Friday, 26 October 2012

Gisele and Jamie: Patisserie and Confiserie Lesson 6: More cakes

Gisele and Jamie: Patisserie and Confiserie Lesson 6: More cakes: Hello, Another baking lesson at the college. I must admit, today I was feeling very under the weather (and what weather we have: rain, rai...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Jamie Oliver - Forums / Jubilee Romania (charity to keep girls off streets) Gisele & Jamie - beta

Jamie Oliver - Forums / Jubilee Romania (charity to keep girls off streets) Gisele & Jamie - beta

Is Charity a hypocrisy?


I have just arrived home and I had to write in this blog quickly before I forget the ideas in my head. I was listening to BBC radio 3 in the car and they were discussing abuse, pedophilia, hypocrisy and other related subjects. They were talking about institutions lying to protect themselves and about the lying about charity.

Right, let's start with the most attacked institution of them all: Christian churches, especially Catholics. We live in a world whose idea is that every single priest is a pedophile. I know catholics and catholic priests, I know other christian churches and their ministers and most of them are honest, loving, dedicated people. It would only take 2-3 'wrong' ones to attack the whole of the institution. They were saying that institutions protect themselves and try and hide the shame, I am not saying that it would be right to do so but I think it is only human. Institutions are not made by perfect people as there isn't such a thing as perfect people, but sometimes they deal with the problem within themselves, that is true.

We target the INSTITUTIONS: teachers, priests, those who are in contact with children in order to educate and orientate them. There are also private individuals that can be abusers. Oh yes, the other target are parents and families. Another INSTITUTION. Is the aim of the BBC (is the BBC and institution by the way?) to attack and destroy every institution, which seems to be the aim of society nowadays: destroy the institutions that are the base of society itself. When anyone tries to say: there are gay men that can be pedophiles, it is ruled out straight away as discrimination. Maybe the target of this attack it is not to protect the innocent victims, but to undermine society itself.

The easy and simple principle in life is that there are good and bad people everywhere. There are good and bad parents, good and bad teachers, good and bad priests, good and bad straight people. gay people, white people, black people, everyone. By labelling and targeting people and institutions, this is another form of discrimination. There is no safe place to be but also, we should not spend our lives fearing abuse, fearing institutions and fearing everything. The modern world tries to isolate people from each other in a way of controlling them. I think what we should fear is the media, that gives us a distorted sense of the world by constantly broadcasting disgrace over good, abuse over love, making us believe we live in a much worse world that we actually do and focusing in matters of little importance for our everyday lives.

If we were in a shack, in the middle of a forest with no internet, radio, TV and other means of communication we would probably be very happy people, living our lives and occupied with our little everyday concerns, instead of sheltering ourselves from a hostile world that might not be as hostile as we think.

When I lived in Sao Paulo, Brasil, all I saw in the morning going to work was people ready to go to work. Most people are honest, have jobs, work hard. Most people are just trying to live their lives and survive, bad people, abusers, thieves are still minority or this world would have exploded many centuries ago.

Parents are not the enemy, nor priests, or teachers. The enemy is fear of each other. The enemy is indifference.

By fearing abuse, honest people are scared of giving love to children. Teachers are scared of comforting children, priests are scared of nurturing children. We all need love, touching, affection, comfort, we are distorting everything that is good and pure in the name of a civilisation that is getting sicker and sicker, more and more scared of each other and perfect kind people do not know what to say and what to do. They are scared they will say the wrong thing and be accused of discrimination or touch the wrong way and be accused of abuse. Who misses out in all of this? Children, that are forced to grow up too quickly and are instructed to fear and distrust anyone and everyone.

I believe that there is inner good and kindness in every human being but fear is an instinct that generates aggression as a defence mechanism. If we believe we are constantly under attack, we are going to become more and more aggressive, is only nature's law.

Then, in the other hand, we have the children, that are learning to play the abuse card as a game. We don't like our math's teacher? Let's say he touched us the wrong way and many teachers have been unfairly prosecuted and cast away. Have you watched a film called the witches of Salem, where teenage girls find it funny to accuse women of witchcraft and many were burnt at the steak? The modern witches are priests, teachers and parents.

We need to stop twisting society, instead of pointing the bad in people, try to find the good in them, Instead of focusing in abuse and aggression, focus on love and affection, try to understand that we adults, are leading those children into tomorrow's world. What a sad world we are showing them. Those children are so confused, scared, lost. They don't know what's right or wrong and in who or what to believe.

I have a friend and she said she asked her 10 year old boy to get milk in a corner business, in a very small village, on a Sunday morning. He asked: Will I be ok? Will I end up like April, mum? Did you worry about that when you were a child? I didn't. I played in the streets, I went to the bakery, I walked to school. Are we thinking about the world we are showing our children?

Are there problems in the world? Many! I think most of them are drug related and drugs are definitely ruining the world. Then if we dig deep, under the influence of drugs, alcohol and other worse drugs, people can loose control and do bad things because they are not in full possession of their faculties. Who does anything about the drug problem? Nobody does, because drugs are big business and many people make a lot of money with it, including authorities, police, politicians, you name it.

In the world we live, the real enemy is greed. We are turning into a savage capitalist world where money rules and lives of individuals are numbers. Instead of turning the public attention to scares and fears to distract them, how about tackle the real world problems?

1. Drugs, alcohol
2. Excess debt and consumerism - how to only buy what you need
3. Lack of education and importance of knowledge and culture
4. Importance of honesty and hard work
5. Solidarity
6. How to be a citizen and contribute to your community
7. Hunger, should so many people starve to death?
8. Social injustice
9. Heath system and people dying where there is no need to
10. How to love

Instead, we are all focusing on discrimination and destruction and those would never exist if we focused in the good and right things. When people join their efforts for a greater good those things are irrelevant. War times are horrible but those are times when people focus in what is important. When someone is dying next to you, would you bother asking: are you gay, christian? You would probably be busy keeping his heart beating. This is real human solidarity. A human life is precious, the rest is talk, sickness and distraction. This is manipulating public opinion in order to deviate them from the truth.

Going back to charity work. I was one of the people that thought people only did charity to look good. It is true, that are people that do that, but they are again, minority. Most people want to do good to others. I started doing charity work myself. It is quite hard work. I have to go shopping, plan menus, get people over for dinner, spend 6,7,8 even 10 hours cooking, washing up, cleaning the kitchen, it probably takes up to 12-15 hours of my time and I get no money for it when I could be working for myself and getting myself money.

I need to advertise it because the more people know about it the better it is for raising money and for those girls. I raised enough money in 2 months to keep one girl for 5 months. It is a small, private initiative and I feel it has made a difference in someone's life.

By targeting charity now, saying that people do charity for themselves, maybe they want this to stop too and make this world more selfish, more uncaring, more unloving. I really blame the BBC for that stupid speech and I would like to know what does the BBC and other media channels do to help the world instead of broadcasting sensational news to sell and distracting people with rubbish. Oh, back to panis et circensis! The media is, as everything else, big business! I would say, the biggest, media and entertainment is a billion dollars industry.

My advice is: Do not pay too much attention to the media. It is not because someone says something on the TV and radio that it is the absolute truth. Refer to your childhood, refer to your human instincts of right and wrong. We all know it. We all know what solidarity, love, companionship, generosity, compassion, affection are. Do not let media, society, big companies, dictate how you should think, what you should wear, where you should spend your money with things you do not need, what you should say.

You are free, you have free will. You are free to love, feel and think. Even if the world makes you too scared and lonely to believe you are.

My message from today is: love one another. This is all we really need to know while we are on this planet.

Much love,


Monday, 22 October 2012

Monday, monday again


Monday, raining day, I am again facing the cleaning dilemma. I have made a good start by clearing the living room and I guess today I can have it done in a couple of hours, bedroom excluded.

Tomorrow I have  job interview and am quite relaxed about it although I do not know which song would be the best to teach. Oh yes, I forgot to mention it is an interview to get a job to start choirs in schools. I do not know if I am gifted enough for that or even if I can adapt to this new learning world where teachers have no say anymore.

I have Classic FM on as always and here it is all peace and quiet. This is a corner of heaven in a world of chaos, my cat, myself and Classic FM.

I forgot to mention that after many months without climbing on my lap my cat has finally decided to lay on it and spent several hours on my lap, purring away. I adore this cat, she is clever, loving, sweet... Nothing like a pet to make you feel loved and appreciated, especially when you feed them!!!

I am finding it quite hard to be alone in the house without my husband, even though we might argue at times, it is better arguing with someone else than with yourself, isn't it?

I really don't fancy cooking for myself so yesterday I had all my meals out. At lunch time I met a friend, David Holland, a pianist and we went for a simple roast dinner in a very popular pub around the area where they do a roast for a fiver. You can imagine how popular this place is for offering a roast with such reasonable price so the place was very crowded but David managed to find us a small table.

Then we had a coffee and cake and then we went to the pub for the club 60/80 as it is mostly men around that age (I am not a man and not yet that age). I came back home around 9 P.M. and couldn't sleep so spent some time on the computer and watching Strictly come dancing I had previously recorded, the show and the results. It was about 4 am when I finally got to sleep with my cat. I am finding it hard to adapt being on my own in this house, although it is quiet, it is very empty.

Well my friends, enough time wasted, back to the nitty gritty now.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Saturday and no night fever


Have you heard of a hurricane? That's what my house looks like today: as if a hurricane had passed by. I am trying to gather my courage together and get cleaning but I always find a million excuses not to get started at once, one of those being updating my blogs.

I write 2 blogs at the moment: this one, Luce Perpetua, Lux Perpetua, Lumiere eternelle, eternal light, luz eterna, or one of these denominations. This name might appear to be related to a Requiem Mass:

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
A hymn becomes you, O God, in Zion
and to you shall a vow be repaid in Jerusalem.
Hear my prayer;
to you shall all flesh come.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Although Lux Perpetua might refer to a Requiem Mass, this title has more to do with: Eternal light shining upon all of us. Here and thereafter.

Well, enough philosophy for the time being. I am here, this weekend, at my little house with my cat. My husband is away this week and I really don't like to be alone. I can hear a little movement coming from the street and the market holders packing up after a day's work.

I have been busy trying to tie up projects. We spend our lives acting as if we were immortals but we are constantly facing our own mortality. Life is full of distractions, some prosaic activities keep us busy and mentally healthy, such as cleaning our houses, looking after our personal hygiene, going shopping, eating, cooking, drinking and chatting to friends. These are occupations for our bodies and minds, not occupations for our spirits, this eternal flame that shines within us.

Facing my own mortality and the reality that our time on earth is nothing but a fleeting moment, I decided to accomplish something for posterity. I still keep my 'down-to-earth' occupations (rather reluctantly) but I am trying to nourish my spirit and leave a little bit of legacy of who I am, what I love, how I think. I am aware I am of no great importance in the world, but I am still a living being, with the right to exist, feel, doubt, believe, suffer, create and love.

I love music and many have told me my voice is special, though I am not a very self confident person and often wonder how kind people are being to me by complimenting me so. In any case, I have never properly recorded anything, so I am trying to record a CD.

Yesterday I went in a recording studio, I got some backing tracks online (that's what I can afford at the moment) and had an attempt at recording.

At the beginning I felt almost completely lost as if I had completely forgotten how to sing. After over an hour of not very successful attempts, things started to work a little better. I still need to perfect some of it but most of it was ok I guess. I forgot to bring some of my music and I had some memory blanks for madame Butterfly and although I was vocally ok with it, I still need to revise the text.

Amazingly enough, I didn't sing anything half as well as I sang Mozart and Puccini, making me believe I should stick to those 2 composers, Mozart being my favourite for vocal works.

I need, every now and again, to come back to my essence and to whom I am, because it is so easy to get lost in activities, to get lost in our beliefs as we are constantly challenged by the world, its beliefs, its demands. It is difficult to stay truthful to yourself, so difficult not to harden up by so many disappointments we accumulate through life, so many losses, so much injustice, such ugliness.

Amongst these moments of distress, what pulls me back to finding some beauty here on earth, is music. More than anything, those marvellous musicians and masters from the past, through their genius, are a constant reminder of how close we are to heaven whilst on earth, by appreciating beauty.

How beautiful it is to see a flower blooming.

How beautiful true love is.

How beautiful truth is.

How beautiful good music is.

In an attempt to numb human consciousness, our world makes us listen to rubbish music, eat rubbish food, nourish our bodies mind and soul with nothing.

Panis et Circensis.

'Give them bread and circus.' This little message from one of the biggest world Empires of all times has never been so engrained and so popular as it is nowadays.

The only thing that differs us now from them is that the circus in no longer the Colosseum but Television which invades our homes and our brains and the bread is the fast food, fast rubbish culture, where we eat chemically modified food. We ingest in body and soul things that instead of nourishing us, poison us, empty us, turns us into non-persons, incapable of feeling, of analysing, of thinking.

We are all free to think, in our democracy, as long as we think we are thinking what they want us to think.

One of the main tool of this panis et circensis business is ignorance and lack of critical sense. We gob every information without checking the source, nobody reads anything. Everybody seems to have firm opinions about everything and the stronger the conviction the weaker the knowledge. Knowledge became inversely proportional to conviction. How wrong are we?

The role of education nowadays is to provide students technically good enough to perform specific tasks without being educated enough to comprehend the meaning of these tasks. Automats, robots, non persons are living on earth, all with strong ideas and opinions about what they most completely ignore.

I often read on Facebook those pearls of wisdom with an alleged source. Most of it wasn't written by whom they said it was. One of them was a free translation of the lord's prayer, supposedly the original version in aramaic. Although quite interesting, this version has nothing to do with the Lord's prayer in Aramaic. Who reads Aramaic today anyway?

Most of us have to trust the few scholars left that can translate anything. Our ancestors have left a legacy from the past, from philosophers, scientists, poets, writers, composers, a legacy of art, of wisdom, of critical thinking. A legacy that makes us understand who we were and therefore who we became.

If we do not know where we came from we will never be able to move forward. I am afraid, more than ever, the 21st century seems to have reinvented itself, by creating a rupture with what the world has been for thousands of years and re-creating a new world. I fear the order of this 'new found world' is based on equivocal statements and ideas.

I am afraid this new generation will erase the old world for a world that is based on wind. Based on strong opinions about nothing. And if someone rises and tries to disclose the truth, as in Plato's myth of the cave, nobody will believe him or try to see it. They will still be looking at shadows pretending they are real. This man might even be killed. How can you stare at shadows when you have seen the light? You can't, not even at the cost of your own mortal life.

I don't mean to criticise people for being who they are, I would like that more people had the courage to stand up in the darkness and dare to look at the light. Even if no one else will dare turn and no one else will dare believe, at least this world will not die in the hand's of blindfolded people that think and believe those shadows are all there is to see.

Have a lovely Saturday,

Many blessings may come your way.


Friday, 12 October 2012


When I was a teenager I used to write a journal. Did you?

I wrote in this journal all my little secrets, the boy I was fond of, things happening in my family, my heart aches, my activities, my fears, my joys, and only my BFF (best friends forever) could read some of it, as the rest of it was kept in absolute secrecy.

What's a blog? It is a journal, but a journal that is opened to the world. Is it any different? Oh, yes, in a journal we write things from the bottom of our hearts, things we are even ashamed of sometimes, of course those are not to be read even by our bff.

We all have an image we present to the world. We are all ashamed of confessing our secret thoughts, sometimes, thoughts we are even ashamed to have! We are ashamed of confessing our secret feelings, we are ashamed to tell people that we love them, to tell people what we really think of them. We live in a flattering, lying world, I do believe honesty and truth should rule the world but we are probably not yet ready for the truth.

And the truth shall set you free!!

Are we free? No, we are not and we will never be free if we don't leant some wisdom. I am thinking of the 10 commandments. I am thinking of things that have been taught year after year, generation after generation for thousands of years.

After the technological advance of the 20th century and especially after the 2 world wars, human beings thought they could re-invent the world their own way.

When I was a teenager I used to think that the 60's was the best decade ever. Why? Teenagers come to a world they don't understand. They are not longer children and not yet adults. Adulthood is a mystery to apprehend and when they were children they lived in a 'fantasy world', sheltered, protected, even a magical world with fairy tales and games. Teenage years are the years of awakening and learning what the world is really like.

What was your first reaction then? Do you remember? I do. I was shocked, I was disappointed with the adults for turning the world I was supposed to grow up into such a mess. I found out the horrors of war, drugs, prostitution, murdering, thieving, I found out about discrimination, racism, hatred, hunger... I found out about abortion, rejection, lying. I found out adults lied!

When a teenager finds out the world is not a fairy tale and they have to live in it, the first reaction is: rejection. A teenager wants a better world, a world of love and peace, a teenager wants a world like the fairy tale world of their childhood, where good always triumphs and everybody lives happily every after. But a teenager wants that in the real world. So, when I saw in the 60's, there was the dream of living in peace, freedom and love, I thought this was wonderful. By growing up I found out it was not. Do you know why? Because it was another lie.

We all want love, but love is not synonym of having sex with the entire world. Sex is not love, love is a different matter. Freedom is not about having drugs to have an escapism from reality. Freedom is not being free at someone else's expenses. Love, freedom, justice can exist, but with responsibility, with consequences, with growing up. The other shortcuts are in fact highly destructive. They are false promises, they are lies. At first they seem to be a lot of fun, but they end up causing destruction. A teenager wouldn't know that. In our teenage years we think we know everything, but we don't and only later on in life we can see that.

For this 60's generation, parents were 'square', they conformed to the rules. That generation lost the art of cooking, sewing, embroidering, dancing, playing an instrument. The easy gratification idea was installed in this new empty world.

I am leaning Ballet, ballroom and pastry. You would tell me those things are not related but they are, in a very strange way. My ballroom dance teacher says: nobody dances properly anymore, our parents learnt how to dance. In the pastry class, it is said that nobody cooks anymore, we all go to the supermarket and buy a ready made cake. When did it get lost? The 60's generation.

In one hand there were the horrors of the 2 wars nobody wanted to repeat, in the other hand, parents that had starved and seeing the horrors of war, tried to make up for their children. Is it wrong? Is it wrong to give children more that we had? Of course not, giving is great, but parents forgot more and more how to teach their children about responsibility, gratitude, appreciation, respect. The generations that followed got more and more lost, more and more forgetful.

I am not such a pessimist that I don't believe we have the ability of changing it. I think we should re-insert cookery, dance, proper music and embroidery classes in schools. I think we should teach the children to work, not enslave them, but by performing little tasks at their reach, like preparing a simple meal, making their beds. We should avoid having another spoiled generation for the future's sake. We should teach respect for the teachers, parents, and those should inspire respect back. Those notions are not old fashioned, they are eternal.

I find the world lacking more and more of respect, of love, of knowledge. By having knowledge of our past we can move to the future, a future based in the legacy. Changing without erasing. Changing with conscience, with wisdom.

Well, why do I think about the 10 commandments? Because those were teachings to last forever, those were not repressive notions, but those were guidelines for human beings to live in a better way and in a better world and to avoid suffering and pain. As Christianity became so out of fashion, those values are also slowly being erased, corrupted, even laughed at.

I am not going to deny that the church has many flaws, flaws that have lead to some hypocrisy and many false churches are around, churches made by men are full of flaws. I avoided going to church for many years because I could not stand the narrow mindedness and jealousy that existed in the churches. Those man made institutions are man like: filled with flaws but sometimes necessary.

If we love God above everything and acknowledge he is above us, that make us all the same, we are all the same, nobody is better or worse.

If we love others like we love ourselves, we respect them. But we need to respect ourselves first, or else we won't know what love is. Love in the greater meaning of the world, that comes with understanding of who we deeply are.

Killing, stealing, we all know it is wrong but why? Another commandment. Imagine if we lived in a world where we could steal, kill do whatever we wanted? Chaos. Of course, this is part of love, if you really love someone you would kill them or steal from them, but this is a detailed set of rules, nothing is implicit.

I could go on and on but I hope we all know how it goes. Basic rules to keep us at bay and to protect us agains ourselves, and we are, most frequently,  our worse enemies.

So here I am, digressing again. I was meaning to talk about blogs. I wanted to say that blogs are not diaries, where we can be absolutely honest, knowing that nobody will read them. So I will try to be very honest here, the most I can, as if I was going to write my own personal diary. I firmly believe that honesty can be perceived and only an honest message gets across. By being honest, a human being can truly relate to another because deep down we are all the same, cultural differences apart. The essence is the same. We truly are all brothers and sisters, all part of the same human family.

I am going to clean my house.

See you soon,


Cleaning day

Good morning, I mean good afternoon!!!

It is sunny outside but today is the day I have to face the big cleaning day. Since we got flooded I have been living in denial, pretending the mess is not there but today I have no alternative but face it.

I try and postpone it the most I can, that's why I am sitting here writing this blog but there is no more running away.

Tomorrow I have another busy cooking day, better get prepared to it.

See you soon,


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Lost in my thoughts


I attempted to write this blog many moons ago but never got round to doing it. As I am writing a much more pragmatic blog called gisele and jamie, I might every now and again come back to this one. If the other blog is more about action, this blog is supposed to be more about inner thoughts, if any springs to my mind.

What's happening in England at the moment? Rain, rain and more rain. It has been the most rain England has seen in a hundred years. Trust me to be here when it happens.

The rain got so strong that my house got flooded last Saturday and I haven't still sorted out all the mess. When things get too much I have the need to pretend they are not there and I totally go into denial mode.

My life is filled with little activities, nothing major: Ballet, Ballroom and Pastry course at South Devon College. It is nothing of resounding glory and importance but it makes me happy. I love dancing and I truly enjoy cooking. I have a tendency to create and make things but I have no talent to make money. Maybe when the main aim in what you do is primarily to make money, inspiration flees away as the creative juices can't flow if under pressure, stress or even worse, compromising your principles.

I just want to live in peace. Don't we all????

It is rather funny how human beings have the talent to turn every perfect moment of happiness into something bad by the ability of criticise, destroy, envy and other very mean feelings but the worse of all, is trying to control, possess, dictate...

I am trying hard to fight those low instincts of the human being, some of those I confess to possess, unfortunately. I think we are all made for greatness but we all get lost in pettiness, we are so busy counting the little coins that we miss the big pot of gold. Do not take me literally, please, there is no pot of gold anywhere, but there is happiness at reach, if only we pay attention to it.

I am, after this philosophical speech, going to bed as I am feeling quite tired after an afternoon of cooking lovely things at my pastry course. Creme brûlée, caramel, cheese cake... Very useful learning indeed.

I will definitely have sweet dreams!!!

And I wish you do too.