Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spelling Bee, Vacations, The Lady Chablis

Have you ever watched the International Spelling Bee? We did yesterday, we have watched it before, it takes several hours of TV (for the kids to get to the finals it takes a lot more than several hours) they are on during the day and then the final dozen are on prime time in the evening. It really is great to watch these kids, they are really clever and some can be quite funny. One youngster asked if she could have an easier word, she spelled the one she was given correctly anyway. Then in the evening, one youngster thought he heard "numbnut" it was quite funny, the whole audience was laughing, he eventually realised it was numnah and he was relieved - when interviewed he said numbnut could have several different spellings, it can? What is numnah you ask? Its the padding under a saddle for a horse. He, 13 yr old Sameer Mishra from Indiana, ended up being the winner last night. The rest of the group were absolutely brilliant though and it was so sad when they missed a word, especially one young man who obviously knew the word, but "got lost" whilst he was spelling it. These kids know such a lot about language and the derivations - they eat dictionaries in their sleep. I've always been good at spelling but I'm not a patch on these kids.

There is more and more talk of people taking their vacations closer to home this year, the price of gas is getting horrendous, especially for people with big gas guzzling vehicles. Mind you our 6 cyl. car is considered a gas guzzler by European standards. I don't know who are the biggest consumers, the private sector or the business sector, but if the private sector is cutting down drastically it might make the oil companies and oil producers sit up and take notice and hopefully reduce their charges. Have you ever heard of an oil company not making a profit? We were talking Portugal earlier on, but we are having something of a re-think now. If you'd all click on the ads on this page, maybe I could go away, *g*. Hotels and other tourist places are trying to attract business - I suggested maybe we could go back to Savannah, a town we are very fond of, but of course it would cost us a fortune to drive there compared with what we used to pay.

We love Savannah which, considering it is a city, is somewhat surprising for us. It is a gorgeous place though, with lots of interesting things to see and do. Just to sit in busy Market Square sipping a glass of wine and watching the world go by is a fascinating passtime. If you ever read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, there are lots of characters just like that, the first time we went there, I was told, by a local, Savannah wasn't anything like the book, we thought it was. The character called The Lady Chablis exists anyway and she/he is making a fortune these days. If and when The Lady Chablis performs at the nightclub Club One in Savannah, the queues (line-ups) stretch for miles. That was the real Lady Chablis in the movie, if you saw it. Then there is Paula Deen's restaurant, The Lady and Sons, where we ate before the country had ever heard of her, I understand you can't get near the place any more, we didn't even try last time. How often have you had a waitress sing a rendition, beautifully I might add, from Porgy and Bess? We did at The Lady and Sons.

Last night, for supper, we had my father's version of Kedgeree. I used to make it with lashings of butter, but have cut that down in this day and age of watching what we eat. Its made with smoked haddock (a rarity round here) and rice mixed with butter and served with hard boiled eggs which have been sliced. I take out the yolk and spread the rings on the rice, then grate the yolk over the top. Delicious. All of the pictures I can find show the eggs just quartered, or chopped up, but the way I do it is much better in my opinion. I've posted this before, but it is a dish Matt and I both enjoy if we can get hold of some reasonable smoked haddock. Nigella Larson makes it with salmon, but that doesn't sound the same somehow.

Name: Rhubarb and Kirsch Clafouti
Source: RecitopiaUK
Serves: 6

400 ml/¾ pt milk, warmed
3 eggs
45 ml/3tbsp caster sugar
45 ml/3tbsp plain flour
30-45 ml/2-3tbsp butter, melted

450 g/1lb rhubarb, sliced thumb thickness and macerated in kirsch and sugar for at least an hour.
30 ml/2tbsp kirsch
30 ml/2tbsp sugar

Instructions: Preheat oven temperature to 190C/375F/gas 5.
2. Whisk all batter ingredients together.
3. Place macerated rhubarb into a buttered ovenproof serving dish
30 cm x 23 cm/12 in x 9 in. Pour over the batter. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
4. When cooked, remove from the oven, dust with icing (confectioner's) sugar and serve immediately.

Have a great day


  1. Jo - The summer hols are starting here too with the 'Juners' having set off this weekend. Airlines are also increasing their fares ...
    I am a great fan of Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil; it's so well written.

  2. I thought August was the month when France evacuated. I remember everywhere was very empty at that time of the year with thousands of French visiting Spain, etc.

    Yes, it is an excellent book isn't it, they had to put that statue of the girl holding the bird feeders in a museum as people were trying to cut chunks off it.