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Sunday, 25 September 2016

QUTB MINAR, a World Heritage Site in DELHI . . . and Spicy Rice

A year ago, we were packing for India and drawing up an itinerary for our first day there.  At the top of my list was the Qutb Minar.

In 1191, a Turkic Afghan conquered Delhi.

In the year 1202, the Qutb Minar was begun by Qutbuddin Aibak, the new governor.  He, like the sultan, was a former slave.

Around 1310, Alauddin, another sultan, was a brutal ruler: “commonly crushing his enemies under the feet of elephants and building towers from the heads of the vanquished”.   However, he contributed the Alai Darwaza, as a “superb gate” to the mosque:  red sandstone alternating effectively with white marble. 

No one knows how a mysterious IRON PILLAR got into the site.  It dates back to the 4th or 5th century and has never rusted in over 1500 years.  The wonder is how it was made given the technology of the time.  It is fenced off now, but people used to put their arms around it and make a wish.  

In 1838, Fanny Eden wrote of the Qutb Minar site, “I do not think I have yet seen anything so beautiful.”

I saw the Qutb Minar on a beautiful day in December, 1970, and thought the ruins were lovely.  

In spite of our plans, we didn't visit the site last year because the Oberoi Maidens Hotel,  steeped in the ambience of the British raj, turned out to be a very pleasant distraction. 


 This rice goes very well with an Indian lamb dish:


1 ½ cups Basmati rice
¼ cup butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp cumin
3 cups broth or water
Finely peeled zest of one orange
1 carrot
½ cup raisins

·        Start oven preheating to 350.
·        Heat broth or water to boiling point.
·        Rinse rice and drain well.
·        Melt butter in Dutch oven over high heat.
·        Add rice and stir for 3 minutes over high heat.
·        Add salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and cumin.  Continue stirring for 2 minutes.
·        Pour in boiling hot broth, but be careful as it will bubble up.
·        Cover and put in oven for 45 minutes.
·        Peel and coarsely grate the carrot.
·        Cut orange zest into fine slivers.
·        After the 45 minutes, take out the rice, and drop in the orange, carrot, and raisins.   Do not stir.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes (or more if you need to: it stays hot).   
·        Stir everything together, serve, and enjoy fluffy perfection!


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

EXPLORING in the Cariboo . . . and Happy Hour BISCOTTI

Fun roads

Historic sites


and other stuff


Happy Hour


½ cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
½ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

3 eggs
¼ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

*If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, put all the ingredients in it, and mix until it forms a dough.  If you don’t have one, use the following procedure.  DO NOT TRY TO MIX THE FLOUR IN WITH A HAND-MIXER.

·        Grease a cookie sheet.
·        Chop the tomatoes.
·        Put butter, flour, garlic powder, salt, sugar, oregano, baking powder, and Parmesan into a food processor and pulse until well-mixed.
·        Put eggs into a large bowl and beat.
·        Add the sun-dried tomatoes.
·        Stir in the flour mixture, one cup at a time.  You may have to knead in the last of the flour to make a smooth dough.


·        Start oven preheating to 350.
·        Divide the dough in half.  Form each half into a 10-inch log.  (Or you can make 4 logs that are each 5 inches long.)
·        Place logs on cookie sheet.  Keep them far apart.
·        Bake for 25 minutes.
·        Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.
·        Slice logs into ¾ inch pieces.  Cut with a steady downward pressure; not a sawing one.
·        Set slices, cut-side down, on the baking sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes.
·        Turn slices over and bake for another 8 minutes.  Do not overbake.


Saturday, 17 September 2016


My favourite artist!

We have lots of Nicole’s earlier art on our walls.

These are some of her more recent pieces:

Title:  Muted

Now, imagine being all snuggled up in a work of art!

Yes, it's time to go shopping!

 Uh huh, I'm thinking a shawl for starters. 


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

September Camping in the Cariboo . . . and HUNGARIAN BEAN & RIB CASSEROLE


We started out on Friday at 7:45 am.  It was a long, long way so I was able to start and finish reading a Shakespearean play aloud in the car.

 It got dark shortly after we set up the tents and had dinner.

For the next two days, we had the entire site almost entirely to ourselves except for the squirrels.  

Vesper had a great time!

Cooking was a cinch.  Almost everything was prepped ahead . . . from Bryan’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread and

  my biscuits for toasting  

to beans for breakfast and stews for supper and Sauerkraut Buns for lunches!

We were really lucky with the weather . . . lots of sunshine. 
We started packing up at 6:45 am on Monday and were on the road by 8 am.

We passed by one group of deer after another, grazing by the road.

Such a beautiful weekend!    


BABOS KAPOSZTAFOZELEK (Hungarian Bean and Sauerkraut Casserole)
      From DRIED BEANS & GRAINS: The Good Cook Techniques & Recipes

1 ½ cups pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 pound (or more) pork ribs
2 cups sauerkraut, drained
2 lbs. medium tomatoes (about 7 tomatoes)
1 large onion (12 ounces)
2 tbsp lard
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

·        Place the presoaked beans and pork ribs in a large pot.  Cover them with 8 cups water, bring to a boil, and skim.  Cover the pot and cook for one and one half hours until the beans are tender.

·        Peel and coarsely chop the tomatoes. 
·        In a large stainless-steel frying pan, cook tomatoes over high heat for 5 minutes.  Then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring,  for about 5 minutes, or until most of the juice has evaporated and the tomatoes are a thick pulp.
·        Grind the tomatoes in a food processor.

·        Simmer the sauerkraut and tomatoes together for 10 minutes.
·        In a saucepan, sauté the onion in the lard over medium heat until soft.  Add flour and stir until light golden. 
·        Add the onions to the sauerkraut.  Mix well.  Add salt and pepper.
·        Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
·        Start oven preheating to 350 about 45 minutes before you want to serve. 
·        Put beans and ribs into a large pan.  Add sauerkraut.  Pour over top ½ cup of bean liquid. 
·        Cover and heat in 350 oven for 30 minutes. 

·        Serve with salad.  

·        When freezing some for camping, add more of the reserved bean liquid to the jar (about 1 cup) so that it won’t burn when reheating.  

Monday, 5 September 2016

Sept 6, 1978 . . . SOUR CABBAGE HEADS . . . and Ukrainian Dolls

Sept 6, 1978
Cabbages can stay in the garden till you hear of hard frost but if they are cracking you have to bring them in sooner.  The only thing you can do if you still don’t want to bring them in, as the longer the better, you pull them up a little so it’s not all pulled up but don’t get to grow any more much.  But you will see that by the end of Sept they be need to bring in, the latest by Oct 5.


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

BULLIES . . . a School Story: page 1


            Story by Eleanor Stadnyk

            Illustrations by Nestor Stadnyk

Page 1:

The doors of Oolichan Bay’s elementary school banged open.

“Look at that!” shouted Kit Otter.

It was a beautiful fall day and warm sunlight glittered off the blue ocean

just ahead.

“Come on!” yelled Kit. “Last one in is a smelly oolichan.”

“Gang way!” shrieked his adopted sister, Millie Mutt. (His family had

found her crying at the end of summer outside an empty cottage.)

But if Olivia Otter heard her little brother there was no sign. She never

even raised her head.

Bewildered, Kit ran back to Olivia. “What’s the matter?” he asked.

“Aren’t you coming?”

“Leave me alone,” said Olivia.

“Okay, if that’s the way you want to be,” said Kit and he ran off to join

his friends.

For HOMESCHOOLING or TEACHERS . . . BLACK BEAUTY Comprehension questions

Yesterday, this paper turned up in one of my old blog binders.  I had used the back of it to do some planning.

BLACK BEAUTY was in the classroom library when I was in grade two, and I loved it.  One of the things it taught was not to be cruel to animals. 

The questions I developed can be used in a variety of ways.  A  teacher could read the book to a class.  Alternatively, of course, a child could read the book alone.   For parents, however, I would recommend, reading with the child.  Take turns reading aloud.  Then do these questions:

1.      The main idea in Chapter 2 was:
(a) A hare was killed.
(b)  A hunt in which people riding horses that followed dogs was described.
(c)  Black Beauty’s mother was upset because a horse was killed.

2.     There are still hunts in England where people ride horses and follow hounds chasing a fox.  These people enjoy hunting as a sport.  Other people say it is cruel.  What do you think?  Why?

3.     Put numbers in front of the following sentences to show in what order events happened.
---- People were riding in all directions: to the doctor’s, to the farrier’s, and to Squire Gordon’s.
____ The colts heard hounds.
____  A terrified hare went by the colts.
____  A black coach went by.
____  The colts saw the hounds.
____  A huntsman held up the dead hare.
____ The horsemen went by. 
____  A gun went bang.
____  The dead man was taken to the house.


I was a school librarian for ten years

collaborating with teachers  (Betty Balon on the left).

Then, I asked for a classroom and was a teacher for over twenty years.

Reading was always my passion and I developed novel study after novel study so that my students could have an individualized program – each kid reading a good book at his/her own level.

The questions were designed to check comprehension and to develop different skills such as identifying main ideas and making judgements.

I sent some of them to Rainbow Publishing in North Battleford and received a lump sum; no royalties.  These are still available if you’re interested.  Just google:

P.S. The BLACK BEAUTY questions were among the many novel studies I never got around to sending to the publisher.