Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cupcakes for Isabel...

What is it about cupcakes? Isabel has an absolute passion for them, like nobody I else I know.

When she travels somewhere new, she likes to go on- line to find the cupcake shops in the area.

Whilst visiting my brother in Surrey, we stumbled on a very sweet cupcake shop called "Mirabelle's Cupcakery"... Isabel insisted we go there - twice in fact... The first time she went in alone, just to suss the place out, and bought one cake to see if they were any good.. the second time, I went in there with her, with the hopes of taking some fun photo's..., I like to ask people if their ok with me taking photo's, and in fact, I've never been told "no", however this day, I was told "no"... which was disappointing. The place was very charming, decorated in 1930's decor..., it would have photographed nicely.

So, no photo's, but Isabel talked me into buying cupcakes for all the family (for breakfast!)... I quite enjoyed myself actually, each of the different cupcakes had been named after a famous Hollywood actor or character... Dolly Parton, Forest Gump, Johnny Cash, Scarlet O'hara, Doris Day etc... So, we bought one of each.

I was thinking I would enjoy just watching folks demolish these delightful little creations with just a little bit of envy, when I found myself asking,,, "I don't suppose you make Gluten Free cupcakes do you?" And to my great delight, she said yes, and pointed to a lovely vanilla one with cream cheese frosting, and raspberry on top!... Wow, my lucky day...
So armed with a box of cupcakes and several pounds (British Sterling Pounds) lighter, we headed to my brothers house, where I photographed them, then Isabel cut them up so that everyone to try a few. The kettle was put on, and everyone came into the dining room for cupcakes and tea... (a very un- English breakfast!)

What's the strangest thing you've ever had for breakfast?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Winchester Cathedral et al..

Photo's of Winchester (the streets were a little Harry Potterish in places)

So, we popped over the English channel (or should I say "under"), by way of the Eurostar train.
I don't know what I was expecting, but I think part of me was dreading going under the channel, but, with Isabel and Caelin to keep me distracted, we saw light at the end of the Chunnel in no time, and quite suddenly we were no longer in France, and we were in England.. It was such a comfortable experience.. I would happily do it again.

From my brother's house in Surrey we drove roughly 45 minutes to the delightful town of Winchester...,,, does anyone remember the 60's classic "Winchester Cathedral" sung by the New Vaudeville Band??? I remember it clearly, I was 5 years old when it came out, it made #1 in the pop charts here in America... It seems like just last year!

It was lovely to walk around this very old English town with its Tudor buildings and cobbled streets. The famous cathedral looked brilliant in the afternoon sun, sadly we didn't have time to go inside, as we had other journeys to make. However, I did find a few minutes to pop into the store I've heard so much about from other bloggers... "Cath Kidston." She's an English designer, who's become as well known as Laura Ashley it seems... With a speciality of vintage, Kitchy, 50's style, household, clothing, haberdashery (don't you just love that word?) She also designs fabrics, wallpaper and jewelry.... I must confess, when I walked into the store the first time, I had was so overwhelmed by the cheery-ness of the whole place, I had to leave.. it was an overload to the senses... But, I thought I'd give it another chance as we were walking back to the car park... Instead of being overwhelmed by everything, I focused my eyes on just the kitchen stuff, and found some lovely tea mugs with bright and cheery patterns... The shop keeper wrapped them so thoughtfully and well in bubble wrap (so well they made it back to the US without any breakages.) I brought back a catalog from the store, and my daughter Isabel sat at the kitchen table tonight circling all of the Cath Kidston stuff she'd like us to order!

It was so lovely to spend time with my 2 brother and their families...

Nobody makes my laugh like my 2 youngest brothers..

I think I'll have to go visit them again soon, I miss the laughter... and the love.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Food In Paris..

A Selection of typical faire available on the streets of Paris... sighhhhhh....

Before we left for France and England, Selena a blogging friend of mine, AKA http://apronthriftgirl.typepad.com/ had said to let her know how things went for me being a gluten free eater in Paris.. She too is gluten intolerant and over the past couple of years, we have shared recipes, and tips on where to eat when traveling (mostly within the states,) and generally commiserated with each other about living life without "real" bread...

I can't remember which of my girls asked me a couple of years ago, what my favorite thing to eat in the whole world was? I answered without a pause,,, Bread...

I LOVE bread, crusty, artisan, nutty, seeded, pecan raisin filled, sourdough, baguette, levain... you name it... and I have LOVED it to bits..., but alas..., it did not love me, or should I say the protein (gluten) in the wheat used to make bread, did not love me, and in fact had made me quite sick for many years without me knowing it. Which is why I no longer eat any foods with wheat, barley, rye or oats...

So here I found myself in what must be the "BREAD EATING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD".... I have just one question... Does everyone walk around this city with a baguette in their purse, backpack, or back pocket, ready to pull out and chomp at a moments notice...? It seemed that every time I walked outside in Paris, there was someone, walking along pulling a fresh baguette out of its paper sleeve and taking bite after bite of tasty, crusty, crunchy delight! Even our taxi driver had a half eaten baguette in the front passenger seat of his vehicle!

So truthfully, this was a not so easy part of the trip, and if I could do it over, I would rent an apartment, where I could make food, I would go shopping in the open air markets, and learn to forage for GF foods like I do at home...

In fact, when I return to Paris, I shall rent an apartment, and do research to find where the Gluten Free bread is to be had, because as I have figured out,,, The French do food like nobody else..., and somewhere I just know, there is a GF bakery hidden away in some corner of Paris, selling, the BEST GF breads, croissants, and all manner of tasty treats done exquisitely well, because exquisite food is what Paris is all about, and why would their Gluten Free food be any different?