Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Birthday Lunch, Costco, New Restaurant.

We went for my free lunch at the Mandarin Chinese Restaurant Mandarin Lunchwhere I love to eat. As always I started off with their hot and sour soup which is to die for. They really make a great one. It is the Moon Festival so they had all kinds of special dishes of which I tried several. In the evening they are doing Peking Duck but we rarely go there at night, pity. Once I haMandarin Lunch2d finished the main items (I included some sushi and a few dumplings too) they came and slapped a coolie hat on my head, put a cake with a candle in front of me, sang Happy Birthday and took a picture which is in a frame which will stick to the fridge. Then I went for dessert and had moon cake which I love. Sorry Alex, I didn’t hold back, no willpower at all. I did have fresh pineapple though. Pic scanned better out of the frame.

Having had our lunch and said goodbye to our friends, we went on to Costco where we broke our bank account as usual. We don’t go often, probably we should, it wouldn’t cost us so much. We now have lots of meat, fish and chicken for the freezer plus a bunch of pills we take, not cheap but cheaper than buying them at the pharmacy.

gilt_signMy friend’s niece has just opened a restaurant in Kitchener, on King St. so we must give it a try . It’s actually very close to the bowling alley so maybe we can lunch first one of these days. Her mom owns a restaurant in Elora called Cork and this new one is called Gilt. I wish them every success in their endeavour. As yet I don’t know what they are offering in the way of food. During our bowling season we travel to different alleys and a bunch of us have lunch first. This might be a good place for us when we are at our local alley, Towne Bowl.

This recipe is so cute I couldn’t resist passing it on although Hallowe’en is not for a month or so yet.

Sugar Ghost Cupcakes

Taste of Home

 Sugar Ghost Cupcakes
I had 10 neighborhood kids stop by to help me make these cupcakes for a bake sale, though I have no doubt that most of the treats never made it that far! —Mysie Sabin, Franklin, Wisconsin

24 Servings


  • 1 package chocolate cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 package (16 ounces) miniature marshmallows
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons water
  • 1 package (2 pounds) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
  • Blue, orange and green paste food coloring
  • Miniature peanut butter cups
  • Malted milk balls
  • Clear vanilla extract


  • Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes; cool completely on wire racks.
  • In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine marshmallows and 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in three-fourths of the sugar; turn onto a work surface coated with 3 tablespoons shortening. Knead until smooth and pliable, gradually adding remaining sugar and shortening. If necessary, moisten with remaining water. Wrap fondant in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
  • To decorate, set aside 1/4 cup frosting. Tint remaining frosting blue; frost cupcakes.
  • For ghosts: Invert two peanut butter cups and stack, securing together with a small amount of reserved frosting. Top with a malted milk ball, attaching with frosting. Repeat, forming 24 stacks.
  • On a work surface lightly sprinkled with confectioners' sugar, roll a 1-1/4-in. ball of fondant into a 4-in. circle; drape over a stack.
  • For eyes and mouth, gently cut out shapes using pastry tips. Repeat for remaining ghosts.
  • For pumpkins, stems and tendrils: Tint desired amount of fondant orange. Wrap fondant around malted milk balls; shape into pumpkins. Add imprint lines with a veining tool or toothpick.
  • For stems and tendrils, tint a small amount of fondant green. Shape into stems; attach to pumpkins using vanilla. For tendrils, roll out remaining green fondant; using a pizza cutter, cut into thin strips.
  • Gently wrap strips around toothpicks; set aside to dry. (Tightly wrap any remaining fondant in plastic wrap and store in a resealable plastic bag for another use.)
  • To finish cupcakes: Place a small amount of reserved frosting on top of each cupcake; top with a prepared ghost. Carefully remove tendrils from toothpicks and attach to pumpkins, using vanilla. Attach pumpkins to cupcakes as desired. Yield: 2 dozen.
Editor’s Note: This recipe was tested in a 1,100-watt microwave. This recipe was tested with Kraft brand marshmallows.

Have a great day

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Game of Thrones, Ostend.

Although I had read most of the books (although I don’t think I am Tyrion_Lannistercurrent with them) of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, I hadn’t watched any of the HBO series, Game of Thrones, on TV. Somehow it didn’t appeal. However, several of my friends said I should watch it and told me how good it was so I borrowed the first two episodes from the local library and watched them on Sunday night. I thoroughly enjoyed them, particularly the character of Tyrian Lannister played by Peter Dinklage who, I think, is brilliant. I have the next two episodes on the way later today. They only give me a week to watch them so I don’t want to order too many DVDs at once just in case. I think once Martin had bumped off most of the Stark family from Winterfell, Tyrion Tyreanwas my favourite character anyway. They stuck pretty well to the books but I did notice a few discrepancies which, considering how many years it is since I read the books, is quite surprising.  Also the events which occurred in different books have been aligned in the same episodes. I’m not quite sure what the timelines would have been originally. Still, all in all, it is very good and I would recommend the programme if you have never watched it.

Here’s a totally new take on French Onion Soup. It sounds delicious and something I just might have a go at for the winter. I’ve left the time in as this might require you to make it over a couple of days if you haven’t time to do it all in one hit. The thing with French Onion Soup, it takes me back to when I was in my late teens, early 20s and we would sail over to Ostend in Belgium where I had a large bunch of friends of my own age. We often ended up in the Kursaal which was both a casino and a night club where we used to dance the night away. Returning home we would often stop in at a late night restaurant for a bowl of delicious French Onion Soup.

French (Canadian) Onion Soup

Contributed by Hugue Dufour
  • ACTIVE: 40 MIN French Onion Soup2
  • SERVINGS: 10
Hugue Dufour makes a pork broth for his French onion soup using bacon for smokiness and a pig's foot for richness. Omit the pig's foot for a lighter broth.

  1. 2 pounds lean slab bacon, in one piece
  2. 1 whole pig's foot or two halves
  3. 8 large yellow onions—1 whole, 7 sliced 1/4 inch thick
  4. 2 gallons of water
  5. 1/4 cup rendered pork fat or vegetable oil
  6. Salt
  7. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  8. Two 12-ounce bottles brown ale
  9. 6 rosemary sprigs
  10. Freshly ground pepper
  11. 12 ounces rustic bread, cubed
  12. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  13. 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  14. 4 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (about 1/2 pound)
  1. In a pot, cover the bacon, pig's foot and whole onion with the water and boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the foot is tender, 3 1/2 hours. Strain the broth and return to the pot, reserving the bacon and pig's foot.
  2. Boil the broth until reduced to 2 quarts, 25 minutes; skim off the fat or refrigerate overnight and then skim off the fat. Remove all the lean meat from the bacon and pig's foot, cut into bite-size pieces and reserve.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the rendered fat. Add the sliced onions and season with salt. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring, until the onions are wilted, 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until the onions are very soft, 30 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the onions are lightly browned, 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour until smooth.
  4. Return the pot to the burner. Add the strained broth, ale and 4 of the rosemary sprigs and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the soup thickens. Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes, until no floury taste remains. Add the reserved meat and season the soup with salt and pepper. Discard the rosemary.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread cubes, melted butter, garlic and the remaining 2 rosemary sprigs; season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, until the croutons are crisp. Discard the rosemary and garlic.
  6. Preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into heatproof bowls on a baking sheet and top with the croutons and cheese. Broil for about 2 minutes, until bubbling, and serve.
Have a great day,