The Day After

slimpaley.thanksgiving

Happy The Day After!

I hope everyone here in America enjoyed a happy, meaningful Thanksgiving Day in whatever way you chose to celebrate.

I’m guessing there was probably some turkey and pumpkin pie involved.

I don’t have too much to report here.  All went well, and we were very thankful for all our blessings, especially having both our lads home with us for the holiday.

As readers with older children will appreciate, this becomes increasingly harder to accomplish as the years fly by.

slimpaley.comI managed a one-armed table set at the barn.

 The flowers and napkin folding were not quite up to snuff, but the overall effect was a success (even if I do say so myself! ;-))

I bought orchids,  persimmons and longan berries at the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market on Wednesday, and my sister picked some berries for me.

Heritage TurkeyHeritage Turkey

My older son and his girlfriend cooked the entire dinner over a two day period. It was absolutely fantastic. They even made home-made stock earlier just for the gravy.

brussel sprouts with lardonFresh brussels sprouts from the farmer’s market with lardon, simmered in butter & chicken stock.

890A9376Delicious ham and fresh green bean casserole.

orchid & footballFlowers & football.  Story of my life :-)

slimpaley.pumpkinpieMaple pumpkin pie with chocolate crust (adapted from Bon Appetit magazine) with freshly whipped cream

pecanpieand pecan perfection!

My son made these. From scratch. Home-made pastry.

MY SON .

Almost everything was perfect

sweet potatoes with marshmallow  Keeping two eyes and one arm on the final broiling of the whipped sweet potatoes with fresh ginger, coconut cream & marshmallows was my job.

Honestly. The lengths some people will go to to try and catch a glimpse of a fireman.

whipped sweet potatoesBut never let it be said that I’m not a master re-cycler.

The entire charred top popped right off and the slightly smoky flavour remaining just took the edge off the sweetness.

Good as new!

champagne.slimpaley.com

CHEERS TO GOOD FOOD, GREAT FRIENDS AND DEAR FAMILY NEAR & FAR.

Have a wonderful weekend!

xx

~

Chartreuse linen napkins from “Linen Me”, candlesticks Georg Jensen, sandalwood runner from ‘Botanik’, Summerland, dinner plates “Target” (!) ‘vintage goblets.

The Turning

flowers from my garden, Slimpaley.com

It’s here.

 Autumn has officially arrived.

I will acknowledge its presence and no longer be cranky with those who wished the warm weather away.

I’ve perused the gross weight of all the September issues, witnessed Halloween & Thanksgiving decor in stores for myself and weakly bleet “UNCLE”

Ya got me.

As you may have noticed, I even changed my header photo. Now if I could only figure out how to nix the turquoise banner for a more autumnal shade I’d be good.

WordPress, please heed my cry for help!

Light on the dining room wall, Slim PaleyTruly, I knew It was almost here with the subtle shift of late afternoon light in my dining room. After living in this home for over 20 years we’re like old friends that finish each other’s sentences.

“Slim” (said the house) “Stop trying to act all ‘India Hicks’ with the giant palm fronds still on the table. It’s the end of September. Get over yourself”

Like I said, Very old friends.

white roses. slimpaley.com

And while I for one will still lament the all too soon passing of our summer, I’ll readily concede there are no other seasonal contenders when it comes to the beauty of Autumn light. I could basically just run around my house with a camera from 4pm to 6pm from now through November and be a very happy glamper.

Lost in Arles via Lost in Arles blog

Then there’s the whole “leaf changing thing”

Which I guess is okay if you go in for that sort of stuff…

Another big check in the plus column?

dolce-gabbana-rtw-fw2013-runway-60_112954382617Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2013

Hellooo Fall Fashion!

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Louis Vuitton Fall 2013

Louis Vuitton Fall 2013

Not to mention (always followed by a mention)

A bed & a book

that my flannel sheets will soon be making their eagerly awaited comeback.

Oh Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Truth be told, I could blissfully sleep in flannel all year round.

Of course I wouldn’t still be married, so there’s that…

49032504Photos via here

 I totally adore the colours of Fall

24401145How divine is this copper & rust mixed with palest cream & blush?

I’m So copying. With flowers and a make-up palette. Stay tuned.

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 7.41.40 AMphoto Sarah Maingot

Shorter days and cooler nights invite us back to long heavenly soaks in the bath.

Never a bad thing.

Fall. Slimpaley.comAnd Fall food is as comforting as all get out. Soup’s on? I’m there.

be81dd751d0fec8be52948e3190ed470Grilled onions with thyme & cream. Recipe here

Angels on Horseback

A version of “Angels on Horseback” with Medjool dates, water chestnuts & pineapple wrapped in bacon, marinated in soy sauce & pineapple juice then baked. Yum.

Howard Slatkin bar

Libationally (I say it’s a word) it’s fun to adapt your bar, like this one in Howard Slatnik’s home, to the cooler season’s more comforting requirements.

vintage books. Slimpaley.comAnd I must admit, Fall certainly does invite one to hunker down and enjoy more cozy reading time…

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So;

pretty light, gorgeous colours, long baths & flannel sheets. A good meal, a great read, cashmere & a comely cocktail…

I do believe I’ve just talked myself into being very happy that Autumn has arrived!

Check it! I could be on “Super Soul Sunday”

I have a motivational speaker lurking inside of me!

omg. That explains my inexplicable weight gain over the summer…

Phew. Just found the silver lining!

Slimpaley.com

Happy Falling Leaves To All

xxSP

~

Ode to a Grecian Yearn

Greece window

Room with a View

One of our family’s favourite places in the entire world to holiday is Greece.

I started going when I lived in London in the 80′s.  My husband and I honeymooned there, and over the years we’ve returned many times with our two boys.

We are extremely blessed to have wonderful old friends there who graciously share their slice of heaven on earth with us during the summer.

I will readily admit I’m not nearly clever enough to comprehend what has happened with the Greek economy. I haven’t spent any time in Athens in several years, other than to pass through the airport, so I can’t speak to what the atmosphere is like there now.  All I can say is with the perfect weather, azure skies and sea, food one dreams about for the rest of the year and lovely, hospitable people, Greece simply can’t be beat as one of the most beautiful summer destinations in Europe.

greece, Slim Paley

And I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a little slice of heaven…

fried fish & french fries

and the food… O M G

Greece

Can you hear the song of the cicadas??

“Welcome back, Relax. Welcome back, Relax” (I speak Cicadian)

Their constant refrain, an audible perfume that instantly awakens your sense memory.

real Greek salad

I adore Greek salad, and it’s never quite the same anywhere else.

Except perhaps Vancouver, with their large Greek community, they know you never, ever add lettuce.

 (substitute “quelle horreur!” in Greek here)

Blue window shutters

It’s not an exaggeration to say there isn’t a smidgeon of their property that isn’t utterly divine. The family patriarch has a passion for design and attention to detail that knows no bounds. Every time we come home from visiting I am so filled with inspiration.

It gets my husband very worried.

But it’s not just the ambience…

fried aubergine

 Did I mention the food yet?

fresh mango sorbetMy friend helps herself to a serving of their house-made mango sorbet.

Do ya think they know our boys like sorbet?!

FYI, no dieting in Greece. It’s against the law.

Besides, everything is fresh, fresh, fresh so who cares about caloric intake?

~

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Just a quick aside-how do women in Europe get away with wearing lashings of jewelry with their bathing suits and look so chic?

Something I’ve yet to master. Mine gets burning hot, covered in sunscreen and looks like I’m trying way too hard.

But I digress…

Don’t get the wrong impression-it’s not all about food, drink, lazing about and angsting over my aquatic jewelry quotient.

Some of us manage to get pretty damn sporty.

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Younger Son wake boarding in Porto Heli (where Aman Resorts has just opened the “Amanzoe”-though we didn’t go see it)

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My ridonkulously adorable god daughter heating up the courts with her style.

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Older Son’s girlfriend “C” or, as she is now known  “The Donkey Whisperer” working her magic.

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Younger Son getting some “air” on the soccer pitch

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There are grapes to be picked for making wine…

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Books to be devoured daily by The Boyfriend of The Donkey Whisperer

cocktail bar, Greece

Cocktails to be mixed.

the cats in Greece

But I won’t be disingenuous, there’s a mighty high degree of relaxing going on in Greece.

Just as it should be on one’s hols.

Breakfast table Greece

The outdoor breakfast table before the first hungry morning shift ambles in.

Chicken coop

Breakfast eggs hot off the …ah… super fresh

Greek yoghurt & fresh fruits

and that Greek yoghurt, honey & figs right off the trees with a great cappuccino

Blue table setting Greece, Slim Paley

Seriously.

HEAVEN!

fresh greek salad

I’ll have a little glass of chilled retsina with that please

wine grapes, Greece

pink bouganvilea

Even the bougainvillea looks so much brighter in Greece than in California.

greek pastries with honey

Home-made pastries for desert.

Remember…worrying about calories-a Felony in Greece

sail boat in Greece

Sometimes we can even bring ourselves to leave our friend’s property, and tool about the islands

This pretty sailboat was in a bay we stopped in for lunch one day.

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Where of course I had to order my regular. And those teeny, tiny little fish sprinkled with salt and lemon that you munch like french fries.

Gone before I could get a pic.

Port of Hydra, Greece

Pulling into the port of Hydra in the late afternoon.

Squid hanging in Greek Tavern

Fresh squid/octopus? (difference??) hanging outside a tavern on the island of Spetses

traditional old Greek restaurant kitchen

Another one of our favourite spots to eat is a centuries old house in the hills where the proprietors, a lovely couple, make the food in their house kitchen and serve it outside on their porch.

very old kitchen in Greece

So charming and authentic. Is this not what traveling to distant lands is all about?

Not a Starbucks in sight.

Sunset in the Greek Islands

And to cap off the day with a cocktail while the sun slinks behind neighboring isles…

Negroni cocktail, Greece

It just doesn’t get any better than that.

cats in Greece

But why do the summer holidays always have to sneak by in the blink of an eye??

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I hope YOU are enjoying a languorous  August!

Happy Days xx SP

~

CIAO ORVILLE

fashion, popcorn

When you think of Summer do you think of popcorn?

Drive-Ins, Summer movie dates, pool parties..

It’s not the first thing, mind you, but I think of it.

Oh, let’s be real, I think of popcorn just as much in the winter.  I’m a complete kernel fiend but it was a so-so (desperate) segue into the post.

BTW, Do you think it’s easy to find a photo combining fashion with popcorn?!  NUH-UH Girlfriend.  Was so excited when I snapped the above window in NY!

But  I’m thinking about popcorn pretty much every day, now that I’m on my gluten-free trial period (I hate the word DIET).

In fact it was one of the very first things I looked up before deciding whether or not this G-F choice would even be doable for me.

Because It’s absolutely, positively, your chances are zero, IMPOSSIBLE to get me to go to the movies and not eat popcorn.

If I’ve been to Bouchon for lunch and The French Laundry for dinner and you say let’s go to the movies I will at least get a medium, butter 1/2 way down.

No Sharesies.

Butter 1:2 way down trick

Here’s an insider’s trick for the cinema: establish two straws at different levels of the bag and shoot the “butter” down the straws.

Don’t judge.

~

24 carat good news?

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There’s NO GLUTEN IN POPCORN :-)

Now I know there are a million & one different ways to doctor popcorn. Whether you like it sweet or savoury, the possibilities are truly endless.

Basically, when it was suggested to God He create the perfect vehicle to deliver every possible flavour, He created popcorn.

I like both sweet & savoury, though I’m partial to salty for sure.

When I first moved to London, not all theatres even sold popcorn and if they did it was only sugared, which horrified me, but after my boyfriend put an end to bringing my own (spoilsport) I grew to sort of like the sweet stuff. Amazing how the human body adapts under pressure.

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But enough about ancient history and uptight old beaus who care about car smells.

I have this great tip for popping corn that I’d like to share with you.

popcorn maker

First, I would highly recommend dumping your microwave popcorn. I hear it’s very unhealthy and possibly linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Just saying. I certainly have no idea if this is a valid accusation, but what I do know to be true is that freshly popped corn is way more delicious and only takes a few minutes extra to make, so why not make the switch?

Another benefit to popping stove top style is you may choose healthier oils such as olive, or coconut, for example. Who knows what Redenbacher really puts in that reservoir of goo at the bottom of the bag?

Pre-popped popcorn stores really well for at least a week. Make it when you have time, store in the same type of container you would keep cereal in and add the fixins’ when the movie starts.

Which is how we get to the popping tip below…

We were staying with dear old friends in Lake Tahoe earlier this year and I commented on how incredibly good their popcorn was (as we were watching an incredibly bad movie)

I was digging for every last ‘Old Maid’ (what’s your euphemism for un-popped kernels? I admit my old British one is so politically incorrect :-()

My friend said it was all in their friend Khalil’s “Top Secret Tip” which she gave me permission to share here;

KHALIL’S TOP SECRET POPCORN TIP:

Slow  roast  the  kernels  first!!!

I know. omg. Shhhhhh. Promise not to tell any other blogs…especially that Pioneer Lady.

popcorn tricksWhat looks tastier-These?

slow roast popcornOr these?

So, the secret’s out of the bag. Do with it what you will.

It does take some time and yes, skills to achieve just the right deep golden colour before cranking the heat up and commencing a popping.

On my stove it takes about 15-20 minutes but it is old and the gas control is either “Rainy Campfire on Survivor!” or “Industrial Kitchen Bake Off”

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have one or two “Incidents”

Who amongst us hasn’t thrown a ‘seriously burnt popcorn’ microwave away?? (our score is 2)

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I’m thinking of spreading a bag of kernels on an oiled cookie sheet and slow roasting them in the oven, as I do with steel cut oatmeal, to see if I get the same results.

Popcorn kernels may also be pre-toasted and saved to pop later, but I’ve found they don’t save for very long, maybe 3 or 4 days.

Then for some reason, husbands can’t get them to pop anymore and they burn.

They burn badly.

And your “Ray Donovan” Sunday evening viewing will be scarred.

As if you’re not being scarred enough just watching that show.

Truffle sea salt

A few of my personal fav’s; “Olive Oil & Sea Salt” butter from “Land O’ Lakes” (new, at least to me) , ghee, celery salt, Sriracha, Old Bay Seasoning, parmesan cheese, truffle salt…you know the drill.

stove top popcorn maker

I totally love the popcorn maker I asked for last Christmas after reading about the perils of micro-waved popcorn.

I’ve never looked back.

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Charlotte-Olympia-Movie-Night-Shoulder-Bag

Charlotte Olympia leather bag.

Thanks to L & E & especially Khalil!

.

orville

Ciao Orville Baby. It was fun while it lasted.

XXXSP

~

An Indian Dinner

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Happy Saturday to you!

I’m a little jet lagged, having just recently returned from London. I’m excited to share some highlights of our trip once I’ve had a chance to download and compile all my photos. I actually went away with just my tiny Leica and the download cord, but no battery charger. So dumb. Don’t you just love packing?

Those of you that follow me on Instagram though have seen several of my holiday snaps there already. The old iPhone (and I do mean the old one) takes a pretty good shot in a pinch.  OK so, wait…I’m off track already, bloody hell…the London post will be arriving shortly (it is coming from overseas after all!)

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few photos from the Indian Dinner table I set at ‘Casa Paley’ shortly before we went away.

890A8441We were excited to be having very dear old friends over for dinner and inspired by the spate of beautiful late May weather in Santa Barbara (before  “June Gloom” arrived, right on schedule as I’ve been informed, June 1st) I thought it would be fun to serve up a big old curry with all the fixings.

09ea16a6bd9e11e299e522000a9e28c4_7My Instagram shot of the cookbooks we used:

“Mangoes & Curry Leaves” (gorgeous book, somewhat complex recipes),”Tangy Tart Hot & Spicy” by Padma Lakshmi (easier recipes) and “Vij’s” from my favourite Indian restaurant in Vancouver-even though they don’t take reservations which drives me insane. Maybe because I’m mentioning his cookbook I might not have to wait outside the next time.  Do you think??? Hey, It could happen. If you know him, please put in a good word for me :)

I’m afraid I don’t have any photos of the food but this is what we served:

Vij’s Family Chicken Curry (OMG-SO good. and I’m not just saying that because of the no reservations thing. Swear)

Prawns in Coconut Marsala

Sauteed Arugula & Spinach with Tofu (because we couldn’t find Paneer)

Ginger & Jalapeño Basmati rice

Green Beans with Toasted Coconut & Cashews

Cucumber Raita

Shredded Carrot, Cranberries & Cilantro Salad (Gorgeous & delicious-so wish I’d taken a photo) from Padma’s book

Huge crispy Poppadoms, Naan bread and lashings of spicy chutneys

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890A8452Different flavours of salts on the table are always a nice touch.

I found the porcelain and copper “burning match” votives “At The Table” in LA  years ago.

890A8462I actually have a “Salt” post in the hopper as we speak. Keep an eye out for it. I know. Exciting, right?!

890A8457As usual, I like to really mix it up, so here we have a huge vintage Suzani used as the tablecloth (that’s how much I love/trust these friends :) )  little silver votives from Pottery Barn, Cristofle silverware, vintage ocean liner water goblets, black & white striped cotton napkins from “Paradise Lane” in Sri Lanka, and all the black & white dishes are from Target. The roses are “White Iceberg” and “Hot Cocoa” from my garden.

Here’s the recipe for the curried chicken:

photo 2 photo 1photo 3

Taken from “Vij’s” cookbook with love and respect… and patience.

What?? I’m not hinting at anything!

890A8520Christofle silver vase (a present for our 25th wedding anniversary last month)

For another Suzani inspired table setting check out this older post HERE -I just noticed that it was also done in May, in 2011. Goes to show how much Spring inspires us to bring the colour indoors (you might also recognise that suzani from my recent post about updating our conservatory) Vintage textiles are such a worthwhile investment, aren’t they?!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend

and

VERY HAPPY FATHER’S DAY WISHES TO ALL THE WONDERFUL DADS OUT THERE!!

xoxox

~