Saturday 21 October 2017


“Harmony is pure love, for love is a concerto.” - Lope de Vega 

Peter von Winter (baptized 28 August 1754 – 17 October 1825) was a German opera composer who followed Mozart and preceded Weber, acting as a bridge between the two in the development of German opera. Winter was born at Mannheim. A child prodigy on the violin, he played in the Mannheim court orchestra. He studied with Antonio Salieri in Vienna.

Moving to Munich in 1778, he became director of the court theatre at which point he started to write stage works, at first ballets and melodramas. He became Vice-Kapellmeister in Munich in 1787 and Kapellmeister in 1798, a title he kept for the rest of his life. Of more than thirty operas written by Winter between 1778 and 1820 very few were unsuccessful. His most popular work, Das unterbrochene Opferfest, was produced in 1796 at Vienna, where in 1797-1798 he composed Die Pyramiden von Babylon and Das Labyrinth oder Der Kampf mit den Elementen, both written for him by Emanuel Schikaneder, in continuation of the story of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.

He returned to Munich in 1798. Five years later he visited London, where he produced La grotta di Calipso in 1803, Il ratto di Proserpina in 1804 (both to libretti by Lorenzo Da Ponte), and Zaira in 1805, with great success. Maometto (1817) is probably his most famous opera, still performed sometimes and it exists in an excellent recording on CD. His last opera, Der Sänger und der Schneider, was produced in 1820 at Munich, where he died.

Besides his dramatic works he composed concertos for wind and orchestra and some sacred music, including 26 masses. Here is his Concerto for Clarinet & Bassoon in E-flat major:
Mov. I: Adagio - Allegro 00:00
Mov.II: Andantino 08:41
Mov.III: Rondo: Allegro 11:14

Clarinet: Dieter Klöcker; Bassoon: Karl-Otto Hartmann; Orchestra: Suk Chamber Orchestra Prague; Conductor: Petr Škvor.

Friday 20 October 2017


“I like chicken a lot because chicken is generous - that is to say, it’s obedient. It will do whatever you tell it to do.” - Maya Angelou

We once had this dish in a restaurant and we enjoyed it very much. A friend gave us the recipe, which we then made at home and it was quite a good approximation of the restaurant dish. 

Chicken Saltimbocca
2 skinless chicken breast fillets
Salt and pepper
2 thin slices prosciutto
2-4 fresh sage leaves
1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup dry Marsala 

Put chicken breasts between pieces of plastic wrap and, using a rolling pin or the smooth side of a meat mallet, bash them to a thickness of just under one centimeter (don’t hit so hard that they break up). Season with salt and pepper.
Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each chicken escalope and put a sage leaf or two on top. Lightly dust the chicken on both sides with flour. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Cook the chicken until no longer pink in the middle, about 3 minutes per side. To check if it's done, stick the tip of a sharp knife into it: the juice that runs out should be clear with no trace of pink. Transfer the chicken to a warm platter and cover with foil.
Add Marsala to the pan and cook over high heat until thickened and reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve the sauce over the chicken.
Accompany with a fresh seasonal salad and some dry white wine.

Thursday 19 October 2017


“A Béarnaise sauce is simply an egg yolk, a shallot, a little tarragon vinegar, and butter, but it takes years of practice for the result to be perfect.” - Fernand Point 

Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida Cav.) is a perennial plant native to Mexico and Central America. It is used as a medicinal plant and as a culinary herb. The leaves have a tarragon-like flavour, with hints of anise, and it has entered the nursery trade in North America as a tarragon substitute. Other common names include sweet-scented marigold, Mexican marigold, Mexican mint marigold, Spanish tarragon, sweet mace, Texas tarragon, pericón, yerbaniz, and hierbanís. 

Tagetes lucida grows 45–75 cm tall. Depending on situation and plant type, the herb may be fairly upright, while other forms appear bushy with many unbranching stems. The leaves are linear to oblong, about 7.5 cm long, and shiny medium green, not blue-green as in French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa). In late summer it bears clusters of small golden yellow flower heads on the ends of the stems. The flower heads are about 1.5 cm across and have 3-5 golden-yellow ray florets. The flowers are hermaphroditic (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects.

Fresh or dried leaves of this herb are used as a tarragon substitute for flavouring soups, sauces, salads etc. A pleasant anise-flavoured tea is brewed using the dried leaves and flower heads. This is primarily used medicinally in Mexico and Central America. The tea is digestive, diuretic, febrifugal, hypotensive, narcotic, sedative and stimulatory. 

Use of the plant depresses the central nervous system, whilst it is also reputedly anaesthetic and hallucinogenic. It is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, nausea, indigestion, colic, hiccups, malaria and feverish illnesses. Externally, it is used to treat scorpion bites and to remove ticks. The leaves can be harvested and used as required, whilst the whole plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use.

A yellow dye can be obtained from the flowers. The dried plant is burnt as an incense and to repel insects. Tagetes lucida was used by the Aztecs in a ritual incense known as Yauhtli. The Aztecs allegedly used Tagetes lucida as one of the ingredients in a medicinal powder which was blown into the faces of those about to become the victims of human sacrifice and which may have possessed stupefying or anxiolytic properties. The plant was linked to the rain god Tlaloc.

The plant is also used by the Huichol, mixed with Nicotiana rustica (a potent wild tobacco), for its claimed psychotropic and entheogenic effects. In one study, methanolic extract from the flower inhibited growth of Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Candida albicans cultures. This effect was enhanced with exposure to ultraviolet light. The roots, stems, and leaves also had the same effect when irradiated with UV light.

In the language of flowers, non-flowering sprigs of the plant carry the meaning: “You soothe my spirit”. Flowering sprigs indicate: “Your refusal will be the cause of my death.

Béarnaise Sauce

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 sprigs Mexican tarragon, leaves finely minced, stems reserved separately
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 egg yolks
1 cup molten butter
Salt to taste 

Combine vinegar, wine, herb stems, shallots, and black peppercorns in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until reduced to about one and a half tablespoons of liquid, about 15 minutes. Carefully strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.

Combine vinegar reduction, egg yolk, and a pinch of salt in the bottom of a jug that just fits the head of an immersion blender. Melt butter in a small saucepan over high heat, swirling constantly, until foaming subsides. Transfer butter to a one cup liquid measure. Place the head of immersion blender into the bottom of the jug holding the vinegar/yolk mixture and turn it on. With the blender constantly running, slowly pour hot butter into the jug. It should emulsify with the egg yolk and vinegar reduction. Continue pouring until all butter is added. Sauce should be thick and creamy.

If the mixture is thin and runny, transfer to a large bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly and vigorously until sauce is thickened. Season to taste with salt. Whisk in chopped Mexican tarragon leaves. Serve immediately, or transfer to a small lidded pot and keep in a warm place for up to 1 hour before serving. Béarnaise cannot be cooled and reheated.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 18 October 2017


“We are all like the bright moon, but we still have our dark side.” ― Kahlil Gibran 

In the Poets United site this week the Midweek Motif theme is Dark Moon, New Moon. My contribution is below:
Mistress Moon

Dark Mistress Moon,
You hide your face tonight,
(In shame?)
For mischief’s afoot
And all sorts of foul deeds need to be done… 

O, Moon, my Moon,
You of the radiant countenance
(So pure!)
You’re kind and gentle
When you shine and leaves with silver shower. 

Harsh, Moon, when you veil
Your beauty in dark crêpe,
(In mourning?)
You hide your sadness
And you let your anger, cruelty and vileness beget. 

O, Moon, my Moon,
Your gibbous fecund glow,
(In pregnancy…)
Generates blessings
When you touch with light caress all womankind. 

Dark Mistress Moon,
With sharpened sickle,
(So deadly!)
Tonight you’ll cut
The thread of life of those who dared offend you. 

O, Moon, my Moon,
Tomorrow night reborn,
(In innocence…)
You’ll smile and heal,
And give back hope and dignity to those wronged.

Tuesday 17 October 2017


“Behind each woman rises the austere, sacred and mysterious face of Aphrodite.” - Nikos Kazantzakis 

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers will be removed immediately.
Paphos (Greek: Πάφος [Pafos]; Turkish: Baf) is a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus and the capital of Paphos District. In antiquity, two locations were called Paphos: Old Paphos, today at Kouklia, and New Paphos. The current city of Paphos lies on the Mediterranean coast, about 50 km west of Limassol (the biggest port on the island), which has an A6 highway connection. Paphos International Airport is the country’s second-largest airport. The city has a subtropical-Mediterranean climate, with the mildest temperatures on the island. 

Paphos Castle (seen above) is located on the edge of Paphos harbour. It was originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbour. It was then rebuilt by the Lusignans in the thirteenth century after being destroyed in the earthquake of 1222. In 1570 it was dismantled by the Venetians. After capturing the island, the Ottomans restored and strengthened it.

Throughout the ages it has seen many uses. It has served as a fortress, a prison and even a warehouse for salt during the British occupation of the island. More recently the castle serves as a backdrop to the annual open air Paphos cultural festival, which takes place in September. It was declared a listed building in 1935 and represents one of the most distinctive landmarks of the city of Paphos. Several archaeological excavations have taken place to investigate its past.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Add your own travel posts using the Linky tool below, and don't forget to be nice and leave a comment here, and link back to this page from your own post:

Sunday 15 October 2017


"Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics." - Victor Pinchuk


“People need dreams, there’s as much nourishment in ‘em as food.” - Dorothy Gilman 

Renenūtet (also transliterated Ernūtet and Renenet) was a goddess of nourishment and the harvest in ancient Egyptian religion. The importance of the harvest caused people to make many offerings to Renenutet during harvest time. Initially, her cult was centered in Terenuthis. Renenutet was envisioned, particularly in art, as a cobra, or as a woman with the head of a cobra.

The verbs ‘to fondle, to nurse, or rear’ help explain the name Renenutet. This goddess was a ‘nurse’ who took care of the pharaoh from birth to death. She was the female counterpart of Shai, ‘destiny’, who represented the positive destiny of the child. Along with this, Renenutet was also the Thermouthis, or Hermouthis in Greek. She embodied the fertility of the fields and was the protector of the royal office and power.

Sometimes, as the goddess of nourishment, Renenutet was seen as having a husband, Sobek. He was represented as the Nile River, the annual flooding of which deposited the fertile silt that enabled abundant harvests. The temple of Medinet Madi is dedicated to both Sobek and Renenutet. It is a small and decorated building in the Faiyum.

More usually, Renenutet was seen as the mother of Nehebkau, who occasionally was represented as a snake also. When considered the mother of Nehebkau, Renenutet was seen as having a husband, Geb, who represented the Earth. She was the mother of the god Nepri.

Later, as a snake-goddess worshiped over the whole of Lower Egypt, Renenutet was increasingly associated with Wadjet, Lower Egypt’s powerful protector and another snake goddess represented as a cobra. Eventually Renenutet was identified as an alternate form of Wadjet, whose gaze was said to slaughter enemies. Wadjet was the cobra shown on the crown of the pharaohs.