Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tea, tartelettes, and a mysterious countess from Sasha Soren

The clock has struck NOON in Paris and we meet Lady Witherspoon on a balcony.

Balcony a platform projecting from the wall of a building, supported by columns or console brackets, and enclosed with a balustrade.
-per wikipedia

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by Sasha Soren
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Ah, yes, Paris at noon. What a charming prospect. And surely, if Lady Witherspoon, that gently eccentric denizen of the in-betweeny pages of Random Magic, happens to be in town…

Well! Then we’ll have repartee, odd guests, and a delicious repast to look forward to, in some pretty pied-à-terre on one of Paris’ more sedate and leafy streets.

Oh, have you never met the lady? Well, then, let us remedy this lamentable state of affairs tout de suite:

A startlingly lovely woman glided into the room in a swish of red and gold silk underskirts, like an upended hibiscus.

The rich fabric of her elegant evening coat gleamed with an understated sheen - a mauve and midnight blue brocade stripe, trimmed with a flare of stylized peacock feathers along the hem. It clung to her figure as if she’d been soldered into it, from swan’s neck to shapely ankle. A blood-red velvet choker encircled her slender neck; a startling slash of dark red across an expanse of flawless ivory skin, pale as a November moon.

Her glossy silver hair was swept up into an odd chignon, wrapping around her head, and down over one shoulder, ending in a cascade of frothy ringlets that gleamed in the gaslight.

To this already eye-popping ensemble, she’d added a fur boa in a shade of deep purple never before seen in nature, and an impossibly large tri-corner hat tipped at a rakish angle, trimmed with what could only be described as some sort of unfortunate millinery explosion - intricate loops of lilac, scarlet and citron ribbon, fields of painted silk violets, tiny red brocade poppies, a lone cabbage rose, and a handful of jaunty osprey feathers.

Teetering cheerfully at the very peak of this curious assemblage, there perched some sort of small bird with iridescent wings. Possibly a nightingale.

This femme of whimsical appearance and unique couture came to rest in the center of the room, surveying the motley coterie of late-night visitors like a queen reviewing her troops, before deigning to incline her head towards the assembled company, by way of greeting.

Lord, Winsley thought grimly, that woman. She offended the eye, somehow. Completely out of place, like a stargazer, or a night-blooming orchid in an otherwise sensible kitchen garden.

Lady Witherspoon was French by birth, and not one of the county’s old families had ever forgiven her for it.

As an elegant exile from her homeland, Lady Witherspoon brings a hint of la vie parisienne to her surroundings just by virtue of being herself.

Her Gallic sensibilities in all manner of lovely things are sometimes subtle, but always near at hand. Even in the remote reaches of the English countryside, at Witherspoon Manse, she has a way of conjuring up French delicacies, perfumes, fashions - along with enchanting amuse-bouches and astonishing sweets.


What have we here?

Shown above: Something sweet to eat.
(Source: Cultured Living)

Perhaps just the sort of delightful tarte aux myrtilles auvergnate (blueberry tart) to be found at one of that elegant lady’s afternoon at-homes.

The manner of making this particular tarte is a wee bit quirky, yes. Lady Witherspoon is nothing if not a generous and elegant host - but no one ever claimed her temperament to be anything other than charming, winsome and cultured…but just a bit peculiar.

In the most delightful way, of course. For all the persons who might wish to complain of being perplexed and astonished by the odd hour spent in Lady Witherspoon’s company, they cannot – and we are quite sure of this – ever have cause to complain of being the least bit bored.

Bien sûr que non!
(Certainly not!)

Shown above: This is one way to make a blueberry tart. When it comes to the enigmatic Lady Witherspoon, that divinely charming lady of indeterminate origins, this is actually precisely how to make a blueberry tart.

Credit: Yuna of Hearts and Honey.

Music track: Generation Celebration, by Detektivbyrån.

If you’re interested in the recipe for the blueberry tart shown above: Blueberry tart.

A recipe for blueberry tart may be found in this book: The French Kitchen (Browse)


A smaller but similar treat: Tartelettes aux framboises


About Random Magic: When absent-minded Professor Random misplaces the main character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, young Henry Witherspoon must book-jump to fetch Alice before chaos theory kicks in and the world vanishes.

Along the way he meets Winnie Flapjack, a wit-cracking doodle witch with nothing to her name but a magic feather and a plan. Such as it is.

Henry and Winnie brave the Dark Queen, whatwolves, pirates, Strüths, and fluttersmoths, Priscilla and Charybdis, obnoxiously cheerful vampires, Baron Samedi, a nine-dimensional cat, and one perpetually inebriated Muse to rescue Alice and save the world by tea time. View book trailer:

Shown above: Book trailer for Random Magic, by Sasha Soren

Reviews: Review | Review | Review | Review | Review

More Random Magic: Print | Kindle | Twitter | YouTube | Blog

Thanks for stopping by to partake in a bit of amusement and a tidbit of something sweet and summery to nibble.

Bon appétit!


Guest post created by Sasha Soren of Random Magic
© 2012. All rights reserved.


Oh là là!

A book! While you're here, enter to win a cute summer read about France.

France, A Love Story: Women Write About the French Experience
About (pub. desc.): For some women, a love of France and all things French started when they first started learning one of the most seductive languages in the world. For others, the attraction came later when they made summer trips or even packed up their bags and just moved to Paris or Provence. In this beautiful collection, two dozen travel writers share their firsthand experiences with the people, landscape, flavors, history, art, culture, and character of France. Featuring a delightful mix of perspectives, 24 women describe the country they love - and why, for better or worse, they fell completely under its spell. (Reviews)

How to enter:

1a. Watch the Random Magic book trailer and leave a thoughtful comment on its YouTube page - what was most unexpected or intriguing part of the trailer, was there anything that made you curious, etc.

Trailer shown above, or just watch here

1b. Mark off your comment entry, using Rafflecopter here.


2. Tell us in the comments below: Which part of Lady Witherspoon's ensemble is something that you'd actually love to wear, and what you'd love to be served for lunch, if you were invited to her mansion for afternoon tea.

Thanks for visiting, and good luck to all.

Bonne chance!

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by Sasha Soren
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* if you're not entering the giveaway, feel free to leave a comment to earn a point towards an event giveaway

* image source On the Balcony by Georges Clairin

-*&*- Paris at Noon schedule -*&*-

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu