Hibiscus is a beautiful flowering plant belonging to the mallow family, Malvaceae. There are many species of Hibiscus including both annual and perennial herbaceous plants.

Hibiscus is recognizable by its showy trumpet-shaped flowers that can be quite large from 4 to 18 cm wide. The petals of the Hibiscus flower come in various colours from white, pink, orange, purple, yellow and my favourite “coral”,. The individual flowers are short-lived; they live only for one day. However, the numerous flower buds produced on the shrub's new growth, provide an abundance of flowers from July to September and even later if the plant is brought indoors before the cold fall nights kick in.
The sepals of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower are used to make Hibiscus tea, a hot and cold herbal drink consumed by people around the world. Hibiscus tea is also referred to as sorrel and roselle, which is another common name for the hibiscus flower.
Hibiscus and hummingbird
Hibiscus plants are often used in the garden to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.
Thanks to my brother-in-law Colin for the great picture of the hibiscus and hummingbird.

Caro Emerald - That Man

Caro Emerald - That Man

Dutch jazz singer Caro Emerald singing "That Man". This single is one of many hits taken from her upbeat chart topping album "Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor". 

Swinging and sassy!



Petit Corse aux Herbes

Petit Corse aux Herbes is a soft ripened sheep-milk cheese covered with herbs from the island of Corsica.

Petit Corse aux Herbes

Petit Corse aux Herbes is a small 150 gr (5 oz) round shaped cheese. The soft fine-textured ivory coloured paste is creamy and slightly salty. The strong-scented dried herbs that cover the cheese give it a flavoured bite.

Petit Corse aux Herbes is produced by Fromagerie Pierucci located in Vescovato, a commune in Upper Corsica. Fromagerie Pierucci operated by the Pierucci family for three generations, has become one of Corsica's leading cheese producers.

Corsica's Mediterranean climate and its mountainous terrain allow the livestock a diet that is rich, natural and flavourful.

Corsican Mouflon Ram and Ewe

The Corsican mouflon (Ovis musimon) is thought to be one of the two ancestors for all modern sheep breeds. These small and rustic sheep give up to four times less milk than the best dairy breeds, but the milk it produces is good milk that is very rich in proteins and lipids.

Noriel Vilela - 16 Toneladas

Noriel Vilela - 16 Toneladas

This version of "Sixteen Tons", entitled 16 Toneladas was recorded by Noriel Vilela in Brazil in 1969; it is featured on his solo album “Eis o Ôme”. Noriel Vilela known as 'The Tenor of Samba' is an iconic samba-rock artist who was a member of the band Cantores de Ébano in the 50's.
"Sixteen Tons" was first recorded in 1946 by American country singer Merle Travis.

In 1955 Tennessee Ernie Ford’s version of Sixteen Tons became a huge number one hit.

The song has been covered by a variety of musicians among them: Elvis Presley, The Platters, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash, among many more.

The Clash used Tennessee Ernie Ford's version as their intro music for their 1980 US tour, called "The 16 Tons Tour".


Jayne Mansfield's Car

Jayne Mansfield's Car is a funny, crazy drama directed by Billy Bob Thornton.

Jayne Mansfield's Car

This quirky film is about two colourful families who are brought together by the death of a woman. The acclaimed cast includes Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now, Lonesome Dove), John Hurt (The Elephant Man, Harry Potter), Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade, Bad Santa), Kevin Bacon (Footloose, The River Wild) among others.



Zacharie Cloutier

Zacharie Cloutier is an award winning raw sheep-milk cheese from Quebec's Eastern Township region.

Zacharie Cloutier

Zacharie Cloutier has a firm, semi-cooked, pressed paste that has a pleasant sweet floral aroma with hints of coconut and caramel. The 3.3 KG wheel has a golden-orange coloured washed rind that bears a distinguished zigzag basket weave pattern. Zacharie Cloutier is ripened from 4 to 6 months. The butter coloured paste has a mild, soft and creamy texture.
Fromagerie Nouvelle France's Zacharie Cloutier label

Zacharie Cloutier produced by Fromagerie Nouvelle France, is the brainchild of experienced cheese consultant and cheesemaker Marie-Chantal Houde.  The farm's herd of East Friesian sheep is run by Marie-Chantal's brother, Jean-Paul Houde on the family's 250 hectare spread in Racine, Quebec.

East Friesian sheep

Zacharie Cloutier was named as a tribute to the Cloutier-Houde family ancestor.

Fromagerie Nouvelle France and Fromagerie du Prosbytère have recently collaborated to make a unique mixed milk (sheep and cow) cheese called Le Pionnier

Photo source: Wikipedia


Outside Bet

Outside Bet is a tale of seven friends, who embark on a journey that eventually leads them to gamble all of their savings and redundancy money on a single race.

Outside Bet movie
Outside Bet is a British comedy film directed by Sacha Bennett and starring Bob Hoskins (Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Jenny Agutter (Logan's Run), Philip Davis (Vera Drake), Adam Deacon (Anuvahood, Criminal Justice) and Montserrat Lombard (Ashes To Ashes).
A light, enjoyable film.


Alvin Child

Alvin Child is a Haida artist from Alert Bay, British Columbia. Alvin, born in 1962, is a member of the Tsawataineuk band from Kingcome Inlet. The Tsawataineuk (pronounced 'tsa-wa-tay-nook') belong to the Kwakwaka'wakw Indian group.

Alvin Child - Haida Chest

Kingcome Inlet is an isolated fjord set against the breathtaking backdrop of towering mountains on British Columbia’s mainland separated by the Queen Charlotte Strait across the north-end tip of Vancouver Island.

Alvin Child studied native art for about twelve years under the tutelage of John Livingston, a Victoria, BC master wood carver and accomplished artist.

I was drawn to the works of Alvin Child for his great eye for design and form and great respect to the traditional Haida symbols.

Alvin Child - Raven

These photos are some of Alvin Child's silkscreen prints done from 2000 to 2008. They are great examples of the artistic skills of one of today’s exceptional Haida artist.

For information on the history and detailed description on the symbols of art depicted in the Haida culture visit: Haida Designs.com and the Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibit on The Haida – Children of Eagle and Raven.


Le D'Iberville

Le D'Iberville is a beautiful raw organic cow-milk, semi-soft, washed rind cheese from Québec's Montérégie region.

Le D'Iberville 

This farmstead cheese which has been ripened for 60 days has a lovely herbal aroma. The exquisite pale ochre washed rind covers a rather soft pale-yellow paste punctuated with small openings due to its molding method. Le D'Iberville has an herbaceous floral flavour with lingering notes of creamy mushrooms.

Le D'Iberville pairs well with a California Zinfandel.

Le D'Iberville is produced by La Fromagerie Au Gré Des Champs who are located in Saint-Jean-sur Richelieu.

Meet the Gosselin family, Québec's first certified organic cheese-makers and passionate organic farmers from La Fromagerie Au Gré Des Champs.


Charles Bukowski - The 9 Horse

Charles Bukowski - Hostage - The 9 Horse

Charles Bukowski was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. Here's a great example of Bukowski's prose and brilliant sense of humour. ‘The 9 Horse’ is an excerpt from an album recording entitled “Hostage” which was recorded live at The Sweetwater, Redondo Beach, California in April, 1980.

The 9 Horse by Charles Bukowski

I was at the race track one day
And I had drunk much beer the night before
And I was late for the first race
But I parked, hustled in, and I could
Feel this beershit really coming on,
You know, not only coming on
But I had to hold the cheeks of my ass
Together while walking real fast from
The parking lot and through admissions
And toward and in the crapper.
Luckily, there was a stall and I got
My pants and shorts down real fast
And then it came: hot, glorious and
When I got up and wiped I looked down
And there was my wallet afloat
In all of it.
I dipped in, got it, flushed, got out
Of the stall, washed up, walked out,
Then stood in a corner and pulled
The bills out of my wallet: they
Were wet and they stank.
I heard the announcer say, “it is
Now one minute to post time.”
I wanted the 9 horse, I had this
Very strong feeling for the 9 horse.
I put the bills back in my wallet.
I didn’t know what to do.
Then the announcer said:
“they’re at the gate!”
I ran around the corner
Found a betting window
Pulled one of the bills out
Of my wallet and hollered:
“Ten to win on the 9 horse!”
The seller picked up the bill
And looked at it.
“Come on! Come on!” I said,
“It’s good, just a little wet,
What the shit!”
The seller looked at me,
Hit the button and I had
The ticket.

Then I went out and watched the
Race and the 9 horse ran


Koko Taylor - I'm A Woman

Koko Taylor is one of the reasons why I like the blues.

Koko Taylor - The Earthshaker ft. I'm A Woman

Koko Taylor was an American Chicago blues musician, known primarily for her rough, powerful vocals and her traditional blues style.

Over the course of her career that ran near 50 years, she sang with the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Robert Plant and every other imaginable legend as well as being a major influence to other female blues singers such as Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin.

On this track "I'm A Woman" Koko Taylor shows us how it's done and there is no dispute why she is the undisputed "Queen of the Blues".


Jersey du Fjord

Jersey du Fjord is a firm cow-milk cheese produced by Les Bergeries du Fjord located in Quebec's Saguenay area.

Jersey du Fjord

Jersey du Fjord gets its name 'Jersey' for the breed of cow-milk and 'Du Fjord' from the geological fjords formed along the deep, cold waters of the Saguenay River that links Lac St. Jean to the Saint Lawrence. 

Jersey du Fjord is inspired by the traditional English Cheshire cheese, a dense semi-hard cheese produced in the English county of Cheshire. Cheshire is made in the form of a cylindrical wheel that is as high as it is wide. It distinguishes itself by its moist, crumbly texture with small crevices punctuated through the paste. This feature is related to its manufacturing process where the curd is milled and therefore lacks consistency.

Jersey du Fjord is produced in a 20 kg (44 lbs.) wheel that is aged 10 months. The natural rind is golden coloured speckled with gray mildew and the crumbly paste has a butter coloured hue. It has a mild, salty taste with a slight marine aroma with a hint of orange zest and a lingering slightly sharp aftertaste.

Jersey Cattle

The Jersey breed of cows is a small, docile breed of dairy cattle that is popular for the high butterfat content and high percentage of protein in its milk.

Les Bergeries du Fjord produces the award winning Jersey du Fjord along other farmstead cheeses, such as La Blanche Du Fjord and La Belle de Jersey. The dairy is located in La Baie, Quebec.



Ermite is a pasteurized cow-milk blue cheese produced by the monks at the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac located in Québec's Eastern Townships.


Blue Ermite has a semi-soft cream-coloured paste with a blue-green mould and natural rind. The paste is crumbly yet creamy in the mouth with some granular bits. Ermite is a relatively mild blue cheese, with tangy slightly salty after tones and has a pleasant mushroom aroma.

Ermite, is fabricated in a 2 kg. (4.5 lbs.) wheel which is treated with Roquefort penicillium. The wheels are aged for five weeks, then removed from the ripening rooms and are then washed to remove the natural molds that have formed on the rinds.

Cheese fabrication at l'Abbaye Saint-Benoît was launched in 1943, at this time the Benedictine monks only made the Ermite blue cheese. Through the years they have added other quality cheeses to the range of products they produce such as the award winning Bleu Benedictin, Frère Jacques and Le Moutier.

l'Abbaye Saint-Benoit

Ermite blue cheese is a perfect addition to any cheese platter; it is great for cooking or in salads.

Ermite pairs well with Ambre de Pommes (a Michel Jodoin blend of eau-de-vie and apple juice aged 18 months in oak barrels), or a late bottled vintage porto, or a red Tempranillo Rioja wine.


Le Tire-Lune


Le Tire-Lune is a raw goat-milk cheese from Québec’s first certified organic goat farm Cassis et Mélisse located in the Chaudière-Appalaches region. This 4 kg mountain style semi-cooked firm paste tomme has been aged between 3 to 6 months on pin boards. Le Tire-Lune has a brown coloured natural rind that is spotted with pinkish flecks. It has a fruity taste with hints of butter and hazelnuts and a delicious lingering hint of goat in the mouth.

Hand-ladled chesse

The certified organic farm Cassis et Mélisse is run by Aagje Denys, a Belgium agronomist who started up the goat farm in Saint-Damien-De-Buckland, Québec over twelve years ago with her partner Gary Cooper. Cassis et Mélisse produce a variety of hand-ladled fresh goat milk cheeses as well as the lovely refined semi-firm washed rind Le Galarneau.

Cassis et Melisse Farm

Located less than an hour's drive south of Quebec city, situated between a forest and lake, the Cassis et Mélisse farm also rent out a 2 bedroom suite "L'Appentis de la fromagère" for overnight stays on the twenty hectares organic goat farm.

Photo source: http://sofadeco.com


Billy Connolly - Wife's Make-Up

Billy Connolly - Was it something I said? DVD

Billy Connolly is a comedian, musician, and actor from Glasgow, Scotland. However, Billy is best known as a stand-up comic.  Below is a funny excerpt taken from his “Was It Something I Said” DVD where Billy talks about his wife's make-up and her routine on getting ready to go out. Check it out!



Apple Pie Without Cheese?

“Apple pie without cheese, is like a kiss without a squeeze”
That is what my grand-père Aza Berry used to say, whenever he was serving us a piece of his famous apple pies. Whether the apple pie was served cold or warm there always needed to be some cheese.

Apple pie with cheese

I can’t help it now, whenever I have apple pie it must be served with cheddar and preferably sharp old cheddar.

Old Fashioned Apple Pie Recipe

For the Pastry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup of frozen butter
8 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling
8 Honey Crisp or 12 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour

For the Pastry
1. Whisk the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Using a standard box or potato grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour and toss lightly with your fingers until it is thoroughly combined. Sprinkle in ice water and mix with your fingers until the dough comes together in a ball. Divide it into two pieces, making sure one half is slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten and chill for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. Resting will help tenderize the pastry and make it easier to roll.
2. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and allow it to warm slightly, just until it is pliable. Lightly flour your hands, the rolling pin, your work surface and the dough. Roll out the larger pastry disc into a circle large enough to slightly overlap the edges of an 8-inch glass pie dish. Transfer the dough to the pie dish by folding it into quarters then unfolding it in the dish.
3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

For the Filling
1. Toss the apples with the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Add the apples to the bottom crust then roll out the remaining smaller disc and carefully place over the top of the pie. Roll and crimp the edges of the dough together, tightly sealing them. Poke a few vent holes into the top of the pie and place on the bottom rack of oven. Bake for 1 hour, until the crust is golden and juices are bubbling.

Extra Old Île-aux-Grues Cheddar

This 2 year old cheddar is a firm non-pasteurised, pale yellow, sharp-tasting, cow's milk cheese from Île-aux-Grues, Quebec.

Extra Old Île-aux-Grues Cheddar

Cheddar cheese is named after the village of Cheddar in Somerset, located in South West England where it was originally made. The name "Cheddar cheese" is widely used around the world and has no Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) within the European Union.

Cheddar cheese has been produced since the 12th century, however in Canada it was first made in the 19th century. The manufacture of Cheddar cheese includes the process of 'cheddaring' which makes this cheese unique.
Cheddaring refers to an additional step in the production of Cheddar-style cheese where, after heating, the curd is kneaded with salt, cut into cubes to drain the whey then stacked and turned. Strong, extra-old Cheddar, needs to be matured for up to 15 months.
The Fromagerie Île-aux-Grues located in the heart of Quebec's majestic St. Lawrence River, have been making cheese for over 35 years. The history of the dairy is closely linked to agricultural production, the main economic activity of the island. In 1976 the island's dairy farmers formed a cooperative to protect their agriculture and their terroir. Today, their farms produce quality milk exclusively for the production of cheese on the island.

As well as producing mild, medium, sharp and extra-sharp cheddars the Fromagerie Île-aux-Grues have developed an extraordinary line of fine artisanal cheeses including; Le Riopelle de l'Isle, Le Mi-Carême, La Tomme de Grosse-Île and Le Canotier de l’Isle.

This extra sharp Cheddar from L'Île-aux-Grues has matured for two years. It is off-white in colour and has a firm dry and granular paste and a pronounced lingering nutty flavour.

L'Île-aux-Grues 2 year old Cheddar can compliment any cheese platter. Try it in your favourite grilled-cheese sandwich, with Apple Pie, Apple Cheddar Soup, Zucchini Bread or this delicious Tomato Cheddar Pie.

For more information on the manufacture of Cheddar cheese check out:

Apple Cheddar Soup

There is nothing as comforting as a warm bowl of soup on these cooler fall days of October. What better time for an apple soup when fresh apples are aplenty.

Apple Cheddar Soup

This rustic Apple Cheddar Soup bursts with tangy apple, sweet leeks and sharp aged cheddar.

Apple Cheddar Soup Recipe

2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
3 apples (McIntosh or Cortland), peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup (250 mL) chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
1 cup (250 mL) chopped celery 
1 cup (250 mL) chopped carrots 
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh thyme 
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh rosemary 
1/2 tsp (2 mL) fresh cracked pepper 
2 cups (500 mL) water 
2 cups (500 mL) apple juice 
2 cups (500 mL) packed grated extra old cheddar **
1 cup (250 mL) 1% milk 

-In large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter.
-Then add apples, leeks, celery, carrots, thyme, rosemary and pepper. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
- Add water and apple juice; bring to simmer and cook, until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.
- Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth.
- Return soup to pot and over medium heat whisk in grated cheddar until dissolved. Gently whisk in milk and warm through (do not boil again).

Recipe makes 6 servings.

** For the extra-old cheddar I use the 2 year old Île-aux-Grues Cheddar

Serve with a slice of crusty bread and a green salad for an easy meal.

Recipe source: Ontario Apple Growers


Sharp Cheddar Zucchini Bread

Over the years, I have made several different recipes of zucchini bread, but I especially like this recipe as the sharp cheddar gives it that extra kick.

Sharp Cheddar Zucchini Bread

Sharp Cheddar Zucchini Bread  Recipe

1 medium zucchini
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese **
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil

- Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly coat a 9x5 inch (2L) loaf pan with oil. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate unpeeled zucchini.
Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Pat dry the grated zucchini with a kitchen towel. Zucchini should measure about 1 cup.

- In a large bowl, using a fork, stir flour with baking powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg. Stir in granulated and brown sugars. Stir in grated zucchini and 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese.

- In a small bowl, whisk eggs with oil. Pour over flour mixture and stir just until mixed. Batter will be thick. Scrape into prepared loaf pan. Smooth top as best you can, then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

- Bake in centre of preheated oven until a cake tester inserted into centre of loaf comes out clean, around 45-50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Then carefully turn loaf onto a cooling rack.

This loaf is terrific served warm or at room temperature.

** For the sharp cheddar I use the Extra-Old Île-aux-Grues Cheddar



Ossau-Iraty is a classic sheep milk cheese made in the French Pyrénées.


Ossau-Iraty has a natural rind with hues ranging from pale yellow, to golden-orange to light gray. The ivory colour pâte is an uncooked, pressed paste that is supple and creamy when young and becomes more firm and crumbly as the cheese ripens. Ossau-Iraty is creamy and buttery in the mouth with wonderful complex nutty flavours with hints of fruits and herbs.

The cheese's name Ossau-Iraty, reflects its dual origin: Ossau in the valley of Bearn, with its long history of Basco-Béarnaise breed of sheep, and Iraty the wooded hills of the French Pays Basque, home to the black and red-headed Manech ewes.

Basco-Béarnaise breed of sheep

Black-headed Manech sheep

Ossau-Iraty received its Appelation d'Origine Controlee (A.O.C) nomination in 1980. AOC stipulations for making Ossau-Iraty cheese includes, the production of a specific sheep milk of the region, the manufacture and ripening of the cheese and of course the exclusivity to the specific geographical area.

During the affinage process of Ossau-Iraty, the cheese must be salted, it is washed in a brine, which enables the cheese to form a rind, then the cheese is placed in a cave d’affinage with regulated temperatures between 6 to 15°C and a high humidity level of 75%. During the ripening stage, the cheese rinds are then brushed with salt and some are brushed with a purée de 'Piments d'Espelette', a red chili pepper purée.

Another stipulation by AOC is the cheese must be aged at least 120 days before consumption for wheels weighing 4 to 7 kilos and 80 days for the smaller wheels of 2 to 3 kilos. Fromagerie Agour one of Ossau-Iraty producers age their wheels anywhere between 4 to 17 months.

Fromagerie Agour located in the Basque village of Hélette, France produced the winning Ossau-Iraty that was crowned the World Champion Cheese at the World Cheese Awards in 2006 and again in 2011, in Birmingham, England.

Pictured above is Ossau-Iraty aux Piments d'Espelette. Espelette is a variety of chili pepper that is cultivated in the French commune of Espelette, in the Atlantic-Pyrénées. The Espelette pepper was classified an AOC product in 2000.

Ossau-Iraty pairs well with many wines, especially a white Jurançon or Sauvignon Blanc or a French red Madiran or Merlot.

Sheep photos source: http://www.3srbreeding.eu/