Life in Eastbourne

Creative cooking on a Sunday afternoon

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"Our lives are like the course of the sun, 

at the darkest moment

there is promise of daylight." - unknown author 

 

I don't know about you but sometimes, especially when the weather is heavy with dark clouds and heavy rain, when the wind seems to go on forever, when my head seems to explode because of the stories I tell myself,  I need to do something creative to help me snap out of the self hypnotic trance I put myself into (we are all specialists at this you know that don't you). Today ... cooking was my solution ... cooking something new ..... :) 

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Earlier this week, while going through my pile of magazines I came across a recipe for biscotti, a delicious sort of Italian biscuit I just love having while sipping my coffee in Costa Cafe. (I will definitely have a little bag with me next week while having my coffee in one of the coffee shops in Eastbourne)

Before sharing the recipe with you let me tell you that it is very, very easy to prepare and also the result is delicious.

Walnut and cranberry biscotti

What do you nee:

2 eggs plus 1 extra beaten for glazing

150 g caster sugar

250 g plain flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

50 g walnuts chopped

50g dried cranberries or any other berries (you don't need to respect exactly the quantity really)

Whisk the eggs and the sugar together in a bowl. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, a pinch of salt and the chopped berries.

Leave the dough to rest in the fridge wrapped in cling film for about 1 hour. (the dough should be a bit soft but also a bit sticky)

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C, or gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. 

Once the dough has rested, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectange about 28 cm long and 5 cm wide. I cut this in 2. Put them onto the lined baking tray, brush with beaten egg. 

Bake for 20 min. Check if it is ready with a skewer. Take out from the oven and leave it to cool. 

Reduce the temperature to 180. 

When cool, cut into think slices and lay flat on the lined baking tray, bake for 20 more minutes and don't forget to turn them halfway through cooking .. until a big golden brown. 

Allow to cool and ... start eating and sharing with friends. 

OK so by the time I had my first few slices of biscotti and sipped my coffee I was already feeling better and ... with an episode of NCIS in the background ... (I love watching TV while cooking) ... it was time to try a new recipe ... this time ... sweet potato burger. 

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Here is what you need: 

600g sweet potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

2 cloves garlic crushed

1 tsp ras el hanout (Maroocan spice mix yum yum)

100g breadcrumbs 

50g almonds (like a powder)

a handfull of pumpkin seeds

salt, pepper

 

Bake or boild the sweet potatoes until soft. When soft, scoop out the flesh and set aside. Meanwhile gently fry the onion and garlic in a bit of oil. Add ras el hanout and continue for a few seconds. 

Combine all ingredients and let the mixture rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Form the mixture into burgers or smal ball size shapes. Coat them in flour and fry them on both sides. 

Enjoy them pipping hot or cold with mustard, sweet chilli, various relishes. 

Bon apetite! 

 


Your own revolution

"Now as I grow older, I feel like a person. Not male, not female, but human" - Natalie Lete

"If you do not expect it, you will not find the unexpected, for it is hard to find and difficult" - Heraclitus 

I so like these quotes and relate to!  :) The other day, I was finishing a painting ... preparing it for an exhibition I will take part in starting with April 19th, at the Hop Gallery in Lewes. While finishing it I suddenly realized that having gone through such a traumatic revolution in 1989 when the Romanian people went against a terribly oppressive regime and won,  some of us .. will carry the sparkle of resilience,  spirit of freedom and revolution  in our hearts forever. It manifests in the way we are prepared to be take risks in our lives, in the way we are prepared not to be humiliated and belittled without a reason, in the way we are prepared to stand up for our beliefs and be accounted for our actions, in the way we are prepared to witness hypocrisy and challenge it.......... 

I have realized how lucky I am to have been born in Romania, in extremely traumatic times, to have had unique challenges and opportunities and grab them with both my hands. (love Joni Mitchell's powerful song ... Both sides now ... somehow .... i can relate to the stories in her songs)

 

What I have also learned and realized is that ..... passion and authenticity is more important then perfection. 

Be authentic! Be free! 

 

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Freedom

 

 

 

 


About being happy and digital art

"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

Hmm ok so how happy are you ... not at all, a bit, a tiny tiny bit, lots .... The truth is that happiness is not a continuous state of mind is it? Happiness comes, goes, comes back again .... it comes in small bites, big bites, small again ...

Does your happiness entirely depend on others, yourself, a combination of the two?

What do you do when you want to be happy for a few hours? Go for a walk, read, paint, watch a movie, dance, write, meet a friend .....

Last week I've decided to ... take myself for a walk near the sea almost every morning. It was really hard to resist to the glorious sun.

Little did I know that my walk will trigger in me a passion to photograph the sea, the waves, the nature, the birds ..... with my iPhone ... no sophisticated camera.

And when I came back home I was inspired to experiment with superimposing the seascapes upon photographs of some of my paintings. It was such an interesting process that I'm really determined to carry on and create more colourful images, transform them into cards, prints and maybe more.

It all started with ... giving myself permission to be happy ..... to a simple walk by the sea on an October morning!

What are you going to give yourself permission to do today?

About being happy and digital art

About being happy and digital art

About being happy and digital art

About being happy and digital art

About being happy and digital art


Discover the "lost art of conversation" at Jasper Wood

 

Another group of eclectic birds
The foreigners - an original painting

 

Do you believe in coincidences? Do you believe that some things are meant to happen? I do! Today was a lovely example. It makes me smile, really it does! 

 

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A last minute change of plans today meant that I had some free hours and ... "my" Jasper Wood coffee shop came to my mind. The truth is that I wanted to show Christine and Chris, the lovely owners, some of my funky bird paintings ....so why not today? 

 

 

 

My birds then became the catalyst for a lovely conversation with one of the coffee shop's loyal customers ... I listened to a beautiful Buddhist story about inner strength, about values and beliefs and had a conversation that I will remember for a long time. 

What I've noticed during the two years that Jasper Wood has opened its doors to Eastbourne is  that it has attracted very interesting people, like minded, well travelled, passionate about books, spirituality, ready to interact with each other and ready to share their experiences and passions.

So, today turned out to be the day to  bring everything together and  ... jointly with Christine, Chris and Jim we have agreed to create a new and exciting conversational event called " Salon du Cafe". What is "Salon du Cafe"? It's a series  of gatherings which aim to stimulate conversation around ......a cup of coffee and a cake. When? Every Wednesday morning from 10.00 - 11.30 am. Where? At Jasper Wood coffee shop in Eastbourne of course. 

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Each event will have a topic to debate, to tell stories about, to share memorable experiences and so on ... we are sure that the Salon will evolve and transform but this is our starting point.Here are the conversational themes for our first three Wednesdays : 

* May 22nd - The lost art of conversation

* May 29th - All that is inspirational to yourself

* June 5th - Objects and stories 

Do connect with Jasper Wood on Facebook as well .. and get to know some lovely people, some interesting customers. 


Small events and the importance of community

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I have to admit that living in a small community is a completely different kettle of fish from living in a large town or city. For most of my life I lived in a capital city far away where I learned to adapt to, and embrace, what life had to offer there. Now, after seven years and happily settled in Eastbourne, I realise that it takes a long time to understand the way things work in your new community. Obvious to most I suppose. 

 

 

I would listen to stories about village flower shows, where proud members of the local community would display their best flowers, mile long runner beans, huge turnips and home made cakes, always with a smile and a steely determination to beat the person who won last year!

It seemed fascinating, but another world to me...until I experienced them and came to recognise another important aspect of what it means to be a member of a community.

So here I was this weekend, taking part in two local events, promoting........ The Awareness Spa Mini Retreats, a monthly event organised by me, in my town, with two other lovely wellbeing practitioners .... Anna Hoffmann and Elke Pollard. 

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What I have come to realise is that such events attract like minded people ....in terms of exhibitors and visitors. But what is also clear to me is the real challenge that all organisers have in attracting visitors who have other interests, in advertising such events in places that matter -without the support of the local media. 

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Maybe one day I will understand why local community media seems to be so indifferent to supporting such community events. The events may be boring to them, the tenth year of that event, the sixth month in a row for this event, the way out on the fringe of that gathering - but to the organisers and to the visitors the events are about connecting people and building a stronger community. I now buy into that and feel qualified to stand up for it.

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Anyway, I hope that you enjoy a selection of photos from our two events ......and we also hope to see some of you in our mini retreats and workshops in the future. Everyone who has come so far has said that they enjoy the experience. And happiness and human contact is what we all love.

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Love and light!  


Hashim Akib and an art demonstration to remember

The more I live in Eastbourne, the more I discover interesting activities and groups that I can get involved with.

Much to my delight I was invited to attend a painting demonstration this Friday, something I never took part in before, so I definitely grabbed the opportunity.

My intuition was right and I ended up learning about a new artist, Hashim Akib, learned about what a painting demonstration is all about, was introduced to some fabulous brushes manufactured by Liquitex. ..... and do much more!

Hashim(Hash) paints very quickly, with strong brush strokes and although he has a photo as an inspiration I feel that he is an intuitive painter.

Meeting an artist who is able to make a living our of his art and art related activities is always interesting and inspiring. Have a look at his website www.hashimakib.com ....enjoy the colours and the non conventional approach of his subjects.

The event was organised by "The Society of Eastbourne Artists", an organisation with 180+ artists ( it looks like painting is THE hobby to have in Eastbourne) and with a long history ( created in 1946). SEA organises art exhibitions a few times a year and provides a splendid environment for people to connect and meet like minded souls. For more informations have a look at www.sea-eastbourne.com

Hashim Akib and an art demonstration to remember

Art, cooking and enjoyment

Gene Fowler said that "Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead". Of course it is a metaphor!

For some, cooking is a duty and usually duty extracts the enjoyment out of everything. At least this is what I believe. I grew up in a family where everything was cooked from scratch but this was not unusual .. this was the normality in my country. As normal as going to the market and selecting our own fresh vegetables and fruits. Because of that of course we used to eat seasonal products.

I remember bananas and oranges being the equivalent of winter - in my mind - and I cannot tell you how lovely orange peel smells on a cold winter day when the ground is covered with snow. It's magical.

When I came to England I was shocked to experience the ABSENCE of the real markets, real farmers selling the products and most of all the ... absence of TASTE. Lovely products, great - but useless - packaging and ... almost zero taste.

Anyway, my curious nature always takes me to interesting places and I've learned to adapt and make the best of what we have.

From time to time I feel the need to start something new, read something new, be inspired .... again. Magazines are a great source of inspiration if one doesn't have cookery books and there are always interesting recipes that I like to try.

Today, I wanted to try a recipe from a book called "Ani's raw food kitchen" by Ani Phyo. I quite like the result and of course I love that the recipe is quite flexible and one can use one's own creativity and add new ingredients. This is why for me, cooking is like abstract painting. Somehow ... there are no rules.

So, if you like hummus I think that you will also like the Almond pate.

Here are the ingredients:

1 cup powder almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1tsp turmeric
1/2 water (be flexible you can add more if you want)

Put almonds, sunflower seeds, salt and turmeric and water in a food processor and process into a powder.

This is the basic recipe .. you can add some sun dried tomatoes or lemon ( i would add it to the basic recipe anyway) or chilly flakes, pepper, onions, cooked mushrooms and so on.

Give it a try my darlings! Experiment!

Art, cooking and enjoyment

Art, cooking and enjoyment

Art, cooking and enjoyment


About flamenco, the Venus bar and passion

A few weeks ago I was writing about "Duende" by Jason Webster, a book that inspired me, finally, to look for a flamenco class, a dance class that I've been wanting to try for a very long time. The name of the flamenco school I found while browsing the internet was .....Duende Flamenco :)  Coincidence or what?

When one is determined and when the time is right things happen!

A week after I finished the book I was already attending the first "beginners" class ... in my own town ... :) It always amazes me how many things take place in my town, how many things I keep finding. On the surface some are tempted to say that Eastbourne is a retirement town, a place where only dinosaurs live .........but give it a bit of time, use your curiosity and opinions start shifting.

To say that I felt accepted and welcomed from the very first moment by my new flamenco dance class colleagues is an understatement ... given that I joined the group a month after the group had started their current programme.

Our teacher, Helena's personality is infectious and I love that she combines hard work with motivation, humour with attitude, and is introducing you not only to a dance but to a whole new world! What I've realised is that flamenco is just like painting, something you can practice all of your life!

How amazing is that! And how uplifting and joyful it is to watch the advance group whizzing and turning and being able to express the flamenco spirit not only through crafted movements and castanetas but also through facial expression and hand movements. Yes, I know exactly how I'm going to dance in 10 years time.

Until then it will all be about posture (it really reminds me of my early ballet sessions), steps, new sounds with castanetas, another frustration (don't we all want to learn everything quickly), another great success when I remember another tiny, tiny step ........ and a feeling of exhilaration when the class is over and I'm on my way home. I know then that I've had great Me time!

Yesterday was doubly special ... we had our Christmas party and besides lovely presents from Helena and presents exchanged between us flamenco afficionados, we had a lovely meal cooked with love, dedication and inspiration by Victor, the owner of VENUS BAR in Eastbourne.

We had delicious tapas (including boquerones en vinagre, jamon cerrano, delicious bread, fresh REAL Spanish bread and so much more), the famous chicken paella, fish paella, patatas bravas, a delicious pudding with ice-cream ... oh boy it was a great meal and for a few hours we all felt that Spain was part of us and we were part of Spain. Of course the old movies with a flamenco theme shown as part of the Christmas extravaganza added to the whole atmosphere and wetted our appetite for a future trip to Andalusia, where it all began!

If you want to know more about flamenco classes, about cultural tours, about workshops and duende holidays have a look at www.duendeflamenco.co.uk

So a big OLE to my fellow flamenco aficionados for being so friendly, a big OLE to Helena for organising such a great evening yesterday and a big OLE for Victor, the passionate chef at the Venus Bar!

About flamenco, the Venus bar and passion

About flamenco, the Venus bar and passion

About flamenco, the Venus bar and passion


Art for St Wilfrid's Hospice

St Wilfrid's Hospice card

 

 

How does one find about interesting, uplifting opportunities to help others? Most of the time word of mouth is what works best. This is definitely what made me aware of a very rewarding fundraising activity supporting St Wilfrid's Hospice (www.stwhospice.org)

 

 

 

Last week, Art flow members (www.artflowsussex.co.uk) decided to take part in The Big Art Secret, a special collaboration between Towner, the contemporary art museum for South East England and St Wilfrid's Hospice. The Big Art Secret  is an exciting exhibition and secret auction of original POSTCARD sized art by personalities, locally and nationally known artists and by local residents and hospice patients.

The beauty of it all is that each postcard will be displayed anonymously and the identity of the creator will remain secret until the end of the auction when all will be revealed. Another exciting thing is that all of the art will be in a public exhibition at Towner for the week before the auction.

I'm very excited to support such an innitiative and I look forward to visiting the exhibition which will take part in the autumn(once I find out the dates I will let you all know).

My art postcard, the image at the top, is already in it's envelope and it will reach its destination, way before the deadline ......August 15th!

Love and light!


The sound of nature

"I sat and listened, fascinated. For far more than an hour I listened to the concert, to this natural melody. It was soft music, containing, as well, all the discords of nature. And that was right, for nature is not only harmonious; she is also dreadfully contradictory and chaotic. The music was that way too; an outpouring of sounds, having the quality of water and of wind - is strange that it is simply impossible to describe it". C. G. Jung

Every time I walk to town I'm reminded of the sounds of nature ..... the sea plays a different music all the time .... the music of the changing colours, the music of the waves, combined with the music of the wind ( such a constant feature here by the sea) and the plants and the rocks.

They all whisper stories ....... long forgotten stories!

The sound of nature

The sound of nature

The sound of nature