Tag Archives: chocolate

Living on the ‘plains’.

Occasionally, I revel in the ‘plains’ of life.

Plain cake

Plain Cake

Plain Cake

plain yogurt in a plain pot

plain words

Canterbury

On this great plain the eye
Sees less of land than sky,
And men seem to inhabit here
As much the cloud-crossed hemisphere
As the flat earth.  ……..

Basil Dowling

‘plains’ that sustain us;

Canterbury Plains

Canterbury Plains

that form the staff of life.

Plain yogurt bread

Plain yogurt bread

How good are the ‘plains’.  🙂

Plain song
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© silkannthreades

The Box from Berlin

In my previous post,  First Footing,  I shared with you  the arrival of my first mail of the year, all the way from Berlin. The  mail package was my prize from Beautycalypse’s first international ethical  giveaway.

I took my time opening the parcel because a) it’s not every day I win a prize and b) it’s not every day I receive a parcel from anywhere, let alone Berlin. These special events need to be savoured and made to last  as long as possible. However, the mail was eventually opened and here is what I found. Would you like to have a peek ?……..

Do not drop! Handle with Care!

Do not drop! Handle with Care!

at the divine, utterly, utterly divine, (cannot say this loud enough or long enough) BLYSS chocolate,

Chefs and sommeliers tell us they think BLYSS is the most pure chocolate they've experienced

“Chefs and sommeliers tell us they think  BLYSS  is the most pure chocolate they’ve experienced”

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and, then, would you like to check out, ( courtesy of  ABURY Beyond Fashion ), a purse and a necessaire with beautiful Zwilling manicure set ? ……….

A purse and a necessaire from Abury

A purse and a necessaire from Abury (which remind  me that my pride and joy when I was young was my very own Moroccan  embossed leather handbag 🙂 . )

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and, last of all, but really first of all, because none of this would have happened without her,  would you like to see this  card made by Nath ?

A card from Beautycalypse

A card from Beautycalypse

Learn, think, share, join the Quest.....

Learn, think, ask, share, join the Quest…..

So, now, I am off to eat some  BLYSS and think about that Quest… which seems to take one just about everywhere….Berlin, Morocco, Ecuador, Australia, New Zealand….would you like to come along? I’ll let you taste some of my chocolate if you do 🙂

© silkannthreades

Hodgepodge

I am in a disorderly, unruly mood today, for no reason, except ‘just because’. And ‘just because’ that is so, I have decided my post is going to  be a hodgepodge; a veritable stew of unrelated subjects; a mingle-mangle, a gallimaufrey, an omnium-gatherum and a farrago, as well. It may even be a salmagundi too, although I don’t propose adding a recipe for that.  I will, however, tempt you, later, with another food item,  Boarders’ Favourite……..which I am planning to make for supper tonight. 🙂

So let’s begin with my menu of  hotchpotch, in no particular disorder.

From Felicia Dorothea Hemans,  she of ‘the boy stood on the burning deck fame

“For man can show thee nought so fair,
As Nature’s varied marvels there;
And if thy pure and artless breast
Can feel their grandeur, thou art blest!”

These words and photos are  in support of Silvana http://tinasca.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/nature-is-victim-again-yasuni-itt/ who, with friends, is trying to save the Yasuni in Ecuador. The photos, which I have chosen, ( two of which are Japanese  Mon), represent, for me, the unity of life on earth and how our ecosystems are intimately connected, no matter where we live on the planet.

The leaf Mon, also represents my first teeny-tiny attempt at using the paint tools on Gimp. And the amount of hand/eye coordination, and fine motor skill control, that programme required of me,  leaves me in awe of all my followers  who paint and sculpt and craft. You are amazing!

One such sculptor/blogger is Virginia at Muse-ings.     In her latest post she wrote of using the self-timer on her camera, and, immediately, a little light pinged in my head, and I remembered that I, too, have a timer on my camera.  And this is what happened, as a result; an old-fashioned, unruly ‘selfie’….

Unruly and Disorderly

Unruly and Disorderly

and, then, it was such fun using the timer, I tried it again and again. Later, encouraged by Heather in Arles, http://lostinarles.blogspot.co.nz/ I tried to photo edit one of the images, which created much bafflement for me, because, as my daughter says, Gimp requires ‘counter-intuitive’ thinking, of which, it seems,  I have very little. Hey ho….can anyone intuit what I did, or did not do, with my editing? As you can see, I am thinking upon it myself, hand to chin, lost in thought 🙂

Now, as a reward for sampling the hodgepodge menu, here’s some  chocolate deliciousness in

BOARDERS’ FAVOURITE!

Fair Trade Chocolate

Fair Trade Chocolate

and one of my favourite songs from New Zealand’s  own Bic Runga

© silkannthreades

I’m not the only bird

Recently, a few people have asked me if I collect anything, and I have answered, ” Not really.”  Which is true. I don’t have collections in a proper, formal sense, as, say, a stamp collector would. However, after my chocolate exorcism en plein air, Spring Equilibrium I came home with a mind full of fresh air, and  fresh thoughts, and realised that I am not the only “bird” in my home. I live with a flock of them. For, unwittingly, I have been collecting birds for years; birds in all forms, except live. In fact, if my birds were living ones, I would be obliged to apply for a licence to operate an aviary.  That’s how many I own.

Take a peek at some of many feathered friends.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather

I don’t know when I started collecting birds but one of my first bird purchases was a book, Birds of Fiji in Colour by W.J. Belcher. It was published in 1972, but the bird studies were painted between 1924 and 1935.( And, yes, our amazing  friends at Amazon still have the book http://www.amazon.com/Birds-Fiji-Colour-W-J-Belcher/dp/B000RH91NS)

Birds by Belcher

Birds by Belcher

William Belcher was born in England in 1883. He came to New Zealand at the age of three and spent the earlier part of his life here before moving to Fiji. He was mostly a self-taught artist  and he painted orchids as well as birds. And, he was not only a painter but a hotel licensee, money-lender, shooting gallery owner and a mechanic, as well. He died, and was buried, in Suva, Fiji in 1949. His collected works are owned by the Fiji Museum.

Birds of Fiji features 25 of Belcher’s paintings. I have selected two for my collage because they represent  very precious memories I have from  my amateurish, youthful bird watching. The illustrations are of the White Collared Kingfisher, Halcyon chloris, and the Blue Reef Heron , Demigretta sacra, or in Fijian, Belo. The White Collared Kingfisher was painted in 1931.There is no date for the Reef Heron.

Kingfisher and Heron

Kingfisher and Heron

I will finish with an observation attributed to William Belcher which is recorded in the Introduction to  Birds of Fiji ” He believed that most people saw only what they wanted to avoid bumping into, whereas only the odd person discovered form and shape.”  Rather apt considering how long it has taken me to realise that I collect birds 🙂 and not just ‘things’ to dust.

My special Penguin

My special Penguin

© silkannthreades

Spring equilibrium

So, what does one do on the day after a night of reckless over indulgence on cake and cookies and chocolate,  in my night kitchen?

Why , one ventures outdoors, of course, because Mother (Nature, that is) knows best how to return equilibrium to body and soul. So, that is what we did on this beautiful spring day. We sat by the water side, at Northwood, and watched the world and its wonders. We were in good company.

There were ducks, both on and off the water.

Come on in; the water's cool.

Come on in; the water’s cool.

And there was a family of ducks, with Mother and Father Duck being kept very busy with the activity of their one, little, early bird duckling.

Up on the rise, a pair of ducks was resting and, perhaps, contemplating, as they watched the dizzy whizzing of the ducks below, if they were ready for parenthood.

Contemplating duckling antics

Contemplating duckling antics

By the water’s edge, we saw two, sweetly serene seagulls, blissfully unaware of the raucous behaviour coming from the other seagulls perched on nearby rooftops.

And, then ,there was the lone Pukeko who came close enough to greet us but  decided that searching for food was a much more profitable way to spend the day. And, would we mind our own business, please!

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Lastly, before leaving for home, we communed with  pretty things, particularly pretty, spring things.

© silkannthreades

In my night kitchen

I am causing mayhem in the kitchen again.

There’s mess and chaos, just as before, https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/kitchen-chaos/

but this time, I am cooking by the light of the moon…not really…..but there is a big, bold moon in the sky which I can see from my well-lit kitchen.

Here is what is happening:

There are cookies and crumbs

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

from  the excellent The Sensitive Gourmet, Antoinette Savill, http://www.amazon.com/The-Sensitive-Gourmet-Imaginative-Cooking/dp/0722537131

And there is divine chocolate cake, and more crumbs,

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

from the Healthy Food Guide http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/recipes/2007/may/gluten-free-chocolate-cake

And, to the cake, I added healthy, blueberry sauce and a helping of not so healthy ice cream.

But ice cream decadence is permissible when the moon is full and round and one is cooking in the night kitchen. Even snakes and dogs are permissible; as long as they are still.

That’s enough nonsense from my night kitchen, except my silliness has reminded me of a wonderful rhyme we loved when we were children :

I went to the animal fair, the birds and the beasts were there. By the light of the moon the giddy baboon was combing his auburn hair. The monkey he gave a jump, and sat on the elephant’s trunk. The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees and what became of the monkey, monkey, monk….

All my recipes tonight are gluten-free and dairy free but definitely not chocolate free.

© silkannthreades

Sustained by Chocolate

After the mayhem of the past few days, I decided that a hefty dose of restorative chocolate was required to repair my weary physical constitution. Happy thoughts are all well and good for the spirit and the brain but, in times of stress, the body needs something more sustaining….like chocolate.  So, yesterday, I made a fortifying dessert called “Boarders’ Favourite”. Others may know it as a chocolate self saucing pudding or fudge batter pudding but, in my world, it is “Boarders’ Favourite”.

I first met this chocolate pudding at boarding school. Most of our food was typically awful boarding school fare but, every once and  awhile, our ever hungry boarder appetites were treated to the utter deliciousness of what was known as “Boarders’ Favourite”.  How the cooks managed to make this dessert so well and almost everything else so terribly I have no idea, but such are the mysteries of life.

Look at this photo collage and imagine yourself as a ravenous teenager falling in to the depths of chocolate love, and feasting your senses on the taste and sight and smell of ooey, gooey chocolateness.Boarders' Favourite

Believe it or not, I didn’t much like chocolate before I went to boarding school. And, believe it or not, it wasn’t till I was in my late twenties that I realised that this chocolate pudding had any other name but Boarders’ Favourite.

The recipe I use for my Boarders’ Favourite is a slightly grander version than the one that our cooks used at boarding school because it includes walnuts. However it is still, despite its richness, a very simple and economical recipe. I found it in a magazine type recipe book that I purchased in the one and only bookstore in Gaborone, Botswana. I thought it was wickedly extravagant to spend almost four Pula (dollars) on a recipe book back in those long ago days, but that purchase has served me well over many, many years. It has travelled with me all over the world.  And, because the ingredients of Boarders Favourite are so basic, I have managed to bake it wherever I have roamed. Now, here I am, still baking it, but back in the city where my chocolate obsession  began.Sweet Treat

Footnote: My favourite baking cocoa is from a New Zealand company called Trade Aid which sources and sells Fair Trade organic cocoa.

© silkannthreades