Friday, May 31, 2013

Update on Chinese Baby, This ‘n That.

One thing about these blog hops or blog fests, at least you don’t have to think what to write. For instance, I found some fascinating information on what people did to improve their health, some of which I will certainly make use of. However, today, I can’t think of anything to write about. Mind you, after not having had one comment yesterday, I wonder why I write anyway.

clip_image002I reported the story about the newborn baby found in the pipes of a toilet in China, now they have identified the mother. She says she gave birth over the toilet and the baby slipped from her hands and she couldn’t catch him. She is actually the one who notified the landlord of the baby crying. It’s a long sad story about a young girl left alone to bear the brunt of an unwanted pregnancy and a father who won’t admit his responsibility. I feel very sad for the girl and her baby. The article doesn’t say what the authorities are planning to do now. One thing it did say in the article that Chinese teachers are reluctant to teach sex education because it makes them appear to be condoning pre marital sex. Putting it politely, balderdash. Since writing this, I see the baby is being given to his grandparents.

On Wednesday, it was our summer bowling league day. I discovered our team is lying second, not sure how long for. Especially the way we were all bowling that day, not just Matt and I but the other two team members. Just one of those days I guess.

I am not into politics as you know, but there have been a lot of pretty nasty goings on in our government circles recently, fraud and mismanagement of funds, Mayors accused of using heavy drugs and so on. I have never trusted politicians and this kind of thing tends to confirm me in my beliefs.

Yesterday I had to go for my quarterly diabetes blood work. I have to go early as I will be fasting prior to going. At least these days we can now book our appointments at the clinic, used to be a right pain when one had to get there before the crack of dawn to ensure one got in and out early. Today I have a mammogram. Had to cancel one a while back and forgot to re-book. Describing the three days to Matt I said it was bowling, blood and boobs.

clip_image004The recipe I told you about for crispy asparagus fries, turns out you can do more or less the same thing with avocado and they look delicious.

Although I continue to enjoy asparagus every day I figured I would give it a rest on here for a while. This recipe also looks delicious. I love Brie, Artichokes and Spinach so what's not to like?

Spinach and Brie-Topped Artichoke Hearts

WebMD Recipe from

In this deconstructedclip_image005 version of hot spinach-artichoke dip, we stuff artichoke hearts with lightly seasoned cooked spinach and melt brie on top.

1 9 oz. box artichoke hearts, frozen
2/3 cup spinach, cooked chopped
1 tsp lemon pepper
¼ tsp salt
18 thin slices brie

1. Preheat broiler. Prepare artichoke hearts according to package directions.
2. Combine spinach, lemon pepper and salt in a small bowl. Top each artichoke heart with the spinach mixture and brie. Broil until cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes.

Have a great day

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Android, Chinese Baby.

I have, surprise, surprise, been spending a lot of time with my new android. Doing quite well with it at the moment. It turned out that AndroidWorldstart, from whom I purchased the tablet, had sent me an email with a link to a pretty comprehensive manual so things are looking up. I managed to take two pictures which were lousy and to add one piece of music and one audio book. So, I’m getting there. I haven’t yet found out the capacity of this thing, and although I can get to the website I find entering my quite complicated bank password to be a pain in the neck, apart from which I am used to having Last Pass complete it for me, but if I have to, a proper keyboard is a lot easier to type it on. Its an excellent password, if I have trouble with it, can you imagine a crook having a go? When I go on vacation I will have to stop clicking the email comments on other people’s blogs, too many to deal with on the tablet.

Awful story on the news yesterday about a newborn in China being stuck in a toilet drainpipe Luckily people heard it crying and firefighters managed to cut the pipe and get the clip_image002baby out. I can’t imagine a mother doing such a thing, she must have been mentally incompetent amongst other things – in fact I am surprised she could flush the baby down at all. Can’t imagine doing that with our toilets here. Lots of people want to adopt apparently but they are handing the baby boy to social services. Shame. If you look at the picture the head looks too big, shoulders too I guess.

When I saw this recipe, I immediately though, a touch of asparagus would be good here. Just steam or boil some, when just cooked rinse and refresh in cold water, drain and then chop and add to the salad.

Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

Contributed by Grace Parisi
Food and Wine


This Brazilian-style salad might taste a bit rich—with creamy avocado and a mayonnaise dressing—but it’s really quite healthy.

1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved Hearts of Palm and Avocado
1/2 small sweet onion, cut into thin slivers
Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm, drained and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons canola oil
Freshly ground pepper

In a medium bowl, toss the halved cherry tomatoes with the onion slivers, hearts of palm, avocado and chopped parsley. In a small bowl, whisk the lime zest and lime juice with the mayonnaise and oil; season the dressing with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss gently and serve right away.

Have a great day

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Get Healthy Blogfest

Today I am taking part in the Get Healthy Blogfest being hosted by: Alex Cavanaugh, L. Diane Wolfe , Michael Di Gesu, and Stephen Tremp, a  Blog Hop that focuses  on health. 

Funnily enough I have been trying to do something about my weight since January FitDayand have been helped by the programme FitDay where you can record everything you eat each day to keep a track of your intake. They call themselves a Free Diet and Weight Loss Journal and that’s exactly what it is, FREE. I have been dieting since I was 11 years old and have found over the years that recording your food intake is one of the best ways to help lose weight. There are several similar programmes on the internet including Weight Watchers which, unfortunately, you have to pay to use. It is essential one cuts back one’s nutritional intake to lose weight, but at the same time it is essential that we consume a healthy balance of nutrients, including some fats which most people avoid like the plague. You cannot be healthy without a well balanced diet.

Exercise is great if you can do it. Unfortunately these days I cannot do much Walkingalthough its not too many years since I used to walk 4 miles a day and the weight really dropped off me. You really don’t need to spend lots of time in a gymnasium, walking is wonderful exercise and doesn’t cost anything. People often excuse themselves as they say they have no time, not true, if nothing else, turn off the TV and get out there. You can start off small and gradually increase the amount you walk. Even walking three times a week is good to start off with. Of course if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow and ice in the winter, then you have to go somewhere to walk. Many Malls open early to accommodate Mall walkers, again, FREE. As most of you know, Matt and I go bowling which is not bad exercise, you would be surprised how many calories that uses up. I also bought myself a treadmill a few years ago and am trying to get back to using that. Slow build up, but its coming along.

Butter BudsI am always on about asparagus, but that is a great health food just on its own. I often cook myself some and put Butter Buds on, unfortunately Butter Buds aren’t available in Canada, but in the US you have no excuse. I love that product it is good to add to many foods such as baked potatoes and corn. Although please don’t eat too much of either.

If you are not sure of just what is a good menu for losing weight, there are many sources on the internet which will help you with just that. FitDay itself has a nutritionist available – I’ve never sought that help myself, but after having weight Curvesproblems all my life, I have an excellent idea of what I should eat and how much, just don’t stick to it all the time unfortunately. I have lost 16 lbs. this year, but have quite a few more to go. If I had kept off all the weight I have lost in my life you wouldn’t be able to see me. Weight Watchers is also a great place to go but you have to pay to join and then pay every week. However they do give you good support and motivation a thing which helps most people. You can also, as a woman, join Curves which is a good place to exercise. I used to belong but with my leg problems had to quit. There is a similar place for men but I can never remember what it’s called.

Last, but not least, is T'ai Chi or T'ai Chi Chuan . I started learning some 15 or so years ago and whilst I was practicing regularly I felt fit and well. Like a fool, I have let it lapse and plan to start doing it again regularly although I don't have a lot of room to do T'ai Chi any more. The Chinese believe that it stimulates chi or energy in the body and this affects your mind, body and spirit, it is a wonderful exercise for balance both physically and mentally. The stories of people who have survived longer than expected because of practicing T'ai Chi are endless, I can't praise it highly enough myself. I still do a little now and then but need to get back to a regular habit once more. The Chinese know what they are talking about. I had originally tried to learn from a video, I found that virtually impossible but whilst living in North Carolina I was lucky enough to find a sifu (teacher) and studied with her for a number of years before we came back to Canada.

Finally, of course, if you have been reading my blogs lately, you will know I now possess a CPAP machine which is supposed to help me sleep well and not snore, and not gasp for breath during the night. I think it is beginning to work. Yesterday I felt pretty good all day.

Here is a Weight Watcher’s recipe we have been using for years and thoroughly enjoy. For some reason you can't see the carrot which makes the dish look prettier.

Pork and Black Beans

Turkey breast can be subbed for pork.

Pork & Black Beans
4 servings
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/3 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
5 oz. lean pork tenderloin
1 tsp EVOO
2 tbs white vinegar
One 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 carrot, finely diced (we prefer this shredded)
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 tomato, diced
1 red onion, chopped
2 Tbs chopped cilantro

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, paprika, cumin and salt; rub into the pork.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Sauté the pork until browned, 2-3 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Halve the pork lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thin slices.

Add the vinegar to the pan drippings (stand back whilst doing this, the fumes are pungent) and simmer, stirring, until the acidity cooks off, about 2 minutes. Add the beans, carrot and lime juice, cook, tossing, about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the pork, tomato, onion and cilantro; toss to combine. Serve.

Per serving: 190 calories, 3 g. Total fat, 1 g sat fat, 23 mg Cholesterol, 163 mg Sodium, 26g Total Carbs, 3 g dietary fibre, 16 g protein, 30 mg calcium. WW Points 3.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Barrie’s, Android, CPAP Pillow

I was interasparagusested to read an article/blog about Barrie’s Asparagus Farm, actually the farm itself is called Cedardale Farm, which included some interesting pictures taken by the author Zac Jolliffe. The blog contains some information on the history of asparagus as well as some of the health benefits, and what, to me, is interesting, it shows pictures of the harvester with a description of how it is used. I have often wondered and for one reason or another never been able to ask. I have said, over the years, that Barrie’s asparagus has no woody ends, which means the whole stalk can be eaten. I see they give the woody ends to the pigs, does that mean the pork is asparagus flavoured, LOL. Zac mentions the price being higher because of this but I know one place that sells Barrie’s asparagus for nearly $1 more. Of course if you buy asparagus from local grocery stores it is usually sold by weight, including the woody ends.

I received my android or MID (Mobile Internet Device) yesterday and of course thenandroid had to charge it. I was a bit disappointed, its the same size as my Kindle although the screen is bigger. My Kindle is an original one, it has a keyboard but it doesn’t handle colour. We shall see what happens. I can’t use it for 4 hours. You should see the manual, it's on a small sheet of paper. Doesn’t tell me too much at all. It is supposed to have a camera on it, don’t know anything about it and can’t tell if there are lenses or not. I will no doubt get some answers when it is charged up. The picture is not my android by the way, no pictures on my screen yet but hopefully there will be later.

I phoned the Sleep Management people and their CPAP pillows are $85. They know how to charge. However, it appears to be possible that our insurance will pay for one so long as its bought with the first purchase of a machine. How long it will take to get that confirmed, I don’t know.

I am having the devil's own job with my Windows Live Writer programme which I have used for a long time to write my blog before posting it. It freezes up whilst I am writing and I can do nothing although I can save what I have done so far. When I close and then reopen it, very often whatever I wrote is there, but then I can't alter anything. It is beginning to be very frustrating. I have tried uninstalling and reloading but that doesn't seem to make any difference. It's on both my computers, laptop and desktop, so it's not my system's faults.

I thought we would have a total change of pace for a recipe today. A friend living in NC taught me how to make cornbread, I went nuts about it for a while and made it at every opportunity, however, I guess I got fed up with it and haven’t made it for a long time. I thought this recipe sounded good, and different.Peppered Corn Bread

Peppered Corn Bread

John Currence ingeniously uses both naturally low-fat buttermilk and fat-free sour cream to make his tender corn bread.

Canola oil for brushing
2 cups stone–ground cornmeal Peppered Cornbread
1/2 cup all–purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup fat–free sour cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Preheat the oven to 375°. Rub a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with oil; heat it in the oven.
In a bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, sour cream and butter, then whisk into the dry ingredients until combined. Pour the batter into the skillet.
Bake the corn bread for about 35 minutes, until risen and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let cool for 20 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Have a great day

Monday, May 27, 2013

CPAP, CPAP Pillows, Asparagus Fries.

Hope Memorial Day is being good to all my friends in the US.

My first night of using the CPAP machine went pretty well. I hadn’t maskrealised I would be breathing warm and slightly moist, air. I had two problems, every so often I lost the seal on my mask and could feel the air blowing into my eye and my mouth didn’t stay closed. In all the blurb I have been given they advise that in all probability I will learn to keep my mouth shut (haven’t done so in 70 odd years LOL). Not sure about the seal problem. This picture shows more or less what my mask looks like. I then discovered there is a CPAP pillowCPAP pillow (that’s what the guy is sleeping on) so started searching the internet etc. Of course, being Saturday, the local places are all closed. Talked to a friend who has been using a CPAP machine for 7 years and her comment about the leaking seals was that they do that. Well every time it did it to me, I woke up. The pillow is designed so that the mask has clearance and if your head rolls forward it rests on the high bit (front of the pic) and doesn’t disturb the mask. 

My second night with the machine on Saturday, things went a lot better, only trouble there, I was woken by Matt at 5 a.m. anyway. However, I was sleeping well before and went back to sleep easily enough after. Today I can make some proper enquiries about the pillow. Sorry to bore on about this, but there are a couple of people who have asked me about it all as they too are about to go through the test. It appears there is a high percentage of people who have sleep apnea and are unaware of the fact.

I decided to try making Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries on Saturday – they are a bit of a palaver, quite a enjoyable. Only trouble was, I paid so much attention to them that I overcooked my steak. I eat my steak blue rare, i.e. I like to be able to slap a Bandaid on it and send it back in the field. Never mind we did enjoy the fries. I also discovered that I didn’t have a proper rack on which to cook them, I have no idea what happened to it, but suffice to say it has disappeared. I improvised and it worked. Even though it was a bit of a fiddly job to prepare these, I will probably make them again as they were pretty tasty. I won’t cook so many next time though as they were a bit filling.
messy job, but they worked out well and were very

Asparagus with butter, balsamic and Capers

* 1 bunch asparagus about 250g, woody stems removedRecipe1170
* butter
* 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
* 1 tbsp capers
* 4 slices sourdough bread , toasted
* a few shavings parmesan

Steam the asparagus until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. toss with a knob of butter, the balsamic and capers and season well.
Pile onto sourdough toast and scatter with a few parmesan shavings.

Servings: 2
Source: Olive Magazine

Have a great day.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Girls Only Award, World Wildlife, CPAP

Viveka at My Guilty Pleasures was kind enough to give me the Sisterhood Award which I am very delighted with. It was Viveka who added the flowery frame to the badge. Thanks very much.

Rules for the Sisterhood Award:
Provide a link and thank the blogger who nominated you
Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read
Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know that they have been nominated
Include the award logo within your blog post for the awardsisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award
So, here goes girls, hope you will accept the award.

Jenn at Scribbles from Jenn
Hilary Melton Butcher at Positive Letters
L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick
Sia McKye at Sia McKye Over Coffee
Tina at Life is Good
Elise Fallson at Elise Fallson
Cindy Dwyer at A Reason to Write
Zoe Byrd at rewritten
Lucy Adams at Lucy Adams
Laura Marcella at Wavy Lines

I am having a lot of problems with the programme I use for writing blogs, Windows Live Writer. It keeps seizing up on me. I have asked a question on a forum, lets see what kind of answer I get.

World Wildlife Fund send me regular newsletters and this morning’s included a link to some absolutely fabulous pictures including those of a Panda in it’s habitat. I thought you might enjoy these pictures as I did so I am linking you to them.Panda
I thought this one was particularly cute with the Panda sleeping on a sloping hillside. So many animals are on the endangered list these days, not least of which are the rhinos which are being slaughtered by the hundreds for their horns which in fact have no medical properties at all, but there are still a vast number of Asians who believe rhino horn to have health benefits.

I picked up my CPAP machine today, because I am tech savvy she gave me one CPAP Iconwith all kinds of features on it. Not only can I use it for breathing at night, I can set an alarm on it. It has a USB on the side which I can use on my computer to allow the Sleep Management company to make adjustments on my machine. Gonna take a bit of getting used to I think. The machine itself is totally quiet but I have to add distilled water to use it so that may make a noise. We then spent the afternoon checking on sources of distilled water, bought a gallon (4 litres) from them at $3 but she told me I could get it cheaper, turns out I can buy the same from my supermarket for less than $2. I also have to wipe the mask of my face piece every day and I now have a box of non alcoholic baby wipes. There are instructions galore for cleaning everything regularly. I cannot imagine travelling with all this, especially if you had to fly. I have started with a nose mask, but if necessary I might have to change to a full mask. Apparently our insurance covers extra masks if needed, one needs a full mask if one has a cold or something. All great fun.

Grilled Asparagus and Melon Salad

2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto634
1 lb asparagus, trimmed
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 small melon (about 12 ounces), peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
4 oz fresh mozzarella or burrata cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 Tbs pine nuts, toasted* see Note

1 Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the prosciutto in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Chop the prosciutto into 1/4-inch pieces.
3 Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. In a medium bowl, toss together the asparagus and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes each side until crisp-tender.
4 In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the melon and mozzarella cheese and toss until all ingredients are combined.
5 Arrange the asparagus on a platter. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the melon and burrata cheese on top of the asparagus. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette over the top. Sprinkle the prosciutto and pine nuts on top and serve.

Servings: 4

Author: Giada De Laurentiis
Author Notes
To toast pine nuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 8 to 12 minutes until lightly browned.

Have a great weekend and to my American readers, Happy Memorial Day.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thursday Morning, Windows, Android, Mounties

What a lovely morning, we were told late Wednesday afternoon that Bluebirdbestthey would be coming to fix our bedroom windows in the apartment, after 38 years the frames were beginning to rot out as I mentioned previously. Not only that, but after all that time the glass was etched from the screen and nothing would clean it off.  Not the balcony windows you can see in the picture, but the smaller windows ether side.  We are tucked right in the corner behind the tree. So, around 8:30 a.m. they arrived (I was still dressing) so Matt sent them into the computer room to start. I threw my clothes on and dashed in there to cover all the electronics. One older guy was relatively quiet but his two young assistants could NOT close door quietly and they were in and out, in and out, it was driving me crazy. I said before we had had a device attached to our front door to make it close and that was slamming too (the older guy was the one who installed it so he adjusted it so no slamming there) but leaving a door open when the glass was not in made the door slam too. Jeez. My noives, my noives. That’s without the banging and drilling of course although that hasn’t been too, too bad. My biggest complaint was having to get up and get dressed early. That’s three times this week, I don’t do early, well not dressed etc. early anyway.

Hey it’s quiet, all done, lovely new windows and we can see out of them. Only trouble is, we can’t open them because they have no screens. Those are on backorder apparently. I do hope they won’t take too long. I am not sure how you clean them either, I suppose one can take them out although that looks like a difficult job and not one I think we can cope with.

At the moment I am waiting with bated breath until Androidmy new Android arrives, which it should do any day – Worldstart said 5 days but that may not have taken into account that it was being shipped into Canada. Just my luck it will arrive tomorrow when I am out getting my CPAP machine. Of course I don’t have a clue how to use it but I expect I will enjoy finding out. I don't know but assume it will be an Apple system which I have never used.

I didn't know, until I saw the Google Doodle that May 23, 2013 is the 140th anniversary of the founding of the North West Mounted Police. strains of Rose Marie in the background.

Asparagus in Bed

1 lb Ontario asparagus, trimmed Asparagus in Bed
8 eggs
1 Tbs vinegar
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
8 slices prosciutto
freshly grated pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450º F (230º C). Steam or simmer asparagus just until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes; drain well. Fill large skillet with water. Add vinegar and bring to simmer over medium heat. Slip eggs, one at a time, into simmering water; cook until whites are firm and yolks are just set. Remove eggs with slotted spoon and carefully blot dry with paper towel. (Eggs may be poached several hours in advance; transfer to bowl and cover with cold water. Drain well before proceeding.) Divide butter among 4 gratin dishes. Divide asparagus among dishes; drizzle with lemon juice. Drape proscuitto over top. Arrange 2 eggs on top of each prosciutto. Season with pepper to taste. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes or just until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Servings: 4
Source: Asparagus Growers' Marketing Board

Have a great day

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Supper, Sleep Clinic, Windows.

Last night I decided to make the Asparagus and Endive salad Asparagus & Endive Saladwhich I posted the day before, I even remembered to take a picture of it. Once we had dug in I thought of a better way I could have posed the picture, oh well, keep saying I am no photographer. Wed both enjoyed it and I can now really recommend it. The orange of the dressing really complements the ingredients. Endive can be a little bitter, but with the asparagus and orange, it is great.

Yesterday was also bowling day. I had lots of fun again, but I can’t say I bowled very well. My excuse was having had a sugar low before we left home and I was still feeling shaky (what was my excuse last week I wonder). One of our friends, who had previously gone through the same sleep treatment which I am going through now, asked if I had seen the article in the paper about the doctor at the sleep clinic, we don’t take the paper, so I hadn’t. Apparently he is being accused of incompetence which is very reassuring. Even the College of Physicians and Surgeons is involved which makes it even more serious. I am not sure the accusation is anything which affects my diagnosis, at least I hope not. Friday is when I go to the CPAP supplier to get fitted for my machine.

We were informed late yesterday that the workmen would be coming in the morning to install 3 new windows. The frames are somewhat rotted because this is an old building, I guess tomorrow they won’t be.

Asparagus and lobster, two of my most favourite foods, what combination could be better?

Asparagus and Lobster Crêpes with Fines Herbes Hollandaise Sauce

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmedAsparagus Lobster Crepes
Cooked meat of 1 large lobster, or 2 lobster tails (about 1 1/2 lbs loster before cooking)
sprinkling of salt plus 1/2 tsp.
Fines Herbes
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed
2 Tbs lemon juice
white pepper to taste
1 Tbs fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chervil, finely chopped.

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. In a large pot, steam or boil asparagus until just tender, about 10 mins, cool under cold water, drain and set aside.
3. Coarsely chop cooked lobster, set aside
4. Prepare crêpes.
5. Divide the asparagus into 8 separate bundles. Place a bundle in each of 8 crêpes, sprinkle with salt and roll to enclose. Place asparagus in a glass baking dish, top with lobster and cover with foil. Just before serving, and no sooner, place in heated oven for 15 mins to warm through.
6. In a small saucepan over medium high heat reduce (boil) vinegar, water and 1/2 tsp salt until approximately 3 tbs remains, remove from heat.
7. Lower heat to medium-low, add yolks to pan and return to heat, whisking constantly until foamy and lightly thickened. Make sure not to scramble eggs; if the eggs begin to cook too quickly pull off the heat and whisk vigorously to cool slightly before continuing.
8. Begin to whisk butter into pan 1 cube at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, whisk in lemon juice, white pepper and fresh herbs. Use immediately.
9. Place two asparagus crêpes on each plate and top each with some of the warmed lobster. Spoon hollandaise overtop, serve immediately

Servings: 4
Source: Food and Drink Spring 2010

Author Notes
If preparing this for a dinner party, the asparagus, lobster, crêpes and vinegar reduction can all be prepared beforehand so that the only thing left to prepare is the hollandaise. Make sure to use a good quality butter so that the hollandaise has great flavour.

Have a great day

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Making Soup, Racing Pigeons

I mentioned that yesterday we drove to Barrie’s Asparagus Farm and I bought some more asparagus. 4 lbs. actually.001
I immediately chopped up two pounds of the fresh asparagus and added a little onion and some chicken stock to the pan in order to make the base for some more soup.
I cooked this until tender, not more than 3 minutes, I allowed it to cool somewhat and blended it. The picture looks grey, but I assure you the resulting purée is green.
This purée can now be frozen until I  want to do the rest of the soup, or I can go to the next steps of making a roux, turning it into a white sauce and then adding the remaining ingredients to make Barrie’s Asparagus Soup. I posted the recipe at the link. I actually ended up finishing it off and dividing it into meal portions and freezing.

I just found a headline about a record sale price for a racing pigeon, Pigeons$400,000. For a bird?? I had no idea pigeon racing was such a big business. It was a bird bred in Belgium where, I read, the best racing birds are bred. It was sold to China where, apparently it will be used for breeding. The pigeon’s name was, appropriately, Bolt.  There is a headline on the same page about pigeon racing being Hamilton’s least known sport. Certainly news to me and Hamilton is only a few miles away. Come to think of it we used to see pigeons flying morning and night round here, presumably racing birds. I know there are lots of racing pigeons in England, didn’t realise there were any here. A lot of the top prices for Belgian birds are paid by China or Taiwan. If they buy a lot of the fastest birds, I would have thought they could have bred faster birds by now.

Last night we decided to finish off the Thai Chicken which I posted yesterday. This time, instead of using our indoor/outdoor grill we used the broiler and this time, the meat didn’t get scorched. Much better.

As you will see, I have posted a new badge which links to Stephen Tremp's blog, he is one of the hosts of the Get Healthy blog hop which takes place on May 29. If you would like to join in with any information about what you have been doing to improve your health or to maintain it, click on the badge and there is a Linky List where you can add your blog. Stephen explains it all as do all the other hosts on their websites.

This is a delightful salad and yet I cannot find a picture. Guess I should make it and photograph it, but home photos of food never look as good. Well mine don't at least.

Asparagus and Endive Salad

1 lb fresh asparagus , trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1 Tbs Juice, orange, fresh
2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs small shallots , minced
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp black pepper
8 oz Belgian endive, fresh, head , cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips (2 heads)

1. Place 1/2 inch of water at the bottom of a 12 inch pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add in asparagus and cook until tender yet crisp, about 2 minutes. Place in strainer, rinse under cold water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the orange peel, orange juice, vinegar, oil, shallots, sugar, salt, mustard, and pepper until well combined.

3. Add the asparagus and endive to the bowl with the dressing. Mix well to evenly coat and serve.

Servings: 4

Try using a sugar substitute instead of regular sugar.
Source: dLife

Have a great day

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

5 Things that Make Me Happy, Passing It On

I got tagged today by Tina at Life is Good so I now have to think of 5 things that make me happy to tell you about. Obviously this is over and above family and friends. Tina showed her Vibram shoes which sound wonderful, but are somewhat expensive.

These are 5 things that make me happy, not necessarily in order of importance, in fact they are all very important to me.

1. Spring

blossomI love all the fresh green colours which appear on the trees every spring, the gorgeous blossoms which are so delicate and don’t last very long, the promise of summer to come. One of these days I would like to see the cherry blossoms in Washington – I will never manage to get to the cherry blossom festival in Japan sadly. I used to love the azalea festival in Wilmington, NC.  I have mentioned before how I love to see the glorious green of spring grass mixed in with the warm golden of dandelions. Such rich colours.

2. Sunsets

We are lucky where we live right now because we seeSunset our Balcony lots of sunsets from our balcony. I would also include sunrises, but I don’t see too many of them any more. I just love the colours a really good sunset can produce. This is one of the many pictures Matt has taken from our balcony. He is a much better cameraman than I am but he uses an old fashioned camera so we have to wait to see what the results are. We get very good sunsets in Canada, I have no doubt there is a scientific reason for this, but to me, I just love the beauty they produce and the fantastic colours. You gather I get pleasure from visual things.

3. Good Food

Not something that will surprise anyone reading my blog. I love going to a top clittle-inn-of-bayfield_foodlass restaurant and being served something absolutely delectable to look at and delicious to eat. I love cooking such foods although these days I am unable to stand for very long in the kitchen so can’t do the things I used to do which gave me such pleasure to share with friends and family. Of course, good food needs to be complemented with good wines

4. Wildlife

Matt and I used to sit for hours watching birds in our back yard in North Carolina, unfortunately we are not alloweBirdfeeder2d birdfeeders  on our balcony so don’t really get to see a lot of birds close up any more although we can enjoy their songs. Mainly because we live in an apartment we don’t have any pets any more either. I do enjoy watching black squirrels in the park outside our window. I also love to watch wildlife programmes and am never happier than when I hear of successful preservation attempts whether by the World Wildlife Fund or someone else. Picture is of Cardinals on our feeder in North Carolina.

5. Classical Music

My love of classical music came mostly from my father although my mother did enjoy Rachmaninoff. It was further developed by both my husbands, Matt in particular who has been involved with music all his life. I am not fond of some of the more obscure and/or heavier classics but Beethoven, Bach, operas and so on, I love to hear. Matt always ends up crying from a well rendered version of Nessun Dorma, Luciano Pavarotti was the best in our opinion.

Now I have to tag five more bloggers  who are encouraged, but not forced, to list their own Five Things that Make Them Happy. I would actually like to tag lots more, but I will stick at five.

Jeff Hargett at Strands of Pattern
Yolanda Renee at Defending the Pen
Jenn at Scribbles from Jenn
Al Diaz at Father Dragon Writes
Bob Scotney at Bob’s Home for Writing

As it was a lovely afternoon, we headed for Barrie’s Asparagus Farm and bought some asparagus. When I got home, I chopped up 2 lbs of it as the basis for more soup.

Talking of good food, this is what we had for supper last night. We saved half in the freezer. It was very enjoyable, only one problem, the marinade caught slightly whilst it was grilling which rather ruined the picture. You can only just see the dish of sauce, but it’s there and it was good. Told you, I am no photographer.

Thai Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into
1 inch cubes
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbs firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs oil
1 tbs curry powder
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp finely minced fresh ginger 
1/2 tsp ground cardamom 

Peanut Coconut Sauce:
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk (not fat free or lite)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp red curry paste

If using bamboo skewers soak them in ice-cold water for 15 minutes to prevent them from burning; set aside. I use metal kebab skewers.

Whisk all ingredients for marinade together and pour into large plastic bag; add chicken and marinate for minimum 1 hour or overnight.
Combine sauce ingredients in saucepan and cook over medium  heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside
Spray a grill pan with nonstick cooking spray. Thread chicken cubes onto skewers. Over high heat, cook the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, turning the skewers over halfway through. Remove skewers and allow chicken to rest a few minutes before serving.

Serves 4 to 6.

Have a great day

Monday, May 20, 2013

Victoria Day, Anteater Puzzle.

Today is Victoria Day in Canada. Canada celebrated Queen Victoria’s Victoria_Day_fireworks_Toronto_2010birthday long before Confederation and Canadians of the time gathered together on the occasion of her 35th birthday to cheer her. After her death in 1901 it became a law that Victoria Day should be marked. It seems from the history to have got muddled up with Empire Day and subsequent royal birthdays. However, today it is celebrated on the Monday before May 25th as a way to mark the present Queen’s birthday as well as celebrating Empire Day. Must be a bit muddling for Queen Elizabeth II, her actual birthday is April 21, her Canadian birthday is in May and her official birthday in the UK is in June. One bit of history I do recall is that Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital of Canada.

Mind you people have been letting off fireworks round here since Friday night although the official displays will be tonight. From our balcony we get quite a good view of quite a lot of the rockets, but the two big displays locally are just out of sight for us.
Odd little story, officials at LEO Zoological Conservation Center in baby anteaterConnecticut, are puzzled at the birth of a baby anteater in an all female pen. The male was removed last August and an anteater needs 6 months gestation period, so the zoo is very puzzled. This is a picture of a baby anteater although not the one in question.

I started reading The Fall of Giants yesterday, what a depressing book, not sure I will be finishing it.

For those of you who are not besotted with asparagus as I am, I thought I would give you a chicken recipe today. I have never seen frozen artichoke hearts round here, so I guess I would us a jar of them. If you are unfamiliar with orzo, it is a pasta which is very small and looks a bit like rice.

Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo

WebMD Recipe from

Sun-dried tomatoes and Romano cheese pack a flavourful punch along with the tantalizing aroma of fresh marjoram in this rustic Italian-inspired dish. Serve with sautéed fresh spinach or steamed broccolini.

8 ounces orzo, preferably whole-wheat
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, (not oil-packed), divided
1 plum tomato, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled
3 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram, divided
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (1-1 1/4 pounds)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon
freshly ground pepper
1 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/2 cup finely shredded Romano cheese, divided

  1. Cook orzo in a large saucepan of boiling water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  2. Meanwhile, place 1 cup water, 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, plum tomato, garlic, 2 teaspoons marjoram, vinegar and 2 teaspoons oil in a blender. Blend until just a few chunks remain.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning, until golden outside and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. Pour the tomato sauce into the pan and bring to a boil. Measure out 1/2 cup sauce to a small bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes to the pan along with the orzo, artichoke hearts and 6 tablespoons cheese. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among 4 plates.
  5. Slice the chicken. Top each portion of pasta with sliced chicken, 2 tablespoons of the reserved tomato sauce and a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and marjoram.
Have a great day