Archive for December, 2006

Jamaican Christmas pudding

Friday, December 1st, 2006

By popular request, we’re printing this fabulous recipe once again.

2 lbs (1kg) raisins
1/2 lb (250g) currants
1lb (500 g) prunes
1/4 (125f) dates
1/4 lb (125g) almonds
1/4 lb mixed peel
Peel of 1 lime, grated
2tsp vanilla
20 oz (500 mL) rum
20 oz. (500 mL) port wine
20 oz (500 mL) sherry
12 eggs
1 lb (500 ) butter
3/4 lb (375g) dark brown sugar
1/2 lb (250g) bread crumbs
1/2 lb (250g) flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsps baking powder
1 tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of cloves

Stone and stew prunes with sugar, to taste and then chop fine. Stone dates and chop fine. Chop all fruit very fine and place in a large jar (except almonds)

Pour liquor on fruit and steep for up to one month: the longer the better. (If you don’t have much time to marinate the fruit, simmer it in the alcohol mixture for about 30 minutes — do not boil — and leave overnight before using).

Sieve together butter and sugar, baking powder, salt and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves). Add chopped almonds and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar, beat in eggs until smooth and creamy. Add the marinated fruits. Gradually sir in the dry mixture and mix well. If it is too stiff or a sharper flavour is desired add more sherry, wine or rum to taste (mixture should fall easily off spoon but not be too runny. Pour batter into a well greased and heavily lined baking tin or pudding basin, cover tightly and steam at least 4 hours. The pudding may also be se covered, in a 200 F (120C) oven and baked for at least 4 hours.

Serve with brandy sauce.

Fom Viola Geen, Toronto with input from Donna Andersen

And why not Christmas trees?

Friday, December 1st, 2006

(Canscene) — I arrived in Canada 59 years ago, just ten days before Christmas. England, like the rest of Europe, was still suffering from austerity measures, demanding conservation of electricity and continued rationing of fuel, food and clothing.

After disembarking at Halifax, there was little time for a meal before I entrained, but it was a treat to be able to gaze at the menu at the Nova Scotian Hotel coffee shop. I chose a plate of cold ham and sliced tomatoes and in my mind’s palate can taste it yet.

As the train from Halifax to Montreal sped through the gathering night, we passed towns and villages where Christmas lights were beginning to be switched on. Montreal, where I changed trains for Toronto, was ablaze with Christmas colour.

Arriving in Toronto on December 17, I ran head on into a wonderland: the gaily bedecked windows of Simpson’s and Eaton’s, the outpouring of Bing’s White Christmas from speakers mounted above the doors of even the most humble retail businesses, the geniality of people on the streets from whom I asked directions. And there were Christmas trees by the thousands.

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I’ve celebrated many enjoyable Christmas holidays, but none more memorable that that first one where, on Christmas Day, I was welcomed into the home of a stranger and one week later to a New Year’s celebration in another town. Like many others, I have become jaundiced about the “commercialization” of Christmas. but at the same time cannot shuck off the feeling of that first Christmas in Canada. More »

Tiger, tiger, burning bright…

Friday, December 1st, 2006

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Of particular significance to me is this Korean tiger which over the past two Christmas seasons has graced a patch of green at the intersection of Toronto’s Bloor and Christie Streets, where the city’s Little Korea begins. and about a kilometre from my home.

Favourable spotlight on much maligned community

Friday, December 1st, 2006

(Canscene) — “The Regent Park Film Festival is an important validation of a vibrant community which has been the subject of much negative press. The community is taking charge of telling its own stories. nd Regent Park Focus and the EYE video program run by Adonis Huggins gives young people tools to tell their stories in a creative and engaging manner.” More »

A despicable manipulation

Friday, December 1st, 2006

(Canscene) — One of the more sleazy internet  parodies now being circulated is Stranger on a Plane, sung to the tune of Strangers in the Night, a ballad made famous by one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century.

The “stranger” is a be-turbaned non-white whom the singer suspects is a terrorist, which in itself is sufficient to class this as “hate” material.

However the singing voice is an uncanny impersonation of the late Frank Sinatra, a man noted for his anti-racist  views, which makes this hate message even more deplorable.

The simulation of a dead man’s voice  is a typical example of the cowardice of racists who  carefully avoid self-identification with their despicable views.
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Putting back the small “l” where it belongs

Friday, December 1st, 2006

(Canscene) — When did  the word “liberal” become equated with evil in the United States? How many times  have we heard and read negative connotations to the word?

The utterings of neo-cons and right wing fundamentalists in recent years have echoed the post World War II hysteria over communism which included lumping the liberal-minded with “reds,”  “fellow travellers” and “pinkos.”

How it must have galled Bush and his fellow neo-cons to know that until January, 2006 the administration was compelled to do business with a large “l” government in Canada. But now after the mid-term elections of last month, the evil liberals are poised to strike from within.

Beware,  Dubya and fellow neo-cons! They’re going to give you an “l” of a time.
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And now — Stevespeak

Friday, December 1st, 2006

(Canscene) — George Orwell in his grim novel 1984 wrote of a totalitarian government that had introduced newsspeak, a bastardization of the English language to brainwash a submissive population.

I’m sure you’ve already heard how Stephen Harper’s Tories have been brainwashed to the extent that they must refer to themselves as Canada’s new government. Now from journalist Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star comes the alarming disclosure that further Stevespeak is planned.

She informs us that Tories may no longer refer to “innovation” or “innovative” because the federal Liberals launched an innovation strategy in 2002.

Furthermore, she says, the term “equality” has been dropped from the vocabulary of the Status of Women, a department of Canadian Heritage.

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Knowing of the Tories’ parents, the Reform and Alliance Parties’ revulsion to the word multiculturalism, it wouldn’t surprise me if that word, too, is on the way out: it was so much associated with Trudeau. Harper refers to diversity and pluralism but I’ve yet to hear him speak of multiculturalism, even though it’s written into our Charter of Rights and Multiculturalism Act.
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Six women’s teams now in CMHC

Friday, December 1st, 2006

(Canscene) —: The Canadian Multicultural Hockey League (CMHL) Inc. announces the addition of a division of Women’s Hockey to its fast evolving grassroots project of multicultural hockey–The Canadian Multicultural Hockey Championships (CMHC). Comprised of six teams, European, Japanese, Israeli, Chinese, Ojibwa and Iroqois, the new division will make its mark at the fast approaching second annual tournament named this year, The Coffee Time and 2 4 1 Pizza Canadian Multicultural Hockey Championships. More »

New Year’s Eve, 1944

Friday, December 1st, 2006

(Canscene) — On rare occasions, life imitates art in the timing of dramatic and sometimes tragic occurrences.

This experience came to me on December 31, 1944, in a hospital in Florence.

I was recovering from a severe attack of rheumatism that had crippled my back and shoulders. I’d been sent down from the mountains to the north a few days before Christmas.

Most of the other men in the ward were war-wounded but like me, sufficiently ambulant to be thankful for this respite from the damp, cold front lines. On December 31, we were at least hoping to welcome in the New Year in some kind of merriment. More »

A welcome visit to Canada

Friday, December 1st, 2006

(Canscene) Seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Toronto’s Hummingbird Centre brought back that 40s flavour of goodwill. This is the first visit of an annual celebration that’s been running at New York’s Radio City Music Hall since 1933 and it features the 18 girl dance team, the Rockettes. Fabulous!

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For those of us who go back to the 30s and 40s, this is great nostalgia and it thrilled me opening night to see so many young adults there with their children. If you want to catch that flavour, the Christmas spectacular is at Hummingbird until Christmas Eve.
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A Christmas story

Friday, December 1st, 2006

(Canscene) — Sometimes I think I’m the only person in the world at this time of year who refuses to view one more time the sacchariney It’s a Wonderful Life. But I rush to our TV whenever I get the opportunity to see A Christmas Story.

All of us in the business of writing about movies have our “10 best” lists for practically everything from the great movies to musicals to epics. But there are films produced with less ambitious motives, perhaps, that I can only class as “personal pleasures ”; and I can’t confine them to ten. High on the list, though, are Big Night, It’s Always Fair Weather, Bella (winner of the people’s choice award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival) and A Christmas Story. More »