Today is the 2775 Birthday of the founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus.
The founding of Rome is an official birthday in Italy.
The legend of the founding of the Rome tells the story of Romulus and Remus, two brothers who founded a settlement on the banks of the Tiber river after being raised by a she-wolf in the nearby countryside.
They could not agree exactly where to build, and ended up fighting in what is now the Circus Maximus . Romulus won the fight, killed his brother and named the city after himself, as well as becoming Rome’s first king. Rome then was nothing more than a village with about 100 people.
As Rome grew and grew, eventually becoming a vast, sprawling empire, the story of Romulus and Remus, the she-wolf and the fight to establish the city continued to be told.
The second Birthday is that of Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada in the 70th year of Her Reign. HM is 96 years old today. Only two other Sovereigns had long reigns King George III (60 years) and Queen Victoria (64 years).
Today is Easter Monday, in my previous post I told you about the ham and potato casserole I made and putting a tea spoon of cayenne and worrying about it, I rarely use that spice.
Well it was the main dish at lunch today and everyone had 2 helpings. It had at first a bite to it but overall it was good and tasty. Next time, yes there will be a next time, this is a very easy dish to make and good, I will only do 1/4 T.spoon. The casserole was served with a simple green salad.
The dessert was an old favourite of Will, he made an Apple cake, he says it is a Passover dish. It was very good and light. Beautiful day today, really a Spring day.
This Thursday 21 April is the 96th Birthday of HM Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. She was born in Mayfair in London, in a house at 17 Bruton Street. At the time her grandfather was King George V and her father was Duke of York. She was born in a house belonging to her Maternal Scottish grandparents the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, the parents of Her mother Elizabeth, Duchess of York. The house no longer exist, it was demolished by property developers in 1937. She was baptized Elizabeth, Alexandra, Mary, thus named after her paternal grandmother, Queen Alexandra and great grandmother Queen Mary.
Her father became King George VI in May 1936 at the abdication of his brother Edward VIII who married that woman, Mrs Simpson. Below the Canadian logo for the Queen’s Birthday on this Her 70th year of Accession to the Throne of Canada.
The most progressive governments in Canada have always been the Liberal Party, here are 17 measures they introduced into the lives of Canadians. Conservatives to this day oppose all these measures, maybe this is why they cannot win elections.
The day started with a cold high wind and rain lashing at the house, afternoon it all cleared up and we had bright sunshine. A quiet day, we went to Slaymaker and Nichols for Brunch, the food was wonderful and the service great. The wait staff are older and know the business and very respectful none of that phoney friendliness just helpful. The bartender also solved a mystery for me, he made excellent Bloody Cesars and showed me how to use a small spray bottle full of vermouth to wet a martini glass before pouring the vodka. He also told me that all drinks are 2 ounces but not 3 ounces never, not allowed. So what I had been told at the Club was BS and I was not wrong about it when I was making martinis.
SLAYMAKER AND NICHOLS in Charlottetown
It is a great place for food and cocktails, opened 3 years ago by the same owner as the famous Blue Mussel in Rustico on the North Shore. Great food, good professional service and polite staff. We had their house made crab cakes topped with beautiful poached eggs done perfectly and a bearnaise sauce. Will had a specialty of the restaurant a cut of steak not found in North America usually, the Blue Picaha, Brazil’s favourite cut of steak, known as the rump cap or sirloin cap, with a poached egg. They get it from Mike the butcher on University street. Absolutely delicious, no one else in town offers it. This is what I like about the restaurant, they innovate and bring in dishes that are different. Also their dishes are gorgeous, all plates are different pattern but all very elegant, glassware of quality. The decor is also elegant and eclectic. In the Summer you can sit on the patio on the street, which is very quiet despite being just a block away from City Hall.
When we came home, I made the Holiday French Ham and Potato Casserole, it all went well except that I made one mistake, instead of adding 1/4 tea spoon of Cayenne pepper, I added 1 tea spoon, the result a dish with a bite, it is not unpleasant but it does have character. Other ingredients are 2 cups of heavy cream, sharp cheddar, thyme, nutmeg, black pepper and sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce. Well this dish is for Easter Monday’s Lunch at friends.
Well this weekend the 3 monotheistic religions are celebrating religious holidays. The Jews celebrate Passover with a Seder dinner, Christians it’s Easter (Old Passover) and Muslims are in the middle of the Month of Ramadan.
On Sunday morning we will go to Brunch at Slaymaker and Nichols a restaurant which is named after the circus that was in town when the Fathers of Confederation came to Charlottetown to discuss forming a federation now called Canada. Who knew go to the circus and you get a new country. The restaurant is in an old house which is located on the site of the Circus tent.
It is known for its innovative dishes and great cocktails. That should be our day outing. On Monday we are going to friends for lunch and I am making a casserole with French Ham thinly sliced and sliced potatoes in a white cream sauce gratinée. They live outside of town by the entrance into the harbour. It’s a very nice rural setting with lots of trees and greenery all around. They just bought a grand piano, both are concert pianist and music teachers.
Of course Friday everything was closed, being Good Friday, it was so quiet. I was able to get breakfast at my hotel in Halifax but then they were closing at 11:00am. The town was also very quiet, maybe some restaurant might be open. The same here, shops and every business was closed. So you learn to shop the day before. The weather has been warm and even the wind is warm. This means the idiots with small penises are out with their motorcycles and souped up cars.
We will have visitors this Summer coming to celebrate a Birthday and I am happy about that. We will have people coming to the cottage at the beach. So it is looking like a fun Summer.
It was a 2 day trip to bring oriental carpets to be cleaned in the only store that does this in the maritime region. The business is owned by an Iranian family and are well known in Nova Scotia. I am very happy to have met them, they have a gorgeous store and their carpet selection is wonderful. We had a good talk about the cleaning etc and I could see they were knowledgeable. From what I could gather they fled Iran in 1979 at the revolution and came to Canada to establish themselves. They speak French, the way the educated do in Old Iran. I will be going back in 3 weeks to get my 6 carpets and will bring others that need a good cleaning. The process is very different from the modern synthetic carpets, Orientals must be treated the way a nice wool sweater would be treated, gently no harsh chemicals or big industrial machines. Most of my carpets come from Baluchistan, that region between Iran and Afghanistan.
Halifax is a big seaport, with ship building, a Royal Canadian Navel base, saw 4 war ships in dock, container port and marinas. The city itself is a mix of modern and heritage buildings. General, Sir Edward Cornwallis founded Halifax in 1749, he was at the time the military governor in Nova Scotia but had to contend with a large population of Catholic, French Speaking Acadians and Mi’k Maq natives who were loyal to the King of France.
There are lots of good restaurants and bars, things to see and visit, a beautiful area on the sea. Here are some photos of the city core, area
The other visit I made was to IKEA, they do deliver items to PEI but I had not been in 3 years, so it was worth going to see what was on offer. The weather was good and had dinner with friends at LaFrasca, an Italian restaurant on Spring Garden Road.
The trip back to PEI appeared a lot faster and I was back at the Confederation Bridge in no time at all or so it appeared.
Well I loaded the car with the oriental carpets I am taking with me tomorrow to Halifax. It’s a 3 hour drive down to Nova Scotia. I will first go to cross the bridge at Borden and then due East towards Amherst and Halifax via Truro.
I will stop first in Bedford which is a suburb of Halifax near the international airport just North of the city and then I will go downtown staying within walking distance of everything. The weather looks good for the 2 days I am in Halifax.
The city has lots of really good restaurants and cocktail bars, it is a very large city compared to Charlottetown. It has a very different feel all together being an important sea port right on the Atlantic coast.
Yes April is Artichoke Season and here are some beautiful photos
Both are very good and you should see the flower produced by the artichoke plant, spectacular.
Carciofi alla Romana, literally “Roman-style artichokes”, is a typical dish of Roman cuisine. During spring-time in Rome, the dish is prepared in each household and is served in all restaurants.
Carciofi alla giudìa is among the best-known dishes of Roman Jewish cuisine. The recipe is essentially a deep-fried artichoke, and originated in the Jewish community of Rome, it is a speciality where it is served by Jewish restaurants in the springtime. The best restaurants can be found around the Portico D’Ottavia. The Porticus Octaviae is an ancient structure in Rome. The colonnaded walks of the portico enclosed the temples of Jupiter Stator and Juno Regina, as well as a library. The structure was used as a fish market from the medieval period up to the end of 19th century.
Then the wine merchants with an unbelievable selection of Italian wines from various regions of Italy. The country has 20 different wine regions, producing a great variety of wines and then many Italians still make wine at home, especially those living in the country side. Another delight. Look of DOC on the label or DOCG, an indication of quality.
A quiet time really, much was done this week and now it is quiet. I continue to be horrified by the situation in Ukraine and the war crimes of Russia. The Federal Budget came out yesterday and I am happy with it. I think that Chrystia Freeland as Finance Minister gave us a responsible budget and is addressing important issues. I was also happy to see Justice Brown Jackson confirmed to the US Supreme Court, I heard her speak at the hearing and was impressed with her knowledge and calm, well spoken, she will do well on the Bench. She reminds me of our Canadian Supreme Court Judges, in the way she handles herself.
I am still trying to plan a trip to Halifax which is 325 km away. I would go over 2 days so as not to be too tired.
We visited Fredericton in New Brunswick 2 years ago and at the time the Beaverbrook Art Gallery was closed for a large second expansion construction work. It reopens this weekend with a Jean-Paul Riopelle, CC GOQ RCA (1923-2002) painting exhibit.
He was a painter and sculptor from Quebec, Canada. He had one of the longest and most important international careers of the sixteen signatories of the Refus Global, the 1948 manifesto that announced the Quebecois artistic community’s refusal of clericalism and provincialism.
If ever you visit Fredericton, do go see the Beaverbrook Gallery, it’s collection is beautiful and extensive. The city itself is rich in Canadian History and great heritage architecture. It became an important military garrison town during the revolution in the colonies, several well known figures like Major Andre, Benedict Arnold and others came to Fredericton and their homes can be seen. Fredericton is the Capital of New Brunswick and is name after one of the sons of King George III.
I always say to people who would not visit an art gallery that if you go and see a painting that appeals to you, think that the painter is talking to you. The painting is a conversation and the painter is expressing a thought, an idea or a mood. Every painting has a story just like a book, it is up to you to make the effort to decipher what is going on.
Harrison McCain (1927-2004) was the potato king in Florenceville, New Brunswick. McCain products can be seen in all grocery stores from french fries to frozen pizza. He died some years ago and his family gave money to have this wing built at the Beaverbrook. Back in 1984, I was starting my Foreign Service Career and in those days, the Department of Foreign Affairs would send all new recruits on a Canada wide tour. We came to visit the McCain factory and HQ in Florenceville. Harrison McCain, spoke rapid-fire English — and he drove his Cadillac just as fast. He was assertive, salty-tongued, headstrong, and charismatic, he greeted us and like all multi-billionaire business tycoon, he was super confident in his product and it was a national success. After showing us around and boasting about the Frozen French Fry, he showed us a new products aimed at kids after school snack, the mini pizza. It was no bigger than 3 inches across with a tomato cheese topping. The audience test had gone very well, mothers and kids loved it. He asked if we had any questions, one colleague of mine being very earnest and a bit of an nutritional activist, said; Mr McCain how do you feel about feeding fast food to children and ruining their health. McCain was obviously very angry at this question, he immediately demanded the name of this person. We were ushered out quickly and the next day we heard that he had phoned Ottawa and spoke to the Minister asking that this individual be sacked on the spot for attacking a national brand. This person was not fired, but we were told in no uncertain terms never to do this ever again.
Recently I was at my doctor and told him that I was unhappy with my weight and the fact that it appeared to be on an unstoppable upward trend. He suggested I speak with a dietitician, which I did last week. My goal is to return to the weight I had in Rome of 74 Kg. that was 12 years ago. So it is quite a challenge and I have no idea if I will be able to reach it. My father years ago followed a diet and he was very good at it, he lost 40 pounds and was able to maintain it until he died. I was able to maintain my weight while in Europe but in coming back to Canada, the diet changed and so did the lifestyle. My goal is to loose 13 Kg which is a lot of weight around 28 pounds. I am hopeful and will follow the plan I am given by Austin my nutritionist. Of course the other worry is how to maintain the loss weight and not just put it back on. A lot of discipline in all this, I did once before and lost 6 kg so here goes.
Monday I was at the dealership to get my car serviced and change the tires to Summer. By Noon time there was a terrible snow storm raging and visibility was zero. So I could not return to the garage to pick up the car at 2pm and told them I would be in the next morning.
This appears to have been the last hurrah for Winter, this coming week we will have much warmer weather sun and some rain. Very soon the Lobster Season will open and the boats will go to sea. Everyone is getting ready.
Telling the stories of the history of the port of Charlottetown and the marine heritage of Northumberland Strait on Canada's East Coast. Winner of the Heritage Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a Heritage Preservation Award from the City of Charlottetown