Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the world...to lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Sunday, July 31, 2011

...And Back to Summer

...it's peach time!


Jackie's Summer Peach Pie

1 9-1/2 to 10"  pastry shell

The Streusel:
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup cold (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

The Filling:
1 1/2 pounds ripe peaches, skinned, pitted and quartered
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons creme fraiche


Make the pate sucree: Pulse 1 cup flour, 1-1/2 tsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt in a food processor to combine. Add 8 tbsp cold butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds.  With machine running, add ice water (no more that 4 tbsp) in a slow, steady stream through feed tube until dough just holds together. Turn out dough onto a work surface; shape into a disk. 

Make the streusel: Sift together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using your hands or a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9 1/2- or 10-inch pie plate (about 1-1/2 inches deep). Trim edge to 1 inch; fold under, and crimp as desired. Pierce bottom of dough all over with a fork. Transfer to freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover edge of crust with foil. Line crust with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake, covered, 10 minutes. Remove weights and parchment (keep foil on edge). Bake until pale golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly; remove foil; reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

While the crust is baking make the filling:  put peaches into a medium bowl, and sprinkle with sugar and salt; gently toss to coat. let stand 15 minutes. Spread 2 tablespoons creme fraiche onto bottom of crust; sprinkle with one-third of the streusel. Lift peaches out of liquid (they will be quite wet) and arrange on top; spread or dot with remaining  3 tablespoons creme fraiche. Sprinkle with remaining streusel.

Bake pie until creme fraiche is bubbling and streusel is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Cover edge of crust with foil if it's browning too quickly. Let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This is one pretty-looking and delicious-tasting pie!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mary, Mary quite contrary...

...I know, I know,
always wanting what I don't have.

But even in the middle of summer,
I just can't help longing for Autumn...












I love Autumn...sigh...

photos care of Harpers Bazaar UK

Thursday, July 28, 2011


'Let the Beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.'

- Rumi




Trish at Peony Princess is creating these lovely hanging glass jars

for an upcoming wedding that she is designing for a friend.


I think they are so beautiful!


They reminded me of these words by John O'Donahue

which he wrote about Beauty.



'The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere - in the landscape

music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love,

religion and in ourselves.


At first, it sounds completely naive to suggest that now might be

a time to invoke and awaken beauty.

Yet,

when we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming.

Some of our most wonderful memories are of beautiful places where we felt immediately at home.


We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul.


... we can slip into the Beautiful with the same ease we slip into the seamless embrace

of water; something ancient within us already trusts that this embrace will hold us.


When we awaken to the call of Beauty, we become aware of new ways

of being in the world. We were created to be creators, and

at its deepest heart, creativity is meant to serve and evoke beauty.


The wonder of the Beautiful is its ability to surprise us.

With swift, sheer grace, it is like a divine breath that blows the heart open.



love from Victoria



Monday, July 25, 2011



Ooops!

I just might have given the wrong impression in my last post!

You see I'm definitely NOT the cook my sister J., is

so it might have looked as if I actually cooked the lamb curry myself!

Oh, just not so!

it was

'Curry in a Hurry' for me last night.

Thanks to the Grocery Goddess up the road from me
at

'Niagara Grocery - Get Fresh with a Local'


I was able to pick up Vij's delicious Lamb Curry from his line of
frozen take outs.

Vij's restaurant is located at West 10th avenue in Vancouver.

Owner/chef Vikam Vij and his wife Meeru Dhawlawa have
developed the most delicious line of take out entree's that
are now available in Victoria.

see the full delicious line here

Now they do say 'boil in the bag' and I can see J.
collapsing on the floor right now in horror of such a thought!
. . . so I must add that I did cut open the bag and place contents in a
saucepan to reheat! I also cooked brown rice and green beans as a side!
'Whew!'

Now I am thinking of buying Vij's cookbook


and might one day
actually try to cook one of his recipes from scratch!

love from Victoria

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Lovely Summer Sunday


Today was truly a Summer's Day...we've been waiting for weather
like this for weeks, and if tomorrow it's back to cool grey skies,
no worries, because today was glorious.

After a morning of work at the clinic I rushed home to
change and head out to the ballpark to watch my favourite ball team
'Scared Hitless'
for their end of season tournament game.


I arrived there in the 5th inning of the final game for the championship

It was intense
Bottom of the 7th, they need three runs to win,
and it's my daughter Katie up to bat, one on first, one on second.
Two outs.
No pressure I tell her!

I can barely watch!


It's now two balls, two strikes!

She walks!

Yeah!

Now we have bases loaded.

Next up to bat.

He swings

He hits

They catch him out!

Too bad!

So, it's second place for Scared Hitless, but what game it was!

Well done gang!

To end off the day it's a round of drinks in the beer garden;
soaking up the last rays of the day.


Time to head home and prepare dinner,

Easy, peasy - Vij's Caramelized Onion, Ginger and Lamb Curry
is waiting!


Yum!

Dinner on the couch with a chilled glass of Kim Crawford and my
favourite movie 'Moulin Rouge'

I love Ewan McGregor!


I can listen to him sing 'Your Song' over and over again.


After the movie finished I sat thinking about Elton John and of the times
years ago J. and I would drive down to Bournemouth in her Morris Minor
to see Elton and Bernie Taupin in concert.

He was awesome. Just him and his piano, Bernie on the drums.

No gimmicks, no props.

So pure.

I chose the Blog photo as a tribute to Elton and to say thanks
for so many wonderful songs that have so many wonderful meanings for me.

I was going to post a photo of Ewan for the blog header,
but I'll keep that for my diary. Yup ... some of us never grow up!

Here's Ewan . . . don't you just love him too!

love from Victoria


Saturday, July 23, 2011












Oh Hello Friend!

I remember . . .

You and Me at four and two . . .

Hand in Hand


We would

Chase bubbles, sparkle, laugh

Fits of giggles

Delight in encouraging silliness

No wait - wasn't that You and Me

just the other year?


Oh Hello Friend . . .

Have a fabulous day!

Live a colourful life ...


There's no time to be beige


Believe!

Believe in yourself, in your dreams

Believe in others


and
Think of birthdays as petals of a flower



each one representing a life time of wisdom.


Happy Birthday Darling Girl

love you lots

xoxo


love from Victoria

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Big Week

This is a big (celebratory) week for
me/us.

Today is our 37th wedding anniversary!



Yikes...where has the time gone?...

and Saturday is my birthday!

Look what showed up today,
okay it's not brand new,
and it's not white...
but I think it's just about perfect!

Now if the weather dips somewhere below 35 celsius
I'll be able to go for a ride!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cherries!

It's cherry season here in Southern Ontario,

so, over the past weekend, 
in honour of the delicious, sweet cherry,

I made Cherry Chutney...



Cherry Chutney
1/2 c dried cherries
1lb pitted fresh cherries
3/4 c brown sugar
1 Granny Smith Apple cored, peeled, chopped
1/2 c chopped onion
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1  Combine all ingredients.
2   Bring to a boil over med/high heat.
3   Reduce to med/low, cook 45-50 minutes, until thickened.
4   Cool 1 hour.
Serve over warm cheese, or with a hearty pate.

and cherry-chocolate brownies...



with cherry-chocolate sauce...


and chocolate-dipped cherries


Cherry-Chocolate Brownies with Cherry-Chocolate Sauce and Chocolate -dipped Cherries

Brownies
3 oz chocolate , bittersweet (
not unsweetened) or semi-sweet

5 tbsp unsalted butter

3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c dried cherries
1/3 c chocolate chips
1/4 c cherry preserves
powdered sugar

1 Heat oven to 350.
2 Butter 11 x 7 metal baking pan.
3 Stir chocolate and butter in heavy saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.
4 Whisk sugar, eggs and vanilla until blended.
5 Whisk in chocolate mixture.
6 Sift in flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir to blend.
7 Mix in dried cherries, chocolate chips, then preserves.
8 Spread batter in prepared pan.
9 Bake until tester comes out with some moist crumb attached, about 35 mins.
10 Cool completely.

Sauce
1/3 c cherry preserves
3/4 c whipping cream
8 oz chocolate 
bittersweet (
not unsweetened) or semi-sweet



1 Put preserves in heavy saucepan over medium heat.

2 Add cream and bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat.
3 Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.
(Can be made 2 days ahead.  cover and chill.  Re-warm before serving.)

Chocolate-dipped Cherries
6 oz chocolate 
bittersweet (
not unsweetened) or semi-sweet

24 lg fresh cherries, stem attached

1 Line baking sheet with waxed paper
2 Place chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water.
3 Stir until melted and smooth.
4 Remove chocolate from heat.
5 Holding cherry stem, dip cherry halfway into chocolate.  Place on sheet
6 Chill until chocolate is firm.
(Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled)

Presentation
Cut brownies in pan into squares.
Cut a square diagonally to form two triangles.
Put some warmed sauce on a plate and centre brownie triangles in sauce.
Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with chocolate-dipped cherries.

We have been in cherry-heaven!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Just Because It's Sunday

Okay folks...what do you think of this?



I discovered this album, Raising Sand, a while ago,
and totally fell in love with it.

It's been in the car for sometime now
and I just brought it into the house...

it's like falling in love all over again!

Saturday, July 16, 2011






And we're off!

Of course we couldn't go round the lake without Miss Molly's
best friend . . . Mr. Murray!




Here's a few pictures from our walk . . .

Katie and the two dogs



This beach is usually packed with kids and families,
not today though!


here's Molly doing what she loves . . .


stealing tossed sticks in the water from Mr. Murray . . .


It's a beautiful walk around this lake


and I never tire of it no matter how many times a week
I come out here.

Today we spotted a Kingfisher bird
and Red Tailed Hawk right in front of us.

Now it's time to head home and get ready for a fun
evening out at the theatre to see Meg Tilly starring as Martha
in 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' . . .

I'll be back with the review!

Love from Victoria



It's the Weekend

It's a lazy Saturday morning and I'm trying to rouse myself from this place ...


But it's raining and grey outside ... and it seems so indulgent to
just stay snuggled up here and to be taken away to all the
beautiful places on all of your blogs.

But little 'Molly' doesn't care that it's raining, she still wants her walk ...

Come on she's says . . .


So I'll have to get these out again! . . .

and off we go to Thetis Lake . . .

to be continued . . .

With Love from Victoria
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