Monday, June 30, 2014

Air Show, Books.

SnowbirdsWe live close to a small airport, they cannot handle jumbo jets or anything, but they do fly small planes to the Caribbean and business people all round the continent. This weekend (it’s Canada Day on Tuesday) they have had an air show. We don’t go as a) we don’t do crowds and b) I can’t stand for any length of time. However, the Canadian Snowbirds were present and we got some of the benefit of their performance. Couple of times they came really, really closeSnowbirds2 and the noise was tremendous and it amused me that when this happened I ducked. Totally automatic reflex. Couldn’t stop myself. I wondered if it was normal or shades of 9/11. Didn’t see much of their performance of course, but certainly saw them formation flying past our windows. The planes looked really pretty glinting in the sunlight.

Been doing a lot of reading lately I started with Juliet Marillier’s Crown of RenewalSevenwaters books which took place in old Ireland and were loosely based on Irish legends. I then discovered that one of my favourite authors Mercedes Lackey had a series about the Elemental Masters which for some reason I had missed. I have now read two of those and have another on order. Of course some of these books I have been waiting for forever and they are all coming in at once. I am now reading Elizabeth Moon’s Crown of Renewal which is the last of her Paladin’s Legacy series but Words of Radiancethere have been several offshoots from these books so there may be more. My two favourite books of Elizabeth Moon’s are stand alones, Remnant Population and The Speed of Dark. Then I had an email from the library telling me that Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance was ready for pick up. This is the second book in his Stormlight Archive series. The first book The Way of Kings was published in 2010 so been waiting a long time. Admittedly he finished the Wheel of Time series and did a wonderful job, but he has written other things in those 4 years too. I hope I can remember everything that happened in the first book.

I thought this salad which I found on Food and Wine sounded good but then realised it was using chicken instead of seafood. Obviously you can make it with seafood if you like and I probably would. Not sure if I would use rice or orzo, I have both and orzo cooks more quickly.

Paella Salad

Contributed by Quick From Scratch Soups and Salads
We've based this salad very loosely on paella, the Spanish rice dish—Paella Saladand you can actually make it with rice if you like. Our choice, though, is orzo, the tiny rice-shaped pasta. The cooking instructions are the same whichever you choose.

  1. 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  4. 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  5. 6 ounces dried chorizo or other firm spicy sausage such as pepperoni, quartered lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
  6. 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  7. 1 teaspoon paprika
  8. 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  9. 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  10. 1/2 pound orzo (about 1 cup)
  11. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  12. 1 tomato, diced
  13. 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. In a large frying pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to moderately high. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in the red-pepper flakes, paprika, chicken, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is almost done, about 3 minutes. Cover the pan and remove from the heat. Steam the chicken for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large glass or stainless-steel bowl to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orzo until done, about 12 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.
  4. Add the drained orzo to the chicken mixture. Toss with the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt, the tomato, and the parsley.

Suggested Pairing

Paella's Iberian roots lead us to Spain for a red Ribera del Duero. The name, literally translated as the "slopes along the Duero River," describes an area that is now the source of some of Spain's greatest red wines. Ribera del Duero's wild-cherry, herb, and spice flavours will be superb with this salad.

Have a great day

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday Recipe

I thought this recipe sounded very summery and refreshing.

Grilled Shrimp with Melon and Pineapple Salsa

Source: © EatingWell Magazine

4 servings

Grilled shrimp is perfectly accented by this light, summery pineapple-melon salsa. The flavors are bright and fresh, just right for a hot day. Use just one melon or any combination of melons—including watermelon—for the versatile salsa. For best flavour marinate the shrimp overnight. Rec Image

Make Ahead Tip: Marinate the shrimp (Step 1) for up to 24 hours. Cover and refrigerate the salsa (Step 2) for up to 4 hours. |

1 pound raw shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined (see Note)
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger, divided
2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño, divided
2 cups finely diced firm ripe melon
1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large lettuce leaves, such as Boston, romaine or iceberg
4 lime wedges

Note: To devein shrimp, use a paring knife to make a slit along the length of the shrimp. Under running water, remove the tract with the knife tip.


Combine shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon jalapeño in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
Combine melon, pineapple, red and green bell pepper, onion, vinegar, chopped mint and salt in a large bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon jalapeño. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
About 20 minutes before serving, preheat grill to high.
Thread the shrimp onto skewers, piercing each twice, once through the tail end and once near the head end. Grill the shrimp until pink and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. When cool enough to handle, slide the shrimp off the skewers.
To serve, arrange one large lettuce leaf on each dinner plate. Spoon salsa onto the lettuce and top with shrimp. Garnish each serving with a lime wedge and a mint sprig, if using.

Have a great weekend

Friday, June 27, 2014

Barrie’s Asparagus

I was visiting Barrie’s Asparagus Farm's Facebook page and found this charming sketch done by one of their customers.

Barrie's Asparagus Sketch

This was done by Betsy Ackford who is a member of a local group who sketch urban scenes. The following picture is a great one of the "modern farmer", Tim Barrie receiving orders on his phone.

Tim Barrie Taking Orders

How things have changed. The Facebook site also has pictures of the 17 (I think) piglets which they are raising this summer. I’ve never tried their pork. Although they haven’t announced the date yet, the asparagus won’t be for sale much longer sadly.


I have posted this recipe before, but as this is what we are having for supper tonight, I thought I would share it again.

Cold Quinoa Salad with Chicken and Feta

2 cups cooked quinoa, chilledCold Quinoa Salad
1 small head radicchio, chopped
1 cup cooked chicken, cut in bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup cubed feta cheese
1 small red onion, chopped fine
2 Tbs pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Olive oil and vinegar dressing, to serve

1. Toss cooked quinoa, chopped radicchio, cooked chicken, cubed feta cheese, chopped red onion, pine nuts and parsley together until all ingredients are well distributed.
2. Dress the salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar

Servings: 4
Author: The Nourished Kitchen
Source: WebMD

Have a great day

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tuesday, Blogger, Avon.

 CFLAs it turned out, Tuesday hadn’t finished with us. Later in the evening I went to turn on the a/c in the dark and couldn’t quite see what I was doing so turned the dial too far. There was a big flash in the kitchen and the a/c died. Managed to get the a/c going by changing outlets (Wednesday morning fixed the fuse) but the kitchen light was gone. One of those big, expensive CFLs. I think Tuesday is a day I would like to forget.

For a few days the Blogger Dashboard hasn’t been working properly, so Alex J. Cavenaugh uses Feedly, I decided, with his assistance, to use the same. I transferred all the names/URLs I needed and Wednesday morning started to use it. I then discovered Blogger Dashboard is working fine again now. However, I have Feedly all set up now so that’s a good thing.

Last night we went to a farewell do for our Superintendent and his wife. He is retiring because of ill health. At the same time we met avonthe new Super and his wife, Bill and Peggy. I told Bill I was the Avon Lady and they want my card as they and family do order stuff now sand again. All new customers welcome. A friend from bowling asked me for an Avon book for a friend in her building. When I asked if they had an Avon rep she said no and perhaps I could provide books for her building. 19 floors she says. Hopefully I might get a few customers.

This one came from and I thought it looked pretty tasty. Anything with tomatoes is usually appealing to me. You know me, I would not use reduced fat mayonnaise.

Tomato and Basil Finger Sandwiches

Source: © EatingWell Magazine
4 servings

Rec Image
A smear of reduced-fat mayonnaise and a little fresh basil allow perfectly ripe tomatoes to shine.

4 slices whole-wheat bread
8 teaspoons reduced-fat mayonnaise, divided
4 thick slices tomato
4 teaspoons sliced fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cut bread into rounds slightly larger than your tomato—a biscuit cutter works well. Spread each slice with 2 teaspoons mayonnaise. Top with tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper.

Have a great day

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tuesday Grousing.

Welcome to my Tuesday. I had not long been out of bed, Matt was watching GMA as he likes to do and I was just about turning on my laptop when bang, bang, bang on the door and the superintendent and wife came in. They walked in to our Shop Vacsecond bathroom; lo and behold the floor was flooded; water, water everywhere. Apparently the tenant in an apartment above us had gone out and meanwhile his toilet had overflowed. He had come back and dealt with it, but didn’t report it  Thank you. In his case the water was in his living room as well apparently. Matt and I started trying to clear it up with towels but the super brought up a shop vac which sucks up water (didn’t know they had one) so then we had some wet towels and an absolutely sopping bathmat, a large one too. Earlier, just before we got up, Matt was in the main bathroom so I was thinking about padding along the corridor to use the second loo. I am so glad I didn’t. Stepping barefoot into a puddle would have shocked the sh*t out of me. LOL. Funnily enough, the day before I had reported a leak from the ceiling down one of our walls but it is actually dried up which is why I saw the stain. They figured it was from when the pipes burst a few months ago. Not going to be fixed just yet awhile as it’s not urgent. Dunno about this, there is a lot of changing happening plus our current super is moving on at the end of the month. Retiring because of ill health.

When I went to the doctor’s recently, they said I should perhaps have an ultrasound on my thyroid. Usually they give me the form, not sure why they didn’t, however I got a call to book an appointment Ultrasoundand it was actually for 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, great, the lab is just up the road, no problem. When I get there it turns out that despite my telling them at the doctor’s office, they had booked me in at the lab in Cambridge (where the doctor is) rather than in Kitchener where we live. Grr. I did emphasise this to the nurse, but whoever booked the appointment hadn’t done what I asked. So, OK, they had a vacancy at 3:30: we sat and waited. I have never had a thyroid ultrasound before and guess what, I will NEVER have another one. I lay on a bed with my middle raised on a pillow and my head and behind on the bed so I was literally bent over backwards. I was in agony, I have a bad back anyway which I mentioned to the technologist. At the end I said I would be taking some Tylenol, she said why and I told her once again because I had a bad back and was now in a lot of pain. She asked how did I sleep. Certainly not bent over backwards like that.  Another Grrr. She told me not to swallow whilst she was doing it, I found that I couldn’t swallow in that position anyway. I forgot, she also told me to relax, ha!! You relax
when you are in pain like that.

Well, sorry about that y’all. had to have my rant. Today we get to go bowling so that makes me a happy camper.

This is definitely something I shouldn’t eat at the moment, but with the mood I’m in, I could gobble it up and not just one serving. Of course you could use real cream instead of Cool Whip.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Trifle  

Kraft Kitchens

There’s nothing trifling about this dessert that has it all: peanut butter, cookies and creamy chocolate pudding. Peanut Butter-Chocolate Trifle recipe

12 servings, 2/3 cup each

What You Need

1 pkg.  (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 pkg.  (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavour Instant Pudding
3 cups  cold milk, divided
1/4 cup  PLANTERS Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tub  (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
30 chocolate chip cookies (2 inch), chopped
3 Tbsp.  chocolate syrup

Make It

EMPTY pudding mixes into separate medium bowls. Add 1-1/2 cups milk to each; beat with whisk 2 min. Add peanut butter to vanilla pudding; beat until well blended. Stir 1/2 cup COOL WHIP into pudding in each bowl.
SPOON chocolate pudding mixture into 2-qt. serving bowl; cover with layers of half each of the remaining COOL WHIP and chopped cookies. Repeat layers, using vanilla pudding mixture.
DRIZZLE with syrup.

Kraft Kitchens Tips
Sweets can be part of a balanced diet but remember to keep tabs on portions.

Special Extra
Top chocolate pudding layer with 2 sliced bananas before covering with remaining layers as directed.

Make Ahead
Prepare trifle as directed but do not top with syrup. Refrigerate up to 6 hours. Drizzle with syrup just before serving.

Have a great day

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Embarrassing Photo, Soccer.

Student VaginaIn Germany at Tuebingen University, there is a huge sculpture of a vagina. An exchange student from the US was dared to climb inside and subsequently got his feet caught and had to be rescued by firefighters. His picture has spread across the internet and the comments have been quite funny. But…. I am not sure I like the idea of a vagina statue. Do they also have penis statues? I guess I am a bit of a prude. The student himself is extremely embarrassed about the whole thing. I’m not surprised. I understand the firemen were not amused either. Somebody asked if that meant he had been born again.

On Facebook there are all kinds of cracks about the British soccer team and their loss of both games. Like, what’s the difference between a Tea Bag and England? The Tea Bag stays longer in the Cup. Team Coach/bus for sale, only been driven twice. Nothing like rubbing it in. Well, well, well, just tried to write the word bus in brackets – I got an icon of a school busSchool bus

Talking of soccer, I have never seen it before, but they marked out smaller soccer pitches in the park outside our windows and played several games there on Friday – school teams. Seemed like they had one pitch for girls and the other for boys but they were wearing the same shirts for each team, all blues, all reds, all yellows and all whites – at least that’s what I saw. Quite colourful, quite noisy too. Wondered what on earth was going on until I went out on the balcony to look.

By the way, I read other people's blogs on my Blogger Dashboard and it hasn't been working properly all day showing only one blog. So, obviously I haven't done much visiting today, I'm sorry.

This recipe which I found on sounds just up my street. I think Heirloom Tomatoes would be perfect for this recipe.

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Basil, Olives and Fresh Mozzarella

Source: Quick From Scratch - Italian

Serves 4

Since the tomatoes here are not cooked, you'll really notice their flavor--or lack of it. Make this sauce in the summer when fresh tomatoes are at their peak. The garlic is heated briefly in the oil, and then the garlicky oil is tossed with the spaghetti so the flavour is dispersed throughout the dish. The pasta is equally good warm and at room temperature.

2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 6), choppedRec Image
3/4 pound salted fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup halved and pitted black olives
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced


In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes with the mozzarella, basil, olives, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain, add to the tomato mixture, and toss.
Heat the oil in a small frying pan over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour the oil over the pasta and toss again.
Add some drained capers, chopped red onion, or grated Parmesan to the pasta.

Have a great day

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bloggers and Friends, Ravens, Homes.

Is it blogging I wonder, or is it me. I have met some wonderful people in cyberspace with whom I have made great friends; however, these friends include a Mexican Fire Dragon who lives in a cave and owns 150 dwarves, his dragon knight, a Ninja with a cloning machine, a guy who’s garden gnomes hold weddings and who’s dog writes many of his blogs; I have even become grandmother to the dragon. Every one of them goes out of his/her way to help people as much as they can and to encourage others, particularly those who are writers who seem to need lots of encouragement even when they have been published many times. It was the dragon who drew my signature picture which I have been using and gave me the Golden Scale Award. There are many other wonderful blogging people but not all of them have alter egos.

RavensI was writing about superstition the other day and Matt reminded me of one very important one in the annals of British History. There are ravens living in the Tower of London and legend has it that if they ever leave, the crown will fail and Britain with it. Naturally their wings are clipped to make sure this doesn’t happen. There have to be a minimum of 6 so they keep 7 just in case. They are looked after extremely well by an appointed Ravenmaster and his assistant. There are some interesting raven stories at the end of the Wiki article to which I have linked.

Another thing which came up over the weekend; because of a Great Lakescrossword clue, Matt asked me if I could name all of the five Great Lakes. Due to a trick passed on from his father, I could certainly do so, easily.
Superior – in other words, the first letters spell HOMES

In case you wondered, no, asparagus season is not yet over although it is fast drawing to a close. Here is a somewhat luxurious way of serving this, my favourite vegetable.

Asparagus and Lobster Crêpes with Fines Herbes Hollandaise Sauce

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
Cooked meat of 1 large lobster, or 2 lobster tails (about 1 1/2 lbs Asparagus Lobster Crepeslobster before cooking)
sprinkling of salt plus 1/2 tsp.
Fines Herbes
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed
2 Tbs lemon juice
white pepper to taste
1 Tbs fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chervil, finely chopped.

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. In a large pot, steam or boil asparagus until just tender, about 10 mins, cool under cold water, drain and set aside.
3. Coarsely chop cooked lobster, set aside
4. Prepare crêpes.
5. Divide the asparagus into 8 separate bundles. Place a bundle in each of 8 crêpes, sprinkle with salt and roll to enclose. Place asparagus in a glass baking dish, top with lobster and cover with foil. Just before serving, and no sooner, place in heated oven for 15 mins to warm through.
6. In a small saucepan over medium high heat reduce (boil) vinegar, water and 1/2 tsp salt until approximately 3 tbs remains, remove from heat.
7. Lower heat to medium-low, add yolks to pan and return to heat, whisking constantly until foamy and lightly thickened. Make sure not to scramble eggs; if the eggs begin to cook too quickly pull off the heat and whisk vigorously to cool slightly before continuing.
8. Begin to whisk butter into pan 1 cube at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, whisk in lemon juice, white pepper and fresh herbs. Use immediately.
9. Place two asparagus crêpes on each plate and top each with some of the warmed lobster. Spoon hollandaise overtop, serve immediately

Servings: 4

Source: Food and Drink Spring 2010

Author Notes
If preparing this for a dinner party, the asparagus, lobster, crêpes and vinegar reduction can all be prepared beforehand so that the only thing left to prepare is the hollandaise. Make sure to use a good quality butter so that the hollandaise has great flavour.

Have a great day

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday Recipe

I have always loved Spanish Tortillas, they are so very different to anything served on this side of the pond. This is Mario Batali’s version which I found in Food and Wine.

Tortilla Española

Contributed by Mario Batali
Servings: 6

Tortilla española exists in almost every corner of Spain: as a tapa in fancy city restaurants; as a filling for bocadillos (sandwiches) at gas-station cafés; as a main course served on worn metal plates in home kitchens. Mario Batali's version, based on one he tasted in the Ribera del Duero wine region, is baked until golden brown and offers an especially high ratio of potatoes to eggs.
  1. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 1/4 pounds red bliss potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  3. 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  4. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. 8 large eggs
  1. Preheat the broiler. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Add the potato and onion slices, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the potatoes and onion are tender but not browned, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the potato mixture into the bowl, being sure not to leave any in the skillet.
  3. Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the egg mixture, spreading it out in an even layer. Cover and cook over low heat until the tortilla is set on the bottom and the edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil 8 inches from the heat just until the top is set, about 1 minute longer. Set a large plate over the skillet and carefully invert the tortilla onto the plate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.
Make Ahead The tortilla can stand at room temperature for 3 hours before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Across Spain, white wines are undergoing a renaissance, with better bottlings being produced from nearly every region. For this classic tapa, pour a white with substance, for instance a white Rioja with a touch of oak.

Have a great weekend
Jo (2)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bees, Game of Thrones.

Without Bees
I have been carrying a bee preservation sign for a while and came across this one on Facebook. I think it is so important that we do something about this. Not enough people are taking it sufficiently seriously.

Apparently the Queen and Prince Phillip will be GOTvisiting the set of Game of Thrones on their upcoming visit to Northern Ireland. I read that the programme has been filmed in all kinds of places, including Malta where I spent a lot of time when my parents lived there. II have never seen the TV production although I have read most of the books. I’ve kind of lost track of where I got to though. It has been taking so long. However, the TV programme has become a big hit throughout the world – I have friends in Australia who say I should watch it without fail. I would have to find a way Tyreanof seeing the beginning of course. However, I got a bit disillusioned when they killed off the bulk of the Starke family so not too sure I want to see it again. I like Tyrean Lancaster though, I think he is a wonderful character in the books. It is apparently unknown if the Queen is a fan or not.

Here’s a somewhat different recipe from Eating Well.

Tomato Gratin

Active Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
6 servings

Tomato Gratin Recipe at
A gratin is any dish topped with cheese or breadcrumbs mixed with butter, then heated until browned—but it needn’t be heavy. This one has plenty of garden-fresh tomatoes and herbs, a touch of full-flavored cheese and a crispy crumb topping.

4 slices  whole-grain bread, torn into quarters
1 tablespoon  minced garlic
1 tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup  finely shredded Pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese
4   medium tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup  chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon  freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray.
Place bread in a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add garlic, oil and cheese; pulse to combine. Spread the seasoned breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, layer tomato slices in the prepared baking dish, sprinkling each layer with basil, pepper and salt. Bake the tomatoes for 10 minutes; sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs, and bake for 10 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Have a great day

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tornado, Ascot.

Tornado AngusWe were lucky with the storm on Tuesday, but further north of us, in Angus, were not. They did get hit with a tornado which I gather did a lot of damage. Can you imagine that thing heading towards you and your home. I would be absolutely terrified and I am sure they were too. IMHOP much worse than a hurricane, at least you know those are on theTornado ONir way. Even so, I don’t think the devastation has been nearly as bad as it has been in the States lately. If I lived in Tornado Alley, I would move. Mind you that applies to a lot of places as far as I am concerned. I would not live in California because one of these days that fault is going to go, nor would I live on the side of a volcano as many people do in Sicily and other places, Iceland comes to mind. I have learned not to live on flood planes either. We do get bad weather conditions or quakes here of course, but the two or three quakes I have experienced in Ontario were just a tremble. Hopefully they will never amount to more otherwise I will have to eat my words. And so far, knock on wood and crossing my fingers (superstition, see!) a tornado has never visited my neck of the woods.

One of the top horseAscot Hat races in the UK is the Gold Cup which takes place at Ascot, however, it is traditional for ladies to wear exotic hats for the occasion (My Fair Lady) and some of them are really exotic, if you are interested, you can see pictures here.  I don’t know who this is, but I loved the hat. The Queen has a horse entered again this year, I think she won last year. Yes, the horse Estimate which she bred in conjunction with the Aga Khan. Never did make it to Ascot although I went to the Derby a few times. Pronounced Darby in the UK.

This is such a very English recipe so I thought I would share it with you. These kinds of puddings are delicious.

Individual summer puddings

Cooking time

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 8 mins plus 4 hrs chilling


Serves 2
A traditional, low-fat dessert with strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blueberries and blackberries set in mini basin moulds

350 g fruit fresh or frozen (we used raspberries, blackberries, redcurrants, blueberries and strawberries)
2 tbsp golden caster sugar (just use regular sugar)
zest 1 lemon
sunflower oil, for greasing
3-4 slices slightly stale white bread, crusts removed
To serve
2 tbsp extra-thick double cream
2 tsp icing sugar, sifted



  1. Tip all the berries, apart from the strawberries, into a saucepan. Sprinkle over the sugar and stir. Set over a low heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit has started to release its juices. Increase the heat, bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer for 2 mins until the fruit is soft and you have lots of deep red juices. Quarter the strawberries and stir into the berries, along with the lemon zest. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the fruit through a sieve, reserving the juices. Meanwhile, lightly oil 2 x 175ml dariole moulds (or 2 large teacups) and line with cling film. Using a pastry cutter, stamp out 2 small circles of bread to fit in the base of each mould. Dip one side into the reserved juices while still hot, and place, juice-side down, into the bottom of the lined mould. Cut another 2 larger circles from the bread, and slice the remainder into 2.5cm-wide strips that are the same height as the mould. Dip the strips into the juices and use to line the sides of the moulds in the same way, pressing each piece in place and overlapping slightly.
  2. Pack the strained fruit into the bread-lined moulds, reserving some fruit and juices for serving. Fold over any strips of bread that protrude from the mould, then dip the final 2 circles of bread in the juices and top the puddings to seal. Cover with cling film and push down firmly with the palm of your hand. Pop in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hrs, preferably overnight.
  3. When ready to serve, whip together the cream and icing sugar. Turn the puddings out onto plates, top with the reserved fruit and juices, and serve with the sugared cream.
Have a great day

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Weather, Emojis,

I was sitting here typing this on Tuesday afternoon and we were getting all kinds of weather warnings up to and including a tornado watch. Our radio station was having very heavy rain before lunch and we didBad Weathern’t get a drop – a 15 minute drive from here. Matt went out for a couple of things and it was pretty windy, as I was typing there wasn’t a breath of wind, calm before the storm? The warnings went on all afternoon and then around 6:25 p.m. we got a pretty heavy rain storm with a lot of wind. Lasted about half an hour and then the sun came out. We ended up with quite a pleasant evening. We didn’t even get any thunder or lightning, nor the golf ball sized hail. I honestly think they tend to go overboard somewhat in the weather bureau.

According to this Community blog there are 250 emojis being emojisintroduced. I had no idea what emojis were, but they are the little symbols people use when chatting. I thought they had another name, yes, emoticons. Anyway, I understand you can now send someone the Vulcan split finger sign (Live Long and Prosper) or flip them the bird. In all cases, using a single character apparently. These symbols are for text messaging they say. I notice the blog didn’t include the picture for flipping the bird.

This is a somewhat different recipe from WebMD which I thought I might try. Certainly simple enough to do and a different combination of flavours. I would not use non fat of course. I assume by sprouts they mean bean sprouts. To an English person it could just as easily mean Brussels Sprouts!

Curried Chicken Pitas

WebMD Recipe from

Cranberries and pear are sweet counterpoints in this tangy curried chicken salad. Toasted sliced almonds add a nutty crunch.


Curried Chicken Pitas
6 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast (see Tip)
1  ripe but firm pear, diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted (see Tip)
4 4- to 5-inch whole-wheat pita breads, cut in half
2 cups sprouts

  1. Combine yogurt, mayonnaise and curry powder in a large bowl. Add chicken, pear, celery, cranberries and almonds; toss to combine.
  2. Fill each pita half with 1/2 cup chicken salad and 1/4 cup sprouts.

Tip: If you don’t have cooked chicken, poach about 12 ounces chicken breast for this recipe. Place boneless, skinless chicken breast in a medium skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water (or chicken broth) to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 15 minutes. To toast sliced or slivered almonds: Place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Have a great day

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Clean Up. Riding Queen.

Just before Christmas I posted a blog about a terrific ice storm we had had. It did a heck of a lot ice stormof damage and there were downed trees and branches of trees everywhere one looked. There were lots in the park outside our windows and finally, Monday morning, they came along and cut broken branches and picked up those which were on the ground and shredded everything in a chipper. I assume they have been working their way around town and finally got round to our area. It was interesting to watch them put quite large branches into the chipper, I am surprised it coped with them. This picture is quite mild compared with some of the damage. They started quite early yesterday morning and we wondered what on earth was going on.

There were a lot of wonderings about whether the Queen still rides, Queen Ridingturns out she does. She prefers to ride fell ponies these days as they have steady temperaments and she is the patron of the Fell Pony society. This picture shows her riding Carltonlima Emma at her Windsor Estate. She doesn’t ride as often because of a niggling knee injury. She is accompanied by her stud groom. Having come across this I remember hearing/reading about it before. I had an idea she would not have given up a pastime she loves. She won’t wear a hard hat though. Never has. The article has some interesting anecdotes and horse pictures including an interesting statue recently unveiled by Her Majesty.

By the way, have you been checking the Google Doodles, they are all Soccer World Cup related.

I came across this recipe by accident on Sunday morning and thought I would like to try it. There is a video on the website if you want to watch how it’s done. Pretty simple though. Only one thing, it uses a heck of a lot of olive oil and other than saving it to do this dish again, I suppose you would just ditch it or as hubby said, save it in a bottle on its own.

Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Indian Spices

Serves four.
  • by Molly Stevens from Fine Cooking

Poaching salmon in olive oil gives it a tender, silky texture and a pure flavour. Serve with basmati rice and sautéed spinach or watercress.
Watch the Olive Oil Poached Salmon Video Recipolive oil poached salmon with indian spice recipee
to see how this dish comes together, step by step.
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp. coriander seed, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 4 to 6 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Four 3/4- to 1-inch-thick skinless center-cut salmon fillets (6 to 7 oz. each)
  • 4 lemon or lime wedges
Peel and smash the garlic clove and a pinch of salt to a paste, either with a mortar and pestle or by mincing and then mashing it with the side of a chef’s knife. Combine the garlic, garam masala, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and 1 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Add just enough of the oil to turn the spice mixture into a smooth paste, 1 to 2 tsp. Rub the spice paste all over the salmon and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 225°F.
Measure the thickness of the fillets and pour the same depth of oil into a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan. Heat over low heat until the oil reaches 120°F, 2 to 3 minutes. Put the salmon fillets in the oil in a single layer and immediately transfer the pan to the oven. Poach until a few small whitish droplets rise to the surface of the fillet, 25 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a wire rack to drain for a few minutes. Serve warm with lemon or lime wedges.

Have a great day

Monday, June 16, 2014

Royal Birthday, Gold Leaf.

This weekenTrooping the Colourd, in London, they celebrated the Queen’s official birthday by the annual trooping of the colour which is a mustering and parade of the guards, originally part of the preparations for war. Once upon a time she would ride to the event but now, at 88, she travels in a carriage. Beside her in the carriage is Prince Phillip. I was astounded to see him wearing a bearskin hat I didn’t remember ever seeing him Trooping the Colour 1981wear one before, however, I found this picture from 1981 where he was definitely wearing one so we assume he is the commanding officer of the Household Guards. In fact, it turns out that both Prince Charles and Prince William were similarly dressed. In this picture the queen is riding Burmese, her favourite 19 yr. old horse and in fact it was taken on the day she was shot at, which I certainly knew nothing about. Once again her Majesty was on her way to Horse Guards Parade to attend the trooping of the colour in her honour. The ceremony is truly impressive to watch although I have only ever seen it on TV. I was also interested to be reminded that she always rode side saddle to these events.

Reading the latest post by Hilary Melton-Butcher she mentioned books of gold leaf. I hadn’t thought about it in years, but I used to Gold Leafhave one, the pages were very thin and the gold leaf itself was basically not a lot more than paint in it’s thickness. I have no idea where I got this book of gold leaf from, but we moved into a brand new house in Hoo, Kent, England and I decided to call it Borogroves from the story of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It wasn’t until very much later that I realised it should be Borogoves (only one r). Anyway, somewhere we had obtained a wooden sign with the house name and by dint of using clear nail polish, each letter acquired a coat of gold leaf.  I had the rest of the book for many years but I have no idea what eventually happened to it. I have to say I was actually rather disappointed, didn’t look like much at all when the name was finished. Hilary even included a link for purchasing a similar book. Doesn’t look like much does it? Nor did my sign. It’s £6.95 for a book of 5 leaves.

This is a recipe we tried on Saturday. It was good but we decided it needed more seasoning, i.e. lemon, salt and pepper. Matt figured out he would use half as much again (he was the one who cooked it). We didn't have the Swiss Chard but French cut green beans. On Sunday we ate the remainder cold and the flavours had developed somewhat.

Tuscan Pork Kebabs

Coming in at under 200 calories per serving, these colourful grilled pork-kebabs-ck-pork kebabs are perfect for a light weeknight dinner.
Cooking Light AUGUST 2009
  • Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 kebabs)
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 16 (1-inch) pieces red bell pepper
  • 16 (1-inch) pieces yellow bell pepper
  • Cooking spray
1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
2. Combine olive oil, grated lemon rind, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic in a large bowl, stirring well. Add pork; marinate at room temperature 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
3. Thread pork and bell peppers alternately onto each of 8 (8-inch) skewers. Place skewers on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 10 minutes or until pork is done, turning occasionally.
Sautéed chard: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add 8 cups chopped stemmed Swiss chard, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; sauté for 5 minutes or until chard wilts.

Have a great day