takings from T.S. Eliot’s, Little Gidding

chère douce Paris, je reviendrai un jour

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We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

 

What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make and end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.

For last words belong to last years language

And next years words await another voice.

 

But the passage now presents no hindrance

To the spirit unappeased and peregrine.

Between two worlds become much like each other.

So i find words i never thought to speak.

creative endeavours and healing

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I have been slowing down, sifting through, and clearing out on purpose. Life has presented me with an abundance of challenges over the past few months, with children, family, finances and grand life decisions. I keep reassuring myself there is no wrong here, just different paths to take, i keep reminding myself that i am only one person, and all will be well. Friends are important right now, at least one in particular. I think without this friend, my challenges would have been inevitably harder. She has been my breath when i have found it impossible to breathe, she is the one who listens as worlds fall apart, makes the tea and wipes away the endless tears without trying to change or move me into feeling better. She is alright sitting beside the hurts knowing only too well that they must be felt and really is powerless to change them anyway. It is with this hand, of this friend, that things are able to rise to the  surface and be felt at the very depths that they require, without holding them in judgment or with regret. It is with this, that things are ever so slowing changing form, making room for new ideas, new beginnings, creating space, honouring growth. She is the one who reminds me to be more gentle with myself, to nurture my soul and more importantly forgiving myself for the minor infractions I so harshly hold myself accountable for. She reminds me that All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.

Slow roasted chicken with silky potatoes green beans and veloutè sauce

 

we ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other

Earnest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

 

IMG_2962Restaurant Polidor 41 rue monsieur Le prince 75006 ParisIMG_2961Polidor restaurant featured in Woody Allen’s, Midnight in Paris 2011IMG_2876

We dined here three time during our four night stay, at this wonderfully humble restruant famous for Hemingway. I ordered the same meal twice not for any other reason than to simply indulge my senses once more in the simplicity of this succulent dish, suprême de poulet veloutè de morilles,purèe. ‘superbe’

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 Slow roasted chicken with silky potatoes and green beans with veloutè sauce

Ingredients for the chicken: 4 large pieces of free-range Maryland chicken,1 litre chicken stock, 3 continental parsley stalks, 2 cloves of garlic, cracked pepper

Method: place all the chicken into a deep baking dish, they can rest on top of each other. lay the parsley over the chicken, add the garlic whole to the baking dish, lightly season with the cracked pepper and then pour in the stock. Cover tightly with foil the entire top of the baking dish to keep all the steam contained. Set the oven at 180°C and slow roast for 2 hours. Check the chicken after approximately an hour and ladle the stock over the chicken sitting out of the stock, recover with the foil and continue roasting. Meanwhile prepare the veloutè.

 

ingredients for the veloutè sauce: 100grams butter,100grams flour,1litre chicken stock

Method:In a saucepan gently melt the butter without letting it colour. Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once and stir to combine. Place the pan back on the heat and cook over a gentle heat to a lightly fawn colour. Allow to cool. Bring the stock to the boil. Add the stock to the roux (flour mix) slowly over the heat, beating in well and allow to thicken before adding the next ladle. Bring to the boil, adjust heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

ingredients for the potatoes: 6 large desiree potatoes peeled and chopped,50grams butter, 250mls cream, salt to taste

method: In a pot of boiling water add the peeled and chopped potatos, boil on a rapid heat until cooked through then strain and return to the pot, mash well until there are no lumps . In another saucepan gently heat the butter until melted and add the cream cook until warmed through then add the mix to the potatoes. With a cake spatula and over a gentle heat work the cream through the potatoes until silky smooth.

Next, boil the string beans for a few minutes, ladle the veloutè into wide bowls add a large scoop of the potato and place a piece of the chicken on top finally drain the beans lightly drizzle in olive oil and season then place a few onto the chicken. Serve.

Shakespeare and company

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Fifty Grand and The Sun also Rises, introduces us to Hemingway. His individual and his concept of human nature were both very close to ours (referring to Jean-Paul Sartre). Hemingways lovers were in love all of the time, body and soul, actions emotions and words were all equally permeated with sexuality and when they gave themselves to desire, to pleasure, it bound them together in their totality.

 

There was another thing that pleased us. If a man brings his entire self to every situation, there can be no such thing as a ‘base occasion’. We attached much value to the small pleasures of daily life, and Hemingway lent romantic charm to such things as a walk, a meal or a conversation;… at the touch of his pen insignificant details suddenly took on meaning. The kind of realism, which described things just as they are.

words by Simone de Beauvoir, Prime of Life

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One thing that I have taken great delight in was the unforeseen wonder of the bountiful bookshops prevailing in this endearing city. Paris was indeed full of surprises. We visit the well-known Shakespeare and Company and immediately are captivated by the lively atmosphere of passionate literary fans wandering in awe of the scene of books that they are surrounded by.  Upstairs there is a library, of donated books that are neither for sale nor for borrowing, they are priceless in their value and you can take great pleasure in making yourself comfortable in a worn leather chair and immerse yourself in one of the precious pieces for a while. No one will ask you to move or to leave, you can sit, absorb, dream, write, read or even play the piano if you are inspired to do so.

Paris’s bookshops are alluring and plentiful, they are a wonderful way of  intimately getting to know this enchanting city.

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