Annual high tea

It’s been far too long since I have seen my WordPress dashboard and tapped out a post. So many things have happened since June, some great and some truly not so great, but I am still here! Is anyone still reading?

I have been inspired to get back to the keyboard following my attendance at a fabulous girlie high tea today in the home of a friend.

This annual mother/daughter event is held before Christmas each year has been going on for many, many years. The core group comprises my friend and three close family gal pals, my friend’s mother and her friend (the mother of the three gals) and my friend’s grandmother. Sisters-in-law, nieces and other close friends attend on occasion too. I have been a recent interloper, having only been along to the last 5 or so, and my Mum has been along a couple of times too.

We all contribute something sweet or savoury and are at the stage where if you were to not bring your signature dish – pistachio macarons in my case – there would be trouble!! I love getting a chance to anticipate and then enjoy the afternoon. The admiration of the table arrangements, the ooh-ing and aah-ing over the tiered serving dishes filled with delicacies gives us all so much pleasure – as does the eating! Today we particularly noted that moment of silence after everyone takes their first bites, right before the chorus of “mm”s and “oh, wow”s begins, along with the “yum, what’s in that?” and “can I have the recipe?”. Plus, an event is not complete if we haven’t all taken (at least!) one photograph of all of the goodies!!

Afternoons like today certainly remind me how blessed I am… Do any of you have traditions like this?

Mothers and daughters
Talk and share edible love
laden table

© Leah Dowsett 2013

Food glorious food!

Every so often I get together with two gal pals and cook up a storm and this year’s “MasterChef Southwest” was no exception. One of my friends gives the run down – with pictures! – on her blog: Such a fun time had by all!

Fabulous foodies
Recipes, love and laughter
Sweet southwest escape 

© Leah Dowsett 2013



New opportunity!

Hi bleaders! I haven’t been blogging lately due to my focus on a new job. It began as a secondment position in mid-January and after about a month I was asked if I wanted to stay on permanently. It was so lovely to have been asked, and, even better, I wanted to say yes! The new role got confirmed this week and I can’t stop smiling. God promised about 2 years ago that he wouldn’t leave me in my previous job (which I had been in for years and was finding increasingly stressful), and he’s come through in a big way. I am really enjoying the new work and am in a lovely and supportive team. Just perfect!

The new job’s confirmed
Feeling happy and so blessed
My God is faithful

© Leah Dowsett 2013

Kitchen planning

I’m hoping to renovate my kitchen/dining area later this year and have been working on my “vision board” today to clarify what I really want. I know for sure that I want something beautiful as well as practical. I want a place I will love to work and be creative in, but I also want it to be a warm and inviting place for friends and family to gather. I envisage it as a place for dinner parties and laughter and gooey desserts and deep conversations. Basically, I want to be able to walk in each day and think “wow, this is great!”. (Hmm, I’m not asking much am I?)

Renovation dream
Culinary centrepiece
True heart of my home

© Leah Dowsett 2013

One for the foodies…

I’ve been spending the day doing one of my “whilst on holidays I will…” list items – going through old food magazines.

I wanted to do this so I can then throw the stash away and I have been putting my scissors to good use as I oohed and aahed over each issue. I say “stash” of magazines as I inherited some MasterChef editions from a friend moving overseas, plus have my own collections of Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, etc.  I have to do this type of clean out once in a while as I tend to keep them, and keep them, and keep them! I can’t help it – I love their drool-inducing photography, seemingly effortless meal ideas and the glamorous travel features.
(Although I love foodie mags “just because”, I’m not just a fly-by-night follower caught up in the television food revolution. I once studied hospitality and worked in the industry in both front and back of house areas for 12 years. So you could say my interest is more research-related than most…yeah, right!)

So, I’ve gone through about 14 mags (phew!!) and now have a neat stack of clipped recipes ready to be put in my recipe books/files. Am I the only one with such a collection of pages with sticky-taped cuttings? The only person with bulging clear plastic storage sleeves? It’s just that the recipes sound so good and look so pretty that I cannot resist collecting more – but please don’t ask me how often I actually refer to them! (Ha, ha!) That said, who wouldn’t want a perfect example of  “Salt and Pepper Squid”, “Lemon and Fetta Stuffed Chicken”, “Pea and Ricotta Gnocchi”, “Pineapple and Macadamia Crumbles”, and “Orange Poppyseed Chiffon Cake”. My mouth waters just thinking of future cooking adventures with these dishes, and so the clipping continues…

I did notice in my review today that a feature in one of the mags was an “interview a chef” page. It contained a few “what is your favourite…” details so, for a bit of fun, below is a list of mine.

  • Chefs: Emmanuel Mollois and Guillaume Brahimi. French men cooking French food, mm mm!
  • Comfort food: egg noodles slow cooked in chicken broth with cracked pepper.
  • Guilty pleasure: licking mixing bowl beaters, and french toast with maple syrup plus bacon.
  • Innocent pleasure: watching when someone takes a bite of something I’ve made and seeing the smile spread across their face.
  • Piece of equipment: my “ice”-coloured Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I got her for my 40th birthday and she is truly beautiful.
  • Gadget: a musical timer someone gave me to add to the water for boiling eggs. They come out perfect every time!
  • Childhood food memories: sitting on a stool in the kitchen helping Mum make cookies, and my Grandmother cooking me pancakes on our visits to the USA.
  • Adult food memories: an amazing multi-course meal at Commander’s Palace (New Orleans, USA) in the late 1990s, and pausing to enjoy the moment and listen to the sound of 12 whisks whisking at a macaron class at Le Cordon Bleu (Paris, France) in 2011.
  • Foodie Movies: Babette’s Feast, Big Night and Julie and Julia.
  • Next project: renovating my kitchen – I can’t wait!

What are your favourites?

Foodie magazines
Providing inspiration
A visual feast

Macaron magic
Flavours and textures melding
Bite-sized perfection

A laden table
Creating sweet memories
Of precious moments

© Leah Dowsett 2013

The Year of Hope

Happy New Year! Here’s to more surprises, more play, more fabulous food, more kindness, more hugs, more family fun, more love, more friendly banter, more faith, more opportunities, more laughter and more poems this year than ever before!

In looking forward,
Hope is tantalisingly
Tangible and sure

© Leah Dowsett 2013

Feline Reconnaissance

I had a plan for a quiet night in.

Don’t you just love those opportunities to get into your pjs, put on a movie and enjoy some quality time on the couch? I got home a bit early and have tried to kick back and relax, but my cat has had other ideas. She has been set on disturbing the peace.

Normally happy to lay on my lap, this evening has been different. She has been very talkative and has undertaken more reconnaissance trips than usual. I’m not sure what it is she’s been seeking but I have my suspicions that the neighbour’s cat has been by today so she’s been on the lookout for his return, and eager to remind me (repeatedly!) what a cheeky ginger boy he is to sit outside and taunt her.

So I left the comfort of the couch and got up and involved with other things around the house. She was undaunted – her circuits and chatting continued on.

And yet, as I finish this post I notice she is now curled up and snoozing…and I can’t help but smile at her peacefulness.

The cat is pacing
Scanning windows for movement
In restless rhythm

© Leah Dowsett 2012

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