Followers

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

A Morning Ritual Chez Nous

     Whenever we are at home in the morning, Miriam and I take great delight in having a coffee and a muffin at around 10:00 am. It has become a very enjoyable ritual and of late we have been confined to the house a little more than usual, due to restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus. 
     I am quite sure that Miriam's blueberry muffins are beyond compare, and as soon as we start to get low, she bakes another batch.



     Does your mouth not begin to water just looking at these confections?



     And when you have the odour too the pleasure is magnified.
     Ever resourceful, Miriam also made the perfect table mat to accompany this morning treat.



       Coffee and muffins! It really doesn't get any better! My choice of coffee is black, Miriam prefers to add a little milk.


   
     Now, the important thing to remember is that this is the house of a couple of birders.
     As you turn into the kitchen what could be better to greet you than a Canada Goose? This is an original watercolour I bought at fund-raiser a couple of years ago, and I think that the artist, whose name I am unable to read, has done a great job in capturing the stance of the bird. I was very pleased to acquire it at reasonable cost.



       We have a breakfast area in the kitchen and that is where we eat most of our meals, only moving to the dining room when we have guests for dinner. 
     Obviously you cannot be expected to eat without a few birds to provide company!



     And look at this wonderful wall hanging Miriam made to hide the outlets, stunning in both conception and completion, with every bird individually quilted.


  
     I am singularly fortunate to have a number of original works by Barry Kent MacKay, an extremely talented Canadian wildlife artist, who has an uncanny ability to capture the essence of the bird in its environment.
     I was very happy when I acquired this picture of parrots feeding on a clay lick, recalling our experience watching exactly a scene such as this along the Río Napo in Ecuador.



     Take a look at some of the detail.



     On my first trip to Vancouver Island, I saw Red-breasted Sapsucker; in fact it was common at the B&B we stayed at. I had never seen this species before, but it put in an appearance almost every morning, and it was delightful to say the least.
     Barry captures it so well.




     I should mention that every time I visited Barry's studio I returned home with a painting other than the one I had intended to purchase. So much of what he did had personal associations for me, and every painting of his that decorates my walls has a story to tell.
     Some of you are perhaps familiar with the blogger known as Noushka. I met this charming and talented lady six years ago and actually stayed at her home and birded with her at an ornithological refuge (Le Teich) on the Atlantic coast of France. In addition to her skills as a renowned photographer, she has created a good deal of original art, and I was thrilled when she presented me with this work featuring a Hazel Grouse.




     I am reminded of that happy time each time I see the picture - which is every day!
     But there is more! How about this Blue Jay perched atop a stack of bird books?



     Underneath the little side table, Canada Geese stand on guard.



     A Common Kingfisher flashes at us from the hutch.



     And inside the hutch birds perch on wine glasses.



     And some look stately rendered in white.




     And we haven't even got beyond the kitchen yet folks! You ain't seen nuthin' yet!

Blueberry Bran Muffins

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup All-Bran Original cereal

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 egg
3 T vegetable oil
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup of fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries

1. Stir together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In large bowl, stir together cereal, milk and juice. Let stand 3 minutes or until cereal softens. Add egg, oil and sugar. Beat well.
3. Add flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter evenly into lightly greased or paper-lined muffin tins.
4. Bake at 400° F for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown and tops of muffins spring back when lightly touched.

Yields 10 - 12 muffins

71 comments:

  1. We do have a lot in common. Blueberry muffins are a favorite treat at our house, too. And over the years I have amassed a considerable collection of bird figurines as well as artwork featuring birds. I love the pictures and wall hangings you show. They are the kinds of things that help make a house a home. I also spy a book there that I greatly enjoyed - The Big Year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is pretty obvious you two are birders LOL!
    My mouth was already watering at the muffins before you made your comment, they look so delicious. My hubby and I used to have a similar morning routine, sitting in the garden with our homemade biscuits (although I think you call them cookies?) - he would have coffee but I always had tea. Happy memories :) xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Art and beauty surround you.
    Not least Miriam's art, both culinary and with her needle.
    In case you had any doubt you are a very lucky couple.

    ReplyDelete
  4. David - I love your bird pictures and outings, but this is a pleasant peek into your home. No big surprise that it is decorated with birds of all types and in many media. What I enjoy is that each one has a deeply personal connection for you. Thanks for sharing this look into your home and your routines. Stay well!

    ReplyDelete
  5. The muffins look lovely. We don't eat them in this house as we don't have morning tea and rarely have afternoon tea. Coffee is usually made with the coffee machine being a cappuccino which is made for all that visit if they wish for one. (Not at the moment)
    Those paintings do look exquisite and seem to suit the two of you.
    Take care, be safe.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think I could easily feel at home in your place - coffee, muffins and birds, just great! Love all of your beautiful bird art. And lots of books. Perfect. That's a place you can enjoy spending time at. Thanks for sharing, but you could have sent over a muffin! Hugs to you and Miriam, Valerie

    ReplyDelete
  7. Coffee with blueberry muffins sounds like a delicious treat David. And you show a number of beautiful things, I love those paintings!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello Richard, what a collection of birds you show us here. That is a delight to watch every morning when you have your coffee with a fresh muffin from Miriam's hand. And yes I know the work of Noushka. She still makes the most wonderful photos. That painting she made is a wonderful work of art. A lovely Idea to show u your collection in a blog. Stay save.
    Regards,
    Roos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Roos, if only I could be David again! Je suis désolé!

      Delete
    2. Oh I am so sorry David. I did it again for a second time. Please forgive me.
      Regards,
      Roos

      Delete
    3. David, Je regrette vraiment.

      Delete
  9. Une jolie collection, toutes les réalisations sont très belles.
    Bonne journée

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hari OM
    David (and Miriam), thank you so much for now inviting us into your intimate space and sharing its beauty with us. This is creative thinking for restricted times!!! I like to bake muffins too, but dad and I are tea-wallahs - he black, me with that milky dash &*> Cheers! YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi David - just great to see your birds - photos, Miriam's work ... amazing lady! Those muffins I could smell them ... ymmmy - what fun to see the birds ... along with the memories you have of some. Interesting about the Silence of the Songbirds ... you always have wonderful reads and reference works around ... love seeing them. Thanks for this morning tour - take care - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  12. Looks great those muffins!I like so much to bake my own Things!So agree With you a cup of coffe and a Blueberry muffins for brekfast is delicious

    Love the many bird painting stautues as well You have a very good Collection!

    Waiting for what you have in Kitchen :)I like these shoots from Your home

    Have a peaceful day over there :)))

    ReplyDelete
  13. The is fantastic, we're redecorating in the coming months and i've already been picking out bird prints and decor! An endless supply of blueberry muffins sounds like heaven!

    ReplyDelete
  14. The Blueberry muffins looks great, David. I'm sure they taste verybgood. Beautiful paintings and "bird things".
    I collect "cat things", but I guess you don't ;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Birds feature on our walls and shelves too, along with memorable landscapes and flowers that we also love. The detail in Barry Kent MacKay's painting of the parrots is superb, and the fact that it holds a special experience for you both makes it priceless.
    Miriams quilting is lovely but I have no idea exactly what an outlet is!

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's the electrical outlet, the socket on the wall where you plug things in.

    ReplyDelete
  17. For two bird lovers you certainly do justice to birds in your house. Some beautiful pictures on the walls, I love the parrots and the glasses with the birds are very unusual.
    The muffins look delicious. I baked a cake a couple of days ago to take to the clinic where I work for a Doctor's farewell, but I try not to bake too much at home otherwise my husband would eat cakes non stop, he's got a very sweet tooth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will check with Miriam, but I am pretty sure that there is no sugar added to the muffins. The sweetness come from the blueberries, and we buy frozen wild blueberries, so the net result shouldn't be too decadent. She also makes a damn good Morning Glory muffin, but hasn't done that for a while.

      Delete
    2. The recipe is now at the foot of the post, Sami, and I was obviously incorrect as it concerns the addition of sugar!

      Delete
  18. What a delightful tour. Not pass me a muffin, please.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi David.

    Beautifully the carvings and the Paintings of the Ducks and Birds.

    The muffins look delicious.

    Greeting from Patricia.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You've really no need to leave home; you could just go birdwatching in the house. I enjoy baking but had to give it up as my girth was increasing far too rapidly. I tried giving some away to my brother, but with similar results.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoy cooking, but I have never tried my hand at baking, and I suspect now that I never will. Miriam also makes a fabulous lemon meringue pie.

      Delete
  21. Hello, I would like to try one of Miria,'s muffins. They look delicious! It is nice to see your home, love the quilt wall hanging. The paintings are beautiful. The parrots is one of my favorites. Take care, enjoy your day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One day you have to make one of your road trips into southern Ontario, and the muffin will be served.

      Delete
  22. Hello David and Miriam.
    How cosy !
    The muffins look delicious!
    And wonderful though your beautiful paintings of birds!
    Warm Greetings to you both,
    Maria

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love your bird photos and figurines! This is definitely a beautiful place in your home!
    Thanks for sharing this look into your home and your routines. I also thank you for your comment in my blog! You always have nice words!
    Stay well!
    P.S. Would you please share the recipe for Miriam's muffins? Thanks for that!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for sharing your wake up fun with us. I'm sure it does smell delicious. My raisin toast and coffee with milk were going down just as I read of your break-fast. Love all your art too!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Miriam must be an angel who happens to bake. :) Your post reminds me of words by Anais Nin, "A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember Anais Nin for other things entirely!

      Delete
  26. Very beautiful bird photos David. Your muffins look delicious Miriam. Greetings Caroline

    ReplyDelete
  27. Your muffins look very appetizing!
    I admire your image collection!
    Dear friend, take care of yourself and stay safe!

    ReplyDelete
  28. You took us on a wonderful tour, it was a delight to admire all your art work and displays. It is obvious you are both birders. Take care, The muffins looks delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Queridos amigos David y Miriam, en primer lugar mi abrazo y el de mi mujer Carmen hacia vosotros, nos alegramos enormemente que os encontréis bien al igual que nosotros por el momento y que así sea por mucho tiempo.
    Precioso post el de esta entrada querido amigo, estos días confinados en casa dan para mucho, magistral esa buena cocinera que es tu querida Miriam pues me llego el buen perfume y olor que desprenden esas deliciosas magdalenas, seguro que estarán exquisitas, como exquisitos y bellos son los trabajos manuales que con tanta habilidad confecciona.
    Ya veo que en casa de un buen amante de aves no pueden faltar éstas, en cuadros o en diversos objetos de decoración y eso es señal del gran amor y pasión que sientes por ellas. Todos son fantásticos y bonitas obras de arte.
    Desde nuestro confinamiento os deseamos todo lo mejor queridos amigos y que pronto se haga realidad el poder salir de nuevo a ver esas maravillosas criaturas para seguir hablándonos de ellas e inmortalizarlas como sabe hacerlo nuestra querida Miriam con sus extraordinarias fotos.
    Recibir un fuerte abrazo con todo nuestro cariño desde Alicante-España amigos y compadres Miriam y David y sobre todo cuidaros por Canadá.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Buen post nos dejas hoy. También me gusta el café negro y sin azucar y si está acompañado de dulces mejor. Preciosa colección de cuadros amigo. Ya tendremos tiempo de salir de nuevo a sacar fotos.
    Cuídaros David.
    Desde casa os mando este abrazo 🙅

    ReplyDelete
  31. Miriam and David!
    Thank you very much for your visit.
    You love birds and you have many beautiful exhibits.
    The napkin made by Miriam is beautiful.
    Muffins look delicious!
    I love muffins. Thank you very much for the recipe.
    Hugs and greetings to You and Miriam.
    Lucja

    ReplyDelete
  32. So many lovely things, I don't know where to start. The muffins look fabulous and the table mat is really beautiful. I love how all the colours go so well together.
    Your collection of different birds in the kitchen is impressive and perhaps we can see other rooms as well. :D
    Stay safe!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your art work is wonderful! Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Querido David me a emocionado está entrada, os siento como mi familia, es maravilloso disfrutar de vuestro desayuno(yo soy de café solo, me encanta)Los dulces de Miriam me hacen la boca agua, también para ella muchas gracias por compartir su rica receta. Y las pinturas son espectaculares, me gustan todos mucho, pero sin duda el Urogallo es mi preferido, aquí en mi tierra están en peligro de extinción y me causa mucha pena. Un enorme abrazo para ti y para Miriam. Muchas, muchas gracias.

    ReplyDelete
  35. The muffins look delicious. Your art is beautiful to see, very nice indeed!
    Take care and stay safe!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Love this post and so nice to see inside your home and the fabulous paintings. Bet the muffins are great, would certainly like to try them but I have never seen blueberries here, I have frozen cherries but I do no think they would taste as good! Have a good weekend and stay safe. Diane

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love this journey into the world that you and Miriam share (and thank her heartily for sharing the muffin recipe! I'm saving this one!). Your home is beautiful and filled with the warmth and loveliness I would expect from your writing. The art is magnificent. No wonder you leave Barry's with something new each time! And that Hazel Grouse, wow. I'm especially fond of the bird in white, too. But honestly, I love it all. It's nice to imagine you two coming in from an expedition (or preparing to go out on one), surrounded by this beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your words are very kind indeed, Jeanie. We do love our little home, and enjoy each other every day.

      Delete
  38. Just love the artworks. Also love blueberry muffins - always my go to recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Guau, espectacular post, dear friend! incluso tiene una receta deliciosa! Una publicacion reconfortante en estos tiempos. Pasa un dia maravilloso ♥

    ReplyDelete
  40. I could get into those muffins for sure! And your art collection is really delightful as are Miriam's projects. I know it all gives both of you a lot of joy.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Me ha encantado ver esas obras de arte, también los trabajos de Miriam y las magdalenas tienen que estar riquísimas... intentaré hacer la receta. El ave de mi entrada es Tachybaptus ruficollis. Un abrazo y cuídense.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi David,
    nice to see a glimpse at your daily surroundings. It's not a surprise that you have so many birds around. Beautiful pieces of art.
    And those blueberry muffins - I would like to join you at your morning coffee.😊
    Enjoy!!

    Best regards, Corrie

    ReplyDelete
  43. Like you we have a lot of paintings of birds but, obviously, done by son-in-law Mike who's art, in our opinion, is excellent. We love his paintings. Your morning ritual sounds enjoyable - I rarely eat muffins and have never made them. I have enough trouble with my waistline as it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will have to post some of his work on your blog, Jo. Does he do it for personal pleasure or is he in a gallery anywhere? I suspect that regular visits to Mandarin are not kind to your waistline!

      Delete
    2. There is a link on my blog David. He used to have his pictures with a gallery but don't think he does any more. I think personal pleasure comes first, but he started painting for "hawkers" painting their hawks for them, frequently on the wrist, and then branched out. He has, to my knowledge, sold a lot of pix all round the world. No, you are right but I do eat a lot of kelp salad which is good, mussels too and then I spoil it with pot stickers and dumplings.

      Delete
    3. Impressive work, Jo. I will happily trade you bananas and chicken thighs for one of his paintings!!!

      Delete
    4. You’d need a heck of a lot of both bananas and chicken thighs for one of his pictures, you’d have to throw in a case of good bubbly as well, if not two. He isn’t cheap, even at family rates although he does frame and ship them.

      Just seen a government prediction of 80,000 cases by the end of April. Why don't the idiots stay home?

      Delete
  44. I have often wondered what the inside of your home looks like, David, thinking that probably every wall was lined with bookshelves. I now realise that I was wrong, although I can see some logic in not keeping one's library in the kitchen with all those cooking vapours, delightful as I'm sure they are, floating around! I have the feeling that, when you take us outside your kitchen, as I hope you will in a future post, I'll see that my original thoughts were not far from the truth.

    You have some wonderful art-works there, and Miriam's socket-cover hanging is amazing and so clever in its concept. I also love that table mat.

    I have never been one for muffins, but the sight of Miriam's muffins might well have changed my mind (no double entendre intended). Might well try that recipe myself - if I can get the ingredients in these difficult times.

    Take great care, and keep well - - - David - sorry - Richard!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I might just add to the tour in future posts, Richard. And as it concerns books, you are right!

      Delete
  45. Lovely coffee corner, and superb paintings of birds!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Podobają mi się te obrazy z ptakami. teraz, kiedy sama próbuje malować zwracam więcej uwagi na malarstwo związane z ptakami.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hello David,
    I see your wife is an all-rounder. Making delicious blueberry muffins but also a great fun place mat to put the coffee and muffins on there :-) We must indeed all stay at home or at least very close to home. I am working but I am lucky to have many polders around our house to get a breath of fresh air.
    You also have beautiful paintings hanging and that is really nice to see. I am a bit jealous of your beautiful glasses in which a bird is entwined in its foot. Really great to see :-)))
      and thank you for your muffins recipe,
    Be careful David and stay safe.
    A big hug from the Netherlands xo

    ReplyDelete
  48. I enjoyed seeing all your at-home birds! Every one a beautiful work of art!
    And thanks for the blueberry muffin recipe - I am cooking more at home now.
    But I am wondering about the coffee and muffin photo - surely you need more than one muffin each!
    Be careful, stay safe!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Beautiful house and beautiful pictures of birds what you have, I am very glad that despite these times of quarantine where you should not go outdoors and do birdwatching you enjoy the treasures of home and in addition delicious muffins

    ReplyDelete
  50. Those Blueberry muffins looks so delicious! And You have beautiful bird art and things in your home.

    ReplyDelete