Friday, January 15, 2016

Snow, Bowling, Hip, Lamb.

Last night, before I got into bed, I looked out of the window - it was quite windy and it had been snowing. I saw several snow devils (like dust devils but snow) whirling and dancing through the trees in the park. It was so pretty to watch. A couple of houses are still using their outside Christmas lights which made the effect even more enjoyable.
There's only one in this picture and it's daylight, but to show you what I mean.

Thursday we went bowling as usual and I had a go, managed OK. Even threw a couple of strikes which suprised me. In the end, I missed out on the last three frames. My scores were pretty lousy, but at least I played. We went home to kill some time before the doctor's and then headed out again. When we got there I was horrified, it wasn't even 5 and the place seemed full. One man offered me a chair, another offered me his lap. I told him I would be too heavy, he assured me women were never heavy? Cheeky. However, there were 2 seats so a couple of guys shifted along and Matt and I sat down. We actually only waited 45 minutes which wasn't as bad as I had thought. The upshot is the arthritic condition of my hip was aggravated by my fall before Christmas and I am being referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. I requested the doctor who had done my previous hip replacement in 2005 and had also done both Matt's hips and his knee. Tomorrow I will give them a call and see if I can get a jump on an appointment. In Canada you cannot go straight to a specialist, you have to be referred by your MD. The Doctor said it was OK to exercise or bowl but not to aggravate it any further. She talked about strengthening exercises. Said I would have been given them before, if I was, or Matt was, we don't remember and don't have them anyway.

Home to my invented lamb stew which I had been cooking in the slow cooker all day. Delicious. Don't know why I didn't think of doing this before. I have often made a hotpot dish which is lamb, onions and potatoes, but never made a stew with these pieces as well as the tough lamb chops we had. It was full of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin giving it a pseudo Persian effect. I decided to find a lamb shanks recipe to share. This is from the Liquor Board's Food and Drink Magazine.



Lamb Shanks are very trendy because they are full of great flavour and end up with a tempting, melting texture when they are cooked slowly. The sauce for this dish is rich and thick. Serve with mashed potatoes, couscous or noodles.

2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin
2 tsp (10 mL) ground ginger
2 tsp (10 mL) ground coniander
2 tsp (10 mL) paprika
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne
6 lamb shanks
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped carrots
1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped celery
1 bottle (341 mL) beer, preferably ale
2 cups (500 mL) beef stock, homemade or canned low-salt
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
1 bay leaf
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled

Vegetable Garnish:
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
3 zucchini, cut in 3/4-inch (2-cm) dice
1 red pepper, cut in 3/4-inch (2-cm) dice
1 yellow pepper, cut in 3/4-inch (2-cm) dice

1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Combine cumin, ginger, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne. Toss lamb shanks with 2 tsp (10 mL) spice mixture, reserve remainder.

2. Heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) oil in skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Brown lamb shanks in batches on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve. Wipe out pan and add remaining oil.

3. Add onion, carrot and celery. Sauté until onion is browned slightly, about 5 minutes. Add reserved spice mixture and sauté for 3 seconds. Add beer, stock, thyme and bay leaf and bring to boil. Return meat to pan.

4. Bake for 1 hour, add garlic, cloves and bake one hour longer or until meat is tender and nearly falling off the bone.

5. Remove meat. Skim fat, then remove vegetables with a slotted spoon. Discard bay leaf. Purée vegetables in a food processor or blender. Stir back into stock and reduce until sauce lightly coats a spoon, about 10 minutes.

6. To make vegetable garnish, add oil into skillet on medium-high heat. Add vegetables and sauté until vegetables are crisp tender, about 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Stir vegetable garnish and lamb back into sauce. Simmer together for 15 minutes or until lamb and vegetables are reheated. Serve with potatoes, couscous, or noodles.

Serves 6

Have a great day


  1. Hi Jo - glad the referral has been made ... and that something can be done. The lamb shanks sound delicious ... my uncle loved lamb shanks ... if it wasn't ham egg and chips when we were out, it was lamb shanks! Recipe looks good too .. cheers Hilary

    1. Me too Hilary thanks. Lamb is a delicious meat and very much underrated here.

  2. My private health insurance works the same way as yours. Glad to know you have a few answers. I had to do strength exercises several years ago for disc degeneration in my neck. They worked. Take care.

    1. I'm not sure what was meant by strength exercises. I go to exercise class anyway but... Don't remember exercises from last time. 11 years ago after all.

  3. Glad you finally got some answers from the doctor; now to round 2 as you await the referral process, etc.


    1. Yes, it is a relief to have confirmation Betty. Tried phoning the surgeon, guess they aren't there today.

  4. Your scores may have been pretty lousy, but if you threw a couple strikes, that's still better than either of us could do!

    That lamb recipe sounds amazing. I may have to try that some time soon. Hold the celery, though (that will literally kill the wife).

    1. Ah well I'm good, even when I'm lousy and in pain LOL

      Lamb is great Bryan. Celery will kill your wife? How come, never heard of that.

    2. I do love some good lamb. And yes, celery will kill her. She has to carry an epipen with her at all times in case she accidentally ingests any. Last time we went to eat seafood the crab had been lightly seasoned with celery salt. She simply licked her fingers and her throat started to swell up. Luckily after a few minutes it went down and she didn't start suffocating. I don't even want to imagine what would have happened had she taken a full bite.

      The weird thing is that it's an allergy she developed only in the past few years. Before that she'd always been able to eat it. Her allergist believes it's related to the pollen that's carried on the celery, and that over time as the pollen changes she may be able to eat it again.

      I know, weird, right?

    3. That is weird Bryan, never heard of anything like it. How very scary. How would you ever know if the allergy had gone without taking a big risk anyway?

  5. Well at least you know what the plan is now for your hip. How long will you be out of commission? My mom had hers done in 2012 and was in the hospital about 4 days, then rehab hospital for a couple of weeks.

    1. Once it all starts, it's 3-4 days in hospital and then 6-8 weeks recovery JoJo. Does your mom live alone, usually if there is someone at home they don't send you to rehab here.

  6. Glad there is a move to see the specialist now and that you will see someone you know and trust. Glad you can still bowl and enjoy it even if you feel you do not do so well(I suck at it)

    1. Yup, it's a relief Birgit although I did try and ring the surgeon today without any luck. The bowling is a tad painful I must say.

  7. I don't believe I've ever seen a snow devil. Wild!

    1. Could probably have done so in '98 Alex. We got 18 inches of the white stuff at the coast. Dunno what you got being more inland.

  8. Exercise and building up muscles can really help with arthritic pain. Scotto and I have been doing twenty minute Yoga sessions for his back in our lounge room watching a Youtube video. The dogs join in! He has a compressed disc and he thinks it's improving with the Yoga. A lot of the positions are the same as the ones a physiotherapist gave me for a sore back last year. How pretty that snow looks! Snow devil is such a poetic name. We call our dust devils, willy willies.

    1. Not only that, the girl who runs our exercise class said it is good to have "fitter" legs for the operation. Never tried Yoga Pinky, but I do do T'ai Chi although not with the regularity I should. Doesn't it look pretty, that's like outside our window right now. Snow devils came to me as I watched several of them cross the park.