Saturday, June 30, 2007
I know shoes are suppose to be one of women's little special inclinations - and handbags, and there I'm hooked, I admit, but nowadays only very special ones. So really, the amount of money spent on handbags are probably less than before. Even if every new handbag in itself does cost a, um, bit more - but they're totally worth it and yes, they're an investment, and oh yes, they're classics, and oh yes they'll be by my side for ages to come. Really. - but not for me.
nonetheless are sort of impossible to walk with classy style and in.
The walk in those shoes is more of a slouch posture of someone who desperately needs a toilet. And they will be worn out in a foreseeable future, I fail to see the long term investment potential in shoes for wear. But that's just me.
Handbags make me all giddy and happy, shoes don't. Some have done, but less and less over the years. I rarely find those shoes that cries out just to me nowadays. I'm not sure if that's a sign of me getting old? Perhaps I should possibly begin looking for shoes in seniors' shops. Shoes with a certain kind of butter dish-look to them. Maybe that's my true shoe-heaven from now on?
Just because I'm not that keen on shoes and boots, it doesn't mean the rest of the family agrees with me. I'm a bit uncertain about the high fashion factor of the red shoe and the pink boot above - the colours are quite the thing though, and I love the fairytale-design - but they're a total hit with the loaf doggie!
up bring. He guards it at night with one eye always open. He sleeps with it as a pillow. He constantly tease whoever is around, to try and take it from him so he can show how much fight he'll put up to defend it from evil minded twoleggers.
The only thing is, the nice IKEA-price of it is accompanied by the rubbish quality. Both of them got tears after less than one hour's play, the filling came out. And doggie M isn't a very big dog with very large teeth.
But I guess this is also a very solid proof of the fact that footwear are not a very sound, long term investment. Shoes are basically just wear and tear, if you ask me. And loaf dog agrees, even if he probably won't admit to that, since he's too keen on his precious shoe-collection.
Friday, June 29, 2007
PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern - when A first described the storyline I thought it reminded me more than a lot of Lolly Winston's Good Grief. A book I very much enjoyed reading, perhaps not the literary equivalent of a Michelin star, but fun, empathetic, wistful and hopeful.
So I bought Ahern's book - even though I'm rather apprehensive when excerpts from reviews state that it's a sensational debut novel written by a mere 21 year old with an impressive amount of insight and wisdom, from sources I've sort of never heard of...
And I was actually annoyed just by reading the first page - just too much of Good Grief there, it's a fine line between rip off and your own words... But I was adamant to read on, even though I flinched at the completely foreseeable-have-read-that-a-thousand-times-before-not-an-original-idea-to-be-found-here way of using the words.
I doubt my impression of this miserable immature, unoriginal piece of words-put-together can be blamed on the translation into Swedish. And I don't think it's a very far fetched thing to hold this book as a textbook example of something that's only published due to the writer having the right connections rather than a true talent for writing.
I made it as far as page 142 - only on sheer stubbornness. There's such a thing as chicklit - really don't like that word... - witty and enjoyable to read, even if it isn't a literary masterpiece of Nobel prize winning measures *even though I doubt that's the absolute true measure rod of "good" literature...*. And the substandard stuff that just surf on the genre's easy to read-popularity. So please, spare me, spare the genre and go out into the world and find your true talent calling.
Anita Shreve. In this case the book The Last Time They Met - I'm ashamed to admit it took be about 2,5 years to finish this beautiful, bittersweet, so sad book... Not because it's neither badly written, nor uninteresting. Far from.
I just wasn't in the mood, in hindsight I think it could have something to do with the fact that the story took place backwards - as the title states. The couple only met three times during their lifetime, and it's quite heartbreaking to know from the start that this will be about a life, a love unlived. And having read the first - last - third part of the book you know how it ends...
But as it turned out, when I finally continued reading it, it wasn't. And the very last sentence of the book keeps haunting me, what really happened? And the question mark grew bigger once I saw the movie The Weight of Water... Such a deeply moving piece of literature.
As all her books I'd imagine, the once I've read so far are Strange Fits of Passion and Fortune's Rock. I love the skillful way she let her plots manoeuvres back and forth in time. Next up will be All He Ever Wanted and Sea Glass. Books not to be read quickly, hasty but savoured and enjoyed with both mind and soul now and then. Dependable, but never boring, always moving and often wistful, giving food for thought.
But now and then I get inspired my others, by friends, by cookbooks, by TV, by eating out, to try something new. To hopefully incorporate new favourites to the old bunch. Sometimes I get completely disappointed in a recipe that sounds soo goood, the ingredients just don't work well together and the flavour is bland and utterly boring *hate bland and flavourless*
Why are people, even chefs, often so afraid of using salt and spices?? When the best dishes are the ones from which you can distinguish several layers of flavours, all trying their very best to give you a taste-sensation to remember and savour.
But now I think I've found the sort of ultimate vegetarian cookbook - even if I do change the recipes a bit here a bit there to suit my taste buds even more - with the very original name "Vegetariskt" (Vegetarian). Written by the chefs at one of my favourite cafés in the Stockholm area - Ulriksdal's Castle Garden Café - with mouthwatering food pics.
I don't fancy to try out everything, there are ingredients I really don't like, but so far I've been a bit adventurous and tried some different kind of bean sallads with dressings I wouldn't normally go for. And they've turned out completely irresistible! *Yummy*
The beetroot chocolate cake and the carrot bake I wrote about earlier, are both from this cookbook.
And on the definate plus side at this particular moment in life, not only healthy and great tasting, but also really snugly comfort food...
If you're interested in recipes, just let me know!
Thursday, June 28, 2007
So today I'll let some pictures speak instead of words - there are always other views of Stockholm just begging to be shown...
It's rather obvious for most of us, that in life exists both the greatest of happiness as well as sorrow and pain. And my pain is my own, your pain is yours - by comparison with others the loss and sorrow, the grief and pain of one being can be belittled. But I really don't think one can compare sorrow like that, on a scale of appropriate grieving what grade does my loss get. What a horrible way to think!
Perspective in life is good - one reason for travelling and see other worlds, different ways of life, learning and realising new things, growing as a human being - but when it comes to sorrow, and the way we react, the way we belabour it perspective really doesn't come into the possible equation.
My view on that particular matter is, that we all have to deal with that our very own way, and it shouldn't be belittled or sniffed at - that's only done by ignorant, heartless and malignant people. People that obviously haven't been as fortunate as to experience true deep emotional bonds to any kind of living thing.
I truly believe that, even in the darkest moments in life, no matter what the cause is, there's also strength to be found. The strength, the strange blessing one might perhaps call it, being that if one can feel pain like that one is also capable of great feelings of love and happiness. Two sides of the coin of life, the two main parts of the puzzle. The way to be a complete person
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
We got nearly 14 good years together. She was the ancestress of my breeding, my stately showstopper, but most of all my very best friend on four legs. When I was sad she wiped my tears and comforted me, when I was happy she shared my laughter. She covered my face with small, wet catkisses.
It’s not the first time I've been forced to make a difficult decision concerning the quality of life of a furry one - and it most certainly won’t be the last. But some of them are so much more emotional to make, they leave such overwhelming pain, so many thoughts of doubt and questions.
Could I have made a better decision earlier, or perhaps I made the wrong decision now? But all that really matters is of course to ease as much pain and suffering as possible. And cats are such brave, enigmatic beings, they suffer stoically. They’re so difficult to read and interpret, no matter how long you’ve lived side by side.
One has to go with intuition, but does my gut feeling serve me right when it’s so hard to make that final, point of absolutely no return decision? Do I drag on the decision making because the consequences are just so unbearable? Or am I too quick on making that final decision since I want to be brave and not egoistic when it comes to the suffering of the small and innocent?
Perhaps I interpreted wrong, perhaps there was actually some simple fix that could have made it all better? A little band aid, a tiny pill, some miracle ointment - just so we could have some more time together. Some more time to laugh and cry, to cuddle, to remember the good days, to say goodbye. Some more time to sense that very special scent of something resembling honey on that little almost furless spot between your ear and your eye. The scent of you, just you.
I wasn’t sure I would write a word about this awful, horrible, unthinkable thing I had to make a decision on - but writing is good, writing is therapy. Always. Sometimes I write to keep difficult thoughts away. Sometimes I write to sort things out, making writing a way to make a decision. Sometimes I just have to belabour hardship, and what better way than to put those thoughts into words and to paper/screen.
Yes it’s good to write, it soothes the pain, but even so, I know I for some time now, will have that knot of sorrow buried in my stomach, the self doubt over the decision I made, the ups - when I think of all the joy we shared over the years, how proud and blessed I was of having and knowing such a beautiful as well as sweetness personified cat -
the downs - when I cry my heart out piece by little piece because I miss her so much and there will never ever exist anyone like her ever again.
Yes there are others, there have been others, they're such darlings everyone of them, but there just isn't another with a personality like hers, it was the two of us, me and her, my very own furball goddess of aurora.
Little dreamy furface, Aurora, with your kind soul, you’ll forever have a very special place in my heart. I miss you and always will. Be safe, be happy over there.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The height of summer-television for us Anglophiles. Yes it's far from the intellectual refinement of Chief Inspector Morse, and lack a charismatic equivalent to Chief Inspector Morse's John Thaw, the plots are rather strained - but still it's just so quaintly charming, entertaining and British you can't but love it!
And tonight's the night - the first of 8 gloriously gruesome Tuesdays nights I'm going to be stuck in front of the TV, enjoying every second of it. With a large cuppa Yorkie Gold and biscuits. Happy - for some - Midsomer!
So when I browsed through the mouthwatering new cookbook called Darling strawberries - a book, I admit, I basically only bought because the cover picture was so lovely, and pink. Strawberries are not a favourite fruit of mine, I don't care if they're one of the true symbols of Swedish summer - even if the quality of Swedish strawberries really, very much can be questioned nowadays... - and everyone just seems to rave about them. They still have that disgusting little snuff inside...
Mazarin cake with blue poppy seeds and strawberries into one with raspberries. And, well, it was really much ado about nothing in my opinion.
First of all, I really hate it when the recipe states that you should let the pie pastry rest in intervals, in the fridge, in the freezer, pre-bake the pie shell, let it cool down, don't use a mixer, blend everything carefully by hand, mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet one in another, THEN mix them together.
Really, spare me! I can do with some of the features, but not all. And frankly, in my humble opinion, the outcome hardly ever becomes better or worse choosing the one or the other way of doing it...
This recipe had a lot of those features, and yes I went through them all... Not much good that did. Not much of a Mazarin-taste to it, just a very basic pie with raspberries and poppy seeds. Served with whipped cream, yes it went down to its final tummy-destination without too much trouble. But nope, I won't be bothered with baking it again.
This was my first try out of a recipe in that book, since it didn't turn out all that well I haven't really had the inclination to try another one. Yet.
ice-cream book by Susanna Tee. I was a bit excited about the whole thing, since cream crowdie by the author is said to be the Scottish national dessert - even if I've never ever during all my numerous trips to Scotland over the years, have seen that in a single restaurant menu... So, you Scots out there, is this the national dessert or not?? -
The recipe was so simple and quick, the wait for the whole thing to freeze was on the other hand very looong - or so it seemed. Now I wish I could say it was worth the wait. It wasn't. This ice cream version of cream crowdie was just so bland and flavourless, all the whipped cream = ice cream tasted oily, the crunchy oats made it a bit surreal, the raspberry-flavour shone with its absence, not to mention the honey and whisky...
crowdie, skipping the ice-cream part.
And well, the best way probably, I think, to enjoy raspberries are fresh all by themselves, sunripened and juicy. Or frozen with a scoop of high quality vanilla icecream/whipped cream...
Monday, June 25, 2007
I'm pretty sure that I prefer this little fellow as he is, petrified and tucked away in the flowerbed, where he can keep an eye on the garden. Crowning the work but without any tiresome requirements one just can't be bother with anyway.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
He has been returning to this house, this garden for about five years now. The first Spring/Summer Malte saw him he was really upset about the fact that there was a small, prickly being invading the garden without his gracious approval.
So to save garden peace rather than instigating frontier clashes, we had to make certain Mr Hedgehog couldn't get his more or less rotund corpus under the chickenwire gate.
So ever since Mr Hedgehog has lived his life outside the garden, and his food being served just outside the gate. Since we feel sort of guilty that his peaceful dwelling area a k a my garden no longer has any peace to offer his prickly little being, we always make sure he has fresh water and plenty of gourmetfood i e the very best cat food on the market. So he can build strength and size during the summers and have enough energy to last all winter while hibernating.
And today was this year's first visit. We were all very excited when we saw him pitter-patter along the passage to the garden. The cats made strange greeting noises, the dog I suspect was more annoyed than excited - and even more so when he realized that prickly being would get all that yummy catfood and not he. Very upsetting indeed.
But Mr Hedgehog was very pleased with both food and welcome and happily munched on the crispy nuggets, before heading back to his usual dwellings. Where ever that may be, since he's a bit of a recluse.
I'm very proud to be the gourmet-restaurant of Mr Hedgehog's choice.
As you might have guessed by now, carrots are most probably my favourite vegetable. So versatile, so delicious in almost every way - only not overcooked, please - and as an extra plus, good for you! And frankly, it's not always something that's good for you tastes all that good...
Sometimes I think that my fascination about carrots - which sort of haven't really begun to blossom until about 10 years ago - can be something of a hereditary defect. The Carrot Defect. Which is basically a very positive thing, really.
Just as long as one keeps it under control and don't develop any side-effects like growing too much fur, longer ears, whiskers, really big front teeth and jump around a lot *two out of five ain't too bad, I guess...*
One wouldn't want to end up like the dreaded Were-Rabbit... No, no fear, I'm most certainly more of a Lady Tottington, living the good life and caring for animals in need.
My dear mother ate carrots and drank a lot of carrot-juice when I was still living the more compact living of a good life in her belly. When I decided it was time to change my living quarters, I came out very orange.
That very intense orange colour has since then faded, but still, all that beta-carotene getting into my system as a foetus might have something to do with the fact that I easily absorb sunshine ever since. Getting a more pleasingly tanned look than a really orange one though. But hence the Carrot Defect *Thank you, mum.*
A busy Lady Tottington-kind of life does include experimenting with vegetables in food - a very basic part of caring for animals and their well-being is not eating them - and for some reason I've never come around to baking carrot-bread until some weeks ago.
I don't know what kept me, since the carrot-grater sort of has become, if not an extra limb attached to my semi-furry body, but a self-evident part of the emergency kit I always carry with me in my handbag du jour. Still, that carrot-bread of my very own baking has really shone with its absence.
Until now. And my oh my, will I make it again! And again. And again. And... Probably important to always keep in mind the darker, jumpier downside of the Carrot Defect though...
The bread is so easy to make, and since it contains baking powder instead of yeast, you don't have to worry about that yeasty kind of tang that unfortunately tags along with a lot of breads and buns containing yeast.
3 dl grated carrots (about 200 g)
3 dl nonfat sour milk or yogurt or soygurt/oatgurt for a vegan bread
1 tsp salt
1 dl whole wheat flour
5 dl plain white flour
2 tbsp baking powder
Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl. Then add the dry ones, a bit at a time. Pour the mixture in a well-greased 1,5 l baking tin. Bake it in the lower part of the oven for about 45 minutes-one hour, at 175 C. It should be a bit doughy in texture when ready. Let it rest a while in the tin before tip it on a plate or a grid. The bread is best enjoyed the same day as baked, but can be kept a day or two in a plastic bag.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
These past few years it's been sort of a very small hobby of mine to discover, document and now and then acknowledge these catfluence everywhere. In the public realm as well as the more private. Quite the fun thing to do, it really open your eyes for all the interesting an exquisitive details that can be found everywhere.
A small lion as a waterhose device, Skogskyrkogården (The Woodland Cemetery), Stockholm.
A lioness showing off her good side in Bredäng, suburb to Stockholm.
A different kind of mousetrap can be found on a backstreet of Stockholm. Love the looks of those sculptures!
This cat part of the giant puzzle has adorned the subway station of Bredäng ever since I was a child. Cute!
Another cat and mouse play, Resarö Marina, some miles north of Stockholm.
Have you ever thought about how often different cat-beings appear and most often show great posture and even stand guard in townscapes all over the world? And how very different in looks and personality they seem to be?
This impressive lion having a bit of a laze at Strömbron in Stockholm, keeping an eye on the world passing by the Parliament building and the Royal Palace.
This fierce looking lion guards a lamp-post at the diplomat-block in Oslo, Norway.
This uppish looking one can be found in Copenhagen, Denmark. Beautiful!
Sometimes they act like waterpipes, like this one at Mälsåker Castle, Sweden.
Sometimes they've been guarding the city gates for centuries and gotten really dirty, Lübeck, Germany.
They keep us mere mortals safe from harm when killing deadly snakes, like outside Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Denmark.
And they sure know how to make an everlasting impression! These sets of pawprints I found at the open air lapa in Schotia game reserve, ZA.
So why not have a look around for catfluences in the city/village-scape the next time you're out and about? I bet you'll find them where one might least expect them!
Of course it's pretty crucial to have comfy footwear while scouting for catfluences - like one of my favourite twin ones from Camper, Cats & Dogs. How appropriate!
This week's WCB is kindly hosted by Scamperdude - see you there!
Friday, June 22, 2007
Yup, it's pathetic, but for some reason many, too many, Swedes consider the ultimate sign of a good party, the best way to socialize being, not great company of friends and family, not savoury food, not ambiance, but the amount of alcohol being gulped down. Tragic is the word that comes to mind.
Tragic that life's own splendor isn't enough to get high on. Or perhaps, that life's consider to be too much to handle so one feel the urge to becloud it with alcoholic haze. I also nurture the suspicion that it might have something to do with peer pressure and low self esteem...
Think of everything one miss out on when drinking oneself into oblivion, of everything stupid thing one might do while intoxicated, of every hazard one put oneself up to, every day one miss out on due to hangovers... Myself, I find life to be too short for that.
A drink, a cider now and then, perhaps a liquer with the coffee, that's fine and dandy, fun and tasty - other than that I just don't get it. Neither the taste nor the implication of it.
And no, I'm not too keen on having to pay taxes to the health care- and judicial system for all the damages caused by excessive drinking. All the ramifications of one drink, or two, or three or more...
It's a complex - or not - issue, and no it's most certainly not as simple as everyone for one's own. Ponder over that the next time you absolutely, definately, positively "need" alcohol to have a party... Why not work on your self esteem instead. And try and enjoy life and all its glory - which most certainly won't be found on the bottom of a wine bottle - in its very own. It's actually possible, believe it or not.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
But. Well, the halloumi is raw and grated, the taste of strawberries tend to take over, far too much of that basil yoghurt and balsamic vinegar. And no, I didn't like the mint as a finishing touch. The naked (?) oats was really nice and chewy, all the different lettuces with their varied flavours get the thumbs up. But well, all in all, rather hyped.
Very friendly and accomodating staff though, both in café and in shop. And where's this dish to be found then? In überstylish concept-shop Nitty Gritty, Krukmakargatan 26, Stockholm.
Maybe not the nicest, cosiest of places to eat, but they did offer quite a selection of both healthy and vegetarian choices on the menu. Kafé Kompott (Café Compote), Karlbergsvägen 52, Stockholm.