Friday, September 4, 2015

The Bookseller,

An Australian blogging friend, Denise Covey recommended a series of books which sounded very good, so I got the first one from the library. It is called The Bookseller by Mark Pryor and I am thoroughly enjoying it, so much so I have ordered the next book. The series is known as the Hugo Marston Novels, and features a man who was with the FBI and is now head of the security division in the American Embassy in Paris. He is also a lover and collector of rare/old books which has drawn him into a friendship with a bouquiniste or bookseller from the stalls along the river Seine on, I am guessing, the Left Bank. He is purchasing books from his friend when a thug comes along and kidnaps the bookseller. From there the story gets really exciting. Bent cops, gorgeous woman, a gay Baron and a smattering of dead bodies. I happened to write to Mark Pryor saying how much I liked the book and commented that I had had the recommendation from Australia; that he was in Texas and I am in Canada. He replied agreeing it was worldwide. I then discovered he too is from England and told him I was as well. Quite an international travelogue. I then discovered his mom is from North Carolina which is where we lived for 12 years. Mark Pryor tells me that the next book, The Crypt Thief, is somewhat darker. I am about to start it this evening so I will, no doubt, find out. If you read this blog Mark, thanks so much for these stories.

For supper, Thursday night, I decided Matt should cook for a change, he hasn't done much cooking in a long while. We had Chicken with lemon and Capers which came from a Readers Digest book many moons ago. I still have the book but it is falling to pieces. With it we decided to have snow peas so I looked on line for ideas and came up with a simple, but tasty way of cooking them.

Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Capers

1/4 cup Flour
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
2 Skinned, boned chicken breasts about 1 lb, halved and pounded to ¼  in thickness
5 tsp corn oil (we use Canola)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs Capers, drained

1. FLATTEN the chicken first by placing it between two sheets of Saran wrap and beating.

2. Combine the flour, pepper and paprika on a plate. Press the chicken breasts  into the mixture, coating them evenly all over and shaking off any excess.

3. In a heavy 10 in skillet, heat the canola or corn oil over mod high heat for 1 mins. Add the breasts and cook about 3 mins on each side, do not overcook. Transfer the breast to a heated platter.

4. Add the chicken broth to the skillet scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Stir in the lemon juice and capers and heat through. Pour the sauce over the breasts and serve.

Servings: 2

Sautéed Snow Peas

For the snow peas, I sautéed them in canola oil (should have been sesame but I am out) then when they turned bright green I splashed some soy sauce into them; added grated ginger and grated garlic. Serve them straight away. They were delicious. In a Chinese restaurant they would wok these and not add the ginger and garlic, but apparently a home stove cannot get a wok as hot as they do in a professional kitchen which changes to potential taste.

Have a great day

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Big Blue Live, Bowling.

For the last three days Matt and I have been watching a TV programme on public television called Big Blue Live. Absolutely wonderful.  They brought us live shots of all kinds of marine life, because these animals are all congregating in the Monterey Bay area off the California coast. This area is full of food and this year there is more food available to the sea animals than usual - sorry, all the science did not stay in my head. If you go to this link you will see some of the fabulous shots they managed to get or were even sent in to them. There were superb shots of breaching humpback whales, lots of them surrounding the boat on which they were taking photos. Then yesterday there was the fascinating scene of 3 or 4 Killer Whales turning up and from the helicopter overhead you
could see the dolphins streaking away from danger, literally thousands of them. Then some humpback whales seemed to gang up on the Orcas to drive them away. There were lots of shots of the adorable sea otters, and many of the seals resting on land or flying through the waters. Shots of one bird which flies from New Zealand does a tremendous journey around the Pacific and ends up in Monterey Bay - in its total life it apparently flies the same distance as travelling to the moon and back, twice. And finally, tonight, we saw live pictures of a Big Blue Whale cruising into the area. They are the biggest animal that has ever lived on earth and there is a record of one really large female who was bigger than any dinosaur ever. Mostly they clock in about 100 ft. long. Can you tell how excited I was to see this show. I have long been interesting in the Monterey Bay Aquarium where they do such wonderful work with sea life. They also produce lists on a regular basis of what fish is currently sustainable and therefore a good choice for the table. Oops, I forgot the Great White Shark who visited too. There was a diver swimming with him and he couldn't have been less interested. However, we saw lots of pictures of bite marks on various animals that were there.

Having checked with the alley, there is no likelihood of bowling this week but we can bowl again on Tuesday (Monday being Labour Day and no doubt super busy). The Winter League is still a week and a half away. Starting on the 14th.

This looked like a good recipe for shrimp although if I served it with the shells on Matt wouldn't eat it, I wouldn't want to either. I don't see the point. However, your choice.

Yucatan Shrimp

  • Yield servings



  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of two large limes
  • 1 tablespoon Indonesian sambal (preferably sambal oelek, by Huy Fong, though sriracha will work as well)
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound large, fresh, shell-on shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeño, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


  1. In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
  2. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter to saucepan. When it melts, stir in the lime juice, chili sauce, salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to rest.
  3. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes or until they are just firm and pink. Do not overcook. Drain into a colander and shake over the sink to remove excess moisture.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp and chili sauce. Add jalapeño, if desired, sprinkle with cilantro and toss again.

Have a great day