verb ǀar-ẓi-go-go-là-reǀ  1. to let your mind wander, to muse, to daydream

Earl Grey is my favorite tea. Le Palais du Thés, the company I had mentioned a few posts ago, packages theirs  in muslin bags, under the name ‘Blue of London’.

I like to place a thin slice of orange in the teacup - it lends a hint of sweetness and, in the case of Earl Grey, brings out the citrus undertones of the bergamot flavor.

The intensity of this blue vase recalls the Arno last night.

A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life

by Mary Randolph Carter

Rizzoli, 2010

Tuscany and Umbria: The Collected Traveler

by Barrie Kerper

Vintage Departures, 2010

(See also The Collected Traveler website and Barrie’s blog.)

I have already mentioned Jennifer Causey’s Simply Breakfast website, in which she uses her camera to record each breakfast as a still life in its own right. She has recently launched a new site devoted to local artisans in her Brooklyn neighborhood: The Makers captures artful compositions of the ‘makers’ at work. About this undertaking she writes: As the project evolves, so does the adventure and pleasure of documenting the people behind the products: to learn what inspires them, what keeps them going, and their thoughts on the city where they live and work.”

The blue vase is from Terrain‘s website. They sell  items for the home and garden (and have a store in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania). It looks like the kind of place I would have enjoyed browsing when I lived in the US.

The bold colors and striking patterns of

Chicago-based stationer Snow & Graham

also caught my attention recently.

Above: Currently on Terrain’s homepage

The moving notes of the allegretto from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 have been resonating in my head since I saw The King’s Speech. Follow this link for a video of Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, followed by a commentary on how this piece makes for a climax that “absolutely soars.”

Seeing beauty in a used teabag ~

As someone who looks forward to coffee each morning and tea in the afternoons, I appreciate the ritual of making and drinking it. And there’s definitely something appealing about the rings and stains of tea and coffee leaving their marks - small gestures of our days. I snapped the photo below when I noticed it lying, pillowy and stained, in the china saucer. It made me think of two artists who have transformed their daily tea-drinking habit into works of art.

Artist Heidi Zednik uses teabags, which she salvages after steeping, to record small details from her day. I first came across her project via an exhibition held at the Abecedarian Gallery, One Unit per Increment, which brought together works created within the framework of a regular interval (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).

Another artist’s work in that exhibition was also tea-centric: “100 days” featured bowls that artist Tatiana Ginsberg crafted from paper, and from which she would drink her daily tea. Each bowl assumed a unique character as it “reacted to and recorded the specific act of drinking.”

Warm 3Tbsp olive oil in a pot just large enough to accommodate a 1.2 kg pork loin (boneless & trussed). Add the pork and brown well on all sides. Sprinkle all surfaces with salt, then add 1 tsp peppercorns, lightly crushed, and two cloves garlic. Pour in 1/2 c balsamic vinegar, add a few sprigs of thyme or sage, and cover the pot. Simmer on low heat (on a simmer plate if possible, and moved off-center from the flame if it goes beyond a simmer) for upwards of 4 hours, turning every so often, until the meat starts to break apart when tested with a fork. Remove the pork and let it rest while you add a few Tbsp of water to the liquid in the pot. Cook this on high heat for a few minutes, until it reduces slightly, then strain out the herb stems and most of the peppercorns. Release the pork from the string, slice (the slices will be more like suggestions of slices, i.e. not very tidy), then serve with a splash of the balsamic mixture. Potatoes - oven roasted or boiled - and a simple salad of greens, tomatoes, pears and parmesan shavings  are our usual accompaniments. We warm leftovers in BBQ sauce, pulling the meat apart (like pulled pork), which makes for amazing sandwiches.

Pork cooked in

balsamic vinegar

A selection of
the small Tassotti notebooks I’ve collected over the years; the 4” x 5 3/4” size makes them very portable.