desert, this year I have been to celebrate spring in the flower fields of Carlsbad, north from San Diego. It was like a bath in color and nature’s incredible art.


I didn’t expect anything big and more fields where I maybe can pick flowers by myself. But it is a huge flower ground, with long and colorful fields full of Ranunculus. And because I took more than 170 photos I will write here about the flower fields and in another article about Ranunculus to split the photos.


Carlsbad Ranch is located just 45 minutes north of San Diego. 8 million Ranunculus on 50 acres, in all colors: candid white, sparkling yellow, pinky pink, the most incredible red, dark purple that sometimes seems to be black. The range of colors is amazing.

The flower originally came from the Mediterranean where still today you can find them in the wilderness. Simple flowers, that look like roses. It came to the US and started all in a small farm, flowers to have in a garden. Today they sell the rhizomes or subterranean stems of the so called buttercup every year.


The flower fields open from the beginning of March until Mother’s Day. Then they close until the following year. More than 200.000 visitors come every year to admire the colorful fields. A big parking place is provided. Additionally there is also a nursery where you can buy plants and of course all the beautiful pottery and more. There are several events every year, with music, wine tasting, photo-tours and workshops.

A very nice lady told us that the buttercups are sown (seeds of the flowers from previous year) in 2-weeks-interval. They get watered during the growing period. Then they have the openings in spring to the public with many events and close on Mother’s Day. The water-system then is closed, too, and they let literally die out the plants. In summer they dig out the rhizomes and sell them before everything starts again in October.


Of course the Ranunculus fields are the main attraction. Which is a pity. They have an area with different garden displays. A huge labyrinth made of high hedges of scented sweet peas invites to walk in beauty. We saw beautiful flower beds with delphinium and of course a lot of nasturtium or monks cress, which right now is blooming everywhere. We saw beautiful roses and I found out that there is no English name for Calendula, it is called Marigold, potted Marigold or Scottish Marigold. But I found the seeds… Our vegetable garden needs them for a better health and strength.

We, my sweety and me, enjoyed the afternoon and early evening in the fields very much and were amazed how much there is to see. We thought we can do it in less than two hours but you need at least double the time. We saw also a little handcrafts market which was gone by the time we were coming back and we had to go.

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Flower Fields, Carlsbad, California/USA:

For further information:
The Flower Fields in Carlsbad


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White Sandwich Bread for my Sweetheart


Not too often but sometimes I have that longing for bread. More than a base for something like cold meat or prosciutto or guacamole. Most of the times I eat the cold meat by its own and the guacamole with not so paleo corn chips. I know that they don’t do me any good though I tolerate the corn flour for a while.

I am still looking for the real sandwich bread I can offer also in my family and they really like it. It’s OK most of the times but they don’t go crazy. Especially my American sweetheart likes more the oh-so-fluffy sandwich bread. Why he loves so much that wobble-wobble bread will be always a mystery to me. I like bread with a crust, some crunch, seeds and something to bite. The American sandwich bread melts before I close my mouth for chewing and is completely flavorless to me.

So I am trying to find a good recipe to offer. And I found an interesting ‘rustic almond bread’ on Paleohacks.

While reading the ingredients I thought maybe it’s too much taste my Sweety doesn’t like so I decided to do it without any kind of spice. Maybe another time with garlic, oregano and other Mediterranean spices just to see the difference.


My bread came out completely white as I used almond flour. No oregano, garlic or pepper, instead of almond milk I used almond cashew milk. And voilà! I have nice white bread that my amore will love, too. Can’t wait to prepare a sandwich for him tomorrow for breakfast!

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Glutenfree sandwich bread with almonds
Almond Sandwich Bread
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
12 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Glutenfree sandwich bread with almonds
Almond Sandwich Bread
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
12 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
12 slices 10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Dry ingredients:
Wet ingriedients:
Servings: slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients.
  3. I a smaller bowl mix well the wet ingredients. I used a hand mixer.
  4. Pour now the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the dough is well combined.
  5. Transfer the bread batter into a loaf pan (previously lined with parchment paper) and bake for 1 hour.
  6. If the bread is dry in the middle (toothpick proof), take the bread out of the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack.
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Caprese al Limone – Italian White Chocolate Almond Cake


A few weeks ago I made some chocolate almond cake called Caprese. Though it is the same name it has nothing to do with the well-known Italian style salad with Mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. It’s a naturally, gluten-free chocolate cake from Italy. And yes, it refers like the salad to Capri, the famous, little island known worldwide.

But there is also a white version made with lemon and white chocolate instead the dark one.


I took the original recipe from Giallo Zafferano, which is a very well-known Italian recipe website. Looking for good, original recipes from Italy, this site is a great choice. The website is in Italian and shows also videos.

Of course, I changed a little bit the ingredients. Instead of the potato starch I used tapioca. For the whole almonds that are in the original recipe I used ready almond flour. This makes the cake more smooth. Almond meal makes the cake lighter and more ‘rustic’.

In the recipe there is some lemon flavor requested. I had none and omit it. And of course I used another kind of sweetener as granulated sugar. I used Swerve Sweetener, granular sugar without calories and 1:1 substitute. Instead of butter I used ghee, but who eats dairy Kerrygold butter is a great choice, too.

I filled the cake with my custard (get the recipe here) and dark chocolate chips and covered it with a meringue icing I found on Cook it up Paleo. My meringue frosting was not that fluffy like it seems to be on her photos. But it is holding surprisingly great.

The cake could be a great choice for an event like a birthday, wedding or anniversary.

Enjoy the cake, here everyone loved my Easter cake very much!

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Caprese al Limone
Caprese al Limone
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 30 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 30 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Caprese al Limone
Caprese al Limone
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 30 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 pieces 30 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: pieces
Instructions
  1. Chop the white chocolate chips into small pieces. You can use a blender or a food processor.
  2. Mix the almond flour or meal together with half of your sweetener of choice. Transfer the almond sugar mixture into a big bowl and add the chocolate.
  3. Add the lemon zest, the tapioca and the baking powder. Stir and mix well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170°C/350°F.
  5. Add the melted ghee, the lemon juice and the Limoncello. Combine all the ingredients until smooth and homogeneous.
  6. In a dough mixer add the eggs and the rest of the sweetener. Whisk for 10 to 15 minutes until you get a puffed cream (around two to three times more than in the beginning)
  7. Add the egg-sugar-mixture slowly into the cake batter, best to fold in with a spatula.
  8. Transfer the almond chocolate cake batter into a round cake pan and put it into the oven.
  9. After half an hour put a silver foil over the top that the top can't burn. The cake is ready when a toothpick in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

You can't decorate the cake with icing sugar or using it as a base for a cake filled with cream, just cutting the cake horizontally, fill in the cream, put on the top part of the cake and cover with some icing or more cream.

The cake can be stored in the fridge for a few days. Best to put it in a airtight container to keep it fresh.

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Happy Easter!


It’s Easter Sunday AND April Fools’ Day! When will this ever happen again?

Did you know that this day has a very common and long history? The first record of April Fool’s Day comes from 1392 and was mentioned in ‘The Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffrey Chaucer.

In Italy, we call it ‘Fish of April’, in France it’s called the same way. The real origin and why on the 1st of April is unknown, but it seems that Fools’ Day was always there. Maybe to give also adults the possibility to live their childish moments. I think it could be a very much Roman tradition during the long festivities in spring.

We don’t know but we all enjoy to make jokes and sometimes we also believe what magazines and media tell us right this day. Before the day after the truth comes out.

So I wish you a Happy Easter AND a joyful April Fools’ Day! Don’t believe all you hear today and be kind to your neighbors 😉

For a wonderful spring start I send you a bunch of flowers out of the garden, enjoy and have a great Day!

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