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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

A Personal Tribute to the Official 80th Birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth

Posted: June 13, 2006
by: Robert Jackson

I have “known” HM Queen Elizabeth all of my life – after all, she had already been on the throne for well over a year by the time I was born! And so it is understandable that a great many of her subjects view her with an almost maternal awe! For not only is she a mother to her own children, but she is also truly a very grand and respected mother figure to literally many millions of loyal subjects Worldwide – and I am proud to count myself as one of them!Queen_top_1

So yes, we have all “grown up” with her. We may not actually know her in person, but we know her person VERY well! And such dedication! She has devoted her entire life to serving the multi-faceted community of the Commonwealth, and succeeded in doing so in an exemplary and unblemished fashion. In her life, Queen Elizabeth has conferred over 387,000 honours and awards on others……..…but she unfortunately can never receive any such honour for her own remarkable service!

Here in the UK, the Formal Celebrations to mark the occasion will be held on June 15th. This will include a National Service of Thanksgiving in St. Paul’s Cathedral, a glittering Lunch at Mansion House hosted by the Lord Mayor of London, and finally, a Beating of the Retreat by the 5 Royal Marines Bands which will also mark the 85th Birthday of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

10 interesting & unusual facts about the HM Queen Elizabeth:

  1. The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair is the first Prime Minister to be born in the Queen’s reign. He was born early in May 1953 – a month before the Coronation.
  2. The Queen has received over 3 million items of correspondence during her reign.
  3. Her Majesty has undertaken over 256 official overseas visits to 129 countries.
  4. During her reign, the Queen has received many unusual gifts, including a variety of live animals, pineapples, eggs, a box of snail shells, a grove of maple trees, and 7kg of prawns!
  5. The Queen’s real birthday is actually on April 21st but it is always officially celebrated in June (this year on June 17th).
  6. The Queen has launched 23 ships in her lifetime. Her first being her beloved Royal Yacht Britannia, now sadly decommissioned.
  7. In her lifetime, The Queen has given out about 78,000 Christmas Puddings to her staff continuing the custom of King George V and King George VI.
  8. The Queen has sat for 139 official portraits. Her Majesty was just 7 years old when she sat for her first portrait in 1933.
  9. The Queen sent a message of congratulations to the Apollo 11 astronauts for the first moon landing on 21st July 1969. The message was micro-filmed and deposited on the moon surface in a metal container.
  10. Her Majesty has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign. The Queen also introduced a new breed of dog known as the “dorgi” when one of her Majesty’s corgis was mated with a dachshund.

For many more interesting facts about Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, visit the official site of the British Monarchy at this web site.

At times of great National rejoice such as this, I am proud to be British! And I am especially proud that we are fortunate enough to enjoy the reign of a Monarch so loved and so respected. So, like many millions of her loyal subjects across the globe, I would personally like to pass on my greetings…….. Happy Birthday Ma’am!

To finish, let me share with you one of my favourite, traditional British puddings. This classic, sumptuous yet simple dessert is truly fit for a Queen!

Queen of Puddings

Serves 6

1 pint (600ml) milk

2 oz (50g) unsalted butter

4 oz (110g) fresh white breadcrumbs

2 oz (50g) caster sugar (fine granulated sugar)

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

4 egg yolks, beaten

3 tablespoons raspberry jam, warmed

For the meringue

4 egg whites

4oz (110g) caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F, 180C, gas mark 4

  1. Generously butter a 2 pint shallow pie or baking dish.
  2. Bring the milk and lemon zest to the boil in a saucepan. Take it off the heat and add the butter, sugar and breadcrumbs. Stir well to mix and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the cooled breadcrumb mixture and stir well.
  4. Pour the mixture into the buttered dish and stand this in a roasting tray ¾ filled with hot water.
  5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the custard is just set. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before carefully spreading the warmed jam over the surface.
  6. Increase the oven temperature to 450F/230C, gas mark 8.
  7. Using an electric whisk beat the egg whites until stiff. Then whisk in half of the sugar to form a glossy meringue. Finally fold in the remaining sugar using a metal spoon.
  8. Spoon the meringue over the custard base and swirl the top. Return to the oven for about 15 minutes until the topping is golden brown.
  9. Serve warm.


For more about Robert Jackson click here. And don't forget his wonderful web site GourmetFood Revolution.

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