FRICASSEE OF CHICKEN LEGS WITH LYONNAISE POTATOES

 

BEL’OCCHIO   …   the beautiful eye

Fricassee of Chicken Legs with Lyonnaise Potatoes

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There is a very good reason why we return again and again to the classic dishes like Fricassee of Chicken.   This tried and true recipe delivers a rich depth of flavour that has you moping up the very last of the sauce with bits of crusty bread.  White wine, chicken stock and double cream creates the magic that  enhances this often neglected part of the chicken. You can use all chicken thighs or all chicken legs if you wish. The crisp combination of onion, garlic and  potatoes  compliment this dish. The dish presents beautifully  and makes a wonderful dinner party main course.   Click on FRICASSEE OF CHICKEN LEGS  for this delicious recipe.  Bon  Appetit dear friends!

Published in: on April 23, 2014 at 12:48 pm  Comments (6)  
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A RESTAURANT BLACKBOARD

 

BEL’OCCHIO   …   the beautiful eye

A Restaurant Blackboard

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For years all things wonderful were written on this blackboard.

Shrimp in  crisp almond batter, shoe-string deep fried sweet potatoes and citrus sauce.

Baby Northern pickerel sauteed in brown butter with capers and lemons.

Roast Cornish game hens with a hot Szechuan sauce.

Tagine of Moroccan chicken with apricots and preserved lemon.

If I could bring back all that has been written on this blackboard  it would be a story of  the glorious food we prepared daily in our restaurant, Roxy’s Bistro.

This blackboard was our daily “fresh sheet”  and for years just before the restaurant opened I would  chalk up the days menu additions.

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For years it has languished in storage.  I couldn’t bear to part with the blackboard for my father-in-law constructed it.   So I painted the battered frame a lovely gray.  Gave the blackboard a fresh coat of paint.  Painted on a few swirls and curls  and hung it close to my French butler’s pantry.

Now  I have a place to write a daily quote,   “Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live on dreams”.

  Or have a little fun dreaming again … Lunch with Daniel Craig.

ALL ABOUT EASTER BONNETS

BEL’OCCHIO    …   the beautiful eye

HAPPY EASTER

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When I was very young Easter was as exciting as Christmas.  We always had something new to wear to church. Growing up during the war years and the tail end of the Great Depression   a pair of  white gloves or hair ribbons was a thrilling gift.

My dream was to wear an Easter Bonnet.  Irving Berlin’s song …   “In your Easter Bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade”  inspired me.     I was not exactly sure what an Easter bonnet looked like but I wanted one.

Weather was another problem with my Easter dream.   Cold and miserable.   No daffodils or tulips blooming.  Just snow, or the dirty remnants of it.   Dressing for church meant warm scarves and hats.   Flopping galoshes and  unattractive heavy brown cotton stockings that bagged at the knees.

 The light through the stained glass windows of  St Alban’s Cathedral coloured  the congregation. The air was heavy with the perfume of white lilies on the alter. The oak pews and the padded kneeling pads creaked  and groaned  as we stood and sang, kneeled and prayed, sat and listened.  The pages of the hymn books fluttered and whispered .   And, not one single  Easter bonnet in sight.

I loved the ritual of Easter dinner preparations.  The polishing of the silver.  The pressing of the linen tablecloth.  The setting the beautiful table.    The food  – oh the glorious food.   An enormous ham cut into think pink slices and garnished with home-made mustard pickles.    Mounds of snowy white whipped potatoes  redolent with cream and butter.   And for dessert flaky rich pies.  At least two different kinds.  And, always always a three tired cake plate with delicate cookies and fruit cakes – just in case one was still hungry.

HAPPY EASTER my dear, dear friends.   Now I’m going to nibble the chocolate ears off my Easter bunny.

OLD-FASHIONED PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

BEL’OCCHIO   …the beautiful eye

OLD-FASHIONED PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

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My tattered and torn Robin Hood Flour Baking cookbook holds so many treasured memories.   This small book of recipes was included with a bag of Robin Hood Flour.  The recipes are tried and true and more than fifty years old.

I love the way the caramelized buttery brown sugar compliments the tart pineapple. This simple to make recipe requires just one bowl.  All the ingredients are probably in your pantry.   You can use pineapple slices or pieces of pineapple.  If you want to be truly “old school” you can arrange maraschino cherries on top of the pineapple.

This is the kind of dessert you can whip up in a few minutes.  It is the perfect ending to a simple supper.    It is also a delicious treat with morning coffee or afternoon treat.

Click on OLD-FASHIONED PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE for this recipe.

THEADORA OF PARIS CELEBRATES A BIRTHDAY

BEL’OCCHIO   …   the beautiful eye

THEADORA’S BIRTHDAY

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In a far-away country called Wonderland it was the custom  to honour a first birthday with gifts of great value.

These  gifts were unique.

Incredibly valuable.

And would last for ever.

On her first birthday the beautiful red headed Theadora blew out the candle on her cake, and  began to open her presents.

Her first gift was understanding -  of the past, the present, the future.

Her second gift was love – a great love of the unknown and the unusual.

Her final and most wonderful of gift  – a gift of words.

Words that would weave stories of delight and joy.

Words that would encircle and capture all who read them.

Today is THEADORA ‘s birthday.

Published in: on April 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm  Comments (12)  
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MEDALLIONS OF BALSAMIC GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH RED AND YELLOW PEPPERS

BEL’OCCHIO   …   the beautiful eye

MEDALLIONS OF BALSAMIC GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH RED AND YELLOW PEPPERS

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I am so impressed with the way my single friends meet the challenge of cooking for one.    This recipe rises to the occasion.  It is super quick to make.  You can easily adapt the recipe for one person, or double it for six to eight people.   And best of all you probably have most of the ingredients in your panty.

The anchovies in this recipe melt into the pepper mixture adding a gorgeous savory, salty quality.  If you don’t like anchovies omit them and add three tablespoons of minced green olives.

I serve oven roasted yellow potatoes with dish.   Quarter the potatoes.  Toss them generously with  olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in a single layer  in a large roasting pan.  The secret to perfect roast potatoes, crispy on the outside and tender and mealy inside – is give these guys breathing room  Roast them at 400F convection heat for about 20 minutes.  While they are roasting prep your meat and vegetables and everything should be ready at the same time.

Prepare to be dazzled.  Click on BALSAMIC GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN  for this recipe.  Bon Appetit dear friends.

THE DECONSTRUCTED BLT

 

BEL’OCCHIO   …   the beautiful eye

BLT SALAD

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There is nothing quite so wonderful as a BLT Sandwich.   Layers of smoky crisp bacon, juicy tomatoes and crisp lettuce, a slather of mayonnaise all  sandwiched between slices of crusty toasted bread

Can you think of time that isn’t perfect for a BLT.  BLT for lunch, or a mid-night snack.  A BLT early Saturday morning  with a cup of freshly brewed coffee,  the morning newspaper and Willie Nelson serenading you.

Deconstruct this perfect sandwich and you have a salad that is a meal in itself.

This recipe take the luscious components of a BLT, adds crisp romaine lettuce and dresses these ingredients with a killer buttermilk dressing.    You can prepare the ingredients ahead of time, and assemble them just before serving.  Click on BLT SALAD  for this new take on an old favorite.

HOW AN IMPRESSIONIST ARTIST DECORATED HIS BEDROOM

 

BEL’OCCHIO   …   the beautiful eye

An artist  decorates his bedroom!

“This time it’s just simply my bedroom,

Only here colour is to do everything,

And giving by its simplification a grander style to things,

Is to be suggestive here of rest or of sleep in general.

In a word, to look at the picture  ought to rest the brain or rather the imagination.

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The walls are pale violet.

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The floor is of red tiles.

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The wood of the bed and chairs is the yellow of fresh butter,

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The sheet and pillows very light lemon-green.

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The coverlet scarlet.

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The Window Green.

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The toilet table orange,

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The basin blue.

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The doors lilac.

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And that is all .

There is nothing in this room with closed shutters.”

(Letter to his brother Theo.)

VINCENT VAN GOGH

Published in: on April 4, 2014 at 9:52 am  Comments (6)  
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MY PARIS RECIPE FOR FRENCH ONION SOUP

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It was April and we were in Paris.

Dining  at Man Ray,  then on to the Buddha Bar for fabulous people watching,  music, and  champagne.    It was our last night in Paris.  We wanted to savour all Paris had to offer.

 

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The night sky was fading as we wandered into an old bistro in the lst Arrondissment.     The  area where  the citizens of the old market place of Les Halles  worked 24 hours a day  distributing food to every corner of Paris.

This is where we ended our Paris with bowls of  restorative onion soup, crowned with bread encrusted with rich, melted Gruyere cheese.

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Most recipes for this soup use a beef stock base.  This recipe uses chicken stock.  The flavour is lighter and the onions play the starring role.  Just click on  FRENCH ONION SOUP and start slicing  your onions.  Bon Appetit!

THE DREAM DRAWER OF FORGOTTEN JEWELLERY

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BEL’OCCHIO   …   the beautiful eye

THE DREAM DRAWER OF FORGOTTEN JEWELLERY

Moonlight caught pearls.

Sparkling topaz.

Glittering rhinestones.

Burnished  gold and silver.

Earrings all.

Earrings we loved for the moment then set aside.

In a drawer of long ago dreams.

They lay forgotten.

Unloved.  Unworn.  Uncomfortable.

Clip- on and vintage screw-on earrings so uncomfortable we wear them for an hour or two  then reluctantly remove them.  Put them away and forget about them.

You can rescue clip-on and screw-on earrings by  turning them into post earrings for pierced ears.  This is easy peasy to do, and you can do it yourself.

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 You need wire cutters (heavy duty ones)

A file (you may need this to file rough edges)

E-6000 glue (this works the best for me)

Some tooth picks

Earring posts and backers (available at craft shops)

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Remove the clips using the wire cutter.

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Clip off the earring clip as close to the base as possible.

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If there are any sharp or rough edges file these away.

 

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Put a small drop of glue on the area where you want to adhere the post.  Use a toothpick to pickup the glue and try to keep excess glue off your earring.  When using this or similar glue be sure to have windows open (lots of ventilation) and avoid getting any glue on your skin.

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Press post firmly into the glue and put aside to set over night.  (no cheating – don’t even think of wiggling the post).  That’s it!  Your done!

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I have a dream drawer of earrings.  Earrings I have been collecting for six decades.  The vintage screw back earrings are exquisite but murder to wear, and I am concerned  I might loose them.

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The outrageous pink rhinestone earrings circa 1950′s were a gift from my fashionista Mom.   Too precious to loose, too uncomfortable to wear.  But, not any more.  Since I discovered how easy it is to convert earrings to post earring I am doing just that.  And, I no longer have a drawer of forgotten jewellery.

 

 

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