Sunday, January 26, 2014

An omelette and a glass of wine

When I'm feeling a bit under the weather I tend to nurture myself with comfort food.  It could be a hearty rich beef stew and herby dumplings, or maybe dense cheesey macaroni and bacon; sometimes tho' I want something altogether lighter; something smooth and easy to eat and digest and at those times I turn to the trusty egg.  I love boiled egg and sourdough toast or buttery scrambled eggs, but for me the omelette is the main event.  Once upon a time there was a very famous hotel in France, on the Mont St Michel off the coast of Normandy.  Here the proprietress, a Madame Poulard, became famous, or even infamous, for her omelettes.  Many tried to second guess her secret to this most amazing, yet simple dish until she put the matter to rest in a letter:
Monsier Viel, Here is the recipe for the omelette: I break some good eggs in a bowl, I beat them well, I put a good piece of butter in the pan, I throw the eggs into it and I shake it constantly.  I am happy, Monsieur, if this recipe pleases you.  Annette Poulard

So that is the recipe for success.  Simplicity.  Fresh eggs, butter and you're done.  Here is what Elizabeth David says of the omelette:

As to the omelette itself, it seems to me to be a confection which demands the most straightforward approach.  What one wants is the taste of the fresh eggs and the fresh butter and, visually, a soft bright golden roll plump and spilling out a little at the edges.  It should not be a busy, important urban dish but something gentle and pastoral, with the clean scent of the dairy, the kitchen garden, the basket of early morning mushrooms or the sharp tang of freshly picked herbs, sorrel, chives, tarragon.  And although there are those who maintain that wine and egg dishes don't go together I must say I do regard a glass or two of wine as not, obviously, essential but at least as an enormous enhancement of the enjoyment of a well cooked omelette.  Hear, hear!!

Here is her recipe; it's as good as any and more delicious than most!

Omelette Moliere
Beat one tablespoon of finely grated parmesan with three eggs and a little pepper.  Warm the pan and put in half an ounce of butter, when it bubbles and is about to change colour add the eggs.  Add one tablespoon of gruyere and very thick cream and tip the pan towards you easing some of the mixture away from the edge.  Then tip the other way tipping the egg back into the space with some of the still liquid egg.  By the time you have done this twice the gruyere should have melted and the omelette is ready.  Fold it over in three with a palette knife and serve immediately on a warm plate. 

With a glass of wine, obviously.

image:  Manger

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday Words -~ Me Time

When I read this I did a bit of a double-take.  It really hit me as a truth I needed to own.  Having been through a pretty awful last few months, where I felt as if I was taking the brunt of keeping everything going, for everyone else, I then began to feel unwell.  I guess that's no surprise really, as in the busyness of taking care of others, I totally forgot to take care of me.  As they say on the planes; put on your own oxygen mask first, or you won't be able to help anyone else!  I now have to find that fine balance between being the anchor and keeping myself afloat too. 

What do you guys out there do when you need to keep yourself afloat...I'd love you to share...

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Top iPhone Apps

I recently upgraded to a new iPhone (actually, should have done it in the summer but didn't get my act together!) and in the process of switching over I went through my phone noting the apps that I had - those that I used a lot and those that I didn't.  I've done a bit of a clear out as a result and not all of the downloaded apps will make it onto the new phone.  So far these are my favourites that have made the cut...

Food and Cooking:



I use these apps over and over.  Nigella's recipes are so easy and this app comes with a shopping list that you can collate as you go along.  Waitrose's app is updated regularly which means there is a constant source of inspiration and you can save your favourite recipes in a separate section to return to whenever the culinary urge takes you.



This app gives you over 30 sounds to listen to (beach, ambient music, grasshoppers, heart sutra, Tibetan chant, rain etc) to choose from.  You can then either choose to listen to that sound alone, or, mix and match the sounds to make your own soundtrack, save it and then use it as your very own meditation backdrop,  complete with timer.  It's perfect for when you're on the move and means there is no excuse not to be mindful!

Goddess Inspiration Oracle

This is a bit of fun mixed with some inspirational words that give you food for thought throughout the day.  Based on the Goddesses of different traditions this app enables women to tap into the ancient wisdom of these powerful figures. Each 'card' gives you the traditional story behind the Goddess and what she stands for, including key words to meditate upon.


There are sooooooo many photgraphic apps out there and I'm not saying these are the best...these are just my choices to date:  Aside from Instagram (obviously!) I use these the most:


 I like this app because it's so simple.  You take a photo, you choose the size, shape and intensity of the blur and it's done.  


This was the first fame app I ever downloaded, and although I've tried others since, I keep going back to it to put together my collages.  There's a big choice of frames, it's easy to add your photos and share.


I was VERY late to this particular party I have to say!  But, now I'm here I love it.  Shoot your own videos (very short) that are then shown in a loop.

I got this app quite recently because I really like the idea of turning my camera photos into cards really quickly.  This app allows you to choose your photos and turn them either into a postcard or a card for a small fee.  You can buy 'credits' up front and then it's even quicker to send a card.  I've used this to send a few postcards when I've wanted to send them as the idea occurs to me and the quality of the finished card is excellent.

There are so many different apps coming out it's hard to judge which are the best/most useful.  I tend to go by friends', what are your favourite apps?  Any I should be looking to get?

Monday, January 06, 2014

Letters of Note

I Like Words

I can't tell you how excited I was to open a Christmas present and find one of the most talked about books of Christmas nestling inside the wrapping.  It was of course Letters of Note  that was compiled by Shaun Usher.  The book was born from his successful website of the same name; an on-line museum of correspondence that has had millions of visitors.  The book is a collection of one-hundred plus amusing, inspiring and intriguing letters that range from Virginia Woolf's heart-wrenching suicide letter, a recipe for drop scones from Queen Elizabeth to Eisenhower to Nick Cave's letter to MTV rejecting his nomination for Best Male Artist on the grounds that 'my muse is not a muse may bolt! May abandon me completely.'  However, I think so far (I'm still a long way from finishing all the letters)my very favourite letter is from copywriter Robert Pirosh to a variety of studio executives asking for a job as a script writer.  Maybe we could all learn something from his creative approach! Here is the letter to whet your appetite...

 (Source: Dear Wit.)
Dear Sir:
I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave "V" words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land's-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.

I have just returned and I still like words.

May I have a few with you?
It seems that his novel approach was successful as he went on to land a job as a junior scriptwriter with MGM and in 1949 he won an Academy Award for his 'Battleground' script. 

This book gives such a wonderful insight into peoples lives, motivations, highs and lows.  For me, it is the book of 2013.

image: book

Friday, January 03, 2014

The January Cure

Whilst I was aimlessly browsing on-line yesterday, an email popped into my inbox about a project that I'd forgotten I'd signed up for!  Called The January Cure, it's a month-long project that promises to clear your home of clutter and make it a more organised and pleasurable space to spend time in. Well, I'm all for that! So the first assignment... go round your home room by room and make notes of any grot spots; jobs that are half-finished, areas that need de-cluttering, re-organising and tidying. The instructions say very clearly not to dive in and start 'doing' anything; today we are just noting and making my very favourite thing...A LIST! Yay....  So, off I went.  I started off with blank pages and before I knew it I had a very long and heart-sinking list; three pages to be exact...

I was relieved to read that once my list was done I was to take a highlighter and choose only 3 or 4 items on the list for every room to focus on...phew...So here's my typed up list; just a few things to do!
My List:
Front Garden: (this isn't strictly the house but it's the first thing I and others see)
  • reorder recycling bins (someone stole them!!!!)
  • replace cracked refuse bins
  • sweet up leaves
  • move empty flower planters to back garden
  • clear shoes from under chest
  • wash down paintwork and front door
  • replace entrance mat
Living room:
  • tidy/clear alcove cupboards
  • clean rug
  • wash sofa covers
  • complete gallery wall project
  • re-hang pictures
  • get black and white prints framed
Dining Room:
  • clear sideboard and tidy
Utility Room:
  • paint white
  • clear cupboard over washing machine
  • get rid of random bits of wood behind the door
  • buy some laundry containers
  • buy ceiling dryer
  • re-paint
  • clean unit doors
  • clear baskets on top of units
  • tidy out cupboards and throw away accumulated pots and pans that are NEVER used!
  • buy battery for radio
  1. Clean tiles
Bedroom 1:
  • Empty and tidy cupboards over wardrobes
  • clear out desk
  • clear out alcove
  • tidy and clear UNDER desk (big dumping ground!)
Bedroom 2:
  • empty cupboards over wardrobe
  • empty/clear/get rid of accumulated clothes/clutter from spare wardrobe
Bedroom 3:
  • clear out cupboard over wardrobe
  • systematically clear and throw away (there's baby stuff up there and my kids are now 18/22!)
That's it!  My list in all its glory.  I'll live-blog my progress with this project as I go along through the month so keep watching for updates.
have you got any big projects lined up for January?  If not and you want to join in the January Cure, you can sign yourself up here.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


 Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2014 and wishing all my readers a wonderful, happy and healthy year. 
Now, I know that we all (or nearly all) make some resolutions at this time of less, move more, etc etc and whilst I'll be hoping to do that too, here are some more reflective resolves that I'm hoping to achieve this year....
Make sure I spend time with people that I love; people that make me feel good about myself; people who make a positive contribution to my life
I'm going to find time to reflect; time to be still; time to let the small worries melt away
I'm going to find time to visit places I haven't been to before; fill my days with new experiences and stretch and broaden my horizons
Make the everyday more magical; time for fairylights, candles and romance
Indulge my inner child; stamp in puddles, jump waves, soar on a swing
Whatever your dreams ...