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Sun, 31 Dec 2006

Joking.
My other fan (the one in Leeds, England) submitted this contribution which deserves exposure and no comment. It's never too late Neil and of course I remember.

You drink a heady literary wine, evoke an ocean poem of eating.
Leave the food at home honey, I say: Tell the finks to listen to the ocean instead!
Over by the sand dunes where you ran your fingers through my hair, tenderly biting my nipples when we kissed,
I dis-composed the urban scheme transfixed by the beauty of your skin and you filled a whole paragraph in my book on living.
Together we drank before stumbling for the train and listening to the "suits" in the smoke preaching their new world order to brutes.
Our hands tied together, blindfolded, looking for the jihadists we ran together through anglo-american bullets.
For this?
It requires so little to call oneself poet. It just takes nerve.
My hair didn't grow like this by just leaving it to it's own devices.
I took action with the scissors. And the crew you mention call me a "queer"
Let them go fuck themselves.
I blow open my heart for no one, am loftier without thinking about it than they could ever be,
walking windy avenues for my friends and family, gulping the emptiness,
deliberating for ever on working versions of indigestible prose too tired for meaning
I jam in clubs and the meats get nervous until I walk out.
See me in the Dark Wood any day. I read esoteric Chemistry at the University of Life.
When I'm not fixing my bike, or climbing mountains, I write songs without words celebrating consciousness with apricots
Standing on this precipice looking out to sea
the sky is my true index my theme the cosmos
my aim that One-ness you told me about.
Remember?

posted on: 31/12/2006 at 22:10 in category: [/magick] with permanent link

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Mon, 25 Dec 2006

Christmas Eve Shrimps

No posts for a while now, this can be explained by a mixture of laziness and too many things to do in the build up to the festive season. The builder is still here, in fact we will probably have him for Christmas lunch today - the frost has caused endless delays to the terrace work.

In an attempt to cook something light but tasty and special for Christmas Eve dinner, I came up with the following which was a great success.

- fry some chopped onion and peppers (red or yellow are best) in a little oil
- add some crushed garlic and a tin of coconut milk, simmer for a few minutes
- peel some shrimps and add these to the sauce, if ready cooked shrimps they just need to be heated through, if they are fresh and uncooked put up the heat and cook them in the sauce until they are pink and cooked through
- garnish with fresh coriander and serve with roast vegetables (recipe here) and a mesclun salad with balasmic vinegar and olive oil dressing.

Now I have to go and start preparing the turkey. Happy Christmas everyone!

posted on: 25/12/2006 at 11:06 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Thu, 07 Dec 2006

Courgette gratin film

This whole vegetable gratin business is getting out of hand. I am seriously thinking of registering courgettegratin.com or vegetablegratin.com.

This little film (see right) has been sent in by my fan, you need a Quicktime plug in to view it. It demonstrates the version made with smoked salmon and ravioles, which are tiny French raviolis stuffed with cheese and herbs, made in Alsace or somewhere over there near Switzerland.

I went to Switzerland many years ago, the father of a friend of ours had a vineyard up near Vevey. I recall drinking vast amounts of his white wine and then going up into the snowy hills for a snowball fight and fried perch fillets and chips. The restaurant broke a hole in the ice over the frozen lake next door, threw in some explosives and picked up the fresh stunned/dead perch out the hole. It was one of these "as much as you can eat places" - the restaurant must be closed down by now, and catching fish like that must have been banned at least a decade ago (we are talking about Switzerland here). Great day and wonderful memories.

Back here in reality, the builders are moving forward very slowly, I always knew that paying them on a daily basis was a bad idea.

posted on: 07/12/2006 at 21:02 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Tue, 05 Dec 2006

Mixed roast vegetables

The builders are here, the banging starts at 8am. Today, in an attempt to motivate them (and avoid their usual 4 hour lunch break), I cooked a gourmet lunch for them. Greatly appreciated despite some of the dishes being extremely spicy. Eating lunch outside on December 5th was very decadent (talk about climate change), we christened our "new" and not-quite-finished terrace. The previously mentioned roast vegetables recipe was part of this meal.

method:
- cut potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots and parsnips (or any selection thereof) into large chunks
- boil or steam until cooked but still firm (about 6 minutes)
- melt some duck fat in an overproof dish, add some ground rosemary, rock salt and cumin seeds and toss the strained vegetables in this mixture until well coated
- place in a hot oven until the vegetables are cooked through and lightly browned (about 30-40 minutes depending on the oven)

posted on: 05/12/2006 at 16:37 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sun, 03 Dec 2006

Disasterous after-effects of vegetable gratin

Benquicky reports disturbing flatulence problems following the digestion of vast quantities of courgette and salmon version of the famous gratin dish. Be warned.

More gory details of benquicky's condition can be found here www.myspace.com/benquicky.

Today's lunch is veal blanquette with carrots, served with roast parsnips and sweet potatoes. Time allowing, the recipes might be posted tomorrow.

posted on: 03/12/2006 at 12:53 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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More vegetable gratin variations and input

Terrible week in Paris, it was grey and everything is so complicated these days. Good food though, an especially memorable Indian lunch where the bindi bhaji were very very good and the chicken tikka masala very spicy HOT (as requested) for once.

One of my (numerous) fans who uses the highly dubious name of "benquicky" has sent me a photo of the now evidently famous courgette gratin recipe in the process of being cooked. She further promises photos of a dish in various stages of its elaboration as well as a critics appraisal of the recipe. Can't wait!

Orignal recipe can be found herebelow on 23rd October or on this link.

This vegetable gratin thing now has so many variations we could almost write a whole book about the method. The goats cheese and tomato layer version is having particular sucess amongst those who don't eat cream and are looking after their figures, it even works without the pasta (or ravioles). Anyway I am thing of starting a separate blog all about "gratins" - if anyone thinks this is a good idea please let me know and support the plan....

posted on: 03/12/2006 at 00:01 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Mon, 27 Nov 2006

Beef casserole with carrots

This is a winter favorite, slow cooking in the oven is essential.

method:
- fry chopped onions and bite-sized chunks of stewing beef
- add hot paprika, cinnamon and ground cumin, fry for a minute or so until the spices coat the meat
- add chopped carrots, red wine stock, some orange zest, salt and water to cover
- place in a covered casserole dish and cook in the oven at 150 degrees for two hours or so. Make sure it doesnt get too dry.
- (optional) 15 minutes before serving add chopped mushrooms
- Serve with rice

posted on: 27/11/2006 at 21:00 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sun, 19 Nov 2006

Geo-biology (more)

We had an earthquake, quite strange really, like driving the car off a steep curb but the whole house went "CLUNK!". The funny thing was the animals in the roof and the cats and birds, they were all rushing/flitting around like mad for two of three seconds before the quake, as if they sensed it coming. No damage although some chimneys fell down near the epicentre where, apparently, the earth made a great rumbling noise.
My last earthquake was in Greece twenty years ago, I slept through the whole thing (or maybe we were just in the process of conceiving firstborn).
Night comes in
Like some cool river
I never knew
There'd be another day

posted on: 19/11/2006 at 18:28 in category: [/magick] with permanent link

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Tue, 14 Nov 2006

Lamb and vegetable Tajine with saffron

To keep the stones alive, you should soak them in a saline solution for 24 hours before the full moon and put them out to dry in the full moonlight. These stones have great power but we have to give them back their energy.
This is the great lesson of this last weekend and a wonderful Sunday lunch where so much was left unsaid but so much accomplished and even more understood. The menu, exotic as ever, was lamb tajine with couscous.

method:
- chop dried apricots and dates and put to soak in lime juice with some raisins
- fry onion in a little hot oil
- add chunks of lean lamb and brown, add ground cumin, coriander seeds and chilli pepper and fry for two minutes to incorporate all the ingredients
- place in a tajine (earthenware dish with a cone cover) with large chunks of parsnip or turnip, potato, some whole carrots, chopped fennel, whole garlic cloves, courgette..... in fact almost any vegetables will do
- add vegetable or meat stock to cover with a lot of saffron (stems dissolved in warm water or crushed) and salt
- cover with tajine cone and cook at low heat in the oven or on the stove for two hours
- fifteen minutes before serving add the dried fruit that has been soaking in the lime juice, mix well
- serve with couscous and fresh coriander

posted on: 14/11/2006 at 00:04 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Wed, 08 Nov 2006

Vegetarian gratin supplementary touch

I made the vegetarian gratin recipe last night adding a layer of sliced goats cheese. This transforms the dish completely and raises it to new levels of deliciousness

Orignal recipe can be found herebelow on 23rd October or on this link.

posted on: 08/11/2006 at 20:04 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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So you thought "Condom" is a silly name for a town

The very day I was galavanting around Gascony and visiting Condom I received this photo from a friend, who probably prefers to remain anonymous (for the francophiles among us, his name is Grisjambon).
Much like Condom, where the Mayor got so fed up with his town signs being stolen by English tourists he created the world first (and possibly only) condom museum, there is apparently a little town in Austria (where else..) called "Fucking".
The newspaper article, which accompanied the photo of the town sign, contained some absolute gems:
- "Police chief Kommandant Schmidtbrger said 'We will not stand for the Fucking signs being removed.'"
He continues:
- "It may be amusing for you British, but Fucking is simply Fucking to us. What is this big Fucking joke?"
It gets worse:
- "German tourists want to see Mozart's house in Salzburg, Americans seem only to care about The Sound of Music film, the occasional Japanese tourist wants to visit Hitler's birthplace, but for the British it's all about Fucking......."

posted on: 08/11/2006 at 19:59 in category: [/humour] with permanent link

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Sun, 05 Nov 2006

Zapper

The first frosts came here in the South West. We started by lighting a fire in the wood stove but we soon succumbed to putting the central heating on, despite the exhorbitant price of gas.
Great trip around Gascony in the glorious autumn sunlight. Absolutely EPIC time in Condom (no pun intended) at the Hotel les Trois Lys . The tajine of confit de canard was especially memorable, as was the Mascarpone mousse with white armagnac. Such a pleasure to find adventurous cooks who dare to use spices and oriental cooking methods with traditional French ingredients. The full menu in English can be found by clicking here
Great hotel actually, although I didn't sleep very well as there was a mosquito in the room, she kept biting me ... although it might have been in a dream because I couldn't see any bites in the morning and maybe she was just a very nice mosquito.
But this reminded me of Jacques, the owner of the café in Paris where I used to live. He had a country house somewhere in the middle of no-where and he refused to have a TV set. Instead he took a long extension lead down to the bottom of his garden where he would plug in an ultra-violet insect zapper, the ones that electrocute and even set fire to insects attracted to the light. He would sit with his neighbours having a drink after dark sitting around this contraption and watch the local insect wildlife being zapped, "much better than TV" he used to say, "it's live".

posted on: 05/11/2006 at 15:45 in category: [/humour] with permanent link

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Wed, 01 Nov 2006

Porc au caramel (Caramelised pork)

ingredients:
diced pork fillet
chopped fresh ginger
chopped onion
half glass chicken stock
two large spoons brown sugar
two soup spoons soy sauce
half glass madere, xeres, sherry, etc.

method:
- fry onion in a little hot oil
- add pork and ginger
- once the meat is browned add all the other ingredients except the soy sauce
- reduce sauce over high heat until it thickens
- add soy sauce and serve with white rice.

posted on: 01/11/2006 at 11:28 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sat, 28 Oct 2006

Geo-biology

The Paris meetings went badly, somehow everything gets complicated these days. Endless delay after endless delay, two steps forward costs three steps back.
So I got on the bus to Opera and a young guy at the front has some kind of heart attack or faint or whatever, he looked like drugs actually. Anyway the guy passes out so the bus driver stops, asks us all to get out, and calls an ambulance on his radio. The other passengers wait patiently for the next bus, but I walk.
Down some side streets, I love to follow my nose while generally going in the right direction.
A genteman ghost from the past wearing a wig (or was it a little angel with curly hair and flat dancing shoes?) leads me into a courtyard, and then another courtyard, and then through a tiny shop door.
It was like walking into a cave, or worse, like a fairground where you feels oppressed and bombarded with the noise of bumber cars, sirens, loud music, the smell of kebas and hot dogs, laughter and screams, gunshot.
But this was a different kind of bombardment: this shop sells stones, bits of rock, beautiful and strange artefacts that emit energies I had hardly dreamt of. I broke out in a sweat, my head was spinning, and then I saw a piece of Indian Amethyst...
Minérales do Brasil sold me the rock which, specialists claim, can transform negative waves into positive energy. I also bought a small black tourmaline stone to protect me from the pollution of our sad modern world.
The Magick has returned, now stronger than ever.

posted on: 28/10/2006 at 13:59 in category: [/magick] with permanent link

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Fri, 27 Oct 2006

Torture on a Mediterranean Island

Paris is windy, the plane very bumpy coming in to Orly.
I finally sent the annual toothpaste e-mail and got this photo in reply. It simply said "Torture on a Mediterranean Island October 2006".
I hope I get the toothpaste as I am in serious "get healthy" mode at the moment starting with getting my teeth fixed. Other aspects of this dramatic u-turn in my lifestyle include: only eat chinese or japanese food, drink green tea, eat slowly and have more sex.
I have only used this salty German toothpaste for the last few decades so all my German friends and ex-friends get regular demands for the stuff which is exported no-where and apparently unavailable on the internet (or maybe my non-existent German is the problem, Mein Gott in Himmel).
The photo says a lot to me actually. The ex-friend is question is still having his breakfast alone every morning and therefore, most probably, going to bed alone every night. Plus he wants to show off that he can afford luxury Mediterranean island holidays in October. This is all he deserves really but that is another story involving screwing my sister and getting her arrested. The toothpaste is really the only redeeming factor about him. Poor fish.

posted on: 27/10/2006 at 01:18 in category: [/travel] with permanent link

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Mon, 23 Oct 2006

Vegetarian gratin

Off on my travels again, Paris, Monte-Carlo then maybe even Hungary. The planes and airports are as unpleasant as ever, it's just the pain of travelling is shorter by air.

Found some extremely interesting documents about how to diet by eating oriental food. Very little meat, chinese tea, take your time and eat your rice and sauce seperately, not mixed up. More about this in future posts

Meanwhile a variation of a vegetable lasagne recipe that Nicole gave me last year. She made this with layers of herb "ravioles" which are basically little raviolis made somewhere in the east of France
- place alternate layers of sliced courgettes, sliced tomatoes and smoked salmon in an ovenproof dish
- add plenty of pepper and a little fresh cream (the tomatoes give out most of the moisure requires for this dish)
- top with mozarella and grated cheese
- bake in a hot oven until the courgettes are cooked and the cheese lightly browned (about 30 minutes)
- you can replace or add layers with lasagne or indeed other sliced or finely chopped vegetables.

posted on: 23/10/2006 at 19:47 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sat, 21 Oct 2006

Things we can't explain and poems from nowhere

AndrŽ called. The radio pollution is getting unbearable in his house. At first we thought it was the digital television signal coming off the mountains but the force of the waves is such that we suspect that they increased power the mobile phone antenna on the nearby autoroute.
I'm trying to get AndrŽ here, it's been too long since we met and we seem to help each other face up to the inside feeling of impending doom.For the first time we spoke about building a house. At least if we can contribute to helping the environnment, it may help or inspire others...who knows?
I received some pictures from a book. The pages scream out at me like those old books in Menton, the ones the Gestapo had tried to destroy, fortunately without success.
a world awaits me
my instinct believes
plunged in your eyes
your magic received
a knot that unites
none can undo
I had broken my life
and then I found you

posted on: 21/10/2006 at 11:38 in category: [/magick] with permanent link

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Sun, 15 Oct 2006

Roulades de Poulet farcis aux trompettes de la Mort

Mushrooms again. Millions of them. Normally this species (Craterelles cornucopioides) only comes every five years and we picked and dried huge quantities last year. Their re-appearance this year is therefore a pleasant surprise, albeit yet another symptom of world climate change and disorder.

Of course I was woken up at 7 in the morning with the farmer ploughing the field next door. They are harvesting the maize too, until late at night, so it is not as peaceful as one would expect at this time of year.

Meanwhile chicken rolls stuffed with trompettes
- soak the dried Trompette mushrooms in a little warm water for 20 minutes (same for fresh ones as this eliminates the grit and the strained water is used for the sauce)
- cut a pouch in the chicken breasts and stuff with the mushrooms
- roll in a very thin slice of smoked ham which holds everything together
- sprinkle with flour, brush with a beaten egg, and then coat with breadcrumbs
- place on a greased dish in a hot oven until browned and cooked through (about 25 minutes)
- reduce a little stock with some of the water from the soaked Trompettes (strain to remove any dirt and grit), some Madiera (or Port), some blueberry jam and fruit (in France you can buy these fresh in season and all year round in a jar or tin, other names include myrtilles, Vaccinium myrtillus, whortleberry), salt and pepper, thicken with a little fresh cream
- pour the sauce over the chicken rolls and serve with fresh pasta

posted on: 15/10/2006 at 12:56 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Fri, 13 Oct 2006

The Bullshit Threshold

Cannes and Marseilles this week which explains the lack of posts, it's not that I'm getting lazy, more that our business and civilisation has become so complicated there is no time for recreation nor relaxation.

The trade fair was actually quite fun for a change ("been there, done that"), because loyal friends and human communication is always better than the fucking internet. However the bullshit threshold descends as we get older, I just cannot tolerate idiots in the way I used to be able to do. Sadly this bloody business has a very high proportion of imbeciles.

Marseilles is a nice city, photo taken from the car with my mobile phone just to prove I was there, this is a church just near the old port.

Of course I missed the exit off the autoroute, had a very undercooked and unpleasant pizza, ruined a shirt and tie by splashing greasy pizza topping on it (the waiter actually said "I think you'll need to by a new shirt, sir") and generally got tired by driving 500kms in the day. This was all forgotten upon arrival back home, I cooked a wonderful Roghan Josh for our guests (recipe to appear here soon, maybe) and everyone was happy.

posted on: 13/10/2006 at 10:50 in category: [/travel] with permanent link

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Thu, 05 Oct 2006

Jardin des Plantes

Paris this week which explains lack of posts, people are very stressed and I'm just not used to it anymore. I can't understand how (not why) I lived here for so long in my previous life!!

The Jardin des Plantes is beautiful at this time of year and they have two baby pandas in the zoo.

Of course I came across a Vietnamese "canteen" which served the most incredible "Bo Bun": vermicelle noodles, cucumber, carrots, slices of marinated beef and sliced "nem" spring rolls, it's a meal in itself and for just a few Euros.

posted on: 05/10/2006 at 11:53 in category: [/travel] with permanent link

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Sat, 30 Sep 2006

Nasturtium

In addition to mushrooms, the nasturtiums are out. There are still some chilli peppers ripening as well.

"Pass the finger bowl" said one cannibal to another.

posted on: 30/09/2006 at 14:53 in category: [/humour] with permanent link

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Thu, 28 Sep 2006

Funghi Porcini Risotto

I said that the rain would bring the mushrooms out. Cars are parked down by the woods very early in the morning. Last year there was even some fighting among restaurant owners in the woods, everyone has their own "patch".
Thanks to Michel in Venice for this one.

- Chop up some cèpe mushrooms (funghi porcini).
- Make a stock with some white wine, garlic, and the stalks of the mushrooms.
- Fry some round rice and the mushrooms in some olive oil
- Add the stock and plenty of salt and cook until the rice is tender.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and parmesan.

posted on: 28/09/2006 at 10:38 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Mon, 25 Sep 2006

Spicy Roast Pork with apples

Don't use measuring cups or weighing machines when you are cooking. Just use your inspiration and intuition. In any case, as most genuine chefs will tell you, it is very boring cooking the same recipe over and over again. Good recipes are there to be improved, altered and adapted depending upon the Chef's mood, the time of year, the weather, the company, in fact a myriad of circumstances.

Meanwhile here's a great Sunday lunch recipe:
- Grind up cumin seeds, coriander, peppercorns, salt, cardomom pods, cinnamon and chillies in a grinder (or pestle and mortar).
- roll pork in spice mixture to cover on all sides
- place joint in a dish with two apples and some potatoes (all peeled and chopped into large chunks)
- pour over some white wine stock and place in a hot oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 150 degrees (Celsius) for 90 minutes or more (depending on size of roast).

posted on: 25/09/2006 at 10:59 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sun, 24 Sep 2006

More Chilli peppers

It all started with Jimmy, he used to carry around dried chilli peppers in a matchbox and eat them with everything. I recall once we went to a pizzeria in Dean Street or somewhere in the backstreets of Soho, and he was so upset because he had run out of chillies and the restaurant didn't have any - we found a compromise in the form of a generous sprinkling of garlic. I paid the bill. The pizzas were excellent, the owner only spoke Italian and the tablecloths were red checkered like in the movies.

One day Jimmy's cousin from Nigeria was in town and they spent the days cooking and talking with clicks and stange African words. The hot sticky okra was especially memorable.

But the real passion for this plant came when I went to the West Indies for the first time, it was like coming home. Memories of past lives flooded in and entities came to see me and pay their respects. Denis was there of course.

Jimmy is sometimes here with me. I helped his daughter once, she had gravely misuderstood him. He died in the aftermath of a stupid car accident in Burgundy, on the eve of his real comeback.

The chilli peppers have been omni-present ever since

More on chillies in future posts.

posted on: 24/09/2006 at 13:59 in category: [/magick] with permanent link

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Sat, 23 Sep 2006

Vapour Trails

Vapour trails in the sky, Mountains seem so ever high, I think of you I don't know why
All within a dream
Noughts and crosses up above, Is it lust is it love, Sometimes I've just had enough
All within a dream

       I saw the look upon your face, like the writing on the wall
       The shyness in your smile made the past seem somehow much more worthwhile
       And the sparkle in your eye, you just blew me way way sky high

Glancing left and looking right I wonder now if you just might be feeling just the same as me
All within a dream
Will you touch me, will you not? Right now I'd give all I've got to be sure what we feel inside
All within a dream

Our hands just brushed, our eyes were locked, I'm reeling still, feel shell-shocked. Coupe de foudre light just struck
All within a dream
Will you ask me, can I dare, can we admit what we share?
Blink an eye, the moment's gone, wake up from a dream

posted on: 23/09/2006 at 10:23 in category: [/magick] with permanent link

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Fri, 22 Sep 2006

Chilli peppers

Rain has come, good news for the garden and the mushrooms.The weather man says its the tail end of some hurricane that hit the Americas last week.

The chilli harvest approaches. This photo features the long mild local variety, the fat juicy hot Espelettes from the nearby Basque country and the little round sweet Hungarian paprikas that we use for goulasch.

We also grow Cayenne and West Indian varieties, including the famous "12 curry chillies", so called because they are so spicy you just need to stir the curry with a chilli in order to make it dynamite hot, then keep it in the refigerator for the next curry, and the next one....

This always reminds me of the very dry Martini, pour gin into glass, show the vermouth bottle to the glass... was this Noel Coward or Hemingway..or someone else?

Anyway last night I simply fried, in some olive oil, two sliced red peppers (from the garden), a sliced red onion (from the garden) and two crushed Espelette chillies (from the garden). Fry mixture until the onions start to caramelise and serve as a garnish for anything (any kind of bland fish is quite good with this).

More on chillies in future posts.

posted on: 22/09/2006 at 09:25 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Wed, 20 Sep 2006

Lamb in the wood stove (Confit de souris d'agneau)

Southern France is wonderful at this time of year, a kind of midway between autumn and summer. The heatwave of July and August has passed but the days are warm. The colours of the trees and plants are at their best, the parched dryness of the summer forgotten.

My kitchen is a pleasure to work in and the produce in abundance. We have our first mushrooms of the season thanks to a little rain at the weekend, and the fig tree is full of ripe fruit. We still have some tomatoes in the garden and we are approaching the day when we will need to harvest our chilli peppers (but that will be the topic of a future post).

Meanwhile my wonderful bread oven has been working hard.

- place several souris (not mice, the souris is the little juicy bit around the bone at the bottom of a leg of lamb) in an earthenware dish (that can stand high heat)
- place a dozen whole garlic cloves (unpeeled) in the dish, add some juniper berries, a chopped onion, some rosemary and lots of salt and pepper
- pour beer (any kind) all over the lamb and fill to at least halfway up the dish, a little more as most of the liquid evaporates in the oven.
- place in a very hot wood stove (or normal oven heated to 250 degrees) for one hour, turning the meat halfway through cooking.
- squeeze out a clove of stewed garlic from its "shirt" and spread on fresh country bread, dunk in the beer sauce and eat with a piece of the melt-in-the-mouth lamb.

posted on: 20/09/2006 at 11:41 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Tue, 19 Sep 2006

Jeanette was a Dancer

It was in the mid seventies when I worked in the cinema. An angel walked in one day to see Godard's One Plus - One Sympathy for the Devil. She was wearing an Afghan coat and no make-up. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.

After the film we went for a drink and we walked back to her place, she was living in a (very) luxury squat in Regent's Park. We talked all night. She showed me photos and sketches and read me poems that seemed to mean a lot at the time.

Soon after I saw her photo in the papers, she was David Bowie's new girlfriend or something like that.

We met again maybe two years later. I was at the Speakeasy with Phil Lynott and other friends. She was at the bar looking very extravagant and sometimes on the dancefloor dancing very close to another girl whose overmake-up seemed quite repellent. OK, I suppose punk was in full swing at the time but already I had started to see people from the outside in.

At a quiet moment I went up to her at the bar and said "do you remember me?", she said "No, you must have just seen me in the papers". "But no" I replied and I spoke of the movie and the poems.

Her angel light from the past came back, "you have a good memory" she said. We talked for a short while, she was embarassed about her past but happy to share, with someone who could do her no harm, the knowledge that she was lost.

Then she was gone.

I never saw her again but Leo Sayer wrote a song about her called THE DANCER (lyrics can be found here), at least I think it's about her - I sent an e-mail to Leo but he never replied. I also asked Bowie about her when I was filming him in 1998, "my God that's a long time ago" with a glint in the other eye.

Sometimes the magick moments are too short but so long as you can say what you feel at the time, the memories remain strong as if yesterday.

Her name was Jeannette, I often think of her and wonder where she is today. Dancing in the Isles with that Denis Weldone in some future life, methinks.

posted on: 19/09/2006 at 13:48 in category: [/music] with permanent link

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Sun, 17 Sep 2006

Japanese marinated salmon

The magick is more present than ever, it's just that sometimes I would like some peace and I don't necessarily need to know what my ancestors want. Most of the time I can't understand them anyway.

The worst is when I stop drinking wine and I go to the big city, whether it be Paris, London, Milan or LA. I am solicited at every street corner, in the bus or airport, and, worst of all, I can sometimes see everything with an overwhelming desire to help, to resolve a situation or complete an unfinished task....and so often my offer of help and understanding falls on deaf ears.

We are taught how to deny our ancestors and refuse their help, that is maybe why so many of them are angry.

Meanwhile a japanaese day:
- cut fresh salmon into chunks
- mix crushed garlic, light soy sauce, 1cm crushed ginger, rice wine, lime juice, sesame oil and sugar
- pour over salmon and marinate for a while
- fry drained salmon chunks in a little oil until sealed (high heat)
- add marinade and a little water, reduce to a thick sauce
- serve with rice

posted on: 17/09/2006 at 17:55 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sat, 16 Sep 2006

Curry tiffin

Back to a curry tiffin, I do promise that some day in the future I will post some non-oriental recipes here.

It's like being haunted, the call of the Orient is ever present and sometimes so strong, even though it crosses many generations. The chinaman still comes from time to time, he sits fishing in the pond opposite our house (they filled it in in 1823): he waves to me and sometimes talks in bad broken old English.

- lamb curry with almonds
- vegetable biryani (rice)
- spicy chicken and courgettes in coconut milk
- chicken tikka
- dhal
- home made cumin chapatis, cucumber raita and a selection of chutney (top right: mint/coriander, onion/tomato, banana, mango and fig).

posted on: 16/09/2006 at 12:16 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Thu, 14 Sep 2006

Bio Dynamic Wine

Chemical farming methods are destroying natures inherent equilibrium but, through the wisdom of some of the world's most prominent wine-makers, a powerful movement to return to more natural farming methods is growing.

These sometimes ancient methods of agriculture have implications for the survival of the entire planet.

Taste it and judge for yourself. The same applies to vegetables and fruit grown with these methods.

This must be the agriculture of the future.

Biodynamics are more effective than organic or natural methods of agriculture because they work with the health of the soil, which in turn gives greater health to the plant, which, when eaten by animals or humans (who also eat those animals), gives them greater health.

Biodynamic agriculture can also heal sick soils and so offers a real solution to the problems incurred from chemical agriculture.

Thanks to Geoffrey FINCH for this input, obviously there will be plenty more on this topic in future posts.

posted on: 14/09/2006 at 23:55 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Wed, 13 Sep 2006

Venice - shop windows as promised

Next entry back to bio-dynamic wine growing then on to France.....

posted on: 13/09/2006 at 16:22 in category: [/travel] with permanent link

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Mon, 11 Sep 2006

Venice - pasta

<--This could be a photo from another era. And this is the first in a series of Venice shop windows-->

The secret of good pasta is to put the pasta in the sauce as opposed to pouring the sauce over the pasta. A wok is very good for this.

- cook pasta according to instructions, al dente of course
- fry an onion and some finely chopped peppers (red or yellow are best) in some olive oil
- add some chopped tomotoes and cook to reduce into a sauce
- add strained pasta to the pan and some chopped mozzarella cheese (buffalo)
- heat through and garnish with fresh basil

posted on: 11/09/2006 at 16:32 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sun, 10 Sep 2006

Venice - il vino del Doges

Coming out of Venice railway station is like arriving on a movie set, apart from modern dress, motor boats and mobile phones nothing has changed much. Pasolini's Il Decameron and other films spring to mind.

I expect the Denis from the past to spring out of a dark alleyway, even Casanova or worse the little red riding hood from Roeg's Don't Look Now.

We took Vaporetto nˇ13 to St Erasmus, home of the wine of the Venetian Doges. Like so many things our "civilisation" has taught us to forget, taste has become standarised, a banal sameness wherever you go. We no longer know how to care for our planet. But here it is different, wine growing techniques dating from before the dark ages, combined with a little modern technology and a lot of passion, produce wine that is very special.

Magick and guardians ever present, the co-incidences almost every hour of the day no longer astonish me, our current project for a TV series on geobiology and the architecture of sacred places of worship suddenly takes on a new, broader angle. What the stone masons and carpenters were doing in the churches, the farmers were doing in the fields: the result, whether it be a church, a house, a vegetable or a fruit, is in harmony with the environment and the universe beyond.

posted on: 10/09/2006 at 10:03 in category: [/travel] with permanent link

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Sat, 09 Sep 2006

Stir Fried Noodles with Pork

We're on our way to Venice now, we will see what culinary delights Italy brings.

Hopefully the next few entries will tell of vaporetto nˇ13 and bio-dynamic wine growing: vast subject, close to my heart.

Marco Polo apparently brought noodles back from the Orient which is the connection to the recipe today.

- boil chinese noodles for a few minutes, strain and rinse with cold water
- boil some carrots, brocolli and beans for a few minutes, crisp not cooked through
- fry chopped onion, garlic, fresh ginger and pieces of pork fillet in a hot wok, sprinkle and seal with a little flour
- add cooked vegetables, soy sauce, sherry and sugar
- cover and simmer for a few minutes until meat and vegetables cooked through
- add cooked noodles and mix all the ingredients thoroughly until very hot

posted on: 09/09/2006 at 09:47 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Fri, 08 Sep 2006

Indonesian Beef Salad

Denis once told me about his travels in the Orient.

Our education has taught us how to deny and forget the very basic harmony we should cherish with our planet and brethren.

The food can be so good, so simple yet divinely delicious like sometime sex, the moment is savoured then gone forever, never to be relived, except as a memory or a dream.

Meanwhile Oriental Beef Salad, recipe below:

- coat a tender piece of beef with freshly ground pepper
- seal and sear the beef all sides on a very hot griddle or plancha
- leave it to cool in the freezer for 2 hours (helps for slicing after)
- slice into very thin slices like carpaccio
- pour on a marinade of crushed garlic, light soy sauce, thai fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and a little sesame oil
- leave in the refrigerator for a few hours
- decorate with thinly sliced cucumber and sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves, green onion and hot chillies

posted on: 08/09/2006 at 10:01 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Thu, 07 Sep 2006

Thai green curry and aspagarus

The hurricanes are coming through again

No progress for some time although the overall story is coming together.

Meanwhile Chicken Thai Green curry and grilled asparagus, recipe below:

- fry onions, courgettes and chicken pieces
- add Thai green curry paste
- add coconut milk
- simmer for a few minutes until thick and cooked through

- heat griddle (plancha) very hot
- cook green asparagus with a little olive oil
- sprinkle with rock salt, parmesan and garnish with grilled peppers

posted on: 07/09/2006 at 20:05 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Wed, 06 Sep 2006

Stir Fried Vegetables

After the storm that destroyed the beach and many houses, the electric company re-erected a telegraph pole right in the middle of the path. We couldn't get up to the land in the truck anymore.

Domenica looks over us always, for some reason she recalls the sadness of her arranged marriage and how she fell in love with her uncle who saved her and brought her to the West Indies. This is where her life began.

Meanwhile simple stir fried vegetables, recipe below:

- heat wok very hot with a little oil
- chop vegetable into small bite size chunks
- stir fry vegetables starting with onion and the vegetables needing the longest cooking time (beans, corn, broccoli)
- add chopped garlic and ginger
- when cooked but still crisp, add soy sauce, sugar and a little chilli pepper

posted on: 06/09/2006 at 09:18 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Tue, 05 Sep 2006

Blog notes starts here

posted on: 05/09/2006 at 09:07 in category: [/travel] with permanent link

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