Sunday, March 30, 2008

We want summer

I've been brave this week end and resisted going to the beach
and stuff myself with the traditional Sunday paella.

Instead I sat at my table and finished
the summer cards samples for Le Bon Marché in Paris.

with the help of a few gods, I gradually made

a Vestiaire d'été (summer wardrobe)

the buyer said "we want happiness, we want summer,

we want couleurs primaires"

I worked while watching one of my favorite classic movies

Le Mépris (Contempt) by Jean-Luc Godard...

You know, French avant-garde.

Location : Capri island and the incredible villa Malaparte

Actors : Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance

and Fritz Lang being himself

There's a movie inside the movie,
Fritz Lang is making a movie on the Iliad

the colors are just what I need

thanks for the inspiration

may the gods help with the order

ps : sorry for the bad photos of the movie but I still don't know how to capture an image directly from the computer. If someone could enlighten me on this, I would be most grateful.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Leave your work aside and come for lunch....

1pm : I sigh in front of my computer, proofreading some financial translation. Gosh, still 3 more pages to go. On top of that, i'm still in my fake silk négligé...Hair in a mess, feeling slightly grumpy...I'm sure anyone who works free lance experiences the same syndrom of "I who work at home don't need to dress up"...and some mornings are worse than others.....

1.15pm : As the net asset value per share starts giving me a serious headache and makes me curse the whole lot of bankers and brokers and alike, my phone rings. It's my friend Gym.

- hi , did you have lunch already ?

- of course not.

- well, come on then...I made a couscous and there's enough for 3 !

Monchéri raises a critical brow. Couscous ? Oh please, don't be that difficult, i know you don't like the grain but Gym really makes it quite nicely.

Since I started this blog, I always intended to write a big long post about Gym. (in a very near future, promised). She's the kind of friend, you're really proud about or feel envious about !. Gym works on movie or ads sets as a decorator. She makes trompe l'oeil paintings (I happened to read her cv once and discovered she decorated the Bolchoï), she's also a painter, she runs her own antique shop sourcing beautiful objects or strange things from fleamarkets. She loves her cats and her dog. She loves organizing vintage fashion shows...And I love her workshop. This is where she lives, paints and dreams with a wonderful view onto the Lecrin valley filled with lemon and orange trees....Am I getting too bucolic ?

But please, come in....

Oh this pink makes me happy...
I also love Gym's painting on the wall of people bathing

the cat invites herself for lunch

Gym tastes the almond and raisins sauce.
She had the bar covered with leopard imitation fabric.

the table is set...
the easel is waiting to be used....
Gym's paintings on the walls want to be looked at

the piano wants to be played....

the couscous wants to be eaten....

once a week, Gym hosts live drawing classes

Feel like having a pink seat too ? Wait, i'll give you another one...this one is reserved for my red coat !

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A tale of two pots...

This is what a friend emailed me today and I couldn't but share it with you...

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots,
each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect
and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house,
the cracked pot always arrived half full

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home
only one and a half pots of water

Of course the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection
and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been
made to do

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure,
it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.
'I am ashamed of myself,
because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to
your house'

The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers
on your side of the path but not on the other pot's side?'

That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds
on your side of the path, and everyday while we walk back, you water them.'

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful
flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are,
there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'

Each of us has our own unique flaw.
But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our
lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You've just got to take
each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

to all my crackpot friends have a great day and remember to smell

the flowers on the side of your path !

Oh's so true...I who always strive so much to be perfect in my work, in my way of thinking, etc...and anyway does perfection exist ?

Have a happy day !

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's all in the egg.....

What do you do with 6 eggs ?

Monchéri would make a tortilla because it's what he does best

Well normally it should look a little bit thicker. I got blamed because I didn’t have the right frying pan. You see, you need a small and deep frying pan.

When Monchéri made this tortilla, he kept cursing because there were absolutely no onions in the whole flat which for a Spanish person is a total no-no. Oh well !

and I would make a tarta de naranja y almendras (orange and almond cake)

I make this cake every Friday for a restaurant and please try it, you will love it !

Can you believe I've been living for almost 9 years in Spain now and I still don't know how to make a tortilla (or Spanish omelette).

Would you like to try to make one ?

Yes ? Come on , put on your apron....

to make a medium tortilla, you need :

6 eggs

5 medium potatoes

1 onion

olive oil

salt, pepper

cut the potatoes and the onion in small dice

beat the 6 eggs in a bowl then add the potatoes and the onion

pour a generous amount of olive oil in a small frying pan and when the oil is hot, carefully pour the preparation

this is when it's tricky for me : first I never put enough oil so my tortilla sticks to the pan, then you really need to let it cook

when the base is sufficiently cooked, slide the tortilla onto a plate and toss it upside down in the pan to cook the other side

if the tortilla is not cooked enough, put in the oven for a few minutes

Hope you'll enjoy your tortilla !

and you must try the orange cake....all my friends are in love with it....because it's so light and refreshing (there is no flour in it)

Ready ?

you need:

2 medium oranges
1 lemon
6 eggs
150g of almond powder
200g of caster sugar
40g of caster sugar
1tsp of baking powder

boil the oranges until cooked

process them with a mixer then pour the mixture in a big bowl.

add the eggs one by one in the orange mixture

in another medium bowl, mix 200g of caster sugar with the almond powder and 1 tsp of baking powder

preheat the oven at 200ºC

pour the sugar and almond mixture into the big bowl and all the ingredients together homogeneously

pour the preparation in a 22cm diameter mold covered with tin foil

bake for 1hour approx until lightly golden brown

in the mean time, prepare a lemon syrup with 40g of caster sugar and the juice of a lemon.

put it to a simmer until it thickens

pour the syrup over the cake when it's cooked

That's it ! just let it cool then put it in the fridge. This cake is delicious served cold. you can keep it up to 2/3 days in the fridge.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Still in procession...details

Being a shoe lover, I couldn't help completing my former post with pictures of shoes and feet

some choose the hardest Would you do it ? knowing a procession can last up to 10 hours, you will have to walk on cobble stones, up and down and in the cold...brrr...

some choose the medium soft way...walking in socks

some choose the not so medium soft way....sheer stockings with a foot lining

some definitely wear shoes....this charming black shoe completes the nazareno outfit

some definitely opt for the sexy way....but oh dear this must be a real suffering ! on high heels from 16h30 until 23h00, walking and standing

nice shoes...nice we in a fashion contest ? undoubtedly sexy and elegant

reasonably sexy shoes and of course, she didn't forget to paint her nails

oops....keep your balance now !

Still in procession in the Alhambra....

I knew the sky would eventually clear up, and here was I on Saturday, walking up to the Iglesia Santa Maria de la Alhambra....Hurry up ! the salida (the start of the procession) is at 16h30 and it's already 16h....

Os puedo hacer una foto ? (can I take a picture of you?)

Pues claro ! (of course, you can!)

Thank you so much....I would have loved to ask indiscreet questions like : do you participate every year ? what does it mean to you ? is there a fee to pay to be part of it ?

but no time....

people are gathering around the church....last calls are being made

some women are totally dressed in black in mourning for the death of Christ. They wear the traditional lace mantilla which is usually handmade.

the members participating to the procession enter the church

I couldn't take my eyes off that woman. I loved everything about her : her hair, her coat which looks so 60's, her earrings and her black lace dress

mother and daughter. tradition vs modern go hand in hand

I think some women are simply gorgeous with this traditional Spanish hair style (comb and mantilla). I wish I could dress like this just once but occasions are very rare. I would have to be invited to a smart wedding in Sevilla or to the feria next month. Alas I have no connections in Sevilla !

the procession starts with the nazarenos

they hold very long candle sticks called cirios

the color of the outfit : capirote (hood) + tunica (tunic) + capa (cape) varies according to the hermandades (brotherhood)

the church is next to Palacio Carlos V. I love the blue color of the capirotes and capas (hood and cape) contrasting with the purple wisteria (I'm sure blogging friend Sara likes it as well)

I forgot the name of these men in black....sorry !

this man in a black suit looks so Spanish to me...may be because of the mustache

women in black....they wear the medal and ribbon of the cofradia or hermandad (brotherhood or members of the church participating to the procession) they belong to. They are of all ages really.

they look so elegant

isn't she cute ?

the carrier of the cross...usually barefoot but he or she preferred to remain in socks

incense is burned in a metal urn which hangs by a chain and is swung by children to spread the scent....

people clap when finally the float or paso makes its appearance. Adorned with flowers and candles, the float usually represents a biblical scene with the Virgin Mary and Christ. It is very very heavy and is being carried by dozens of men.

and the band closes the procession I didn't stay until the end late at night as the day progressively turned cold and windy with ominous black clouds gathering up in the sky. My fingers were so frozen I couldn't properly press the button on my camera I definitely had a great time !
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