Saturday, June 14, 2008

It was Luverly

My friend picked me up at 10:30 and we headed off to the theatre at Grand Bend, Ontario. We made one slight mistake, we were looking for Highway 83 and it turned out it was marked as 20 at the beginning although there was a signpost to Grand Bend. Very confusing. However, we got there OK in plenty of time to have our picnic although disappointingly the sun wasn't shining and it was quite windy. The sun came out later before we went into the theatre, so we sat at another picnic table and enjoyed it for a while. As you can see from the map it is close to the shores of Lake Huron, hence the wind. It is a delightful area and a delightful theatre. Well, in fact there are two theatres. One much smaller one which is described as "intimate". Basically I think it is a big barn which has been converted.

It was not Rex Harrison of course, but the production was excellent. It turned out my friend had never seen either the show or the movie before so it was a new story for her. The singing was very good and the acting complemented it. I was impressed with the handling of the scenery and the ease with which they turned from a street at Covent Garden to a bachelor English Gentleman's study. The accents weren't bad either. I did hear "here, here" instead of "'ere, 'ere" but generally the cockney wasn't glaringly awful as it often can be when played by non Brits. I was somewhat surprised at the singing of Professor Higgins, then remembered of course, Rex Harrison was no singer. I worked it out later that the first time I saw My Fair Lady was in London about 45 years ago, give or take a year. That was Julie Andrews in the part; subsequently Audrey Hepburn played it in the movie. I am not sure why they chose an American actress for the role in the movie. Be that as it may, we both thoroughly enjoyed the show yesterday and being a sentimental idiot, I cried at the end. The audience gave the cast a standing ovation.

The drive to Grand Bend is through some wonderful farmland; it makes one appreciate the countryside which, unfortunately, we don't often see. It fascinates me to see the horses grazing in the fields with masks on their faces to protect their eyes from flies. Never saw that when I lived in England, don't know if they have adopted it since. We first came across these fly masks when we visited a local stable where there is also a very nice restaurant called the Troika. You can sit at the table dining and watch horses being worked and trained in the indoor ring through a large window forming one wall of the dining room. We've only been there once, not sure why, we had a very good meal there.

Everywhere you look on the roads we took, are vast fields of green pasture and lots of farm buildings in reds, whites and greens. There appears to be a lot of livestock in that area, horses and cows. It is just the kind of area I would like to live in - no wait a minute, what about the winter? Nah, don't think so after all. We drove through New Hamburg which is known locally for its excellent restaurant, The Waterlot, then through Shakespeare, a charming little town; after that Stratford, on Avon of course, where the Shakesperean festival is held every summer. Another attractive town. They have other shows as well as Shakespeare; for instance I know they are staging The Musicman this summer (you know, 76 Trombones!) amongst others.

We got back home about 6:30 or shortly after by which time I was beginning to be ready for supper. I was tired too, had a power cut at about 6:23 a.m. (I'd just checked the alarm clock) yesterday morning so I got up anyway, yaaaawn. It is almost a 2 hour drive to Grand Bend and we were very lucky with the weather as it was trying to rain all day, but never quite made it.

Here's another recipe from the Ontario Asparagus Growers' Marketing Board, Asparagus in Bed, which is just where I wanted to be when I got home last night.

Asparagus in Bed

1 lb Ontario asparagus, trimmed
8 eggs
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
8 slices prosciutto

freshly grated pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450º F (230º C). Steam or simmer asparagus just until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes; drain well. Fill large skillet with water. Add vinegar and bring to simmer over medium heat. Slip eggs, one at a time, into simmering water; cook until whites are firm and yolks are just set. Remove eggs with slotted spoon and carefully blot dry with paper towel. (Eggs may be poached several hours in advance; transfer to bowl and cover with cold water. Drain well before proceeding.) Divide butter among 4 gratin dishes. Divide asparagus among dishes; drizzle with lemon juice. Drape proscuitto over top. Arrange 2 eggs on top of each prosciutto. Season with pepper to taste. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes or just until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Have a great day.


  1. Jo - Asparagus in Bed sounds great. Oh, should I try it? I'll probably make a mess of it.

  2. Its not that complicated Marilyn, pretend you are a Frenchwoman. You should have lots of them around to copy.

    I will have to try it next week as I haven't got much asparagus at the moment - tragedy.

  3. I was just re-reading the Asparagus in Bed recipe and remembering the unsalted butter made me think, once again, of French butter. I wish I could get hold of it. The taste is like nothing else in this world. Probably just as well, I might pig out on it. I just had a vision of lunch with a good potage, crusty bread and French butter. Oooooh, heaven. Yes I know the French don't often eat butter like we Brits do. They could never understand us ordering it.

  4. Jo, it seems you are hung up on asparagus lately, whether it is tired and in bed or not.

    I also wondered why they had picked an American actress to play that role in the movie. Now, if it was Johnny Depp for any role requiring an accent such as pirates and sweeny todd, I would not question it.

    However are the horses supposed to see out of those things on their eyes, poor things.

  5. I think part of the reason Hepburn was chosen is because Julie Andrews (who did the stage show) was filming something else at the time.

    We drove through Ontario on the way from Niagara to Michigan a few years ago. Beautiful country. :)

    For some reason I've never really gone a bundle on French bread ... but I do love French butter.

  6. Well of course, with French bread it has to be eaten straight from the baker's first thing in the morning. It is still not bad at lunchtime but by the end of the day it isn't so good. By the second day the only thing to do with it is dunk it in your coffee.

    I don't think it matters if the horses can't see, all they do is eat grass basically. Although I suppose they can't gallop around the field as you sometimes see. Maybe they are see through.

    I hadn't heard JA was making another film at the time, I guess that would explain it.

  7. I called a local stable to ask about the fly masks, apparently horses can see very well through them. So they can gallop all around if they want to.

  8. I think JA was either filming Mary Poppins or Sound of Music at the time.