Thursday, November 27, 2008

The 40s 50s 60s & 70s


1940's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a tin, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a van - loose - was always great fun.

We drank water from the garden hosepipe and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cakes, white bread and real butter and drank pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because...


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no text messaging, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We played with worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

Made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out any eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them! Local teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned


You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good and while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

More like this here

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spiced monkfish with creamy curry


For the spiced monkfish

150g/5½oz monkfish tail, membrane removed
drizzle of olive oil, pinch dried chilli, ½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander, ½ tsp curry powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

For the creamy curry
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ onion, finely sliced
4 tsp Garam masala
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
125ml/4fl oz hot chicken stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
125ml/4fl oz double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. For the spiced monkfish, drizzle the monkfish with olive oil. In a bowl, mix together the spices and chopped coriander and sprinkle over the fish. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, add the spiced monkfish and fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until just cooked. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  2. For the vegetable curry, heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan, add the onion and fry over a gentle heat for five minutes, or until softened. Add the spices and garlic and fry for one minute.

  3. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the cream, salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, and simmer for one minute.

  4. To serve, spoon the vegetable curry into a serving dish and top with the spiced monkfish.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Royal Jelly

Royal Jelly is a substance of complex chemical structure produced by the young nurse bees as larva food. Although Royal Jelly is not quite as well known as bee pollen, royal jelly equals pollen in its salutary effects.

The young nurse bees make royal jelly; it is a secretion from glands on the tops of their heads. For 2-3 days, royal jelly is the only food given to all young larvae in their maturation process. For the queen larvae, it is the specific food for their whole life. During the 3 days in which the worker bee larvae are fed on royal jelly they reach the maximum development; their weight multiplies about 250 times.

Queens (fed only on royal jelly for their entire life) reach maturity 5 days earlier than the workers and when fully grown, her weight is double that of the working bee.

The span of the worker bee's life is about 35-40 days; while the queen lives 5-6 years and is extremely prolific. She is fertilized once and from that moment on can lay as many as three thousand eggs a day during the season. As incredible as this may seem, she can lay that many eggs for five years. Any creature that has that amount of energy and vitality has to be respected!

This rich concentrated food is not just useful for the bees. It contains remarkable amounts of proteins, lipids, glucides, vitamins, hormones, enzymes, mineral substances, and specific vital factors that act as biocatalysts in cell regeneration processes within the human body.
Although some of the elements found in royal jelly are in microgram quantities, they still can act supremely with co-enzymes as catalysts or can act synergistically i.e. the elements' action combined is greater than the sum of their actions taken separately.

Royal jelly is rich in protein, vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6, C, E, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, inositol and folic acid. In fact, it contains seventeen times as much pantothenic acid as that found in dry pollen.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Something from the 16th Century

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence, the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water.

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying; It's raining cats and dogs.

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, dirt poor. The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance way. Hence the saying a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon". They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat..

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the "upper crust".

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and re-use the grave. When re-opening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, thread it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tomato and onion chutney

Tomato Onion Chutney


¼ cup + 2 Tbsps. red wine vinegar
¼ cup + 1 ¼ tsps. Granulated sugar
¼ cup + 1 ¼ tsps. dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. + 1 ½ tsps. Ginger root, peeled, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes

2 ½ oz. onions, sliced ½ inch thick
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
2 Tbsps. + 3 /4 tsp. golden raisins


1. Combine all ingredients except raisins in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat then simmer 30 minutes.

2. Add raisins. Simmer an additional 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated and raisins are plump. Cool, cover and keep chilled for service.

Callac, the centre for Breton Spaniels

Callac is the main centre of the Breton spaniel. The Breton spaniel was originally a cross between a Scottish setter and a local dog, known as the coalman. The origin of the breed is thought to have taken place circa 1800.

A museum “The House of the spaniel Breton" opened its doors to the public in July 2007. Objects, drawings, paintings, photographs, videos, and original film bring to life the history of the Breton spaniel. Also, the Breton spaniel is highly sought after by sportsmen the world over. The Breton spaniel should be compact and firmly built without being heavy. The expression should be one of intelligence, strength, and vigilance. The dog should never be strongly built or cumbersome.
The full article can be read here


History books somewhat unflatteringly sum up the Celts as being nice barbarians who were crushed by the Roman legions for their own good. The reality is different however. They were the strongest nation in Europe whose land stretched from the Black sea to Ireland. Forerunners of non-figurative art, they were the first to work with iron when the Greeks and Romans were still using bronze. They invented all the basic tools used up until recent mechanisation.

Thousands of our rivers, valleys and towns have kept their Celtic names. One of the first and foremost examples of this is "Paris" which the Romans wanted to call Lut├Ęce. King Arthur, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table all feature strongly in today's global cultural imagination. "Halloween", the Celtic New Year, is back in fashion and these inventive, brave and sometimes revelling ancestors, previously considered to be stifled by history, have sprung back to life.
The full article can be read here

Stories from

What Shall We Do With The Drunken Donkey?

Having lived in Questellic, near Callac, for just a few weeks - and feeling completely out of my depth, I was only too glad to help when asked. Until now, our neighbours had been harvesting their crops, feeding the needy and keeping body and soul together; Edward had been busy evaluating this and measuring that and I had been admiring the pretty flowers and scowling at the stripy wallpaper.

The neighbours always had a task to hand, moving sheep, lambing, harvesting their vegetable garden, and the general upkeep and maintenance of their land and animals . All that time, when everyone else had appeared so industrious I had lagged behind kicking the sand and feeling quite the proverbial fifth wheel - mais non! The world was about to change! I had a responsibility, a chance to prove myself - to show my worthiness and capabilities. The horses were changing fields and I was being asked to lead the donkey!!

The full story can be read at here