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.

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