Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stamps, Crabs?

Stamp BookHad to buy some stamps for overseas mail today and was somewhat surprised to find they had a snake on them. It is because of the Chinese year of the snake, but I don’t remember Canada Post celebrating other Chinese New Years. Looking for a picture, it appears that all Canadian stamps are celebrating the Year of the Snake, this picture shows the outside cover for a book of 6 overseas stamps. Very ornate snake indeed. Looking at all the snake pictures available, I think I might have to go buy more stamps even though I don’t actually need them at the moment. Let’s face it, not much mail goes through the post any more, occasional birthday cards and lots of Christmas cards.

A friend sent me a couple of pictures of a coconut crab. There was a comment saying people are afraid of spiders and making a comparison. Spiders, however, one cannot eat.
Coconut crab
Coconut crab2
These are found on many islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans but are not found where there are significant human populations, there are none in Australia I understand. I can’t say I would like to run into one. I have no idea how numerous they are but their distribution depends on the existence of the coconut palm.  Their name comes from the fact that they can crack a coconut easily to get at the meat.

Many years ago, when Matt’s youngest daughter was 15, she came to visit us in Canada (from England) and whilst here, she discovered chocolate cream pies. By the end of her stay, I think we were almost buying one a day – no not making them, couldn’t have kept up even if I had known how at the time. Seeing this recipe today, made me think of Tina, who has grown up kids of her own these days.

Chocolate Cream Pie

From EatingWell: November/December 2012

Chocolate cream pie isn’t just a diner special—it’s the perfect dessert for any celebration. We love the added flair of chocolate curls on top, but a pretty dollop of whipped cream on each piece Chocolate cream piewould look just as elegant.
Serves 10
  • 7 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (about 32 small cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Chocolate curls for garnish (see Tip)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  2. To prepare crust: Process chocolate wafers in a food processor until finely ground. Add oil and milk; pulse until combined. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
  3. To prepare filling: Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan. Whisk milk and eggs in a medium bowl, then whisk into the sugar mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Cook, stirring vigorously, for 2 minutes more. Strain through a sieve into a large bowl. Whisk in chocolate until completely melted.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a “skin” from forming. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
  5. To prepare topping & decorate pie: Just before serving, beat cream and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Smooth any lines on the pie’s surface with the back of a spoon. Spoon or pipe (with a pastry bag) 10 dollops of whipped cream around the edge of the pie. Garnish with chocolate curls.
Tips & Notes
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4 and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Decorate just before serving.
  • Tip: For bakery-worthy chocolate curls, start by softening a block of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate just a tad: microwave on 20% power (Low) in 15-second bursts until just barely softened, not warm. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the chocolate into curls.
Have a great day


  1. Jo, one of those stamps would be a perfect entry for next week's Sunday Stamps.

    1. I thought that. Did you mean for me or for you?

  2. I love crab and lobster. Not the sort of crab I'd want to run into barefoot, eek.

    Yum that pie looks scrumptious. I just would have to find a good substitute for the Canola oil...hmmm, *putting on my thinking cap.


    1. Nor me, hadn't thought of that. Thanks for putting the idea into my head.

      What's wrong with canola oil?

  3. That crab is huge!!! We're going to need a bigger tub of butter.

    1. Yeah, but who's going to catch it and kill it???

  4. Oh dear, allergic to sea food and chocolate. That pie was to die for though, I'm assuming.

    Love the photo's!

    1. Actually, of course, that is a land crab, not seafood at all. And yes, that pie is definitely classified as to die for. I am so glad I do not have an allergy to chocolate.