The sky was dark and gloomy, the air was damp and raw,
the streets were wet and sloppy. The smoke hung sluggishly above the
chimney-tops as if it lacked the courage to rise, and the rain came
slowly and doggedly down, as if it had not even the spirit to pour.
At the moment, despite a few hours of semi-summery weather here and there, more or less all we get is rain, wind and grey clouds. It seems as though Mother Nature is somewhat upset and wants to punish us for some obscure deed by serving us a rotten spring and making our mood sink to the lowest of lows. There's no respite from the animosity and hostility with which she has decided to strike us. She acts like a bitter woman who's been cheated on and who has decided to take revenge on that unfaithful lover of hers...
- Charles Dickens
Repetitivety and boredom is what rocks my present existence, and it is getting extremely grueling to rarely see the sun shine or admire puffy white cumuluses. Uniformly gloomy skies above my head sap my vitality and kill my enthusiasm. Like a vampire, obscurity drains me of my life force and glamorizes/bewitches me to a point where I lose all motivation and become a walking zombie.
Lack of light in May is just so depressing and uninspiring, especially when you are desperately waiting for the warmer season to kick off with a blast, fill your heart with dreams and your head with bountiful thoughts. Unfortunately, this is far from happening right now. The heavens above are as desperately desertic as my mind and look as if they've been invaded by maleficially vile creatures hailing from the Netherworld. Nothing is here to water my arid imagination and make it fertile again. Instead, I am stuck in a limbonic neverland and sitting in oblivion's waiting room scrutinising the horizon in search of a spark of ingeniosity.
I meant to do my work today
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand--
So what could I do but laugh and go?
- "I Meant to Do My Work Today" by
Richard Le Gallienne
I have no other choice than to bear my misfortunes patiently and turn things to my advantage. Yes, why not relax purposely until "genius" comes out of its hiding place and makes its grand comeback? In any case, there is no law that forces you to be prolific all the time. Being decently loafy isn't a crime. As a matter of fact, everybody should learn to let go of things and to slow down as berserker moduses lead to a lot of misery and grim endings (health complications, stress, burnout and even sometimes death).
Busy bees forget to live and to enjoy themselves. They know no peace and are always productive no matter the costs, thus endangering their mental and physical well-being. Nobody can give endlessly without experiencing the negative side effects of his/her limitless zealousness.
Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good.
- Soren Kierkegaard
I learned...that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it
kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and
all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little
chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.
- Brenda Ueland
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the
grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the
water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a
waste of time.
- John Lubbock
Efficacious action is good, but frantic and directionless enterprises as well as initiative for the sake of initiative are fruitless and destructive. It is a waste of energy. Better be constructively passive than to be gyrating in all directions without aim and be frenziedly industrious.
In our materialistic society which is oriented towards wealth and profit, indolence is looked upon unfavorably and the church with its centuries of moral oppression based on terror has well contributed to the way it is perceived. Religion, conformists and workaholics say it is a serious sin to be "unoccupied" as they consider this state of grace to be a waste of precious time and the work of the devil. In one word, those who aren't constently slaving are evildoers or/and losers. Well, I refuse to listen to them or feel guilty for my lascivious procrastinating as I believe that each of us needs to let his/her mind wander freely through the lush fields of inertia in order for our brain to breathe fresh air and our spirit to fly high so as to reach contemplative elevation and be one with the Universe.
What is this life, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare,
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care
We have no time to stand and stare.
"Leisure" by W.H. Davies
Life does not agree with philosophy: there is no happiness that is not
idleness, and only what is useless is pleasurable.
- Anton Chekhov
It is so revitalising to break away from the mad
routine by allowing ourselves to put our feet up every now and then, and so gratifying to simply exist and enjoy the present instant without constantly projecting ourselves in the intangible future. Leisurely laziness is pure bliss and a free luxury. This happiness is available immediately and "requires no work to earn, no mastery to attain, no
wealth to purchase, no distance to travel" (quote by Rev. Samuel A. Trumbore), no goal to reach, no effort to furnish or final product to deliver. One is only required to delight in
nothing in particular and take pleasure in what is happening now. An intoxicating sensation!
In fact, it is a form of meditation. The act of creating an inner void and resting our body and soul fuels our creativity as true inspiration comes during periods of idleness. So, if ever you are feeling drained and your idea bank is empty, don't panick. A vacation or timeout is definitely the answer to your problems...
So on that note, I want to inform you that this is exactly what I'm going to do next week. Six months without holidays has had its toll on me and I cannot continue speeding forward like a steam train that is out of control or else I'll go bananas. Hence, I am taking a short break (not from surfing the web, though - I am too addicted to visiting your lovely blogs LOL) and, after a brief blogging intermission, I will be back on the 23rd of May.
In the meanwhile, I'll leave you with a recipe which illustrates this article perfectly. Those "Shortcut Cinnamon & Tahinomelo Smørhorns" are fast to prepare and require minumum effort to put together. Compared to the traditional Norwegian yeast-based butterhorns, this cinnamony treat is dedicated to faineant bakers who want to whip up something mighty scrumptious without having to spend hours in the kitchen or sacrificing taste for simplicity.
With its Mediterranean twist, this moist and tender scone/biscuit-like pastry is quite addictive and I can assure you that your smørhorns will disappear as rapidly as they arrived on the table. Enjoy!
Shortcut Cinnamon & Tahinomelo Smørhorns
Makes 8 butterhorns.
Ingredients For The "Quick Dough":
1 1/4 Cups (160g) All-purpose flour
1Tbs Castor sugar
2 Tsps Baking powder
1/3 Tsp Sea salt
2 Tbs (30g) Cold unsalted butter
1 Large egg (63g)
3 Tbs Milk (plus more to brush the dough and smørhorns)
Ingredients For The "Filling":
2 Tbs Light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Ground cinnamon
8 Tsps Tahinomelo (see recipe here)
Ingredients For The "Drizzle":
3 1/2 Tbs Powdered sugar
1 Tsp Water
Method For The "Quick Dough":
1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F) and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking liner.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the butter and cut it into small pieces, then with your fingertips or a pastry blender, blend into flour mixture
until mixture resembles coarse meal.
4. In a small bowl, whisk
together the egg and 3 tablespoons of the milk and add to flour mixture, stirring
until just combined (add more milk if needed - see remark).
5. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and gently knead, 3 or 4 times.
Method For The "Filling, Assembling & Baking":
6. In another small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of castor sugar with the cinnamon.
7. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 26-27cm (10-11 inch) circle.
8. Brush the dough with some milk, then sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar.
9. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice the round into 8 wedges.
10. Place 1 tsp tahinomelo along the base of the triangles.
at the wide, outer edge of one of the wedges, roll the dough towards
the inside, pointed edge, forming a crescent shaped roll.
12. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
13. Brush the rolls with milk (or egg wash) and bake the butterhorns in the middle of the oven until
pale golden and cooked through, about 18 minutes.
14. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and water until smooth.
15. Drizzle over the warm butterhorns and let cool on a rack.
At point 4, add a little more milk if needed. I used 5 tablespoons.
The butterhorns are better eaten the same day.
Serve for brunch or teatime with a cup of coffee or tea.
Smørhorns Express A La Cannelle Et Au Tahinomelo
Pour 8 smørhorns.
Ingrédients Pour La "Pâte Rapide":
160g de Farine
1 CS de Sucre cristallisé
2 CC de Poudre à lever
1/3 CC de Sel de mer fin
30g de Beurre non-salé, froid
1 Gros oeuf (63g)
3 CS de Lait (et plus pour badigeonner la pâte et dorer les smørhorns)
Ingrédients Pour La "Garniture":
2 CS de Cassonade
1 1/2 CC de Cannelle en poudre
8 CC de Tahinomelo (voir la recette ici)
Ingrédients Pour Le "Glaçage":
3 1/2 CS de Sucre en poudre
1 CC d'Eau
Méthode Pour La "Pâte Rapide":
1. Préchauffer le four à 180 ° C et recouvrir une plaque à pâtisserie avec du papier sulfurisé ou un silpat.
2. Dans un grand bol, mélanger ensemble la farine, le sucre, la poudre à pâte et le sel.
3. Ajouter le beurre et le couper en petits morceaux, puis travailler la farine et le beurre entre le bout des doigts afin d'obtenir un mélange sablé.
4. Dans un petit bol, fouetter ensemble l'œuf avec 3 CS de lait et ajouter au mélange farine/beurre. Incorporer rapidement le liquide (si c'est trop sec, ajouter un peu plus de lait - voir remarques) afin qu'une boule de pâte se forme.
5. Transférer la pâte sur une surface légèrement farinée et pétrir délicatement, 3 ou 4 fois.
Méthode Pour Le "L'assemblage Et La Cuisson Des Smørhorns":
6. Dans un autre petit bol, mélanger ensemble 2 cuillères à soupe de sucre semoule avec la cannelle.
7. Sur une surface légèrement farinée, abaisser la pâte en un rond de 26-27cm de diamètre.
8. Badigeonner la pâte avec un peu de lait, puis saupoudrer avec le sucre à la cannelle.
9. A l'aide d'un couteau bien aiguisé ou d'une roulette à pizza, découper la pâte en 8 parts (triangles) égales.
10. Placez 1 CC de tahinomelo à la base de chaque triangle.
11. Prendre un triangle de pâte, étirer légèrement la base du triangle puis rouler sans trop serrer la pâte afin d'obtenir le croissant.
12. Faire de même avec les autres triangles de pâte et ranger les croissants sur la plaque à pâtisserie.
13. Badigeonner les rouleaux avec du lait (ou un oeuf battu) et les faire cuire au centre du four pendant environ 18 minutes ou jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient cuits et dorés.
14. Pendant ce temps, dans un petit bol, mélanger ensemble le sucre en poudre avec l'eau.
15. Napper chaque croissant avec le glaçage et laisser refroidir sur une grille.
Au point 4, ajouter un peu de lait si nécessaire. J'ai utilisé 5 cuillères à soupe.
Les smørhorns sont mielleur consommés le jour même.
Idées de présentation:
Servir pour le brunch ou le goûter et accompagner d'une tasse de café ou de thé.