Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bowling, Judi Dench, Bella. Callas.

Bowling yesterday turned out pretty good for me, two excellent games aPin_Animation1nd one good one. Not so for Matt I’m afraid. He was threatening to break my arms because I was doing so well. Such violence. He was even recruiting the bowlers on the other lane to help him. We have a new member on our team, as of last week, and he is turning out to be a pretty good bowler as well. Two of our team were missing, one due to a dental appointment the other due to a meeting. By the way, I still have my arms unbroken.

Matt likes Dame Judi Dench, particularly in the Judi Denchseries As Time Goes By which was originally shown in the UK a long time ago and is still shown on PBS regularly. I went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel some time ago and Matt didn’t see it (he will NOT go to the theatre) so I have bought him the DVD for Christmas. I do hope he likes it. We both want to see her latest movie, Philomena, which is getting high praise from all sources. It is on at local theatres, but I will have to find someone to go with me although I suppose I could go alone. I particularly admire her these days as she is unable to read a script any more so has to learn her dialogue with the help of someone reading to her.

BellaI’ve been spending time catching up on people’s blogs, I got behind a bit recently. Haven’t got to all of them yet but I will. There are a lot of new books being reviewed, some of which really appeal, but when I look at my Kindle, I have 40 pages of titles, not books, titles to be read. I’m  not sure I will ever get to the end of the books I have and even so, I keep picking up one I like the sound of now and again. I wasn’t going to buy any more but then my friend Marilyn Z. Tomlins, who lives in Paris, France, just published her book Bella…a French Life which I just had to get. I haven’t finished it yet, but I am loving it. Marilyn is not French by birth, but she has lived in France for so long, her book just exudes France in every word. The story is told from the POV of Bella and could be described as a love story, but it isn’t just that. Do check it out. Lovely book.

I notice Google are celebrating the birthday of Maria Callas. Wonderful soprano. I wonder just how many people today remember her. She was so wonderful to listen to. Of course I also remember her somewhat tumultuous love life. She married  Aristotle Onassis I remember and I think had some kind of connection with the Aga Khan too. But what a voice.

It’s that time of year when people bake all kinds of cookies, many to be consumed by colleagues at work. I personally never bake cookies as I know where they will end up, on my hips; I am not above assisting cookie bakers with disposing of their cookies though. I thought these cookies from Cooking.com sounded really good. I love ganache, especially chocolate ganache of course.

Ganache-Stuffed Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Makes 18 stuffed cookies

A stuffed cookie is like a sandwich cookie, only with more cream on the inside—it's fatter, fuller and (if you're the kind of person who twists apart the cookies to get to the cream) better. Jessica Sullivan, the pastry chef at Boulevard restaurant in San Francisco, makes hers with nutty chocolate-chip cookies and silky chocolate ganache.


Rec Image

1 cup walnuts
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
5 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons crème fraîche


Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the nuts in a pie plate and toast for 8 minutes; let cool, then chop.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle (or using a handheld mixer), cream the butter with the sugars and vanilla at medium speed, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg. With the mixer at low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Beat in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Spoon level tablespoons of the dough onto 2 ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm.
Put the chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil; pour over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the crème fraîche. Refrigerate the ganache, stirring occasionally, until thick and spreadable, 1 hour.
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, until golden; let cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Sandwich the chocolate-chip cookies with the ganache and serve.

Have a great day


  1. A French Life sounds interesting. A must read for sure. I don't bake either, for the same reason but it is so hard to escape the goodies this time of the year. Congrats on the great bowling games - if I were there I'd go to the movies with you - I can never find a partner to go with me either. LOL

    1. Excellent book, quite a twist at the end. Luckily I don't usually go anywhere where there are goodies around so my hips don't suffer. However Christmas pudding and Christmas cake are sitting in a cupboard ready to be eaten. Not home made, don't bother any more.

      I wish you lived nearby too, one woman who lives in our building used to go with me, but she now has a boyfriend (she is a widow) so I am assuming she won't be available any more.

  2. I'll have to check out Bella…a French Life. Sounds like something I'd enjoy, especially with all the French influence. And I think I remember seeing Maria Callas's memorial plaque in the columbarium at Père Lachaise the last time I visited...

    1. I finished the book and it has a twist at the end, but the whole story has a strong French feel to it. Takes place in Normandy close to Mont St. Michel. Bella is often cooking something and Marilyn (author) is publishing a book with the recipes in it. Not that the lapin recipe will be much good to me, never seen them - or at least not in this part of Canada.

  3. I think Dame Judi Dench is a wonderful actress. I enjoyed her portrayal of Queen Victoria in the film 'Mrs Brown' with Billy Connoly playing John Brown

    1. Me too, I had forgotten Mrs. Brown, that truly was a wonderful movie. I do hope Matt likes The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I loved it when I saw it.

  4. Tell Matt you get a great day of bowling now and then!
    Judi Dench is a class act. Hope he likes the movie.

  5. I hope he does too, have you seen it? I actually saw it in a theatre.

  6. Hi Jo - Best Exotic Marigold is a great movie .. always reminds me of rubber gloves - the make I use here is Marigold! Philomena is very good .. and somewhat eye opening ... the book Bella sounds interesting ... and yes I'll chocolate ganache - but I do try and stay away! Cheers Hilary

    1. Isn't it? I enjoyed it. Will be a while before I see Philomena I'm afraid. Yes, Bella is very good and I recommend it. MMMM chocolate ganache.