An Evening In Cannes

I’m working on a project I’ll talk about later in a future blog, however, today’s post is part of that project.  I’ve been asked to write a post about my dream dinner in my favorite place.  What fun!   Something new to experience, a wonderful opportunity to share something I actually got to do, with a bit of whimsy and fantasy thrown in!  I think you’ll enjoy today’s offering and, who knows, you may even be inspired to go to the South of France and see for yourself!

I’m sure you’ve heard of Cannes, France.  It’s home to the world famous film festival.  Canne is smack dab on the lovely coast of the Riviera, the shopping is unbelievable and the food….that’s where it all begins for me!

Checking in at the fabulous Carlton Hotel, just across the street from the beach is always exciting!   It stands majestically, just as it has since 1911.  The hotel is now part of the renowned Inter-Continental group, offering the best of everything to visitors from all over the world.  I particularly love the fact that wi-fi is readily available.  Since I don’t speak French fluently the fact that many sites now have translation software  is extremely important to me as a writer.  I’m finding this tool more and more valuable as I research places I dream of going around the globe.  But let’s get to the important thing about this post…..FOOD!

I will never forget the dinner I enjoyed at a small, family owned bistro on a side street down the way from the hotel.  I love to find out of the way  places that truly deliver a dining experience that will never be forgotten.  Romance is always in the air when you find yourself in France.  It is the country of love, enjoyment and fabulous food.  This dinner did not disappoint me.

Baked Lobster tails in Ginger and Butter sauce

Served in courses, we began with a meal of freshly caught seafood….langoustine.  Served on a rustic platter with the most delicious aioli sauce for dipping the succulent meat.  Champagne accompanied this first course.  A very simple offering, beautifully presented with intricately carved raw vegetables, so fresh you could taste the Mediterranean in every bite!

Following this course another platter was served to my party of four, also in a casual way with the most perfectly prepared filet of beef, surrounded by fresh vegetables, so lightly steamed and tossed with a butter sauce…I still remember the flavor.  A mellow beaujoulais accompanied this course.   I continue to reproduce this dish as best I can here at home.  It always brings back the memory of that evening, the company I enjoyed, the soft French music playing in the background…perfection!

A cheese platter arrived at the table after the beef course was finished.  A beautiful selection of cheese!  A triple cream, perfect for spreading on a freshly baked baguette, a wonderful bleu cheese that paired with plump grapes an aged gouda so nutty and yummy.   The traditional wedge of brie and a bit of goat cheese with crunchy walnuts and other dried fruits.  I’m feeling completely sated by the end of this course that is accompanied by a light burgundy when dessert arrives.

I am a chocoholic, I openly admit this.  When a warm chocolate souffle arrived at the table, each of us had our own little dish.  The waiter pierced the top and poured melted French chocolate into the souffle followed with rich, whipped cream, lightly sweetened, I felt like I had arrived in heaven.  So light and creamy, the perfect end to a fantasy meal that I will always remember.

A walk back to our hotel, along the lovely Boulevard de la Croisette, a bit of brandy on our balcony and a perfect night’s sleep completed that first night completed what I remember as the “perfect” day.  I dream of returning to experience this trip and will be doing so before too long!  The South of France is a magical place.  I could easily live there, enjoying the lifestyle, so laid back and sensual.  If you get the opportunity to visit grab it and go!  Which reminds me!  I’ve got to get my passport updated and renewed…I don’t want to miss the chance to leave at a moment’s notice!

Love Is In The Air….And The Music!

 

 

February is fast approaching, the season of love, love love.  Coastal Symphony of Georgia is treating us all to a fabulous evening of romantic music from famous composers!  You’ll want to make sure you have tickets for this offering of Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Edward Elgar and Richard Strauss.

PicMonkey Collage love stories

Feast your ears to these favorite romantic compositions.  The concert is entitled “Love Stories”….the selections are perfection!

Nothing is more romantic than beautiful music!  We all remember that special song that recalls the night we fell in love.  On February 9th, at 8:00 pm in the beautiful new auditorium at Brunswick High School you will hear some of the most famous classical works of love ever written.  Coastal Symphony of Georgia, conducted by Maestro Luis Haza, is one of the finest symphony orchestra’s in the state.  Listen to a sampling of the fantastic music you’ll enjoy when you attend this wonderful concert!

Love Stories from Robert Morrissey on Vimeo.

 For tickets and more information go here:  http://www.coastalsymphonyofgeorgia.org/.  Get your tickets before they are completely sold out and begin the month of love with your sweetheart.

Miss Fanny

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It’s hard to believe this is the last week of January.  Next Sunday is February 1st, the beginning of black history month.  The historic character I’m writing about is not African American, but she did champion the call for abolishing slavery through her book, “Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839 in England in 1863.  Her name was Fanny Kemble.

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Fanny married Pierce Mease Butler in the 1830’s.  Mr. Butler was the heir to his grandfather’s legacy which included 100’s of slaves and several plantations on Georgia’s Sea Islands.  But Fanny could never get used to the treatment or even the idea of slaves.  She was definitely outspoken for her time, leading to her divorce from Pierce Butler in 1849.

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Fanny Kemble was an accomplished actress, an icon of the British stage to which she returned after her divorce.  She held off publishing her journal for two decades so as to keep peace between herself and Pierce Butler.   This book is the Englishwoman’s condemnation of slavery, vivid descriptions of her life on Southern plantations and the evil she witnessed while living there.  The book caused a sensation throughout Great Britain.  Fanny returned to life in the United States after the civil war when her eldest daughter, Sarah, married a prominent doctor in Philadelphia.  Fanny made her home in Philadelphia and supported herself travelling up and down the East coast and Europe delivering her famous Shakesperean readings.

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Truly a woman ahead of her time!  This is my favorite quote from Fanny Kemble when she spoke of life in Coastal Georgia:  “I should like the wild savage loneliness of the far away existence extremely if it were not for the one small item of ‘the slavery.'”  Her dedication to writing in her diaries, sharing her life experiences as well as reporting on the flora and fauna to be found in her time lives on today.  You can still find this book in print either on-line or through G.J. Ford here on St. Simons Island.

 

Winter Wonder…

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I wrote about the crab trap baskets that Andy Hill made and delivered to me in a post last week.  I planted winter flowers and something extra last week….purple swiss chard.  I may add a few herbs and things this week as spirit guides me.  But here are the results.

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A flat of multi-colored pansies….

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Garnet colored Snapdragons….

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And Swiss Chard complete the mix for now.

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I love the combination, it’s perfect for the time of year, the rich winter tones that warm the soul!  I may complain about the hot, humid weather we experience in late summer, but this time of year reminds me why I love living on St. Simons Island so much.  I feel so very blessed!

Simple Sundays

 

“Silence Speaks” by Secret Garden is such a beautiful video.  Soothing, peaceful…perfect for a quiet Sunday morning.  Family is coming in from Austin, Texas later today as well as Vermont.  I haven’t seen my cousin in years so I’m really excited to welcome him into our home here on the island and introduce him to my husband!  I’ll be preparing a low country boil later, chilling the wine and beer, preparing for their arrival.   I love Sundays and this one is very special.  I wish you all a magical day filled with happiness and contentment.  Take a moment to be silent…..enjoy!

On The Radio

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The event is tonight!  I talked with Mary Griffiths and Beverly Trainor about Cabaret!  This fun event has been orchestrated to benefit the Coastal Symphony of Georgia.  Hear  all of the fun details of what you’ll be treated to this evening when you attend!

Finally Friday!

I love sharing great recipes with  you and even more when my friends share their favorites with me!  Today I’m featuring a yummy soup prepared by my friend, Jan.  This looks like the ticket for a chilly winter’s evening meal.  A crisp green salad is about all you need to accompany this easy recipe for Loaded Potato Soup you’ll find on myrecipes.com.  I’ve found several really good things on this site so I’m excited to try this one.  Let me know if you make it as well!  And don’t forget to add a wonderful glass of wine….cheers!

jan's potato soup

Loaded Potato Soup

4 (6-ounce) red potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 bacon slices, halved
1.5 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/3 cup)
4 teaspoons thinly sliced green onions

1. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave on HIGH 13 minutes or until tender. Cut in half; cool slightly.

2. While potatoes cook, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk; add to pan with 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring to a boil; stir often. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper.

3. Arrange bacon on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a paper towel; microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. Crumble bacon.

4. Discard potato skins. Coarsely mash potatoes into soup. Top with cheese, green onions, and bacon.

Talica!

PicMonkey Collage Talica 2

What is Talica, you ask?  It’s a wonderful organization that is 100 % dedicated to expanding access to information for public schools and others in very rural and isolated areas of Central America.  You can read more about this non-profit group here:  www.talica.org.  The pictures above are just an example of what Talica does with funds raised.  This building, before and after, is now the site of a wonderful community center on the first floor and a library on the second floor.  Representatives from Talica travel to remote areas in Central America to meet with people, see what is needed and then decide how funds will be invested to help.  This particular building is located in Balgue, Ometepe, Nicaragua.  It is the information base for the entire area, serving over 1,000 children and parents.  Literacy is so very important for people all over the world.   Sue Ellen Wortzell, Founding Director of Talica, is an Atlanta educator who works tirelessly to promote Talica and its goal to educate and inspire people in Central America who would not otherwise have this opportunity to learn.  Talica is dedicated to bringing books and information to rural impoverished regions of Central America.   The written word, as presented in books for all ages, is what opens the mind and allows people to grow and experience life at its best.  Their motto:  We find schools that can’t find us!

PicMonkey Collage Talica 1

Talica North/South Dinner 2014

On Saturday, January 31st. a very special event is taking place at one of my favorite restaurants, Coastal Kitchen.  The North/South dinner will be held in the private dining room of the restaurant.  Two amazing chefs will join to provide an elaborate meal that will delight and satisfy the most discerning palate!  My friend, photographer, Donna MacPherson is on the Talica Board of Directors, hence the connection with the North.  Donna was born in Nova Scotia and visits family there regularly.

Chef Alain Bosse

Chef Alain Bosse

Chef Alain Bosse aka The Kilted Chef, will represent the North, via Donna’s invitation.  He travels to St. Simons Island for the event from Nova Scotia. He brings the most delectable lobster and mussels with which to prepare several of the evening’s dishes.  What fun to watch this talented chef prepare fresh seafood and other yummy treats!

Chef Darin

Chef Darin

The South is represented by Chef Darin Sehner from Savannah’s The Mansion On Forsyth Park.  Chef Darin is the talented executive chef at this fabulous property that I featured in a recent post.  He is delightful and uber talented as well!

Both chef’s will work together to create an evening you will never forget!  An event like this doesn’t come around every day!  I highly recommend the dinner as well as supporting the organization, Talica.  More information on this event is on the website, listed above.  Bon Apetit!

The Fifth….

 

Happy Anniversary | All Wallpaper Spot

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You may read the title of this post and think I’m going to discuss the Fifth Amendment.  Or, perhaps, a fifth of scotch whiskey.  No, that is not the subject of today’s post.  The subject is the Fifth Anniversary!  That’s right. Ya’ll probably think I’ve been with Mr. T for years and years….ah that it were so!  When it comes to anniversaries my husband is a traditionalist.  He carefully surfs the internet to find out just what the gift for each year should be.

How to Get Started Writing a Book: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

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The first year was a journal and a book of poetry, for paper.

Pillow Cover Wedding Gift Cotton Anniversary Gift by Jolie Marche

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The second year was a piece of cotton clothing….the list also says a beach vacation, but we basically live on the beach.  Isn’t this pillow a cute idea?

Third Wedding Anniversary ~ Leather Cards

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I believe the third year was something leather, oops…I can’t remember exactly.

A dozen white roses accented with seeded eucalyptus in a simple glass vase. Florist delivered roses to wow. Delivery today by a florist available.

And the fourth flowers.  He always chooses the most romantic cards and writes “Your Loving Husband” before signing his name…so sweet.

Love these wood ends... beautiful. Dynamic, hilarious, delivery, humor, familiarity, taking it easy, playful

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Our fifth anniversary is this coming Friday, the 23rd.  I just went on-line to see what the recommended gift is for the fifth year.  WOOD????  Really???  I am not even going to venture to guess what he may decide upon for a gift!

Here are a few ideas….of what I would not want!

This is BEAUTIFUL! It's the "Perfect Match" Wood Puzzle Piece keepsake from PMall - you can pick from 3 beautiful quotes and have it engraved with your names and any message - great wedding gift or Valentine's day gift idea ... or great 5th Anniversary Gift idea because "Wood" is the traditional 5th anniversary gift!

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I am not a person who gravitates toward cute little wooden plaques like this…sweet, but not me.

5th year anniversary is in May...I would LOVE this ring. The traditional 5th year anniversary gift is wood.

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And this wooden ring…pretty, but not me.

Couples Ornament, Natural cherry wood personalized ornament, Gift for him or her, 5th anniversary gift

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Perhaps this?  Noooooooo….

I repinned this from someone else and the actual link is gone, but I think it would look great in a garden or flowerbed.

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I will be happy with flowers….or maybe some interesting wooden napkin rings…a walk on Driftwood Beach?  I’m liking this driftwood heart as well!  Whatever he decides I will cherish it just as I do him!  Five years of marriage and our sixth year together.  The other night he made the comment that we’re in this for the long haul.  Yesiree!  This is IT for me.

Winter Flowers

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Remember the antique crab trap planters I featured in a post last year?  I’m continuing to have so much fun with them!

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Now is the time of year that winter flowers are everywhere!  I’m loving pansies, petunias and snapdragons!

I’m considering filling the planters with these……

Possibly a few of these……

And maybe some of these!

Living in Coastal Georgia gives us so many options!  Give me your opinion and I’ll feature my final decision when all is planted!