Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Google Doodles, Olympics, Olympics and more Olympics

Swim DoodleGoogle are really going to town on their Doodles at the moment. They are all Olympic themed and fun to see. I look forward each day to seeing the current one. Friday a general Olympics picture, Saturday archery, Sunday it was swimming, Monday fencing; this will be posted before I know what Tuesday’s is. If you look up Google Olympic Doodles you can see past and present ones. I must have missed them last time or my memory is failing. Could well be I guess. I particularly liked the swimming doodle and I like the fencing one today – I used to fence in my 20’s and still have my epée tucked away in a closet.

Talking of the Olympics, naturally this week, Canada was thrilled with the young women who brought home our first medal in synchronized three metre Diversspringboard,  particularly because Emilie Heymans is bringing home her 4th Olympic medal having medalled once per Games. She is the first Canadian ever to have won a medal in four different Olympic Games. Hate to say it, but their final dive yesterday was incredibly un-synchronized. Had their synchronicity been better they might have managed a silver. Pity. Of course its easy for me to sit back and criticize especially as I can’t even dive. Matt can though, he was a springboard diver once upon a time so knows what its all about.

A big disappointment today for the gymnastic teams. Britain thought they had the silver medal and Ukraine the bronze. They were so excited. Then the Japanese launched a protest, the judges studied the video of the gymnast in question on the pommel horse and decided that he did OK after all so they became the Silver winners with Britain getting the bronze. The Ukraine team was desperately disappointed, one felt so sorry for them. The judges don’t have an ax to grind, but everyone else seems to think it was wrong. When it was thought Britain had the silver, one saw shots of Princes William and Harry cheering with the rest of the crowd.

A disappointment for Canada was the young equestrienne who was thrown from Canadian riderher horse during a jump. She ended up in hospital but is OK apparently. We have been gluing ourselves to the TV but, as I said to Matt, some events don’t get coverage at all. The equestrian events for instance, yachting is another, rowing, archery, and so on. I suppose the sports that do get covered are more popular. I checked it out today, apparently the gold and silver medals are both predominantly made of silver, but the gold one is plated with a minimum of 6 grams of gold. The last time a solid gold medal was awarded was in 1912. Even the ones that are awarded must cost a pretty penny. I don’t suppose any nation could afford solid gold medals today – unless it was an Arab nation funded by an oil rich sheik. Maybe Dubai could do it? Not sure if they would be big enough for the crowds.

Did you see the swimming race which was won by the 15 yr. old Lithuanian girl? She cracked the world record too. Incredible performance in the 100 metre breast stroke. She is taught, and trained, in a school in Plymouth, England. A Polish athlete was sent home because of an inappropriate Tweet. People are so stupid, don’t say anything insulting or rude on line – period. Having said that …….. LOL.

Another easy recipe which looks colourful and delicious.

Easy Chicken and Balsamic Peppers

ByThe Gluten Free Goddess
WebMD Recipe from Foodily.com

This a great make-ahead dish. Assemble it, cover with foil, and chill until you are easy_chicken_and_balsamic_peppersready to bake it (and add extra time to the baking - 10 to 15 minutes).


4 large ripe bell peppers: red, green, orange, yellow; cored and sliced thin
1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup organic balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons gluten-free Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup or so chicken broth
6 fresh cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
4 fresh, organic free-range split breasts of chicken, rinsed and patted dry
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Toss the pepper and onion slices in a large bowl. In a large measuring cup, fork-stir your sauce using: balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, olive oil, broth, chopped garlic, and herbs. Pour the sauce over the sliced peppers and onions and toss well to coat.

Place the split chicken breasts in the bottom of a baking pan sprayed with olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the balsamic pepper mixture over the chicken and arrange them evenly. Use every last drop of sauce.

Loosely cover the pan with a piece of foil and place in the center of a pre-heated oven. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or so (depending upon the thickness of the chicken, and the size of your pepper strips, and your particular oven and altitude). You want the chicken to be cooked through (no longer pink inside) and the peppers to be limp and soft.

I checked the chicken after 40 minutes, for doneness; and spooned the sauce all over the peppers and chicken breasts (to keep everything happy and moist) and continued to bake it until everything was melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Serve with a side dish of cooked rice or quinoa, brown rice pasta tossed in pesto, or creamy mashed potatoes, and crisp baby greens on the side.

Total Servings: 4

Have a great day


Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Ad, Swimmers, Laptop Repair, The Queen.

When we were watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, I was annoyed they kept breaking for ads, but I forgave them when I saw the following ad from RONA, I cracked up.

On Saturday we were shocked to see Michael Phelps lose a the 400 metre individual medley and not even get placed. Ryan Lochte won by a body length. Phelps admitted he swam a crappy race. Ryan Lochte looks so chuffed doesn’t he. Braces and all. I heard a story that Phelps had goofed off for a couple of years until Lochte came on the scene which inspired him to get back into training. Don’t know how true that is.

Mitt Romney certainly blotted his copy book with the British with his comments about the Olympics. He has only to end up insulting the Israelis and that will do his presidential candidacy a lot of good – or maybe it won’t make any difference. I don’t understand what he is doing touring when he should be in the US campaigning surely? Not that I really give a damn not being an American.
My computer guy from At Your Door Computers picked up my laptop yesterday at Laptop Keyboard7 and by 8:30 he had fixed it. The FN key didn’t work, I’m not sure it ever did, but I only recently found out I could disable the mouse pad by using it and a function key. I have a lot of trouble typing on a laptop because my thumbs brush the mouse pad and therefore the cursor jumps all over the place. I guess if I weren’t a trained typist I wouldn’t have the problem. This isn’t my keyboard, just one I found, but you can see how my thumbs, which normally would rest on or below the spacebar, can easily touch the mouse pad. I only recently realised what the problem was. OK, I’m slow on the uptake.

Whenever we saw the Queen at the opening ceremonies she mostly looked pretty Queen Elizabeth II Olympics Opening Day Royals bh0KKC8SeIflmiserable, however I have found one which isn’t too bad. I don’t know why she looked so grumpy, there have been all kinds of joke captions attached to her pictures. Maybe somebody pissed her off. One friend pointed out that it isn’t easy for a person of her age to have to sit for so long watching the ceremonies. Surely she must be used to it? Everyone loved her appearance as a Bond Girl and one friend boasted “we have a Queen who sky dives”. It was pretty funny and it was great she took part. Once upon a time she probably would have jumped out of the chopper – if she had been allowed to as the reigning sovereign. I was interested, talking of sovereigns, that they addressed speeches to Your Majesty, Your Majesties. I know there was a Prince amongst the teams, but he would have been Highness. That’s something North Americans have problems with, a reigning sovereign and consort are addressed as Your Majesty, Princes and Princesses are Your Highness.That’s something North Americans have problems with, a King or Queen is addressed as Your Majesty, Princes and Princesses are Your Highness. I don’t know what other royals were there. Having Googled I could only find that Queen Sofia of Spain was the other Majesty, but maybe they included people like the Prince of Monaco because he does head his country together with other princes and princesses that were there. If you are interested click here for pix of many of the notables.  I loved the Queen’s fascinator, first time I have ever seen her wear one. What a nice change from all her hats. The peach colour really suited her I thought. I am not up on British dignitaries any more, but I believe that is the Archbishop of Canterbury behind her – the one with the beard that is.

This is what we had for supper on Saturday night. They were easy to prepare and pretty tasty to eat. No, we didn’t have corn bread, when I first came across it, I made it so often we got sick of it. Maybe I should try doing so again.

Easy Oven-Barbecued Pork Chops

By Diana Rattray, About.com Guide
These pork chops are easy to prepare, baked with a homemade barbecue sauce. Serve these well-seasoned pork chops with coleslaw, beans, and potatoes.
Yield: Serves 6Barbecued chops
  • 6 pork chops, 3/4 to 1-inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • dash cayenne, optional
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place pork chops in bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Place sliced onion over the pork chops. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over pork chops. Bake uncovered for 1 hour, or until chops are tender.

Have a great day

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Silver Sunfish, Dragon Yachts, Fire, TV, Olympics.

In Bob Scotney’s recent blog he talks once more about the SS Great Britain and how she was scuttled (sunk on purpose) in the Falklands in 1937. This made me think of thSunfishe MFV Sunfish which was the second boat I lived on, and which had been sunk at one time, I am not sure whether it was on purpose or not. She was a Motor Fishing Vessel design and during the war was used in mine sweeping. Somehow she ended up in South Africa and I have no idea how my father ended up getting hold of her. Of the three ships I lived on, she was the best, she could take any weather you could throw at her and although it might have been uncomfortable for the passengers, Sunfish (renamed Silver Sunfish) rode it out. She must have been refurbished after she sank, I don’t remember any problems with her when my father first got her. I may have been at boarding school for her original arrival, I no longer remember.

I remember many trips on Silver Sunfish – we regularly crossed to Ostende in Belgium which became a regular stomping ground for me, I had lots of friends of my own age at the Yacht Club there and we would go all over the pDragon Racer2lace, not least of which was dancing at the Kursaal which was a casino there. Also, whilst in Ostende we carried the judges for an international Dragon Yacht race as I have mentioned before, and became very good friends with the Danish judge whom we visited in Denmark, on Sunfish, a year or so later. That was a good trip, we ended up in the Tuborg Harbour to get fresh water, we had trouble in the Copenhagen yacht  harbour as it wasn’t really deep enough for us. In the Tuborg harbour, it was the only time the harbour master ever offered us a  beer, a Tuborg of course, we were interested because he kept the glasses in a fridge, but not the beer itself. Funny the things that stick in your mind.

I heard an ad on the radio, insurance I think, and they said “there is nothing worse than a house fire” sorry mate, there is nothing worse than a fire on board a wooden boat. This happened once when we were at sea and we were all pretty scared. Luckily it turned out not to be too bad and we managed to put it out, but when you are at sea, there is nowhere to go – OK you can get into the dinghy etc. but it wouldn’t be funny at all to have a whole bunch of you piled into the dinghy and miles from anywhere with no-one to help. These days with all the communication gadgets I guess it would be better, but back then, 50 years ago maybe????

Downton 3If, like me, you are waiting for the next series of Downton Abbey, I found out this morning they will be shown starting January 6, 2013. If its as good as the last two series, it will be excellent. Really looking forward to it. Shirley McLane will be in the new series. They talk a bout sparks flying, will be interesting to see the reaction between the characters played by both she and Maggie Smith. Not til January though, boo hoo.

We were very impressed with the London Olympics ceremony last night, althoughOlympic Cauldron very sorry, but I think Paul McCartney should retire, he’s 70 and his voice sounds like it. Everything else was excellent and nothing, but nothing appeared to go wrong. I thought the foundry sequence with casting one of the Olympic rings in front of us was wonderful, I actually didn’t think it would work ‘cos the metal would have been so hot. They had a bunch of smoke stacks too, belching something, I hope it wasn’t real smoke but something cleaner. I got pretty emotional at the beginning with the Jerusalem hymn being sung by the kids from each country. I was sorry, when they were doing the children’s literature section, that they didn’t mention Paddington Bear though. Great job Britain, I congratulate you.

I love the flavour of Puttanesca sauce so when I saw this I thought it would be a good one to share and try.

Easy Vegetarian Puttanesca

ByThe Gluten Free Goddess
WebMD Recipe from Foodily.com

Fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic, hot pepper flakes, jalapenos, a spoon of basil pesto, and tart little caper buds create a sexy, spicy pasta sauce.vegetarian_putanesca


1/2 package spaghetti
Sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 14-oz. can organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juice (Muir Glen is tasty)
1 tablespoon chopped jarred jalapenos
1 tablespoon rinsed capers
1 tablespoon basil pesto
1 generous splash balsamic vinegar
2 shakes of hot red pepper flakes


Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions, just until al dente. Do not over-cook your pasta or you’ll ruin the dish.

Meanwhile, pour a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil into a deep skillet and heat it gently over medium heat.

Toss in the garlic and stir for a minute; add the tomatoes, jalapenos, capers, basil pesto, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Shake some hot pepper flakes in, to taste.

Drain the cooked pasta and pour it into the skillet; stir gently for a minute to coat the strands.

Serve in warm shallow bowls with torn off pieces of gluten-free bread to soak up any sauce left in the bottom of the bowl.

Total Servings: 2

Have a great weekend


Friday, July 27, 2012

Rain and Lightning, Ice Calves.

RainWednesday night we had one hell of a storm with quite a bit of rain. How much rain I have no idea and haven’t heard it mentioned anywhere. Suffice to say this morning everywhere looked as though it had had a good soaking. We so need this rain, at the time of writing we are supposed to get more on Thursday afternoon. I don’t know how much will be enough, but we sure ain’t had it Lightningyet. However, hopefully what we have had will do the grass and trees some good. I must say, the storm kept me awake for a while, the lightning flashes on their own were lighting up the bedroom constantly apart from the terrific crashes of thunder which, in both cases, seemed almost continuous. I had to include this spectacular picture by Justin Cormier which was taken a few miles away from us in Guelph, and published on the Weather Network. I know we had similar lightning here, I couldn’t even look towards the window it was so bright.

This is a scary piece of video which has been seen on TV and I thought I would share in case you didn’t get to see it. I think it was a fairly small vessel visiting this iceberg which decided to calve down whilst they were filming it. Glad I wasn’t there I would have had to change my underwear.

There are more videos you can access from this clip which shows an iceberg calving and then rolling. The guide ends up holding a piece of crystal clear ice which has air trapped inside from thousands of years ago. Guess I always knew people were nuts LOL. I like watching the film, but I wouldn’t want to be there.

Although asparagus season is over, I still liked the look of this recipe from Web MD and thought I would share it with you. I never think of Gruyère without thinking of Matt who went on a trip to Switzerland with his first wife and apparently scarfed down a pound of the stuff all on his own. He assures me that the cheese, when bought in the village of Gruyère and absolutely fresh, is much better than the cheese that we can buy.

Chicken and Asparagus with Melted Gruyère

WebMD Recipe from EatingWell.com

For this elegant dish, boneless chicken breast and asparagus are smothered in a luxurious white-wine sauce with just the right amount of melted Gruyère cheese. Chicken_and_Asparagus_with_Melted_GruyereTarragon and lemon add a delicious light flavor that is perfect with asparagus.

Servings: 4

Recipe Ingredients:

  1. 8 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  2. 2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  3. 2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  4. 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1-1 1/4 pounds), trimmed
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  8. 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  9. 1/2 cup white wine
  10. 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  11. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
  12. 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  13. 2/3 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
Recipe Steps:
  1. Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and steam for 3 minutes. Uncover, remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Whisk broth and 2 teaspoons flour in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Place the remaining 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and dredge both sides in the flour, shaking off any excess.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side, adjusting heat as needed to prevent scorching. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  5. Add shallot, wine and the reserved broth mixture to the pan; cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in sour cream, tarragon, lemon juice and the reserved asparagus until combined. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top of each piece of chicken, cover and continue cooking until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.

Have a great day


Thursday, July 26, 2012

U Boat, O’Toole Biography, Papaya

U Boat siteInteresting item, a German U boat has probably been found in the Churchill River in Labrador. Apparently a search team were looking for some missing men who had gone over the Muskrat Falls and they were scanning the bottom of the river when the found what looked like a U boat. This was 2 years ago. If it is decided that the wreck is a U boat, it will be left in situ and declared a war grave. The German embassy say there are still several missing U boats and that there were U boats operating in the Newfoundland/Labrador area. The embassy was surprised that a boat might be that far inland.

By the way, I forgot to mention that I had obtained the book Loitering with Intent: O'TooleThe Child which is Peter O’Toole’s autobiography. I have quit reading it. In the first place the book is a series of anecdotes rather than a continuous story, and there are a lot of lists of words in many of the anecdotes, descriptive words, but I don’t find them very enjoyable reading. I was somewhat disappointed particularly as, to me, he is such a wonderful actor even though he has now given up on the profession. Its not often I give up on a book but found I just was not enjoying this one. I discovered he is 6 years older than I am and his memories of the war years are much more vivid than mine. He conceived quite a hatred to Hitler who had quite an effect on his early years. I guess he did on all of us youngsters of that time.

Yesterday, when shopping, Matt bought Papayas. I have never eaten them, nor had I a clue how to do so, Google to the rescue. I cut one and just spooned out the flesh, it was good. I also discovered what looks like a delicious salad so thought I would share it with you. I don’t know why I have never tried them before, guess I didn’t really know what to do with them. Maybe tomorrow I will try this recipe.

Fresh Papaya Salad with Prawns and Garden Greens

By Darlene Schmidt, About.com Guide

If you're tired of the same boring salads, try my Fresh Papaya Salad with Prawns and Garden Greens. A complete meal in itself, this salad also works as an appetizer or side dish. Accompanying the salad is a unique Thai dressing that is so good, you won't even notice it's low-fat. You'll definitely want to make extra to keep in the refrigerator for your regular tossed salads!

  • 1 large bowl or serving plate of salad greens
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 ripe papaya, peeled and sliced (with seeds removed) - see recipe below for further instructions
  • 1/2 to 1 cucumber, sliced
  • approx. 1 cup cooked shrimp, OR substitute deep-fried tofu if vegetarian
  • 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped if the leaves are large
  • Optional garnish: a few edible flowers, such as nasturtiums or pansies
  • SALAD DRESSING: (this recipe can be doubled or tripled if making a very large salad)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. thick coconut milk (buy good-quality coconut milk and take from the top of the can)
  • 2 Tbsp. oil (a light vegetable oil like canola works well)
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (OR 3 Tbsp. soy sauce if vegetarian/vegan)
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 heaping tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. chili sauce (or more if you prefer a spicier dressing)

For complete instructions on how to buy and prepare fresh papaya, see: How to Prepare a Papaya.

  1. If using fresh shrimp, peel and then boil them in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until pink and firm (well done). Drain and set aside.
  2. To make the dressing, combine all salad dressing ingredients and stir well until coconut cream/milk is fully dissolved. If the dressing is too thick, add a teaspoon or two of water.
  3. Taste test the dressing. It should be tangy and a little spicy. If you find it too sour, add a little more sugar according to your taste. If too sweet, add more lime juice.
  4. Sprinkle the fresh basil over your bowl or serving platter of green.
  5. Arrange the papaya, tomatoes, cucumber, prawns, and edible flowers over the greens.
  6. When ready to eat, either toss the salad with the dressing, or serve the dressing on the side, allowing guests to add their own portions. Enjoy!

Have a great day


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Google, AIDS Cure? Shrimp.

Google shirtI nearly forgot, had to go for an X-ray yesterday and in the waiting room saw a guy with a T shirt which said - I don’t need to Google, my wife knows everything. Thought that was hilarious. Talking of Google, did you see the doodled yesterday for Emilia Earhart’s 115th birthday, I thought it was another good one. No good getting one for Matt, he doesn’t use the computer anyway. One can get them on the internet though. I also received the memory foam pillows I had ordered on Kijiji Daily Deals. Now all l have outstanding is the carpet cleaning which takes place at the beginning of next month. Never thought of it before but if you go to the following page you can see all the Google Doodles.

I came across this story about a man who has apparently been cured of AIDS by Aids curedhaving a bone marrow transplant due to his leukemia. Now wouldn’t that be something? He says he is cured and plans to stay that way. He still has recurrent leukemia but they reckon the AIDS virus has been destroyed.

We had the recipe below for supper last night, it was pretty tasty. Ate it as a main course with a plain salad. It was a bit of a pain to make, I had to shell all the nuts and then they wouldn’t release their inner skins. Having Googled I put the nuts in boiling water for 2 minutes, drained them and then rolled them in a tea towel to remove the skins. It worked. Then I put all the sauce ingredients in a blender and they wouldn’t blend, in the end I added a bit more olive oil, I thought there was enough lemon juice. I still had to keep poking at the ingredients to get them to blend properly. However, once it was all done, it was worth it. I found the recipe on World Wide Recipes and picked up the picture elsewhere.

I am never quite sure with recipes like this, should the shrimp be cooked and shelled before you weigh it? Makes a difference, you lose close on 1/3 of the weight with the shells. In fact I used a pound of shrimp with their shells (not heads) on and served it by spreading the sauce on a piece of toast each and then topping that with shrimp. There was, in fact, enough for two nights, i.e. 4 people.

Shrimp with Pistachio Sauce (Gamberi con Salsa di Pistacchi)

1/2 cup (125 ml) shelled pistachiospistachio_shrimp
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
4 anchovy fillets
1-2 cloves garlic
1 Tbs (15 ml) capers
1 Tbs (15 ml) lemon juice, or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 lb (450 g) large cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

Combine the pistachios, olive oil, anchovies, garlic, capers, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in an electric blender or food processor and process to make a paste. Mix with the cooked shrimp in a bowl and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning with lemon juice, salt, and pepper and serve chilled or at room temperature.  Serves 4 to 6.

Have a great day


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yarn Bombs, Drought and Water,

Until this weekend I had never heard of yarn bombing. Yarn bombThis is the Charging Bull near Wall Street. Apparently women all over have decided graffiti was a male dominated activity so they decided to knit cosies for all kinds of items to make life more colourful. If you look at the article, there are trees, phone booths, statues, buses, you name it, which have been yarn bombed. Apparently it is designated as vandalism or littering but according to the article, the police don’t seem to bother about it too much. Apparently some knitters have been paid lots of money to knit cosies for their products, Toyota for one. Knitting is not my bag, apart from cooking, anything domestic is not my bag mind you, however, even I could knit some of the squares they use for these yarn bombs. By the way, my knitting achievement include one, and one only, sweater knitted many, many, years ago.

Ontario hit a record yesterday for heat, it was 30.2°C but today we got to 33°C. All I know is, it was bloody hot. I couldn’t believe it this morning when I heard them WAImap_enmowing the grass around the apartment. Predominantly there is nothing but crispy yellow stuff all round the building, certainly where we look out, also the park is in the same condition. So what on earth was there to mow? There are patches of weeds in the front which I agree needed doing, but certainly not round this side. Obviously the company that takes care of our grass must be suffering along with many other such companies. Driving around yesterday, the corn is brown from the bottom to a couple of feet up the stem, I’m surprised the top still survives. Prices are already going up and I suspect we may encounter some shortages soon. The situation is very serious. Discussing it with friends over the weekend they said they had heard that it is considered the next wars will be about water. Glenda Larke, the author, has said much the same thing. In this part of the world, we are very careless with water. I read in a book I have about the Great Lakes that if it weren’t for them humans couldn’t survive here, but they too are losing water and not as deep as they once were. Ontario has something like 1,000 lakes and they are all getting lower too.

We had a fun time on Saturday evening and we ate English Stuffed Peppers followed by London Broil. My friend brought the dessert which consisted of vanilla ice cream, blueberries and raspberries topped by home made truffles with Grand Marnier. It was absolutely delicious, particularly the truffles. She also brought Brie and crackers so we were all stuffed by the time we had finished..
This recipe from Cooking.com is just up my street, chocolatey, gooey, delicious looking.

Mississippi Chocolate and Coffee Cake

Source: Close-up on Cakes

Mississippi Choc Coffee Cake

Serves 10

Click here to find out more!INGREDIENTS
For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
1 3/4 cups strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup bourbon
5 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Icing:
6 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 1/2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan. Line pan with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the coffee, bourbon, chocolate, and butter, stirring until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool for 3 minutes and transfer to an electric mixer. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, half a cup at a time, and beat medium speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan. When cooled, turn out onto a serving plate.

Combine the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler and stir over low heat until they are melted and combined. Cool slightly and then ice cake.

Have a great day

Monday, July 23, 2012

Burning Ivory, Giant Sturgeon, Yarn Bombs.

Ivory BurningI was interested in an article I read last week about Gabon, on the West Coast of Africa, burning 5 tons of ivory seized from poachers. Gabon has a zero tolerance for wildlife crime and this is a strong message informing them that they will not put up with this poaching. Last year was apparently one of the worst years for elephant poaching ever. Thousands of elephants are being killed every year despite the ban which was enacted in 1989. The biggest market is in Asia, not only for ivory, but for rhino horn and any items they believe have medicinal properties. Gabon is stepping up its institutions and laws to help combat this crime. In case you are wondering, as I did, the rhino horn is more akin to the composition of hooves than to elephant tusks being predominantly keratin.

Picture in the news yesterday of a British couple visiting BC and fishing the Fraser BRITE Giant Sturgeon 20120720River at Chilliwak, they had caught probably the biggest white sturgeon ever. They say it was not tagged, so probably had not been caught for at least 18 years. They figured the fish was about 500 kilos and about 4 metres long. The fish was released, they are protected because they are classified as an imperilled species in BC. The third person is President of Great River Fishing Adventures. There is a video on the web site which is quite interesting to watch.

Have you heard of yarn bombing, I hadn’t, now I am investigating it, sounds somewhat odd to me.

Here is a recipe which looked delicious and would be very suitable for L. Diane Wolfe’s life style along with any others who practice veganism. Nothing to stop anyone else trying it as well of course. It looks absolutely delicious.

Vegan Mulligatawny Detox Soup

By The Gluten Free Goddess
WebMD Recipe from Foodily.com

Did you over indulge? Just a little? Don't worry,I've got a body and soul soothing cure. Mulligatawny detox soup. It's chock full of antioxidant vegetable goodness with detoxing spices to boot. Cook it on the stove top or in a Crock Pot and let it simmer for the afternoon, filling your kitchen with a comforting aroma that feels like one big hug.

Mulligatawny is one of my all-time favorite soup recipes. But this version is not the traditional mulligatawny recipe with chicken. Nope. It's meat-free and dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free. The spices promote detoxing and healing. But best of all? You won't feel deprived doing what's good for your body. This mulligatawny is a mouth crush of flavors sweet and savory, creamy, spicy and tangy- all at once.

This delectable post-modern version of mulligatawny is deliciously complex. The chick peas give it a boost of protein; the apple gives it a sweet-tart kick. Use organic vegetables for maximum detox. Adjust spices if you prefer a mild soup- cayenne pepper has heat.vegan_mulligatawny_detox_soup


1 tablespoon avocado oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons mild GF organic curry powder
1 teaspoon organic turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less, to taste
1 medium sweet or red onion, peeled, diced
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 heaping cups thinly shredded cabbage
1 quart fresh spring water
2 cups organic Super Veggie Juice
1 14-oz. can organic chick peas , drained
A small pinch of sea salt, to taste
1 14-oz. can coconut milk , stirred
Juice from 1 medium lime, or to taste
1-2 teaspoons gluten-free brown rice syrup

For garnish:

Thin apple slices or shredded apple
Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired


For a slow cooker:

Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker except the coconut milk, lime juice and brown rice syrup. Cover and cook on high according to your manufacturer's instructions for cooking vegetable soup. When the veggies are tender, add in the coconut milk and lime. Taste test. Add brown syrup to taste. Heat through 15 minutes.

For stove top:

Heat the avocado oil over medium high heat in a medium size soup pot. Add the garlic, ginger, curry, turmeric and cayenne and briefly stir for to season the oil. Add the onion, carrots, cauliflower, apples, sweet potato and cabbage, and sauté until softened, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the spring water and chick peas; season with a touch of sea salt, if desired. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, cover and simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, lime juice and brown rice syrup. Stir well. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Heat through gently; don't boil.


If you desire a smooth soup, puree the soup with a hand held immersion blender (or puree- carefully- in small batches, tightly covered, in a blender or food processor ) until smooth. Return the puree to the soup pot. Heat over low heat until serving.

If you prefer more texture, puree only half the soup, or mash lightly with a potato masher until you have the consistency you desire.

Total Servings: 6

Have a great day


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shooting, Buttercream Floral Cakes, Becel and Corn.

Aurora ShootingHorrifying news on Friday morning about the shooting in the Colorado theatre where they were premiering the new Batman. Two things in particular which puzzled us, didn’t know they showed movies at midnight and what on earth was anyone doing with a 3 month old baby in the cinema, especially at that hour? Practically the whole of Good Morning America was taken up with this news. At the time of writing the stats are 12 dead and 59 injured, one of which was the baby. The suspect is in custody. They have searched his car and are also searching his home having evacuated people in the vicinity. It appears that one of the victims just missed a shooting in Toronto earlier this year. This time she was killed. How sad sounds like the fates were out to get her. Update: the baby survived.

In happier vein, a friend posted a picture of a cake on Facebook which is Cake picabsolutely delightful. It is a buttercream floral cake and is made by an English cakemaker, www.artycakes.co.uk – it would be nice to be able to get a cake like this. It is so pretty isn’t it. I once make a Christmas cake covered in roses but they were made with royal icing, I would imagine that’s easier, you can make everything way in advance and store it. Dunno about you, I would be reluctant to cut into such a beautiful cake. I checked the website, what beautiful cakes are on display there. Lucky you in the UK having such a wonderful source of decorative and tasty confections. I was curious to see they stated they used an American buttercream recipe, I hadn’t known there was a difference, obviously butter and sugar is not all there is to it.

Friday night supper we had the Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Caps that I posted Becelabout a few days ago, we enjoyed them so much. I also enjoyed my corn for lunch and tried a different way of cooking it. Basically you microwave one cob for 1 1/2 mins then wrap it in a kitchen towel or some foil for 5 mins, then eat. Delicious. I put a little Becel margarine on mine, not butter. I’ve said before, I don’t think its available elsewhere, I could be wrong, but it tastes very like butter to me and is stuffed full of Omega 3.

I mentioned we have friends coming for supper tonight so will have a busy day. They are providing dessert so that’s less for us to do.

I am copying the whole article from Web MD to present this salad to you. It sounded delicious. I have always enjoyed insalata caprese, so this appeals. I confess I have never heard of David Chang nor do I know what shiso leaves are, but alternatives are suggested.

Cherry Tomato and Tofu Salad

ByThe Food Gal
WebMD Recipe from Foodily.com

He may be known for his potty-mouth and explosive, imploding personality but New York Chef David Chang of the mini Momofuku restaurant empire can sure put together one soothing, serene dish.
That’s just what you’ll enjoy in his “Cherry Tomato & Tofu Salad” from the newest Alice Waters cookbook, “In the Green Kitchen” (Clarkson Potter).

The founder of the landmark restaurant, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, Waters put this book together from dishes created by chefs at the 2008 Slow Food Nation event in San Francisco. The premise of the book, is that by keeping a well stocked pantry, learning a few basic techniques and seeking out the best organic, local and seasonal ingredients, anyone can create simple meals that nourish and satisfy.

I was fortunate enough to see Chang create this tofu dish at a cooking demo at Slow Food Nation. It’s a super simple dish of creamy, cold tofu topped with a zingy dressing of sherry vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil and sesame seeds that’s finished with refreshing shiso leaves and a bountiful handful of sweet summer cherry tomatoes. If you don’t have shiso readily available, fresh mint or basil leaves would make a fine substitution.
It’s like an Asian take on insalata caprese, with good-for-you tofu standing in for mozzarella. Enjoy it as a first course or as a light lunch on a lazy, warm afternoon, when the only swearing you plan to do is about how good this is.

From David Chang, In the Green Kitchen, by Alice Waters

This recipe makes 2 servings.cherry_tomato_and_tofu_salad
2 teaspoons soy sauce
A few drops of toasted sesame oil
A dash of sherry vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 cup ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
2 slices very fresh tofu or yuba (tofu skin), 1/2-inch thick and about 2 by 4 inches
Shiso leaves
Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toasted sesame oil is very potent and should be used sparingly. Add dressing and sesame seeds to the cherry tomatoes and mix together. Arrange tofu on a plate and spoon over tomatoes and dressing. Cut fresh shiso leaves into fine ribbons, or tear leaves into pieces, and scatter over tomatoes and tofu, then serve.

Have a great weekend

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bracelet, Corn and Tomatoes, Microsoft.

Braceletin the mail I received my Swarovsky Elements bracelet which I had bought (sorry Matt bought if for me) for my birthday, in September. I am really delighted with it, I have a crystal necklace and earrings so this will make a nice addition to the set. In fact the bracelet looks nicer than the picture, much brighter. This actually was a Daily Deal and the price was certainly right. I am still awaiting some pillows I bought, and also for the carpet cleaning which will take place in August. I hadn’t realised these Daily Deals were any good until the woman who cleans for me mentioned them.

Yesterday we decided to go to a local farm that sells sweet corn, unfortunately we Heirloomscouldn’t find it. Hadn’t been there for at least two years so either they have shut up shop or we got lost!! On our return journey we were followed quite a long while by a cop car. He eventually turned off and almost immediately a car shot by us doing one hell of a speed and crossing a double yellow line. Where was that cop when we wanted him? We had to go to the grocery store and it turned out they had some fresh corn anyway. I also found some Heirloom tomatoes which usually have a better flavour than the general run of the mill tomatoes. We have some friends coming for dinner on the weekend and I wanted to do a starter which included desserts. Friends are bringing dessert, no idea what.

There’s a surprise, a report I just found says Microsoft have suffered their first Microsoftloss in 26 years. Apparently the blame lies with the acquisition of aQuantive which was purchased as a way with competing with Google ads. Never heard of them myself, but Google is not a company that can easily be beaten financially I think. Of course Windows 8 will be out this year, October, which will net them a few bucks. I get a tad fed up with all these new versions of Windows, OK for the business sector, but for us home computer users, it becomes difficult, not to mention expensive, to keep up.

This recipe appealed to me, I have always loved lemon flavours.

Lemon Tart

Source: Casual Cuisines of the World - Bistro

Serves 6

Click here to find out more!Bistro dessert carts regularly feature at least one type of citrus tart. This recipe produces a refreshing creamy and tart lemon custard for filling, and a tender, flaky pastry shell. For a simple variation, lime or orange juice can be used in plaLemon Tartce of all or some of the lemon juice.

Sweet Pastry Dough (see recipe)
For Lemon Filling:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar

For Lemon Garnish:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 paper-thin slices of lemon
Other necessary recipes:Sweet Pastry Dough

FOR THE SWEET PASTRY DOUGH: Preheat an oven to 400°F. Butter a 10-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12 inch-diameter round and 1/8-inch thick. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the prepared tart pan. Unwrap the dough from the pin and press it gently into the pan. Trim the pastry even with the pan rim.
Line the pastry-lined pan with parchment paper and add pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the pastry is half-cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and waxed paper.

FOR THE LEMON FILLING: Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice, eggs, lemon zest and 1 1/4 cups of the sugar in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the melted butter. Pour the lemon mixture into the warm tart crust. Return it to the oven and bake until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the tart to a rack. Cool completely.

FOR THE LEMON GARNISH: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Add the reserved lemon slices, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Remove the lemon slices from the sugar-water mixture, shaking briefly to remove any excess liquid, and place on a plate.

TO SERVE THE TART: Remove pan sides from tart. Transfer the tart to a serving plate. Arrange lemon slices in an overlapping pattern atop the center of the tart and serve at room temperature.

Sweet Pastry Dough

Source: Casual Cuisines of the World - Bistro
Active Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours 10 Minutes
Makes enough dough for one 10-inch tart shell (Serves 8)

Dense, buttery and rich, this sweet dough makes an ideal tart shell. If you like, you can prepare it ahead to use later; wrapped airtight in plastic wrap, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder

In a bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer set on low speed, beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Add the egg and beat until creamy. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour and baking powder just until incorporated. Then beat with the electric mixer set on low speed until the dough is evenly mixed and clings together, 2-3 minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using, then use as directed in individual recipes.

Have a great day

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bone Scan, End of the World, Prophecies, Mandela.

Bone scanSo yesterday I went for a bone scan, I had one once before but had forgotten how it went, very simple really. I was told to remove jewellery by the office staff, but I am unable to remove my Medic Alert bracelet myself, when I mentioned it to the technician she said it didn’t matter. I am not sure why my doc suddenly decided I should have a bone scan unless it was because my tooth broke the other week. Matt had one after fracturing a vertebra but we never heard anything so presumably his bones are fine. They could only check one of my hips due to the replacement, presumably they couldn’t check either of Matt’s. Something I was a bit took aback by, I have always known my height to be 5’ 6”. Guess what, she measure me at 5’ 4” so I have shrunk a couple of inches. Maybe I need to get one of those things you hang upside down on to stretch me a bit. LOL.

Reading Stephen Tremp’s blog today he talked about the Mayan prophecy which Mayanhas been interpreted to mean that the world will end in 2012, September I think. From what he wrote, I wondered just how many people do believe in this prophecy  and are worried about the world ending. The thing is, if it ends, it ends, and we would probably not know a damned thing about it so why worry about it anyway. I certainly am not. I wonder just how many such prophecies there have been over the centuries, the Mayan one is apparently open to different interpretations, didn’t Nostradamus have anything to say on the subject? I was reminded about the prophecies of the “old woman” who offered 9 books of prophecies to a King of Rome, he said they were too expensive, she burned three and offered the remaining 7 at the same price, he still refused, so she burned three more and offered the final 3 still for the same price whereupon he relented and bought them. The terrible thing about these books is that they were subsequently destroyed by a Christian because they were pagan. What a terrible thing to do, destroy books. I guess the old woman destroyed a few as well.

MandelaYesterday was Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday. That is a good age. I have written before about longevity and he is another example of it. Considering how long he spent in prison, he is a remarkable man. I went for a haircut and my hairdresser said I was still a spring chicken and to weight til I hit the 90s before we talked about age. She has several customers in the 90s.

Here is yet another flank steak recipe. I haven’t made up my mind yet which one I will try first.

Grilled Asian Flank Steak

Source: Weber

Makes 6 servings

Click here to find out more!The marinade in this recipe adds tenderness and special flavor to a popular cut of Asian Flank Steakbeef. Just add steamed rice with black sesame seeds, some green beans, and you have an easy, delicious dinner!

For Marinade:

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup plum sauce

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup scallions, finely sliced

3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced

2 flank steaks (about 1-1/4 pounds each)


Combine all marinade ingredients. Mix well.

Place flank steak in a resealable plastic bag and add marinade. Refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours, turning occasionally to distribute marinade.

Remove flank steak from the marinade. Reserve marinade. Place steak in center of cooking grate and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, or until desired doneness, turning once halfway through grilling time. Occasionally brush lightly with remaining marinade while grilling. Remove steak when done and hold in a warm place for 5 to 7 minutes. Slice thinly on the bias for serving.

Meanwhile, bring remaining marinade to a boil and simmer rapidly for 5 minutes. Serve with steak.

Have a great day