Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Uniforms, The Victoria and Bull, Darkest Hour,

Discussing the uniforms worn by Harry and William at the wedding. I came across this picture with the two of them walking into the chapel. They are the same uniforms, the frock coat of a major from the Blues and Royals. William has the aguillette because he is an Aide-de-Camp to her Majesty. With the hats on  the uniform didn't look quite so plain. If you would like to read more about it, click here. The general consensus of opinion is that the dresses work by Megham, Princess Henry or Duchess of Sussex, seems to be that everyone loved them but that we were all horrified at the cost. In a comment I was told that the Duchess was worth $7 million in her own right which I guess allows her as generous a clothing budget as she wishes.

Reverting to the topic of Rochester, which I talked about yesterday, I found a picture of the Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel, know as the Bull to most of us. The current hotel is over 400 years old but I was always told Henry VIII met Anne of Cleaves there, which is impossible if the place is only 400 yrs old, however they say it is believed there was another coaching inn on the site prior to the present building. Maybe it was only a nice story, pity. When we first moved to Rochester after WWII, I was around 8, yes I am that old, we stayed at the Bull for a while  before my father bought the house we lived in for a few years. I don't remember much about it but I do know I fell in love with the boot boy!! For many years after, we used to go to the Bull for dinner now and again. Their food was excellent. They opened a more modern steak house - no idea if that is still open - but we went there as often as we could. I remember one time my mother was in hospital and my dad and I had been to see her and then went to the Bull for supper. We were seen by some friends of my parents who assumed I was my father's girlfriend because they didn't know me but knew my mother was sick. My parents thought it was funny.

Today I got a copy of the DVD of Darkest Hour which was about WWII and Churchill - his war cabinet wanted to negotiate with Hitler through Mussolini. On the assumption that it was fairly accurate, I cannot believe there was so much underhandedness going on with a war on hand.
Viscount Halifax was a prime mover in trying to oust Churchill. As one who was alive at the time, not that I knew anything much about it, I am so grateful that he vanquished them. I thought it was an excellent movie, Matt was undecided. It was a little difficult to understand what they were saying at times, but generally a very good film. Gary Oldman did an excellent job of playing Churchill although I must admit I loved the Churchill played by Albert Finney. Both actors did the part brilliantly however. I loved the final words "he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." this was after his "we shall never surrender" speech.

This sounded good especially as I have a bag of shrimp in the freezer. I, of course, would probably serve it with asparagus, maybe the salsa as well

Spicy Jerked Shrimp 

Season fresh shrimp with a homemade jerk seasoning mix and grill over medium-high heat for three minutes on each side. Serve with a sweet fruit salsa made from chopped pineapple, chopped
cucumber, sliced red onion, chopped cilantro, and cider vinegar.

1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/8 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined large shrimp
Cooking spray

1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. Combine first 7 ingredients. Combine oil and shrimp in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Sprinkle spice mixture over shrimp; toss to coat. Thread shrimp evenly onto 8 (8-inch) skewers. Place skewers on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes or until done, turning once.

3. Fruit salsa: Combine 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber, 1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, and 2 teaspoons cider vinegar.

Source: MyRecipes

Have a great day

Monday, May 21, 2018

Rochester, England, The Wedding, Asparagus, Victoria Day,

On Friday Susan Flett Swiderski  at I Think Therefore I Yam posted a blog about trees which was fascinating and reminded me of the 150 yr old Catalpa Tree outside Rochester Cathedral in Kent, England where I used to live. This is an Indian Bean Tree which is rare in England and is said to be one of the oldest. In fact the site where I found this picture has lots of photos of places in Rochester such as the castle and the cathedral itself along with other historical places. It is a very old town and simply full of history. The Bull Inn is where King Henry VIII met Anne of Cleaves and said he would divorce her, she was too ugly! Charles Dickens lived outside the town (his house is now a school and I went there) and a lot of the houses in Rochester were featured in his books. In fact, Satis House where Miss Havisham lived, in Great Expectations, was actually Restoration House in Rochester. I remember attending a Dickens night there, many years ago, when Dame Sybil Thorndike read excerpts from Dickens' books and we celebrated with salmon and champagne. A beautiful house and a delightful evening.

I have, of course, seen pictures of THE wedding. I was very disappointed in Harry's uniform, the Blues and Royals, it was so very plain and dull looking, helped when he put on his cap. Considering the estimated price, Meghan's dress was beautiful but I wouldn't have thought worth quite that kind of money. As a friend commented, one could surely have found it 'off the rack'. Not the train of course. One wonders who actually pays for things like that? Poor Matt, who wasn't vaguely interested, could not see his favourite morning show because it was all wedding. Sunday morning he, like most men, paid attention to the gorgeous Jaguar in which they drove off.

Monday afternoon I am planning to visit Barrie's Asparagus Farm as I was unimpressed with the asparagus I bought close to home. I am also collecting some bags for friends plus some rhubarb for one friend. I have just posted my grocery order today (Sunday) and am now wondering if I should have ordered some Phyllo. I can add to my order up to an hour before my chosen time slot.

By the way, this is Victoria Day weekend, Monday is the actual holiday, Queen Victoria's birthday was on May 24th - unfortunately this is the second night we have had fireworks. No doubt the official fireworks are Sunday night but I am sure there will still be fireworks tomorrow as well.

Asparagus and Salmon Spring Rolls

These spring rolls are filled with smoked salmon, tender-crisp asparagus and plenty of fresh herbs. Spring rolls look impressive when you put them out for a party, but they are actually easy to make. To
simplify the process, lay out all the ingredients you need to make the rolls near your work surface before you begin.

24 thick 12 rolls asparagus, or 36 thin, about 2 pounds
2 3- to 4-ounce smoked wild salmon
12 8-inch rice-paper wrappers
1 ripe avocado, cut into 24 slices
1 cup carrot, shredded
1/2 cup basil, chopped fresh
1/2 cup mint, chopped fresh
1/3 cup soy sauce, reduced-sodium
2 Tbs orange juice
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs mirin
1/4 tsp red pepper, crushed, or more to taste

1. To prepare spring rolls: Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large skillet. Trim asparagus spears to no longer than 6 inches; add to the boiling water. Partially cover and cook the asparagus until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain; refresh under cold water. Cut each spear in half lengthwise. Cut salmon slices into 12 strips no longer than 6 inches each.

2. Soak one wrapper at a time in a shallow dish of very hot water until softened, about 30 seconds. Lift out, let excess water drip off and lay on a clean, dry cutting board.

3. Center a strip of smoked salmon in the bottom third of the wrapper, leaving a 1-inch border on either side. Arrange 4 thick (or 6 thin) asparagus spear halves (overlapping as necessary) over the salmon. Top the asparagus with 2 avocado slices, 1 tablespoon shredded carrot and about 2 teaspoons each basil and mint. Fold the wrapper over the filling and roll into a tight cylinder, folding in the sides as you go. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Cut each finished roll in half.

4. To prepare dipping sauce: Whisk soy sauce, orange juice, lemon juice, mirin and crushed red pepper in a small serving bowl. Serve the rolls with the sauce.

Yield: 12 rolls

Source: EatingWell.com

Have a great day