The Menu

Mulligatawny Soup (with sherry)
Haddock (with white wine)
Chicken (with Champagne)
Fruit (with port)

– Little drop of soup, Miss Sophie?
– I am particularly fond of mulligatawny soup*, James…I think we’ll have sherry with the soup.
– Sherry with the soup? Yes… oh, by the way, the same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
– Same procedure as every year, James.

Dinner for one also known as The 90th Birthday, or by its corresponding German title, Der 90. Geburtstag, is a comedy sketch written by British author Lauri Wylie for the theatre in the 1920s. German television station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) recorded a performance of the piece in 1963, in its original English language. This short comical play subsequently went on to become the most frequently repeated TV programme ever (according to the Guinness Book of Records, 1988-1995 eds.; later editions no longer have the category). Wikipedia

The 18 minute black-and-white 1963 TV recording features the British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden. In many countries New Year, without Dinner for One, would be like Christmas without It’s A Wonderful Life! The German airline LTU shows it on all its New Year flights, and Dinner for One recently ventured across the border to Austria, where it has become compulsive annual viewing. (The Daily Telegraph online)

Everywhere where it is regularly televised, it has become a cult, and translated into many languages, including Latin:

Ceterum, domina, iubesne me sequi eandem rationem procedendi atque anno superiore? – Same procedure as last year, milady? (BBC online)?

This sketch is absolutely hysterically funny, methinks. Rii

* Recipe for the Mulligatawny Soup is in this link.

“Literally meaning pepper water. Mulligatawny Soup is an Anglo-Indian invention. Created by servants for the English Raj who demanded a soup course from a cuisine that had never produced one. You can make this soup a day ahead and you can add chicken pieces in the soup as well.” (All Recipes online)

Haddock and other fish pictures.
Dinner for One BBC link.
Transcript for the dialogue between Miss Sophie and James.
Even a Quizz on the Dinner for One.

Gardening in the Emerald Isle

My Hanging Flower Basket

The 40-shades of greens with the multitude of rainbow colours of various plants and flowers make it very pleasing to the eyes in Ireland. People take the gardening rather seriously there. When one is passing by the houses, it is clear that the competition for the best neighbourhood garden is a close call in many instances – it would be nearly too difficult to vote the best one. It is the temperate climate that makes everything sprout at fast speed and it is the rain that keeps the growth lush all year round. Yet, the Irish are not big into growing fruit and vegetable for their own use or for the export. The saying over there was:

‘If the Dutch lived in Ireland, they would feed the world.
If the Irish lived in Holland, they would drown.’

I had an apple tree and a plum tree planted in this garden where this hanging basket was. This picture was taken in the early stages of the basket, as it grew to nearly to touch the ground.The hanging basket plants were all sown and grown by yours truly! do enjoy growing things and find it really therapeutic.The encouraging thing for anybody, of course, is if everything grows and blossoms for them. It would not be the most cheerful thing if everything died that one went close to!

The apple tree begun to really get going and to produce fruit at a furious rate, only after I had given it a Mulligan – a chop! The reason being that it took it for years and years on end to get growing, flowering, never mind to produce any ripe fruit. I know, patience is a virtue regarding gardening and many other things in life. The plum tree got a good ‘haircut’ by one of the cats that decided to climb up this most fragile of newly planted trees for a view – her life was in grave, grave danger after that, I tell you. The next-door neighbour that had been a professional gardener for fifty years comforted me by saying:

‘Never mind. She did a good job at pruning that tree.
It will begin to produce for you now on.’

Sure enough, it did: first year after that misshap with the cat it produced eight whole fruit, but the years after that, there were hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of the most gorgeous, juicy fruit on it! The cat was back in favour.

The year that this apple tree out of the blue decided to spring into action was thus: I was cooking inside one spring and happened to glance out of the window when, suddenly, I became aware that there was a pink flower bud on the tree. ‘What the sandhills’ – I said to myself and barged out to check the situation whether there would be a Harvest Thanksgiving with this tree finally or not! Yes, the tree was alive. It gave a fabulous show of apple blossoms like nobody’s business that year and every year after it!! Hooray.

I baked Apple Pies, Apple Tarts, Tarte Tatins, Apple Crumbles, Apple Cobblers – tis amazing just how many variations one can do when one puts one’s mind to it! I did apple puddings of every type and style to get rid of the abundant harvest of these apples and the plums, using the fruit in the best possible way before they went off. We gave lots of the fruit to the friends and neighbours, too.

There are a good few very admired and famous gardens that were located close to us: The Mount Usher Gardens in Ashford and the Kilruddery House in Bray are two examples . Another one is the Powerscourt Gardens in Enniskerry which is my absolute favourite as to just walking and enjoying the scenery. Also, the ambience there is so lovely in every way: fresh, clean air, plenty of space and the breathtaking views to every direction.

In the city centre of Dublin there is the St. Stephen’s Green – a park right at the heart of Dublin. It is great to go for just a break with all the shopping or during the lunch if working in the city. That is what I did when I was working in Dublin. There are smaller parks as well, such as the Herbert Park, the Fitzwilliam Park and the Merrion Park right close to one another at the city centre.

Tis for now. Riihele xx.