In a Doodle Daze …

I began this picture a few days ago and have enjoyed adding to it each day. My favourite aspect of it is either the ‘rays’ coming from the sun or the lilac checked hill with the heart flowers growing up it. I can see many influences from previous paintings that I’ve previously done: the collage balloon; the hills; the sun’s ray and the swirls. I wasn’t sure that so many different things could work in one image but I’m really happy with the result:


I think my next challenge will be to use similar tones throughout a picture whilst having lots of detailed pattern and ‘zen doodle’ throughout.


A Cheating Peking Duck …

I’m sure it’s a complete insult to refer to this as bearing any resemblance to an authentic Peking Duck, however, the flavours were so reminiscent of the delicious Peking Ducks that me and my family were treated to when I was a teenager that I can’t help myself.
The basic recipe came from ‘Leon Book 2’ which is an amazing collection of extremely quick recipes. I added the wraps as a Chinese pancake alternative:


The duck breasts were seasoned and roasted for 20 minutes, whilst they rested, I prepared the lettuce, cucumber and spring onions. Hoisin Sauce and Plum Sauce were decanted into bowls and the wraps were warmed through. Plates were licked clean – I think the meal was a success !

This is the second recipe that I’ve cooked from ‘Leon, Book 2’, both from the first half (recipes that should take roughly 20 minutes from start to finish) and both have been super tasty and quick to prepare. I’ll definitely be using this book once we are all back at work and school next week.

The Circle of Life …

Ever since ‘discovering’ Zen Doodling, I’ve wanted to create my own ‘Circle of Life’. I’d seen some lovely examples and was keen to put my own spin on the idea. I’ve stuck to fairly obvious titles for each section but have tried to use imaginative colour combinations and styles for each one:


I used some brush pens that I bought just today – I love their vibrancy as well as the range of shades. I’ll definitely be using them again very soon, they were so lovely to work with.

A Trio of Temptation …

When we were in France on holiday, we took my aunt and uncle out for a meal. The food was absolutely amazing – it was a fantastic choice of restaurant. Each mouthful was a real taste sensation. I took photos of all courses but somehow forgot the final coffee course. Coffee was served alongside a plate of the most delicate looking cakes I have ever seen. There were Madeleines, Rose Meringues and Chocolate Brownies. I’m the first to admit that I’m not great at making ‘delicate’ cakes but as soon as I realised that we had eaten these without me having photographed them, I promised to make them once we had returned home.
Last week, when a friend came for dinner seemed like the perfect opportunity to make good on my promise:


My boys informed me that these were ‘just as good’ as those that we had in France – a real compliment I think. We have long since finished the meringues and the brownies but the madeleines are still going strong, a full week later.

Here are the others courses from this delicious meal:

First we had an apéritif, this was a shot glass of beetroot purée mixed with cream, served with the tiniest piece of toast, mackerel pâté, celery and tomato:


As a starter myself my aunt and my boys had ‘salmon three ways’, smoked salmon, salmon mousse and salmon tartare. My favourite of these was the salmon tartare, it tasted amazing:


My uncle, a real fan of seafood, had the oysters:


My husband had the snail soup! What was even more amazing was that my boys each had a snail and they all said that they were ‘surprisingly ok!’ I’m not sure any of them would order snails again but they did like the soup:


Now, onto the main course. Some of us had the veal which was meltingly delicious:


The rest had the duck:


For desert we had the crème brûlées:


I had these little pots of deliciousness and whilst they were all real tasty, I’m still not quite convinced about the middle one which was green and minty – it was a bit like eating toothpaste!! The other two more than made up for it though.

The raspberry crumble proved really popular:


My aunt’s soufflé was the largest I have ever seen:


Last but my no means least, my son’s apple desert both looked and tasted amazing – apple, caramel, ice cream and the lightest puff pastry was a winning combination:


All in all this was an incredible meal and it was the perfect way of thanking my aunt and uncle for putting us up during our holiday.

Retro Chick(en) …

Coronation Chicken is a real blast from the past, a true ’70s dish and one that I’d not made for many years. It was a meal that my aunt served us when we stayed with her in France recently, my boys absolutely loved it, it was definitely a meal that they wanted me to prepare once we arrived back home.
I served it with some cold boiled potatoes and some lettuce, it went down a storm:


My boys will be having the leftovers tonight with some freshly baked Focaccia bread.

A Doodle Day …

According to Wikipedia, a ‘Triskelion’ is a ‘motif consisting of 3 interlocking spirals or three bent human legs’. It is a symbol that has been adopted by many civilisations over the past several thousand years, we however saw it seemingly everywhere, in Brittany, France.

Last week, I decided to use this symbol as the basis for a ‘zen doodle’ painting. This painting has taken longer than any other that I have done over the past 2 years and yet by working on it for an hour or so each day, I’ve been able to take my time and enjoy each aspect of the painting. It is by no means perfect, however I am pleased with my first serious attempt at this type of art:


Cheery Chicks …

The chicken cross stitch that I started a couple of months ago, were finished last night. Today, I finished them off completely by ironing and then framing them:


I love the design and the colours used, these chickens are now a very cheerful addition to our breakfast room.

My next cross stitch project is much more challenging with more colours and different stitches, I may need to take my time with that one!