It is my habit to create little  traditions to mark an important occasion or celebrate a new season.  I like to make the unpleasantly  cold days of January the month I serve FRENCH ONION SOUP.

The prices of vegetables are soaring sky high so the savvy cook looks to locally grown vegetables for the dinner table.  FRENCH ONION SOUP is a classic.    The ingredients are readily available.  The soup is easy to make.     Using chicken stock allows the sweet flavour of the onions to sing.   Gussied  up with rich, deeply flavoured  Gruyere cheese it warms the cockles of your heart and impresses guests and family alike.

We had a bumper crop of onions this past summer.  The bins in the cold room are filled with these golden darling and I have been using them lavishly.  Winter on the West Coast can be damp,  bone-chilling cold.  This is the soup I like simmering away  filling the kitchen with its gorgeous earthy flavour.  Then there’s delicious moment when your spoon breaks the cheesy crust and you sip your way into soup heaven.

Be prepared to shed a few mascara streaked tears when you are slicing the onions but it is definitely worth it.  The following recipe for FRENCH ONION SOUP  LES HALLES STYLE is so very, very French.  You’ll love it.




It was her custom to visit the garden in the early hours.

To watch the sun turn the mountains  violet blue

And glory in the quiet elegance of the morning.



It was her custom to visit the garden in the early hours.

To watch her lily reach toward the sun.

To grow and grow and grow in stately beauty.



It was her custom to visit the garden in the early morning.

To take possession of her flowers.

Instead she put her silver secateurs  aside

And left the lily for all to share its stately beauty.



II DOLCE FAR NIENTE – the sweetness of doing nothing

It is a perfect day in the country.   A seductive whisper of a breeze carried the perfume of freshly cut hay drying in the brilliant sunshine.    I sipped my freshly brewed French press coffee on the front patio.  This is our version of a front porch.  We watch the world and our neighbors drive by.  Friends and even total strangers wave.

Today I am doing absolutely nothing.  I am taking time to celebrate the one week anniversary of the best news in the world.  The heavy specter of  cancer is history.  Five years of this has left its mark. Now I am doing everything in my power to erase it.  Today is the sweetness of doing nothing.

This is a modern extravagance.  The luxury of time.  It is not idleness.  It is not inactivity.  It is not navel gazing. This is the state of being contemplative.

The sweetness of doing nothing.



Rich,  royal purple

Dark purple skinned.


yellow-green fleshed.

Purple juice

Colouring our lips.

Sweet to the tongue.

Tasting of the summer sun.


to eat out of hand.


Their juices spilling

From a rustic, plum walnut tart.

Or Jam.

What plum delights await  us.

A generosity of plums from my friend Angela’s Dad’s garden.

A CHRISTMAS ROSE …. one last gift from Princess Beatrice

A few weeks ago we shivered in bitter minus ten below weather, and we experienced bone-chilling wind.   To protect our potted beautiful David Austin Princess Beatrice  rose we moved it into the garage.    This morning I was thrilled to discovered Princess Beatrice had managed one last rose of the year.    This is a Christmas Rose.

My blog stats show when you  visit Bel’Occhio.    And because many of you click on comments, and write to me, I  know who you are.  I love reading your comments, and when I am writing away I think of  Cait, Andrew and Pat in Toronto, or Patricia in Quebec,  or my blog reader in Holland or South Africa.  Then there’s Biscuit in West Vancouver, Donna in the Interior, Amy May on the Island,  sister Heather in Prince Albert, Ping in Thailand.  I hold you all close to my heart.   But I don’t know the  hundreds of others who are sharing my life through my blog. I would love to hear from you,   just a line would light up my life.

A happy Christmas to you all.