Monday, October 5, 2009

Monte Cristo, Vacation Continues. Mushroom Pie.

On Saturday I watched The Count of Monte Cristo, 2004 edition. As a movie I quite enjoyed it, as a story written by Alexandre Dumas père, I thought it appalling. Once he is out of the Chateau d'If the film diverges from the book so much the author must be turning in his grave. I suppose the book is well and truly out of copyright so it doesn't matter any more, but it matters to me. It is one of the great classics and to muck about with it that way is, to me, wrong. If you are going to mess it up that much, don't call it by the same title or call it "My version of .....", but don't try and pass it off as being the real story. I feel similarly strongly about versions of history, English or otherwise, which have no relationship with what we really know, it doesn't matter a damn what we suspect, if we don't know we shouldn't invent otherwise people will end up believing that's what really happened. Look at the people who truly believe Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code is based on fact and is not total fiction. People tend to believe if its presented in print or film it must be true. OK, rant over, back to our vacation. We are now up to the first Friday of our stay. I spent most of the day feeling sorry for myself because of my ear which was both bleeding and sore. How can you put a bandaid on an ear? By the evening when we were due to meet our friends for dinner, it had dried up somewhat. We arrived at the restaurant, Riverview Steak and Seafood, in Swansboro, and were horrified to discover they didn't have our reservation although I had in fact spoken to them on two different occasions. Finally, having emphasised that it was for 5 people they found us a table for which we had to wait a while. Eventually the hostess said she had found our reservation under the name Wilson!!! As it turned out our friends were late, one of them had forgotten all about it when the others went to collect her, it was quite a funny story when she told us all about it. We have been to this restaurant on several occasions, their food is good, but the place does get very noisy. It was great to see our friends, first time this trip for two of them, but one couldn't really chat because of the noise. I got a belated birthday card, Maxine which I always enjoy. Matt ended up ordering marinated chicken and I had sautéed shrimp and oysters. Pretty good for both of us. We started with a salad which was rather small but they served with a sweet potato muffin which was delicious. I had a second one as someone didn't want theirs. I had told them all about my fall last night, and ever after, the husband kept teasing me by saying he was sorry I had fallen out of bed!!! As we left he gave us the sun umbrellas which belong to friends in Canada, but which they store with these friends in NC. So Saturday arrived and my ear had stopped weeping but now I had a puffy eye. What else for goodness sake. Luckily it had gone down by the afternoon. Matt put the London Broil in to marinade and later I peeled and cooked the shrimp for our starter. I cooked some fresh butter beans and then tossed them in raspberry vinaigrette whilst they were still warm so they could absorb the flavours. In the afternoon I prepared Vidalia onions for the barbecue. I'm sure I have described this before, but you cut them in quarters, but not all the way through. You then put a knob of butter on each onion, season it and wrap it in tin foil. Then place it on the barbecue - first on the hot part and then if possible on the shelf which most barbecues come with. They come out with the bottoms all browned (caramelised as most chefs call it, but that is not accurate, only sugar caramelises) and they are delicious. Our dinner guests arrived about 4 and we sat outside at the picnic table having a drink. They had brought chips so we ate a few of those. Eventually Matt lit the barbecue and I put the potatoes in the oven to bake. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, we haven't done much barbecuing since we got back to Canada so timed the onions wrong; they were a tad overdone but were still delicious. Having started with shrimp, eaten London Broil, we ended with ice cream. It was a fun evening. We will be seeing them again on Tuesday at MacDaddy's and weather permitting, we will be going out on their boat on Wednesday. Sunday we didn't do much of anything although we watched our friend's copy of the latest Celtic Thunder DVD. I tried my damndest to copy it on my new laptop but couldn't figure it out and no-one seems to know how. If you remember I raved about this group before although a lot of people didn't seem to agree with me. The youngest singer, Damian, has now matured a bit and doesn't have the young voice he had a couple of years back. Winter is coming on, in fact I'm not sure it hasn't arrived. My newsletter from Mushrooms Canada contained the following Pot Pie which I thought sounded pretty good. Not sure about pre-sliced mushrooms, think I would rather slice my own, but I would certainly use frozen pastry. Mushroom, Chicken and Leek Pot Pie Prepared pastry and pre-sliced mushrooms make this tasty meal quick to prepare. For even faster preparation substitute left over cooked turkey cubes for the chicken. This recipe is Arthritis approved! 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4) 500 g 2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided 25 mL 2 large leeks, white part only, 2 sliced (2 cups/500mL) 1 lb. sliced fresh Mushrooms 500 g 1 tbsp dried tarragon 15 mL 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 25 mL 3/4 cup chicken stock 175 mL 1/2 tsp salt 2 mL 1/4 tsp pepper 1 mL 1 9"/22cm deep dish frozen pie shell, thawed Cut chicken into 3/4-inch (2 cm) cubes. In large non-stick saucepan or deep skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned but still pink inside, about 3-4 minutes. Spoon into 6 cup (1.5 L) baking dish or deep pie plate. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining oil to same pan. Sauté leeks, mushroom and tarragon for 2-3 minutes; cover and cook about 3 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Sprinkle in flour and stir to blend. Gradually stir in chicken stock, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Spoon mixture over chicken. Invert thawed pie shell over casserole pressing pastry edge to baking dish and crimp or flute the edges. Cut 3-4 slits in pastry. Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and pastry is brown. Makes 4 servings. Tip: To thaw pie shell, leave at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. If desired, brush pastry with beaten egg before baking to give a browner top. Variation: Substitute 3 cups (750 mL) cubed cooked turkey or chicken for 1 lb ( 500g ) chicken breasts; decrease oil to 1 tbsp(15 mL) and omit browning. Place cooked meat in casserole and continue as directed above. Have a great day.


  1. I agree with you big-time about the desecration of history, Jo. If it didn't happen, leave it out!

    This puts the writer or producer into a quandary, however, for when it comes to bending the truth, where do we draw the line? Any historical re-creation is at best, guesswork. It might be guesswork based on the soundest possible research, but it's guesswork nonetheless. We don't know, forex, what words Henry VIII used when he asked Anne Boleyn to marry him, but this scene has been reproduced in books and films many times. How far can we reasanably go in our lie-telling? I'm not sure, and much as I love books and films based on the lives of our ancestors, they still leave me with a sense of unease, because even after well-intentioned research they are at best, only an approximation of what really happened. I would even suggest that such works are disrespectful to the long-dead protagonists, and even more disrespectful to those only recently dead or still living, as in the movie "The Queen". That was a brilliant film and I enjoyed it very much, yet I still have that feeling that playing around with the lives of real person, living or dead, is not really a good thing to do.

  2. i see where you are coming from Satima. I personally got very annoyed with the film about Elizabeth 1 where it showed her having an affair which no-one knows is true. There has been much speculation but!!! However, we do know that Henry VIII asked Anne to marry him at some point in some way, so that is not such a serious breach IMHOP. As for living persons, at least they are around to be consulted and if they don't wish to co-operate for one reason or another they can, unfortunately, expect inaccuracies, but it is, again unfortunately, part of being well known and famous. As for "The Queen" it irritated me because apart from the Queen herself, no-one looked remotely like the characters they were playing. I thought Charles was dreadful, and for me, that spoiled the movie.

  3. Thanks Marilyn, sadly I am not on holiday any more.