Friday, April 30, 2010

Virtual Choir, Gulf of Mexico, Missing Keys,

I heard about this on the news last night, a virtual choir from 12 different countries with 185 singers participating. To see this incredible achievement follow this YouTube link To me it is a very impressive work of art, each singer had their own music to sing with the conductor on their computer to make sure they sang correctly and then everyone sang (I'm not sure if they all sang at the same time or the sound and pictures were put together later, I imagine because of the time constraints all round the different countries, it would have to have been later). OK I have just found a web page which tells more about the whole thing apparently all the singers were inteviewed through YouTube first of all, that must have been quite an undertaking in itself. It makes fascinating reading. The Americans are now asking for ideas from anyone who can come up with some way of helping them deal with the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a major ecological and economical disaster and it appears the Americans are stymied. Matt, who is/was a qualified diver, says it is possible for divers to descend to such depths but they would need special suits and special equipment which may not be available in the US, if anywhere these days. Although I would have thought some countries would have this equipment. The British Navy used to have such things but whether they do any more I have no idea. There is now talk of a cover up by British Petroleum regarding the safety of such oil rigs. I guess this whole thing will make the world think very seriously about the advisability of oil from the seabed although I have no doubt we will continue to drill for it. Man cannot, or will not, do without oil. Meanwhile all the fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico have been closed and pictures of oil covered birds are being shown on the TV. It makes me cry to think of the animals, birds and sea creatures which are going to be damaged by man's carelessness and thoughtlessness. Well we have now bowled our last game of the season and just have the banquet and a couple of fun games to finish up on Monday. There is a summer league which we have signed up for. When we were ready to leave yesterday, Matt went to get his jacket only to find it had disappeared. His car keys were in it. We did figure out who must have taken it but, unfortunately, we knew he had gone to some meeting or other. We could get into the car, we have door keys, but the ignition key has a special resistor chip which is coded and cannot easily be duplicated unless you go to a GM dealer. We ended up taking a cab home and constantly calling the home of the guy who had Matt's jacket. He finally called us back at 5:30 and said he had just taken the jacket and thrown it in the car, not even put it on which might have made him realise what he had done. He didn't know he had two jackets until he got home and even then didn't know it was Matt's until he spoke to his wife. He came and picked Matt up and took him to the alley to get our car. He is now shaking in his shoes because he will be facing me on Monday, Matt was much more phlegmatic about the whole thing. Actually we have a fun adversarial relationship so I will have to give him heck on Monday. We don't have to cook today as we are going to a friend's home for dinner this evening which makes a very pleasant change. Its not so much the cooking as cleaning up, oh for a dishwasher. Here is another recipe from the Ontario Asparagus Marketing Board but once again, no picture: this does look as though it will be delicious. By the sound of things, if you are going to cook shrimp with anything, you had better get a move on because there is going to a big shortage - the biggest percentage of the US shrimp supply comes from the Gulf. Asparagus, Shrimp and Shell Pasta Salad
pinch cayenne pepper 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper 2 tsp lemon juice 2 tbsp white wine vinegar 1 cup mayonnaise 1/2 lb large shell pasta* 1 lb Ontario asparagus 1 lb cooked shrimp** 2 green onions thinly sliced 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill Cut asparagus diagonally into 2-inch lengths. Cook in lightly salted boiling water until tender crisp. Drain well, set aside. Cook pasta shells in large amount of lightly salted boiling water, drain well and transfer to large bowl. Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, pepper and cayenne well. Toss the warm pasta with the mayonnaise mixture. Place in refrigerator for a few minutes to chill. Add asparagus, shrimp and onions, toss lightly to combine with pasta. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
* If large shell pasta is not available use medium
** If desired a combination of shrimps and scallops may be used. Yield: 6 servings Have a great day

Blue Dragon, Oil Leak News

I keep forgetting, so much going on lately, that Gynie sent me a dragon. Gynie used to write a blog, but if I think I am busy, she is much more so. However, she knows I love dragons so when she painted one she sent it to me. bluedragoonforJO

She is a very talented young artist and has posted many of her paintings on her blogs, I am only sorry that she hasn’t been writing one lately, but at least she is still painting. I assume she is still doing her martial arts training and she also moved recently. Lots going on in her life.

The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is assuming major proportions as one of the worst disasters ever. They keep referring to it as an oil spill, it isn’t, it is a leak and will presumably keep pouring forth until they manage to cap the well head – if they can ever do that, they haven’t had much luck so far. The disaster is going to affect the fishing industry, particularly shrimp and also the wetlands which are full of protected birds and animals. They talk about the cost to BP (British Petroleum) but the cost to the ecosystem is unmeasurable and it will take years if not centuries to recover unless they have some success now. Apparently there are a lot of oil rigs out in the Gulf and no-one seems to know what caused the explosion on this one.

We picked up a copy of Food and Drink from the LCBO yesterday. I haven’t read it fully yet, but guess what, there was an asparagus recipe.

Green and White Asparagus Salad

Green and white asparagus makes a pretty mixture on the plate. The secret to cooking white asparagus so that it is not bitter is to peel it and add sugar to the boiling water. Here a robust salsa gives the asparagus a different taste and look. Use asparagus of the same thickness for the best presentation.

1 lb green asparagus

1 lb white asparagus

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

MEDITERRANEAN SALSA 1/2 cup chopped shallotsWhite & green asparagus salad

'1/2 cup chopped green olives

14 cup chopped roasted red pepper

1 Tbs chopped capers

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 Tbs lime juice

2 Tbs orange juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper.

Peel green asparagus if stalks are thick. Peel white asparagus.

Bring a large skillet of salted water to boil. Add green asparagus and boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until still slightly crisp. Remove with tongs and run under cold water until cool. Pat Dry

Add sugar to boiling water and add white asparagus. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly crisp. Drain and run under cold water until cool. Pat dry. Place green and white asparagus on a platter.

Combine shallots, olives, red pepper, capers and parsley in a bowl. Stir in lime juice, orange juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, spoon salsa over asparagus across the centre.

Serves 4.

Have a great day.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Yike Bike, Bowling, Manna.

A friend sent me a video link to a new invention, a Yike Bike. This bike was developed by a New Zealander and is absolutely great. I want one! Actually, these days I wouldn’t have any real use for one but if you are working, I think it would be fabulous to have. The link is at – do check it out I am sure you will be as delighted by the bike as I was.

Today we have one of our Travel LeMy Ballagues, it is the last one of this season. As it is taking place at our local alley, we are trying out a new restaurant for lunch called The Rude Native. I don’t know much about it other than its a chain of some kind. Several of us very much enjoyed the My Thai, but one or two of the group wouldn’t join in so, to keep the group together, we are trying the new place. Knowing me, and food, you won’t be surprised that I don’t understand people who won’t try Thai or any other kind of different food. I personally believe in trying everything once – in a restaurant there are of course many things to try some of which you may or may not like. Anything I find I don’t like I have made a rule all my life to try again every couple of years and usually end up enjoying the food eventually.

I read the World Wide Recipes ezine every day and there is a section called The Last Morsel with, to me, an interesting excerpt from a book by Christa Weil called Fierce Food. The Intrepid Diner’s Guide to the Unusual, Exotic and Downright Bizarre, talking about manna. Most of us are familiar with the biblical version of manna from heaven. But this excerpt tells us what manna really is, bug excrement, basically. I admit, this I would be reluctant to try unless I was really starving which, I guess, the Israelites were at the time. If you are interested you can read Joe Barkson’s ezine at Its near the end.

For supper last night we had shrimp gumbo which is one of our favourites. Matt did the grocery shopping in the morning and brought home some nice fresh okra. Funnily enough, I had already got a packet of shrimp out ready to peel for supper. Great minds think alike. I had my asparagus for lunch yesterday, guess I will have to make some for an hors d’oeuvres tonight.

I found this different recipe for asparagus on

Chinese Noodle Pancakes with Asparagus

recipe image

Rated: rating

Submitted By: Jen

Photo By: Em

Servings: 4

"Chinese wheat noodles are double cooked, first in water until al dente and then mounded in a frying pan until crisp and brown. Then its smothered with a delicious sauce made from rice wine, soy sauce and wilted spinach. Next comes asparagus simmered in garlic and ginger."


1 pound fresh Chinese wheat noodles

1/2 pound fresh asparagus

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root

1 cup water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fermented black beans

8 ounces spinach with stems, rinsed

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large pot of water boil noodles until al dente. Drain well. Rinse with cool water until the noodles are cool.

2. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus, and cut the rest of the spears into 2-inch lengths. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, saute for 1 minute, make sure not to brown the garlic. Add the asparagus and 1/2 cup water. Simmer for 2 minutes.

3. Put the cornstarch into a small mixing bowl, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup water and the rice wine or sherry. Stir well. Add this mixture, the soy sauce, and the fermented black beans, if you're using them, to the simmering vegetables. Let the sauce boil for a few seconds, add the spinach and stir until it wilts. Remove the skillet from the heat

4. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over high heat. Divide the noodles into four mounds, and place the mounds of noodles in the hot frying pan. Flatten the mounds in the frying pan so that more surface area will brown, reduce the heat to medium-high, and fry the cakes for at least 5 minutes, until they develop a golden-brown crust on the bottom. Turn the cakes over, and fry them for 3 minutes

5. While the noodle cakes cook, reheat the vegetables and the sauce slightly. Add the sesame oil, salt and pepper to the vegetable mixture. Place the noodle cakes on plates, spoon the sauce and vegetables over and around the cakes, and serve.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Booze, Oil Leaks and Clean Air.

Yesterday, we took our wine and beer bottles back to the Beer Store, not the liquor store where we bought them. This system is a bit of a pain for us, OK if you have a house with a shed or garage to store your empties, we end up doing it in a spare room which is not the most convenient way of storing them. Nor is it worth taking back one or two bottles, so we save quite a lot before we return them. For those of you who don’t know this part of the world, we have a Beer Store which sells, guess what, yes, beer and an LCBO which stands for Liquor Control Board of Ontario where we can buy everything else, plus some beer although not in large quantities. LCBOs are pretty nice stores these days, but when we first arrived in 1975 a room with a few desks and lists of what was stocked, you then wrote down your order and handed it to someone behind the counter who would disappear into the nether regions to find what you wanted. Very odd system to us coming from England. Shortly before we landed in Ontario you could not, legally, offer your house guests an alcoholic drink, however, they changed that in time for our arrival.

In North Carolina you can buy both beer and wine in the grocery store but the liquor has to be purchased in ann ABC liquor store. From my limited experience of other States, it seems to be the same in several of them. I have no idea about either the rest of Canada or the rest of the States. Big countries.

In the southern part of Ontario, as I have mentioned, there are lots of wineries (known as vineyards in the UK) as the soil and climate of the Niagara region is ideal for growing good grapes. One can do tours of many of them and several have excellent restaurants, trouble is if you are not careful when tasting you can become unfit to drive. Its an enjoyable way to spend several hours and to purchase one’s wine on the spot. We have done it several times, usually when staying in the region, in Niagara Falls or somewhere similar. Last time we were staying at a bed and breakfast in Port Dalhousie which is a delightful spot close to the lakes.

One of the top news stories at the moment is the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico caused by a sunken oil rig. Today they are talking about setting light to the oil floating on the surface. However, until the robots manage to plug the leak, this appears to be only a temporary help, if it really is a help at all. The oil coming ashore seems to be a major concern, but what about all the damage to the gulf ecosystem itself. As if nature wasn’t causing enough disasters, man has to add to the problem. The cost to BP was mentioned this morning, OK bad, but the ecosystem damage is – to my mind – more important.

Sam Champion, on Good Morning America, has a segment called Just One Thing. This morning he was talking about plants which can improve the quality of indoor air which they say is often more polluted than outside. I was very interested in this and am contemplating getting a fern to put near my printer. (There is a typo on the page, it should be toluene).

North Americans love potato salads. You never go to a picnic or pot luck without finding at least one and sometimes several different versions. So here, from the Asparagus Growers of Ontario, is a version with asparagus in it. No picture of the dish I'm afraid. The picture shown is from Barrie Bros. Asparagus and Fresh Food Farm. I was there yesterday, I had run out of the succulent green stalks; I actually met the other brother. I have known Tim Barrie for a number of years now, but had never met Andrew before.

Ontario Asparagus and Potato Salad

3 cups cut (1-inch/2.5 cm pieces) Ontario asparagus 3 lb new potatoes (unpeeled), scrubbed 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp coarse-grained Dijon mustard 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper 2 roasted red peppers, cut in 1/4-inch (5 mm) dice 1 bunch green onions (white and pale green parts only), cut in 1/4-inch thick slices 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped Steam asparagus until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Refresh under cold running water. Set aside. Cut potatoes into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes; steam until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and place in large bowl. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, zest, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper; add about two-thirds to hot potatoes and toss gently to coat well. Let cool to room temperature. Add red peppers, green onions and dill along with remaining dressing; toss gently to mix well. Garnish with chives. Serve at room temperature. Yield: 12 servings

Have a great day.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nudity Causes Quakes, Shatner for Governor, Eyjafjallajokull,

Well this story is more in Glenda Larke's line than mine, however, a Muslim cleric in Iran, Ayatollah Kazem Sedighitold, has stated that extra-marital sex and girls who do not dress modestly and appropriately can cause earthquakes. Where does anyone get this nonsense from? Do they really, honestly, believe it? Actually from the news report I heard, thousands got together and demonstrated whilst wearing scanty clothing. The funny thing is, whilst this was happening, a small quake occurred. One girl was laughing about it saying 'whooppee she had caused a quake". I read that this kind of thing has been used before to bring people in line. Maybe in the past, but surely most people are too well informed to be taken in. Did you know there is a movement afoot to make William Shatner (Captain James Kirk) the new Governor General of Canada? It started as an internet joke but has now spread and become huge, there is a big page on Facebook devoted to 'Shatner for Governor'. I heard people express the belief that if he could run the Enterprise and do all the wonderful things he did in Star Trek he would be perfect. Hunh?? He is an actor, not a starship pilot. Wake up people. Once again, are they kidding or do some people really believe this? Even Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) is supporting his candidacy. As far as I know, Shatner himself has not said anything yet. I am not sure who selects Governor Generals, but this is not a good choice. Fluent French speaking is a requirement too and I understand he doesn't speak fluently. He is a Canadian of course, but hasn't lived here in many a long year. I qualify better than he does *g*. One of the biggest stories at the moment is that Wal-Mart in the States is being sued for sex discrimination. Lots of money involved if it can be proved. Women are claiming they were not paid similar wages to their male colleagues, not were they promoted as frequently. We shall see. The last report I heard of the Icelandic Volcano was that the ash clouds are now hanging over Iceland causing all kinds of problems although their airport is finally opening after a 3 day shut down. Eyjafjallajokull is still spewing ash but the plume is not high enough to reach the jet streams so not causing as much problem. Hopefully everyone will finally be able to get home from wherever they were stranded, I know Glenda Larke (Tropic Temper) has a flight for the 29th - lets hope all goes well for her after being stranded in the UK for so long.
I made myself a batch of Asparagus soup on Sunday and am now looking for more recipes to try. This one came from the Asparagus Growers Marketing Board of Ontario. Mind you, before I can try it, I have to go back and buy more asparagus. Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Aioli
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled pinch saffron (optional) 2 to 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest 1 cup mayonnaise salt and pepper 1 lb Ontario asparagus, trimmed 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 to 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar salt and pepper
Lemon Aioli: In a small saucepan, cover garlic with water; bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook until very soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain and pat dry. If using, stir saffron into lemon juice; set aside to dissolve, about 5 minutes. In food processor, process garlic and lemon zest; to form puree. Add mayonnaise and lemon juice mixture; process until well blended. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Grilled Asparagus: Preheat barbecue or grill on high for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high. Place asparagus in shallow pan; add oil and toss to coat well. Grill until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Brush with vinegar; season to tast with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with Lemon Aioli as a dip or as a drizzle.
Prep time: 1 hour Yield: 4 to 8 servings Have a great day

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Young Daredevils, Another Disaster, Walk on By, Recipes

I was staggered to hear of a 14 yr old girl, Katie Brice, racing in Nascar. I’m sorry, but how ridiculous. I cannot imagine a parent, particularly a mother, permitting it, but her father is a racer too and Saturday was in the same race. She can’t drive herself to the mall or even to the race track, but she is being allowed to race. If you want to read the article or see a video clip go to

Sadly, young Abby Sutherland who has been attempting a round the world sailing trip has got to put into port at Cape Town this week due to a faulty auto pilot. She is going to continue her trip, but it will no longer be a non-stop voyage. She is one of the two 16yr olds who are out there right now, I think Jessica must be nearly home to Australia, they changed their web site and I haven’t been keeping up so regularly. However, in my book, sailing in a well designed yacht which is virtually unsinkable (mind you so was the Titanic) and racing a Nascar vehicle are two extremely different things.

A major disaster story this weekend was the twister in Mississippi which killed 12 people and wrecked the towns it passed through, particularly Yazoo City. From the video shown on TV it was a big one. This is now tornado season which, the reporters say, got off to a slow start. I am sure the residents of tornado alley wish it had never started at all.

An incredible story, and by no means the first such event, a homeless man went to the rescue of a woman who was being mugged. He was stabbed and there are camera views of him lying on the sidewalk bleeding to death for about an hour and not one person helped him, finally someone did call for help – he eventually died. A psychiatrist says this is caused by several things, the major one being that we are inured to violence; because of the games we play and the movies we watch, etc. our brains are becoming hardwired and unable to differentiate between the real and the imaginary. There is a video on the ABC news GMA/weekend page

Matt was watching a golf game from New Orleans on Saturday. I am not sure exactly where, but right by water and there was an alligator cruising around too close to the spectators and golfers alike. A grounds keeper or someone came along with a fishing rod accompanied by a guy with a noose and managed to hook the gator and draw him in, however the gator shook himself free and went further out but still hovering. What I couldn't figure was what they planned to do with the gator once they caught it??? Not something you can tuck under your arm and move somewhere else. They didn't try again. On Sunday it, or its brother, was back again. I guess it figures food is available, they can run very fast for short bursts too. Later we discovered the alligator is known as Tripod as it only has 3 legs. I still wouldn't want to try racing it.

I have started reading The Third Craft by James T. Harris wlihich has been loaned to me by a friend at the Friday seniors bowling. James T. Harris is his son. How wonderful to have your son as a published author. Only trouble is, the book says it's a trilogy and I am not sure if the other two books are going to be published or even written.

This is not exactly a recipe, but there is a sauce we used to make years ago which I figured would be wonderful on asparagus. Basically you make a white sauce, add a pinch or maybe two of nutmeg and then add a couple of chopped hard boiled eggs to the white sauce. You can also chop up the egg whites and add to the sauce then sieve the egg yolks over top of the whole dish, makes it look prettier. I haven’t tried this yet, but having thought of it, I will.

Saturday we made a Weight Watcher’s recipe we haven’t done for a long time. It is one of our favourites. This comes from Weight Watchers’ New Complete Cookbook. I should warn you not to breathe too deeply when cooking the pork with the hot paprika on or adding the vinegar. You can choke on the fumes. I actually posted this recipe before, but having enjoyed it the other night, I thought I would remind you of it. Sunday we made a cauliflower recipe which I got on Real Age's web site and it is from YOU: On a Diet by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen. Cauliflower tends to be a somewhat bland vegetable unless you add a cheese sauce, but this was very good.

Mediterranean Cauliflower Salad 4 servings.

1 head of cauliflower, blanched for 5 minutes

1 small can of anchovies, drained, chopped (otpional)

1Tbs drained capers1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1 TBS olive oil

1 clove garlic, pressed or minced

1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried

Drain cauliflower and break into small pieces. Combine cauliflower, anchovies if desired and capers in a medium bowl. Combine remaining ingredients; toss with cauliflower mixture.

I know lots of people will say they don't like anchovies, most of whom have only had an anchovy straight from the can or jar which is very strong and very salt, but when added to a dish like this, makes for a wonderful salty flavour. Go on, be adventurous and try this with anchovies in.

Pork and Black Beans If you like, use turnkey breast instead of pork 4 servings 2 garlic cloves 1/2 tsp hot paprika 1/4 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp salt 5 ounces lean pork tenderloin 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbs white vinegar One 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 carrot, finely diced (we prefer shredded) 1/2 tomato diced 1 red onion, chopped 2 Tbs chopped cilantro

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, paprika, cumin and salt; rub into the pork.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Sauté the pork until browned, 2-3 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a place. Halve the pork lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thin slices.

Add the vinegar to the pan drippings and simmer, stirring, until the acidity cooks off, about 2 minutes. Add the beans, carrot and lime juice; cook, tossing about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the pork, tomato, onion and cilantro, toss to combine.

Points per serving 3.

Have a great day.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Great Lakes, GMA’s News You Missed,

I heard a report this morning which said the Great Lakes are, on average, 13% lower than usual. This is a result of the lack of precipitation this last winter, we had really very little snow and we haven’t had much in the way of rain since. This means that all the other 3,899 lakes in Ontario will be much lower this year too and could cause us drought problems in the hot weather. This happened shortly after we came to Canada – I remember because we rented a tent trailer and travelled north west in the province ending up at Jesse Lake which is in the Thunder Bay region. There we rented a dinghy to go fishing and caught Whitefish which one cannot usually catch in the summer but we did because the water was so low. Great eating I might say although at the time we had no idea what we were catching. Talking of travelling in a rented tent trailer, this was probably the first time I realised just how big Ontario, and therefore Canada, is. We travelled well over 1,000 miles and were still in Ontario. Europeans have no conception of the vastness of this country.

GMA Weekend have reintroduced their News You Missed segment this morning because it was so very popular. There was mention of a woman in England who becomes so very unpleasant when drunk that she has now had her picture circulated and been banned, by the courts, from every bar or club in the country (and there are a lot of them). Generally this segment has fascinating little snippets, often quite funny, which escaped the headlines. If you go to GMA’s website at you can see some of these segments.

One of the segments I really liked this morning was the story of Buddy who led a State Trooper to his owner’s burning house. There is video of the dog leading the car and turning his head to check the cop car is behind him. The owner had second degree burns and needed help – he just said to Buddy “we need help” and Buddy shot off to get it. Meanwhile the Trooper was lost and his GPS had frozen so he didn’t know which way to go until Buddy arrived. You can find this story at the same link as above.

I had my first feast of asparagus for supper last night, it was gooooood. I can’t believe I had had the asparagus almost 24 hours without eating any, but of course it was a bowling day yesterday and I didn’t have time to cook any for lunch. I am pleased to report that after my recent fiascos, yesterday I bowled well. About time.

I said I 300 pinwould try and scan my 300 pin and I have just done so. I hope you can see it. The black area has the figures 300 in it which you can’t quite see, but the figures are gold coloured with a gold coloured edging. In fact there is a lot of gold edging to the pin so this doesn’t really do it justice, however, you can see the general idea. I am pleased with it. Of course, I didn’t see it til I got home as it was pinned on my shirt.

Now I will be looking for lots of asparagus recipes, I gave you the soup yesterday, and a Balsamic recipe the other day plus one with lobster a week or two back which I might repeat it looked so good. The following recipe comes from the Asparagus Growers of Ontario who publish quite a few recipes.

Asparagus in Bed

1 lb Ontario asparagus, trimmed (trimming is not necessary if you buy straight from the farm) 8 eggs 1 tbsp vinegar 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 8 slices prosciutto freshly grated pepper 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese Preheat oven to 450º F (230º C). Steam or simmer asparagus just until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes; drain well. Fill large skillet with water. Add vinegar and bring to simmer over medium heat. Slip eggs, one at a time, into simmering water; cook until whites are firm and yolks are just set. Remove eggs with slotted spoon and carefully blot dry with paper towel. (Eggs may be poached several hours in advance; transfer to bowl and cover with cold water. Drain well before proceeding.) Divide butter among 4 gratin dishes. Divide asparagus among dishes; drizzle with lemon juice. Drape proscuitto over top. Arrange 2 eggs on top of each prosciutto. Season with pepper to taste. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes or just until cheese melts. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings Have a great weekend.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Asparagus, Bowling Banquet.

Sorry there was no blog yesterday, first Matt had another slight TIA and we were dithering about whether he should go to the hospital or not and then once it was all over I called our hairdresser and she said 10:00 (by now it was about 9:15) so we had to rush. Once that was over, I then had to deal with my Avon orders and later get ready for our bowling banquet in the evening. Lots of excuses, but all good reasons.

Then I checked Facebook and Barrie’s Asparagus had posted that they had a little asparagus for sale so that meant I had to arrange to pick some up before the banquet. Luckily the golf club where the banquet is held is close by. We got there around 5:15 and I saw Tim Barrie's farm store for the first time. They sell a lot of local produce or locally produced items. I didn't really have a lot of time for browsing but I know they have locally made chips with an asparagus flavour, local chocolates which, naturally, tempt me! They also sell corn in season and locally made produce and baked goods of all kinds. Then there are the soups, particularly asparagus soup starter which is sold in jars. Tim told me they are working on other asparagus based products such as salsa.

Leaving Barrie's farm, we were early at the golf club and had to wait for the rest of the party to turn up. We were in a different room which was smaller and a tad more cosy. There were only 22 of us but considering the bowling alley doesn't exist, that's not bad. I was surprised, one man, who had just lost his wife turned up, but I'm glad he did, seemed to enjoy himself. She was the main bowler of the family although he used to bowl years ago. It was nice to see all of these people many of whom we hadn't seen since last year although several of the others we will be seeing next Thursday as they are part of the travel league to which we belong. I was delighted, our friend who used to own the alley where we bowled (now closed down) presented me with a 300 pin for my achievement earlier this season. I thought that was so nice of her especially as my own alley had only given a mug the for pins over. I will try and scan the badge tomorrow.

I bought quite a lot of asparagus yesterday and will probably be turning some of it into Tim Barrie's mum's soup which is some of the best I have ever tasted and I didn't have nearly enough in the freezer last year. But I am looking forward to my first feed with lashings of butter on it, yum.

Barrie's Asparagus Soup Recipe

My Mom's Famous!!!

1 lb asparagus chopped 1/4 cup chopped onion 2 cups chicken broth 2 Tbs butter or margarine 2 Tbs flour 1/2 tsp salt dash pepper 1 cup milk 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt 1 tsp fresh lemon juice fresh chives for garnish

1. In a covered saucepan, boil the asparagus, onion, and 1 cup of the chicken broth. When asparagus is still tender and bright green blend to a puree (this puree can be frozen and used for future batches).

2. In a large saucepan heat the butter and flour on medium to make a paste. Cook until golden. Stir occasionally as you add the 2nd cup chicken broth, making sure lumps don't form.

3. Stir in the salt, pepper, puree, milk. Bring to a boil.

4. Take soup off heat. Measure the yogurt or sour cream into a bowl and stir in spoonfuls of hot soup, little by little. Now, carefully stir this warmed yogurt or sour cream mixture back into the pan of soup.

5. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice, or to taste.

6. Serve in individual bowls, sprinkled with chopped chives.

7. (makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups of soup)

Servings: 4

Source Mrs. Barrie

Have a great day

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day. Sorry no blog this morning, maybe later. Have a great day

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Titanic, Bras, Resumed Flights.

The other day we were talking to the couple who do some cleaning for us, he mentioned that it was the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this week (actually April 12, 1912), I didn’t remember that, nor did I know how many people lost their lives, (1517) he did. Isn’t it amazing the things some of us remember. They are younger than us and so certainly not alive when it happened, nor were we come to that.

WKathryn Graysonatching Kathryn Grayson in Desert Song the other night, I was mostly thinking of her boobs. No not that way !! I was wondering how they got them so high and well shaped. I remember we always tried to achieve that when I was a young woman but never with such success. Bras must have been quite something in Hollywood. This picture doesn’t quite show what I mean but…. Oh the hours I spent trying to achieve a similar result.

So the planes are flying again in Europe although they say it will take a long while to clear up the back log of passengers. Air lines have lost millions, if not billions. All it takes is one little old volcano. There was some talk of a neighbour of the current volcano deciding to join the party, I haven’t heard anything more about that. Lets hope it doesn’t. I have mentioned how Glenda Larke’s (Tropic Temper see link this page) family always have problems travelling which they call Noramlying from the family name. She was visiting in the UK and we figured this was going a bit too far just to make sure her travel was disrupted.

As you know, asparagus is one of my favourites and I just came across this recipe at Recipezaar. I am assured by Barrie Farms, my local asparagus supplier, that the plants are now poking through quite nicely and so it won't be long. My taste buds are standing up to take notice, there is nothing better than fresh asparagus. Not only that, if you can get it straight from the field there is no necessity to snap off the ends, they are still succulent. Doesn't that picture make you want some of this delicious vegetable?

Balsamic Asparagus

my fav way to serve asparagus by Evie* SERVES 4 1 bunch fresh asparagus (stalks approx same thickness) 1 tablespoon oil freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

prepare asparagus by washing and snapping off tough end. heat oil in frying pan. add asparagus and keep moving around in pan until changes colour (approx 3-5 minutes) add balsamic vinegar and the pepper sprinkling over all of the asparagus. remove from heat and cover for a few minutes to let flavours develop. serve.

Have a great day

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weight Loss, Cyber War,

On GMA today there was a woman, Nancy Makin, who has written a book about how she lost more than a quarter ton of weight. Pictures were shown of her when she was morbidly obese at 703 lbs. and of course how she looks today, although not exactly lissome, she looks marvellous. She has been at her current low weight for 7 years. How did she do it, according to her, by using the computer and connecting with the world. Er, I use the computer and connect with the world, why can't I lose a lot of weight too???? Not, I hasten to point out, that I am anything like the weight she was. Oh well! I see more and more planes are beginning to fly from Europe; what an economic disaster that volcano has been. There was another segment on GMA about cyber war and Richard Clark pointed out that computer hacking by governments could cause similar disasters to this one caused by a volcano, such as paralysing the electric companies or train systems. He says the viruses or malware are in place to achieve such things and says that personal computers are hacked to allow the foreign governments to cause such havoc in an untraceable manner (maybe that's what's wrong with my desktop). He has written a book called Cyber War. Richard Clark is supposed to have been warning about 9/11 for ages before it occurred. He reckons America is not prepared for a cyber attack. Bowling was pretty disasterous for me again yesterday, need to pull up my socks as I have a tournament scheduled next month. I just came across this recipe on this morning and it took me back a few years, we used to make something similar all the time for parties, etc. I must try and find our recipe. Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts Contributed By: Diana Yield: 24
Delicious and first to go at a gathering
RECIPE INGREDIENTS 2 cans whole water chesnuts 12 oz bacon 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup chili sauce 1/4 cup mayonaise DIRECTIONS Wrap drained chestnuts in 1/3 piece of bacon and fasten with a toothpick. Place in two foil lined pie plates or cakepans. Mix brown sugar, chili sauce and mayonaise. Pour over chestnuts and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until bacon is crisp. Have a great day

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pay to Pee, Volcano Update, Vacation.

Well, this is a new one, Ryanair are talking about making people pay to pee. I know a lot of airlines have been charging for carry on, but this goes a bit far. Mind you with some of the carry ons I have seen people shoving into the overhead lockers I agree they should be charged. But for small bags and cases this seems a bit much, what about a woman's handbag? Mind you some of those can be big enough to carry an elephant. There was a lot more on TV about the ash fallout from the volcano in Iceland this morning. The Icelanders themselves are deluged with stuff which has buried their gardens and set like concrete. Matt saw a report that talked about the ash falling so fast it would take 3 seconds to fill and Olympic sized swimming pool. It is costing airlines billions of dollars and the British navy is sending warships to bring home stranded Brits. Glenda Larke says it would be possible for her to travel into Europe to catch a flight from there, but it would be way too expensive. On top of all this, there is another volcano which could join in at any time. There's some good video footage on Good Morning America at There is also a series of incredible shots many taken from a chopper or a satellite There is also a section on how to pronounce the name of the volcano Eyjafjallajokul should you be interested. Apparently Icelandic is closest to old Norse or what the Vikings spoke. I am having to type on my laptop again this morning which, as you know, I find difficult because I keep losing what I type or having the cursor jump elsewhere. Yesterday, by the way, we booked ourselves a cottage in North Carolina for two weeks in September so we are looking forward to it. You can see it at its quite a big place for us on our own but it has good beach access without a lot of walking for me plus it also has wifi which will delight me but will
NOT please Matt. We will rattle around in there like two peas in a pod but it is away from the traffic apparently, friends have been there, which will be good for Matt he found it very disturbing before. For supper last night I tried out a Kraft recipe for Alfredo sauce, very easy, very simple and certainly an acceptable sauce. We both enjoyed it and have leftovers but no pasta at the moment. We buy the whole wheat pasta these days by the way, much better for us. Philly Alfredo Kraft Kitchens 1 tub (250 g) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread 1 cup milk 1 cup Kraft 100% Parmesan Grated Cheese pinch of ground nutmeg salt and pepper 1. HEAT 1 tub (250g) Philadelphia Spreadable Cream Cheese with 1 cup each milk and Kraft Grated Parmesan in a nonstick pot. Bring to a boil. Season with a dash of ground nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. 2. POUR over hot cooked pasta and top with additional Kraft Grated Parmesan. 3. SERVE with a side of steamed broccoli. 4. Variation For a quick rosé sauce, add 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) stewed tomatoes to the sauce Servings: 8 Have a great day

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Blog, Spring, Food Revolution, Quakes and Volcanoes.

A friend posted a link to a blog by Allie called Hyperbole and a Half - it was about internet grammar and one of the funniest things I have read in a long time. She is, of course so right about the way people use grammar or any kinds of phrases. The one which bugs me most is 'like' a lot of the young people of today are totally incapable of talking without using that word continuously. Or do I mean Alot (read Allie's blog). I don't know who drew her pictures, they were great. One can sympathise with people who use iPods to send messages, it must be difficult with two thumbs to have to spell everything correctly, but lots of people do it when typing on a computer keyboard and then there is no excuse.
The Icelandic volcano is still spewing ash and ice all over the place and European flights are still grounded. It occurred to me this morning that Glenda Larke (Tropic Temper) is in England at the moment and will probably not be able to get back. Another friend's sister is honeymooning in Barbados and is stuck there, I feel sorry for her, fancy being stuck in Barbados, I should be so lucky. Of course this is affecting planes from Canada and the US which cannot head into Europe either, making a bit of a mess of things. Mother Nature does cause us problems, or should that be Mother Earth.
Here it is spring and absolutely beautiful. The trees are mostly covered in that delicate green shade which is spring's herald and blossom is showing everywhere with tulip trees flowering their heads off (I call them tulip trees because that's what the flowers look like) then Matt looked out of the window this morning and said "its snowing hard", hunh? It was too; sheeting across the park so you could hardly see. Quite incredible although it has stopped now and didn't settle on the ground, however, the clouds still look as though they could contain more. I do think spring is the prettiest time of year, although I often say the same about autumn or fall. The colours are always so magnificent and nature spreads such a wonderful bouquet for us to enjoy, and enjoy it I do. I just hope we don't get too much cold which will spoil the blossoms and in the case of fruit trees, impede the growth of the fruit.
Watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution again last night. I received an email from Jamie's website which asked me to pass on the following "I have joined the Food Revolution and you should too! We need your help to change the way America eats. Every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food. Sign the petition to save America's cooking skills and improve school food. Thanks and please pass this message on." As I very much believe in what Jamie is doing even if he is not doing it in Canada, I think this message applies. He has done a similar job in England where he met with considerable success and seems to be meeting more success in the States. I am not sure when this programme was filmed, certainly in the fall because of the tree colours, but which fall I don't know. If you are in the States or Canada do pass the message on to others.
There has been a bad earthquake in a remote town in the mountains of China (my geography isn't too good, but that may be in Tibet or certainly close to) where the death toll has already reached 1,000. I haven't heard of anyone asking for donations but I am thinking, if China didn't donate anything to help Haiti and others, maybe the rest of the world will say nuts to you China. Maybe China has enough money and resources to cope which Haiti certainly didn't, other than maybe in the pockets of its crooked presidents. A friend in Australia commented on Facebook that they had recently had tremors in her area (Adelaide). Another friend, at bowling, said he figured we lived in a pretty safe place, however, I have felt tremors here. I am not too sure anywhere is safe from everything if its not quakes and volcanoes, its hurricanes and tornadoes.
OK, I have been promoting Jamie's Food Revolution, so I thought one of Jamie's recipes would be a good idea this morning. I really like the look and sound of this one.
Aawesome Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni Jamie's Dinners
serves 4
This is such a wonderfully light and super-tasty cannelloni, and again I've avoided making the frustrating, painstaking béchamel sauce and given you a much tastier and simpler version. All you need to make sure of is that you fill the cannelloni well with the ricotta and spinach mix, so it's not all full of air. And the lovely thing about it is that it goes crispy and golden on top, but remains soft and moist at the bottom. You'll love it! • 2 knobs of butter olive oil • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced • a large handful of fresh marjoram or oregano, roughly chopped • ¼ of a nutmeg, grated • 8 large handfuls of spinach, thoroughly washed • a handful of fresh basil, stalks chopped, leaves ripped • 2 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes, chopped • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper • a pinch of sugar 400g crumbly ricotta cheese • 2 handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese • 16 cannelloni tubes 200g mozzarella, broken up for the white sauce • 1 x 500ml tub of crème fraîche • 3 anchovies, finely chopped • 2 handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Then find a metal baking tray or ovenproof dish that will fit the cannelloni in one layer so it's nice and snug. This way you'll get the right cover of sauce and the right amount of crispiness on top. When I cook this at home I just use one pan to cut down on lots of washing up! Take your metal tray or a saucepan, put it on a high heat and add your butter, a drizzle of olive oil, one of the sliced garlic cloves, a handful of marjoram or oregano and the grated nutmeg. By the time the pan is hot the garlic should be soft. Put as much spinach as will fit into the pan. Keep turning it over; it will wilt quickly so you will be able to keep adding more spinach until it's all in. Moisture will cook out of the spinach, which is fine. By cooking it this way you don't lose any of the nutrients that you would if boiling it in water. After 5 minutes, put the spinach into a large bowl and leave to cool. Place the pan back on the heat, add a little olive oil, the other clove of sliced garlic, your basil stalks and the tomatoes, then fill one of the empty tomato tins with cold water and add this too. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, add a pinch of salt and pepper and the sugar, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until you get a loose tomato sauce consistency. Then take the pan off the heat and add the basil leaves. By now the spinach will have cooled down, so squeeze any excess liquid out of it and pour this back into the bowl. Finely chop the spinach and put it back into the bowl. Mix it with the liquid, add the ricotta and a handful of the Parmesan, and then use a piping bag to squeeze the mixture into the cannelloni. You can make your own piping bag by getting a sandwich bag and putting the spinach mix into the corner of it. Then twist the bag up and cut the corner off. Carefully squeeze the filling into the cannelloni tubes so each one is filled right up – really easy. Lay the cannelloni over the tomato sauce in the pan. Or you can pour the tomato sauce into your ovenproof dish and lay the cannelloni on top. To make the white sauce, mix together the crème fraîche, anchovies and the 2 handfuls of Parmesan with a little salt and pepper, then loosen with a little water until you can spoon it over the cannelloni. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and the mozzarella pieces, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden and bubbling
Have a great weekend

Friday, April 16, 2010

Volcano, My Favourite Greenery,

According to iceland-ash-mapreports British airports are going to be fouled up for some time due to the ash coming from the Icelandic Volcano. Really must be quite something. I can’t imagine what it must be like for people in England, something they will never have experienced before. I wonder what effect this will all have on the weather as well. I believe it can be quite serious also the health of the people. There’s a series of picture here which you may like to see. Together with a report detailing the movement of the ash cloud. There is also an interesting piece of film from ABC here and an even more interesting report from Good Morning America here where Neil Karlinsky is actually reporting from Iceland this morning. Funny, the GMA hosts say they can’t pronounce the name of the volcano so they needed an expert to do so for them, it is called Eyjafjallajökull. The British are, of course, worried about the economic fallout although it isn’t just Britain but a large swath of Europe which is covered by the ash fallout.

My taste buds are beginning to sit up and take notice as asAsparagusparagus season draws closer. For those of you who have been reading for some time, you will remember I go nuts about the gorgeous green stuff. I have determined I will make a lot more soup this year following the recipe from Tim Barrie’s mom which is some of the best asparagus soup I have ever tasted. I al so probably need to make more asparagus pesto this year, I am getting pretty low. I will be passing on asparagus recipes to you so that if you too are in an asparagus season wherever you live, you can take advantage of it.

Many of my friends go nutty about potatoes, I actually find I don't enjoy them as much as I do the ones we used to get in Europe. Malta especially had wonderful potatoes, and last time I was in the UK I enjoyed the potatoes served there, they seem to have a lot more taste. Like most people I do like French Fries but avoid them and I like a baked potato, usually with just butter on them. This recipe was sent by this morning and I thought my potato loving friends might enjoy it.

Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes Source: © EatingWell Magazine 4 servings Think of baked potatoes as nature's mini casseroles: an edible dish that can hold up to a hearty stuffing. Russets have just the right balance to make a perfect twice-baked potato: enough starch to keep its structure, enough moisture to endure the double cooking. Make It a Meal: A tossed green salad with your favorite dressing will round out this meal. Make Ahead Tip: Prepare and stuff potatoes. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Microwave and serve. INGREDIENTS 4 medium russet potatoes 8 ounces 90%-lean ground beef 1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped 1 cup water 1 cup reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 3 scallions, sliced Tip: Vegetarian variation: Replace the ground beef with a soy-based substitute or omit the beef altogether and increase the broccoli to 1 1/2 cups and the cheese to 1 1/4 cups. DIRECTIONS Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Place in the microwave and cook at 50% power, turning once or twice, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. (Or, use the "potato setting" on your microwave and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions). Meanwhile, brown meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Increase heat to high, add broccoli and water to the skillet, cover, and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli; add to the meat. Carefully cut off the top third of the cooked potatoes; reserve the tops for another use. Scoop the insides out into a medium bowl. Place the potato shells in a small baking dish. Add 1/2 cup Cheddar, sour cream, salt and pepper to the potato insides and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add scallions and the potato mixture to the broccoli and meat; stir to combine. Evenly divide the potato mixture among the potato shells and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Microwave on high until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Have a great day

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More on Water, Lunch, More on Books, Volcano.

I recently wrote about water, shortages, wastage, etc. A friend mentioned, on Facebook, a new computer chip which is going to revolutionise desalination of water and therefore save many lives by eliminating water borne diseases. There is an article here explaining how the chip was develped in Massachusetts and what it can be used for although they say it has no application in the US. My friend, however, has already thought of other uses for this chip such as the pretreatment of industrial effluent. I quoted the predictions of National Geographic who said by 2050 a third of the population would have no access to clean water, hopefully this technology will help to end that prediction. I went for lunch with another friend at the Arabesque on Victoria St. in Kitchener, it was great to see her as we hadn't met for months. We had shawarma and kebabs which we then proceeded to share. We drank a milkshake made with bananas and a mango juice for me. We were both quite satisfied with our meals, I then went up to the counter to pay by credit card and was horrified to see a girl making salads with her bare hands. She stopped what she was doing and took my credit card, then when the cashier arrived she went back to her salads. I have changed my mind about the restaurant since which is a pity. Another thing they offered, in the evening, was hookahs - hookahs? I thought those were used for smoking hashish? They say there is no tobacco and offer all kinds of fruit flavours - I don't think I would try one. As I said yesterday, my friend was lending me her copy of Elizabeth Moon's Oath of Fealty, however, I have already started Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker which appears to be a pretty good story. He is excellent at inventing new magics and this one is, yet again, quite different. He is another one, like Glenda Larke, who is good at world building. In case you don't remember, Brandon Sanderson is the author who has been chosen to complete the Wheel of Time Series started by Robert Jordan. He has already published one which I read last year and I was astounded to see this book also came out last year. He must be working pretty hard at this writing business. Sounds like Karen Miller, who it is believed, has elves in her basement writing for her. I just went to look at Brandon Sanderson's site and discovered an article by him and a link to Warbreaker itself. So you can read the book online. I completely forgot to mention the volcano in Iceland which I heard about this morning. Pretty incredible and causing all sorts of problems in Europe, especially Britain, because there is so much ash in the air they have had to ground planes for the while. The ash is bad for the engines apparently. Not much good for lungs either. I gather people have had to be evacuated in Iceland too which is not surprising. There is an article about it here if you would like to read it. in fact it says there is no disruption at their local airport although nearer the coast is affected. The recipe below came from and I couldn't resist it, sounds so delicious. Chocolate Mousse Pie with Peanut Butter Fudge Source: Yields 8 servings INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups powdered sugar 1 (6 oz.) 8-inch prepared chocolate crust 1 box (2.8 oz.) Nestle European Style Mousse Mix 2/3 cup milk 1 small decorative cookie cutters DIRECTIONS Melt margarine and peanut butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in vanilla extract and sugar until smooth. Reserve ½ cup peanut butter fudge. Drop remaining peanut butter fudge by rounded spoonful onto bottom of crust. Gently spread over bottom to completely cover crust. Prepare mousse mix as directed on box using 2/3 cup milk. When mousse is thick, spoon into crust. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, spread reserved 1/2 cup peanut butter fudge over waxed paper or greased baking sheet to 1/8-inch thickness. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters to use as garnish. Have a great day

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Having discovered I couldn't renew my loan of the CDs of Suzanne Collins Catching Fire, I had to listen to it solidly for about 24 hours straight, well no, I did get some sleep in between. I still had to pay a fine of 30¢ - very annoying. Not only that, I discover it is obviously not the last book and am now led to believe it is a trilogy. In fact I believe these are young adult books, but I am certainly enjoying them. The Hunger Games being the first book. Talking of books, Glenda Larke's blog today includes a picture taken in a London book store showing her Last Stormlord well displayed with her name as a shelf tag. Pretty thrilling moment I would imagine. She certainly deserves lots of success and prominence for this latest trilogy. Today I am meeting a friend for lunch so we can exchange books. Whilst vacationing in the States, she bought a copy of Elizabeth Moon's Oath of Fealty which is a Paksenarrion story. I read the first ones and very much enjoyed them, so I am looking forward to reading this one. I like Elizabeth Moon's writing and haven't been disappointed in any of her stories yet. I am lending my friend the Watergiver books, I am not sure if she has read any of Glenda's works before. I also picked up three more books and another Cat Who recording on CD yesterday, well I can't use my treadmill without something to listen to. Talking of lunch, we are meeting at a newer restaurant just down the road from where I live called The Arabesque. I have been wanting to try it for a while. I know they sell shawarmas not that I imagine theirs are quite the same as the ones in this article, the meat shown in the picture is the same idea as the Greek gyro (hero) which has become a popular sandwich over here although I have never seen one of these spits over here. Mind you I never saw one in Greece either, but I did see pictures of them, specifically in Kerkira or Corfu. The only time I saw a shawarma sandwich, some colleagues picked them up for lunch at the office and I thought they looked delicious. I will let you know how things go at the Arabesque. Coincidentally two sources emailed me fish recipes yesterday and as I rarely publish a fish dish, I thought I would do so. Both Matt and I like fish although a lot of people don't, pity they are missing a very good food. This one is for Catfish which, if you have never eaten, I can recommend, it makes a good meal. I also enjoy okra although there was a time when I wasn't too keen on it. It was OK in a stew of some kind, but then a southern friend cooked some for us, it was absolutely fresh and she did it in the microwave. It was delicious. I was sorry I had given her the rest of it. I guess this classifies as a real southern meal. Louisiana Catfish with Okra and Corn From Eating Well Purchased Cajun or Creole seasoning flavors both the catfish and vegetables in this 30-minute dinner. This dish is best with fresh vegetables, but we were pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out with frozen okra and corn. Serve with cheese grits and a green salad. 4 servings Ingredients •2 cups fresh or frozen sliced okra •1 3/4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears; see Tip), or frozen •1 medium onion, diced •2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided •1 3/4 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning, divided •1 pound catfish fillets, patted dry and cut into 4 portions Preparation 1.Preheat oven to 450°F. 2.Combine okra, corn, onion, 2 teaspoons oil and 3/4 teaspoon Cajun (or Creole) seasoning in a large bowl. Spread the mixture out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring twice, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. 3.Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of catfish with the remaining 1 teaspoon Cajun (or Creole) seasoning. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add the fish and cook until just cooked through and starting to brown, about 4 minutes per side. Serve with the roasted vegetables. Nutrition Per serving : 288 Calories; 15 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 9 g Mono; 53 mg Cholesterol; 19 g Carbohydrates; 21 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 311 mg Sodium; 695 mg Potassium 1 Carbohydrate Serving Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat •Tip: To remove corn from the cob, stand an uncooked ear of corn on its stem end and slice the kernels off with a sharp, thin-bladed knife. Have a great day

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

PC Problems, Russian Kids, Spring.

I am having all kinds of problems with my desktop again, so at the moment I am using my laptop to write. I am not very good at typing on this keyboard so if there are lots of typos, my apologies, not only that I keep touching something which sends my cursor to a different spot, I have no idea what happens or why. I haven’t done much typing on this machine for that reason.

There was lots on GMA about adopted Russian children this morning and it appears some parents have had horrible experiences. Some of the children have had such unhappy experiences either fetally (mothers drinking whilst pregnant) or because of abandonment and they are suffering from reactive attachment disorder, in other words they are totally incapable of bonding with anyone because of what has happened to them. If you would like to know more about this, go to the GMA website where there is a video clip of parents talking about their adopted children.

I shall be perusing my friend Marilyn’s blog this morning, see French Marilyn’s linBlossomk this page. She tells me she has be writing about Princess Di and has put a lot of research into the article. Another friend, Glenda Larke, is swanning around London, England at the moment, visiting with her daughter. Nice for some. Especially as I understand England is having a beautiful spring this year.“Oh to be in England now that April’s there” Robert Browning.

I just came across some recipes for breakfast or brunch and this one sounded good. I am always looking for breakfast recipes in particular.

Cheesy Polenta & Egg Casserole

From EatingWell: May/June 2008

This memorable brunch centerpiece is rich with cheesy polenta, crumbled sausage and baked eggs.

6 servingsCheesy Polenta and Egg

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, (see Shopping Tip)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 cup shredded fontina, or mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk cornmeal into the boiling water. Add salt and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the polenta bubbles, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking frequently, until very thick, 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, once the polenta comes to a boil, transfer it to the top of a double boiler, cover, and place over barely simmering water for 25 minutes. This is convenient, because you don’t need to stir it as it cooks.)
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Cook, stirring and breaking the sausage into small pieces with a spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Drain if necessary and transfer to a cutting board; let cool. Finely chop when cool enough to handle.
  3. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  4. When the polenta is done, stir in fontina (or mozzarella) and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. If the polenta seems too stiff, add small amounts of water to thin it to a thick but not stiff consistency. Spread the polenta in the prepared pan.
  5. Make six 2-inch-wide indentations in the polenta with the back of a tablespoon. Break eggs, one at a time, into a custard cup and slip one into each indentation. Scatter the sausage on the polenta and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly on top of the eggs.
  6. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Then broil until the egg whites are set, 2 to 4 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Per serving : 295 Calories; 17 g Fat; 6 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 241 mg Cholesterol; 17 g Carbohydrates; 19 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 683 mg Sodium; 148 mg Potassium

1 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 1 fat

Tips & Notes
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4 up to 2 hours ahead; hold the polenta at room temperature and refrigerate the sausage until ready to bake.
  • Shopping Tip: Polenta, a creamy Italian porridge, can be made from any type of cornmeal. Coarsely ground cornmeal, available in many natural-foods stores, is a great option because is has big corn flavor and light texture. It's usually labeled "cornmeal," but some brands are labeled "polenta."
Have a great day