Sunday, 20 August 2017

Chocolate Sorbet

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop
it melted fast, but i ate it faster
This is not a sorbet for chocolate moderates. It’s for people who like chocolate to be all they can taste when they bite into something. And for the love of all that is bathing suit season, someone with better moderation than me, because I suspect it is no longer “light” if you eat it all.
Servings: Makes 1 quart (1 liter) but you can tell your husband less so he doesn’t figure out how much you’ve kept from him. (At least until he sees the chocolate smudges on your face.)
2 1/4 cups (555 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large saucepan (yes, you must use a large one or it will bubble over. Trust me.), whisk together 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk, for 45 seconds.
Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it’s melted, then stir in the vanilla extract and the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) water. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the mixture has become too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out

Saturday, 19 August 2017

William Gladstone and his Library

Gladstone's Library is a unique institution. It is Britain's finest residential library and its only Prime Ministerial library. It was founded by the great Victorian statesman, William Ewart Gladstone and, following his death in 1898, became the nation's tribute to his life and work. A lifelong student and scholar, as well as a voracious reader and collector of books, Gladstone built up a remarkable personal library reflecting the wide range of interests of a true Victorian polymath.

The library, which Gladstone was eventually to give to the nation, was entirely his own creation. Its formation began when, as a young boy - the son of a wealthy Liverpool merchant and benefactor - he was presented with a copy of 'Sacred Dramas' by its author, Hannah More. Books acquired at Eton followed and the collection really began to grow during his time at Christ Church, Oxford where he achieved a double first in Classics and Mathematics with another first in History, one of his passions. His habit of annotating books continued throughout his long political career (sixty-three years of active politics and four times Prime Minister). His diary records regular searches of bookshops and book catalogues, and the reading of books in his study at Hawarden Castle - a room he called the 'Temple of Peace'.
In his later years, Gladstone began to think about making his personal library accessible to others. "Often pondering," wrote his daughter, Mary Drew, "how to bring together readers who had no books and books who had no readers, gradually the thought evolved itself in his mind into a plan for the permanent disposal of his library. A country home for the purposes of study and research, for the pursuit of divine learning, a centre of religious life."
William Gladstone saw that the books classified as divinity and humanity would be of great value to members of all Christian denominations but he also wished students from other faiths, or none, to have equal access to them. Such potential readers needed a place where they could stay and read with time to think and write in a scholarly environment.
The first step towards fulfilling this vision was taken in 1889 when two large iron rooms were erected with six or seven smaller rooms to act as studies. This building became known as the "Tin Tabernacle" or "Iron Library". Gladstone, over eighty years old, was closely involved in the transfer of 32,000 of his books from Hawarden Castle to their new home a quarter of a mile away, undertaking much of the manual labour himself, helped only by his valet and one of his daughters. Many of the books were moved by wheelbarrow. "What man", he wrote, "who really loves his books delegates to any other human being, as long as there is breath in his body, the office of introducing them into their homes?"
This temporary building was only the start of realising his ambition to create a residential library. Gladstone discussed his hopes with his family and with the trustees appointed to care for the collection. He endowed the library with £40,000, thereby indicating that this was more than a hobby or a sideline: this was his major bequest.
Following the death of William Gladstone in 1898, a public appeal was launched for funds to provide a permanent building to house the collection and to replace the temporary structure. The £9,000 raised provided an imposing building, designed by John Douglas, which was officially opened by Earl Spencer on October 14th, 1902 as the National Memorial to W. E. Gladstone. The Gladstone family were themselves to fulfil the founder's vision by funding the residential wing which welcomed its first resident on June 29th, 1906 and which was dedicated by A.G. Edwards, Bishop of St. Asaph on January 3rd, 1907
Throughout this century, the Library has continued to acquire books specialising in those subjects that were of most interest to Gladstone. There are now over 200,000 volumes of theology and history as well as excellent material on philosophy, classics, art and literature. The Library also houses important collections of manuscripts including much of Gladstone's own correspondence.
In 1905, James Cape Story, a regular user of the Library, described it as "a temple of learning...a place for restful meditation, for research, for mental and spiritual refreshment and stimulus - and this amid charming natural surroundings, at the feet of the Welsh mountains". Today, this remarkable institution remains a haven in which writers, students, researchers, bibliophiles, clergy and laity of all denominations can work or rest at the minimum charge envisaged by its founder.

Bull Terrier

Friday, 18 August 2017

Sweet potato and Black bean burger


  • 2 large sweet potatoes (to yield 2 cups mashed)
  • 1 cup low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • For burger: 4 whole wheat buns, 1 avocado (mashed), lettuce, and tomato slices


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice sweet potatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil, and place cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until tender, about 30-40 minutes, and then set aside to cool.
  3. Add the sweet potato flesh to a large mixing bowl and mash half of it.
  4. Add black beans and mash half of them for texture as well. Add the quinoa, green onion, almond meal, cumin, paprika, sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well and then form into patties.
  5. Cook patties in olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes until golden brown, then carefully flip over and cook until golden brown on the other side.
  6. Place on burger bun, along with mashed avocado, lettuce, and a thick slice of tomato.

Sweet Summer's Dance

A dance upon the woodland green, 
moon spinning with delight.
Wind aglow with moonbeam's ray
spreads far into eboned night.
Twirling ~ is sweet summer's dance
beneath the yearning moon.
Smiling down upon the face
of memory's rendered tune.
Stepping quickly ~ two- step now,
a waltzing hillside breeze
across the greening meadow ~
dancing softly through the trees.
Smiling moon ~ now breathes its sigh
upon sweet summer's dance.
Alive and luring ~ summer sweet ~
attracting moon's long glance.
'Round and 'round with rhythmic beat,
afire ~ with earthly charm,
summer blossoms with each step
beneath the moonbeams warm.
Alas ~
Dark sky,
On horizon it falls.
Moon cries, as night ends much too soon.
Summer's dance now sends its sweet kiss.
~ Hypnotizing the man in the moon. ~
By Hazelmarie Elliott
Art Josephine Wall

Short Reads by Classic Authors

It seems that most bibliophiles have that one book. You know the one. It's a masterpiece, it's a classic, it's won numerous awards and has been hailed as one of the greatest novels of its century. It's also double, triple, or even quadruple the length of an average novel, so reading it would be the crowning achievement of your book-loving career. And, too often, it sits on the bookshelf, unread, because it's just so darn big.
My aspirational novel is War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. As a bookworm with a Russian family background, I think few things would suit me better than to read the longest novel in Russian literature. Over the years, I've read several portions here and there, but have I read the whole thing start to finish? Nope. Not even close. In fact, I'll admit (to my shame) that I haven't even tried.
And I know I'm not the only one intimidated by the time commitment of a hefty novel. Tolstoy's wife may have copied out the manuscript of War and Peace. Longhand. Multiple times. But today? Many of us struggle to find the time to read regularly, let alone finish a book that is hundreds of pages long.
That's why we created this list of short reads by classic authors who are famous for their massive novels. Many of these authors' shorter works are just as exquisite and some are nearly as famous as their magnum opuses, with a significantly lower time commitment.
Of course, no book on this list will replace the one you've been wanting to read, nor should it. But these works will give you a taste of each author's craft, and who knows? Maybe they will inspire you to read onwards and upwards, toward that elusive prize.

Short Reads

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Between the Now and Then

Upon horizon, night to day ~
there between the now and then,
I often pause along the way, 
to tiptoe through the moonlit glen ~
or perhaps take in sun's light,
night to day ~ day to night.
Upon horizon, day to day ~
there between the then and now,
as seasons grow along the way,
to crease the face of timely brow ~
or perhaps steal time away,
day to day ~ day to day.
Upon horizon, day to night ~
there between the now and then,
I stand beneath my autumn light,
bereft as memory calls again ~
to pain the heart with bygone sight,
Night to day ~ day to night.
Upon horizon, night to night ~
there between the then and now,
I know that winter casts its sight,
on one last leaf that will not bow ~
to frost within its golden sight,
night to night ~ night to night.
Upon horizon, night to day ~
there between the now and then,
I know my spring will fade away,
and summer's soft remember when
will echo gently autumn's way ~
day to night ~ night to day....
Winter's near ~ Winter's near......
By Hazelmarie Elliott
Artist Unknown

The Art of the Stress-free Happy Hour: Olive Oil & Salt Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Beets. Via Eva Marie

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Life can be so hectic and harried that I cherish those quiet evenings sitting around the fireplace, gabbing with friends over a shared bottle of wine and a few goodies to nosh on.

I like to keep it delicious and simple, enjoying the process of cooking for people I care about without becoming stressed out over the details.
Olive oil, salt roasted sweet potatoes and beets served with a sharp cheese like the aged Gouda, some nice olives, nuts and dried fruit, bread or crackers, a bottle of wine, and great conversations are the perfect ingredients to an intimate and fun happy hour get together.

Olive Oil & Salt Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Beets

  • 2 medium size sweet potatoes or yams, washed, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 medium red beets, washed, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2-3 small golden beets, washed, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 head of garlic, leave the paper on it
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus a little extra for basting
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful of fresh herbs—I used sage, parsley and oregano
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brush a 6 or 8-inch cast iron pan with some olive oil.
Mix the 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper with the 1/3 cup olive oil and set aside.
Arrange the sliced sweet potatoes in the pan as you see in the photo, going half way around the pan making a half circle.
Next, take the red beets and arrange them next to the sweet potatoes in an arc shape and then place the golden beets at the lower part of the pan.
Take the head of garlic and place it in the little space left at the bottom of the pan.
Using a pastry brush, coat all of the sweet potatoes first, the golden beets second and then the red beets with the seasoned olive oil.
Sprinkle with some coarse salt.
Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour. The veggies should be tender and browned along the top edges.
Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle the pan.
Sprinkle with the fresh herbs and serve.
The roasted garlic is wonderful squeezed out of the paper and spread onto some bread or eaten with the veggies.
Note: you may want to use gloves when peeling the red beets as they can stain your hands. Also be careful to cut them on a plastic board as they can easily color wood boards and counter tops.
Relax and enjoy!


We live in a time where many people are turning to natural remedies when it comes to treating ailments – and everything from anxiety to allergies can be alleviated without a prescription. And while there are many ways to relieve a variety of illnesses – from eating well to exercise – recent studies have highlighted the huge and often therapeutic value of pets.
As a nation of dog-lovers – from the loud and large to the demure and dainty – it’s little wonder that more and more people are opting for pet ownership as a way to improve vigour and vitality. And whether you already have a pet, or are toying with the idea of getting one, we’ve curated seven reasons why a four legged friend may be the very best thing you can do for your health and wellbeing.
The power of pets is nothing new, and a number of studies further prove the wealth of benefits they’re known to bring. The growing number of pet friendly workplaces is a testament to this, with many employers adopting a ‘pets welcome’ policy in a bid to lower stress levels and improve the wellbeing of staff.  
Another powerful factor about pet ownership when it comes to remedying depression and anxiety is the unconditional love that dogs offer their owners. Unlike our fellow humans, four-legged friends are without judgments, opinions or critiques, and their loving – and loveable – nature is known to aid symptoms of depression.
The benefits of exercise are endless, and as owner of a pet pooch in need of regular and frequent walks, it’s safe to say you’ll be upping your activity levels. Whether long and leisurely walks or a quick game of catch, you’ll be adding bursts of activity into your day for both you and your four-legged friend.
Often people suffering with anxiety or depression can lack a sense of purpose in their lives, and becoming a pet owner can add an element of responsibility, which, experts say, can help with depression. Having a pet adds a new and positive focus to its owners’ life and can remind them of their own value and importance.
 Much is known about the healing power of touch, and what better way of introducing this into your daily life than through regular sessions of nuzzling your pet?
Not too dissimilar to yoga – a practice which is well known for its healing properties – pets can encourage their owners to be present by taking them out of their heads and into the present moment. Offering a loveable and furry distraction can be invaluable to anyone suffering from anxiety.
Did you know that early exposure to dogs can protect against allergies and asthma in later life? Studies suggest that contact with dogs and, to a lesser degree, cats can help strengthen the immune system and prevent respiratory related viruses, allergies and asthma in later life.