Romy Schneider: Greatest actress of all time

Romy Schneider was only introduced to me within the last couple of years by my Austrian friend. Romy is not as well known in America but she is unforgettable in Europe. She was known as the "German Shirley Temple" in her early age. Romy Schneider was an Austrian-born actress who starred in German, French and American films from 1950's through the early 1980's (making over fifty films). 

Although she played the Empress of Austria in Sissi, her life was far from a fairy-tale. Her father left Romy's mother (actress, Magda Schneider) when she and her brother were young. Magda's new husband (Romy's stepfather) embezzled her acting money. On romance...her heart was broken several times (first by Alain Delon who left her for another woman and then the suicide of her first husband). The worst was when she lost her son when he was only fourteen in a tragic accident. 

Romy Schneider was voted "Greatest actress of all time" by the readers of French newspaper "Le Parisien" and voted the premiere star of the 20th century in 2006. 

Romy didn't want to play princess roles or be known as a movie star. She said this about her role as a princess..."Sissi sticks to me just like oatmeal." She refused to make a fourth Sissi movie. She wanted to be taken seriously as an actress. She moved to France and escaped her stepfather and was also challenged more as an actress.

She was stunning and a true talent. She died of natural causes when she was only forty-three. Her friends and family have complete conviction that she died of a broken heart. 

 1. "The moment I put on that first Chanel suit I knew I'd never wear anything else. Fashion is unimportant - elegance is all important."

2. "If you get a great opportunity you have to grab it and don't let go, then extend it with a lot of effort...talent is nothing more than love for the cause."

3. "To get everything, one has to give everything. Which is quite a discovery for me. I know I am not easy to live with. I am hot tempered. I ask too much of friends. One should ask the maximum of oneself. But not of others."

4. "Work, work and more work is my only true life. Life must go on. My work gives me strength."

5. "The most important thing about me is that I am an actress. It would be a lie to say that acting was just my job or something I did for fun. It is my life. I have my home, my husband, my son. I have to be a little schizophrenic to cope with it all. But I am basically an actress who has a family; not a wife and mother who also acts. I prefer to work in films but if I was unable to then I would work on the stage. I couldn't just stop and not be an actress any more."

*This post is dedicated to my Austrian friend, Margot. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag und danke for introducing me to Romy Schneider. xx

Anne Burrell: Valentine's Day recipe and upcoming premier

“Reprinted from Own Your Kitchen. Copyright (c) 2013 by Anne Burrell. Photographs copyright (c) 2013 by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC.”
I've been a fan of Anne Burrell ever sense I watched her as Mario Batali's sous chef cracking eggs one-handed at lightening speed on Iron Chef. I can relate to her love of Italian food (especially pasta)! I love her simple approach to pure and rustic food. 

Just in time for Valentine's Day! Enjoy this Cappuccino Panna Cotta recipe, courtesy of Anne Burrell on behalf of Food Network’s series, Worst Cooks in America.

Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay are back to transform kitchen disasters into skilled cooks in the fifth season of Worst Cooks in America.  Premiering on Monday, February 17th at 9pm ET/PT, the seven-episode season pits formerly undefeated series champ Anne against last season’s winner Bobby, each leading a team of disastrous cooks in an intense culinary boot camp designed to turn them into confident kitchen heroes.

Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Cooking! Happy Premier for two of my favorite chefs, Anne and Bobby! xx 

cappuccino panna cotta with chocolate sauce

Serves 4
Time: About 30 minutes active and at least 2 hours to chill

Mise en Place
For the panna cotta
4 sheets of gelatin
3 cups heavy cream
3⁄4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1⁄2 vanilla bean
1⁄2 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans, for garnish
For the chocolate sauce
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

For the panna cotta:
1 In a small bowl of cool water, submerge the gelatin sheets to soften. They will go from stiff to soft, kind of like the texture of a giant contact lens. Feel one—it’s SO cool!

2 In a small saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, and espresso powder. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise down one side, open it up, and scrape out the seeds with a paring knife. Add the seeds and the hull to the pan. Whisk to combine everything.

3 Bring the cream mixture to a boil and then immediately turn off the heat. Remove the softened gelatin sheets from the water and squeeze out the excess water. Add the gelatin sheets to the pan and whisk to combine.

4 Immediately ladle the cream mixture into four 6-ounce ramekins and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

For the chocolate sauce:
1 Fill a small saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring it to a boil (BTB).

2 In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate chips, heavy cream, butter, and corn syrup. Place the bowl on top of the pan of water (this is a double-boiler setup). Reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir until the chocolate has melted and all the ingredients are combined. Remove and use immediately or store in a warm place until ready to use.

To unmold the panna cotta:
1 Fill a small saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Run a paring knife around the outside edge of the panna cotta to loosen it. Set each ramekin in the saucepan for 10 seconds. Place a small serving plate on top of each ramekin and flip it over to unmold the panna cotta. If it doesn’t release, put the ramekin in the water for a few seconds more and try again.

2 To serve, ladle a couple tablespoons of the chocolate sauce around the panna cotta and sprinkle with a few chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Note: If you can’t find gelatin sheets, you can substitute powdered gelatin, but first you need to “bloom” it in water—which just means dissolving it in a little bit of water until it looks sort of like jelly. It takes only a few minutes. Then you need to dissolve it with your hot liquid—it’s easy, but sheets are a lot more fun. To use powdered gelatin in this recipe, first bloom one 1⁄4- ounce envelope in 2 tablespoons water, then add it to the mix, and you’re back to business as usual.