Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pink Slime, Blogger, Easter Lamb,

Having given everyone a heads up about a programme coming on on Thursday evening about Pink Slime, I then completely forgot to watch myself. It was essentially covering the States of course, and I know that one defense against banning pink slime was the Stop Pink Slimehundreds of jobs which would be lost. I heard Nebraska mentioned, don’t know if that means that Nebraska is the State where all of the pink slime is manufactured. Suffice to say, I would certainly never have ground beef products in the States and if I wanted ground beef I would make sure I bought meat and had it ground for me. Matt figures its actually only the cheaper ground beef, I am not so sure. As of last report, Canada does not permit this processing of beef, I hope they don’t do so in future. You may find this article on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution site interesting.

For some reason yesterday morning, Blogger wasn’t allowing me to post comments on other people’s blogs. I tried several times to do so but kept getting error messages. Dragon’s Kitchen had two great blogs and I love to read Sia’s Lamb for EasterOver Coffee Blog. I had comments to make, but Blogger said ‘no way’. Dragon’s Kitchen had a post about roast lamb which we love and will be cooking for Easter as is traditional in Europe, particularly in Greece. I am sure you know of the old tradition of bringing up a lamb in the household and then ‘sacrificing’ it for Easter. I personally could not do that, but many of the old families in Greece still practice that tradition. This picture is half of a two page spread I have in a Time Life cookbook, showing the men supervising the cooking lambs in the village street whilst their wives stay at home and get on with the rest of the preparations. Sound familiar? Then Dragon’s Kitchen had a roast duckling recipe. I think duck is one of my all time favourites and because duck is horrendously expensive here, as is goose, not one that we indulge in very often. You can almost guarantee that when we go out for fine dining that will be my choice if its on the menu.

Britain Royal WeddingThe Queen has just been given another great grandchild by Peter Phillips and his Montreal born wife Autumn which pleases the family very much. The baby is 13th in line for the throne. Her father is the son of Princess Anne and her ex husband Mark Phillips. Of course everyone is anxiously watching Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, to see if she is going to produce an heir to the throne. Bit difficult when her old man is on assignment though. I assume, but don’t know, that she would have had medical check ups before the wedding, or maybe they just hope for the best.

This looked appealing – Matt loves cheesecake so I might try this in the near future.

Ricotta Cheesecake

Source: Ricotta CheesecakeSplenda

Servings: 12


1 cup (250 mL) graham cracker crumbs

2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, melted


2/3 cup (160 mL) golden raisins or candied peel

1 container (475 g) ricotta cheese

8 oz (250 g) light cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup (160 mL) SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated

3 eggs

1/2 cup (125 mL) light sour cream

3 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour

1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon rind

1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt


In bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs with butter until moistened; press onto bottom of greased 9-inch (2.5 L) springform pan. Place pan on large square of heavy-duty foil; press foil up around side of pan. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until firm, about 8 minutes. Let cool.

Filling: In heatproof bowl, cover raisins with boiling water; let stand for 10 minutes to soften. Drain and set aside. (If using candied peel, omit soaking).

In food processor, purée together ricotta cheese, cream cheese and SPLENDA® Granulated until smooth. Blend in eggs, 1 at a time. Blend in sour cream, flour, lemon rind, vanilla and salt. Fold in raisins. Pour over crust.

Set foil-wrapped pan in larger pan; pour in enough hot water to come 1-inch (2.5 cm) up sides. Bake in 325°F (160°C) oven until set at edge but still slightly jiggly in centre, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove pan from water. Run knife around edge of cake; remove foil and let cool on rack. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Remove side of pan.

Have a great weekend


Friday, March 30, 2012

Jonathan and Catherine, Death of a Penny,

Have you seen the latest from Britain’s got Talent. It drove the complacency out of Simon Cowell for one thing. Brought tears to the eyes of both Matt and I.

We had a federal budget yesterday, one of the things they said, they were going to stop minting pennies (1¢) which now cost more than that to make anyway. The news is pennygoing on about all the phrases where we use penny, a penny for your thoughts etc. in the UK we used to have spend a penny which meant going to the toilet, that was from the old days when you had to put a penny in a slot to open the door of a public toilet. Don’t think that has ever happened over here. We have been saving pennies in one of our pigs, so I guess we had better get them cashed in before we can’t do so. That now leaves us with the smallest coin being 5 ¢ or a nickel. I wonder how long that will last now.

Angel'sWe had a fun day yesterday with our Travel League although basically  we didn’t bowl particularly well. I think we both had one good game and that was it. Still, its not important on the Travel League, its purely and simply for fun. We had lunch at Angel’s which tries to be an old fashioned diner and doesn’t do bad food at all. Their walls were covered with old film stars and shots from old movies like Gone with the Wind.  I think everyone enjoyed what they ate. I had pork souvlaki on pita and Matt had a BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich). Some of the soups looked good, I was sorry it didn’t come with my choice. I was knackered at the end of the afternoon though and am wondering if I will be able to bowl today.

I had lots of things I was going to write about, I didn’t jot them down, so now I have forgotten. You will have to wait with bated breath for the next blog.

I love Satay and when I saw this one had to share it.

Thai Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

From EatingWell: July/August 2009, August/September 2005, The EatingWell Thai Chicken SatayHealthy in a Hurry Cookbook (2006)

Spicy peanut sauce is the perfect match for these Thai-marinated grilled chicken strips.

4 servings

Thai Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons 'lite' coconut milk, (see Tip)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  1. Whisk lime juice, oil, soy sauce, fish sauce and red pepper in a shallow dish until combined; add chicken and turn to coat. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  2. To prepare peanut sauce: Whisk peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper until smooth.
  3. Preheat grill to high. Thread each chicken tender onto a wooden skewer. Grill until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, about 3 minutes per side. Serve warm or chilled with Spicy Peanut Sauce.
Tips & Notes
  • Make Ahead Tip: Covered and refrigerate the peanut sauce for up to 2 days. | Equipment: 12 wooden skewers (see Tip)
  • Ingredient note: Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian sauce made from salted, fermented fish. You can find it in the Asian section of large supermarkets and in Asian specialty markets.
  • Tips: Refrigerate leftover coconut milk for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months. It will appear separated when thawed; simply mix until smooth.
  • To prevent wooden skewers from burning on the grill, wrap the exposed portion in foil before grilling. (Contrary to popular wisdom, soaking them in water doesn't prevent them from burning.)

Have a great day


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pink Slime

For those of you who are interested, there is a section of Diane Sawyer’s ABC News programme, tonight, Thursday March 29, at 6 p.m. dealing with the subject. Presumably this only covers the US.



Plumbing, Rhino Petition, Brinks Truck.

For some time now we have had a dripping tap in the second bathroom. I have reported it a number of times but the super never did get round to looking at it. He avocado baththen left (they said for financial reasons) and we are awaiting a new super due to start on April 1. Meanwhile, I reported my dripping tap to the stand in super whom I knew would get something done. On my way home from the passport office, I bumped into the plumber who informed me he had just looked at the taps in question and also the sink which he said was falling apart underneath (who looks underneath inside the vanity?) and that I would have to have a new one. It will be white, only trouble is, all the present fittings are avocado. I know avocado is no longer “in”,  but I prefer everything to match. Now it won’t. I have been resisting asking for a new toilet, ours is rusty under the rim and has water marks which can’t be erased. The plumber said the enamel surface is wearing off. Now I shall start urging them to replace it. Can’t figure out how I can get a new bath though. The bathroom will look a mess without matching units. Not our bathroom in the picture, but similar. Anyway, because of all this I decided I had better get up early on Wednesday morning and have my shower, in case the plumber arrived dead on 9:00 a.m. Waaaaa, there was no hot water. It was fixed fairly early, but….

There is a petition for saving seriously endangered rhinos Dead rhinoswhich are being hunted to extinction I urge you to sign it. The rhinos need our help to put pressure on those countries importing rhino horn for spurious medicinal purposes. I have published this Don't hurt Mummypicture before, but I think it is one that should be shown round the world. I should emphasize that these rhino in the first picture are not sleeping, they are dead and have had their horns removed. I don’t know if the rhino is alive in the second picture, I hope it is for the baby’s sake if nothing else.

Sort of funny, a Brinks truck crashed on a road up north and scattered thousands, brinks-crashif not millions of dollars worth of Canadian coins all over the road and surrounding bush. Unfortunately the two people in the truck were injured as was a third driver in another truck. Right now they are busy guarding the site so that no coin collectors will be visiting. Wish I’d been there, could’ve picked up quite a lot before they did anything about it. I wonder how many did although it looks a pretty horrendous accident so I guess most people had other things on their minds. But once the ambulances had gone, maybe they had a few moments!!

We now have a nice new basin in our smallest bathroom with new faucets and everything. We still need more plumbing work done; I gather they are trying to get everything done before the new superintendent arrives rather than deluge him with problems. The plumber told us he had been working here 3 days already. Stuff which should have been done months ago.

We finally had the shrimp and beans with feta recipe which I posted a couple of days ago. I used flat beans and despite cooking for 25 minutes, they were still not properly cooked, for future reference I would cook the beans before adding them to the recipe.

This picture looked very appealing – I probably won’t try the cake as I would be the one to guzzle most of it and I ain’t supposed to!!!

Blueberry Coffee Cake

ByThe Food Gal
WebMD Recipe from

When life gives you an extra cup of sour cream, what to do? Why, make sugary, wonderful blueberry coffee cake, of course.

OK, so that’s my logic when I had leftover sour cream in the fridge from making another dish. After all, why let all that creamy lusciousness go to waste? With the addition of a little cake flour, plus a nifty trick where you create a poofy rising agent from mixing the sour cream with the baking soda, this recipe creates a sweet treat blueberry_coffee_cakewith a tender, moist, and very soft crumb. It’s from “Baking by Flavor” (John Wiley & Sons) by baking specialist Lisa Yockelson.

Yes, there’s quite a bit of granulated and brown sugar in the topping. But hey, it wouldn’t be coffee cake without it. Plus, this cake has a cup of fresh blueberries strewn throughout. With blueberries so rich in antioxidants, you can tell yourself this cake actually might be just a tiny bit good for you. That’s my logic, and I’m sticking to it.


Nonstick cooking spray, for preparing baking pan

For cinnamon and sugar topping:
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar, sieved if lumpy
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For cake batter:
1 cup thick, cultured sour cream
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons un-sifted bleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup un-sifted bleached cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Film the inside of a 9-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly combine granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and cinnamon; set aside.

Combine sour cream and baking soda in a medium-size mixing bowl. The mixture will swell and puff a bit as it stands.

Sift flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg onto a sheet of waxed paper. In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly toss blueberries with 1 ½ teaspoons of sifted mixture. The blueberries must be well coated with the flour mixture, so that they remain suspended in the cake batter.

Cream butter in large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderately low speed for 2 minutes. Add superfine sugar and beat 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract.

On low speed, add half of sifted ingredients, the sour cream-baking soda blend, then the remaining sifted mixture. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently with a rubber spatula to keep the batter even-textured. The batter will be moderately thick. Fold in blueberries.

Scrape batter into prepared baking pan. Smooth over the top with a rubber spatula or flexible palette knife. Sprinkle topping evenly over surface of batter.

Bake cake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until set and a wooden pick inserted in the cake withdraws clean. Cool cake in pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes before cutting into squares for serving. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

Total Servings: 16

Have a great day


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Passports, TV, Books,

PassportWe had an expensive day today, after lunch we went and had passport pictures taken, $33 and then went to the passport office and paid for one each, $174 – its costly to travel today. Canadian passports only last 5 years, we could have British passports which are for 10 years, but they wouldn’t be as convenient travelling to the States.  Our pictures look absolutely terrible of course, but then I have never, in my life, had a decent passport picture. My very first passport picture, I looked like one of the women who ran the prison camps during WWII. At least it didn’t long in the passport office, sometimes the wait time can be pretty horrendous but I guess the whole thing took about half an hour.

I’ve been watching a programme called Missing with Ashley Judd playing an ex CIABecca Winstone operative who hasn’t been active in 10 years, looking for her son who has been kidnapped. She lost her hubby in the first episode. 10 years later her son is kidnapped and she has no idea why. Its quite enjoyable if a bit far fetched. But then I am able to suspend disbelief very easily. As far as reading is concerned I have been getting a lot of free Kindle books some good, some bad, at present I am reading an Anne McCaffery book about the brain ships. I am not sure if that was a freebie or not, I suspect not. I love the brain ship stories. This contains 2 or three. Mercedes Lackey is also involved in the selection

I like Beef Stroganoff and when I saw a Kraft version, it made me decide to share an actual version of the recipe. This one comes from which is a great site for recipes. This recipe was, reputedly, invented for a Russian general named Stroganov and was ‘discovered’ by soldiers returning from World War II. This recipe uses tenderloin. The Kraft slow cooker version uses stewing beef which would make the meal a lot cheaper, but somehow not the same.

Beef Stroganoff
  • 1 2 1/2-pound piece beef tenderloin, well trimmed, meat cut into stroganoff2x1x1/2 inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 pound small button mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup canned beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac
  • 3/4 cup crème fraîche or whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • tablespoon paprika

Pat meat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat until very hot. Working in batches, add meat in single layer and cook just until brown on outside, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped shallots and sauté until tender, scraping up browned bits, about 2 minutes. Add button mushrooms. Sprinkle with pepper and sauté until liquid evaporates, about 12 minutes. Add beef broth, then Cognac. Simmer until liquid thickens and just coats mushrooms, about 14 minutes. Stir in crème fraîche and Dijon mustard. Add meat and any accumulated juices from baking sheet. Simmer over medium-low heat until meat is heated through but still medium-rare, about 2 minutes. Stir in chopped dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide noodles among plates. Top with beef and sauce. Sprinkle generously with paprika.

Have a great day

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Candied Violets, Mariana Trench, Hunting Trumps, Storing Sausage

Candied VioletsI forgot to mention yesterday that I had found a source for Candied Violets at, not that they will ship them into Canada. For a 6.5 oz. bag of violets you would have to pay $64.62. I just about fell off my chair. Almost as expensive as Saffron. The violets are apparently made in France. I didn’t ask at my local deli store, Vincenzo’s, how much they charge, but I don’t think I want to know, I will just make ‘em myself. When I used to buy them in England I don’t remember they were any kind of expensive like that, but then I certainly wouldn’t have bought as many at one time. I’ll have to get myself properly set up and the next time my violet decides to flower, I will be ready to make my own. Pansies flower more often so I had better get ready anyway.

Great story in the news, James Cameron a photographer for the National Mariana Deep ChallengerGeographic has completed a torpedo submarine dive into the Mariana Trench thereby creating a record for being the first to dive so deep, 6.8 miles. I am wondering what kind of photographs were achieved as it would have been so very dark down there. We will no doubt see them soon. My only problem is that to surface they had to dump metal plates from the Challenger which means large lumps of metal deposited in a pristine environment. Pity they couldn’t think of some other way to achieve ascent. It is still an historical event and one that will go down in history books.

Donald Trump Jr.Talking of environmental things, there is something of a furore about Donald Trump’s sons and their recent hunting trip in Zimbabwe. Matt says its because of who they are, maybe, but nobody would have known about it if they hadn’t posted pictures of themselves with their trophies. This one of Donald Jr. shows him holding the tail of the elephant he has just shot, you can see the elephant in the corner. Most people seem to be disgusted and contemptuous about the whole thing. In the blog of Ben Travoto – The Whipping Boy he has written an open letter to the Trumps which I think is excellent. They are saying the money goes towards conservation – you shoot to conserve? Couldn’t daddy have just made a major contribution to the cause, $50 million or so would be good.

Wonders will never cease, I bowled well yesterday. Twice in a row, the way things have been lately, that is incredible. Before we started, we were chatting to our Sausageteam captain who said she wouldn’t be there next week because she was going to help her mother ‘put up sausage’, it turns out that what her mother has been doing for many years is making sausage from pork butchered by her son and then smoked and then made into sausages. She then cooks them, and stands them in clean jars which are filled with fat, then turned upside down for storage. I guess They last years apparently and taste as though they had just been cooked. I had never heard of this before and was fascinated Wikipedia has never heard of it either. It turns out people did the same with chickens although as our captain said, if her family wanted chicken they just went to the barn and got one. I have asked for some pictures. She was telling us a number of fascinating stories about her family and living on a farm. I said she should write it all down for her kids. I very much regret I don’t have the stories my father used to tell when he was alive.

This is what we are planning to have for supper tonight so I thought I would share it with you.

Shrimp with Green Beans and Feta Cheeseshrimp beans feta

2 Tbs (30 ml) olive oil
1 lb (450 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs (675 g) green beans (haricots), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
2 15 oz cans chopped tomatoes, thoroughly drained
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white wine
2 Tbs (30 ml) lemon juice
8 oz (225 g) crumbled feta cheese
Cooked rice or pasta of your choice

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat and sauté the garlic for about 1 minute. Add the green beans, tomatoes, and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook covered until the beans are tender but still crisp, about 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and lemon juice and top with the feta cheese and cook covered until the shrimp are pink and firm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Serve on top of cooked rice or pasta. Serves 4 to 6.

Have a great day


Monday, March 26, 2012

Jaan Pehechaan Ho, Dinner Party, Bowling.

I have been wondering for a while about a Heineken beer commercial which plays on our TVs, there is a song in it which I really like. Turns out, after a little research it is Hindi and is Jaan Pehechaan Ho which apparently means “to be known”. I found a video of a dance to this song, somewhat odd choreography but the music itself really appeals to me. It makes me want to dance. You may not like it, I don’t think Matt does.

Dinner on Saturday night seemed to work very well although one of our friends was unable to make it at the last minute due to a migraine. Horrible things. Luckily one seems to grow out of them. My mother did and I have done so too. For starters we served Convent Eggs which we are particularly fond of and then Cold Quinoa Salad for the main course. All plates were emptied so that is a good sign.

I wonder how bowling will go today, I would like to think I would do as well as Cheshire CatFriday, but doubt I will be that lucky. I decided to use the disappearing cat instead of my usual bowling pictures. I always think of this as a Cheshire cat although I think it’s the one from Alice in Wonderland. Having been born in Cheshire, I identify with it. That reminds me, I came across an interview with Satima (Satima’s Blogspot) which I had completely forgotten about and have now posted a link in the information section about me on the right. This happened in 2009 and it had slipped my mind. I was quite interested to read what I had said LOL.

I am delighted to report that my meringues turned out beautifully. I usually Meringues 001don’t have a lot of success with them, so I am patting myself on the back. The three flowers turned out OK too although I got a bit too much egg white on them I think. I must get myself a suitable brush to do that again. One can crystallise many flowers, but I don’t see the point of doing one’s you can’t eat. For the dessert on Saturday I did a Ginger Pudding which was quite different from any I had seen before, I have no idea where I got the recipe, but I have since seen a version of it on another blog. Sadly when I unmoulded the dessert it didn’t keep its shape so I ended up putting it in individual dishes. As I only had the three flowers, I had to halve a couple of them. I served the meringues at the same time. However, the dessert was delicious just the same.

Ginger Pudding

3 cups milk, dividedGinger Pudding
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs cornstarch
dash of salt
3 large egg yolks
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine 2 1/2 cups milk and ginger in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.

2. Combine 1/2 cup milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk until well-blended. Gradually stir one-fourth of the hot milk mixture into egg mixture; add to remaining milk mixture, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook 1 minute or until thick and creamy, stirring constantly. Remove mixture from heat; stir in butter, rind, and vanilla. Pour into a bowl; cover surface of the pudding with plastic wrap. Chill.

Servings: 6

Have a great day


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Air Miles Cash, Bowling, Crystallised Flowers,

Air MilesDid you know you can now use your Air Miles for cash in certain stores – you can check at the Air Miles site for which stores in your area. It appears to be an exchange rate of 95 for $10. We never accumulate that many Air Miles, but a few years ago we got a hotel for free when we were flying to the UK and now I think we can get a full tank of gas (even at today’s prices) so, not a lot, but its still free gas. Basically there are not many places where we shop that are members of the Air Miles programme which is why we don’t get many.

Having been moaning and groaning everywhere about how badly I have been bowling lately, I was thrilled, yesterday, to have three excellent games. I don’t have to hang my head in shame any more, LOL. Bowling is the oddest game out, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for why one can bowl so well one minute and so badly the next. We all do it, even the professionals have off days, if not as many.

I then decided to look for crystallised violets. You would think I was asking for a Vulcan product or something, the looks I got. One store clerk thought I was after flowers about which he assured me, he knew nothing. I ended up traipsing around three stores by wFlowers 001hich time, I was knackered. Its very odd that all the baking supplies are at the other end of the store, the back end usually. When I got home I phone Vincenzo’s which is my favourite deli store and they said they usually carry them, but were out of stock. Glad we didn’t make the effort to go back there. I then decided to try making my own. I happened to have some egg whites in the fridge so I used some of those, beat them until they were foamy, covered three flower heads, 2 pansies and one violet (all I had) and then coated them in sugar. As of the time of writing, I am not quite sure how they will turn out, they have to dry over night. In fact, I also decided to make meringues  out of the rest of the egg whites – once they are done and sitting drying in a cooling oven, I will put the flowers in with them to dry out as well. Never tried it before so will be interested to see how they turn out. I have never been that successful with meringues either so keep your fingers crossed for me. I will tell you on Monday how it all turned out. By the way, there is a useful chart here telling which flowers are edible. I already knew some and have used them without crystallising but others I had no idea.

All of this because we have a dinner party tonight so we will both be busy today.

Got an email with Mad Men Cocktails (Mad Men being a popular TV programme, if you don’t know). Manhattan is one of my favourites, but this is not the way we make it. I actually have a Rob Roy which is made with Scotch, but basically they are the same. I don’t put Grand Marnier in mine and I add a couple of Maraschino cherries instead of the twists. Pretty good drink anyway. These can be pretty lethal so be careful with them.

manhattancocktailManhattan Cocktail


    1. Ice
    2. 12 ounces sweet vermouth
    3. 8 ounces rye
    4. 2 ounces Grand Marnier
    5. 16 dashes of Angostura bitters
    6. 8 orange or lemon twists
    1. Fill a pitcher two-thirds full with ice. Add the vermouth, rye, Grand Marnier and bitters and stir for 30 seconds to chill. Strain into 8 chilled martini glasses; top each with a twist.

    Have a great weekend


    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Biters, Killed Orca, Earth Hour

    mosquitoesUh Oh, something I hadn’t thought about, but according to this article the bugs may be hitting us earlier this year because of the mild temps and early arrival of spring. In fact, people keep saying they are sure we will get one more winter blast, maybe that would be a good thing if the biting bugs are already out, they too might get zapped by the cold weather. The article particularly mentions black-flyblack flies which so far, I have never encountered, not having been further north in black fly season, but from all I hear about them, I really don’t want to meet any black flies thank you. Mosquitoes are more than enough and they are everywhere. I am one of those people who are particularly attractive to mozzies – I can sit next to Matt and get eaten alive and he doesn’t get one bite – he swears it’s the tonic in his G & T. I was told by a local in the Dominican Republic that it was because I had a high concentration of Vitamin B which attracted them. Not sure how you get your body not to produce Vitamin B and do I want to anyway. All power to the people who bed Bugsallowed these bugs to bite them in order to get a good picture. I’m damned if I would have stood still for that. That reminds me, I talked to my foot nurse about bed bugs and it appears she is super fussy and when she goes to a hotel, which she does frequently, she strips the bed to be sure there are no bugs on the sheets. There appears to have been a plague of the stupid things in North America in the last couple of years. They truly make me feel sick. Yuk. Almost wish I hadn’t included this last part.

    Very sad story in the news, a 3 yr. old female orca has been killed in an explosion Killer Whalewhich they believe was caused by the US military although they deny it. The whale washed up on the coast of Washington last month. Scientists believe other whales could have been killed at the same time. There were 38 seals killed last year as well and scientists are very worried about the endangered pods of orcas which could be wiped out with these blasts. I can’t believe anyone would carry out underwater explosions in areas where such things can happen.

    My  apologies that I didn’t post a complete recipe yesterday, it was pointed out to me on Facebook so I added the salad dressing so now its OK. I have kind of been concentrating on dinner for Saturday, have guests coming, so my mind must have been elsewhere, sorry about that.

    Earth HourThe reminders are coming in thick and fast for Earth Hour on March 31 when we are all supposed to turn off our lights for one hour at 8:30 p.m. I was all set to do so last year and somehow forgot. Shame on me. I will be sure not to forget this year. The idea behind it is to raise awareness of all the things we need to do to protect and cherish the earth we live on.

    I have never used tomatillos, I really don’t know very much about them. I guess this would be a good chance to try them.

    Mediterranean Chicken and Spinach Rice Bake

    ByThe Gluten Free Goddessmediterranean_chicken_and_spinach_rice_bake
    WebMD Recipe from

    Looking for weeknight supper ideas? This super simple toss-together recipe is budget-friendly and versatile. If you don't have chicken on hand try using pieces of cooked turkey or your favorite sausage. Vegetarian? Use a can of white or black beans instead. The Mediterranean and Santa Fe -- thanks to the fresh and unexpected spike from tomatillos -- flavors in this fabulous recipe cozy up to a parade of proteins.

    A family favorite from the archives, this is easy comfort food to bake and savor before the fall begins its alchemy, spinning green into gold.

    You'll love the combo of tomatillos and spinach. The citrus zing of the tomatillos adds a definite zip to the usual greens.

    This recipe makes 6 servings.


    1 2-lb bag frozen chopped spinach
    2-3 tomatillos, cored, chopped
    3 large ripe plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
    6 cloves garlic, chopped
    Sea salt
    Gluten-free Lemon Pepper seasoning
    4-6 oz. marinated mozzarella, sliced
    4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
    3 large boneless split chicken breasts
    Olive oil, as needed
    2 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced
    Balsamic vinegar, as needed
    2 cups cooked brown rice or brown basmati rice


    Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Thaw the spinach a bit (and pat dry if necessary) so you can scatter half of it in the bottom of a large baking dish. Sprinkle half of the tomatillos, tomatoes, and garlic on top. Season the mixture with sea salt and lemon pepper. Scatter half the cheeses.

    In the meantime, heat up a large skillet and brown the chicken breasts in a little olive oil. Season the mixture with sea salt and Lemon Pepper.

    Remove the chicken from the pan and cut it into bite-size pieces.

    Sauté the Portobello slices in a little olive oil and good splash of balsamic vinegar, till tender.

    Add the cooked chicken and the Portobello to the spinach mixture. Spoon on the rice. Top with the remaining spinach, tomatillos, tomatoes and garlic. Add the remaining sliced mozzarella and goat cheese. Put the pan in the oven. Bake until done, about 25 to 30 minutes, till heated through.

    Light a few candles and gather for a feast. This will serve six.

    Savor slowly.

    Total Servings: 6

    Have a great day


    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Logitech, Smoothie, Sugar Dog.

    Logitech logoI’m impressed. I have a wireless mouse for my laptop – its made by Logitech. The little gadget (like a flash drive) which fits in the USB port came apart with the metal staying inside the machine. Matt managed to fish it out. I phoned Logitech and they are sending me a new Mouse. Excellent service.  Meanwhile a customer has returned a gadget which I sold them late last year, it is a nail buffer and when you switch it on the head flies off. It nearly hit my customer in the eye. Avon do not want to know. For such an international company I am extremely disgusted. I wonder what would have happened if it had damaged her eye!!

    For some reason, late afternoon yesterday, the heat really got to me and knocked Smoothieme for a loop. I felt as though I was boiling, and didn’t feel good at all. Nor was I hungry. In the end after cooling down a tad, I made myself a smoothie. I have never had a smoothie and didn’t think I would like it, but, after Googling for some recipes, and already knowing I didn’t have a lot of suitable stuff handy, I peeled and orange and blended it, then added some whole milk and a dash of vanilla and finally ice and a banana. It was delicious. I am converted. It looked a bit like the ones in the picture except I didn’t decorate it for me. My friends have been recommending smoothies for years, I should have listened.

    service-dog-keevaLovely story in the news about a dog being trained to recognise signs of low or high blood sugar in a 7 yr. old child with type 1 diabetes. Keeva is a trained service dog and will eventually learn to do other things like fetch juice or use a paw pad to dial 911 if necessary. Damned expensive animal though, $19,000 but the family feel its worth it for their peace of mind. At the moment Keeva is only a puppy but will be constantly learning as she gets to know the youngster and recognise his smell. There is a video on the news page.

    Before we came to Canada I don’t think I had ever eaten raw spinach. I tasted it, I liked it. I’ve been eating it one way or another ever since.

    Loaded Spinach Salad

    From EatingWell: March/April 2007, The EatingWell Diet (2007)

    Like many spinach salads, this one features lots of chopped-up hard-boiled egg. But since most of the calories in an egg are in the yolk, we use just two whole Spinach Saladeggs, plus the whites from six additional eggs. The result is a rich, eggy, satisfying spinach salad that keeps the calories in check.

    2 servings

    • 8 large eggs
    • 6 cups baby spinach
    • 4 tablespoons Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing, divided (recipe follows)
    • 1 8-ounce can beets, rinsed and sliced
    • 1 cup carrots, shredded
    • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)
    1. Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at the lowest simmer for 10 minutes. Pour off the hot water and run cold water over the eggs until they are completely cooled. Peel the eggs, discard 6 of the yolks, chop the remaining yolks and whites.
    2. Toss spinach and 2 tablespoons dressing in a large bowl. Divide between 2 plates. Top with chopped eggs, beets, carrots and pecans. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons dressing.

    Per serving :300 Calories; 13 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 216 mg Cholesterol; 26 g Carbohydrates; 22 g Protein; 8 g Fiber; 823 mg Sodium; 592 mg Potassium

    1 Carbohydrate Serving

    Exchanges: 4 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat

    Tips & Notes
    • Tip: To toast chopped nuts & seeds: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.


    Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

      From EatingWell: March/April 2007, The EatingWell Diet (2007)

      Creamy blue cheese dressing is still rich and delicious when you make it with low-fat dairy products and reduced-fat mayonnaise. Choose the tangiest aged blue cheese you can find; its flavor will go a long way.

      Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing Recipe

      1 1/4 cups


      • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
      • 1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk, or nonfat milk
      • 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
      • 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar, or white vinegar
      • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, mustard
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
      • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, (1 ounce)
      1. Whisk mayonnaise, buttermilk (or milk), yogurt, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Add cheese and stir, mashing with a spoon until the cheese is incorporated.
      Tips & Notes
      • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Stir before using.

    Have a great day


    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Scams, Ultra Sound, Hypoglycemia

    scamJust been reading a story about an elderly woman in British Columbia who was one of the latest to be scammed in the “grandson scam” where someone calls and pretends to be a grandson in trouble, DUI for instance, and needing money for lawyers, bail, etc. etc. and to keep it secret as he doesn’t want parents to know. In this instance they got $20,000 off the woman – some of which she had to borrow from the bank, TD Canada Trust, who, now this is out in the open, have refused to waive the amount of the loan even though they know this woman, who is 87 by the way, is existing on a basic pension. It appears very little is being done about these latest scams, the son, in the article, says the police don’t seem to be that interested. Of course nothing can be done if these scammers are not caught red handed. They have amassed millions already according to the article. The elderly are particularly vulnerable, but anyone can be scammed at any time, we none of us believe it can happen to us.

    I went for my ultrasound yesterday afternoon and apparently my stents are doing angioswell and allowing the blood to flow pretty freely. Apparently I will be having a check up on this every 6 months or so. Interesting, the first stent from 2004 nobody bothered to check it, of course it is also being checked now since my angioplasty last June. My left leg is somewhat plugged up too, but the advice is, it its not troubling me, leave it alone, so leave it alone I will. Still have a lot of edema as a result of the op though which is a bit of a nuisance. One thing I really dislike about ultrasounds is the gunk the spread all over the areas they are checking which takes forever to dry and is somewhat revolting when one is trying to get rid of it. No idea what they use. All I can find is that its ultrasound gel and a conductive medium.

    testingHmm, just come across an article about drivers being in diabetic shock or having hypoglycemia and therefore causing accidents. I don’t know, but I was told never to drive under 5.0 mmol/L or go to bed under 7.0 mol?/L that’s about 90 mg/dL in the US and 126 mg/dL. So I really don’t know why anyone with diabetes would be driving in unsafe conditions, especially in Canada where we can get our diabetic supplies for free so there is no excuse for not testing if you feel the slightest bit unwell. Its not as though its difficult to do and if you are driving for work, you should certainly be carrying your monitor with you.

    Whilst I was being plastered with gel, Matt spent forever reading a 2 yr old magazine. He said it was pretty tatty and so he made it tattier by tearing out a Jacques Pépin recipe he found for one of my favourite foods, yes asparagus. It will soon be here I hope. He talks about peeling the asparagus stems, but if you buy fresh from somewhere like Barrie’s Asparagus, it is totally unnecessary. He also cuts the asparagus, whereas the picture shows them uncut.

    Asparagus in Mustard Sauce

    From Delish

    Recipe courtesy of Jacques Pépin.

    I peel the asparagus stalks for this recipe (so they are completely edible) and cook them in just enough water so that most of it has evaporated by the time the asparagus is cooked, thus preserving the vitamins and nutrients in the vegetable. The pungent mustard dressing should be served at room Asparagus in Mustard Saucetemperature.

    Serves: 4


    1 1/4 pound(s) asparagus (about 15 stalks)

    • 3/4 cup(s) water
    • 1 tablespoon(s) Dijon-style mustard
    • 2 tablespoon(s) canola oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt


    1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom third of the asparagus stalks to remove the fibrous skin. Cut the asparagus diagonally into 2- to 3-inch pieces. (You should have about 3 cups.)
    2. Place the asparagus in a stainless steel saucepan, and add the water. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes, until the asparagus is just tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
    3. Drain off any remaining water, and place the asparagus in a bowl. Add the mustard, oil, pepper, and salt, and mix well. Serve at room temperature.

    From Jacques Pepin's Table ©2003 Bay Soma Publishing

    Have a great day