What I love about the change in weather is that you get all kinds of wonderful colours appearing in nature. One of the most stunning transformations can be the change of colour in ivy. Many houses, walls and trees are covered with this, not always to the benefits of the material underneath. Although the ivy can look glorious with its shiny leaves, trees can be killed due to lack of nutrients and water and walls can collapse due to damage to the mortar.
However, that does not mean it creates some stunning sights. I love it when you can actually see ivy that has different colours. When turning from green to a vibrant red it makes any dull wall look so much more interesting.
During Christmas time ivy is a popular plant to use for decorating. As it comes in such large strings and with nice green or red leaves, it can be easily draped around products like candles and vases. For Christmas ivy leaves symbolise eternity and resurrection so goes well alongside holly and mistletoe.
Ice comes in many shapes and forms through winter and Christmas (in the northern hemisphere). First of course is frozen water outside. As in the Northern hemisphere the weather most likely will be around freezing (or well below) water freezes and you will see ice everywhere. In Scandinavia and Northern European countries ice skating on natural ice is incredible popular. Many people can’t wait for prolonged days and nights of below freezing to guarantee a thick enough layer of ice to skate on.
As a child I spent many winter days skating over frozen lakes and ponds. Even if it is really cold, we would still go out and enjoy it. Because you knew that after an afternoon out, you would enjoy the warm hot chocolate and the warm indoors. With the sun out, everything starts to shimmer and shine and this gives great photo opportunities.
Another way to enjoy ice in winter is through ice cream. Ice cream can be traced back in time as far as the Persian Empire. Back in those days there was not the fancy dairy ice cream you have now. Instead people would pour concentrated fruit juice over snow, a great treat when it is hot in summer. The Middle East is where we can find the first traces of dairy based ice cream and where the first commercial production of ice cream starts. Nowadays Italian ice cream is considered to be amongst the best in the world.
In most modern supermarkets you will be able to get different types of ice cream, based on yoghurt, milk, cream or water. You can also pretty much get any flavour combination you want although most popular are vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.
This might be the closest to winter those in the southern hemisphere, like New Zealand and especially Australia come to experience winter ice at Christmas 🙂
As many people have extended time off at Christmas it is great fun to make your own ice cream and it is actually not that difficult to make. A great one is made with passionfruit but you can try any fruit you like. You do not need an ice maker or any fancy tools.
175 grams of sugar
200 ml water
1/2 kg of passion fruits
Put the sugar and water in a pan, bring in to boil and leave it for 2 to 3 minutes. Take it of the fire to cool down.
Cut open the passionfruit and removed the inside into a bowl. Once you have done all the fruits you can push the flesh through a sieve if you do not like the pits in it. Add in some lemon juice.
Mix all together, pour in a bowl and put the bowl in the freezer. Leave in the freezer overnight.
Serve in a champagne glass with some sparkling wine. A great way to either start your Christmas meal or have a break between different courses. Enjoy!