Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cooking Class...

My friend Ruth received a wonderful gift for Christmas from her daughter...
a cooking class for 2 at The London Chef.
When she opened it she knew immediately who she wanted to invite to go with her to class.
Me!
I am so grateful that she chose to take me along...
(thank you Laura and Ruth)


Participants were encouraged to take notes as we observed each step
no recipes were handed out.
The chef cooked without measuring and used terms like "a dollop" of this or a "handful" of that!


The kitchen space is open with a U shaped configuration
with a long harvest table and chairs off to the side.


The chef cooked from this island which was at the front of the room.
All the food has been prepped ahead..
all the measuring, if there was any, was done before we arrived
 making it quick and easy to put the dishes together.

I took note of his set up...
the towel under the chopping board, 
the various prep bowls and containers
the food in a basket off to one side
the utensils sat atop a towel to the right of the pots

The theme was Moroccan and the food was prepared in front of about 20 people who were given step by step instructions on how to make Tagine Chicken, Hummus, Rice Salad, and Baba Ganoush.

The large pot became the "tagine" 
according to the chef, tagines are frighfully expensive and not necessary to get the full flavour of Moroccon dishes.

After sauteing the ingredients he put a round piece of parchment paper on top of the food, cut a small X in the top
 then covered the pot with foil to allow all the flavours to mingle together and cook over low heat.


The chef Dan, was English as one might expect from the school's name...The London Chef.
He was a handsome young fellow with a booming voice and an energy not unlike that of Jamie Oliver.
The session was held at lunchtime and after all the dishes were finished we were all served the meal...
the flavours were amazing!
The dishes were so rich in dimension ~ nuts, dried fruits, spices and herbs together working a little bit of magic.

You could close your eyes and imagine dining in an exotic Moroccan location...




One can buy soups, condiments, chocolates, coffee, tea and spices 


I looked for saffron because it is not easy to find...but they did not have any in stock.


They are open for lunch and the chef also caters events.


Locally made pickles and mustard's...


Soups...


Spices, oils, vinegars, chocolates and tea.


Our delicious lunch!

It was so much fun...and I love to cook and try new recipes so
I'm hoping to take some other classes at The London Chef.

BTW
I have signed up for a cooking class when I am in Paris.

I'm relieved and thankful that the cats are up to their "usual tricks" in The Humble Bungalow.


Chester is enjoying playing with Pepper now that Pepper has recovered from her recent illness.


I am very happy to have our "furry family" well again.

Thank you too for all your kind words.

Hostess

Hanging around...

This week has been quiet and I am grateful that I have not had too many things on my calendar.
It feels like the calm after the storm, a welcome respite, a tonic if you will...


I have been walking and reading and keeping the house tidy.
My friend and I took in a cooking class at The London Chef which was such fun...
so much so that I plan to do a blog post telling you all about it.


I've seen some beautiful and unusual things on my walks this week...


I stopped to capture this image of a tree trunk on Hollywood Crescent.
I love the texture and colours...Mother Nature really knows her stuff!


Gorgeous Earthy tones...


a spot of colour

 LOOK what I saw when I walked along May Street!


not an ordinary tree






imagination and decoration
quirky 
perhaps
it makes a statement
but I am not too sure what it means...

what I thought of was 
"Hang in There"

Thank you to Lizzie who sent us a link to this tree story...watch it here.

I hope you are hanging in there too!
Have a fabulous weekend.

Monday, January 26, 2015

"Meow" Monday's Report...

Just a quick post to thank you all for your comments on the previous two Pepper Posts and to let you know that
Pepper is resting comfortably...


I am guardedly optimistic but I think we have turned the corner...


She must be feeling better as she is lying on her side, 
before she was sitting up with a hunched back and looked uncomfortable.


If you look closely you'll see Pepper's paw is covering her eyes...
we both want to wipe these last few anxious days from our minds...
we've seen and been through enough already!


Walking has been rather wet these past few days...
the air fresh and cool but no wind to speak of, so it makes for a pleasant jaunt along the seafront.


The Fairfield Book Shop had this vintage book on display in the window.
Love the sweet illustration on the cover.

From Publishers Weekly
"First published in 1947, Pookie Puts the World Right by Ivy Wallace follows the titular bunny as he banishes Winter for blowing down trees and leaving several residents of Bluebell Wood homeless."

We could have used Pookie's help...


Chester has been very aware that Pepper has been out of sorts and has been very gentle not to instigate rambunctious play.



Fingers are crossed that we are out of the woods and that we can get back to what we like to think of is "normal"
two cats playing together happily
chasing pet mice around the house
eating cat food
(nothing non edible like string or elastic bands Pepper please!)
snoozing 
purring
keeping the Hostess company 
as she goes about her domestics...
greeting her at the door 
when she comes home from her errands and her walks.

I'll be back soon...






Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pepper update...

I've been sticking close to home while nursing Pepper and open my laptop every so often to check in and read your comments...
I am so grateful that there are not just empty chairs out there.
Your kind thoughts and comments have cheered me no end...


We are trying hard to take care of Pepper with TLC,
with visits to the vet, medications and antibiotics.


She looks content here but we are certainly not out of the woods...
we are waiting to see if her digestive system will start working properly again and that the vomiting will cease.

If it does not kick start this weekend we will need to take her back for more X-rays as she may have eaten something that does not show up on an X-ray and is causing a blockage...
it could be a piece of string or an elastic band.


I've resorted to "self medicating with food"...
I know I shouldn't but I am in need of comfort.
Cheese and onion jam on crackers with my afternoon tea.
(I had 5 of these tipping the scales and my WW points!)
I recognize my weakness and know I am "stress eating." 


Seeing as how I need to keep close tabs on Pepper and stay at home most of the day
I have been reading two books at a time...
Louise Penny's The Beautiful Mystery as well as Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon.

Two books deserve two Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates don't they?


My friend and I walked 10K yesterday and it felt so good to get out.
I will try and pop out for a 5K walk at some point today...
I am having trouble leaving her even for a half an hour.

I'm looking down the road
hoping that Pepper will rally and I am trying to visualize in my mind that she will be well.

Pets share our life and have a special, almost divine, place in our family.
They give our days so much JOY...
we share so much grief and sorrow when they are not well 
or no longer with us on this earth anymore.

Thank you again for your comments.
I have read them all and have felt immense support from your kind words.

I will post an update on Pepper as soon as there is a change...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yesterday...

Some days are better than others,
All we can do is put our best face forward and hope for the best...
yesterday was one of "those days."

Our four year old cat, Pepper is ill...
I spent a few hours at the hospital with her
and I left her there overnight for observation.
She has had X-Rays, tests and blood work...
it appears that something is amiss and so we wait...

If pets could talk and tell us what is wrong we'd be so much better able to diagnose their problem and start the correct treatment.
I wonder if she ate something that she should not have ingested...

She was throwing up...
I know it's gross and I won't mention it again,
except to say that our white coverlet on the bed has been laundered.
(I'm so grateful we own a heavy duty washing machine)

I left dinner in the oven for  MR. HB...
he coaxed Pepper into the kennel cab for me as I hastily wrote out the directions to the hospital from a google map...
I was stressed, scribbling the street names
I'm not proud of it but there was some screaming involved...

I got lost on the way to the hospital...
on a rainy dark night, country roads and unfamiliar territory...
our old Volvo wagon does not have a GPS.

I pulled over to the side of the road and "googled" maps, 
I got a message saying "Do you want to install the Google Map APP now?
NOOOOOO....
I want to get to the vet NOW...

I had to stop at a gas station and call the hospital for directions...
turns out I was two blocks short of their location.

Can you feel my tension
you shouldn't...
I'm just venting.


I had my first ever Kuerig coffee...which btw was delicious.
The "reception" at the hospital was warm and welcoming
the patient and caring staff took care of me as well as Pepper.


Let's take a break/diversion shall we?



Yes the red shoes walked with me to French Class...
they were accompanied by my favourite French made Union Jack tote.
Perhaps it is a weird "statement"
 to carry that tote to class 
but both the textbooks
the French English dictionary
  homework and papers
pencils and pens
and
a bottle of Perrier
fit 
perfectly.

C'est la vie.


I passed by a popular flower stall
brimming with colour...


a market with fresh produce...


I wore classic pearls and diamonds...
with my natural tinsel "highlights"

I'll be 60 in a few weeks so I think I have "earned the right to embrace the grey"
(have you noticed how many women "of a certain age" are blogging about going grey ?)
 Joni Mitchell and Joan Didion have been hired as representatives as the "new faces" for fashion houses.
Boomers, are quite possibly, becoming the IT generation!


I spied these gorgeous Hunter Boots in a shop window
and if I had not been running late for class
I would have rushed in 
and tried them on...


I did just buy some cute and comfy Harvest Tomato Lands' End Bianca ballet flats...
and it was not raining...


 look was hanging out in the same shop window as the Hunter Boots.


Last weekend I left this vest in "the Red Store"
(aka Target)
after conferring with my personal fashion advisor
who has never steered me wrong...
(thanks darling...it does add bulk and I am way too short to carry it off!)

so before I close...


Pepper's picture on her file at the vet clinic...
belly up!
I took it when she helped me "fold the laundry" Mr. HB's Socks!


Pepper was an adorable kitten ...


your little buddy Chester is waiting for you Pepper...


he was asleep when I took this...


Pepper snoozing onboard our Sea Ray last summer....
I'm going to phone the hospital soon and see what kind of night she had...

in the meantime...

I feel a wee bit better having written this all down and sharing it.
Who knows if anyone is out there reading these words?
there might just be an audience of empty chairs...

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