Off Menu

One of my favourite bloggers to read is KatyBoo, over at KatyBoo1’s Weblog

She writes amusingly well and honestky about her trials and tribulations, the books she reads, her mental health issues, and health issues. She’s opinionated – in a good way – and I really enjoy reading her blog. In her latest post she writes about her “Off Menu Menu”inspired by a podcast that she enjoys.

So, for those of you who don’t know the premise, Off Menu takes place in a fantasy restaurant with a genie waiter who can get you any food you like from any time, place etc. You choose still or sparkling water, poppadoms or bread and then your starter, main, side dish, drink and pudding of choice. I liked the idea, so I thought I’d share my Off Menu menu with you, dear readers.

Still or sparkling water- Sparkling water for me, please. People have told me I shouldn’t drink it because it’s not good with a meal, or that it increases flatulence, or other things, but I like it. I have considered a Soda Stream, as the bottles can’t be good for the environlment, even if we do recycle them, but I’m afraid I find it hard to give this up! I’m not a Sparkling Water afficianado, but I like San Pellegrino.

Poppadoms or Bread– definitely bread. And as the premise is that one can eat as much as one likes and get neither full or ill, a big basket of warm rolls, of different varieties- seeded, white, poppyseeded etc. And loads of salted butter to go with them.

Starter – Hmm. There are three starters that I’ve had that stick in my mind, two involving pastry. One was an extremely rich bowl of snails in a creamy garlic sauce with a puff pastry lid, another was a mille feuille of mushrooms. And the third we had recently on holiday in the Cévennes. It was: Tartare de thon, et sablé nois, glace saumon fumé  Which I described as Tuna tartare, with a hazelnut biscuit and smoked salmon ice cream. It sounds weird – but it was delicious! There was more to it – with a wasabi cream and wasabi peanuts, plus something else crispy that I don’t know what it was, and little preserved peppers which were sweet…We kept making “yummy noises” as we were eating it! I think, on balance, I’d go for the last one.

Main Course- I think, in the end, I’d have to plump for duck. It is one of my favourite meats. Cooked in a fruity sauce…Or actually, possibly Peking Duck, with more-than-enough pancakes, plenty of cucumber and spring onion and lashings of hoisin sauce…Yes, I think that, please.

Side Dish – This doesn’t have to complement one’s main course at all (it is, when all’s said and done, a Fantasy restaurant) so I think I might follow Katy Boo’s example and go for an Indian side dish. She chose dhal. I’d go for Saag Bhaji, which I love.

Drink – I like champagne, a good single malt, and various other luxurious drinks – but finally, a good rounded fruity red wine would be fine. It doesn’t need to be expensive.

Dessert – I’m not a huge pudding eater, but I’d want something fruity, and not too creamy. Quite fresh and flavourful. I’m not sure that one could do better than the dessert we had at the same restaurant as my starter: white chocolate with a frozen cheesecake-y filling and a centre of apricot purée, served on a crunchy biscuit crumb with plum compote. Gorgeous!!!!!


A Pause in Advent…

Angela over at Tracing Rainbows is hosting “A Pause in Advent” where bloggers blog each week about Advent, giving us a pause from the business and maelstrom of Christmas preparations to think about what is coming…

I haven’t joined in as I wasn’t sure how much I’d feel like blogging (see Black Dog post from earlier) but I thought I’d add a few links…

Black Dog

My last post was a little worrying for some people – I had someone contact me to ask if my cancer had returned, and this was one of the “dark times” that I needed God for. No, dear reader, don’t worry.

I am going through a mild depression – brought on my my hormonetherapy treatment, and also, according to my doctor (although I’m not totally convinced) my morale (which was brave and courageous through my treatment) has just gone whoosh. (His words, not mine!) I find myself getting over anxious about minor things, and generally can’t feel as upbeat about stuff. Happily, I enjoy work, so I haven’t got the worry of that on top of other things. It would be awful if I hated my work.

I don’t think my “dog” is a black dog. He’s probably just grey. But for anyone who is living with depression, or living with someone with depression maybe this video will help

Something to remember…

Weep with me
Lord will You weep with me?
I don’t need answers, all I need
Is to know that You care for me
Hear my plea
Are You even listening?
Lord I will wrestle with Your heart
But I won’t let You go
You know I believe
Help my unbelief
Yet I will praise You
Yet I will sing of Your name
Here in the shadows
Here I will offer my praise
What’s true in the light
Is still true in the dark
You’re good and You’re kind
And You care for this heart
Lord I believe
You weep with me
Part the seas
Lord make a way for me
Here in the midst of my lament
I have faith, yes I still believe
That You love me
Your plans are to prosper me
You’re working everything for good
Even when I can’t see
You know I believe, yeah
Help my unbelief, oh
Yet I will praise You

Yet I will sing of Your name
Here in the shadows
Here I will offer my praise
What’s true in the light
Is still true in the dark
You’re good and You’re kind
And You care for this heart
Lord I believe
That you weep with me
Turn my lament into a love song
From this lament, raise up an anthem
Oh I’ll sing it in the darkness, oh
Turn my lament into a love song, ’cause I love You Lord
And from this lament, raise up an anthem, oh
Oh I’ll sing it in the darkness
Yet I will praise You
Yet I will sing of Your name
Right here in the shadows
Right here I will offer my praise
What was true in the light
Is still true in the dark
You’re good and You’re kind
And You care for this heart
Lord I believe
That you weep with me
Yeah you weep with me

And what of them…?

“A Day to Myself” by Clifford T Ward: I post this song every Remembrance Day – I love it as a song, but it is appropriate for this time as well.

It’s a beautiful, poignant song, but it’s important to me because it brings to mind the fact that, more and more, the fact that we do forget – or just not realise – what the young men and women who have died in conflicts to serve their country gave up.

And what of them, …Who died so far from home, No last farewell kiss…

We don’t really think of the individual: we are concerned with our busy lives, and even at this time, we scarecely pause to think of what was given up for us. Somebody posted this on Facebook:

A reminder to pause, to reflect, to remember… I’ll be joining the village memorial tomorrow at the War Memorial, here in France – because the young French men and women remembered thereon also fought bravely for our freedom. I’ll be wearing my poppy (slightly battered as the cats found it!) and giving thanks that there are those who gave up their lives to stop xenophobia, hate, fascism and injustice from taking over. I will also be grieving that these evils are once more becoming stronger in our world, and praying that it will not take another world war to stem the tide. What can I do? What is my battle to be fought?

Clifford T Ward
 It’s all so different now
From just a few weeks ago
When April was about to smile on England
And I had to go

So here I am again
Far from where the blackbird sings
And lanes I love to walk along
Lost in my thoughts

And what of you my love
Though you’re so far away
Yet so close to me in all I do and see

And so on my day off
I could have chosen monuments
Historic chateaux, palaces
Or finding ways of improving my French

Instead I wandered out alone
Here where woods and fields abound
And in a quiet corner found the resting place
Of English soldiers killed in war

And what of them my love

Who died so far from home
No last farewell kiss
All that remains is this

It makes me so ashamed to feel alone
Whatever would they think of me
For I shall see my love again

It’s all so different now
From those few years ago
When April smiled so sweetly still
And they had to go

Time flies like an arrow…

…fruit flies like a banana.

I don’t know where it’s going!! I’ve certainly been a bit busier at work than in September (thank goodness!!) but I still should have blogged.

I’ve been taken on by another company too, so I will have a bit more work – only an extra 4 hours a week at the moment, but it may increase. I will have to juggle hours carefully between two companies now (and not get my students mixed up!!)

Next Thursday will be my 60th birthday (how did that happen?!). We’re celebrating by having a few days in the UK – we’ll be there for Brexshit Day (the day when the shit hits the fan!!) – so we hope France will let us back in!!

We were away last weekend at a friends’. Daniele and Paul used to live in the village, but when Paul died, Daniele moved away to be closer to her children. We visited her in her new(ish) flat in St Paul Trois Chateaux down in the Drome region.

It’s a very picturesque place. She is well situated, within walking distance of the town centre, with shops and restaurants, and also near to her grandchildrens’ schools. It was lovely to see her and catch up on her news.

If I don’t blog for a bit, don’t worry.