The window through which you look…

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There is a beautiful complexity of growth within the human soul. In order to glimpse this, it is helpful to visualize the mind as a tower of windows. Sadly, many people remain trapped at the one window, looking out every day at the same scene in the same way. Real growth is experienced when you draw back from that one window, turn, and walk around the inner tower of the soul and see all the different windows that await your gaze. Through these different windows, you can see new vistas of possibility, presence, and creativity. Complacency, habit, and blindness often prevent you from feeling your life.

So much depends on the frame of vision — the window through which you look.

John O’Donohue from Anam Cara

Poetry is my language…

Fathomless

 

Water play 6

Poetry is my language.

I do not care for beginnings and endings —

it is the present of the present I cherish,

and your truth buried in a picture of the still moment

that makes me thrill as if on a ride

ever deeper into the fathomless.

I said I was taking a blogging break, and I am…But I did not expect that a poem would come to me in these last days of summer, which captures how I feel about photography and poetry. So, in the spirit of spontaneity and inconsistency, I offer it to you…

Every gardener knows…

tomato

Heirloom tomatoes — Black Krim variety

…Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen: reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always, for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting, after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.
Marge Piercy

 

I’m taking a bit of a blogging and social media break this August and enjoying the remaining summer and fruits of our labours. Thank you so much for dropping in to visit. 

That is enough…

sailboats as the sun goes down

Sun behind the clouds…Marsh Harbour, Bahamas

To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one life.

T.S. Eliot

Light and fresh summer fare…

A steaming bowl of Green Shrimp with Coconut Kale served on basmati rice

Grilling coconut kale

Shrimp in green sauce before being placed in a hot oven for 15 minutes

After a travel-filled winter and spring, we are staying closer to home this summer. That means closer to the garden and all its vegetable goodness. Our kale was looking luscious today so I went out and cut some and then searched through my recipe collection for a new way to prepare it.

I had saved a New York Times recipe on Pinterest for Coconut Kale that captured my imagination. It was from a famous Indian chef who works out of Vancouver. It seemed quite easy — bonus! — and I had all the ingredients — the main one being coconut milk — so it was a go.

We also had some shrimp in the freezer so I found another New York Times recipe that I thought might go well with the kale. Shrimp in Green sauce, which I renamed “Green Shrimp” as a nod to Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, my favourite children’s book, well I digress…

The recipe called for only oil, garlic, scallions, parsley and wine or stock plus some heat. And it seemed quite forgiving. You blitz everything together in a blender and then pour over the shrimp. Fifteen minutes later you are ready to enjoy.

The kale was a bit more fiddly. Soaking the kale in coconut milk for the afternoon was a breeze. But then you need to grill each piece for a few seconds. You have to work quickly so they don’t burn. I let Bob do that so I could take some pics. Not at all hard though, and oh-so-worth it. The flavour was amazing and the texture was tender.

The kale proved a perfect complement to the shrimp, which also had an intense but fresh flavour. With some basmati rice to soak up the sauce, it was a great light summer meal.

Here are the links to the recipes should they appeal to you as well. By the way, do you have any favourite ways to cook kale — I’m always on the lookout.

Green shrimp

Coconut kale

 

 

Arugula pesto…

arugula pesto and salmon

Wild caught salmon topped with arugula pesto along with salad.

Veggie orzo salad with arugula pesto

plate

Grilled haddock accompanied by arugula pesto and salad and roasted squash

 

The other day we bought a huge container of arugula (known as rocket in the U.K.) and started eating it in salads. In the summer I crave fresh salads, don’t you? We like to vary our greens so as not to become bored with the same old, same old. And at 10 calories per two cups with tons of antioxidants and vitamins, it is really a healthy superfood. Believe it or not, it’s from the same family as broccoli and kale.

But no matter how much arugula we ate, it didn’t seem to be making a dent in the amount we had. I hate to waste food — a quality that I now realize I inherited from my paternal grandfather — so I thought I had best figure out a creative way to use it up before it went all slimy.

So it was that I happened on a recipe for arugula pesto. Since I adore the flavours and texture of basil pesto and I also love to experiment with new recipes, I tried it. It has become a new favourite. It’s spicy, flavourful, healthy and versatile. So what’s not to like?

We’ve been eating a lot of fish lately and this pesto adds a piquancy that works well with many different types. We’ve eaten it with grilled haddock and salmon, as you can see above. Great with both.

I still had some pesto left after those meals so I decided to try adding it to a veggie orzo salad, since I often do that with basil pesto. Another winner. I’ve read that it makes a great sandwich spread when combined with mayo. Must try that soon.

So if you like foods rich in ingredients found in the Mediterranean diet, this might appeal. It’s easy to whip up and even easier to enjoy. Here are two different recipes that I used to make mine if you want to give it a try.

Arugula pesto recipe from Simply Recipes

Arugula pesto recipe from Epicurious

Small town living…

These days I live about half an hour away from the capital of Canada, Ottawa, in a little town of 5,000. Small and picturesque, Almonte has a river running through it, two sets of waterfalls and miles of green space surrounding it.

For 30 years I lived, studied and worked in the centre of Ottawa, which has close to a million inhabitants and serves as the seat of the federal government. I enjoyed the hustle and bustle and all the culture and diversity that Ottawa had to offer — and before that thrived on the tempo of two other big Canadian cities — Toronto and Montreal. So I’ve always considered myself a big city kind of gal.

Today life in Almonte with its slow unhurried pace couldn’t be more of  a contrast. But there is much to appreciate in small town living.

I’m excited by how Almonte continues to develop into a small hub of creativity as artists and craftspeople open up shops and galleries. The beautiful stone buildings on our historic main street preserve our past as a textile mill town and have been converted into restaurants, galleries and unusual apartments.

The old Post Office was designed by the same architect who built the Parliament buildings in Ottawa and now houses a lovely marble floored restaurant and a new outdoor patio. The clock you can see throughout the town is the original one, which is maintained by a local volunteer. The falls on the river that powered the mills now create our electricity in a green manner.

I never tire of showing off my town to friends from the city and from other parts of the country and the world. This super short video (49 seconds) gives a flavour of one such recent visit.  I invite you to have a look. I hope to capture more of Almonte in future videos.

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