Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BLACK AND WHITE WEDNESDAY #145 - PRODUCE OF OUR TERROIR

- Luscious Grapes -
Grapes are the most noble and challenging of fruits.
Malcolm Dunn, Head Gardener to the 7th Viscount Powerscourt, c 1867 
This picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". This week it is hosted by Cinzia at "Cindystarblog" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Friday, September 26, 2014

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS...

Like a deer in the headlights, frozen in real time and I'm losing my mind, it's time to move on.
- Tom Petty
Sometimes when all else fails, breath in, breath out, brew a cuppa and let go. There's no need to torture yourself any longer as no positive outcome will be reached if you get worked up and stressed.

Unfortunately, that's easier said than done! Since I am an obstinately determined person, I have difficulties to call it quits and move on or press pause, and I generally obsessively continue trying to finish what I had started, although I am tense, flustered and in a murderous mood.

I guess it has to do with the fact that I hate to sit on things and leave unresolved problems clog my life as confusion and chaos make me depressed, anxious, irritable and fidgety. Nothing will calm me down and the only way to find peace is to rid myself of the cause of my troubles!

Speaking of issues, lately I have been going through a rough phase with my photography. Since I received a new and slightly more upmarket DSLR camera (no high-end camera though), my worries are endless. Nothing seems to go right anymore and picture shooting has become my nemesis - not that it wasn't already, but it has got even worse.

Every shot I take is unsatisfying and mediocre. This situation sickens me and makes me feel extremely frustrated, unsure, blocked and down. I know my equipment is ridiculously basic (one camera, one lens - 50mm - for food photography and a very outdated processing software, plus a balcony that serves as "studio") and I still have a lot to learn about this art, but I have the impression that the little "talent" I possessed is fading away and all I can produce now is bad.

Nowaydays, photoshoots are excruciatingly strainful, exhausting and I need to mentally prepare myself for days before I dare grab my camera again. Pleasure and playfulness have been replaced by self-doubt, desperation, pain and aversion. As a result, I no longer have fun while snapping pictures and on certain days I just want to throw away my Nikon, retire from blogging and dig a hole and hide in it.

The more nervous I am, the less I'll be capable of creating photos that make me happy and the more my inclination towards depression and disquietude will grow. A vicous circle.

Anyway, thankfully, I can still take refuge in another great artform: writing. To me, words are worth a thousand pictures and even if poignant images convey millions of emotions, the same can be said about an artfully written story...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BLACK AND WHITE WEDNESDAY #144 - HERMANCE FISHERMAN, GENEVA

- Fishing In Style -

This picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". This week it is hosted by Simona at "Briciole" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Friday, September 19, 2014

A PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY - MY FAVORITE CYCLING SPOTS

Country things are the necessary root of our life - and that remains true even of a rootless and tragically urban civilization. To live permanently away from the country is a form of slow death.
- Esther Meynell
When I go out into the countryside and see the sun and the green and everything flowering, I say to myself Yes indeed, all that belongs to me!
- Henri Rousseau
I suppose the pleasure of country life lies really in the eternally renewed evidences of the determination to live.
- Vita Sackville-West, Country Notes

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BLACK AND WHITE WEDNESDAY #143 - MY CLASSY ITALIAN WINE JUG PART II



- Decadently Stylish -

This picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". This week it is hosted by Lynne at "Cafe Lynnylu" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Friday, September 12, 2014

SPICY MIDDLE EASTERN-STYLE CHICKPEA, BELL PEPPER, EGGPLANT, TOMATO AND TAHINI STEW (VEGETARIAN) - RAGOÛT MOYEN-ORIENTALISANT AUX LÉGUMES D'ÉTÉ, POIS CHICHES, ÉPICES ET AU TAHINI (VÉGÉTARIEN)


If you follow me via my Facebook page, you might be familiar with my daily " light & healthy supper" posts*. Well to make a long story short, I use this space to share with my fans the detailed desription of the humble, yet delicious, budget-friendly, wholesome and totally improvised meals I cook every evening.

Against all expectations, my quotidian dinner ramblings have become quite popular and a few of the people who enthusiastically read them have told me that I inspire them greatly. Many have even asked me whether I'd consider putting my recipes on the blog.
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
- Sylvia Plath
Of course I'd love to be one of those hyperactive bloggers who publishes on a day-to-day basis and always feels the urge to put pen to paper or grab his/her camera, but unfortunately that's not me. You see, I'm a self-doubting perfectionist who has anxiety issues and suffers from chronic bouts of depression, so unlike many creative souls, I generally cannot be put under any kind of pressure or else my inspiration and mojo disappear. Stress and mood swings kill me and tame my inner fire. As a matter of fact, I am only capable of producing quality material when that big black cloud has ceased to hover over my head and I start to regain my self-confidence as well as my serenity...

Anyway, I have nonetheless been able to quickly take pictures of one of my modest creations that I'm happy to present to you today. This summery "Spicy Middle Eastern-Style Chickpea, Bell Pepper, Eggplant, Tomato And Tahini Stew" is really flavorful. Not only is it pleasantly fragrant, but it is also hearty, seasonal, inexpensive and easy to put together.

Nothing artsy-fartsy here, just straight-forward vegetarian grub for foodlovers who care about their well-being, the environment and the state of their bank account without compromising on taste and quality.

* In case you absolutely don't know what I'm talking about, I invite you to visit my "fan page" by clicking on this link.

Spicy Middle Eastern-Style Chickpea, Bell Pepper, Eggplant, Tomato And Tahini Stew
Recipe by Rosa Mayland, September 2014.

Ingredients:
1 Tbs Olive oil
1 Onion, chopped
1 Cloves garlic, chopped
1 Red bell pepper, cubed
1 Eggplant, cubed
1/2 Tsp Ground cumin
1/4 Tsp Ground allspice
1/6 Ground black pepper
2 Tomatoes, chopped
1 Tsp Tomato paste
400g Cooked chickpeas
3 Tbs Tahini mixed with 5 Tbs Water
3 Tbs Yogurt
A few drops of red Tabasco
1/2 Tbs Fresh mint, chopped
Fine sea salt, to taste

Method:
1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and then the onion. Cook the onion until translucent.
2. Add the garlic and cook for 1/2 a minute.
3. Add the bell pepper and stir-fry for about 4 minutes, then add the eggplant and stir-fry for another 5 minutes.
4. Add the spices, quickly stir and add the tomatoes as well as the tomato paste. Cook for 10 minutes, until the juices of the tomato have evaporated.
5. Incorporate the chickpeas, the tahini sauce, the yogurt, the Tabasco and the mint. Cook for another minute.
6. Season with salt and serve.

Remarks:
The tomatoes should not have dissolved completely - pieces should remain.
If you find that the dish/sauce is too thick add a little water.
The mint can be replaced by fresh coriander (a handful).

Serving Suggestions:

Serve this dish alone, or with couscous or basmati rice.

Ragoût Moyen-Orientalisant Aux Légumes d'Été, Pois Chiches, Épices Et Au Tahini
Recette par Rosa Mayland, Septembre 2014.
 

Ingrédients:
1 CS d'Huile d'olive
1 Oignon, haché
1 Gousses d'ail, hachée
1 Poivron rouge, coupé en dés
1 Aubergine, coupée en dés
1/2 CC de Cumin en poudre
1/4 CC de Tout-épice (poivre de la Jamaïque) en poudre
1/6 de CC de Poivre noir fraîchement moulu
2 Tomates, hachées grossièrement
1 CC de Concentré de tomate
400g de Pois chiches cuits
3 CS de Tahini mélangé à 5 CS d'eau
3 CS de Yogourt
Quelques gouttes de Tabasco rouge
1/2 CS de Menthe fraîche, hachée
Sel de mer, selon goût


Méthode:
1. Faire chauffer une poêle à feu moyen, ajouter l'huile d'olive, puis l'oignon et faire cuire ce dernier jusqu'à ce qu'il soit translucide.
2. Ajouter l'ail et cuire pendant 1/2 d'une minute.
3. Ajouter le poivron et le faire sauter pendant environ 4 minutes, puis ajouter l'aubergine et continuer à faire sauter (en remuant régulièrement) pendant 5 minutes.
4. Ajouter les épices, remuer rapidement et ajouter les tomates ainsi que le concentré de tomate et faire cuire pendant 10 minutes, jusqu'à ce que les jus des tomates se soit évaporé.
5. Incorporer les pois chiches, la sauce au tahini, le yogourt, le Tabasco et la menthe. Laisser cuire encore une minute.
6 Assaisonner avec le sel et servir.

Remarques:
Les tomates ne doivent pas s'être dissoutes - des morceaux doivent rester.

Si vous trouvez que le plat est un peu sec, ajouter de l'eau afin d'obtenir la consistance voulue.
La menthe peut être remplacée par de la coriandre fraîche (une poignée).

Idées De Présentation:
Servir ce plat seul, ou avec du couscous ou du riz basmati.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BLACK AND WHITE WEDNESDAY #142 - MY CLASSY ITALIAN WINE JUG PART I


Vintage Italian Wine Jug
- Noble Pewter -

This picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook". This week it is hosted by Cinzia at "CindyStarBlog" (click here in order to see who is hosting the next roundup).

Friday, September 5, 2014

HELLO SEPTEMBER, I HOPE YOU'LL BE KIND AND GENEROUS...

Shit… I’m waiting for the sun to shine.
- Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver

And the rain just keeps on falling, soon all I know is drowned
Oh, water I’ve got plenty, but it’s the sun who makes me live
We’ve been waiting so long for the sun to shine, but the rain keeps falling down.
- Siena Root
All summer long the sun has kept us waiting. And waiting we did. Endlessly. But sadly, to no avail. That mean bastard didn't want to share his warmth and brilliance with us! Instead, Mr. Grey Weather and Mr. Torrential Downpour paid us a dismal visit and inundated us with their pitiful tears of doom and moody melancholy.

Weeks - and eventually months - passed and the rain just kept on falling, threatening to drown everything. Sunshine was inexistent, as if it had totally been erased from the surface of the earth. Often, when I gazed out of my window, I had the impression that it was November and not July or August. Dreary post-apocalyptic skies made our mood sink and our joyfulness disappeared. From morning to evening, Monday to Sunday, gloom and despair were our companions.

It was quasi-impossible to go out for walks, sit at a café terrace or on the balcony, swim in the lake or plan any outdoor activity unless you were well-equipped and willing to brave the deluge (wind, showers, hail, storms, etc...). I think I have never experienced such rotten atmospheric conditions before.
By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.
-  Helen Hunt Jackson, September
Anyway, now that September has arrived and autumn is knocking on our doorstep, things have changed for the better and light has entered our lives again. Oh how soul uplifting it is to see the world in technicolor once more, spend some quality time outside and enjoy the warmth of our beloved fiery star on the skin!

Hopefully fall will be jovial and hold its promises as there is nothing quite like All-hallown summer to soothe our bruised soul and ready us for the upcoming winter...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

BLACK AND WHITE WEDNESDAY #141 - MY BEAUTIFUL ITALIAN WINE JUG

- Elegantly Vintage -
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.
- Omar Khayyam
This picture was submitted to "Black & White Wednesday", an event created by Susan at "The Well-Seasoned Cook" who is hosting this week's edition.