Isn’t it odd that as kids we used to say “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” and today it appears to be words, very often, which do hurt people enough to drive them to suicide, A complete about face from what we used to say, or think. I don’t really know if bullying has become much more prevalent today or just that we learn more about it. I don’t remember hearing of anyone being bullied so badly they had to end it all, when I was a youngster, did it just not happen? Did we just not hear? If its much worse today, why? I know cyber bullying didn’t exist in those days, but is that the only difference? It seems to me much of this behaviour is learned from parents in the first place. The picture was on Facebook yesterday.
CBC Marketplace conducted a test of 54 hotel rooms in chains across Canada and have uncovered superbugs which are resistant to antibiotics. I don’t suppose, for one moment, these conditions are exclusive to Canadian hotels and similar tests in other countries would reveal similar results, but it is a pretty horrifying thought and I am quite glad I am not planning to stay in any hotel at the moment. I do sympathise a bit with the hotels themselves, they have to clean so much in such a short time and if some of the bugs are resistant to antibiotics they are certainly resistant to regular cleaning products. Its pretty scary though. There was a CBC TV programme, The Dirt on Hotels covering this topic.
How about that, I was in two minds whether to bowl or not yesterday. Decided to bowl a few frames, started getting good marks, legs felt reasonably OK and ended up having two of the best games I have had in a long while. A team member said neither of us had bowled the second game when someone asked our scores. They were something to hide. Bowling is definitely the craziest of games.
As I don’t blog on Sundays, I thought I would acknowledge Remembrance Day today. I only just learned that the poem, In Flanders Fields, was written by a Canadian. John McCrae from Guelph, Ontario (same town where I am having my surgery). It is a wonderful tribute to the dead of the first world war.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
This is a twist on a classic dish from France – the recipe below is by Jacques Pépin who is, as you may know, one of my favourite chefs.
Brandade de Morue au Gratin (Whipped Salt Cod Gratin)
Contributed by Jacques Pépin
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 1 MIN 24 hr soaking
- SERVINGS:8 to 10
The Provençal dish known as brandade de morue is a great example of how to elevate modest ingredients like salt cod and potatoes—in this case, by whipping them with milk, olive oil and garlic until luxuriously silky. Jacques Pépin's extra step of serving the dish au gratin (browned, with cheese on top) makes it that much more delicious.
- 1 pound skinless salt cod fillet
- 1 pound large red-skinned potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 8 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 baguettes, cut into rounds and toasted, for serving
- Put the salt cod in a bowl and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Refrigerate for 24 hours, changing the water 4 times.
- Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water and boil over moderately high heat until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let the potatoes cool to warm.
- Meanwhile, drain the cod and transfer to a saucepan. Add 2 quarts of water; bring just to a boil. Drain the cod and rinse out the pan. Return the cod to the pan, add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Drain the cod and return it to the pan, add the milk and garlic and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Peel the potatoes and break into chunks; transfer to a food processor. Add the cod, milk, garlic cloves, lemon zest, lemon juice and cayenne and process until smooth. With the machine on, slowly pour in the 3/4 cup of oil until incorporated. Season with black pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spread the brandade in the dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with toasts.
Make Ahead The assembled brandade can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Have a great weekend