Sunday, 10 December 2017


“Without anxiety and illness I should have been like a ship without a rudder.” - Edvard Munch

I’ve been stretching myself too far, spreading myself too thin, and have felt a bit off colour the last few days. I’ve been cutting back some of my activities and hope to resume “normal transmission” soon. Thanks to a couple of you who have been kind enough to enquire where I have been. Your concern is appreciated, I'll be back to normal in a couple of days...

Tuesday, 5 December 2017


“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” – Giuseppe Verdi 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately. 
Portofino is an Italian fishing village and vacation resort famous for its picturesque harbour and historical association with celebrity and artistic visitors. It is a Comune located in the Metropolitan City of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town is clustered around its small harbour, and is known for the colourfully painted buildings that line the shore.

According to Pliny the Elder, Portofino was founded by the Romans and named Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf. The village is mentioned in a diploma from 986 by Adelaide of Italy, which assigned it to the nearby Abbey of San Fruttoso di Capodimonte.

In 1171, together with the neighbouring Santa Margherita Ligure, it was included in Rapallo's commune jurisdiction. After 1229 it was part of the Republic of Genoa. The town’s natural harbour supported a fleet of fishing boats, but was somewhat too cramped to provide more than a temporary safe haven for the growing merchant marine of the Republic of Genoa. In 1409 Portofino was sold to the Republic of Florence by Charles VI of France, but when the latter was ousted from Genoa the Florentines gave it back. In the 15th century it was a fief of families such as the Fieschi, Spinola, Adorno, and Doria.

In 1815 it became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and, from 1861, of the unified Kingdom of Italy. In the late 19th century, first British, then other Northern European aristocratic tourists began to visit Portofino, which they reached by horse and cart from Santa Margherita Ligure. Aubrey Herbert and Elizabeth von Arnim were amongst the more famous English people to make the area fashionable. Eventually more expatriates built expensive vacation houses, and by 1950 tourism had supplanted fishing as the town's chief industry, and the waterfront was a continuous ring of restaurants and cafés.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Sunday, 3 December 2017


“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” - Pablo Picasso 

Emil Filla (4 April 1882 – 7 October 1953), a Czech painter, was a leader of the avant-garde in Prague between World War I and World War II and was an early Cubist painter. Filla was born in Chropyně, Moravia, and spent his childhood in Brno, but later moved to Prague. Beginning in 1903, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, but he left the school in 1906.

Filla was a member of the group Osma (“The Eight”) in 1907–1908, which had commonalities with the Fauves and also had direct ties to the German Expressionist group Die Brücke. Important works by Filla from this period include “Reader of Dostoyevsky” (1907) and “Chess Players” (1908). In 1909, he became a member of the Mánes Union of Fine Arts.

Beginning in 1910 he painted primarily in a Cubist style, strongly influenced by Picasso and Braque, and produced works such as “Salome” (1911) and “Bathers” (1912). He also began to paint many still lifes around that time. In 1911 he edited several issues of Volné Směry, promoting Cubism and publishing reproductions of works by Picasso. After both readers and the leaders of Mánes reacted negatively, he and others withdrew from Mánes and founded Skupina výtvarných umělců (the Group of Visual Artists), which was a Cubist-oriented group.

Around 1913, he and Otto Gutfreund, produced some of the earliest Cubist sculpture made anywhere. Before World War I he moved to Paris, but left for the Netherlands when war broke out. He returned to Prague after the war. During the 1920s, he further developed his version of Synthetic Cubism and rejoined Mánes. Like many Czech modernists, he was active in design as well as in painting; in 1925 he designed paintings on glass for the Czechoslovak Pavilion at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Surrealist influence also began to show in his painting and sculpture, and he was a participant in Poesie 1932, an international exhibition in Prague that introduced Surrealism to the Czech public. He did not, however, become a Surrealist.

On the first day of World War II he was arrested by the Gestapo together with painter Josef Čapek and others and was subsequently imprisoned in German concentration camps Dachau and Buchenwald. However, he survived, returned home and began to teach at the Vysoká škola uměleckoprůmyslová v Praze (VŠUP—Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague). Filla’s teachings at the Academy ensured the continuance of Czech Cubism, and his influence is notable in the works of his pupil Milos Reindl amongst others. In 1945, he was the first artist to be given a post-war exhibition at Mánes.

After the war, he exhibited mainly works from the cycle Boje a zápasy (Fights and Struggles), and later mainly produced landscapes. During his lifetime he was active as a painter, sculptor, collector, theoretician, editor, organiser, and diplomat. He died in Prague and is buried in Střešovice in greater Prague. He idolised Vincent van Gogh, Pierre Bonnard and Edvard Munch as well as Picasso and Braque.

Above is his “Still Life with Fruit” of 1930. The links of the artist with the cubists is clearly visible in this painting and the vivid colours are reminiscent of Picasso’s early cubist works, while the rounded forms and decorative elements bring to mind Matisse.

Saturday, 2 December 2017


“There is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellowmen.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle 
Eduard Franck (5 October 1817 – 1 December 1893) was a German composer, pianist and music pedagogue. Franck was born in Breslau, the capital of the Prussian province of Silesia. He was the fourth child of a wealthy and cultivated banker who exposed his children to the best and brightest that Germany had to offer. Frequenters to the Franck home included such luminaries as Heine, Humboldt, Heller, Mendelssohn, and Wagner. His family's financial position allowed Franck to study with Mendelssohn as a private student in Düsseldorf and later in Leipzig.
As a talented pianist, he embarked upon a dual career as a concert artist and teacher for more than four decades during the course of which he held many positions. Although he was highly regarded as both a teacher and performer, he never achieved the public recognition of his better known contemporaries such as Mendelssohn, Schumann or Liszt. As fine a pianist as the first two and perhaps even a better teacher, the fact that he failed to publish very many of his compositions until toward the end of his life, in part, explains why he was not better known.
Said to be a perfectionist, he continually delayed releasing his works until they were polished to his demanding standards. Schumann, among others, thought quite highly of the few works he did publish during the first part of his life. He was the father of Richard Franck (3 January 1858 – 22 January 1938) who was also a pianist, composer and teacher. 
Eduard Franck’s chamber music is generally considered amongst his finest compositions. Of the works with opus numbers, there are 3 string quartets, 2 string quintets for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello, 2 string sextets, 4 piano trios, a piano quintet, 2 sonatas for cello & piano, and 4 sonatas for violin and piano. In addition to these, there are several other works without opus, including a piano sextet, 2 piano trios, a piano quintet, a sonata for violin & piano and an occasional piece for cello & piano. 
Wilhelm Altmann, one of the most important chamber music critics of the 20th century, writes of Franck’s chamber music: “This excellent composer does not deserve the neglect with which he has been treated. He had a mastery of form and a lively imagination which is clearly reflected in the fine and attractive ideas one finds in his works.” Of Franck’s Second Sextet, Altmann states: “This sextet belongs in the concert hall. It demonstrates that its composer was master of musical form and in possession of a gift which allows him to produce strong and noble melodies.” 
Here is his Violin Concerto in E-minor, Op.30, of 1855.
Mov. I: Allegro moderato 00:00
Mov. II: Andante con moto 16:39
Mov.III: Allegro molto vivace 26:08
Violin: Christiane Edinger Orchestra: Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken Conductor: Hans-Peter Frank.

Friday, 1 December 2017


“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.” - Frank Lane 

We were greeted the first day of Summer in Melbourne with a stormy and very rainy start. Record rainfall and flooding in many areas were accompanied by a cool change. The rain remained and is predicted to last for quite a few days more, with all of Victoria and southern NSW being affected. Such being the weather, soup was in order! 

Roasted Vegetable Soup

1 large onion, peeled
250 g carrots, peeled
250 g potatoes, peeled
250 g butternut pumpkin, peeled and seeded
250 g sweet red peppers, deseeded
180 g tomatoes (peeled and deseeded)
1 head garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 litres vegetable stock
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
Freshly-ground black pepper
Salt to taste
2 -3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Chives/parsley/nuts to garnish 

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Chop the pumpkin, potatoes, peppers, onion and carrots into big chunky pieces (4-5 cm cubes). Cut the tomatoes into small cubes. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil until they’re evenly coated and add the rosemary sprigs. Place in a deep baking dish in the oven for about 1 - 2 hours, adding the whole garlic bulb after the first hour. When the vegetables are cooked, they should be slightly caramellised and flavoursome. Leave them to cool in the baking pan.
Remove the rosemary sprigs and squeeze the garlic flesh out of the papery husk into the pan with the vegetables. Add the stock in the baking pan and mix thoroughly. Heat the pan over the stove stirring through to break down the vegetables and dissolve the flavoursome pan juices into the soup.
Carefully transfer the contents of the baking tray into a saucepan with a large ladle and add the spices and salt. Liquidise the soup in the pan with a mixing wand and reheat. Check seasoning and serve in big bowls with a swirl of Greek yogurt on top. Sprinkle with chives, chopped herbs and nuts to garnish.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017


“A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” - Charles Dickens

In Midweek Motif this week, in the Poets United poetry blog, the theme is: “Bittersweet”. Here is my poetical offering: 

Sweet Bitterness 

The wine you offered, Love,
Was ruby-red, sweet muscat;
A fine vintage with a rich bouquet,
A velvet taste that lingered on the palate,
But the aftertaste, so bitter!

The kiss I took from you, Love,
Was fragrant, fruity, dulcet:
From lips so red, and smiling,
A kiss so freely given, remembered evermore,
And yet the aftertaste, so bitter!

Your softly-spoken words, Love,
Honeyed, soothing, like balsam!
My ears unstopped, to hear, to listen,
Words full of harmony, like music
But their echoes, a cacophony.

The soft caresses, Love,
We gave each other liberally,
Cloud-soft, candied, pleasant,
Soothed away all pain, healed all wounds;
And yet, they left deep aching scars in their wake.

You are a sweet bitterness, Love,
You enchain us all with gossamer,
You wound with feathers and you heal with thorns;
You nourish us with mellow poison
And we starve when we have surfeit of it.

Love, you’re contrary, and your steadfastedness
Betrays all trust, punctures all boats of hope;
You lift us up to heaven, only to dash us down to Tartarus,
You give us strength, only with silken threads
To captivate and weaken us, making of us in our death, immortals.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017


“In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world.” - Federico Garcia Lorca 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
Toledo is a city and municipality located in central Spain; it is the capital of the province of Toledo and the autonomous community of Castile–La Mancha. Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage. Toledo is known as the “Imperial City” for having been the main venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and as the “City of the Three Cultures” for the cultural influences of Christians, Muslims and Jews reflected in its history. It was also the capital of the ancient Visigothic kingdom of Hispania, which followed the fall of the Roman Empire, and the location of historic events such as the Visigothic Councils of Toledo.

Toledo has a long history in the production of bladed weapons, which are now popular souvenirs of the city. People who were born or have lived in Toledo include Brunhilda of Austrasia, Al-Zarqali, Garcilaso de la Vega, Eleanor of Toledo, Alfonso X and El Greco. As of 2015, the city had a population of 83,226. and an area of 232.1 km2.

In the 13th century, Toledo was a major cultural centre under the guidance of Alfonso X, called “El Sabio” (the Wise) for his love of learning. The Toledo School of Translators, that had commenced under Archbishop Raymond of Toledo, continued to bring vast stores of knowledge to Europe by rendering great academic and philosophical works in Arabic into Latin. The Palacio de Galiana, built in the Mudéjar style, is one of the monuments that remain from that period.

The Cathedral of Toledo (Catedral de Toledo) was built between 1226–1493 and modelled after the Bourges Cathedral, though it also combines some characteristics of the Mudéjar style. It is remarkable for its incorporation of light and features the Baroque altar called El Transparente, several stories high, with fantastic figures of stucco, paintings, bronze castings, and multiple colours of marble, a masterpiece of medieval mixed media by Narciso Tomé topped by the daily effect for just a few minutes of a shaft of light from which this feature of the cathedral derives its name.

Two notable bridges secured access to Toledo across the Tajo, the Alcántara bridge and the later built San Martín bridge. The Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes is a Franciscan monastery, built 1477–1504, in a remarkable combination of Gothic-Spanish-Flemish style with Mudéjar ornamentation. Toledo was home to El Greco for the latter part of his life, and is the subject of some of his most famous paintings, including “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz”, exhibited in the Church of Santo Tomé. When Philip II moved the royal court from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, the old city went into a slow decline from which it never recovered.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme.

Saturday, 25 November 2017


“We still have to overcome the notion that a clarinet squeaks. People need to remember what a beautiful instrument it is, including in popular music.” - Anat Cohen 

Antonio Casimir Cartellieri (27 September 1772 - 2 September 1807) was a Polish-Austrian composer, violinist, conductor, and voice teacher. His reputation dissipated after his death, not to be resurrected until the late 20th century. One son was the spa physician Paul Cartellieri. Another, Josef Cartellieri, compiled some largely second-hand biogaphical notes about the father he scarcely knew.

Cartellieri was born in Danzig. His father, Antonio Maria Gaetano Cartellieri, was Italian, and his mother, Elisabeth Böhm, was Latvian. Both of his parents were opera singers and he received his earliest musical education from them. When he was 13, his parents divorced, at which time Cartellieri moved with his mother to Berlin. In that city he began studying music composition.

In 1791, at the age of 18, Cartellieri became court composer and music director for Micha_ Kazimierz Ogi_ski in Poland. In 1793, he returned to Berlin with his employer where his first opera premiered successfully. He then went with the Count to Vienna, where he continued with further musical studies in music theory and composition under Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and possibly Antonio Salieri.

On 29-30 March 1795, the première of his oratorio “Gioas re di Giuda” took place in Wiener Burgtheater. (In the interval, Beethoven played his first piano concerto, which was Beethoven's public debut as a composer). In 1796, Cartellieri was engaged by Prince Joseph Franz Maximilian Lobkowicz (1772-1817) as the Kapellmeister, singing teacher, and violinist, roles he held until his death 11 years later.

His other duties at court included directing operas and playing the violin in both concerts of chamber music and symphonic music. He notably performed in the world premières of several works by his friend Beethoven under the composer's baton, including the Eroica Symphony and the Triple Concerto on 23 January 1805. He died in Liebhausen, Bohemia at the age of 34.

Here is his Concerto for Two Clarinets in B flat.
Mov.I: Larghetto - Allegro 00:00;
Mov.II: Larghetto 13:11
Mov.III: Rondo: Allegro 18:56

Clarinet I: Dieter Klöcker Clarinet II: Sandra Arnold accompanied by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Pavel Prantl.

Friday, 24 November 2017


“Life is like eating artichokes, you have got to go through so much to get so little.” – Thomas Aloysius Dorgan 

Artichokes are in season and we love them at home. One of the first dishes we make is this omelette. 

Artichoke omelette

4 globe artichokes
Juice of a lemon
Salt and pepper
2 tsp of ghee for each omelette
12 eggs
Parsley, chopped
Chives, chopped
3 tbsp grated Parmesan 

Cut the tops off the artichokes, spoon out the choke and discard; peel the stalk, down to about 10 cm from the base of the globe (discard the remaining hard stalk). Put the artichoke flesh and stalk in a pot of water with a squeeze of lemon to prevent them going brown. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt to the pot and bring to a simmer.
Cook the artichokes for about 10 minutes, until softened. Remove from the water and drain, leaving to cool. Pick away the tough outer leaves then slice the tender inner parts of the artichokes and stalks. Season with salt and pepper then fry in a little ghee until golden. Set aside.
Heat a little ghee in a non-stick pan. Crack three eggs into a bowl, whisk, then pour into the pan. Using a spatula, gently bring the sides of the cooked egg away from the edges of the pan. Tilt the pan to allow the runny batter to flow to the sides. This will help you cook the omelette evenly and quickly. Place a quarter of the artichokes on top, season with salt and pepper. Add herbs and grated cheese, fold along the centre and serve on a dish. Repeat for the other three omelettes.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


“But he that dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose.” - Anne Brontë 

This week’s Midweek Motif in the Poets United poetry blog has as its theme: “The Flower: Rose”. In the Southern Hemisphere we are currently enjoying very warm and fine Spring weather, and our garden is full of roses (you can see some of our roses here). Here is my poetical offering: 

The Sun-rose 

Like a pale pink fragrant rose
The sun rose and the sky blushed.
You, like a rose unfurling
Also blushed on our first morning.

Just as the pale dawn sky reddened,
The sun-rose shed its petals.
Dawn's rosy beauty soon was lost
In fast advancing light and heat
Of full-blown day.

With petals lost, within the rose
The golden seeds ripen
Within each seed sleeps a promise
 Of a burgeoning sun-rose.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


“Be still and the earth will speak to you.” - Navajo Proverb 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately
The Grand Canyon (Hopi: Ongtupqa; Yavapai: Wi:kaʼi:la, Navajo: Tsékooh Hatsoh, Spanish: Gran Cañón) is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States. The Grand Canyon is 446 km long, up to 29 km wide and attains a depth of over 1,850 metres. The canyon and adjacent rim are contained within Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Indian Reservation, the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation.

President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery. Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While some aspects about the history of incision of the canyon are debated by geologists, several recent studies support the hypothesis that the Colorado River established its course through the area about 5 to 6 million years ago.

Since that time, the Colorado River has driven the down-cutting of the tributaries and retreat of the cliffs, simultaneously deepening and widening the canyon. For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540
This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Saturday, 18 November 2017


“France cannot be France without greatness.” - Charles de Gaulle 

Pierre Danican Philidor is a French composer and musician who was born on August 22, 1681 and died on September 1, 1731. Pierre was the son of Jacques Danican Philidor “the Cadet” (also a musician), and nephew of André Danican Philidor (also a composer). Pierre was in 1697, oboe and violin of the Great Stable of the King, instrumentalist in the Chapel in 1704, and was included in the violins of the Cabinet of the King four years later.

He lived in Paris, Rue Betisy, and in 1716 he became a viola player in the Chamber of the King. He is said to have composed a ‘Pastorale’ (1702 –‘L’Églogue de Marly’, pastorale performed before Monseigneur, and then before Louis XIV) in his early years, but this has not survived. He is best known for his six suites with two transverse flutes and six others for flute and bass.

The trios of 1717, dedicated to the Bishop of Rennes, Grand Master of the Chapel of the King, are among of Philidor’s finest achievements. Since those trios of Mademoiselle de la Guerre, that had had the privilege of pleasing Louis XIV, this trio form had been appreciated by the monarch as the perfect representation of his purest taste for the musical arts. Marin Marais had, moreover, delivered his own suites in the same form in 1692 followed closely by the three books of La Barre (respectively in 1694, 1700 and 1707) and by that of Hotteterre “the Roman” in 1712.

Titon du Tillet in his ‘French Parnassus’ has this to say about Philidor:
“I will say about Pierre Danican Philidor, of whom I have just spoken, that he is the first, with one of the Desjardins (both Oboes of the first Company of the Musketeers of the King), whom Lully had included into the Orchestra of the Opera, and that he was so satisfied with them, that he used them in some of his Motets, especially in his ‘Te Deum’, where he also introduced trumpets and drums.” 

Here are Philidor's Suites for Oboe, published in 1717 and performed by Antoine Torunczyk and Alfredo Bernardini (oboes) and the chamber group “L’Assemblee des Honnestes Curieux”.

Friday, 17 November 2017


"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after." - Henry David Thoreau 

Fish is popular in our household, especially as we shop from an excellent fishmonger who always has fresh fish and will recommend the tastiest and freshest seafood to us, depending on our menu needs. 

Grilled Moroccan Fish Fillets 
4 firm white fish fillets, such as ling or snapper 
Chermoula marinade 
Olive oil, lemon juice
Steamed spinach, roast pumpkin and mushrooms
Lemon wedges, to serve 

Place the fish fillets into a large resealable plastic bag and pour enough chermoula marinade to coat the fillets. Seal the bag after removing the air and turn the fish to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the bag over once.
Preheat the grill to very hot. Brush grill tray with some olive oil. Place fillets on prepared tray and cook for 5 minutes under grill, about 10 cm from heat, basting with lemon juice, without turning, until fish flakes easily.
Meanwhile, put the spinach, roast pumpkin and mushrooms on the serving plates and keep warm (in a warm oven covered with foil).
Place cooked fish on top of the warm spinach, and drizzle with extra chermoula, garnishing with lemon wedges.

Thursday, 16 November 2017


“A little imagination goes a long way in Fes.” – Tahir Shah 

Chermoula (Arabic: شرمولة‎‎) or charmoula is a marinade and dressing used in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan and Tunisian Cuisine. It is traditionally used to flavour fish or seafood, but it can be used on various meats or vegetables. While there many versions of this, with more or less local embellishments, a basic recipe contains garlic, cumin, coriander, oil, lemon juice, and salt. Variations may also include pickled lemons, onion, ground chili peppers, black pepper, saffron, and other herbs.

Chermoula recipes vary widely by region. In Sfax, Tunisia, chermoula with cured salted fish is often prepared during Eid al-Fitr. This regional variety is composed of dried dark grape purée mixed with onions cooked in olive oil and spices such as cloves, cumin, chili, black pepper, and cinnamon. A Moroccan version comprises dried parsley, cumin, paprika and salt and pepper.

We had this at a friend’s home, where she served the chermoula with marinated eggplant that had had been subsequently grilled. It was delicious. We tried her recipe at home, but modified it slightly according to our taste. There are specially prepared chermoula spice mixtures available and you may use those, however, we always like preparing our own herb/spice mixes. 

1 cup packed fresh, tender coriander leaves
1/2 cup packed, fresh, continental parsley leaves
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp sumac powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp crushed saffron
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt, to taste 

Place coriander, parsley, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
Add lemon juice, paprika, sumac, cumin, cayenne, and saffron and pulse to combine.
With motor running, drizzle olive through feed tube. Process until sauce is uniform. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


“Look at the sky; remind yourself of the cosmos. Seek vastness at every opportunity in order to see the smallness of yourself.” - Matt Haig 

In the Midweek Motif of Poets United this week, the theme is “Meteor Showers”. My contribution below: 

Meteor Showers 

Billions upon billions of suns
Strewn through the endless emptiness
Of cosmic infinitudes –
I look at them and yet remain indifferent
To the immensity that stares at me,
Being able to contain it all
Within the low walls and ceiling
Holding my brain.

I love.
I love you, and that is:
More important than the speed of light
Within a vacuum;
More rare than comets that careen past
And are glimpsed once in a lifetime;
More precious than the meteor showers,
Which fall around us like golden rain…

What should it matter if now a million suns
Should suddenly decide to supernova?
What if I am but a mite on a speck of dust?
It is enough that I have loved,
Nothing can take that from me.

I love, I feel, I understand:
I am small, insignificant, an atom only
In the endlessness of eternity,
And yet I love and I can pinpoint my existence
In unfaltering co-ordinates.

What if the earth should suddenly expire?
What if the universe decides to crunch?
What if Death around each corner lies in wait?
My only fear now is that we two are on a parallel course
And that the threads of our two lives will never cross...

That which I feel
Is infinitely more important
Than all the vastness looming above, below,
Around all sides of me.
Without you by my side,
The boundless space within me
Annuls the space without.