Friday, September 30, 2016

Travel League, Thanksgiving,

Tonight (Thursday) I'm too tired to write much at all. Bowling really took it out of me today. Went to lunch at the Red Lobster which was enjoyable. Saw friends we hadn't seen since the end of the Winter season last April. Then on to the bowling alley. The bowling seemed to go on and on and on and by the end of it I was totally whacked. We didn't get out of the alley until about 4. It was quite funny, I was using my cane to get up to the alley then propping it up while I hobbled around throwing balls then picking it up again. The women on my team started bringing me my cane when I had finished each time. Nice of them but it became a joke too and if the woman who followed me forgot I pretended to be teed off and complained about the poor service. That part was fun. My bowling was, of course, lousy. I am still not able to bowl properly of course. Things are better but I am not back to normal by any means.

Got home and it was almost time to fix supper. I had done a few preparations in the morning and also make a whole batch of tomato sauce for the freezer. After supper whilst waiting for Jeopardy I tried to have a zizz but was too keyed up to do so. Ah well.

Last day of September, unbelievable really, the year seems to have been shooting by. Another week and it is Thanksgiving in Canada.

Here's a quick soup with some interesting sounding dumplings. A more complicated tomato soup than the one I usually make, but it sounds good.

Tomato Soup with Parmesan Dumplings
 Looking for the perfect quick and easy tomato soup recipe? Here it is, a delicious tomato soup that
can be made in under 30 minutes, but, don't let the speed fool you. This quick bowl of comfort not only offers up depth of flavor, but also is elegantly topped with Parmesan dumplings to make it a perfect entertaining first course.


Tomato Soup
2 tbsp butter
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
2 small celery stalks, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
3 sun-dried tomatoes, not oil-packed, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
Parmesan Dumplings
1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp chopped fresh basil
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp vegetable oil
Thinly sliced fresh basil, for garnish


1) For the soup, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion, shallot and garlic, cooking 4-5 minutes until tender. Add carrots, celery, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes to soften vegetables. Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and either puree directly in soup pot using a handheld blender or place half of the tomato soup mixture in a countertop blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with remaining tomato soup. Return all of the soup to the saucepan. Reheat when ready to serve.
2) For the Parmesan dumplings, combine flour, Parmesan, basil, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the egg and vegetable oil. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture with a wooden spoon until combined. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Using ½ tsp measuring spoon, drop slightly rounded dough into boiling water. Cook 4 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Serve with soup. Garnish soup with sliced basil
Yield: 25 dumplings
Serves 6

Have a great day

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Kitchen Tool, Travel League

Well, well, well, a couple of years ago I bought a mango splitter from Avon but for some reason I haven't bought any mangoes since. I really didn't believe it was going to work. However, Tuesday I bought a couple of golden mangoes and Wednesday afternoon I decided to try it. Damn me it works like a charm. Split the mango beautifully not leaving too much on the seed at all. Mind you there's not a heck of a lot of flesh on a golden mango anyway.

Today we have our Travel League bowling which, being the first of the season takes place at Towne Bowl where we bowl normally. We will be lunching with many of the bowlers at The Red Lobster. Hopefully I will be able to bowl but I don't want to hold anyone up so we will see. I did go to exercise class on Wednesday and remained sitting for the whole class. However, I managed to achieve a surprising amount.

This looked and sounded scrumptious. In the original recipe it calls for agave nectar as a sweetener however, as I wasn't familiar with the ingredient I looked it up and from what I read, it isn't a very healthy sweetener as it's preparation entails boiling it which removes all the potential health benefits. I therefore have substituted fresh natural honey instead. You can, of course, make your own decisions.

Sticky Toffee Whole-Wheat Date Cake

This cake is a showstopper that a baker with rudimentary skills could pull off. The topping is a toffee glaze made with brown sugar, agave, butter and sea salt; you pour half of it over the cake while still
hot so that it saturates the cake, giving it a puddinglike consistency, then wait before using the rest as a high-gloss frosting you sprinkle with sea salt. Seemingly complicated, but surprisingly simple.

14 Tbs unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), at room temperature, more for the pan
8 ounces pitted dates, chopped
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
½ cupdried currants
1 cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp fine sea salt
¾ cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup fresh honey
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ tsp fine sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fleur de sel

1. In a small pot, combine dates, lemon juice and 3/4 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer gently until dates soften and start to fall apart, about 6 minutes. Add currants to the pot and set aside to cool completely.

2. While date mixture cools, stir together whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and salt.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla and cooled date mixture, followed by flour mixture.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly and smoothing the surface. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.

5. Meanwhile, make the sticky toffee: In a small pot (you can use the same one you used for the dates), combine honey, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Once sugar dissolves and bubbles, remove from heat and swirl in butter.

6. When the cake comes out of the oven, spoon half the sticky toffee over it and let cool in the pan on a wire rack. (It will soak into the cake.)

7. When the cake has cooled completely and the remaining sticky toffee has thickened, spread it over the cake with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and serve. Store, loosely wrapped, at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Servings: 9

Author: Jim Wilson
Source: The New York Times

Have a great day

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Balcony Construction, Debate, Colonising Mars.

Hurrah, we lost the beeping crane today. It has moved round the front of  the building so for a few months we will have some peace and quiet. There is still one crane, but it doesn't make that dreadful noise. (Just discovered they are not cranes, they are boom lifts) Of course, when they finally get round to doing our balconies, sometime next year? we will have to put up with it again. For the first time since we came here 16 years ago, I regret that we don't have blind instead of sheers. We will be having guys working on our balcony who will be able to see into our apartment. Oh well, we will just have to be careful, or I will I guess. Don't want to frighten them right off the balcony.

Talking of our apartment, we had a rent increase yesterday, effective January 1. I immediately
emailed the office about the really threadbare carpet in one of the bedrooms. I submitted a request to get it replaced about a month ago or a bit more, and had no response. Couldn't do much before as we had a treadmill in there as well as a bed so would have been difficult moving stuff out of the way. We keep speculating on just how much this construction work is going to cost the owner in the end. I'm glad I don't have to foot the bill although I guess we are helping, indirectly.

I see Donald Trump is complaining about his microphone after the debate and wondering if it was screwed up deliberately. Trusting guy Mr. Trump. Hilary looks relieved though.

I also heard today that Elon Musk is scheduling to begin the colonisation of Mars in 2024. Incredible man. He just might do it. Not only that, I might still be around to see it happen.

It is coming in to soup weather. In fact round here I found it pretty chilly the last couple of days. So here is a nice warming dish.

Black Bean Soup

This is a zippy Southwestern-flavored black bean soup. We make it with canned beans so it comes
together in minutes. If you have leftovers, pack them up in individual serving containers for lunch the next day.

1 Tbs canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
3 cups water
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs lime juice
4 Tbs reduced-fat sour cream, optional
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro, optional

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add beans, water, salsa and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice.

2. Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree (use caution when pureeing hot liquids). Stir the puree back into the saucepan. Serve garnished with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

Servings: 4

Source: WebMD Recipe from

Have a great day

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

$9 million picture, Debate, RIP Arnie, Bursitis,

This is quite a picture, but the photographer is selling the negative for $9 million. Hunh? A Rainbow over Mount Vesuvius for that incredible price? I wonder if anyone will buy it?

I also wonder how many of you watched the debate last night. I certainly didn't. Not much into politics at the best of times and certainly not American politics. I hope she slaughtered him.

Sad to hear about Arnie Palmer on Monday too. A much beloved golfer. They credit him with bringing the average Joe to golf. Prior to that it was considered a somewhat elitist game.

Forgot to mention, still hobbling around although I did bowl all three games on Monday afternoon. Pretty painful though. However, not painful enough to stop me I guess. I now have my anti-inflammatory cream so will use it and see what happens. Fingers crossed please. I am so tired of this pain and not being able to just get up and cross the room without my stupid cane. Plus I keep forgetting when climbing/descending steps or stairs it is 'up with the good and down with the bad' and it hurts less if you do it that way.

Chicken stuffed with brie, what could be better?

Almond-Crusted Apricot-and-Brie-Stuffed Chicken

Brie creates a luxurious, creamy filling for these stuffed chicken breasts—and it keeps the chicken
moist and requires no sauce. Leaving the wing bone on makes the dish look restaurant-worthy but is not necessary.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts with wing bone attached
2 oz (60 g) brie cheese, sliced with rind removed
4 dried apricots, finely chopped
½ cup (125 mL) sliced almonds, divided
1 tsp (5 mL) minced rosemary
1 tsp (5 mL) each coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper
½ cup (125 mL) fresh bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbs (15 mL) butter
1 Tbs (15 mL) olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. With a knife held horizontally and starting at the thinner side, cut each chicken breast in half, but not all the way through, and open like a book.

3. Arrange brie over chicken, leaving a ½-inch (1 cm) border uncovered. Sprinkle with apricots, ¼ cup (60 mL) of almonds, rosemary, salt and pepper; close chicken, pressing around edges to seal.

4. Combine bread crumbs and remaining almonds in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg, then dredge in crumb mixture, pressing gently to coat completely.

5. Melt butter and oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to oven; bake until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Servings: 4

Source: Food and Drink (LCBO)

Have a great day

Monday, September 26, 2016

Recipe Try Out. Pelee Island. Books,

I posted a recipe on Friday for pork chops with couscous. I decided to try it out but without the couscous, I wasn't in the mood for it. However, I made it with the tomato, onion and caper sauce and because I ended up with too much liquid, I added some cornstarch to thicken it. It was delicious. We really enjoyed it. One of these days I will try it with couscous, but these days I don't eat a lot of starchy, high carb things so I have to plan when to eat them.I did cook up a few snow peas to go with it and Matt had a baked potato. It ended up looking somewhat like this picture. bright spark that I am I for got to take a photo of course. We drank a Pelee Island Baco Noir with it. Good. Pelee Island wines are made in Ontario although the winery itself is on Pelee Island. Went there a few years ago. Pelee Island is the southernmost tip of Ontario and was named because it is totally flat and looks like it's been peeled which is what Pelee means.We spent a weekend there and enjoyed ourselves although it only takes half an hour to get right round the island.

Also finished reading a book by Juliet Marillier, Dreamer's Pool. Excellent story and I have ordered the next one from the library. Juliet Marillier takes Irish legends and makes a different story of them. They always work and are always worth reading. This series is known as the Blackthorn and Grim series. Recommend them. Then, wondering what to read next, I received a very first draft of a story by Elizabeth Seckman. She wanted to know what I thought. What I thought was it would be a great book. I really enjoyed reading it. I do enjoy Liz's books and this is no exception. Her latest book Swept Away was a great story and this new one bodes fair to being another one.

I love Cornish Hens although I have rarely ever cooked them. I found this recipe which I didn't know I had in my cookbook programme and thought it sounded pretty good. Maybe I should pick some up this week.

Herb-Roasted Cornish Hens with Root Vegetables

2 1- to 1-1/2- pounds Cornish game hens
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 small turnips, peeled and cut into wedges
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
3 Tbs olive oil or cooking oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp salt

1. Skewer neck skin of hens to back; tie legs to tail. Twist wings under back. Place hens, breast up, on a rack in a large shallow roasting pan. Place carrots, parsnips, turnips, and onions around hens in pan. Combine oil, garlic, rosemary, oregano, and salt; brush onto hens and vegetables.

2. Roast, uncovered, in a 375°F oven for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until hens are no longer pink and the drumsticks move easily in their sockets.(Internal temperature should be 180°F with an instant-read thermometer.) During roasting, turn vegetables occasionally. Transfer hens from roasting pan to serving platter. Cover and keep warm. Remove rack from roasting pan. Stir vegetables. Increase oven temperature to 450°F. Continue roasting vegetables for 15 to 20 minutes more or until tender and browned.

3. To serve, using a slotted spoon, spoon vegetables around hens on platter. Makes 4 servings.

Servings: 4

Source: Better Homes and Gardens®.

Have a great day

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hip, Saturday Recipe

Just to keep you up to date, I went for my shot on Friday morning. Dr. Martin tried moving my leg around to stress the joint, there was no pain, so it is definitely the bursa that is inflamed. He explained to me that the bursa was quite large (I had Googled about it but didn't realise the size). The pain channel goes right down the side of my thigh. No wonder I have been in such pain, far worse than last time. Still a tad early to see how it is working. He also gave me a scrip for a very strong anti-inflammatory cream which I can use 3 times a day if needed. Unfortunately this has to be made up by the pharmacist and they didn't have enough of the right ingredients. They said I could go to another pharmacy but as that was some distance away, I figured I would wait til Monday. Well lookee there, bursa all over the place.

I love chocolate and am pretty fond of avocados, but together- well I'll try most things once.

Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

Leave it to cool-kid mecca Gjusta in Venice, CA, to create a produce-based, low-sugar, vegan-friendly, “good”-fat-filled, crowd-pleasing chocolate pudding recipe. That would also be completely
acceptable to eat for breakfast.

2 large avocados, pits removed
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup agave nectar
¼ cup (or more) fresh orange juice
½ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ cups heavy cream (optional)
¼ cup cocoa nibs and/or chopped hazelnuts

1. Scoop avocado flesh into a blender and scrape in vanilla bean seeds; reserve pod for another use. Add cocoa powder, maple syrup, agave nectar, orange juice, and salt and blend to a coarse purée. With motor running, gradually stream in ¾ cup hot (but not boiling) water; blend, adding more orange juice as needed, until smooth and creamy.

2. Divide pudding among eight 4–6 oz. ramekins or small bowls and chill (uncovered) at least 2 hours.

3. Just before serving, whip cream in a medium bowl to soft peaks and spoon over pudding, if desired; top with cocoa nibs and/or hazelnuts.

4. Do Ahead: Pudding can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill

Servings: 6

 Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hip, Bowling, Anniversary,

I didn't write a post yesterday as I really had nothing to write about other than whining about my hip. This morning, Friday, I am going to the orthopaedic surgeon at 8:45 a.m. (what a time!!!) for an injection which, hopefully will get rid of my problems. I did think of just posting a recipe like I do on Saturdays, but obviously didn't do so in the end.

Not much has changed. I tried bowling on Thursday afternoon. I played the first game, it hurt, and not only that I didn't bowl very well. Matt didn't bowl very well for all three games so he wasn't very happy.

The TV is full of the US elections which, of course, doesn't interest me very much of course. We Canadians are all waiting for the influx of Americans after the November election LOL.

I was thinking of cooking pork chops on Saturday and this recipe makes me decide to do so. It will be an anniversary meal although our anniversary is actually on Sunday.

Pork Chops and Couscous with Tomato-Caper Sauce

My Recipes

2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 3/4 cups unsalted chicken stock, divided
1 cup uncooked whole-wheat Israeli couscous
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
5 tsp unsalted butter
4 (4-oz.) boneless, center-cut pork chops
1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 thyme sprigs
3/4 cup chopped ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 Tbs drained capers

1. Heat oil and turmeric in a medium saucepan over medium-high for 2 minutes or until turmeric begins to bubble. Add 1 1/2 cups stock, couscous, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in parsley.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle pork with remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add pork, shallots, garlic, and thyme to pan; cook 4 minutes. Turn pork; add tomatoes, wine, and capers. Cook 2 minutes.Place pork on a plate.

3. Add remaining 1/4 cup stock to pan; cook 1 minute. Discard thyme sprigs. Serve sauce with pork and couscous.

Servings: 4

Have a great day

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cartoon, Doctors, Beepers.

I thought this was absolutely hilarious. Maybe it's just me. This was in How To Geek this morning.

As you may have noticed, I have been grousing about all the beeping from the cranes during the construction - same sound as a truck backing up. Seems like it's almost continuous. Went to the doctor this afternoon and when we left her office, what did we hear, a flaming truck backing up. I can't get away from the sound. Anyway, she said my cholesterol is very high but both the good and the bad are high. she calculated I have a 20% chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years if I don't take my pills. So, reluctantly, I suppose I will have to go back on them.

I now have the cortisone (I think that's what it is) for my bursitis, all I need is an appointment with the surgeon to inject it.

I was in two minds whether to share the following recipe, but I thought somebody might like it. I think it sounds delicious and as it's risotto, for me it can't go wrong. However, I would probably cheat with the fish stock, these days you can buy excellent pre-made stocks and bouillons. A lot of people will come back with "I don't like anchovies" I would defy them to know there were anchovies in this if no-one told them. Although in this case they are being used as a garnish as well.

Risotto with Anchovy and Ginger

Food & Wine

Marzapane restaurant in Rome flavors this buttery risotto with both salted anchovies and colatura, the deeply savory Italian version of fish sauce. As a surprisingly delicious contrast to the rich risotto, the
chef garnishes the dish with candied ginger.

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 lbs fish bones and heads from white fish, such as snapper or sea bass
1/4 cup dry white wine
8 cups ice

7 salt-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
12 oz carnaroli rice (2 cups)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 stick unsalted butter
2 Tbs salted butter
4 tsp colatura (see Note)
Kosher salt
Slivered candied ginger and chopped chives, for garnish


2. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, carrots and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden, about 5 minutes. Add the fish bones and heads and cook until white, about 5 minutes. Stir in the white wine and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the ice and 8 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat until reduced by half, about 45 minutes. Strain the stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and keep warm.


4. On a work surface, using the side of a chef's knife, mash 3 of the anchovy fillets to a paste. In a large saucepan, cook the rice over moderately low heat, stirring, until translucent around the edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in the white wine and cook over moderate heat until absorbed, 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook, stirring, until all of the stock is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add another 1 cup of stock and the anchovy paste and cook, stirring, until the stock is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Repeat 5 more times with the remaining stock; cook until the rice is al dente and suspended in a creamy liquid (reserve any remaining stock for another use). Stir in the unsalted butter until the risotto is creamy. Remove from the heat and let stand for 2 minutes.

5. Stir in the salted butter and the colatura; season with salt. Spoon the risotto into bowls and garnish with the remaining anchovy fillets. Sprinkle with candied ginger and chives and serve.


7. The fish stock can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.


Colatura is an Italian fish sauce made from anchovies. Look for it at specialty markets and on

Servings: 4

Have a great day

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bursitis, Construction,

Well, so now I am unhappy. At some point over the weekend, my hip started hurting really badly - bursitis again I think - so today, being Monday I couldn't bowl. I tried throwing three balls and it just hurt too damned much. Luckily I had a bowl ahead and one of the games was pretty good. We still didn't win any points unfortunately with just Matt and another guy bowling. So, everyone please keep your fingers crossed for me that I can bowl again on Thursday.

We had to turn off our air conditioner today the construction workers were making so much dust it looked like a foret fire. We figured it might all be sucked into the apartment by the A/C - as we were going out it didn't matter too much, but I am slightly concerned about next year when they finally get round to us, that if it is as hot as it has been this year, we might end up suffocating. The balcony doors are locked shut (I don't know how) on the ones they are re-doing. Ours is OK at the moment, but for the future. Oh well, we will find out I guess.

Not a whole helluva lot happening in our lives at the moment. I do have to go to the family doc for the results of my blood tests a couple of weeks ago to see if I can stay off my statin pills. I also hope I can go for another injection from my orthopaedic surgeon (Dougie Howser) who is so young looking to fix my bursitis.

I have always liked different breads, especially rustic recipes or Italian and French breads. The Maltese used to have a fabulously crusty bread too. So when I saw this one it appealed to me although I would probably never make it myself these days. It looks delicious though.

"Kneadless" Black Olive and Herb Yeast Loaves

Makes: 2 large loaves, about 12 slices each

These rustic olive- and herb-flecked loaves are light-textured, flavorful, aromatic and crisp on top. They are a fine accompaniment to many hearty soups and stews. To simplify preparations, kneading is skipped and the gluten is developed by beating the dough with an electric mixer. Although the recipe calls for regular active dry yeast, a quick-rise or rapid-rise yeast may be substituted by slightly reducing the total amount used; the rising times may be a little shorter than for regular yeast. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.

1 1/2 Tbs (about 2 packets) active dry yeast, or 1 tablespoon quick-rising yeast
2/3 cup lukewarm water, plus 2 1/2 cups hot (110-115°F) water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbs flavorful olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs finely chopped fresh chives, or 2 teaspoons dried
1 1/4 tsp (generous) dried oregano and dried thyme leaves, or 3 1/2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 1/4 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour or white whole-wheat flour, (see Tip), plus a little more for dusting
2/3 cup well-drained, pitted and finely chopped Niçoise, Kalamata or other very flavorful brined black olives

1. In a 1-cup measure, sprinkle yeast over 2/3 cup lukewarm water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the yeast dissolves.

2. Place all-purpose flour, oil, sugar, chives, oregano and thyme (or rosemary) and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the 2 1/2 cups hot water with an electric mixer on low speed (using a paddle attachment if possible) until well blended and smooth. Slowly beat in the yeast mixture until evenly incorporated. Gradually raise the speed to medium (or almost to the point the mixture begins to splatter), and beat for 4 minutes if using a heavy-duty stand mixer or 5 minutes if using a hand mixer.

3. Using a large wooden spoon, vigorously stir whole-wheat flour and olives into the dough until evenly incorporated; it’s all right if the dough is slightly sticky and wet. Turn out the dough into a very large lightly oiled bowl. Lightly brush the top of the dough with olive oil until evenly covered. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot (see Tip) until the dough doubles in bulk, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

4. Generously coat 2 round 1 1/2- to 2-quart (6- to 8-cup capacity) ovenproof casseroles or souffle dishes with cooking spray. Coat your hand with cooking spray; press down the dough in the bowl, then divide it between the prepared baking dishes. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of each; with your fingertips, smooth out the dough and evenly brush it with the oil. Sprinkle each loaf with about 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour until evenly coated. Loosely cover the dishes with plastic wrap. Set in a warm spot until the dough rises to the plastic wrap, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours (depending on the temperature of your room).

5. Remove the plastic wrap; let the dough rise until it's about 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the rims, 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.

6. Transfer the loaves to the middle of the oven; avoid jarring, as they may deflate. Bake until the tops are nicely browned, about 30 minutes. Remove the loaves from the dishes (run a table knife around the edge to loosen if necessary), place top-side up on a baking sheet, and continue baking until they are well browned on top and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let the loaves cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Cut into thick wedges.

Have a great day

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tightrope Walking, Laptop Dust,

Having been interested in the person trying to walk a tightrope in the park here, when I saw this picture in the National Geographic I just had to share it. Although this guy is using a tether I still think he's nuts. He isn't using a balance pole either. Tethered to a highline, Tyler Meester, a backpacking guide, traverses a 65-foot span over a precipitous drop in California’s Yosemite National Park. He’s one of many millennials who work in the national parks to be near some of the best hiking and rock climbing. I'd send him the picture if I could.

The young man who repairs my computers sent me a picture on Saturday of the cooling element in my laptop. Boy was it ever dirty. No wonder it was getting to hot to handle. There is an excellent video on how to do this, but with my propensity, lately, of dropping bits of earrings etc. and not being able to find them, I figured with all the screws and little bits off the motherboard I had better shell out and get it done professionally. That bit that looks like grey/brown felt is dust/lint.

This picture caught my eye and reading the recipe it sounded a nice easy dish to prepare. This is from a blog from an English girl who is also a Jo.

One Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole
it's cheesy, it's comforting and it's made in one pot. It's dinner!

1 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup rice (I used Basmati)
1 can (10 oz) cream of chicken soup
2 to 3 cups chicken broth
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add chopped onion and cubed chicken. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes until the chicken starts to brown a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in garlic and cook for another 30 seconds until garlic gets aromatic.

2. Add the rice, cream of chicken soup and chicken broth. Start with 2 cups of chicken broth and if more is needed add more until rice is fully cooked. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook over medium heat until the rice is fully cooked, stirring occasionally, should take about 15 minutes or so. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

3. Add the broccoli florets and half the cheese then continue cooking for 2 more minutes, until broccoli softens a bit. Sprinkle over the top with remaining cheese and place the skillet under the broiler for a couple more minutes, just until it melts and starts to brown a bit.

4. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Servings: 6

Author: Jo Cooks

Have a great day

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Recipe

Jamie Oliver is a popular TV cook in Britain. He also owns a number of restaurants plus starting movements to improve school food and home cooking. I thought this was a fascinating idea.

Jamie Oliver's spaghetti cake with sweet aubergine & tomato

The bonus of choosing wholemeal spaghetti over white is that it can contain more than double the amount of fibre, as well as lots of B vitamins, which keep our metabolic systems healthy.

1 large aubergine (350g)
300 g dried wholewheat spaghetti
olive oil
4 sprigs of fresh oregano
2 red onions
½–1 fresh red chilli
1 400g tin of plum tomatoes
300 g cottage cheese
2 large free-range eggs
30 g Parmesan cheese
1 lemon
70 g rocket
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Place the whole aubergine in a large pan of boiling salted water. Sit something on top, like a colander, so the aubergine stays submerged, cook for 15 minutes, then remove to a board. Add the spaghetti to the water and cook according to the packet instructions, then drain and place in a large bowl to cool.

2. Meanwhile, roughly chop the aubergine about 1cm thick. Place a deep 26cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan on a medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil and the aubergine, then pick in the oregano leaves. Peel the onions, then finely slice with the chilli and add to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and gnarly, stirring regularly. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, then just under half-fill the tin with water, swirl around and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until thick. Taste and season to perfection.

3. Pour the tomato sauce over the spaghetti, add the cottage cheese, crack in the eggs, finely grate in most of the Parmesan, then mix together really well. Pour the spaghetti mixture back into the pan, pushing it into an even layer and packing it up at the sides. Get it going over a medium heat on the hob for 2 minutes, then bake on the bottom of the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden all over. Bang out on to a board, grate over the remaining Parmesan, and serve with lemon-dressed rocket and a drizzle of balsamic.

4. Get ahead: Make this earlier in the day and simply keep in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.

Servings: 4

Have a great weekend.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Garlic, Bowling.

Thursday I started my day with one of my least favourite jobs but one which I am delighted with when I finish - peeling garlic. I recently wrote about this on The Really Real Housewives of America and I mentioned that once I could buy already peeled garlic but lately I have had to do my own.
 It is a very messy job and I use a small knife to help. You have to be careful not to cut the cloves although it doesn't always work. If you do, you risk becoming sticky with garlic juice which makes the job more difficult.
 This is the result of peeling three bulbs of garlic. This lasts quite a long time in the fridge.
I then stuff a piece of paper towel into the top and screw on the lid of the Mason Jar then into the fridge. It is amazing how long garlic will last this way. I used to buy big jars from Sam's years ago and they lasted me for ever.

Well,  of course we bowled on Thursday afternoon and as the place was very full of league players, we had no problems with badly behaved children. Sadly, yesterday I was bowling up a storm and today you would have thought I was a newbie. Oh well, them's the breaks.

I have never been a big fan of canned tuna, there is a recipe Matt invented which I enjoy and this looks like another

Tuna-Stuffed Peppers

These tuna-stuffed peppers are ubiquitous in delis all over Susa, Italy

24 whole jarred mild or sweet cherry peppers, from 2 16-ounce jars
1 6-ounce can chunk light tuna packed in water, drained well
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs capers, rinsed and finely chopped
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped, optional
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Select 24 whole peppers. (Refrigerate any remaining peppers in a jar, with brine to cover, for another use.) Cut off and discard the pepper stems. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon (a measuring teaspoon works well). Rinse the peppers to remove any residual seeds, and set in a colander to drain.

2. Combine tuna, lemon juice, oil, capers and anchovies (if using) in a medium bowl.

3. Fill each pepper with about 1 teaspoon of the tuna mixture and place them on a serving plate. (Depending on the size of the peppers, you may not fill all 24.) Grind some pepper over the stuffed peppers.

4. Bring vinegar to a boil in a very small saucepan and simmer until syrupy and reduced to about 2 teaspoons, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Drizzle the syrup over the peppers.

Yield: 2 dozen stuffed peppers

Source: WebMD Recipe from

Have a great day

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Birthday Lunch, Bowling Problems.

We had an excellent lunch at the Mandarin although I was a tad disappointed they didn't take a birthday picture. The waitress was a bit casual I thought. Of course I started with my Hot and Sour Soup - I actually thought of having Wonton Soup but when I got to the soup area, I went to the same place as usual. Because it is Moon Festival they had a few specials around some of which I definitely tried others I may have missed. I ate too much anyway. Did the same last night at the Red Lobster.  I think I will have to be very careful what I eat for a while. On thing I enjoyed, stir fried Lotus Root. It's good and crunchy too.

We decided to go to the bowling alley after lunch. We played our first game - I was bowling well and Matt wasn't. The alleys were very full so there was one lane vacant next to us. A family came in and basically drove us out.  They had a youngster with them who was pretty badly behaved and obviously not one bit interested in bowling. The mother, father and child were all on the lane at the same time. One time the kid dropped a ball which rolled into the next lane and although a gutter ball, the machinery didn't know it was a stray ball and scored it for the woman who was bowling. She took it quite well, but I wouldn't have done so. Eventually Matt announced he was going home so we left. Pity but there it is. The parents apparently had no idea how to control the child. They had to hang on to him all the time. The mother had to pass the kid's hand to the father so she could put on her bowling shoes, then he had to do the same. Stupid thing to do, bring the kid to something he obviously didn't want to do. Mind you, a couple of times, having thrown 3 balls, he wanted to throw more. We could have gone downstairs on our own and bowled, but....

Thought these sounded good for a snacking food.

Oven Fried Zucchini Sticks

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 lbs zucchini, about 3 medium; cut into 1/2-by-3-inch sticks
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
canola or olive oil cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine flours, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a large sealable plastic bag. Dip zucchini in egg white, shake in the bag to coat, and arrange, not touching, on the baking sheet. Coat all exposed sides with cooking spray.

3. Bake on the center rack for 10 minutes. Turn the zucchini and coat any floury spots with cooking spray. Continue to bake until golden and just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve hot.

Servings: 4

Source: Web MD

Author Notes
Our oven-baked zucchini sticks taste every bit as good as their deep-fried brethren with only a fraction of the fat and calories. Serve with a side of your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.

Have a great day

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


When it comes to birthdays and Christmas, I am probably the biggest kid around. We went to the Red Lobster for supper on Tuesdayand had an excellent meal. We split Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms between us, then had a Caesar Salad each (no croutons for me) Matt ordered grilled tilapia and I had  Blackened Arctic Char topped with shrimp tossed in a Cajun butter sauce and pico de gallo. They were offering broccoli and rice, I said no thanks to the broccoli so the waitress said I could upgrade to asparagus or brussels sprouts. Needless to say I chose asparagus. Who on earth wants brussels sprouts with fish? I drank a glass of wine with my meal. I then ordered a slice of Chocolate Wave Cake to go. Can't find a picture of the fish we ate, but it was delicious. I haven't had Arctic Char in a long time and I had forgotten how good it was. I was offered the ice cream, to go with the cake, which I didn't want. I think it would have been liquid by the time we got home.

Today we are going to the Mandarin for my free birthday lunch (could have been dinner if I had chosen) have to take 3 friends with us. Before supper tonight I will be having some bubbly to drink. Can't let the day go by without some champagne.

My Chocolate Wave serving is my birthday cake today. There are three lots of candies mentioned in the cake below, none of which I have ever seen in North America, but they could be subbed with candies available here.

Bruce Bogtrotter cake

270 g butter, softened
270 g golden caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs
100 g each milk and dark chocolate, melted
270 g self-raising flour
30 g cocoa
For the Filling
150 g butter, softened
300 g icing sugar, sieved
45 g cocoa sieved
2 Tbs milk
200 ml chocolate sauce
3 Tbs popping candy
37 g bag Maltesers, lightly crushed
2 large Crunchies

1. Heat oven to 160C fan, gas 4. Grease and line 3x18cm round cake tins. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, adding a little flour if it starts to split. Next, pour in the melted chocolate and stir well.

2. Fold through the flour, cocoa and ½tsp salt, then beat for a further 2 mins. Divide between the 3 prepared cake tins and bake for 25-30 mins, until light and springy. Cool on wire racks.

3. To make the frosting, whisk the butter to soften, then beat in the icing sugar. Whisk the cocoa and milk together,then pour into the icing mix with the chocolate sauce and beat until smooth.

4. Once the cake has cooled, set one sponge on a cake stand, smooth over a third of the frosting and sprinkle with 1tbsp popping candy. Repeat with the second cake, then top with the third. Add the remaining icing and sprinkle over the Maltesers, Crunchie and remaining popping candy.

Have a great day

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Laptop, Bowling, Portuguese Goodies,

Don't you just love computers? My laptop is getting so hot I can hardly handle it any more. Last night I found a video on line which showed me how to clean the cooling unit. Looked fiddly but relatively simple except when it came to doing various things with the motherboard to remove it. I have emailed my repair guy to ask him how much he would charge, but I was talking to someone at the bowling alley last week who had to replace the ribbon on his laptop. He was quoted a high price and ended up sending for a new ribbon and doing it himself with the help of a similar video. My problem might be space to work on my laptop whilst watching the video too. There are an incredible number of parts which have to be removed. Some precautionary I think, one has to remove the batter, hard drive and the ram for a start and then the keyboard in order to get at the motherboard. Having written this, I found a quick fix video which recommended blowing out the dust and showed how. I have a can of compressed air so I used it. You should have seen how much dust came out, but it wasn't enough unfortunately, so back to square one. Next in this tale of woe, the repair guy I use wants $100 to do it. Now I am in a quandary, do I risk doing it myself or not?

Quite a big turnout at bowling. One or two people still on vacation, but most people made it in. Our
team didn't do too badly. Matt was bowling like a demon. Wish he always bowled that well. I had moderately good games. One of the women bowlers is Portuguese and has spent most of her summer in Portugal. Lucky her, I would love to go back. Much to my delight she brought us some Ovos Moles. What the heck is that you ask? Well it's a special pastry stuffed with a very sweet egg yolk filling. Absolutely delicious. I have written about them before. They are a specialty of Portugal. I have eaten one since we came home, think Matt has eaten all of his share. So very nice of her to bring them back for us.

I would need Catalina dressing and pineapple for this recipe. Not in my cupboards. I could make this and then freeze some of it. I think I might just do this. As suggested, I looked up a Catalina Dressing and have added a link to it.

Slow-Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1-1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup KRAFT Classic CATALINA Dressing
1/4 cup lite soy sauce
1 tsp grated gingerroot
1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 each green and red pepper, cut into strips
3 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice

1. Place onions, carrots and celery in slow cooker; top with chicken.

2. Mix sugar, dressing, soy sauce and ginger until blended; pour over chicken. Cover with lid.

3. Cook on LOW 4 to 5 hours, increasing heat to HIGH for the last 30 min.

4. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Mix reserved juice with cornstarch. Add to slow cooker with the pineapple and peppers; stir. Cook, covered, 30 min. or until sauce is thickened. Serve over rice.

Servings: 6

Source: Kraft

Have a great day

Monday, September 12, 2016

9/11, Bowling, Google Hangouts,

Must admit I had forgotten the significance of the date on Sunday until I heard it mentioned on TV. It is one of those days one will always remember where one was and what one was doing. The same as when I heard of the assassination of President Kennedy or the death of Princess Di. On 9/11 a friend called me and told me to turn on the TV (I don't watch much TV) I did so and was shocked at the terrible accident which had cause a plane to crash into one of the twin towers. It wasn't until the second plane that I and the watching world realised it was a terrorist attack. What a dreadful day that was. Matt was out golfing with a couple of friends and didn't know anything about it until they came off the course. I, of course was glued to the TV all day.

Today being the 12th, we start our winter league bowling. It is so much better to bowl Monday and Thursday rather than Wednesday and Thursday, gives us a break in between. 

Saturday we had another Google Hangouts meeting with 4 of our group. It was great fun again although some of the time was spent getting things to work right. For instance I could hear everyone but they couldn't hear me for some reason. 

Tried this out for supper last night. We both enjoyed it. As I did it for supper I fried two eggs each.

Sherried Mushrooms with Fried Eggs on Toast

Food & Wine

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
3/4 lb mixed mushrooms, such as button and cremini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry sherry, such as Oloroso
Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of rustic white bread
2 Tbs unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 Tbs coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 4 minutes. Add the onion, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms are browned, 3 minutes longer. Add the sherry and cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.

2. Arrange the bread slices on a large rimmed baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake for about 6 minutes, until toasted. Transfer the toasts to plates.

3. In a large, nonstick skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Crack the eggs one at a time into a ramekin and then slip into the skillet. Cook the eggs, sunny-side up, until the whites are firm and the yolks runny, about 5 minutes.

4. Spoon the mushroom mixture onto the toasts and top with the fried eggs. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

Servings: 4

Author Notes

The cooked mushrooms can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.

Have a great day