It’s a rare thing for me to…..

….. lose my appetite.

I’ll be honest: I’m one of those people who eats rather than abstains in stressful or emotional situations. Nervously, I can nibble my way though a bowlful of cherries (or, to be more honest, a bag of chips) with hardly a tummy rumble. So when I started getting heavy pains earlier this year, and began taking painkillers while waiting for an operation, I was a little surprised to find that my appetite had disappeared. And so did a lot of other things along with it.

It is a common but mistaken notion among us human beings, that our lives are ruled by our heads - I think, therefore I am etc. - but over the years, I’ve discovered that my belly has a lot to do with who I am and how I move through life. I usually forget about this until, for some reason, my gut is upset and I go to reach for something: physically or emotionally, only to find that there’s not much for me to pull from.

People who study yoga may know what I mean. And those who practice meditation and have learned about the hara (the area centered between the groin and navel) may also understand this. Physically, our gut is our center, and all of our movement originates from this place. If you’ve ever had surgery in your abdominal region, you also may understand how much we use this part of our body to originate movement.

I also find that a distressed belly distracts me in other ways. It’s hard for me to focus, and I get upset, frustrated, impatient and altogether impossible - best to stay clear of me on days that I’m off my feed. Thankfully, as mentioned, this is rare.

There’s a kind of wisdom, too, in our bellies. This is where we locate our sense of instinct and intuition, where we know and understand things that our heads can’t seem to take up - feelings are more gut-based as well.

As human beings, we are a rather amazing and intricate collection of body, heart and mind. Since our minds are so powerful, we sometimes forget how essential the body and heart are to live an engaged and balanced life, and unfortunately, it sometimes takes a measure of distress for us to be reminded of this.

So please hurry to complete my treatment, Madam doctor. I want my peaceful belly back!

Kategorien Comfort, Health, Personally . Skrevet af LE 29. July, 2012 kl 8:15

All right people…..

….. we’re are back from Spain and we have taken the wonderful summer weather and a pair of amazing Spanish-inspired recipes with us home.

We are now in the thick of summer, and it’s time to sway up to the bar for some ice cold sangria (please don’t go to that bad place in your mind of sickly sweet concoctions and hangovers so horrible that you’ll swear off the stuff). Great sangria can be refreshing and it’s perfect for a summer party.

Nowadays with the endless varieties of wine, types of fruit and herb mix-ins to choose from, there’s a signature sangria out there for everyone.

For todays Happy Hour we’re jumping on the fan wagon of Cava, the slightly spritzy white wine from Spain. We’re mixing it up with some peach brandy and ripe white peaches for a pitcher perfect happy hour.

Sparkling White Sangria

All you need (serves 4 to 6)
2 to 3 white peaches, sliced (2 if they are large, 3 if they are small)
3/4 cup peach brandy
1 bottle chilled Cava
1 liter chilled white peach seltzer water

Do this:
In a pitcher, place 3/4 of the sliced peaches (saving some for garnish) add brandy and let the peaches soak for 20-30 minutes.

Add the Cava and seltzer water.

Stir with wooden spoon to mix. Pour into ice filled glasses and top with a couple of fresh peach slices.

Tip: Wrap some melon in Prosciutto and you’ve got a gorgeous, not to mention delicious, happy hour.

Kategorien Comfort, Cottage Life / Cooking, Holiday, Kitchen & food, Personally, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 23. July, 2012 kl 9:27

It’s Raining Again…..

….. but I guess that we should be used to the Danish summer by now. One minute the sun is shining and we’re sweltering, and the next it’s pouring buckets, as it has been for the whole of this week. And it doesn’t look as though it’s going to improve over the next few days.

Therefore we have decided to spend the next week in sunny Spain.

Adiós. I wish you all a wonderful week.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Holiday, Personally, Travel . Skrevet af LE 11. July, 2012 kl 14:03

As I’m planning my…..

….. summer holiday, I find myself missing Paris more and more (the weather forecast promises rain well into the future).

So right now we’re leaning towards visiting a place where the sun shines (and summer always remind me of my time in Paris and Italy). Looking at old photos and recalling the vivid colors and sounds of the cities brighten my feelings of nostalgia. Sometimes I forget what I saw or breathed in, until I browse through my pictures. The major sites stick out to me, but it’s the little things, like this creme brulee, that makes my memory gloss over.

I’m sure many of us travel and store thousands of digital photos tucked away in our computers, most never making it to the print world. Like the saying of the tree falling in the forest, what happens to a photo or a memory that is never looked at again? In addition to sharing this storie, I want to use this post as a visual space to showcase and bring life to one of my “lost” captured travel moments……

….. perhaps it will feel like visiting Paris all over again.

Have a great weekend.

Crème Brûlée a classic French recipe

All you need:
500ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
100g caster sugar (plus extra for the topping)
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg

Do this:
Preheat the oven to 125 degrees Celsius

Pour the cream into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the cream. Chop the empty pod into bits, and add these too. Bring to boiling point, then turn off the heat and put a lid on. Leave to infuse for five to ten minutes.

Beat the sugar and all the eggs together in a large heat-proof bowl until pale and creamy. Bring the cream back to boiling point, then pour over the egg mixture, whisking all the time until thickened - this indicates that the eggs have begun to cook slightly (you should have a smooth custard the consistency of double cream - a grainy texture means it’s been overcooked and you’ll have to start all over again).

Strain through a fine sieve into a large jug, then use this to fill 6 ramekins about two thirds full.

Place the ramekins in a large roasting tray and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up their sides. Place on the centre shelf and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the custards are just set and still a bit wobbly in the middle.

Remove from the water and allow to cool (to room temperature).

When you’re ready to serve, evenly sprinkle one teaspoon caster sugar over the surface of each Crème, then caramelise with a blowtorch. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes…..

….. and then enjoy one of France’s greatest contributions to eating pleasure!

Kategorien Culture, Kitchen & food, Personally, Recipes, Weekend . Skrevet af LE 6. July, 2012 kl 10:57

Paris- oh la la

The past couple of weeks have been a little empty in the way of blog posts, because I have been busy and away on business to Paris, but now I’m back!

First up, here is a little information on what I did on my last day away.

I visited Brasserie Julien….. a relic from the glorious age of Art Nouveau.

It’s always a toss-up, on a brief visit to Paris, as to which brasserie to go to - either Julien’s or Flo’s - as both jewels are in the same area of rue de Fauborg St-Denis. For sheer aesthetics, Julien’s wins hands down.

I have often visited the restaurant and ate there, whenever I have been to Paris visiting the shows and exhibitions.

The food and atmosphere are still wonderful today, but the fresh flowers and the lady who used to take my coat are gone, and sadly it isn’t as busy as it once was - maybe a sign of the times we are in. The surrounding streets are still the same - filled with eastern smells, smoke and prostitutes - which makes it all the more sublime when you go inside, taste the aperitif of the day and try to decide which exquisitely traditional Parisian dish to have.

Julien’s was first opened in 1787, though it that time it was known as Le Cheval Blanc, and was converted into a brasserie in 1903. Aside from the paintings, Julien’s also has a floral stained glass roof made by the Guenne company in 1925, which highlights the famous Gismonda, depicting Sarah Bernhardt, as well as Arnaud Jean-Baptiste Segaud’s peacocks.

If you’re looking for a spot of history and a delightful place to eat next time you’re in Paris, I can recommend Julien’s as the place to go!

Kategorien Culture, Delightful art, Interior & design, Restaurant, Travel . Skrevet af LE 5. July, 2012 kl 13:04