The holiday season will soon open the fun part of the year. Preparing for Halloween to me means decorating my clients’ home with fall colors, organize thoughts for Christmas decorations or parties, putting food away for the winter and arranging the garden that will go dormant soon.
Although Halloween is not one of the holidays I prefer, I like to set up a few things for the autumn celebration.
I adore the jewel tones of the fall colors, I like to wear them and I like to see them on my table. It is so easy to design my clothes in striking combinations with purple and orange, or green, baby blue and ochre, blue, gray and yellow, or pumpkin, burgundy and beige. This is the season to be playful, we can just copy what nature does and repeat it in our fashion ensemble.
My globe of happiness must contain all things around me. I want my garden to play with statues, fountains or some jewels and radiate its vibrant energy back into my house.
Even my wild birds are happy playing in my garden. They see their reflected images in the gazing globes and think they are in the mirrors, then coquettish go sing at me from their hideaway in the threes. Often, just like the birds, seeing myself in the globes I experience my oneness with the Universe and the positive energy that these Spheres of Light as they were also called bring to me, to my house and my garden.
Every object in space emanates energy. Inanimate objects such as glass or metals affect our life just as much as celestial objects, stars and planets do. The round shape of the gazing globes like all the circles is a harmonious shape, it supposed to bring happiness, good luck and prosperity. Thus, it is a good idea to place gazing balls near every entrance of a home, in gardens around plants and even inside the home. The legend says the gazing globe keeps away misfortune, evil spirits and illness, but I believe this legend is true, because the round shape is a very powerful shape and keeps things moving around and around.
Placing the gazing ball on iron stands will add a powerful strength to the globe sitting it on stones or on top of vases will add certain elegance. The highly reflective glass of the gazing globes is suitable to show off the garden in different views. Grouping them at different height between plants and flowers will add playfulness, as I have seen the famous glass artist Dale Patrick Chihuly doing in his traveling exhibition throughout the Botanical Gardens of America.
I have made my small Versailles with a few globes in my garden, but only because I heard they keep the witches away. Witches can’t bare to see their image reflected in the globe.
Gazing globes remind me so much of the bull’s eye mirror my grandmother’s had in her kitchen and used it to see who was at the door while she was cooking, or to keep an eye on us kids. We couldn’t escape out the door without being noticed.
Some of my clients have a “Butler Ball” in the Butler Area, which alerts the servants that the guests sitting at the dinner table need assistance without staring at them. It feels a Victorian era all over again when I am invited to such high level engagements. I only need the petticoat and a fan in my hand.
I am joking, I feel very honored being invited at my clients’ table.
Gazing globes are an invention of the 13th century Venetian glass blower artists and after eight centuries are still bringing enjoyment.
Please, let’s not get the witches disturb us while we are preparing a nice butternut squash bisque for Halloween night and some pumpkins cookies.
My globe of happiness include cooking and enjoying eating as my wellbeing and as fuel for my brain.
Remember that: “The red on the cheeks come from the mouth”.
Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque
2-1/2 lb. butternut or acorn squash
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 medium onions
a hand full of dried thyme, chopped
1 small bay leaf
2.5 oz. of ham or Italian prosciutto, cubed
3-1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup whipping cream
freshly grated nutmeg
salt to your liking
Preheat oven to 350F. Split squash in half lengthwise. With spoon, scrape out seeds and fibers from cavity. Season with salt; place flesh side down in a lightly buttered baking dish.
Add in 1/2 cup water to baking pan. Bake 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until skin is browned and flesh is tender when pierced with knife. Remove from oven; let rest until cool enough to handle. Scoop out flesh; discard skin.
In large saucepan melt butter. Add diced onion and season with salt to your taste. Sprinkle thyme over onions. Add bay leaf.
Saute’ prosciutto with onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the onions are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes and the prosciutto is golden. Add the pulp of roasted squash. Season with additional salt and pepper. Cook 5 more minutes, stirring often.
Add broth, bring to simmer uncovered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste. Remove bay leaf. Puree soup, in blender or food processor.
Stir in 1/4 cup cream and grated nutmeg. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper. Decorate it with a few basil leaves. I like to add some parmigiano shavings. Ciao,
Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She operates in the USA and Europe. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms. She is the author of two published books on Italian regional cuisine, available here in this site on the Books page and in various other locations: