ENTERTAINING on Crisp Autumn Days

EntertainingTime Out
By Mary Canovas


Apple Turnovers

It´s soon going to be apple harvest time.  These turnovers are so easy to make. Warm from the oven or at room temperature, they bring back so many memories of crisp autumn days and beautiful multicolored fall forests in New York.


  • 1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 4 apples peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 tblspns lemon juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Place the sliced apples in a bowl, combine with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch.
  • Stir until all are well combined.
  • Leave undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • If necessary and depending on brand, roll out the pastry to make it thinner. Cut pastry sheets into squares. The apple mixture will release a lot of liquid – don´t throw away the liquid, but make sure you use a slotted spoon to put the apples in the pastry as you don´t want liquid in the turnovers.
  • With a slotted spoon, place apple mixture on to the center of each square. Put a tiny dollop of butter on top and fold over from corner to corner into a triangle shape, and press edges together to seal.
  • Beat an egg with 1 or 2 tablespoons apple liquid from remaining mixture. Brush entire top of the turnovers with egg mixture.
  • Place turnovers on a baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until turnovers are puffed and lightly browned.
  • Cool completely before glazing.

The glaze: To make the glaze, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Adjust the thickness by adding more sugar.  Glaze will harden after aout 5 minutes. Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream – makes 6 to 8 turnovers



Cream of Mushroom Soup


  • 1-1/2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms or other dried mushrooms
  • 7 cups  (1  2/3 liters) chicken broth, any kind: homemade, brik , canned (you can use water and chicken cubes too)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. – 280 gr. chopped button mushrooms
  • 2 thinly sliced leeks (white part only)
  • 2 thinly sliced medium shallots
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 parsley sprigs, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dry sherry or Madeira
  • 1 teaspoon salt, ground black pepper


  • Make an herb bundle.  Tie the parsley sprigs, fresh thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine.
  • Place the dried mushrooms in a large bowl.
  • Bring the broth to a boil and pour over the dried mushrooms. Set aside to rehydrate for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the mushrooms and reserve the broth. Roughly chop the mushrooms.
  • Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the button and rehydrated mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and somewhat dry, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the leek and shallot and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Pour in the reserved mushroom broth, and bring to a boil while whisking constantly and add to the soup.
  • Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool.
  • Remove and discard the herb bundle.
  • Transfer the mixture to a blender in batches and puree until smooth. Using a sieve over a large bowl, strain the mushroom mix. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.
  • Whisk the heavy cream, sherry or Madeira and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Serve immediately.



Coffee Creamers— Coffee Mate copycat

For those who haven´t tried coffee creamers, get ready for a new sensation. A coffee latte is more or less rich but with different flavored creamers you open up a treasure trove of international flavors.  How about the basic French Vanilla with a hint of vanilla or Irish Cream (Bailey´s  people ???…) or absolutely basic Mocha (chocolate lovers) or if you dare, Peppermint Mocha  – great for the holidays and anytime.

Brand name creamers like Coffee Mate, etc. are hard to find in Spain but you can make them at home very easily and at a quarter of the price of commercial creamersYP and, very importantly,  without any chemical additives .

Base Recipe for Coffee Creamers

The Base:  All creamers always start off with this base recipe.


  •  1 cup – 240 ml condensed milk (not evaporated)
  • 1/2 cup – 120 ml whole milk
  • 1/2 cup – 120 ml heavy cream or double cream


  • Pour all ingredients into a bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed . Place in a closed container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


French Vanilla : The easiest and perhaps
most popular creamer


  • 1 Base Creamer – see recipeabove
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( use the best quality you meet )


  • Add the vanilla to the creamer and stir until well blended.


Mocha: This is a classic latte with a hint of chocolate ….

Ingredients:  1 Base Creamer and 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

Preparation:  Mix the creamer and syrup.


Irish Cream: If you like Irish cream, this is for you


  • 1 Base recipe CreamerIrish_coffee by Frettie
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


  • Mix all ingredients well. Stir well.


Peppermint Mocha: Essential for the holidays
and those cold winter days and nights


Creamer Recipe Database

  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract


  • Mix all ingredients well. Stir well.

Important – Use and Expiration: Refrigerate when not in use. Always shake the mix before serving. Use  from 1-4 tablespoons or to taste.• Expiration: The ingredient with minimum expiration date  (usually milk or cream ) – approx 1 week .



Chocolate Panna Cotta

This just might be the easiest and most satisfying dessert you will ever make.  It has become fashionable all around the world because it is a perfect ending to any meal.  What is Panna Cotta? We believe it originated in the northern Italian Piedmont . Basically it´s a cold custard-like dessert made with heavy cream and/or milk, sugar and gelatin. There are no eggs in the recipe, so it can be recommended for pregnant moms, the very young, elderly or anyone with immune or other health problems.

Since we use pure cocoa powder instead of chocolate bars, it is also suitable for most celiacs.  There are many varieties of panna cotta : original vanilla , coconut , mango , almond, Nutella … Our recipe is for a very popular variation on the original milk panna cotta  This one´s for all of us chocoholics!

You can check out our tutorial (in Spanish) at En Casa Contigo below.



Serves 4

  • 1 cup whole milk – 240 ml
  • 3 teaspoons – 10 gr. Royal unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups -480 ml heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup – 120 g sugar – to taste
  • 4 tablespoons – 28 gr. Cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetened whipped cream to serve ( optional )


  • Pour milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over the milk and let soften for 5 minutes.
  • Heat the heavy cream, sugar and sifted cocoa powder in a medium saucepan over medium- high heat, until it starts to simmer, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar and cocoa completely.
  • Add gelatin mixture; continue whisking over medium heat until it returns to a simmer until all ingredients are incorporated.
  • Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir with whisk until well blended. Let cool about 20 minutes or until it has reached room temperature.
  • Whisk the mixture at room temperature (this ensures that it won´t separate when refrigerated ).
  • Pour the panna cotta through a fine sieve into the mold.
  • Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours or more.Autumn 2

To serve: Run a thin knife around the edge and invert onto a serving plate. Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate curls, fruits, chocolate or caramel syrup….


Featured image/ Hefin Owen, CC BY-SA2.0 via Flickr
Apple/Dermot O’Halloran, CC BY2.0
Dried mushrooms/Andre Karwath aka Aka, CC BY-SA2.5
Making Irish coffee, by Frettie, CC BY3.0