Thursday, January 31, 2013

Abdication, A to Z Challenge, Blackberry

Queen-Beatrix-abdicates-010Interesting, to me anyway, that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has abdicated in favour of her son Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander after 33 years on the throne. Her mother, the previous queen, also abdicated, I didn’t remember that. The queen before that also abdicated. They are a much more relaxed family than the British royals, going amongst the people and living fairly ordinary lives I understand. This will be the first king on the Dutch throne for over 100 years. I am often asked why Queen Elizabeth doesn’t abdicate, I have been told its because the royal family consider the abdication of her Uncle was a disgrace which they don’t wish to repeat. This may be a load of ballyhoo, who knows.

As I said before, I have signed on for the 2013 A to Z Challenge which I took part in last year. There are a number of places where you can sign up, this is one of them. There are several hosts as described in their blogs and they are each carrying the Linky Link for someone to sign up. The A to Z Hosts are founder Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out, Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Tina Downey at Life is Good, D.L Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0, Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie, Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse, Matthew MacNish at The QQQE, Konstanz Silverbow at No Thought 2 Small, Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs, Livia Peterson at Leave it to Livia, L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick,and Nicole at The Madlab Post. Only trouble is, even though the blogfest doesn’t start til April 1, I am already lying in bed at night trying to think of recipes to use. It’s 2 months yet for goodness sake.

BB10Also in the news was RIM’s introduction of the Blackberry 10 and that they are changing their name from RIM to Blackberry. They are hoping this new one will save their bacon. The company has been suffering badly from the competition recently and think this new Blackberry 10 may achieve a comeback. I hope so as they are a locally company and if they thrive it will be good for the area. I see my ISP is already offering it to their customers, not that I will be having one. We have one very basic cell phone as really that’s all we need, hardly ever use it anyway.

This recipe was posted on Facebook by a Portuguese friend of mine, in Portuguese. I asked for, and got, a translation and now am sharing it with you. The Portuguese catch and eat a lot of fish. Not sure about 2 1/2 people though.

Bacalhau à moda da Sogra (Mom’s Cod Recipe)

Ingredients (for 2 1/2 people) Mom's Codfish

2 cod loins

2 onions

3 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

1 tsp paprika

½ cup white wine or to taste

Olive oil

Potato to accompany (while baking cod)

In a baking dish place the sliced ​​onion and garlic and bay leaf (reserve a clove of chopped garlic to sprinkle cod). Arrange the cod over the onions and place the potatoes (seasoned with salt) around it. Sprinkle with paprika. Perfume with wine and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 200ºC for 50 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

Have a great day


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Economics, Prescriptions, A to Z Challenge,

MoneyThat’s not bad, our rent went up about $30 a month this year, our pensions have increased by a total of about $16 a month. Doesn’t there seem something wrong there? What about the cost of living? Food prices have definitely been going up. It doesn’t make sense to me. We are going backwards. Meanwhile it was announced that Canada were giving $13 million more to Mali.

I forgot to tell you, Saturday morning we left home at 10 a.m. to go to the doctor’s. Having obtained prescriptions we came home and headed for the drug store. By the time we finally had the prescriptions filled and got home it was around 12:15. So we wasted 2 1/4 hours and gas driving over an hour. This because of the doctor’s new policy of not allowing the drug store to fax for prescription renewals. I can sympathise with their problems, but I think something else needs to be done.

I enjoyed the Reintroduction Blog on Monday and, as L. Diane Wolfe commented, I lived in North Carolina for a number of years, 12 in Oystersfact. As we were close to the sea which meant lots of oysters, clams and shrimp among other seafood items, it was a great place to live. I never ate oysters until I had them steamed in NC although my parents used to devour them at any opportunity. I learned to eat them by the bushel though and when next I was offered raw oysters, I devoured those too. The oysters we used to get in England were bigger than those we got off the coast of North Carolina, but I would slurp them down just the same. Now I’m hungry.

I have now signed on for the 2013 A to Z Challenge which I took part in last year. There are a number of places where you can sign up, this is one of them. There are several hosts as described in their blogs and they are each carrying the Linky Link for someone to sign up. The actual challenge starts on April 1, which is a Monday. I must start looking for my alphabet recipes. The A to Z Hosts are founder Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out, Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Tina Downey at Life is Good, DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0, Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie,Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse, Matthew MacNish at The QQQE,Konstanz Silverbow at No Thought 2 Small, Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs, Livia Peterson at Leave it to Livia, L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick,and Nicole at The Madlab Post.

Tell you a secret, those cannoli we bought are sitting in the fridge calling my name, very loudly!!!
So many people are interested in gluten free recipes these days, never heard of them a few years ago. First time I ever heard of it was the sister of a woman with whom I worked had Celiac disease. Here is a gluten free cake recipe.

Flourless Honey-Almond Cake

Source: © EatingWell Magazine
10 servings

Click here to find out more!Honey and almonds flavouFlourless Honey Almond Caker this simple (and gluten-free) cake. It’s lovely for afternoon tea or a spring holiday dessert. Be careful not to overbeat the egg whites—they should be white and very foamy, but not at all stiff or able to hold peaks. If you beat them too much, the cake may sink in the middle as it cools.
Make Ahead Tip: Store the cooled cake airtight at room temperature for up to 1 day. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with almonds just before serving.

Equipment: 9-inch springform pan, parchment paper
For Cake:
1 1/2 cups whole almonds, toasted (see Tip)
4 large eggs, at room temperature (see Tip), separated
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Topping:
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (see Tip)

To toast whole almonds, spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. To toast sliced almonds, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
Note: 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 before using.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Process whole almonds in a food processor or blender until finely ground (you will have about 13/4 cups ground). Beat 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup honey, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer (or use a paddle attachment on a stand mixer) on medium speed until well combined. Add the ground almonds and beat on low until combined.

Beat 4 egg whites in another large bowl with the electric mixer (use clean beaters on a hand-held mixer or the whisk attachment on a stand mixer) on medium speed until very foamy, white and doubled in volume, but not stiff enough to hold peaks, 1 to 2 minutes (depending on the type of mixer). Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the nut mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and gently remove the side ring. Let cool completely.

If desired, remove the cake from the pan bottom by gently sliding a large, wide spatula between the cake and the parchment paper. Carefully transfer the cake to a serving platter. To serve, drizzle the top of the cake with honey and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Have a great day

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A to Z, 5 Pin Bowling.

WA2Z-2013-BADGE-001ell that was dumb of me, I took part in a blogfest yesterday, but the link I had left on the sign up page didn’t work, I goofed. Oh well, in a couple of days, on the 30th, I can sign up for the A to Z Challenge for this year. That is writing in April using a different letter of the alphabet every day except Sundays. I took part last year and I selected a recipe every day beginning with the appropriate letter. It was fun to do and it helped to increase some of my following. It was also fun meeting other bloggers and reading what they said in their challenges. It was much easier for me than for some as I blog every day but Sunday anyway.

We also went to our usual bowling, we had had so much snow the previous night that a lot of people didn’t make it, for one reason or another, so as there were only the two of us on our team, we paired up with a couple of other players. None of us bowled well for some reason, but I did have a 200 game at the end, not sure how that happened. I noticed there were three scores posted on a board for this season one at 408 and two at 410. A perfect game in 5 pin is 450 or 12 strikes in a row. If you want to know more about 5 pin this is a link to a Wikipedia article. I have never bowled that high a score although Matt has, some while back; let’s face it I was thrilled to bits to bowl 314 a couple of years ago.

Having said I was going to cook the Bolognese Rice Cake for CannoliSaturday, I ended up deciding to cheat and have bought some Cannoli instead. Standing cooking for a long time is not so easy for me any more and I love Cannoli anyway. I got them at our favourite store, Vincenzo’s and they assured me they were good for Saturday. I also bought a jar of roasted peppers for my antipasto.

If you want to try your hand at making cannoli, here is a recipe for you. If you have a good bakery nearby I think its easier to buy them.

Sicilian Cannoli

Gourmet | May 2005

Makes about 10 desserts

Cannoli2True Sicilian cannoli are made using fresh sheep's-milk ricotta. We've substituted a combination of fresh cow's-milk ricotta and goat cheese. If you don't like goat cheese, use additional ricotta instead.


For cannoli shells

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 lb cold lard
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • About 3 cups vegetable oil

For filling

  • 1 lb fresh ricotta (2 cups)
  • 2 oz soft mild goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced candied orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange-flower water (also called orange-blossom water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup shelled unsalted pistachios (not dyed red), chopped
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped (1/2 cup)
  • Special equipment: a pasta maker; a 4- to 4 1/4-inch round cookie cutter; a deep-fat thermometer; 6 (roughly 5 5/8- by 5/8-inch) metal cannoli tubes; 2 heavy-duty oven mitts; a pastry bag fitted with a 3/4-inch plain tip
  • Garnish: confectioners sugar


Make dough for shells:
Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add 2 tablespoons lard and blend in with your fingertips until combined. Add wine and yolk and stir until a dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Form dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Make filling while dough stands:
Beat together ricotta, goat cheese, confectioners sugar, orange peel, orange-flower water, and cinnamon in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed 1 minute (do not overbeat). Fold in nuts and chocolate until combined and chill.

Make shells:
Set smooth rollers of pasta maker at widest setting. Unwrap dough and cut in half, then lightly flour 1 piece (keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap). Flatten floured dough into an oval and feed through rollers. Turn dial down 2 notches and feed dough through rollers again. Continue to feed dough through rollers, making space between rollers narrower by 2 notches each time, until narrowest setting is used.

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Transfer rolled dough to a lightly floured surface and cut out 4 or 5 rounds with floured cutter. Transfer rounds to baking sheet and keep covered with more plastic wrap. Roll out remaining dough and cut rounds in same manner. Gather scraps and let stand 10 minutes. Roll out scraps and cut in same manner.

Heat remaining lard with 1 1/4 inches oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until it registers 350°F on thermometer.

Meanwhile, lightly oil cannoli tubes. Lightly beat egg white, then brush bottom edge of 1 dough round with egg white. Wrap dough around a tube, overlapping ends (egg-white edge should go on top), then press edges together to seal. Make 5 more shells in same manner (keep remaining rounds covered with plastic).

Fry dough on tubes 1 at a time, turning with metal tongs, until 1 shade darker, about 45 seconds. Wearing oven mitts, clamp end of hot tubes, 1 at a time, with tongs and, holding tube vertically, allow shell to slide off tube onto paper towels, gently shaking tube and wiggling shell as needed to loosen. (If you allow shell to cool it will stick to tube and shatter when you try to remove it.) Transfer shells to paper towels to drain and cool tubes before reusing. Wrap remaining dough around tubes and fry in same manner.

Spoon filling into pastry bag and pipe some into 1 end of a cannoli shell, filling shell halfway, then pipe into other end. Repeat with remaining shells.

Cooks' notes: •Dough can be made 1 day before frying shells and chilled. Let dough stand at room temperature 1 hour before rolling.
•Shells can be fried 2 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept, layered between paper towels, in an airtight container at room temperature.

Have a great day


Monday, January 28, 2013

Re-Introducing Myself

This is a blogfest hosted by Stephen Tremp at Welcome To Author Stephen Tremp's Website where his blog today tells us something about who Stephen is. The intent is for all of us to tell something about ourselves which is what I hope to do.

I wrote my first blog on October 25th, 2007 and then the next day I wrote a post called Who Am I?

Thames BargeI am a Canadian and have been since 1978, however I started life as a mewling infant in Cheshire, England. They gave me World War II for my first birthday – you can work out for yourself how ancient I am. After that war, my parents went to live in the South of England, in Rochester of Charles Dickens’ fame; we eventually moved onto a Thames Barge called Iota. It was a wonderful craft. They were built to carry goods (bricks, straw) up and down England’s rivers and coastal waters, in particular the Thames which flows through London: someone got the idea of converting them to residences. The barges had flat bottoms so could go into the shallowest waters. They had leeboards on either side to prevent them drifting in the wrong direction. Most had a mainsail, topsail, and foresail. Some had a mizzen sail aft (at the back) as well and were usually operated by a man and a boy although I knew at least one married couple who operated a Thames barge for many years.

This was an incredible place to live. We had fitted carpets and a fridge (pretty European Coastlineluxurious in a boat) not many appliances available in the UK those days. I remember the fridge was a pain in the butt as it was propane fired and had to be kept level. Keeping a fridge level on a boat of any kind is difficult. I remember lots of problems and swearing about that fridge althougSunfishh I was only about 9 or so at the time. My father loved to sail so we took Iota to France, Holland and Belgium on many occasions. This was how I learned to love food and how my mother improved her skills as a gourmet cook. When she first got married, she literally couldn’t boil an egg. In later life she used to say that actually that is a difficult thing to do well. I am not quite sure at what age my father bought the second boat on which we lived, it was a converted MFV (Motor Fishing Vessel) but had never been used for fishing, in fact, during the war it had been used for mine sweeping. She was called Sunfish (registered as Silver Sunfish) and was a much better vessel for sailing where my father wanted to go, she could manage practically any weather the North Sea could throw at her. She was the last of my parent’s boats on which I lived, I went to live in the big city (London) in a bed sitter to live the glamorous life, ha!!

BecauseRiddlesworth of the war, we moved around a lot as my father was in the Air Force. I went to nine different schools, so maybe that’s where I got my taste for travel. Must admit, I always disliked school, I found it very boring. Guess I was a poor student. I have the distinction of having attended one of the the same schools as Princess Di, Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk, England. Some several years apart of course.
My father was also a very good cook, I suppose he taught my mother a lot about food, and, lucky me, my husband is also a good cook. You could say that good kipperfood is in my blood. Before I went to boarding school, I wouldn’t eat, especially stews which, because of the war, we had a lot of. I would sit for hours holding a mouthful and not swallowing. I think I improve a bit, then when I went to Riddlesworth food was adequate, but not enough. They used to serve us half a kipper for breakfast – I love kippers but had never been served just half a fish. My letters home were always full of requests for food. My mother would send me fruit cakes and such to put in my tuck box [a box for storing eatables (especially at boarding school)]. We were allowed to open our tuck boxes at weekends as far as I remember. We also had make and mend classes at weekends, I got away with pulling off a button from my pajama jacket and sewing it back on for the longest time, I was finally caught and was forced to repair them properly. I hated sewing, I don’t ever remember being taught although my mother could certainly both knit and sew. In my life I managed to knit one sweater and make one skirt and that was my lot. I used to embroider a lot, once upon a time. My paternal grandmother won prizes for embroidery, maybe I got it from her.

Anyway, that’s enough to let you know where I came fom. There’s more ‘stuff’ at the side on this page if you want to know more.

On Saturday my group of cooking friends and I are planning to prepare an Italian meal, we are spread around a few countries, and everyone seems to be doing something different although once upon a time we all used to try and cook the same thing. I was quite determined we would not do pasta, and I’m not, but one friend is doing a lasagna. This is my dessert choice assuming I can find unsalted pistachios.

3 cups milkbolognese_rice_cake-256x188
3/4 cup Arborio rice
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp grated orange or lemon zest
2 Tbs rum
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Add the rice, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the mixture is very soft and creamy. Stir often to prevent sticking.  Remove from heat and cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
3. Butter a 10-inch round cake pan.
4. Stir the eggs into the rice.
5. Add sugar, nuts, raisins, vanilla, butter, and zest.
6. Pour in the prepared baking pan.
7. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Remove from the oven.
9. While the cake is still warm, pierce the top in several places with a fork.
10. Pour the rum over the cake.
11. Cool to lukewarm.
12. Invert the cake to remove from the pan and invert again to a serving dish.
13. Cool completely.
Yield: Makes one 10-inch round cake
Author Notes
Bologna is the capitol of the northern region of Emilia Romagna in Italy.  Bolognese rice cake is served as a celebratory cake and is very typical during the Easter season. The cake is prepared with rice cooked in milk which is then mixed with sugar, nuts, and raisins, baked, and flavored with rum.  Rice cake is very dense and is usually served cold.  If you are looking for a gluten free dessert, Bolognese rice cake is a delicious choice.

Have a great day

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Missing Blog, Bowling, PM, Privacy.

I know I started a blog, I had a recipe to share and everything, but it cyberspacehas just disappeared into cyberspace. You know, if one could access cyberspace there would be some fascinating stuff in there. If you were a sci fi writer, that could be a good theme for a story. Pity I can’t write, as in a story I mean, I can blether for ever on a blog, but I haven’t the dedication to write a story, be it short or long. Blether is a Scottish word by the way, I guess it translates as ramble on.

Being My_BallFriday yesterday, we went bowling. Matt had a couple of good games: the less said about my games, the better. I am seriously thinking of buying a 10 pin ball and rolling that down the alley, bet I would get a strike every time. Wouldn’t be legal of course, ah well!!! There is no rhyme of reason as to why one can bowl up a storm one minute, and bowl dismally the next. I certainly get lots of exercise my way, throwing three balls every time. People keep telling me I’m having fun too and that I am getting my money’s worth – LOL.

I see Ontario is getting a new premier, I am not, as I have frequently mentioned, political, but I did know who McGuinty was and now he’s leaving us. I wonder who we will get next. My father used to say the best form of government was a benevolent dictator, if you could find one. It would save a lot of hassle and a lot of money in election costs.

Whilst writing I was also thinking about the problems going on at the Privacymoment with a girl who gave intimate photos to a boyfriend which have since appeared on the internet. People are so silly, fancy giving anyone such a thing. Maybe once you are married (not that everyone marries these days) but to give them to a boyfriend, not a good idea. Even a spouse could betray you I suppose but they are less likely to.  People are always going on about private stuff getting on the internet, if you want to keep it private, don’t put it on the internet. No matter what, it will find its way into the public domain one way or another. Nothing on the internet is really private and nothing is really secure either. There are thousands of hackers out there who hack into stuff just because they can.

This recipe I found on Food and Wine and thought it sounded like one we would enjoy. I have never heard of Cerignola olives, will have to check them out.

Braised Pork Shoulder with Fennel and Olives

Contributed by Melissa Rubel JacobsonBraised Pork Shoulder

Serves 8

  1. 2 tablespoons canola oil
  2. Two 2-pound pieces of boneless pork shoulder
  3. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  4. 2 fennel bulbs, cut into 1/2-inch wedges, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
  5. 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  6. 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
  7. 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  8. 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  9. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  10. 3/4 cup dry white wine
  11. 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  12. 2 thyme sprigs
  13. 1 bay leaf
  14. 2 cups green olives, preferably Cerignola
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. In a large cast-iron casserole, heat the canola oil. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper, add it to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.
  2. Add the fennel wedges, onion, celery, carrot and garlic to the casserole and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the chicken broth, thyme and bay leaf. Return the pork to the casserole and add any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid and cook the pork for 2 hours longer, adding the olives after the first hour. The pork should be very tender.
  3. Transfer the pork to a carving board. Cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Using a large spoon, skim the fat from the surface of the sauce. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Slice the pork and transfer to shallow bowls. Spoon the sauce and vegetables over the pork, sprinkle with the fennel fronds and serve.

Make Ahead The recipe can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently and garnish with the fennel before serving.Serve with Polenta.

Have a great weekend


Friday, January 25, 2013

Prescriptions, DNA Storage, Narnia.

Now I aPillsm teed off, even hopping mad. It appears that my pharmacy can no longer fax my doctor for a prescription renewal. My doctor’s office sent me a letter – if they did, I never received it. We now have to traipse all the way over to Cambridge which is a good half hour’s drive in order to see a nurse who will review my required renewal, make out a prescription and get the doctor to sign it. When you look at the number of pills we both take these days this is going to be a right bloody nuisance. As though we haven’t got anything better to do on the weekend. I have enough of the one’s approaching renewal to last me, but if I hadn’t the pharmacist would cover me til the weekend. Apparently this change is because they were getting thousands (?) of faxes which it was impossible for the doctor to go through so now there are two nurses designated to work at the weekends. It should be a 15 minute visit, no more, and if it is any longer, they will hire more nurses. That doesn’t take into account the hour driving both ways. I think I said we had no more doctor’s visits this week – shouldn’t have opened my mouth.

Now this is fascinating. Scientists have discovered a way to store DNAinformation in synthetic DNA which they think will, eventually, enable greater storage than we have available to us today. At the moment they have stored all of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets a photo, a scientific paper and a sound clip from Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech into a barely visible bit of DNA in a test tube. At the moment it takes a long time to read it back, but this will improve they say. Do read the article, it is worth it. That makes me think, we have large portions of our brain which are never used. I don’t know, but have never heard that anyone has tried to access it, that would make a good information storage area.

Been watching some Narnia movies over the last two nights. I enjoy Magician's Newphewthem now and again. However, I discover that another one is likely to be in 2018 due to the fact that nobody renewed the appropriate contracts. The 4th one will be The Magician’s Nephew, not the Silver Chair. There is apparently some kind of moratorium on the books at the moment and whoever does make the movie cannot release it without the involvement of Walden Media. I don’t pretend to really understand it, but seems like it will take years. Which means that the kid who played Eustace in Dawn Treader will be too old for The Silver Chair. It also means that in the last book, all the ‘children’ will be well into adulthood so they will have to use other actors. Pity. I haven’t read Magician’s Nephew in a long time, I remember I didn’t enjoy it as much, however, maybe I should re-read it. sent me this recipe and I thought it sounded a good one. Scallions, green onions or spring onions.

Braised Chicken with Scallion Purée

Source: Saveur Magazine

4 servings

Click here to find out more!INGREDIENTSBraised Chicken Scallions

2 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 chicken, cut into 4 pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 bunches scallions, trimmed and thickly sliced

1/3 cup white wine

3 cups chicken stock

2 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 tablespoon heavy cream


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and cook, skin side down, until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken, add two thirds of the scallions, and brown chicken on other side, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter.

Continue to cook scallions until just soft, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add wine, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, and reduce by half. Return chicken to skillet, and add stock and potatoes. Reduce heat to medium low, and braise, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 50 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a platter, and loosely cover with foil. Strain braising liquid into a small bowl. Transfer potatoes and scallions to a medium bowl. Return braising liquid to skillet, and reduce by half over high heat. Add remaining scallions, and cook for 30 seconds. Mash reserved potatoes and scallions with a fork; then stir in heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put potatoes on a serving platter, arrange chicken over potatoes, and spoon scallions over chicken.

Have a great day


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Language, Water, Books.

Churchill said it best, he described England and America as being two nations dividedDutch Oven by a common language. This does tend to apply to Canada as well. Yet in some places, and in some areas, the same words are used. What made me think of this was in my blog yesterday the recipe included reference to a Dutch Oven. An English friend enquired what that was. I never even thought of it having lived on this continent for 37 years, it didn’t strike me at all.  I guess the original Dutch Ovens were suspended over open fires. According to Wikipedia, in England we called them casseroles. According to Wikipedia as well, they should mostly be cast iron, but very few are any more I think, just basically a large saucepan with a lid and handles either side. I used to have cast iron ones years ago. Did you know if you drop cast iron, it breaks? Guess how I found out?

We had a lot of snow on Tuesday and by the time we got up on Wednesday the roads were pretty well covered. However, we live on a bus route so they help deal with the snow and Matt headed off for his usual weekly shop at 7 a.m. He said the roads weren’t too bad. I would have preferred him to go later, but……. When he drove home he couldn’t use the route he normally takes, one road was shut. We discovered later that a water main had bust which meant we had no water in the building for a while. I managed to get enough water to make coffee and to have a wash, but not a shower. Matt showered earlier of course.

Later in the morning he surgeon looked at Matt’s eye operation and is apparently very happy with it. Didn’t take out the stitches yet though, we thought he would. Would you believe we don’t have any kind of medical appointment for the rest of the week.

Cold DaysI am just about to start Cold Days by Jim Butcher, a Harry Dresden novel. I have enjoyed every one of his Dresden novels, very well written and extremely funny in places. Harry Dresden is a working wizard in Chicago and gets up to all kinds of things fighting all the things which go bump in the night. Although right now, he has got himself caught up working for bad Queen Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness. He is her Winter Knight which he doesn’t really wish to be. Forgot to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my last book, Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold. A very good Miles Vorkosigan story. I think I just might go back and reread some of those books as well as some of the Dresden files. Like I haven’t got hundreds of books to read which I haven’t even opened yet!!

This is a different way of using rhubarb although its not in season round here at the moment. I’ve always enjoyed lemon meringue pie.

Rhubarb and Ginger Queen of Puddings

A grand traditional dessert of poached fruit, cake and light meringue peaks - serve hot from the ovenRhubarb & Ginger Pud

  • 140g shop-bought Madeira cake or breadcrumbs
  • 4 eggs , separated
  • 400ml milk
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 250g golden caster sugar (light brown sugar)
  • 500g rhubarb , cut into 4cm batons
  • 4 balls stem ginger, chopped, plus 2 tbs syrup
  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Break the cake into fine crumbs or place in a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Place the crumbs in the bottom of a 22cm round ovenproof baking dish. In a jug, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, nutmeg and 50g of the sugar. Pour the custard mixture over the crumbs and leave to soak for 10 mins. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 45 mins, until the custard is set but still has a little wobble.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the rhubarb in a saucepan with 100g of the remaining sugar, stem ginger, syrup and 2 tbs water. Set over a medium heat and cook for 15-20 mins until the rhubarb is tender. Leave to cool. Can be done up to this point the day before.
  3. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Place the egg whites in a large clean bowl and, using an electric whisk, whisk the whites until soft peaks form. At this stage, begin to slowly add the remaining 100g sugar, beating well between each addition, until all the sugar is incorporated and the meringue is stiff and glossy.
  4. Drain the rhubarb, keeping the syrup, then spoon onto the baked custard. Spoon or pipe the meringue on top and bake for 15-20 mins until the meringue is browned. Serve hot with the rhubarb syrup.

Have a great day


Winter, Old Cars, Old Movies.

We are presently suffering through an icy arctic blast in Canada at the moment plunging many into negative double digits. The actual thermometer reading locally isn’t that bad, but with the wind they coldare talking -25°C which is damned cold. Thank God for heating in cars. I had to go for a follow up with a surgeon this morning and it was very cold. I am wearing my warmest coat which I didn’t wear once last winter. Trouble is, with wind like this it is very difficult to keep the apartment warm. I recently discovered apartment building owners are only legally bound to keep temps at 72°C and that is warm enough if you are doing things, but when you are sitting around reading or watching TV, not warm enough. We end up wearing sweaters and I often have a blanket over my legs. Mind you if the sun decides to shine in our windows, no problem. It heats the room up beautifully.

Re-reading what I wrote, I can remember cars which didn’t have heating. In really snowy or even foggy weather you could open up the front windshield to help you see where you were going which, naturally, made it even colder.

Morris Minor

Basically, you unclipped the sides and pushed the windshield up. It hinged at the top. Talking about this with Matt he just told me his first car, a 1938 Austin Ruby, 8 h.p., which had inflatable seats. I have never heard of that before. If he still had that car, it would be worth money today.

I watched How to Steal a Million on TV, and enjoyed it. Peter O’Toole and Audrey Hepburn. They were so young. I had forgotten how lovely she was. He wasn’t bad looking either. Not sure how come I had never seen the movie before, its quite a fun romp. Matt didn’t think much of it, left part way, but I enjoyed it.

Matt has to go for a follow up tomorrow, for his eye surgery the other day. We seem to be constantly on the run to one doctor or another. Don’t seem to have time for anything. I have several blogs to catch up on. I will get to it eventually.

When its cold, one automatically things of warming foods and this seemed to fit the bill to me.

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

From EatingWell: September/October 2010

We took the classic flavors of Buffalo wings—hot sauce, blue cheese, Buffalo Chicken Casserolecarrots and celery—and created a finger-licking-good casserole. Serve this dish during football season to a hungry crowd and it’s sure to be a hit. We don’t typically recommend ingredients by brand name, but in this case we make an exception for Frank’s RedHot Sauce. It has the perfect balance of spice and tang for this casserole. Texas Pete and Crystal hot sauces are suitable alternatives if you can’t find Frank’s.

8 servings

  • 12 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 medium stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 4 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Frank’s RedHot
  • 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Bring a Dutch oven of water to a boil. Cook noodles until barely tender, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in the pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink on the outside, 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk cornstarch and milk in a medium bowl; add to the pot along with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often, until bubbling and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in hot sauce.
  4. Spread the noodles in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar 3-quart) baking dish. Top with the chicken mixture; sprinkle with blue cheese.
  5. Bake the casserole until it is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Tips & Notes
  • Make Ahead Tip: In Step 2, cook the noodles 4 minutes less than package directions. Prepare through Step 4, cover and refrigerate for 1 day. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, then bake at 400°F for 45 minutes.

Have a great day


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bowling, Books, Crêpes.

Bowling wasn’t great on Monday. I beat my average once, other two games very mediocre. Matt did very well, on the other hand. The weather was pretty chilly although not snowing. Keep reading about snow in Europe and we only have a heavy dusting – we are supposed to have lots of the stuff by now. Not that I want it when we are driving anywhere. Thought we might have been caught last night when we went to dinner but it never amounted to anything luckily.

Just finished The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. I think I Cryoburnhad read it before, a long time ago. Enjoyed it even so. I have now just started Cryoburn by the same author, a Miles Vorkosigan story which I had missed. Looks pretty good. Starts with Miles having been attacked with a view to abduction. Somehow he ended up trying to find his way through miles and miles of drawers containing bodies which have been frozen and stored. All about cryogenics. Interesting topic for a story although not unique.

I love crêpes, always looked forward to Shrove Tuesday when we used to have them. Often with sugar and lemon or butter and sugar, gundel-crepe-029or even all three. This recipe gives some alternative fillings too. Crêpes can be stored in the freezer for quite a long time if you want. I have another recipe which maybe I will post tomorrow, for Gundel’s Crêpes which hark back to a restaurant in Budapest. I have made those several times for dinner parties. I always stack my crêpes with grease proof paper in between. I have recipes from an article in Eating Well which we used to take a few years back, there were different ways of making the crêpes as well as a variety of fillings. Having typed all this, I think I just might make some this week. I do have a few bought ones in the freezer, but Matt doesn’t like them much.

Crêpes with Sugar and Lemon

Source: America's Test Kitchen

Crêpes will give off steam as they cook, but if at any point the skilletCrepes with Sugar and Lemon begins to smoke, remove it from the heat immediately and turn down the heat. Stacking the crêpes on a wire rack allows excess steam to escape so they won’t stick together. To allow for practice, the recipe yields 10 crêpes; only eight are needed for the filling.

½ teaspoon vegetable oil

1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar, plus 8 teaspoons sugar for sprinkling

¼ teaspoon table salt

1½ cups whole milk

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

l lemon, cut into wedges


Place oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet and heat over low heat for at least 10 minutes.

While skillet is heating, whisk together flour, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt in medium bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add half of milk mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add butter and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in remaining milk mixture until smooth.

Using paper towel, wipe out skillet, leaving thin film of oil on bottom and sides. Increase heat to medium and let skillet heat for 1 minute. After 1 minute, test heat of skillet by placing 1 teaspoon batter in center and cook for 20 seconds. If mini crêpe is golden brown on bottom, skillet is properly heated; if it is too light or too dark, adjust heat accordingly and retest.

Pour ¼ cup batter into far side of pan and tilt and shake gently until batter evenly covers bottom of pan. Cook crêpe without moving it until top surface is dry and crêpe starts to brown at edges, loosening crêpe from side of pan with rubber spatula, about 25 seconds. Gently slide spatula underneath edge of crêpe, grasp edge with fingertips, and flip crêpe. Cook until second side is lightly spotted, about 20 seconds. Transfer cooked crêpe to wire rack, inverting so spotted side is facing up. Return pan to heat and heat for 10 seconds before repeating with remaining batter. As crêpes are done, stack on wire rack.

Transfer stack of crêpes to large microwave-safe plate and invert second plate over crêpes. Microwave on high power until crêpes are warm, 30 to 45 seconds (45 to 60 seconds if crêpes have cooled completely). Remove top plate and wipe dry with paper towel. Sprinkle upper half of top crêpe with 1 teaspoon sugar. Fold unsugared bottom half over sugared half, then fold into quarters. Transfer sugared crêpe to second plate. Continue with remaining crêpes. Serve immediately, passing lemon wedges separately.

Crêpes with Bananas and Nutella

Follow recipe for Crêpes with Sugar and Lemon, omitting 8 teaspoons sprinkling sugar and lemon wedges. Spread 2 teaspoons Nutella over top half of each crêpe followed by eight to ten ¼-inch-thick banana slices. Fold crêpes into quarters. Serve immediately.

Crêpes with Honey and Toasted Almonds

Follow recipe for Crêpes with Sugar and Lemon, omitting 8 teaspoons sprinkling sugar and lemon wedges. Drizzle 1 teaspoon honey over top half of each crêpe and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons finely chopped toasted sliced almonds and small pinch salt. Fold crêpes into quarters. Serve immediately.

Have a great day


Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend Weather, Aging, Ribs Dinner.

snowmanWhat a delightful weekend, weather wise. Its been blowing a gale the whole time which we really know because our apartment block is on a hill so it whistles round the building like a banshee sometime. Sunday morning we woke up to snow, the last lot having virtually gone again. The UK seems to be getting more snow than we are this year. A lot of them seem to be enjoying it and one friend posted a picture of his son and a snowman. Somewhat smaller than we are used to seeing here. Although I don’t think there will be many this big at the moment, not enough snow although did see a few in the last snow fall.

Reading Strange Pegs by Andrew Leon I commented about aging and he replied that Science keeps saying his generation will be the last to die and that by the time his children are adults scientists will have found out how to turn off the aging gene. I wonder if that will really happen, science fiction has been writing about prolonging life for years. If it does happen, they really will have to pull their fingers out and make colonies on the moon and so forth as earth will get over overcrowded pretty quickly. We are doing a pretty good job of overcrowding now, what on earth it will be like in 100 years I dread to think. If I had one wish fulfilled, I would love to come back and see what’s happening in 200 years time, then maybe again in another 200 years. Think I read a story like that once.

Had a fun evening at the Rolled Rib dinner last night. It was, actually, rolled ribsa much nicer event that the pig tails one that we go to every year. The tables were laid with cloths and napkins and we were served everything until the main course. With the rolled ribs they had mashed taties, corn, carrots and squash and, of course, gravy. It was all very good and very filling. There were desserts but we didn’t bother. We did hit a bit of a snow storm on the way over and I think Matt was actually a bit worried about what it would be like driving home. We did have to scrape snow off the car, but the driving wasn’t bad at all. Thank Goodness. They are uncooked in the picture. I can never find out just how you prepare and cook these. They are very good.

Needless to say, we got home in plenty of time for Downton Abbey so I won’t have to pay iTunes to see the current episode.

I used to drink Black or White Russians once upon a time, haven’t had one in years. This is a twist on an old theme. This just reminded me how much I used to like Irish Coffee too.


Contributed by Richard Boccato

  • SERVINGS:Makes 1 DrinkDominicana

    Sasha Petraske taught Richard Boccato this White Russian variation when Boccato worked for him at Milk & Honey. Boccato makes it with Caffé Lolita coffee liqueur.

    1 ounce heavy cream

    1. 1/4 ounce Simple Syrup
    2. Ice
    3. 1 1/2 ounces añejo rum
    4. 1 1/2 ounces coffee liqueur
    1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the cream, Simple Syrup and 1 ice cube. Shake well to aerate the cream and melt the ice.
    2. Fill a pint glass with ice. Add the rum and liqueur; stir well. Strain into a chilled coupe. Spoon the whipped cream on top.

    Have a great day


    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    Lance, Medical, Jeopardy.

    LanceSo he finally admitted it – I didn’t see the programme, but its all over the news. I don’t know what that will mean to his future, I have heard of civil action suits and he has already lost all his titles etc. I gather he claims everyone does it. I was never very interested in the Tour de France anyway, but I know he was a hero to many people especially with his cancer record and the Livestrong movement which has been damaged by all this, although I gather they are able to carry on. I know one friend of mine really thought he was great at the time, she must be very disappointed. Haven’t discussed it with her.

    As you may recall, I have been treated for a urinary tract infection since August and have had 9 lots of antibiotics which caused me other glass of wineproblems too. Friday I went for a cystoscopy and a chat with a urologist. He said I shouldn’t have been given so many antibiotics without a culture being done. Upon examination he said there wasn’t any sign of infection in my bladder anyway. He defined it as an overactive bladder and gave me some pills to help. I think I am also going for an X-ray on my kidneys just in case. However, he gave me a short list of things I should avoid for the time being because they can aggravate the bladder. Smoking, caffeine, citrus, spicy foods and alcohol. I don’t smoke, I drink decaf, and don’t drink orange juice or anything, but alcohol, that’s a different kettle of fish. Means I shouldn’t drink my wine. We drink some wine on Saturday nights, looks like I will have to lay off it for a while. Mind you for this dinner we are going to on Sunday at the Legion, I cannot possibly lay off. I will be good afterwards.

    Do you watch Jeopardy? We do religiously. Right now the 2 day champion is a young woman from Toronto and a local radio announcer, Randolph J. Johnson, said he was at school with her. He is the DJ to whom I talk when I give recipes out on the radio now and again. The first night the champion, don’t remember her name, won $40,000 odd and $16,000 odd the second night. I really thought she was going to be beaten, but in final Jeopardy she had the answer and her closest competitor didn’t.

    This looks like a tasty snack.

    Bread "Fries" with Marinara "Ketchup"Garlic

    Contributed by Grace ParisiGarlic Bread Fries
    SERVINGS:8 to 10

    In this imaginative party snack, addictive garlicky bread sticks and marinara sauce resemble French fries and ketchup.
    1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    3. 3 large garlic cloves, minced
    4. 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    5. 1 large baguette, split and halved
    6. 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
    7. Marinara sauce, for serving
    1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a medium skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the parsley.
    2. Place the bread on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and spoon the garlic butter on top. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes. Light the broiler and broil for 1 minute, just until golden. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch “fries” and serve in paper cones, with the marinara on the side.

    Have a great weekend