Bare Wood Tabletop, Egypt & Caramel Mandarins

According to cutting edge west coast event designers, a bare wood tabletop adorned with a simple runner is trending large now. Beautiful wood should be used and enjoyed, not always swathed beneath acres of fabrics never to see the light of day! Picture the long Italian countryside harvest table with just a simple linen runner and some olive branches and candles. Simple!

Sunday night we had lovely friends over for dinner and a HD show of photos from their very recent trip to Egypt*. Yes, we love these friends that much! So... I decided to forgo the tablecloth, run a Japanese obi fabric down the middle of the table and go... bare! It was kind of exhilirating! Heck, I didn't even use placemats, but instead bravely placed plates, silverware & glassware all directly on top of honest, pure wood.

*Egypt: in the six days since our happy dinner, things have changed drastically in Egypt with a catastrophic revolt along the Nile against the standing president Mubaric. May the taking to the streets ultimately create a better life for the citizens of Egypt. Our hearts go out to those caught innocently in this strife and we pray for a quick and safe resolution for Egypt and for the world who waits with our breath held until this trouble ends.

the mosques of Cairo against velvety blue black night sky;
photographer unnamed

the pyramid shapes on our table are meant to remind us of the
Valley of the Kings and the flowers of the reeds along the Nile

I like not dealing with the yards of fabric this
table needs to cover it... just simple runner and bare wood

keeping things simple for a Sunday night
gathering with friends

closer view of the table center

love the colors in this vintage obi
silk runner


polychrome Egyptian drawings and heiroglyphics
source unknown

King Tutankhamun... 19 artifacts from his tomb are
being returned to Egypt by New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art in an generous and
ethical gesture

this old label from the early 20th C. is very
appealing to me with its romantic seafaring images

I love this photograph of the Pyramid...I am unable
to determine the source of the photo, but it is stunning

all the elements I think of about Egypt: the Pyramid,
the Sphinx and the patient, humble camel in
the hot and dusty sand

old Egypt glyphs font from Font River


A perfectly simple and elegant dessert are these Mandarin Oranges in Caramel Sauce. The recipe is French, and to be perfectly honest, it's not really a caramel sauce, but a caramelization of the fruit juices and brown sugar... a reduction, really. But it is a charming and very effective ending to a spicy meal, one I could imagine being served in Egypt on a hot, sunny afternoon.

Caramel Mandarin Oranges

Préparation : 10 min - Cooking : 10 min + 10 min

Cost : easy & affordable

Pour 6 personnes

6 mandarines
100 g brown sugar
2 Tbs lemon juice
30 cl orange juice
1 stick of cinnamon
2 whole cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom

Préparation :

- In non-stick saucepan, make a clear caramel with the brown sugar by slowly heating over low flame. Do not add water. Take off the stove and add lemon and orange juices. Cover at once.

- When sizzling ends, mix well with a wooden spoon. Put the peeled mandarin oranges and the spices into the juices and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn mandarins over, and simmer additional 10 minutes.

Présentation in glasses :

- Drain the mandarins, set aside. Reduce the juice to a syrup, and pour over the fruits. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Place a mandarin orange in a glass and pour some syrup over each mandarin. Serve well chilled.


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