A new Year is upon us with all its promise of renewal, Spring around the corner, may your cup overflow with good health, happiness, success and may your days be sunny and bright.
Generous New Year blessings to you all!
A nice blog of a life event in Rome and a memory of our beautiful long haired Dachshund Reese. Reading this post by Will, I relive this episode of our lives and see the streets and that old lady on the bus.
The first time Laurent and I came to Rome we stayed on the other side of the Tiber in the Borgo near St. Peter’s. The area takes its name from the German Burg and was an area of hostels and hospices for pilgrims as far back as AD 725. Given the events of the day we were at a bit of a loss on Thursday evening – comfort food was in order but neither one of us felt like cooking. So a trip to the Borgo and that trattoria that I can never remember the name of for spaghetti alla carbonara seemed the solution. And since we would be in the area we thought we’d have a look-in at the (mildly?) controversial Presepe in Piazza San Pietro.
It was only 2000 but there were very few people in the Piazza and most were crowded around the Presepe by a rather…
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The Guardian in Charlottetown is the newspaper of PEI and it published the following recipes from Chefs, some of whom I know in Charlottetown. I thought I would reproduce the article here to give you ideas.
These recipes are typical of PEI and the Maritime provinces.
Chef Duncan Smith- Broadway 45, Kensington, PEI
Ma Pa’s Creamed Lobster On Toast
Our lobster season starts in late November, or early December, so lobster was always on our Christmas Eve menu, before we went out visiting family, which was an onslaught of bite sized apps, cheeses, crackers and dips of all types. But here is my father’s recipe for our Christmas Eve meal, creamed lobster on toast!
2 tbsp. butter, yes BUTTER
2 lobsters shelled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp. minced onion, optional
2 tsp. white vinegar
2 pieces of toast, buttered
1 can 250 ml. cream
-Melt butter and sauté the onions. When soft and sweet, add the lobster and sauté for another couple of minutes
-Add enough cream to cover the lobster, and heat through
-Add vinegar and keep stirring
-When heated through, serve over the buttered toast
Some people would add some ketchup to it at the end for a more pinky colour, but the vinegar does that as well as help thicken the sauce. A more traditionalist would use evaporated milk instead of cream, so either way works. We usually did 1 lobster per person, so this recipe is easy to alter.
EZ Maple Pecan Cheesecake
1 cup diced bacon, sauté and strain most of the fat out
2 cups pecan pieces, toasted in the oven
-Combine these and make crust.
1 pkg. cream cheese (room temp)
1 can sweet condensed milk
1/4 cup maple syrup, the real stuff
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lemon, zest and juice
-Whip all of these ingredients together, until smooth and pour into cake pan.
Now here, we could make individual cakes, using cool martini or wine glasses as the mold. Put the pecan crust on bottom, then the cream cheese mixture, you could even layer it like a parfait, because everyone likes parfait! You could also garnish with some of the remaining pecan/bacon mixture, and a little sea salt just for another flavour.
The Guardian reached out to several local chefs for the “A Culinary Chrsitmas” series, which features the chefs’ favourite Christmas recipes.
See the other recipes:
I am looking at the stats for my blog and who is coming to read and maybe comment on my blog. Interesting stats, about 18,000 readers a year from around the planet, in some cases I wonder how they got attracted to my blog and why they would come back and comment or read again and again. I also noticed that those countries who do not appear at all on my list of readers are countries where either they have highly controlled internet (police state) like Belarus, Iran or are countries where the internet does not exist because of poor infrastructure and lack of reliable electric supply, like the Congo or Afghanistan. What intrigues me is readers from the Holy See (Vatican) which has a population of 921 people and is the smallest European Country totally surrounded by the City of Rome, must be some Cardinal no doubt. Then there readers from tiny places in the world like the Seychelles Islands, a group of 115 islands forming one republic in the North West corner of the Indian Ocean.
The largest group of readers are from the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Spain, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany, France, India, Turkey, Brazil. I also have 225 followers of my blog.
I always find it interesting to see how many diverse followers I have to my blog. People like to read what goes on elsewhere in the world and try to imagine maybe how life is in parts of the world they have not visited. I am happy for their readership and who knows maybe they will want to visit or read more about Canada’s smallest Province Prince Edward Island and its small population of 150,000 persons.
For the readers, you all know that I write mostly about my home and life in general, maybe some observation about something that strikes me as odd or of our time.
Now to the last few days of 2017 and onwards then to 2018 with all of its many surprises.
Today was a day of storms here on the Island, high winds around 80km per hour, icy rain and snow, in the end not much of an accumulation but it now feels like Winter.
This morning opening of gifts including an Amazon gift certificate from Nicky and Nora and a nice breakfast with croissant made by John of Breadworks, at noon we listened to H.M. the Queen’s message broadcasted on the CBC across Canada. On Christmas day it is the tradition to listen to her broadcast which comes from London (pre-recorded) and heard in Canada and in all other Commonwealth countries.
Her Majesty’s message is followed by the Royal Anthem.
Then we got ready to go to Vernon Bridge for late lunch at friends house by the water. A very nice house beautifully decorated. Their house is only 20 minutes from our home in town but the weather was awful and the wind. But we made it very nicely with no problems. We had wild goose with a few lead buckshot in the meat. Which I thought made it more authentic and some nice roasted vegetables, dessert was Plum Pudding with hard sauce. We met some new comers to the Island, Turkish immigrants who opened businesses here and are making a go of it.
Our drive back this evening was uneventful despite the very high winds said to be in the 90 to 100km range. Another Christmas has come and gone, it was a good one, nice friends and good food. The puppies are fine what else can we ask for.
Tomorrow is Boxing Day and most things are closed, we are told it will be a sunny day.
Well it’s Christmas 2017 in Prince Edward Island and around the world. We are just waiting for our dinner guests here at home. All is ready, champagne is chilling, nice wines for dinner. The menu is a shrimp and lobster soup, Acadian Meat Pie with vegetables and for dessert Merlot wine jelly, had a taste last night and it is good.
This morning with the brilliant sunshine on the Hillsborough river I was listening to the Symphony no.8 by Dimitri Shostakovich. It is about the survival of the City of St-Petersburg, the old Imperial Capital of Russia during the 2 year siege it endured during the Second World War, music to the human spirit.
Tomorrow Christmas day we are going to friends for a late lunch, the weather forecast is not good very high winds in the 50 to 60km range, some rain and maybe snow. But we are just going 15 miles from home and it only takes 20 minutes to get there, highway driving.
It is very green around here now and with more rain in the forecast, oh well, we moved here for the European like weather.
Our table for tonight’s dinner, setting it up takes time
Before the guests arrive I am having a large scotch, Dalwhinnie 15 yrs old, neat!
Will today made Ginger bread men, women and bears which are now called Non-Binary gender fluid people.
Of course tonight, being a clear night, we will see a lot of this on the roads of the Island, no point in calling the police, I was told it is perfectly legal and I should be thankful and If I continue to complain, the police chief will personally deliver a bag of coal to my home. Ok I get it!
All the best to all of you, dear readers. Thank you for reading my blog and many blessings to you on this Holiday Season. I leave you here listening to French Christmas Music of the 17th and 18th Century, music I learned from my mother as a child. Music from old French Canada and France.
When we lived in Ottawa the only levee in the City was the one at Rideau Hall, the Residence of H.E. the Governor General where the public was invited to come pay their respects to Her Majesty’s representative.
Here in Charlottetown it is quite another affair, it starts at 8am and goes on all over the Island Province until 8 or 9 pm. It starts at Fanningbank the Residence of the Lieutenant Governor who is Her Majesty’s representative in PEI. Then the Premier who is the head of government has one, the mayor, the Colonel of the PEI Regiment, the Commander of the Canadian Navy, the Speaker of the Legislature, various other officials etc… You get to shake hands, exchange pleasantries and get a drink and something to eat. Usually people spend about 10 minutes and move on to the next one. Some people go or try to go to as many as possible in the day. Just in Charlottetown there must be at least 40. You can even hold one at your house and be registered officially so that people can follow the calendar for the day. We thought of doing the Meet Nicky and Nora the Hounds from Hell Levee at our house, it would be novel. To see the full list go to ruk.ca Peter Rukavina is my neighbour and for more than a decade now has compiled the list of the Levee in Charlottetown.
A Levee is an old tradition in Canada going back to the 17th century.
The word levee (from French, noun use of infinitive lever, “rising”, from Latin levāre, “to raise”) originated in the levée du soleil (rising of the sun) of King Louis XIV (1643–1715). It was his custom to receive his male subjects in his bedchamber just after arising, a practice that subsequently spread throughout Europe.
In the 18th century the levee in Great Britain and Ireland became a formal court reception given by the sovereign or his/her representative in the forenoon or early afternoon. In the New World colonies the levee was held by the governor acting on behalf of the monarch. Only men were received at these events. Women were presented in the evening at court.
It was in Canada that the levee became associated with New Year’s Day. The fur traders had the tradition of paying their respects to the master of the fort (their government representative) on New Year’s Day. This custom was adopted by the governor general and lieutenant governors for their levees.
The first recorded levee in Canada was held on January 1, 1646, in the Chateau St. Louis by Charles Huault de Montmagny, Governor of New France from 1636 to 1648. In addition to wishing a happy new year to the citizens the governor informed guests of significant events in France as well as the state of affairs within the colony. In turn, the settlers were expected to renew their pledges of allegiance to the Crown.
The levee tradition was continued by British colonial governors in Canada and subsequently by both the governor general and lieutenant governors. It continues to the present day.
As mentioned, the levee was historically a male preserve but during World War II levees were attended by female officers of the Canadian Armed Forces. Since then levees have been open to both women and men.
As has the levee itself, refreshments served at levees have undergone changes (both in importance and variety) over the years.
In colonial times, when the formalities of the levee had been completed, guests were treated to wine and cheeses from the homeland. Wines did not travel well during the long ocean voyage to Canada. To make the cloudy and somewhat sour wine more palatable it was heated with alcohol and spices. The concoction came to be known as le sang de Caribou (“caribou blood”).
Under British colonial rule the wine in le sang du caribou was replaced with whisky (which travelled better). This was then mixed with goat’s milk and flavoured with nutmeg and cinnamon to produce an Anglicized version called “Moose Milk”. Today’s versions of Moose Milk, in addition to whisky (or rum) and spices may use a combination of eggnog and ice cream, as well as other alcoholic supplements. The exact recipes used by specific groups may be jealously guarded secrets.
I have had both Caribou blood which is mighty potent and Moose Milk, great Canadian drinks, there is no better way to start the New Year. This year I will be volunteering at Fanningbank the Residence of our Lieutenant Governor. A big crowd is expected that day.
Levee New Year’s Day at Fanningbank in Charlottetown.
Here are some photos of the Season.
Beach Grove PEI, an area on the North River in Charlottetown.
Richmond street also known as Victoria Row, all the buildings on this street are either brick or Red PEI Limestone built in 1880 and a very trendy street nowadays in the heart of old Charlottetown
Old Charlottetown on the morning of 19 December 2017, snowing lightly. Of course St-Dunstan’s RC Basilica dominates the area.
And some 1000 Km away from PEI, another Capital City, Ottawa our National Capital decorated in all its Christmas splendour, with Parliament dominating the centre of the City.
So the shopping hours with the holiday approaching, I noticed that all stores are closing either at 2pm or 5pm on 24 December, will remain close 25 and 26 December.
This being an Island I thought this old card entitled Joyeux Noël was a propos.
For the last 38 years every Christmas we get a gift of a home made Fruit Cake from our friend John H., it never fails through the years John always gives as a Xmas gift to his close friends his own recipe fruit cake. He makes them at home and packages them which involve a lot of cheese cloth and liquor. One year I had a vintage fruit cake preserved over one year in brandy, that was very good and very special. He makes the dark and the light coloured cakes, they taste differently but in the end are quite good.
His fruit cake has nothing in common with whatever cakes you can buy in a store or from one of the Service Clubs who annually sell those insipid and dry cakes with the awful white icing on top. If you eat one of those you can be sure to never want fruit cake ever again.
So his annual Christmas fruit cake arrived yesterday afternoon with a very nice card all the way from Upper Canada courtesy of Post Canada.
Will also got an all Almond cookie recipe from the famous Dr. Spo in Phoenix. Will made a whole batch of them. Very good. sporeflections.wordpress.com
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To live is to battle with trolls in the vaults of heart and brain. To write; this is to sit in judgment over one's Self. Henrik Ibsen
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Join me as we wind back the time in Ottawa.