Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter Y'all

Happy Easter y'all~

We are sitting down to sunday supper with family~
Counting our blessings.
Hope y'all are too ~

Saturday, March 30, 2013

PhotoHunt ~Wind

The PhotoHunt for today is 'Wind'

Which gives me the opportunity to share more photos of our days in Malta . . . by far the windiest days of the year.

We took a ferry boat from Malta to the tiny island of GOZA ~ it is known for its beaches, churches,  and farm land. It was beautiful. . .

We visited a little farm and winery Ta'Mena  ~ it reminded me a lot of the small wineries we visit in Tuscany.
They had a large tent set up for us . . . so the wind and the rain didn't bother us at all.
(of course, the wine helped)

Joe is the head of the operation and was a delight as he shared his passion for the wine and his family farm.

The pizzas, fresh olives, and cheese fortified us for the ride back on the ferry . . .
with the Wind ~

Check for all the other  Windy Photos on The Saturday PhotoHunt
Happy Hunting y'all~

Monday, March 25, 2013

~ Malta ~

I am going to combine my ' Monday Blues ' and my ' Traveling Tuesdays ' . . . with a trip to the beautiful blues of Malta.

I can't exactly say the bright and sunny blues of Malta . . .
Because, we were there for the windiest and rainiest weather they had seen in months.

The Maltese islands are south of Sicily and north of the North African coast. 
Imagine the wind and rain being carried with the sands of the Saraha desert.
Their culture is an interesting mix of Italian, Arabic, and British.

We had a fabulous guide ; Victoria Bezzina is a young Maltese local who kept us amazed and entertained with her stories about the history of the island. This is her link On-Line

We learned a lot about the Maltese Knights, or as you might have heard 'The Knights of St.John'. You could see the old Maltese cross on most of the 365 churches in the country.
I didn't realize that they were a catholic order, straight from the Vatican.
The 8 points of the cross, represented the coutry origin of the knights . . . Except for the little problem when King Henry VIII changed to the church of England.  THAT is history!

With all the churches in Malta . . . there are even more harbors.
Of course there is a strong history of pirates in the Maltese Islands, and trade of salts and spices from the Mediterranian.

During the second world war, Malta was a British colony and was heavily bombed.
The Maltese people lived behind these city walls to survive.

Malta is not a place that I had ever thought of visiting... but luckily I was able to tag along with my sister's friends from the American Women's Club of London.
Not a place that had been on my 'bucket list' ~ but I'm so glad I was able to experience it. Especially with friends and Victoria as our guide.

The last day we were able to get a peak of the blue skies . . . along with a couple more of those 365 churches in Valetta. I'll take you traveling there another day . . .

Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues and Boogie Board Cottage for Masterpiece Monday.
Y'all enjoy ~


Saturday, March 23, 2013

PhotoHunt ~ Flow

The Photohunt for today is Flow.

What better than the FLOW of London traffic?

Check for all the other  Photos on The Saturday PhotoHunt
Happy Hunting y'all~

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Traveling Tuesday ~ Day Tripping

This Traveling Tuesday ~ let's hop the train and go day tripping to Brighton.

Just a hour or 2 on the train south from Victoria Station . . . and you come into the beautiful Brighton rail station.
This is just the beginning of the amazing Victorian style in this town.

The most amazing building in Brighton is the  Royal Pavilion . . . and I mean the most amazing as in I HAVE EVER SEEN.
It was built in the 1800's for the Regent Prince ~ soon to be King George IV. It was first his play house, then his show house.
It is so over the top, with ginormous chandeliers, and ornate oriental/Moroccan design. No photos inside ~ but they wouldn't have shown the scale or magnificence.
It's no wonder that Queen Victoria found it to be gaudy.

We then wandered through the narrow lanes to the Brighton Pier. (with a little shopping along the way) Of course we had to stop for some fish and chips.

If it looks cold . . . that's because we are on the coast of the United Kingdom.
It was wet and COLD!

But fun ~
No wonder King George and all his friends loved to go day-tripping to Brighton.

Y'all enjoy the ride~

Monday, March 18, 2013

High Tea on a Blue Monday

What would a trip to London be, without going to High Tea with your girlfriends?

We had a special reservation at the Fortnum and Mason's Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon ~ so special.

Fortnum and Mason is the place to buy loose tea and all kinds of goodies . . .  Everything is packaged in the iconic tiffany blue ~ .
I quickly learned that there is a certain art to enjoying a proper tea.
We each had our own individual tea pots with a silver tea strainer. We had a sip of bubbly champagne and a toast to new and old friendships.

Our table was soon crowded with 3 layer tea stands. Each stand had a collection of sandwiches; cucumber with mint, salmon with lemon, and beef with onion preserves. Then the plate of fresh scones with clotted cream and lemon curd. The top plate was a collection of sweets.
Even better . . . ours were all gluten-free.

My favorite was the coronation chicken salad ~ a special recipe for the Queen.

The beautiful blue and gold tea service was so special . . . I resisted bringing one home.
Having tea at home would just not be the same without the baby grand playing in the background.

Don't forget to check in at Smiling Sally for more blues and Boogie Board Cottage for her Masterpiece Monday.
Y'all enjoy ~


Sunday, March 17, 2013

We are all a bit Irish today

Tooting around in the Bug ~
Y'all enjoy the luck of the Irish today ~

Saturday, March 16, 2013

PhotoHunt ~Footprints

The PhotoHunt for today is Footprints ~

My footsteps have left imprints on my heart. Whether it is the OPA symbol of the Vatican or SPQR of the city of Rome . . . These are each steps that I remember with joy.

So . . . This week, as I watched the excitement in St Peter's Square and the election of the new Pope
 ~ I knew my footprints were there somewhere.

Check for all the other  Photos on The Saturday PhotoHunt
Happy Hunting y'all~

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Favorite ~Hats

Have you ever heard the saying "he could have fun with a stick"
Well . . . just imagine me.
with a camera.
in the hat department at Peter Jones in Sloane Square.

I had the time of my life ~

Like a kid in a candy store . . .

acting like a queen ~

or perhaps the Duchess of  Cambridge.

What is your favorite today?
I am linking to Frugal Friday at the Shabby Nest. (especially since I only played, and didn't buy a one of them)
Y'all join in~

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Notting Hill ~ Traveling Tuesday

Who hasn't seen the movie?
Notting Hill ~ one of the most fabulous neighborhoods in London.
I just love the sound of it.

Chill, in Notting Hill.

With cute cafes and rowdy pubs, eclectic shops and the most lively spirit . . .

You can't help but smile with a lighter step . . . right into Portebello Market . . .

I have plenty of traveling to last for the next several Tuesdays.

Y'all enjoy the ride~

Monday, March 11, 2013

Let's make Sushi ~

Not many people can say they traveled all the way to London, to learn to make sushi.
Even when it is at Jamie Oliver's cooking school ' Recipease ' in Notting Hill.

It was the perfect activity, for my jet-lagged brain. Especially since we didn't start drinking wine until after the big knives were put away.

I have been a part of a lot of cooking classes, I don't think any were as well done as this. Everything was prepped and ready for us to do the chopping and dicing. There was even a 'rubbish bin' for our bits. (can you tell that I am still typing with my British accent? )

The secret to the rice . . . remains a secret. It is a certain kind of rice, cooked in a certain amount of water (to the knuckle), until it foams and floats to the top. It is then stirred until shinny with a slurrie of vinegar and sugar.
There is a certain art to rolling too. Use the fancy bamboo pad, covered with 'cling'. Roll it tightly, without squishing out the ingredients.

Ours looked and tasted like a pro might have made them . . .

My conclusion . . . I will continue to let the master sushi makers make mine. There are lots of ingredients that you use about a teaspoon of. It does make a fun day!

Tomorrow, for Traveling Tuesday, I'll take a stroll around Notting Hill.

Y'all enjoy ~
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