You all know that I love to cook and bake.  I read food blogs and websites.  Cookbooks as bedside reading are a given.  Cooking is not only how I nurture and delight my family and friends, it’s how I explore, travel and taste the world right in my own home.

Lately, people have been after me to compile a book of the recipes I’ve cooked over the years that have become family favorites.  Now I’m not a recipe writer.  Whilst some of my recipes have come from my mother and grandmother…other family favorites have come from famous chefs, cookbooks and websites.

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The oranges in this orange strawberry salad are clean sectioned, a lot of work. Mine is easier, below. And even prettier!

I’ve cooked it all.  Legions of cookies and cakes.  Gallons of egg nog and mimosas.  Baked hams. Beef Wellingtons. Roasts of pork and lamb.  So many turkeys I can’t even count. Creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes, Sacher Tortes, Buches de Noel.

I asked myself, what do I really feel like eating at Christmas this year? The answer was: not complicated elegance. More like sexy bistro food. I have visions of pulling a bubbling casserole from the oven, served with a glass of seriously fabulous wine. My DD tells me I’ll be everyone’s new best friend by bringing a large Spanokopita, a Greek spinach pie to a Christmas eve supper I’m invited to.

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lemon drizzle

When the going gets tough, I drizzle.

It’s steamy in Tropica right now.  Meriland empties out like Paris in August.  It’s too hot for even the Tropicans who have deserted Meriland and moved lock, stock and servants to the beach.  I adore Meriland in the summer.  A quiet city to myself, lost in the heat.  I swim in the morning and drift through the lazy days.

The world news in the past few weeks has left me sacudida. That’s a Spanish expression which means, “shaken like a rag doll.” That’s about right.  Exhausted, trembly, heartbroken, shaken inside and out. So much evil, sorrow, hatred, sadness.  In addition, I have a friend who is suffering greatly with his health.

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⟡ Where have you been all my life? ⟡

Smitten Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

This is a recipe for people who can’t bake.  It takes five, okay, fifteen minutes to get into the oven.  In addition to being fail proof, it’s comforting, beautiful and delicious.  And I can’t believe I never knew about this until a week ago! [Read more…]

choco crackles

⟡ Breaking with tradition ⟡

You all know how I feel about tropical Christmas.  I wrote about it last year. In general, I  take comfort in traditions.  The ease of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, menu always the same.  The cherished Christmas ornaments that I pull out of the box each year.  The Easter ham.  The Fourth of July barbecue. But this year with the holiday season in full swing, I’m feeling the season in a different way. [Read more…]

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Mother’s Day, Shmother’s Day.  I am not a fan.

When I was a girl, my beloved Mother (note the capital M) explained to me that it was a commercial holiday, something the merchants designed to boost sales in-between Valentine’s Day and Christmas (that is a long time)  thereby freeing me from the tyranny of buying perfume and scarves or feeling guilty that I didn’t.

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Space is what we crave on weekends.  Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual… space. Space to read and dream.  Space to exercise, relax, sleep.   Space to share with friends or space for solitude.

Each Friday, Camp Liza will share an inspiration for your weekend space.  And hey, campers!  if you’ve got some inspiration to share, write us and maybe we’ll feature your weekend space.

Meet Banana Cake with Penuche Frosting from one of my favorite food sites.  Who doesn’t have bananas in the house?  Who doesn’t like a fluffy, airy cake  that can take you from Saturday afternoon tea to Sunday evening down time?

Nigella was right.  Baking is a great kindness.  Gratitude and love inducing.

And this photograph.  How can you not want to dash into your kitchen post haste and start peeling?

As always, I’d love to hear from you.  Are you cooking or baking something special this weekend?  The fun begins in the comments, so tell us what you’re up to.  And if you try this recipe, tell us!