Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cherry Pie

Not a piece of cake to make.  Two separate 2-crust pie doughs. Top crust with white sugar mixed in. Bottom crust without sugar.  Cherries are halved, pitted, and marinated in a mix of cornstarch, brown sugar, salt, lemon juice and almond flavoring.  Bake the bottom crust 350°/180° for 30 minutes with parchment and beans. Drain cherries, add another round of cornstarch, sugar and salt, mix and fill pie form, add dabs of butter.  Apply top crust with cut outs so pie can bubble. Bake 350°/180° about 1 hour.  Pie today with 5-1/2 cups of pitted cherries.  Second Round: 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup of brown sugar, plus salt. Add dabs of butter. Pie had just the right amount of jelling, no juice, and just a hint of tart (from lemon juice marinade) and a hint of almond flavor. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Photo Credit: Westlife/
Westlife were an Irish boy band, formed in Sligo in July 1998 and disbanded in June 2012. Originally signed by Simon Cowell and managed by Louis Walsh, the group's second and final line-up consisted of Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, and Shane Filan. Brian McFadden was a member from July 1998 until his departure in March 2004.
Westlife sold over 50 million records worldwide, a total that included studio albums, singles, video releases, and compilation albums. The group accumulated 14 number-one singles in the United Kingdom. They achieved a total of 26 UK top ten singles over their 14-year career. In 2012, the Official Charts Company listed Westlife 34th amongst the biggest-selling singles artists in British music history. Despite their success worldwide, Westlife never managed to break into the U.S. market, achieving only one hit single in 2000, "Swear It Again". Based on BPI certifications, the group have sold 11.1 million albums and 6.8 million singles in the UK. Wikipedia

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Evgeny Tsurkin claims second medal in Barcelona

Photo Credit: Belarus News
MINSK, 15 June (BelTA) – Belarusian swimmer Evgeny Tsurkin won the second medal at the 2017 Mare Nostrum meeting in Barcelona, Spain, BelTA learned from the Belarusian Swimming Federation. The Belarusian won the 100m butterfly heat in 52.46 seconds. Second was Hungary's Cseh Laszlo (52.51 seconds), with bronze going to Matteo Rivolta of Italy (52.86 seconds). Evgeny Tsurkin claimed the 50m butterfly bronze in Barcelona. The winners of the international tournament Mare Nostrum will be announced after points scored at each of its stages (two have already taken place in Monaco and Barcelona) are calculated. The final is scheduled to take place in Canet-en-Roussillon, France on 17-18 June. Belarus News

Monday, June 12, 2017

Reasons to love Irish rain

Photo Credit: Irish Central/Getty
Anyone who’s spent any time in Ireland knows exactly how useful it is! On average in the west of Ireland it rains up to 225 days per year. Of course, Ireland has a lot to thank its mild temperate maritime climate for! It’s lush green fields, the countryside’s famous 40 shades of green and of course it’s wonderful crops, meat, and dairy! Who did rain ever hurt? Sure we won't rust! Here’s why:
1. Good for your skin:
Soft rain helps complexion, say the experts, and you are bound to get lots of it if you live there.
2. Forty shades of green:

How do you think the place got so green looking? It’s the water stupid, falling and endlessly falling.
3. Cozy nights in:
What can be nicer than snuggled up at a fire with the rain falling and wind howling outside. Many a child was created because of the stormy night.
4. The official explanation:
From Ask About Ireland: “Geography places Ireland at mid-latitude, not too close to the heat of the equator or to the cold arctic and its position on the north-western edge of the continent ensures a constant supply of clean unpolluted air and plenty of cleansing rain from the Atlantic Ocean.”
5. Year-round rain:

Not just a rainy season, no monsoons, more a steady diet of showers and not too extreme.
6. Great climate to grow crops:

Lots of rain means lots of growth and Ireland has some of the healthiest food in Europe.
7. The jokes:
For example, “I went to Ireland for a week and it rained twice, once for three days and once for four days.” Har, Har!
8. The chat:
As in “Nice soft day” (meaning “It’s lashing out of the heavens!”).
Makes the weather a great topic of conversation.
9. Irish mist:
That gorgeous light rain that cleanses the landscape and is fabled in song and story – they even named one of Ireland’s most famous drinks after it!
10. Uisce Beatha literally the “water of life” is Irish for whiskey:
Irish whiskey is made from the greatest water in the world. Thank you, rain. Irish Central

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Jelena Ostapenko stuns Simona Halep to win the French Open By Charlie Eccleshare

Photo Credit: Libby Sonnet/EUROSPORT
Jelena Ostapenko overpowered title favourite Simona Halep to become one of the most surprising grand slam champions of all time. The 20-year-old, ranked 47, had never been beyond the third round at a grand slam before nor won a senior title. But she was unfazed, hitting 54 winners in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory to become the first Latvian ever to win a grand slam singles crown. The Telegraph

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Angela Merkel seeks to manage expectations in Argentina, Mexico By Michaela Küfner

Photo Credit: Chancellor Merkel and President Macri
DW/Reuters/M. Brindicci
German Chancellor Angela Merkel began her visit to Argentina with a speech at a synagogue in Buenos Aires. DW's Michaela Küfner described the background to the Latin American trip. Before meeting Argentine President Mauricio Macri, Merkel visited Buenos Aires' Templo Libertad synagogue (pictured above) in recognition of Argentina's role in offering refuge to Jews fleeing from the Nazis. The Chancellor acknowledged Latin America's largest Jewish community, which today comprises roughly 250,000 people. She recalled the "terrible attacks" on the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center in Argentina in the 1990s, noting that a newly restored synagogue organ symbolized a bridge with Germany. Merkel's itinerary is also set to include a stop at which she will pay tribute to the victims of the country's 1976-1983 dictatorship, during which between 7,000 and 30,000 people were killed.
No anti-Trump alliance
Berlin insists that this trip is not about forming any kind of alliance against US President Donald Trump's protectionist economic rhetoric. Officially, Merkel's stops in Argentina and then Mexico were simply the last countries left on the list to visit prior to the G20 summit in Hamburg. The former chief of government of Argentina's capital, Macri has earned some respect with the German chancellor for beginning to pull his country out of the all-out economic mess that had its origins in Argentina's 2001 state bankruptcy. He secured a settlement with hedge funds where both the previous presidencies failed, regaining Argentina's access to financial markets. Yet this "success story" came at a high price for ordinary Argentinians. Merkel noted Thursday her first visit to Argentina came after Macri helped open Argentina to international credit markets following a long absence. "My first visit as Chancellor is taking place as President Macri has managed the re-opening of the country to the financial markets," Merkel said. "We believe that beyond political discussions we can support economic development. Argentina needs infrastructure, Argentina has to modernize and for that Germany can be a good partner." DW-Deutsche Welle

Before Maya Angelou Was a Poet, She Was a Dancer By Lauren Wingenroth

Photo Credit:
This week marks three years since brilliant and beloved poet Maya Angelou passed at the age of 86. And of course, we're taking the time to remember timeless works like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. But we also discovered something that makes us love Angelou even more—and gives us a new perspective on her writing. Before she became renowned for her poetry and memoirs, Angelou was a bonafide professional dancer, touring Europe in a production of Porgy & Bess, studying with Martha Graham and performing with Alvin Ailey (she was even one of Ailey's first partners!). She was also a professional singer and recorded an album called "Calypso Lady," according to NPR. "I was known as Miss Calypso, and when I'd forget the lyric, I would tell the audience, 'I seem to have forgotten the lyric. Now I will dance.' And I would move around a bit," she said in a 2008 interview. Of course, later in her career Angelou acted in various movies and television shows, including the mini-series Roots. Dance Magazine

Birthday girl Jelena Ostapenko blazes into French Open final

Latvian Jelena Ostapenko blazed a trail into the French Open final with a 7-6 (4) 3-6 6-3 victory over Swiss Timea Bacsinszky in a battle of the birthday girls on Thursday. On the day she turned 20 the free-swinging world number 47 launched a fusillade of winners to become the first unseeded player to reach the women’s singles final at Roland Garros since Mima Jausovec lost to Chris Evert in 1983. A match of wildly fluctuating fortunes, with barely a service hold in sight, appeared to be slipping away from Ostapenko when she lost four games in a row to lose the second set against Bacsinszky, who was hoping to celebrate her 28th birthday by going one better than her semi-final run in 2015. But Ostapenko played fearlessly in the decider and pounded away a 50th clean winner to become the first Latvian player to reach a Grand Slam final. The Irish Times

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Armenian Cellist Karen Ouzounian’s String Quartet Takes Top Prize in Osaka

Photo Credit: Aizuri Quartet/U.S.
Asbarez/The Strad
OSAKA, Japan (The Strad)—The Aizuri Quartet (U.S), featuring Canadian-Armenian cellist Karen Ouzounian, has won first prize, worth 3 million JPY ($27,000 USD), in the string quartet section of the Ninth Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan. The triennial event took place May 13-21 in the string quartet and wind ensemble categories, which ran alongside masterclasses, concerts, and an informal Festa, with no age or repertoire restrictions. Second prize in the string quartet division, worth 1.5 million JPY went to the Ulysses Quartet from the U.S., while third prize, worth one million JPY went to the Viano String Quartet, also from the U.S. This year’s jury was chaired by cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and included violinists Martin Beaver, Kazuki Sawa and Levon Chilingirian; violists Yoshiko Kawamoto and Homggang Li; and cellist Paul Katz. Third prize winner at the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London, the Aizuri Quartet comprises violinists Miho Saegusa and Ariana Kim, violist Ayane Kozasa, and cellist Karen Ouzounian. The ensemble was Ernst Stiefel String Quartet in Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts from 2015 to 2016, and String Quartet in Residence at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia from 2014 to 2016. Described as “radiant” and “expressive” (The New York Times) and “nothing less than gorgeous” (Memphis Commercial Appeal), cellist Karen Ouzounian approaches music-making with a deeply communicative and passionate spirit. At home in diverse musical settings, she has become increasingly drawn towards unusual collaborations and eclectic contemporary repertoire. In addition to her work with the Aizuri Quartet, Ouzounian’s commitment to adventurous programming and the collaborative process has led to her membership in the Grammy-nominated, self-conducted chamber orchestra A Far Cry, and the critically-acclaimed new music collective counter) induction. Highlights of Ouzounian’s recent and upcoming seasons include performances of the Elgar Concerto in Chile with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Santiago, tours with the Silk Road Ensemble and Mark Morris Dance Group, recitals at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts with pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, a tour of Japan with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and tours with Musicians from Marlboro and Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. Additionally she has performed with The Knights, Trio Cavatina, and as guest principal of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, IRIS Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Born to Armenian parents in Toronto, Ouzounian was a prizewinner at the 2012 Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank Competition. She holds Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where she was a student of Timothy Eddy. Asbarez

A Brooklyn eatery that taps into America’s new craze for avocados By Eugenia Coppel and Susana Urra

Avocadería was started by three Italians and only uses fruit from the Mexican state of Michoacán

At this restaurant in the New York borough of Brooklyn, the avocado reigns supreme. All the dishes at Avocaderia come with generous helpings of the green fruit, which is imported from Michoacán. This Mexican state accounts for four-fifths of the national avocado production, and the United States is the main importer. Consumption of the fruit has grown exponentially in America in recent years, and Avocadería’s founders – three Italians in their 20s – have tapped into that. Avocadería touts itself as “the world’s first avocado bar.” One of the founders, Francesco Brachetti, said in a telephone conversation with Verne that their goal was to incorporate elements of the three cultures involved. They called their place a bar because that is what Italians call the establishments where they eat croissants and drink capuccinos. Being in New York, they used the English term avocado (which in Spanish would be aguacate), then gave it a Spanish-sounding ending, ería. Brachetti got the idea for this project soon after moving to Mexico City in 2014 to work for the fashion industry. He soon began consuming avocado, which is a staple ingredient of the Mexican diet, and quickly became a fan. “Eating it comes very naturally to Mexicans, but in Italy it is not very common and the quality is low,” he explains. He enlisted Alessandro Biggi, who was already living in Brooklyn at the time and was familiar with the local market, to help develop the concept. And the chef Alberto Gramigni designed a menu meant to be “healthy and tasty” at the same time. According to The Washington Post, “sales of Hass avocados, which make up more than 95% of all avocados consumed in the United States, soared to a record of nearly 1.9 billion pounds (or some 4.25 billion avocados) last year, more than double the amount consumed in 2005, and nearly four times as many sold in 2000.” In short, avocados are all the rage in America, and Brachetti knows it. “We are not trying to promote them, because they promote themselves: everyone loves them,” he says. “But we do want to convey the fact that besides being delicious, they are also a pretty healthy food.” Avocaderia is located inside the food hall at Industry City, a complex of warehouses located on the waterfront. “There are a lot of offices for creative types, media firms, artists and decorators,” notes Brachetti. These young workers make up the bulk of their clientèle, because, he says, they share their own ideals of a healthy lifestyle. Thanks to them, the three Italians are reaching one of the goals that they had set for themselves: to offer healthy food in the land of cheeseburgers. EL PAÍS

French Open 2017: Jelena Ostapenko shocks Caroline Wozniacki

Photo Credit: Latvian Jelena Ostapenko
French Open 2017 - Quarter-Final
BBC/Getty Images
Unseeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko became the first teenager to reach the French Open women's semi-finals since 2007 with a shock win against former world number one Caroline Wozniacki. The 19-year-old lost the first five games of her first major quarter-final before winning 4-6 6-2 6-2. She will play Swiss 30th seed Timea Bacsinszky, who beat France's Kristina Mladenovic 6-4 6-4. "I'm really happy, I can't believe it," world number 47 Ostapenko said. BBC


Def Leppard

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Oslo is Europe's Green Capital 2019 - finally

Photo Credit: Grensen, Oslo, Norway
After Stockholm and Copenhagen, another Scandinavian city has won the title European Green Capital, honoring green urban achievements. It is the third time Norway's capital Oslo was shortlisted. Raymond Johansen, the mayor of Oslo, broke into a broad smile when the decision was announced. This year is the third year that Norway's capital had applied for the title - and it is also the third time that the city was shortlisted. A city has to go through the entire labor-intensive application process each time it applies - so Oslo authorities were happy the work has finally paid off. "I am proud to tell you that we have one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world," Johansen says. The European Green City Award is an initiative of the European Commission. Since 2010, one city in Europe is awarded the title each year. Winners are announced 18 months in advance. For 2019, the jury announced its decision on Friday in a theater in Essen, Germany - which is the European Green Capital for 2017.
'Long-term vision'
All European cities with a population of more than 100,000 are eligible to apply for the European Green Capital award. The award honors high environmental standards, sustainable urban development and green job creation. Indicators for being a green city include local transport, biodiversity, air quality, waste management and noise. Oslo, with its 660,000 inhabitants, is green not only due to its low carbon footprint of 1.9 tons per capita per year, Katja Rosenbohm tells DW. As head of communication at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Rosenbohm was part of the jury that awarded Oslo its new title. "They have very ambitious targets, for example of having a car-free city by 2050." Rosenbohm also praises Oslo's "front-running activities in electro-mobility." "They say it is about giving the city back to the citizens and taking the space away for cars."
Political will and public engagement
Northern countries tend to do well in general when it comes to protecting the environment, she adds. But that richer countries like Norway might have it easier when it comes to investing in new technologies is not the only thing that counts. "It is not about money. It is about political will and public engagement." Rosenbohm points out that also Lisbon, a city from Europe's south, has been shortlisted this year and "was very impressive for us." Three other cities were shortlisted for the award this year, and presented their concept to the jury in Essen: Ghent (Belgium), Lahti (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia). In total, 14 cities across Europe had applied. For 2018, Nijmegen in the Netherlands took the title, while Ljubljana in Slovenia won for 2016. Since 2015, the European Commission also honors cities of 20,000 to 100,000 people with the European Green Leaf Award. This year, Leuven in Belgium and Växjö in Finland both won the title for 2018. Last winner of the European Green Leaf Award was Galway, Ireland. DW-Deutsche Welle