Cee’s Flower of the Day #93

It’s lovely showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

Sunshine’s Macro Monday #89

I’ve been out and about again with my trusty iPhone6 snapping away at the flora on one of my many walks.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday Challenge is hosted by Irene a formidable photographer who encourages us to scrutinise the smallest of details by getting up close and personal and bringing someone or something to life in a photograph. It’s a one day challenge without prompts. Feel free to join in and brighten everyone’s Monday.

Cee’s Flower of the Day #92

It’s lovely showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

French fancies: Oliviers & Co

As a keen home cook, one of the things I love about where I now live is the availability of  wonderful local, artisan products. While we have our own olive grove in the Domaine where I live, I buy lots of different local organic olive oils, including from today’s company.

My next destination is Oliviers & Co started by Olivier Baussan, a serial entrepreneur with a deep love of Provence. Setting up L’Occitane led him indirectly, to the creation of a company selling olive oil. Let me explain.

about us image

How it all began

Returning to France after a trip to Burkina Faso where Baussan discovered shea butter, he asked a local photographer to document the life of an old man from Lurs, a village near Mane, who pressed olive oil. Six years later, after the man died, Baussan decided to continue the project. He asked 20 photographers each to spend a year shooting photos of olive trees and their fruit, and he published the results in a book.

In 1993, Baussan opened a poetry bookstore with a friend, an American poet, on the Île St-Louis in Paris. (Selling part of L’Occitane to investors gave Baussan the time and the means to, as he puts it, “reunite all his favorite poets on one shelf.”) The bookshop was a cozy place where people were encouraged to sit and read. That was a problem. Lots of people came and read, but nobody bought anything. So Baussan, who had begun collecting artisanal olive oil, started putting bottles of oil on the shelves to sell with the books. Gradually, the bottles edged out the books. In 1996, he started Oliviers & Co.

The company now bottles and sells 22 different extra-virgin olive oils. Most come from France, Italy and Spain, but there are also oils from Greece, Uruguay and Lebanon. All are made by families or small cooperatives. All the suppliers must follow Baussan’s exacting methods of cultivation and production, from the pruning of the trees (thinned so that “a bird could fly freely inside them,” to the olive harvesting and pressing (within 24 hours of picking). He says:

The oil should be as pure as freshly squeezed orange juice. The minute it’s exposed to air, it begins to deteriorate.

And each of these oils has a story. The Uruguayan oil, Los Ranchos, comes from a property that French immigrants planted with olive trees in the 1950s. A woman from Aix-en-Provence who knew nothing about olives inherited the estate and came to Baussan for advice. He and his team restructured the estate and within two years they were bottling and selling olive oil from the estate.

In Lebanon, Nayla Moawad, the widow of the assassinated president René Moawad, asked Baussan for help in modernising the country’s olive oil production as a way of honouring her husband’s memory. Oliviers & Co. now sells high-quality extra-virgin olive oil under René Moawad’s name, with the profits going to charity.

Baussan has also collaborated with a number of highly respected chefs. Jean-Marie Meulien, the former owner of the two-Michelin-starred L’Oasis in La Napoule, France, helps develop condiments and sauces for Oliviers & Co. Spices such as Moroccan saffron and spreads like an artichoke-and-olive dip have been added to the line.

OCo story 4

With Pascal Rigo, of San Francisco’s Chez Nous and Le Petit Robert, Baussan worked to bring his global vision of Mediterranean food to San Francisco and New York. Rigo oversees the menus at La Table O&CO in San Francisco and the restaurant in New York City; dishes include a Provençal saffron-flavored fish soup with fennel and a North African inspired dessert in which dates and figs are wrapped in flaky phyllo. Rigo devised recipes to complement the distinctive flavors of Oliviers & Co. oils. He tosses fingerling potatoes with rosemary and thyme, then roasts them in a mild olive oil like Oliviers & Co.’s Clemente. He also adds olive oil to a lemony cheesecake for a bit of fruitiness.

Future development

Olivier Baussan undertook a similar role at Oliviers & Co to that at L’Occitane en Provence,. In 2005 his uncle Albert Baussan acquired the company and oversaw its direction until 2017 when Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux acquired a majority stake through his holding company, Notus Technologies.

In its Mane HQ, the company has its own bottling site and employs over 90 people worldwide and has 85 stores, 35 of which are in France though around 60% of turnover is exported. Under its new leadership, the company is continuing its ascent enjoying seeing a French brand and know-how shine internationally.
Whence Olivier Baussan

Olivier Baussan went off and created L’Eco Musée de l’olivier in Volx in Upper Provence in 2006, a museum dedicated to Mediterranean olive farming and traditional lifestyle. Using interactive and audiovisual tools, visitors learn all about olive oil culture and also get a chance to taste different olive oils and products. Baussan opened the first Première Pression shop at the museum in his native Provence.

Baussan sees Première Pression Provence as a form of commerce where the distributor is not considered as the middle man but more as a link between producer and a consumer Both the domaine and the producer’s name are included on the labels of the containers.

Touch screens with photos, texts and cards take visitors on a virtual trip to Provence, to the region, the producer and the fruit. They learn how the land (terroir), the climate, the olives and the know-how can influence the tastes, colours and aromas of the oil.

What are the traditional Provençal flavours according to Première Pression?

— A slight peppery taste, with an aroma of fresh artichokes with fruity green’, when the olives are picked early and processed within 24 hrs.

— Aromas of red fruit and a hint of lime with fruity ripe’ when the fruit is ripe, black and processed immediately.

— A fruity black’ flavour is obtained when the olives are picked and stored for a few days at the mill before being processed. The aroma and taste are quite different to the other two; this is a sweet olive oil with tangs of mushrooms, dried fruit and even some cocoa.

Producers of fruity black are proud of their oil. One expert Provençal olive oil producer said that fermentation is a delicate process, one of sensuality and intuition where you can’t just follow the instructions;

…..you have to feel it in your heart.

Baussan said that although Provençal producers cannot compete with Italian and Spanish producers in terms of quantity, he feels that oils from the Provence will have a niche market in the future. They have the geographic qualities of the Provence, the expertise and the rich Provençal traditions.

Browsing and choosing olive oil is fun at the sleek Première Pression shops; thirty-two labels in thirty-two colours representing the thirty-two producers are on show. Customers bring their own bottles and fill up using the elegant l’orgue aux huiles, designed by Baussan for filling bottles. Made of glass it will hold 10 litres or so of olive oil.

Gift boxes of olive oil are also on offer along with other regional specialties like tapenade made from green and black olives with exotic names such as Pulpe de Salonenque and Pulpe de Picholine.

Premère Pression Provence is following a similar trajectory to Oliviers & Co, with expansion in the Far East, at home in France and in North America.

Silent Sunday #66

This year all my photographs are from France. 

Song Lyric Sunday #40

This week’s prompt is Heaven/Hell. So what do I have in my musical archives in response to Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday Challenge? There are loads of possibilities but I’m plumping for Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden.

Savage Garden was an Australian pop duo consisting of Darren Hayes on vocals and Daniel Jones on instruments. Formed in Logan City, Queensland, in 1994, the duo achieved international success in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the No. 1 hit singles “I Want You”, “To the Moon and Back”, “Truly Madly Deeply”, “The Animal Song” and “I Knew I Loved You”.

Truly Madly Deeply the band’s third Australian single, from their debut studio album Savage Garden, was released in March 1997 and soon became their signature song. In their native Australia, it won the 1997 ARIA Music Award for Single of the Year and Highest Selling Single and was nominated for Song of the Year. The song is a reworking of a song called “Magical Kisses” that the pair wrote together during the recording of their debut album.

The song reached number one in Australia, Canada and the United States. In November 2019, the song was added to the Australian National Film and Sound Archive’s selection of recordings. The songs added to the list provide a snapshot of Australian life and have “cultural, historical and aesthetic significance and relevance”.

Two music videos were made for the song. The original Australian video, which presents Hayes with long hair, features the band in a white room with several other people. Hayes is on a red sofa singing the song while Daniel performs on the piano. It was directed by Tony McGrath. The video (below) used for the European market, which presents Hayes with short hair, was filmed in Paris. It was directed by Adolfo Doring.

The video depicts the story of two lovers, a young man and a lady, who have been separated by circumstances. The woman arrives in Paris, possibly at Gare du Nord station, in search of her lover, who is also waiting for her. He is wandering in various places within the Montmartre area, including the Soleil de la Butte restaurant. In between the scenes involving the two lovers, Hayes can be seen walking around Paris, in locations such as the Place de la Concorde and the Jardin des Tuileries. He is singing, thereby acting as a narrator to the story involving the two lovers. Towards the end of the video, Hayes enters a small concert hall where Daniel Jones is playing guitar. Shortly afterwards, the young lady manages to find her lover, right in the centre of Paris, at the feet of the Tour Saint-Jacques. They are both filled with emotion on seeing each other again. The video ends with Hayes and Jones coming out of the concert hall, and coming across the two lovers who are rejoicing in their reunion.

The band’s two studio albums, Savage Garden and Affirmation, reached No. 1 in Australia and peaked in the top ten in both the United Kingdom and United States. These albums sold 23 million copies worldwide. The group won a record number of ten ARIA Music Awards in 1997 for their debut album and its related singles. They disbanded in the end of 2001 and Hayes continued as a solo artist.

Lyrics: Truly Madly Deeply

I’ll be your dream, I’ll be your wish, I’ll be your fantasy
I’ll be your hope, I’ll be your love, be everything that you need
I love you more with every breath truly, madly, deeply do
I will be strong, I will be faithful ’cause I’m counting on
A new beginnin’
A reason for livin’
A deeper meaning, yeah
I wanna stand with you on a mountain
I wanna bathe with you in the sea
I wanna lay like this forever
Until the sky falls down on me
And when the stars are shining brightly in the velvet sky
I’ll make a wish, send it to heaven and make you want to cry
The tears of joy for all the pleasure and the certainty
That we’re surrounded by the comfort and protection
Of the highest powers
In lonely hours
The tears devour you
An’ I wanna stand with you on a mountain
I wanna bathe with you in the sea
I wanna lay like this forever
Until the sky falls down on me
Oh, can you see it, baby?
You don’t have to close your eyes
It’s standin’ right before you
All that you need will surely come
Ooh, yeah
I’ll be your dream, I’ll be your wish, I’ll be your fantasy
I’ll be your hope, I’ll be your love, be everything that you need
I’ll love you more with every breath truly, madly, deeply do
I wanna stand with you on a mountain
I wanna bathe with you in the sea
I wanna lay like this forever
Until the sky falls down on me
I wanna stand with you on a mountain
I wanna bathe with you in the sea
I want to live like this forever
Until the sky falls down on me

Source:  Musixmatch.com
Songwriters: Daniel Jones / Darren Hayes
Truly Madly Deeply lyrics © Sony/atv Music Publishing/savage Garden

Challenge Rules

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not. If it does not fit, then please explain why you chose this song.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to Jim’s post or place your link in his comments section.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Most of all, have fun and enjoy the music.

One word Sunday: simple

I seem to have gotten these prompts out of order, oh well, never mind……….

This week its “simple” aka plain, basic, or uncomplicated in form, nature, or design; without much decoration or ornamentation. So what have I got in my archives?

I’ve decided to join in with Debbie Smyth’s One Word Sunday challenge, largely because she sets them well in advance – always an advantage in my book. In addition, she’s a fantastic and inspirational photographer.

The Musette: Curried Vegetable Wraps

Lunch most days is scheduled for 12:30 and I (foolishly) rely on my beloved to advise whether or not this has to be pushed back (or forth) because one of his interminable Zoom meetings. I’m therefore always trying to come up with dishes that are easy to assemble, acceptable both hot and warm, and/ or make use of leftovers.

Here’s one of my regular quick lunches. I say quick because both elements, the curried veggies and the carrot and cashew cream sauce, can be made well in advance. This is also a recipe that can easily be amended to fit whatever you have available in the fridge and storecupboard.

Ingredients (serves 4)

Roasted Curried Vegetables

  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp curry powder (see recipe below)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 medium cauliflower,  cut into florets
  • 1 medium sweet potato cut into chunks
  • 400g (15 oz) can/jar chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained (save the liquid aka aquafaba)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Roasted Carrot Cream Sauce

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 150g (1 cup) cashew nuts, soaked for 30 minutes, or overnight
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) organic lemon juice
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) aquafaba
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) filtered water
  • 4 tortilla wraps
  • 1 avocado
  • handful fresh baby spinach or rocket (arugula)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

1.Pre-heat oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 (350ºF/320ºF fan).400°F. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof (parchment) paper.

2. To make the curried cauliflower and sweet potatoes, add the cumin, coconut sugar, curry powder, smoked paprika, salt and coriander to a small bowl and stir to combine. Add the cauliflower and sweet potatoes and toss to coat in the spice mixture.

3. Spread the cauliflower/sweet potato mixture on the prepared pan in a single layer. Add the chopped carrots, also in a single layer but on the other side of the pan, along with the chickpeas. Bake until the vegetables are cooked and a light golden brown, about 30 minutes.

4. Transfer the pan from the oven onto a wire rack and let it sit for 10 minutes to cool.

5. Meanwhile, make the roasted carrot cream sauce by adding the roasted carrots to a high-speed blender along with the drained cashew nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and aquafaba. While the blender is running, drizzle in water 1 tbsp at a time until you have a smooth sauce.

6. Divide the mixture of roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes into 4 equal portions.

7.  Lay one of the wraps flat on a plate and spread a little of the roasted carrot cream sauce evenly across the entire wrap.  Then one portion of the cauliflower and sweet potato mixture, plus chickpeas, and top with some spinach and avocado.

8. Fold in the right and left sides of the wrap then roll it up starting from the side closest to you. End with the seam side down. Repeat these steps with the other 3 wraps.

9. Drizzle a little more of the sauce over the wrap and serve. You can refrigerate any leftover roasted carrot cream sauce for up to 7 days.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

I never buy curry powder instead I make my own in a coffee grinder. This is a mild version, suitable for French palates.

Ingredients

    • 5 tbsp ground coriander seeds
    • 2 tbsp ground cumin seeds
    • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
    • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp dry mustard
    • 2 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon seeds

Sculpture Saturday #57

For the next few weeks or so, I’m going to look at some of the individual works in the  Nagyharsány sculpture park in Villany, Hungary, which I wrote about two weeks ago.

This challenge is kindly hosted by Susan Kelly over at No Fixed Plans.

Share a photo of a statue or sculpture – go on, give it a go, you know you want to!

Friendly Friday Challenge: Mountain top

The Friendly Friday Challenge is now a fortnightly challenge co-hosted by Amanda from Something to Ponder About and Sandy from The Sandy Chronicles. 

Amanda’s Friendly Friday Blog Challenge is Mountain Top. As both a keen cycllist and skier, I’ve visited plenty of mountain tops but nothing too high, I don’t like heights. So what do I have in my archives?

Let’s start with winter vacations which have mostly been spent in recent years either cross-country skiing in Seefeld, Austria, or in Pontresina, Switzerland.

The first three photos are from Seefeld, where we’ve spent many a vacation, the last being a month over Christmas and New Year 2017-18. Here’s a trio of my previous posts:-

Postcard from Seefeld: back where we first started

40 Years of Memorable Moments: InterAlpen Hotel, Tyrol

Postcard from Seefeld: these are a few of my favourite things

And many, many more.

Next week will feature cycling!

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This year the girls are are opening up the challenge, making its focus not purely on photography but making it a little more varied, a little more open and interesting.

How to join the Challenge

  • Write a post titled ‘Friendly Friday- xxx Prompt name xxx’ with tag ‘Friendly Friday’
  • Include a link to the original Friendly Friendly Challenge post on the host’s blog
  • Optionally, you can include the latest Friendly Friday Challenge logo. Download it here.
  • Comment on the host’s Friendly Friday post, so that other readers can find and read your response.
  • Remember to include a link to your post in your comment. This will guarantee a visit, in the event the automatic ping-back does not work.
  • Visit other Friendly Friday entries by following their links. It’s fun!
  • Follow the host blogs to see future Friendly Friday Challenges
The Benefits
  • Increase your exposure in our blogging communities
  • Inspire and be inspired by diverse blog articles
  • Challenge your creativity
  • Make new friends and keep in touch with old ones

Are you joining in this year? Go on……you know it’ll be fun!