Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Quiet week-end

Yes, quiet week-end around for Juliette and I.  Philippe left on Friday for a 2-week long trip.

We did not do much

Blue faux wrapped dress

some homework – Math (lots of it), English, Chinese, Biology… you name it…

some “Young Naturalist’ experiment – observation of water absorbed by flowers, hence the blue dye

some dress-making – faux wrapped dress (Butterick 5949)

some comfort food – macaroni and ham gratin

some eating out – we were craving for ramen and moon cake

some going to the movie – Guardians of the Galaxy… what to say… preferably nothing

some TV watching – the Great British Bake off and An Extra Slice… I can’t believe it is almost finished

some cat time – LaoShi loves to bring lizard home… then she needs some rest…

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Bok Tower Gardens

Just an ordinary Sunday, not running around, not planning anything…

Just a visit to Bok Tower Gardens… and a walk in the garden.

Bok Tower1


Bok Tower

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Great British Bake Off

It is back… The Great British Bake Off on BBC1… and of course I’m following it…

Gone is the time when I thought I could be a competitor in the Bake Off.  The baking standards are so high nowadays, I am sure they prepare all year long.

So I console myself and bake for a very limited audience (Juliette and Philippe, and sometimes friends who happen to come by).

Peanuts butter cookies dipped in dark chocolate

Peanuts cookies 

First of all, I think my cookies were a bit too thick, a bit too dry and a bit overcooked, some of them got a nice crisscross with neat little squares in the centre, but others were uneven.  The chocolate coating had a nice shine but a tendency to melt fast (OK I baked this during a very hot week here in Florida – up to 100F).  I will probably bake these again.


Zesty Blueberry pie

Pie week

The recipe is from a Beautiful Mess blog. Really nice. Everybody liked the zesty taste.  The presentation could have been better, the blueberry juice overflew, I shouldn’t probably have used frozen fruits.  This one is a keeper, it will make it to my Black and Red book (I’ll have to speak about this book sometime).  Still I will have to work on it in order to avoid getting a case of soggy bottom.


Cardamom infused custard tart

Pie week1

This is a mixed of multiple inspiration sources: the figs tart from one of the GBBO contestant, the smell of cardamom seeds and two more recipes from BBC Good Food (Custard tart with nutmeg pastry and Custard tart).

Presentation wise, it could be better: I’ve forgotten that the pastry will retract in the heat, so my edge is messy and too short in some places.  Consequently, I could not pour as much custard as I wanted.  The figs are a bit small and moved during baking giving me a not-too-pretty finish. Also, the custard curdled, I think I overheated the milk.  Not a success.

Overall, I think I might have been eliminated from the Bake Off long ago… and would have made it to the sister programme An extra slice with Jo Brand, which is so funny.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Brooklyn Tweed…

I did plan a totally different post for today… but Brooklyn Tweed happens…

I think I need extra arms, extra set of needles, extra everything to cope with this… So many lovely projects


It’s a real pleasure to go through the booklet and the blog, the pictures are so beautiful.





My favorite so far:

Backbay_01_small2 Rowe_03_small2

Blackbay                      or                           Rowe?

 Crosby_05_small2   Wake_05_small2

Crosby                        or                        Wake?

Sunday, 7 September 2014


Until recently, I did not realise I was a ‘blue’ person… but looking at my wardrobe, my knitting, even my kitchen ware, I am definitively a blue person.

So no surprise with my last knitting projects:

Sampler shawlSampler shawl1

Pattern: Moss & Leaves Stole by Kerri Shank.  Haven seen other projects, I think I should have blocked it a bit more aggressively.

Yarn: Heritage Silk Paint from Cascade Yarn , bought from  Sip and Knit. I actually used 2 and a half skeins.

Sampler shawl with beads knitted on.  I don’t know why it took me forever to finish this project.  I blocked the day before going to England in July.  It’s a gift for Alice’s guardian.  Now I’ve got some red yarn and I’m planning on knitting another one for myself.


Storm card

Pattern:  Dark and Stormy  from Thea Colman

Yarn: Madelintosh DK (recycled from Effortless)

I recycled this yarn from a previous project, Efforless.  I loved knitting Effortless, however the shape and the yarn did not work well together.  The cardi became longer and longer and looked more like a shapeless mope.  Furthermore, our cat had bit into the sleeves creating unwelcome holes.  So I frogged it and worked on a cable cardi.  This has been so much fun.  The cable panel is very easy to learn but not boring at all.  It’s a top-down, I love projects that don’t require assembling.  I wonder whether I should knit one for myself.


I have more blues to show, but it will have to wait for another post.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Things that made me happy recently

… realising that my kids really enjoy each other company…


… getting my grand-mother’s towels from the 30’s and noticing my name tag from when I was a kid still on one of them…

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… finding this picture on my camera…

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

My Summer Play list

Looks like summer is about to end. I mean the holiday time... Juliette has been back to school for almost 3 weeks... Victor and his friends have left on Saturday. One more friend left on Sunday and Alice yesterday…  All of this makes me quite cranky and stressed out... On the bright side, it means less laundry, less washing up and more time for all things crafty.

Anyway, it’s been some time since my last Play list update, so here are a few things I've watched and read this past few months.

Game of Thrones- everybody seemed to be talking about it. The kids said it was not the kind of show to watch with your parents, so I watched it on my own during laundry time. I might even have made the laundry thing last longer than necessary as I got hooked to the series.  I went through the four seasons pretty quickly and really enjoyed it. Ok there's a lot of nudity, blood, cruelty and there's no point of getting attached to any of the characters, they die pretty fast. I enjoyed the very simple plot: 'I want to be king instead of the king so I'm killing anybody on the way'. There are no good guys versus bad guys, everybody is quite bad. I like than none of this can be related to real life. Perfect escape.

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Tyrant - I did not like this at all. The plot is set in a Middle East country ruled by a dictator. His brother and family (he's a handsome pediatrician leaving away for 20 years, married to a pretty blonde American wife, with two kids one of which is gay - so stereotypical) come to visit. The handsome Americanised pediatrician want to save his native country and his brother... In short the good brother comes to rescue the bad one, the American comes to save the lost shepherd, blah blah blah... Not for me, far too simplistic...

0000 Temp5

Reading wise, I'm feeling that I had a missed summer too.

I've started The tiger's wife... And still have to finish it… I am not sure why I have trouble getting into this book.  I probably need to give it another try as I always enjoyed books from the Orange Prize list… or I might not after reading a few reviews on Goodreads…


Les Visage de Victoria Bergman - I normally love a good mystery. But I'm disappointed with this one so far. It's written as if the authors are already planning for a movie. The main character, the police inspector, is so clueless about how to conduct her investigation and her life (sleeping with the murderess). The murderess is supposed to be a complex bi-personality psychotherapist but all the clues are given mid first book... I'm feeling that I now have to drag myself to finish this trilogy. I really hope there's going to be some interesting twists before the end. 


On a much more satisfying note, I got myself 2 cooking books:

The French Market Cookbook – Vegetarian recipes from my Parisian kitchen: I am very interested to see French and vegetarian together on the cover. French people don't do vegetarian… French people are only interested in Meat, Wine (red and French), and Cheese (unpasteurised and smelly).  I haven’t tried anything yet, but it looks like I can find some inspiration from our Meat Free Mondays.

Cooking books1

The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen - After our trip into the South, I really really want to try Southern cooking. I've got my eyes and taste buds set on the She-crab soup and the Frogmore soup too…  or what about the Sweet Potatoes with Sorghum Marshmallows… So who wants to come for dinner? :-)