September 15, 2012
Sunflowers would highlight any day. They show us the way to the slightest sunray. “Tournesol”, from the Italian “girasole”, -”which turns with the sun”- bears such an appropriate name.
Fine and fragile cosmos playing with the breeze, in white, pink, purple spreading out their petals like arms to better grasp the light and warmth of this Season.
And what about the fruits that abound at this Season ? Now it’s time to pick prunes, mirabelles, pears. Soon there will be grapes – a big event in our area – apples, fruits meant to last and be enjoyed during colder days. Yes, let’s face it, Summer is going to end, Fall is at the door.
“What constitutes the end of Summer for you ?” This is the question Scott Thomas asks on his blog to anyone wishing to participate in his new photo assignment until September 26.
It should be very interesting to see how each participant feels about and look at the change of Season. I am going to think about it.
If you would like to take part in this new photography challenge, please click on the above link to get all the information.
A second life for this old fountain and a home for all kinds of pretty flowers.
September 8, 2012
Some weeks just go by their own quiet way and rhythm. I do not mean a routine because there seems to be something special in each day. In some weeks though there are events out of the ordinary, people and places you will remember. The week described here was one of those.
Monday is sometimes a day when I try cooking new recipes. Pies or quiches are amongst my favourites. Some of them I find reading blogs such as Tammy’s. Her blog is not only about food but also about community supported agriculture. Well worth reading.
The recipe is about a tomato pie. Since I had a big and beautiful zuchini waiting to be picked in the garden, I added some of it in the pie (grated and grilled a little). This is the only change I made. It tasted really delicious, Thank you very much, Tammy.
On Tuesday I had to go to town and found a quiet lane to walk for a while with Nino-the-beagle. Guess whom we met ? Another beagle looking lonely behind a fence. What do two beagles say to each other when they meet : “Let’s escape together and go hunting !”
Wednesday morning. Brilliant clouds welcomed me as I opened the shutters. “O, beautiful golden clouds, what will you bring us on this day” ? As it happened, the warm morning turned into a stormy day. A rather temperamental weather this Summer but a rain that was well needed too.
A short break after work on Thursday afternoon. As we were sitting on a bench with a friend, a “school-boat” was floating down the canal. A lady was steering the little boat back to its mooring. Not as simple as it looks and she did very well.
On Saturday morning at our friend’s home, we were awaken by a ballet of helicopters. Every third minute or so, a helicopter would fly over the area, fill a big bucket of water (700 liters) and pour it down on the forest which had caught fire during the night. It took the pilots two whole days to stop it. Nobody was injured and the damage could be stopped in time.
Sunday was a happy celebration day ! Family and friends gathered around Alima, our youngest niece. The sun shone brightly for her. There were prayers, songs, dance and lots of African food and music. Another change of scenery in this particular week. Alima was quite comfortable and relaxed dancing in her proud grandmother’s arms.
Guess what I did on Sunday ? After a rest following the previous long day, I sat down on a lovely terrace between sky and earth, took my pen and some nice stationary; I wrote to a dear friend all about my recent week. Internet is not part of her world and we both enjoy exchanging letters every month.
August 7, 2011
Summer is a bouquet of wild violets catching the late afternoon sunrays
Summer is the scent and sweet taste of fresh raspberries just picked in the garden.
Summer is the Season when straw hats bloom under the heat.
Summer is another beautiful opportunity to play “cache-cache” (hide and seek) in the meadows with your friend.
Summer is a time for many celebrations.
In Summer roses of all shades and shapes love to blossom.
What is yours ?
January 24, 2011
Two dessert recipes for two pears, or a pair, sweet pears in any case
This is my participation in Scott Thomas Photography’s challenge whose theme is “Food”.
Choose a not too ripe pear and peel it without cutting it in slices. Let it simmer gently in some water with sugar, star anise, cinnamon and a little lemon juice. In the meantime prepare a chocolate sauce (some water and chocolate). You may add some light cream before serving, if you like it.
Here is another recipe for a dessert with pears or apples. Cut the pear in two pieces and cook it at slow heat in a non-stick pan with a little sugar, part of a vanilla pod , a few seeds of cardamone and some lemon juice. The pears should take some colour and a lovely crust but not too much ! Then just serve it warm with a sorbet (or ice-cream). I chose a passion fruit/mango yogurt sorbet. We call this kind of dessert a “chaud-froid” – “warm-cold dessert”.
I had a “bon appétit”, thanks for asking;) But this second picture was rather difficult to take. By the time I had finished turning around the table to chose the right angle for my picture, as suggested by Scott, the sorbet had melted and the picture looked like nothing at all. Well, not so bad after all since I had another portion of sorbet
January 17, 2011
Do you think this picture is out of Season ? In my part of the world, absolutely ! But “Food” is not. It is a matter that concerns us all daily and everywhere.
I chose this summerly image of vegetable gardens in a mountain village to tell you about a new photo assignment by Scott Thomas Photography http://stphoto.wordpress.com/ at Views Infinitum.
All about it – with some very interesting information and advice on Food Photography – is explained here :
Have a look and join us before Midnight (your time), Wednesday, January 26th, 2011. Wish you much fun ! Et “Bon appétit”
November 19, 2010
What is my Autumn like ? The first sign of my favourite Season is the light haze over the horizon. It is not a fog, just a slight mist, a hazy look that tells you for sure that Fall is there.Autumn brings a most colourful change in nature. In the mountains the larch trees needles turn into a bright yellow-orange shade before falling down into a soft carpet.
Soft and natural carpets everywhere. The kind of carpet I enjoy walking on because of its rustling sound and ever changing colours.Autumn is a Season of celebrations in my canton (state). A family tradition is the meal where everyone, young and less so, meet around a convivial table to eat roasted chestnuts. We usually eat those with various sorts of mountain cheese, “viande des Grisons” (air-dried meat, beef, produced in the canton of Grisons), rye bread and butter, grapes, apples, all local food. On this occasion we drink must (grape). Every year we so look forward to meeting and eating this rather simple and tasty meal in good company.Autumn is also a time for grape harvest in this particularly warm area. Vineyards have been planted for centuries on the side of the mountains and down in the valley. Never do the vineyards look as beautiful as now ! A patchwork of hard work almost all year round. What a reward and a pleasure when the vintage is a good one !This is an ancient cellar no longer in use but I remember that “my grand-father-from-the-mountains” (as I used to call him) had a similar one under his house in a small village. He would take my hand, bring me to his cellar and show me proudly his yearly harvest. What a work it meant !And what a delight to savor the grapes from one’s own vineyard !Grapes and apples, the two kinds of fruits that Autumn gives in abundance over here.Gratefulness for these many gifts of nature in this wonderful Season.
Many thanks also to Scott Thomas for having brought up this new photography challenge.
There is still time to participate ! Your photos have to be posted before Wednesday, November 24.
September 7, 2010
One morning recently, a good friend called saying she might come and visit with a common friend of ours during the afternoon. I decided to bake a cake I quite enjoy for its flavour first and then because it is so easy to prepare. Here is the recipe in case you want to try it :
For a round baking tray (middle size)
1 pack of puff pastry
200 gr (2 cups 1/4) of ground almonds
1 cup 1/2 of sugar
1 cup of milk
1 tsp of cinamon
1 pinch of salt
Mix all these ingredients
Then roll out the pastry on the baking tray (use a fork to make a few holes on the pastry)
Spread the ingredients you prepared onto the pastry
Pre-heat the oven at 200/230 °C (400-450°F)
Cook for 25 minutes
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving
This pie tastes even better if you bake it one day in advance.
Some of you may think my almond pie looks a bit “burnt”… Well, almost but not really. I can assure you it tasted delicious ! And why should it look like this ?? That’s the question. You see, I was reading. A specially dangerous chapter that kept me totally concentrated on the story. At the same time I vaguely smelled something just as dangerous coming from the kitchen “Oh ! mon gâteau” (my cake) ! I rushed to the kitchen, book in hand of course (in case I would forget it somewhere on the way…) and I saved the almond pie from a very hot oven. Then I went on reading waiting for my friends.
“Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow” by Peter Hoeg is the book I was reading with great interest and more as “le gâteau de Babette” (Babette’s cake) was in the oven and requesting immediate attention ! I could not have been further from my kitchen. In fact Smilla, the fascinating main character in this book, was secretly - and dangerously - going aboard a ship in the darkest night you can imagine. She was persistent in doing her own investigation about a mystery death. The story takes place in Denmark (Copenhagen) and Greenland, two countries I don’t read about enough and I thought this book would be a good opportunity. It was, definitely so. And much more than that! This reading just cut me off from my surroundings for a few days, so exciting was the story. It is not a recent book, I had heard and read about it but somehow had missed it. Now it is done and I thorougly enjoyed its reading. I hope some of you did too or will do so soon !
August 24, 2010
Time for harvest ! Thanks to a very hot Summer, Nature has been very generous ! We are having lots of fruits. Here is an apricot tree growing on the way up to a mountain village. You can pick the fruits yourself in the orchard, then pay for your precious harvest and go back home to prepare pies, marmelades, jellies or just eat them as they are: fresh, juicy, sweet.
I made some apricot marmelade for the Winter months; a tasty reminder of a wonderful Summer afternoon spent in a steep field facing the mountains. I love spices and in this marmelade I added just a few pieces of star anise.In our garden there is only a single bush of redcurrants. But what a harvest ! This year its berries are particularly big and sweet. A vanilla pod gives an exotic touch to this bright red marmelade .Wild blackberries grow on a bank behind our house. Every year more and more. Almost an invasion… but one I don´t mind. It is quite an experience (a painful one !) to pick those delicious fruits hiding amongst their stubborn and sharp thorns !A painful job but what a reward ! The most gorgeous marmelade for your breakfast; I like to spread butter and marmelade on a slice of brown bread for my breakfast, a “tartine” as we call it.Another delicious fruit is the “zanette” (local name). These small yellow prunes are also growing in our mountains. Not much bigger than an olive. The prune trees do not give such a good harvest every Summer but sometimes you can be lucky. And when you are, those tiny prunes taste so good that you just eat them as you pick them : au naturel ! And if you can save some, the marmelade you make is a real dessert. If you like “chaud-froid” (warm and cold), you can heat it lightly and serve it with an ice cream. Why not giving yourself a treat ?
March 3, 2010
Those are the last drops, or bubbles rather, of an olive oil from Portugal given by a friend. A particularly tasty, fruity, mellow kind of oil. When I turned the bottle upside down to get the last drop of it, honeycombed bubbles formed and gave the bottle an antique and precious look !
About a year ago I visited some parts of Andalusia in Spain and especially a museum of olive; visitors were led from a garden of olive trees through the various ancient rooms of an hacienda where the famous oil was produced. The visit ended in a shop ( very olive-minded and in a restaurant which offered numerous dishes where the delicious oil played an exquisite role !
A wonderful book for the “aficionados” of olive oil (I am one of them). It will tell you all about the origins of the olive from Africa to the Middle East, from Europe to the Americas and even some parts in Australia. And last but not least, some recipes are shown whose pictures only make you hungry. Here is a special treat for you : Bruschetta.
It is prepared by rubbing garlic (if you like it) on toasted bread that is then covered with fresh tomatoes and basil and smothered with oil. Olive, of course
In 1889, Vincent van Gogh staying in the Provence/France wrote to his brother Theo : ” If you could see the olives at this moment… The old silver foliage and the silver-green against the blue… The murmur of an olive grove has something very intimate, immensely old. It is too beautiful for me to try to conceive of it or dare to paint it”.