TISANA. Fruktbiter drikke.

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The access to fresh fruits in Venezuela is simply a blessing. Our drink “Tisana” is a celebration to them. It is found all along the country and it can be made with any fruit you can think of .

This great drink is full of: vitamins, textures, colors and flavors. It is definitely a favorite for kids. Alternatively, it can be served frozen, in small plastic cups with an ice stick into them to be enjoyed as a super healthy iced lollies.

Even though this might seems to you more like a summer recipe, do not shy away from it only because it is winter!!!! It can be adapted to any seasonal fruit you might happen to find: blueberries, bananas, oranges, strawberries, grapes, kiwis, etc.

What makes a “Tisana” a proper one is its: Pinkish color, grenadine flavor, the amount and size of the fruit pieces: one bite size and variety!

The original recipe calls for grenadine sirup, but here in Norway is not so readily found: only in the “Winmonopolets” because this sirup is mostly used in the cocktail making… not cheap!

In replacement for the grenadine sirup I used FUN LIGHT: Granateple flavor and IT WORKED PERFECTLY!!!!!

Here my recipe:

1  litre Orange juice

800 grms (aprox.) of fresh fruit pieces: apples, watermelon, pineapple.

Fun light: Granateple flavor… add to taste (I used about 1 cup)

Mix well in a bowl: orange juice, fun light (to taste) and the fruit, let it rest for one hour in the fridge so all the flavor can be soaked up by the various fruits. Enjoy with friends and family.

MARQUESA DE CHOCOLATE. Sjokoladepudding kake.

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Or as I prefer to call it: “our sunday cake”.

Me and my sister used to get together to make this cake, on one hand: to do something on the otherwise boring sunday and on the other, to have something fast and tasty to munch on for the rest of the day.

Imagine a 10 year old (the writer) and a six year old (my sis) all by themselves (technically) in the grandma´s kitchen with a big pot of chocolate pudding and a big pile of Marie biscuits…of course, the half of the lot was already in our tummies by the time we had finished assembling it… Those were the days!

Today this tasty cool cake can be found under the name of Marquesas in Venezuela, being equally popular among adults and children. I guess it is so because works as a good alternative to ice cream, since it is served cold.You can find them in the fridges in the shops around Venezuela with variations to the pudding flavor and toppings such as: flaked almonds, crushed oreos, hundreds and thousands (sprinkles), bolero, or the can-never-go-wrong: grated chocolate!

Here in Norway we find the ´sjokoladepudding´in boxes of 500 gr. already made! simply warm it up and use! Freia and Piano are the most popular local brands.

However I would rather make my own pudding mixture, so if you have the time…here is my recipe:

Ingredients for the chocolate pudding

300 gr Milk (or chocolate drink) (plus 1/2 cup to dip the Marie biscuits)

20 gr Maizena

100 gr Chocolate bar (I prefer the dark/mørk one)

395 gr (1 can) Condensed milk

1 Tbsp Instant coffee

sugar to taste (I didn´t use any, to me the sweetness given by the condensed milk is enough)

50gr  Margerine/butter

Procedure for the chocolate pudding

Wisk into a sauce pan: milk, maizena, condensed milk and coffee, bring to a boil. Lower temperature and keep cooking and wisking to prevent lumps from forming. Once it has thickened… as a good pudding should… break the chocolate into small chunks and add it to the mixture, wisk until incorporated. Now, in goes the butter. Incorporate well. Set aside and let it cool down, cover with cling film making surface contact.

Assembling the chocolate “Marquesa”

Dip the marie biscuits in the milk one at the time, otherwise they will go soggy, and place them as one layer all along the bottom of a glass baker (any glass baker shape you have will do).

Cover them well with the pudding mix, smooth it using the back of a wet spoon. Then add another layer of dipped biscuits and so on, all the way to the top. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 2 hours.

Before serving: sprinkle the cake with the topping of your choice (flaked almonds, colourful  sprinkles, grated chocolate, crushed oreos, etc)

Notes:

If making the pudding mix at home: remember that the Maizena has to be incorporated while the milk is cold (or at room temperature), before starting to cook. If done when the milk is already hot it will form nasty lumps that will be very difficult to get rid off later on.

– You can use any liquid to dip the Marie biscuits in.

– You can substitute the chocolate pudding for any other flavour you might wish.