Blue & Purple

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Last weekend, Andrew and I bought tickets to see a play at the Apollo Theatre.  We had never been there before and I saw that the play “Love in Idleness” was offering discounted tickets.  Later I found out that Anthony Head (Rupert Giles to all you Buffy fans) was in the starring role and I became starstruck!

I’ve been asked to borrow a chair by Vin Diesel and sat in the same rollercoaster carriage as Nicolas Cage, but I have never felt so giddy.  If you’re really confused as to why, just start with season one of Buffy and work your way up.

Anyway, this is the ceiling of the Apollo theatre.  It is a cover-up for the fact that the ceiling caved in last year during a heavy rain while a show was going on.  I thought this was so pretty and reminded me of a winter night in Minnesota, but horribly out of place with statues of the sun god all around.

The play was mediocre, but we still had such a fun night out on the town.  If you haven’t been to a play in a while, why not make a night of it!?

 

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Yellow & Green: Chickpea “Omelette”

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I have had this horrible aversion to eggs recently.  I think they smell like a combination of wet dogs and dirty feet.  Not to mention the fact they are chicken periods.  Well, enough of yucking your yum and I’ll get to the tasty part.

This breakfast staple was made with gram flour (made with chickpeas and available in all major grocery stores as it is a staple in Indian cooking), parsley, and onions.  We got the recipe idea from this blog.  Here are some other ideas of flavour combos to try:

Italian:  parsley, basil, and tomatoes

Mexican: Cilantro, cumin, and mango salsa

Japanese: onions, mushroom, cabbage, and soy sauce

Sweet:  nutmeg, cinnamon, peanut butter, strawberries, maple syrup

🌈Steph

 

 

Blue: ATP world finals and public shaming

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It has finally happened: I’ve made it to a tennis tournament.  We’re sitting in the 3rd to last row and I need glasses desperately, but we’re here all the same!

Attending a tennis tournament at the o2 centre is like going to an NBA game: there are fancy lights, popcorn for sale in the stands, deep-voiced and dramatic announcers, and cheesy sound effects.  The only difference?  The crowd.  Tennis crowds appear civilized on the surface, but when the time comes, they’re out for blood.

If a spectator produces even one decibel of sound or a small amount of illumination many players will refuse to serve, looking to Chair Umpire for support while the camera man hones in on the perpetrator, projecting the image on the big screen and thereby subjecting the poor fellow to public humiliation.  I mean, this crowd will hold back when it’s time to cheer for 40-Love, but when there’s an opportunity to publicly shame someone, they will let loose!

I used to think that the perpetrator (who shall hereby be referred to as “camera guy”) should know better.  I would assume the worst and conclude that camera guy deserves it.  But I realized at the last match a whole range of circumstances that could explain the “rude” behavior of camera guy.

  1.  It could be the person’s first match.  In fact, seeing the look on the guy’s face as the camera zoomed in on him…I think it might have been.  He was shocked and confused about what was happening.
  2. The person may not speak or read English well. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve made mistakes in foreign countries because I couldn’t read the signage or understand the person talking to me.
  3. They really just want that social media photo.  So even if 1 and 2 aren’t true, who cares?  Public shaming doesn’t work to change people’s behavior, it just breeds anger and hate.

This culture of public shaming is out of control, the most famous case being Justine Sacco.  Do you really think that “camera guy” is going to leave the match thinking, “I’ll never do that again.  Gee, I’m sure glad I see the error of my ways?”  Just like a child put in time out in the corner is not thinking about how to do better time, but instead bubbling up with anger and shame, so is camera guy.  Who knows what he’ll do next?  Lash out and someone who cuts him off?  Yell at an unsuspecting waiter?  Hate breeds hate, and booing at someone who just came to watch a tennis match is hateful.

It’s no better than a bunch of kids clapping loudly at a classmate who dropped his lunch tray in the middle of the cafeteria instead of offering to help him pick it up.  Grow up tennis fans.  I’m going to try and do the same.  The last thing we need are more bullies in this world right now.  Take it from Roger,

🌈 Steph

 

 

 

Rainbow of Books

In the last two weeks I have decided not to ride my bike to work as often because of the cold, the dark, and the effort.  This means I’ve had more time to read.  I have read more in the last few weeks than I have in all of 2016.  I have read 5/6 of the Man Booker Prize Shortlist.  I read two books that people gave me to borrow instead of leaving them on a shelf to gather dust for a year until I sheepishly return it and admit that I’m giving it back because I don’t think I’ll ever read it.  I have read magazine articles, newspaper clippings, academic journals, poetry, short stories, essays, and even the informational placards at museums and on the sides of noteworthy buildings.  I’ve been reading articles people send me at work.  I’ve been a reading maniac.  And while the destructive and violent noises of the explosions from the fireworks blast outside non-stop for two weeks straight, I am safe inside reading like I did when I was a kid: voraciously, engrossed, under a blanket, as I nod off to sleep.

Follow the Yellow Staircase

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The famous yellow staircase is a fixture of the Southbank Centre and of the entire south waterfront in London.  Over the years, I find myself here time and time again whether it’s to see a photography exhibit, to see Andrew play, or to use their free public bathrooms.

Yesterday, I took a group of five middle school girls to see a play here.  Due to some disorganisation beyond our control and poor timing, we were actually about four hours early for the play.  At first, it seemed like this was going to be a hardship, however, the girls were immediately drawn into the various activities and stalls that the centre had to offer.  We were able to walk around the amazing food market where I ate Sri Lankan street food known as Kothu Roti, which is also yellow in colour.

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I’ve got to learn how to make this.  After the food, it was time for a little workshop on the United Nation’s Right of the Child.  I learned there are a lot of them, and they’re written in a child-friendly way on light yellow paper.

It’s good for kids to see how they have the right to be treated.  Appropriately after that workshop we went to see a play called Layla’s Room.  This is a three-person play written as a single story but is actually an amalgamation of hundreds of girls’ stories from across the UK.  The play is narrated by a young girl who was sexually harassed and assaulted in her school while she deals with her peers, the administration, and parental reactions.  The girls enjoyed it and found it to be relevant to their world.  I can’t wait to talk about it more when we get back to school.

🌈 Steph

 

Orange/Organic/Oregon

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I was so excited on Sunday that I had found a recipe for sugar-free pumpkin bread on one of my favorite cooking blogs.  I had all of the ingredients except for the pumpkin purée.  I tried every single store in Muswell Hill, but no one had pumpkin.  Some people even looked at me funny when I asked about it.  The lady at Holland and Barrett said, “We have pumpkin seeds?”

I quickly got on the phone and asked Andrew to grab a couple of cans in the US and bring them home.  He brought this organic, local pumpkin from Corvallis which made a really nice pumpkin bread.  Is it still “local” if you put it in a suitcase and bring it to London?

🌈 Steph

 

Bus Stop Rainbow

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Every day I check my phone between 4:15 and 5:00 at this bus stop.  Some people might think it’s weird that it’s the only time that I check my phone every day.  I think I let the texts and the e-mails pile up for 24 hours because I really like having something to look forward to on this last leg of my journey home.  Today I had a long e-mail from an old friend, a text from Andrew saying he had a good flight, and one of my favorite blogs had an update.  What’s more, I looked up and saw this gorgeous, vibrant rainbow.  And then, I got home, and there was a rainbow in my backyard.  What a great day.

🌈 Steph

 

Red: Rosehips

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Rosehips are in bloom all over the UK right now.  Last week, on a backpacking trip to Wales, I ordered a Ploughman’s and on the platter there were rosehips in the salad.  At the time, I didn’t know what the sweet and tart little morsels were.  Yesterday, Andrew and I went on a bird watching trip to Rye Meads and I saw these growing.  I have since identified them as the same berries on my Ploughman’s and therefore as rosehips.  I could be completely wrong, and if I am, please let me know.

I know rosehips are used in naturopathy as a mood stabilizer and in my moisturizer as a smoothing oil.  Here’s to multi-use plants.

🌈 Steph

 

Purple Cauliflower

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Hi everyone!  Not only is it a beautiful day in London, it’s the Autumnal equinox tonight (technically tomorrow early morning), and we’re having purple cauliflower tacos for dinner!

The lack of good Mexican food in London has driven us to make it ourselves quite a bit.  We order some ingredients online, like chiles in adobo sauce and cornmeal.  The other stuff we usually get at the farmer’s market.

Happy Autumn.  Love,

Steph

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Blue: Tennis cake

 

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Believe it or not, a Tennis Cake is a thing.  It was an elaborate Victorian Cake made with a fruit cake base and a marzipan and fondant topping.  I saw this cake for the first time on the Great British Bake Off as the technical challenge:

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When I first made this cake, it was for the Australian Open, which has blue tennis courts.  In addition, although I love the GBBO, I usually hate their recipes because in order to make such elaborate things, they often sacrifice flavor.  No one wants a big mouthful of fondant icing ever, but especially on top of a fruit cake.  So I made a few adjustments.

The fruit cake recipe I used is from Christopher Kimball’s The Desert Bible. This is my old standby dessert cookbook.  Everything in there is perfect.  Now, I hate fruit cake, I think it’s super nasty.  I always think I’m going to like it and then I don’t.  I have to say, this fruitcake was amazing.  It was moist, boozy, and had this amazing sort of bread pudding texture I can’t quite describe.  I also discovered that treacle is molasses.  I’ve always wondered what that was ever since I first saw Alice in Wonderland.

The next amendment I made to the original is I decided to build the tennis court out of marzipan instead of fondant.  Although fondant would have looked smoother and been easier to work with, marzipan just tastes so good.  And I dyed it blue.

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I did make some fondant to create the yellow and green stripes on the sides and I used royal icing to make the tennis net and the lines on the court.

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Today is the men’s final of the US Open, which, you guessed it, now has a blue court as well!  If you’re feeling super motivated, you can make one in Wawrika’s honor.  Go Stan!

I’m thinking green coconut icing for Wimbledon and cocoa dusting for French Open…

P.S.  It took me three weeks to think of a post associated with blue.  If I’m going to keep this up, I need your help!  Post a comment about blue things you see in your life.

Love,

Steph