This is a recipe I love and want to share with you, so elegant, your guests will be impressed. Very old School of cooking but so worth it using only Russet potatoes.
Just follow the recipe here and enjoy:
This is the distance between Charlottetown PEI and Halifax N.S. by car or 3 hours and 28 min. A lot of people will go to Halifax for the day. Halifax is an old sea port on the Atlantic, population half a million people compared to the small town status of 36,000 for Charlottetown.
Travelling by road to Halifax is not that difficult and the road is quite nice. You get a very different vibe as you cross from one province to another, once over the sea bridge to New Brunswick and then down the Highway to Nova Scotia, you know you crossed a border, I don’t know how that is done but everything looks different in the scenery despite being still in the Maritimes.
Halifax with its famous Citadelle.
We are going for a few days for a change of scenery and to see friends and try out new restaurants and old favourites, staying in the historical downtown. The weather looks like it will be warmer.
We hope to return to a favourite of ours Bar Kismet, barkismet.com excellent cocktails and superb cuisine and also try new places, Ostrich Club https://theostrichclub.ca and Field Guide https://fieldguidehfx.com.
There will be shopping and just plain fun. As I write this the Premier of PEI has just announced that the Provincial Election for the Legislature is now underway. He had been to see the Lieutenant Governor, H.H. Antoinette Perry today to ask for her to dissolve the Legislature so the election could take place. Saw the Premier a few days ago and he looked preoccupied and was not his usual talkative self. Everyone was expecting him to announce we would be going to the polls in April and yes we are on 23 April just after Easter weekend. The Green Party is very strong in the polls right now and the Liberals have been in Office for 12 years, many feel it is time for a change.
Looking forward to driving to Halifax, should be fun. The road will be Charlottetown to the bridge at Borden, then across the Strait 12Km, to Sackville, N.B. to Amherst, N.S. down to Truro and straight to Halifax.
This week listening to Radio-Canada in the morning I heard some old Christmas favourites from my childhood. One was Mon Beau Sapin, Roi des Forêts known in English as O Tannenbaum. This was the song the second wife of my maternal grandfather, we called Tante Fernande would sing each Christmas at lunch at my grandfather’s house when all his children and spouses and us grandkids would gather for the traditional meal, gifts and benediction. It was an old, I dare say a very old tradition going back several generations, the family patriarch would bless is family for the New Year. Tante Fernande would have cooked a turkey it was always an excellent birds and very juicy, serving peas and mash potatoes and cranberries which she called Atoka, dessert would be a mix of chocolates, Bûche de Noël and other sweets. I always thought that Atoka was the real name for cranberries but it turn out that Atoka is a Quebec recipe for processing cranberries after they are harvested. It gives a much sweeter fruit and has none of the tartness found in canned cranberries. Tante Fernande was a cook who did everything from scratch including her cranberries. You could not buy canned cranberries back then or if you could it was not done on good homes.
The dishes used to serve the Christmas meal was on two dinner sets, one was white with a dark blue and gold rim, the other set was their wedding dinner set which I have now.
There were other songs and my aunts knew one each, a favourite, one was Petit Papa Noël, my Mom use to sing that one. It is not an old song, the melody is taken from an old Ukrainian song and the words written in 1944 were about a child asking Santa to bring his father home for Xmas from the POW camp in Germany. After the war the words were changed erasing any reference to the war to what we hear today. It is a song that you would learn in school and my mother knew it well. It was part of every Christmas music recital at school in French Canada. Tino Rossi premiered this song in 1946 and it became his Christmas signature song. Radio-Canada played it today as part of their weekend Christmas show it brought back a tidal wave of memories.
On this score the French service Radio-Canada is doing a much better job with their Christmas programming than the CBC who is playing a mix of commercial music. Tomorrow 23 December, the CBC will have an all day Christmas concert as they do every year from the European Union broadcasted live starting at 9am. Radio-Canada will have its programming, vintage shows from the 1940 to 1970. Despite the fact that such programming might be speaking to an older generation, it is still enormously popular.
Maybe it speaks about a time when Christmas was not about shopping and stress. The Media today puts a heavy emphasis on how stressful and unpleasant it is, with those awful relatives. I wonder why it has to be this way, not to mention the trove of bad news. It sounds almost perverse.
Gifts use to be in my mother’s childhood an orange which was a luxury then, books, clothing like a scarf or a sweater. For us it was books, sweets or the dreaded Fentex slippers your gradma knitted for you, some small amount of money like a $5. bill new and crisp or a board game. The adults were not stressed, no one was driving around shopping in malls, it was a nice holiday with a focus in Roman Catholic Quebec on religion and midnight mass recalling the traditions of Old Canada and France.
The other popular song and remains so to this day is J’ai vu maman embrassé le Père Noël sung by Line Renaud who is 90 years old. This 1956 version is one you will hear on the radio. Renaud was and remains one of the great French singer of her time.
Well we avoided the stress of Christmas and it is something I never quite understood why so many people whipped themselves into a frenzy. I think that a lot of the stress is made up on false notions about gifts and having to please other people, it is somewhat artificial. I hope you all have lots of fun and enjoyment out of the Holiday Season.
My Best Wishes to You!
Well we are 9 days away from Peace of Earth day to quote Mel Tormé. We have our menu all figured out for Christmas day Lunch. Christmas Eve it’s drinks Chez Nous with select friends and for New Year’s Eve we are going to our Club for a drink and sit by the fireplace. That is it, simple no fuss.
Today Will made gingerbread cookies (male-female) for equity sake following the Justin Trudeau Ideology on the topic. I decorated them with icing and was immediately cited by the Morality police, can you believe it. Do I look like Michael Cohen to you? I was directed to decorate them. You be the judge I think they are lovely.
Later I put the star at the top of the tree as is the tradition in this last 40 years in our household. Same dollar store star which has graced all our trees in the best capitals of the World.
The Christmas Dachshunds with their home made Xmas scarves, so festive. Our friend Lori gave them to Nicky and Nora.
the ladies have pasties and the men wear thongs all in Xmas colours of course.
Will also made some wonderful sausage rolls, they are soooo good!
This picture is the taste test batch, we will be making more for Xmas Eve Cocktail party.
Will is also making a Tourtière for our Xmas Lunch and another friend is making Ragout de pattes de cochon avec boulettes de viande. (Ragout of pigs feet with meatballs) DIVINE! Typical French Canada fare. We will also have a breast of turkey just to say we have it. For dessert Mulled Wine jellies and Plum Pudding (home made). We will have our Christmas crackers as always. I am thinking of poor Duchess Meghan who will be introduced to this custom this year. Oh well it is all part of her becoming more civilized.
Finally last night after drinks at the Haviland Club where we go every Friday with the other cognocensti of Charlottetown, we had dinner across the street from our home at the Water Prince restaurant, it was their last night before closing for the Season, they will re-open in Mid-April. It is always fun to mark the end of the year this way and Shane Campbell who is the owner and his son are there. The fare is lobster, haddock, mussels, oysters and other seafood. I had oysters to start from Malpeque and grilled haddock, Will had a lobster and a chowder.
Maureen standing behind Will is the manager. The place is an institution in town, it is extremely popular in the Summer time. You can easily wait 45 minutes for a table.
Many years ago when I was posted to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for the holidays I would fly back to Canada with a stop in London with British Airways. Amman to London is about 5 hours. The fun of London was the shopping. The stores had so many fun items, you just wanted to buy it all. One request was to bring home to Canada a baby Stilton, the food hall at Harrod’s had such an item. The baby Stilton is the size of a human baby, this being Stilton it is pungent and needed to be wrapped up properly for the long flight home in Business Class. London is known for its great shopping and there was all kind of great gift food items and not to mention the visit to the wine merchants, what was on offer was mind boggling, not only wines and quality vintages but a great selection of Champagnes and liqueurs of all kinds, so many wonderful choices.
Not to mention the great restaurants and things to see in Museums and galleries. There was also the theatre and so many enjoyable plays. Yes that stop in London was lots of fun, it was always guaranteed to bring home unusual gifts.
And for Xmas how about this group Out of the Blue are Oxford’s all-male singing sensation and two times UK champions of a cappella. Featured on Britain’s Got Talent in 2011 and more recently being recognised by pop-diva Shakira and press all around the world, the group combines award-winning musicality with outrageously unprofessional choreography and mostly intentional comedy! Founded in 2000, the group is made up of students from Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University. Each year brings a fresh batch of faces, voices and arrangements. They raises funds through their music for the Helen & Douglas House Hospice for Children and Young Adults a registered hospice charity based in Oxford, England, providing palliative, respite, end-of-life and bereavement care to life-limited children and young adults and their families. The Patron is HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
The fun of travel is often to discover national cuisine in the place you are visiting. Portugal has a very distinct cuisine if compared let’s say to Spain next door. While we were in Lisbon we discovered some wonderful food. Portugal is known for its fish and seafood, Cod from the Newfoundland banks, Sardines, Octopus, etc. it is also known for its beef and pork dishes and its rich soups. I was looking forward to this food adventure despite having some friends who recently returned from a trip to Portugal to tell us that the food was ordinary and nothing to talk about.
The first night we went to Ramiro on Rua Palma, it is stricly a fish and seafood restaurant though you can get the famous beef steak sandwich, it is a small steak no bigger than an english muffin and it is usually served after your fish meal, somewhat like a dessert dish.
Good wines and Portuguese beer like Sagres, the service is fast, this is a two floor restaurant, food is good and simple. It is all about the experience and talking with other people around you. They do not take reservations, you get to the restaurant, there is a computer which gives you a number, ours was 3317, no this is not the number of people in front of you waiting for tables, it is just a number. While you wait you can get a big glass of Sagres beer for 2 Euro.
We ordered a giant swimming crab for dinner, very rich and good. Some large red shrimps and wine. In Portuguese restaurant, olives, bread and sardines paté comes automatically to the table. For dessert a favourite Portuguese sweet is lemon sorbet doused with vodka refreshing and cleanses the palate. It was a great meal.
Sitting on Tram no.12 which has 20 seats and 38 persons can stand. The trams are very small and 90 years old made of wood frame. The most helpful numbers to get you around are no.12, 28 and 15.
The next day we took the Tram no. 12 up all the way up to the Castle of San Jorge and afterwards we had lunch at the Solar Dos Mouros Hotel, their patio had a spectacular view of the city. The Hotel is on a street called Rua do milagro de Santo Antonio, translation the street of the miracles of St Antonio. Though most people think that St-Anthony was from Padua in Italy, he was in fact Portuguese and he travelled to Italy to join St-Francis and the Franciscan order. He is the patron saint of Lisbon and his church is very popular, just a few steps away from the Cathedral Sé of Lisbon.
One night we had dinner at Infâme which is across the street from Ramiro. It is a young hip place, and it is also located across the piazza from a nice little bar called Josephine as in Josephine Baker. We met 3 young guides there, Nuno 23 years old, Pedro 26 and Alexandra 35, all operate Tuk Tuks, a three wheel electric people mover which is so small it can navigate the very narrow streets of Lisbon at great speed. Josephine is a friendly place and we quickly discovered that Portuguese people are friendly and helpful, unhurried and just happy.
The restaurant’s business card.
For our anniversary dinner we went to Sommelier on Rua Telhal 57, as the name indicates they have 80 wines on their list and all are pared with dishes prepared by the Chef. It is a very elegant restaurant and the wines are all individually chilled at the right temperature for serving. A computer controls it all and the back wall is a great glass display and you can see each bottle with the temperature number electronically displayed. Since you taste the wines, what you ordered is measured and served in the correct glass corresponding to the wine you are having. A Sommelier would know which wine is served in which glass, it is not all the same, ours was very knowledgeable. I was very impressed with their expertise. The food was wonderful we ordered the Lamb salad, the best lamb ever, a grilled John Dory, Filet of goose liver poêlée, melt in your mouth good and grilled octopus done perfectly. For dessert we had a vintage moscatel wine and a dessert called Papo de Anjo or angels double chins, which is whipped and baked egg yokes in a sugar syrup.
There were many other places where we had meals and I will mention them in my next posting. Needless to say there are plenty of excellent restaurants with great service.
Two days ago I read in the Montreal Gazette that George Lau the owner of L’Orchidée de Chine was closing his restaurant after 34 years in operation. The restaurant is located at the corner of Peel street and De Maisonneuve in Montreal. This was a favourite of my parents who lived just one block North on Peel street. So many family reunions took place there over the years. George is aging and he and his sister Eva want to move on, his children have their own careers. George Lau came to open his restaurant after the celebrated and luxurious Ruby Foo’s restaurant closed on Decarie Blvd. He wanted to have a Chinese restaurant with class for fine dining with dishes well prepared in a traditional manner. L’Orchidée de Chine was also the place where we had my father’s wake, all his favourite dishes and champagne, the way he and Mom would have wanted it. My Dad had known George and Eva for decades.
Over the years many restaurants in Montreal patronized by my parents came and went. Years ago a standard was Les Jardins du Ritz in the Ritz Hotel on Sherbrooke street and its famous garden with duckling pond, you felt like you were in Paris. This was before the renovations 10 years ago when all changed.
Then there was many years ago The Coffee Mill on Mountain street, which closed around 1994, a Hungarian coffee shop which catered to so many Hungarians who fled the Uprising of 1956 in Hungary. It was very European, in its food, service and atmosphere, my mother loved it.
My parents also loved The Beaver Club dining room at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, it was modelled on the famous Fur merchant’s Club established in 1785 near Beaver Hall Hill it closed in 2014.
Le Paris on Sainte Catherine street West, my parents knew the owner a Frenchman and it was a great little restaurant. Then the owner died suddenly and the restaurant closed a year later.
It seems that when I go back to Montreal now there are less and less places left where my parents and all of us went to, replaced as time moves on my more hip places but not as it once was.
Not in Montreal but in New York my Dad liked The Plaza hotel before it was turned into a condo style hotel and the restaurants and bars all closed. Only the Palm Court is left but it is not quite the same.
My parents spent their lives in the hotel/retaurant business and my Dad loved to find new restaurants and find out who was the Chef and what was his background. Before his death a few years ago, it became difficult to go out with him, he did not like the direction restaurants in general were taking, too much decor and not much on food and service. He was often appalled by the lack of attention to details or cleanliness, he wondered why people would put up with such low standards, noise and expensive prices. He did not find often good value for the money spent. In the last year of his life he was teaching restaurant management at the Hotel School in Montreal, he told me how un-motivated the students were and he finally asked them why they wanted to work in the hospitality industry, the answer was to make money, he was shocked by the answer. He explained to them that you went into that business because you liked people and wanted to offer a service not to make money.
For me there is nothing or little to return too in Montreal nowadays, I do not recognize the City, it has changed a lot and the people we knew save a few old friends are gone. The place of my childhood is gone but then again this is what happens in life, nothing stays the same.
Well yesterday we went to the races at the Charlottetown Drive Park where since 1888 you can see daily harness racing. The race track is only about 5 minutes from our house and PEI is known for its horses and racing. The CDP claims to be the Kentucky of Canada, I suppose that makes us all Colonel’s of the Island Regiment. The food is quite good and so are the desserts. The dining room faces the track so you can have your lunch and a drink and place your bets all at the same time. Each table has a small flat screen TV so you can watch the finish line replay if there is a dispute. It was great fun.
So today is Thanksgiving and we had a very nice turkey lunch with appropriate vegetables of mash potatoes, steamed carrots in dressing, broiled Brussels Sprouts, no dressing. Will made his famous pumpkin soup to start and a beautiful apple pie for dessert. We had nice wines and champagne to top it all off. He also made corn bread perfectly shaped like a corn on the cob.
Will and I have had these dinners and luncheons with our friends at our home for 40 years. You have to give it to Will he always comes up with new recipes and new ways of presenting things. There was a time he would go into very elaborate dishes and it took days to prepare one meal. Gourmet Magazine was then the guide he followed, then he switched to Cook’s Illustrated. Helen Corbitt the Chef at Nieman Marcus Zodiac room was also a favourite. Now he finds recipes on the Internet and tries them. My job has always been setting the table, polishing the silverware and ironing the table cloth, getting flowers and doing all the food shopping. I use to dread doing food shopping because some recipes called for ingredients found only in great metropolitan centres and not in the town where we lived, in some foreign Capitals we often had to invent on the spur of the moment. Will has cooked for Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas day, New Year’s Eve, Easter Sunday Lunch and all manner of other occasions like afternoon teas when he would prepare the perfect finger sandwiches in a wide variety that would make your Aunt Hecuba jealous.
We do have our favourite dishes, broiled Brussels Sprouts, Caramelized carrots, Roast Goose. Then the standards like Pumpkin soup or some kind of Summer soups for warm weather. We always invite friends who are alone for any Holiday. Now Will says he would like to try his hand at making Moonshine, which is a great favourite here in the Maritime Provinces. Will asked our guests today if they knew the difference between Whiskey and Moonshine. Whiskey is aged and Moonshine is not.
We are now turning our attention to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day lunch menu.
Here is Will putting the finishing touch to the mash potatoes which he did in the slow cooker over 4 hours, they were very good and creamy. Our friend and expert turkey carver M.G. helped.
Thanksgiving Sun Flowers in our Breakfast room.
The Crows at the Art Gallery by Gerald Beaulieu (no relations) entirely made of tires. They are quite big about 10 feet long by 4 feet wide
Of course Crows are ubiquitous with Charlottetown, they are everywhere and quite aggressive and territorial.
This is the view from our friends home in Lower Montague on Cardigan Bay, PEI. In the far distance is the deserted Boughton Island and Nova Scotia.
This is the long Labour Day Weekend, the tourism season is drawing to a close, though the cruise ships are still coming until end October and more tourist restaurants are staying open until either Thanksgiving weekend on 8 October some until mid-December.
We certainly did not have the crowds of last year for the 150th Anniversary of Confederation and I was happy that the numbers were more manageable. Charlottetown is a small capital of 36,000. people and when a cruise ship disgorges 1000+ passengers you really feel it. The weather also was far more humid and well above normal range for the Summer at 35C usually the temperatures are more around 25C in the day time and around 18C at night. So this Summer climate change was very apparent and many felt it was a bit weird, get use to it people this is the future. Some days in fact it was too hot to go to the beach and even the sea water bath water warmish.
There are 65 days left before the Municipal election and I can’t wait for the campaigning to end. At the moment things remain very fluid, tonight one candidate withdrew and another one came into the race. Just in my Ward 1 we are 4 candidates for Councillor. In the other 9 Wards there is either the incumbent or one challenger or no one. Ward 1 attracts a lot of attention because it is the original footprint of the City, the old downtown with all the attractions and activity. It is also a very mix neighbourhood in terms of population. Lots of businesses, government offices, historical sites and the harbour.
We have been promised or I should say the predictions are for a warm Winter, last year we got a lot of rain instead of snow and it made for a miserable gray Winter, more like Northern Europe.
What is nice about this time of the year is the harvest of vegetables and potatoes, prices tend to be good.
Now this coming week we will find out about the results of the NAFTA negotiations with Washington DC. Now that Trump has said he is not negotiating in good faith and does not care if Canada does not accept his terms, many Canadians are starting to think that maybe we should pull out of NAFTA. There was life before this trade agreement and as our Prime Minister said ”better to say no to a bad deal than having to live with it”.
I am afraid that after all the insults of the past year from Trump many Canadians including myself will never be able to see the USA in a favourable light again. It appears that Trump believes that the USA can live without Canada, well let him believe that, eventually he will find out it’s not that simple.
Montreal a metropolis of 4 million people, the second largest French speaking city in the World after Paris, has a Jewish population that has been part of the fabric of the city for over 200 years. Almost every neighbourhood of the city has a Jewish population with its businesses, schools, synagogue, restaurants, delis, institutions and the Jewish general hospital. As a child I lived in Snowdon where there was a large Jewish population, other neighbourhoods like Hamstead, Côte Saint-Luc, Westmount, NDG and Outremont all have their Jewish enclave and because the population has been there for such a long time, it has developed its own character and ways of doing things. Jewish owned businesses in Montreal, you always have service in French, English and Yiddish.
Montreal is known for the quality of its Smoke Meat and its bagels. I could not leave Montreal without a dozen bagels. So I went to the St-Viateur street in Outremont, the area has, for as long as I can remember, a large Orthodox Jewish population dressed in the famous black garb and fur hats. Outremont is a wealthy French speaking neighbourhood and the Orthodox Jews are simply part of the fabric.
In Defence of Westminster
Jerry and I get around. In 2011, we moved from the USA to Spain. We now live near Málaga. Jerry y yo nos movemos. En 2011, nos mudamos de EEUU a España. Ahora vivimos cerca de Málaga.
Information on Toronto's history
Heritage, it's in our nature.
Stories, Excerpts, Backroads
Alberghi, Hotels, contract e altro..
... Soyons... Joyeux !!!
A place for Beards to contemplate and grow their souls.
Tutto iniziò con Memorie di Adriano, sulle strade dell'Impero Romano tra foto, storia e racconti! It all began with Memoirs of Hadrian, on the roads of the Roman Empire among photos, history and stories!
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
Natural expressions of adult male masculinity, sensuality, and sexuality.
Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
Newly Single, Exploring Life
Consumer Information on Fish, Shellfish, Seafood Products and Restaurant Reviews
Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch
The adventures of a Press Gallery journalist
A Historic England Blog
Landscapes and more by impressionist painter Terrill Welch
Remembering that life is a comedy and the world is a small town.
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
Stories in words and pictures
So Many Years of Experience But Still Making Mistakes!
two guys making out & trying to make it
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”/Let us go and make our visit.
Reflections on Canadian Culture From Below the Border
Procrastination is the sincerest form of optimism
I aim to bring delight to others by sharing my creative endeavours
A mix of corporate and private life experiences
Join me as we wind back the time in Ottawa.