Saturday, 28 February 2015

Sporty Biscotti

This weekend's biscotti has a distinct Middle-Eastern flavour,

in honour of the first UAE team in international cricket.

I started off with the usual classic Italian ingredients,

but then realised the wonderful tangerines are from Morocco,

 and the fat vanilla pods were bought by a colleague in Dubai.

And the sticky dates have been in the fridge far too long.

Hence, Arabic Biscotti.

It will be enjoyed with Arabic coffee (Saudi style) which should not be confused with 

Arabica coffee.

Saudi coffee is a "tea" of saffron, cardamom and a touch of cloves.

Quite an acquired taste, but I will forever associate that heady aroma with life in Riyadh.

Wildflowers of Crete

I do believe that Crete is not only an island, but a continent.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

moments in flowers

Long, long ago...

Iceberg roses, Victorian broekie lace and light blue shutters.

The first house I wanted to own in George.

Stormsriver Bridge, Masterton's coffee, ferns and fuschias.

A tradition with my daughter and sister.

I am very proud of this photo that I took in passing.

Mandy's Spanish lavender in the Hop Gardens

and Janie's driving lesson.

Walking my neighbourhood

and occasional trespassing

to get a good shot.

Thankfully not shot at.

Nursery in Hsinchu, Taiwan

where local is exotic,

and Thea my flower friend was remembered.

Mandy's wisteria in George,

family Christmases, candles and board games.

My biggest flat in Hong Kong where I promised myself 

fresh flowers every week,

just because I could!

Flannel Flowers flower shop in IFC mall, Hong Kong.

Never a bad shot.

Perfect lighting  and exquisite flowers.

Every time!

Lotus pond in Taiwan,

long scooter rides in the heat, wind and rain,

and lunch in Lunwei with Janie and Michelle.

Beauty is everywhere.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Red Dunes, finally!

When I think of the desert, I conjure up images from the movie
  The English Patient,
not Lawrence of Arabia.

A billowing scarf
White linen
a plane flying over undulating sands
Ralph Fiennes carrying his dying love in his arms...
Ralph Fiennes.

Ralph Fiennes

My pictures are a bit different.    But hey, it's my movie!

Did I mention Ralph Fiennes?

Welcome to Riyadh, finally!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


This morning, as I was walking to work along the rosemary path, I made a startling discovery.
At first I was not alarmed. (Hyacinth - for those who know)
The gardeners were doing maintenance as usual, 
pruning and weeding.
I could smell the rosemary cuttings a mile away!
But then I noticed the ominous black bags...

They were not just pruning the rosemary.
They were CUTTING it into a box-shaped hedge!

Which is okay, I suppose, if you like that kind of contained, formal approach.

But the black bags!
Yes, they were full of the rosemary branches, twigs, cuttings.  
And they were going to be thrown away :(

I was appalled.
Can't somebody save it, and then eat it?
Why do you throw this loveliness away?????

It was very painful to watch.   I picked up a few stems and thought my heart would break.

Later the afternoon I took my camera for a walk to survey the damage.

The beautiful purple grasses that had sprung up amongst the rosemary, have been mowed down as well, forming a dense thicket in the undergrowth.

cut down to size.
get back in your box!
stay in line!

Some persist in blooming wherever they are, whatever the conditions.

Some don't.   Can't.

Then, a pleasant surprise!


I headed down to the roundabout (without heading for France, Richard!)  sorry, Im channeling Hyacinth Bucket tonight.

It smells good.   We will have lamb on Thursday.   It will taste even better.

 Rosemary saved!

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The Alchemy of Desire Tarun J Tejpal

The Language of Flowers Vanessa Diffenbaugh