Thursday, May 31, 2012

Movies, Gruesome Mail, Fabergé, Plastic Money.

Marigold Hotel2This evening, I am definitely going to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I am really looking forward to seeing it as I have now heard a number of people say how good it is. Particularly friends from England, it is, they tell me, very English in humour. I just hope the friend who is going with me will appreciate English humour. We can be difficult to understand, we tend to say funny things with straight faces and many times, other nationalities don’t realise we are joking.

Very odd story hit the headlines yesterday, two body parts have been mailed toremoving foot Ottawa, one, a foot, was mailed to the Conservative Party headquarters and a hand was found at Canada Post Terminal. They are being sent for forensic examination, but what a peculiar thing to do, and how utterly gruesome. The foot was somewhat decomposed and so police are contacting funeral homes to see if any have lost body parts. Its peculiar because for a while unexplained feet were washing up on the west coast and as far as I am aware, that has never been solved either. Maybe there is a manic funeral director on the loose. Apparently the police now have a suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta, whom they think might have filmed the killing. A torso was discovered in Montreal prior to the mail delivery of the limbs.

Being extremely fond of all things Fabergé, I was delighted with the Google Doodle faberge12-hpyesterday celebrating Peter Carl Fabergé’s 166th birthday (hope he enjoyed it). We were lucky enough to see some of the eggs and several other items on displaySpring Flowers Egg at Middleton Place in Charleston, SC, a few years ago. They used to have one egg permanently on loan there, the Spring Flowersstrawberries faberge1b Egg, but this particular time, they had a lot more items loaned to them for display. They also sell copies which can be used as pendants, etc. – they are made by Fabergé but not of such precious metals and stones. I have two of them which I love. The picture here doesn’t really do justice to the egg. I have a poster which I was given in S.C. which is a much better picture of the item. This is a House of Fabergé photo. I just had to include the strawberries picture, I think it is so lovely, and so clever too. I wish I were financially in the market to buy such beautiful things. Of course many of the eggs were Easter gifts to or for the Russian royal family. I'm going to miss the Google Doodle tomorrow.

Some of you may remember, I sell Avon. Tonight someone paid me with one of $50the new plastic $50 bills, to me, it doesn’t look like money at all. I was warned not to put it in the wash as they disintegrate. That is unlikely to happen, but why would plastic disintegrate I wonder. I have since done a bit of Googling and this is a link to an article about polymer money.

This recipe came from South Beach Diet and I thought it was rather unusual. I must confess I have never heard of chili-garlic sauce, but it seems to be something available in groceries.

Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Stir-Fry

Chili-garlic sauce is a common Asian ingredient that brings a tangy-hot flavor to Spicy Shrim & Bok Choyalmost any dish. It can be used both for cooking and as a condiment when you want a little extra heat. Look for brands with no added sugar in the Asian section of most large supermarkets.

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced and kept separate
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 pounds bok choy, sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce

In a large bowl, combine shrimp, scallion whites, and garlic. In a wok or a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large clean bowl.

Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add bok choy, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain any liquid from the skillet and add bok choy to bowl with shrimp.

Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add soy sauce and chili-garlic sauce; stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add shrimp mixture and toss until coated. Cook briefly, just to reheat. Stir in scallion greens and serve warm.

Have a great day

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dust Devil, Bowling, Carmen Jones.

dust devilSomething I have been meaning to mention and keep forgetting, we turned into a road on our way to Cambridge the other day and saw a small dust devil at the side of the road. It really wasn’t very big at all, but fascinating to watch, it didn’t last very long and disappeared up into the air. No idea what caused it. I tried to find a picture but all the ones I can see are huge monsters. This one is still too big. I guess you could say it was a  baby devil. Even if I had been carrying a camera, I wouldn’t have been quick enough to take a picture.

Bowling yesterday was fairly mediocre, but I have pushed my average up pretty high for me over the last two weeks so I guess I won't be sorry to see it come down, not that it will decrease much, I wasn't that bad yesterday. Matt, of course, can't wait for the doc's all clear to start bowling himself.

Last night we decided to start watching Carmen Jones which was made in Carmen Jonesthe ‘50s. Its based on the opera Carmen by Bizet. However, I got bored (had seen it years ago) because there wasn’t enough music which is what the original was all about after all. Apparently Dorothy Dandridge, who was the lead, was the first black woman ever to be nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the movie. The male lead was Harry Belafonte. I didn’t know until last night that neither of them sang but were dubbed as the quality needed was opera standard. I wandered off for a while and then went back and ended up blubbering at the end. It really is a sad story but I do love the music. I had forgotten how they had changed the story for Carmen Jones, originally the story is based round a cigar factory and a toreador. This movie is a parachute factory and a famous boxer. Pearl Bailey is also in the movie and she does sing her own songs.

I found this recipe some years ago and thought I would repeat it as it is a delicious way of serving asparagus.

Asparagus Strudel

Asparagus Strudel
Ontario Asparagus Growers

12 oz (375 g) Ontario asparagus, trimmed 
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil 
2 shallots, finely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
3 oz (90 g) Swiss cheese, shredded 
1/4 cup (50 mL) sour cream 
salt and pepper 
1/4 cup (50 mL) dry bread crumbs 
1 tbsp (15 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
6 sheets phyllo pastry 
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, melted 

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce 
2 large roasted red peppers, seeded and peeled 
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh basil 

Cut asparagus into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) pieces; steam or simmer just until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Place in large bowl. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat; cook shallots and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly. Add to bowl. Add cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste to bowl; mix well.
In small bowl, combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese; set aside. 
Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C). Lightly grease baking sheet. Place one sheet of phyllo on clean work surface with long side closest to you, keeping remaining sheets covered with waxed paper and damp tea towel. Brush with melted butter; sprinkle with about 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the bread crumb mixture. Cover with another sheet of phyllo, butter and bread crumbs. Top with third sheet of phyllo; butter sheet. Cut in half crosswise to make 2 stacks. Place one-quarter of the filling along one short end of stack, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) uncovered at each end. Roll phyllo up and over filling to completely enclose it. Fold long ends over toward filling; continue rolling strudel. Brush all over with butter. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; brush with butter. 
Repeat with remaining stack. Make 2 more strudels with remaining ingredients. (The strudels may be prepared to this point and frozen for up to 1 month; bake frozen.) Bake strudels for 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is heated through and pastry is golden brown. 

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
In food processor or blender, combine red peppers, basil and 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the vinegar; process until smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if desired. Pour into small saucepan and bring to simmer over low heat. Serve under or beside strudels. 

Yield: Serves 4 

Have a great day

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Storms, World’s Biggest Flower, Georgia Davis, New Books.

I can’t believe its still May and we have already had two named storms on the east Berylcoast of the States, Alberto and Beryl. Beryl was bouncing around the coast on Sunday and people were battening down the hatches, but she was never forecast to be more than a strong tropical storm with winds in the 65 mph range. Friends in Florida said they got lots of heavy rain, wish we could have some of that here, we are basically in drought conditions. On Sunday the radio from Tilsonburg was saying how much rain they had had, it didn’t move up here and we are not much over an hour away. I once did a rain dance and the rain started instantly, maybe I should do another one LOL. The picture shows Beryl on Saturday.

Fascinating video turned up on Facebook yesterday of the Titan Arum blooming at the Eden Project in Devon, UK. Apparently it bloomed last year – the bloom lasted about 48 hours and they had been waiting 6 years for its appearance. Hardly seems worth it. Then the damned thing stinks anyway, nothing you could put in your vase LOL

I was astounded last Friday that I got hundreds of visitors to my blog page. Checking it out through the counters you see on the right, it appears that a blog I wrote in 2009 was drawing lots of people, I couldn’t figure out why unless it was Georgia Davis (17) is Britain's fattest teenager weighing around 40 stonesomething to do with the section on Witchcraft which was only really a reference to Glenda Larke’s blog on the subject that day. I thought it was the current day’s blog which was drawing people, how disappointing. It could also be to do with the story about the young girl who went from the UK to the Wellspring Academy in NC in order to lose weight. I have no idea. I then decided to Google and it seems that it could be this story. Apparently this young girl, Georgia Davis ended up at 63 stone or 882 lbs. and recently had to be removed from her home by cutting down a wall – she couldn’t stand up. How terribly sad that she had done so well in the States and now, according to the Daily Mail, sheGeorgia Davis on This Morning on 23 Feb 2011 has regressed so badly – due to love??? I wonder what the Wellspring Academy things about all that? What a tragedy for a young girl to end up in such a state. She is around 17-18 yrs. old. Matt, who has been slim all his life, cannot understand what made her do such a thing. Although I have struggled with weight, I can’t understand it either, especially as she did so well when she came to the States. She was interviewed on Good Morning America and was so happy and proud of her success.

While You Were DeadI have just read two excellent books on my Kindle by C.J. Snyder, While You Were Dead and Dead Reckoning. I literally couldn’t put Dead Reckoningthem down. They were combination love stories and thrillers with some really bad baddies. Best stories I have read in a while despite the fact that I have recently been reading a bunch of dragon stories. The books are based around the operations of a group called Black Fire who’s job, basically, is to dispose of unwanted people, predominantly as snipers. Of course the heroes in both stories are drop dead gorgeous and there is a third novel due to come out some time this year. One thing I did find, the sex was not overdone like so many romances I have read in the last year or so. I personally don’t need a blow by blow description.

Haven’t had an asparagus recipe lately, so here is a good one.

Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Penne Salad with Goat Cheese

Make an upscale pasta salad that’s company worthy by combining penne pasta, roasted asparagus, arugula, Herbes de Provence and goat cheese and tossing with a lemony vinaigrette. Serve immediately or cover and chill for 2 hours for a asparagus-tomato-salad-ck-lcold pasta salad.

Cooking Light MAY 2011

  • Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups pasta mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese)


  • 2 cups uncooked penne or mostaccioli (tube-shaped pasta)
  • 12 asparagus spears
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain and set aside.

3. Place asparagus and tomatoes on a jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Toss gently to coat; arrange asparagus and tomato mixture in a single layer. Bake at 400° for 6 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Remove asparagus from pan. Place pan back in oven, and bake tomatoes an additional 4 minutes. Remove tomatoes from pan; let asparagus and tomatoes stand 10 minutes. Cut asparagus into 1-inch lengths; halve tomatoes.

4. Combine shallots and the next 4 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

5. Place pasta, asparagus, tomato, olives, and arugula in a large bowl; toss. Drizzle juice mixture over pasta mixture; toss. Sprinkle with cheese.

Have a great day


Monday, May 28, 2012

Space Dragons, New Species, Freezer, Losing Weight, Chia.

Happy Memorial Day to all my friends in the US. I hope you don't have too much that is sad to remember and can recall all the good things this day can also mean to you.

Fascinating article over the weekend about the privately funded Dragon supply canadarm and dragonship taking supplies to the space station. Glenda Larke commented that sci fi and science were coming together. You can look at that two ways, Dragons (as in creatures) and space stations, or the subjects written by sci fi writers now coming true. Nasa having backed off a lot of space research and technology, private companies were very much needed to fill the gap. There was a recent report on one company which is planning to mine asteroids for their abundance of materials. All of this is very much what sci fi writers have been writing about for years. I just wish some of them were still around to see what is happening today, especially one of my favourites, Isaac Asimov. The picture shows the Canadarm2 pulling the unmanned SpaceX Dragon to the space station. There are some fascinating shots accompanying the article. This picture is from NASA.

Another fascinating series about the top 10 new species discovered in 2011. One Sneezing Monkeyof which is a monkey called the Sneezing Monkey because of its tendency to sneeze when it rains!!! This animal was found in Burma and is believed to be a highly endangered species. Then there is the fruity smelling mushroom which they have called Spongebob Square Pants which was found Yellow Poppyin Malaysia. The picture is apparently a photo reconstruction of the monkey. There are more photos on the site which can be seen here including, of course, the Spongebob mushroom. It is always incredible to me that we are still discovering new species after all the scientific exploration which has been taking place for so long. I am surprised there is anything left to discover. Another discovery is the Meconopsis autumnalis which is a yellow poppy which grows in the high mountain regions of Nepal in areas which are seldom visited. The pictures are from Arizona State University.

Freezers-Frosted_Up_Freezer1Saturday – one of my least favourite jobs, defrosting the freezer. Actually it wasn’t too bad this time thanks goodness. Used to be easy when living in NC, the freezer was in the shed – we unloaded it and just turned it off and left the door open, defrosted in no time at all – in summer of course. We have to use a lot of towels in an apartment otherwise water would get everywhere. What I don’t understand, if they can make a fridge with a freezer on top that is frost free, why on earth can’t they make a whole freezer frost free? Not that I would ever let our freezer get this frozen up. In the first place, you lose most of the room and in the second place the appliance has to work twice as hard to keep things frozen.
I have a blogger friend who has just won a dieting book. I am receiving inspirational emails from a losing weight source, several people I know have gone to the Scalesextremes of having lap bands or tummy tucks or whatever in an effort to become slimmer. There are hundreds of diet plans, diet foods, exercise places, you name it; after struggling with my weight since I was a child, I have come to the conclusion that none of these things work, or at least, not forever. At least one girl I know decided to have a second operation and nearly died this time. Today she is the same large size as she ever was. I forgot about the friend who had lipo suction. She looked good - for a while. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, there is really and truly only one way to do it. Get your head in gear and start eating sensibly. DO NOT eat more than your body uses on a daily basis. If you are eating a sensible balance of all the food groups, and you are not losing weight, you need to cut back a little, not a lot, but enough to encourage your system not to store the excess. YOU and only YOU can control your weight. I hasten to point out that this is purely and simply MY opinion and only based on observation and experience not on medical fact.

Chia PetsI have been seeing a lot about Chia seeds lately and how good they are for you, better than Flax apparently. Yes, the very same Chia seeds that you spread all over your Chia Pets. One and the same. Who knew? I’ve linked to an article on the top ten benefits of Chia Seeds, think I will have to get myself some. They help control hunger and balance blood sugar apparently. No, I’ve never heard of Pinole, but they say you can use cornmeal and that is easily obtained.

Vegan Pinole-Chia Waffles
ByThe No Meat Athlete
WebMD Recipe from

These aren’t just any vegan waffle -- they’re based on the diet of the Tarahumara, vegan_pinole_chia_wafflesa Mexican tribe of super-athlete ultra-marathoners. Even if you’re not out to run the marathon in record time, these are super tasty, great for a sweet tooth, and dense with nutrients and foods lacking in junk.
3/4 cup medium to finely ground cornmeal or pinole
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup oats, ground
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup hemp milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
If starting with cornmeal instead of pinole, toast it lightly in a pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until it is lightly browned and fragrant. If you are using real pinole, grind in a coffee grinder to make into a fine-textured flour.
Preheat waffle iron.
Stir together the cornmeal, chia, ground oats, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix together the applesauce, hemp milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. (The coconut oil needs to be at warm temperature or warmer to mix, so you may need to microwave it to get it to a liquid state.)
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry to combine into a smooth batter. Spray the waffle iron with baking spray even if it is nonstick, and pour batter into hot iron. Follow the directions of your waffle iron, or wait until the iron stops steaming.
Carefully remove waffles from iron, re-spray the waffle iron with cooking spray, and repeat. This was enough batter to fill my waffle iron two and a half times, making 5 small waffles.
To enjoy immediately, top with maple syrup and the fruits of your choice. Alternatively, slice into bars, freeze and take on your next run.
Total Servings: 4

Have a great day,

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Capers, Lovely Blog Award.

capersYesterday, reading Viveca’s blog, My Guilty Pleasures, she mentioned deep fried capers. I have never heard of that.  I am trying to find out all the details. Apparently they open up into little flowers when you fry them and they are crispy. However, Matt commented, wouldn’t there be a lot of spluttering when you fried them? Ours are generally preserved in brine but they can be preserved in salt, maybe that’s what Viveka uses. Or maybe she is able to buy them fresh. She now tells me she uses the brined version and drains them well before frying.

Talking of Viveka at My Guilty Pleasures she has just awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award which means that I have to a) thank her for the award and then b) follow the rules.

  1. Name the blogger who awarded you this fantastic award
  2. List 7 random facts about yourself
  3. Award 15 other bloggers this award
  4. Enjoy!

Obviously I have named the blogger, now for 7 random facts about myself. What on earth can I say, I think I probably tell people everything about myself in my blogs anyway.

1. I was born in England, in Cheshire so I think of myself as the Cheshire Cat.Cheshire Cat


2.  I love children’s stories about magic such as The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, same for movies although Disney mucks about with the endings.

3.  I have anosmia, that is I lost my sense of smell some 16 odd years ago. No, I don’t know why.

5. I bowl – yes most of you knew that already. Didn’t say it had to be new facts. Of course its 5 pin which other than Canadians, most people haven’t a clue as to what that is. The original game was invented by a Canadian 100 years ago, in 2011, but has been amended somewhat since.

6. Apart from cooking, I am domestically challenged. These days I have an excuse I can’t physically cope, before I was just unwilling to do it if I could possibly put it off. Luckily I have found a real domestic goddess who does a fantastic job.

7.  I can’t stand squid. I have a rule, try everything, if I don’t like it, try again in a couple of years, and so on. Been doing that all my life, most things I end up enjoying. At 15 I couldn’t stand artichokes, these days they are my favourite food. Unfortunately squid has never made it into my repertoire of food I enjoy.

These are my 15 nominations for the award:

  1. Sia McKye from Sia Mckye Over Coffee
  2. Hilary Melton Butcher at Positive Letters …. inspirational stories
  3. Amanda Trought at Inspiration and Creativity
  4. Denine Severino at Words&Music375
  5. Bob Scotney at Bob’s Home for Writing
  6. Lucy Adams at Lucy Adams
  7. Michelle Jones at Michelle Jones and the Family Tales
  8. Alex J. Cavanaugh at Alex J Cavanaugh
  9. Arlee  Bird at Tossing it Out
  10. Damyanti at Amlokiblogs
  11. Glenda Larke at Tropic Temper
  12. Ciara Knight at Turquoise Morning Press
  13. Lover of Words at Of Shoes and Ships and Cabbages and Kings
  14. Patricia at Sugar & Spice and all Things ? Nice
  15. Stephen Tremp at  Welcome to Stephen Tremp’s Website

Years ago, when we used to visit North Carolina regularly, before we lived there, we had a friend from the Philippines – her name was Linda – and at the drop of a hat she would make us Lumpia which we adored. They are kind of like egg rolls, but not. She made a stack of them which we munched whilst sucking down a beer or two. Delicious. Actually Matt makes very good spring rolls. Not for a while though, I must do some nagging.

Filipino Lumpia

Submitted By: LILQTPINAY23lumpia

Photo By: just rell

Servings: 15

"This is a traditional Filipino dish. It is the Filipino version of the egg rolls. It can be served as a side dish or as an appetizer."


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound ground pork

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup minced carrots

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon soy sauce

30 lumpia wrappers

2 cups vegetable oil for frying


Place a wok or large skillet over high heat, and pour in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Cook pork, stirring frequently, until no pink is showing. Remove pork from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan, leaving a thin coating. Cook garlic and onion in the same pan for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked pork, carrots, green onions, and cabbage. Season with pepper, salt, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Remove from heat, and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Place three heaping tablespoons of the filling diagonally near one corner of each wrapper, leaving a 1 1/2 inch space at both ends. Fold the side along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends, and roll neatly. Keep the roll tight as you assemble. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap to retain moisture.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add oil to 1/2 inch depth, and heat for 5 minutes. Slide 3 or 4 lumpia into the oil. Fry the rolls for 1 to 2 minutes, until all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Have a great weekend


Friday, May 25, 2012

Barrie’s Pickles, Blah Day, Kettling,

Pickled VegAfter bowling on Tuesday, we went to get some more asparagus. Tim Barrie had mentioned on Facebook about their pickled vegetables and was offering a discount so, nothing loath, I decided to buy a jar. I opened them later that night and couldn’t stop picking at them, even Matt who isn’t a big pickle person, had some. Delicious. If you are over that way, I recommend you try some, they are good. They are mixed vegetables with peppers, cauliflower, carrots, etc. and, of course, some asparagus. I already like pickled asparagus and have a jar of that on standby.

Bowling itself went well, our team was lying third on Tuesday, Matt’s was in first place, not bad considering he isn’t bowling at the moment. That might change as this week their best bowler wasn’t there so there were only two on the team blahbowling. Personally I had two excellent games and one mediocre. I’ll take it, not that I have much choice in the matter. Wednesday I had a bad day, woke up feeling generally sh*tty so didn’t do much of anything, sorry made some Asparagus soup, but not much else. In the end didn’t go and see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel either, maybe next week. I spent a lot of the day checking and answering comments on my guest post over at A to Z Blogging which was rather fun. I was lucky enough to gain another follower which is always good news. One of my new blogging friends was giving tips on reviving one’s blogging after the challenge, luckily I didn’t find it too difficult because I write nearly every day anyway. I blether a lot as a Scots friend used to say. Must say I never knew how much I could blether before starting a blog. I guess I am lucky though, other than recipes, I don’t have to stick to a theme.

KettleNot sure where I have been, but on CBC news yesterday there was an article about the police kettling some rioters. Kettling? As far as I knew, a kettle was a thing for boiling water. However, I am assured by English friends, that it is a common use for corralling crowds – English origin I wonder. I have certainly never come across it before and maybe the article writer picked it up from another article, like it and is using it. It seems to be an effective way of crowd control although from what I see in pictures, not very popular with the protesters. One sign said ‘teapots against kettling’. Can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. A friend has now sent me an article on the use and possible origins of the word. Interesting reading. Later I received another article which shows that kettling is much more widespread than I had discovered. Guess I have been living in a vacuum.

This recipe looked interesting so I am passing it on to you. It would have made a good recipe for K in my recent efforts for the A to Z Challenge.

Key Lime Meringue CakeKey Lime Meringue Cake

Source: © EatingWell Magazine

Active Time: 1 Hour

Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
12 servings

Click here to find out more!A cake with a meringue? Though not unheard of, this one is definitely a flight of fancy, a cakey version of Key lime pie.
Make Ahead Tip: Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 1 day. Cover and refrigerate the lime filling for up to 1 day. Prepare meringue and assemble the cake just before serving.

For Cake:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, at room temperature (see Cake-Baking Tips)

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest, preferably Key lime (see Ingredient notes)

3 tablespoons almond oil or canola oil

For Lime filling:

1 14-ounce can nonfat sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

1/3 cup lime juice, preferably Key lime

1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest, preferably Key lime

For Meringue:

2 large egg whites, at room temperature, or equivalent dried egg whites, reconstituted according to package directions (see Ingredient notes)

1/4 cup sugar

Ingredient Note:
Key limes are more fragrant, acidic and juicy than the common Persian lime found in U.S. markets. Look for the small, round limes with yellow-green skin in the specialty-produce section of supermarkets or Latin food markets.
Dried egg whites are pasteurized—a wise choice when making an uncooked meringue. They are also convenient when you have no use for leftover yolks. You'll find them in the baking or natural-foods section of most supermarkets.
Cake-Baking Tips
When using cake pans, they must be greased and floured to create a thin layer of protection against the oven's heat. For greater convenience, use a cooking spray that has flour in the mix, such as Pam for Baking, Baker's Joy or Crisco No-Stick Flour Spray.
Whole-wheat pastry flour has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour, making it a better choice for tender baked goods.
To properly measure flour when baking, use a spoon to lightly scoop flour from its container into a measuring cup. Once in the measuring cup, use a knife or other straight edge to level the flour with the top of the cup. If the measuring cup is dipped directly into the container—a common mistake—the flour will be packed into the cup and result in extra flour being added to the recipe, yielding tough, dense baked goods.
Room-temperature butter for a batter is one of the biggest culinary missteps. In fact, butter must be below 68°F to trap air molecules and build structure. Otherwise, the fat will be liquefied and the cake will be flat. To get "cool" butter: Cut refrigerated butter into chunks and let them sit in a bowl for 5 minutes before beating.
Eggs must be at room temperature for the proteins to unwind enough to support the cake's crumb. Either set the eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.
Although you cannot overbeat the eggs, sugar and butter, you can overbeat the flour. If you do, you'll develop the gluten and create a quick bread rather than a layer cake. Beat the flour just until there are no white grains of un-dissolved flour visible but not until the batter is smooth.


To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray with flour (see Tip); alternatively, coat the pans with regular cooking spray, line them with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat 4 eggs and 2/3 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale yellow and doubled in volume, 5 to 10 minutes. Beat in vanilla and 1 teaspoon lime zest.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold almond (or canola) oil into the egg mixture, using long, even strokes, until just incorporated. Add the flour mixture; gently stir until just incorporated. Divide the batter between the pans; spread to the edges and gently rap the pans against the counter once or twice to settle the batter.

Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the layers onto the rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, if using, and let cool completely, about 45 minutes.

To prepare lime filling: Whisk condensed milk, lime juice and 1 teaspoon lime zest in a medium bowl until combined. Refrigerate until thickened, at least 30 minutes or overnight.

To prepare meringue: Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar in a slow, steady stream. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Position oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler. Transfer one layer, bottom-side down, to a large baking sheet. Spread the meringue on top of the cake, creating decorative peaks and valleys in the meringue with a rubber spatula. Broil until lightly browned, watching carefully to prevent burning, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

To assemble cake: Place the plain layer, top-side down, on a serving plate; spread the lime filling on top. Cover with the meringue-topped layer.

Have a great day


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Victorian Cooking, Cooking Today.

Yesterday I did a guest blog on the A to Z blogspot. Many of you will have read it,  but just in case, I am repeating the two paragraphs at the start of this post, so if you read it yesterday, you can skip it today, I won't be asking questions LOL.

Through Bob Scotney of Bob’s Home for Writing, I have discovered a wonderful Victorian Kitchenseries of videos. Bob was primarily writing about Victorian kitchens, but I was more interested in the cooking as well as the reason for the existence of cookery books such as Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery published in 1935 which I have mentioned many times in my blog. Today when anyone makes something which requires stock, they use a can or a packet of bouillon, most home cooks these days have no idea of how the stock is made in the first place. I too have fallen into this practice, I use age as my excuse, but I suppose time constraints are the principle reason this practice has fallen out of use. This video makes me want to go back to basics, although I probably wouldn’t go so far as using a tammy cloth. This is a link to a fascinating video which is the first of a series on Victorian Kitchens:

I found this video very exciting and will watch the whole series. My mother was just such a cook as Mrs. Mott although she never worked in the big houses nor did she ever use an old range as featured in the video (as far as I am aware). I had never heard of tammying, which looks like a lot of hard work, I thought using a sieve was bad enough. But this is what the art of cookery is all about. Not just defrosting something and shoving it in the microwave. We have lost so much of the art of producing good food and so much is done for us anyway. Because of that, we lose the pride of achievement which comes from producing a good meal as well as the ability to produce food which tastes so much better than this package stuff. Wise Geek has an article on the tammy cloth. This is why Matt and I love to entertain, it allows us to stretch our cookery skills to produce really excellent meals which we generally don’t eat every day.

Talking of pre-prepared foods, made me think of mayonnaise. At one time I
Hellman'swould never think of doing anything else but making my own. Took a bit of effort, but the taste was worth it. Unfortunately in the UK, several generations have grown up being used to Heinz Salad Cream and have no idea what mayonnaise should taste like. However, I eventually discovered Hellman’s Mayonnaise which tastes just like I used Bird'sto make, so in common with many others, I said “why bother”. The same can be said for custard, in England we had Bird’s Custard Powder which practically everyone used. I then got a cook book called English Recipes and Others by Sheila Hutchins who used to write for the Daily Express and was its food editor. In it she has a recipe for custard which I decided to try, it was delicious, but it tasted just like Bird’s Custard. I actually have two books by Sheila Hutchins who only rates a very short entry in Google, they don’t seem to know much about her. The actual title of the book I mentioned is “English Recipes and Others from Scotland, Wales and Ireland as they appeared in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Cookery Books and now devised for modern use by Sheila Hutchins”. 

That being said, I have obviously given in to some modern day conveniences like so many others of our time, but as a general rule, both Matt and I enjoy cooking and preparing all kinds of foods whether it be for simple daily fare or for dinner guests – usually at the weekend. I cannot believe it when I meet people who are unable to make a basic white sauce. Yes, it takes some trouble, but the end result tastes so much better. Its not that difficult either. I don’t even measure the White sauceingredients any more although I remember in my 20s phoning my mother from my London apartment (we had a communal phone, coin operated) and asking how to make a white sauce. Basically you take 2 tbs. butter, melt it in a pan, add 2 tbs. plain flour and allow the combination to cook for a while in order to let the flour cook. You then, and this is important, take the roux (as it is now called) off the heat and start adding milk very slowly, stirring well between each addition. If you don’t do this, it will become lumpy. You will need about 1 cup of milk. Once all the milk is incorporated, put the pan back on the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until it thickens. That’s all there is to it. This is the basic recipe; you can then add other things like cheese or whatever you need to make the sauce you require. This sauce will actually freeze pretty well; you can make a larger batch so you have some ready for another day. The proper combination of cooked butter and flour gives this sauce a taste that none of the quick methods ever achieve.

Matt says anyone who can read can cook, I don’t necessarily subscribe to this as I Gourmet mealbelieve you have to have something of a feeling for food and to know what you are trying to make. Good cooks taste a lot whilst they are cooking. We used to go to a restaurant in England where they had a notice on display “Good Cooking Takes Time” and that is very true. These days, especially on the North American continent, people want their food fast and have no desire to linger over it and appreciate the flavours, visuals and aromas of what is before them. Such a pity, that way we lose one of the greatest joys in life, food. We all have to eat, why not learn to enjoy it to the fullest. I say visuals, by the way, as it is so important that the look of the food makes you want to eat it. Anything which is slapped on a plate or into a serving dish and not artfully presented might satisfy some people but never a gourmet.

The recipe below is a very good case in point, it is visually very appealing. Although there are some easy versions of an instant enchilada sauce included.

Easy Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
WebMD Recipe from

Picture of Easy Sour Cream Chicken EnchiladasSometimes I make these enchiladas with both a green salsa and a red sauce. For an extra dash of color, pour the red sauce down the center of the rolled tortillas in a wide strip and spoon the green salsa on both sides. Then I center a thin strip of shredded cheese down the middle, studded with sliced ripe (black) olives.


3 cups cooked chicken, hand torn
1/2 cup roasted green chilies, chopped
3/4 cup low-fat sour cream
Juice from a large fresh lime
Cracked or lemon pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 cups Quickie Enchilada Sauce* (see below)
10-12 white corn tortillas
Light olive oil, as needed
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack, Cheddar, or vegan cheese
Fresh chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled, diced fine
1 teaspoon chili powder, mild or hot
1 teaspoon cumin
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-oz. can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1 teaspoon organic sugar or agave
1 splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried cilantro or 1 tablespoon fresh minced cilantro


For enchiladas, combine the following ingredients:
3 cups cooked chicken, hand torn
1/2 cup roasted green chilies, chopped
3/4 cup low-fat sour cream
Juice from a large fresh lime
Cracked or lemon pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 cups Quickie Enchilada Sauce* (see below)
10-12 white corn tortillas
Light olive oil, as needed
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack, Cheddar, or vegan cheese
Fresh chopped cilantro
Lightly oil a 13x9" baking dish. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a mixing bowl, toss together the cooked chicken, chopped green chilies, sour cream or mayo, and lime juice; season with cracked or lemon pepper and cumin. Set aside.

Make your Quickie Enchilada Sauce (recipe below) or if you're really in a hurry, stir together an instant sauce using one of the following:

* 16 oz. of your favorite red or green salsa

* 1 8-oz. can chopped roasted green chilies, and 1 cup hot chicken broth thickened with sour cream, or a tablespoon or two of sweet rice flour

* 16 oz. V8 Juice spiked with hot pepper sauce, cumin, chili powder, chipotle seasoning, etc. Add a spoonful of salsa or chopped roasted green chilies.

Quickie Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled, diced fine
1 teaspoon chili powder, mild or hot
1 teaspoon cumin
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-oz. can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1 teaspoon organic sugar or agave
1 splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried cilantro or 1 tablespoon fresh minced cilantro

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and gently sauté the onion and spices for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and cilantro, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Use as a sauce for enchiladas, burritos, or Mexican-style casseroles.

To make the baked enchiladas:
Spread about a spoonful (about 4 oz.) of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the oiled baking dish. Heat each tortilla in a scant amount of hot light olive oil before you stuff it, till softened. Set the warm tortilla into the prepared baking dish and coat the tortilla. Spoon one-tenth of the chicken mixture into the center of the tortilla and roll it up into place, seam side down. Repeat for the remaining tortillas. Pour the enchilada sauce all over the tortillas and top with shredded cheese. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the sauce is bubbling, and the enchiladas are hot.
Serve with a crisp green salad, and offer salsa and fresh guacamole at the table.
Total Servings: 6

Have a great day

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guest Post

Today I am supposed to be guest posting at the A to Z blog,  I have never done a guest post before so I am doing this flying by the seat of my pants. I plan to start tomorrow's blog by completing the post on the A to Z Challenge from today.

As yet there is no post. I will let you know when and where once I know.

OK here is the link

Have a great day

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Splatter Cloth, Book, Fireworks, Movie

Splatter ClothFor my birthday last year I was given the gift of a microwave splatter cloth which, I might say, is a very handy little item. However, it has a secondary use which was not intended by the makers, it is great for covering an opened wine bottle to ensure those pesky little fruit flies don’t get into it. It is a mesh cloth with little weights round the edges (the red dots). Researching it I discover sell them.

I have now finished Ricochet by Sandra Brown and thoroughly enjoyed it. Its noRicochett a new book, not sure where my friend got his copy but I got mine from the library. If you like detective/crime stories this fits the bill. I did guess some of it but not all. There was a pretty good twist at the end. Only trouble its left me with no desire to start anything else at the moment so I am at a loose end. Maybe I’ll go watch a movie.

You know I never thought of this before, but in Canada this last weekend it was fireworksVictoria Day when we celebrate our Royal connections by letting off lots of bangers and rockets, etc. Many of us have pets, or had them, who were absolutely terrified of all the bangs and hisses. But apparently nobody thinks of the poor wild animals who may be equally terrified of what is happening. How very inconsiderate we humans are. I even condemn myself for never having thought of it before and I am unaware of anyone else who has. Unfortunately there are a large percentage of people who, even if it was brought to their attention, probably wouldn’t give a damn anyway. Especially those who are lighting fireworks well into the small hours.

Tomorrow night a friend and I are going to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which I haveMarigold Hotel been looking forward to seeing for a while. Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are in the movie and from the clips I have seen it should be a good film, unless, as has happened before, all the best bits were shown in the clips and the rest isn’t much cop. I do hope this isn’t the case. Its about a bunch of people who decide to take the inadequate pensions to a newly refurbished and considerably cheaper hotel in India. I honestly don’t see how a movie with those two ladies in it can possibly fail, I have always loved any performances they have previously given, so here’s hoping. I will obviously tell you all about it. My main post tomorrow will be as a guest post on Blogging A to Z. I hope you will check it out.

I am thinking I will make some potted shrimp this week, haven’t done so in a while, I really like thePotted Shrimpm. I gave the recipe in my P is for Potted on the 18th of April. Matt and I both enjoy it. Unfortunately we can no longer get the little brown shrimp which were plentiful in England and the coasts of the Channel, they added a much better flavour. But regular shrimp work pretty well. I also need to make some more asparagus soup, we are supposed to have frozen it for later, but we have been eating it. Well its good. I need to go buy some more asparagus although I understand that is suffering from lack of rain.

Here is another asparagus recipe, simple to do, delightful to eat. The anchovies just give it a pleasant salty taste which is better than just using salt. Try it, you’ll like it. Just don’t try anchovies on their own, they are not very pleasant to eat like that.

Asparagus with Anchovies and GarlicAsparagus Anchovies Garlic

4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs minced garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 bunches asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbs water
2 tsp anchovy paste or 1 anchovy fillet, minced

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add asparagus, water and anchovy; cook, stirring often, until the asparagus is tender-crisp, 5 to 6 minutes

Servings: 4
Source: Eating Well

Have a great day