Thursday, November 5, 2009

Guy Fawkes, Books and Arms.

Remember, remember, The 5th of November Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason Why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot. I guess I say, think or write those words every year on this date, and not just once, it runs through my head like a constant refrain. It is, if you didn't realise it, a reference to the gunpowder plot supposedly led by Guy Fawkes who was planning to blow up the British Houses of Parliament during the visit of the king to the House of Lords to open the new session. The truth of the story has always been pondered; for instance there are no cellars under the Houses of Parliament and also Guy (Guido) Fawkes was by no means the principal in this plot. To read more click here where there is a link to even further information if you should want it. Guy Fawkes is burned in effigy all over England every year and fireworks are ignited at the same time. Gruesome of us you might say, and you would probably be right, but it was always a fun evening when we were youngsters and could bake potatoes in the fires so they came out half raw one side and half cinder the other. I don't know what they do today, but as kids we used to make up a Guy and then display it to the public and ask for "a penny for the guy". Some cunning kids, like Matt, used to dress up their little brothers, put them in a wheelbarrow and wheel them to a public spot, threatening them if they moved. The money collected was intended for buying fireworks. I had an email from Maria V. Snyder yesterday, I had written to tell her how much I enjoyed her stories. Turns out she has a number of short stories on her website, so last night I read one and plan to read more over the next day or two. I really enjoy her characters, the story I read last night was about two of the soldiers who are good friends to the principal character in the "Study" series. Oops, I have just discovered the Study books are actually classified as young adult. I am enjoying them just the same. I often do enjoy young adult stories. Tomorrow, they are turning off our hot water at 9 a.m. which means instead of lolling around in my nightdress writing my blog, I have to get cracking and shower early. That, in turn, means, I don't know how soon I will get my blog written. Oh, and by the way, I am sure you are busting to know, my arm is still extremely sore although the redness has reduced considerably. Last night Matt cooked a Portuguese dish which I had found on the internet, when we were in Portugal we had several stews or casseroles which had lemon and/or vinegar and I have been hunting for the same taste. This one seemed pretty close, but the recipe calls for Paprika and we have some hot Paprika so he used that instead of the regular type, so I am not sure whether the taste was quite the same or not. As usual, we didn't have everything so we used regular button mushrooms and dry red wine. I don't remember the Portuguese using Portabella mushrooms in their stews, but I am probably wrong. Anyway, it turned out to be very enjoyable if somewhat spicy. Portuguese Rosemary and Lemon Pork Stew This rich stew uses typical Portuguese seasonings and ingredients such as dry wine (vinho seco), paprika, and lemon. The meat is oh-so-tender, and the dish is very no-fuss. Serve with rice and/or lots of traditional Portuguese cornmeal bread. 11/2 lbs pork chops, cut into 1 inch cubes 1 1/2 Tbs flour 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper 1 tsp paprika 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil 4 oz trimmed and sliced portabella mushrooms 2 cups sliced onions 1 cup dry white wine 1/2 tsp dried basil 3/4 tsp ground coriander 3/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice parsley or cilantro (to garnish) 1. Toss the pork cubes in flour, salt, pepper and paprika, and in a large saucepan, brown them in the olive oil 2. Add portabella mushrooms and sliced onion and saute for 5 more minutes 3. Stir in the wine, basil, coriander and rosemary, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan 4. Cover stew and cook over low heat for an hour; uncover and cook for another 15 minutes or until liquid thickens up a little 5. Just before serving, stir in the fresh lemon juice; garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro Servings: 4 Have a great day.


  1. Hi Jo

    I'm going to include the ingredients for the Portuguese Rosemary and Lemon Pork Stew
    when I pop out to Sainsbury's Supermarket this afternoon. The dish sounds too good not to try.

    I love trying a new dish.

    I hope it turns out OK.


  2. I hope it does too, it was pretty simple to make and good to eat despite the extra spiciness.

  3. I haven't seen any kids doing 'penny for the guy' in years. Probably be whisked off by social services and get their parents jailed for allowing the kids to beg on the streets!

  4. How sad that these traditions pass. I guess it was begging, but not quite begging in the usual sense of the word. Do people still have bonfires? I know fireworks have become excessively expensive these days.

  5. Jo, I never remember Guy Fawkes these days. Must be because I live in Paris. In SA we always had fireworks though. It sort of always signalled the start of the Festive Season.

    As there are very many Portuguese living in France, we have a fair share of Portuguese restaurants. Always very spicy food.

  6. I didn't know anywhere else recognised Guy Fawkes.

    Portuguese food can be spicy, Piri Piri for instance, but it shouldn't all be spicy by any means. We have a lot of Portuguese living in Cambridge which is the town we first lived in just a few miles from here.

  7. Bonfires and fireworks have largely been hijacked by local authorities but there's still a few who have a fireworks party in the back garden.
    I think it's better to go to an organised display anyway, it's far better VFM, and safer too.

  8. I think we always did go to organised displays as I recall. I don't remember any backyard parties and yet there must have been some as a child I would think. But as you say, in many ways they are safer as well as better value. Fireworks weren't so expensive when I was a kid.