Sunday, November 27, 2011

Slow Food

Bacchus by Caravaggio
Spent a wonderful evening enjoying a long, slow meal and lingering at the table with Caroline, Maureen, Dick and Jim. It was Rob's and my turn to host, and the theme was 'Italian'.  Everyone bringing a course (or two) and fabulous bottles of wine to share.

Six hours to do Bacchus proud.

A rogue cricket had gotten loose in the house and was chirping loudly.

Between courses we went out on the deck to enjoy the unseasonably warm evening and take in the night air.

Bursts of flavour.  The portions were small enough to leave us wanting just a bit more, so at the end of the six courses we weren't over-stuffed. 

At one point Caroline and Rob brought my grandfather's self-portrait oil painting up from the basement and we hung it in the living room where he now looks wonderfully at home.  

Much merriment! And now plans for New Year's Eve....


  • antipasto - platter of tasty salamis, cheeses, olives & artichokes
  • primo - silken handmade ravioli stuffed with 2 different delectable fillings... mushroom and two cheeses
  • secondo - sweet and sour caponata and Tuscan chicken
  • salad - young greens + Pecorino brillo (light and fruity) served with pomegranates, and aged balsalmic
  • cheese  - tallegio + pecorino with truffle + brillo
  • dolce - rainbow sorbet with limoncello and blackberries - full of colour 
  • finish with espresso + biscotti + shots of limoncello

wines paired were barolo and chianti classico,
Fontanafredda Barolo
Montegiachi Chianti Classico

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

O Henry!

For Susan, who so kindly enquired after Henry.  He is still valiantly hanging on but the cold morning frost is causing him to wilt.  Such a desperate romantic, I have to admire his flagrant disregard for winter.  

November 23rd, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Golden beauty

This morning when I looked out the back window I couldn't believe the colour of the hosta by the pond... so very golden.  For many years I've admired it's summer foliage and slug resistance,  but I can't remember seeing it so brilliant in the fall.   Well positioned by the pond, even Ganesh seems to appreciate its heart-shaped leaves.  What's not to love?

Henry continues to astonish, and here it is November 18.

It snowed just north-east of here yesterday.  Frost blankets the earth at dawn.

And so the seasons turn.

Henry's still hanging in.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Autumn glory

I am a lazy summer gardener, too many competing interests - sailing becomes a priority. So I have cultivated a garden with all-season interest and look forward to my plants displaying their autumn glory.
Henry astonishes me when he shows up in November, I have yet to take him for granted.  Here he is, November 13th (clematis)

Do these plants make my hips look big? (rose hip)
White and green ruffles - such presence! (cabbage)

Friday, November 11, 2011

On loan from Paris

On loan from Paris, the exhibit of Chagall and the Russian Avant-Gard was drawing crowds this blustery grey November day.

Blue Circus
What colour in the Blue Circus and Double Portrait.

I've long been a fan of Chagall but hadn't realized he was a Russian Jew who spoke only Yiddish up until he was 11 years old.  He had not even heard the word for 'art' in his small village of Vitebsk. This was the area that Catherine the Great had confined the Hasidic Jews, and it was rare for anyone to leave.  Higher education here was rare, and money was scarce, but there was a rich tradition of music.

Chagall nostalgically  painted many a fiddler on the roof,  inspiring the image of the film of the same name.

I learned Hasidic translates from the Hebrew as "loving kindness" and as part of the spiritual and mystic tradition God is seen as a spark of goodness living in all things.

Double Portrait with Wine Glass
I love the Double Portrait he created of himself and his wife, Bella.  Such a celebration of light and love.  She was his muse for 29 years, and when she died he couldn't even hold a paintbrush for an entire year.

He did go on to other loves,  dying more 40 years later in St. Paul de Vence when he was 98 years old.

I came across his grave there, not knowing in advance his resting place would be overlooking the countryside in Provence.  Respectfully, I placed a pebble in his honour.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Full Frosty Moon - November

The moon has looked full to me for a few days now.  Especially since the nights are getting longer.  The Full Frosty moon is peeking through my bedroom skylight and shining in my eyes, and it is glowing in the mornings when I sit for meditation.  Bright enough to cast shadows.

Today though, at 20:16 the moon is 'officially' full.

I found a fabulous site by googling moon music.  And another.

November is such a moody month, I think this song strikes the perfect chord.

Illustration credit

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Great Value Reds

Good buys

It's getting into party season! 

These are two of my late summer/fall faves from the LCBO; not just for the price point, but great taste.

Italy | Drei Dona Tenuta La Palazza
VINTAGES 39958 | 750 mL | 
$ 15.00

Sangiovese is most readily associated with Tuscany, but that is not to say that the grape cannot thrive elsewhere. From Emilia-Romagna, in Central Italy, this example offers spice and red berry on the nose, followed by a palate that is dry and finely structured with a balancing acidity. Great length. This is a perfect match for gourmet pizza, or one of the region's famous exports, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. (VINTAGES panel, July 2010)

Spain | Bodega San Gregorio
VINTAGES 15073 | 750 mL | 
$ 13.55

Driven by naturally low yields, the red wines of the Calatayud region are real rising stars of Spanish wine. The Grenache blend here offers delectable aromas of redcurrant, sweet ripe fruit and suggestions of dried figs, tar and leather. This medium-bodied, easy-drinking red is a superb value at this price point. Enjoy with veal marsala or rack of lamb.

Autumn colours

Witch hazel, sedum and weeping maple put on their fall dress

Toad lily - exotic, fragile looking, funny and sexy... that's a lot of personality!

Weeping maple... going out in a blaze of orange...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

I quit smoking 10 years ago, as of November 2.

Definitely one of the harder things I've done.  It must have taken me over 100 tries, but eventually it stuck for more than a week, then more than a month, a year, and now... a DECADE!!!

I am still quitting, there are still moments, but I am so happy to have reached this milestone!

Illustration credit