Food: Spinach Salad & Poached Egg

Inspired by this excellent post and video by the Gluten-Free Girl (and the Chef) on how to poach an egg, I made this delectable salad for dinner. It’s so easy — watch the video, poach an egg, and set it on top of some spinach leaves, chopped strawberries, sunflower seeds, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. It’s a perfect light dinner.

If you want to make it a little fancier, add some grated Parmesan cheese, some tomatoes (they aren’t my thing), and perhaps some fresh basil.

The Unabashed Francophile Post, Part 14: My Trip to Paris (5)

After a very long lie-in, recovering from our night at Le Bilboquet, we spent the remainder of the day in gorgeous Montmartre.

Montmartre is, of course, the home of the strikingly beautiful Sacre Coeur basilica. It sits at the highest point in Paris, and if you look closely at the banner of my blog, through the clock of d’Orsay, you can just see Sacre Coeur. If you’ve seen the film Amélie, you may recall that she took Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz) on a hunt for his photographs, up and down the stairs leading to the church. Thankfully, we took the funicular from the base of the hill to the top, saving us the need to walk all those steps. (Whew.)

Aside from Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur was the most touristy of all the places I visited. You weren’t allowed to take photos inside the church, so instead I had to buy a postcard. The ceiling of the church is painted with Christ, and it’s incredible. Photos don’t do it justice.

For €5, we climbed to the tower dome to look out over all of Paris. Along the way, we spotted gargoyle waterspouts, and a lot of graffiti. I could have stared out over the city for hours, and I still come back and look at the photos I took, marveling at how large Paris and its surrounding suburbs are. (An interesting fact: the basilica is made of travertine stone, which exudes calcite and thus keeps the stones white, even with the city’s pollution.)

We also took in the crypt, which was thankfully a cool respite from the summer heat. The chapel in the crypt held lots of relics, including little finger bones of saints, and the heart of Alexandre Leguil (sp?), or so says my notes. Churches are full of body parts of saints, and I wonder what those people might think if they could know that their little finger, or their heart, or perhaps a comb they used, is now on display in a church some hundreds of years later. (That’s not even taking into account the possibility that any number of these relics could be fakes. But that’s a post for another day… maybe.)

After our lengthy tour, we took a break at a small café. I had cider and a crêpe with Nutella, quite possibly my favourite meal ever. By this time, it was getting late, and we called it a day. Our next day would be a big one, going out to the Chateau Vincennes.

I’m blogging at Black Velvet Seductions today!

And I’m talking about metaphor…

The most famous prohibition of US history was the passing of the Volstead Act and the banning of the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcohol, but that wasn’t the only prohibition I was thinking of when I wrote ‘Prohibited Passion’.

Check it out the rest here: http://blackvelvetseductions.com/readers_blog/?p=3778

Book Review Quickie: Kissed in Paris

Kissed in ParisKissed in Paris by Juliette Sobanet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh how I enjoyed this book!

I was able to indulge my love of Paris, my need for a good caper, and a mysterious Frenchman.

I highly, highly recommend this book. It was a quick read for me, but that’s because I couldn’t put it down.

The blurb (from Amazon.com):
“You are in Paris, the City of Love. You must not be so controlled. Here, have another glass. I promise you, it will not hurt.”

When 29-year-old event planner Chloe Turner wakes up penniless and without a passport in the Plaza Athénée Hotel in Paris, she only has a few fleeting memories of Claude, the suave French man who convinced her to have that extra glass of wine before taking all of her possessions and slipping out the door. As the overly organized, go-to gal for her three drama queen younger sisters, her anxiety-ridden father, and her needy clients, Chloe is normally prepared for every disaster that comes her way. But with her wedding to her straight-laced, lawyer fiancé back in DC only days away and a French con-man on the loose with her engagement ring, this is one catastrophe she never could have planned for.

As Chloe tries to figure out a way home, she runs into an even bigger problem—the police are after her due to suspicious activity now tied to her bank account. Chloe’s only hope at retrieving her passport and clearing her name lies in the hands of a rugged, undercover agent named Julien who has a few secrets of his own. As Chloe follows this mysterious, and—although she doesn’t want to admit it—sexy French man on a wild chase through the sun-kissed countryside of France, she discovers a magical world she never knew existed and has to decide if the perfectly ordered life she’s built for herself back home is really what she wants after all.

TAG! I’m it. (An excerpt from THE PARIS GAME.)

I was tagged by Tiffany Reisz, in a game of LUCKY SEVEN. A writer tagged in this game goes to page 77 of their WIP (work-in-progress), finds line number seven, and copies the next seven lines. My current WIP (The Orpheus) isn’t long enough to play, but my last MSS, The Paris Game, is.

As he walked, he began to hear sirens. At first it was faint, but as he drew closer to the Pont du Carousel bridge, he could see the cluster of vehicles and their flashing lights surrounding the Musée d’Orsay. He paused near a group of tourists, drawing his cigarette case from his jacket as he watched the scene and listened to their conversation.
A woman in the group waved to another approaching. “Oh my god! There you are! I thought you’d been inside!”

And now, I get to tag 7 authors!

Steena Holmes, Tawny Stokes, Sheila Seabrook, Louise Behiel, Victoria Chatham, Jade Buchanan, and Michelle Beattie. :)

A little bit off the beaten track…

I’ve been enjoying a series of books, via their audiobook editions, in the last few months. Originally I wasn’t sure how much I’d like them, but now I feel like I’m addicted. I can’t get enough, though hearing the audiobook and having it read to me keeps me from inhaling volume after volume.

What books am I talking about? Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Series.

It begins with the Last Kingdom, when the main character, the Saxon Uhtred of Bebbanburg, is just a boy…

The blurb:
‘I had been given a perfect childhood, perfect, at least, to the ideas of a boy. I was raised among men, I was free, I ran wild, was encumbered by no laws, was troubled by no priests and was encouraged to violence.’ Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of 9th Century Northumbria, but orphaned at ten, adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred’s fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the last English kingdom when the Danes have overrun Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia.

That war, with its massacres, defeats and betrayals, is the background to Uhtred’s childhood, a childhood which leaves him uncertain of his loyalties, but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred’s kingdom. Marriage ties him further to the West Saxon cause, but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of a Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea, and there, in the horror of a shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance.

The books are fascinating, full of detail and a with a host of characters. Uhtred himself, as the books continue, is believable and three-dimensional, struggling with his loyalties between Saxon and Dane, his dislike for Alfred of Wessex and the priests, and his love of battle. I have little knowledge of how accurate (or not) the way of life depicted in the books is as compared to history, but the story draws you in and you feel like you’re there, in old Britain.

Currently I’m reading Sword Song (book 4), but my favourite book of the earlier books in the set is Lords of the North (book 3).