Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Sunday night I decided to have a reaction to my flu shot. I thought I had flu - crashing headache and more muscle pains than I ever realised I had muscles. I did not get much sleep, everywhere I turned I hurt. So Monday was not a good day. The aches and pains had subsided but I felt totally washed out and not particularly well. I even missed bowling!!! Spent most of the afternoon asleep. Had trouble getting and staying warm. I have never had that kind of a reaction to a flu shot before and have been having them for years.

With the result, I am not up to finding recipes or anything particular to talk about. Stand by for further announcements.

Oh, and Happy Hallowe'en, be careful of all the goblins and ghosties out there.

Have a great day

Monday, October 30, 2017

Full Dark.

Today is the release of the compendium of short stories known as Full Dark. This anthology is being release as a work for charity and as such should encourage you to buy it. The book is being heavily marketed by Melissa Maygrove who is the author of one of the stories. Her blogs have recently included all kinds of teasers to encourage you to buy. So please do so.

Official release day is October 30th.

Title: FULL DARK: An Anthology

What happens in the dark will come to light.

Full Dark is a collection of eleven short works with impressive depth and range. Twisted tales of ghosts, villains, and the paranormal await you—mystery, heinous fantasy, and pure suspense. Acclaimed and award-winning authors as well as a few talented newcomers have joined forces to be your guide. Venture into the dark if you dare.

Just A Matter Of Time by Loni Townsend
Forerunner by David Powers King
Taking Care Of You by Carrie Butler
The Apartment by Lisa Buie-Collard
The Caricature by Nick Wilford
Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Seckman
Shadows Falling On Rainbows by Celeste Holloway
Meringue, Murder or Marzipan by Tonja Drecker
Haunted Lake by Michelle Athy
Soul Coin by Laura Rich
Retribution by Melissa Maygrove

FULL DARK is a benefit anthology. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization that does many wonderful things for our country's active military, its veterans, and the countless first responders who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.

Publisher: Obsidian Books
Official release date: October 30, 2017

Twitter hashtag: #FullDark11

Paperback is coming... still pending proof approval.

I have been using a similar recipe to this for years, called Convent Eggs, but this strikes me as an interesting variation with the coconut milk.

Baked Eggs with Coconut Milk and Cilantro

Sure, you could use heavy cream instead of coconut milk for this baked eggs recipe, but then it
wouldn’t be as healthyish.

Virgin coconut or vegetable oil (for ramekins)
2 large eggs
2 Tbs unsweetened coconut milk
Kosher salt
½ cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tesapoon green hot sauce
Store-bought fried shallots (for serving)

1. Preheat oven to 300°. Coat 2 small ramekins or other ovenproof dishes with oil. Add 1 large egg and 1 Tbsp. coconut milk to each. Set on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until eggs are barely set, 11–14 minutes; season with salt.

2. Toss cilantro in a small bowl with lime juice and hot sauce; season with salt. Top eggs with cilantro mixture and shallots.

Servings: 2

Author: Chris Morocco
Source: Bon Appetit

Have a great day

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday Recipe

Normally this is just a recipe, but I was thrilled to see that they have started putting the railings on our side of the building, hurrah, maybe we will get them done this year.

This is what we had for supper on Friday night. Only trouble is, they had the water off today and now we still don't have hot water for the dishes!! It's a good recipe though.

Dijon Salmon with Green Bean Pilaf

In this quick dinner recipe, the delicious garlicky-mustardy mayo that tops baked salmon is very versatile. Make extra to use as a dip for fries or to jazz up tuna salad. Precooked brown rice helps get this healthy dinner on the table fast, but if you have other leftover whole grains, such as quinoa or farro, they work well here too.

1 ¼ lbs wild salmon (see Tip), skinned and cut into 4 portions
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 Tbs minced garlic
¾ tsp salt
2 Tbs mayonnaise
2 tsp whole-grain mustard
½ tsp ground pepper, divided
12 oz pretrimmed haricots verts or thin green beans, cut into thirds
1 small lemon, zested and cut into 4 wedges
2 Tbs pine nuts1
8-ounce package precooked brown rice
2 Tbs water
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Brush salmon with 1 tablespoon oil and place on the prepared baking sheet. Mash garlic and salt into a paste with the side of a chef's knife or a fork. Combine a scant 1 teaspoon of the garlic paste in a small bowl with mayonnaise, mustard and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread the mixture on top of the fish. Roast the salmon until it flakes easily with a fork in the thickest part, 6 to 8 minutes per inch of thickness. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green beans, lemon zest, pine nuts, the remaining garlic paste and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, until the beans are just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add rice and water and cook, stirring, until hot, 2 to 3 minutes more. Sprinkle the salmon with parsley, if desired, and serve with the green bean pilaf and lemon wedges

Servings: 4

Author: Carolyn Casner
Source: EatingWell Magazine

Have a great weekend

Friday, October 27, 2017

Bowling, TV, Roadwork, Balcony,

Not a good bowling day today, unfortunately my legs were playing me up - luckily it was a non league day. I did win  2 of 3 games mind you.

Watching PBS this evening and was horrified to discover they were doing their "give us yer money" thing. Father Brown took over an hour. Grrr.

There is gradual improvement in our roads these days but still one heck of a lot of roadworks. On those roads which have been finished it is great to drive so smoothly but there are still lots of traffic delays and will be for a while yet.

No sign of our balcony railings yet. They assure us that they will be installed by the end of the year. This we have yet to see.

Soup time in this part of the world. This one sounds good.

Beans-and-Greens Soup

This hearty yet healthy Italian classic features humble ingredients that make a big impact. Escarole is transformed by heat, from a bitter green into something soft, mellow, and sultry. If you can’t find escarole, substitute an equal amount of coarsely chopped lacinato kale, red kale, or Swiss chard. Parmesan cheese lends savory depth and body to the broth, while accents of pancetta add richness. As
with most soups, the longer it sits, the better it gets, making this recipe a great make-ahead candidate. Bonus: One serving delivers more than a quarter of the day’s calcium and almost 30% of your daily potassium goal.

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz diced pancetta
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 large heads escarole, cored and roughly chopped (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 (14.5-oz.) can cut Italian green beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15-oz.) cans unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add pancetta and garlic; cook, stirring often, until pancetta is crisp and garlic is aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add black pepper, red pepper, and escarole; cook, stirring often, until escarole begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add green beans, cannellini beans, stock, and basil; increase heat to high. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 1 hour. Stir in vinegar and Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 5

Author: Jamie Vespa, MS, RD
Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Flu Shots, Bowling, Soup,

Went for our flu shots Wednesday. I had to have it in my bowling arm because I have a big bruise on my left arm (shades of my tumble). Somebody said to me that they never bothered with flu shots but last year she and hubby both got flu and were sick for 10 days so this year they will be getting the shot. I am usually sore for a day or so after. Matt, of course doesn't even know he's had it done. Amazing, we are both on blood thinners, he is on a major one and didn't bleed one bit, I, of course did bleed. Not much but... Of course the flu shot is free for us. Last time I was in North Carolina they were charging $20 for a shot. Medically I am so glad we live in Canada. We met a Canadian who lived in NC and said how much better it was because taxes were so low. I bet he pays a fortune, one way or another, for medical insurance and/or treatments. Every time we poked our noses inside the hospital it cost us $1,000 and that was some years ago.

We went and played a couple of games today too, I missed my exercise class but figured it was good for Matt to get out to bowl. Plus we enjoy it of course. Just two games, one each, I won the first one
he took the second. One of the owners was teasing me because I had a jacket on and he was wearing shorts still. I assured him he was nuts. Poor Matt wasn't too happy this afternoon as we were sharing a table with 4 women two of whom had very high pitched voices and not only that they take their time about bowling and spend a lot of it chatting. The four are not affiliated with the league playing today so they are always on the same lane where we usually play on a non league day . I get on with them fine but not Matt.

Supper on Wednesday I took some Pea and Lovage Soup out of the freezer. I posted the recipe in
May. I made a batch of it but I had forgotten how delicious it is. I got the Lovage from the dentist's receptionist - I had never tried it before, but it has a very good flavour. I hope she will have plenty more next year. I think I have at least one more serving for us.

I usually post something for Hallowe'en  and I thought these fitted the bill.

Cemetery Cupcakes

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
¾ cup cocoa
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Vanilla Frosting
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 ¼ cups icing sugar
2 Tbs 35% cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Royal Icing
1 egg white
1 ½ cups icing sugar
1 tsp water

1 recipe Basic Chocolate Cupcakes
1 recipe Vanilla Frosting
Oreo cookie crumbs
Green licorice sticks, thinly sliced
12 pumpkin candies
12 chocolate-covered rectangular
A small amount of Royal Icing

1. Basic Chocolate Cupcakes

2. With the rack in middle position, preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F). Line a 12 cavity muffin tray with paper liners.

3. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine the sugar and cocoa. Add the oil, eggs, vanilla and beat with an electric mixer at high speed or until mixture is smooth. At low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Scoop the batter into the molds.

5. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cake comes out clean. Cool and store in an airtight container.

6. Vanilla Frosting

7. In a bowl, beat the butter with the sugar, cream, and vanilla using an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.

8. Royal Icing

9. In a bowl, combine the egg white and icing sugar with an electric mixer or whisk, until smooth. Add water, if needed.

10. Construction

11. Top the chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Sprinkle with Oreo cookie crumbs to imitate a dirt-covered ground. For the grass, add thinly slices green licorice sticks. Place a pumpkin candy in the scene.

12. To create tombstones, lightly press a chocolate-covered cookie into each cupcake. Use a pastry bag to write RIP on the “tombstones” with the Royal Icing. Let dry for about 30 minutes

Source: RICARDO Magazine

Have a great day

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Spice Shopping, Flu Shot, Chris Hadfield's Book,

Our normal Tuesday shopping and boy was it ever crowded. Not usually so on a Tuesday afternoon. Not bad going through the store, but they only had to tills open and standing waiting is not my most pain free occupation. Finally they opened a third but they should have had them all open. One item I wanted was Crushed Red Peppers. I found a small jar which was about $8. I thought that was rather expensive, I then found a Club Pack which is about 5 times as much, for about $10. Guess which I bought? How ridiculous. I then hunted on line for the pictures and found that directly from the Club house people I could have bought the large pack for $5 something. Oh well.

We were going to have our flu shots today but after all that standing I just wasn't up to it. Will go tomorrow afternoon. Because of my bruise from the stumble the other day, I will have to have the shot in my bowling arm. Hope it is OK by Thursday bowling. Had our feet done this morning. My nails seem to have grown a lot faster this time.

Went to the library to pick up a couple of books and discovered I had three awaiting. Then I saw
another librarian with a book by Chris Hadfield called An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. Bearing in mind that he is a local boy, I figured I had to read it. I am told it is a lot about his early life in Ontario before he ends up as Commander of the International Space Station. I now see he has actually written several books. Some on Engine Repair and Rebuilding?? With his busy life being an astronaut one wonders how he had time for things like repairing engines. I mentioned last spring that he had been to the asparagus farm that I go to and they had pronounced him a great guy. Would like to have been there to meet him. I believe his wife was with him. Had I been younger when all this space travel started, I would love to have got involved.

Looking for a different soup using Leeks I came across this one. It is, based on the usual Leek and Potato recipe. Not exactly what I was looking for. To store leeks in my fridge I have to chop off quite a large chunk of the darker ends and I was looking for something to do with them rather than throw them away.

Low Carb Cauliflower Leek Soup

A simple yet tasty alternative to potato leek soup. Great for those watching their carbs or calories, or
just looking for a different vegetarian soup

2 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs butter
3 leeks, cut into
1 inch pieces
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 cups vegetable broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream (optional) Add all ingredients to list

1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the leeks, cauliflower, and garlic for about 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 45 minutes.

2. Remove the soup from heat. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or hand mixer. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the heavy cream, and continue blending until smooth

Servings: 12

Source: AllRecipes

Have a great day

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Bowling, X-Ray, Pork Chops, Mislaid Letter, Chinese Dam,

Well it seems we bounced fairly well at the weekend. I acquired a few bruises somehow but Matt doesn't seem to have any. He did have a touch of dizziness but I checked sugars and blood pressure and they seemed OK. He didn't have any problem bowling.

Needless to say we went bowling and in my first game I could do no wrong. I got 4 strikes in a row and ended up with 224. However, my second and third games were nothing to write home about. There were only the two of us on our team and I guess we got tired or something. Matt didn't bowl well at all. Still, after the good game at the beginning my average went up another 2 points. It's a funny game, in the first one I could do no wrong and the second and third I could do no right.

I had a requisition to go for an X-ray (because of my sore buttock which they don't think is sciatica as everyone said) so we went after bowling. It is a fair distance and then I had to wait an hour to go in. X-ray was particularly busy. Decided I might as well wait as we were there. After that I decided Subway was the place to get supper. This lab does all kinds of stuff as well as X-rays and the waiting room was crowded. I actually ended up waiting less than an hour I think.

When we got home I discovered a letter for Matt from the Civil Service in England about his pension increase (1% if you are interested - we will try not to spend it all at once) but although the address is absolutely correct, they had not added Canada. It appears the letter went through the Netherlands to the Czech republic!!!! The British postal service has never heard of Ontario???

An interesting bit of trivia I picked up from How To Geek today: The mass of the water pooled behind the huge Three Gorges Dam in China is so significant that it actually affected the rotation of the Earth, lengthening the day by 0.06 microseconds I am not sure that is a good thing though. Doesn't sound good to me.

Yesterday Bryan (A Beer for the Shower) said he had tried the recipe for Korean Pork Chops and they were awesome. I had kind of forgotten about them I must remember them for this weekend.

I was asked by a friend at bowling for a Christmas Cake recipe so I looked up one I use from Mrs. Beeton. My copy of Mrs. Beeton's Cookery book was printed in 1936.  Not that I have made a Christmas Cake for a very long time as Matt doesn't like them and I don't need them, or my hips don't! Of course I always covered this cake with marzipan and then Royal Icing. Strictly speaking this is not a Christmas Cake, but it is what I used to use and it always made a super cake. We can get mixed peel in Ontario, but I could never find it in North Carolina.

Christmas Cake

12 oz. butter
12 oz. sugar
6 eggs
1 lb all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
12 oz. currants
6 oz. rasins
8 oz sultanas
4 oz. mixed peel
grated rind of half a lemon
3/4 tsp ground cinammon
1.4 tsp. nutmeg
a little milk if necessary
1/2 gill brandy (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 lb almonds

Cream the butter and sugar together in a basin, add the well beaten eggs, one at a time, and brandy, stir quickly. Mix in the sieved flour and baking powder, fruit, 3/4 of the almonds (chopped) and lemon rind. Add a little milk if necessary but the mixture must not be too moist.

Place the cake mixture in a prepared tin, sprinkle over the remainding almonds and bake it in a moderate oven (about 375°F) for about 2-2 1/2 hours. When cooked and firm to the touch, place the cake on a wire rack to cool.

Source: Mrs. Beeton's Family Cookery.

Have a great day

Monday, October 23, 2017

Falling Wakes, Wine, Dinner, Cooking.

We did really well at the beginning of the weekend. First, having had the A/C on Friday evening, I went to bed and realised the heating was also on. Back to the living room to turn it off. Easiest light was just inside the kitchen door, the thermostat being just outside the doorway. Having turned on the light I stepped backwards and tripped over a step stool I keep handy particularly for when I need to sit whilst doing something. I stumbled into the TV cabinet and knocked stuff all over the place, broke a swan ornament I rather liked, knocked the box off the TV but luckily it couldn't fall far. Also bruised my arm. Matt never heard a thing, he was sound asleep. Then around 8 Saturday morning I heard a crash from the bathroom and there was Matt on the floor. Not quite sure what happened but he was lying there. I tried to get him to help himself up by using the edge of the bath and the toilet which were right by him. I had to disappear for a few minutes and he had managed to get up during that time. Not sure how. He said he bent down to lift the toilet seat and collapsed. A friend questioned if we were trying to outdo one another. I think this falling must be catching, I don't think I mentioned someone fell at bowling on Monday. Everyone rushed to help but in fact if someone falls you should NOT help them up. Give them help by placing a chair or something they can use but if they are unable to get up then an ambulance should be called.  You just never know whether anything is broken and you might make it worse. You also can risk your own safety by trying to help.

I don't often recommend wines, but we were recently introduced to an Australian red called Red Knots Shiraz. We find it an excellent wine. We had some with dinner on Saturday night. Talking of which I made Leeks in Vinaigrette which I enjoyed, Matt did not. Pity. I thought they were really good. There is also a Red Knots Cabernet Sauvignon but we haven't tried that. These wines are from Australia. Shiraz is particularly Australian. Same as Baco Noir appears to be in Canada. Another wine we very much enjoy.

The rest of  our weekend was fairly uneventful I am pleased to say although I have ended up with a few bruises. Matt doesn't seem to have any. I did make another batch of the Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette too, maybe I should call it Grape Tomato Vinaigrette. I am finding it goes with all kinds of things. This time I cut about 3/4 of the tomatoes in half and just left a few whole. I think it is better.

The Portuguese have a way with eggs which I am impressed with but have never tried to emulate. However, these custard tarts are simple enough except for the pastry part. The author suggests you can use bought puff pastry to begin if you wish to do so.

Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts

Part of the joy of eating these tarts comes from the contrast of the crunchy crust with the soft custardy filling. Making the custard is easy; the crust is more of a commitment involving rolling, buttering, folding, and repeating. If you want a shortcut, start with store-bought puff pastry, roll out to a 12"
square about 1/8" thick, roll into a tightly spiraled log, and follow the instructions for slicing and pressing into the muffin tin cups.

½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

Filling and Assembly
1 lemon
1 3–4-inch cinnamon stick
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 ½ cups whole milk, divided
6 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
Special Equipment
A candy thermometer

1. Dough

2. Using your hands, mix salt, 1 cup flour, and ½ cup water in a large bowl until a shaggy dough forms. Knead until dough is elastic but still very sticky, about 5 minutes (alternatively, beat on medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 3 minutes). Wrap in plastic and let sit 30 minutes to relax gluten.

3. Make sure your butter is softened to the consistency of sour cream (you can put it in a bowl and give it a stir). Generously flour (really, use a lot of flour) a clean work surface. Place dough on surface and dust with flour; lightly coat rolling pin with flour. Roll dough out to a 12" square (it will be quite thin), flouring surface as needed to prevent dough from sticking.

4. Brush excess flour off dough. Imagine dough is made up of 3 equal columns. Using a small rubber spatula, spread 2½ Tbsp. butter over the left and center columns, leaving a ½" border around the edges (it should look like a slice of toast that’s been buttered on the left two-thirds). Lift up the right, unbuttered column and fold it over the middle column, then fold the far left column over the middle, as though you were folding a letter into thirds. Rotate dough 90° counterclockwise; the sides and top edge will be open.

5. Generously flour work surface and dough. Roll out again to a 12" square. Repeat buttering and folding process. Again rotate folded dough 90° counterclockwise, flouring surface as needed. Roll dough out a third time to a 12" square (it’s worth it; we promise!). Spread remaining butter over surface of dough, leaving a ½" border. Starting with the long side closest to you, tease up edge of dough with a bench scraper and tightly roll it away from you into a log, brushing excess flour from the underside as you go. This dough is very forgiving—if there are any small holes, don't worry about it. When you get to the end, wet edge of dough just before you roll it so that it sticks. Trim both ends to clean up the edges, cut log in half crosswise, then wrap both pieces in plastic wrap (you should have two 6" logs). Chill 1 log at least 3 hours; transfer remaining log to freezer for another use (this amount of dough makes enough for 24 tarts; freeze the extras for your future crispy tart needs).

6. Do Ahead: Dough can be made 1 day ahead; keep chilled, or freeze up to 3 months.

Filling and Assembly

7 Peel zest from one half of lemon into wide strips with a vegetable peeler, leaving white pith behind; set aside. Bring cinnamon, sugar, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan fitted with candy thermometer over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until thermometer registers 225°. Remove from heat and stir in reserved lemon peel. Let sugar syrup sit 30 minutes.

8. Position a rack in top third of oven; preheat to 500°. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven to heat.

9. Whisk flour, salt, and ½ cup milk in a medium bowl until combined and no lumps remain. Heat remaining 1 cup milk in a large saucepan over medium-high until it begins to boil, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk into flour mixture. Return mixture to saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, creamy, and smooth, about 5 minutes.

10. Strain sugar syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into hot milk mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in egg yolks and vanilla.

11. Cut chilled dough crosswise into twelve ½"-thick slices. Place 8 slices on a plate and chill; place remaining 4 dough slices in 4 cups of a standard 12-cup muffin pan. Using your thumb, firmly press the center each piece against bottom of cup, forming a wall of dough around your thumb. Using your thumbs and fingers, press edges of dough against sides of cup, turning pan as you go, until dough comes halfway up sides of cup and is about 1/16" thick (or as thin as you can get it). Repeat twice more with remaining dough slices.

12. Fill each pastry shell with about 2 Tbsp. filling (it should come about three-fourths of the way up the sides). Try not to get any on the pan itself; it may burn and stick during baking.

13. Carefully place muffin pan on heated baking sheet in oven and bake tarts until custard is slightly puffed and browned in spots, and crust is golden brown and bubbles of melted butter are popping around it, 14–16 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then carefully transfer each tart to a wire rack with an offset spatula. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Yield: 12

Author: Rick Martinez
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Recipe

I cooked this on Friday night. I didn't have many scallops so we had it as an hors d'oevres. Pretty good. You do have to be very careful not to overcook scallops. About 3 minutes a side or even less.

Easy Garlic-Lemon Scallops

3/4 cup butter
3 Tbs minced garlic
2 lbs large sea scallops
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic, and cook for a few seconds until fragrant. Add scallops, and cook for several minutes on one side, then turn over, and continue cooking until firm and opaque.

2. Remove scallops to a platter, then whisk salt, pepper, and lemon juice into butter. Pour sauce over scallops to serve.

Servings: 6

Source: AllRecipes

Have a great weekend

Friday, October 20, 2017

Balconies, Bowling, Weather,

I totally forgot to mention that our balcony has now been painted both top (roof) and bottom (floor). The did the first floor coat on Tuesday, whilst we were out shopping and I wasn`t too happy to see a lump of something or other under the paint. I hoped they would fix that with the second coat. I am very glad to say they did. Looking good. Now all we have to wait for is the railings. Wonder how long that will take. Been meaning to check where they have been installing them out back and see how far they have got.

Thursday bowling, Matt won 2 games out of the three. However, in the middle game I bowled a 207 which I was very please with. Now all I need to do is bowl that kind of game all the time, especially during league play. Easy, right?

Can't believe this weather although I am glad it is good. It did get colder the other day but now it is bright and sunny. Had to have the air on in the car.  Great for the workmen of course.

Here are the omelets mentioned in yesterday`s blog. I forgot to get any Ricotta so haven't made them yet and have run out of tomatoes. Problems, problems LOL.

Ricotta Omelets

This also makes a great dinner for one; just cut the ingredients in half.

2 Tbs unsalted butter, divided
4 large eggs, beaten to blend, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
4 Tbs ricotta, divided
2 Tbs grated Parmesan, divided
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil, divided
1 Tbs chopped fresh chives, divided
Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette (Recipe yesterday)

1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season eggs with salt and pepper.

2. Add half of eggs to skillet. Cook eggs, stirring gently with a heatproof silicone spatula, until eggs are lightly scrambled and almost cooked, about 3 minutes. Spread eggs evenly to cover bottom of skillet.

3. Top eggs with half of ricotta, Parmesan, basil, and chives. Using spatula, fold up one-third of omelet. Roll omelet over onto itself, then slide omelet onto a plate. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make a second omelet. Top with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Servings: 2

Author: Alison Roman
Source: Bon appetit

Have a great day

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pandas, Doctor, Bowling.

Sorry I missed a blog yesterday, no real reason except I hadn't written anything by bed time and was feeling tired and lazy plus my IBS had been playing me up during the evening.

I happened to go back to a blog I wrote on March 26, 2013 in which I talked about the arrival of the Pandas at the Toronto Zoo. I didn't realise they had been here 4 years already. Next year they will be shipped to Calgary for another 5 years. Then they go back to China.

Went to the doctor this afternoon, and she froze all Matt's suspected skin cancer spots. Hopefully this will be it, he has to go back in two weeks to check. I also talked about my PITA which they don't think is sciatica. My back was also mentioned so the doc. said I should have another Xray to see what is going on these days. Damn. So of course, I missed my exercise class today so we went bowling instead. Just played two games. I had one which was only 120 and a second at 197. I was teed off that I didn`t quite make 200. Checked on our team status and we are still in 6th place although the team we played dropped to 2nd. I am delighted to say I still have my highest average and single game with 2nd place in the triple games. For ladies of course.

I thought this sounded really good. Apparently I will now have  to look up their recipe for Ricotta Omelets - I did and the recipe is in tomorrow`s blog). Actually I buy lots of grape tomatoes and would probably use them as they have more flavour. Later: I have just made this recipe. Not tried it yet (well I put one tomato in my mouth and nearly burnt my mouth with it!!) will try later and if I haven't posted this, will tell you how it goes. Much Later:  Yes, it`s good. Now tomorrow I guess I should make the omelets.

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Trust us: Your first batch of this condiment will not be your last. Spoon over our recipe for Ricotta Omelets.

1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbs (or more) red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs chopped fresh chives

1. Cut half of cherry tomatoes in half. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes.

2. Add halved and whole tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to release juices, 4–6 minutes. Mash some of tomatoes with a spoon.

3. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or room temperature; add chives just before serving.

Servings: 1 1/2 cups

Vinaigrette can be made (without chives) 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and stir in chives.

Source: Bon appetit

Have a great day

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bowling, Outage, 50's pop,

Thanks for crossing your fingers for my bowling today, it worked. I bowled pretty well and my average went up one point. Our team gained 5 points (we were playing the leaders too), but I don't know if we have gone up a spot til I see the results on Thursday. One thing I found out, I was so thrilled with the scores when I played at Victoria Bowl during the summer, it turns out the lanes are set up differently and everyone gets better scores there. It was explained to me. Ah well, I thought I was doing so well. Matt bowled pretty well to day too.

Talking to people about the power outage yesterday. Turns out that the storm spread quite a large area and there are still areas that don't have power. One friend had just put dinner into the oven to cook when the power went out. She wasn't too happy.

Right now, as I am typing they are playing 50's pop music on TV. Some of them are being sung by the original stars, sorry guys, you are really too old and your voices show it. Others don't sound too bad but the majority really shouldn't try and do it any more.

I love leeks and although it says this is an old recipe, it's not one I am familiar with.

Leeks In Vinaigrette

Despite being a timeless classic, it’s probably been a while since you made this dish. Entertaining bonus: It gets better as it sits, which means you’ll be rewarded for making it ahead of time.

4 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, tough outer layer removed
Kosher salt
1 small shallot, finely chopped
½ garlic clove, finely grated
1 Tbs Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp whole grain mustard
½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
¼ tsp sugar
¼ cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Trim root end of leeks (leave as intact as possible so they don’t break apart while cooking) and cook in a large pot of boiling salted water until meltingly tender (a paring knife should go all the way through with no resistance), 15–20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool.

2. Whisk shallot, garlic, vinegar, Dijon and whole grain mustards, thyme, and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil and 1 Tbsp. water; season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

3. Halve leeks lengthwise and arrange on a platter, cut side up; drizzle with vinaigrette and let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.

Servings: 4

Leeks can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sunday Afternoon, Weather,

Unusual, we had another power outage. Asked the super if he knew anything about it. He said he had heard that a pole was down, 3,000 houses without power but that they estimated the power would be back on by 6 and damn me if it didn't come on at 5.55. In the middle of this we had quite a rain storm so I felt sorry for the guys working on the power. We had decided to have supper early just in case. Basically a picnic of Brie and crackers with grape tomatoes followed by the remains of the Pavlova I made for Saturday. I mad it with strawberries. Not a good idea. The strawberries at this time are huge and quite tough as strawberries go. I will use raspberries instead if and when I make another until summertime fruit is available. Oh well, I have two lots of leftovers for supper on Monday and Tuesday. Can't complain. Of course I was concerned because Poldark is on tonight and I don't want to miss it!! I didn't.

Prior to Poldark I watched the programme The Durrells in Corfu. I used to love Gerald Durrell's books with one exception, My Family and Other Animals which was about Corfu. I felt the same about the TV show tonight.

Monday is bowling of course so please keep your fingers crossed for me and our team. If the weather continues as it has been in the last couple of days I will be wearing a jacket. It is quite chilly now. Bit of a shock after all the lovely weather we have been having.

I notice all the stores lately have been stocked up for Hallowe'en but now I notice Christmas stuff creeping in already.  It gets earlier every year I swear.

I found this recipe through Yummly and like the sound of it.

Korean Style Pork Chops

4 pork chops
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce low sodium
2 Tbs honey
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ginger minced
2 tsp sriracha sauce
black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.

2. In a medium size bowl whisk together the soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and sriracha sauce. Pour over pork chops and let marinade for about 20 minutes.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet for medium high heat. Add pork chops, without marinade, and cook for about 5 minutes for the first side, or until it gets a nice brownish color. Flip the pork chops and pour the remaining marinade over them. Cook another 5 min on this side.

4. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking them. Roast for about 10 minutes, or until pork chops are completely cooked through.

Servings: 4

Author: Joanna Cismaru
Source: Jo Cooks

Author Notes
If your pork chops are not very thick, mine were about 1 inch in thickness, you might not need to finish cooking them in the oven.

Have a great day

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Recipe

I was looking for something different to serve with breaded fish. I came across this recipe. Sounded good although I think it is a meal in itself, not a side dish. However, although I didn't have the ingredients, I thought I would share it.

Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers and Avocado in a Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs minced shallots, from one medium shallot
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs sugar
9 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Colavita
1 tsp lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
6 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 Hass avocados, chopped

Combine all ingredients except for avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Servings: 8

Author: Jennifer Segal
Source: Once Upon a Chef

Have a great weekend

Friday, October 13, 2017

Supper, Weather, Balconies, Bowling, Krav Maga

I was quite impressed with myself Thursday afternoon, I hadn't been able to do anything about supper because the cleaner was here - changed her day because of a funeral. So when we came home from a) bowling and b) doing a bit of shopping, I rushed around and made Moroccan Style Stuffed Peppers for supper.  So what you might say, but these days doing anything like that, quickly, frequently has me howling with back pain. Or leg pain, or both. I managed to get through it without too much problem.

This morning they were re-painting the roof of our balcony. Not sure why, but I guess they figured 2 coats. Not sure when they will get around to painting the floors. When we came home I noticed that both the hoists which they had been using on our side had gone. I am guessing, hoping, they have taken them round the back to do all the handrails.

After all the gorgeous weather we have been having, today winter is approaching. 10°C and quite chilly. Matt wore shorts, silly Matt. Even the bowling alley owner had gone into long pants today and we usually figure he lasts out til the last minute. Bowling, by the way, was NOT good. Not only that we only won 2 points on Monday. One of the opposing team had the best game of his life, 305. At the beginning he told me he was lucky to get one strike a day. He would choose to prove himself wrong when we were the opposition!!! He is on the Thursday League as well so was there today and said he couldn't buy a mark for love or money.

I mentioned Krav Maga the other day. The Israeli self defense system. I did some Googling about it and found there are two schools in the area. I also found a clip showing just what Krav Maga is like. I think I am a tad too old for this. Pity because I think it would be wonderful to learn. The idea is to defuse the situation.

For years I have been bemoaning the fact that we cannot get fresh shrimp in Ontario. Then Denise of My Life in Retirement said she always uses frozen. I then thought, I always froze the fresh shrimp I bought and brought back to Canada so maybe it wouldn't be so bad, so I bought some the other day. Uncooked and in the shell. I plan to make Shrimp Creole which is a dish we used to be very fond of and here is my recipe. We will be having this on Saturday night. Of course when we lived in North Carolina, I frequently used more shrimp than called for.

Shrimp Creole

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup celery
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tsp peanut oil
flour for thickening
ground black pepper
2 cup fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes drained
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder (or Tabasco sauce) and/or fresh chillis
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sherry
1 lb shrimp cleaned and deveined
cooked white rice, basmati for preference

Sauté onions, peppers, celery and garlic in hot oil until tender. Make a roux with a little flour. Add tomatoes, paste, sherry and seasoning. Simmer 45 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer for 10 mins. Just before service add Worcester sauce. Serve over rice and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Servings: 4

Have a great day

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Exercise Class, Weather, Red Foxes and Stonehenge.

We had a temporary instructor at our exercise class today, boy was she ever good. She really knew what she was doing. I was impressed. Wouldn't mind her as a regular instructor.  Her name was Alex. I seem to be meeting a lot of Alex's these days all using different shortened forms of their name. Alex Trebek is one of my favourites of course and of course, I haven't had any kind of contact with him other than watching him every weeknight on TV.

Been a somewhat rainy day and not very pleasant so we didn't see anything of the workmen on the balconies. We all think they won't have finished by the end of this season. Frustrating really. I think as the temps have dropped somewhat and appear to be staying there, I will finally go into long pants. I always hate it at first - less feeling of freedom I guess.

Interesting programmes on PBS tonight, one about Red Foxes who appear to be learning to live anywhere including in our back yards. Sadly they are also encroaching on Arctic Foxes - and occasionally killing them - so that the Arctic Foxes may not survive. The next programme was about Stonehenge and through the analysis of bones buried there, they seem finally to be able to get a handle on who built it and why. They are beginning to believe that its original purpose was as a burial ground for important people, probably from a ruling family of the time. The bigger stones were added later in order to mark the winter and summer solstice. That is what they believe at this time but the bones they have found actually at Stonehenge were in thousands of pieces. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle. I never did get to visit Stonehenge although Matt did. These days it is fenced off and you can't get close to it any more.

This is a pretty simple recipe to make your own Gravlax.

Cured Salmon (Gravlax)

2 lbs (900 g) fresh salmon fillet
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup (60 ml) salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground white pepper
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground allspice

1. Rinse the salmon and dry it thoroughly with paper towels. Place in a glass baking dish and sprinkle with half the dill. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Sprinkle half the mixture over the salmon. Turn the salmon over, sprinkle with the remaining salt mixture, and top with the remaining dill. Cover with plastic wrap, place a flat plate or pot lid on top, and place several cans of food on top for weight. Refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. To serve, drain the salmon and cut diagonally into thin slices.

Servings: 12 as an appetizer

Source: WW Recipes

Have a great day

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Saga of the Buns, Moon Gifts, DVD,

It occurred to me that I hadn't told you the saga of my whole wheat buns. I have been buying them from my local grocery store for years. They are just the right size for my lunch and, in the store, are known as 'funny buns' presumably because they come out oddly shaped. However, the powers that be decided these should no longer be sold despite the fact that, as the bakery manager told me, they are a good seller. Funny buns were actually made in white and multi grain versions. I managed to get some of each before the completely disappeared. Don't much like the white as they are long and thin and when I toast them (I like crispy) they tend to break when cut. However, there is a bakery just down the road from us and I finally got round to calling there and found some delicious buns which are better than anything I had been getting. Hooray. Cheaper too.

Also didn't mention that Mandarin (I'm sure you've heard me mention them before) were doling out little gifts to customers during the Moon Festival - which is not yet over by the way - and I have collected one or two. I think they are rather pretty. Matt thinks they are junk, he is probably right but I still like them.

I tried to play two DVD's tonight, neither of which would work although they did the other day. Ended up watching The King's Speech as that would play. I really am not quite sure why the others didn't work. I tried cleaning them, maybe not very successfully.

I thought this looked pretty good especially with the whole wheat wraps.

Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wrap

White beans mashed with ripe avocado and blended with sharp Cheddar and onion makes an incredibly rich, flavorful filling for this wrap. The tangy, spicy slaw adds crunch. A pinch (or more) of ground chipotle pepper and an extra dash of cider vinegar can be used in place of the canned
chipotles in adobo sauce. Wrap these up to take as a healthy and portable lunch for work.

2 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs canola oil
2 tsp finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, (see Note)
¼ tsp salt
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 medium carrot, shredded
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 15 oz cans white beans, rinsed
1 ripe avocado
½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 Tbs minced red onion
4 8- to 10-inch   whole-wheat wraps, or tortillas

1. Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro; toss to combine. Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in cheese and onion. To assemble the wraps, spread about ½ cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap (or tortilla) and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve, if desired.

Servings: 4

Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, they'll keep at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

Eat neat: Keeping the filling inside a wrap or burrito can be a challenge, especially if you're on the go. That's why we recommend wrapping your burrito in foil so you can pick it up and eat it without losing the filling, peeling back the foil as you go

Source: EatingWell Magazine

Have a great day

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

PCT, Ada Lovelace, Bowling,

One of the sons working at the bowling alley was telling me he had been hiking this weekend. Funnily enough Matt and I had watched a programme about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail which runs for something like 3,000 miles (from memory) and we figured the people doing the trail were nuts. They start off in searing heat and desert conditions and need to carry gallons of water, then they get to the mountains and have to climb through snow and a high pass, and they pass areas of volcanic activity and pools of boiling acid together with fumeroles and so on and so on. It is apparently a very expensive trip because of all the stuff you need to survive from beginning to end. One girl we were watching had to give up because she ran out of money. She was hauling a pack which was twice as heavy as anyone's. Not only that, she seemed to be wearing flip flops for the first part of the trail??

Following that, there was a fascinating programme about Lady Ada Lovelace and her connection to Charles Babbage who designed a huge calculating machine which Ada had the intelligence to realise could be adapted to do all kinds of mathematical calculations but also to play music and such, i.e. a computer. She has the distinction of writing the first computer programme which heavily influenced Alan Turing who is widely recognised as the original constructor of the computer when he built a machine at Bletchley Park during the war which was able to crack the Enigma code being used by the Germans. This was the subject of the movie The Imitation Game if you ever saw it. I have a copy of it and think it is an excellent film.

Bowling wasn't great today, not sure how many points we took, think only two as we left before the other team had finished. Our last game was abysmal - we accumulated scores of over 900 for our first two games and ended up with 800 and something in the last game. Personally I had one good game. Matt had two.

On the way home, went to return a library book and was going to pick up one and not until we got there did I remember it was a holiday, duuh.

I thought this dish looked and sounded pretty tasty and will be trying it in the not too distant future. It appeared in a list of Spanish recipes. I loved the food of Spain (actually I have always loved the food of any European country I visited) so I share this chicken dish with you.

Chicken with Catalan Picada

This Catalan dish, made with chocolate and spices, is reminiscent of Mexican mole, says Janet Mendel. "But without the spiciness of the chiles, it's much easier to pair with wine." The sauce is
thickened with picada, traditionally a blend of toasted nuts, herbs and garlic

4 whole chicken legs, split (2 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup oloroso sherry
1 bay leaf
1 3-inch strip of orange zest
1/4 tsp thyme leaves
1 slice of peasant bread, crusts removed and bread cut into1/2-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Large pinch of saffron threads
Small pinch each of aniseeds
Small pinch of ground cloves

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until browned, 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderately high heat until very thick, 5 minutes. Add the broth, sherry, bay leaf, orange zest and thyme and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, turning once.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the bread and almonds on a baking sheet, about 8 minutes.

4. In a skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, 3 minutes. Transfer to a food processor with the bread and almonds, the chocolate, parsley, cinnamon, saffron, aniseeds and cloves. Process to a paste.

5. Stir the picada into the sauce and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and orange zest, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Servings: 4

Author: Janet Mendel
Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day