Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Blueberry Grunt

My Grandma used to make this dessert at the end of every summer after filling buckets and buckets with blueberries she and Granddad picked. There is nothing quite as sweet and fresh as blueberries from Newfoundland. This dessert doesn't exactly have the most appetizing name, but top it with some vanilla ice cream and drizzle of a blueberry wine reduction and you have a dessert fit for royalty.
What you need:
1 quart blueberries
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour, all purpose
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp butter
2/3 cup milk

Heat blueberries, water and sugar slowly until blueberries begin to soften; then bring to a boil. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes. As it simmers make the dumplings.

Dumplings: Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in butter and add enough milk to make a soft dough.

Once the dumplings are mixed, drop dumpling dough by the tablespoonful onto hot berry mixture. You should have anywhere from 8 to 10dumplings. Cover tightly and cook 15 minutes without raising lid. Dumplings will double in size and will make funny noises in the pot- hence the name.

Serve hot, spooning some of the blueberry mixture over dumplings, and top with cream. Tasty!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Social Media

It is amazing to think of the changes we have seen in the way we live, work and connect with media. Gone are the days when the newspaper and your local news cast were your most often chosen forms of information. The newspaper is terminally ill and may soon be going the way of cave drawings- where perhaps the writing on the wall may also warn of television's possible demise.

Simply migrating those two sources of information and entertainment to the Internet has not saved them, but it has put them on life support. The interactivity the Internet provides has given them a chance to push on through to the next technical leap- but only if they can let go of old ideas, and get ahead of the new ones.

I thought this video was neat because it shows just what kind of an all consuming monster this "New Social Media" is, how fast it is spreading and becoming a part of our daily life. From Blogs, and Facebook to HULU and YouTube, and the way it reaches us in our cars, on our phones, on the internet, and at the office. We are connected to everyone, all the time, everywhere.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Royal St. John’s Regatta

Though people will argue that the Regatta started much earlier, the earliest documented mention of a rowing competition dates back to 12 August 1816. According to the Royal St. John's Regatta website: ”the first 30 to 40 years of Regatta history the races often took one, two, even three days to complete. Some challenges were for sailing while others were for racing. Crews and boats had to be classified or matched so that all challenges could be met. Sailing matches were initially held in the Harbour with rowing matches reserved for Quidi Vidi.” As years passed and the harbour became too busy to hold the event and the races moved to Quidi Vidi for good.

I have a special interest in the race this year because I know one of the people racing in it. Angela Antle, Host of The Weekend Arts Magazine, is one of six talented and busy woman to form a team for this year’s event. They all work full time and have families to raise so finding time to exercise can be about as difficult as nuclear physics. However, each of the women made a commitment to themselves and to each other to start a rowing team, and as Angela put it: “...we carved out a little bit of time for ourselves and no one died or got a divorce...yet.”

Most were newbies to the sport and the team goes by the moniker “The Unfit Mothers”. Angela explains: “We're all out of fact...we didn't want to row with anyone in shape!” But they did have one person with experiece to mentor the crew. Jackie Cains is the Cox. She rowed since she was 15 and agreed to take the team on; getting up with them to row at 6:30am every day for 13 weeks on a VOLUNTEER basis. Angela jokes: “She is 5 ft nothing and she gets in and stands over us with her mug of Tim's tea and says "OK ladies...get in time, Give me 10 good ones, C'mon I know you can do it...slow down number 2!" Also on the team is Victoria King who as the team’s "stroke" she sets the pace. Clara McCue who Angela describes as “very strong” remarked to Angela once that rowing is “great because the exercise is a consequence of the activity ...not the focus...there's so much technique going on you don't even realize you're working hard”. Artist and teacher Elayne Greeley manages to keep the team laughing and focused. Dr. Joy Tilley is also a member of the team who says she's NEVER had so much fun getting exercise. Finally, there is Debbie Hynes who is a secret weapon for the team.

This group of women are determined ladies to be sure. They improved their times by one whole minute from St. John's Day to Time Trials and are the only team that didn't get a sponsor. The ladies split the $800 rowing fees and their own t-shirts printed: “ …because we didn't want to lose our name and have to be the shopper drug mart team or whatever...and the fees themselves were cheaper than weight watchers or a gym fees for the summer!”

Ladies I shall be thinking of you all on the 5th. Race hard.

May the wind be at your back.