Monday, July 27, 2009

Tsunami, Probiotics, Drama and Sandwiches.

A storm in Tahiti caused huge 20 ft (2 storey) waves to pound the beaches in California, specifically Newport Beach at the Wedge which is at the mouth of the harbour - life guards spent the weekend hauling swimmers out of the water and one guy actually died. Normally they rescue about 30 people on a weekend, last weekend it was more like 500. There is a video on this page where someone says they hadn't seen waves this big even in Hawaii. Totally unsuitable situation for beginner surfers or anyone else for that matter. I gather the wave was a tsunami which travelled completely unhindered to the California coast. There was a segment on GMA this morning about some research done on probiotics. I don't know about where you live, but certain yoghurts promote probiotics for good health constantly. Trouble with the yoghurts in question they are, for me, way too sweet. I like my yoghurt as the original Mediterranean stuff, sour, refreshing and delicious. Anyway, the research, which was done by a Scandinavian company who sell probiotics, basically said that they are good resource for preventing flu amongst other health benefits. Apparently a lot of immunity problems begin in the gut so introducing good bacteria is supposed to help. To read the article click here. It also turns out that you can get probiotics in pill form and even added to your cereals. I just discovered, on Facebook, that granddaughter Beth (sinlaw Mike's daughter see Mike's Wildlife art) has been taking LAMDA exams. I immediately had to Google LAMDA and found it is the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (yes I know it's also the Greek letter). We knew she was a budding musician, but hadn't realised she was also taking drama exams. I wish her all the luck in the world - a very had profession to break into if that's what she decides to do. I wanted so much to go to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) myself as a youngster, but my parents gave me what they consdidered to be a test and said I wouldn't qualify. I guess I forgot about it in later years, or pushed it to the back of my mind except I spent a lot of time doing amateur dramatics which I loved. I am getting lots of recipes for sandwiches lately, but most of them are not what I call sandwiches. North America makes a very different sandwich to those I learned to make in the UK. A lot of sandwiches here are made with buns of one kind or another and they practically never butter the bread although mayonnaise might be used. To me there is nothing better than two slices of very fresh bread, buttered and surrounding a really good filling whether it be something simple like chicken and watercress or a more complicated recipe - I don't take the crusts off my sandwiches by the way. Then the recipes talk about no cooking for these sandwiches, well the filling has to be cooked at some time with most of them even if not when you are actually making the sandwich. I read one this morning which had roasted peppers and sautéed mushrooms, good, but certainly not cooking free. Then there is a tendency to overload the sandwiches, see the one in the picture and that is mildly overloaded compared to some. Below is a salad recipe, it certainly does include cooking but once chilled should be good on a hot day, if you ever get any, we certainly are not. We are beginning to think we aren't getting a summer this year. Creamy Tarragon Chicken Salad Eating Well Makes 8 servings, 1 cup each 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped ⅔ cup reduced-fat sour cream ½ cup low-fat mayonnaise 1 tablespoon dried tarragon ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 ½ cups diced celery 1 ½ cups halved red seedless grapes 1. Preheat oven to 450°F. 2. Arrange chicken in a glass baking dish large enough to hold it in a single layer. Pour broth around the chicken. Bake the chicken until no longer pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 170°F, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board until cool enough to handle, then cut into cubes. (Discard broth or save for another use.) 3. Meanwhile, spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly golden and fragrant, about 6minutes. Let cool. 4. Stir sour cream, mayonnaise, tarragon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add celery, grapes, the chicken and walnuts; stir to coat. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Bake the chicken (Steps 1-2) and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Cover and refrigerate the salad for up to 1 day; add the nuts just before serving. Have a great day.


  1. Jo, one of the nicest things on earth is a baguette sandwich - ham and tomato or tunny fish and mayonnaise. Or cheese and tomato.

  2. Must admit I had forgotten baguettes which I love too - so long as they are not overloaded. There is a chain here called Subway who do something very similar - the thing I most enjoyed with baguettes was the crispy crust.

  3. But I don't consider them sandwiches as such.