Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A to Z

Arlee Bird wrote a blog this week about the A to Z Challenge Applebasically saying people who say they don’t have time to do the A to Z really do have it because it only takes a few minutes to write a simple blog post. He demonstrated by doing A for Apple. I do tend to agree with him. I write a blog every day except Sunday and it really doesn’t take that long to do it. Unless you have a very complicated blog like that of Alex J. Cavenaugh, but for the A to Z Challenge you really don’t have to be that complicated. You don’t even have to have a theme, I didn’t my first year, but merely to write a relatively short post which reflects the letter of the day. Some people go to heaps of trouble with their Challenge posts, but you don’t have to. The whole point is to have fun and to make new friends by visiting those others on the list. If you wonder who they are, click on the A to Z badge on the right and it will take you to the sign up list. (As a matter of interest, it took me half an hour to write this because I had to look up links for other blogs).

It all starts tomorrow, but you can jump in any time, I did, my first year, in fact I’m not sure anyone knew I was taking part. I discovered the challenge on Sia McKye’s blog Sia McKye Over Coffee decided I liked the sound of it and started posting for the Challenge. I write a lot of food oriented blogs and usually post a recipe so, surprise, surprise, this year I am writing about a food and then posting a recipe using that food. This stemmed from a comment made by Alex J. Cavenaugh (The Ninja Captain) last year.

This is a recipe I will be making this weekend. I need stuffing mushrooms, i.e. large ones. I was in the store today and didn’t see any in passing. If they don’t have them later in the week, I will use portobello mushrooms instead.

Vegetable Stuffed Mushrooms

12 large mushroomsvege stuffed mushrooms
1 Tbs unsalted butter
5 green onions, chopped fine
1 med size stalk celery, chopped
1 small ripe tomato, cored and chopped
1/2 tsp dried marjoram, crumbled
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup soft white breadcrumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash the mushrooms and twist off the stems; set the caps aside and mince the stems.
2. In a heavy 10 inch skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat; add th green onions, celery and mushroom stems and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft - about 5 mins. Add the tomato, marjoram and pepper and cook covered, 5 mins longer. Stir in the breadcrumbs and remove the skillet from the heat.
3. Spoon the mixture into the caps, mounding it up slightly. Ina lightly greased 13"x9"x2" baking pan, arrange the mushrooms in one layer. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until lightly browned

Servings: 4

Have a great day, see you at the A to Z

Monday, March 30, 2015

ISP, Dragon of the Stars, A to Z.

ISPFor the last few days, I have been having a problem with my ISP. It seems to be partly cleared up as far as my laptop is concerned, but the desktop is still having some problems and sometimes I can post and sometimes I can’t. I was concerned whether I would be able to do my blogs this week or not.  I certainly had trouble with emails.  Luckily my A to Z posts are all finished and about half of them have been scheduled so they would publish no matter what, unless Blogger decided to have a hissy fit of course.

On my F blog, April 7, I am helping Alex J. Cavenaugh launch his Dragon of the Stars by Alex J Cavanaughlatest book Dragon of the Stars. I do hope you visit me that day as there is a way of winning prizes, good ones, by locating Mini Alex over several blogs. Mine included of course. A scavenger hunt. As a regular reader you will know that I have been lucky enough to read this book already, I won it, so I know what the Kargrandes are. Alex has had to bribe to keep quiet though. Although I have to confess his offered bribes have not yet arrived on my doorstep so I might have to blow the gaff anyway. Actually, I can recommend it as a very good story with a very big surprise at the end.

Of course the A to Z Challenge starts on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. This is always a fun challenge to do. For those of you not in the know, you have to write a blog every day (except Sunday) beginning with the letter of the day, i.e. A on Wednesday, B on Thursday etc. It is also expected that you will visit 5 new blogs each day if possible. This is a great thing to do because you find lots of new blogs and make new friends doing so. This will be my fourth time of participating. The blog is run by several co hosts These are:

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy @ Hollywood Nuts
Nicole Ayers @ The Madlab Post
Author Stephen Tremp
Heather M. Gardner
AJ Lauer
Pam @ An Unconventional Librarian
Matthew MacNish @ The QQQE
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary
S. L. Hennessy @ Pensuasion
C. Lee McKenzie @ The Write Game
Joy Campbell @ The Character Depot
Susan Gourley @ Susan Says
John  Holton @The Sound of One Hand Typing
Lisa Buie-Collard, Author

There is such a lot to do being a host that they all have minions and I have been a minion twice. This year I declined. Even being a helper or minion is a lot of work so I don’t know how the hosts manage it. I should mention that this Challenge was the brain child of Arlee Bird – thanks Lee.

This is a good recipe for fish. I love sea Bass and it has lovely solid white flesh which is delicious.

Sea Bass with Dried Fruit Salsa

WebMD Recipe
Sea Bass with Dried Fruit Salsa


  • 4 5-6 ounce sea bass fillets, (1 inch thick)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of each dried fruit, mango, papaya, cherry, and pineapple
  • 1/3 cup apple juice, or cider
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


Step 1
Rub fish with olive oil.
Step 2
Combine coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper; mix well. Set aside 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture for the fruit salsa. Add salt to remaining mixture.
Step 3
Rub seasonings over both sides of fish.
Step 4
Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat until hot.
Step 5
Add fish. Reduce heat to medium, cook 3-5 minutes or until fish is browned and seared. Turn fish over; cook about 5 minutes or until fish is slightly firm and flaky.
Step 6
Combine dried fruit, juice, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon reserved seasoning mixture in a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish. Bring to a boil. Stir in jam. Let stand 5 minutes.
Step 7
Transfer fish to serving plates. Top with fruit salsa and sprinkle with cilantro.
Have a great day

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday Recipe

I cannot imagine how many calories these things have but they sound heavenly. (Answer 398.1)

Drunken Butter Rum Cupcakes

Meghan at Food.com

An absolutely sinful cupcake that is perfect for grownup parties. Worth the extra effort by every bit!Drunken Butter rum cupkakes
Servings 24
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. Toast pecan and coconut over medium heat in a dry skillet for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Combine all cake ingredients in a large stainless steel bowl. Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer. Stir in pecans and coconut flake mixture reserving about 1/3 cup for garnishing later.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cups.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out of center completely clean.
  7. Place on a cooling rack. Prick top of cupcakes with toothpick. ALLOW TO COOL COMPLETELY.
  8. For glaze:.
  9. Melt butter in saucepan.
  10. Stir in 1/4 cup of the rum and sugar.
  11. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat.
  12. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup of rum.
  13. For Frosting:.
  14. Before starting, place your stainless steel bowl and the arms for mixer into the freezer, for about 5 minutes. The cold bowl and arms form stiffer peaks in your frosting.
  15. In large bowl, with mixer at medium-low speed, beat sugar, butter, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons rum until blended.
  16. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.
  17. Beat in more rum as needed for desire consistency for frosting.
  18. To finish cupcakes:.
  19. Dip tops of cupcakes into Butter Rum Glaze and allow excess to drop off before placing back down. This part can get a bit messy.
  20. Pipe on dollops of frosting, I usually leave some of the cupcake showing cause the glaze is so shiny and pretty.
  21. Drizzle a small amount of remaining drizzle over top of frosting. Sprinkle with remaining pecan and coconut.
Have a great weekend

Friday, March 27, 2015

Telemarketing, Cockpit Rules.

I have just heard, on the radio, that some of the telemarketing Telemarketingcompanies were circumventing the Canada wide “do not call” prohibition and have now been fined a whole heap of money. There are more companies which are on notice apparently. I know I got a call one time saying my computer was about to go kaput or something. It was 3 in the morning I think, certainly in the middle of the night, and they told me I should get up and turn my computer on. I told them what they could do. Also, the ubiquitous duct cleaning which I think everyone gets now and then. I wish they would just remember we live in an apartment. In fact, if you live in a house, duct cleaning isn’t a bad idea, it gets rid of a lot of dust and debris which you are basically breathing in. But if you contemplate it, use a reliable company.

Following that terrible crash of the German plane which was Black Boxapparently flown into the mountains on purpose and according to the black box, was done by the co pilot, the pilot having been locked out of the cockpit, Canadian airlines have been told to have two people in the cockpit at all times. A wise precaution. What a terrible experience for the pilot to know they were going to crash and not to be able to do a thing about it. Poor man. I haven’t yet heard any explanation, if there is one of course. The picture is the black box (why black when it’s red or orange?).

We have just had supper – Thursday night – and it occurred to me you might like to try this recipe. I dislike canned tuna, but Matt invented this way of serving it and I love it. To translate, if you French isn’t too good, I called it Tuna Matt’s Way.

Tuna Matt's Façon

1 6 oz can TunaTuna Matt's Facon
3 Tbs capers
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper finely chopped
1/4 lge onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs mayonnaise
salt and pepper
shredded lettuce

1. Pita Bread
2. Mix well. Cut two Pita breads in half, open each half to make a pocket, line with shredded lettuce and fill with mixture.
3. Serve with tossed salad greens

Servings: 2

Have a great day

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Car, A to Z, Exercise Class

Smart CarThat’s sad, we have lost our little car already. Hardly been anywhere in it. Joking about the rear windshield wiper, Alex J. Cavenaugh suggested it might rain today, he was right, it did but only in the morning.  When Matt took the car back, it wasn’t still raining unfortunately so… Actually in some ways I rather liked it, the Smart Car, it was a cute little car. Don’t want one though thank you.

I am delighted to report I have now finished all my posts for the A to Z. I guess if I schedule them I can sit back and relax for the whole month. It will give me more time to visit other people’s blogs.

Went to my exercise class on Wednesday afternoon. I suddenly realised that it has been doing me good. I was chasing around the Elderly exercisestore yesterday without my cane, in fact I don’t use my cane very much any more. I mostly take it with me as a ‘just in case’. I discovered there is another woman in the exercise class who is 90 (we have one at 93 whom they call The Queen) and there is an 88 yr old. Not sure about some of the others. I could well be one of the youngest there. Mind you lots of us seem to disappear periodically for health reasons. We all wear name badges, we should wear an age badge too.

I thought this dessert looked delicious. I found it at MyRecipes.

Gingery Banana Pudding with Bourbon Cream

From Cooking Light
8 servings gingery-banana-pudding-ck-x
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, divided
12 gingersnaps, crumbled and divided
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger


1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in 3 cups milk. Heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil).
2. Combine remaining 1 cup milk and yolks; stir with a whisk. Gradually add 1 cup hot milk mixture to yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Add egg yolk mixture to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 20 minutes or until mixture cools, stirring occasionally. Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or until chilled. Mash 2 bananas; cut remaining 2 bananas into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stir mashed and sliced bananas and half of gingersnaps into pudding; chill 30 minutes.
3. Combine cream and 1 teaspoon sugar in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form; stir in bourbon, if desired.
4. Spoon 2/3 cup pudding into each of 8 dessert glasses; divide remaining gingersnaps among servings. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons whipped cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons pecans, and 3/4 teaspoon ginger.

Have a great day

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fun with a Smart Car

Red Smart CarWell, as of about 8:30 Tuesday morning, we are driving a Smart Car, well Matt is. It’s bright red. The first thing that happened is a neighbour came and said whoever was parked in our space, the lights were on so as Matt was busy I went down and turned them off. I poked around for a while to find out how. However I couldn’t undo the hatchback. The ignition Ignition Keykey comes with an electronic piece attached to it with openers and even an emergency button. I figured out what to press for the hatchback but nothing much happened. After lunch we decided that, as the trunk was so small, we would go do part of the shopping which Matt normally does on Wednesday morning. I went to the lobby and he went to get the car. I was chatting to the super and his wife and when Matt got to the front door he was running the wipers – not raining – couldn’t figure out how to turn them off. Eventually the super and his wife came out and helped us figure it all out with one exception, the rear window wiper. Not one of us could work out how to stoSmart Car Hatchp it. So, we drove to the store with it running intermittently. The back turned out that the window opens up then the rest pulls down but you have to press a button on the key. We managed to get the heat working and eventually everything else, except the rear wiper. Well it did work, just wouldn’t stop. Matt forgot to take the garage key or electronic opener from our car as well as my invalid sign. Had to get another key from the supers. I can now categorically state that we would NOT buy one.

Food & Wine published a collection of strata recipes, something I was unfamiliar with. Strata means layers and they are basically savoury bread puddings. This actually sounds pretty good.

Ratatouille Strata with Lamb and Olives

Contributed to Food & Wine by Max London

  • SERVINGS: 6 TO 8 
  • Ratatouille Strata
A strata (which roughly translates to "layered") is a savoury bread pudding usually made with household staples: eggs, milk, bread, cheese. Max London's vegetable-rich version is worth the extra effort.
  1. One 16-ounce loaf olive bread or sourdough bread, ends removed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes (about 9 cups)
  2. 1 1/2 cups milk
  3. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 2 onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  5. 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  6. 6 large plum tomatoes—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  7. 1 cup Nyons or Calamata olives (1/2 pound), pitted and coarsely chopped
  8. 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  9. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  10. 1 pound ground lamb
  11. 2 small zucchini (1 pound), cut into 2-by-1/4-inch strips
  12. 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-by-1/4-inch strips
  13. 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 2-by-1/4-inch strips
  14. 1 medium eggplant (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  15. 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  16. 2 cups heavy cream
  1. In a large bowl, toss the bread with the milk. Let soak, stirring occasionally, until moistened, about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Stir in the olives and basil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the ground lamb, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the lamb to the tomato sauce.
  4. Wipe out the skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the zucchini and bell pepper strips and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes; stir the vegetables into the tomato sauce.
  5. Wipe out the skillet again. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and heat until shimmering. Add the diced eggplant and cook over high heat, tossing frequently, until very tender and deep golden, about 8 minutes. Stir the eggplant into the tomato sauce.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil a 3- to 4-quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange half of the soaked olive bread in the baking dish. Spread the ratatouille evenly on top and cover with the remaining soaked olive bread.
  7. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs with the cream and add a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Pour the custard evenly over the top layer of bread and let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  8. Bake the strata for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the custard is set and the top is golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead The ratatouille strata can be prepared through Step 7 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Have a great day

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bowling, Hospital Response, A to Z.

Pin_Animation1[1]It was, of course, a bowling day again on Monday and for once we both bowled pretty well. Matt increased his average by 2 points and I increased mine by 1 so we were both feeling pretty chuffed. The alley owners and I discussed and fixed up the end of season dates as well as the beginning of the summer league dates. We were supposed to go on the Travel League on Thursday,  but because of the body work we are having done on the car, we can’t go. Not sure what time we will be picking up the car, Matt guesses late afternoon so we will go to our home alley as usual on a Thursday. In April we also have the Travel League banquet which takes place on the 23rd.

I nearly forgot, I had a response from the hospital. However, before they can take action they needed Matt's permission to open his file. Permission having been given, we will see what happens from there.

I have been working on my A to Z posts some more, I have three Tina Downeyposts to be completed. I didn’t take part in the big reveal on Monday as I had forgotten which day it was anyway. As I said it’s all about food anyway which should come as no surprise to anyone. If anyone needs more details about the A to Z this year, just click on the badge/logo at the side and it will take you to the sign up page. It is, of course, intended to honour our good friend Tina Downey who died in September last year and whom we very much miss. She was a great motivator for the hosts of the A to Z challenge and you know they will really miss her this April.

I like rice salads and the use of coconut intrigued me. So I thought I would share it with you.

Coconut Rice Salad

Food & Wine by Kay Chun


In this simple one-bowl meal from F&W’s Kay Chun, delicately Coconut Rice Saladflavoured coconut rice is tossed with cooked chicken and crunchy cucumbers.

  1. 1 cup jasmine rice
  2. 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  5. 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  6. 2 small Kirby cucumbers, chopped
  7. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  8. Chopped scallions, for garnish
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the rice, coconut milk, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the rice is tender and all of the coconut milk is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the rice stand for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the chicken, cucumbers and oil. Season with salt and garnish with scallions.
Have a great day

Monday, March 23, 2015

A to Z, Stews in Wartime.

I’m pleased to say I only have four more blogs to write for the A to Beef stewZ. I’m not sure what date the great theme reveal is supposed to be, but it must be no surprise to anyone that mine is basically food oriented. When I remember being a little kid and sitting with a mouthful of stew at the kitchen table and refusing to swallow it, it amazes me that I developed an interest in food. My mother was a stupendous cook but this would have been during the war years (WWII) mind you, when a lot of the things we take for granted were not available; even today, I am not that keen on stews although I make them for us because Matt likes them and it is a convenient way of cooking to shove everything in the crockpot and forget about it.  I wonder if wine was available during the war years, I suspect not. Garlic was virtually unheard of when I was a child. I just found a fascinating BBC article called Christmas Under Fire describing what it was like at Christmas over the 6 years of the Second World War. Worth reading if you are interested in history.

Being originally from England, leg of lamb is something I often cook but this recipe is very different in its use of anchovies in particular. I know it’s not long since I posted a lamb recipe, but Easter is the time for lamb.

Roast Leg of Lamb
Julia Moskin for the New York Times.
Leg of lamb
  • 1 large lamb roast with a cap of fat, 4 to 6 pounds: bone-in leg (these can be as large as 8 pounds), semiboneless leg, bone-in shoulder, boneless butterflied leg or double loin
  • 2 ounces (1 can) anchovies packed in olive oil, drained, or 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Leaves from 6 fresh rosemary sprigs (2 heaping tablespoons leaves), plus extra sprigs and branches for garnish
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • Black pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 ¾ cups white wine, plus extra for gravy
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Use a small sharp knife to make about a dozen incisions, each about 2 inches deep, through the fat that covers the top of the meat. Using a mortar and pestle or a blender, blend 2/3 of the anchovies (or 2/3 of the mustard if using), the rosemary leaves and the garlic cloves into a chunky paste. Using your fingers, press paste deeply into incisions.
  2. Mix remaining anchovies (or mustard) and the butter into a paste. Smear this mixture all over the surface of the roast. Season liberally with black pepper. (Do not add salt; the anchovies are salty enough, and so is the mustard.) Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan, fat side up, and squeeze the lemon halves over. Pour the wine around the roast into the pan.
  3. Roast 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and roast until internal temperature reaches 130 to 135 degrees (for medium-rare or medium meat), about another 60 to 90 minutes. Baste every 20 minutes or so with the wine and drippings in the pan, adding more wine as needed to keep the liquid from scorching. If possible, for the last 15 minutes of cooking, use convection or a broiler to crisp the fat on the roast.
  4. Remove pan from the oven, remove rack from the pan, and let the roast rest on the rack for at least 15 to 20 minutes in a warm place, tented with foil. The internal temperature will rise to about 140 to 145 degrees.
  5. To make sauce from the pan drippings, remove a few tablespoons of fat by tipping the pan and spooning off the top layer. Put the pan over medium heat until the liquid simmers. Taste the simmering liquid and whisk in more wine, 1/4 cup at a time, until the consistency and flavor are right. Do not let the mixture become syrupy; it should be a sharp jus, not a thick gravy.
  6. Carve lamb into 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange on a heated platter, decorated with rosemary sprigs. Serve with piping hot gravy.
Have a great day

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Recipe

This isn’t my usual choice for Saturday, but it sounded pretty good and Pasta is very popular after all. This would be fabulous with home made pasta. Never made it myself but I am told it is actually pretty easy. The refrigerated pasta you can buy in stores is very good, better than dried I find.

Creamy Spring Pasta
 Cooking Light

This dish is luxuriously creamy, but the pasta soaks up the sauce creamy-spring-pastaquickly. Be sure to serve right away. Use refrigerated pasta to cut several minutes off the cook time. Serve with Butter-Roasted Carrots.

3 quarts water
2 ounces French bread baguette, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 1/2 cups (2-inch) diagonally cut asparagus
1 cup frozen green peas
6 ounces uncooked fettuccine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
3 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese $
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup packed)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
Butter-Roasted Carrots


1. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven.
2. Place torn bread in a food processor; process until coarse crumbs form. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 garlic clove to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs; sauté 3 minutes or until golden brown and toasted. Remove breadcrumb mixture from pan; wipe pan clean with paper towels.
3. Add asparagus and peas to boiling water; cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Rinse under cold water; drain.
4. Add pasta to boiling water; cook 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
5. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and the remaining 2 garlic cloves; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Place flour in a small bowl; gradually whisk in chicken broth. Add broth mixture and milk to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; add cheeses, salt, and pepper, stirring until cheeses melt. Add pasta, asparagus, and peas; toss well. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and tarragon.

Have a great weekend

Friday, March 20, 2015


Matt’s procedure went fine, however, I ended up steaming. There were two wives waiting for their husbands. We had been seen by the volunteers, sitting there for round about 3 hours, but Grand Riverwhen our husbands were released they took them out another way, not through the waiting room, and said they didn’t realise the wives were waiting. I was totally p**ed off. Same volunteer both times. Not only that, I had said I would call our friend and they did it anyway. Matt was in a lot of pain, never had that before, surgeon suggested it was gas, think it must have been because it dissipated later. Then when he took his coat off I notice his shirt sleeve was covered with blood. Turned out the nurse hadn’t ensured that the IV wound had stopped bleeding and the pad she had put on his arm was absolutely soaked in blood. I wrote a complaint to the hospital. Surgeon did his job OK, they didn’t do theirs. My final complaint, they said my husband was with my daughter. Our friend is the same age as me, grrr. In fact it is a joke between us that she is older than I am, by 6 months. I was so grateful she drove us there and picked us up. Of course I was fine all day, naturally. I also had not one but two cups of hot chocolate from Tim Hortons and a donut. What boredom will do. But I have gone nuts on this hot chocolate. I wouldn’t touch it once upon a time, wish I hadn’t changed.

I love Giada de Laurentis. I used to watch her regularly on TV at one time and have cooked many of her recipes. This one sounds a beaut.

Slow Cooker Cioppino

Giada De LaurentiisGiada De Laurentiis

The advantage of this savoury brew is that it will welcome virtually any kind of shellfish or fish you find at the market. Squid, scallops, and chunks of firm white fish such as monkfish, halibut, bass, or whatever is fresh and local can be used instead of, or in addition to, the options below.

Serves 6
Slow Cooker Cioppino photo


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, stalks and fronds removed, thinly sliced
  • I onion, chopped
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound manila clams, scrubbed
  • 1/2 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 1/2 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 2-inch chunks


  • 1 a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the oil, fennel, onion, shallots, salt, garlic, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, diced tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock, and bay leaf. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, until the tomatoes have broken down and the vegetables are tender.
  • 2 Stir in the clams, mussels, shrimp, and salmon, then cover and continue cooking until the salmon and shrimp are cooked through and the clams and mussels open, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and any clams and mussels that do not open.
  • 3 Season the broth to taste with more salt and red pepper flakes if desired. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
Have a great day’'

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Egypt, A to Z.

How's your day?

I received this picture in my email today. I think it’s the most wonderful lookiEgypt's New Pyramidng concept and I do hope the Egyptians build it. I bet it will cost a bit though. Looking to further capitalize on one of the most well recognized structures on the planet, the Egyptian government has unveiled renderings for a glassy pyramid skyscraper—a less-than-subtle (read: 660-foot-tall) homage to the country’s beloved ancient monument and tourist attraction. I would love to see it once it’s unveiled which will be a year or two into the future I guess. The Egyptian pyramids have always fascinated me, along with a large proportion of the rest of the world I suppose. I never made it to Egypt though which is a pity. I know one couple who went and who never went near the pyramids but just had 'fun in the sun'. To my mind that would be a wasted trip..

I have been working, off and on, on my A to Z posts. Considering I Old Agepost more or less every day anyway, I don’t know why I worry about doing my posts in advance. Maybe it’s just because I can with topics chosen in advance. I have the bulk of them done but it’s been a slow old process this year what with me not being 100% and Matt the same. Matt keeps saying it’s ‘cos we are old. I don’t agree, some of the things can happen to young people just as easily, like my sepsis for instance and falling on the bowling alley can happen to any damned fool who doesn’t have shoes on.

I don’t often choose breakfast recipes. I liked the sound of this even though the picture doesn’t look all that prepossessing. I haven’t had porridge in years – I really don’t know why I enjoy it very much. As a youngster I used to enjoy it with thick cream. Very good for the figure that was.

Spiced Rice Breakfast Porridge Porridge

Contributed by Kay Chun

In this hearty porridge from F&W’s Kay Chun, steel-cut oats and brown rice come together under a delicious topping of caramelized bananas.
  1. 1 cup steel-cut oats (not quick-cooking)
  2. 1/2 cup short-grain brown rice (not quick-cooking)
  3. One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  4. 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  7. 2 bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
  8. Roasted chopped almonds and heavy cream, for serving
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups of water with the oats, rice, cinnamon stick, 1/3 cup of the sugar and the salt; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and thickened, about 30 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
  2. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Press the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar on the cut sides of the bananas. Cook sugar side down over moderately high heat until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Top the porridge with the bananas. Serve with chopped almonds and cream.
Have a great day

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Funny, My Tuesday.

A friend in England just sent me a few jokes. This one struck me as particularly funny so I am sharing it with you.
Two policemen call the station on the radio.
"Hello. Is that the Sarge?"
"We have a case here. A woman has shot her husband for stepping
on the floor she had just mopped clean."
"Have you arrested the woman?"
"No sir. The floor is still wet."

Nose in a bookI have had my nose in a book this evening (Tuesday) so I haven’t thought of writing a blog. Tomorrow Matt starts his 36 hours on clear liquids before he goes to the hospital for his procedure. As I said, I think we will be getting a friend to drive as I am not 100% sure I am safe at the moment. I ended up making a big beef stew in my crock pot this morning so we will have something ready for supper on Thursday after the hospital. Matt won’t be eating tomorrow night but I will have to find something for me to eat.

Rhubarb will be available from the farms in a month or two so this recipe will be a good one to save. I might point out asparagus will be available at the same time.

Chinese Seared Pork with Five-Spice Rhubarb Sauce

From EatingWell:  

In a play on Peking duck, rhubarb replaces plums in the typical sauce in this healthy Chinese pork recipe. The rhubarb sauce is also great with chicken or seafood, or as a dip for your favorite dumplings.

Chinese Seared Pork with Five-Spice Rhubarb Sauce
Makes: 6 servings
  • 1 cup chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup honey plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely diced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork chops (1 inch thick), trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
  • Small Chinese-style pancakes (see Tip) or flour tortillas for serving

  1. Combine rhubarb, water, 1/3 cup honey, hoisin, garlic, ginger, 1 teaspoon five-spice powder and crushed red pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and the rhubarb is very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon soy sauce and lemon juice. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the sauce to a small bowl; refrigerate the remaining sauce until ready to serve.
  2. To make marinade, add the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon oil to the 2 tablespoons sauce. Season pork chops with the remaining 1 teaspoon five-spice powder, pepper and salt. Place the chops in a dish or sealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade; turn to coat well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  4. Blot the chops with paper towels. Lightly rub both sides with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot. Cook the chops on one side for 3 minutes. Turn them over and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140°F, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chops to a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Reheat the refrigerated sauce. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce, scallions and pancakes (or tortillas), if using.
Tips and Notes
  • Tip: To make Chinese-style pancakes, mix 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup boiling water in a bowl until combined (the mixture will look shaggy). Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Divide into 12 equal portions; roll each portion into a ball. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Working with one at a time, on a lightly floured surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll each ball into a 5- to 6-inch pancake. Cook in batches in a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet (or griddle) over medium heat until speckled with golden brown spots, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Keep warm in a foil package or wrapped in a clean towel. Makes: 12 pancakes.
Have a great day

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Paddy’s, Medical, Bowling.

St. Patrick’s iBride & Bridesmaidss the anniversary of my first wedding 52 years ago. Had I stayed with my first husband I would be a widow now anyway. I don’t suppose I would have ended up in Canada either. The church in the background was the one which is featured in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations where Pip meets the convict. It’s pretty old. It goes back to the time of Edward the Confessor and is mentioned in the Domesday Book; the actual current building goes back to the 12th century. It is also the birthday of Matt’s younger daughter and her husband Mike, the wildlife artist too. Unusually, they are both the same age. There is a link to Mike’s wildlife art on this page. If you have never checked it out, do so, I am sure you will enjoy his art.

We saw the specialist on Monday and Matt is due for his procedure on Thursday at 1:30, of course he has to be at the hospital at noon. I have asked a friend to drive us there and back as I am still having dizzy spells which I think are to do with the Cipro I was taking. Hoping to catch up with our doc on Saturday as I am still getting lots of episodes of hypoglycemia too, (low sugars) as I mentioned before.

The weather people were talking about flurries of snow last night. I 5 Pindo hope not. Bowling wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad either. No 300 games though. Won’t be bowling again till next Monday as we will be at the hospital on Thursday. Just as well, I hadn’t registered it was March Break, doesn’t mean a lot to us but of course it does mean that the bowling alley will be full of screaming kids. Well many of them will scream.

I am a Scotch whisky (without the e) drinker and a champagne drinker so seeing this recipe which uses Irish whiskey for St. Paddy’s Day as well as champagne, I figured I would share it.

Cork County Bubbles cork-county-bubbles

Contributed by John Coltharp
  • SERVINGS: Makes 1 Drink
    Mixologist John Coltharp likes making this Champagne cocktail with herbal, woody Jameson 12-year Irish whiskey (made in Ireland's County Cork).
    1. Ice
    2. 1 ounce Irish whiskey
    3. 1/4 ounce yellow Chartreuse
    4. 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
    5. 1 teaspoon honey mixed with 1/2 teaspoon warm water
    6. 1 ounce chilled Champagne
    7. 1 lemon twist, preferably spiral-cut, for garnish
    1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the Champagne and garnish and shake well. Strain into a chilled flute, stir in the Champagne and garnish with the twist.
    Have a great day

    Monday, March 16, 2015

    Medical/Car. Dangerous Rice, Bowling, Weather.

    I’ve already written two blogs today – oh well, April is still a couple Smart Carof weeks away I suppose. This morning Matt has to go see the specialist and from what he said on the phone, Matt should be able to go for his colonoscopy on Thursday. It means the car repair will have to be put off for a week. Matt can certainly not drive after his procedure and it would be too much hassle picking him up from the hospital and also changing/collecting cars etc. We are supposed to be renting a Smart Car for the three days we will be without our own vehicle. Mind you I am not sure Matt is going to be able to drive a Smart Car. I don’t know but I suspect their dashboards are computerised. I suppose it will be OK for 3 days.

    WARNING: You may already know this - I didn't, but you should be extremely careful about My Guilty Pleasures - and who is/was a chef. I was a mite doubtful at first but tended to believe because of the source. Needless to say, I Googled and yes, she is quite right. The main warnings seem to come from the British National Health Service and state the following:
    reheating cooked rice. I found this out through Viveka, a Swedish woman who writes
    1. Uncooked rice can contain spores of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. When the rice is cooked, the spores can survive. Then, if the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will multiply and may produce poisons that cause vomiting or diarrhoea. Reheating the rice won't get rid of these poisons.

    This afternoon we have our league bowling. I have a nasty suspicion I will not manage another 300 game. Pity, our team needs it having fallen from first to fifth place.

    Saturday, having had so much sunshine, we had fog all day. Sunday back to sunshine again. There have been murmurs, on the weather channel, in which the word snow was heard. Everybody is hoping not of course, but we have had bad snow storms in April so it’s too early to say it’s all over.

    Matt and I both love lamb so when I came across this recipe I was immediately interested. I had never heard of eating hemp seed but nothing ventured…..

    Roast Leg of Lamb with Hemp Seed Pesto

    Contributed to Food & Wine by Michael SchwartzRoasted Leg of Lamb A140910 FW Most Requested Recipes + Jams201
    • SERVINGS: 8 to 10
    This exceptional yogurt-glazed roast lamb from Miami chef Michael Schwartz gets extra flavour from a vibrant pesto made with healthy, nutty-tasting hemp seeds.


    1. 1/2 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
    2. 6 garlic cloves, minced
    3. 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    4. 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
    5. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    6. Kosher salt
    7. Pepper
    8. One 6-pound whole bone-in leg of lamb, excess fat trimmed
    9. Lemon wedges, for serving


    1. 1 3/4 cups lightly packed basil
    2. 1 3/4 cups lightly packed parsley leaves
    3. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    4. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    5. Salt
    6. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    7. 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
    8. Pepper
    1. PREPARE THE LAMB In a bowl, whisk the yogurt with the garlic, lemon juice, rosemary, olive oil and 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the lamb and set on a large rimmed baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Let the lamb stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
    2. Preheat the oven to 375°. Season the lamb lightly with salt and pepper and roast for about 1 hour and 50 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 140°. Transfer to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes.
    3. MAKE THE PESTO In a food processor, pulse the basil, parsley, garlic and lemon juice with a pinch of salt until minced. With the machine on, gradually add the olive oil until incorporated. Scrape the pesto into a bowl and stir in the hemp seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Carve the lamb and serve with the pesto and lemon wedges.
    4. Make Ahead The hemp seed pesto can be refrigerated overnight.
    Have a great day