Looking for the rays of light in this cloud-covered town

Spice Moroccan Stewed Fish with Couscous — October 10, 2015

Spice Moroccan Stewed Fish with Couscous

If memory serves, this one came straight off the GOOP, back in the day when Gwyneth Paltrow was actually publishing interesting content, before her business managers convinced her of the money behind marketing her name. I actually like Gwyneth Paltrow, or more precisely, I think she gets a bad wrap. Yeah, she’s kind of clueless about the lives of us ordinary folk, but she doesn’t have an ordinary life. She means well, and because of who she is and what she has, she started GOOP as a weekly newsletter in which she would publish snapshots of her fabulous life and contributions from her fabulous friends: the stuff that ordinary people would not otherwise get to see. The spin doctors can go either way on that description, but I subscribed and enjoyed receiving my email every Thursday.

She should probably be more cautious about some of the advice she doles out. These days GOOP is more like Williams Sonoma than a friendly blog, I cannot attest to the quality of the content as I long ago unsubscribed when it became clear that I was never going to buy any of her high-priced wardrobe essentials and did not particularly care to look at all the pictures of GP modelling the clothing herself. I digress.

This recipe quickly became one of my staple go-to because it is really easy and I usually had most of the ingredients at home or easy access at my local grocery store. After a while, I kind of stopped following these directions and pretty much started dumping all the ingredients in whenever, and I thought it still came out good. Unless entertaining, I rarely served it with the accompanying couscous because of, well, the carbs.


  • 1 cup quick-cook couscous
  • olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • sea salt and freshly ground
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • a bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2x 6-ounce white fish fillets, skin off and bones removed
  • 3/4 pound large shrimp, raw, peeled
  • 1x 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls of fresh or frozen peas, fava beans, or green beans (or use a mixture)

Prepare the couscous. Put the couscous into a bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Halve the lemons and squeeze in the juice from two of the halves. Add a pinch of salt andpepper. Pour in just enough boiling water to cover the couscous, then cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Let the couscous soak up the water for 10 minutes.

Prepare the stew. Get a large saucepan on a medium heat. Peel and finely slice your garlic. Finely slice your chili. Pick the basil leaves off the stalks. Put the smaller ones to one side and roughly chop the larger ones. Add a couple of lugs of olive oil to the hot pan. Add the garlic, chili, basil, cumin seeds, and cinnamon. Give it all a stir and put the fish fillets on top. Scatter over the shrimp. Add the canned tomatoes and the peas and beans. Squeeze in the juice from the two remaining lemon halves. Put a lid on the pan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Serve. By the time the fish is cooked, the couscous should have sucked up all the water and be ready to serve. Spoon the couscous into a large serving bowl and give it a stir with a fork to help it fluff up. Top with the fish, vegetables, and juices from the pan, sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves, and tuck in!

Originally published “Spicy Moroccan Stewed Fish” from GOOP

GOOP Guac — August 29, 2015


This goes down as one of the all time greatest recipe finds in my life. Ever. Back in the day when I was subscribed to the GOOP newsletter, the “Make” entries were the only thing that I found useful. One fine week they delivered the Mexican Dinner, Family Style, which consisted of four dishes, three of which I still make today. These were Baja Style Shrimp TacosPico de GalloGuacamole, and the dish that I’m still happy to serve from a can, Black Beans.

Now, before the entire GOOP site was revised, renovated, and then revamped, this entry was accompanied by a video demonstration of Gwyneth Paltrow preparing the dishes. It was awesome. She demonstrated how to cut and pit an avocado, chopping onions, dicing tomatoes, and I learned techniques that have been amazingly useful. The video is no longer posted with the recipes. I guess the video’s production value from GOOP’s early days didn’t make the cut for the site today. It’s too bad, but the recipes are so good that I can forgive this disappointment.

Either I am too lazy to Google “difference salsa pico de gallo” or it never seems to matter when enjoying it with tortilla chips. Sometimes I add corn, which is sometimes freshly grilled. The guacamole recipe is divine. Try it as soon as possible. Delay only as long as needed to buy and allow the avocados to ripen. It is really that good.



  1. Cut each avocado in half, remove and reserve the pits and score the flesh inside of the shells.
  2. Scoop the avocado into a mixing bowl and mash gently with a fork—you don’t want it to be completely smooth.
  3. Stir in the onion and cilantro.
  4. Cut the lime in half and squeeze in enough juice to taste.
  5. Season the guacamole with salt, and either serve immediately or stick the pits in to keep it from browning (remove the pits before serving).
Tiramisù with Mascarpone — August 19, 2015

Tiramisù with Mascarpone

This recipe for Tiramisù with Mascarpone came straight off the Galbani marscapone package. So while I cannot take credit for the recipe, I did translate it (although this version is from the Galbani UK website).

The thing about this recipe is that it is ridiculously easy to make and results in a very impressive dessert.

6 eggs
500g Galbani Santa Lucia® Mascarpone
150g sugar
300g Sponge fingers
¾ of 1 litre of Mocha coffee
50g of liquor
bitter Cocoa powder

weight to volume conversion: 2/3 cup is approximately equal to 150 grams  more...

Put 6 yolks in a bowl and beat them with sugar until they are creamy and frothy. Add Mascarpone and a shot of liquor and mix it. Incorporate 6 whipped eggs. Put the coffee in a bowl and mix it with a bit of sugar and the remaining liquor. Spread the bottom of a Pyrex dish with the Mascarpone cream, lay on it the Sponge Fingers soaked in the coffee, cover them with another layer of cream, then another layer of sponge fingers until the ingredients will terminate with the cream on the top and put the Pyrex in the fridge for 2 hours at least. Spread it with the cocoa powder before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Why We Love Cats — November 22, 2014
Google Creepiness — October 28, 2014

Google Creepiness

We all know that Google knows everything, and to be fair, I was logged into my Google+ account. Still, getting a customized “Happy Birthday Eileen” Google home page on my birthday did make a few hairs stand on end.

"Happy Birthday Eileen" from Google

Recipes — September 28, 2014


I haven’t been posting much lately because I’ve been busy with other stuff — Not an excuse ! I know.

A lot of the other stuff that’s been preoccupying my time has to do with an attempt to organize and classify all of my online accounts and resources. Since I do Social Media by profession, I decided to make as hard of line as possible between my “professional” profile and “personal” profile. I kind of gave up on “private” (see Google Creepiness) a long time ago when talking about anything Internet related and I’m only focused on maintaining some kind of privacy in my offline life (which also is not so easy). Continue reading

Remembering Joan — September 6, 2014
Stars and Stripes Nails — July 3, 2014

Stars and Stripes Nails

It’s that time of year again.

Actually, I think the red and white stripes look a bit too much like candy cans; if you don’t see my thumbs it seems I am fixated on the wrong holiday. I am, in any case, very happy with how the stars came out. Stars and strips forever.

Let’s not forgot our past:

Independence Nails from 2013 American Flag Nails 2013

The post that started it all in 2012 American Flag Nails 2012

ASOS: Fashion Offline — June 21, 2014
My Father’s Daughter — May 31, 2014

My Father’s Daughter

I’ve always been my father’s daughter. Well, yeah, obviously. But I mean in the sense that I was a total Daddy’s girl. He was a craftsman, with fully pimped out garage complete with power tools that he actually used. I loved watching him build stuff. He built so much of the furniture in our house: bookcases for any empty wall, though he could barely build them as fast as my mom could fill them up with all the books she was reading. He built tables and chairs, gorgeous custom dollhouses for both me and my sister, complete with wallpaper, working lighting, and doorbells. Continue reading

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