Saturday, January 31, 2009

Photo Hunt "Furry"

This week's theme for Photo Hunt is "furry"

I had the chance to take several pictures of this little bumble bee, because he was taking a nap on this flower. At first I thought he was dead or maybe dying, because he hardly moved.
But when I looked closer I saw him breathe. The poor little fellow must have had a hard day at work ... he was absolutely exhausted.
This picture was one of the first macro's I made when I got my new camera last summer.

Click here to find more Photo Hunt pictures

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday's Fave Five ... um ... Fave Six!

Friday's Fave Five is an open invitation to share favourite things from the past week.
I like that idea. There are so many nice things in our lives, but sometimes we tend to overlook them, or forget all about them. I'm used to taking lots and lots of pictures each day to document my daily life but sometimes even those fade into oblivion ...

Counting last week's blessings, I discovered that there were many more than five things that made my week. And that I did not get pictures of all of them?

My daughter came over after work last Friday. A glass of wine, a real old fashioned comfort food meal I cooked for her and a looooooooooooooong conversation over two pots of tea ...
THAT was the REAL highlight of the week!

The next morning I woke up to a beautiful sunshiny morning. Instant energy!
It was cold, but that bright sun inspired me to go outside and do some gardening on my patio.
I had to line my gardening gloves with woollen ones, but it felt great to be outside and tidy things up a little.

And while I was busy gardening, I was looking for the first signs of Spring.
That's me ... can't wait for Winter to be over, first signs of Spring always make my heart jump ...

And then one evening while I was blogging I looked outside and I saw the most amazing pink sunset. I hurried outside with my camera to capture it. For a brief moment there, I thought I was in Tasmania, my friend Kim seems to capture sunsets like this each week!
The next morning there was this equally stunning pink sunrise ...

Oh yes, in case you're wondering, I put the sunset pictures at the top of this collage and the bottom ones are from the next morning!

Blood oranges are in season right now, and they always seem like a special treat to me.
A memory from my childhood perhaps?
My father used to shape them like cupcakes when I was little, and so did I.
Somehow they seem to taste much better this way ...

And then last Wednesday I had a wonderful day out in Leuven with my hubs.
The weather gods were cooperating, we made a long long walk, and I took loads of pictures of this beautiful town ...

So there, my fave five , fave six to be exact!

Go here to read about other people's favourite five things.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sepia Scenes, An Experiment

For this week's Sepia Scenes I did a little experiment with this picture.

I wanted to see what kind of different moods the picture would get if I highlighted

... the people in the background ...

Or only the Ricard ...
Which makes it look like an advertisement, but I kind of like the effect on this one ...

Or the whole table ?
Which one do you prefer?

Find more Sepia Scenes here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Melli's ABC Wednesday

Wednesday again. This means Melli wants two more letters from the alphabet. *sigh*
I'm doing this because I like Melli. What did I say? I love Melli.
I love her very much, but this assignment is killing me!
Okay okay, now don't run off. If you're visiting this blog for the first time, maybe you don't know what the hell I'm talking about huh? Maybe you'd think I'm a little bit crazy?
Go off and read this post first then? Last week's adventures, and they were hilarious.

You're back. Good. By now you KNOW I'm a little bit crazy!

Melli wants us to find a C and a D this time, but they should not be real C's and D's?
Get it? They should not be meant to be a C or a D? Disguised ones, that's right!
Now, I had a whole week to find them for her!
Yeah, but she already did the easy ones when she introduced the challenge!
Can't do the coffee mug trick, uh-uh!
By the time this challenge is over, the men in white coats ARE going to come and fetch me!
How many more weeks? *Counts on her fingers* Eleven?????
My God!
Okay. Calm down. Relax. Breathe.
*Breaths deeply*.
Okay. I'm done for this week right?
And I've already got an X, right?
And an N?
And that C was just outside from where I'm working blogging, right?
There was more than one, right?

I even managed to get down on my old knees and make an "artsy" macro out of it, how about that huh?

But that D was a real drag.
It was not until yesterday morning when I saw this ...

And this, my dear Melli, is as good as it gets!
It is a D, right?

Okay. Now I'm off. See you all again tomorrow!
I'm going to spend the day in Leuven with my husband and I'm taking my camera.
I'll see if I can find the rest of that alphabet before it kills me!

Oh and um, don't forget to check on Melli's other victims players!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ruby Tuesday Primula's

I bought some Primula's to add a little splash of colour on my patio.
And they just HAD to be ruby. I started taking some pictures for Ruby Tuesday, but when I saw this one I thought it looked rather boring.
I don't like it much, what do you think?

I remembered the little trick I read to turn that camera up to find a much more exciting angle to photograph flowers. And so I did, I had a little bit of fun with it.

I like this one better, but I think there's still too much going on here.
Less is more, remember?

So there. I think I'm rather pleased with that one!

Visit Mary the Teach at Work of the Poet to see more Ruby Tuesday pictures.

Macro Monday, The Lace Project

Remember the lace project I'm working on?

I finished my first sampler.

When I removed the pins, I thought it would make a great subject for a macro photo shoot.

Find more gorgeous Macro Monday pictures at Lisa's Chaos.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekly Winners View from the Backyard

When I was twelve years old, I stayed in this château for ten days.
My very first holiday, and the first time I was away from home.

I remember the long walks with girls my age in the surrounding park.
I can even recall some of the conversations we had.

This is how the château looked in my memory.

I can still hear the music coming from this window, as a signal we had to gather in front of the building.

And then we would cross this bridge to go inside.

I think we had to go through this door to the place where they served our meals.

But when I revisited this place, I was truly surprised to discover that this is the real front door.

And this is what you're supposed to see when you visit the château.

The front side.

And the real main entrance!

Find more Weekly Winners at Sarcastic Mom's.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Things I Want to Do Today ... + UPDATE

There is a promise for a bright sunny day in the sky today.
The kind of day that makes my energy flow.
A day like that makes me yearn for Spring.
I think I might be in the mood for a little bit of Spring cleaning on my patio.
Clean the windows, get rid of dead plants and dry remnants.
I know it's probably much too early, but maybe I could go to the market and see if I can find some flowering plants?
Winter Violets or Hyacinths or something, ... ANYthing!
A little splash of colour to brighten up this depressing view from my kitchen window?
I want Spring!!!
And I want it now!

We'll see ...
Maybe I'll update with a picture later today.
But this is how it looks now, and I've had enough of it!
I'm off to get some work done!


I know you'll think I have all my priorities wrong. While my Christmas tree is still up inside, I have this urgent need to create a little "welcome-to-Spring" look outside.
It's the end of January, I know, but I could not resist.
I can take my tree down any time next week I guess.
The sun and the crisp fresh air tempted me to get outside and clean up the Winter muck, leaves and dead plants cluttering my patio.
The sunshine did not last, but it lasted long enough to get the job done.
Mind you, it was cold. I had to wear woollen gloves underneath my garden gloves, long john's and a body warmer, but I could not care less.
I'm tired and my back aches but I'm glad I saw it through.
It's clean and tidy again and the Primula's I bought add just enough colour to create an illusion of Spring in January ...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Belgian Cuisine, Vol au Vent

Some of my friends have asked about Belgian cuisine.
Maybe it's time to share another recipe
on Favourite Ingredients Friday.

Let's see?
I'm sharing something special today, it's called Vol au Vent.
Vol au vent ( fly with the wind) was invented by Carême,
a French chef from the nineteenth century.
It has become an old fashioned Belgian classic, something
my grandmother made on festive occasions.
Nowadays, you can buy it at any supermarket or food caterer,
but the home made version is so much better!
It was the first thing I ever cooked for my husband when I met him.
Twenty six years later, he still can't get enough of it!

You need:
One whole chicken, minced porc.
Celery, a carrot, half a leek, an onion.
Some parsley, thyme and a bay leaf.
White mushrooms.
Some fresh lemon.
Flour, butter, cream, salt and pepper.

I always make a good vegetable stock first, and add the chicken later.
Tie the vegetables and the herbs together, and put it in a large pot of cold water.
Add some salt and some peppercorns and the onion.
Gently heat and let it simmer for about twenty minutes.
I usually add some frozen chicken stock to enhance the flavour even more.
You don't have to bother peeling that onion, it gives the stock a beautiful golden colour.

When your vegetable stock is ready, add your chicken.
Let it simmer on a gentle heat until the chicken is cooked.
By now the whole house is perfumed with that lovely chicken stock mmm!
Remove from the stock, and let it cool down.

Slice the mushrooms, and cook them in a knob of butter.
Add a little bit of lemon juice to keep them nice and white,
and to enhance the flavour.

Add one egg, breadcrumbs, pepper salt and some chopped parsly to the minced porc. Roll small balls from it, and cook them in plain salted water until they float. Drain them and get rid of
their cooking liquid, it contains too much fat. Remove the bones and the skin of the chicken and cut it into pieces. Next thing to do is to make a blonde roux.

Melt butter, add the flour, and let it dry
for ten minutes on a gentle heat to loose the floury flavour.
If your roux is hot, add cold stock,
and vice versa, otherwise you'll get lumps in your sauce.
Add enough of the stock to obtain a rich velvetty sauce.

Add the mushrooms, the meatballs and the chicken.
Flavour with salt, pepper, and maybe a few more drops of lemon juice.
Finish the sauce with some cream.

You can serve this fricassée with rice,
or in a puff pastry "Vol au Vent" case.

In which case you serve it with fries. We call them "frites".
I refuse to call them French Fries, they are not French.
Fries are a genuine Belgian invention!