|My life is so filled with activity, it moves so fast and twists and turns with the challenges of being a mom, wife, employee, part-time self employed translator, blogger, partner, friend, lover, cook, being silly, having fun and so much more.
When I was younger I rarely thought of concepts such as regeneration, peacefulness, or soul-searching as a necessary balance to all this activity. Today I find that balance in observing and immersing myself in nature.
Be it a walk in the woods, the vineyards, on the beach, or a just a drive through the evening light. Be it in Rhodes, Corsica, Malaysia, Honduras, Portugal, Holland, or in many other places I have traveled to.
Out the door, twice around the corner, 4 minutes away and there it is. Enticing through the seasons, ever changing, influenced by the wild flowers that grow there, the light, the weather.
Walking through the field behind my house with a camera in my pocket. To me it is my haven, my inspiration, my restfulness, my source of peace and tranquility. And today I want to share it’s emerging fall glory with you. read more …
What is it about the number three that is so fascinating that it keeps popping up?
As children we were 3 siblings and we read: The 3 little pigs, The 3 bears, The 3 Billy goats gruff, we sang 3 blind mice, and later learned that there were 3 witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, we read the 3 sisters from Chekov, drooled over the 3 Musketeers and danced to the 3 Degrees.
As a historical reference Wiki says: It is frequently noted by historians of numbers that early peoples had a word to describe the quantities of one and two, but any quantity beyond this point was simply denoted as “Many”.
In many religions 3 stands for the triple deities or concepts of trinity such as: the Christian Holy Trinity, the Hindu Trimurti, the Hindu Tridevi, the Three Jewels of Buddhism, the Three Pure Ones of Taoism, or the Triple Goddess of Wicca.
In filmography, in sports, in philosophy, in music and in technology to name a few, 3 always has had a special connotation.
For me 3 is the number of people in my immediate family: my husband, my son and myself, and the number of jams I made in one weekend.
The racy Spicy Herb-Roasted Plum with Cinnamon, Lavender and Rum, the tart Yellow Peach with Ruby Red Grapefruit, and the enticing and beautiful Red Vine Peach and Red Currant Jelly with Juniper Berries, Gin and Anis
Returning to my beloved New England for my XXth class reunion was worth
making the transatlantic flight;
even it was only for 4 days. I hadn’t been “home” (my parents and siblings no longer live here) for 20 years! But some things never change. The smell of the sea when you get off the plane in Boston, the humidity in the summer, and the thoroughly charming mixture of old and new, city and country that is possible in this historic area of the USA.
My son Jasper was along for his first visit to Boston, New England and the Academy. On the first day we whale-watched, went to Faneuil Hall Marketplace , had a private tour of MIT and then the official 2.5 day reunion activities picked up at Phillips Academy in Andover, where my husband joined us. We totally enjoyed every minute of our 4 days despite the endlessly pouring rain that even caused the cancellation of the famous alumni parade led by the Clan MacPherson Pipes & Drums marching band, to my and Jasper’s great disappointment as it has been a tradition since the 1950’s for graduation and reunions at Phillips Academy.
Sunday after brunch we took off to the coast driving to Crane’s Beach, around Cape Ann passing through Ipswich, Essex, Gloucester, Rockport, Salem and on back to our take-off at Logan Airport. We had clams, lobster roll with all the trimmings at the famous Clam Box in Ipswich where the line is always long because the seafood is so fresh and delicious that people drive from miles around to eat it or take it away.
Preferably steamed and eaten with melted butter and lemon. I used to always bring them back live when I visited my family. Airport and flight security have now made that option such a hassle that we just don’t do it anymore. Since you can’t always get them in Europe and if you do they are very expensive, I decided to try the frozen ones in this Pasta dish that is simple, elegant and tasty while combining the sea and the forest. I adore the fresh seawood which is delcious, aromatic, salty and crunchy and adds a great twist to the sauce.
Lobster Pasta Sauce with Seaweed, Lime and King Trumpet Mushrooms
The elegance and luxury of the furnishings, the thoughtfulness of the staff, the little extras that make me feel like a princess. My family loves it too.
I have stayed many times in the Emirates Towers also on their Ladies Floor (which I immensely enjoy and find a wonderful idea), in the Dar al Masyaf villas in the Madinat Jumeirah with its beautiful beach and waterways, interesting souk and great sports center and now in the newly opened Jumeirah Frankfurt.
I was excited when my husband came home last year and told me that the Jumeirah Group
was opening a hotel in Frankfurt. He and I love getting away alone for a few days and often fly to Dubai to do just that. Could we possibly only have to drive downtown to experience that special Jumeirah feeling? We knew we would try it out as soon as it opened in August and so we did.
We booked a Skyline Junior Suite with Jumeirah special opening package and sent our preferences to the concierge “lactose-free products please”, a very nice gesture to ensure my comfort.
My hubby had secretly booked a relaxing massage for me in the Talise Spa and we checked in just in time to be shown our suite by the lovely receptionist and then I was off to start my stay with a wonderful and relaxing massage.
Our Skyline Junior Suite was perfect:
Not pretty but pretty good. Turkish Bread Pudding with Almonds, Plums, Pears and Simple Orange Rum Sauce
One of the things I remember fondly from my childhood summers in France living with my Grandmother Henriette outside of Paris is bread pudding. We would always gather the leftover pieces of baguettes from lunch and dinner and place them in a cotton sack that hung behind the kitchen door. When the sack was full and the bread was hard, it was time to make bread pudding.
Aside from bread, raisins, milk and eggs, my Grandmother always put generous slosh of Negrita rum in her sweet dishes such as crepes, bread pudding or rice pudding. Negrita is not only presented in a beautiful bottle and is an excellent cooking rum, its smell is just glorious. To me it is heady and filled the smell of adventure: pirates, sabers, ships and beautiful islands.
Its gorgeous smell still lives on behind the doors of my Grandmother’s buffet, bought in 1930 and having its place of honor in memory of Henriette in our dining room. My father and I share a smell and a smile when he comes to visit as a special remembrance of a wonderful woman.
I have always loved bread pudding, so simple and so nourishing and it just gets better from day to day.
Inspired by Eat Boutique’s recent recipe Blueberry Bread Pudding I created my own version using leftover Turkish pita bread and adding plums, pears and almonds as a homage to these seasonal fruits. I have accompanied it with an simple Orange Rum sauce to highlight the fruit and in honor of Henriette and her buffet.
Bread Pudding never looks very pretty but it is pretty good! Yummmmm… enjoy!
Turkish Bread Pudding with Almonds, Plums and Pears
Ahhh London… capital of Great Britian, city of sights and wonders, home to the Monarchy and Food Blogger Connect since 2009. London to me is an uneasy melting pot of international cultures and political backgrounds, united often by necessity under the Queen’s English, where people drive on the wrong side of the road, eat kippers and beans for breakfast and where the tube doesn’t hold your toothpaste but rather daily commuters and tourists.
Arriving somewhat uneasy after watching a week of horrifying looting and the destroying of people’s lives and livelihoods, seeing the smiles and receiving the hugs of my fellow foodies at FBC reconciled me to a city which admittedly I am not very fond of.
I greatly enjoy Food Blogger Connect: for the people you meet there, the energy of our common passion for food along with our wish to be “good” if not always “successful” bloggers, keeps me coming back for more. And for the gracious and exhaustingly-working hostesses who put so much thought and effort into making the conference a success!
I had offered 4 cooking courses (Soups & Appetizers, Vegetables & Salads, Fish, Meat and Poultry, Dessert) for 6 € a participant to local kids ages 11-15 who’s families couldn’t afford to go on vacation. I had a program worked out based on a group of 12 kids which aside from cooking also included dividing the kids into groups, rotating them so that they did at least one step of each recipe, writing the recipes down, learning about ingredients and cooking methods pertaining to the subject matter, talking about their favorite foods and so on. Yes that was the plan…….
A spontaneous 2-day trip to Paris with my girlfriend Claudia was just what I needed to refresh my perspective on life.
At the end of July most of the Parisians have fled the city for “les vacances” (collective French vacation), never mind the tourists. They are left to their own accord to wander the streets of what sometimes seems an illuminated ghost town or the backdrop for an expensive historical movie. It is a little eerie and always charming… as only Paris can be.
What is your reason for visiting Paris?
Birds over Notre-Dame cathedral?
To visit Sacre Coeur basilica?
or a costume party?
Sorbet at midnight?
How about fashion?
Or the famous blue velvet sky of Paris la nuit?
Well my reasons were:
A Seine picnic from
Paris, whatever your reasons – vive la vie!!!
P.S. Merci Claudia
I have continued to play around with various smoking and braising variations a lot of them tea-based. I recently discovered jasmine ball tea which looks like miniature brown/grey/green balls of wool. The wonderful fragrance and convenient form led me to buy 2 packs of them during our recent visit to Bruges, Belgium, were we had a look at the city and enjoyed the annual Cactus (Music) Festival.
Here is my first experiment using the tea balls. A tea braised skinless duck breast that is then quickly grilled at the end for your crispy pleasure. Served up with a ½ passion fruit for dipping the crunchy moist pieces in. We thought it was very yummy.
- 2 duck breasts, skin removed, washed and patted dry,
cut in half down the middle lengthwise
- 1 TBSP cornstarch
- Additional juice from ½ a lime (optional)
- ½ ripe passion fruit (maracuja) for dipping (optional)
Our mini-trip to France last week to attend a wedding in Burgundy would not have been complete without visiting le Marché on Sunday morning. Even before we left we had talked about buying a poulet rôti (rotisserie-grilled chicken) for the famous piquenique voiture the French roadside picnic that must begin at 12:00 o’clock midday exactly no matter where you are, any roadside will do.
But in my heart and fuzzy mind, having celebrated a wonderful Bal Musette (a popular dance to traditional French accordion music held outside or in a tent) in honor of our dear friends Elke and François’ wedding on the shore of the mighty Saone river, I knew I wanted more than just chicken at the market and I was excited to see what was in season.