Monday, January 28, 2013
This is a blogfest hosted by Stephen Tremp at Welcome To Author Stephen Tremp's Website where his blog today tells us something about who Stephen is. The intent is for all of us to tell something about ourselves which is what I hope to do.
I wrote my first blog on October 25th, 2007 and then the next day I wrote a post called Who Am I?
I am a Canadian and have been since 1978, however I started life as a mewling infant in Cheshire, England. They gave me World War II for my first birthday – you can work out for yourself how ancient I am. After that war, my parents went to live in the South of England, in Rochester of Charles Dickens’ fame; we eventually moved onto a Thames Barge called Iota. It was a wonderful craft. They were built to carry goods (bricks, straw) up and down England’s rivers and coastal waters, in particular the Thames which flows through London: someone got the idea of converting them to residences. The barges had flat bottoms so could go into the shallowest waters. They had leeboards on either side to prevent them drifting in the wrong direction. Most had a mainsail, topsail, and foresail. Some had a mizzen sail aft (at the back) as well and were usually operated by a man and a boy although I knew at least one married couple who operated a Thames barge for many years.
This was an incredible place to live. We had fitted carpets and a fridge (pretty luxurious in a boat) not many appliances available in the UK those days. I remember the fridge was a pain in the butt as it was propane fired and had to be kept level. Keeping a fridge level on a boat of any kind is difficult. I remember lots of problems and swearing about that fridge although I was only about 9 or so at the time. My father loved to sail so we took Iota to France, Holland and Belgium on many occasions. This was how I learned to love food and how my mother improved her skills as a gourmet cook. When she first got married, she literally couldn’t boil an egg. In later life she used to say that actually that is a difficult thing to do well. I am not quite sure at what age my father bought the second boat on which we lived, it was a converted MFV (Motor Fishing Vessel) but had never been used for fishing, in fact, during the war it had been used for mine sweeping. She was called Sunfish (registered as Silver Sunfish) and was a much better vessel for sailing where my father wanted to go, she could manage practically any weather the North Sea could throw at her. She was the last of my parent’s boats on which I lived, I went to live in the big city (London) in a bed sitter to live the glamorous life, ha!!
Because of the war, we moved around a lot as my father was in the Air Force. I went to nine different schools, so maybe that’s where I got my taste for travel. Must admit, I always disliked school, I found it very boring. Guess I was a poor student. I have the distinction of having attended one of the the same schools as Princess Di, Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk, England. Some several years apart of course.
My father was also a very good cook, I suppose he taught my mother a lot about food, and, lucky me, my husband is also a good cook. You could say that good food is in my blood. Before I went to boarding school, I wouldn’t eat, especially stews which, because of the war, we had a lot of. I would sit for hours holding a mouthful and not swallowing. I think I improve a bit, then when I went to Riddlesworth food was adequate, but not enough. They used to serve us half a kipper for breakfast – I love kippers but had never been served just half a fish. My letters home were always full of requests for food. My mother would send me fruit cakes and such to put in my tuck box [a box for storing eatables (especially at boarding school)]. We were allowed to open our tuck boxes at weekends as far as I remember. We also had make and mend classes at weekends, I got away with pulling off a button from my pajama jacket and sewing it back on for the longest time, I was finally caught and was forced to repair them properly. I hated sewing, I don’t ever remember being taught although my mother could certainly both knit and sew. In my life I managed to knit one sweater and make one skirt and that was my lot. I used to embroider a lot, once upon a time. My paternal grandmother won prizes for embroidery, maybe I got it from her.
Anyway, that’s enough to let you know where I came fom. There’s more ‘stuff’ at the side on this page if you want to know more.
On Saturday my group of cooking friends and I are planning to prepare an Italian meal, we are spread around a few countries, and everyone seems to be doing something different although once upon a time we all used to try and cook the same thing. I was quite determined we would not do pasta, and I’m not, but one friend is doing a lasagna. This is my dessert choice assuming I can find unsalted pistachios.
BOLOGNESE RICE CAKE
3 cups milk
3/4 cup Arborio rice
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp grated orange or lemon zest
2 Tbs rum
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Add the rice, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the mixture is very soft and creamy. Stir often to prevent sticking. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
3. Butter a 10-inch round cake pan.
4. Stir the eggs into the rice.
5. Add sugar, nuts, raisins, vanilla, butter, and zest.
6. Pour in the prepared baking pan.
7. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Remove from the oven.
9. While the cake is still warm, pierce the top in several places with a fork.
10. Pour the rum over the cake.
11. Cool to lukewarm.
12. Invert the cake to remove from the pan and invert again to a serving dish.
13. Cool completely.
Yield: Makes one 10-inch round cake
Bologna is the capitol of the northern region of Emilia Romagna in Italy. Bolognese rice cake is served as a celebratory cake and is very typical during the Easter season. The cake is prepared with rice cooked in milk which is then mixed with sugar, nuts, and raisins, baked, and flavored with rum. Rice cake is very dense and is usually served cold. If you are looking for a gluten free dessert, Bolognese rice cake is a delicious choice.
Have a great day