I love the magic of Christmas! From Believing to Wishing to Love...I truly adore the Season! Not to sound so sappy but memories are dusted off and taken out and admired on our trees and the warm sweet smell of Cinnamon baking and music playing is the best! Above is my Kitchen Christmas tree. I decided to use my Crown ornament for the Top and hang crystal and bling and lace for garland. I strung little wooden ornaments on rope to add to the charm of my new style Royal Farm! I'm so happy each time I flip the switch and its white lights and sparkle from the crystal bling comes to life. In keeping with Britalia Way fashion .......the tree skirt is a scarf I bought in Venice during our Holiday in Italy and England a few years back.
With Snowmen dancing from the light above and Pine Cones and Santa at the Door....we're ready for the Festivities to begin. I'm ready to toast with a good eggnog or spiced cider and perhaps nibble on the Christmas Struffoli!
Once again we've decided not to put up our big tree that is over 10 feet tall and have opted once again for the smaller tree below. Last year I had it on a table but this year decided to leave on the floor and put toys under it and create a vintage look. I love the jack in the box a gift from my kids and the rocking horse was my Moms. There is an English car for Britalia Way and a some stuffed toys and a Santa in a rocking chair for fun. He actually rocks and sings and makes quite a racket. A vintage term for noisy!! :) Couldn't resist as I realize sometimes the things we say reflect our age and growing up in a time where sayings reflected thoughts rather than the initials today that sometimes I have no idea what people are texting me! It truly is funny...I have to stop and google letters to get the shorthand (get it...another vintage idea) of what they mean! Here are a few more Christmas pictures and will continue decorating and post more later.
While in Savannah a few weeks ago, we stopped for lunch at a local Bistro B. Matthews Eatery on Bay Street. We had been out antiquing and walking the downtown and had been told this is a great place for lunch. As we approached I loved the look....Southern,Urban,Downtown Bistro! The interior followed the style with Brick walls and and black leather seats with dark wooden tables. The place was hopping and I thought this is going to be great!
We took a seat at the Bar till a table became ready and I ordered a Bloody Mary and my husband a simple light beer. Both were served nice and cold and tasted so good. We loved the written informative message (pictured above)on the table describing the building and its history. I tried to get a good picture but the sun was very bright that day. We looked over the menu at the appetizers offered and so many looked fantastic. We decided on the Corn Okra Succotash Spring Rolls with Ancho Pepper Chili Sauce. OMG a fabulous mixture that pops in your mouth with flavor. Each ingredient is a compliment and balanced perfectly for that delicate taste leaving you wanting more and more!
Our next decision was equally difficult with so many tempting ideas on the menu. I ordered a bacon, arugula, fried green tomato sandwich with pimento cheese on wheatberry Toast. My husband ordered the fish and chips and once again we were so happy with our choices. The fish and chips were light and delicately fried and paired with the cold beer was perfect. I on the other hand tasting everything so savory and spicy, absolutely flipped over my sandwich! I had the choice of soup and I choose a delicious vegetable. It was truly a duo of taste texture and color. The fried green tomatoes with bacon and arugula and pimento cheese was divine! Lets face it bacon with anything is tasty but pairing it with the southern influence of fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese brought me back to my childhood.
You see, we used to buy Kraft pimento cheese in the glass jars that when the cheese was done you had a juice glass.......OMG I'm dating myself! LOL :)
Once again a lovely day in a historical city, enjoying a local eatery with the charm of the South. My mantra for that day was ...
Less is More, Narrow your Search and Define your Taste! If you get the opportunity to visit Savannah Georgia be sure to put B. Matthew on the agenda for some real tasty fare!
What an exciting Fall it has been this year! Living in Florida leaves a very small chance of seeing real leaves change unless you count dying from the heat ! LOL ( No I'm not being negative ;) ) My usual Fall trip is to New York and Long Island to glimpse the color of the season. This year My husband Rocco and I decided on a car trip to North Carolina. A relaxing ride taking in a visit to Savannah, Georgia and then on to Santee SC to visit our good friend Laura. From there head North into North Carolina to visit Family and a ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway! On our trip back we stayed in a lovely Bed and Breakfast, Old Mc Caskills Farm in Rembert, South Carolina. We loved the Farm and I will have a post later this week with great pictures. This trip was so special with our time with family, friends and the weather was tremendous and I even woke up to 36 degrees in Boone NorthCarolina for two days. Well I wanted a change this year and it was fabulous. From getting to wear a sweater to buying a new coat (what can I say) it was cold! Of course I never give up an opportunity to Shop and Mast General Store was just the place! Here are a few pictures ...
This trip was not only picturesque but also quite tasty. From Southern treats to family favorites...we enjoyed bite after bite! Now add an occasional cocktail to the mix and lots of laughs and memories were made.
There are so many great stories to share and I will start with more posts tomorrow. Just wanted to share some scenic pictures and get the ball rolling again at Britalia Way!
After a long hot and extremely stormy Summer ...I'm ready for Fall! Although living in Florida where change of season is subtle and not really felt till December.... I thought I'd try and connect by looking through last years pictures of my fall trip to New York! I'm decorating the house this weekend and I love simmering apples and cinnamon on the stove to fill the cool air ( of course air conditioned air that is) LOL and smell the aroma of spice! With all the talk of chemicals in sprays and candles etc.....get back to basics and simmer on the stove. The aroma of apples with cinnamon and spice can't be beat!
I'm always amazed how a little space around a tree in NYC can capture so much color, design and charm. Once again less is more!
Look at this glorious Cauliflower! I like to steam and enjoy! Tasting the flavor of a vegetable by itself without an expectation is truly having a fine palate. You can roast it, steam it or toss raw into salads. Understanding the basic natural flavor provides the basis to sharing with other ingredients to heighten rather than compete and lose its natural quality. Translation for that statement = Fusion cooking becomes quite confusing for me! ;)
A vegetable side dish is an accompaniment to the main meat or fish and can be enjoyed sharing the sauce of that dish. For example I love steamed broccoli or Cauliflower with a chicken or veal piccata and share the lemon butter with it as a glaze. Competing tastes and textures often confuse the palate ....never mind your digestive system. We should always think of the mouth of the stomach when mixing different tastes.
Let me be frank... adding ham and pineapple to a pizza is like adding sliced meatballs to a chocolate layer cake! Both are thinking out of the box and should remain out of the box and not digested! ;)
For me a simple steamed cauliflower with a piece of roasted meat or cutlet Milanese and a salad with a vinaigrette dressing is perfect. Now add a fruity glass of wine and serve on a white plate with music playing in the background and I'm really happy! A dessert can be as simple as fresh fruit or the sweet taste of an after dinner drink. Perhaps a Sweet Vermouth, or Baileys Creme or a lovely Blueberry Port.
Once again I find myself saying I'm back after another month of silence. Actually back and forth from New York and then Hurricane Irma and no internet for days kept me out of touch. I have so many stories to share and then sometimes feel overloaded and don't know where to begin. OK one sentence at a time.
First off I'm realizing that blogging is not that easy. If you don't get much feedback and are not sure or rather don't understand the concept of boosting on networks... you wonder does anyone read it or not! My conclusion is although its so tempting to start over and change appearance etc....I am not! Instead I'm expanding on this format and planning on adding podcasts with my Worldly thoughts! Oh yes another opinion coming from me will surely get you smiling if not laughing or actually crying with tears from Laughing!
So without further fanfare here is my first Podcast! Have you noticed lately that everyone feels compelled to critique everything.....here is my take on how to cope with Criticism!!! Perhaps you'll have some Criticism too! LOL!
Talk to you soon ... Denise
My big summer chill has really proved to work for me this year. I'm always making lists of things I need to do or projects that I want to craft and people to see etc and then never seem to get it all checked off. Realizing that I'm always expecting too much, I decided to put myself on notice and sit down and chill. I actually started my morning meditations again and wow have they proved to be beneficial. First I have a new Mantra...are you ready....;)
Less is More
Narrow your Search
Dim the Lights
And Listen to the beat of your Heart!
Practicing these words has been enlightening to me both spiritually and physically. I've always had losing weight on the top of my list and never achieved a significant loss. I would take off a few pounds here and there with a yo yo back and forth yet no lasting results. I'm now happy to report I've lost 9 pounds in the last two months and hope to continue for at least another 10 to 15 pounds. Actually the success has been by narrowing down what I eat and then enjoying the benefits (listening) as my body responds with energy and better blood test results. Below is one of my summer salads that I absolutely love! Beets and Blueberries over Spinach with red onion and walnuts. Healthy, tasty and feel the energy it gives your body! Simple vinaigrette dressing...Yum!
Another great summer salad I've been enjoying is spinach with apricots roasted orange peppers, celery, grilled codfish and zucchini. Colorful tasty and loads of protein. Keeping away from the flour carbs has been actually so much easier when replacing them with simple delicious tastes that compliment each other and explode with flavor. I mix my chilled white raspberry decaf tea with some seltzer and pour into a wine glass and feel like a dining at a fancy spa restaurant. I've been using walnuts as my crouton replacement and they add that crunch! ;)
Keeping with the mantra from above I've addressed less is more when cutting carbs and balancing proteins and feeling the results so on to dimming the lights and listening to the beat of your heart. Like everyone else I'm always checking the internet before going to bed usually no reason other than habit.....Well the "New Me" is dimming the light of my iPad till the next day and taking these moments to lie down enjoy the natural light coming into my bedroom and reflect on my day. It's not what I didn't finish rather focus on what I did and the new choices and feeling the results. Rewarding my self for taking the time to enjoy the simple things in life that although ordinary now seem so pleasing. After all, with shedding pounds comes picking out some new clothes and the the visual of imaging tomorrows menu, clearing clutter off counters, replacing the centerpiece of my kitchen table with a glass vase and fresh flowers. When you combine simple things with enthusiasm, your results are truly the Best! Namaste everyone.
Wow...... Where do I begin!.....I'm back in Florida after spending a fabulous month in Manhattan visiting my Daughter Stephanie. From the Upper West Side to the Lower East Side to Chelsea, the West Village, Nolito, Times Square, it still holds the magic that makes me crave more. This trip as usual has given me so many wonderful stories and conversations to share with you.
I will begin with the magic of Bond Street. A lovely cobblestone street on the lower East side that has some antique stores, lofts and houses the showroom for Bond no.9! As with all my stories.... for me the conversations are the true experience followed by the memory of the special people and this one leaves me with such a beutiful scent! ;) OMG I can't believe I said that I'm still laughing...love the Cornish humor! (Please remember the "Cornish" reference )
Ok moving on.... One afternoon Stephanie and I headed down to the East Village. I love walking through Alberts Garden and love the unique shops in the area. This day we went to the three stores of John Derian. One, a gift shop, the other textiles and then his antique/furniture store. We savored all three and when talking with an associate at the store he suggested we might like Paula Rubenstein's store over on Bond Street a few blocks away. So off we went and upon turning the corner to Bond street I recalled immediately that I had taken pictures here last year of a Vespa and have it framed in my family room. (Picture above taken last year) I hadn't remembered the name of the street but love the industrial New York urban Chic Charm it offers. As we approached her shop I spotted an Aston Martin parked at the curb where the Vespa had been. Two for two a lovely street and now another photo opportunity one with a beautiful Vintage Aston Martin!!! Approaching the car I noticed a Gentleman seated behind the wheel and said.... I love your ride do you mind if I take a picture. No he replied with his lovely British accent and I snapped away. Here is the picture of Gerald and me.
We began talking and I had shared my ancestors were from Cornwall in the South of England (Cornish reference from above) and he knew it well. Actually he had been there recently and thus the stories went on from there. He had been very happy to share on his last visit there he was able to see Dartmouth Castle clearly as the weather conditions were perfect. So funny to hear an Englishman marvel the simple pleasure of viewing a Castle without the usual rain and fog! A few minutes later he handed me the Post Card above from Bond no.9 and pointed to the showroom. I was curious as to the name thinking of course James Bond...Right! Ha Ha ....such a geek as usual! At this point I didn't realize he was the driver for the owner Laurice Rahme' till she appeared from behind and he jumped out to open her door! We exchanged pleasantries and me being me asked if she was Mrs. Bond!!! Had I been one to be in the circle of lovely people who frequent her shop and know the perfume I would have known the Bond line of products! She laughed jumped in the car and off they drove with a wave and a smile and me laughing so hard as I had said to her," I love your taste in drivers... as Gerald was truly charming!"
We enjoyed visiting the store and received a sample of her lovely perfume and was amazed at her idea to create the scents of New York. She has one for each of the neighborhoods of the city including the Upper West Side, Nolita, Chelsea, Upper East side etc and even created one called Peace after 911 which actually was one of my favorites!
Aww yes....... the scents of New York ....a tremendous idea, carried out with elegance.....that leaves the fragrance of success!
The picture above was taken last Wednesday arriving at Kennedy Airport for my visit with Stephanie. The Spring air feels great and I can't wait to hit the streets running and savor the sights, smells and sounds of the Big Apple. NYC is my favorite place not only as my Daughter lives here, but the opportunity to experience culture, traditions, history and some of the best markets and food venues in the World. With the Spring and Summer festivals and street fairs you are treated to the unique essence of urban city culture. My first stop was Central Park for a walk, and as always delighted to find these Gentlemen below "jammin" with that Jazz feel to bring you back to the 60's flavors of a typical Manhattan afternoon! Sit back and listen to the music for a minute....
New Yorkers have such a stylish way to create container gardens and small places that are so inviting to sit and enjoy the Spring weather. With the sun peeking through the stoop below captures the highlights of this traditional style. I absolutely Love it !!! ;)
From a Town House to a High Rise Spring flowers are blooming all over. It is the beautiful colors that compliment the vintage architecture that completes the feeling for me. I enjoy the experience, and equate it as walking through the art that you would see in a gallery.
With the afternoon coming to a close Dinner became my next thought ....... Stephanie had it under control and she whipped up a scrumptious meal of oven grilled peppers, onions and sausage with an arugula salad with beet noodles, tomatoes and carrot. Truly a delicious way to start a Spring visit with Stephanie in this beautiful City!
I absolutely love my pot collection! I've accumulated many and consider them my prized possessions! From Club Aluminum, Guardian, and Wagner to Reverware, Farberware, Belgique, Cuisinart and Le Creuset... I love them all! I tell my friends and family when I'm using them I think back to when I bought them and who I was cooking with and the stories begin. ;)
Over the last few weeks I've been doing a Spring clean up outside in the garden and planting new flowers and herbs. I thought about creating a fun new look and decided to use some of my old aluminum pots and plant some herbs in them. I thought they would look really cute sitting on my potting table or hanging on the fence. I already have grown herbs in horse troughs for years and was so excited to add and create this new look for my patio garden.
If you notice in the picture above I took this photo and printed it out and then decoupaged it on to a tile as a trivet. I felt so proud of myself until I saw the dirt smudge to the left and laughed for hours. I've truly learned not to fret over the little things and rather view it as it adds character! ;) Now that I decided to use old pots for herbs and special pretty flowers.... I have to antique more and pick up a few additional old interesting pieces. Oh yes...Right up my alley! I started this past weekend and picked up a few while combing the antique and thrift stores. I found a lovely Pewter piece actually not a pot, rather a serving piece that had markings on the back from London. I'm going to make it up for either my Kitchen or Dining room table. I told my husband this is a win win as with all the time I've spent setting up my garden, has left me less time to do other shopping. The best part is all the fun things I've been doing using the herbs each day. I've recently made pickles, pickled okra, herb flavored Vodka for Bloody Marys as well as herbed vinegar. I'm really enjoying the time spent in my garden and slowly overcoming my fear of anything that crawls. It's so funny as I still wear long rubber clothes that are yellow so I can see anything that comes near my gloves! I would love to look like one of those natural gardeners with fancy apron etc but I'm dressed to protect myself from the element! LOL! I've really come along way working outside and really proud of the results.
Above is a picture of the piece from England that I mentioned and two ideas for a centerpiece. One with grapes for the dining room table and the other perhaps simple greens. Of course I couldn't resist and threw in my signature Crown as an accessory. I love the charm it brings as well as all the conversation it generates! There is always something about Crowns that sparks a certain fascination.....I know it does for me!
A Pasty has become one of my favorite quick suppers! You can make use of your leftovers and transform them into a pastry shell and create your own unique shapes! ;) Next you pop them in the oven for 35-40 minutes, while your tossing a Salad or making a quick soup and then sit down and enjoy, while imaging yourself across the big Pond in jolly old England!
The Pasty above was stuffed with leftover steak and veggies from a barbecue and the others chicken and veggies. You can make them with virtually any filling all vegetable or even lentils or beans. Don't make them to saucy as the sauce will drizzle out the sides while cooking and take away from the appearance.
I know this as I've been there done that more than once!
I know I can hear from where I'm sitting the gasps of breath for putting a picture of Lard as an ingredient. First off my defense is less is more and your not going to eat all 6-8 pastys yourself, that called for 1/4 cup lard .....no Butter. Now you could use all butter or half and half lard to butter or my last choice Crisco. I did my research and unless your vegetarian there is a good argument out there that animal Fat=Lard is actually a better choice than Veg lard due to the processing. If you find lard offensive use a little Crisco or all butter or bacon fat or as I like to create for Britalia Way recipes is a pastry using pancetta that you have cut small and chopped in a mini processor to make it smooth. The flavor is fantastic and of course for Britalia Way it combines an Italian ingredient with an English recipe! ;) ...Not to mention people" Do Not" equate Pancetta to lard rather a delicious product you pick up at an Italian Salumeria! Seriously pasty's are something you don't have every night and the fat content is probably less than store bought processed pie and bread products eaten far more often.
I've made all different types of stuffing and I really like leftover Escarole and beans or Escarole and Sausage. Vegetarians could use cabbage, carrot, peas and parsnips and add cream of celery soup to bind together. Tuna fish , red peppers , onions and capers and bind with a little mayonnaise and chili sauce. I've tasted many from Myers of Keswick in Manhattan and they have beef and onions with delicious mushrooms etc. There are endless ideas just use leftovers and try them some evening and possibly pour a pint to serve as your beverage!
Welcome to Britalia Way! Thanks for stopping by. Please join me as I share with you a series about food, people and experiences that are special to me. English and Italian traditions are so enticing and were the inspiration for creating Britalia Way!
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