“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.“
- Maori proverb
I scream, you scream, we all scream for SUNSHINE!
I don’t think there’s anyone in the whole wide world who doesn’t like sunshine. Find me someone who prefers a gray day over a sunny day and I’ll give them my bicycle, all my cookbooks, and my coffee maker. Sunshine can sometimes do more to lift my mood than chocolate, a pay rise, or a nice dream would. It doesn’t beat a genuine tight hug, but it definitely presents competition!
Living in this part of North America surely increases one’s appreciate for sun and its benefits, and I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes it feels like a good thing to have something not so often so that you can appreciate it once it appears, and at other times it feels too much of a long wait, waiting for the sun to peak through the clouds and warm your bones, draw a smile on your face, and get you out of the house on a weekend morning.
In any case, I did appreciate the sun’s appearance this weekend. When I opened my eyes Saturday morning and saw the sun rays filtering through my bedroom curtain, my brain immediately jolted up! It’s here, the sun is here! My mind started racing with all the possibilities. What to do? Walk up the mountain? Go to a cafe and stick my face to the glass window facing the sun? Walk aimlessly around? Ice skating? Whatever option I was going to choose, it was going to involve one sure thing: sun worshiping!
Finally, I went for the simplest and most delicious option: I just walked to Second Cup, got myself a cup of mocha, half-sweet just like I like it, asked for whipped (I usually don’t), sprinkled chocolate on top and just … walked around! With a smile on my face. The sun does make you silly. But happy.
My very good friend Cartoline doesn’t stop talking about coffee, and frankly, I don’t know why I don’t talk about coffee as much as she does! I love coffee with a passion, and I am not an addict! I enjoy the taste, punto. I do not need it every morning; I can start a productive day without a cup of coffee. However, everyday I make sure that I have at least 30 minutes to unwind with a cup of latte, whether I prepare it myself at home or go to a neighborhood cafe for it.
Besides enjoying the taste of a good cup of coffee, I enjoy the experience of being in a cafe. I do not just go to a cafe to sip my coffee and leave. I do that in Rome. Over here, going to a cafe is a stimulating experience for me. From the moment I step into the cafe until I leave an hour or so later, my mind is happy. I love looking at the interior decor of the cafe, observing the staff and how they prepare coffee, and checking out the wall of advertisements for cultural happenings. I love to actually listen to the music playing, and to hear the chatter of the people and feel the warmth of a packed cafe. Can you think of a better way to spend a grey Sunday evening alone in the winter?! So you see, going to a cafe is an outing for me, an activity, something I have always enjoyed doing, something I don’t feel shy admitting.
All this introduction to bring you to the following: This year, I have made a small promise to myself: I am going to explore cafes in other neighborhoods in Montreal, and it turns out that there is actually a passport for that, the Indie Coffee Passport! What is that?
It is a a pass for 18 different coffee shops in different neighborhoods in Montreal. You buy the pass and then you get one cup of coffee at each of the participating coffee shops. As simple as that. Of course, you can read more at their website.
I will let you know when I buy the pass and hopefully I’ll be able to take good shots and write a good post for each coffee experience!
What kind of coffee machine/pot do I use? The one in the photo. What coffee do I buy? Oftentimes it is Cafe Cubita.
I have been to St. Joseph Oratory in Spring, but I have never visited it in winter. I knew that it would be lovely, so I headed there this evening with a couple of friends with the intention of taking photos and relaxing in the warmth of the churches. I managed to come out with these photos. I hope you like them!
You know how Bob Dylan is “music for the mind?”
Of course you do.
Well, if you are a lover of Dylan music, poetry, and/or voice, then I am guessing you (would) also love Thomas Fersen. I know I do. Just like Bob Dylan can take on a trip on his magic swirlin’ ship of genius, I think this album for Fersen has come close to leaving me in the same state of positive stupor.
My recommended unwinding activity for a Sunday evening at home while the washing machine is tumbling, the neighbors making love, and the autumn wind blowing away the last standing leaves? Turn off all lights, sit or lie down in a mediation position and let either Dylan or Fersen take you on a trip.
How I miss rice! I have no dietary restrictions and I can eat rice every day if I want to, but for some reason, I forget about the little guy and always go for pasta. Bad bad bad! Here’s a rich and colorful rice dish to celebrate my reunion with Arborio rice specifically.
Now the photo isn’t very appetizing (we were very hungry, I didn’t have time to take out my equipment), but take my word when I say it’s a delicious and easy rice dish to prepare.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1.5 cups of Arborio rice
- A bag of frozen shrimp
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1.5 cups of sweet peas (I used frozen)
- 1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Olive oil
- A generous pinch of saffron (soak in a few Tbsp of warm water until you need to add them in the recipe)
- 1/2 tsp of cumin
- 1/2 tsp of paprika
1. Heat some olive oil in a pot and stir fry the shrimp for ten minutes. Add the water needed for 1.5 cups of Arborio rice (check the packet for instructions) and bring it to boil, cover, simmer for 10 minutes.
2. In another larger pot, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil to fry the onions and garlic. After 5 minutes, add the chopped red bell pepper and the sweet peas. Stir and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Add the rice and give everything a good mix together. Add the spices and salt.
4. Add the shrimps and the liquid that they were boiling in. We sort of have shrimp broth now. Bring everything to boil. Cover, simmer, and leave it to slowly cook for a a good half hour. Don’t turn off the heat until you make sure that the rice is fluffy and has absorbed all the liquid.
5. When it’s ready, give it a good mix and ENJOY! Delizioso!