Friday, June 30, 2017

RIP Michael Bond,

I was so very sorry to hear of the passing of Michael Bond the author of the Paddington Bear stories plus his Monsieur Pamplemousse and his dog Pommes Frites stories which were such fun to read if not as famous. His daughter is a close friend of mine and my heart goes out to her and her family. This photo appeared in the Guardian who published an article about Mr. Bond. His obituary is here.

At bowling on Wednesday it turns out we moved from 5th to 4th place although we only scored three points. Long may it last. Thursday I won the first game, we tied the second game and Matt won the third game, so he was happy. The younger owner of the alley is on vacation from now. He takes the whole of July off. His dad takes June off and the grandson/son fills in the blanks. Really nice family.

Just finished watching Episodes 3 and 4 of Poldark. I am really enjoying the series. Glad I started last week.

Today, Friday, going to the farm to get my last batch of asparagus for the season and then I will be all miserable when it has gone. I've frozen a lot but it isn't the same. Ah well.

Grilled Asparagus with Pepper Zabaglione

3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3 Tbs vin santo or other lightly sweet dessert wine
2 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbs heavy cream
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt
2 lbs large asparagus
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Light a grill or heat a grill pan. In a heatproof medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the egg and vin santo. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water and vigorously whisk the eggs over moderate heat until the sauce holds firm peaks, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl of sauce from the heat.

2. In a small bowl, mix the butter with the heavy cream and pepper. Whisk the cream mixture into the sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Season the zabaglione with salt and keep warm.

3. In a large bowl, toss the asparagus with the olive oil and season with salt. Grill the asparagus over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until charred all over and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to plates.

4. Set the bowl of sauce over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk over low heat until thick and just heated through, about 1 minute. Spoon the sauce over the asparagus, sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.

Servings: 6

Author: Mario Batali

Have a great day

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bowling, Movie, Burgers, Deep Pacific,

Bowling was frustrating on Wednesday - we won the first game by around 80 points then lost the second game by 5 and the third by 4 points. Thursday I will find out what our standings are. But I would almost rather be beaten by a large amount. Mind you, the team we were playing against are pretty good bowlers, so much so that they carry minus handicaps which doesn't help them. Two of them were a couple of guys who were part of our team last summer so we are pretty good friends. One of them was telling all kinds of groaners which were so bad they were funny.

Yesterday I picked up Rogue One at the library and then last night there were programmes I wanted to watch and there are tonight (Wednesday) I have until Tuesday so hopefully I will be able to watch it before then. Not sure if DVDs can be renewed.

Tried the second lot of burgers Gouda and mushrooms - didn't like them as much as the first ones but they were still good. Of course the Barrie's Relish helped too.

Watched the second episode of Big Pacific on Wednesday night. I didn't realise how much damage
had been done to the Bikini Atoll by the atom bomb testing 60 years ago. There were also pictures of tsunamis which were enough to frighten one to death. Followed that with Great Yellowstone Thaw. Thought about watching Making North America but hadn't written this blog. It occurred to me today, that those of us who watch such programmes are probably very much in the minority and the rest of the world doesn't care about polluting oceans and other damage we are doing to the Earth.

Having posted a dessert for Independence Day I figured I should post one for Canada's 150th birthday on July 1. You could also use blueberries or raspberries for this recipe.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake With Blackberries

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 Tbsp vinegar)
1 cup red wine
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup blackberry preserves
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbs cocoa
3-5 Tbsp 10% cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and line three 8-inch round baking pans with parchment paper. Butter parchment.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisking until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, wine, oil, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Divide evenly among prepared pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

4. Prepare frosting by combining all ingredients in a large bowl and beating until light and fluffy.

5. To assemble: Place one layer, flat side down, on a serving platter. Spread half of the blackberry preserves evenly on top, followed by approximately ½ cup of buttercream. Position second layer on top and press to adhere. Repeat with remaining preserves, another ½ cup of buttercream, and final cake layer. Cover all sides and top with remaining buttercream. Serve with fresh blackberries (optional)

Author: adapted from

Have a great day

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Barrie's, Shopping, PC Points, July 1, July 4,

As I said, we went to Barrie's Asparagus Farm on Monday and this time they had a spicy relish to be tasted. I did so and it was delicious and definitely spicy. Previously I bought their mustard/horseradish combination which was also very spicy. However, in both cases when I got them home, somehow they didn't seem as spicy at all. For my English readers, for spicy read hot. I have had that experience before. In the market I have bought horseradish which seems hot as Hades but when I get it home to use it, somehow it has faded. The Relish and the Mustard still taste very good, after all, they also have asparagus in them!! I also buy their spicy pickled Asparagus, now that is spicy and stays that way. I made myself some cheese on toast for breakfast and added the relish. The toast broke in half.  It was a long piece of bread as opposed to the more normal shape. Made quite a mess.

Tuesday, as usual we went shopping. I am always nittering on about PC points at the grocery store. They had a flash special on burgers Tuesday only. For every packet costing about $13 you got 6,000 points back, i.e. the equivalent of $6. I don't often buy or eat burgers, but when I saw these I couldn't resist them. I bought Spicy Jalapeno Cheese and Roasted Corn burgers and Gouda Mushroom and Onion burgers. We had the Jalapeno one for supper adding some of the above relish and boy, were they ever good. No buns though - don't much like them. I also bought a Pavlova meringue ring which I intend to fill with strawberries and cream for our Saturday dinner. Had strawberries for Tuesday supper, picked up at the farm of course.

Just been watching the second episode of The Story of China on PBS. Fascinating history really an incredible place. Pearl Buck, the author, once said of the Chinese, the peasant doesn't care who is in power so long as he has his rice. If he doesn't, look out. It is certainly a country of ups and downs. They showed some gardens at one time which were several acres in extent (I should have written that down) and took many years to complete. Made me think of Denise Hammond and My Life in Retirement. She too has a garden she spends a lot of time on although not as big.

I saw this recipe from McCormick and thought I would pass it on to you for the 4th July. Looks easy enough to make. Of course July 1 or Canada Day comes first - maybe I will make my Pavlova reflect our flag.

Red, White and Blue No Bake Cheesecake

Show your love for the red, white and blue with a creamy and cool no-bake cheesecake. A luscious vanilla-flavored cream cheese filling sits atop a buttery, cinnamon graham cracker crust. Swirled
dollops of colored filling add a festive and sweet finishing touch!

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tbs McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp McCormick® Red Food Color
5 drops Blue McCormick® Assorted NEON! Food Colors & Egg Dye
1 drop Purple McCormick® Assorted NEON! Food Colors & Egg Dye

1. Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl until well blended. Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 13x9-inch baking pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Beat cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cream cheese filling. Spread remaining filling evenly over crust.

3. Divide reserved cream cheese filling evenly into 2 bowls (1/4 cup in each bowl). Stir cocoa powder and red food color into one bowl. Stir 5 drops neon blue and 1 drop neon purple food colors into second bowl. Drop the red and blue cheesecake batters by teaspoonfuls in alternating rows. Cut through batter with knife horizontally then vertically for marble effect.

4. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until set. Lift out of pan onto cutting board. Cut into bars. Store leftover bars in refrigerator.

Servings: 24

Source: McCormick®

Have a great day

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Monday Morning, Insurances, Exercises, Asparagus Farm.

Happy Monday - first the lawnmower started running around the building at 7:15 a.m. which I managed to ignore and slept a bit more, but then at a little past 8 the construction workers started drilling a balcony. Grrrr. I guess, because of the rain, I had almost forgotten them. Then, I am sitting at my computer when I heard a crash. A frog ornament, which I have had for many a year, perched on the toilet tank, vibrated right off it. And that drilling is not even on our side of the wing.

One thing I did get round to was paying the insurance on the car and the contents of the apartment. There's over $1,000 gone in a flash. Of course I paid with Visa because I get 1% back. It all mounts up by the end of the year. I do save up for the insurance all through the year by the way. That way I don't miss it when I have to shell out.

Later I was a good girl and went down to exercise class. I can no longer do as much as I did a year ago unfortunately, but I figure it is good for me to go. I just wish I could get Matt to go. It's odd, he has been athletic all his life (he used to be a gymnast) and the only thing he does today is bowl whereas I have never been athletic at all and am now more active than I have ever been. School days. if I could get out of games or gymnastics I did. Hated it.

After the class we went to the asparagus farm, penultimate visit, I plan one more on Friday. Today they had a relish for us to sample. Delicious so, of course, I bought some. It has asparagus in it too, I bet that surprised you LOL. I bought quite a lot of asparagus for other people and some rhubarb for one friend. I wasn't even sure if that was still available but it was. I bought some strawberries for us. Plus a spear or two of asparagus of course!!! I had run out of asparagus the day before so planned to have some for supper. I ended up with this recipe. It is very good.

Asparagus With Poached Eggs and Parmesan

8 large eggs
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt, divided
2 bunches asparagus spears, trimmed (about 40)
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 Tbs coarsely grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided

1. Break the eggs into 8 individual containers (such as teacups, prep bowls, or paper cups). Fill a large, low-sided pan with water, and add vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. Meanwhile, bring a separate pot of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add asparagus spears, and cook 3–4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus with tongs, and set aside.

3. Dry the medium saucepan. Add olive oil, and heat over medium heat. Add garlic, and sauté about 1 minute. Turn off heat; add butter, and swirl pan. Add lemon juice, parsley, remaining salt, and pepper; swirl pan again to combine. Add asparagus and 2 tablespoons Parmesan; then toss with lemon-butter sauce to coat.

4. Slowly pour each egg into the boiling poaching water; cook 2 minutes. Turn off heat, and remove pan from burner. Divide asparagus among 4 plates. (Bring plates close to pan with poached eggs, and place a folded clean kitchen towel next to plates.)

5. Remove the eggs from water with a slotted spoon, 1 at a time, blotting bottom of spoon on towel to absorb excess moisture. Place 2 eggs on each mound of asparagus. Pour any remaining sauce over each serving, and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Source: Health

Have a great day

Monday, June 26, 2017

:LCBO, Weather, Asparagus,

Major disaster looming. I am writing this on Saturday but on Sunday the LCBO (Licensed Liquor Board of Ontario) is supposed to be going on strike beginning Monday. We bought ourselves some extra booze today but just hope it will last. Of course, now we have stocked up a bit, it may never happen, either that or we will be without booze for so long we will become teetotallers. I can see that happening!!

Right at the moment, it is Sunday, June 25th, and I am freezing. It is presently very sunny outside but blowing pretty fiercely. So far June has been a very disappointing month and certainly not been terribly warm. We had a few days and now we are all thinking "that was summer". I was thinking earlier about the pool we used to have, we certainly would not have been using it at the moment. On the other hand, I understand England has been having a heatwave. There is no doubt, in my mind, about climate change although not too sure about "global warming" - ain't got too warm around here.

Monday we are planning to go to the asparagus farm and hopefully I will get in one more visit at the end of the week. After which, that's it for another year and I will live with a sense of deprivation for another year.

I tried a recipe for broccoli this weekend which I liked and Matt didn't. Pity. However, I pass it on to you in case. I found the directions a tad imprecise too. However, I thought it made a nice change from plain broccoli but Matt thought there was too much vinegar (could have been my fault).

Spicy Broccoli with Garlic

Garlic and spiced crushed red pepper add kick and spice to broccoli.
1 1/2 lbs broccoli
4 1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
3/4 cup water

1. Peel and slice thick stems from broccoli; separate florets.

2. In a skillet, bring water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add stems and florets; cook, covered, until bright green, 4 minutes.

3. Stir in olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper. Cook 4 minutes.

4. Turn off heat; stir in vinegar.

Servings: 4


Have a great day

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday Recipe

I am not a big fan of peanut butter, but I thought this pie sounded easy and good.

No-Cook Peanut Butter Pie

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) creamy peanut butter
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup (60 ml) butter at room temperature
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 prepared 9-inch (23 cm) chocolate cookie pie crust

Combine the peanut butter, sugar, cream, butter, and vanilla in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into the pie shell and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Serve chilled. Makes one pie to serve 6 to 8.

Have a great weekend

Friday, June 23, 2017

TV, Bowling.

I don't normally watch much TV but I decided to watch Poldark Thursday night and saw two episodes, really enjoyed it. Also watched an episode of Father Brown. I used to read the books many, many years ago. Quite enjoyed that too.

I beat Matt three times today at bowling, depressing for him but not for me of course.

It is now late and I am ready for bed, so no recipe tonight. Sorry.

Have a great day

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bowling, Big Pacific

I bowled pretty well on Wednesday but unfortunately not well enough, we only one one of the three games. Mind you, one woman on the other team got 4 strikes in a row in the second game which didn't give us much chance. The third game, we didn't bowl very well - so....

Just watched a great programme on PBS called Big Pacific all about the unusual finds they have made in the Pacific which covers 1/3 of the planet. I never realised how big until my friend bought me a globe at Christmas time. Apparently they really know damn all about the ocean as yet. One thing which took them 16 years to find out, there were patterns in the sand but nobody knew what was causing them and eventually they had to keep an eye out for  a whole year - when they discovered the answer they also discovered a new species.

Tonight was the first in the series and we will certainly be watching again. next week. We both found it absolutely fascinating. Lots of unanswered questions which, of course they hope to answer. Mind you,, one set of exploration showed three guys going down in a diving bell (do they call them that any more, not sure) and descending several hundred feet. I would not want to be in that machine.

Another chicken recipe I like the sound of although for this one I would have to buy coconut milk, I have the oil. I am making myself work here!!!

Kuku Paka (Chicken With Coconut)

This rich dish of chicken in a spiced coconut sauce comes from Kenya's coast, though creative cooks now produce variations of it all over the country. This simple version was adapted from many of them, including Kirti Patel, Agnes Kalyonge and the author Madhur Jaffrey. It requires slowly grilling the marinated chicken, ideally over charcoal — a little extra work that lends the finished kuku paka a wonderful smoky flavor — though in a pinch, you can use a grill pan on the stove. Note: The coconut sauce should be creamy but not flat, so be sure to spike it at the end with enough lemon juice
to give it the edge of sourness that is one of this great dish's defining characteristics.

4 lbs chicken thighs and drumsticks on the bone
3 plum tomatoes
1 white onion, peeled and quartered
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 serrano chiles, stemmed and seeded (use fewer if you prefer a mild dish)
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbs coconut oil
27 oz (2 cans) coconut milk
Juice of 1 lemon
Handful of cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish
Rice, chapati or flatbread, for serving

1. Trim any excess skin from the chicken, keeping some skin intact. Score each chicken piece in 2 or 3 places, slicing about a half-inch into the meat. In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, chiles, salt, cumin and coriander. Process until a rough paste forms. Rub 1 scant cup of the mixture all over the chicken, into the cuts and under the skin, reserving the rest for the sauce. Set chicken aside in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 5.

2. Prepare and light a charcoal grill. Meanwhile, as the grill heats, prepare the sauce: In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and add the remaining paste, stirring occasionally, until all of the water in mixture evaporates and the oil separates, becoming visible on the surface, about 15 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring more frequently so the bottom doesn’t burn, until the paste is thick and dark and the raw smell has lessened, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer until the sauce is about as thick as cake batter and has turned a mellow shade of orange, about 20 to 25 minutes, then turn off the heat.

3. Grill the marinated chicken, turning the pieces so the skin is browned and the meat is cooked through, then add to the sauce. If the sauce has become too thick to coat the meat and provide a good gravy, stir in a splash of water. Turn the heat back on to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the flavors have melded. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and lemon juice, then garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice, chapati or flatbread.

Servings: 6

Source: The New York Times

Have a great day

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mandarin, Balconies, PC Points, Bowling.

Mandarin was as good as usual today. and it was nice to see our friends. This couple didn`t have vehicle problems. Rather odd, the balconies are being drilled on the other side of this wing. Our foot nurse arrived and they were quiet the whole time she was there, Just as we were saying goodbye they started up again. Lucky her, she didn`t have to put up with the noise.

After lunch, shopping. We bought the store as usual and then I got $40 knocked off the bill with my PC points. I then earned another $28 dollars worth. I was chatting to a woman in the checkout behind me and she doesn`t have a PC card and doesn`t use points. I may have convinced her. The cashier was agreeing with me.

Today, Wednesday, we are of course bowling. It seems such a long time since we last bowled. That will happen all summer long unfortunately.

This sounded an interesting recipe. Might try it later this week.  I might try it using tomato paste myself, seems easier to me.

Chicken in Vinegar Sauce

Master French chef Paul Bocuse's recipe reflects his interest in lightening up the classics. For his poulet au vinaigre de vin, he's swapped fresh tomatoes for tomato paste, used lower-acid rice vinegar
in place of red wine vinegar and significantly reduced the amount of butter

4 Tbs unsalted butter
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 3/4 lb chicken, cut into 10 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 Tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. In a large, deep skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the garlic. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned all over, about 8 minutes. Add the vinegar and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm.

2. Boil the sauce over moderately high heat until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

3. Peel the garlic cloves and mash them into the sauce. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the parsley; season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Servings: 4

Source: Food&Wine

Have a great day

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Soccer, Asparagus Farm, Lunch,

I saw a couple of guys out measuring in the park the day before, today they had soccer pitches marked out and the kids were playing this morning. Always astounds me as their own grounds, right next door, are fairly extensive if a bit worn from kids plying all year I guess. Talking about it in exercise class I mentioned the tightrope walker and one of my neighbours said she had seen him complete the whole length of his rope. I never have. Matt watched the kids play for a bit and poo poohed them. As an ex soccer player, I guess nobody can play as well as he used to. That was one hell of a long time ago though.

Monday afternoon I went to the asparagus farm, only one more visit left and it will be all over. I will proceed to grouse about it for the rest of the year. Just checking  the calendar, I might just get two visits in before they shut down. They had strawberries so I bought some which we ate for supper - deelicious, had English double cream with them too. It is available in small quantities in a glass pot. Not cheap mind you not is it a dieter's friend. We also ate a pasta dish somewhat similar to the recipe below. Mine was made with Philly cheese though. I must try this with the goat cheese, I do love that taste.

Today, we have our foot nurse calling then we are going to lunch with friends, bet you can't guess where? Yeah, you're right,Mandarin Unfortunately, or fortunately, not sure which, we are going again next Tuesday to meet up with the friend who couldn't make it last week. I just joined their online community. Think this is going to be a kind of panel. We will see.

A recipe I found over the weekend.

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

As it turns out, goat cheese makes a really great quick, creamy pasta sauce. And whether you blanch your pasta with asparagus or you swap in fava beans or string beans or seriously, you name it, this
comes together so quickly that I forgave it for not winning any beauty contests.

1 lb spiral-shaped pasta
1 lb slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs finely grated lemon peel
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon plus more for garnish
1 5- to 5 1/2-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese (the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well)
Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)

1. Cook your pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until it is almost tender, or about three minutes shy of what the package suggests. Add asparagus and cook until firm-tender, another two to three minutes. Drain both pasta and asparagus together, reserving one cup of pasta water.

2. Meanwhile, combine olive oil, lemon peel, tarragon and cheese in a large bowl, breaking up the goat cheese as you put it in. Add hot pasta and asparagus to bowl, along with a couple slashes of the pasta water. Toss until smoothly combined, adding more pasta water if needed. Season generously with salt and pepper, and lemon juice if you feel it needs a little extra kick

Servings: 6

Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Monday, June 19, 2017

Balconies, Father's Day, Recipe Trial,

Well, they are getting close, ton Thursday they started working on the other side of our wing, i.e. the apartments across the corridor from us. I wonder how long they will take now. They seem to be working differently this year and leaving the new walls til the very last.

Our building is Y shaped and in this picture we are on the left, the extreme left is the back of the building. The apartments on the right have all been done, they were the first.

Matt exchanged phone calls with his two daughters on Sunday - they had sent cards earlier of course. As for us, we spent Father's Day the same way we spend all our Sundays. Both of us wishing we could bowl on Monday but of course, we can't do that until September. At least I can go to exercise class, I just wish I could persuade Matt to do so as well, it does me a lot of good.

Having announced, on Saturday, that we were having lamb chops for supper, I changed my mind. I had forgotten we had bought some pork tenderloins at Costco the other day, so that is what I decided to cook. I found the following recipe and it turned out very well. Matt couldn't stop praising it. We had enough left over for another meal including the excellent, if somewhat calorie laden, sauce. I used the mustard I wrote about last week which I had bought at the asparagus farm, it is mixed with horseradish already. I forgot the chives, but I don't have any anyway. I ended up with a lot of sauce too. As I said, it was delicious.

Pork Tenderloin Diablo

"This is a great pork recipe. Mustard is a classic with pork, but when you add the extra zing of horseradish and cayenne, and then smooth it out with a little cream and butter, well, it's devilishly

1 (1 pound) whole pork tenderloin
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs heavy cream
1 Tbs extra-hot prepared horseradish
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs cold butter
1 tsp chopped fresh chives

1. Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Cook pork until browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over pork and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Cook until pork is browned and still slightly pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Transfer pork to a plate.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Season pork with salt and pepper.

3. Remove any excess oil from the skillet and place it over medium-high heat. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits off of the bottom of the pan. Whisk in cream, horseradish, Dijon mustard, and cayenne pepper. Continue cooking until the mixture is reduced to a thick sauce, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cold butter. Stir in chives.

4. Slice pork into 1/2-inch slices and serve topped with sauce.

Servings: 3

Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Author: Chef John
Source: AllRecipes

Have a great day

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday Recipe.

Happy Fathers Day all you dads out there.

It just so happens I have decided to have lamb chops for dinner tonight so when I saw this recipe I figured it was "meant". I don't have any cherry tomatoes so won't really be doing this same recipe.

Lamb Chops Scottadito With Charred Cherry Tomatoes

Rib chops can be pricey. This same preparation works well on lamb loin chops, too

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped rosemary
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
12 lamb rib chops (about 2 ¼ pounds total)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 lb cherry tomatoes, preferably on the vine

1. Combine garlic, rosemary, and ¼ cup oil in a large bowl. Working one at a time, pound lamb chops between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to about ¼" thick; trim any excess fat. Season with salt and pepper and add to marinade; turn to coat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

2. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Remove lamb chops from marinade and wipe off marinade. Grill lamb chops, turning often and moving around on grill as needed, until charred on both sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

3. Drizzle tomatoes with oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill in a grill basket or large cast-iron skillet until lightly charred and blistered, about 4 minutes.

4. Serve tomatoes alongside lamb.

Servings: 4

Author: Andrew Knowlton
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Friday, June 16, 2017

Ikea Cook Book, WiFi, Les Mis, Bowling.

This is a brilliant idea from Ikea for people who can't cook or a reluctant to try new things. Hilary Melton-Butcher of Positive Letters sent me the link. There is an article that goes with this.

Unfortunately, Ikea are only running this promotion in Canada. Maybe they think Canadians can't cook!

Once again I am having all kinds of trouble with wifi. I suppose I am going to have to get in touch with my ISP but I know they will go through the  usual nonsense and end up telling me it's my fault. That is what happened before. One day, eventually, one of their techs figured out how to fix it and it was fine for ages, but now we are back at the same thing. Grrr.

Just been watching the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Miserables. We both enjoy it so we watched it over two nights. I didn't know what would happen on a DVD if you stopped the movie half way, the answer is it went back to the beginning, however, I had made a note of the readings on the player and it wasn't too difficult to get back to the Intermission which is where we stopped last night.

Had a pretty good bowling day today, I beat Matt twice would you believe. He made up for it on the last game though. Oh well. Now have to wait all the way round to Wednesday. One thing I dislike about summer bowling. Monday and Thursday is a much better distribution. Oh well.

Here's a pretty simple way of serving asparagus.

Asiago, Bacon, and Garlic Roasted Asparagus

1.5 lb asparagus
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
4 bacon slices, cooked, drained of fat, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Trim asparagus ends.

2. Place asparagus in a 2.5 quart casserole dish, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, mix everything well. Mix in the minced garlic.

3. Roast, uncovered, at 425 F for 10 minutes.

4. Remove from the oven.

5. Sprinkle half of grated Asiago cheese all over asparagus, then add chopped cooked bacon, then top with the remaining half of grated Asiago cheese. Roast for 10 more minutes, uncovered at 425 F. Asparagus should be crispy and crunchy.

Servings: 4

Have a great day

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pavlova Shells, London Fire, Shooting, Balcony Work, Bowling

I forgot to mention yesterday, when we went shopping in our usual grocery store, I came across boxes of Pavlovas. i.e. the meringue shells which one would  use to make a Pavlova. What an excellent idea. You can then fill them with cream and fruit, or yoghurt, or whatever you want. This is a picture I found on the internet which looks very similar to what I saw in the box. I wanted to buy one but hadn't anything particular to do with one. I wonder how they keep.I made a Pavlova, with several tiers of meringue, many years ago. not something I would do today they are a lot of work and very time consuming. Of course, I could be behind the fair, many of you may already be familiar with these. It is a fact that soon one won't have to cook at all, if it's not frozen, boxed, canned or otherwise presented, it is not very popular. I have noticed lately that our store, Zehrs, also has confit of duck legs - not cheap mind you. I keep meaning to try one, maybe one of these days.

A dreadful fire in London, England, on Wednesday morning in an apartment block with 120 apartments. 20 killed and many injured in the report I read last. There is a video on the Guardian website which shows people trapped in their apartments waving in order to attract attention to their plight.

Then of course there was the shooting in Washington today at a ballpark. Not quite sure what politicians are doing practicing base ball? I thought they were there to run the government.

On the return from bowling I asked Matt to drive round the back so I could have a look where they balcony work  had got to. I told him to drop me off and then I was going to come in at the back door. Wrong, I was stopped and told to go to another door - they have the back door closed from 9-5 or something every day. Lovely, I don't walk too well these days and frequently hurt plus having bowled 3 games and I had to stagger around the building in order to enter the place. I was not pleased. Matt had already gone of course. I went in at a side door which nearly knocked me over so by the time I got to the main lobby I was NOT a happy camper. Anyway, my judgement call is they will get to us by August. We will see.

Bowling not too bad today, we took 5 of 7 points - hard work mind you, one of the opposing team had a 187 average and a -12 handicap. Are we in the same league?? So, we are still in 5th place which pleases us. I actually bowled pretty well compared to my usual efforts lately.

I do have more asparagus recipes to share, but when I saw this, I couldn't resist. I have always loved Baklava and I am a chocoholic, what more could I want.

Chocolate Baklava

This Chocolate Baklava is one of my favorite desserts. Sweet, crisp and buttery layers of phyllo filled with pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and Nutella, baked to perfection then drizzled with a
sweet honey syrup.

For Syrup
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
For Baklava
1/2 cup hazelnuts toasted
1/2 cup pistachios toasted
1/2 cup almonds toasted
1/2 cup walnuts toasted
1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Nutella
1/2 cup butter unsalted, melted
24 sheets Phyllo pastry (14x9-inch), thawed according to package instructions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. If you use a 13x9 baking dish, the phyllo sheets will be bigger, so you might need to cut the ends off, either before using them, or after you've done layering the baklava, or you can simply tuck the ends in.

2. If your nuts aren't toasted, simply place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast them for a few minutes in the oven, just until you start smelling them. Make sure you don't forget them as they will burn quickly.

3. Place all the nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times until they are finely chopped.

4. Combine all the nuts with the ground cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside.

5. Microwave the Nutella for about 30 seconds on high, until melted and easily spreadable.

6. Take one phyllo sheet and lay it on the bottom of the baking sheet. While working with one phyllo at a time, make sure you cover the other sheets with a damp towel. Brush this phyllo sheet evenly with butter. Repeat  with 5 more sheets, you should end up with 6 sheets, all brushed with butter. Drizzle about 1/3 cup of the melted Nutella and spread with a spatula as evenly as you can. Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of the nut mixture.

7. Repeat the above step with 6 more phyllo sheets, Nutella and nut mixture, two more times, ending with 6 sheets of phyllo. Therefore you'll have 3 layers of Nutella and nuts and 4 layers of buttered phyllo sheets. Press gently into pan. Cut the ends off if necessary, or simply tuck them in.

8. Cut into equal size squares or diamond shapes, using a very sharp knife.. You should end up with about 24 pieces.

9. Bake for 35 minutes or until phyllo is golden brown and the edges appear slightly crisp.

10. While the baklava is baking, make the syrup by adding all the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bringing it to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

11. After you remove the baklava from the oven, immediately drizzle the honey mixture over the baklava. Cool the baklava in the pan.

Source: Joanna Cismaru

Author Notes
To thaw out the phyllo pastry I usually take it out of the freezer the night before, and thaw it out in the fridge over night. About an hour or two before using it, I place it on the counter to bring it to room temperature.

The secret to crispy layers of phyllo is brushing each layer with butter or oil. This helps them crisp up when baked. Phyllo is extremely thin and delicate, and needs to be handled with care. Only work with one sheet at a time, and cover the rest with a clean damp towel, this will prevent them from drying out.

I usually store the baklava in the fridge, right in the pan covered with plastic wrap for up to 5 days. You can even freeze baklava wrapped in plastic wrap then placed in an airtight container, for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 4 to 5 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Have a great day

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mandarin, Sesquintennial, Soup,

Well that was a pity, whilst at the Mandarin, got a call from our friend that she had a flat batter and wouldn't be able to make it as CAA would take another half hour. Nothing loath we went on into the restaurant and ate without her. Shame though. However, we have arranged another lunch on July 4th. July being the month of Canadian sesquintennial celebration, July 1 being Canada Day, the Mandarin are doing all kinds of Canadian specials, a lot of which I wouldn't touch, but they will be offering my favourite, chocolate dipped bacon, yay. Plus I can celebrate Independence Day at the same time.

After lunch we went shopping and I bought enough peas to make Pea and Lovage Soup which we ended up having for supper, I see that in fact last time I used some Philly cheese instead of Crème Fraîche this time I used cream and lemon juice, I didn`t like it as much, Matt thought it was OK. Must make a note on the recipe for next time, if there is one.

Just realised, I haven`t had any asparagus today, that`s serious, I eat it every day whilst in season. But not today, will have to have double tomorrow LOL.

So, a non asparagus recipe for you today. A very non Chinese ingredient too.

Mama Chang's Stir-Fried Shrimp and Scallions

Joanne Chang's mother used to make this sweet-and-spicy shrimp stir-fry all the time. When she was old enough to cook, Chang asked her mom for the recipe. "She hemmed and hawed until she finally
gave it to me, revealing her secret ingredient: ketchup

1 1/2 lbs shelled and deveined large shrimp
3 garlic cloves, sliced
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 large egg white
2 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup canola oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the garlic, ginger, red pepper, egg white and 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch until well-coated.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the ketchup with the broth, sugar, pepper, salt and the remaining 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.

3. In a very large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp and stir-fry over high heat until they begin to turn pink. Add the ketchup mixture and simmer until the shrimp are cooked, about 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and cilantro and serve.

4. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the garlic, ginger, red pepper, egg white and 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch until well-coated.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk the ketchup with the broth, sugar, pepper, salt and the remaining 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.

6. In a very large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp and stir-fry over high heat until they begin to turn pink. Add the ketchup mixture and simmer until the shrimp are cooked, about 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and cilantro and serve.

Servings: 4

Have a great day

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A/C, Movie.

So last night (Sunday) and this morning I did me some panicking. We put the A/C on which, after it had blown fuses a couple of times, was now running. However, by bedtime, it still didn't seem to be much cooler. So I checked the unit and adjusted the cool setting. I waited a while for it  to work and it didn't seem to be blowing cold air at all. Eventually, around 2 a.m. I turned it off and opened the balcony door. I then went to bed and worried about what we could do. When I got up Monday I started phoning around and looking at portable units too. These repair companies certainly want your blood. One wanted $160 for someone to come out but it would be waived if I took their contract. Somebody else quoted $99. I played this game with the lounger chair repair people. Portable units were also looked at but didn't seem to be suitable. In the end I took another look at the settings on our current A/C and realised I had turned them down not up, duuuh. Still it happened about 1 a.m. so I think I can be excused. I was particularly worried because the forecast for today is 31°C plus they are issuing heat warnings, it's supposed to feel like the 40s.

Later I got caught up in watching The Longest Day which I bought for Matt. It is two DVDs and we watched the first one. So it is now bedtime.

Skillet-Baked Eggs and Asparagus

Asparagus and eggs have an affinity for each other. The voluptuous yolk softens and smooths the grassy sharpness of the vegetable, while the asparagus brightens up the dull richness of the egg. The pair’s most classic expression is asparagus hollandaise, but that is too fussy and time-consuming a
preparation for a regular home-cooked breakfast. This dish combines the flavors in a time- and cook-friendly way.

3 Tbs olive oil, more for drizzling
¾ lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
8 large eggs
6 Tbs roughly chopped soft herbs like basil, cilantro, chives or parsley use at least 2
? cup heavy cream
2 Tbs grated Parmesan
black pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges, for serving
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the asparagus and the scallions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is browned and tender.

2. Whisk together the eggs, 4 tablespoons of the herbs, and cream. Whisk in Parmesan, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over asparagus and place the skillet in the oven.

3. Bake for about 20 minutes, until set, but still slightly jiggly in the center. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before serving. It is best warm, not hot.

4. Squeeze one or two lemon wedges over it, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and remaining herbs. Cut into wedges.

Servings: 4

Author: Melissa Clark
Source: New York Times

Have a great day

Monday, June 12, 2017

Fuses, Cauliflower Salad, Lunch,

So, Sunday got pretty warm so we decided to turn on the A/C, trouble is it ended up blowing a fuse three times!!! Yes, we do still have fuses in this building. I called the new supers and they came up and put a fuse in and it held OK?? Why? Not that I am complaining exactly, but I was busy changing them and it blew the fuse instantly I screwed it in.  What was even more frustrating was I was trying to prepare supper and to whip up some cream for the freezer. Grrr.

Over the weekend I made a cauliflower salad, raw cauliflower that is, Pretty tasty but boy was it ever hard to chew, especially with my new teeth. I will not be making it again. Basically florets, grape or other small tomatoes, onions and a French dressing.  Easy enough to make. The green is parsley, didn't have any so I shaved some asparagus. I was very disappointed I must say. Maybe it would work for me if I used cold cooked cauliflower instead.

Tuesday we are lunching with a friend - guess where? yes the Mandarin. Been a while since we were there, or it seems like a while anyway. They are having a crab fest on at the moment but only weekends and holidays and we rarely ever go out on those days. Too many people.

This is a somewhat different asparagus recipe.

Asparagus and Jalapenos Cornbread Muffins

3 Tbs coconut oil
1/3 cup apple sauce or reduced/cooked peaches
1 large egg
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup gf flour (Bobs Red Mill)
1/2 tsp baking soda
Sea salt & pepper
1 red chili/ jalapenos, diced
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped BUT save tops for garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 350 and coat muffin tin with coconut oil. Mix all wet ingredients together with peppers and asparagus. Mix dry ingredients together thoroughly & slowly incorporate into wet batter. Pour into muffin tins approx. 1/4 full. Finish with aspara-tops. Bake for 15/20 minutes until golden.

Author Notes
Good for up to 4 days fresh OR freeze for a couple weeks. Great with a fried egg, with preserves or what we did at home is use for sloppy Joe’s using Walter All Natural, Craft Caesar Mix.

Have a great day

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saturday Recipe

Having picked up my lovage on Friday, I decided to make a Lovage and Asparagus soup. After lunch I went to exercise class, about time I did, and then came back and made the soup. I was going to make the Lovage and Pea Soup as well but it turned out I didn't have enough peas. I found this soup a tad salt but Matt didn't think so. The picture is of the soup, blended. I am now going to split it into two servings and freeze it. It actually looks a lot darker than this.

Asparagus and Lovage Soup Recipe

3 Tbs canola oil or extra light olive oil
½ cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups lovage leave, chopped plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
2 cups grilled or fresh asparagus, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
½ tsp paprika

1. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add canola oil when hot. Stir onion and garlic until fragrant and onion becomes translucent. Stir in lovage for 30 seconds before adding grilled asparagus and sea salt. Pour into a large pot and add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Let it cook on medium heat until asparagus is soft. About 15 minutes. Stir in paprika. Serve as is or use a  blender. Garnish with chopped lovage.

Servings: 4

Vegetarian option: substitute chicken broth with vegetable or mushroom broth.

Author: Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen

Have a great day

Friday, June 9, 2017

Ice Cream, Lovage, Aging Backwards,

I don't really remember, for certain, the last time I ate ice cream, but this last week or two I had been craving some so bought some Bryer's chocolate. Yummy. If you don't eat too much at a time it isn't terribly high in calories. Funny how one suddenly gets cravings for things isn't it?

Talking of food, the dentist's receptionist let me know she has some more lovage so I'm going to collect it from her. Might make some more Pea and Lovage soup or might find something else.

Watched an interesting programme about exercising and Aging Backwards. I found this on YouTube so thought a) I would like to have it and b) you might like to watch it. I cannot afford all the DVDs she has made but this will be helpful. I was planning to go back to exercise class anyway, but from what I understand about Miranda Esmonde-White's methods, I can expect to feel fitter and younger by doing her exercises half an hour a day.

We had the Asparagus and Hearts of Palm salad again today, it was good. This time I made it with Coconut Oil which I have been reading about and which is supposed to have many benefits. Particularly for the brain. We shall see.

Here's a delicious recipe - I notice the garnish says tarragon and lemon but the picture shows a few shrimp!!!  I do so agree with the author's comments at the bottom, and as you all know, I take every bit of advantage of asparagus that I can.

Asparagus and Shrimp Paté

2 lb (1 kg) shrimp, shelled
½ cup (125 mL) chopped green onions
3 Tbs (45 mL) seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbs (15 mL) chopped garlic
1 Tbs (15 mL) chopped fresh tarragon
2 Tbs (25 mL) chopped parsley
1 egg
1 egg white
½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb (500 g) medium-size asparagus spears, blanched

Fresh tarragon
Lemon slices, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

2. Combine shrimp, green onions, vinegar, garlic, tarragon and parsley in a food processor. Process until mixture is just combined. While machine is running, add egg, egg white and cream. Stop machine immediately. Mixture should have a little bit of texture left. Season well with salt and pepper.

3. Lay a third of shrimp mixture into a buttered loaf pan. Add a layer of asparagus trimmed to fit pan. If asparagus is too short then add a second piece as well. Add second layer of shrimp mixture and another layer of asparagus. Finish with remaining shrimp mixture.

4. Place loaf pan into a second slightly bigger pan. Fill larger pan with boiling water halfway up loaf pan. Cover loaf pan with a piece of buttered parchment paper and cover tightly with foil.

5. Bake for 55 minutes or until white juices begin to rise and pâté is cooked through in the middle. Cool in pan and pour off any liquid that has gathered. Turn out on to a rectangular plate and decorate with fresh tarragon and lemon slices, if desired.

Servings: 10

Asparagus, when in season, deserves to be used as much as possible. Combining it with a shrimp purée makes an outstanding pate. To blanch asparagus, toss into a pot of boiling water, bring back to the boil, drain well, and run under cold water.

Author: Lucy Waverman
Source: Food and Drink

Have a great day