Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Finance, Rosh Hashanah, Paul Newman

We just saw a special broadcast by George W. Bush regarding the $700 billion bail out which congress just voted against. They can't do anything about it today because Congress is taking the Jewish Holiday - Rosh Hashanah. Excuse me? Since when did Congress start celebrating Jewish holidays? Sure, if you are Jewish obviously you are going to celebrate it, but the whole of Congress cannot be Jewish surely?
In Matt's opinion Congress shouldn't be taking any kind of holiday until they have solved this major financial crisis. I am not sure where I stand on this, on the one hand people are right who say if a mom and pop store fails no-one bails them out, but if it does, it doesn't create a worldwide financial crisis. We, after all, live in Canada and I know our few Mutual Funds have taken a nose dive, in fact I haven't dared look and see how few dollars we have at the moment. The sound financial advice is to hang on, so we are hanging on. We don't have much and I have no doubt we have quite a bit less right now, so come on Congress, get back to work and maybe I agree you should vote for that financial bail out. For the first time in my life I actually George W. sounded like he was talking sense.
Talking of Rosh Hashanah, I have a very good Jewish friend in my cookery group and I know she has been very busy preparing for today. Last year we, as a group, joined her in celebrating the feast and made a similar meal on more or less the same day. The principle items which are a must are apples and honey which symbolises the hope of a sweet new year. There are some good Honey Cake recipes here if you are interested.
It was sad that Paul Newman died this weekend, I hadn't even heard that he had cancer I must confess. He was such a wonderful man and raised so much for charity with his sauces and dressings. He was also a very humble person. Barbara Walters (I've mentioned her before) did a great interview with him a year or two ago and he even took her for a ride in his race car. He really loved racing cars. This is a more recent picture of him, he was 83 when he died. These days, that isn't so very old, unless you are only in your twenties I guess. As I have mentioned before, more and more people are living longer and longer.
Don't forget to sign on to my Followers List please.
Funny, I was talking about Peameal Bacon for breakfast when we were in Manitoulin. I have just come across a Bacon Roast in the HomeBasics magazine I've been using for a recipe source lately. I must say it looks pretty good and I will certainly give it a try.
BBQ Peameal Bacon Roast
Serves 4
1/2 C barbecue sauce
1/4 C orange marmalade or peach jam, melted
2 tsp each grainy mustard and maple syrup
1 Tbs cider Vinegar
1 1/2 lbs whole peameal bacon roast
Preheat the barbecue to medium-high and grease the grate. Combine the barbecue sauce, jam or marmalade, mustard, maple syrup and cider vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high, stirring often, for 2 mins. or until smooth and glossy. Let cool slightly. Brush a third of the sauce over the roast. Grill, turning and basting often, for 1- mins. or until the roast is evenly marked. Turn the burner directly under the meat off and set the remaining burner(s) to medium-low. Close the lid and roast over indirect heat, turning and basting occasionally, for 30 mins. or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat reads 160°F (71°C). Transfer to a carving board and let stand for 5 minutes.
They recommend serving it with Knorr Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Broccoli and Carrots. However, obviously you can choose your own sides.
Have a great day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Manitoulin - Last of the Trip

Today I cover the last bit of our trip to Manitoulin. I was disappointed not to see the quill museum. I saw some quill work (porcupine quills) in the store for sale, very expensive mind you, but absolutely beautful, so it would have been nice to see what they considered worth putting in the museum. The work I saw was full of wonderful pictures of wolves, birds, scenes, etc. but the one that most impressed me was a basket that looked as though it was covered with beautiful lace. It was also beautifully expensive. September 19, 2008 As the other visitors had an early breakfast, we missed them and had ours in peace. This morning, apart from a bowl of fruit, which seems traditional round here, we had bacon and sausages. We have been getting good breakfasts. Chatting to Ingrid and Trevor this morning and I asked about the almost white cows, they looked like Charolais to me, guess what, they were. I then asked about the beautiful horses I had seen a lot of which I thought were Palominos (gold coats, blond mains and tails) and I was right again. Doing well here. Trevor told us about walking to the bridge over the Mindemoya River, just a few steps away from the B & B. The salmon should be beginning to run. We had already seen a dead salmon in the stream leading to the Bridal Veil Falls. We wandered around to the bridge and then stood on the beach. Lo and behold we saw a salmon leaping, twice, or two salmon leaping once, who knows. All kinds of fishermen around but nobody doing much. I took a picture and am now using it for my desktop background. We encountered a woman walking a cute little dog, not sure exactly what breed, but he was quite small. He decided to kill a branch and would not leave it alone, she had to take it with her to get him to follow. It was quite funny. There is a very long boardwalk around the bay, we didn’t follow it, too much walking, but the bridge is part of the walkway. Could have been an interesting walk. I liked this picture I took of where we saw the salmon leaping, that I now have it as wallpaper on my desktop. Decided to check out Carter Bay which had been recommended by Ingrid, headed there and drove down a road which was like a washboard, shaking us to bits, we were not too happy. Decided to turn round, however before we did, saw a hawk flying in front of us and then it sat in a tree. Matt didn’t bother to try and take a picture as we figured it would fly away as Matt got out of the car. Matt thought it was a kestrel, I thought it was a Peregrine. Checked it out later, I was right, I am now batting 1,000. Having got out of the road to Carter Bay, we decided to check out the restaurant at Michael’s Bay. Another long unpaved road, but not a washboard this time. A beautiful spot right on the bay, nice looking building. Not that we saw it, but there was a golf course there too. Rental chalets as well according to notices. On Friday they do all you can eat perch, but Matt decided it was too far and he didn’t want perch anyway. I do agree, it was a log way from Providence Bay. Went to a deli store we had seen and got some gorgeous croissants and some cold pork slices for lunch then on to Providence Bay and sat at the picnic tables there. This time we finished our wine. Afterwards we took our chairs on the beach for a bit and sat in the sun, Matt was a bit overcooked from the other day, so he put a hat on and turned his back to the sun, it was bloody windy though, so we didn’t stay long. There was a guy out in the water with a kayak. He came back in and when trying to get out, fell in the water. It must have been bloody cold. He had a change of clothes with him in his car. We also saw a “rent a motor home” and took the phone number to make enquiries. (I’m sitting here typing and can hear the seagulls - lake gulls? – through the window which we have had open all night with the sound of the waves on the beach, weather has warmed up now we are going). Went back to the B & B and decided to do some reading, I have a book and there are lots of Reader’s Digests for Matt. We ended up chatting to Trevor and Ingrid in the garage, they are both smokers so spend a lot of time there. Their dog, Peter, is only 10 months old and was having a crazy half hour. Ingrid booked a table for us at the School House so we headed there just before 7, its only round the corner, tonight Matt wasn’t too hungry but I had a cauliflower and gorgonzola soup, delicious. Then their whitefish, which was very good, not breaded or anything but nicely seasoned. We had their house white with it. I finished off with an intense chocolate cake served with some ice cream, scrumptuously decadent. Back to the house, spoke to Ingrid who was waiting for guests arriving by the last ferry. We played some more crib in our room then crawled into bed. Funny, we don’t play crib at home much any more but enjoy playing it when we are travelling. September 20, 2008 I can’t believe this, I have been going to bed around 10 and sleeping solidly all night. This morning I woke early. 5:15 ish, but yesterday I must have had 9 hours. I never sleep that long. We had peameal bacon again which is very good. There was another young man at breakfast and I watched Trevor cook his egg “over easy” as they say in North America. I now know how to do it, I was never very successful and just cooked them the way I had always done so, splashing fat over the top of the frying egg. Trevor made it look so easy. Ingrid sent us to a store where we could buy the orange, carrot and ginger marmalade we had been eating. It is made on Manitoulin Island. The store had all kinds of fascinating things in it, I could have spent hours there, but we had to go. Headed off to South Baymouth to catch the ferry and went the shorter way. It was quite windy and the ferry was rocking around a bit. I felt a bit nauseous, not sure if I was seasick or if it was just low sugar. I had a candy and felt better. Had been going to have lunch on board but waited until we got to Tobermory. We headed for the same café where we ate on the way to Manitoulin. Not very hungry, but I have to have lunch. On the way home I had totally forgotten all the roadworks we encountered before. In Canada they say we have 7 month’s winter and 5 month’s roadworks. Got home and one of my Avon customers told me she had been trying to phone all week, sounds like the phone must have been off the hook or something. Not sure how that happened. Had a couple of belated birthday cards from daughters in England. The apartment was like a furnace, the weather has been a lot warmer here (of course) and the gas prices are a lot lower too. We threw a few things together for supper and I tried to get my desktop to start. In the end I gave it up as a bad job and carried on reading my current Katherine Kerr book. Finished it and have read two more of her books since. I now have three more to read and I have caught up with her whole Deverry series. Not sure if the last book I have is the last of the series or not, I will, no doubt, find out. I borrowed this picture from Amazon.com. Don't try clicking to look inside, it doesn't work here, it does at Amazon.com though. You will have seen what happened with the computer so now life is back to normal once again. I am still working on summer recipes here, but this is another one from Home Basics which I thought sounded good and will have a go at myself very soon. Satima started a list of followers. I joined her site, I would appreciate it if you would join my site. There is a segment at the top on the right. Grilled Shrimp on Summer Slaw 1 pouch sun-dried tomato parmesan pasta seasoning 1/2 C olive oil, divided 1 lb uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 TBS lemon juice 1/2 tsp salt 4 C thinly sliced red cabbage 1 beet, peeled and grated 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced In a medium bowl, whisk together the pasta seasoning mix and 1/4 cup olive oil. Stir in the shrimp, cover the bowl and marinate in the fridge for 1 hour. Preheat the grill to medium high. Grill the shrimp, turning once, until cooked through. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, remaining olive oil and salt. Toss in the cabbage, beet and onion. Serve the srhimp alongside a bed of summer slaw. Serves 4.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Manitoulin - Day 4

More from my Manitoulin diary.
September 18, 2008 Oops, my blood sugar readings are climbing, better cut out the Crème Brulèes etc. Pity. We had Peameal bacon for breakfast, despite over 30 years in Canada, I have never eaten it before. Its very good. We also tried a low sugar marmalade made with orange peel, carrots and ginger. Also very good. We went to Gore Bay after breakfast and the first thing we did was go to Valu-Mart to buy stuff for lunch. I am very glad I don’t have to do my videoregular shopping on this island, they don’t have lot of choice. Up to Lookout Bluff to see the lake and the harbour of Gore Bay. Pretty area. Well its water isn’t it? On to Kagawan where the Bridal Veil Falls are (see my video posted on September 25). It was a popular spot so had trouble parking. There were lookout points at the top and then steps, lots of them, down to the falls. You could actually walk behind the falls if you wanted. One young lady walked part of the way but said it was VERY wet. Walking was a bit difficult anyway. This is one of the rivers (if you can call it that, more like a rushing stream) that attracts spawning salmon and they are obviously already running as we saw one dead one lying in the water. You can just see it in the picture. Getting out of there was a bit of an effort for me, there were a lot of stairs to get back up again. Living in an apartment, I rarely climb stairs, they can be quite a problem for me. I am getting lots of practice with stairs this week though, maybe I should continue when I get back home. We then took our lunch over to a picnic table at the top and enjoyed sitting in the sun. Matt figured we shouldn’t have our wine though as we were in a very public spot. I took a picture of this blue flower as there were hundreds of them dotted about and they looked so very pretty. Down the hill into Kagawan which calls itself the prettiest village in Ontario, bit of a stretch. They are right on the bay which does help and it is very attractive to look out to the water. We went into the chocolate shop and looked around but I didn’t dare buy anything. They had all kinds of chocolates, local made as well, they looked delicious and I began to drool. They sold both hot chocolate and coffee but they didn’t have any coffee made which I would have enjoyed. Pity. We took a back road round the bay and found a pretty spot to overlook the bay and I took some video – we also got onto more back roads and saw some deer, first we’d seen. Someone was telling us the other day that they had seen deer and a fox, I was miffed because I hadn’t seen any wild animals. The island is supposed to be overrun with deer. Bit scary when you are driving at night. It apparently isn't funny if you hit one, doesn't do the deer much good either. Found our way to M’Chigeeng again and this time the Catholic church was open. What a gorgeous little church it is. I bought a postcard, but it really doesn’t do it justice. The Stations of the Cross were painted by the Indians and are wonderful in bright, vibrant colours, quite incredible. On the back of the main doors there are the most amazing wood carvings. Easy to miss on your way out. The base of the church is under ground level and is circular. It has a wonderful sense of serenity. There are no pews, just ledges to sit on. I would love to attend a service there. Headed back to Mindemoya and found a coffee bar. By then I was gasping as I hadn’t had a drink since breakfast. The café was right opposite Mum’s where we had eaten lunch the other day. From Mindemoya we went to South Baymouth as I wanted to take a pic of the ferry coming in. Was I fooled. I was looking out one way and it arrived behind me. As looking that way was directly into the sun, that was the end of that idea. We made a booking for the 11:10 a.m. ferry on Saturday and I bought another postcard as you can see. I am absolutely fascinated by the bows lifting up to let cars in. Matt wanted to time the drive to Providence Bay but wouldn’t believe me when I told him he was taking the long route. It took 40 minutes. However, we confirmed with Ingrid that the other route was shorter, so that is what we will take next time. Have spent a lot of time chatting to Ingrid, she is fun to talk to. However, she got some new customers, so we went on the porch and had a drink. Later Ingrid set up her Paypal account so I could pay her, however Paypal didn’t recognize me. Not that it mattered as far as paying, but I was teed. Turned out it was my fault, wrong password. Passwords are a flaming pain aren’t they? I thought this cartoon very appropriate. For supper we went to Mum’s which we were told had good whitefish. It wasn’t bad at all. Miss Congeniality was still working, but she went home before we left. The other woman (owner, manager?) turned out to be very friendly. Back home Matt decided we shut ourselves in our room to play crib as we hadn’t like the look of the guy who was in the other room. He was a hail fellow well met type, noisy too and irritated us the way he came out onto the porch and said "ah two newly weds" in a loud, jovial voice. They told us afterwards that she was in the room and he was down in the garage with Trevor and friends drinking scotch out of a large jug with no glass, no mix, nothing. Had the bottle hidden in his trunk (boot to the Limeys) apparently. Alcoholic?
Our LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) issues a magazine called Food and Drink about 4 times a year. We always try and make sure to grab it as it has wonderful recipes. The following is one which is absolute poison to me, but I thought it sounded delicious.
Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie
A chocolate topping makes this traditional pie a little trendier. If you'd rather use a ready-made frozen pie shell, buy a deep-dish shell and bake it according to the instructions on the package before filling. (In fact I am going to assume you are doing just that and that you have pre-baked your pie shell.
1 1/2 Cups pecan halves toasted (you can also use walnuts by the way)
3 eggs
3/4 Cup dark brown sugar
1/2 Cup corn syrup (or any other syrup available to you)
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped, good-quality bittersweet chocolate (about 3 oz).
Set aside 1/2 Cup of pecans; coarsely chop the remainder.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Beat in sugar, syrup, butter, vanilla and salt until smooth. Stir in chopped pecans.
Pour the mixture into your baked pie crust. Scatter chocolate evenly over the surface. Arrange reserved pecan halves decoratively on top. Bake for 30 to 40 mins. until filling is set a round the edges but centre still jiggles slightly, shielding pastry edges with foil if they start to brown too much. Let pie cool to room temperature on a wire rack before serving.
Have a great weekend.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Manitoulin Day 3

Last night we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary and finally opened the Malivoire Pinot Noir I have been yattering on about. It was good. I had a couple of glasses of bubbly before lunch too, gotta have champers on an occasion.
September 17, 2008 We packed up what little we had unpacked and went for breakfast. This morning we had boiled eggs in egg cups which is something you never see in Canada, well I never have. As Brenda said, most Canadians don’t know how to eat them. One couple who were there certainly didn’t have much idea, she was using a dessert spoon and they were quite small eggs too. We also had soldiers with them (fingers of bread to the uninitiated) to start we had a bowl of fruit and yoghurt and in between some more chocolate bread. I wish I could get the recipe for that. Finished loading the car, not much left. Headed for Mindemoya and the grocery store where we bought some goodies for lunch. A turkey wrap, some sliced havarti cheese, some Campari tomatoes, they have a very good flavour and a couple of bananas. Very odd to us, the LCBO or liquor store, was in the grocery store. You paid separately. Anyway, got ourselves a bottle of wine. Not a bad grocery store, but not great when compared to our stores in Kitchener. Back to Providence Bay and we spent several delightful hours on the beach. Had lunch out there too and made friends with a seagull, Sidney, who was on the scrounge. He got some cracker as I broke one up unintentionally. It really was a beautiful day all though too cool to strip off but the sun was blazing down and our faces certainly picked up some colour. In fact I burned my lips – face was OK my cream has SPF15 in it. Will have to remember to put some on my lips to. Matt burned his face, no cream of any kind. Around 2 I figured we had had enough sun for a bit so we checked in to On the Bay B & B which was more or less just behind us and settled ourselves into our room. What a difference compared to the first place. We have decided to stay 3 nights. I plugged in my laptop and yay, it worked on the internet so I checked all my emails. I was a bit nervous about staying too long as Rusty said it would be so easy for me to pick up a virus as I don’t have anything on here and I only have Win 98 which is all this old unit will take. Remembered later I had AVG anti virus. The picture is the B & B from the beach. I booked dinner at the School House restaurant which was just round the corner from us and we then “hung” around the B & B. We discovered a horseshoe pit, Matt used to be quite good but that was more than 20 years ago. He threw quite a lot of shoes and finally ended up with a couple of ringers and a leaner as he called it. This is a delightful property and they have quite a big piece of land. We sat on the porch and had a couple of drinks before we headed out to dinner. I forgot to mention our room has a balcony from which you can see the bay which leads into Lake Huron. If you would like to check out their web site click here. The Bay was originally called Bebekodawangog by the local Indians which means "where the beach curves around the water". This is the beach from the B & B.
At the School House I had clam chowder to start and Matt had crab cakes, both of which were very good considering how far we are from the salt water. We both decided on the rack of lamb which was delicious and came with good, crisp, veggies. We drank a small carafe of Valpolicella with it. We both finished off with Crème Brulèe for dessert and I had a cup of coffee. Turned out to be a little more expensive than last night, but not too terrible. Back to the house and more cribbage. Doesn’t seem to be a weather channel on the TV locally. We hear it’s supposed to be warmer. Ingrid, our hostess, has suggested several places for us to visit tomorrow, including restaurants.
We are getting some real early nights this week. All this fresh air is getting to us.
Back to today, I thought I would give you a fairly easy curried chicken recipe. We bought a load of chicken breasts yesterday so here is a way to use them.
Curried Chicken Breasts
Servings 6
Source: Cookbook Wizard
6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about1-1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sesame seed
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
Paprika
1 small cucumber
Place chicken in ungreased rectangular baking dish, 13 X 9 X 2 inches. Mix yogurt, coriander, ginger, sesame seed, red pepper, turmeric and garlic; pour over chicken. Turn chicken to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, but no longer than 24 hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook onions in butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are tender. Remove chicken from baking dish; stir onions into yogurt mixture in baking dish. Place chicken on onion mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered about 1 hour or until juices of chicken run clear. Cut cucumber lengthwise into halves; remove seeds. Chop cucumber; sprinkle over chicken. 6 servings
Have a great day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Manitoulin Videos

Here's a couple of small videos I took, Providence Bay and Bridal Veil Falls. I have two more to upload later. Sorry about the inane remarks, I am not very good at commentary.

video video

Manitoulin - Day 2

This is me on the ferry, did you guess? below we have the pictures of South Bay B & B and Gallery. South Bay is very close to where the ferry docks so it is very convenient when you don't know where you are or where you are going.
Went to bed quite early on Monday night as both Saturday and Sunday nights were not blessed with much time in the land of nod and luckily had a very sound sleep, the bed was actually very comfortable. Helps that in fact there was no-one else staying in the house at the moment although we anticipate there will be on Tuesday, but its nice, we have the bathroom to ourselves. It’s normally shared. Breakfast at 8:30 which I know will contain fruit salad and quiche, can’t remember what else Brenda mentioned. It turned out to be very good. We started with the fruit salad, to which I added yoghurt, had small quiches which were very good, then tried some chocolate bread toasted, had lumps of chocolate in the bread – I loved it. Followed by multigrain toast. There were all kinds of jams and jellies if required, extra fruit, cereals, coffee and juice. Plenty to eat. Later went to the Internet café and they gave me the name and phone number of a guy, Rusty, who does computer repair. Having phoned him, we headed off for Mindemoya which is where he hangs out. He checked out my laptop and the problem was no IP address which he corrected and lo and behold, the internet. He also showed me an absolutely darling little laptop, about the size of an evening purse, which has more power than my desktop at home. It was, with tax, about $500. I wanted it, I wanted it. I don’t have $500 to spare though. Upset me for the rest of the day that did. Later when I tried it I still couldn’t connect. Problem with the connection maybe. We headed for Providence Bay and found a delightful B & B where we booked in for Wed. and Thurs. nights. This time we have an en suite bathroom and somewhere to hang our clothes. Matt will be happier. There is also a nice lounge with a TV if wanted plus ice etc. where we can sit. Actually it’s a delightful house and pretty big. (Found out later that the original house was burned down and this is a brand new one built last year). It is also right on the water plus they have a friendly dog called Peter.
We had been recommended to Mum’s in Mindemoya for lunch so went back there. It is very popular with the locals. I had Italian Wedding soup and a BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwich Matt just had the BLT. It wasn’t bad although too much rather sweet mayonnaise for my taste. Our waitress was Miss Congeniality, talk about a misery. Didn’t get another coffee, never got our bill, we stood at the cashier’s desk waiting to pay and she looked right through us. Eventually someone else found our bill and took our money. Needless to say, no tip. We then went to M’Chigeeng to look at a particular Catholic Church which is supposed to be worth a visit, it goes underground apparently. Wouldn’t you know it was locked, also a quill work exhibition which was closed for the day. They had a lot of quill work for sale in the store, it really is quite clever and beautiful. Done by the Indians of course. There is also an Ojibwa Foundation exhibition which wanted $10 for us to go visit. By this time I was feeling stroppy so didn’t go in. We decided to drive on to Little Current which is where there is a bridge to the mainland. Quite a nice boardwalk, unfortunately the weather started to look extremely threatening so that put the kibosh on spending much time there. Started to head back to South Baymouth and on the way stopped at the Garden’s Gate restaurant to make a booking for dinner. Had to wait for about 10 mins as they weren’t open. However, we booked for 6:30 and then want back to the B & B. Once there I tried out the laptop on the net. Brenda says the ferry often knocks out their phone and/or net.- lets hope I can connect at the new place as I saw (when at Rusty's) I had 47 emails to check out. We had a drink outside and I started getting bitten by mosquitoes. So went inside and played cribbage. Can you tell I wasn’t having a good day. I’m afraid I am not very impressed with the island so far. We were told it was beautiful and so far it looks like any other part of Ontario. However, there is one area we have seen from a distance which they call mountains, I don’t think they really classify, but they are certainly quite impressive looking hills. Also we did miss a lookout point although at that time it was still dark and threatening.
Set off for supper and were pleasantly surprised to see it was very busy. The service was leisurely, none of this slapping one plate down before you have finished the other. We had an excellent Caesar Salad, we had previously been served a hot roll with herb butter. Then we both had the Whitefish which came with – in my case – a risotto cake, shaved carrots and a kind of cabbage in a sauce. It was all delicious. There was a fruit salad type of dressing for the fish, I enjoyed it, Matt said the fish didn’t need it so I ate his as well. I guess it didn’t really, it was a very nice piece of fish. We had a glass of wine with it, forget what it was called. Matt had oven roasted potatoes, Matt could teach them a thing or two about roast potatoes. We finished off with apple pie and ice cream for Matt and a Coffee Cup a la Crème for me which was light and a perfect finish. They had a decadent chocolate cake which had a description followed by a sentence assuring the customer that it contained all the four food groups, dark chocolate, white chocolate, damn, I can’t remember the next, and chocolate crème. The bill, considering I had two glasses of wine, came to $80 and that included the tip. Very reasonable.
Back at the B & B and more cribbage – at least it was a lot warmer this evening. I didn't mention that the previous evening it was very cold in the B & B and Matt, who never has temperature problems, froze. We ended up going to bed to get warm. The next day we complained and they put the heat on. Of course it got warmer anyway. There were no chairs in the bedroom, nowhere to hang our clothes, not a very big room but it had a single bed crammed in to it as well as our Queen. Matt was not too happy. There was a kind of kitchen with a table downstairs where we could sit and play cards, but it wasn't very comfortable, nor, the first night, as clean as it should be. This is where the internet connection was located even if it wasn't working. There were seating areas outside, but it was mostly too cold in the evening, especially that first evening.
Thought you might like to know what Italian Wedding Soup is, I must admit I had never eaten it before.
Italian Wedding Soup
Meatballs: 1 small onion, grated 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley 1 large egg 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon salt 1 slice fresh white bread, crust trimmed, bread torn into small pieces 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 8 ounces ground beef 8 ounces ground pork Freshly ground black pepper
Soup: 12 cups low-sodium chicken broth 1 pound curly endive, coarsely chopped (1 pound of escarole would be a good substitution) 2 large eggs 2 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the meatballs: Stir the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese, beef and pork. Using 1 1/2 teaspoons for each, shape the meat mixture into 1-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a baking sheet. To make the soup: Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and curly endive and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the curly endive is tender, about 8 minutes. Whisk the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl to blend. Stir the soup in a circular motion. Gradually drizzle the egg mixture into the moving broth, stirring gently with a fork to form thin stands of egg, about 1 minute. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. Finish soup with parmesan cheese if desired.
Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trip to Manitoulin

Hi everyone, I am now just about up to date with my computer. For our few days away, I thought I would just reprint the diary I wrote and include some pictures. The first two are the view from the harbour in Tobemory.
September 15, 2008
My first problem in life is that I can’t connect to the net. My lincsys seems to be kaput. Not sure if there is a store here for PC parts, at the moment I’m not sure what there is on Manitoulin Island, I presume there must be shops of some kind somewhere. We had a very uneventful if somewhat damp ride here, like going through what the Irish would call a heavy mist. In a few places it turned into rain, but never for very long. We got to Tobermory quite early and checked in, paid our fare and got into line. We then strolled over to a restaurant close by and had their special, chicken noodle soup and a corned beef sandwich. For my limey readers, that is not the stuff out of a can tin, but sliced brined beef, delicious stuff, much nicer than the stuff produced by Mr. Fray Bentos and his ilk. We then walked around the ferry dock and took a couple of pix (I forgot the cord for my camera so I can upload the pix onto the Laptop, duuh). We then saw the Chi-Cheemaun in the distance so went back to the car, in fact we would have had time to take pix of her coming into dock. Walking past some of the waiting cars, I heard a woman saying “put it in the boot” I said “boot? I haven’t heard that in a long while”. We stood chatting for a while and they are over here for a month. Spent a few days in Toronto, a few in Niagara and were now going to visit Manitoulin. She told me they were from Derbyshire and it was their second visit to Canada, last time they went to BC. I should have so much money!! We boarded the ferry and left our cars. Not that we wanted to, but you are not allowed to stay with your car and if, for any reason, you need to return to it, you have to get a crew member to take you there to open the door to the vehicle area. There is a cafeteria, a bar, an information area with leaflets on every conceivable thing to do with the island. Decided to have a beer as we were thirsty. Having finished that, we sat on the afterdeck which was out of the wind, but in the sun, and was delightful. Any rain had completely disappeared and it was now a lovely day. The lake actually looked blue and we passed lots of quite big islands, naïve of us, but I hadn’t even realized there were so many islands out here. We docked and once ashore, found our B & B quite close. This picture is through a window on the after deck. The B & B have a gift shop which is also the office and which sells lots of locally made bead stuff!! Not quite our thing. The owner, Brenda, took us over to the house where our bedroom is. I’m glad it isn’t raining. Matt is not too happy as there isn’t really anywhere for us to hang anything. The room isn’t bad though with a queen sized bed which looks quite comfy. Later Brenda showed us where she serves breakfast, another house. She suggested a place for supper and told us of another restaurant for Tuesday night. I wasn’t too sure about her first recommendation, however having had a drink in the little kitchenette/sitting area, we went and had salad and a breaded pork cutlet (I think it was some kind of minced pork) which wasn’t bad, but the veg were canned or overcooked. Not sure which. Price wasn’t bad though but then we were a tad took aback, they only took cash, luckily we had enough. We came back and had a couple more drinks and that’s when I discovered I couldn’t get on the net. So we played a few games of cribbage and pored over some of the leaflets. We had decided where to visit tomorrow and check out accommodations for later in the week.
Pork Chops Smothered with Cabbage
Servings: 6
Source: Cookbook Wizard
8 cups coarsely shredded red cabbage (about 1-1/2 pounds)
4 cups chopped apples (about4 medium)
2 cups sliced red onion (about1 large)
1-1/2 cups chicken broth1/4 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
6 pork rib or loin chops, about 3/4 inch thick (about1-1/2 pounds)
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Cover and cook all ingredients except pork chops, cranberry juice and parsley in Dutch oven over medium heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Trim fat from pork. Stir cranberry juice into cabbage mixture; add pork. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 45 minutes or until pork is tender. Remove bay leaf. Serve cabbage over pork chops. Sprinkle with parsley.
Have a great day

Monday, September 22, 2008

Computers

If anyone is still reading my blog, I hope you are, I am presently re-loading my computer as I had to have a new motherboard. I kind of knew this was coming and so it wasn't a blow out of the blue. I haven't had time to write a proper blog, but I have a lot I wrote when away which is still on my laptop together with the pictures and videos I took. I hope I can start posting these on Wednesday. Til then, have a great day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Manitoulin, Birthday, Travel

We will soon be on the road driving to board the Chi Cheemaun ferry which will take us from Tobermory to South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island. We have booked a bed and breakfast for two nights in South Baymouth at the South Bay Inn and from then on will play it by ear. I am not sure how long we are going to be away, but probably at least a week. The island is supposed to be worth exploring. It is actually in Lake Huron and forms one edge of the area known as Georgian Bay. For some reason, although we have been here since 1975, we have never been to the island before. I am not sure how much posting I will do whilst we are away, obviously I have no idea of the availability of internet connections. So its a case of expect me when you see me. Yesterday was my birthday, I was 70 would you believe. I mentioned this to my foot nurse the other day and she was 'gob smacked' (I love that expression) which I found very flattering. On Saturday night we went to a friend's house in Hespeler (mentioned in a previous blog) where eight of us got together for dinner and of course drinks. We had a wonderful meal, comprised of great salads, corn on the cob, excellent potatoes, a German tomato salad (hoping to get the recipe for that) my Jambalaya, see below, taken after it had been attacked and the wonderful salmon I talked about the other day, again I hope to get her precise directions for doing the salmon too. They then produced the cake as shown above, just had my name on it, but actually we were celebrating a couple of other birthdays as well, however, I got to blow out the candles. It was a carrot cake and I lurve carrot cake. What don't I love, I hear you asking, well true, not much. Sunday morning we were still full, but it didn't stop us eating bacon and eggs for breakfast cooked by our hostess. Sunday night supper was all planned, Chateubriand with maybe French beans and Portabella mushrooms with, what was most important, one of the two bottles of Malivoire Pinot Noir that I have been look forward to for months. Tragedy, I was not prepared to drink it. I really wasn't interested in wine, or, come to that, much interested in food but, I have to eat, so we ate and had a glass of a mediocre wine and saved the Malivoire for our Wedding Anniversary. What a pity, too much of everything Saturday night. I have been reflecting a bit on my life to date. Unfortunately, a lot of it I cannot recall. I wonder if a good hypnotist could bring forth all the events. I have had a pretty good life and some times a very interesting one with all my travels and the people I have met and still continue to meet even if not face to face. The internet has opened up a whole new world to all of us (well other than people like Matt who hardly know it exists and apparently Senator McCain too). I find it absolutely wonderful how many friends I have made through cyber space, some of whom I am lucky enough to have met, many more I hope to meet in the future. Although for those who live in Oz, I am afraid that is somewhat unlikely unless I win a lottery or something. How many people have lived a number of years on a boat which travelled to ports in Europe. Not many. I didn't appreciate it at the time, I always wanted a book to read, but looking back I can see why many people envy me my later childhood and teenage years. Admittedly I got seasick a lot in those days, but I loved it when we arrived in France or Denmark or any of the many countries we visited. It was also great when my parents moved to the Mediterranean and I could join them on the boat and travel around there instead. Even when they sold the boat and moved into a delightful villa in Spain, it still made for a great vacation spot. Today of course, when we travel, it is often to destinations which used to be exotic to us. Places like The Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and so on. Although we have still gone back to Europe on occasion. Our trip to Portugal being an example. When we lived in North Carolina, Florida was almost in our backyard and yet that was almost unheard of as a possible destination when we lived in the UK. In recent years, the British have made Florida a regular destination. Maybe not now with the gas prices how they are and with airlines feeling the pinch all round. Canada lost Zoom Airlines in August, Britain have just lost XL and other airlines have been in crisis lately too. Maybe the world, which had shrunk so much due to air travel , will start to enlarge again as costs become more and more prohibitive. Well we are hoping the forecast and most of next week will be good weather. I have just discovered that son-in-law #1 reads this blog, I had no idea, so especially for him, bearing in mind he complained about the cold soups, I am including an Indian recipe which I found at Recipes Indian.

Dry Mutton Assamese Style

500 gms mutton 1 cup curd 1" piece of ginger 8-10 cloves of garlic 2 bay leaves 1 tbsp garam masala powder 1 cup mustard oil 1 tsp turmeric powder Salt to taste

Whip the curd. Marinate the mutton pieces with salt, turmeric, curd and 1tbsp of oil and leave aside for 2 hours. Grate the ginger and crush the garlic. Heat the remaining oil in a kadhai (A wok-like cooking utensil with circular handles on either side, used for frying, tempering and cooking vegetable dishes. The best kadhais have thick, heavy bottoms) and add the ginger, garlic and the bay leaves. Fry these for one minute and add the marinated mutton pieces. Lower the flame and cook over a low flame for at least half an hour or until the mutton becomes tender. Mix in the garam masala and stir well. Once the mutton becomes tender and absolutely dry, remove from fire and serve.

Have a great day and maybe a great week.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Asparagus Soup

Just a quick addendum, Tim Barrie, the asparagus grower about who's product I tend to rave, has some asparagus soup left for sale. If you are interested and live locally, there is a link to his blog where he tells you how much and how to obtain it, on this page. Its good soup, honest.

We Don't Like Ike, Do Like Seafood

Ike has made quite a mess in southern Texas we hear. It is a huge storm and it did strengthen. I thought I heard Category 4 but don't quote me on that. Since hitting land it has dropped back to a Category 2. None of which is any compensation for the people in its path. (Picture from National Geographic) For a link to a National Geographic article about the storm click here a fairly current report. Of course there are lots more reports on the net. Gas prices already increased by 13 cents yesterday so I have no idea what it will be like today. Luckily Matt filled up preparatory to our trip on Monday and hopefully we can last out until the prices drop again. There a lots of refineries on the Gulf Coast where Ike is rampaging at the moment. One of the things that bugs me about people deciding to "ride it out" is the cost of the rescues necessitated after the storm is over. I gather a lot of rescue work is going to be needed. One woman was in a hospital with her daughter last night and watched, on TV, as the waves destroyed her mother's house, no the picture is not the house mentioned. (Picture from Washington Post) Of course news reporters enter when others leave. Always reminds me of an air hostess friend who described her job by saying she would stand at the door of a burning plane and tell the passengers to precede her down the chute. Yeah right! Not this baby. They showed one reporter, late last night, standing on a balcony in the gale and then back tracked to show the producer on the ground hanging on to her feet so she didn't blow away. What a job. I spoke to two friends yesterday, one who lives in Texas and one who's daughter and family live there. However, both families live inland so if anything shouldn't get more than some heavy winds and rain. We were in Florida once, inland, when a hurricane passed and it was exciting to watch, but not particularly dangerous. Made most of my Jambalaya yesterday, that is Matt cooked the rice and I peeled three pounds of shrimp - once that is done the bulk of the job is over. Just got to add things like ham and vegetables and its all ready to go. I know our hostess is doing salmon and she does an excellent job of it too. It is absolutely delicious, she used to do a half salmon for the bowling get togethers some years ago, so I am really looking forward to it tonight. (Picture from wholefoodsmarket.com) No idea what anyone else is bringing. We were supposed to be having a bonfire too but suspect the weather won't allow it. Pity, we have always enjoyed sitting around a fire in the evening. Used to do it a lot in the Carolinas where we had stacks of wood to burn, mostly from trees knocked down by hurricanes, funnily enough. See its an ill wind!!! I have a feeling if we had a fire tonight we might get drenched. Of course today is what I call my North American birthday as I was actually introduced to this world at 2 a.m. in England which would be about 9 p.m. in Ontario, so I celebrate two days running. Pity I can't persuade everybody to give me presents two days running *g*. A share of a nice diamond necklace would be good. Well, I had better go finish off my Jambalaya although I can't add the tomato until we are about to serve it. Having mentioned poached salmon, here is a recipe from Canadian Living. Oven-Poached Salmon by The Canadian Living Test Kitchen


This classic buffet dish is not only beautiful but also delicious hot or cold. Cutting the fish before cooking gives clean edges. To serve, garnish with more slices of lemon and fresh sprigs of parsley and thyme. Watercress Mayonnaise makes a spring-fresh condiment to serve alongside.

Servings: 12

Picture Paxarcana.wordpress.com

1/4 cup (50 mL) white vermouth 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp/5 mL dried) 2 sides salmon (about 2 lb/1 kg each) 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt 1 lemon, thinly sliced 12 sprigs fresh thyme or parsley
Nutritional Info
Per serving: about -
cal 218
pro 23 g
total fat 13 g
sat. fat 3 g
carb 1 g
fibre trace
chol 66 mg
sodium 160 mg
% RDI: -
calcium 2%
iron 3%
vit A 2%
vit C 17%
folate 16%

In small saucepan, heat vermouth with chopped fresh thyme over medium heat; let cool for 10 minutes. Strain through sieve.

Cut four 40-inch (1 m) long pieces of foil; place double thickness on each of 2 rimless baking sheets. Grease foil.

Cutting just to skin, cut each piece of salmon into 6 portions; place, skin side down, on each pan. Sprinkle with salt<> Roast in top and bottom thirds of 400°F (200°C) oven, rotating and switching pans halfway through, until fish flakes easily when tested, about 25 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs; scrape off white protein. (Make-ahead: Let cool for about 30 minutes; discard lemon and refrigerate until cold. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.) Serve warm or cool. Have a great day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Diamonds to Jambalayas

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend. On GMA there was a fascinating segment about thirteen women in California who had bought themselves a diamond necklace and share it between them. It started with one woman, Jonell McLain, seeing the necklace in a jeweller's store. She then contacted a number of women friends and proposed purchasing this as a joint venture. Finally, the jeweller agreed to sell the necklace at a discount so long as his wife could be part of the group. A book has now been written telling the story and a movie is apparently on its way. Each member of the group wears it for a month unless there is a special occasion, like being interviewed on Good Morning America I guess. They claim it has really changed their lives in many ways. If you would like to read more about it click here where there is also an excerpt from the book. It really is quite a novel concept - wish I had 12 friends I could share a diamond necklace with. Matt continued watching GMA whilst I came to blog and he saw Jack Hannah who is a visiting "animal man" and who brings in the most fascinating critters. Apparently there was one small deer or antelope which is known as "the red deer" whilst he was talking, Jack was stroking this animal with a napkin. At the end, he showed that the napkin was red but the deer hadn't lost any colour. Wish I could find something about this to show you. The only red deer I can find are not the same animal at all. The one Matt saw was striped. Fascinating that you can get colour from the animal and yet it still retains its colour. Another segment which interested me was the formation, some years ago, of a group called Just Between Friends. It has become big business now, but it is basically a giant yard/garage sale where people sell their gently used items to people looking for bargains. They suggest how you can do this in your own neighbourhood by getting, say, 20 friends together to sell their gently used items. They call it a consignment convention. Apparently everyone involved in selling makes some money and people come away with excellent bargains on things they need. click here for the whole story. Sarah Palin has just been interviewed by Charlie Gibson who is one of the best in his field - I didn't watch it, I am not political as I have said before - however I did see one segment where Charlie asked Palin about Russia and her foreign policy views - she started on about how one can see Russia from Alaska. It appeared to me, she didn't really understand the question, or she wasn't sufficiently genned up on the situation. I was asked, in the comment section, about posting a Jambalaya recipe. I already posted my recipe on the 4th of July and yes, it does contain shrimp. I have made it many times and it has always been popular. I have no doubt that "dahn sath" they have many Jambalaya recipes which differ considerably, but I have never investigated them. I have just found a chicken and sausage Jambalaya on About.com which may fit the bill if you don't like seafood. Oops, having posted it I see it also has shrimp but perhaps it would be OK to leave them out. Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Source: About.com Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 broiler chicken, cut up, about 3 pounds
  • paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound smoked sausage, thinly sliced
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 2 teaspoons leaf thyme, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
  • 1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

Preparation:

Wash chicken and pat dry; rub with the paprika. Heat olive oil in a large skillet; add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove chicken from skillet. Add onion, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Sauté over low heat until onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in sausage, tomatoes, chicken broth, rice, thyme, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Add chicken and turn to coat with sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minute, or until chicken is tender. Stir in shrimp and cook about 3 minutes longer, or just until shrimp turns pink. Have a great day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

GMA Train, Tests

Good Morning America is doing their whole week's broadcast from a train next week. Hey that means we probably won't see it. The logistics of this broadcast are absolutely incredible. We wonder what it is going to cost ABC News. If you want to read more about it click here to get to the GMA web site. Of course it means nothing to those of you who are not in their broadcast area, but it really is an incredible undertaking involving helicopters picking up broadcasts and feeding them to satellite links and so on. We will have to try and catch some of the programme whilst we are on the road. Governor Palin is being well and truly attacked today. All kinds of scandals being brought up. Bound to happen, especially as she had pushed McCain's ratings up to equal or surpass Obama's. What a fiasco this all is. The latest accusation is she abused her power as governor to fire a top security guy. Of course today is also September 11 so there is lots on the news about the attack on the World Trade Centre. A new memorial is being dedicated in the Pentagon and they are going to have a moment of silence in remembrance. I still have the video of those attacks. A friend called me that morning and told me to turn on the TV. We all thought the first was an accident. Matt was out golfing and knew nothing about it until they reached the club house. I still would like to know about the plane that was supposed to have been shot down, I never heard any more about it. I wonder if it was a false report or what. I went for my blood tests finally this morning, Tuesday night I forgot to start fasting and was still eating cookies at 9:30, not a good idea. I didn't bother to put a coat on forgetting I might have to stand outside the clinic for a while. It was chilly but not bad, a crisp fall morning.. There were people with jackets on who were standing there literally shivering, not just one either. What are they going to do when winter comes? Today is shopping day, but I don't think we will have to buy very much, we won't be home after Monday morning. I do have to get some of the ingredients for my Jambalaya which I am making for the birthday party on Saturday. But generally, we don't need much at all. Matt got the car all tuned up ready to roll. Last night we tried some barbecued ribs which we bought from M & M's Meat Market. They tasted pretty good, but weren't really enough. One would have to buy two packets and that would work out to be fairly expensive. I've never made ribs as Matt normally doesn't like chewing bones (well he didn't chew these, he cut the meat off them) but just thought I would like to try them. When we first came to live in Canada, there was a restaurant quite close to us called The Knotty Pine. It was a very busy place and had an upstairs casual eatery and a downstairs more formal dining room. I would love to have owned a couple of shares in it, must have made a fortune. Unfortunately many years later, it was taken over by the son who ran it into the ground (or so we were told, it was while we were in the States). In the upstairs restaurant, they served a wonderful bean salad which I wanted the recipe for, but never did manage to get hold of. The following is the nearest I have ever come to it. Five Bean Salad Source: World Wide Recipes Servings: 8 - 12 1 cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil 1/3 cup (80 ml) balsamic or red wine vinegar 1 Tbs (15 ml) Dijon-style mustard 2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1 can (16 oz, 450 g) garbanzos (chick peas) 1 can (16 oz, 450 g) red kidney beans 1 can (16 oz, 450 g) black beans 1 can (16 oz, 450 g) green string beans 1 can (16 oz, 450 g) yellow wax beans 1 medium-sized onion, chopped 1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped Combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor and process at high speed until emulsified. In a large colander drain and rinse the canned beans. Combine with the dressing and the onion and parsley in a large bowl, tossing to mix ingredients thoroughly. Chill for at least 2 hours. Have a great day.