After a very, very long, cold, grey winter, things are looking up.
The birds are so riotously giggly about it all, they’re waking me up in the morning.
So this is one for those of you still in shivers.
And for those of you who’d like to make a chocolate cake that’ll drive away all memories of dismal days, go see Irvin at Eat the Love. He’s got one you might just die for. (Just don’t forget the salt.)
If there was one thing I learnt from writing a doctoral thesis across an ocean from the library, and doing so in double-quick time, it was that a few rules are necessary. A few years later, I find myself once again part headless chicken*, part head in the books with a ‘do not disturb’ sign fluttering above my head, often rather ineffectually (cats have an innate disrespect of such signs). Much to the cat’s dismay I’ve resuscitated those rules, to whit:
1. Stop worrying/fussing/procrastinating/beating yourself up (the difference can be minimal) and just do it. Perfection is for the afterlife. Possibly. Read more
Food, it’s often said, brings people together.
Stirabout Sunday at the Crumpet Kitchen brought us together. For this year’s edition of the “atelier pudding”, once again we chopped, we grated, we measured, we stirred. Old faces and new. Some more expert in the Christmas Pudding and others new to the cause.
And we ate. Funny how you can put a call out for a “buffet canadien” (a potluck) and end up with two delicious salads and two very more-ish tarts. Perfectly proportioned. Sometimes, it just works.
It’s the kind of day you have one of two paths to take: go outside, huddled up in scarves, gloves and coat and remind yourself why it is you’re damned lucky to have a roof over your head and a warm radiator to curl up beside. Or just stay inside, think all those things, and make pumpkin and apple soup.
It wasn’t just the hour change that signalled winter this morning. In a few days we’ve gone tumbling from sunny and 20° to minus something, snow, and a bise mordante as they said with an amused chortle on the radio (given that a stiff northeast wind is a bise, and if it’s a particularly cold one it’s a bise noire… you get the idea of what a bise mordante might mean). It’s been a weekend for sheltering from the elements rather than reveling in them. Read more
Aux magasins je vois déjà les marchandises de Noël. Juste pas possible ! On vient mettre le chauffage il y a quelques jours et on m’encourage vivement déjà à acheter des cadeaux et des babioles ?
J’aurais bien aimer râler mais… voilà l’ironie… Un petit weekend à Londres qui s’annonce et c’est bien l’heure des cadeaux pour toute la famille londonienne. Une grande valise, un petit tour à la Halle romande et hop ! tout le monde est content.
(Any members of London family: spoiler alert. Go no further. Stop reading now. Close your browser. Come back next week.)
Some of life’s challenges you set yourself. Others kind of get set for you. As I write, a young Austrian called Felix is sitting in a little metal capsule hanging somewhere very high above New Mexico, getting ready to jump out. Some challenges are bigger than others. Not being one for heights, I’ll go for the more mundane, yet altogether simpler.
Like taking a long, conversational walk along the Talent River, between Echallens and Montheron. Leaves swishing underfoot. The sky a crystal blue. Birds scurrying about in their preparations for colder days. And a multitude of mushrooms, of every sort and colour, jumping out at your eye as you walk. Sheer marvels of natural engineering.
And after a few hours, the reward. A table of friends, an apéritif of honeyed wine, and a seasonal meal of game at the Auberge de l’Abbaye. Each bite worth every step. Read more
And we’re back!
Things are a little hectic round here. Courses, classes, new job, new blog (of which, more in a minute)… My brain is expanding, my schedule imploding, my cycling muscles pinging. Which meant that the CK had to take a back seat for a day or two. But this raspberry tiramisu was so, so, so very good, I knew I’d have to quickly put it down in words. My gift is my pudding, and, this one’s for you… Read more
Un homme est trouvé mort. Son meilleur ami, celui qu’il l’a connu depuis leur enfance, reçois une boîte à musique de sa part. Une boîte dont l’ami ne savait pas l’existence. Elle est accompagnée d’une demande… franchement bizarre. Et d’une histoire mystérieuse qui se révèle de pas à pas.
Une correspondante bien aimée à ce blog vient de publier son deuxième roman. Un mystère riche de découverte. De la ville et de la vie de Fribourg. De l’histoire de St Croix et de ses boîtes à musique, étroitement liée à l’histoire de l’horlogerie. Et de la vie et de l’âme… de la musique, du vin, des amitiés. Read more
If looks could turn the heat down…
The dog days (or, as they’re known more logically in this house, the cat days) of summer are well and truly here. In between short escapes up to the cooler air of the mountains, I get up early to do what must be done before the shutters come down and the windows are closed against the afternoon’s heat. Debussy piano pieces play gently on the stereo, fostering mental images of shaded glades and dancing streams. The cat reserves all remotely strenuous movement for early morning and late evening. In between, every possible cool spot is investigated and at half hour intervals I get a remonstrative mewl that says, quite plainly, “would you ever turn off the heat?”.
Calamondins. Not a fruit to rush in to things.
In this kind of weather, all kitchen activity is at a strict minimum. The sugar thermometer hanging over my workbench registers 25°C, and this in the only room that doesn’t face south. It’s salad and fruit all the way. Forget the cakes, the jams, the fancy sauces. Nothing that requires effort. The only problem is, heat doesn’t stop me being hungry, and no amount of lettuce, tomatoes and plums can make up for that. Bread – on condition of a kneading hook on a machine – fits the bill perfectly. Fills the gap, doesn’t take much effort. You measure the flour, you add the yeast, you mix it and knead it a bit. You leave it alone for a couple of hours while you go take a nap. Come back, knead it again, leave it alone. The warmth to help the rise is guaranteed. And around about the hour when the sun has finally let up, you can switch on the oven. Read more
Just up the hill from me on a busy row of shops and in what used to be one of those ridiculously over-priced baby clothes stores, a new business started up a month or so ago. Moving on (or back, perhaps) from the celebration of happy events, this one offers to foretell the event itself, with a range of services in the divinatory and esoteric arts the technical terms for which elude me. The future has come, with a storefront. Perfect for these uncertain yet gloriously consumerist times, no?
But… today, and in what might be one of the worst cases of marketing, a sign hangs on the door to inform us that “due to a death” the business has closed, the date of reopening remains unknown. Not a sign that strikes the greatest confidence in their fortune-telling skills. (And yes, sometimes the old jokes really are true.) Read more