Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year’s Eve, TV Remote, Snow, Supper.

New Year

If you are partying tonight, I hope you have a good one, if you are staying at home, enjoy the evening. As I mentioned before, we are staying in. I wish you all a wonderful 2013 and especially good health.

I had a very frustrating morning yesterday, having had a complete breakdown on rogersremoteour TV, Internet and Home Phone services, on Saturday night we decided to watch a DVD which we had done very successfully on Friday without any services. Nothing I did allowed me to switch over to enable us to watch a DVD. I phoned with no joy, they told me it was the DVD player. Having thought about that overnight, I phoned again on Sunday morning, this time I am told its our TV that’s wrong. Then I phoned yet again and finally got someone to whom I explained the situation really carefully and who then told me what to do to get the TV to talk to the DVD player. Finally. OK I am not an electronic genius, I had tried pressing all kinds of buttons but I guess I had just not pressed the right ones. But boy was I frustrated. Especially when the provider kept telling me it was my machines when all I had to do was press the correct combination of buttons on their remote, which, I might say, is NOT what I used to do. Every time they have to come and do something, something else changes.

It certainly looks like winter now. We had some more snow Saturday night so snow ploweverywhere in the park looks lovely. Of course the people with driveways have all been shovelling like mad, or snow blowing in some cases. I am so glad we don’t have to do that, we would have to probably pay someone to do it for us these days. I saw a snow plow in our grounds the other day so it looks as though our new super is not using the tractor which was bought for a previous super. We had so many this year. So I guess the snow plow will sit there rotting although it was wet the other day so maybe he is just plowing at the front and clearing the large parking lot at the back is being hired out. Every so often they have to get people to move out so they can clear the whole lot, by that time though, a lot of the snow has packed down and become icy. In a shopping mall parking lot they can do it before the customers come, but in an apartment building lot, there are cars there all day.

fish pieWe are having roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for our New Year’s Eve dinner which will give us a couple more suppers in the New Year.  After all this rich food we have been having, maybe a fish soup would be an excellent idea. I was thinking about a fish pie too, haven’t made one in a long time, you really need a strong flavour like smoked haddock and that’s not easy to obtain here. Will have to put my thinking cap on.

This struck me as a somewhat unusual recipe and one I certainly would try myself.

Fragrant Fish Soup

WebMD Recipe from

Lemony rice, delicately flavored broth and gently poached tilapia are topped with a colorful blend of vegetables and herbs. The aromatic mint provides fresh and complex flavor.

Serves 4fragrant_fish_soup


  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 zest and juice of lemon
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets or other firm white fish
  • 4 cups bite-size pieces arugula or watercress, tough stems removed (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 2  scallions, finely chopped


  1. Combine rice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in lemon zest and juice.
  2. Meanwhile, bring broth to a simmer in another medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but not simmering. Add fish and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove and break into bite-size chunks.
  3. Divide the lemony rice among 4 bowls. Top with equal portions of the fish, arugula (or watercress), carrot, mint and scallions. Ladle 1 cup of the warm broth into each bowl and serve

My very best wishes for a Happy New Year.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

ISP, Movie

Blank TVAt approximately 2:00 pm on Friday afternoon Matt tried to turn on the TV and it was dead, I subsequently discovered the internet and our home phone was also dead. I tried to get hold of the service provider and they were apparently having problems with their phones so I assumed it was everywhere. I tried to get them two or three times and eventually, maybe a couple of hours or so later, I did get hold of them and they told me it was only in our apartment. Sh*t. They said they could get a repairman here on Monday morning – I promptly hit the roof. The service guy told me to calm down and said, because we had no phone service it would go through as an emergency. He said the repair dept. would phone me and let me know when they could come. Over an hour later, I hadn’t heard anything so I called back when an automatic voice told me I had a service man calling between 9 and 11 on Saturday – they were supposed to have called me. I eventually managed to speak to a person but despite speaking to lots of people, nobody could do anything. We are thoroughly teed off to say the least. Not only that, my IT guy was calling and I phoned him and left a message not to come because he couldn’t phone us from the lobby nor could I let him in. As it happened he turned up anyway and somebody let him in. Obviously this is why my blog was not posted early this morning and why nobody could get hold of us. No-one has our cell phone number because, basically, we don’t use it except for emergencies so as far as the rest of the world was concerned, we were incommunicado. Grrrrrrrrr. The language that has been going through my mind would have this blog removed from all computers. Just to add to the problems it has snowed over night and is still snowing this morning so presumably the service guy will have driving difficulties. Once he gets here, mind you, he can’t phone us to be let in!!!!

OK, he’s been, turned out somebody switched off the cable to our apartment instead of the one below!!!!!!!!

However, Matt’s Christmas present turned up today. I had bought him the first two seasons of As Time Goes By with Judi Dench and Lionel Palmer. It always used to be a favourite of Matt’s, mine too, but Matt especially. We were still able to play it on the DVD player even though the TV itself doesn’t work so we watched the first season and Matt was delighted with it. He really enjoyed it once again, as did I.

Watched CamillaCamilla on TV Thursday night. Had seen it before, but it really is a good movie with Jessica Tandy. She was such a great actress, think Driving Miss Daisy. In Camilla she plays an aging violinist who befriends a young woman (Bridget Fonda) who is also a musician. The part shows her as being slightly dotty, but she plays it so well. Even the scene where she is listening to a Brahms concert, she is so obviously taking part in her mind, just by her facial expressions. Brilliant acting. Its such a shame she is no longer with us. I have never actually seen the first part of the movie, I always end up coming in part way through, but the part I do see is great.

This recipe appealed to me for New Year’s Eve. I have never seen store bought raspberry sorbet, so I have included a link to making one, fairly simple to do in fact. Don’t be frightened to use the Black Pepper. I first used it on strawberries as recommended by the Australian chef Graham Kerr many years ago and it is incredible how just a little pepper brings out the flavour of the fruit.

Black Pepper-Raspberry Sorbet with Proseccosorbet-champagne

Contributed by James Holmes


Chef James Holmes of Olivia, in Austin, topped raw oysters with this sweet-savory sorbet before deciding it would make an excellent cocktail with Prosecco. A good-quality, store-bought raspberry sorbet is a fine shortcut.

One 750-milliliter bottle Prosecco, chilled

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 pint raspberry sorbet, softened slightly

In a large bowl, sprinkle the pepper all over the sorbet and fold it in with a rubber spatula. Cover and freeze for about 3 hours, until firm.

Chill 8 champagne saucers. Using a 1/2-ounce ice cream scoop, place 3 scoops of sorbet in each saucer. Pour about 1/3 cup of Prosecco into each saucer.

Make Ahead The black pepper–raspberry sorbet can be frozen for up to 3 days.

Have a great weekend


Friday, December 28, 2012

Snow, Books, New Phone, New Year’s Eve.

snowWe figure we got about 2 inches of snow on Boxing night. Suffice to say it was enough to stop Matt going shopping at the crack of dawn on Thursday. He went somewhat later. There isn’t a lot of traffic around because the school is closed – I supposed the buses were running, but didn’t see that until later in the morning. By the afternoon the sun had really been shining so the roads were pretty clear although the park still looked lovely and white. Pity it didn’t come Christmas Eve. Matt was watching something on TV the other night about the formation of ice crystals to make snow, unfortunately I was doing something else so didn’t really catch much of it. It really is incredibly complicated how snowflakes form.

I have been reading some delightful books by Samantha Young, Fire Spirits is thSmokelless Firee name of the series, I have read three and thought it was a trilogy but there is at least one more in the works to be released some time next year. The first one is called Smokeless Fire, then Scorched Skies and Borrowed Ember. The books are full of Jinns of all kinds including 7 Jinn Kings. Not very nice creatures at all. There is also a love story between 18 yr old Ari and her guardian Jai. I got the first and second books, for my Kindle, totally free. I am only disappointed book 4 is not yet ready for release. I get an email from Pixel of Ink every day listing specials and freebies available on Amazon. Saves looking for them oneself. I’ve actually found several books, trilogies or series I enjoy from reading this email.

A 030I finally ordered myself a new phone for my computer room. I didn’t want anything elaborate or expensive and ended up with a cordless which is costing me about $30 with tax and delivery (I paid for faster delivery). The one I am using right now is driving me batty. I never realised how often we end up with phone calls where we have to press this number and then that one.

We have gift certificates to a restaurant and discovered a couple of friends had the same certificates. We Keg Cambridgehad discussed going together. However they phoned to say they planned to go on New Year’s Eve. We were tempted, but it’s a fair drive to where they live and that branch of the restaurant and we are both a tad nervous about doing a lot of driving on that particular night. Despite all the campaigns there are still a lot of idiots who drive drunk, particularly on New Year’s. So, I think we will stay home and have a good meal and then maybe toast the New Year or maybe this year, be a couple of wussies and go to bed.

I don’t know how many are planning to entertain for New Year’s Eve, but this recipe seemed to me an absolutely ideal one for an entertainment.

Salmon and Herby Potato Coulibiacs

An impressive addition to any buffet, this puff pastry parcel is filled with fish in a creamy parsley, dill and lemon sauce
IngredientsSalmon coulibiacs
  • 600g potatoes , thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion , thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100ml crème fraîche
  • 4 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 4 tbsp chopped dill
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 2 x 375g packs all-butter puff pastry
  • a little flour , for dusting
  • 650g side of salmon , skinned and pin-boned, cut crossways into 3cm slices, then cut in half lengthways to get thick fingers
  • 1 egg , beaten
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Par-boil the potato slices for 2-3 mins. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Gently fry the onion in the oil for 10 mins until lightly golden. Cool slightly, then stir in the cream, crème fraîche, herbs, zest and plenty of seasoning. Pour over the potatoes and mix very gently.
  3. Roll out one pack of pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 35 x 35cm, then lay on a large baking sheet. Pack ¼ of the potato mixture down one side of the pastry, leaving a 5cm border. Arrange ½ of the salmon on top to cover the potato. Cover the salmon with ¼ of the potato. Brush the pastry all the way round with beaten egg and fold over the pastry. Trim the edges and crimp with your fingers, or seal with a fork. Make decorative fish for the top, if you like.
  4. Roll out the remaining pastry and repeat the process, using up the rest of the potato and salmon. Chill for 30 mins.
  5. Brush the pastries all over with beaten egg. Bake for 40 mins. Leave to rest for 10 mins if serving hot, or serve cold.

Have a great day


Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Holidays

Our holiday centred very much around food, surprisingly. It occurred to me that hambeing diabetic had messed things up a bit though, traditionally we used to have a ham and champagne brunch, but nowadays I have to have three meals a day so it was cereal and then a ham and champagne lunch with turkey and the trimmings for supper.Champers No not hot ham, the way it is frequently eaten in North America, but thin slices of cold ham served with Colman’s mustard which is good and hot. We used to serve champagne cocktails but now Matt has decided not to bother with champagne at all, I just drink straight champers, or Fizz as its often referred to in the UK. Sadly getting a really good precooked ham which is small enough for two people is not easy. So our ham wasn’t the best one around, but it was still good. Meanwhile I had put a pan on the stove with a small onion stuck with cloves and virtually covered with milk. This I allowed to ‘sweat’ for most of the day. Eventually I remove the onion and cloves and add breadcrumbs, butter and cream to make bread sauce to go with the turkey. To me, turkey without bread sauce is unthinkable. We had a turkey breast which we had brought back in the summer. This was accompanied by potatoes roasted in duck fat from last Saturday - they were delicious – Brussels sprouts, my gravy which also had some duck flavouring this time, and of course the sauce. We followed this up with a Christmas Pudding to which we added Rum Butter which I had made Christmas Eve. By that time we were stuffed.

Roast PotatoesActually Christmas Day wasn’t the best day for me, I hadn’t been able to sleep Monday night so got up and read for a bit which meant I didn’t get much sleep at all. I awoke feeling light headed, almost as though I had been drinking already. I burnt my finger on the stove (I was checking the pan for warmth and touched the ring) then I stabbed myself on a bone inside the turkey cavity. I could have taken a sugar reading from the results of that. LOL. We had never roasted our potatoes in duck fat before and although probably not a very healthy way of doing it, as I said, they were delicious.

I forgot to mention that Christmas Eve we had fillet steaks for dinner plus an Zinfatuationexcellent Zinfandel Matt had discovered, I am certainly infatuated with Zinfandels, they are probably my favourite wines and this was a really good wyndham222one. We also had mincemeat pie with a good dollop of English cream too. I bought the pie at the Crossroads restaurant in Elmira. They make their own pies, a Mennonite establishment, and having had a piece with my lunch, I bought a pie and it stayed in the freezer until we were ready for it. The Christmas pud was also bought, never done such a thing in my life before, but it too turned out to be good, maybe not as good as mine of course. I discovered it was made with vegetable suet and wasn’t sure how that would turn out, but other than being a little crumbly, it didn’t seem to affect the pud that much. I have heard of vegetable suet, but never used it and as far as I am aware, this is the first time we have ever eaten it. Very healthy of course. With the turkey we had a very nice Chardonnay. I am usually not too keen on Chardonnay’s but this one went excellently with the bird.

Boxing Day, not celebrated in the States, was the same lunch, ham and champagne, with a cold turkey supper. I love cold turkey. Used to love cold turkey sandwiches in my younger days when we would eat our main meal around 2 p.m. then have sandwiches for supper. I liked them on well buttered, white bread which I rarely ever eat any more. Not quite the same on brown bread somehow.

Today we will probably be shopping for a new phone for my computer room as the one I had before went kaput the other day as I wrote before. The one I have been using temporarily doesn’t work 100%. For instance if you get to one of those messages where you have to press this button or the other, the buttons don’t register although you can dial a number OK. Mind you, we have had a lot of snow, so maybe we will leave shopping til tomorrow. Matt plans to grocery shop early, that also may be postponed.

This recipe is a version of an Irish one and sounded good and a change from all the rich food we have been eating this week.

Irish Chicken and Dumplings

WebMD Recipe

I've been told Chicken and Dumplings is Irish comfort food at its best. Here is irish-chicken-dumplings-recipethe "Recipe- Doctored" version … lighter in calories and fat grams, but still comforting.


  • 2 cans (10.75 ounces each) reduced-fat cream of chicken soup, condensed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sliced or chopped celery
  • 2 medium coarsely chopped onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 4  skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 4 whole sliced carrots (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices, then quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat baking mix
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup fat-free half-and-half, or low-fat milk


  1. In large saucepan, add condensed soup, water, celery, salt if desired, onions, poultry seasoning, pepper, chicken breasts potatoes and carrots. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover pan. Simmer over low heat about 30 minutes.
  2. Remove chicken from the saucepan, shred it into bite-sized pieces (or break up into pieces in saucepan using a spatula) and return to saucepan and stir in the peas.
  3. Add baking mix, buttermilk, and fat free half-and-half to medium-sized bowl and blend to make a soft dough. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into the simmering stew. Cover pan and simmer about 20 minutes. Uncover pan and simmer 10 minutes more. Serve hot!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Apocalypse, Hearing Aids, Phone, Friday. Merry Christmas.

asteroidHaving survived the predicted Apocalypse, I now get to read a cheerful article on the ways we could still end up “gone” mentioning asteroids, nuclear war, disease and climate change. Apparently officials are more worried about the accidental release of US nuclear weapons than they are of burgeoning nuclear powers like Iran. As far as asteroids are concerned, one as big as the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs happen once in a hundred million years. Yes, well, who sets the clock?

I forgot to mention we now have our hearing aids. Matt is still saying he doesn’t need them and the whole thing is becoming a big bone of contention at the moment. I, however, am very happy with mine. Only problem is,Starkey we appear to have got the wrong ones. The make we were quoted for gives a 3 yr. warranty which is kind of important, these only come with 2 years. Have spoken to the company we got them from and they are going to do something about it but, of course, everything is now shutting down for a few days for some reason, I wonder what that could be? Christmas is OK when you are not trying to get something done. Now Matt has gone really deaf in one ear anyway which is causing more problems. Please, can somebody set back our clocks. OK heard from the hearing company they are guaranteeing the aids for 3 years and sent it to me in writing. That’s OK then.

phoneI seem to be plagued by electronic problems lately, my phone in my computer room which routes through the PC went kaput, absolutely dead. It somehow made the answering machine dead too, but that reset OK. Luckily I had another old phone I could use so that the answering machine would work. Everyone is in Christmas fever of course, so I will probably wait til after Christmas to replace the phone. I only really need a simple phone but don’t know if such things are sold any more. Our main house phone is cordless and has a speed dial option which many phones do not any more I understand. Yes, we have a cell phone, but hardly ever use it, its for emergencies only.

Bowled averagely and Matt bowled well on Friday. We then went down to theroast duck grocery store for something and saw a fairly inexpensive duck in the meat department so we bought it, it turned out to be $16 something which for duck here is very reasonable. Now all I have got to do is figure out how to cook the thing as I haven’t done so for over 37 years, duck breast once, but not a whole duck. Used to cook ducks and geese in the UK, but they were always too pricey here. Figure we’ll have it for Christmas Eve.

Not sure if I will blog next week or not. Probably take the first couple of days off and then start again on Wednesday. Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with lots to eat of whatever you choose for your Christmas fare.Merry-Christmas

Smoked salmon is one of my favourites, have you ever noticed how many favourites I have? Guess who’s going to be trying this at the weekend?

Smoked Salmon Toasts with Mustard Butter

Contributed by David Tanis at Food and Wine

SERVINGS:10 to 12

Sour cream or cream cheese may be the usual spread with salty smoked salmon, LeeHudson_Thanksgiving_FW_Nov2012but chef David Tanis thinks softened butter makes a tasty alternative. (Think of ham-and-butter sandwiches.) To give the butter a zippy bite, he stirs in lemon zest and both Dijon and grainy mustards.

  1. 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  3. 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  4. 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  5. 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  6. Salt
  7. Freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 baguette, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  9. 1 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon
  1. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 6 inches from the heat. In a bowl, beat the butter with the Dijon and grainy mustards, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of the dill and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread the baguette slices on a large rimmed baking sheet and broil until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 minutes per side. Let cool.
  3. Spread the toasts with the mustard butter, top with the smoked salmon and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of dill and serve.

Make Ahead The mustard butter can be refrigerated overnight. Let soften before using.

Have a great weekend


Friday, December 21, 2012

World’s End, Tie Flask,

End of WorldWell, we first heard it definitely from a New Zealander, and at least a couple of Australians, the world didn’t end. I guess if you are reading this post, it didn’t end where you are either. Phew!!! Its funny, but there has been a lot more talk about this prediction than any other that I remember. I have a feeling a lot of people secretly worried it could be true. Somebody mentioned 11:11 a.m. that would presumably be in Mexico, so we are not out of the woods yet.

I’ve come across some odd things in my time, but… A tie into which you can pour Boozy tiebooze and have a nip now and again when you want to. I can see people wearing these to work so they can drink and nobody knows. If you want to see more about them, this site has several pictures and a link to the retailer. The tie holds 6 ounces of liquor apparently which is enough to get pretty juiced on and not to know whether you are coming or going I would surmise. I think employers are going to have to watch out for this. Cops too are going to have to check drivers’ ties as well.

South DownsWednesday night we watched a programme on TV Ontario called The Great British Countryside, The South Downs. I learned some fascinating things I never knew about the country where I was born. Apparently there is oil under the Downs and they are being very careful not to ruin the beautiful countryside whilst they are retrieving it, also a  huge gypsum mine which is vast and deep underneath like a country itself, and because of the chalk, there is an experienced vintner growing champagne type grapes and making an excellent sparkling wine. That’s just the part we saw. I would love to see it again, but checking out TVO I can’t find that it is airing again. Last night we watched the one about the Highlands of Scotland Which was another fascinating programme. I learnt a lot about the The Highlandsgeography and history of the Highlands. Apparently the mountains of Scotland are some of the oldest rocks in the world, We were shown a piece of gneiss which was 3 billion years old, an inconceivable number. The programme explained how the landscape was formed. It also covered the making of Laphroaig which is a very expensive single malt whisky. Well expensive here anyway. It is made in the Isle of Skye. Also, the great volumes of water power available in Scotland us used for hydro electricity and enables the manufacture and processing of aluminum (aluminium in the UK) which was used for aircraft parts for Spitfires and helped us win the Battle of Britain during World War II. 

scallop rawI have always loved scallops. I used to buy bay scallops by the gallon when we lived in North Carolina. I would then freeze them in portion sizes. They worked very well. For some reason in North America the roe is always removed. It is actually delicious to eat and we never removed it in the UK.

Scallop Piccata on Angel Hair Pasta

WebMD Recipe from
Superfine angel hair and delicate scallops are coated with a light lemon, white scallop_piccata_on_angel_hairwine and caper sauce.
  • 1 pound dry sea scallops, tough muscle removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Sprinkle scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add the scallops; cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Cook pasta in the boiling water until not quite tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse.
  4. Whisk wine, clam juice and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.
  5. Cook garlic in the pan over medium-high heat, stirring often, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine mixture; bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, capers and butter; cook until the butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Return the scallops to the pan, add the pasta and cook, stirring gently, until heated through and coated with the sauce, about 1 minute. Stir in parsley and serve immediately
Have a great day

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Orders.

A friend posted this on Facebook. I thought it was funny so I would share it.

Please note.....

All employees planning to dash through the snow in a one horse open sleigh, going over the fields and laughing all the way are advised that a Risk Assessment will be required addressing the safety of an open sleigh for membeSleighrs of the public. This assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly where there are multiple passengers. Please note that permission must also be obtained in writing from landowners before their fields may be entered. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we would request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

Benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available for collection by any shepherds planning or required to watch their flocks at night. While provision has also been made for remote Shepherdsmonitoring of flocks by CCTV cameras from a centrally heated shepherd observation hut, all users of this facility are reminded that an emergency response plan must be submitted to account for known risks to the flocks. The angel of the Lord is additionally reminded that, prior to shining his/her glory all around, s/he must confirm that all shepherds are wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to account for the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming effects of Glory.

RuodlphFollowing last years well-publicised case, everyone is advised that
Equal Opportunities legislation prohibits any comment with regard to the redness of any part of Mr R Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr R Reindeer from reindeer games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence.

While it is acknowledged that gift bearing is a common practice in
3 Kingsvarious parts of the world, particularly the Orient, everyone is
reminded that the bearing of gifts is subject to Hospitality Guidelines and all gifts must be registered. This applies regardless of the individual, even royal personages. It is particularly noted that direct gifts of currency or gold are specifically precluded, while caution is advised regarding other common gifts such as aromatic resins that may evoke allergic reactions.

Finally, in the recent instance of the infant found tucked up in a manger without any crib for a bed, Social Services have been advised and will be arriving shortly.Manger

Merry Christmas,
The Risk Assessment Team

Here’s a pretty decadent looking recipe for Christmas.

Bûche de Noël

BBC Food

Paul Hollywood's sumptuous chocolate, raspberry and cream sponge falls somewhere between a Yule log and Swiss roll. Add a drop of DrambuBuche de Noelie for a cheeky adult twist


vegetable oil , for greasing

150g golden caster sugar (use regular sugar or light brown sugar)

6 large eggs, separated

250g good-quality dark chocolate

icing sugar, for dusting (confectioner’s sugar)


400ml double cream , lightly whipped (whipping cream or heavier)

150g raspberries , defrosted if frozen

little Drambuie (optional)


125g unsalted butter , softened

225g golden icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

25g cocoa powder , sifted

1 tbsp milk


Heat oven to 220C/200C fan /gas 7. Line a 23 x 33cm Swiss roll tin with baking parchment and oil lightly. Whisk the caster sugar and yolks in a bowl until pale and thick. Melt the chocolate with 4 tbsp cold water in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir in the sugar mix.

Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks. Stir a spoonful into the chocolate, then fold in remaining using a large metal spoon. Pour batter into tin and bake for 12-14 mins until risen and just firm. Leave in tin until cold.

Lay a sheet of baking parchment on a board. With one bold movement, turn the cake onto the paper, then lift off the tin. Carefully peel away the lining paper.

Spread the whipped cream all over the cake, then scatter over the berries with a dribble of Drambuie, if you like. Starting at the long side opposite you, use the paper to roll the cake towards you. Transfer to a serving dish.

For the buttercream, beat the butter, then sift in sugar and cocoa. Add milk and mix together. Spread over cake, use a fork to create a log effect, and chill until needed. Decorate, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Have a great day


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Laptop Problems, New CD

I am not a happy camper today. Long story, but my laptop is 32 bit and desktop is cards64 bit. So I have some programmes on the laptop which I cannot run on the desktop, right? One programme I run is an old one by Parsons Technology called Adbook 6. I use it for all my Christmas card addresses and keeping track of everything like that. Couple of days ago, I though, haven’t backed it up for a while, so I did so on my sticks. Next time I went to use it, all the current information had disappeared. No problem, backed it up haven’t I, no I haven’t. None of it is there. Despite lots of searching and anything else I could think of, I have completely lost my current info on this programme so now I don’t know to whom I sent cards nor have I the current list of people who have sent me cards. Obviously that I can check from the actual cards, but the whole thing is extremely frustrating. I have no idea why this happened either. Grrrrr.

I received my copy of Rod Stewart’s Merry Christmas Baby yesterday, I Merry Christmas Babyhaven’t played it yet, we saw the show on TV the other day and just had to get the CD. I really enjoyed the music and now have two Rod Stewart CDs. In the old days I only enjoyed him singing Maggie May, but now he has changed somewhat, I am a fan. I decided to listen whilst I typed. His career has spanned some 40 odd years – who’d a thought it?

Last night I watched Santa Clause II with Tim Allen. I do like those movies. The first was my favourite but I enjoyed the second one. Only seen III once and don’t remember a whole heck of a lot about it. I saw somewhere that the movie Toy Story is one of the top favourites at this time of year, however, I saw several scenes from it during the movie I was watching. It looks totally ridiculous to me and I will not be bothering with it.

I wish I had seen this recipe prior to my cheese and wine party. It would have been a delightful addition. I found this recipe on

Holiday Pine Cone Cheeseball

Contributed By: Donna

Almonds resemble the bristles of a pine cone atop this delicious cream cheesePine Cone Cheese Ball ball of bacon and herbs. It's almost too cute to eat!

1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1/2 C. light mayonnaise

5 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 tbsp. chopped green onion

1 tsp. chopped dill weed

1/8 tsp pepper

1 1/4 C. whole almonds, toasted


Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise and mix well in a food processor or blender. Stir in the cooked bacon, green onion, dill weed and pepper. Cover and chill overnight.

Shape the cheese mixture into two small pinecones on serving plate. Starting at the narrow end, place almonds into the cheese on a slight angle, forming rows. Garnish with rosemary twigs to resemble pine needles. Serve with crackers.

Have a great day