Saint of the day:
Saint Verena (Switzerland) Orthodox
Patron Saint of lighthouse keepers, of poor; sick; lepers; young girls, nurses
Saint Verena's Story
St. Verena came from a noble Christian family from the region of Thebes (Luxor). They advised her to go to Bishop Sherimon of Beni Suef, who instructed her in the Christian faith and later baptized her. St. Verena joined the Theban legion on its mission to Switzerland; the soldier’s relatives were allowed to accompany them in order to look after their needs and attend to the wounded. She was a close relative of St.Maurice. After St. Maurice and his legion were martyred, she led an isolated and hermitic life of fasting and prayer. God performed many miracles through her.
The saint served as a spiritual guide for young girls. Since she was a nurse, she also looked after their physical well-being. As a result of her fame, the ruler arrested her and sent her to jail, where St. Maurice appeared to her to console and strengthen her. After she was released from prison, she traveled to several regions. God continued to perform miracles through her. She also led many people to the Christian faith.
St. Verena was also fond of serving the poor, often feeding them. She tended to the sick, especially those suffering from leprosy. She lovingly treated their wounds fearless of their contagious disease. At the time of her departure, the Holy Virgin Mary appeared to her to strengthen her. She departed this life and went to live with the Lord on the 4th day of the Coptic month of Toot. In 1986, a delegation from St. Verena Church in Zurzach, Switzerland, brought her holy relics to Egypt. May her prayers be with us and her love and service to others be planted within us.
Saint Verena's Church in Switzerland, brought to Egypt a part of Saint Verena's relics.
Saint Verena’s Church in Cairo, which was consecrated by Pope Shenouda III on February 22, 1994.
Saint Verena's Coptic Church in Anaheim, California traveled to Switzerland to bring a part of Saint Verena's relics to Anaheim.
Her church, now located in Yorba Linda, California, now has a shrine dedicated to her relic.
We are celebrating with a Swedish recipe because our Saint was from Switzerland.
Swedish Cheesecake (Ostkaka)
If you’re looking for one of those sweet Americans style cheesecakes, forget it. This is the much less sweet Swedish version – ‘Ostkaka’ – which simply means cheesecake. It is a really old Swedish traditional favorite, first mentioned in the 16th century – it’s that old.
The original version requires you to go buy some rennet and make milk curds from scratch, but cottage cheese works well too, so that’s what I use in my version. Indeed, most people use cottage cheese nowadays except purists. I’d say this cheesecake is not dissimilar to the ones you get in Northern Spain, in the Basque Country – and, like the Spanish ones, work well with a glass of sweet sherry on the side. This recipe is naturally gluten free.
This cheesecake is served lukewarm, never cold and never hot. Most people enjoy it with a dollop of strawberry or cloudberry jam on top, although I prefer a quickly made compote and some fresh berries.
The recipe fits a standard brownie tray, approx 20 x 20 or similar, but you can use any sort of dish or even a spring form. Just don’t forget to line the dish.
Ostkaka with hallon (raspberries)
75g caster sugar
400g natural cottage cheese
100ml double cream
50 g ground almond
1 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla bean paste
Pinch of salt
1 tsp almond essence (optional)
50g flaked almonds
Dusting of ground cardamom
For the topping:
Dash of water
Turn the oven to 325'F.
Whisk the sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Add all the ingredients apart from the flaked almonds and cardamom and pour into your prepared tin.
Scatter the flaked almonds on top, then dust the tiny bit of ground cardamom (less than 1/2 tsp – it’s just for a bit of flavour).
Place in the oven and bake until set and slightly golden on top. This depends on your oven – but around 30-40 mins is a good guideline.
To make the topping: Place 100g raspberries in a saucepan, add the sugar and a dash of water and boil until the raspberries have broken down and it looks like a runny jam. Leave to cool. Use the remaining berries to decorate.