Last night we had a handful of friends come to the house for a glass of Cremant de Limoux, small bites prepared by our friend and Chef Pico and a cake by our friend Valerie.
The food was wonderful and so imaginative, Pico truly loves preparing food and has no end of ideas.
Valerie, also makes pretty nice cakes, she too has great ideas and she strives for perfection. The Sicilian Whole Orange Cake was rich and very good, the way a Birthday cake should be.
It was fun to have people over even if it is a small number due to Covid restriction.
Also last night around midnight Will was able to make his appointment for his jab, it was confirmed a few minutes after midnight and so he is scheduled. I will make my appointment next week when my age group is next. Will and I are happy that our turn is coming around and get this done. In fact people talk about getting the vaccine and having a date to do it, as if it was a much anticipated event like a holiday. I know so far of no one who described having a problem, at most it was feeling drowsy or a warm arm for a few hours.
This evening at the Club we are having cake # 2 a Black Forest Cake. Then Saturday night another small party with friends, food and cake # 3 a Expresso Moka Cake.
Well Spring arrived on time and suddenly the temperature shoots up and it’s sunny, snow is melting very quickly, the little there is and people are happy.
But what is really here is my Birthday, on Wednesday I turn 65 Officially, no trooping of the colours for me but 2 cakes for 2 separate parties with two groups of friends. One more cake for Friday at the Club during Happy Hour. The Weather this week, sunny all week with average temp of 12 C. The cakes are made to order by a pastry chef who makes any type of cake to order. I have ordered from her and everyone raves about them.
The other cake will be an Espresso Moka Cake. As for the third cake at the Club I have not decided yet.
But these parties are a surprise for me, well how can that be if I know who is coming and I ordered the cakes. Well there is also food, a good friend of ours is a Chef and he will prepared great stuff but I do not know what it is. His food is always spectacular anyway, always out of the ordinary, so no worries.
Talking of the Club, I prepared the Newsletter each week with all the activities etc going on. It has been a great success, I present a brand new format each week with lots of news to keep it interesting and lively. However this week, I had a problem, someone sent me a PDF file with 3 links to 3 different websites to advertise an event. I use Mailchimp and gmail and what was sent is not compatible and there is no way to transfer this to the newsletter format. So I asked Will what should I do? I had no idea what to do or how to make it work and the person who sent me the material was a little nasty about it. Will did some research and spoke with Mailchimp people and he was able to work something out.
Anyway my sweet Baboo found a solution and a work around. He is the best and I am so happy. He has a far better understanding of computers etc than I ever will.
Tomorrow we go to Kensington which is a small town West of Charlottetown on HWY 2. to get the puppies groomed, being Wire hair Dachshunds, their coat has to be stripped. They have 2 coats and to ensure a good clean look this is needed. We use to have a great groomer in Rome who loved Nicky, he always came out looking like the show dog that he is. So both he and Nora will look great for the Festivities.
In about one month it will be my Birthday and this year is a significant one, for I become in government and society speak a ”Senior”, entitled now to all manners of attention.
So it seems that my computer and whoever controls the internet and all manner of surveillance we fall under, Hello Alexa, that as a senior I should buy myself a new car. Apparently seniors drive big gas guzzlers or at least flashy luxury cars.
I kidd you not, I am receiving out of the blue solicitations from Rolls Royce Phantom 2021 at $463,000 CDN, Mercedes Benz/Maybach S-650 at $202,500. USD and BMW 7 series at $128,000 CDN or a Bentley Continental GT at $202 000. a convertible would be nice for the Island going to the beach, that sort of thing.
I wonder if I can buy one in 36 payments with zero interest financing? Apparently yes! Thing is most of those cars really require a chauffeur. But why would a senior require such a car, the marketing here to my age group is interesting. At any rate the roads in PEI are either unpaved dirt or paved but… so I would not trust driving around with such a car, still it is a nice idea.
Two cakes have been ordered for two different days of celebration and a third day celebration of drinks at the Club.
I have a nice cake maker who produces great cakes, she has a lot of talent, she can make for me any cake I order and they are so good.
To return to the Internet and how sometime you mention some topic or article and suddenly it appears, back in 1973 as I was finishing high school, we had a teacher who would often go on about the future and how the theory of big brother was not so farfetched, of course we did not believe him, did not seem plausible to us know it all at 17. It was a time before the IT age and social media, all that was going to happen 20 yrs later. However have to admit the man was right after all.
Friday night we went to our Club and we were surprised with a cake for Will’s bday and for our friend Maureen. No candles but a happy atmosphere all around. Afterwards we went to the Theatre at the Confederation Centre, the auditorium can hold 1300 people however at the moment only 300 can enter, everyone must wear a mask during the entire performance, which I found difficult for 90 minutes and was glad to get out afterwards. I don’t think I could do a 3 to 6 hour flight on a plane.
We saw a radio adaptation of the play it’s a wonderful life. The setting on stage is exactly like a radio studio with a man who does all the sound effects, an announcer and players saying their lines speaking into radio microphones, it feels like you are at home listening to a radio play.
Everyone I am sure has seen the movie It’s a wonderful life with Jimmy Stewart, a classic at this time of the year. It worked very well and it was really entertaining. I saw the movie maybe some 30 years ago and I know the story line but had forgotten some details.
The weather continues to be unseasonably warm and Spring like but on the way home there was a strong wind coming from the river and rushing up Queen street. The air smelled of salty sea air, after all the entrance to the sea is just in front of the city harbour. I love that smell of the sea, it is fresh and powerful all at once.
Today it rained all day and it was grey and miserable, stayed home mostly and put my computer in order by doing a back up and getting rid of malware etc. It took about 3 hours to do, I had done nothing since 2017. I also increased the font size so it is easier to read. Now I have to tackle the photos I have, I think I have something in the neighbourhood of 20k, I know it’s crazy.
Had to go to the grocery store today and I chose a bad time, late afternoon on a Saturday is zoo time, people walking around like zombies, disoriented, bad drivers on the road and the rain did not help much. A lot of our traffic here is made up of giant SUV driven by elderly small ladies who can barely see above the steering wheel and big trucks like the F150 driven aggressively by middle age men, not to mention all the people who are looking at their phone while driving. So you have to be on your guard.
I also got a poinsettia with pink flowers so it is starting to look like Christmas. Probably by end of next week we will start on the tree and other decorations.
At the initiative of PEI Tourism, the government of the Provice PEI decided early into the pandemic that as people drove over from the mainland and exited the Confederation bridge in Borden, they would be given a bag of PEI goodies as a welcome gesture. Thousands of bags were assembled and everything was top quality products. Whoever came up with the scheme really thought about how to do this and put their best foot forward. In the bag which looks like a bag of russet potatoes, hey PEI is known for its potatoes, you also found a pound of coffee from Receiver Coffee Co., some jam from the PEI Preserve Co. of New Glasgow, a bar of natural soap from the Great Canadian Soap Co. some COW Chips from the chocolate store on Queen Street. etc… There was also a Potato Chocolate Cake Recipe that I am happy to share with you all.
I am sure that those of you who enjoy cakes and pies will love this one. The following recipe can serve up to 12 portions. The first ingredient on the list is one cup of PEI Potatoes mashed and hot. Enjoy!
Today is a miserable day weather wise, sleet, snow, freezing rain, poor visibility and low clouds, everything is closed for the day. I would not venture out not worth it.
Will was watching a video cook show with Lori Brown who cooks in her home kitchen, she owns a farm 20 acres in Imboden, Arkansas. It is folksy and she has a heavy Southern Accent, I have to pay attention because I do not always understand her. She speaks slowly and all the recipes are easy to understand. She calls her husband Mr Brown. Imboden is a small community, pop 630, the biggest town is Jonesboro pop 77K. a 45 min drive.
So I decided to try to make her upside down pear cake with almonds or pecans. It was super easy to make and very good. She called for common pears which I took to mean Bartlett’s. You can watch her video on YouTube at Whippoorwill Holler. You can find this recipe on her site.
Here is the result.
Upside down pear with almond cake, Gâteau renversé aux poires et aux amandes
This recipe comes from the Culinary Institute in Charlottetown and is provided by Chef Ilona Daniels. I was thinking of a certain blogger Roijoyeux who prepares cakes every Sunday for his friend Tauche and spouse.
Swedish Princess Cake
Recipe Adapted by Chelsea Willis
2 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp vanilla
6 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
In a pot over medium heat, heat the milk with the vanilla until it simmers. Turn off heat and let it sit. Mix egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Slowly pour milk into the bowl, stirring constantly. Return to the pot and whisk 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat, until very thick. Add butter and stir until melted. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
¾ cup cornstarch
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare a greased 9-inch springform pan. In a bowl, beat eggs and ¾ cup sugar until very thick and pale, about 5-7 minutes. Add almond extract. Add flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder to egg and sugar mixture then fold to combine. Stir in melted butter just to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden. Let cool completely and turn onto rack.
TO ASSEMBLE YOU’LL NEED:
1 batch of vanilla custard
1 batch of sponge cake
4 Tbsp of your preferred jam
1 pound of fondant
2 ½ cups of heavy cream
2 Tbsp sugar
Green gel food coloring
When the cake is completely cooled, use a serrated knife to carefully slice it into 3 even layers. Divide the jam evenly between the first two layers, spreading a thin layer over the top. Next, add the sugar to the heavy cream and whip until it holds stiff peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the pastry cream, reserving the other half. Evenly divide the pastry-whipped cream mixture between the first two layers, spreading it carefully over the jam layer.
Stack the first two layers and then top with remaining cake slice. Use a spatula to shape the remaining whipped cream into a dome shape on top of the cake, then set the whole thing in the fridge for an hour to set. While the cake is chilling, knead your fondant until pliable. Add a small amount of green gel food coloring and knead until it reaches a light lime colour. Place it between two sheets of waxed paper and roll into a 16-inch diameter circle, large enough to cover the cake.
Take the cake out of the fridge and gently drape the fondant over the cake. Shape and smooth the fondant around the cake to get a clean appearance, then trim the edges and tuck them neatly under the cake. Decorate with a pink fondant rose on top or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
In 1976 was the great year of the Montreal Summer Olympic Games, I celebrated by 20th Birthday that year in Montreal with my family. I do not remember exactly what I did, but I do remember attending the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games. I had won excellent seats in the great stadium and it was exhilarating. Then in August I left to start my University courses at Ottawa U. So I arrived in Ottawa at the age of 20.
Today some 40 years later I am 60 and just celebrated with some 45 guests this great event here at home. Will arranged a wonderful party, the food was varied and very good, our guests were pleased. Instead of a cake we had 12 dozens of mini cupcakes in various flavours made by Thimble Cakes on Bank Street. Minou of BelFiore on Elgin street prepared a wonderful, delicate floral arrangement for the party. Everyone brought gifts in the form of fine Champagne, wine and single malt scotch, though the request had been made not to bring anything and with it an avalanche of good wishes and cards.
It was so good to see so many friends and old acquaintances, I feel honoured by their presence. Many of whom I have known for all these years and with whom I share so many life experiences here in Canada and abroad.
There has been many Birthdays in between in those 40 years, all around the World, from Istanbul, to Cairo, to Warsaw, to Chicago, to Rome, to Mexico City, To Amman, to Beijing.
What an incredible life it has been and now on the cusp of a new adventure, a new Province a new life. Life goes on with newness. One can only be thankful for all the many blessings.
My little sister came up from NYC with her husband and father in law and reminded me of stories my late parents use to tell about my birth and early childhood. So many stories, happy memories of a time long ago. Will, had gathered some old photos and everyone teased me about how I had not changed that much in 60 years.
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