Saturday, October 31, 2009

H1N1, Books I'm Enjoying.

IF YOU ARE IN NORTH AMERICA DON'T FORGET YOUR CLOCKS TONIGHT We have now had our shots. Talking to the doctor, even she doesn't really know who should or should not have the shot. Basically she understands that people with chronic conditions need them, people working in the medical field, obviously, and children, but whether or not people over 65 need them, she cannot say and according to her, the advice changes almost day to day, so she has come down to "if you ask, you can get". Matt is in the 'don't really know' category as he doesn't have a chronic condition; he had one anyway. The warning is that one is likely to get a very sore arm, the secretary warned us and the doc confirmed it and asked if we were right or left handed, giving it to us in the opposite arm. It seemed to me that she was drawing fluid from three different bottles for this vaccination. Not being a pharmacist, I don't know what all three were. No doubt you will now hear me crying for a while because I have a sore arm. I haven't told you about the books I have been reading lately, through a newsletter I take, I got a recommendation for these books of Maria V. Snyder, the first one is Poison Study which I read and now Magic Study which I am half way through. I am really enjoying them. The first book is about a young woman in prison for murder who is given the opportunity to either be executed or become a food taster for the Commander of the country. Death by execution or death by poison. Her first job is to learn to recognise all the poisons - one of which is a real killer and not many survive. If you enjoy spec fic (there's lots of magic) you will enjoy these books. I am racing through them and have the third book on order from the library - Fire Study. I also see she has other books which I will check into next. Looking for cover art to show you, I find there are several different versions. I chose the one's I saw. I have also been reading, but not yet finished, Washington Square by Henry James. It is the book from which the play and movie, The Heiress, were adapted. It is slowish going as it was written in the 1800's and the prose is very flowery and not all that exciting to read although I am enjoying it more than I thought I would. The characters in the book are really not quite as portrayed in the play, it makes me want to be involved in producing the play again just to get it right. One of the other foods (chocolate and lobster being two) I will sell my soul for is Carrot Cake. I have already posted at least one recipe for a full on luscious cake, this recipe from Eating Well is a healthier version than usual, but I still don't think its that free of calories. I'm not too sure about 16 servings either, not in my house. Carrot Cake From EatingWell Carrots give carrot cake a health-halo effect—people think it's health food, but it's usually very high in fat and calories. But our version has about 40 percent less calories and 50 percent less fat than most. First, we use less oil in our batter. Then we skip the butter in the frosting (don't worry, it's still light and smooth). To ensure the cake is moist, we add nonfat buttermilk and crushed pineapple. 16 servings Ingredients Cake * 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple * 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, (see Ingredient Note) * 2 teaspoons baking soda * 1/2 teaspoon salt * 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon * 3 large eggs * 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar * 3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip) * 1/2 cup canola oil * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract * 2 cups grated carrots, (4-6 medium) * 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut * 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Tip) Frosting * 12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufch√Ętel), softened * 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted * 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract * 2 tablespoons coconut chips, (see Ingredient Note) or flaked coconut, toasted Preparation 1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. 2. Drain pineapple in a sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids. Reserve the drained pineapple and 1/4 cup of the juice. 3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and the 1/4 cup pineapple juice in a large bowl until blended. Stir in pineapple, carrots and 1/4 cup coconut. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. 4. Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. 5. To prepare frosting and finish cake: Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Tips & Notes * Ingredient Notes: Whole-wheat pastry flour, lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large super markets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer. * Large thin flakes of dried coconut called coconut chips make attractive garnishes. Find them in the produce section of large supermarkets or at * Tips: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk. * To toast chopped walnuts and coconut chips, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 5 minutes. Have a great weekend.


  1. Keep us informed about the swine jab. Do you look pigging already perhaps?

    Carrot cake ... an old favorite ... quick and easy. It's like the shrimp cocktail... you have guests coming and its quick and easy to prepare a shrimp cocktail ... Having said that, not like I've ever baked a carrot cake, or for that matter any cake.

  2. Never baked a cake? I used to bake lots of cakes when I lived in England. Don't do so many nowadays as I tend to eat more of a cake than anyone else and it ain't good for me.