beautiful food

I have an immense admiration for food bloggers. Why? Because eating, preparing, imagining and just plain drooling over beautiful food is a favorite pastime of mine. And did I mention the photography? The artwork on some of these blogs is exquisite. Truly inspirational.

easter carrot cake

7 pm on a coolish Sunday evening. I’m sitting here drinking a glass of leftover champagne and listening to Miles Davis (Ascenseur pour l’échafaud) on the stereo. Back to work tomorrow. One thing’s for sure: weekends are too damn short! Luckily, Thursday November 1st is a national holiday here (All Saints’ Day, it’s a Catholic thing; a day to visit cemeteries and place flowers on the graves of deceased family members). So I have a 4-day weekend coming up because everyone will take off the Friday as well.

Maybe I’ll make this cake on that weekend; I think I’m invited to a gathering on the 3rd. It’s called Killer Cake.


choc cake two

killer cake with knife

Gosh, that knife looks ominous. Maybe this is a cake to die for … literally!

Here’s the blog, filled with beautiful recipes (and photos).

Here’s a list of best food and nutrition blogs –

And saving the best for last. I make these raw food energy balls often. I take them to work (they replace a pain au chocolat or a croissant). Eat with strong espresso in the morning. Yum!

the Brexit nightmare for British nationals living in Europe … including yours truly


For close to three decades I’ve been swanning around Europe (living, working, travelling) and enjoying all the privileges of being a European citizen. So imagine this scenario: you wake up one morning to learn that you will no longer be European. All those privileges you previously enjoyed? Soon to be snatched away, cherished no longer.

This is the reality of BREXIT. At least, as it stands today. It could worsen, it could improve; no-one knows for sure how this dastardly done deal will turn out. The nightmare we are living is the uncertainty.

brzxit protest march

This is how Brexit affects me personally: I have dual citizenship – Canadian, because I was born and raised in that country, and British because my parents were English. Prescient that I would travel and live abroad when I was older, I applied for a British passport before my 18th birthday. It is this passport (not my Canadian one) that grants me European status and allows me to live and work anywhere in the European Union.

But next year the United Kingdom will no longer be part of Europe. In June 2016 a referendum – based on deeply flawed, disingenuous and misguided premises – was presented to British citizens living in the U.K.

British nationals living outside of the U.K. were denied the vote. This hardly seems fair (or democratic) considering it is us who will be far more affected.

taxi flag

THERE ARE ONE MILLION BRITISH NATIONALS LIVING and WORKING in the 27 EU member states. And here’s the thing: we liked being Europeans. We resent having that status taken away from us. 

Yesterday, I nearly choked on my ham sandwich while reading The Guardian on-line during my lunch hour. Here’s what I read:

In the case of a “hard Brexit”, British citizens living in France could become third-country nationals which would prevent them from holding jobs restricted to EU nationals and limit their access to healthcare and welfare.

This Saturday October 20, a protest march is planned in London. In the hopes of reversing Brexit, they are calling for a second referendum. Sadly, this reminds me of the massive anti-Iraq war demonstration that occurred in that same city on February 15, 2003. One million protestors gathered in Hyde Park. In vain. The war went ahead, based on lies, and the British people never forgave Tony Blair for his perfidy. To this day he remains the most reviled man in Great Britain.

Below is a Financial Times documentary explaining former prime minister Cameron’s utterly failed and disastrous Brexit gamble. He essentially played Russian roulette with the United Kingdom. And lost.

Which begs the question, where is David Cameron now? According to reports, hiding in a shed at the foot of his garden writing his memoirs.

Dated today, Saturday October 20, here’s the viewpoint from The Observer, sister publication of The Guardian, on the need for a second Brexit vote:

Sawday’s travel guides: the perfect place to stay (and off the beaten track)


Fancy a vacation on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria? Or perhaps Panarea located between the Lipari and Stromboli islands? Or maybe a Bed and Breakfast in a huge country house located in Cornwall, England?

cornish housefireplace

Fellow travellers, look no further. Take a gander at the offerings in Sawday’s travel guides. Here’s how they describe themselves: Incurably curious, we seek out quirky, independent and authentic places to stay across Europe.

Bon voyage ! (I found my dream house in southern Italy, see bottom link)

Gorgeous house in Puglia, located in the heel of Italy:

truly extraordinary film images of Paris

I was blown away by the integrity of this film footage dated around 1897. What struck me first were the sounds: the clip-clop of horses’ hooves, the clatter of carriages and wagons – common sounds of yesteryear that we no longer hear. And yet, other sounds endure: the clang of Notre-Dame’s bells, a dog’s bark, the tinkle of a bicycle bell, and laughter and murmur in the streets. Those magnificent horses were everywhere (think of the manure piles to be removed daily; the stink and the flies in hot weather!) 

Other observations: how hazardous those streets were. Tight constricted clothing, but nevertheless very elegant. Street theater – so much going on! I know every one of those landmarks: how strange to see the same buildings and same locations populated by people 120 years ago! Exactly one month ago I was at the Round Pond in the Tuileries Gardens. In this film you see the same pond, but instead of casually-dressed men and women lounging in chairs, you see boys in caps and sailor suits prodding their sailboats with long sticks. Extraordinary. As one commenter noted – It looks like a French impressionist painting come to life.

And that moving sidewalk? Talk about avant-garde! It was in fact an experiment for the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900. See for yourself. Further below is another view of Paris nearly thirty years later.

Here’s some more footage taken in 1927: less horses, more motorized vehicles. In exactly twelve years’ time war would break out. Occupied Paris would be besieged by German Nazis. That’s the other extraordinary thing about watching historical films: you know what’s going to happen next, and they – blissfully unaware – do not. I’m amazed by the hordes of people in the streets. Central Paris was packed! It seems more crowded then than it is today. Notice the men, how pompous and self-important they were.


Aznavour is dead!

aznavour one

Mourned by all of France, French-Armenian singer, lyricist, actor, public activist and diplomat Charles Aznavour died of a heart attack today in his bathroom. He was known for his unique tenor voice: clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes. In a career spanning over 70 years, he sold over 100 million records. He was one of France’s most popular and enduring singers.

aznavour two

In the early years he was heavily criticized, even laughed at. No-one would hire him. The press eviscerated him. But he believed in himself, and he persisted. It was almost as if he knew that one day he would be a legend. Today, he’s considered a French monument and the whole country is mourning its loss.

smoked fish, Lower East Side Manhattan

I just read this article in The New York Times about the death of Anne Russ Federman. Like a million other people, I too visited this shop while in New York (and wrote about it on my blog.) Read the article (the ending is very funny), then read my blog post (link below.)

Purcell festival in Paris, that’s Henry Purcell

From September 25th to October 13th, the Louis-Jouvet Theater in central Paris is staging a Purcell festival. I have tickets for early October.

Henry Purcell, born and died in London (1659-1695), is considered one of England’s greatest composers. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music.

First performed in London in 1691, The Cold Song is an extract from Purcell’s semi-opera, King Arthur. Its beauty and vocal difficulty is such that it’s often taken over by German virtuoso singers. A particularly famous version is the one performed here by the late Klaus Nomi.



Here’s the sublime Funeral for Queen Mary, written specially to be played at the funeral of Queen Mary II of England in March 1695. Eight months later, Purcell’s Thou knowest, Lord was performed at his own funeral in November of the same year.