Thursday, October 20, 2016

Election, As We Know It, Earthquakes, Exercise Class

I had to leave the room on Wednesday evening because the news programme Matt was watching was all about the upcoming debate. Save me please. I cannot believe this is an election more like a fight between school children.

I am currently proofing As We Know It, the book by Carrie Butler. I haven't got too far yet, but it is quite a story. Based on a disaster which could happen, its background is an earthquake. I think most of us are pretty scared by quakes although I have a cousin in the San Francisco who has been thrown out of bed by earthquakes and seems relatively unconcerned. Maybe if you live in that area, or any other prone to such possible disasters, you live in a state of denial. I have gone through two mild tremors since I have lived in Canada and I wasn't happy about that. Having lived the first 37 years of my life in England I assumed it was a safe area. I was horrified to discover that in fact there have been earthquakes in England, one of which destroyed the Lincoln Cathedral. Way before my time, but....  I assume nowhere is really safe.

Wednesday was exercise class which for some reason I didn't want to go to, however, I am glad I did. Feels much better after. Not many of us there though, unusual. On Good Morning America they showed exercise classes anyone could do, not they couldn't, some of them were on the ground. A lot of us oldsters have difficulty getting on the ground and even more difficulty getting up.

I may have mentioned that I love carrot cake! Couldn't resist this  recipe.

BA’s Best Carrot Cake

This is the only carrot cake recipe you’ll ever need. This is part of BA's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
½ cup golden raisins (optional)
3 Tbs dark rum (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 lb carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp baking soda
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup vegetable oil

Frosting And Assembly
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Generous pinch of kosher salt
4 cups powdered sugar
Candied Carrot Coins (optional)

1. Cake

2. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat two 9"-diameter cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds; lightly coat rounds with nonstick spray. If using raisins and rum, heat together in a small saucepan over low just until warm, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit until liquid is absorbed and raisins are plump, 15–20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes; let cool. Combine carrots and buttermilk in a medium bowl.

4. Whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually stream in oil. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with carrot mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients; mix until smooth. Fold in raisins, if using, and walnuts with a rubber spatula. Scrape batter into prepared pans.

5. Bake cakes, rotating pans halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35–45 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cakes cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around sides of cakes and invert onto wire rack; remove parchment. Let cool completely.

6. Frosting And Assembly

7. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla extract and salt. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in powdered sugar. Increase speed to high and beat frosting until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

8. Place 1 cake, domed side down, on a platter. Spread ¾ cup frosting evenly over top. Place remaining cake, domed side down, on top. Spread top and sides with 1¼ cups frosting and chill 30 minutes to let frosting set. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides, swirling decoratively. Top with Candied Carrot Coins, if desired.

Servings: 12

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Balconies, Mandarin, Shopping.

Well after all these months, this is what it looks like across from us on the new balconies. Still no walls of course.

Mind you, at the front of the building, a different story. There is a dreadful mess. However, I am told, they will be packing up soon for the winter. I have also heard that the walls will be installed before the winter. None of it from the horse's mouth, so who knows. The grounds are ruined and I assume will have to be re-sodded when this is all over. By my calculation, it will be two years before they get to us.

Today we went for lunch at our favourite Chinese, the Mandarin. As usual the food was excellent but woe is me, when I went for dessert, there was no moon cake and yet they are supposed to still be celebrating the Moon Festival. I was told their supplier had run out?? A big chain like that? Oh well. Got my hot and sour soup of course. Brought some home with me too. We decided to go grocery shopping afterwards. That way Matt didn't drag me out of bed before the crack of dawn this morning. Found a small, nice looking, boneless leg of lamb there, first time I have seen one in that store, reasonable price too. I grabbed one. Usually buy lamb at Costco. Their meat is very good.

Bon Appétit calls this the Greatest Recipe of All Time. Not totally certain why but it does look good.

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Depending on your personal preference, you can brush off and discard the peppercorns before cooking, or leave them on for stronger flavor. One of our food editors says this chicken adobo recipe is actually the greatest of all time.

8 chicken drumsticks
15 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
3 Thai chiles, halved lengthwise
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled
1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
¾ cup soy sauce (preferably Silver Swan)
2 Tbs black peppercorns
2 Tbs palm sugar or light brown sugar
3 bay leaves
2 Tbs canola oil
Steamed rice and scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced on a diagonal (for serving)

1. Place chicken, garlic, chiles, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorns, palm sugar, and bay leaves in a large reasalable plastic bag or 13x9" baking dish; toss to combine. Chill, turning chicken once, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

2. Heat oil in a medium heavy saucepan over medium. Add chicken, reserving marinade, and cook, turning occasionally and adjusting heat to medium-low if needed, until skin starts to brown and caramelize, 6–8 minutes. Add marinade and ½ cup water; bring to a simmer. Cover saucepan and cook 30 minutes. Uncover, turn chicken, and continue to simmer, turning chicken occasionally and adjusting heat if needed, until meat is very tender and liquid is reduced and starting to glaze, about 30 minutes.

3. Serve chicken over rice. Spoon sauce over, then top with scallions

Servings: 4

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day