mardi 2 décembre 2014

Just me

Dear readers,

I got tagged by the lovely Nella Fragola (which you can find here http://www.nellafragola-vintage-blog.com/) ;)
It's the Just me tag game and it's a nice way for you all to get to know a little more about me. So the first part is 25 facts about me (and it won't be much exciting!)

1 My name Elisabeth comes from the little girl my mom babysitted when she was "Au Pair" in the UK. The fact my mom lived there for a while, probably highly influenced my love for british food and books!
2 There is never enough books! I rarely get rid of books, unless they left me totally indiferent (or plainly hated them). Happily it rarely happens. On the other hand, it makes the house look smaller and smaller every month . My ideal house is a house where there would be bookshelves going up to the ceiling in each room!
3 I secretely dream to live in a wooden house...or a hobbit hole, in the middle of the forrest, a bit like an ermit!
4 I used to be quite sporty, with synchronized swimming and french boxing. I quited after some girls started making fun of a new pupil as she was not "slim"enough!
5 I really like quiet places. I run away from cafes when you cannot chat with people, or just cannot think because the music is too loud.
6 I've been living 2 years in the UK. I don't miss France at all (but do miss my family and friends), and feel much more in my element in Manchester. It is much easier to be yourself here. But sometimes I have gigantic cravings for Saucisson and Cheese. I went to the french cheesemonger on the christmas market, and I looked like a junkie!
7 When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Knight of the Round Table, or/and Indiana Jones!
8 Even at the age of Kindles and Ipads, I still dream to open a tea room, whic would at the same time be a bookshop. All served with high quality teas and delicious cakes.
9 But my biggest dream is still to become an ilustrator one day. I just feel very frustrated with my drawing, as I don't have some basics for perspective and anatomy. It always end up with the drawings being torn lately.
10 I have a tendency to have cold hands and feet. Too bad for Dave who has to put up with it.
11 Speaking of Dave, I met my boyfriend in France, when recovering from a surgery for a begnin finger tumor. If it had not been for this, I would not have met him!
12 I'm quite a big anime and books geek. I love nothing more than discovering something new. Nothing gets me more excited than discovering a little hidden gem (like Ayakashi:Samurai horror tales:mononoke).
13 My cat is named Kitsune, because she looked like an arctic fox when she was a baby. Now she looks a bit like Jabba the Hut. Sometimes she is a little shredder, but I still think she is quite a good cat. But not between 7PM and 9PM (before food time).She has a mild food obscession for curry, butternut squash, and chesnuts.
14 When I was a kid, I loved poison Ivy, Jean Grey, and Rosseti's paintings. It ended up with me dying my hair bright red. I still think these females rock ;)
15 If I could, I would wear dirndls everyday, it feels a bit like a secondskin, and it makes me feel like I'm not too bad looking and somehow feminine!
16 I dream to go to Japan and meet my friend Yosuke. And to go to Wagashi tea rooms, eat oden, hiking into the wilderness, and foraging! I think it would be a truly gastronomic trip!
17 I love horror and ghost stories. One of my hobbies is to watch tv shows with haunted houses while drawing.
Also, horror movies are my favorites when I draw! I think it sets me right into the mood...
18 I think when I take time and am relaxed, I can whip some amazing food. I haven't done it properly for ages. I miss it a lot!
19 I think I really am terrible at girly stuff. Last time I tried to keep my hair long to have sophisticated hair dos, I ended up cutting my hair (myself), as it was much more simple! don't even talk about manicures!
20 So far, only one indoor plant has survived me. I feel very guilty, but it never works out!
21 My guilty pleasure is watching Romantic movies. My biggest pride is to have succeeded to make Dave watch Pride and Prejudice (and he liked it)
22 I like playing records on a turn table. Ella and Louis are my good mood choice!
23 I cannot stand my voice, and people saying I'm cute! heh! I'm a tough cookie!
24 I love foraging! it's something my grandad and my parents taught me, and you cannot imagine how amazing it is to eat food you found and not die or get poisoned :D. And it's even better if you can make your own Elderflower liquor!
25 I'm a lady who loves whiskey,  peaty and slightly sweet at the same time. Nothing like sharing it with my sweetheart or my friends Francois Amoretti and Nella Fragola :)

1. What is the meaning behind your blog name?
It's a blog about food, books and movies. Paul Loudon helped me find the name for it :)
I miss blogging and hope to have more time to do it. But each blog took me a whole day minimum!
2. Best thing that happened to you this year?
I made an illustration for Box Tale's soup "Casting the runes". It happened just two days after something really terribly bad hapenned, and it enabled me to empty my heart out in this drawing. I think you can get the mood.
3. Why do you blog?
I blog,as it kind of pushes me to draw for pleasure. After I had taken fine arts, I kind of lost track about why I loved drawing. But blogging re-made me discover the simple enjoyement of drawing, having fun, and doing things because I love them... I think it's something you should never loose track of! This blog especially mixed a few of my passions with drawing and I cannot wait to go back to it, but as a manager of a shop, I sometimes find hard to find energy (I'm hibernating on my days off).
4. What are you afraid of?
People not caring for what happens around them. People not looking. Earth becoming a tip because people don't care.
5. One beauty product you would recommend to your readers?
I never stick much to beauty products, as long as it does the job (minimal as you can see heehee). Does perfume can be ticked as one? I love La chasse aux papillons de l'artisan parfumeur. I miss that perfume so much, it makes me smile every time I wear it. It's a truly incredible perfume with linden, light tuberose and Orange Blossom.
Otherwise, orange blossom water. Simple but effective.

I tag Amelie Siria-Ellenen xxx

Challenge taken Nella! x

samedi 23 août 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Here is a little out of the theme of Eat, Read, Watch, but it is worth the rea none the less (if not more).
I got nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by Shena Wolf. :) ( THank you Shena!)

You can read a bit more on ALS  on the english website: http://www.mndassociation.org/

I took the challenge, and donated five pounds, because I think doing it without donating would be totally pointless...
So don't hesitate to donate by mobile, ICED55 £5 (or more, or whatever you can afford) to 70070.

I nominated David Carden (vaudevillian troubardour...he has done it in such a dapper way!), Krisandra Adams, and Paul Loudon (the amazing illustrator!).

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=824173604293580&l=4488504125877880828

And honestly, it's not that terrible ;)

THank you for sharing and/or donating!

(Special mention to the lovely Benedict Cumberbatch for the 5 buckets of ice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOa7ZjxRuKM, and the adorable Tom Hiddleston who has nominated him ;) <div id="fb-root"></div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/fr_FR/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>
<div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=765532283490559" data-width="466"><div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=765532283490559">Publication</a> by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/twhiddleston">Tom Hiddleston</a>.</div></div>
 ) .

mardi 12 août 2014

Eat: Raspberry and Espresso Biscottis

One month ago, I was invited by Java, to a girls clothing swap. I had brought along some homemade biscotti, and out of craziness, dipped one into some fizzy wine. And surprizingly, it worked really well! it reminded me of these pink biscuits "biscuits de Reims", from the north of France, which you can dip in champagne (but I'm not a champagne girl).
It made me think i could try to add fresh raspberries into these wonderfully crispy biscuits!

 Biscotti means "cooked two times". The biscuits were particularly useful during journeys, and were a staple food in roman legions.

                              This japanese plate is a present my grandad made me years ago. :)
   ( Grand-Pere et Serge, je pense a vous a chaque fois que je presente mes biscuits dans ces assiettes!)

You can hardly find a much healthier breakfast biscuit (without the glass of alcohol of course). There is no fat, it's rich in almonds, and hence will bring you energy, and the rasberries bring a subtle sweetness to it.

So here is the recipe:

Dry ingredients:
260 g organic flour
200 g sifted brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon sea Salt

Liquid ingredients:
1/4 cup strong coffee (room temperature)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 big egg

Ingredients to add in the last step:
100 g almonds
1 cup of fresh raspberries, slightly crushed

Preheat oven at 170 degree Celcius

Toast the almonds 15 minutes until fragrant and golden.
Mix all the dry ingredients together.
In another bowl, mix the liquid ingredients.
Chop the almonds coarsely.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients without overmixing.
Finally, add the almonds and the raspberries (don't add the raspberries at the liquid state, I find bigger chunks of rasberries are lovely)
Mix the preparation.
Separate it into two streched logs (the size of the lengh of the tray), and place them on two baking trays, covered with baking parchement.
Bake 30 minutes or less, depending on your oven. the logs should be firm to the touch.
Change the temperature of the oven to 150 degree celcius

Take out from the oven and let them rest 10 minutes.

Slice the logs into 1cm thick slices.
Place the biscottis on the trays. Let them cook 5 minutes or more on each side, or until firm to the touch.
Let it cool down (otherwise the taste of rasberry won't be as strong as when it's cold ;) )...try to resist!









vendredi 8 août 2014

Read: Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson

 I think around 6 months ago, I was out of comics to read, and I wanted a little something to follow a few times a week. I found on a few websites (including the Mary Sue http://www.themarysue.com/40-webcomics-you-need-to-read/), regular high praise about Nimona.




I got so wrapped up in this webcomic, that I caught up with everything in a single night, finishing at dawn. And then I had to start WAITING for the chapters, like everyone did, twice a week!
The end is nigh for Nimona, we are coming to the final chapter, and I could not have gone without making a blog post about this beautiful webcomic.

One day, Lord Ballister Blackheart, a supervillain, takes under his wing Nimona, a shapeshifter.
But Ballister is not a villain as we could think, and he is trying to reveal the dark plots behind the people who claim to be the righteous ones, who are the "protectors of the Kingdom". He will try to canalize Nimona, who has quite destructive and explosive ideas.

First, the character of Nimona, I love the fact that she is no cliche girl, she has a punk hair style, piercings, and a generous body shape! exit the cliches of super slim heroin like we can see all the time. She can transform into a shark (to bring the best sense of humor), or into a dark beast (for the most dramatic scenes).
I love seeing the different transformations of Nimona, who reflect so well her emotions.
She is a whole mystery during the whole series, and you will be heart broken to discover her backstory.

Lord Ballister Blackheart is a splendid SuperVillain, who never accomplishes much, until Nimona pops into his life. Little by little, we will discover how he lost his arm and got his scar. His relationship with Nimona is of a father daughter relationship. He tries to calm her down, and understand her, and will go very far to help her. But Nimona is so deeply hurt I cannot help but wonder if it is going to finish nicely for these two.

Sir Goldenloin is the archeitypical knight in shiny armor (with a codpiece ;) ), and has become Ballister's Nemesis. I'm curious and anxious about his fate following the last few pages.

Overshadowing all this story, is the Director, a not so human character, head of dark scientific studies, she is pulling the strings of the Kingdom.

The world itself is a mashup of fantasy and science fiction.

Noelle Stevenson's style is really evolving through the whole run of the story. Her line is tender, and so is her story. She can bring you from laughter to being left eyes all watery, and the whole story develops beautifully. You might know of her as she has worked on Adventure Time

I have grown so fond of her characters, and the whole world of Nimona. When the comic is going to end, it's going to feel a bit empty.
But it is definitely a read I recommend you warmly. :)

Just so you know, there are some news about Noelle Stevenson's publishing!
Nimona will be published into two books by Harper and Collins (I cannot wait to hold it between my hands!), and she will also work on the adaptation of Sleepy Hollow comic books (which is a double hurray, two of my favorite "things" fused together!!).

Here is the link to Nimona, have a good sleepless friday night!
http://gingerhaze.com/nimona


mercredi 30 juillet 2014

Watch : Sleepy Hollow Season 1, by Alex Kurzman and Roberto Occi.



Following a mission from George Washington, Ichabod Crane beheads a Hessian soldier, and in the process looses his life. He is resurrected two and a half centuries later, as the Headless Horseman is summoned.
Lieutenant Abbie Mills starts investigating the Headless horseman, following the decapitation of her mentor, the Sheriff August Corbin.  Ichabod and Abbie's destinies will be closely intertwined, as they try to resolve the mysteries and strange events suddenly happening in Sleepy Hollow.


I don't want to give away too much about this tv show, as it would spoil it ;)
I really love the Ichabod and Abbie's relationship. Ichabod is  catapulted into modern Sleepy Hollow, where everything has changed. He brings an interesting point of view on things, as much as he is freaking out or revolted about how things have changed. For example, he is shocked that the doughnut holes cost $4.95 (and he's really shocked by the tax).
He gets surprised about how many Starbucks there are in town, or that you have to pay for bottled water.
He has a very pertinent eye on things.
Ichabod's story, we will discover, is more linked than he initially thought to the headless horseman.
I love the fact that he keeps his antique costume for most of the series, but for an episode where he tries the "constrictive" skinny jeans.  Needless to say, Tom Mison's accent and voice are a little extra

Abbie is a very interesting female lead. She was initially going to become a member of the FBI, but decides to stay in Sleepy Hollow to resolve her mentor's death. She happens to be the witness of the apocalypse. She has a sister, Jenny, who was sent to an institution following one of their childhood events. Abbie will have to cope all the first season with the fact that she tried to avoid facing her past, out of fear of being instutionalized too. But Abbie Mills will prove to be brave, resilient and quick witted. Her sister, Jenny (Lyndie Grenwood), is a tough woman who had to live a secluded life, and felt betrayed by her sister, which creates a tense atmosphere between the two.

Ichabod and Abbie will build a friendship based on loyalty, and maybe more. Their relationship reminds me a bit of Mulder and Scully in The Xfiles (ah beloved 90's tv show!).

The Headless horseman himself is a wonderful character, he adapts himself to modern weaponry and when his identity is revealed its such a big shock!

Katrina, Ichabod's wife, is stuck in a Limbo, where Moloch, the main antagonist, keeps her prisoner.
Once Ichabod discovers this fact, he will do anything to find her back.

Captain Irving (Orlando Jones) is a great character, you cannot help but wonder whose side he is with for the first few episodes. In the season finale, he has to make a terrible choice, which might compromise our two protagonists's future.

John Cho plays the agent of the evil forces, who is tortured between his feelings for Abbie, and his fear of the evil forces. He tries to gain redemption by helping Abbie resolving the cases.

John Noble is the cherry on the cake. He plays Henry Parrish, the Sin Eater, a much more complex character than you could think. I just think he is brilliant in that role, and I cannot wait to see how is character develops during season 2.

The costumes are brilliant, and so is the whole city of Sleepy Hollow, including the past version. There is a whole mythology of monsters and creatures, artefacts, and boobytrapped places, which make me enjoy each episode as much as a good old Indiana Jones.
The sense of quest and fight between good and evil is here, but nothing is black or white.
The season ends in an epic season finale, which will leave you in an agony to wait for season 2 . You will be lucky, if you just discover Sleepy Hollow, and will just have to wait a little bit less than two months for season 2.

OH ! in other Sleepy Hollow related good news, Noelle Stevenson, the creator of Nimona ( http://gingerhaze.com/nimona GO AND READ IT!), will be working on the comic book version, it makes me so happy!

Next season 22 of September!

































vendredi 25 juillet 2014

Read: THomas Alsop, by Chris Miskiewicz and Palle Schmidt -Boom Studios

Thomas Alsop is the current “Hand of the Island,” a title handed down from generation to generation. He guards Manhattan from evil, using his family’s prowess for magic. Being a thoroughly modern warlock, he deals with something even more evil than demons… reality television! (resume by Boom Studios)




Thanks to Dave's binge reading lately, I have discovered this very original graphic novel.
I love the title character, as he is an overmediatized warlock, behaving like Charlie Sheen. He is overundulging into alcohol, and having a tendency to blow up things. He has inherited his ancestor's title of Hand of the island (which happens to be Manhattan). To help him, he has a room full of artifacts, which I hope to discover more and more about.
I find it interesting to mix two polar opposites: Reality TV's superficiality and novelty, opposed to the secular knowledge of supernatural and magic.
It swings nicely between humor and dramatic.
Evil entities are present, and build up into an evil organisation in volume two. I wonder how it is going to tie in to the present.

What really caught my eye was  Palle Schmidt 's art, made in watercolour and brushes. There is so much depht in the colours, and the drawings are blending perfectly with Chris Miskiewicz's story.  Sometimes it turns to dark lavis, for flashbacks about Richard Aslop, the first hand of the island. And suddently there is a splash of red.
It's really letting place for imagination, and I love that sometimes, frames are left without any text needed, making the island itself a character (I sometimes find american comics can be overloaded and don't let place for silence, here it's not the case).

The issue number two leaves us on a cliffhanger absolutely incredible and dramatic, which might be a life changer for Thomas Alsop.
I'm looking forward to read issue three, it's going to be hard to wait!
                                                          Original cover by Palle Schmidt

EDIT Here is the website for THomas Alsop http://thomasalsop.com/, thank you Palle Schmidt!



samedi 19 juillet 2014

Eat: Wild Plum and lemon thyme clafoutis.

Following yesterday's foraging of wild plums and lemon thyme, I have decided to make a typical summer french recipe: a Clafoutis!


 Clafoutis  is a dessert originated from Limousin, in France, and was created in the 19th century.
It is initially made with black cherries, and you cook it with the pits, as they will give a nice almond flavor. I'm used to make it without the pits, as it drives my father crazy. If people eating with you are more patient, keep the pits, it will make a big difference!

The base of a clafoutis is a kind of flan, I think there is nothing more simple, and as enjoyable.

My grandad used to make it with cherries from the garden, and sprinkled it with that chouquette sugat (grain sugar). It's the kind of cake, where I cannot control my appetite, it's so moorish and comforting. I loved sitting in the veranda with my family, after a day playing in the garden, and eat grandad's clafoutis. Of course my grandad always kept the pits, to my dad's despair hehe...

125 g flour
300 g pitted wild red plums
75g melted butter
50 g sugar
250 ml of double cream ( if you are lactose intolerant, replace by soycream, it will still be gorgeous)
3 eggs
6 g baking powder (or half a sachet baking powder)
1 Pinch of salt
4 flower heads of Lemon Thyme (yes, it is a variety of thyme, with a powerful lemon flavor)
Grain sugar, as much as you wish! (I never succeed to find some sadly, but that's what grandad uses for his clafoutis!) . If you don't find it, replace by sugar.


Preheat the oven at 150 degree celsius

Dispose some flour in a mixing bowl.
Make a volcano.
Add the cream, the sugar and the salt.
Mix well.
Add the melted butter, the thyme and the yeast.
Wisk.
Butter a 20 cm round cake tin. Sprinkle with flour.
Pour the batter into the cake tin.
Dispose carefully your fruits. I like to have the red top of the plums appear, it looks like gems!
Sprinkle with grain sugar.

Bake until a blade comes out clean!



vendredi 18 juillet 2014

Eat: A bag of wild plums, sage, and chives...

When I was a kid, my grandparents used to have a gigantic garden, with many fruits growing in it...pears, cherries, red currants, strawberries, figs. It was just heavenly  to go outside and pick whatever we wanted to nibble on instead of candies. The way my grandad and parents were setting it was very traditional.
But one of our favorite things was to go out of this garden, and go into the wild of the Mount Cesar, and pick things we found...that must have beem some of my first experiences of foraging.
It went from mushrooms (with the supervision of my family), blackberries, hazelnuts or even asparagus!( I'm quite lucky in the fact that our grandad and our parents know amazing things about plants, and they are always teaching me so much every time I see them. They taught a lot because I had the bad habit of eating whatever I found berry or mushroom wise...)
It was to us children, a kind of treasure hunt, when we found something, it was like finding the Holy Grail. And as we came back home, there was the pride of eating what we had found, in sometimes very sneaky places ( back then it was quite easy to crawl to get asparagus beneath trees).

Then I moved to Rennes, and had to give up on these treasure hunts, but for some occasions, I could sometimes find hidden gems. I was dearly missing these moments of freedom in the countryside.

As I moved to Manchester, and most precisely, in Levenshulme, Dave and I discovered Highfield Park. This place is a gem for foraging, you can find anything, from wild plants, that you would consider to be weeds, but are actually edible, to mushrooms, blackberries, Hazelnuts....
We thought we had discovered everything!

So, today, I was supposed to do some printing with Jo, and she had the amazing idea to go outside to make some sketches! And there we went to highfield, armed with our sketchbooks and drawing supplies. We sat a while drawing in the sunshine, and it was blissful.


Then we had a nice walk, and I showed her the secret little forest, all mossy and with small weird trees. Generally we find mushrooms, but today this beautiful forest was covered with red wild plums!






It was a kind of magical moment, we were just so surprised to find it, and discover this at that very same place , where last year there was nothing...
So we opened  our handbags, and filled them with plums! Some plums had hedgehog bites on them. (You need to hear once in a lifetime a hedgehog eat a plum)

Right now I'm sitting home, with the heavy scent of these beautifully juicy and ripe plums. I'm still hesitating between just enjoying them raw, making a crumble, or a spirit....so many possibilities with this beautiful harvest.
Foraging season has officially started!!!


dimanche 13 juillet 2014

Watch/Read: Adventure Time, with Finn and Jake

                                                    Adventure Time, with Finn And Jake

In 2010, a cartoon series created by Pendleton ward started on cartoon network. It quickly became a sensation. I discovered it during free comic book day ( at Travelling man), and luckily enough, Netflix has its first season.

This cartoon is set in a post apocalyptic world of Ooo. Finn the Human is the last of his race, and he lives with his adoptive brother, Jake the dog. Both have decided to live a Hero lifestyle, saving people as they try to complete their quests and treasure hunts. Recurrent characters are  Princess Bubblegum, a  DR Frankenstein like character, who has created the candy kingdom citizens, Marcelline, the vampire Queen, a music enthusiast, and the ice King, a villain you just end up loving to bits, even if he has the bad habit of kidnapping princesses.
The Ice King likes writing fan fictions, where he creates feminine Alter Egos of our two heros, Fionna and Cake. This character has a tragic back story (which I still need to discover).

I really like the world created here, very much inspired by Dungeons and Dragons (ah childhood). It is a weird and sweet show, with a dark sense of humor. Sometimes you will be totally surprised by a dark twist, or some scary scenes (definitely not a tv show I would show to young kids).

Love every character features, some being quite not so important in the story, but still having their place, like Treetrunks, the elephant who bakes apple pies, or BMO, the gameboy who has a personality disorders.

I really enjoyed the episode, where Finn, wanting to be a bit more anomymous, disguises himself with a mustache As Davey Johnson, and ends up believing he is that alternate personality.
The episode where Marcelline's dad tricks her into wearing a necklace which transforms her into the evil ruler of the nightosphere is a really powerful one, with an important message.

Music plays an important role in this TV show, I dare you not to get a few of the silly tunes stuck in your head!

Adventure time is a surprising cartoon, a perfect little show to watch during breakfast, or for a cheerful sunday...

Have a good week!







mercredi 9 juillet 2014

Read:" THe stress of her regard" and "Hide me among the graves", by Tim Powers.

One of the lovely things about moving in with a gentleman, is to discover his books (and also for him to discover your own books).
 Dave recommended me these two books: :The stress of her regard" and "Hide me among the graves". I just wonder how I could not notice them (huh, a bit like I did with Game of thrones...).



The first book follows the story of Michael Crawford, who is about to marry. On a stormy night, before his marriage with Julia, he puts the ring on a statue, to avoid losing it. When he goes to retrive it, the statue and the ring have disappeared.
The day after his wedding, he wakes up next to the mutilated remains of his wife.
Little did he know he has married a Nephilim, and Nephilims are deadly jealous. As he flees from London to Swizerland, he will meet Lord Byron and Percy Blysse Shelley, who are also linked to the creatures. All the way he is pursued by Julia's insane sister, Josephine, who wants to avenge her sister's death.

Hide me among the graves is a follow up of the first book. You then follow John Crawford, who years ago, lost his son and wife. We discover the Nephilims are back, even more powerful. One day, a woman whom he had met on a a bridge, visits him again, and reveals they had a daughter, and she is now prisoner of one powerful Nephilim: Polidori.
Their destinies will be intertwined with Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriele Rossetti, and John Edward Trelawny the adventurer. Lurking are, Polidori, a Giant Woman, and a dead child with long arms and  a wicked smile.

I cannot really dissociate the two books from one another. I devored "The Stress of her regard", spending some sleepless nights, as I was so taken by this book.
In the first book, every page was a surprise, alternated with historical facts concerning real characters like Byron and Shelley. The tragedies in their lives are caused by the vampires/ muses. I really felt I was following the characters in the locations, and it made me want to read about these pillars of litterature.
One of the most powerful characters in this book is without a doubt Josephine. She let a very strong impression in my mind. She is deranged, somehow crazy, and its quite incredible to see how her character evolves in the book. I think it is one of the strongest female characters I've read about in years!

Hide me Among the graves, was much more horrific, there was a much stronger sense of dread.
I liked seeing Boddiccea as a Nephilim, she is truly terrifying in all appearances. The ghost boy is also gritty and spooky. I loved finding Michael Crawford's son years after the events of the first book, and discovering a new strengh. Mc Kee is again a strong female character, who is  leading the hero through their adventures, and he does not hesitate to follow her one second. I love the link with the Rossettis, this incredibly talented and cultivated family. The character of Christina wakes up Polidori, through some of her father's schemes. Her secluded religious life is explained by the fact she gave herself to a Nephilim when she was 14.
The scenes in the sewers are deranging and breath taking, but there is a certain beauty in wandering through these places. the action is epic and there are real moments of bravery!

There is that sense of attraction/repulsion which is dealt with in both books. Is inspiration worth all the suffering? is creativity the most important thing?

I highly recommend these two books, if you like fantasy, horror, and history.

Have a good read!



lundi 7 juillet 2014

Eat: Ginger's Comfort Emporium quirky ice creams...

Even before moving to Manchester, I had heard about Ginger's Comfort Emporium.
David was raving about "Chorlton's crack", a savant mix of Peanut butter and salty caramel. I was thinking, it couldn't beat Bertillon in Paris, but I was wrong!



For a person who has been living a bit more than 12 years in Brittany, THE place for salty caramel, and also an avid peanut butter addict, I absolutely melted with the first spoon.

Ginger's Comfort Emporium is a Manchester based business, created by Claire Kelsey and Dan Manicolo. It all started in a lovingly decorated van, which reminds me of Vintage Circuses and candy shops...
The van itself is a character, with its pink and burgundy decoration, gold leaf details and a beautiful golden wooden framed menu blackboard.

But what truly surprised me on my first experience, was the surprising flavors, just the names made me dream! "Marmalade on Toast","Extra Virgin Olive oil"," Lemon and Orange Blossom", "Green Meanie" (with Absynthe), ...the most surprising being the occasional "Camel Milk" flavor!
I once stopped there with French visiting friends (Pauline and Kevin) and the service by Dan was caring and smiling, he was a real sunshine

These are definitely ice cream for grown ups, but kids will still ask for more! (of course avoid any alcohol ice cream for kids).

They now have a shop in the famous Affleck's Palace, with a beautiful view on the city. Just going to Affleck's is an experience in itself. You pass through the Vintage clothing shop, and here Ginger appears...The place is cozy and quirky, and keeps its beautiful color palette...
You can stand on a high chair at the counter, or sit in the comfortable theater like sofas...
They have gleaned giant suitcases, retro record player, and even a massage chair ;)
I quite like the fact that the music is not over loud (because heh, when you eat with friends, you want to be able to have a good chat?).
 They serve their range of original ice creams, but also milkshakes, and a well balanced coffee.

When you eat in the shop, the ice cream is served into a cup, with a cone! a good extra, as generally, these are missing when you eat on site. The cone itself is crispy and full of flavor. The portion is  generous for one scoop. The prices are reasonable when you consider the high quality and selection  of unusual ingredients (around 3,50 a scoop if you are siting in). There is a real savoir faire.

I tried this time the delicious Extra Virgin olive oil. The balance of flavors is perfect, as the olive oil brings a green bitterness which is absolutely surprising, then it lets space for the sweet creamy flavor, with a nice pinch of salt.
Of course, David had his usual Chorlton Crack, in all its peanut buttery and caramely decadence...

Good news for you, now you can also buy the ice cream in 500 ml pot (Between 7,50 and 8 pounds a pot), if you want to bring a nice treat home for a movie night, with friends, or alone!

If you are too far away, why not trying their book "Melt"? you will be able to prepare at home delicious gourmet ice creams.

Give it a try, you will leave with a big smile on your face!

http://www.gingerscomfortemporium.com/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Melt-Claire-Kelsey/dp/1471101916

Edit the10th of July: Making a Summer 2014 re-entrance - FENNEL POLLEN with it's fragrant notes of honey and anise. Also LAVENDER from their garden, and on the sorbet front, PEAR & HIBISCUS, YUZU FRUIT, and GRAPEFRUIT & ORANGE BLOSSOM! So much goodness for you over summer. Levenshulme Market Camp & Furnace Beatherder Festival, Secret Garden Party Festival. Altrincham Market






vendredi 4 juillet 2014

Eat: Pandan Sundae

Summer is here, and I'm craving for ice cream!
But I have become so disappointed with mass produced ice creams, that lately, either I run to Ginger Comfort Emporium (http://www.gingerscomfortemporium.com/), or I end up making my own...

This recipe is initially made with Vanilla extract, but I found it a bit random, so i decided to try it with Pandan Extract.
Pandanus Amaryllifolus is a plant of the screwpine genus. You can either use the leaves, to create teh famous bright green pandan extract, or eat the fruit (which tastes a bit like mango).
Pandan extract has a very nutty/biscuity taste...try to remember these gorgeous green chinese rice cakes! When I was a kid, my parents used to bring me to a Vietnamese restaurant, l'Orchidee, where they served these delicious cakes, made of sticky rice and Mungo beans for dessert. I miss this restaurant, which my friend Kim held for a few years. I think it started my passion for east asian food :)



For this quick pandan ice cream, you will need:

175 ml sweet condensed milk
450 ml double cream (I recommend a good quality jersey cream)
2 Teaspoons of Pandan extract

* Mix all the ingredients together.
* Let it cool in the refrigerator. This will help rise better when whipping.
* Whip your preparation until soft peaks form. Don't over beat it, otherwise it will curdle!

Freeze for 3 hours.

If you have an ice cream maker, like a magimix for example, just follow the recipe, and then whip it in your ice cream maker just before serving! it will be very light and fluffy!

As it freezes, prepare a very simple chocolate fudge sauce.

50 g dark chocolate
4tbsp water
120ml condenses milk
25g Butter

* Put all the ingredients into your pan and let is melt.
*Cool down


Now prepare your sundae cups! I always put the serving cups in the freezer before serving, so the ice cream does not melt too quickly.
 Scoop your ice cream, between each scoop you can add exotic fruits and  Nata de coco. Nata de coco is a translutent jelly issued from the fermentation of coconut water, it has such refreshing taste, and the texture goes so very nicely with ice cream!
Then add whipped cream, and decorate with fruits and a waffer, if you are really cheeky.
Finally drizzle with the chocolate fudge sauce.

If you don't like chocolate, make a simple fruit sauce, by blending for example  225g  mango, the juice of one orange,  50gr or less sugar.

Mr Carden asks for this recipe frequently, and I quite like to make it if I have friends visiting and I want something simple but still bursting with flavor!

I hope you will enjoy,

take care,

Elisabeth Neveux

mardi 1 juillet 2014

Watch: Bram Stoker's Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola

THis week, the trailer for "Dracula:Untold" has aired, so I decided to treat myself with  Bram Stoker's Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola.

This version of Dracula is closely based on Bram Stoker's classic novel of the same name. A young lawyer (Jonathan Harker) is assigned to a gloomy village in the mists of eastern Europe. He is captured and imprisoned by the undead vampire Dracula, who travels to London, inspired by a photograph of Harker's betrothed, Mina Murray. In Britain, Dracula begins a reign of seduction and terror, draining the life from Mina's closest friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy's friends gather together to try to drive Dracula away. Written by Goth <brooks@odie.ee.wits.ac.za>

Gary Oldman as Dracula
Winona Ryder as Wilhemina Murray Harker
Anthony Hopkins As Dr Abraham Van Helsing
Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker
Tom Waits as Reinfield!
Sadie Frost as Lucy Westenra
Carie Elwes as Quincy P Morris
       


Evertthing starts in 1462.  One of the first sequences of the movie, which is treated like a shadow puppet theater, on a red blood sky. This scene is so graphic and cleverly made, it takes away some of the violence, because as you guess, you see Vlad tepes Impaling a man during war. Every time I saw this movie , I was thinking it reminded me of Mike Mignola's work , for its statues and really sharp shadows.
Until one day, when looking absent mindedly the end credits, I discovered Mike Mignola had worked as an illustrator on the movie, and also the comic book adapted from it. My mind was blown!

The story itself is really closely inspired by the original novel by Bram Stoker.  There are some changes, like for example Mina Being the reincarnation of Elizabeta, Dracula's wife .

About Dracula's appearance, I love the different phases Oldman goes through. From livid with victory rolls alike hairdo, robed into a crimson kimono richly embroidered. He is decayed and terrifying, he has a snake like appearance.
I love how is shadow is so important in the movie. You can see it prey on Jonathan Harker, and also on Mina and Lucy during the party.
He is a wolf like creature, after the shipwreck, when he rapes and bites Lucy Westenra.
When he moves to London, his appearance changes to that of a thin youthful man, with a sharply cut victorian suit. He also adorns a top hat, and to add to his strange appearance, he has long curly hair and blue sunglasses. He becomes all seduction, and then says the words "See me now" to Mina Murray (hence ending the hyptonic transe he started when he was raping Lucy).

Mina is a character I can sometimes find annoying, but as soon as she comes to meet Dracula , she takes some depth. As her memories from her previous life re-emerge, a lingering sensuality develops between her and the Prince Vlad. I still find she becomes much more interested when she discovers he is a prince hehe ;) ( an Elizabeth Bennett Syndrom?)
 I can kind of understand she falls for Dracula, who is voluptuous and much more tactile than Harker.
You can notice it in that scene where the wolves comes to the cinematograph, and where their hands intertwine in the wolf's white furr.

 Harker  (Keanu Reeves) is a character which does not catch any sympathy, he is maybe the most boring of all. He has a certain kind of coldness , and maybe is he a bit too perfect (even if he had a very special time with the three brides of Dracula).

Reinfield  (Tom Waits) is impeccable, he brings the creepiest out of that character, all in subtelty. the scenes in the asylum are grimy, and the blue lighting effects, with strong shadows, are really stricking! He becomes a subject of study to Jack Seward, who tries to decipher his violen habits, but also his peculiar food tastes.

The seduction and erotism play such a big part in this movie. The colours show it vividly, alternating for dark blue/grey/greens, to bright red.
Bright red you find in that scene where Dracula and Mina drink Absinthe. Her dress is luxuriously red as blood, when before she used to be dressed up in light colours in the cold hue.

 Even if Dracula admits to Mina that he killed Lucy, her best friend, she cannot help but love him, and give in to him in such an abandon ("Take me away from all this death").

The rest of the events will be a fight against time to avoid Mina's transformation. Lucy's ex suitors will team with Harker and Van Helsing to save her from turning too....

I don't want to give away too much details, as to me it would ruin the movie.
I think this movie is really incredible. i love the fact that Coppola decided to use traditional special effects, instead of going CGI. He worked in a very traditional way, and I think this is what gives that movie such a soul.

The storyboard artist Peter Ramsey created was inspired by classical art. 
Special mention for Eiko Ishioka (who sadly passed away). She was the costumer, and largely contributed to the shape of the characters. Her costumes were like jewels.
Her Dracula's armour is as if made of red muscles. It makes Dracula's appearance terribly menacing and impressive.
   



 I recommend warmly the 15th anniversary dvd, as there are bonuses about the movie's making off, it's a real treat. The cover itself is regal, with a splendid photo of Dracula in his red kimono.

What did you think of that movie? I think this is one of the movies people love or hate...










samedi 28 juin 2014

Read: Ted Naifeh's Princess Ugg!

A little bit more than one year ago, Courtney Crumrin, one of my favorite comic books ended. I had been following it since its first edition in France, and I somehow felt a bit like an orphan when the last page was turned.

This June, Ted Naifeh's long awaited "Princess Ugg" is out!
                           Ink and watercolour, Elisabeth Neveux, Inspired by Ted Naifeh's work!


Princess Ugg follows Ulga of Grimeria, Daughter of the fiery Queen Fridrika, and King Thorgrin. She is sent by her mother to pursue her Education in a school for princesses. Ugg is of  lineage of warriors, and wields a sword with bravery. But it doesn't make it less worrysome for her to go to that school
Ugg's design is great. Generally, when you see a warrior design, the character is still all skin and bones, but here, she is muscly. You can imagine she will grow into a strong willed woman, very much like her mother.
Nonetheless, she needs to go to school, where, i guess, she will learn from the other princesses, and they will themselves learn from her.
Her arrival causes a ruckus. Her first meeting with Lady Julifer (the personified vain and selfish princess), who happens to be her room mate, promisses to be rich in fun adventures, as these two learn to live together and accept each other! they will probably turn into odd best friends. Her arrival itself is a brawl, which delightfully reminds me of Harry Potter.
I love the fact that her pet is a wooly Mammoth... (who wouldn't love to ride a mammoth honestly?).
Maybe Ugg's accent is a bit tough for me to read, but  I get used to it little by little.
The character of the Headmaster reminds me of a mix of Severus Snape and Aloysius in Courtney Crumrin. I guess she is going to be a mentor to Ulga's during her adventures.

I'm looking forward to read the next issue! 
 Naifeh's is back at its best, initially I'm more of a black and white person, but his watercolours are a wonder, and they fit perfectly the atmosphere. The world Ted Naifeh has created is colorful.
I'm glad again to find a strong powerful female character for young (and not so young) readers.
I think this is why I love Ted Naifeh's work. Every time, like in Courtney Crumrin or Polly and the pirates, girls and women are strong individuals, and I think we need more of them!

                                           Princess Ugg Copyrights belong to Ted Naifeh.



mercredi 25 juin 2014

Eat: Summer Solstice Elderflower Liquor


Summer has arrived last week, with the summer solstice. A few weeks ago, I started making elderflower liquor. I used a recipe which was intended for  Japanese green plum liquor (Umeshu), and that I found years ago on the youtube channel "Cooking with Dog". If you don't already know this channel, go go now! this is a wonder, the chef has such an incredible dexterity!
Last year I tried it with blackberries I foraged with a friend.
Few weeks ago, the elderflower was blossoming, and I just wondered if it would work. Here is the result!

For this recipe, you will need
10 Elderflower heads
900 ml Vodka (choose a good quality if you can, but not a flavooured one)
250g Rock Sugar (the white one will keep a nicer liquor color

It's very important you pick the flowers early in the morning, to avoid having too many insects, and also for a finer taste... you don't want them to smell like cat urine! To carry your flowers, use a basket instead of a bag, to avoid crushing them, these are so very delicate, they deserve to be treated gently! Start preparing them right after picking them, so the scent keeps that nice floral flavor (that's why St Germain is so delicious).

Always sterilize the containers and caps, to avoid the alcohol to waste away, and keep it in a dark place, like a fridge, or your cellar, otherwise the colour will wither away.

Once you have sterilized your jars, cut away any stems, and place the flowers in the jars, and cover wth the vodka (really cover them, otherwise they will turn brown). Close the lid, and let sit two weeks in a dark place. (Shake the bottle twice a day)

The two weeks gone, filter twice to discard all flowers and eventually insects, and then place in a sterilized bottle, with rock sugar. Close again, and let it sit into a dark place, until the sugar is dissolved. Shake the bottle twice a day. This should take 4 to 5 days.

Your liquor is ready to serve!

We tasted a sample with Mr Carden, and we both appreciated it a lot. It was as if we could smell the fresh petals. The alcohol is going straight to your head, so don't abuse it !

We found it rather delicious with fizzy water, and we plan on experimenting cocktails with it very soon!

I hope you will enjoy it!

A votre sante! Elisabeth Neveux





mardi 24 juin 2014

Eat: What could it be?

A new recipe will be posted this week, until then try to guess what this recipe will be!
The video was filmed on the summer solstice, on the spurr of the moment which I think, couldn't be more appropriate for this preparation! Video by David Carden.

video

Have a good evening,

Elisabeth Neveux

lundi 23 juin 2014

Watch: Maleficent

Good afternoon,

I could not start the blog without making a post about Walt Disney's Maleficent. I had heard good and bad reviews about the movie, and decided to give it a try, because the trailer truely gave me goosebumps. *BEWARE, SPOILERS*

First, here is the plot summary by Walt Disney Pictures, found on IMDB:

A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land's fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal - an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces a battle with the invading king's successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom - and perhaps to Maleficent's true happiness as well.

                  Illustration by Elisabeth Neveux, ink Rohrer and Klinger, nibs Joseph Gillot

Maleficent was a great surprise, I was half expecting to be disappointed, considering some of my previous movie high expectations.
But I can say I truely loved the movie.
Story wise, I like the idea of trying to discover why a villain turned out to be a villain. It is not all black and white. Generally, it's quite easy not to try to understand the reasons, because a villain is made to be hated. But here, you discover the young Maleficent as a pure fairy, living in harmony with the other creatures inhabiting the Moors. She meets Stefan as a child, and as they grow up, they seem to fall in love. A human king tries to invade the moors, in a gripping battle. Maleficent proves to be a strong female character, leading the fight with the creatures of the moors. She is left victorious in this battle. But the greed consuming Stefan's heart makes him commit a terrible crime.
This scene is absolutely heart wrenching and violent, it was utterly surprising for a Disney movie. It clearly is a clever metaphore of rape in all its subtle violence. By ripping off Maleficent's magestic wings, Stefan leaves her crippled. But it just starts her wrath.

This follows up with the usual story, but with a very nice twist on the original story.

The role was clearly made for Angelina Jolie . I could not imagine anyone else impersonate Maleficent. I really loved Diaval, the shapeshifting crow, interpreted by Sam Riley, his character being a kind of eerie Jiminy cricket to Maleficient. Aurora was less my cup of tea, but Dakota Fanning did great, with a character who is always having a big smile on her face. For the three fairies, this is the bit of the special effects which did not work for me, they were looking half cheesy, half creepy, and I reckon I prefeered the three actresses in human size. The fact that these dangerously neglectful fairies are here, allows Maleficent to create a bond with Aurora, and she becomes a godmother to her. The king Stefan is terrifying, all consumed by his greed, living a loveless life and marriage. His obscession for Maleficent is devouring him.

The costumer, Anna B.Sheppard, and all her little hands, made an incredible job. Each piece of costume were giving life to the characters and their emotions. As Maleficent revenge's need grows, her costumes build up like a carapace, little by little concealing her pure and soft appearance.

The make up team also created blade like cheek bones on Maleficent, giving her a subtle but still out of this world appearance.

The sceneries are incredible, there is that mix of splendor in the Moors, which reflect Maleficent's state of mind. I reckon I prefeer the much darker sceneries, with the Brambles growing like a barrier around the moors. The scene where she sits on her throne, and the background turns into a skeletical structure is very clever, and chilling.

There is definitely pagan imagery, with the boar tree creature and its ent like rider.

There is a magestuous, whimsical and eerie beauty in Maleficent. It is much closer to original fairy tales by Charles Perrault and the Grimm Brother's versions in the spirit.
I just can recommend you to go see Maleficent, It might be slightly violent for the younger kids, but it will be definitely enjoyable for adults too!


Welcome on my new blog "Eat, Read, Watch!"...
I hope you will enjoy your time spent here.

There will be three categories in this blog, which are very dear to me.

I'm french, and as you know, food is something so very important in my lifestyle. Even when a french person is eating a delicious meal, that person will keep talking about food!
I will include recipes, but also restaurant reviews. Because I'm pretty lucky to live in Manchester, where the street food and restaurants are amazing!

Read and watch will be reviews about books and movies I love. I don't want this blog to turn into a kind of bashing website, I really want to share nice things I enjoyed, and that I think you might enjoy.
This blog will of course be illustrated, and contain some fan art illustrations.


It's a new experiment for me, I hope it will be pleasant for you!

Have a good day,

Elisabeth Neveux


Bienvenue sur mon nouveau Blog "Mange, Lis, Regardes!"...
J'espere que vous epprecierez le temps passe ici.

IL y aura trois categories sur ce blog, qui me sont tres cheres.

Je suis Francaise, et comme vous le savez, la cuisine tient une place importante dans ma vie!
Il y aura des recettes, mais aussi des reviews de restaurants. Parce que je suis vraiment chanceuse de vivre a Manchester,  ou la cuisine est vraiment fabuleuse!

Lis et regardes, seront des categories qui toucheront les livres et films que j'aime. Je ne veux pas que ce blog tourne en un cruel cassage de sucre pour le plaisir, je veux reellement partager des choses que j'ai apprecie, et qui je pense pourront vous plaire.
Ce blog sera bien sur illustre, et contiendra quelques illustrations de fan art!

C'est une nouvelle experience pour moi, j'espere qu'elle vous sera plaisante!

Bonne journee,

Elisabeth Neveux