Tuesday, 30 March 2010

THE SECRET GARDEN ..........

I have found a key, so come with me and see if we can find my Secret Garden ..........

.......... along the path ..........

.......... through the greenery ..........


.......... it must be around here somewhere .........

Ah, there's the door .........


It's very overgrown ..........

Oh, this is better, how pretty is this ?











Even the women are beautiful in this garden !!

Tea anyone ?





image by photographer Mustafa Hacalaki
Collect yourselves some fireflies ..... it's getting dark ..........





Now, where's that gate gone ..... I've got to get home.
Here in the U.K., we had a taste of Spring BUT apparently, rain and even snow are coming again so, images of beautiful gardens are all I have at the moment !






If you are having wonderful weather, enjoy your gardens. If not , start planning it !!




Image 16: photograph by Mustafa Hacalaki




Jackie




















Thursday, 25 March 2010

THE DELICIOUS MISS DAHL ..... bear with me, you non-chefs, there's a lovely white house in this !!!! ..........

Tuesday evening saw the start of a new cookery programme, featuring Sophie Dahl, grand-daughter of Roald Dahl.
Is Sophie the new Nigella ?....the new sex- kitten on the butcher's block ? She confesses that she has been a yo-yo dieter and has been 'as round as Ruben's' and 'a little slip of a thing'.When you see the menu that she cooked in her first programme, entitled ' A Purely Selfish Day', I think that maybe the Ruben's look is on the cards !! Her first menu racked up several thousand calories and, used rather expensive ingredients.

Her day begins at breakfast, a good place to start, with her take on an Arnold Bennett omelette. Arnold Bennett was an English novelist and theatre critic who frequented The Savoy Hotel Grill on a regular basis in the 1920's and put his name to this smoked haddock, cheese and creme fraiche omelette. Sophie shows us how to make this adding this wide-eyed afterthought ' I can't remember the first time when I had Arnold Bennett'.......... get the picture ? She prepares Peanut Butter Fudge for a mid-day snack (have you seen the size of this woman- she is soooo slim !!).......... Next comes a Buffalo Mozzarella Bruschetta with shaved fennel and courgette salad for lunch. You can imagine the double entendres when the mozzarella makes its appearance !!
Finally, it's dirty martini's (the dirty bit is a spoonful of juice from the olive jar) and a dinner of Roasted Halibut with Spinach and Watercress Sauce followed by Rich Chocolate Pots with Brandy soaked Cherries !!
Between courses, we get to see Sophie shopping in Cheese shops and searching out antiques and little bits of shabby chic for her 'pretend' house !!
Although we could probably do without another cookery programme, I actually rather liked it. Sophie Dahl is very likeable and, as a fan of Nigella, I like her sensual presentation skills ! ......... but, I think that the main reason I liked it was for the house that they are using for the series..........


The house that was used is located in Crouch End in London, a very trendy area where many actors and musicians live and a lot of yummy mummies !! The house is currently for sale for £1.45 million !! It belongs to photographer Paul Massey.



This is the kitchen where you see Sophie cooking. It has been dressed up for the programme with shabby chic paintings and little touches of Victoriana.








Here are some other rooms in the house ..........









Isn't it gorgeous ? If I had a cool £1.45 million spare, I would be onto the estate agents in a flash.
Sophie Dahl recipes can be found on the BBC web site. I'm not sure what she will be cooking next week, but, lets hope it's slightly more healthy !!


Have a delicious weekend.




Jackie







Saturday, 20 March 2010

DENNIS SEVERS HOUSE ..........

Dennis Severs House
Spitalfields
18, Folgate Street
London
E1 6BX
If you are ever in London and are lost for something to do, go and visit Dennis Severs House. It is situated in the City, very near to the restaurant, Galvin's, that we went to for Mother's Day. We have been, a while ago now, and it is a real treat. It isn't very expensive and takes about one hour and, to see it at it's best, one should go when it's dark and, if you happen to be in the area at Christmas, it is decorated with decorations and a Christmas tree. Dennis Severs(1948-1999) bought this house and turned it into a time capsule. He was an artist and lived in the house in much the same way as its original occupants might have done in the early 18th century.



To enter through the door is to pass through a frame and into a painting - one with a time and a life of it's own.

THE TOUR.
The game is that you interrupt a family of Huguenot silk weavers named Jervis who, though they can still sometimes be heard, seem always to be just out of sight.
As you journey off in a silent search through the 10 rooms, each by fire and candlelight, you receive a number of stimulations to your senses.
There is the sound of a carriage outside, the wheels of which and the horses hooves, clattering and clip clopping off into the London night. There is the smell of food .... Mr Jervis's meal is only half-eaten ....did he abandon it when he heard us arrive ? The experience is conducted in silence, and it's level is poetic.
Dennis Severs called his unique experience 'still life drama' and his goal was to provide his visitors with a rare moment in which to become as lost in another time as they appear to be in their own.
THE PLOT.
The 10 rooms of the house harbour 10 spells, that engages the visitors imagination in moods that dominated the periods between 1724 and 1914.
Room 1 is the cellar. You begin in the dark in which there are fragments of St. Mary's Spital AD 1197, hence the name 'Spitalfields'. You are drawn by the light and warmth of ............

Room 2 ..The Kitchen



Room 3 is The Eating Parlour

Room 4 is The Smoking Room

Room 5 is the Withdrawing Room
There are various bedrooms and sometimes ..........
you can hear a child giggle or a young woman whispering ..........
When you enter a room, a candle has just been extinguished and has left a trail of smoke as if the occupant has just snuffed out the candle and left in a hurry.


As you reach the top floor, it starts to get cold and less luxurious. These are the rooms that the Jervis family have let out and are for a poorer family. The drapes on the bed are tattered and torn and the furniture is of much poorer quality. On a table are the remains of a supper of oysters, which was the food of the poor in those days. You can hear the tolling of Big Ben, telling the City that Queen Victoria is dead.



This is not a museum ....... it is not designed to make you 'learn something' in a conventional way. If you are annoyed at the silence observed then you have missed the point. The visitor is required to engage with the atmosphere and story ........ and, if you do, it's a really special sensation that stays with you. From the minute you walk in the door, you step back in time........ you can imagine the hard times when you reach the attic rooms, eerily cold, you can smell the poverty. Listen hard and you can hear the occupants. The journey through the house becomes a journey through time with it's small rooms and hidden corridors, it's whispered asides, it resembles a pilgrimage through life itself.
Painter David Hockney described the house as one of the world's greatest works of Opera.
Dennis Severs bequeathed the house to the Spitalfields Trust shortly before his death.
Go and visit if you are in the area. It is a truly special experience.




Jackie

















Monday, 15 March 2010

MY MOTHERING SUNDAY ..........

Yesterday was Mothering Sunday, here in the U.K.

A religious festival, celebrating motherhood has existed in Europe since Neolithic times. In later years, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together.
By the third decade of the 20th century, people in Ireland and the U.K. started celebrating Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday in Lent, and, yesterday was it..........


Well, on Saturday we took our number one son and his wife to the airport as they were flying off on a month's holiday to Austin, Texas, San Fransisco, Seattle and New York !!!! It's alright for some, isn't it ?
Number one son and daughter-in-law off the hook as far as Mothering Sunday was concerned !!!! haha.
BUT.......

Lovely Number One daughter and boyfriend, booked us a table at a wonderful restaurant in London ........ points and a gold star for Number One daughter and a permanent place in the will !!!! hehe .............

The restaurant is Galvin's in Spitalfields in the City ..........

It is in a converted church and has the most wonderful atmosphere so, to our daughter's dismay, my camera came out for some photos for my blog !!!! Friend's and family don't like this part of blogging, where I am forever taking photo's in case I do a post on it, hence the slightly out of focus pictures, as I have to do them in a hurry because everyone starts moaning at me !!

This was my mother's day present and card....more points for number one daughter, as she made the card, bought me a pressie and wrapped it beautifully, cementing afore mentioned position in the will !!!!





Loving food as much as I do, I ate my starter and main course before remembering that I should have taken photographs but, here is one of my dessert... chocolate fondant with banana ice cream and cinder toffee....de-lic-ious..........





Well, that was my wonderful, special day and, to everyone out there who still have their mother's with them and don't celebrate Mothering Sunday, give them a special day out, once in a while. It makes us feel good and, you can gain valuable Brownie points in the process !!!! haha.
Jackie