Archive for March, 2013

Creamed Carrots

I have no idea why, but for some reason I have bad memories about Creamed Carrots as a dish.  When we were  young, Mother would make creamed carrots  regularly, and for some reason I did not like it.  No real logic.  The sort of the same  reason why Andra hates tomatoes, Vedran hates onions and Mason used to hate all food that was not fried chicken fingers.

Pat and I were driving around today, topless, in Little Red picking up things we wanted around town.  Our meal for the evening had been pre-selected but for some reason, while driving in the sunshine, I mentioned that I always hated creamed carrots as a kid.  Just a conversation as we were driving with the top down,sun shining,  the mountains in view and music playing.

Dinner tonight was roast lamb shanks.   I prepared little patties of the leftover Risotto….you take a handful and pat it down to a patty and fry it in a pan for a couple of minutes so it is crisp on both sides,  wonderful.  Supposed to be the featured side dish with the lamb shanks.

Pat had secretly prepared  CREAMED CARROTS on the side.  Apparently a brief mention by me,  as we were driving, and she determined that despite my dislike for this dish, it was time for me to grow up.

They were great.  I have no idea why I have spent my life disliking the dish.  I guess next will be my other aversion to Liver and Onions.

Good Friday

A lovely day in Paradise.  Lots of sunshine so Pat and I took Little Red for a topless drive up the coast and back.  Arrived home so Pat could make it to her almost 3 hour church program.  Granted a lot of that was because the parking lot fills up early so she went early and it took time to clear.

Meantime I planned a special dinner.  As it is Good Friday it had to be seafood.

Halibut season is on locally so we were able to buy a fresh large piece at a reasonable price.  I prepared it ‘en papillote’ which means you bake it wrapped in parchment paper with  a little seasoning and lemon slices.

Earlier this week, while working on the model, I watched a Chef at Home program where Michael prepared Risotto.  This recipe called for gorgonzola cheese  and bacon and it looked great.  As it was good Friday I left out the bacon.  On the program Chef Michael said make lots because there are many recipes for leftover Risotto.  Well I hope he is correct because we have a ton leftover.

If you have not made Risotto before it is labour intensive.  You have to continuously stir for half an hour while slowly adding the  stock until a creamy consistency and then add the cheese.

Not a bad meal but last night I made BBQ steak with grilled steak fries.  Much less labour involved.  Still Pat was happy and I guess that is the point.

Now I have to search for all those recipes for leftover Risotto.

We may be serving it with the roast lamb next Saturday when all our company shows up.

Dial M for Murder

We arrived back home this afternoon from our Miata club drive for a Brunch near Duncan.

I went down to the workshop to lay deck planks on the model and happened to put the TCM movie Dial M for Murder.  An Alfred Hitchcock movie with Ray Milland and Grace Kelly.  I had seen the movie many years ago but that did not matter.  It is based on a Broadway play and mostly takes place in one room.  Lots of dialogue and intrigue.  Perfect for working on decks as you could listen and look up occasionally.

But I had to look up because Grace Kelly was beautiful.

A few years ago there was a survey by Movie watchers of the most beautiful actress of all time.  Lots of picks for Zeta Jones and modern girls.  I originally voted for Bo Derek (yummy) but as the voting added up I had to switch my allegiance to Grace Kelly.

Watching this movie confirmed that my opinion was and is correct.

Apparently Hitchcock agreed and cast her in many movies while trying to make the move on her.  She surprised everyone (and Alfred) by marrying the Prince of Monaco so poor old Hitchcock spent the rest of his career looking for her replacement (Tipi Hedren as an example)

I believe one of the true proofs for beauty is how it lasts.  Grace Kelly was as beautiful in her 50s as she was in her 20s.

Which is much like my wife.

Grace Kelly

The Sound of Silence

The US Library of Congress came out with the list of recordings that should be saved forever.  This list included Simon and Garfunkels’  The Sound of Silence.

They wrote it as a reaction to the assassination of JFK (I only realize this in my research for this blog, but now it kind of  makes sense)

The Sound of Silence came out when Pat and I were in high school and at the time when the Beatles and Dave Clark Five were the norm.  I cannot say I remember it from that period of my life.  But later it became an easy listening hit.

When we were living in Calgary I had a little workshop in the basement.  I was in the midst of building the 74 gun Sutherland and I took a break to build a dollhouse for my younger daughters.  Unlike today, all I had in my workshop in those days was a radio.  I would spend the later winter evenings in the shop listening to a program called “Lovers and Other Strangers”  A guy with a deep smooth voice.  He introduced nice soft music and would read poetry.

This is the kind of background music you need when deep into models.  The kids were in bed and this was the relaxation part of my day.

One of the poems the host  read was the lyrics to The Sounds of Silence.  I remember this so clearly.  At the time I was building the Victorian Dollhouse for Janine and Meagan.  If you are laying a French Louis XV, cube parquet floor in the living room on a doll house you need this kind of background  Over the weeks that followed this recitation was repeated several times

The Sound of Silence has always had a special memory for me not just from the words but it is just a nice song.  A good choice by the US Library of Congress.

Now they also picked the Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.  I am pretty sure this would not be good model building music.


Snow in Paradise

It is March 21 the second day of spring.  This morning and afternoon was lovely.  Sunshine but yet a cool 8 deg C.  I spent the afternoon weeding the beds and admiring the daffodils.  But it all changed at 5 pm.  The temperature dropped and it started to snow like crazy.  You could barely make out the homes behind us.  Big fat flakes.

This was a concern.  I have only used the snow blower once this winter in December so a few weeks ago I drained it of fuel, lubricated it and put it away.  Put away all the winter things like shovels etc into the garage attic and  brought down the gardening tools.  Never would have done this in March in Alberta or Ontario but we live in Paradise.  We have not seen a lick of snow since December.

A bit of a panic but in half an hour the snow stopped, the sun came out and the temp went back up.  I think I have to mow the lawn again tomorrow.

I realize you people on the prairies and back east are probably not having much sympathy for me.  Still a bit of a scare.


Victory Middle Deck Framing

Another milestone in the production of the Victory model.  The Middle Deck framing is complete.  My model has 4 decks.  The Lower Deck shown in earlier blog, the Middle, the Upper and the Quarter Deck.  In the real ship there are also decks below the Lower Deck which are below the water line but I have not built them.  That would just be silly anal.

Anyway if you look at this framing you will note some large sculptured timbers leading from the main mast (the middle one) to the hull side.  These carried the huge thrust of the main mast and sails to the exterior frame and would have required huge beams.

When you look at this model you realize why building the Royal Navy (this ship was built in the 1750s) would have required massive harvesting of  trees.  England was originally covered with forests of Oaks and Elm but is largely rolling meadows today thanks to the demand for the navy.

Middle Deck Framing


Paul Rose

Paul Rose is dead.  Long time after he should have been executed in my opinion.

For those younger people and those that forget, there was a time in Canada when Quebec Terrorists called the FLQ were trying to force separation of Quebec from Canada with violence.

Paul Rose and his buddies, on a whim, kidnapped the Quebec Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte, only because he actually lived near where the group in their beer intoxicated ranting, were meeting.  Kidnapped him from his driveway in front of his kids…….

When they sobered up and it became obvious that kidnapping Laporte was not going to force Quebec to be separated, Paul Rose went into the room where they were keeping him and strangled Laporte with his crucifix chain.  Threw him into the trunk of Rose’s car and forgot to get rid of the body and the police caught them.

Rose was sentenced for murder but was released in a few years because he was a folk hero in Quebec Sovereignist culture.  He and his brother were treated like heroes in PQ meetings over the years.  Feted like gods in the province. Lived a good life

Paul Rose died today at the age of 69 and I expect the Party Quebecois ruling government will give him a state funeral.

I wonder if the family of a lawyer who left his practice to serve in government only to be murdered at the age of 49 with his crucifix chain will attend the ceremony of remembrance.   I think not.

Sometimes I really want Quebec to separate from Canada.  I do not think of them as my idea of  Canadians……..

If there is a hell, Paul Rose is roasting in it tonight which is long over due.

A car for Lenin

Now you may wonder why I picked the title for this blog.  I, as your host, have learned that the titles of my blogs are available on the internet for searches.  The worst example was my blog ” Grand daughters are Easy” for which I still get emails offering money.

So if I started with Lenin there would be 4 million possible hits.

In fact my blog is about a little known piece of history about Lenin.  When he became head of Russia and while still fighting against the White Russians (before their revolution took over the entire country) he was driven around in a Rolls Royce.  Video of the time shows him extolling the citizens to fight against the proletariat.  He always declared that the Rolls Royce was taken from the evil Tsar and now being used for the benefit of the people.

Truth came out and the car was actually built 2 years after the Tsar and his family were executed.  The car was specifically ordered by a Lenin assistant and paid for with state funds.  Lenin got a 15% discount from the factory because of his position.

Until his death, he maintained he was for the people, but like most dynamic leaders, he was in it for the benefits.



Pancetta again

I wrote earlier of my opinion that Pancetta is over priced for normal meals.  In the Quiche I made for us on Sunday it was not a hit.

When I purchased the slab I bought 300 grams at about $4.50 per 100 grams.  Expensive.  I had a bit of sticker shock at the time.

I used about half of it in the quiche but saved the second half for tonight’s meal Spaghetti Carbonara.

Over the years I have made this simple meal many times.  In the past I have made it with either chopped bacon or smoked ham.

Let me know tell you that there is a reason why chefs use Pancetta for Pasta Carbonara.  It does not drown the flavour with the smoke (Pancetta is a non-smoked bacon)  It holds its texture so remains as chewy chunks (that is a horrible description but there are pieces)  This is the way the recipe was invented by the Italians.

The best Spaghetti Carbonara I have ever made and Pat agreed.  So maybe spending a little more sometimes pays off.


Am I an “American” Man

I was reading about the controversy in the US about the photo of President Obama shooting skeet with a shotgun at Camp David.  This all started when the Republicans and the NRA were attacking his proposed gun bill by saying he is not a real “man” because he does not shoot and has never killed a living entity with a gun.

Apparently this could possibly apply to me.  I can fix plumbing in the house. I can do basic electrical.  I can do carpentry and fix most things around the house.  I have an engineering degree and have fathered 4 children, but by the American definition I am not a real “Man”  unless I have a gun and shoot people or animals.

Well that may be true in my current situation but I am here to defend myself.  When I was 15 I was given an old an old Savage 22 by my father.  At the time I was with Air Cadets and had taken shooting lessons and furthermore had won a Dominion Marksmanship Medal (which I still have).  Dad must have thought I was ready so gave me this old gun.

I went out to the family farm (Uncle Ken’s) and he let me shoot gophers.  Think of rats that live in the ground.  At the time there was a bounty where you could get, I think, 25 cents for every Gopher tail from the Saskatchewan government.  Now my Uncle Ken had no qualms about cutting the testicles off of young male calves with a knife but he did not own a gun and did not like to shoot.

I spent a couple of days and probably shot off $8 in shells and as I recall retrieved 12 dead gophers.  Uncle cut off the tails and said he would take care of the bounty, but I never saw the money.  I never again killed an animal with a gun (although I would have loved to shoot some Raccoons when we lived in Oakville)

Still by the NRA and American Republican party definition I AM A MAN.  No idea what happened to the 22 rifle which I hope has been destroyed.  To this day I think the only reason I only got 12 gophers is due to the lousy sight.