SiC Blog - October 2012

parler vou francais

So here we are once again, about a month away from heading back out France, panic sets in as I will soon be conversing with the natives of the mountain community and I still feel thoroughly inadequate to communicate. Arrrrrrrrrrgh why did I do German at school!? I got the measure of it, it makes sense, but a fat lot of good it’s done me with my chosen profession in the French Alps. 

So yes’  I’m Struggling with the learning. Repetition, repetition re-pet-ti-on does get it to stick in the cranium , but it’s rather  dry. What was so different about learning at school that I am still able to recall phases a recite off German infinitive verbs without a moment’s hesitation………..

And then a distant memory bubbles to the surface  “ we uuuuuseed to Siiiiing everythiiiiiiiiing ! ” and if I can still sprechan zie deutch, then there’s no reason it won’t work with French now.

In Fact after a bit of research I discovered there are a lot of positive effects that singing can have on learning.  

“Similar areas of the brain are activated when listening to or playing music and speaking or processing language. Language and music are both associated with emotions, the combination makes it a powerful way to learn a second language..”

“Singing can actually help you reduce your foreign-sounding accent”

But most importantly It’s fun!. You can really enjoy yourself, and when you enjoy something learning doesn’t seem like such a chore and you’ll want to learn more.

Still you can imagine that singing about conjunctive and infinitive verbs isn’t terribly exciting I have decide to broaden my vocabulary and pronunciation skills by translating some of my favourite songs into French

So here goes, my first homework assignment. I have  chosen the Jungle Books “ I wanna be like you “ Now what could be get more fun than this!!

autumnal carrot cake

Autumn is my favourite season in the UK. It really is! Summer isn't ever really  Summer these days; Winter, I have to compare to the Alps so that's a no brainer, and Spring....well that's my second favourite season because I love lambs and flowers, again...easy decision!

 Autumn is unexplainable joy. There's certain things like gushes of red, brown and golden leaves racing after each other and a fresh silence in the light cold air. But that's all
I can think of, yet I have unaccountable contentment as I look out from my cosy, warm abode. 

The only thing that could have topped my Fall Sunday
this week was a delicious home baked cake. So with this in mind and the fact that we have new neighbours that deserve a proper welcome, I decided to don my apron and take to the oven!

On the menu......Carrot Cake

Root vegetables were often used to lend sweetness to 18th century cakes and puddings. Beetroot’s, parsnips and carrots were all common ingredients back then!  However, today only the fondness for Carrot Cake has continued as it was recently voted the UK's favourite cake!

I had a good look through many recipes and decided on a mix between 'Love Food – Baking' and 'Good Housekeeping Complete Book of Home Baking' circa '89. Vin-tage!

1. Grease and line a deep 8" round cake tin.

2. Cream together 225g (8 oz) butter and 225g (8 oz) light brown soft sugar until pale and fluffy.

3. Beat in 4 egg yolks then stir in the finely
grated rind of 1 orange, 2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1 tsp of freshly grated
nutmeg and 1tbsp of lemon juice.

4.  Sift in 175g (6 oz) self raising flour and 1 level tsp of baking powder.  Do it from a good height for best results and feeling of fab chefness.

5.  Stir in 50g (2 oz) of ground almonds and 100g (4 oz) of chopped walnut pieces. Nutty!!


6. Whisk the remaining 4 egg whites until stiff and fold into your cake mix along with 350g (12oz) of peeled and grated carrots.

7. Pour into your prepared tin and hollow the centre

8. Bake at 180c (350F) Gas Mark 4 for about 1 ½ hours, and remember to reduce the heat if you're using a fan oven. Check after an hour. If it is too brown ie burning, place some foil over it.

9. Leave it to cool slightly then turn it out onto some racking ready to cool some more!

10.  Once it is cooled completely, top with a mix of 225g (8 oz) cream cheese, 2 tsp of clear runny honey, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tsp of grated orange rind. Mmmmmmm
All in all, this is exactly now my perfect Autumn day sat with my cake, brew and friends in front of a crackling wood fire. 

Maybe that's why it is my favourite season after  all......because I know Winter is next and it's almost time to do this every day  with 'Snowed Inn Chalets'.

Blog by Jo

October 15th, 2012

The Herbal Tea Review

Have you ever wondered about herbal teas? 
They always smell amazing and every celebrity is putting their gorgeous
figure down to the fact they drink oolong tea or some other unheard of root, berry, bark or dirt. Then there’s
the medical benefits ranging from sage and oatstraw tea for depression to motherwort tea for a healthy heart.

There is literally a tea out there to fix anything. I have always wondered why and how mixing a small amount of leaves with water could in any way be better for you than more complex drinks such as Powerade, Fruit juices or Milk?

Well it’s all down to the phenolic content, tea contains
high amounts of natural phenols and polyphenols in particular one called flavonoids which are believed to contribute to better health. There are more of these flavonoids retained in green tea than white, black or oolong tea thus green teas relation to better health.

With all these amazing benefits you would assume that
herbal teas must taste awful (as everything else that is good for you does) so Idecide to ask a friend of mine that has no prior experience of herbal teas to do a taste test.  Her results were different to say the least.    

       Green Tea 
      1 out of 10

Green tea is made solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing.

“Green tea is yuck yuck yuck. Most disgusting thing
EVER! Scores one point for its association with the healthy
skinny people”

Green Tea and gINGER 8 out of 10

Green tea and Ginger is a beverage in many countries,
made from ginger root. In China, the tea is made by boiling peeled and sliced ginger to which brown sugar is often added.

Glorious Glorious Glorious!
“I love it. Ginger is a magical device that adds an extra
 seven points to the once yucky greenness of the green devil tea!  I recommend this on a cold winter’s day to warm your cockles”

Apple and cinnamon   5 out of 10

Cinnamon has been found to increase a cell's ability to use glucose by stimulating insulin receptors and blocking the attempts of enzymes to deactivate them.

“Ever since completing the cinnamon challenge I have
intensely disliked the taste of cinnamon but luckily for this tea the taste is so bland and flavourless that no cinnamon can be detected on the taste buds. Five points just for its lovely jubbly scent”

Blackcurrant and acai berry 
7/out of 10

The acai berry is found in the Amazon forest and is promoted as having very powerful antioxidant properties. Euterpe oleraceae is a
 large palm tree indigenous to the Amazon River and its tributaries in South
 America. Its fruit is of great economic value to native people.

“Smells good, tastes good, I like it. Loses three points
because the packet is now empty which means I will have to search for some more tea. Boo”

     Peppermint Tea
       2 out of 10

It is said to also ease other problems including nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea and headaches. Its                minty flavour can take the edge off bad breath. It is also said to control mild asthma, manage stress and ward off the common cold.

"Tastes of nothing.  Two points for smelling good. 
Recommended with a side of normal tea to take away the disappointment of the peppermint. Most ridiculous herbal tea ever”

Chamomile and spearmint
3 out of/10

Chamomile tea has been regarded as a medicinal cure-all.
It had been considered a universal remedy by the ancient Egyptians. Now, researchers in England have found new evidence that the chamomile tea may actually help relieve a wide range of health ailments, including colds and
menstrual cramps.

“Exactly the same as peppermint but get more points
because its two flavours mixed together which makes it seem like a little treat”

Reviewed by Jessica Musial

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