Friday, March 31, 2017

Exercise and A to Z

Well, I expected to feel it after my exercise class on Wednesday, but I was aching all over on Thursday and bowled like a man with no arms. I barely crept over the 100 in all three games. Even a glass of wine (aiming fluid) didn't help. I felt like the 100 I w as trying to score. I will be going again this afternoon and hopefully will begin to loosen up. In fact, I had to pick up a scrip on the way home so I also picked up a rotisserie chicken for supper. Had it for supper with some sautéed snow peas.

Well, the A to Z starts on Saturday, but this year I will not be participating. Too much going on in my life at the moment - not least of which is the dentistry stuff I have talked about. Just couldn't cope with A to Z this year although I will probably still be writing a blog every day except Sunday. However, I don't feel bound to do so nor to do all the necessary visiting which takes up masses of amounts of time. So my best wishes to all of you who are participating and I hope you make it through to the end successfully. I know many write their posts before it all starts, I always did, but it's the rest of it which takes such a lot of time which I just don't have at the moment.

Asparagus season is nearly here. Could be at the end of April or early May. As most of my readers know, I go nutty about asparagus and publish asparagus recipes practically the whole time. I also eat some every day. Here is one recipe to be going on with.

Asparagus, Lemon, and Mint Soup

This soup is easy to make. Asparagus has a strong flavor by itself, so I chose to add a few mint leaves and lemon zest to give it a wonderfully fresh.

1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed (unless farm fresh, when you can eat the whole stalk)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 Tbs chopped fresh mint
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock, or more if needed
1 tsp lemon zest
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

1. Cut tips from 6 asparagus spears, about 1 1/2 inches from the top; reserve for garnish later. Chop the remaining asparagus into chunks.

2. Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat; cook and stir shallot in the hot oil until softened, about 3 minutes. Add chopped asparagus; season with mint, salt, and pepper. Cook until asparagus are slightly tender, about 3 minutes.

3. Pour chicken stock into asparagus mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until asparagus are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in lemon zest.

4. Blend soup using a hand blender or a food processor until smooth.

5. Bring a small pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook asparagus tips in the boiling water until just turning bright green, about 2 minutes. Strain asparagus tips and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Garnish soup with asparagus tips and hard-boiled egg.

Servings: 2

Tips: You may substitute a leek for the shallot, if desired.


Have a great day

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Exercise Class, Yosemite Ice Pack,

Having been told by the surgeon that I didn't really need vascular surgery for my legs, I finally decided to go back to my exercise class. We had a fill in trainer today, I have met her before, and she really worked us hard. I managed far more than I expected. I thought I would be sitting down for most of the aerobic section, but much to my surprise, I didn't need to sit as much as I thought. I enjoyed the class too and am so glad I went back.

Watched yet another programme on Nature which was about Yosemite National Park, Once again the emphasis was on the lack of snow and how the snow pack wasn't forming nearly as much as it did, which means that the water sources are decreasing. Basically all our rivers and lakes are sourced by the snow packs of the world. As I frequently hear, global warming isn't happening though. I personally believe that it isn't just being caused by human activities, but a lot of it is caused by all the volcanoes which do so much damage.

Stuffed peppers are always good so when I saw this recipe I thought I would try it.

Deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Casserole

This deconstructed stuffed pepper casserole offers you all the great flavors of stuffed peppers, but it can be ready in a fraction of the usual amount of time. This casserole really does taste like real stuffed
peppers but ready in 30 minutes, perfect for any busy weeknight!

1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 large green bell pepper chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbs dried dill
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup rice uncooked
1 cup chicken broth low sodium
14.5 oz diced tomatoes (1 can including juice)
1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
1 Tbs fresh parsley chopped
sour cream for serving optional

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and ground beef; brown and crumble the meat. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink.

2. Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet. Stir in the smoked paprika, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, dill and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.

3. Add the rice to the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth and the diced tomatoes, including the juice. With the heat on medium, continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the rice cooks through and absorbs all the liquid.

4. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and garnish with parsley. Within a couple minutes the cheese should melt on top. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream.

Recipe Notes

The recipe in the book uses instant rice to speed up the cooking process. In this recipe I used a long grain rice. Either rice works in this recipe.

The recipe in the book does not included the cheddar cheese, so the cheese is optional.

Servings: 6

Author: Joanna Cismaru
Source: JoCooks

Have a great day

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Nurse and Chair, Dentistry, Trump,

Tuesday we had our feet prettied up by our foot nurse. Used to use my chair to lift up our feet to a good height, Now we have to use a foot stool and cushions. I haven't yet sorted out the charges the repair people wish to make. At this rate I probably never will get it repaired.

I now have dates for my next dental visits, April 13 for the filling and to take a form for my partial. Then a week later, they will fit the partial. Not sure about this as we are supposed to go to a bowling banquet the same day. Hopefully there will be no difficulty. We have a friend in the States who always takes his teeth out to eat, even in a restaurant - discretely - but they hurt him and the dentists don't seem to be able to help him.

A certain President has got himself in the news again today because he has signed an executive order which totally contravenes the Kyoto accord and will lead to more industrial pollution. He says global warming is a hoax!!! He says it will give the miners jobs and he asked these miners if they would like other jobs and they all said no. That I don't believe, I have never heard of a miner who wouldn't be delighted to get out of the mines.The man is a congenital liar.

Following a trend from yesterday, here is a broth which is vegan and also full of umami which is really worth working to achieve. Kombu is an absolutely delicious seaweed and should certainly be available at any Asian store as too the miso.

Vegan Umami Broth

Roasting the vegetables along with a trio of umami-rich ingredients (miso, mushrooms, and kombu) give this meat-free broth a deep, satisfying flavor that can be used in a variety of soups or braises.
You can even sip it on its own or top it with scallions and fresh chiles.

3 Tbs white miso
2 Tbs vegetable oil
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
4 6x4-inch pieces kombu
2 medium onions, unpeeled, halved through root, very thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, unpeeled, very thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
6 sprigs parsley
1 tsp black peppercorns

1. Preheat oven to 300º. Whisk miso, oil, and 2 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Crush mushrooms and kombu with your hands over a rimmed baking sheet. Add onions, carrot, celery, garlic, and parsley and toss to combine. Drizzle miso mixture over vegetable mixture and toss to coat. Bake, tossing halfway through, until vegetables are slightly shriveled and mixture is fragrant, 60–75 minutes.

2. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large pot. Add peppercorns and 4 quarts cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until broth is reduced by half, 60–75.

3. Let broth cool, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids.

Yield: 2 Quarts

Tips: Broth can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Worldwide Food Production, Bowling, Gas,

On Monday I was sent this article on Food production worldwide. The article is full of maps which are self explanatory. It is absolutely fascinating and extremely worrying. I think it is something everyone should read. It talks about what and where meats of all kind are produced and the effect such vast food production has on the rest of the world. I had heard about methane gas produced by cows, but this article talks about a lot more than just that. We are, once again, doing things to damage our environment. Most of us are totally unaware of this. I certainly was and thanks Hilary of Positive Letters - Inspirational Stories for sending me the link.

For once, our team actually took all 7 points at bowling today. One of our team had two excellent games. Matt had one excellent game which helped in the third game. I had 3 mediocre games and our other bowler had an excellent game in the third as well. I had a 206 on Thursday, why oh why can't I get a score like that on Monday? Nobody commented on my teeth. I would like to think they didn't notice but they may well have been too polite to say anything. One of the players had a birthday yesterday and brought in 4 dozen donuts. Nice of him. I took one so had to rethink the rest of my day.

Funny we left home and the gas was $1.9 a litre. On our return home it was $0.99 so Matt went back to fill up. I don't really think the price should jump about like it does, but not much we can do about it. Just take advantage when it seems to be in our favour.

Here's a nice, easy and vegetarian dish for supper.

Broccoli and Wild Mushroom Casserole

Photographer and Alabamian Robert Rausch grew up eating vegetable casseroles—he and his mother are both vegetarians. The broccoli casserole his family ate is a step up from the standard church cookbook recipe, which calls for using canned mushroom soup: In place of that, he uses wild
mushrooms. He still relies on Ritz crackers, though, for the crispy, buttery topping.

3/4 lb mixed wild mushrooms, such as cremini and shiitake, stemmed and quartered
1 stick unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon melted
1 large onion, minced
4 large celery ribs, finely diced
3 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/4 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
2 1/2 lbs broccoli—heads cut into 1-inch florets, stems peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 cups coarsely shredded sharp cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
1 1/3 cups crumbled Ritz crackers (from 1 sleeve, about 35 crackers)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until coarsely chopped. In a large saucepan, melt the stick of butter. Add the onion and celery and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until their liquid evaporates and they begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan, until the mixture is very thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl to let cool, then stir in the mayonnaise.

2. Arrange the broccoli florets and stems in a large steamer basket and steam until barely crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broccoli to the mushroom mixture and season with salt and pepper.

3. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Pour in the broccoli-mushroom mixture, smoothing the surface. Sprinkle the cheese on top. In a small bowl, toss the cracker crumbs with the melted butter and scatter them over the casserole. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until bubbling. Remove the foil and bake for about 40 minutes longer, until the topping is golden and crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Servings: 12


The baked casserole can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat before serving.

Source: Food and Wine

Have a great day

Monday, March 27, 2017

Railways, London Food Markets, Asparagus,

Watching a programme on Saturday night on TV Ontario, it was all about how trains changed Britain in particular in the transportation of food all over the country and particularly to London. The people doing the narration ended up in a big London market where they bought the most beautiful lamb chops I have seen in over 40 years. I wanted to go 'home'. These in the picture look pretty good, but not as good as the ones I saw on TV. The food they showed in the markets, in particular Billingsgate which is a fish market in London, made me long for the foods which were so readily available there. They even visited a guy who smokes herrings to make them into kippers (I drooled) and another man who runs a genuine fish and chip shop. Unfortunately, I understand the old fish and chippers are giving way to the corner Indian takeaway. On this side of the pond there is too much emphasis on production for the masses and not enough on quality and taste. I have talked before about aging meat which is not done long enough in North America as a whole. One can get meat well aged, but as it is a specialty item instead of the norm, the price is astronomical. Another thing they did, was herd some sheep to the station and load them onto the train. There was a sheep dog so I don't think they were totally on their own. I was surprised, the sheep were being transported in an open carriage and didn't seem to be a bit worried at all.

Not a lot going on this weekend. We've been cleaning silver and glassware which is a bind but looks so nice once it's done. Taking it by easy stages, a shelf at a time. We had quite a lot of rain over the weekend and Sunday it was somewhat foggy. They keep mentioning snow on the weather forecast but so far, nothing has materialised round here.

I have just found a site on Cooking Light with lots and lots of asparagus recipes. So I won't have  to
repeat the same 'ol same 'ol although some I will repeat because they are so good. We had asparagus soup tonight, need to use it up as I will soon be making more, I hope. A lot of the recipes I found called for roasting the asparagus. Not my favourite way of cooking it as steamed or boiled it is such a succulent vegetable. A couple I saw were roasted and then a sauce added. Those I would definitely boil for preference. Looking at this picture, hadn't noticed before, the ends are white which shows the asparagus is NOT farm fresh. You never have to snap off the ends with farm fresh asparagus. You can eat the whole stalk.

If you are like me and love carrot cake and pancakes, this is the perfect brunch dish for you - or breakfast or any meal.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Want to have your cake and eat it too? You can (and for breakfast!!!) with these incredible Carrot Cake Pancakes. Drizzled with a cream cheese topping and sprinkled with a vanilla wafer crumble,
these decadent and fluffy pancakes are the perfectly delicious and tasty way to eat dessert for breakfast.

Carrot Cake Pancakes
2 ¼ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 ¾ cups buttermilk
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated carrots, pat dry on paper towel

Cream Cheese Topping
4 oz cream cheese
6 Tbs icing sugar
3 Tbs whole milk
½ tsp vanilla extract

Crumble Topping
½ cup vanilla wafer crumbs
½ cup brown sugar
2 Tbs butter, melted

1. For the pancakes, in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Stir milk mixture and grated carrots into the dry ingredients. Do not over-mix (lumps are okay in the batter). Let the batter rest while the skillet heats up.

2. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Coat the skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon ¼ cup pancake batter into the hot skillet. Cook until bubbles form, then flip over and cook on the other side until golden. Keep warm in 200ºF oven or serve immediately. To serve, stack pancakes, drizzle with cream cheese topping and sprinkle vanilla wafer crumble over top.

3. For the cream cheese topping, using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Can be refrigerated until ready to use over pancakes.

4. For the crumble topping, preheat oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter. Place mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes and then remove from oven and let cool. Crumble over pancakes.

Yield: 15 pancakes

Source: Zoomer Weekend

Have a great day

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday Recipe

For those of you who are interested, my extraction wounds are coming along fine, thanks. Almost back to normal eating.

Here's another frittata recipe. They are so easy to make and so tasty. I am not quite sure what sausage crumbles are, but crumbled sausage meat would, I assume be the same.

Sausage Frittata

1 (9 5/8 ounce) package pork sausage, crumbles
2 cups red potatoes, cubed and cooked
8 eggs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2  cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Cook sausage in large nonstick skillet over medium heat 4-5 minutes or until hot. Stir in potatoes.

2. Beat eggs, cheese, salt and pepper in large bowl with wire whisk. Pour over sausage mixture.

3. Cook over medium-high heat 2 minutes, occasionally lifting edge with spatula and tilting skillet to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath. (Do not stir.).

4. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover. Cook 14-17 minutes or until eggs are set.

5. Top with tomato and onions. Cut into 8 wedges to serve.

Servings: 8


Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 24, 2017

All Over, Food,

OK,  it's all over bar the shouting. I am minus 2 more teeth. The injections hurt like hell but that was the only thing that did, unless you count the bill. I was shaky and very cold when I left and right through til close to lunch. Then after lunch I was bored and so we went to the bowling alley after all. I was semi prepared to sit and watch, but didn't in the end and had one of the best games I've had for a while!!! I even beat Matt twice. Took a large mug of iced tea with me. No hot drinks.

I remembered a recipe we used to make a long time ago when in NC. It was a knock off of a paté sold
by Sam's. Basically you mix (cooked) smoked fish like kippers, smoked trout, etc. with Philly Cheese (whole pack) add 1 tbs of Mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip) 1 tbs lemon juice and 2-3 drops of Tabasco (or more to taste). It's delicious.

I ate it on whole wheat bread - having cut off the crusts which are a nono for me at the moment - small bites at a time. Matt just made a sandwich of his.

I also made a blancmange which is a typically English milk pudding. I have a packet which was sent by Matt's daughter several years ago (she sent 2 packs, only used one not sure why). I have never seen it in Canada. Having written this, I decided to Google, Guess what, good old Amazon sells the same packet as that I already have. Blancmange takes me back to my childhood, my mother used to make them for birthday parties for me. There is/was an English cook/author who published a book with original recipes. I tried making her recipe for blancmange. Quite different to what I was used to and I didn't enjoy it as much. I also tried her recipe for custard and that was absolutely no different to the Bird's Custard that so many of us in England used to use, probably still do.

I am not really up to writing much of a blog today, so that's it for now.

Have a great day

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Future, Bowling,

I am probably not in the best of moods tonight (I wonder why?) but bearing in mind the things I have been writing about in recent months, over fishing, shooting animals of all kinds for their ivory, illegal animal trades anyway, not to mention terrorist attacks whether instigated by a particular group or just because someone appears to go nuts (London attacks on Wednesday). Then there are the things we can't do anything about like all the super volcanoes out there or the major earthquakes waiting to happen. It made me think that really I am not going to be around that many more years. I know, I could live til 100 but not many people are doing that yet although more and more each year. But really, do I want to?

There are things going to happen that I would like to do of course, but I am too old to be included in such things as manned trips to Mars and the like. A certain president is pushing that I believe. Maybe not such a good idea coming from him.

We did go bowling today just in case I can't cope tomorrow or feel such a toothless hag I don't want to appear in public, grin. Matt won 2 out of three and the third game was a really good one. As I said, why can't he do it on Monday when it counts? Mind you I had one pretty good game so I guess the same applies to me. We were supposed to be bowling downstairs today, but one of the owners decided to make some adjustments to allow us to bowl upstairs as there was a group of handicapped people bowling today and they tend to be extremely noisy. We appreciated that.

One comment from the owner - was I loaded up on yoghurt and apple sauce. No, not much nutrition in those things. Soups, eggs, fish, much better I think. We shall see.

This caught my eye originally because of the use of radishes.

Sweet-and-Sour Chicken Bowl

Bone-in chicken thighs are pan-seared before being basted with sticky-sweet sauce and slow cooked to fork-tender perfection. Sear the chicken thighs in batches to avoid over-crowding the pan and hindering browning. Though we swoon over the superiorly moist meat, the real magic lies within the sauce, which masters the balance of savory and sweet. For a burst of freshness, we add a simple cabbage slaw that rounds out the meal with a satisfying crunch. For an extra dose of veggies, pair it with sugar snap or snow peas. Our recipe requires little legwork and saves 300 calories and 250 mg
of sodium over the classic.

2 1/2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbs canola oil
2 green onions
1/4 cup unsalted ketchup
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, divided
2 (8.8-oz.) pouches precooked whole-grain brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's Ready Rice)
3 cups packaged cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw
3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil

1. Place chicken thighs in a large ziplock plastic freezer bag; sprinkle with cornstarch, and seal. Shake bag until chicken is evenly coated. Remove chicken; shake off excess cornstarch.

2. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add chicken, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Place in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

3. Thinly slice green parts of green onions; set aside. Finely chop white parts of green onions; stir together with ketchup, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, salt, and 1/2 cup vinegar in a medium bowl. Pour sauce over chicken in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, or on LOW for 7 hours and 30 minutes, until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove chicken from slow cooker; cool slightly. Carefully remove bones from each thigh; discard bones.

4. Heat rice according to package directions. Stir together coleslaw, radishes, sesame oil, and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar.

5. Divide cooked rice evenly among 6 bowls. Top evenly with coleslaw mixture and chicken. Drizzle with sauce from slow cooker; sprinkle with green onion slices.

Servings: 6

Cooking Light

Have a great day

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

More on dentistry, Shopping,

Today I expected to be grousing about my teeth having had them extracted on Tuesday. However, because I am on a blood thinner, I have to stop taking it for a couple of days before, so now I am going at 8:15 a.m. (is there such a time?) on Thursday. I have been having a lot of pain with this stupid tooth - they wanted to do root canal, but the only one I ever had was a pain in the butt and I ended having the tooth pulled 10 minutes later (not literally of course). So now I have to suffer til Thursday. I think we will, hopefully, be bowling on Wednesday aft instead of Thursday, just in case.  Mind you if I am up to it, we will probably bowl Thursday anyway. I may be curled up at home feeling desperately sorry for myself of course.

Tuesday we did grocery shopping and I couldn't think what to buy because I didn't know if I could eat it by the weekend. Decided to leave some of it until Friday maybe and see how it goes. Problem isn't it? Whilst shopping we went to one store to see if they sold a particular brand of Dutch wafer cookies, some of the same chain of stores do, but not our local one. I will have to continue to rely on my bowling buddy to get them from her store for me. There are all kinds of wafers around many with chocolate, vanilla and other flavours, but these from a particular source in Holland are coffee flavoured and absolutely delicious. Matt and I both love them. Don't have any around right now and can't remember the name of them.

Here's something a bit different. Frittatas I have made, but never one like this.

Persian Herb And Leek Frittata

Kuku sabzi (Persian frittata) tend to have less eggs than the typical fritter or omelet. They can be slightly sweet with dates and dried rose, or savory, like the one below. Try not to be diverted from all the greens that are suggested for this recipe. You really can use whatever hearty greens and herbs you
like. It’s the ideal clean-out-the-fridge recipe. Read more about throwing a Persian New Year feast here.

5 Tbs vegetable oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
5 large eggs
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ cups finely chopped cilantro
1 ½ cups finely chopped dill
1 ½ cups finely chopped parsley
1 Tbs dried fenugreek leaves

1. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a 10" skillet over medium. Cook onion and leek, stirring occasionally, until very soft but not brown, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Wipe out skillet; set aside.

2. Whisk eggs, salt, baking powder, pepper, and turmeric in a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, mix in onion mixture, cilantro, dill, parsley, and fenugreek. (Egg mixture should look thick and very green.)

3. Heat broiler. Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in reserved skillet over medium. Pour in egg mixture; spread evenly across pan with spatula. Cover and cook frittata until bottom is just set, 8–10 minutes. Uncover and broil, watching carefully, until top is set, about 1 minute. Let cool slightly, then slide out onto a platter.

Servings: 8

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mt. Nyiragongo, Illegal Fishing,

There is no doubt in my mind that some people are total freaking idiots. We watched a National Geographic programme on Sunday night about a volcano in the Congo called Mount Nyiragongo. There were research scientists from all over the globe plus photographers. Nyiragongo has the largest crater in the world and these people climbed the mountain then climbed down into the caldera. There were several levels and the scientific project required some magma which they had actually seen form so they could time and
date it. The caldera had a sort of wall around it formed by magma, and you could see the liquid lava splashing over this wall in many places. In the end, the photographer basically persuaded one of the scientists to climb the magma wall in a thermal suit whilst he took pics. The scientist had decided not to do this because conditions were so bad, but once he got close, he couldn't resist it. You can see the 'wall' round the caldera and as I said, the lava was splashing over it and running down the sides. He
got his lava sample when he climbed the 'wall' and he was finding it almost too hot to hold even through thermal gloves. The idea is, samples of the magma, especially 0 aged magma, can help predict the next eruption and hopefully save lives. All the way through the scientist was resisting risking his life because conditions there were so extremely bad and in the end the photographer virtually talked him into it.  Found a third pic which shows how the lava was splashing down the sides and how tall the 'magma wall' is. There was no way of telling where it was going to splash over next. He climbed right up to the lip of the 'wall'. Scary to watch let alone do. I wonder if the lava had actually splashed at him, whether he would have survived?

Later we watched a programme about illegal fishing. I knew it was bad, but not how bad. People have overfished the seas round them and are now poaching other areas. Those concerned are trying to teach the abusers to be more conservative in their eating. One restaurateur said that sushi is moving to vegetable sources these days. I have said before, Tuna can fetch a million dollars or more. Great efforts are being made to try and stop poaching particularly in those areas which depend on fish for their source of protein. One area in particular is Palaui Island in the Philippines which has turned their waters into a protected marine reserve. I thought the animal poaching was bad enough, I didn't know much about fish poaching.

The minute I saw this recipe I knew I had to share it. I am not sure how gratin became to be used for a dish sprinkled with cheese. It really means with breadcrumbs. This is probably adaptable for my vegan friends.

Tomato Gratin

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 3/4 lbs plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Oil an 8-by-12-inch baking dish. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Scrape the onion into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly over the bottom.

2. Arrange the tomato slices over the onion in overlapping rows. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Dot the tomatoes with the butter and sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. Bake on the upper rack for about 15 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown and the gratin is bubbling. Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

The assembled gratin can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Monday, March 20, 2017

Emails, Earrings, Cream, Leftover chicken,

I don't like getting dozens of emails from advertising sources, but it annoys the heck out of me to get lots of emails from Walgrens. As far as I know, they are not even in Canada. Certainly not round here. Also, since our last election, I get regular emails from both the Liberal Party, in power, and the Conservatives. I am totally uninterested, but I can't seem to stop them. I mark them as junk, spam, etc. etc., but nothing seems to work. However, I did get an email from Shop.CA which I really didn't want either although I have shopped with them before now, and I did so this time. I really didn't need another pair of earrings but...... so that's probably another good reason for not getting advertising emails.

Doing some cooking this weekend and realised I hadn't got any cream. However, I did have whipped
cream frozen in the freezer. Never thought of using it for cooking before, but it works fine. Of course you have to make sure you don't sweeten the cream before you freeze it. For those of you who don't remember me writing about this before, all you need to do is whip some cream, whipping cream of course, and then either dollop (easier) or pipe the cream onto waxed or parchment paper as shown and then put it in the freezer. When frozen I bag it and it seems to keep forever. You can either use it with a dessert or as I am now doing, by adding it to a casserole. or a cream of mushroom sauce for fillet steak.

Last week, feeling sorry for myself (the tooth saga) I bought a rotisserie chicken and we had chicken sandwiches and salad for supper for a couple of nights. Then I de-boned the rest of the meat and Sunday I finely sliced a leek, chopped up half an onion, chopped up a carrot and some celery then sautéed them in butter. After a while I added 3 tbs sherry and a cup of chicken stock. I thickened it with cornstarch and let it cook for a while. Once it had thickened I stirred in the chicken and 2 Tbs of cream. We ate it with noodles and it was delicious. I got the idea from a recipe for leftover turkey and ham which I posted at Christmas, but I adapted it.

When I saw the picture of this White Chocolate Butter Cream, I started drooling LOL. I simply had to share it.

White Chocolate Buttercream

Creamy, sweet, and perfect for any treat, you'll want to make this frosting for all of your favorite cakes.

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
12 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Beat in the melted white chocolate. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat at low speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy.

Yield: 2 3/4 CUPS

Source: Food and Wine

Have a great day

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Recipe

I am sorry there was no Saturday recipe. You will have to blame Birgit at BB Creations. In her blog she reminded me of Ben Hur which I taped from the TV many years ago. I decided to watch it, it's a long movie and it was gone midnight when it finished. I really enjoyed it - particularly the chariot race - funny, last time I watched it I was a tad disappointed. Not Friday night. Anyway, at midnight I was too tired to do my blog.

I love Cornish Game Hens although I have never cooked them. The first time I ever ate them was in North Carolina when a good friend and neighbour cooked them for my birthday one year. That was before we moved down there and we used to visit our single wide trailer there twice a year for vacations. This recipe says 8 servings. Whenever I have eaten a Cornish hen, we have had one per person.

Quinoa-Stuffed Cornish Hens

Cornish hen stuffed with aromatic and flavorful Moroccan-inspired quinoa is an elegant main dish to
serve at your next dinner party.

For the Quinoa:
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup slivered almonds
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup sliced fennel (~1/2 inch slices)
1 Tbs minced garlic
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sherry vinegar
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup dried plums, chopped
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs lemon juice
¼ tsp Kosher salt
Fresh-ground black pepper

For the Cornish Hens:
4 Cornish hens
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp paprika
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs honey + 1 teaspoon for sauce
Fresh-ground black pepper
¼ cup dry white wine (or broth)

1. Heat oven to 425° F.

2. In a small saucepan, bring the quinoa and broth to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3. While the quinoa is cooking, toast almonds in a dry skillet, 3-4 minutes; set aside.

4. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat, add onions and saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.* Add fennel and saute 3-4 minutes until caramelizing and golden brown. Add garlic and spices and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sherry vinegar to deglaze the pan, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

5. Transfer mixture to the bowl with the quinoa and stir to combine. Add the toasted almonds, dried fruit, honey, lemon juice, Kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Fold all the ingredients together.

6. Fill the cavities of the hens with the quinoa mixture. (Set aside any remaining stuffing to serve on the side.) Twist the wings of the hens behind their backs, and tie the legs together if necessary to prevent quinoa from spilling out. Place hens breast-side up in a roasting pan.

7. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, paprika, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon honey. Coat the hens with the mixture, drizzle with remaining lemon juice, and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Pour wine around the hens.

8. Roast the hens for 35-40 minutes, occasionally basting with pan drippings.

9. When the hens are done, transfer them to a plate and let rest for about 5 minutes. Transfer the pan drippings to a small pot, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits. Add 1 teaspoon honey and if there are not a lot of drippings, add a few tablespoons water and/or wine. Simmer on low heat about 3-5 minutes. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cut the hens in half and serve with the stuffing and pan juices.

Servings: 8

Author: Jessica
Source: Nutrilicious

Author Notes
*Since pan is already hot from toasting the almonds, the onions won't take as long to cook. If you omit the almonds from the recipe the onions will need about 5 minutes cooking time.

Have a great day

Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's.Dentist,

It always staggers me, thinking about St. Patrick's Day, is that Matt's younger daughter was born on the 17th and so was her husband (the wildlife artist) and both in the same year. Most unusual.

I have definitely decided I should have been a dentist. When I went yesterday I ended up with a filling and an X-ray which was $332.00. I only have to pay $49 mind you so that helps. But I really don't know how they justify some of these costs. I have today booked the date for my extractions, May 2. Our bowling league finishes on May 1 so I won't have to turn up toothless. LOL. I was thinking about the filling, not a scrap of pain even though I was as nervous as a kitten. Things have changed so much since I was a young woman. Children of today should have no reason to be scared to go to the dentist, it is all so much easier nowadays. I remember one dentist we went to in the UK  wouldn't give injections because it cut into the cost of other treatments. In those days dentistry was free, not sure if it still is in England.

Bowling was pretty putrid Thursday, I blamed it on the filling LOL. I did beat Matt once. Lot of kids there today because it is March Break this week. If only the parents would control them. It is very off putting to have kids running around when you are trying to bowl.

Matt decided to watch The King and I last night. I wasn't really watching it but of course I was in the same room. I do love the music. But I was NOT watching - I still ended up in tears when the king died. How daft can you get?

Sticky Toffee Pudding is a classic in the UK but here is an "Irishised" version for St. Patrick's which includes Guinness. The only people who don't subscribe to all this "Irishness" at this time of year are the Irish themselves, or at least, those who live in Ireland.

Guinness sticky toffee pudding

This Guinness sticky toffee pudding is so indulgent, sweet and spongey - and it's absolutely delicious with plenty of hot custard poured over it. There's nothing as warming on a cold winter day as a really rich, sticky pudding and this will really hit the spot. You make this recipe in a slow cooker or in the
oven, so take your pick. It takes a little while to cook, which means it's more of a weekend project, but it's well worth the time it takes to make and you'll see why when you get that perfect pudding texture!

150 g butter, plus extra for greasing
150 g light muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
150 g self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 dates, pitted
200 ml Guinness
75 g golden syrup
75 g dark muscovado sugar

1. Grease a 3.5-litre slow cooker basin. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric whisk.

2. Add the eggs, flour, salt and vanilla, and whisk until well combined. Roughly chop the dates and stir through the mixture. Spoon into the slow cooker basin.

3. To make the sauce, gently heat the Guinness, golden syrup and sugar until the sugar has melted. Pour over the cake mixture, cover with a lid and cook on low for 3 hrs. The cake is cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.

4. If you don’t have a slow cooker, heat the oven to 140C, gas 1, and spoon the mixture into a large baking dish. Cook in a bain-marie in the oven for 3 hrs.

5. Serve the cake on a lipped plate(to catch the toffee sauce) with plenty of hot custard.

Servings: 8

Source: GoodtoKnow

Have a great day

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Snow, Dentist, Stove.

We've been having a drop of winter here lately although not as bad as south of us apparently. Thank goodness. It really hasn't been that bad a winter this year, but it is dragging along. As I keep saying though, the worst snow storm I ever remember was in April.

Not a lot to write about right now, Dentist at 9 a.m. this morning and I am not sure what they will be doing but hoping it will not stop me bowling this afternoon.

One thing I did manage to recalibrate my stove and tested it today. It came out at exactly the right temperature. So now I am happy.

This looked really interesting, I love swordfish anyway so I thought this would be good.

Coconut-Crusted Swordfish with Kumquat Sauce

This coconut-crusted swordfish is served with a delightfully tart sauce made with kumquats—tiny citrus fruit that you can eat whole, including the skins and seeds. For an extra hint of coconut flavor,
sear the fish steak in coconut oil. Serve with brown rice and glazed carrots.

2 swordfish or mahi-mahi steaks (8-10 ounces each)
¾ tsp salt, divided
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup orange juice ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tbs canola oil or coconut oil plus 2 teaspoons, divided
½ cup sliced kumquats, seeded if desired
¼ cup finely chopped shallot ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste

1. Cut each fish steak in half horizontally so you have 4 thin steaks. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Place coconut in a shallow dish and dredge the fish in it. Mix orange juice and cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the fish until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, kumquats, shallot, crushed red pepper and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kumquats start to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the orange juice mixture and let simmer for 1 minute. Serve the sauce over the fish.

Source: EatingWell

Author Notes If you can't find kumquats, try using orange or clementine segments.

Have a great day

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Money, Teeth, Recliner, Cooking, Bowling.

Money, what's money? I now have a quote for my new partial plate which, even with assistance from the insurance, is still going to cost me about $470, and that is without fillings and extractions. However, when we came home on Monday after bowling I developed a terrific toothache and was feeling very sorry for myself for several hours until my Tylenol 3 started to work. Have an appointment for Thursday at 9 to begin the process. Horrors, I will have to get cracking that morning. I hate dentistry, but I've got to go ahead with it or suffer.

So then I phoned the chair repair people and said where was my quote. Ends up they want $160 plus tax to repair it. I said that was offset by the initial payment and they said "oh no, only if he had fixed it there and then". Bloody hell. I should have asked if they did senior's discounts.

Tuesday morning I made a large batch of Spiced Beef in Red Wine which freezes very well and which we both enjoy. The original recipe calls for the veg to be processed. The first time I didn't do that, the second time I did and we didn't like it much, so this time the vegetables are regularly chopped. It is a Nigella Lawson recipe. Full of carrots, leeks and onions with star anise and cloves too. We really enjoy it.

Monday bowling was pretty good. A couple of the best games I have had for a while. Long may it last. Funny another bowler, female, beat the couple with the high scores last week. She got lots of strikes and spares but not lots of strikes in a row, but ended up with a 268. So that was 266, 267, 268. In the last couple of weeks.  I wish I could pull a 300 game out of the hat. It's a while since I had one.

There are lots of recipes for crock pots lately and this is one which appealed to me, it's so simple and so easy. One could also make it with goat cheese which is a favourite of mine.

Crock-Pot Chicken With Black Beans and Cream Cheese

"I love this Crock-Pot chicken recipe for two reasons: one, my family loves it and two, it is so easy to make! I got this recipe from my sister. She has two children of her own, and they love it too! It's also
the best leftovers in the world -- if there are any!"

4 -5 boneless chicken breasts, frozen
1 (15 1/2 ounce) cans black beans
1 (15 ounce) cans corn
1 (15 ounce) jars salsa, any kind
1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese

1. Take 4-5 frozen, yes, frozen, boneless chicken breasts put into crock pot.

2. Add 1 can of black beans, drained, 1 jar of salsa, 1 can of corn drained.

3. Keep in crock pot on high for about 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked.

4. Add 1 package of cream cheese (just throw it on top!) and let sit for about 1/2 hour.

5. All done and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Author: Jen Santiago

Have a great day

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Stove, Royal Nova Scotia Tattoo, Bowling,

I finally figured out how to calibrate the stove. You have to press two buttons at once and I was having trouble giving equal pressure to both and obviously then it didn't work. However, you can only increase it by half a degree at a time. Bit stupid!! Pain in the rear end too. This is not quite the same but the two buttons on the left, top and bottom, are the one's you have to depress.  Later I talked to the guy who was coming to fix it. I told him the stove was no longer under warranty. He said was I going to pay - $80 odd. I said no way. Talked to him about calibrating. According to him I should be able to do so much more easily, oh well. He said the easiest way to do it was just to up the temperature when I was cooking.

We've been watching the Royal Nova Scotia Tattoo 2016 tonight, dedicated to Her Majesty's 90th.  I remember being taken to the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo in London when I was in my late teens and thoroughly enjoying it. The Scotia one very much celebrates their roots in Scotland and Ireland. Couple of things brought tears to my eyes. A lot about the first world war too. What a waste of time war is. Especially that one. There was a letter from someone's grandfather describing how over 700 Nova Scotians went over the wall and in 30 minutes, only abut 100 staggered back. Why don't we learn?
birthday which actually occurs in April, 21st as I recall because my cousin's birthday is on the same date. I was staying with his family the first time the anthem was played for her that day and they were saying it was for them (he had a twin). I wasn't very old, but I wasn't that young!!

Nearly forgot, I bowled up a storm today, how very unusual for a league day. Only trouble was, the team we were playing against also bowled up a storm in the first game. They beat us by 4 points. Grrr.

We love stuffed Belgian Endive and here is a new, to me, recipe. Very easy to do.

Stuffed Belgian Endive

6 oz (150 g) goat cheese
3 Tbs (45 ml) milk
1 scallion (green and white part), finely chopped
2 Tbs (30 ml) finely chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped walnuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large heads Belgian endive (French endive, witloof) leaves separated

1. Combine the goat cheese, milk, scallion, parsley, garlic, and walnuts in a bowl and beat with a spoon until smooth and creamy. Spoon or pipe the cheese mixture onto the individual endive leaves.

 Author Notes Serves 4 to 6 as a first course, 8 to 12 as an hors d'oeuvre.

Source: WW Recipes

Have a great day