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 !