Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Martyn's Poached Pears - A Camp Cheerio Delight

At Cheerio (bi-annual calligraphy retreat at Camp Cheerio in NC) the food is a big part of the experience. Martyn deserves kudos for his fantastic meals. He shared this dessert recipe. Wow! It was fantastic! Use pears with fat bottoms (no comment!) so they will stay upright. Leave stems on. Slice across bottom to make them flat for easy standing.

Martyn prepared 30 pears with this recipe. You will make appropriate adjustments for the amount you need. Thanks, Mark and Martyn for sharing this wonderful recipe!)
30 pears with fat bottoms
1/2 gallon burgundy wine
1/2 gallon orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
10 - 12 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamon pods
58 ounces sugar
Place pears in braising pan or roasting pan with lid. Pour in all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil. Simmer with lid on until pears are tender. Remove the pears. Carefully reduce everything into a thick syrup. (It can easily burn with so much sugar, so be attentive.) Pour reduction on top of hot pears. Serve with whipped cream. (Martyn also served with chocolate whipped cream - too sweet for me!) These were amazing!!!

Acrylic painting of apple and pears.

To see more Cheerio photos, please see my Facebook fan page (and 'like' it while you're there!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stewed Tomatoes Recipe Places Third

I recently learned that my entry in the Memphis Calligraphy Guild's Holiday Cookbook took third place. Here's the recipe. The background was watercolor and gesso on watercolor paper, and the pressurized lettering was done with Prismacolor pencil. The tomato drawing was done with pen and ink, and colored with Prismacolor pencils. Since it was close to deadline, I looked for a recipe with just a few ingredients and easy instructions. This one was in my Aunt Georgia's recipe collection. She was a great cook!
More photos of France yet to come...beautiful doorways and door knockers and Rocamadour too! Also, see photos of the book I created at Camp Cheerio on my Facebook page (and 'like' my page too!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Albi France

Albi was one of the cities we visited on our recent trip to France. Here are some of my photos of Albi, including typical sights, views from the bridges, the Toulouse Lautrec Museum (he was born here) and the fabulous Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile.

I caught these two nicely dressed cyclists going about their business.

Here are some views from one of the trio of bridges (that I could see) as we walked into the old part of the city. The first sign of something worth seeing was this line of photographers on the bridge.

Careful! Don't try to drive down the steps!

Funny animals in a store window...I don't think it had a thing to do with toys.

I spotted this hurdy-gurdy man at a sidewalk cafe near the Lautrec Museum and the cathedral.

Between the Lautrec Museum and the Cathedral.

This garden maze was visible outside and through the windows in the museum.

The Cathédrale Sainte-Cé was my favorite cathedral of the many we saw during our three weeks in the south of France.

This entry reminds me of the Gaudi cathedral in Barcelona.

Can you see the gargoyles in a row near the top of the cathedral?

Beautiful statue of Sainte Cecile.

Some trompe l'oeuil, which this cathedral had everywhere.

The carvings are extraordinary!

A sweet shop window, and a view inside the door. tempting as it was, we didn't even go inside.

A typical sight. I just love the shutters everywhere!

The museum was a fortress, and these are remnants of the fortifications...Probably extremely sharp and treacherous in the day (and maybe still!)

My ticket to ride - a canal boat, that is.

A little cutie on our canal boat.

Someone wanted the canal boat ride she is on here, wanted the cathedral chorale later, but fell asleep in each, and frequently as she was being chauffered around as well. I hope I haven't put you to sleep!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cordes-Sur-Ciel, France

What a gorgeous, fun, rugged (to walk in) village this is!
Cordes-sur-Ciel, it is said, looks to be rising from the clouds in the winter when low-lying mists are plentiful. We missed the image of its rising from the clouds, but it was very impressive, nonetheless.
It took a lot of stamina to walk the giant hills in the over 100 degree heat on the day we were there, but payoffs of darling shops, artists' studios and magnificent views were worth it.
First order of business was lunch. We drove to the town just beyond Cordes-sur-Ciel because parking was so difficult in Cordes. We found Babar, an elephant themed restaurant that advertised a 'unique menu'. We soon learned that this meant we would get whatever the owner was cooking that day. I can't say I loved every course, but it was definitely a unique experience. My favorite course was the gazpacho appetizer. It was downhill from there, but revived again with a pretty good dessert. (That's water in front of me. I drank LOTS of it!) Loved the red tablecloths.

This metal sculpture by an artist named Stanko was near where we parked in Cordes-sur-Ciel. The base has a pattern of mosaic tiles. We found two other sculptures by the same artist closer in to town.
This one is for Sandy - it has her owl!

Some of the excellent views from near the top of the hill.

A 'secret garden' we spied below the roadway we were walking along.

These cute birdhouses caught my eye.
I loved this scene...complete with 'blowout' flip flops. (You can't tell in this small size, but the blue flip-flops were broken and had been discarded there.) The roadways were treacherous to walk on. Rough, uneven cobblestones, lots of ruts and lots of 'uphill'.
This building was constructed of a mix of stones and bricks, seemingly haphazardly.

Cordes-sur-Ciel clock.

The lace curtains in many windows and doors throughout much of southwest France reminded me a lot of Ireland.

There was a calligraphy shop in this town!

A pretty doorway.
Love these happy flowers!
After all the uphill climbing - finally going downhill. Whew! It was less strenuous, but not any less treacherous to the feet.
Pretty blue shuttered home.
Hanging alongside a shop.
Many portals. I wonder what this building's original purpose was.
A nice little scene along the main street in the picturesque hilltop village.
And another.
A Cordes-sur-Ciel shop, and a metal sculpture sitting in front of another.

An atelier.
I bought a lovely tapestry in this shop. Here Beth poses with a knight. The shop's owner explained to me that it was a museum first and foremost, with the tapestries, etc. only helping to pay the bills. He payed me the supreme compliment of saying my French was better than his English...then he apologized for his English.
These narrow roads really do have vehicular traffic!
Isn't this doorway beautiful - more lace curtains!

This archway holds a welcome secret...natural air conditioning! It was - for some reason - a wondrously cool spot on a terribly hot day.

Take a good look at the walking conditions. I needed better walking shoes.