Monday, February 15, 2010

Games, Books, Valentine's Day.

I've spent a fair amount of time watching the Olympics. On Saturday afternoon watching the young Dutchman, Sven Kramer, win the 5,000 metres speed skating event. I love to watch speed skating, but I didn't realise just how involved the Dutch are with that sport. The Dutch prime minister was even there to watch. Much to everyone's surprise, a young south Korean, Lee Seung-Hoon, came in second with a Russian, Ivan Kobrev, in third place. We also caught a bit of women's hockey, the Canadians were matched against a brand new Slovakian team and on Sunday I heard the score was 18-0 to the Canadians. I felt a bit sorry for the Slovaks. Sunday morning we heard the first Canadian medal had been won, a silver for Jenn Heil in the moguls. Canada is really, really, hoping for a good medals count this time. We should be good at winter sports after all. Now, Sunday night, everyone is so excited because Canada won the gold in the men's moguls. Alexandre Bilodeau was first with a young Australian who was actually born and raised in Canada, taking the silver and the Americans taking the bronze. It is Canada's first gold medal in these games and the first time a gold medal has been won by a Canadian on home soil, this being the third games we have hosted, Montreal first, Calgary second and now Vancouver. So far we have one medal of each type with a speed skater, Kristina Groves having won a bronze. I haven't mentioned my reading lately, I have just finished a couple of books by Chris Evans. A Darkness Forged in Fire and The Light of Burning Shadows. I enjoyed them both but they were slow going. Obviously there is intended to be at least one more book, I am not quite sure if I will read it or not. I am not usually so ambivalent about the books I read, but these two I was. There was lots of magic and lots of odd critters and basically a pretty good story, but it was all about an army called The Iron Elves and the writing was not fast paced, so..... I have also been reading Suzanne Collins' Overlander Chronicles, I think they are classified as young adult fiction. I am enjoying them nevertheless. They are a light read and definitely fast paced. Full of giant rats (baddies) and cockroaches (goodies, cockroaches as goodies???) together with bats who fly their bonded human friends all around the place. The one I have just finished is called the Prophecy of Bane and I have another one to read. I am still listening to The Cat Who Turned On and Off, but I only listen to that when I am using my treadmill. I am gradually using the treadmill for longer and longer periods so I am listening to the book longer too. Its a good murder story. Monday is Family Day in Ontario a relatively new holiday here, the first one was in 2008. However, the bowling alley is usually packed so we are going to be bowling at 10:30 a.m. to avoid the crush. I don't remember this happening last year, I wonder what happened then? However, I am writing this blog in advance so I can publish it early on Monday even though I won't be here. In fact, I am writing this on Sunday, Valentine's day. I have had some lovely roses and a sentimental card from Matt and he got a funny card from me!! Tonight we are planning a fairly simple meal but nevertheless a good one we hope. We are starting with a tomato Bruschetta, then a fillet steak with Portabella mushroms and asparagus followed by a plain cheesecake. Matt does NOT like anything on his cheesecake, I am thinking of making a chocolate ganache to add to mine. Talking of the Bruschetta, I cannot, for the life of me, find my recipe. I know I posted it here once but I can't find it here either. I have found several on the internet, but somehow they don't seem exactly the same. The search will continue. By the way, here is the Chocolate Ganache recipe I plan to use. Looks good dunnit? It tasted good too. Chocolate Ganache AllRecipes Submitted By: INGRIDEVOGEL Servings: 16 "This is a rich, dark chocolate topping or decoration that has lots of uses. It can be whipped as filling or icing, or just poured over whatever cake you like." Ingredients: 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 1 cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional) Directions: 1. Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum if desired. 2. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy. I found a recipe for the Bruschetta which I liked the look of. Whilst hunting around, I came across a couple of Gordon Ramsey recipes, one for Steak Diane which is one of my favourites, but not really right for fillet, and another for Peppered Steak which works very well with fillet steak although it isn't specified in this recipe. Peppered steak with shallot sauce Source Gordon Ramsey 25g butter 4 shallots, finely sliced 4 Tbs Cognac 200ml red wine 200ml 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. Servings: 4 Have a great day