Monday, February 13, 2012

Whitney Houston, Weekend Eating, Panda Loan.

Whitney HustonSo Whitney Houston died over the weekend, there was great outpourings of grief and distress on the airwaves, music will never be the same, but then as a young friend on Facebook pointed out, she hadn’t  made a record in years and her last concert was shambolic. I understand she does have a film coming out some time soon. I am extremely sorry that she died so young, and whatever age you are, 48 iDollys young to die, but neither Matt nor I ever liked her singing. Not our cup of tea at all. As for her song I Will Always Love You, it was written by Dolly Parton and I like her singing it much  better. I think the song first appeared in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. No, I’m wrong, it was apparently released a lot earlier by Dolly, in 1974 to be exact. The year before we came to Canada; but the first time I remember hearing it was in the movie when she apparently re-recorded it. I gather Whitney was attending the Grammys and died in the Hilton Hotel in LA. By the way, Matt doesn’t like Dolly either, I do though.

We have had quite a bit of snow over the weekend, but not really as much as we normally have accumulated at this time of the year. We will no doubt see if we get more, it has been pretty chilly with the “feels like” temps running around –1­5°C which is quite cool.
Harper and PandaI understand, from the news, that Canada is going to get a couple of Pandas for a 10 year loan. The panda names are Er Shun and Ji Li – Mr. Harper, our Prime Minister, negotiated the deal after talking to China about new investments.The Pandas are expected to arrive next year and will go to Toronto and Calgary zoos for 5 years each. I wonder what the Pandas think of all this moving around? The picture is of Mr. & Mrs. Harper with a baby Panda. Lucky them. Teddy Bear anyone? The thing that bugs me, when the Pandas are returned to China, we have to return any babies they may have had too.  At least that happened elsewhere. It is apparently 20 years since Canada last had any Pandas on loan.

Today I am sharing two recipes for the price of one. Peppered Steak otherwise known as Steak au Poivre and Braised Pork Chops.

Saturday night we decided to have Steak au Poivre and I used a recipe of Gordon Ramsey’s, you know, he of the language!!! It was very good. I did have crushed pepper in my mouth for a while though, couldn’t seem to get rid of the bits LOL We opened a Dancing Bull Zinfandel to go with the steak.

Peppered Steak with Shallot Sauce

Peppered Steak25 g  butter
4 shallots, finely sliced
4 Tbs Cognac
200 ml  red wine
200 ml  beef stock from 1/2 stock cube, hot
Oil, for frying
2 Tbs crushed black peppercorns
4 rump or sirloin steaks
1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, to soften. Pour in the Cognac, boil for 1 minute, then add the wine. Increase the heat and boil for a few minutes to reduce by half.
2. Meanwhile, make up the stock and pour in. Boil until reduced by half again. Stir in the butter, season to taste, and leave over a low heat.
3. Meanwhile, brush a griddle or frying pan with a little oil and place over a high heat. Press the peppercorns all over the steaks. Place in the hot pan and cook for 2-5 minutes each side, depending how you like them cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside for 2 minutes to rest.
4. Divide between plates. Pour over the sauce and serve with thin-cut oven chips and grilled vine tomatoes. We actually had carrots and a baked potato.

Servings: 4

Source: Gordon Ramsey
Author Notes
A good steak doesn't want too much messing about with, so follow this easy recipe and enjoys yours with a rich shallot sauce.

As usual we couldn’t think what to have for supper on Sunday night, in the end Matt suggested pork chops, but I have found grilled pork chops to be a bit tough lately, so I decided to use a few ideas I have picked up and do my own recipe. I made a salad to go with it and had Brie and crackers to follow. Started the Brie on Saturday too.

Jo's Braised Pork ChopsBraised Pork chops and Mushrooms

1 Tbs olive oil
2 pork chops
1/3 onion sliced
4 to 5 mushrooms, sliced
1 glass of red wine
salt and pepper

Sauté pork chops until browned on both sides. Remove from pan. Sauté onions in pan and when softening add mushrooms. Finally add glass of wine then pork chops and seasoning. Cover. Simmer for about half an hour or a bit longer until chops are tender.

Servings: 2

Have a great day


  1. I much prefer Dolly's version. Whitney sang it her style and it was lovely. It's amazing how death seems to erase all the negatives some of these same people were making in articles, about Whitney, and have now given her sainthood.

    We have snow here too. Big fluffy flakes are falling and will continue through the day and tonight.


  2. That's always been the way hasn't it? Mustn't speak ill of the dead. I have never figured out why, what changed?

    Our snow has been attacked by lots of sunshine so a lot has melted although there is still quite a bit out there.