FRIDAY: MORNING LIGHT DETAILS

No Friday Flowers today but instead I want to show you my

Morning Light Details

Morning Light Details is actually a hashtag (#) I use over on Instagram. If you go to my Instagram page, click on the image of “One Leaf Four Ways” you will see #morninglightdetails over there on the right.
For those of you Instagram-savy, just bear with me!

I post often to Instagram. It’s kind of a daily posting of where I am, what I’m seeing, new things I like, ways of looking and photographing scenes or objects, and whatever catches my eye. It is, by far, my favorite social media tool! It’s very visual and yes, it’s really very easy to share just about anything with followers and the world. If you don’t have an Instagram account you can still stay tuned in by coming here, to the blog, and going over to the sidebar to this icon:

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Click HERE

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This was just taken and formatted today, Thursday.

 

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Following are miscellaneous shots, all taken in the morning, and all with the
#morninglightdetails.
If you are on Instagram and would like to join in, just use that hashtag!


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Naturally, I have many images of where I live, as that is where I walk in the mornings. Between the fog, the Belties, hay bales and the white fence, there is lots to see…

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ORANGE LAVENDER POLENTA CAKE

Time for a new recipe!

A friend of mine recently lent me the book,
“A Fine Romance: Falling in Love With the English Countryside” by Susan Branch.

My friend knew of my then-upcoming trip to England and thought this might be of interest. Yes! It’s a lovely travel story of Susan and her husband and their most recent two month trip to England. Her narrative of driving (on the “wrong” side of the road, of course!) touched home for me: I certainly did NOT consider driving during my recent trip for it would surely have been a recipe for disaster…

Susan has a few recipes in the book, but this one stood out for me right away:

Orange Lavender Polenta Cake

1+ cup superfine sugar (you can make this by putting regular sugar into a food processor)
1/2 lb. butter, softened
2 1/2 c. almond flour
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
zest of 2 oranges
1/4 c. orange juice
1 1/4 c. fine yellow cornmeal or polenta flour
2 tsp. culinary lavender (optional)
3/4 tsp. baking powder
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 325
Butter & flour a round 9″ cake pan
Beat the sugar & butter together until light.
Stir in almond flour & vanilla.
Fold in orange zest & juice, cornmeal or polenta, lavender, baking powder & salt.
Pour into pan and bake 45-50 min. until cake is set and brown on top.
Cool for 10 min.

Recipe © Susan Branch

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I just happened to have this Culinary Lavender from Bluebird Hill Farm

 

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I used cornmeal, but would like to try polenta next time.

It has a unique texture…due to the cornmeal. It’s a bit like cornbread (which I love.)  I was also drawn to the recipe with her use of almond flour. I had used it for the first time last winter and, while it is very expensive, it is so tasty and adds so much to any recipe that I am a huge fan.

Susan calls for serving the cake with a fruit syrup which would be wonderful. But I had, on hand, this yummy and sweet syrup I had bought at
Salt & Sundry in Washington, D.C.
I am going to tell you more about this and other great syrups in an upcoming post!

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I would say that this taste is not for everyone: the cake is rough textured and sort of “mealy”. I adored it, but then, I’m a big fan of cornbread.

But the book is wonderful: I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to be an armchair traveler and be whisked away to life on The Queen Mary 2 trans-Atlantic crossing and a slow ramble through the English countryside.
If you have read it, please do let us know your comments!

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FRIDAY FLOWERS

May I present:
Camellia sasanqua

Isn’t she lovely? I don’t think this one has ever (in my four years in this house) bloomed this early in the season. But no matter. I am very pleased! She sits right out front for all the world to see and has many, many flowers and buds.
The bees seem quite happy to see her!

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My red dahlias.
No, I don’t know what they are except that they have come down in my family for many generations! I carried the tubers down here when we moved and they are, for the most part, doing well. They are not too happy about all the heat, but I try to plant them in partial shade. After languishing all summer and the leaves turning blotchy and yellow, they have come out of “summer shock” and are now flourishing. We should have another month or so of warm weather so I hope to have more bright spots throughout the garden!

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 And the white Japanese Anemones are always a favorite.

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Some pink anemones, a last lavender straggler and some wild chamomile make for a dainty and ethereal bouquet!

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 I know…I said I would be doing another post on our trip to Albuquerque and our hotel. But somehow I  think we are all (me included) travel-posted-out. I will do it eventually.  In the meantime, you can see some photos of our time out there over on my Flikr page. Hope you enjoy!

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TRAVEL: TO NEW MEXICO

A week ago we were off to Albuquerque, New Mexico for a short stay.
We have never been to the Southwest or the real desert (does Palm Springs count?) and have planned, and then cancelled, several trips out there. So this was it!

We stayed at Los Poblanos: Historic Inn & Organic Farm

I’m going to tell you all about this most wonderful….probably the very best….inn we have ever visited. But that will be later in the week. For today let me show you the hot air balloon photos I took. The Balloon Fiesta, an annual event in Albuquerque, was taking place all last week with thousands of hot air balloons and enthusiasts. No, we didn’t go for the event, but it was an added bonus to our trip!  In the morning you can see them slowly rising up all over town and in every direction. If one is near enough you hear the whoosh of the propane as they rise higher. It is spectacular!

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Across the lavender fields, looking east toward the Sandia Mountains

 

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The two landmark silos at Los Poblanos.

 

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Day 2 and even earlier in the morning…

 

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I love the contrasts here. I drove over to be near the balloon park and was amazed at how entirely different the light, and the balloons looked from here.

 

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Day 3

 

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This was looking west, toward the Rio Grande. Can you just see the moon?

 

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Sunset. Not bad.

 

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Take a look at their site: Los Poblanos. I’ll show you more later this week!

 

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SPENDING SOME TIME IN LONDON

 We were “based” in London and, while we didn’t have endless days to explore, we DID get around!

We chose just the right hotel:
The Rockwell Hotel

It was convenient (tube stop: Earl’s Court). There were many good restaurants within easy walking distance (see below.) Our room(s) were lovely and comfortable. The staff was wonderful and so helpful. The courtyard garden in the rear was a perfect place to have breakfast.
Our first three nights we opted for a large room with terrace and it was just the right decision. Lovely lovely. Then we checked out (for our night in Sissinghurst) and checked back in to a smaller double; then I checked out again and left to visit Julie and returned for one night in a single. The hotel staff was very accommodating in all these comings and goings!

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We had bought tickets to the Tate Modern exhibition of Matisse Cut-Outs
I had never been to the Tate Modern and am oh so glad I had bought tickets months ahead. Even the birch tree allée leading to the museum is wonderful; and the walk along the Thames Embankment is not to be missed. It was very low tide when we finally left the museum and lunch in the restaurant (that was a great Pimm’s Cup!) and the Sunday walk along the river was a great experience.

Needless to say, it is an exhibit to see.  And, if you missed it in London you can see it in New York where it opens this week, October 12 and continues through February 8, 2015.

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I also spent some time with another new friend,Doris, of
Diary of an Interior Novice

Doris is originally from Australia but she has settled permanently in London with her husband and young son. We met at the V&A: I had time to walk the galleries and have some lunch out in the garden area before meeting up with Doris who invited me to the
Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 Exhibition

We both loved looking at not only the historical evolution of the wedding dress, but also the details and textures and fabrics and designing of these ever-changing dresses. If you have a chance, I highly recommend the exhibit.

And now, on to food!

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A few places to recommend:

Côte Brasserie
Among many yummies we had was that crepe up on the left. Can I say to die for?

And another French restaurant just by Earl’s Court:
The Little French Restaurant
The advertised price is £12.50 for a 3 course meal and this is T R U E. Cash only. I had Coq au Vin and it was respectable; the salad had very fresh greens; and Creme Brûlée was tasty. No, not a 4star meal, but for  £12.50 I am not surprised it has become a neighborhood favorite!

And this was a very special Birthday Lunch:

Bar Boulud

Bar Boulud was our favorite! The staff was SO accommodating (we had to make last minute changes) and our light lunch was beyond good. For such a hyped name, this restaurant is almost down-home good and friendly. Highly recommend!

In general we found the food to be really good: much better than we expected, lots of variety in restaurants, and of course, the “tea everywhere” suited me perfectly.

 

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