A celebratory dinner


March 27, 2017  •  No Comments

I’m writing this just to prove that, yes, I can on occasion be retrained. As a child I hated relatively few foods, but turnip-type items were high on the list, just below Brussels sprouts and Lima beans. Blech! And yet, while the jury is still out on those last two, I had a food adventure this weekend that made me less reluctant to allow rutabaga past my lips. Yes, rutabaga, that unlovely cross between a cabbage and a turnip.

How did this miracle happen? I went out for a combo celebration at one of my favorite restaurants. For my part of the combo, I had a few things to feel good about. Last August I made a pretty long list of things I wanted to do for my writing business and checked most of them off. I’ve also been nominated for a RITA award for my novel ENCHANTED WARRIOR in the paranormal romance category. As this is the second year in a row, I’m very pleased. It was high time for a treat.

So back to the root vegetables. I went to a whole foods restaurant called Nourish in the Harbour (nourishkitchen.ca) and had a dish containing blanched rutabaga noodles, charred broccoli, roasted carrots, cultured cashew cream, pickled shallots, sunchoke chips, and cured egg yolk. In other words, my meal was free of meat, gluten, dairy, small puppies, and all other politically incorrect food groups. (Yes, I remember when being vegetarian was considered weird. Now it’s for beginners.) Not sure what to expect, I ordered it as the only meatless entrée on offer and hoped for the best.

Astonishingly, it was completely, fabulously delicious. The blanched noodles (essentially long strips of vegetable, no pasta in sight) were tender and completely satisfying with a hint of the well-seasoned cashew cream. The other ingredients were beautifully colourful. By the end of the second bite, I was converted.

Sometimes it pays to give old vegetables a second chance. I’m eager to break out my spiralizer and start experimenting. If I come up with something even half as good as that dish, I’ll share the results!

But of course, one cannot live on rutabaga alone, so we moved on to desserts.


Would you like to be paid in cake?


March 20, 2017  •  No Comments

Cross-posted from the Corsair’s Cove Series bog here.

This happened to the composer Franz Josef Haydn. Lucky for him, the cake was filled with gold coins! I’d really like to know why this happened, and if it had anything to do with his famous sense of humor. If anyone knows, please tell me!

This curious tidbit was just one of the anecdotes offered by the conductor of this afternoon’s concert by the VSO. The program featured Haydn and Mozart, who were friends in life despite the fact that Haydn was established and Mozart the new kid on the block. Along with a couple of other composers, they had their own string quartet, so putting the two together in a programme is a natural fit.

I was at the concert because it was a Christmas present for my mother. This has become something of a tradition—rather than giving her things, I give her tickets and we enjoy them over a matter of months, usually on Sunday afternoons. It’s good mother-daughter time and she doesn’t have another object to store, wash, or otherwise take care of.

Both my parents were musicians, Mom a professional and my father an amateur. As a result, I grew up listening to orchestras. It’s interesting to see how much more the performers speak to the audience, even in the most formal settings. Conductors have always been personalities, but now they need some storytelling skills to keep the audience engaged. Since classical music is filled with love stories, bitter feuds, and—apparently—cake, I can’t think of a more delightful way to make an enjoyable experience even better.

I wonder whether the cake was chocolate?

 


We have a winner!


March 5, 2017  •  1 Comment

Congrats to Susan J. for winning my newsletter prize, which is now winging its way to her mailbox. Here is a look at the earrings, which are tiny books. The actual color is a little more blue-green that it shows here.  And, since she requested a copy of A Study in Silks as her free book, here is the whole prize pack shebang:


Newsletter contest update


March 1, 2017  •  No Comments

Well, my first winner did not respond by the deadline, so I’ve sent out another email to a commenter. Check your email for a message promising to reveal what’s inside the Celtic treasure box!


Goodreads Giveaway for Enchanted Warrior!

Sharon Ashwood
January 24, 2016  •  No Comments

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Enchanted Warrior by Sharon Ashwood

Enchanted Warrior

by Sharon Ashwood

Giveaway ends January 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Today’s obsession – headphones

Sharon Ashwood
January 13, 2016  •  No Comments

GramophoneThis has nothing to do with anything to do with writing or books, but it’s my blog and I can blither if I want to.

So I grew up with audio geeks and my mother, who is a musician, still claims that vinyl sounds better than anything else. Playing a record is a ceremony requiring the exact positioning of furniture, cleaning of the needle with special elixirs and sitting with uninterrupted focus to listen. I’m not quite that picky, but I finally coughed up money for a decent set of Sennheiser headphones and realized just how good digital CAN be if the proper equipment is available. My iTunes playlist suddenly has new life and–wait a moment–instruments I hadn’t even noticed! Lyrics I can understand! A sense of space and distance between sounds! Seriously, the average earbuds just don’t do justice to good music.

I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to get some good headphones, but I think it has something to do with a beloved white pussycat of yore who used to chew through the wires of anything he could find.  I loved him dearly, but one month he went through 3 sets of headphones. The sight of him with spaghetti wire dangling from his mouth discouraged any serious investment  . . . I’d have him back in a heartbeat though.

 


Halloween ghost pumpkin

Sharon Ashwood
October 31, 2015  •  No Comments

When I saw this pumpkin I thought it must be a gourdly ghost – is there anything more appropriate for Halloween? I gave it center stage in this shot!2015-10-17 13.50.27


Pumpkin of the day – Friday

Sharon Ashwood
October 30, 2015  •  No Comments

I saw this bunch in a pumpkin field. This is all pumpkins, all the time. Jack-o-lanterns, ho!

2015-10-17 15.01.46


Pumpkin of the day – Thursday

Sharon Ashwood
October 29, 2015  •  No Comments

Some of these pumpkins are getting their Halloween on. Check out the extra-warty fellow in the middle. To be honest, those ones kind of creep me out.2015-10-17 13.49.49


Pumpkin of the day – Wednesday

Sharon Ashwood
October 28, 2015  •  No Comments

Gorgeous gourds from a local market. I had to lean into the bin to get this shot. This definitely gets me in the autumn mood.

2015-09-04 14.59.24