new cooking site and news

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Almost every Saturday morning we go to the Farmer’s Market, we are lucky here on this Agricultural Island that we do have a lot of farmers, real ones, none of the phoney farmers seen in so many urban markets. We are also lucky that many people shopping around have developed a personal relationship with various suppliers for their eggs, poultry, lamb, beef, cheese, fresh produce, etc..

Today I bought some very nice cheeses and some fresh lamb for stew and a leg of lamb to roast. The various farmers have developed their products to be natural and free of hormones or other nasty products usually found in grocery store supplies.

We buy our meat from Steerman, he is the old style farmer, you buy from his farm and he can give you which ever cut of beef you want. Same with chicken from Larkin or lamb. With every purchase comes also a bit of a chat, it is customary to do so.

So we bought lamb for a stew and found this really fun recipe and one that looks easy to make. On YouTube at KITCHEN SANCTUARY, the recipe is called Lancashire Hotpot.

I also bought a turkey pot pie from Larkin’s and we will have that for dinner tomorrow.

Of course, we are still thinking of the death of Prince Philip yesterday, it seems that many thought he would live forever. He was for me a mainstay all my life. We did have the Queen Mother but this was different, she belonged to the time of her husband, King George VI.

Philip and Elizabeth were married 73 years, next week the Lieutenant Governor of PEI is coming to the Club to re-dedicate a portrait of HM taken in 1951 some 70 years ago when the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were on their first visit to Canada and PEI, Her Father only had about 3 months to live. What was not mentioned yesterday, it was the 16th Wedding Anniversary of Prince Charles and Camilla. The Queen’s birthday is in a few days and she will turn 95.

It was explained yesterday by the College of Arms or Heralds, that the title of the Duke of Edinburgh now passes to his son Charles, who is also Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay. When Charles becomes King, the Dukedom will be extinguished until such times as he gives it to another member of the Family. It is fully expected that the title of Duke of Edinburgh will go to his younger brother Edward the Earl of Wessex.

At the moment Prince Philip is lying at rest (not in State) in a chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The Royal Memorial Service (not a State funeral) will be held at St-George’s Chapel at Windsor castle and not at Westminster Cathedral. Those were the wishes of the Prince who did not want any fuss as he put it. However he will have his Statue on the empty plinth at Trafalgar square in London in a few years time.

For the time being his coffin will rest in the vault of St-George’s Chapel until the Queen dies and then they will be buried together in a mausoleum on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Prince Charles now will assume even more responsibilities, he has taken over much of every day duties delegated by his mother the Queen, we have entered what seems to me as a transitory period. The video was made a few hours ago at Highgrove the Residence of Prince Charles and Camilla, about 90 minutes outside London

H.R.H. The Prince Philip

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The first news I heard this morning in a special news bulletin on the CBC was of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, husband to Her Majesty the Queen. It really is for us Canadians the end of an era. After 70 years of distinguish public duty at the age of 99. The longest serving Prince Consort in Canadian and British history.

His childhood was one of adversity, his family was forced from Greece into exile, his parents Prince Andrew and Princess Alice separated and he spent his childhood moving from one relative to another and going to many different schools.

Born at the Palace of Mon Repos on the Isle of Corfu in Greece on June 10, 1921, Prince of Greece and Denmark, Philip’s four older sisters were Margharita, Theodora, Cecilie, and Sophie.

He was born in Greece, but his family was exiled from the country when he was eighteen months old. After being educated in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, aged 18. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the thirteen-year-old, Princess Elizabeth whom he had first met in 1934. During the Second World War he served with distinction in the Mediterranean and Pacific Fleets. After the war, Philip was granted permission by King George VI to marry Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement in July 1947, he renounced his Greek and Danish titles and styles, changed his religion from Greek Orthodox to Anglican, became a British Subject and adopted his maternal grandparents’ surname Mountbatten. He married Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the wedding, he was granted the style His Royal Highness and created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King George VI. Philip left active military service when Elizabeth became queen in 1952, having reached the rank of commander of the British Navy, and was made Prince of Great Britain, on their 10th Wedding Anniversary in 1957 by his wife Queen Elizabeth.

Philip had four children with Elizabeth: HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Heir to the Throne; HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal; HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

A sports enthusiast, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He was a patron, president, or member of over 780 organizations, and he served as chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a self-improvement program for young people aged 14 to 24. He was the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest-lived male member of the British royal family. He retired from his royal duties on 2 August 2017, aged 96, having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.

The Queen referred to Prince Philip in a speech on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 as her “constant strength”.

Thank you Sir, for your service.

His favourite Hymn called the Sailor’s Hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save.

Going through old photos

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We have been to La Serenissima as the City of Venice is known in Italy, many times.

It is a city we saw change from being a real live city to slowly becoming a tourist trap, from selling beautiful objects, books, beautiful paper products for wrapping, to letter writing and papier maché masks to basically going whole hog with cheap chinese plastic crap putting out of business, many Venetians. Good restaurants becoming fast food junk and hotel prices in the $400 dollar range and up. Far too many cheap tourists tours, garbage everywhere, a truly sad situation.

There are still pockets where in this small lagoon city you will find the quiet pace of old, but it is becoming increasingly rare. Only the pandemic put an end to the onslaught and emptied the city.

These are photos of one of our visit in Venice, having tea at Café Aurora on an afternoon, having tea, sandwiches and pastries. The last time we were visiting Venice we stayed in Mestre which is on the mainland but not the same. We did discover that Padua is only by train about 20 minutes from Venice and a good alternative for an hotel when visiting the Veneto region. Padua is a beautiful small city, and tourists do not go there in hordes, probably because it is known for its pilgrimage sites devoted to Saint Anthony, who was Portuguese. Padua is also a university town.

Wearing my Borsalino bought in Naples.

Condé

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Today I saw this picture of Unter den Linden and looking Eastward towards the City Palace, we see the famous equestrian statue of Frederick II the Great riding his favourite horse Condé.

Named after a French Prince of the time Louis de Bourbon-Condé, this horse was purchased in 1777 at the age of 11 and quickly became the favourite of Frederick II. He would ride him in Potsdam every day and do so until a few weeks before he died. After the King’s death Condé would continue to live a quiet life for many more years dying at 38 in 1804. He was from the Wallach breed, a German breed of riding horse. His skeleton today is at the Veterinary college.

He was according to records, spoiled, Frederick would often put slice of melon and figs in his coat pocket and Condé would come and sniff them out, it amused the King, there was a close familiarity between Condé and Frederick II, that his visitors to Potsdam observed. The same with his dogs, all Whippets, he is buried in the garden of Sans Souci with his dogs, as he stipulated in his will.

To be in Berlin in the Spring, with its parks, lakes and rivers, beautiful restaurants and great museums, concert halls and Opera houses. Maybe one day after this pandemic, we can travel.

What’s next?

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Easter Holiday is over and now on to Spring tune-up for the car and change of tires.

Insurance home and car payment season. I am also 21 days away from my Pfizer vaccination, I am looking forward to that. Will is only 15 days away. Some 11% of our Island population has been vaccinated which is great. People here talk about getting the vaccine like if they had won the lottery.

We had a lovely lunch, Will made his Asparagus in puff pastry tarts and we had ham on the bone with Broccoli, leek and carrots, dessert was panna cotta with blueberry coulis. All good and every one had a good time despite the weather freezing rain and heavy grey skies.

Other than that it’s pretty quiet around here. The Crab fishing Season has started and next week it will be Lobster Spring Season. May 1 is the re-opening of many restaurants for the Summer Season but, I doubt we will see any tourists, none from the USA for the time being, as for other Canadian provinces well I am not so sure either, since most have now gone in third wave mode with record infection numbers never seen before.

So it will be another quiet Summer here, difficult for restaurants and some shops who only exist because of the tourists. What amazes me is how the authorities simply shrug.

This is a photo of the BlockHouse Light House which is located at the narrow entrance into the port of Charlottetown, on the one side it faces the broad Strait and on the other this little bay and a expansive view of Charlottetown. It was once until the late 1970’s manned and the Lighthouse keeper and his family lived there, quite a big place. Now all lighthouses are automated and maintained by the Federal Dept of Parks. It is somewhat of an isolated spot next to Port La-Joye which in the 17th century was guarding the entrance into the larger bay and the river system. Someone told me that the house attached to the lighthouse is for sale or rent, though romantic to live there I cannot imagine how it would be in Winter with the storms coming with howling 100Km winds off the Strait. Beautiful in Summer.

Continuing with this blog entry we are now Tuesday and was at the garage this morning for my annual car inspection to get my safety sticker. Then finished the income tax returns with the accountant. Our taxes are simple so I could probably do them myself but I am too lazy. I did get a return amount, I think the Government loves me for being such a good citizen doing my Civic Duty, so I get a bit back. Hey this is my story and I am sticking to it. Though next year might be different story with my revenue changing and getting other benefits, so I might want to ask that they take 23% off those new benefits in taxes to avoid paying at the end of the year.

Had my glasses adjusted, I am looking at new frames, saw a POLO frame I liked but do not know how much they ask for it. Now we have to pay for the insurance for the house and car. This is Spring, the season of payments. Next in May Nicky and Nora go for their annual shots.

Now according to the Ornithologists (bird lovers) it is going to be an early Spring because of the behaviour of birds in the Atlantic provinces, who are behaving as if it was already May. I really don’t mind, I am all for it.

Getting ready

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This is the long Easter Weekend, 4 days. Mind you I have been on a long weekend for the last 8 years, it must be some kind of record. So to avoid rush though crowds here are strictly controlled with going to the grocery store or any store, so there is no crowds. At the Farmer’s Market this morning which is always popular, when I arrived there was about 30 people in line, social distancing, + masks waiting to be let in, so that the numbers inside do not exceed the allowed number.

So we got a big ham with the bone in, all our vegetables and other necessities earlier this week. I got 3 big bunches of freshly cut tulips at the market from VANCO who is the producer here on PEI, it’s Tulip time now. Some rosemary bread and farm eggs.

I set the table at home for lunch tomorrow, had to polish the silver and decide which place setting to use, decide if it will be table cloth or place mats, we went for Polish cotton tablecloths. Make a flower arrangement for the centre from the tulips of various colours. Iron the napkins, each place setting has Easter Chocolates. Then we had to decide the serving order would it be buffet style or French service. We decided to plate everything in the kitchen and serve directly at the table. Wine service, etc. We have been doing this routine for years, so we are use to it.

Since lunch is at 2pm tomorrow, we will have to get up early, to cook the ham, Will is going to prepare the individual Asparagus tartelettes for each guest as an appetizer.

Dessert is panna cotta with a coulis of blueberries, that Will prepared today. The blueberries are from last Season and they are small and tasty.

Here is a photo of the table. Hope you all have an enjoyable day.

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65th Easter Weekend

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How is that possible, so many Easters, if as a child in Montreal, Toronto or Quebec City, Easter was with Good Friday still very religious holidays though it was starting to change with consumerism at every corner. Back then it was the thing to do, to give children live rabbits or live chicks, small children had no idea how to treat these poor animals and many died within 72 hours. It was an Easter massacre but hey it was suppose to be fun for the kids. By the 1980’s the practice had disappeared instead replaced by an orgy of gifts and chocolates and treats for the kids.

In our home we never had live animals, my mother did not like that because it dirtied her house. At Easter we would go for Brunch at some big hotel and would get one chocolate bunny, usually milk chocolate, which I do not like.

So this is a 4 day long weekend. Good Friday is a Statutory Holiday, Saturday some shops will be open for last minute shopping and Sunday is a Holiday. Monday for everyone not working in the private sector it is a Holiday. So around noon time on Thursday lots of people were leaving work for this holiday.

I did all my shopping ahead of time to avoid the crowds on Saturday. The weather however is not good, lots of April Showers and cloudy skies for at least a week.

We are going to friends for dinner on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon for Lunch we are having a few friends. Ham is on the menu this year, panna cotta for dessert.

Hope everyone has a good Passover and a Happy Easter.

Beautiful day

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Finally today we are having sunshine and mild temp, in the next few days it will go up to 14C, however for the Easter Weekend looks like rain and 6C.

This morning we went to Leonhard’s for breakfast, owned by a swiss german fellow, this café has a very elegant european flair to it, not only in its relaxed and elegant decor but also in the food they serve. All of it is clearly inspired by European cuisine and not the usual North American fair.

I had an omelette with vegetables, it was very fluffy and seasoned just right, something you do not encounter usually in restaurants here. Tables are set with fresh flowers, tulips at this time of the year. You could say that the atmosphere is clean, crisp and relaxed. No background music which is nice. In the summer they have ample boxes of flowers and hanging green plants on the front sidewalk.

We have another German bakery which just opened also on Great George street but on the South side of the Provincial Legislature, again offering a very different fair from all the other restaurants/café in town. More geared towards the local crowd instead of the tourist crowd.

This morning one of the blogs I follow, entitled Berlin Companion featured the National Monument to the Wars of Liberation in Kreuzberg on its 200 Anniversary.

View from Kreuzberg by Johann Heinrich Hintze, 1829 (currently at the Alte Nationalgalerie). The winding road leading to Berlin is today’s Mehringdamm.

For people who have visited the Invalides in Paris, under the dome is the Tomb of Emperor Napoleon, you will probably have noticed the 12 columns in a circle around the tomb, they represent the 12 military campaigns of Napoleon all across Europe over 12 years, basically continuous wars during his reign. The Monument on the Kreuzberg in Berlin also refers to the 12 wars which are named wars of Liberation from French oppression. There are all over Germany, other monuments were built celebrating that liberation from this constant warfare waged by Napoleon in his effort to conquer Europe and appoint himself the new Charlemagne.

This is something very rarely mentioned in history books and certainly never mentioned by French authors who prefer to present Napoleon’s action as a romantic endeavour. However if you follow the historical tread you will see that those wars sowed the seeds for further wars in the 19th century between France and German States and Prussia and after 1870 a unified Germany. It is almost a seesaw effect of trying to correct wrongs. Think 1870 Franco-Prussian War, 1914-1918 and then 1939-1945, in all those conflicts the underlying narrative is revenge, either by Germany or France.

The National Monument on Kreuzberg (Cross Hill) leads down the avenue to Belle-Alliance Platz this alliance/Treaty between Great-Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia created and maintained an army of 600,000 men until such time as Napoleon was completely defeated and overthrown. This Belle-Alliance ultimately led to Waterloo. Since 1945 Belle-Alliance Platz has been renamed Mehring Platz and sadly completely modernized.

On March 30, 1821 – the seventh anniversary of the Prussian charge of Montmartre and of the conquest of Paris, which unavoidably triggered Napoleon’s demise in 1814 – King Friedrich Wilhelm III arrived on top of the Tempelhofer Berg (also known as the Weinberg, soon to be renamed Kreuzberg). The highest natural elevation in what is now central Berlin but back in the days was still part of a district outside the city limits.

Accompanied by an illustrious guest, Russian Tsar Alexander I – Friedrich Wilhelm’s brother-in-arms in the conflict with Napoleon Bonaparte – Prussian monarch came to witness the unveiling of a monument commemorating their victories in what came to be known as the Wars of Liberation, 1802-1814.

As Prussia’s military ally in the wars against Napoleon it was Alexander who prevented the king – as well as the Austrian emperor for he was wavering, too – from making what could have been the biggest mistake in the history of the Coalition: he convinced them to take Paris instead of withdrawing their troops. Now it was time to celebrate these good choices.

National Memorial for Wars of Liberation – a 200-tonne cast-iron tapering structure installed on an octagonal stone base – was the work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Johann Heinrich Strack (who was responsible for the stone base).

Schinkel, supported by several renown contemporary artists with Christian Daniel Rauch as the most prominent among them, created an artwork which truly had everything a memorial of this kind should possess: it was impressive, it was elegant, it was positively oozing with symbols which everybody understood and was happy to see included and, last but not least, it had twelve extremely good-looking statues with faces the crowds back then were often able to recognise.

The memorial’s leitmotiv was a cross: it was a direct reference to a new military decoration introduced by King Friedrich Wilhelm III in 1813 after the Battle of Leipzig: the legendary Eiserne Kreuz, the Iron Cross. The foot of the memorial itself is shaped liked one, too, and you will see the shape repeated from the memorial’s bottom to its very top.

The 200-year-old memorial in Viktoriapark inspired the name of the hill and the neighbourhood.

The Nationaldenkmal am Kreuzberg – truly worth the climb. (Photo by Beata Gontarczyk-Krampe, author of the Berlin Companion.

Vaccination day coming

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So the festivities of my Birthday have come to an end, it was great fun and the food and cakes were much appreciated by my guests. Will did a wonderful job of organizing it all.

Sunday night I went online to book my turn for the Covid Vaccine. We have a system here on PEI called SKIP THE LINE, this allows you to book a medical appointment online if your family medical doctor is not available and you need to see a doctor pronto. I think it is better than going to Emergency, no waiting and once you booked a time you go at the appointed hour. They even send you a text telling you that you should leave home and make your way to the clinic, your turn is coming up.

So I booked online by vaccination date, all I needed was to give my name, home address, DOB and my Health Card number, within a minute I was booked for 27 April.

Vaccinations are given at the hockey arena about 5 minutes from our house. Will is booked for earlier in the month. The Government here follows a system of decreasing age for vaccination. They started 2 months ago with anyone over the age of 85+ then proceeded with all front line medical staff, etc. then doctors and dentists, etc.

Recently they also offered the vaccine to anyone working in a kitchen, restaurant or bar between the ages of 18 to 29. So it is going pretty fast and by 1 July it is now estimated that 80% of the population will have been vaccinated. PEI is way ahead of the National average and we have had none of the gong show and incompetence of Ontario and Alberta where politicians are playing medical doctor.

Spring is definitely here, with lots of rain and sun and mixed in together, mild weather is very nice. Now everyone is talking about what to do this Summer.

Alfred Hollins’ A Trumpet Minuet.