Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Justice? Teacher, Pensions. End of Jan.

Shafia FamilyI was very pleased, over the weekend, to see that the Shafia family have been convicted of 1st degree murder. In case you don’t know, they father, his wife and a son, killed his first wife and three daughters by pushing their car into a lock on the Rideau Canal – all in the name of honour killings. What horrifies me is they are only getting 25 years. Our justice system is nuts. They take 4 lives and are only getting 25 years for doing so. Don’t you agree this isn’t tough enough?

Aren’t teachers supposed to intelligent? If so, why would they be teacher-sex-200stupid enough to have sexual relations with their students? We keep hearing such stories and there is another in the headlines right now. Joanne Léger-Legault has lost her teaching license for having relationships with four boys over 5 years. How daft can you get? She is an award winning high school teacher and now her teaching career is kaput. What a stupid woman. Hell you can walk into just about any bar and pick up a sexual partner, why get involved with your students? I personally cannot understand the mentality behind this story. What do you think about it?

The other day there was a report that the government were going to look into revamping the pension and retirement system. I have Harperno doubt that pensioners right across the country got somewhat nervous, I sure did. However, yesterday Mr. Harper announced that there would be no cuts in retirement income, phew!!! Considering some countries have cut into pension incomes, it was always on the books although economically Canada is doing a lot better than many countries at the present time. However, lets face it, one would never get rich on a government pension. Unlike the politicians themselves who get very nice retirement packages thank you.

Well, we’re finally on the last day of January, I have never known January to drag so long, it was driving me up the wall. Maybe being unwell wasn’t helping of course. Plus I haven’t been bowling or doing much of anything, so that didn’t do much for me. I am toying with the idea of trying to bowl on Friday, not sure about it though. Still got quite a bit of pain; for instance, coughing kills me, yes in my shoulder, I guess you contract a lot of muscles when you cough. However, we are talking my left shoulder and of course I bowl with my right arm so I might just try a few balls and see what happens.

This is a shrimp dish we have made several times and always enjoyed it. Unfortunately I have never taken a picture of the dish so don’t have one to share. You can bet, one thing I never do is leave on the tails. I hate having to deal with them at the dinner table.

Marinated Gingered Shrimp

This is a simple Japanese preparation that can be prettily arranged on a serving plate. Sweet sake is widely available, but the same quantity of sweet sherry may be substituted if sake is shrimp2not to be found

1 ½ lbs shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4  cup soy sauce
3 oz ginger root, chopped
1/4  cup vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs Sweet sake
1½ tsp salt
2-3 Tbs  thinly sliced green onions

1. Cook shrimp til just turned pink. Drain. Arrange in a single layer in glass or plastic container, 12 x 7½ x 2 inches. Heat soy sauce to boiling; add gingerroot. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 mins. Stir in vinegar, sugar, sake and salt; pour over shrimp. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

2. Remove shrimp from marinade with slotted spoon; arrange on serving plate. Garnish with green onion.

3. 60-65 shrimp

NOTE: We leave the shrimp in the marinade as we find the pieces of ginger delicious as do most of our guests.

Source: Betty Crocker's New Int. Cookbook.

Have a great day


Monday, January 30, 2012

Last Pass, Tiny Globetrotter, Sticks,

For a few days now I have been testing a programme called Last Pass which was recommended by HoLast Passw to Geek. Last Pass will remember all kinds of information for you including all those bloody passwords you have to use on different websites. I started using the same one for a lot of sites because I was having so much difficulty and although I have them written down, it was a pain in the butt to have to keep looking up those passwords for sites I seldom visited, however, it is recommended that you don’t do that. Last Pass is taking care of this so basically all I have to remember is the password to access Last Pass. Everything is encrypted in such a way that even Last Pass cannot get at the information or even at your Last Pass password. Takes a bit of time for it to pick up all the passwords of course, but eventually……. Oh, and I forgot to mention, its totally free.

Saturday morning on GMA they were talking to Tiny who is a Tiny Sturgessmember of the Harlem Globetrotters and who is 7’8” tall. That’s tall. He’s originally from England and he is the tallest Harlem Globetrotter ever. I would think so. Paul (Tiny) Sturgess plays several sports and is very keen on golf but had to have specially made clubs. His drives are to be seen to be believed. He was drafted by the Globetrotters last year and says he is honoured to be on their team and to be able to travel widely and meet lots of people from different parts of the world. He wears a size 20 shoe by the way!!!

I was using my flash drives the other day and actually thought about them. I have a 1 Gig, 2 Gig, 8 Gig and now a 32 Gig. For someone who started with personal computers which had little or no storage dot matrixat all, that’s quite a lot of capacity. I think I have mentioned before that my first computer was tape driven and certainly had no storage at all, hard drive, what was that? My next computer, a Commodore 64, worked on large floppy disks and I got so fed up with changing disks all the time that I had a 560 MHz hard drive installed. That computer cost us $4,000 and I got a huge dot matrix printer which was about $80 or maybe more, I am no longer sure, this was in 1987. Computers are so cheap, comparatively, these days with more and more capacity. I have a hard drive on my desktop, 450 Gigs, which is way bigger than I shall ever need – I don’t use it for gaming or anything. But I am still staggered by the capacities of my flash drives let alone the computers themselves. I can carry practically all the information I have on a key ring. I don’t have an iPhone or Blackberry as they are not necessary for us. We hardly ever use a cell phone and carry a simple one for emergencies mainly.

It finally looks like winter here, it snowed all day on Saturday, and of an on Sunday, although it was very fine snow, it was constant, and now everything is winter white. There was a lot of wind on Saturday too which was in the right direction to make our apartment somewhat chilly. I don’t know why this happens but once or twice during a winter, when the wind really howls, it seems to chill us right down. Maybe because there are extracting vents in three places and it seems to me they actually let the cold air in.

EndiveWe like Belgian Endive (pronounce ondeeve), I have frequently used it in salads, Matt makes a dish of stuffed endive leaves – Endive Boats - and a Dutch friend has an interesting recipe which involves rusks, but she won’t share it – says that means she can make it for us and if will be different; reading Dragon’s Kitchen the other day I thought I would look up braised endives. This recipe is based on Julia Child’s way of cooking them. However, Julia insists on putting them in the oven for 2 hours, this recipe says you can do it on the stove top if you wish.

Butter Braised Belgian Endives

By Molly Watson, About.com Guidebraisedendive

Braised Belgian Endives

Photo © Molly Watson

Slowly cooking Belgian endives in a bit of butter and lemon juice yields these tender, luscious, almost sweet bundles of otherwise bitter leaves. It's alchemy at its finest.

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 10 to 12 Belgian endives
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  1. Melt butter over medium low heat in a large, heavy frying pan, sauté pan, or pot with a tight fitting lid.
  2. Meanwhile, trim and discard any browned bits on the ends of the endives. When butter is melted, lay endives in a single layer in the pan. Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Pour water down along the side of the pan. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook, undisturbed, until endives are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Another option is to heat an oven to 375°F and after starting the endives on the stove, covering them and transferring the pan to the oven for about half an hour.
  3. When endives are very tender, set lid ajar and cook until endives start to brown. Turn endives over and cook until they are browned on both sides.

Makes 4 servings

Have a great day


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Embezzlement, Pensions, Peeling Garlic in 10 Seconds.

Very upsetting news, our local non-profit, community radio station, CKWR which is supported predominantly by donations and fund raisers, has lost around $60,000 due to embezzlement by one of their former board members, Bozana Radisic-Valincic. They have had to ask their few paid staff to wait for their pay and plus going cap in hand to the landlord and the bank. They are now going to be doing everything they can to raise money once more. Donations are also very welcome if you happen to be a listener and live in the area. We have been listening to this station ever since we came to Canada in 1975 (I hadn’t realised they only started broadcasting the year before) except when we were in the US of course. Its also the station where I have done a few Recipe Corner broadcasts in recent months. They have a website with all the recipes on it at www.CKWR.com, you then have to click on the yellow banner at the top of the page which takes you to Randy Johnston’s page where you can access the recipes.

Our Prime Minister, Mr. Harper, is talking about changes in the Old Age pensions. As yet no-one knows what these changes will be and we will have to wait til the spring budget. One thing mentioned is making people wait til 67 instead of 65 before being able to receive the pension. I see no harm in that, a lot of older people continue to work anyway plus with people living longer and longer, it will become necessary to push retirement ages higher and higher. I know, I already have my retirement, but I really don’t think 2 years will make a lot of difference. The thing that scares me is the possibility of reducing the amount of the pension. I guess we will just have to wait to find out.

A useful tip posted on Facebook by a friend, How to Peel Garlic in less than 10 seconds. Wish I had known this before I peeled my large supply of garlic a few weeks back. I won’t be needing it for a while now and not sure if I will remember it when I do need it. It really looks so easy, if it works.

Yesterday I mentioned this recipe, today I pinched it from Dragon’s Kitchen – with her permission, I am definitely going to try this out. Not sure, think I will have to attempt it for just us to start with. I haven’t got the guts to do it first time for a dinner party as I think the timing might be difficult.

Crisp Egg With Watercress Sauce and Bacon
Recipe by Chef Emily Watkins

Serves: 4


500 gr (1 lb 2oz) watercress, washed and stems removed
Splash of white vinegar
5 Eggs (1 per person, plus 1 extra for breadcrumbing)
Plain flour
300 gr (10 1/2 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
Vegetable Oil, for deep frying
150 gr (5 1/2 oz) unsmoked bacon lardons


1. To make the watercress sauce, bring a pan of water to the boil and have a bowl of iced water ready. Blanch the watercress in the boiling water for about 2 minutes until tender but still vibrant and green. Drain and plunge into the iced water. Lift out of the water and whizz in a blender with a little of the cold water until you have a smooth sauce.

2. For the eggs, bring a pan of water to a simmer and add a splash of white wine vinegar. Stir the water around to make a mini whirlpool and crack 4 of the eggs into the pan. Poach the eggs until the albumen is firm and the yolk soft (about 3 minutes). Lift out and place into iced water to chill. Then set them on kitchen paper to dry.

3. Beat the remaining egg. To breadcrumb the eggs, carefully place them one at a time in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg and lastly in the breadcrumbs.

4. Heat some vegetable oil in a saucepan to 180C/350F. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in the frying pan (there's no need to use any extra fat - the bacon will cook in the fat running out of it) until crisp, and warm through the sauce.

5. Gently lower the eggs into the hot oil and cook until crisp and golden. Lift out the eggs and place on to kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. Place a spoonful of the sauce on to the plate, put some bacon on top and lastly a crisp egg.

Have a great weekend


Friday, January 27, 2012

Cat in Cockpit, 33,000 Ft. Fall, Kindle Books, Supper.

Story in the news today, a cat escaped from its carrier in the cat flight-delaypassenger compartment of an Air Canada plane which ended up delaying the plane’s departure for 4 hours. The cat was accidentally released by a passenger and ended up inside the wiring of the cockpit so they eventually had to enter the area from outside the plane. They retrieved the cat, Ripples, but felt they had to ensure that all the wiring was intact and had not been damaged in any way. Poor cat must have been terrified, the owner was pretty upset too.

More on planes, I just heard a snippet on the radio about an air hostess, Vesna Vulovic, was working on a DC-9 plane flying overvesnavulovic Czechoslovakia which exploded due to a powerful explosive placed on board by a terrorist group and she fell 33,300 ft. without a parachute; she survived. There is nothing to say what she landed on, but presumably something cushioned her at the time. She had broken ribs and legs, but within a few months was back on her feet again. This happened in 1972, I sure don’t remember the event, we would have still been in England at the time, but how incredible.

I am amazed about the number of free or 99¢ books one can get Kindle Keyboardfrom Amazon.com for the Kindle. Some are designed to draw you into a trilogy so you will buy the rest, but many of the books I have downloaded have been stand-alones. Last night I downloaded 5 books which will cost me said 99¢ altogether and that is not the first lot I have downloaded either. I’m getting an email called Pixel of Ink which tells you what is available each day. I will have to stop soon as I have so many to be read, I will never catch up. Not to mention that friends have given me another large bag of books to read. Of course I haven’t a lot else to do at the moment as I am not bowling, in fact yesterday I missed our Travel League, maybe by next month I will be able to go with them and bowl.

We decided to have pork chops for supper last night, I ended up Italian Pork Chopssautéeing onions and garlic, adding a small can of tomatoes, a load of oregano, salt and pepper, then having browned the chops, putting them into the sauce to cook through. I had done some collards too so I ended up putting them in the pan as well, it was good. I based it on an Italian pork chop recipe I found, but left a few things out.

I thought this recipe sounded good and somewhat easy to do. Have a dinner party coming up, maybe I will try it. I also came across another recipe in a blog, Dragon’s Kitchen, for an egg starter. I really want to try it, looks delicious.

Coffee and Cream Icebox Cake

Source: Fine Cooking - Issue 33

Serves eight

Coffee & Cream Icebox CakeCoffee and hazelnuts give this cake a variation on Nabisco's Famous Wafer Roll recipe a more sophisticated flavor. To be safe, buy two boxes of cookies, as some may break. This cake slices best after 2 days in the refrigerator.

For the Cream:

1 3/4 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

1 tablespoon sugar

For the Cookies:

44 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers

For the Garnish:

1/4 cup finely chopped, toasted hazelnuts for garnish

1/4 cup crushed chocolate cookie wafer crumbs


Lightly grease a 6-cup loaf pan. Line the pan with two pieces of overlapping plastic wrap, allowing the excess to hang over the edges of the pan.

FOR THE CREAM: In a bowl, combine the cream, espresso powder, and sugar. Whisk until the cream holds firm peaks. Spoon about two-thirds of the whipped cream into the prepared pan. Tap the pan firmly on the counter to even the cream and eliminate any air bubbles.

FOR THE COOKIES: Starting at a short side of the pan, arrange 11 cookies in the cream, standing them on their edge in a row like dominoes. Gently squeeze the cookies together as you go. Do the same with a second row of cookies, slightly overlapping the cookies from the second row with the cookies in the first row. Continue with two more rows for a total of four rows. Press down on the cookies gently. Cover them with the remaining cream. Smooth the cream with a spatula, gently pressing to make sure any gaps between the cookies are filled. Tap the pan on the counter several times to eliminate any air pockets.

TO SERVE: Cover the cake with the excess plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 24 hours, preferably 2 days. When ready to serve, peel the plastic wrap from the top and gently tug on the plastic to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Set a cutting board on top of the pan and invert the cake onto the board. Lift the pan off and gently peel away the plastic wrap. Mix the hazelnuts with the cookie crumbs and sprinkle over the top of the cake. Slice carefully with a warm knife.

Have a great day


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oscars, UK Food, Lego Man.

They announced the contenders in the Oscars the other day and this Oscaryear I found I couldn’t be less interested, I didn’t really know any of the movies so I don’t really care what’s nominated. That may not stop me sitting up til all hours to watch the actual award show although I don’t know what’s happening. We shall see. If you are not feeling similarly disinterested, you can go to the Oscar page and see the full list. Getting that link, I see that one movie I know about is listed, The Artist. That is a silent movie at which people have asked for their money back because they can’t hear the dialogue. I know, I mentioned that before, but it’s a story that amuses me.

I missed out on Burns Day yesterday didn’t I? Not that I think anyone would want a recipe for Haggis. I’ve never had the opportunity to try it although I would love to. I’ll put it on my bucket list. I wonder if the PuddingsCanadian version would taste as good as the original. I know black pudding here tastes dry and horrible, even in the UK they have generally tried to make it healthy, which is a crime. I did find a butcher who sold the original black pudding last time we were there, deeelicious. Someone mentioned white pudding, never tried that either. In fact I had never heard of it when living in England. Don’t really know what it is, guess I should Google it. It turns out it is an oatmeal pudding very similar to black pudding but doesn’t contain any blood. Something I didn’t know, there are a lot more puddings in the UK than I was aware of. Guess I don’t know the land of my birth as well as I think I do.

Matt has been saying for years that he would not go to Mexico if you paid him. We keep hearing details of people being beaten up; a Winnipeg woman was beaten up last weekend and there has been a headline on CBC talking of an Ontario man who says he was beaten viciously in the same area near a 5 star resort. I have heard it said that if you stay on the resort its OK, but these people seem to have been beaten on the resort. As Matt says, criminals will go anywhere.

Two Toronto teens are in the news at the moment for having sent a Lego man into space legoman- it was carried by balloons; on board were four cameras. Apparently the Lego man reached 80,000 ft. (3 times the height of a cruising jetliner) before falling back to earth 97 minutes after being launched and the interesting video footage taken by the cameras is shown in the article with explanations by the two young men who built the whole set up.

A traditional thing to serve on Burns Night is Atholl Brose, you can still make it even if Burns Night has passed. New Years or Hogmanay is another traditional time for this. I tried making it once and wasn’t unduly impressed. Whether I didn’t do it right or what, I’m not sure.

Atholl Brose SyllabubAtholl Brose

I have included the 8th Duke of Atholl's recipe.

Ingredients for Atholl Brose:
75 g oatmeal
2 Tbs liquid heather honey
whisky to make up 1 quart (2 pints)
450 ml cold water

1. Put the oatmeal into a bowl and mix it with the water until it is a thick paste, then let it stand for 30 minutes, after which pass it through a fine strainer, pressing down with a wooden spoon to expel the last of the liquid. Throw away the dry oatmeal and mix the liquid with the clear heather honey, stirring with a silver spoon until it is well blended. Pour the mixture into a quart bottle and fill up with whisky, cork it well and always shake the bottle before pouring. It can also be used as a dessert (Atholl Brose Syllabub), by adding about 4 tablespoons Athol Brose to 4 tall glasses, topping with sweetened whipped cream, and sprinkling with lightly toasted oatmeal mixed with a little ground nutmeg.

Servings: 4

Recipe # 2
This one I have just found on the internet sounds much better to me, it has cream in it after all:

This easy to make Atholl Brose recipe can be made in a few minutes and can be made on the day it is to be drunk but tastes much better if stored for a week.

Ingredients For Atholl BroseAtholl Brose2
One bottle of Scotch whisky
10 fluid ounces (Half Pint) of double cream
450g of clear Scottish honey
The whites of six large eggs
One handful of fine ground oatmeal
Directions To Make Atholl Brose
1. Soak the oatmeal with the Scotch whisky and set aside.
2. Beat the egg whites until they become stiff.
3. Fold the cream into the egg white mixture.
4. Add the honey.
5. Blend in the whisky and oatmeal mixture at a slow but steady pace.
6. Pour the liquid into some bottles and set aside for one week. Shake each bottle of Atholl Brose each day.

Have a great day


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CT Scan, Wine Cooler, Chinese Lunch.

Went for my CT scan in the morning and was very impressed with the speed. I was out before I was supposed to be in. That has CT machinehappened with both the appointments I’ve had this week. It makes such a change, if only everything medical could be like that it would be wonderful. Some time I must visit the place where I am having an MRI so I can be ‘introduced’ to the machine. I don’t think I am claustrophobic, but its as well to prepare. I know of some techniques to stop thinking about what’s happening if I need them. Today I see my foot nurse and then that’s the end of medical stuff for me for a while. Until I get to see the specialist that is, of course.

I told you about Matt’s present of a wine cooler which I bought fromWine Cooler a friend. We didn’t know if it was supposed to run continuously or to cycle. So far it has been running non stop. My friend thinks its supposed to cycle. I decided to phone the manufacturer. After a number of phone calls, it turns out that it was built by some company under the auspices of Honeywell. That company has now closed down and no-one knows anything about them any more. It has been suggested I contact a refrigeration expert. Hmmmm. I am very glad I am not the original purchaser, I would have been extremely annoyed. I have now found an article on the net which says thermoelectric coolers don’t cycle so we’re guessing this is thermoelectric, but we don’t really know.

We had ourDim sum Chinese New Year’s lunch and I stuffed myself with all kinds of dumplings and buns. At least two plates full; I was fairly full and on my way to check out the desserts when I came across some more dumplings and pot stickers  which were fried and not steamed, together with some stir fried spinach. That is a totally new one on me and I tried some, I found it delicious.  I was impressed that the leaves were not over wilted with the whole dish somewhat mushy. Our friends didn’t make it, they weren’t sure of the day and had gone out when I phoned them.

Stir-fry Spinach With Garlic

By Rhonda Parkinson, About.com Guide
This simple spinach stir-fry pairs nicely with steak.
As always, how much seasoning to add comes down to personal preference. Feel free to reduce the amount of salt and/or garlic if desired, or to increase the amount of spinach to 12 ounces. (Of course, if you’re a fan of garlic you can always add more!)
This recipe for Stir-fry Spinach With Garlic serves 2 to 4.
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil for stir-frying
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon chili paste, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or according to taste
10 ounces (approximately) fresh spinach, rinsed and dried (I used baby spinach)
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Black pepper to taste, optional
Have all the ingredients at hand near the stove. Preheat the wok and add oil, swirling so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the wok. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic, chili paste, and salt. Stir for a few seconds until the garlic is aromatic.
Add the spinach, stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until the leaves are almost wilted. Stir in the sugar and Asian sesame oil. (Note: if you don't already have the sugar and sesame oil measured out, move the wok to a cold burner while you do so, and then return it to the heated burner). Sprinkle the spinach with a bit of black pepper if desired. Serve immediately.

Have a great day

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

CT Scan, Birthday Present,

I sometimes wonder if I will ever get back to bowling again this season. Today I am having a CT scan at 11:30 and I had the ultrasound on Sunday, but none of this actually helps me. One good 2012thing I found out though, I will not have to lift my arm above my head when I am in the CT scanner, I was a tad concerned about that. After the CT scan we are planning to go to the Mandarin restaurant (Chinese) so I can eat some of their New Year dumplings. Everyone was saying Gung hai fat choi yesterday, but in fact Chinese New Year lasts several days, not just one like ours.

Wine CoolerToday I bought Matt’s birthday present. A wine cooler. It holds 35 bottles, we don’t carry that many but… What I did was I asked a friend if she wanted to sell the one her husband bought a couple of years ago (prior to his demise) and she said yes, so today we went and collected it. Matt was grinning so I figure he was pleased. I tried to find a picture of the actual cooler but couldn’t so I borrowed a pic which looks more or less the same.

Having left it 3 hours to cool, we loaded it with what wines we have Henkell Trockenin house. I wanted to put my small champagnes in too, but Matt said they wouldn’t fit. Pity. They are just the size of one glass full and I thought it would be good to keep them in the cooler. One small problem, we can’t easily read the thermometer nor even the controls at the bottom under the door. One of the joys of old age I’m afraid. We are hoping daylight will improve matters.

doctorI forgot, today I called the specialist I was supposed to visit, turned out they hadn’t heard of me, called my family doctor they told me they had to change the referral. Called the new specialist and they had been waiting for a response from the family doctor’s office since December 30. I hate to mention how mad this made me. I have been suffering all this time and neither party bothered to check with the other, so nothing was being done. I don’t swear in my blog but I leave it to you to imagine all the epithets I am using in my mind. Not the doctors fault but the stupid girls in one or other of the offices. Grrrrrrr.

Boy is this recipe up my street, I love Gravlax, smoked salmon or anything like that. Matt once reckoned I ate all the smoked salmon on our cruise ship, there was a lot apparently!!!

New World Gravlax

Source: © EatingWell Magazine

Active Time: 30 Minutes

Total Time: 48 Hours
20 servings

This gravlax is a play on the traditional Scandinavian recipe. Thinly slice the finished salmon for canapés or layer it on warm grilled flatbread with a scattering of sliced sweet red onions, fresh salmon caviar and a dollop of good sour cream or crème fraîche. This salmon is also delicious used to make those wonderful old-fashioned tea sandwiches with fresh herb butter and thinly sliced cucumbers.

Make Ahead Tip: Cure for up to 3 days (Step 2). After curing and removing from the marinade, refrigerate the gravlax, wrapped in plastic, for up to 1 week. | Equipment: Cheesecloth


1 3-pound wild salmon fillet, bones removed, skin on

1/4 cup kosher or sea salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

2/3 cup chopped fresh herbs, including tarragon, parsley, chives, mint and cilantro

1/3 cup good-quality tequila


Use cheesecloth to line a pan just large enough to hold salmon, making sure there is a 2-inch overhang. Lay salmon on the cheesecloth, skin-side down.

Combine salt, sugar, lemon zest and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the salt mixture evenly over the salmon. Scatter herbs on top. Wrap the salmon tightly with the cheesecloth. Brush the top of the cheesecloth with tequila, making sure the cloth is evenly moist. Place another baking pan or large plate on top of the salmon (it should be big enough to cover the salmon but small enough to fit inside the larger pan). Place 2 heavy cans inside the smaller pan (or on the plate) to weight it down. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 days to cure.

To serve, gently wipe the salt mixture off the salmon. Slice the salmon very thinly at an angle, leaving the skin behind.

Have a great day


Monday, January 23, 2012

Rare Seal, Fry Up, Ultra Sound, Movies

A woman in Seattle apparently discovered a rare sea beast on her Ribbon Sealdock one morning recently. It turned out to be a ribbon seal which is a critter rarely seen, particularly on land. It was apparently just lying there “chilling out” but the wildlife people are thrilled and trying to get sightings of it. I have never heard of it before, of course I repeatedly find out there are many animals I have never heard of. There is an ad running on TV for one of our many lotteries showing a couple in a tropical paradise with lots of animals and birds around, there were two little grey animals which we couldn’t identify so I sent a link to Glenda Larke (Tropic Temper) to id for me and she thinks they look like Sugar Gliders, babies at that. Her comment about the ad in general was that it was whacky as there were all kinds of different critters which wouldn’t really be seen together.

Sunday morning we planned and ate a “fry up”, not quite in the Fry Up 001traditional English style, but we had bacon, eggs, lamb’s kidneys (yes really, delicious) and Portabella mushrooms. We actually had it for lunch rather than brunch as I have to stick to three meals a day. I forgot to take a pic until we had started eating. Don’t figure we could handle it these days, but once upon a time I would have added sausages and fried bread or crumpets which I love, Matt prefers the bread, probably fried tomatoes too. NO I would not have added Heinz baked beans, I don’t know where that started, but on my “fry up” plate, I do not want to know. As a kid the only time I had baked beans might have been on toast for supper. As a kid I ate them, guess I didn’t know any better. I ate canned spaghetti too, I was very surprised after the war when I found out what spaghetti was really like.

Sunday afternoon I had to go for an ultra sound at 4:30. Odd time ctone may think, but in fact a friend of ours had to go for an MRI once at 3 a.m. On Tuesday I have a CT scan schedule in the morning. I am hoping they don’t require me to stretch my arms above my head as in this picture, I physically cannot do it. However, I hope that as its my shoulder we are concerned with, it won’t be necessary.

As the hospital was in Cambridge, we popped in to drop off some books at a friend’s house, they had lent me a large bag full, and I ended up with another bag full. We had supper too which was nice of them. They are coming over for Matt’s birthday dinner.

Interesting, they recently showed a new silent film in Alberta made from lost footage which was originally filmed in 1919 for the Frozen NorthHudson’s Bay Company. The original film has been lost but they discovered some raw footage which has been made into a modern film and shown in Edmonton the original was called The Romance of the Far Fur Country and was designed for the company’s 250th year celebration. The film documented the company’s history as well as showing the activities of fur trappers in that time period. Would be fascinating to watch I would think.

The ArtistTalking of silent movies, I hear people in Britain have been walking out of The Artist and asking for their money back as they couldn’t hear the dialogue. In case you are not aware, it is a silent movie in black and white. I gather the movie has been very popular over here. One movie I really want to see is The Iron Lady about Maggie Thatcher with Maggie played by Meryl Streep. Think I mentioned that the other day, but I do like Meryl Streep and I admired Maggie Thatcher very much. Although getting an American to play a British Prime Minister seems a little odd.

Here’s a pretty easy way of making something which is very similar to chicken cordon bleu.

Ham and Cheese Chicken

WebMD Recipe from EatingWell.com

Making a pocket in the chicken breast to hold the stuffing is easy with a good, sharp, thin-bladed knife. Browning the chicken in a skillet before baking gives it a beautiful golden color, and finishing in the oven ensuham_and_cheese_stuffed_chickenres that it cooks evenly throughout.

Servings: 4

Recipe Ingredients:

1/4 cup grated Swiss, Monterey Jack or part-skim mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons chopped ham

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (1-1 1/4 pounds total)

1 egg white

1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Recipe Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a baking sheet with sides and lightly coat it with cooking spray.
  2. Mix cheese, ham, mustard and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Open up the breast and place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.
  4. Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in egg white, then dredge in breadcrumbs. (Discard leftovers.)
  5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.
Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 236 calories; 7 g fat ( 2 g sat , 3 g mono ); 74 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 31 g protein; 1 g fiber; 287 mg sodium; 347 mg potassium

Have a great day


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cookbooks, RIP Etta James, Singing President.

For years we bought and saved Cooking Light magazines. They were all neatly stored in the annual red folders one could get from Cooking Light. I haven’t actually bought the magazine for some time now though. These days, one can access so many recipes, from CL BinderCooking Light and other sources, on the net that we finally decided to move them to the downstairs communal room for other people to use if they wished. Last time Matt went down they had gone, I hope not permanently. I was sorry to see them go, but we haven’t really been using them ourselves much anyway and hopefully someone else will find them useful. Although I have a stack of cookbooks, well over 100, I tend to go on the net for a new recipe or idea. Matt, of course, does use the cookbooks as he is not computer savvy. Well I’m damned, I was looking for a picture and find people are selling such binders full of the magazines on Amazon.com – in a black binder too, mine were all red. Never occurred to me to offer them for sale but then one would have to deal with shipping, etc. Nah, don’t think I could be bothered.

RIP Etta James. I was not really that familiar with her, not being into Etta Jamesbig bands and such like Matt is. However, she was really well known in the big band and blues world, I had certainly heard of her and recognise a few of her songs when I hear them, she really had a fabulous voice. Another singer in the news last night, President Obama who sang a few lines whilst raising money for his campaign. Everyone is talking about it. http://youtu.be/d8Qu8nThJ5w. Its quite funny to watch.

Cooking.com sent me a recipe today which appealed to me. I mentioned before that I have become more interested in grits and I have always liked beans so here is a mixture of cuisines for you. We had a spicy dish last night – a coleslaw with a very spicy dressing. I will share that recipe before long.

Cheddar-Cheese Grits with Spicy Black Beans

Source: Quick from Scratch - Vegetable Main Dishes

Active Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4


Southern and Southwestern ingredients unite in this sustaining meal of beans, peppers, and tomatoes over the best grits you will ever eat. If you don't have the quick-cooking variety, use regular and follow the instructions on the package.


For Grits:

2 1/2 cups water

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Cayenne pepper

3/4 cup quick-cooking grits

1/4 pound cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)

For Beans:

1 red bell pepper, cut into 3/4 inch squares

1 green bell pepper, cut into 3/4 inch squares

6 scallions including green tops, sliced thin

2 cups drained and rinsed canned black beans (one 19-ounce can)

1/4 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock

3 plum tomatoes, chopped


FOR GRITS: In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, 1 tablespoon of the butter, the Tabasco, paprika, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the grits in a slow stream, whisking. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the grits are very thick, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheese. Cover to keep warm.

FOR BEANS: Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over moderate heat. Add the bell peppers and scallions and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, broth, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the beans are hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes. Serve over the cheese grits.

WINE RECOMMENDATION: The robust and varied flavors in this dish want a big, spicy, and fruity red wine to match their intensity. Zinfandel seems to have an affinity for black beans, and a sturdy example from the Napa Valley will suit these grits and beans well

Have a great day