Monday, March 31, 2014

Strawberries and Cream French Macaroons

Strawberries and Cream French Macaroons


3 large egg whites
1 cup toasted slivered almonds
2 cups confectioners’ sugar*
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons strawberry extract
Red food coloring
Vanilla Bean, Cream Cheese Filling

• Place egg whites in a medium mixing bowl, and let sit at room temperature, uncovered, for exactly 3 hours. (Aging the egg whites in this manner is essential to creating perfect macaroons.)
• Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a pencil, draw 1½-inch circles 2 inches apart on parchment paper. Turn parchment paper over. Set aside.
• In the work bowl of a food processor, combine almonds and 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, pulsing until very finely ground. (Don’t over process or a nut butter will be created. The nut particles should stay separate and dry, not clump together.) Add remaining confectioners’ sugar, and process just until combined. Set aside.
• Beat egg whites at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until frothy. Gradually add sugar, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. (Egg whites will be thick, creamy, and shiny.) Add strawberry extract, beating well.
• Using a toothpick, add food coloring, a small amount at a time, beating until desired color is achieved.
• Add almond mixture to egg whites, folding gently until well combined. Let batter sit for 15 minutes.
• Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip. Pipe batter into drawn circles on prepared baking sheets.
• Slam baking sheets vigorously on counter 5 to 7 times to release air bubbles.
• Let sit at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes before baking to help develop the macaron’s signature crisp exterior when baked. (Macaroons should feel dry to the touch and should not stick to finger.)
• Preheat oven to 275°.
• Bake until firm to the touch, approximately 24 minutes.
• Let cool completely on pans, and then remove to airtight containers. Refrigerate until ready to fill and serve.

Vanilla Bean, Cream Cheese Filling

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, scraped and reserved

• In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cream, and reserved vanilla beans. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until mixture is smooth and creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary and increasing to high speed.
• Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Let come to room temperature before piping.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Pouring Rain, Patisseirie et Chocolaterie

 What does one do on a Saturday pouring with rain, take a trip to Anthropologie and a French Patisserie, sounds good to me with a visit to an art shop and a craft shop thrown in.

Look at these delicious French cakes, I had the Raspberry mousse cake and Mr. B. had the chocolate ganache pyramid.  The Boy chose a lemon tart, but ate it before I got to photo it.

While the boys were looking around Bang and Olufson I was enjoying paints, brushes, pens and inks.  So I couldn't resit this ink, magenta, such a wonderful colour, Bombay India Ink.  As a child I would never get out of a stationery shop without something.

I debated buying this magazine for a day.  I think magazines are somewhat expensive to buy, but there was so much in this crochet magazine, that I could not resist.

 What a lovely shawl and shrug.

This combines two things I love beads and crochet.

Remember I said the boys changed the sofas out, moving two out and one in, this is my very comfortable but old sofa somewhat worn on the arms, the picture above.

Below is my new pique cover in taupe, lovely soft fabric, almost velvety.  I am so happy that it fits so well and I really like the look of it and colour.  One day I will get to making some new cushion covers, why do I procrastinate on that, they're not that hard to make.

Couldn't resist this fabric, do you know why, well one I love poppies and two my mum had a dress in the sixties with a shawl collar,  a deep blue, with red poppies.  So how could I pass this by.  A dress made in this fabric should be just right for this trip .....

Yes this is my surprise I am going on a trip at the end of this year to O'ahu and Maui.  It was anounced at our congregation that there was the opportunity to attend an International Convention in Hawaii.  I didn't think anything of it until a friend came up to me and said would I like to go with her and I thought why not, so we applied and were accepted.  We have booked our flight and hotel in Honolulu right on the marina, just down from Waikiki Beach.  A short flight to Maui and a stay at a condo on Kaanapali beach, I am ready, can I go now.  The weather is attrocious for this time of year.  It's a good job I booked all this before we found out we needed a new boiler.


Friday, March 28, 2014

16. The Woman and The Seed Tour, The Met Palace of Ashurnasirpal, Assyria

The Assyrians of all the world powers were known to be the most cruel.  They used to play soccer with human heads and put out their captives eyes.  Their god was the fish god Dagon read page 215 of Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop to see how the fish symbol has come down through time.

The woman at the window in ivory a prostitute, as is seen today in many red light districts.  When Jehu came to get Queen Jezebel she was sitting at the window, protected by temple prostitutes.

Jar from Dead Sea Scrolls, one of ten like it in the world.

Egyptian jewelery.

Hittite mother/son worship.  Here again the child sitting on the mother's lap.

Nebuchadnezzar's entrance, lion reliefs.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Six Year Blogging Anniversary

It suddenly came to me that around this time of year is a Blogging Anniversary for me, my first post was March 27th 2008 that makes six years.  And I'm going for a record, the record is the least amount of followers that a person can have following in a six year period.  I have a grand total of thirty followers. It's a good job I just keep this blog for my fun and a few far flung friends who follow, because it is certainly making no statement in cyberspace.  I decided to take that feature off my Blog and now it cannot be returned without working on code, because Blogger no longer lets you do so, you have to add circles now.

So, why do people Blog?  I know when I started it was like opening the cookie jar, seeing into the lives of people in other parts of the world and how they lived, what made them happy in life.  Sharing their artistic creations and hopes.

The first Blog I ever followed was Tiny Happy and at that time Melissa lived in Norway.  I was wowed by peeking into a whole different life style.  I love to travel, but this was traveling via my laptop.

Many in those years have moved on to big things, some have fallen by the wayside, and others like me, or unlike me just plod on because it's their little space in the world of expression.

So this is how I feel about my Blog

Take care dear folk.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Snowdrops on Brocade From Courtauld's Mill in Halstead

Guess what it did last night, yes it snowed again, a sprinkling, but enough for everything to be white.  Plus it was very cold with a gusty wind.  Spring is not here yet.

And woe is us, because we just had the man in to clean the furnace, and it turns out that we need a new one.  Ours is very old, I'm thinking fifties or sixties, and is oil, so we may change to gas, since we have to put a new one in.

Every morning Mr. B.  has to go down and check that there is enough water in the boiler, it has a crack, so he checks on the water level, to run it for hot water and back ground heat.  At least we're coming into the season when we should not be using it as much, plus we also have the wood stove.  But ouch!  What an expense.  Not one we had planned on.  We knew one day, but not this day.  At least we can baby it along.

I have started on a crochet skirt to go with my shawl, quite an easy pattern I will post it later.  In a fleck gray/charcoal it is crocheting up looking a little darker than I thought it would, but I like it.

I took this photo a couple of weekends ago.  I know it is a little late to show snowdrops, but March for snowdrops is late in any case.  These were buried under snow for so long, I think that they were stunted in their growth.  But a nice little show for me to enjoy while sitting in the Simla Room crocheting.

The brocade fabric they are sitting on is just one of a couple of small pieces I have which my grandma gave to me.  She used to work at Courtauld's Mill in Halstead, Essex, back in the fifties and sixties, before it was closed down.

Behind is a photo of Mr. B. and I on our honeymoon.

This was Courtauld's Mill.  If you were to turn around to the right just behind you is where my nephew had his wedding reception, in an old timber framed pub.

Hope all is well with you dear folk.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Japanese Crochet Flowers and Serenity Garden Yarn

Deborah Norville Serenity Garden yarns are just such fun to work with.  Well let me start from the beginning.  I wanted to crochet a flower shawl, I started looking at Japanese crochet flowers and scarves and shawls made with Japanese flower designs.  So download the pattern take out some yarn and practice.

I decided the yarn I was using was too heavy, and went rummaging through my many dispersed collections when I came across a skein that I had bought several years ago, it was this yarn Serenity Garden and it was in the Gems color.  I had actually bought it to crochet the gusset in my Oilily sweater, but opted for plain red in the end.

Japanese crochet flowers are usually crocheted in three different colours but I thought wouldn't it be fun to use this multi color yarn and not have to have all those ends.

The yarn is soft, is the correct weight for the flowers and I am just enjoying working with it so much.  It does split a little but if you're careful it is fine.  There were many good reviews about this yarn.

So then I panic I like this yarn so much, but I bought it several years ago can I still get it.  Yes, our local store does still have some of the colours, phew.  So now I'm on a Japanese flower crochet saga.

Did finish my other shawl and will post pics when weather cooperates.

Just put those two words together Japanese and Serenity Garden, they seem to compliment each other.





 Mountain Heather



Spring Water 


Orange Tree

Happy Crocheting,

P.S.  Japanese crochet scarf  L'atelier de Marie

PPS Just finished watching The Far Pavilions the book was by M. M. Kaye.  She wrote many books and one of her best I think, is the first in the series of a trilogy of  autobiographical books 'The Sun In the Morning', growing up in the early nineteen hundreds in Simla, India, a place I want to visit.  Hence I call my sunroom the Simla Room, all things Indian.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

15. The Woman and The Seed Tour, The Met Isis-Aphrodite

Isis-Aphrodite is a form of the great goddess Isis that emphasizes the fertility aspects associated with Aphrodite. She was concerned with marriage and childbirth and, following very ancient pharaonic prototypes, also with rebirth. Elaborate accessories, including an exaggerated calathos (the crown of Egyptian Greco-Roman divinities) emblazoned with a tiny disk and horns of Isis.

Figures depicting this goddess are found in both domestic and funerary contexts. Popular already in the 3rd to 2nd centuries B.C., they continued to be made in Roman times. Dating technology places this piece in the Roman period, probably about AD 150, and the long narrow face and rather dry expression do not contradict such a date.

Imagery again comes down through the ages as in the Statue of Liberty in New York, presented in 1884 as a gift from the French Grand Orient Temple Masons to the Masons of American in celebration of the centenary of the first Masonic Republic.

The Statue of Liberty, which was designed by the French sculptor Bartholdi and actually built by Gustave Eiffel (both Freemasons) was not originally a Statue of Liberty at all, but first planned by Bartholdi for the opening of the Suez Canal in Egypt in 1867.

Bartholdi, like many French Freemasons of his time, was deeply steeped in 'Egyptian' rituals, and it has often been said that he conceived the original statue as an effigy of the goddess Isis and only later converted it to a 'Statue of Liberty' for New York harbour.

Also take a good look at Starbucks logo and it's history of progression, quite interesting.  Originally she was a mermaid (syrene) just as their song is irresistible so is their coffee.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend to Weekend Retrospect

I am keeping my snowy banner until winter has truly ended and it isn't yet. This morning we woke up to three inches of snow. Wednesday into Thursday last week the temperature almost hit seventy and then plummeted down to 20 F.  Winds came in and just blew that warm weather right out.  I was woken at about 3:00 AM on Thursday morning to hear my giant wind chimes incessantly chiming at a manic pace.  When I got home Thursday evening the road was cordoned off, the repair men were trying to straighten a telephone wire pole at the end of our property, they braced it either side, but it is still leaning at a crazy angle, I wonder if they'll be back.  One has to be care full as my neighbours big tree fell on my car, on a gusty windy day, while I was driving past.  The policeman said I was fortunate not to be killed, and that's a whole story in itself which I will not go into.  So must remember to keep an eye on that pole.

Mr B. and I went to IKEA last Sunday week it was mobbed.  Did find what we wanted a Continental quilt cover for The Boy's new quilt.  I have two quilt covers but both are from years ago and it seems that the new Continental quilts are larger.  I told The Boy to order it and I would pay for it.  He wanted down, but somehow was mislead by smart wording and had actually ordered a synthetic one, but really nice quality, with a lot of good reviews.  In the end we decided to keep it and he likes it so that's good.  I was actually looking into the wool quilts as well, which appeals to me, but most of those ship out of Australia.

Now I know where to go for under sheets only.  You can always come up with nice top sheets in the thrift, but never the under sheet as they wear out more quickly and it's hard to find just an under sheet, but IKEA is the place to go.  So when we bought The Boy's set, cover and matching pillow case, we were able to buy a single under sheet to go with it.

Saturday week I met with a friend at her house, to go over our plans, I'll let you know what that is, in a future post, but it's exciting.  We sat and talked and had breakfast together, so nice hardly ever or never get to do that.

Last week Mr. B.  took off work to do a friends job for him, while Wilf and Rose went on vacation. So we took advantage of Mr. B. not working the weekend and went out last Saturday to lunch.  I treated him to the best Maryland Crab sandwich in the area, plus chocolate mouse cake for desert.  The sun was out and we had a lovely time together.

Before we went out last Saturday The Boy took these photos of his mum and dad.


14. The Woman and The Seed Tour, The Met Striding Figure

Figure with curved shoes probably from the time of Babel.  The first thing I thought of when I saw this was elves, because elves are depicted with those curved shoes plus those pointy beards and here I thought someones imagination was just running wild and here you find out that there is nothing new under the sun.  This I think was the oldest figurine that they have at the Met.


P.S.  Added better photo from the Met archives.

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