Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Fun

Sunday at Ciao Domenica tagged me to participate in this questionnaire:


Oh, goodness. I really don't know that I do! I read a lot of Charles Dickens, but I don't always like his books (The Old Curiosity Shop and Hard Times are particular un-favorites). I read a lot of Agatha Christie, but I always get mad at her for employing the deus ex machina. I really like Evelyn Waugh, but he can be a bit depressing. I have a lot of favorite books, but not really any single author whose overall writing I really really love.

I do like everything I've read (so far, at least) by Molière and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, so I guess I have a couple of favorite playwrights!


I've thought about this for days now and I know I'd like to invite Lucretius and Voltaire. I always have trouble with the next two. "Am I being too pretentious?" I ask myself. "Would that person be entertaining at dinner?" Perhaps I would just like four of my friends? Is that an option?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tea Time Treats: Rosemary Cream Scones

"Tea, that vulgar little stimulant we sip to soothe our afternoons."
-Max Fustian, 
smarmy art critic in Margery Allingham's Death of a Ghost

Death of a Ghost begins with a yearly art show in an Anglo-Italian household ("Little Venice"). There's a brutal murder in the dark with a pair of scissors and the matriarch of the family, Belle Lafcadio, calls on amateur sleuth Albert Campion for help.

Many scenes take place around the tea table, so I thought this was the perfect book to accompany Tea Time Treats.* The theme this month was "Scones--Sweet and Savory" so I made them with rosemary to make an Anglo-Italian Tea Time Treat.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dinner and a Movie: I See a Dark Stranger

St. Patrick's Day is the holiday that keeps on giving. We ended up with a fair amount of leftovers, so what could be better than Corned Beef Hash? I'd never had it before, but Modern Meal Maker suggests making it like potato cakes, so there was no argument here. The scallions in the champ and the saltiness of the corned beef really make this dish. Yum! We ate it two nights in a row with a green salad.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Life This Week: March 20, 1939

This week's "Movie of the Week" is Love Affair. As usual, Life gives away the whole thing. However, you are probably very familiar with the plot already--director Leo McCarey remade Love Affair in 1957, renaming it An Affair to Remember. I've seen the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr version a few times over the years, but this was my first viewing of Love Affair and I think I like it better. At any rate, I was totally glued to the computer (Love Affair is free at even though I already knew what was going to happen.

Poster from Doctor Macro

Charles Boyer's character is always going around ordering champagne cocktails with pink champagne. I didn't have any of the pink stuff, but here's my recipe for a champagne cocktail:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Feasts and Festivals: St. Patrick's Day

Corned Beef and Cabbage, Champ and Soda Bread (and scotch and soda*)

Unlike other Feasts and Festivals, where I usually prepare everything up to a week in advance so I can blog about it (sorry for spoiling the magic), Paul and I had friends over today to share in our St. Patrick's Day celebration, so we actually had our feast on the correct day. Doesn't happen often! We had such a great time--I'm looking forward to next year.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blanche Fury Tea Break: Staffordshire Fruitcake

Blanche Fury is the story of poor relation Blanche Fullerton (Valerie Hobson) who arrives at Clare Hall to be her young cousin's governess. Blanche quickly attracts the attention of her pupil's father, Laurence Fury (Michael Gough) and the two are soon married. However, Blanche can't keep herself away from Philip Thorn (Stewart Granger), the illegitimate son of the former master of Clare Hall, who will stop at nothing to make that grand estate his own.

Blanche Fury is set near Stafford in Staffordshire. Lucky me, I had a recipe I wanted to try for Staffordshire Fruitcake. The terrible thing is that I had to wait two weeks to try my creation. Cruelty.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reading and Recipes: Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton

Yet again at the Wichita recycling center's book section, I found a copy of  Magdalen King-Hall's The Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton, not even knowing it was the source material for the Gainsborough film The Wicked Lady. The book is in really disgusting shape and felt damp the entire time I was reading it (hopefully it hasn't given me some dread mold-borne disease). However, it was free and actually entertaining. How I love going to the recycling center. The Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton is a about a bored 17th-century noblewoman who seeks excitement as a part-time highway(wo)man.  It's a quick read and a lot of fun. Shelve it between Frenchman's Creek and Forever Amber.

So what I really wanted to make was a pigeon pie. It's mentioned several times in the book, along with lots of possets and syllabubs. King-Hall frequently tells her readers what's eaten in a particular scene. As you might guess, I like that about her. It kept me busy making notes the entire time I was reading. Unfortunately, there were no pigeons to be found save for those in my yard and it's illegal to shoot them, although I guess I could have wrung their necks but I'm not quite ready for that. So, I moved on to Plan B--something with rosemary, which is a recurring theme in the novel.

"...rosemary for the bride, rosemary for the corpse, symbol of the unity underlying all life and death" (269).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Life This Week: March 6, 1939

Stills from Doctor Macro

This week's "Movie of the Week" is actually a film entitled Café Society, which I can't locate anywhere. No problem--there are several other movies mentioned in this issue. However, the only one that isn't a future "Movie of the Week" is The Little Princess. I'd been avoiding Shirley Temple movies since I subjected myself to The Little Colonel. I don't think The Little Princess was quite as bad as The Little Colonel, although I did fast-forward through the "ballet" and found myself sympathizing with nasty headmistress Miss Minchin. Excepting The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, I'm refusing to watch any more Shirley Temple movies. Sorry folks, there's an end to it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Feasts and Festivals: St. David's Day

St. David is the patron saint of Wales. A sixth century Welsh bishop, David founded monasteries and churches in Wales, Southwest England and Brittany. David is believed to have lived 100 years, dying on March 1, 589. David's miracle was spontaneously creating a hill. No, not with buckets of dirt; the earth supposedly rose up under him.1 There is also a legend that David warns the people of Wales when there will be a death in the community through corpse candles (will-o'-the-wisps).2
St. David's Cathedral photo from Wikipedia