Thursday, March 12, 2009
Of Castles and Palaces
Today the BIG was Prague Castle in Czechoslovakia, it is, apparently the biggest castle in the world and could house 87 White Houses or 6 Buckingham Palaces. The article is here with more video links here - it is quite a fantastic place and houses the Prague crown jewels which the public gets to see once every 5 years. One of the jewels is the crown of King Wenceslas (he of Christmas Carol fame) and it carries a curse, if anyone puts it on who isn't the king, he will die within the year. The palace is no longer occupied and is mostly used for big functions. In fact, President Obama will be there soon for his first European meeting. There is a museum in part of the castle which is owned by a descendant of the family and contains original manuscripts by Beethoven, amongst other things of course. Really is a fascinating place. There is a video showing other European castles very briefly with a quick shot of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace in the UK and the Palace of Versailles in France. Apparently the gardens at Versailles are the biggest gardens of all. I have been there, (when I was 15) but wasn't aware of that. I remember being disappointed because it was a series of empty rooms. Albeit beautiful rooms, but no furniture, obviously most of the furnishings were destroyed or looted by the revolutionaries. Maybe they have changed that since I was there. This is a picture of the Galeries des Glaces where the kings used to hold magnificent balls, the king and his family (often including his mistress) would sit at one end of the hall and graciously receive their guests. The gallery has windows all down one side and mirrors on the other which can give you the impression of being in an even bigger room. I gather it has recently been restored, so maybe they have put some furniture in the Palace. Another source of email recipes is Becel which is a margarine and I think is only available in Canada, don't hold me to that though. It is a very healthy margarine and we use it a lot. As I have been posting Asian influenced recipes lately, I thought I would share this one with you as well. Indian-Style Chicken in Coconut Coriander Sauce Source: Becel Love your heart. Makes: 4 servings Ingredients: 1/4 tsp. 1 mL ground cloves 2tsp. 10mL ground cardamom 3 bay leaf 1/2t sp. 2mL ground cinnamon 1 tbsp. 15mL ground coriander 1 cup 250mL low-fat plain yogurt (0.1% mf) 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (1lb/500g) 1 tbsp. 15mL Becel Oil 1 tsp. 5mL granulated sugar 2tsp. 10mL jalapeño chili, diced 1/2 cups 125mL coconut milk 3/4 cups 175mL fresh coriander, finely chopped, save a few leaves for garnish Preparation: 1. In a medium bowl, combine spices with yogurt and season with salt to taste. Reserve half of yogurt mixture, transfer to a separate container and refrigerate. Add chicken pieces to remaining mixture, turning to coat thoroughly. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. (Mixture can be marinated for up to 8 hours.) 2. Remove chicken from yogurt mixture and shake off excess. Discard used yogurt mixture. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, non-stick skillet. Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes each side, until nicely browned and no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from skillet with tongs and set aside. Keep warm. 3. Add reserved yogurt mixture, sugar, chilis, and coconut milk to skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook gently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in coriander, return chicken to skillet and heat through. Transfer to a platter and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rice and vegetables, or a salad. Have a great day.