Ausone’s Notebook, 9.th instalment, #amwriting #mondayblogs #cats

Hi humans, it’s Monday again. Time for my weekly ranting.

As my secretary talked Friday already about his spirituality, I think I let this topic rest for a while. Nothing new about terrorism either. At least about what you call terrorism.

So let’s talk about something actual.

Today, Monday 30.th November there’s a (the) conference about the climate starting in Paris. More than 170 heads of state are present to discuss and finally (hopefully) agree on measurements to halt or at least slow down the climate change. If I can remember it right there are still some so-called scientists who doubt that there is a climate change going on.  And that this change is mostly man-made.

There are, as far as I’ve heard even big oil companies who will be involved in the negotiations in Paris.

Do you honestly believe that these oil companies will do something good for the planet ? Don’t you think they are only present to provide and secure their revenues ? Who had this idea to involve them ?

Why are they allowed to be there as something else as spectators ?

170 heads of state meet in Paris. Quite sure they have all arrived with eco-friendly means of transport !

170 heads of state will find an agreement ? Sorry, if I have to laugh. In Belgium there are four ministers who should take care of the environment. One for Belgium as a country, one for the Flemish part, one for the French speaking part and one for Bruxelles.

And guess what ? They are as true politicians not capable of agreeing. Which means, for simple political reasons, the Belgian state could say yes to nothing in Paris.

And you think the 170 could agree to something ?

You have the so-called emerging countries. They want to achieve the same standard of living like the big economies in the west. And they want it as cheap and as fast as possible. Why should they do something different than the west did before ?

With which argument could the west tell them that this is the wrong way and we have to act different ?

Let’s imagine for a moment that they will come to a positive agreement. Something that could work.

Do you think that the western politicians could keep the promise if it might cost jobs ?

Do you think that the future president of the ‘US of money worship’ might be capable of explaining his citizens that the buy and throw away economics have to stop. That making cars bigger and bigger should stop. Do you honestly think this could be possible. They allowed Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic. The former president GW Bush allowed the economic use of protected areas. In the national parcs. Imagine that his party will win the next elections ? You can forget everything that they agreed before.

So in the end you have more than 170 heads of state who will spent some time in Paris. Eat good, enjoy the nightlife. And what will be the result ?

Nothing, nada

Humans you have to do something. And the sooner the better.

See you next Monday

Ausone

Hachis parmentier vegetarian

Hachis parmentier is normally done with the leftovers of your Sunday roast. As a vegetarian there are no leftovers of a Sunday roast. So I tried a version with the cabbage of the veggie box. What more to say than Milady liked it.

Hachis parmentier form

Ingredients :

  • 1 cabbage
  • 1 onion
  • dried garlic
  • 1tbsp herbes de provence
  • Salt, pepper, 1 tbsp oil, butter
  • 0.5l vegetable broth
  • 500 g potatoes
  • Salt, nutmeg
  • 0.1 l milk (warm)
  • Butter
  • 1tbsp breadcrumbs
  • Some cubes butter

Preparation:

Cabbage:

  • –          cut the cabbage in quarts
  • –          take off the hard part in the middle
  • –          half the quarts and cut into slices
  • –          peel and cut the onion into small cubes
  • –          heat the oil in a large pot
  • –          steam the onion till translucent
  • –          put in the cabbage, salt, stir and cover the pot
  • –          let steam for several minutes, stir regularly
  • –          add the garlic, the herbes de provence, stir
  • –          if necessary add the broth (could be that you have enough moisture from the steaming, I hadn’t !)

Mashed potatoes

  • -peel the potatoes, cut them into pieces
  • -put the pieces in a pot cover with water, salt.
  • -bring to a boil and let cook for 20 minutes
  • -strain the potatoes, put ‘em back into the pot and let evaporate the rest of the water
  • -mash the potatoes, add nutmeg, butter and the warm milk, STIR

Finish

  • -heat the oven to 200°C
  • -take a large form that you could heat in the oven
  • -put in the cabbage, cover with the mashed potatoes
  • -sprinkle with the bread crumbs, add some cubes of butter on top
  • -put in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes
  • -if your oven has a grill position, use it for the last 5 minutes to give a nice colour
  • -serve and enjoy

Bon appètit

Hachis parmentier plate

Spirituality? Beliefs ? From a not cat point of view

And it’s every Friday the same.

What will I write about today ? Books ? Done. Music ? Done. Both topics I only scratched the surface. There’s more to be said. But not today.

As the cat, the one who’s ranting every Monday is in deep contemplation mode. Searching an idea for his 9th delivery.

I guess, I’ll take the liberty and use one of his topics and tell my point of view on spirituality.

In case you are wondering. No, it’s not him writing his notebook. He’s just dictating it and I’m his faithful secretary.

My spiritual journey. Sounds much too big, too important. But I haven’t found a better expression.

I was born the year ‘The Beatles’ did their last official live performance. No, not the one on the rooftop. That was in ’69. It was earlier.

I was baptized three days later (no one asked me about it). Grew up in a non-religious family. But my passport said catholic.

While I was in primary school, religion was taught once a week by the local priest. The first who made church unbearable for me. If you are teaching kids at age of eight to ten years, get fucking used to the fact that these kids are noisy. That they might have a problem sitting quiet for forty-five minutes? Throwing your keys at them is not suitable for a teacher, less so for a priest. Shouldn’t a catholic priest have read and maybe even incorporated the teachings of Jesus ? At the age of thirteen or fourteen, as soon as I was allowed to, I declared that I’m no longer willing to attend the classes of religion at school. It was unfortunately not possible before.

Later in life I just ignored anything that was loosely related to church, beliefs, etc.

It all came back at thirty-five or something. There was no reason that I can remember

First I had to leave the Catholic Church completely. This included a visit at the town hall and a signature. Luckily that was all. In other towns or villages in Germany you have to explain why you want to leave the church. Although it’s neither the role nor the business of the official to ask or inquire you about that. Officially church and state are separated in Germany. It’s even mentioned in the so-called constitution (Grundgesetz). As my non-wife is French I know how this is working in France. There’s no Kirchensteuer and no one is interested in your religious beliefs*. If you want to give money to the church you can do so. It’s completely your decision. No idea if you could deduct the sum that you are giving from your taxes or not. In Germany you can.

After I’ve left the Catholic Church and kind of Christianity. I didn’t feel a relief or that something concrete was missing. Just an interest in other forms of religious or spiritual beliefs. Due to some of my reading there was something in the back of my head. My father had introduced me to the books of James Clavell. And in his most famous book (Shogun) there are parts about beliefs. The difference between catholic and protestant. And the more important part that the heroine is catholic and Shinto. And that this is no problem from her Japanese point of view. In the follow up book (Gai-Jin) Clavell talks a bit more about the Zen approach of a Samurai.

Zen is just one form of Buddhism. Curious as I am I wanted to know more. Herman Hesse wrote a nice book called Siddharta, which I’ve read.

OK, this looked interesting. I don’t have to believe anything. Someone shows me the way, I can follow the way and see what I will find.

That sounds more like me.

.Fortunately we have the web. A lot of information, good ones and bad ones. I found some that are as good as I need them at the moment (Lion’s roar, Tricycle, Buddhismnow, etc.)

And certainly others more from the, at the moment en vogue, side of Mindfulness. Pay xx$ and you will sleep better, have more success, have better sex. But first GIVE ME MONEY.

My journey, my search is definitively not yet over.

novice meditating

But hopefully I know which way to take.

And i have a furry Zen teacher

Namaste

Soupe à l’oignon #bistro #vegetarian

French bistro food. Perfect on a cold day. Served in Les Halles as a second breakfast.

Soupe à l'oignon 1

Ingredients :

  • 4-5 onions
  • 1l vegetable broth
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper
  • a medium sized carrot
  • 1 slice of bread per person
  • cheese (your choice: grated or slices or cream cheese, anything goes)

Preparation

*cut the peeled onions into bits (size is of no importance)

*peel the carrot if necessary, cut it into small bits

*heat the olive oil in a pot (medium heat)

*put in the onions, stir

*cover the pot and let steam for 10 minutes (stir regularly)

*add the broth and the carrot, reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes (the longer the better, one hour doesn’t harm)

*toast the bread

*one slice of bread per serving, top the bread with cheese

*cover with the hot soup

*enjoy

Soupe à l'oignon2

Remarks:

– really use whichever cheese you like. I wouldn’t use Parmesan. But blue cheese is nice, goat, camembert, brie. Some cheeses are just too good to put in a soup. But then, you can’t get out what you haven‘t put in.

-In the ‘Guide Larousse de la cuisine’ they use grated Gruyère and baguettes? At least the second I will never use. I need a bread, a real bread. (homemade if possible)

-sprinkle with chives or parsley (both not necessary but looks nice)

Soupe à l'oignon 3

Ausone’s Notebook, 8.th instalment,#IARTG #amwriting #mondayblogs #cats

Hi, the annoying cat is back.

Yes, I’m still pissed. But I will rant less today. At least I hope, no guarantee, sorry.

Just one thing about the event of Friday the 13th and the aftermath.

The Belgian government raised their security level for Bruxelles to four last Friday. Rest of the country stays at level three. For sure this was announced on the radio. I don’t get it. What’s the purpose of this announcement ?

If the purpose is to catch the terrorists. Then announcing over the radio what you’re doing against them is maybe not the most intelligent idea. If everything is secured in Bruxelles. The terrorists will wait till it’s no longer secured. And then they will do something.

The measures should have been taken since last January, remember “I’m Charlie”. There are two possibilities

1. Security measures serve nothing

2. Measures weren’t taken since January. Someone hasn’t done his job.

Will there be any consequences ? I guess you know the answer to this question.

Now back to spirituality.

Yes, humans believe it or not. We animals are spiritual beings. This won’t mean we are believing in a god being. We’re not like you. We simply believe in nature. That everyone, everything is created equal and has his purpose. Cats, dogs, mice, plants, trees, the grass, insects, water. Everything. Everything has its place, his purpose and without one of these things there will be something missing. Nature is the most powerful force on this planet. Something that you are trying to destroy, by the way. But believe me, you won’t succeed. Earth will defend itself.

You can’t live against Earth, you can’t live against nature. One day you will have to pay the price for it. If you’re trying to destroy the planet. Nature will defend itself. And in the long run, you loose.

As I’ve said it already. If you need the image of a good-being to believe in the force of nature. That’s fine; call it like you want to. Just don’t forget. Nature is stronger than you are. Always was and always will.

You see, in parts you have replaced your beliefs in a god-being by believing in money or ‘the market’.

Honestly, does that serve you something. Does money make you happy ? In the long run ?

A sunset can make you happy or a sunrise. Even a summer rain. Competition doesn’t make you happy. Even if you win. It doesn’t make you happy. At least not in the long run.

My human is trying to live mindful, live in the moment.

Multitasking ? You will tell me that you are capable of doing two things 100 % at the same time ? Stop dreaming. It’s not possible. You can only have 100% not 200%. 100% equals all, everything.

Just take a look at a cat hunting. What does a cat do while he’s hunting ?

Nothing but hunting ! 100% hunting.

What does a cat do when he’s eating, he (or she) eats. A cat’s not reading the paper while eating. It’s 100% eating.

Cats are living in the moment. It’s now that matters. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not yet there. And we will see what that brings.

Respect nature with all that’s living there. Everything is needed on this planet.

IMG_8829

Yes, even annoying Siamese cats.

See you next Monday.

Ausone

Mashed potatoes with spicy carrots #vegetarian

You have to cook with what you find in your vegetable box. Late autumn, early winter the choice is in general cabbage, potatoes, leek. Kind of boring but that’s the down side of seasonal cooking.

Milady spent Sunday with the personal of the animal park she’s volunteering for. An organised visit to the Zoo of Rotterdam. So she spent the day in the cold and needed something to warm up when she finally came home. Suited me fine !

Ingredients :

Mashed potatoes

-400g potatoes (peeled and cut in bit size cubes)

-0.1l milk (slightly heated)

-butter

-fresh ground nutmeg

-salt

Spicy carrots

-small onion cut into tiny bits (the tinier the better)

-500g carrots (cut into thin slices)

-0.25 l vegetable broth

-2 leaves Japanese mustard a leafy green ! (mizuna not wasabi !) cut into stripes

-Olive oil

-cumin, ginger (if you want a bit of wasabi)

-salt, pepper

-butter

Mashed potatoes spicy carrots 1

Preparation:

Mashed potatoes

+bring the potatoes to a boil, covered with salted water and let boil for 20 minutes

+when potatoes ready strain (potatoes should stay in the pot)

+put the pot back on the oven and let excess water evaporate (you can hear that)

+put potatoes in a bowl

+put the milk in the pot, pot back on the oven if your stove is electric use the resting heat to heat up the milk (should be a bit more than warm, cooking not necessary)

+mash the potatoes, add the nutmeg

+put bits of better on the potatoes, pour the heated milk over the potatoes

+whisk till your desired texture (by hand, electric could create a glue like texture, not fluffy as it should be)

+verify seasoning

Carrots

+heat 1tsp of olive oil in a pot put in the onions and let them get soft without taking colour

+add the carrots, stir and salt slightly

+cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium

+with the cover you should produce enough moisture in the pot to let the carrots steam for 10 minutes

+season with cumin, stir

+add the broth and let simmer

+add the mizuna

+to have your preparation a bit more spicy, you can heat it up now. Either just with ginger (dried) or with wasabi (as hot as you like it !)

+ stir in some cold butter to get the liquid more creamy and serve as hot as possible

+to add something a bit crunchy you could sprinkle some fried onbions on top of the preparation

Mashed potatoes spicy carrots 2

Should serve 2 to 4 depending on the appetite

Bon appétit

 

Remarks

The mizuna (it belongs to the brassica family (like cabbage)) is mostly for decorative purpose

Prepare as spicy as you like (or as you can eat). After spending a day in the cold, the spicier the better

On #books and #reading

I believe it might be necessary to start with an apology. Again no recipe on Wednesday, SORRY. But as kind of a reason. The recipes that are published on my blog are live. Either cooked the day of publishing or the day before. As there was no cooking this week. Ergo no recipe. I prepared and ate something, for sure. Nothing was worth to be published and filed under recipes. Twice just Porridge; once rice, fried onions and soy sauce. And once leftovers from a cooking reunion (Milady’s, not mine). Really nothing worth publishing.

Sunday, I promise !

So, last week it was music. This week another passion, as important as cats to me;

 

Books, reading and as I’ve recently started, writing. But I won’t talk about writing today.

Bücherregal 1

It will be Books and reading. The idea came yesterday during a conversation I had on Twitter.

The person with whom I had this short conversation claimed:

‘I don’t like reading’

This is something I have a problem to understand.

I can not live without books and reading. Impossible. It doesn’t happen very often that I’m just reading one book.

At the moment:

One electronically (Kindle app on my laptop) “In the Field. Vietnam and my letters home.” by Damon Darley.

Three others on my nightstand: ‘Die Insel des vorigen Tages’ by Umberto Eco, ‘Bleak house’ by Charles Dickens and for research reasons ‘Der Aufstand auf dem Jahrmarkt’ (St.Peters Fair) by Ellis Peters..

On the shelves are still two unfinished books. I do need a break from ‘The shorter Pepys’ by Samuel Pepys and there’s my travel book. Every time I have to go somewhere where there’s a little waiting time to expect, the book’s in my pocket. ‘The importance of being earnest’ by Oscar Wilde.

I can remember when I was sixteen or seventeen years old. I barricaded myself in my room at Christmas for three days to read ’The Lord of the Rings’. Just left the room to eat or for the toilet. But I finished the Lord of the Rings in three days. (Read it again and again since)

So How someone could say I don’t like reading, I don’t get. Reading is the cheapest (and safest) way to travel. Travel to other places, travel in time. It never happened once, and I’m quite sure it will never happen, that I prefer a film over a book.

Bücherregal 2

My book collection is neither organised (One day I will, one day) nor does it make any sense. I just read and need books. Although I could read in three languages I don’t read as many as I should in French. Non-fiction is ok, fiction in French is just not my cup of tea.

A good book, a fire, tea and my cat(s). And the world is fine.

If you’re interested in pictures of beautiful book collections and libraries I could recommend two coffee table books.

The first: ‘At home with books How booklovers live with and care for their libraries’ Estelle Ellis, Caroline Seebohm, Christopher Simon Sykes. Awesome pictures, awesome collections. There’s even Keith Richards featured.

The second: Kind of a German and more arty version. ‘BücherWelten. Von Menschen und Bibliotheken’ More the decorative side of book collections. Nice photos, text not really necessary. By the way, these are my only coffee table books that are not about cats.

My Cooking books are not arty, just books I use. Although the majority is from the pre-vegetarian area. They are still useful.

Kochbücher

To finish I just read a nice one on Twitter:

“Every time you watch TV, a book dies”. I have no TV but slightly more than 1000 books.

Have a nice weekend. Read a book !

Ausone’s notebook, 7th instalment #amwriting #cat #MondayBlogs

Monday, I’m back.
Humans I’m getting grumpy with all the crap you’re doing. The idea was to continue last weeks post about spirituality. But you’ve changed that.
Saturday morning I was supervising my human, reading Twitter.
What I had to read there was kind of making me loose my faith in human intelligence.
First there was one guy claiming
‘All Muslims are terrorists’.
Does he know all Muslims on the planet ? How would he react if someone would claim
‘All Americans are members of the KKK’ ?
Sure there are terrorists who claim to be Muslims. Does this make all Muslims terrorists ?

Then there was an American lady, apparently a defender of G.W.Bush. She was claiming that America could wipe out ISIS and that the democratic party of the US is responsible that this is not happening.
Dear Lady, defending G.W.Bush is crazy enough. But then claiming that America could wipe out ISIS ? This makes me doubt your mental sanity. You can remember the images of Bush on an American ship, claimingMission completed”. Which mission if I may ask ? Winning the war on terror ? You can’t win a war on terror. Just have a look at the casualties, only American. Before the statement and after. You could even include all those who died in the twin towers, those in the pentagon and those on that American Airlines flight. There are still more who were killed after the “Mission completedstatement from your, using the words of Michael Moore, so-called president than before
And don’t forget we’re only talking about American casualties. Not your so-called collateral damage. How many innocent have died since your mission is completed
And you’re wondering that you have terrorists ? Just look what you were (and are) doing in Iraq. Ever heard the words Abu Ghraib ? Guantanamo ?

You have (kind of) legalized torture. And you think you’re different than terrorists ?

You had a reason besides oil ? An acceptable one for your attack on Iraq ? Everything was made up, a lie.

You’re wondering there are terrorists ?
By the way, which war have you won since the 2nd world war ? Korea ? Vietnam ?
Just let me know.
Then there was the news that they have found the passport of one of the attackers. A Syrian passport. Think for a second. You have several simultaneous planned and executed attacks. By suicide killers. They sure know that the police forces will inquire after their attack. Don’t you think they will make it as hard as possible for the police forces to trace them. To find the people behind ? But one of them left his passport. And some used parking tickets from Belgium. This doesn’t make you think a bit ? Maybe you SHOULD find them ?
Sunday afternoon there was the Belgian Secretary of the interior. Who claimed: ‘I will solve the problem in Molenbeek’  (a suburb of Bruxelles, for your info). Sure, very good idea to announce in the radio BEFORE what you will do. So that all the possible criminals could go into hiding Very intelligent.
For sure, the so-called security measures will be enforced. Like after 9/11. Serves not really a lot. Helps to move us closer to what George Orwell described in ‘1984′. Sounds good in the news, for some. Besides that ? Serves not really for security, depending on your definition of security.
It goes on and on: Now we are all French. No, I’m not. My human‘s female is French, he’s German and I’m a half Siamese cat.
I’m mourning with the people of Paris, with the people of Beirut. Those who are dying in Syria, the refugees drowning in the Mediterranean. Those killed by terrorists in Africa.
See you next Monday
Ausone

Squash cauliflower curry #vegetarian

You have to use what you find in your weekly vegetable box. Not a big fan of cauliflower. But this way I can eat it.

Ingredients:

200 g cauliflower florets

200g squash cut into bits

1 small onion cut into small cubes

1 teaspoon Madras Curry

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon ginger

125 g Greek yoghurt

0.2 l vegetable broth

olive oil

fresh ground pepper

Preparation:

  • blanch the cauliflower and the squash cubes for 4 minutes in boiling water (salted)
  • drain and stop the cooking with cold water
  • in a pan: heat 1 tsp of olive oil, fry the onion until translucent, add the spices and stir (don’t let them burn)
  • deglaze with the broth
  • add the yoghurt and stir
  • add the cauliflower and squash
  • verify the seasoning

serve hot with rice

Squash cauliflower curry 1

Bon appètit

Remarks:

I just find cauliflower boring. Prefer broccoli or romanesco.

Recipe should serve two.

As you can see in the photo, for a bit of a crunchy feeling, sprinkle some fried onions on top of the dish.

If I prepare the dish again (I certainly will) I will add something fruity. Mango or pineapple.

It looks a bit boring in the photo. Should add something with another colour.

But the next time it will be a thai curry with coconut milk. Certainly squash but perhaps no cauliflower.

On music

The advantage of having only three subscribers to my blog gives me the possibility of writing about whatever I want to. I sincerely hope that I won’t loose one of my subscribers in doing so.

Today, I’d like to take about the music I’m listening to. I can’t talk about the music I’m making cause….this does not exist. I’m singing under the shower only and can’t play an instrument (Can’t paint either). Don’t want to insult people.

Nowadays, most of the time, it’s the radio. One station in Belgium, Classic21. Only one exception, there is one DJ I simply can’t stand. Every time he’s on I HAVE TO switch of the radio and listen to one of my CDs. I won’t tell his name but he’s on Sunday afternoon and Thursday evening. Not that I don’t like the music he’s playing I just can’t stand his voice and his way of talking, I can’t. I just can’t, not even for five minutes.

Do I have a taste in my music, sure mine. Which means: Blues, classic Rock, Punk. A bit of Irish Folk (Dubliners and the fantastic mixture, The Pogues) A lot of Van Morrison. A bit of Jazz. And more and more classical music. Started with mostly piano music and meanwhile I’m capable of listening to violin. Even to some, not many Operas.

How did all of that start ?

The first thing I can remember is a photo of me taken one Christmas Eve. One of my presents was Queen: Jazz. I still own this vinyl although I don’t have a turntable any more. As I can’t throw away books, I can’t throw away my records either. Flickering to the box where my records are stored. I can find Beatles, Kinks, Queen, Springsteen, Bob Seger., U2 (although I can’t stand their new stuff, don’t think it’s the music. Must be something else). No Led Zeppelin (My alarm is Kashmir and although they say if you want to hate a song make it your alarm, it’s not working for Kashmir!) No Blues, No classical music.

The first CD I ever bought was Alchemy from Dire Straits. The first Blues was ‘The best of Muddy Waters”. The first classical ? Tchaikovsky Piano Concert No. 1.

When I’m writing I can’t listen to Punk but a nice Classical CD makes the ink flow. Bach, the Brandenburg Concertos, works wonders if you’ve no idea what to write (not always but most of the time). It even helps cooking; OK, for Christmas cooking it has to be ‘Christmas with the Rat Pack’.

In the end I don’t think I could listen to any text based music while I’m writing. And as I choose my music now more than ever based on the lyrics. This leaves me with either classical music (instrumental) or Jazz.

Do I still buy music ? Less and less, I’m just not OK with the prices they ask for a simple CD. Streaming music ? I never spent a thought about. Internet based radio ? There was something like Free or Last FM I used for a while, should give it another try if it still exists. Can’t even remember why I stopped using it ?

Am I influenced by the music I’m listening to? By the books I’m reading? Certainly, but I think mostly by the fact of no longer having TV !

As an example of the text based music, a small except from…Just guess.

“You’re a bum
You’re a punk
You’re an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it’s our last”

Awesome that guy. The only singer I know you have problems to understand the announcement but no problem when he’s singing. And the only one who finished his concerts completely hammered. The other members of the band excusing themselves that the concert HAS TO be over. One bottle Jack Daniels in 80 minutes.

And now I have five hours left until the Flamenco concert of this evening. Should be nice although it’s in a church….