Saturday, October 19, 2013

EU/Canada Tariff Deal. Fresh Air? Soup, This ‘n’ That

harper-barroso-eu-trade-dealIt’s all over the local news that our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has signed a very advantageous trade deal with the European Union this week. It involves the slashing of most import duties from food to cars. It will apparently increase the amount we can export as well as what we can import. Hey, no tariffs on European wines and cheeses, although there is consideration of compensation for Canadian cheese makers who might lose out on this deal. The picture shows Prime Minister Stephen Harper (left) who signed the tentative agreement in Brussels on Friday, alongside European Commission president Jose Manual Barroso. Full ratification is likely two years away. 

Just heard a report on the radio saying the air we breathe on a 24 hour basis is more dangerous than second hand cigarette smoke. What a horrifying thought.

Friday we went out and bought a pumpkin which, in the next day or two I shall be turning into Pumpkin Soup. Hard work to cut it up and remove the peel. Couldn’t do it without Matt I don’t think. It’s worth it in the end though, the soup is delicious.

After I had seen the sleep management doctor, the pressure on my CPAP machine was increased to 12. 12 what? I don’t actually know. Anyway, I have been having trouble with the mask leaking and getting to sleep etc. so I got them to cut it back to 10 again and Thursday night I slept like a baby.

Friday we went out to hunt for ground flax which our local store doesn’t seem to carry any more. I was actually looking for a Bulk Bulk BarnBarn thought there was one close by, however, we were told where there is one and went there. Ii have never been in one before, what an incredible place. You can buy things in large or small quantities, they seemed to have everything. I also bought some wasabi peas, had tasted one before so bought a small amount to snack on. Very spicy but enjoyable. I understand a lot of people buy their dried herbs there in small quantities so they are always fresh. Good idea. We then went to the local Walmart and afterwards to Sobeys – a store we like but is generally a bit far away for regular shopping. There is a wine outlet there and we had a taste of their Pinot Grigio which we wanted to replace, it is on special at the moment. It was good. The special was two bottles for $20. We got two! Also tasted their ice wine which was also on special, it was very delicious, but ice wine is pretty expensive and we probably wouldn’t drink it anyway. For those who don’t live in Canada, our grocery stores do not, themselves, sell wine or beer, but some of the bigger grocery stores have a wine outlet attached to the premises. Our regular grocery store doesn’t, but the liquor store is just across the parking lot so not really necessary.

This recipe came from and I thought it sounded unusual. Only one problem, I haven’t been able to find canned pumpkin round here.

Gingered Pumpkin Flans

Source: © EatingWell Magazine
6 servings
Rec Image
A touch of fresh ginger adds dimension to these pumpkin flans.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar divided
1/3 cup water
2 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup evaporated nonfat milk

Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath.
Combine 3/4 cup sugar with 1/3 cup water in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar melts. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, until caramel turns amber, 5 to 7 minutes. (Watch so that it does not burn). Carefully pour caramel into six 3/4-cup ramekins and tilt to coat insides evenly. Set aside.
Whisk eggs, egg whites and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, ginger and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Stir in low-fat and evaporated milks. Pour into prepared ramekins. Skim off any air bubbles.
Place a folded kitchen towel in a roasting pan. Place ramekins on towel. Add enough boiling water to the pan to come halfway up the outsides of the ramekins.
Bake flans until a knife inserted in their centers comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove ramekins from water and let cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
To serve, run a knife around the edge of each flan and invert into shallow dessert bowls.

Have a great weekend


  1. Hi Jo - interesting about the Europe deal .. The Barn sounds a great place to have relatively nearby .. Pumpkins are tough old bods to cut up! Glad you had a good night's sleep ..

    Cheers from a warm damp south coast - Hilary

    1. Thanks for the visit Hilary. Hope the Europe deal turns out to be worthwhile.

  2. Wasabi...! The hotter the better.
    Your machine goes to twelve? That's better than an amp that goes to eleven. (Joke from the movie This is Spinal Tap.)

    1. Yes, so long as you know that. First time I had wasabi I had a joke played on me and ended up with a lump of it in my mouth, in a huge buffet room at a conference, dying in agony.

      Snort, now how would I know that Alex? Actually it goes a lot higher.

  3. Hey, anything which might wine and cheese (two of my favorite foods) cheaper is good in my book! I'm glad you were able to find a good deal.
    Canned pumpkin is available in every grocery store here. Did you find a good horseradish? I remember you mentioning you had a new one. I'm totally craving a good roast beef sandwich with horseradish, of course.
    I see my sleep doctor in a week. Right now I'm at 9 whatevers (I don't know either...I think it's some kind of pressure measurement...I'll ask). They're threatening to put me on extra oxygen, which I'm hoping won't be necessary.
    Tina @ Life is Good

  4. Yeah, I found a fairly good horseradish, not the best I have ever had, but by no means the worst. I am happy as can be on 10 whatevers. 12 did not suit me at all. Oxygen, do you use that as well, at the same time or what?

  5. Hope the Europe deal lets you sample cheaper wines ... 2 bottles on special for $20 that's about £12. In our supermarkets the cheaper/offer wines would be about £3.50 per bottle following recent price hikes, so that around 2 bottles for around $11.50.

    Because we live so close to France where we can buy wine duty free we pay average £2 per bottle for home consumption ($3.33) and up to £6 per bottle ($10) for VERY nice wine saved for when we have visitors or visit others. We are spoilt here I guess.

    Love pumpkin soup and have a couple of favourite recipes so interesting to see how you cook it

    1. Yup, last time we were there we noticed how much cheaper wine was in the UK. SIL goes to France (well used to before he became ill) on a booze run. They are in the Medway Towns. He used to call it collecting brass rubbings and I thought that's really why he went over, duuuh.

      Haven't done anything with it yet, but hope to do so during the week. I'll send you my recipe.