Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rhubarb, Bowling, Shrove Tuesday

I finally answered a question I was asking last May/June - yes cooked rhubarb does freeze well. I froze several helpings last year and kept forgetting about it. I finally ate some on Sunday and it was just as delicious as when I cooked it fresh. Asparagus doesn't freeze so well unless you have a commercial type freezing apparatus. It is OK but that's all I can say for it. In the States you can buy frozen asparagus which is good. For some reason I have never seen it round here.

Bowling didn't go too well for our team, only won 2 points. However, personally, I bowled pretty well for all three games even though I started the first frame of the second game with three gutter balls. I don't ever remember doing that before and I certainly hope I don't do it again.

Today being Shrove Tuesday otherwise known as Pancake Day in England I thought a pancake recipe would be suitable. These are English pancakes or what most North Americans would call crêpes. I am making this for supper tonight.This is a typical recipe where they say how quick is to make it. The fact that you first need two cooked chicken breasts you also need to have spicy tomato sauce ready made too. Then, no doubt, it would only take half an hour to get this on the table.


What happens when you cross pancakes with enchiladas? Well, you get panchiladas of course! This delicious hybrid pancake is the perfect treat for dinner. Each pancake is packed with pieces of tender chicken, soft roasted peppers and a rich tomato sauce with a kick of spice thanks to the jalapeno
peppers. Top with grated cheese and bake in the oven for 15 mins until golden.

½ basic pancake mix
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1-2 tbs jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 roasted red peppers, chopped
200 g spicy tomato sauce
75 g grated Cheddar
chopped coriander, to serve

1. Make the pancake batter to step 1. Heat the oil, divide the mix in half and cook to the end of step 2. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the shredded chicken, jalapeno and roasted peppers and tomato sauce.

3. Once cooled, divide the chicken filling between the crepes and roll up. Put in an ovenproof dish, top with grated cheese and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Serve scattered with coriander.

Servings: 2

Source: GoodtoKnow

Author Notes
Swap the chicken for other meats like shredded lamb or pork pieces
Have a great day 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Crustaceans, Ants, Easter,

I just got a recipe for shrimp scampi in my email. It irritates me somewhat, a shrimp is not a scampi.
They are two different crustaceans.


The scampi (nephrops norvegicus) has a flat body and claws and tastes much better than shrimp. No amount of garlic sauce will turn a shrimp into a scampi. I once ate something which was called rock shrimp when I was in NC. I think they tasted better than shrimp, but still NOT scampi.

Checking the few channels we watch, I see TCM has Them on this afternoon (Sunday). It was made in 1954 and I probably saw it close to that time. It is a film which really stuck in my memory about giant mutated ants which scientists or exterminators couldn't do anything about in time to stop them swarming so a colony ended up in NY City (I think). The queen ended up in some kind of huge pipe. Beyond that I don't remember except that they made a noise somewhat like ambulances and that sound scared me for years. British ambulances don't (or didn't) make the same noise. Sorry I missed it I would have been interested in seeing it again. At the time it was enough to scare the Bejasus out of you, dunno if it would today.

A pretty quiet weekend, but most of them are these days. I suddenly realised that if it is Shrove Tuesday tomorrow, Easter cannot be far. I checked both Google Calendar and another calendar I have on my desktop and neither of them gave me the date. I eventually googled it, April 16 is Easter Sunday. I have a couple of wall calendars which I didn't think to check, they, of course, had it marked. Duuh. Gotta get some lamb.

I also get to see the vascular surgeon on Thursday. At long last.

This recipe appealed to me.

Chicken Ramen

2 eggs
2 cartons (900 mL each) CAMPBELL’S® 30% Less Sodium Ready to Use Chicken Broth
2 chicken breast
1 Tbs (15 mL) minced fresh ginger root
6 oz (170 g) Ramen noodles
2 cups (500 mL) snow pea leaves or baby spinach
1/2 cup (125 mL) frozen corn niblets, thawed
2 green onion, sliced
1 sheet roasted seaweed (nori), thinly sliced
1 tsp (5 mL) chili oil (optional)

1. Bring a pot of water to a simmer (small bubbles, not a rapid boil). Add eggs, and cook for six minutes. Adjust heat to keep a consistent temperature going. Remove eggs from water and run under cold water until cool. Peel and slice in half. Set aside.

2. Pour broth into a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add chicken and ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until chicken is just cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove chicken and transfer to a board to slice.

3. Add noodles and snow pea leaves to broth. Cook until noodles are al dente and snow pea leaves are tender, about 2 minutes.

4. Divide noodles among 4 bowls. Ladle in broth and top with sliced chicken, snow pea leaves, corn and egg halves. Sprinkle with green onions, nori and a drizzle of chili oil.

Servings: 4

Source: Campbells

Have a great day

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday Recipe

I remember making this very simple recipe many years ago and enjoying it.

Pyttipanna (Swedish Hash Browns)

A very simple, pantry recipe to use up leftover meat. The Swedes eat this with pickled beetroot alongside, but I prefer it without.

6 large potatoes
10 oz chopped bacon, sausage, beef, pork (use what's leftover, in the fridge)
1 large onion, chopped rough
butter, for frying (be generous!)
1 -2 egg, per person fried as per your liking
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

1. Peel and dice the potatoes. Dice the meat.

2. Heat butter in a frying-pan and add potatoes, onion and meat. Fry until golden, turning often with a spatula.

3. When all the ingredients are golden, season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the parsley.

4. Serve the pyttipanna with fried eggs and a glass of cold milk.

Servings: 4

Source: Food.com

Have a great weekend

Friday, February 24, 2017

Toothache, Bowling, No Recipe,

Been having a lot of problems the last couple of days with toothache. Maybe that's the third thing? I have decided it must be. They fitted me in for an appointment at 5:45 on Thursday evening. Having taken some Tylenol 3 I wasn't hurting any more of course. At least not until the assistant tried shoving Xray plates into my mouth. Damned painful and I couldn't do it. Finally they managed to place them so I could. The upshot is I need 2 or 3 teeth pulled and one filled. I will then have to run around for a minimum of a couple of weeks looking like a toothless old hag until my gums have healed upon which time they will fit me with a plate. I just love it!!!! I'm not sure if I will go bowling during that time!! I don't know how people without insurance manage, our government doesn't cover us. For instance it cost me $108 today and I will get $43 (I think) from our insurance. At least we have insurance, but if you haven't how on earth do you manage? What that clip is looking so cheerful about I cannot imagine.

Bowled appallingly too, Matt beat me twice although I did win the third game. Blaming my legs, they were very tired today. Seeing the vascular surgeon next Thursday so I do hope he will arrange for me to have surgery ASAP. I have had to leave teeth problems til after I see him.

I might say the younger of the two alley owners was in shorts today, I know it was a lot warmer today but really!!

I'm sorry, I just can't get interested in any recipes tonight. I looked at several but nothing fired up my enthusiasm. Guess I'm a bit down. I promise I will find something for Saturday.

Have a great day

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sweden, Toaster, Bowling,

My blogging friend, Viveka of My Guilty Pleasures from Sweden, posted this video yesterday.

I particularly like the Ikea reference.

We seem to be in for it lately, yesterday I wrote about my recliner breaking and today my toaster oven went kaput. I am assuming the third thing was the car problem we had earlier this year. I have now discovered my chair is actually a Lazyboy which means I may be able to get service from them. It's not under warranty or anything and I bought it second hand, but no wonder it is so very comfortable. As for the toaster oven, I found one on sale at our local Canadian Tire store. It is a Black and Decker which is the make I have always had for my toaster ovens only this one is also a convection oven. I wasn't too sure what that meant until I read the booklet. They describe it as a '6 slice', of what, mini bread? However, fine for what we want. There are a few improvements from our last one though, not least of which is a crumb tray. It was always a pain in the butt to clean the bottom inside.

Bowling was OK yesterday but the place was so very noisy. Packed too. The Tuesday League is a big one plus all 12 lanes were filled by someone. I don't know if they had anyone downstairs as well. I gather their family day was a pretty busy one, the senior owner joked about needing a Brinks truck to go to the bank. I offered to do the job, but he didn't take me up on it. Hopefully Thursday won't be so noisy.

I love oatmeal for breakfast and I would love to try this recipe but I know Matt wouldn't eat it and I can't see any way to cut it by half successfully unless the calories went sky high. However..... I will certainly have to think about it.

Grilled Avocado and Chili-Spiced Egg Overnight Oats

A grilled avocado elevates this flavorful overnight oats bowl with its charred flesh and cool, creamy interior. Crowned with a 6-minute egg and garnished with spicy chili flakes, this savory breakfast will
keep you satisfied 'til lunchtime.

Cooking spray
1/2 ripe avocado
Basic Overnight Oats
1 room temperature egg
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 chili pepper, sliced thin
1/2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1. Heat a grill-pan over medium-high. Generously coat pan and avocado with cooking spray. Place avocado on grill pan, flesh-side down, and cook 4-5 minutes, rotating once halfway through, until deep char marks appear. Remove skin and slice in half, either crosswise or lengthwise. Place one half on top of each bowl of oats.

2. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Gently place egg in water and cook 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water. Let stand 2 minutes. Remove shells gently and slice in half. Sprinkle evenly with salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Place one half inside or on top of each piece of grilled avocado.

3. Divide chili pepper slices and sesame seeds evenly among each bowl. Drizzle ½ teaspoon olive oil over each bowl of oats.

Servings: 2

Author: Jamie Vespa
Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Pandas, Recliner, Beans,

Yesterday, Bao Bao the Giant Panda left DC Zoo to go to China. I understand the Chinese wanting to conserve pandas and they are doing a great job, but Bao Bao was born at the DC Zoo and I think she should belong to that zoo. The agreement is any Panda born in another country has to be returned  before it is 4 years old. Pandas must wonder what on earth is happening to them. The Chinese lend Pandas to zoos for a few years and then they have to be sent back. I know they are planning to introduce as many Pandas as possible back into the wild, but I think that is only the babies which are being acclimatised over the years. Saw a movie about it on TV. However, I suppose they need her for breeding purposes. The Chinese really seem to have got an excellent breeding programme under way. I wonder what all this shipping back and forth costs. I understand they are no longer on the endangered list which is great. Later I heard that breeding is exactly why they want her back. She went back in a special plane with better treatment than a first class human passenger, lots of bamboo and even some sugar cane which they called Panda caviar.

I am very upset, my recliner broke last night. I can no longer lift the foot rest up into position, well I can but it won't stay there.  I have contacted a place called Furniture Medic by both email and phone message but not heard anything. Maybe I should try somewhere else. I think, but of course am no expert, that a spring broke. Checking the price of new loungers, I hope it a) can be repaired and b) won't cost too much. It is, or was, such a comfortable recliner. This is the same idea although not the same chair.

Originating in the UK, I love runner beans which I have seen in the States labelled flat beans or pole beans . In fact, in the UK we have several types of runner beans but here, locally, I can get the flat ones now and again - they come from a grower in Ontario called Zing Healthy Foods. I checked them out and found this somewhat different, to me, way of serving them. I normally French cut them. I bought some more beans today and will try it out. Since I started blogging I have tried a lot of different recipes. Good for me/us.

Amazing European Runner Beans in Olive Oil

150 g (1 package) Zing! European runner beans, trimmed and sliced into 3 inch pieces
1 yellow and 1 red Zing! pepper, sliced lengthwise
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped (small?)
1/2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
salt and black pepper to taste

1. In a skillet, sauté garlic in oil until tender and just turning brown. Add the Zing! European runner beans, salt and pepper. Mix well and sauté 1 to 2 minutes. Add the Zing! red and yellow peppers and sauté 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup (125 ml) of water and simmer until the liquid has evaporated and the beans are tender. Enjoy hot or cold. Serves 2 as a side dish.

Source: ZingHealthyFoods

Have a great day

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Olympic Skating,

I know I posted this blog last  night, but it seems I am wrong LOL

A friend posted this on Facebook to commemorate Valentine's Day 1984Olympic . It was one of the most beautiful skating performances I have ever seen. The English couple, Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean skating to Bolero. Enjoy

I love meringue and did actually make a large Pavlova many years ago. This one appeared in the Liquor Board's magazine, Food and Drink, so I just had to share it with you.

Grand Passion Fruit Pavlova

Fragrant and delicate, this pavlova has a crunchy yet tender exterior and a soft marshmallow-like

4 large egg whites, not from a carton, at room temperature
½ tsp (2 mL) cream of tartar
¾ cup (175 mL) sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) cornstarch
1 tsp (5 mL) white vinegar

1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
2 Tbs (30 mL) sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbs (15 mL) lemon juice
2 ripe passion fruit (visibly wrinkled)

1. Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Trace an 8-inch (20-cm) circle onto parchment paper using a magic marker, and line a baking tray with the parchment paper, with the marked-side down (so the ink won’t transfer to the meringue as it bakes).

2. Whip egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy, then slowly pour in sugar while whipping; continue whipping on high speed until the whites hold a stiff peak when the beaters are lifted (whites will be thick and glossy). Fold in cornstarch and vinegar. Spoon whites onto the parchment paper and spread it to fit the circle, using a spatula to create pretty swirls.

3. Bake meringue for 75 to 90 minutes until exterior is dry (humidity impacts cook time), cracking the oven door if meringue starts to show signs of browning. Once out of oven and cooled, meringue should feel dry on the outside and peel away from the parchment easily. If still a little soft, return to 250°F (120°C) oven for another 10 to 20 minutes. Cool meringue on tray before removing.

4. Whip cream to a soft peak and beat in the sugar, lemon zest and juice. Chill.

5. Assemble the pavlova immediately before serving. Place the meringue onto a platter and top with the whipped cream. Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the fruit and seeds and spoon this over the cream. Slice and serve as you would a cake.

Servings: 8

Author: Anna Olson
Source: Food and Drink

Have a great day

Monday, February 20, 2017

Family Day, Children, Brining

Today is Family Day in Canada which means the bowling alley is thick with kids and the noise would be horrendous. The bowling alley cancels our league for the day - I am not quite sure I approve of  that. I guess they make more money from families on that day than they would from our league. Even if we bowled, the kids would still be there in force, downstairs if nowhere else. I was saying to Matt earlier (Saturday) I wish they had introduced Family Day during our working life. Would have been an extra day off during the year. They were certainly talking about it but didn't make it into a stat day until the time we were living in the US. Ah well.

I sell Avon working with another rep who supplies me with my product.  She, poor woman, was involved with her daughter the last few weeks. Her 3 year old daughter who has been pronounced legally blind. What a horror at 3. I am so very sorry for the family.

As you know, I have been having problems with Matt and tough meat. So Saturday night I decided to have pork chops and ended up brining them then doing them in a Korean style way. I have posted the brine. I don't know, but Matt did eat all his pork chop so maybe it worked. I did brine them for 4 hours.

BRINING Pork Chops

3 cups cold water, divided
3 Tbs coarse kosher salt (or 2 1/2 tablespoons table salt)
Optional flavorings: 2 smashed garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf

1. If you have time, brining the pork for even a brief period adds flavor and ensures juiciness in the finished chop. Bring 1 cup of the water to a boil, add the salt and optional flavorings, and stir to dissolve the salt. Add 2 more cups of cold water to bring the temperature of the brine down to room temperature. Place the pork chops in a shallow dish and pour the brine over top. The brine should cover the chops — if not, add additional water and salt (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon salt) until the chops are submerged. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Korean Style Pork Chops - a simple recipe for Korean style marinated pork chops, resulting in melt in your mouth, super delicious pork chops. Best ever!

4 pork chops
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce low sodium
2 Tbs honey
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ginger minced
2 tsp sriracha sauce
black pepper to taste

1. Brine first

2. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.

3. In a medium size bowl whisk together the soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and sriracha sauce. Pour over pork chops and let marinade for about 20 minutes.

4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet for medium high heat. Add pork chops, without marinade, and cook for about 5 minutes for the first side, or until it gets a nice brownish color. Flip the pork chops and pour the remaining marinade over them. Cook another 5 min on this side.

5. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking them. Roast for about 10 minutes, or until pork chops are completely cooked through.

Servings: 4

If your pork chops are not very thick, mine were about 1 inch in thickness, you might not need to finish cooking them in the oven.

Author: Joanna Cismaru

Have a great day

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday Recipe

This is a recipe I have had for a long time but never yet made it. Now I have run into the same story, fairly tasteless shrimp Ah well, for those of you who live near the coast, you can take advantage of the plentiful shrimp there.

Arugula Salad with White Beans Shrimp, with Basil Vinaigrette

Best substitute greens: Romaine lettuce or any of these greens: Watercress, Dandelion greens,
Mizuna, Baby kale, Baby collards, Belgian endive.

For the dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 large lemon)
1 Tbs grainy mustard
½ tsp minced garlic
1/8 cup finely chopped fresh basil (or substitute parsley, thyme, or oregano)
½ tsp sugar
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For the salad
1 cup (about 6 ounces) cannellini or navy beans, soaked overnight in cold water to cover (or substitute a 15-ounce can of beans)
½ lb medium shrimp (8 to 10 shrimp), peeled and deveined
1 bunch arugula, trimmed, washed, and dried
1 red bell pepper, seeded, halved, and diced small
1/4 cup pitted and roughly chopped Kalamata or other briny black olives
1 small red onion, peeled and diced small
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk to combine well. Set aside.

2. Drain the dried beans and place them in a small saucepan with enough cold salted water to cover by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender but not mushy, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Drain, rinse with cold water, and allow to cool to room temperature. (If using canned beans, drain and rinse well.)

3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the shrimp, and simmer until just tender, about 3 minutes. Check for doneness by cutting one of the shrimp open; it should be opaque throughout. Drain the shrimp, plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking, then drain again.

4. a. To grill shrimp: Prepare shrimp for the grill by rubbing with vegetable oil and threading onto skewers. Grill over a medium-hot fire until the shrimp are opaque throughout. Allow to cool to room temperature.

5. In a large bowl, combine the shrimp and beans with the arugula, bell pepper, olives, onion, and salt and pepper. Stir the dressing well, add just enough to moisten the ingredients toss well, and serve.

Servings: 4

Author Notes
My good friend and teacher, the jolly Bob Kinkead, is the chef/owner of an outstanding restaurant in Washington, D.C., called Kinkead's. His specialty is seafood, and of the many recipes that I've borrowed from him over the years, this is one of the few I'm going to acknowledge. If you have the grilling fire lit for some other purpose, you can grill the shrimp, following the instructions below, instead of poaching it. This basil vinaigrette is really good in potato salad or just drizzled over straight-from-the-garden tomatoes.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Movie, Bowling, Shrimp,

We decided to watch The Green Mile on Thursday night and of course it went on quite late so although I had written a bit of this blog, I hadn't finished it. We both enjoy that movie, one of our favourites. Tom Hanks is brilliant in it - well he is in anything he takes on - and I love the John Coffey character played by Michael Clarke Duncan. Tonight I thought more about the acting than I ever have before and the guy who played the nasty little prick Percy Wetmore, Doug Hutchison, did a brilliant job in making everyone hate him. In fact I think the whole thing was brilliant. Especially the makeup job on Tom Hanks for his "old man" look. Must have taken quite a while to achieve.

Bowling wasn't too bad today, one of our team joined us and bowled ahead. So we decided to bank ours as well. Turned out that the league who always play on Thursday afternoons, were having their missed Christmas get together today. Bad snow day before. As usual we were invited to partake. I had a glass of wine and some cookies. Team member had more to eat but Matt, as usual, didn't have anything. One of the ladies from the league had given us a couple of wafers a previous week, they were so good I asked her to pick some up for me. She gave me a couple of packets today but wouldn't take any money which means I can never ask her to get any more for me. They are a Dutch coffee flavoured wafer, delicious.

This is a recipe I picked up from the local paper, K.W. Record, many, many years ago. I cannot tell you the times I have made it, mostly when we lived in NC and had access to really fresh, tasty shrimp. We had a friend who owned a shrimp boat and he would give me 5 lbs of shrimp, heads on of course, and ask me to make it. I usually saved a few of those shrimp for us. I don't think it is totally authentic, but we all enjoyed it and our friend even ate it for breakfast. I may well have posted this recipe before, but I came across it tonight and I was hungry for it once again. I wonder if I can get some really decent shrimp. Trouble is the stuff we get here has been on ice for a while and the good flavour tends to leech out. They should freeze it instantly and sell it that way. I used to freeze fresh shrimp and it stayed tasty for a long time.


To freeze, don't add onions or tomatoes.

2-1/2 cup water
1 cup rice - Basmati is best
1 tsp salt
3 tsp red pepper sce (hot)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 lb cooked shrimp (I usually use more, much more)
1 cup diced ham
1/2 med green pepper cut in 1 x 1/4 in strips
4 green onions, with tops, sliced
2 med tomatoes, roughly chopped

1. Bring water to boil, add rice, 1 tsp salt and red pepper sauce. Simmer 20 mins. covered. Remove from heat, let stand approximately five mins til liquid has disappeared. Put in a large bowl. Combine garlic, oil, remaining salt with rice. Add rest of ingredients except tomatoes. Chill a minimum of 3 hours. Stir in tomatoes to serve.

Servings: 4

Source: KW Record

Have a great day

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Surgeon, Foot Nurse, The Origami Revolution,

I think I mentioned that I now have an appointment to see the vascular surgeon on March 2 at 1:30 - just about when we normally go bowling. So I asked if it was possible to change it. I was told the next appointment would be May. So then at the bowling alley I asked if we could bowl on Wednesday and it turned out they are chockablock both upstairs and downstairs. So I had to go for Tuesday afternoon which means two days running, and before you ask, they are not open on Friday afternoons. Writing this I thought maybe we could go one evening. Will check it out with them tomorrow. We'll see, could even bowl later on the Thursday afternoon maybe. Of course if I do go for surgery I am going to miss some bowling anyway.

Funny, Tuesday morning we were all ready for our foot nurse who is always on time or even before,
eventually after 15 minutes I called her. She was so apologetic, for some reason she hadn't entered our appointment into her diary. We have to be careful because our health insurance will only pay if we don't see her for 6 weeks and even if a vacation is involved, they don't make allowances. However, she is able to fit us in on Friday which is good. She gave Matt some toe separator socks to try last time she saw us. He tried them once (in bed as recommended) and said he couldn't stand them. This picture is not of Matt's foot, he doesn't wear nail polish!!!

This is turning out to be a medical blog, sorry about that. One of the problems when one gets older, or at least for many of us.

TV is not one of my favourite pastimes by any means. There are programmes I watch and enjoy, many of which are some kind of nature programme such as Nature which is on PBS on a Wednesday night here, and then there is Nova, also on PBS and we just watched a fantastic programme about Origami or what began as paper folding and is now being used in things from medical science to space exploration. The programme was called The Origami Revolution. It showed how mathematicians are developing ways to programme folding lines on paper - and now other materials - to produce whatever is required. The art of folding is something nature has been doing all the time and we are now perceiving the uses of folding. Many of you will be able to see the show on your computer but I am unable to do so because of where I live. I could see it on TV  but not my PC. I do hope some of you will watch because what they are achieving is staggering. Maybe the video will be on YouTube one day. The intro certainly is.

I am usually on the lookout for snow pea recipes and came across this one which I thought I would share. I thought it was a rather unusual combination.

Sesame Snap Peas with Carrots and Peppers

The colorful combination of sugar snap peas, red bell pepper and carrot plus an Asian-inspired flavors make this side dish a pleasure to whip up for a weeknight dinner.

8 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 2 cups)
1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips (about 1 cup)
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 Tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Place peas, bell pepper and carrot in a steamer basket over 2 inches of boiling water in a saucepan. Cover and steam, stirring once, until crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Toss with soy sauce, oil, sesame seeds and pepper.

Servings: 4

Source: EatingWell.com

Have a great day

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Plus One

Sorry everyone, but I am very tired, didn't sleep too well - could have been all that food or could have been all my aches and pains.

Had to go shopping today and I went into the drug store to pick up some scrips and ended up asking a guy if I could be his Valentine. He was buying a white huggy bear and a box of chocolates. I wanted the bear. He laughed. Should I be insulted?

Here is a nice chocolatey dessert for you.

Classic Chocolate Mousse

Dark chocolate and espresso add the slightly bitter notes needed to balance this easy chocolate mousse. Remember, the higher the cacao percentage, the less sweet the chocolate.

¾ cup chilled heavy cream, divided
4 large egg yolks
¼ cup espresso or strong coffee, room temperature
3 Tbs sugar, divided
? tsp kosher salt
6 oz semisweet chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped
2 large egg whites

1. Beat ½ cup cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form; cover and chill.

2. Combine egg yolks, espresso, salt, and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large metal bowl. Set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (do not allow bowl to touch water). Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is lighter in color and almost doubled in volume and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the mixture registers 160 degrees, about 1 minute.

3. Remove bowl from pan. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until room temperature.

4. Using an electric mixer, beat egg white in another medium bowl on medium speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually beat in remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until firm peaks form.

5. Fold egg whites into chocolate in 2 additions; fold whipped cream into mixture just to blend.

6. Divide mousse among six teacups or 4-oz. ramekins. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Mousse can be made 1 day ahead; cover and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

7. Before serving, whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form; dollop over mousse.

Servings: 6

Source: Bon Appetit
Author: Mary-Frances Heck

Have a great day

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dinosaurs, Valentines, Bowling, Dinner

Apatosaurus formerly called Brontosaurus, produced a lot of wind
This post was inspired by Denise Hammond of My Life in Retirement. If you read some of the comments from yesterday's blog, we were talking about global warming and the fact that dinosaurs were responsible for a whole heap of global warming because of their flatulence. This is the source of methane gas. I Googled and it appears likely that it certainly happened at the time, but the effect is not still ongoing from what I read. "Cows today produce something like 50-100 [million tonnes] per year. Our best estimate for Sauropods is around 520 [million tonnes],"  said Dr. Wilkinson and that, I believe, is only one section of dinosaurs. It's a fascinating article from the BBC. Just as well humans didn't exist at that time, we would have been smothered by the fumes. They were not the only producers of methane gas at the time so in fact the count would have been considerably higher. Today we produce 500 million tonnes per year from every source. Do read the article, it is interesting.

Hmm, just realised it's Valentine's Day, what a topic to start off with. Sorry, I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's.

Bowling, we won 5 our of 7 points today. Our missing bowler did have a good excuse. His dad died 6 months ago and his mother at the end of January. So last Monday he was with her lawyer. So, I couldn't say nothing except sympathise. I had an 86 game to start and a 229 to finish. Go figure.

Then later I decided we were going to the Red Lobster for dinner - a Valentine's treat the day before the rush. In fact the place was pretty busy, I think everyone was there for the day before the rush. It is the beginning of Lobsterfest so we fell for it and ordered the following, Fire-Grilled Lobster and Red Shrimp - Our fire grill brings out every flavor in a tender Maritime lobster tail and a garlicky skewer of wild-caught jumbo red shrimp. Finishing touches: rice and your choice of side.I took the description from their web site. Plus I had a glass of wine, a 9 oz. glass I might say. Poor Matt will not drink even one drink when he is driving. He followed his main course with Bananas Foster Cheesecake We top our rich caramel cheesecake with fresh bananas and crunchy candied pecans. We serve it with vanilla ice cream, which slowly melts under the warm spiced-rum caramel sauce we drizzle on top. which was 1,110 calories and I ended up with my downfall, Chocolate Wave Cake - boy do I feel stuffed and I'm sure Matt does. He, of course will not gain an ounce, me, I will be terrified to step on the scales for a while.

Got home just in time to see Jeopardy - The College Tournament for the next two weeks.

Just in case you don't go out and feel like cooking at home, here is a delightful dessert.

Ricotta Crêpes with Honey, Walnuts and Rose

Cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi invented these delicate crêpes to celebrate Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, which is also called Pancake Tuesday in England. Their floral, aromatic sweetness comes from rosewater and honey, two Middle Eastern ingredients that Otttolenghi grew up with.

1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup whole milk
6 Tbs water
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
2 1/4 tsp rosewater
6 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp edible dried rose petals

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the chopped walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, until browned and fragrant. Transfer to a plate to cool.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Whisk in the milk, water and 2 eggs until a smooth batter forms. Set aside while you make the filling.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone, ricotta, toasted walnuts, lemon zest, cinnamon and allspice. Stir in the 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 2 teaspoons of rosewater and the remaining egg until smooth. Refrigerate the filling while you make the crêpes.

4. In a nonstick 6-inch skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of the butter over moderately high heat. Pour 2 tablespoons of the batter into the skillet, immediately swirling the pan to evenly cover the bottom. Cook until set, about 45 seconds. Flip the crêpe and cook until lightly browned on the bottom, about 45 seconds more. Transfer the cooked crêpe to a work surface and repeat with the remaining butter and batter to make 11 more crêpes.

5. Brush a 12-by-8-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the filling into the center of a crêpe, fold in the sides and roll up into a tight tube. Transfer to the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining crêpes and filling, fitting the crêpes in the baking dish snugly in a single layer. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bake for 25 minutes, until the crêpes are light golden brown and the filling is warmed through.

6. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the honey and lemon juice with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of rosewater and warm over moderate heat. Drizzle the honey mixture evenly over the crêpes, then lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar and sprinkle with the rose petals. Serve the crêpes warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead:  Refrigerate the crêpes and filling separately for up to 3 days before filling and baking the crêpes.

Notes: Edible dried rose petals are available at specialty food shops and from amazon.com.

Yield: 12 crêpes

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snow. Saturday Dinner, Docs and Surgery.

Saturday night and Sunday morning it snowed. Not as much as some places, but it gave us a good covering. Sunday afternoon it was sunny which means the snow we have won't last long. I suppose it's to do with Global Warming which some people think doesn't exist, but we certainly don't get the snow we used to.

I was planning to do a Steak Diane on Saturday, one of our favourites, I discovered, to my horror, I didn't have any mushrooms. I always have mushrooms. But not Saturday. I ended up making a dish called Steak à la Moutarde. Similar because it used cream and brandy. I will give you the recipe tomorrow.

Busy week this one. Foot nurse Tuesday, Urologist for Matt Wednesday, Family Doc for me on Thursday. Plus bowling of course. I have still not heard anything about vascular surgery so I will have to start making noises although I really don't want to go in, but I need to. I keep hearing stories from other people that the doctors don't care if you are older. I hope this is not the case at the moment.

So today you get two recipes for the price of one because the New York Times recommends not serving one without the other. And if you haven't burned your mouth off after these two recipes you have my admiration. I have a feeling I might cut back a tad on the hot peppers.

Haitian Pork Griot

Pork griot (pronounced gree-oh) is one of Haiti’s most loved dishes, and it’s easy to see why. Big chunks of pork shoulder are marinated in citrus and Scotch bonnet chiles, then simmered until very tender before being fried crisp and brown. This recipe departs from the traditional in that instead of frying the meat, it’s broiled. The pork still gets charred edges and bronzed surface, but broiling is easier and less messy to do. However feel free to fry if the skillet calls out to you. And do make the
traditional cabbage, carrot and chile pepper pickle called pikliz (pick-lees) for serving, which gives the rich meat just the right spicy-vinegar punch.

1 small Scotch bonnet or habanero chile
1 medium onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup fresh chopped Italian parsley, more for serving
1 Tbs kosher salt, more to taste
1 Tbs coarsely ground black pepper
6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more thyme leaves for serving
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup cane vinegar or cider vinegar
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
3 lbs pork shoulder, not too lean, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 Tbs coconut oil (melted) or olive oil, more as needed
Cooked rice, for serving
Pikliz, for serving (see recipe below)

1. Quarter the chile and remove the seeds and membranes. Finely chop one quarter; leave the rest in whole pieces. Handle pieces carefully, preferably while wearing gloves; they are extremely hot.

2. Transfer quartered and chopped chiles to a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid. Add onion, bell peppers, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme and garlic. Stir in vinegar, orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in pork. Cover pot and refrigerate overnight.

3. The next day, remove from refrigerator at least 1 hour and no more than 3 hours before cooking. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place pot over high heat and bring liquid to a simmer; cover and put pot in oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from pot, allowing all excess liquid to drip back into the pot and picking any bits of vegetables or herbs off the meat. Transfer meat to a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle meat with 2 tablespoons oil and salt to taste, and toss gently to coat.

5. Strain braising liquid, discarding any solids. Return sauce to pot and simmer over high heat until reduced by about half, about 25 to 30 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, heat the broiler. Broil meat, tossing occasionally, until meat is evenly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. You want it nicely browned in spots but not so brown that it dries out.

7. To serve, drizzle meat with additional oil and top with sauce, parsley and thyme leaves. Serve on a bed of rice with pikliz on the side.

Servings: 6
Source: New York Times


In Haiti, this spicy cabbage, carrot and chile-laced pickle, which is pronounced pick-lees, is traditionally served with rich meats and fried foods, like the pork dish griot. Its bright, fiery tang mitigates the heaviness and balances out the flavors. It’s also a wonderful condiment to serve with rice and beans, noodles, roast chicken, or other gently flavored dishes that need a little zipping up. Like most pickles, it will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. Make sure to take care when handling the
chiles; gloves are recommended here.

2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely grated (1 cup)
½ medium green, red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
4 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, seeded and very thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
12 black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
1 ½ cups cane vinegar, cider vinegar or white vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime

1. Combine cabbage, onion, carrot, bell pepper, scallions, chiles, garlic, salt, peppercorns and cloves in a large bowl. Toss well.

2. Pack vegetables into a large (1 quart) jar with a tightfitting lid. Pour vinegar and lime juice over vegetables. Press down on vegetables if needed until they are completely submerged in liquid. Cover with lid and refrigerate for at least 3 days before opening. Stored covered in refrigerator, pikliz will last for at least 3 weeks, if not longer.

Yield: 1 quart

Source: The New York Times

Have a great day

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday Recipe

I haven't made or even really thought about making Goulash in years and I used to make it frequently especially with venison (deer meat) which made it an especially delicious dish. This was in Friday's edition of the New York Times food blog. The dish originates from Hungary. We used to call caraway seeds "bird's toenails".


There is no high drama about simmering a stew. However fine, stew is a homey, intimate exchange, a paean to the way living things improve when their boundaries relax, when they incorporate some of
the character and flavor of others. Soulful, a word inextricably linked with a good sturdy stew, is the payoff to the cook who plans a little and has the patience to abide.

2 tsp unsalted butter
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tbs sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 lb beef stewing meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the paprika and caraway seeds and cook 1 minute more. In a bowl, toss the beef with the flour to coat well. Add the beef to the onion mixture. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

2. Add 1/2 cup of the broth, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot. Gradually stir in the remaining broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Serve over wide egg noodles

Servings: 4

Source: The New York Times

Have a great weekend

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bubbly Waste, Cruise Ship, Bowling,

I heard something yesterday that upset me. They launched a new cruise ship in Monaco with a 7 gallon bottle of champagne (called a Primat). Probably the real expensive stuff too. What a waste!!! 27 bottles of lovely champagne. I may never get over it. Mind you this cruise ship has a suite which you can rent for $10,000 a night, so wasting a few bottles of champers probably doesn't mean much to them. There is an even bigger bottle I have just discovered, a Melchizedek which I see is 40 bottles of bubbly. If you are interested in all the names and the origins, you can follow the link above.

The ship mentioned above is the Seven Seas Explorer which is touted as the most luxurious cruise ship around and from what I saw last night, it certainly seems to be extremely luxurious. They have marble floors so had to figure out the stability and counteract the weight. Not that I have that kind of money, but I would be a bit nervous about sailing on her.

Bowling on Thursday of course, both pretty mediocre although Matt won the first two games then something happened and I had a turkey and ended up with 197. Would have been a 200 game if I hadn't messed up the last frame, grrr. I haven't had a turkey in a long while. These days they are few and far between for both of us although Matt did have one last Monday. Mine, of course, doesn't count - need to get it during league play. Some hopes.

Sorry no blog yesterday got involved with a book.

Oh dear, Mr. Trump's ban has been defeated. Poor Donald..

A nice easy flavoursome chicken recipe.

Chicken Piccata with Capers

Enjoy this restaurant favorite at home with a glass of white wine and fresh garden salad. This Italian chicken piccata recipe is sure to please your entire family.

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs capers
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups hot cooked spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked)
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Place each breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Place flour in a shallow dish, and dredge chicken in flour.

2. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add white wine, 1/4 cup lemon juice, capers, and garlic to pan; scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve chicken over pasta. Top with sauce; sprinkle with parsley.

Servings: 4

Wine note: When a recipe calls for wine as an ingredient, it's nice to find a bottle that is delicious enough to drink but affordable enough to toss a little in the skillet. Mani Masianco 2005 ($15), an Italian blend of pinot grigio and verduzzo, fills the bill. It's aromatic, with apple, lemon, and floral notes. It also has the necessary acidity to greet the potent acid of the capers.

Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day