Hilltop Diary, Jan. 27, 2021


While looking for low calorie offerings at the fish counter, this lovely character, a monkfish, caught my eye and made it to our table last Friday – fortunately in filleted form. I first imagined he is called that because he is so ugly that he should stay in seclusion, like a monk. Not really. It is because his head appears to be cowled, like the hood of a monk. They are also called “the poor man’s lobster”, because they have texture of lobster tail, but now they cost more than lobster! At any rate, our fishmonger keeps ordering unusual denizens of the deep, and this week it was monk-fish. Who knows if any adventurous souls besides me bought one! I marinated and cooked our fine fellow in lemon juice, olive oil, pureed anchovies, Japanese mirin, sake, salt, and pepper, with a generous amount of rosemary. Delicious!

I have finally finished editing the players’ individual sheet-music parts for the last movement of my new symphony. In all, the parts come to around 1,600 pages at the odd regulation size of 9.5 X 12.5 inches for the 95 players. Then there will be copies of the 230-page conductor’s score on 11 X 17 paper. All of these pages have to be printed and also bound into books by a professional music printing and binding company, to the tune of around $1,300. Yikes! But later, orchestras will rent and return these materials from me directly, and the rental fees from two or three performances will compensate me for the above cost, which is also tax deductible as an office expense.

So far, one radio network has agreed on a trial basis to air my new weekly, hour-long radio show on music appreciation, called “Catholic Adventures in Great Music”!  I will post here the details when it is available (on Sirius and other locations). We will be starting with a few pilot episodes to see what kind of response there is before committing to a full schedule of programs.

My February article idea for the Epoch Times has been accepted, with a Valentine’s Day theme – “Pairings” of classical music about love, for your own romantic dinner. I’ll post the link next time.

The weather at Hilltop remains bleak and even rainy. I await the return of sunshine and enjoying the patio and gardening. Still, it has been a productive time. Remember, “earth” without “art” is just “eh”!

full EnglishWe thought it would be fun to gather the ingredients (some from the local store, some online) for a classic “Full English Breakfast.” We had it last Saturday morning, and it turned out great! On the left are some ingredients we bought, and on the right a photo from the internet showing how it looked with the additional items all there:  Bangers (link sausage), Black Pudding (or Blood Sausage), English “bacon” (more like thin ham, in the U.S.), Roasted Tomatoes, Heinz English Baked Beans, Fried Mushrooms, Fried Eggs, Fried Bread, and HP Sauce (stands for Houses of Parliament).

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  1. Ellie Smith · · Reply

    I have always enjoyed monkfish – not sure now that I’ve seen what one looks like! Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of the fish gets thrown out when you filet it. The only edible part is the tail section. Still, the tail can be enough to serve four people. Ugly!


      1. Ellie Smith · · Reply

        Ugly but delicious! And on another “note” (pun intended), The Sound of Beauty is a wonderful book! So much so that I have it on my Kindle and purchased the hardcover version as well so I could keep it with my favorite books on the bookshelf in my piano room!


        1. Why, thank you, so happy it has been meaningful to you. The fact that you have a piano room tells me you probably already knew a good deal about music.


          1. Ellie Smith · ·

            I love my piano room and have always loved playing. I’m also the pastoral assistant at our church, so my spirituality is a key part of who I am. So when I came upon your book, the title alone had me hooked before I even opened the book! So thank you for bringing some beautiful light into such a strange and dark time as this past year has been!


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