Friday, June 18, 2010

Plum cake, wine and a diva.

Just thinking about last night makes me smile. This has been a rather rough week ~ both from a work perspective with 3 days (and nights) of conference and personally for my family.

But last night, all those worries melted away as I was treated to fine friends, fine food, fine wine and, if you’ll pardon my French, one freakin’ fine piece of cake. Our Thursday nights are always fun and silly and the perfect way to ease into the weekend.

Yesterday evening though, all the elements came together to create a perfect storm. But in reverse. So whatever the opposite of a perfect storm is, is what we had. You couldn’t have asked for better weather. Warm enough to sit out but cool enough to keep the mosquito count at zero. When it did get a little chilly, Fauntleroy provided us with nice woolly blankets to snuggle under.

The Winnipeg Diva was in town and as I rode my bike around back, there she was. That girl is one good hugger let me tell you. So good to see her and hear her, in the most endearing way, pick on Fauntleroy’s expressions and accent. Why say “rose coloured glasses” when one could say “rose tinted spectacles” instead? I mean really, the choice is quite clear.

We worked through a rainbow of wine ~ starting with white, then blush, then red. There was also Pimms to kick things off. With the wine came the silly banter and inevitable descent into making adolescent jokes out of just about anything. Especially after Kitkat introduced a new term? Expression? Apt description of…..? It is called a rusty trombone. I will let you Google that yourself, but be prepared. Consider yourself warned and don’t search it at work!

In addition to educating us in the ways of the world, Kitkat hosted the evening and did he ever step up to the plate. Chicken stuffed with rosemary, BBQ asparagus and zucchini and what I must say were the best stuffed potatoes I have ever had. Me likes me some food, and that boy delivered.

He set a mighty high bar with the entrée, but easily leapt over it with his dessert. Me likes me some dessert even more than a good main. My grandmother used to make a dessert called sex in a pan; cake, peaches and cream in a pan and I must say, if memory serves, it was good.

I could get rather crude and give Kitkat’s dessert an even more explicit name, but I’ll leave that to you. All I can say is that with cake, plums and passion fruit ice cream you can’t go wrong. Thanks boys and girl, that was one for the books.

Oh, and Tuscany 2012 is a go, so start planning!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Real Simple. Really.

Last year, the Dollhouse Girls gave me a subscription to Real Simple magazine and tonight it proved itself worthy of its moniker. It is asparagus season, and if you like it, here is a recipe for you!

Get some fresh tortellini from your favourite house of pasta and cook it in chicken stock instead of water and don't drain. Just before it's done, toss in a bunch of asparagus (chopped in 1 inch lengths) and if your farmer's market has fresh peas, chuck in a couple good hand fulls of those too.

A splash of salt and pepper, grate a little fresh Parmesan on top and voila, you have chicken soup meets wonton soup and it is super yummy!

A Japanese Heart You Say?

Many thanks to my niece, current handle ‘blackandwhitefreak’. On the way to Mexico last year we were in the airport bookstore and she encouraged me to purchase Sense and Sensibilities and Sea Monsters. She had Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and was up for a swap when we each finished.

Sensibilities took me some time to get through. Cute as it was, I must admit I did not become a Sham-Wow type advocate for it. I recently finished Our Mutual Friend and every one of the 777 pages, and each of the 40 oz. of Taylor Fladgate 2001 Port that went with it, were heaven.

With this spring’s summer like weather, I needed something a little more modern to ease the transition to gin and tonic season. As I found that Zombies was written by a different author, Seth Grahame-Smith, than Sea Monsters, I thought I would give it a whirl. If you are at all tempted by these novels, and a tummy that is not squeamish, I suggest you start here.

However, do not indulge over a goose, or perhaps any fowl, meal. You might forever be put off by the description of “Elizabeth’s eye being continually drawn to Charlotte, who hovered over her plate, using a spoon to shovel goose meat in the general direction of her mouth, with limited success. As she did, one of the sores beneath her eye burst, sending a trickle of bloody pus down her cheek and into her mouth. Apparently she found the added flavour agreeable, for it only increased the frequency of her spoonfuls” a little off-putting.

Luckily, not so vivid a description of poor Charlotte’s continued downward spiral did not put me off my tea. I did however laugh a little up my nose when Charlotte “drooled a third cup of tea into her lap. She stood to excuse herself, clutching her stomach and wearing a rather pained expression said ‘I beg ya-oar pahdun, ya-oar wadyship’.” She then goes off to the furthest corner of the room to relieve herself but her friend Elizabeth wisely removes her from the room before things go further awry.

Elizabeth has other moments. For example, after defeating her wadyship’s ninjas (yes, I said ninja) she rips out one of the hearts and quips “I have tasted many a heart, but I dare say, I find the Japanese ones a bit tender.” She is not squeamish about her part in eliminating the living dead plague that is upon her beloved England.

She “feels a sense of joy as she watched cage after cage of zombies burn – heard their terrible shrieks as the fire (which they feared above all else) licked at their feet, then ignited the whole of their putrid flesh and hastened them back to hell.” A bit like Gorey’s Rhoda really. Poor dear.

As tensions between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy cool, they manage a walk around the grounds of his estate. He carrying his brown bess, and she the lead ammunition in her pocket. In parting she says “your balls, Mr. Darcy” and hands them back. A little more tea up the nose I dare say.

I hope I have not spoiled too much of the novel for you. Perhaps I should have put ‘spoiler alert’ at the top and not here at the end? Oh well. The above is but a taste of the delights that await you in Zombies, should you dare pick up a copy.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

So Close to My First Video

I hoped to entertain you all with a little video clip right in my blog a la KitKat. That way, I could be very hip. Or as the crazy kids say these days, 'cool'. Much like the first nylon fur coats of yesteryear, I am hoped to be so modern. Alas, like hoping to move on from my rotary phone, it is just not meant to be.

Still, I have to share with you this delightful little CBC clip. It commemorates the birth of the faux mink coat in Canada on June 3rd, 1949. Why they did it in June should have been a warning sign for those in the fur industry. Isn't that like trying to sell motorcycles in January or a SkiDoo in July?

I like the sales pitch more than the coat ~ "next to a rich and handsome husband, the average girl would like most to have a mink coat. And she's just about as likely to get one as the other."
I don't know about that. True, it begs the question, which comes first, the mink coat or the rich husband. But in terms of one over the other, a good mink coat can't run out on you (they are deceased when they make them you know) and as Judge Judy says, "beauty fades, but fur is forever".

Still, times were a changin' even back then, and perhaps a more genteel approach would have been better.

And what happened to the good ol' days when it was "every girls dream to own a fur coat"? What happened I ask? And why? Wear one now and your just as likely to have paint thrown on you as not. It's sad really. All those munchkin mink out there not being allowed to fulfil their destiny. Why won't you help the mink by wearing them? Why?

The news spot is also a little politically incorrect and, admit it or not, we all find a little guilty pleasure in that. If you really don't, then think of it as a history lesson. Did you know that if "a white man can fool an Eskimo on furs, you can fool anyone".

Maybe that is where the fur industry went wrong, there is just no foolin' no body no more.