Monday, April 30, 2018

Bouquets, Victoria and Abdul, Paddington 2, Skin Cancer Procedure,

Sunday morning on GMA they were talking about THE wedding and flowers etc. and I suddenly thought "why do women carry bouquets". I Googled and according to legend, during the 15th century, people took their yearly baths in May and would generally get married in June. Just to be safe, brides carried bouquets to mask the smell of body odor. ... Another old and popular custom for carrying a bouquet, was to ward off evil spirits. I know the tradition of the white wedding dress started with Queen Victoria. 

Talking of Victoria, we watched Victoria and Abdul the other day. What an interesting story - I Googled again and apparently the royal household endeavoured to remove all trace of the relationship once Victoria died and it wasn't until 100 years later that the story surfaced. Things have changed mightily, but I can imagine how horrified they were at the time. Not only was Abdul supposed to be a servant, but he was 'dark skinned' too. They were pretty upset about her relationship with John Brown, but at least he was a white man. It seems Queen Victoria was ahead of her time. I might say Judi Dench is absolutely marvellous as Queen Victoria, both in Mrs. Brown and Victoria and Abdul. Much to my surprise, Matt watched it right through and didn't disappear to bed half way through.

I got my copy of Paddington 2 on Friday. Haven't yet had a chance to watch it. But if it is as good as the first movie I will enjoy it.

No, I'm not back in full swing yet. Matt has a skin cancer procedure on Thursday so that will take up some of my time. He has had to stop taking his blood thinners for a few days which always makes me feel nervous. 

Still no sign of asparagus yet. I am suffering I tell you, suffering!!!

I am not familiar with farro although it seems to be cropping up in a lot of recipes lately. This one looked particularly appealing.

Spring Vegetable Grain Bowl

This dish is all about clean flavors and distinct textures. Farro provides satisfying chew, while the raw shaved veggies soften slightly in the vinaigrette to become perfectly crisp-tender. To blanch the peas, cook in boiling water for 1 minute or until crisp-tender, then dunk in an ice bath for 1 minute to stop
the cooking. A mandoline or vegetable peeler makes quick work of thinly slicing vegetables.

1 1/2 cups uncooked farro
3 cups water
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup roughly chopped beet greens or arugula
1/4 cup blanched English peas
2 baby carrots, thinly sliced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 small red beet, peeled and thinly sliced
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Combine farro, 3 cups water, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan over medium-low; cook, covered, 25 minutes or until farro becomes tender. Place farro in a strainer; drain well.

2. Place hot farro in a large bowl. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, oil, vinegar, greens, peas, carrots, onion, celery, and beet; stir gently to combine. Top evenly with cheese and parsley

Servings: 5

Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Taking a Break, This 'n That,

I'm going to be taking it easy for a day or two. So there may not be many posts from me for a bit.

One thing, I have broken down, I hate what I think of as coulottes and what are called Capri pants here, but I saw some in the Avon catalogue so thought I would order them. We shall see, I have them but haven't yet tried them on.!!

Today, Thursday, we are going on the Travel League bowling. That means lunch at the Red Lobster and bowling at the alley where we normally bowl - Matt and I have not been doing the travelling this year.

I thought this rice looked delicious.

Mexican Rice

A quick and easy Mexican style red rice that is the perfect side!

1 Tbs oil
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin, toasted and ground (optional)
1 cup long grained rice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I like fire roasted)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 Tbs lime juice (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the onio and cook until tender, about 3-5 miutes before adding the jalpen, garlic, and cumin and cooking until fragrant, about a minute.

2. Add the rice, mix in the broth, tomatoes, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 17-20 minutes.

3. Mix in the cilantro and lime juice and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Option: Replace the oil with bacon grease or lard.

Option: Omit the jalapeno pepper or replace it with, or add 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne to taste. (I like chipotle chili powder for the extra smokiness.)

Option: Replace the canned tomatoes with 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes!

Option: Add frozen peas, and/or diced carrots, corn, etc!

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Kitchen

Have a great day

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Asparagus, Shopping, Lunch.

It was so sunny and nice on Sunday and Monday I had hope for the asparagus, but today was dull and damp. Oh well, I guess it will grow when it grows.

Didn't do much of anything today except our usual shopping when I think I purchased the store again.  Luckily I had $50 in points which reduced our bill somewhat.

I was looking at some lunch recipes, including salads and I remembered when I used to work Matt would often make a salad for me to take. I remember the first occasion when I took the lid off the Tupperware with my salad and Matt had shaped a carrot and some grape tomatoes to look like something somewhat intimate!! Luckily the girls with whom I ate lunch thought it was hilarious. That was such a long time ago now. Here is an interesting lunch which I wouldn't have minded back in the day.

Crunchy Fish and Creamy Coleslaw Wraps

Fish tacos are all the rage, but we’ve done one better…we’ve got a fish taco all wrapped up in a tortilla! Sole is breaded and baked, a quick and tangy cabbage slaw is whipped up and all are
wrapped up in a tortilla along with juicy tomatoes and creamy avocado. Tacos have nothing on this scrumptious sole’n’slaw sandwich!

Baked Fish Sticks
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 cup panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp grated lemon zest
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ lbs sole fillets, sliced into strips
Creamy Coleslaw
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
½ tsp Sriracha sauce
½ tsp kosher salt
4 cups shredded cabbage
¼ cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
6 (10-inch) flour tortilla wraps
Tomatoes, sliced
Avocado, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place a baking rack coated with non-stick cooking spray on a baking sheet. Place the bread crumbs, panko, olive oil, lemon zest, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process 10 seconds, until finely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Place flour, salt and pepper in a second shallow bowl. Place eggs in a third bowl. Coat each piece of fish in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into the eggs, followed by the breadcrumb-panko mixture, being sure to coat the fish well. Place the coated fish on the baking rack and bake 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before assembly.

2. For the coleslaw, in a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, cider vinegar, honey, lime juice, Sriracha sauce and salt until well combined. Toss cabbage and parsley with dressing. This can be chilled for a few hours until assembly.

3. To assemble, place wraps on a flat surface. Spoon a small amount of coleslaw down the center of the tortilla. Top with one or two sticks of fish (depending how large they were cut), top with avocado, tomato and then an additional spoonful of coleslaw. Fold in the sides of the tortilla, then roll up “burrito-style”. Repeat with remaining wraps.

Yield: 6 fish stick wraps

Source: Zoomer

Have a great day

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Egypt, Facebook, Weather, Asparagus, Bowling.

I have been learning more about Egypt over the last few weeks. First there was the film about
Howard Carter and his discovery of the tomb of King Tutenkhamun, then there is the series "The Story of Egypt" which is showing on Sunday evenings on TV Ontario - Professor Joann Fletcher is exploring Egypt and it's rises and falls. Something I learned last night, most of the grave robbing was done by the priests who wanted/needed the gold in the royal tombs so the mummies were unwrapped, stripped of anything of value, re wrapped in linen and then all basically chucked in a heap. Fortunately they did not find Tutenkhamun's tomb. Then it turns out that this tomb's priceless treasures were probably not for him at all but from other regalia. For instance the golden mask, with which we are all familiar, has pierced ears which has led them to believe that the original mask was made for Nefertiti and then re worked for Tutenkhamun.

I was thinking just how pernicious Facebook is. I try not to go there too often but every so often I either need to contact someone or a message comes through and once I get there and do what I have to do, I find myself going down the page checking on what people are saying at the moment. Three hours later.... an exaggeration, but it is so easy to get caught.

On Sunday I phoned the farm where I buy fresh asparagus. The snow is beginning to clear and today the weather was quite warm and sunny. It even reached 18°C. The farmer said to call back around May 5 or keep an eye on their Facebook page. Today he posted a picture of the rhubarb just poking its head up through the straw. A year is such a long time to wait. People were wearing shorts today and Matt didn't wear a jacket. I teased the bowling alley owner that someone else had gone into shorts before he had. He is always first and last each season. My bowling, by the way, was appalling. I didn't reach my average once. Mind you I was aching somewhat more than usual, don't know if that made a difference.

I'm always on the lookout for something different for breakfast and this recipe fills the bill.

Artichoke and Egg Tartine

For a Mediterranean-inspired breakfast, serve up fried or poached eggs on top of sautéed artichokes and toast. If you can't find frozen, be sure to rinse canned artichoke hearts well—they're saltier than
frozen. Serve with hot sauce on the side, if desired.

1. Heat oil in a small skillet. Add artichoke hearts, scallion, oregano and pepper; sauté until hot. Spread on toast and top with eggs.

Author: Breana Lai
Source: EatingWell Test Kitchen

Have a great day

Monday, April 23, 2018

Packaging, Scams, The Queen,

I have always hated blister packs on medications, and now, for one of Matt's  medications, they have made tinfoil packs and the backs have to be peeled off individually. They prick your fingers whilst you are handling them and they are a pain in the 'you know where'. I have complained to the manufacturer but I don't suppose they will make any changes. The meds used to come in a plastic bottle so what we do now is open a whole bunch at once and put them in the bottle which we have saved. I put out our medications for the week and messing with these foil things is really aggravating.

The other day I had a phone call telling me that a transaction worth $xxxx had taken place in my account at the Royal Bank. I assured them I didn't have an account at Royal. Today I had another call saying a transaction for $300 had taken place at 2 a.m., was it me. I just hung up. Any transaction I make is reported on by email from my bank to alert me to such transaction. If it ain't me I can do something about it. THEY DO NOT PHONE. Nor do most banks as far as I am aware. Even if they did, they would be unlikely to have a strong East Indian accent. Not impossible I know, but unlikely. There are so many scams out there, particularly targeting older people, some of whom may not be totally "up to snuff" and when they get a call saying a grandkid is in jail and needs bail money or something, they will often pay it not realising it is a scam. This is so tragic because often people like this really can't afford the money in the first place even if it were true.

As most of you will be aware, it was the Queen's 92nd birthday on Saturday. I always remember the date, April 21, because the first year of her accession my cousins, who's birthday it was that day too, tried to kid me that the National Anthem playing on the radio was actually for them. This ensured that these were birthdays I have never forgotten. Of course the Queen also has an official birthday on June 9 when she troops the colour. She used to ride on horseback for this but these days she rides in a carriage. I wonder if she still rides at all - a passtime she used to really love. Apparently she does, although she says these days she is a fair weather rider as she doesn't like to get cold and wet. I am somewhat younger and I never liked to get cold and wet LOL.

This is the second recipe I have posted recently which includes chicken and spinach. I enjoy it. Many would use precooked rice but I never do so. Quicker if you do, obviously.

Chicken-Tomato Skillet

Yes! You can make chicken and rice in 20 minutes. When a craving for comfort food hits and you need it in a hurry, this fast take on chicken and rice hits the spot. Stirring chopped baby spinach into warm brown rice is a smart way to get more vegetables and jazz up an otherwise plain starchy side.

1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced white onion
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 (8.8-oz.) pkg. precooked microwavable whole-grain brown rice (such as Uncle Bens Ready Rice)
3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to skillet; cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and tomatoes begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

2. Whisk together stock and flour in a bowl until combined. Add to chicken mixture; stir and scrape browned bits from bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Heat rice according to package directions. Place hot rice in a medium bowl; add spinach, lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat (hot rice will wilt the spinach). Divide rice mixture among 4 plates; top evenly with chicken mixture.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces so it cooks in just a few minutes, use precooked rice and heat it in the microwave, then use the hot rice to wilt the spinach for you while you finish the chicken. Fresh thyme, chopped basil, or parsley are all good stand-ins for the rosemary. Round out the meal with a glass of sauvignon blanc.

Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tutenkhamun, Bowling,

Those of you who know me, know I don't watch much TV. Jeopardy is my favourite and that's about
it on a regular basis. This week I seem to have been glued to Public Television. Stories of the dangers of Victorian homes, stories about the Queen and more about the weather and climate changes of our world. Thursday night was the same. They had an excellent programme from the ITV channel in England called Tutenkhamun. It started at 8 and went through til 11 with slight programme breaks - not long at all. I was fascinated from start to finish. It was basically all about Howard Carter who found the Royal Tomb and of Lord Carnarvon who was his sponsor. It was all about the vicissitudes they went through before actually discovering the tomb and then even more after having discovered it. Everyone believed Carter was wrong and that the area where he was digging had been gone through thoroughly and that there was nothing else to be discovered. He proved them wrong. It didn't help that the Egyptians were very anti British, sometimes violently, at  the time with, I might say, very good reason. There was one scene at the end of World War I where someone was complaining about Carter to the army and saying he spoke like the locals, dressed like the locals and even ate his meals with them. He was therefore presumed to be unstable and the army let him go. To us this seems incredible. Anyway, if you ever get a chance to see this production, I can highly recommend it. A movie but excellently done IMHOP  - there was a romance between Lord Carnarvon's daughter and Carter. Who knows if that happened or not. I just did a bit of research and the author apparently believes, from many sources, that they did have a romantic relationship but the Carnarvons emphatically deny it, well they would wouldn't they?

We went bowling this afternoon, played two games and Matt beat me both times. Horrifying. When we got home I spoke to our neighbour who arranges the coffee klatches and I have printed up business cards with invitation/reminders to everyone to try and attract more people to the group.

So now I am late for my bed.

This is a delicious recipe which I haven't made in a long time, not sure why.

Chicken Breasts in Island Aromas

1- 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions (4 bulbs)
2 Tbs finely chopped shallots (2 shallots)
2 Tbs chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup dry sherry
1- 1/2 tsp sugar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp grated lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs Rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small pan heat oil over med heat. Add scallions, shallots, 1 tbs mint; sauté until softened, 2 - 3 mins. Stir in fennel and ginger. Add orange juice, lemon juice, sherry and 1 tsp sugar; bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced by half, 5 - 10 mins. Set aside

2. Place the defatted, trimmed, chicken skinned side down on board. Make a horizontal slit on thinner, long edge, cutting nearly through to opposite side. Open each breast to form two flaps and sprinkle with zests. Season. Pat closed and place between plastic wrap. Pound to flatten slightly.

3. Place rosemary sprigs on bottom of a baking dish, put chicken on top, season. Pour wine and warm citrus sauce over. Bake uncovered 25 - 30 mins until chicken not pink inside. Transfer to platter and keep warm.  Discard rosemary.

4. Pour sauce into pan, boil, reduce by half. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon over chicken and sprinkle with remaining mint.

Servings: 4

Source: Eating Well

Have a great day

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Victorian Home, Climate and Weather, Salmonella

I guess I didn't check properly, and it appears that what I was watching on Tuesday evening was Part 2 of Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home. Which I am adding here.

With the result that what I was talking about in my blog yesterday was detailed in this segment today showing the adulteration of food and the deaths of children through Bovine TB in milk.

So then on Wednesday night we watched Nova which was all about climate change and how it affects our weather and the research scientists having been doing on the problems. There is absolutely no doubt our burning of fossil fuels has fueled (pun not intended) the problems the earth is facing and they explained it really well. Not something I will try and do, but they explained how the melting ice has already increased sea levels and showed coastal towns in the US which are subject to regular flooding and showed the Maldive Islands which are losing land rapidly and being regularly flooded too - islands which are likely to disappear before too long. They have proved that the earth changes regularly over the centuries, but that the current heating up period has been badly exacerbated by us. The Polar ice caps are disappearing rapidly and the oceans are warming up. The implication was that it isn't too late to reverse the trend but something has to be done now. My one consolation about how we are ruining our home is that I won't be here long enough to see the total devastation we are bringing down on ourselves.

In light of the recent recall of millions of eggs, I came across this article from Extra Crispy which answers the question "what is Salmonellay anyway?" I have not heard of a similar recall in Canada so I hope our eggs are OK.

Although these are vegetarian, I thought they looked quite delicious. I hope you do too.

Cheesy Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes With Black Beans and Avocado

We all love a classic twice-baked potato. Why not put a more nutritious spin on the side dish by swapping in sweet potatoes and adding protein-packed black beans? When topped with creamy avocado and crunchy toasted pepitas, each of these potatoes can stand alone as a main—that both the kids and adults will devour. We opted for Pepper Jack cheese to add some heat, but anyone not a fan
of spicy can swap in Monterey Jack or Cheddar. Broiling the potato skins before filling them with the sweet potato mixture crisps them up so they can serve as a sturdy base.

¼ cup raw pepitas
3 Tbs plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
4 medium-size sweet potatoes (about 2 ¾ lb.), halved lengthwise
1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
6 oz Pepper Jack cheese, grated (about 1 ½ cups)
1 ripe avocado, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss pepitas with 1 teaspoon of the oil, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and several grinds pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub potatoes with remaining 3 tablespoons oil and place cut side down on a second rimmed baking sheet. Add a few grinds of pepper. Transfer both baking sheets to oven.

2. Bake pepitas until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven. Continue baking potatoes until very tender, 22 to 28 minutes more. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes, then scoop potato flesh into a large bowl. Return potato skins to baking sheet.

3. Increase oven temperature to broil and position top rack 6 inches from heat. Broil potato skins until crispy, 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Add black beans, a few grinds pepper, 1 cup of the cheese, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt to sweet potato flesh and stir to combine. Divide mixture among skins and top with remaining ½ cup cheese. Return to oven and broil until cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Top with avocado and pepitas.

Servings: 4

Source: Real Simple

Have a great day

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Victorian Homes, Books, Weather,

We have just been watching an incredible programme about the lack of safety in Victorian homes and detailing all the hazards. Foods, such as bread, were adulterated with harmful products to make them appear better. Milk was made to appear fresh with an addition which made it appear more palatable but which disguised the tuberculosis in the raw milk and cause thousands of deaths in children. Then there were baths heated by gas which could literally boil you to death. Servant's stairs you could easily fall down and break your neck. Many did. I just discovered I could get the programme online so if you are interested here it is. It really is fascinating to watch.

Next week the programme will be about Edwardian homes. I shall make sure to watch that.

I had a problem earlier with my email. I couldn't send anything although I could receive emails. Worked for a while with a technician from my ISP and eventually we found that one of the Port numbers had somehow got change. He said it had happened to him once (I thought it was my fault) but he assured me that it wasn't. Took a lot of time to sort out though. Whilst we were waiting I was telling him about books I read because of my email address which is the name of a dragon in Anne McCaffery's Pern books. I finally steered him to Goodreads. He apparently liked sci fi so he should find lots there for him to enjoy.

Because the weather couldn't seem to make up its mind, it was snowing hard one minute and stopped the next, we decided to go shopping early, just in case. As it turned out the roads were fine and we wouldn't have had any problem in the afternoon because the snow more or less stopped. However, better to get it done. Like many others, I do so wish we could have some spring weather.

I thought these looked absolutely delightful. They said serves 16, I thought that was ridiculous, obviously one would eat more than one.

Taco Salad Bites

These bite-size appetizers have all the flavors of your favorite taco salad -- zesty ground beef, smooth sour cream and, of course, a crunchy tortilla shell. Taco seasoning varies greatly depending on the
brand, so make sure to taste yours before you add it to the meat and adjust the salt in the recipe accordingly.

Nonstick cooking spray, for spraying the wire rack
1 lb(s) ground beef (90/10)
2 Tbs taco seasoning
Kosher salt
16 cup-shaped corn tortilla chips
4 oz Pepper Jack cheese, cut into 16 cubes
3 Tbs sour cream
1 cup thinly sliced Romaine lettuce
1 small plum tomato, diced
Hot sauce, for serving

1. Position an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 425ºF. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet and spray generously with cooking spray.

2. Use your hands to mix the ground beef, taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl until just combined. Drop heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture onto the rack (about 16 total), then use your hands to roll the portioned meat into balls. Press a tortilla chip into the top of each meatball, making sure that the meat goes mostly up the sides of the chip (be careful not to break the chips). Put 1 cheese cube in the middle of each chip.

3. Bake, rotating the baking sheet once halfway, until the meat is just cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bites to a large platter, top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with the lettuce and tomato. Serve with hot sauce.

Yield: 16 Taco Bites

Source: Food Network

Have a great day

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Weather, Taking Tea, The Queen,

The weather is not being my friend lately. Today bowling was cancelled because of the weather. We could have gone and played on our own but their parking lot hadn't been ploughed so we might have got stuck or something. Not only that, it is delaying the growth of the asparagus which now needs lots of sun to warm it up. Although I have been reading, I am actually somewhat bored and want to go.

The other day I saw someone talking on GMA I think saying Meghan Markle had had to be taught how to have tea with the Queen and commented about raising the baby or pinky finger. Sorry, that is NOT done in polite circles. I don't know where the idea started but it is something North Americans have got hold of and think that is the correct way to hold one's cup. I can assure you it is not. In fact it is considered most impolite and elitist. i.e. people trying to look better than they are socially. Maybe they were saying Meghan was being taught not to stick her finger out. I would actually imagine there are quite a few lessons Meghan had to learn in order to become a member of the Royal Family.

I keep thinking of things I want to write about and don't stop to write them down and guess what, they just float away like the unicorns in the Irish song.

Just watched another programme about the Queen. She really is an incredible person and has done a fantastic job over the years. It was interesting to see the quality of some of the old film when she got married and then when she was crowned and compare it with modern film of her. Amazing what we watched then and thought was wonderful. She certainly seems to have adapted to the times, telling us how heavy the coronation crown was and how it could have broken her neck and also how uncomfortable the carriages were/are.  They also displayed a book collection of stamps from the Empire/Commonwealth. Bob Scotney would have loved that collection. Apparently after the collapse of the Empire, Australia used a Koala and a Platypus on their stamps. Don't know what other countries did but I thought that was rather appropriate. There was a lot about her dress designers, Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies which was very interesting. Also about her handbag. She apparently has said that she doesn't feel dressed without it. They said all the things she carried in it, can't remember what they all were but one item was a pocket knife with all the gadgets on it!! She also carries a photo of Prince Andrew.

The name of this pie attracted my attention and then when I read about it, I thought it sounded quite yummy.

Crack Pie

Anyone who has taken a bite of Milk Bar's best selling crack pie immediately knows the reason for the sassy name. This rich, salty-sweet pie recipe has an irresistible oat cookie crust.

Oat Cookie Crust
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
9 Tbs (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
5 1/2 Tbs (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
2 Tbs sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp (generous) salt

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 Tbs nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
6 1/2 Tbs heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Oat Cookie Crust

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper; coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn oat mixture out onto prepared baking pan; press out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until light golden on top, 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely.

Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and whisk until blended. Add cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool pie 2 hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight

Servings: 10

DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled.

Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Monday, April 16, 2018

Spring? Book, Roads,

April 14 and the park outside our windows is white once more. They did forecast it, but you never know. Well now I do. I always say the worst snow storm I ever remember was in April. At least this fall is not as bad as that one. I looked out of the bedroom window and this sight amused me.

Anyone for tennis? The nets look so lonely in all that whiteness.

Just finished Many Waters which is one of the Wrinkle in Time series. Bit slow going at first but in the end, I enjoyed it. The basic concept is the Noah's Ark story.  I think I have only one more book in that series to read. I have enjoyed all the stories.

Of course we are hoping the roads will be clear tomorrow to go bowling. They aren't too snow covered at the moment but they are certainly not clear.

Tried a new dessert sold by our local grocery chain. It was a chocolate cheese cake although the texture was more like a mousse. It was good. I bought two but Matt decided to stay with his plain cheese cake so one more more me next weekend. It's the only time, basically, that I allow myself a dessert.

Asparagus, at least farm fresh asparagus, is not yet available in our neck of the woods, but here's another recipe for when it is.

Garlic Balsamic Baby Potatoes With Asparagus

1 1/2 lb (650g) baby potatoes, cut into quarters
1/2 lb (220g) asparagus, trimmed
4 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbs olive oil
4 Tbs balsamic vinegar
A generous pinch of salt and pepper

1. In a small bowl, infuse minced garlic into 3 tablespoons olive oil. In the meantime, boil salted water in a large pot and pre-cook potatoes for 8 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the asparagus and cook for the 3 minutes remaining with potatoes. Then drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the infused olive oil (without the garlic) and stir in potatoes. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat potatoes in infused olive oil. Cook potatoes until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove potatoes from the skillet and set aside.

3. In the same skillet, add remaining olive oil with garlic and cook asparagus, tossing regularly for 3 minutes. Return potatoes back to the skillet. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat fully and cook for 4 or 5 more.

4. Season with extra balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!

You can switch asparagus in favor of green beans.

Infuse oil with garlic for a little longer, like 15mn, if you have time.

If you make this recipe with regular potatoes instead, pre-boil a little longer and cook for 5 minutes more in the skillet.

Serve with grilled chicken, pork chops or steak, it’s delicious!

Source: Eat Well 101

Have a great day

Friday, April 13, 2018

Headaches, Book, Bowling,

One learns things from the most surprising sources. Wednesday morning our cleaner came and later in the morning, when she turned on the vacuum cleaner, I realised I had a headache. I joshed her and said she made so much noise etc. then she said maybe it was the pressure (i.e. barometric pressure). That had never occurred to me before. Thursday morning I had another slight headache and decided to do some Googling. Apparently if you are prone to migraines (which I certainly was although not so much now) apparently barometric pressure changes are thought to cause you headaches and even migraines. I've only been having them since I was a kid and had never heard that before. My mother used to have them and she called them "sick headaches". I think she got them for longer than I because I remember once  they went to some friends for the weekend and she had a migraine all the time. If you have never had one, you are very lucky although it does seem that when you are older they get less frequent and, in my case, pretty rare. There are times I felt I could have cheerfully cut the top of my head off.  Now I find a lot of it could have been triggered by the pressure.

Just finished J.D. Robb's Dark in Death, I really love this series of books although I am not sure I haven't missed one or two. Thinking about going back to the beginning, maybe. There are actually about 46 of them and it would be a lot of re-reading. Not only are they excellent books about the future, great Homicide Stories and a marvellous love story all intertwined. The author, J.D. Robb is a nom de plume of Norah Lofts who's stories I have not followed much, read one or two, not a patch on the J.D. Robb books. I really think I will read them again, from the library of course, would cost a fortune to buy them all.

Bowling again today, none of it very good. I got a tad annoyed with Matt, there were a group of four with whom I had become friends whilst he was recuperating from his broken ankle. They are somewhat handicapped mentally, but not badly, but he was complaining because they made too much noise. It was actually just one of them. He is a whizz bowler mind you and was telling me how well he had done in competitive bowling lately. We used to compete, but not any more. For some reason our bowling alley doesn't hold any competitions other than for Junior Bowlers. The other local alley does so though. However, at our time in life, I don't suppose we would compete now anyway.

Being a nut about asparagus, I am always on the lookout for new recipes. This is one I came across the other day. Only problem is I just ran out of Orzo and couldn't find any in the store the other day.

Grilled Asparagus Pasta Salad

1 cup orzo
1 bunch asparagus
3 roma tomatoes sliced
1 inch sliced red onion
2 Tbs drained caper berries
2 Tbs lemon juce
2 tsp Dijon
1 Tbs maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil plus more for grilling
1/2 tsp salt/pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 Tbs mint
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles - optional

1. Heat grill pan or grill on medium heat

2. Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water. Drain and put in a bowl.

3. Grill asparagus spears, halved roma tomatoes and onions until tender with a few char/grill marks. Remove from heat and chop asparagus into 1 inch pieces, tomatoes into bite size and chop onion.

4. Add veg to bowl with orzo. Whisk together capers, lemon juice, Dijon, syrup. Gradually add olive oil. Toss veg and orzo in the dressing then add herbs and/or cheese and toss again before serving.

Source: The Everyday Chef

Have a great day

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Bowling, Weather, Kitchen Tip, Clean Stove Top,

We bowled a couple of games this afternoon and I had two really good ones, Matt had one really good one. Why oh why can't we do that on the Monday?? We have 4 more Monday's for the league and then May 14 is our banquet and prize giving. I certainly won't get my average back high again now. Pity.

It's been snowing today, not much, but constant. Then freezing rain is forecast for the weekend. I thought it was supposed to be Spring. I can't believe it. The asparagus season is being delayed because of this weather too. Now that is serious!!!!! Everyone is complaining, but there really isn't a damned thing we can do about it.

Saw an excellent suggestion online today, when you are sautéeing or frying something, cover up the other rings on your stove top with foil so they don't get splashed with fat. Not only that, you can use them as a spoon rest if you need one.

I like broccoli salads and thought this one sounded good, anything with bacon after all.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Classic broccoli salad, the perfect dish for a potluck, is updated with cauliflower, bacon and a sprinkle of crunchy sunflower seeds in this so-easy recipe that's sure to be a new picnic favorite

½ cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs whole-grain mustard
1 Tbs cider vinegar
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp ground pepper
4 cups finely chopped broccoli crowns
1 cup finely chopped cauliflower
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 slices cooked bacon, chopped ( ¼ cup)
3 Tbs sunflower seeds, toasted

1. Whisk mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, garlic, sugar and pepper in a large bowl. Add broccoli, cauliflower, onion, bacon and sunflower seeds. Stir to coat.

2. To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Servings: 5

Author: Carolyn Casner
Source: EatingWell

Have a great day

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cream, Flattish Tire, Shopping,

I keep seeing tips for storing cream which involves whipping it with sugar and then freezing dollops to use on desserts. I have been doing this for a while, but I don't sweeten my cream, what if I need it for soups or other savoury dishes? Or do these people only use cream for desserts? It is also useful if you need sour cream and don't have any. You just add the cream and some lemon juice, does the job pretty well. Wouldn't work if you'd already sweetened it though.

Forgot to mention, at bowling yesterday, a friend came up to me and told me the back tire on our car was extremely low on air. When we were ready to leave the younger owner came out with us and blew up the tire for us with our gadget intended for the purpose. Funnily enough I don't ever remember seeing it before. We used to have a much bigger gadget which had a light on it for roadside emergencies and other stuff, don't remember now. No idea what happened to it nor where I got the present one from. Anyway, we were very grateful to him for doing the job for us. He really is a nice man. I was going to say "young" man but although he is young to us, he wouldn't be young to a lot of people as he's in his early 50s. His kids, for instance, wouldn't think of his as young I suppose.

Today was foot nurse day and then in the afternoon, shopping. This time I didn't purchase the whole store. I didn't get everything on my shopping list either because a) I had lost Matt and b) lost energy. Matt was sitting on the bench near the check outs which is where I had actually figured he had got to.

I thought this was a great idea for making a Quiche. Especially if you are a pasty flop like me.

Bread Bowl Lazy Quiche

1 8-9 inch  round sourdough boule, top sliced off and hollowed out, leaving about 1/2 inch of bread.
6 eggs
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups filling (I like chopped spinach, onion and cubed ham)
Salt and pepper
8 oz of cheese slices (I use smoked gouda, Havarti, or muenster because they mold well and don’t crack)

1. Heat your oven to 375°F. Place your round of hollowed bread on a cooking sheet. Line the bread bowl with the slices of cheese, overlapping slightly. I do the sides first by draping the cheese down the side and onto the bottom, and then cover the bottom to seal the whole thing in.

2. Sprinkle your fillings evenly over the bottom. Mix the milk, half and half and eggs well, seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste. If your fillings or cheese are salty, go lighter on the salt. Pour the seasoned custard over the fillings then bake 30-40 minutes until the top is browned, and there is just the barest jiggle in the middle when you tap the baking sheet.

3. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

 Source: Extra Crispy

Have a great day

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

More on Batteries, Castles and Egypt, Bowling,

Regarding recycling old/used batteries. I have found this site which has a lot of useful information. The consensus here seems to be "wrap 'em up" before you toss them.

Well I wrote a load of stuff which seems to have disappeared. I was saying we had been watching some interesting programmes on our local Public TV the first is a series about building a castle in France using the methods and materials which were used in the 1300's. They are all dressed appropriately too. There is a TV crew from England who are taking part in several weeks of  the building and it is fascinating to realise that the stone ruins we so often see in Europe were actually quite different when they were occupied.

After that programme we saw another on the rise of Egypt beginning at the cave etchings of a very primitive people found in what, today, is desert but in the days of the etchings was a land of trees and grasses on which aurochs could feed and be hunted. There is a surprising amount of land which used to be fertile and contain lakes which are now arid deserts.

Being Monday we bowled today and, although I started with a fairly good game, the other two were pathetic. My average went down a point. Matt didn't bowl well either. We were on our own as our team mates had bowled ahead. We did manage to take 4 points, maybe even 5, I will find out later.

I have just found me a new motto "I'm in pain all the time, and if I gave into it then I'd do nothing." Bernard Cornwell.  I found this in Viveka's blog, My Guilty Pleasures and felt it was appropriate for me and others I know.

I have saved this recipe to try maybe this week. It is a Cooking Light recommendation for a lighter meal than a taco. I don't think I would discard the garlic but then I love eating garlic.

Lettuce Wraps

Flavorful as a taco truck, but healthy enough to become part of your regular rotation. We keep calories in check by blending a mixture of higher calorie (but oh-so-flavorful) Mexican-style chorizo with leaner ground pork for the meat filling. And then we keep it light by tucking the filling into sweet, fresh butter lettuce leaves—like a cross between a taco and a lettuce wrap. The quick-pickled carrots and jalapeños add authentic taco-truck flavor. Be sure to use fresh Mexican-style chorizo
sausage (found near other refrigerated bulk sausages) instead of dry-cured Spanish-style chorizo.

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
4 garlic cloves
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
8 oz loose fresh Mexican chorizo
4 oz ground pork
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
8 butter lettuce or Bibb lettuce leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/4 cup Mexican crema (Mexican sour cream)

1. Combine vinegar, 1 cup water, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, whisking until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Place carrots, garlic, and jalapeño slices in a medium bowl; pour hot vinegar mixture over carrot mixture. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Combine chorizo, pork, olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl; stir until well incorporated. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add chorizo mixture to pan; cook, stirring to crumble, until just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; drain drippings from the skillet.

3. Place lettuce leaves on a large serving platter. Divide chorizo mixture evenly among lettuce leaves; sprinkle servings evenly with cilantro and onion.

4. Drain liquid from carrots and jalapeños; discard garlic. Top each wrap evenly with carrot mixture; drizzle each with 1 1/2 teaspoons crema. Serve immediately.

Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day

Monday, April 9, 2018

Coffee Klatsche, Recycling, Battery Safety,

Saturday morning I finally made it to the coffee klatsche (my name) which  our neighbour has started. I missed it last time. I quite enjoyed it. Only lasted about an hour. I met a few people whom I didn't know and as the organizer had announced that we were looking for people to join the exercise classes, I talked to a couple of people, one who used to come and said it had been too crowded (with 13 or 14 of us??) and another expat Brit who said he was too old. I asked how old, he said 83 so I told him we had an 86 yr old and an 88 yr old and we had had a 95 yr old - are you sure your't too old I asked. He agreed that he wasn't. I explained to the woman who didn't like crowds that there were only 4 or max 5 of us now. She promised she would come back.

The organizer also produced a couple of collection jars - one for tabs off beer and pop cans - the Legion can use them to obtain wheel chairs - and the other for batteries. Did you know that you shouldn't just chuck your batteries but should wrap them up? I didn't. I always recycle Lithium  batteries, but didn't realise ordinary batteries could be dangerous. She had them wrapped in tape to show us all. I don't use that many batteries but I will remember to wrap them in future. Apparently they can explode, or spark off other things and cause fires.

Here's a new take on chicken soup that cures what ails you.

Chicken Soup with Caramelized Ginger

A ginger-forward chicken tonic soup that will provide some much-needed relief when you’re not
feeling too hot.

½ bunch cilantro, divided
2 Tbs sugar
1 6" piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 scallions, pale-green and white parts left whole, dark-green parts thinly sliced lengthwise
1 ½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Fresno chile, halved, seeded
Kosher salt
2 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Gather half of cilantro into a bundle and tie together with kitchen twine. Coarsely chop remaining cilantro (stems and all); set aside for serving.

2. Heat sugar and 3 Tbsp. water in a large saucepan over medium. Cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup is golden amber, 4–6 minutes.

3. Ready for ginger.

4. Add ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until ginger is softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and pale-green and white scallion parts and cook, stirring often, until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro bundle, chicken, chile, and a big pinch of salt. Pour in 8 cups cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, bring to a bare simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 10–12 minutes. Discard chile and scallions. Keep soup warm over medium-low heat.

5. Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool slightly. Shred chicken and stir back into soup. Add soy sauce and stir to combine. Remove pot from heat; taste and season with salt, if needed.

6. Serve soup topped with dark-green scallion parts, reserved chopped cilantro, and a few turns of pepper.

7. Do Ahead: Soup (without scallion greens or cilantro) can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill.

Servings: 4

Do Ahead: Soup (without scallion greens or cilantro) can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill.

Author Notes
Do Ahead: Soup (without scallion greens or cilantro) can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill.

Source Bon Appétit

Have a great day


Friday, April 6, 2018

Anyone for Tennis, Memoir, Supper,

It struck me as rather funny on Thursday morning, we had had snow overnight, not much, but enough to turn the park whitish. Then I saw a truck on the tennis court and couldn't believe they were erecting the nets in this weather. Don't think anyone will be playing just yet awhile.

Not sure how much blogging I will be doing for a while, a friend who has just read the first part of a book I wrote some 20 years ago, is bugging me to write more. I have some notes at the end of what I had previously written. I just read them and am not sure what the hell I was referring to. Guess I will have to find out. As I was also using pictures, I will have to hunt up more which I think are in albums, certainly not on this computer.

I made a variation of this for Thursday supper. I used cooked lamb of course as I had a lot leftover. It tasted pretty good. I only had some chutney - used to always keep poppadums but don't seem to have any right now. I have another serving in the freezer as well as some more plain minced lamb. It was a big roast.

Keema with Peas

Put a new spin on mince with this spicy Indian dish. Serve with poppadums, chutney and cooling

1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cm piece ginger, grated
2 green chillies
3 Tbs oil
500 g lamb mince (approx 2 cups)
2 Tbs garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
½ a can chopped tomatoes (freeze the rest), or use 2 medium fresh tomatoes
2 Tbs natural yogurt
200 g frozen peas or cooked fresh peas (just under a cup)
1 small bunch coriander, chopped

1. Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies together in a food processor. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the mixture until it becomes very fragrant. Add the mince and fry until it begins to brown, stirring to break up any lumps.

2. Add the spices and fry for 1 min. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, cook for 1 min, then stir in the yogurt, some salt and a good grind of black pepper. Add a splash of water if you need to, then cook the mixture for 30 mins. Add the frozen peas and cook for 5 mins, then stir in the coriander. Serve with Indian breads or poppadums, chutney and some more yogurt.

Servings: 4

Tips: Can be frozen before peas are added

Source: BBC Good Food

Have a great day

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Bowling, That's It.

I didn't go to exercise class today, my legs just didn't feel up to it. Went bowling instead. I know that sounds crazy, but the class is 45 minutes of non stop movement whereas you get up, bowl, and sit down again. I bowled pretty well too, so did Matt, except for the last game which was a bad one for both of us. There is a league which bowls on Wednesday afternoon and the women were all treating me as if I was a star bowler because I was doing so well. I should be so lucky.

Unfortunately I am whacked out this evening, not sure why, so too lazy to write much of a blog.

I thought this looked pretty yummy.

Shrimp Bisque

This sophisticated bisque is worthy of a special occasion, but you could also make it on a weeknight and simply freeze half of it for a later meal. Cooking the shrimp shells helps deepen the flavor, and the combination of sherry and miso makes it so that cream isn’t needed. The final addition of buttery
shrimp boosts the bisque’s staying power. Add some chopped tomato to the shrimp mixture for a little extra color and nutrition, if you’d like.

1 lb raw large unpeeled shrimp
2 Tbs canola oil
6 Tbs unsalted tomato paste
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
5 Tbs red miso
1/4 cup cream sherry
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbs chopped fresh dill, divided
Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)

1. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on if desired. Refrigerate shrimp until ready to use, and reserve shells.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over high. Add shells; cook, stirring constantly, until bright red and slightly toasty, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomato paste, onion, carrot, and celery; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 6 cups water and bay leaf; increase heat to high. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until fragrant and rich, about 50 minutes. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing slightly to extract liquid. (You should have 4 cups of liquid.) Discard solids.

3. Add shrimp liquid, chicken stock, rice, miso, and sherry to a stockpot. Bring to a boil over high. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until rice is very tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Working in batches if needed, transfer mixture to a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender, and place a clean towel over opening in lid. Process until smooth, about 60 seconds. Stir in vinegar and cayenne. Cover and keep warm.

4. Heat butter in a large skillet over high until foamy. Add shrimp; cook, stirring often, until just translucent, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon dill; cook, stirring often, 1 minute. Serve soup in shallow bowls; top evenly with shrimp, remaining 1 tablespoon dill, and black pepper, if desired

Servings: 8
Yield: 1 cup soup and 5 shrimp

Cooking Light Diet.

Have a great day

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Word Origins, Mandarin, Shopping, Doctor's, Cooold.

Watching a programme about all kinds of antiques (no not the Roadshow) there was a bronze medal from an early Olympic games - in Europe I think - and on the reverse it portrayed naked gymnasts. It was explained, something I didn't know, that in ancient Greece the word gymnasio meant naked athletes and gymnasion was where they did their athletics. I knew they did athletics without clothes but didn't realise this is where we got gymnasium and gymnastics from. γυμναστήριο is the actual Greek word. I don't think women did athletics in those days.

Stuffed myself silly at Mandarin again, I always intend not to eat so much, but everything is so delicious. I always have the hot and sour soup, can't resist it. Had a few pieces of sushi today too. Its OK, but not the same thing as one can get at the coast where fresh fish is available.

We have spent so much on parking lately, the cash box is empty. At least we don't have to pay for the hospital treatments even if we have to pay to use their parking lots. Then we went shopping today and the bill was horrendous. I don't know how two of us can spend/eat so much. Went to the doctor's office before shopping and were in and out quite quickly. Just there for refills. It was murder staggering into the office for the pair of us, the wind was blowing and it felt bitter. Everyone is saying where is spring, but it is still April and I have known bad snow storms in April.

I am very fond of snow peas so when I saw this recipe obviously I saved it. I bought some snow peas today.

Snow Pea Soup

1 Tbs (15 ml) olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 scallions (spring onions), green and white
parts, chopped
1 lb (450 g) snow peas (mange-touts), trimmed
4 cups (1 L) coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
4 cups (1 L) chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbs (15 ml) chopped fresh mint, or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)
Chopped fresh chives for garnish (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Sauté the onion and scallions until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the snow peas and romaine lettuce and sauté an additional 3 minutes. Add the stock, mint, tarragon, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Process in small batches in an electric food processor or blender until smooth. Strain and serve hot or chilled. Garnish with yogurt or sour cream, and/or chives if desired.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Source: WW Recipes

Have a great day

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Bowling, Easter Monday, Doctor's.

Of course today, Monday, was league bowling. As a team we took 2 of the available 7 points, neither Matt nor I bowled worth a damn. My average went from 153.7 to 153.1 so I just managed to maintain it. I wouldn't have been surprised to lose 2 points the way I was bowling today.

Today, of course, was Easter Monday and that meant that schools were closed as were libraries and post offices. Once upon a time the rest of us working peons got the day off too, but not any more. Not that it makes any difference to us except there were kids in the bowling alley and that meant bouncy kids bowling right next to me with no idea of waiting for other bowlers or not dancing around next to them. I was teed off. Why oh why won't parents control their kids. I know kids will be kids, but there is reason in all things.

Then we headed for the library, yes, I had forgotten they were closed. I had a book to return and another to pick up. Guess  that will be tomorrow now.

Tuesday we are going to shop in the morning, have lunch with friends at Mandarin and then go to the doctor's  office to get some prescription refills. They won't do it unless you go in. Something of a nuisance. We need pain pills, Matt more than me as he is now using mine, and they will not prescribe them without you going in unless you cough up $20 which I think is a flaming cheek. That's just for one refill. The cost goes up with the more you need. Trouble is, to walk from the nearest parking lot to the doctor's office is quite difficult enough for me and for Matt with his healing ankle, not easy at all.

What could be easier than this Garlic Soup, and let's face it, April can still find us with flu or bad colds. Matt and I eat a lot of garlic, maybe that's why we never get colds. I think I might opt for adding bouillon rather than jut water.

Garlic Broth

Sick days (real ones, at least) are unpredictable, so having a back-pocket broth that doesn’t require
recipe planning should be part of your medicine cabinet.

2 heads of garlic
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
A handful of herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, and/or sage)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1. Slice 1 head of garlic in half crosswise; set aside. Separate cloves from remaining head, peel, and crush lightly. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add crushed garlic cloves and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and softened, 8–10 minutes. Add 2 quarts water, increase heat to high, and bring mixture to a boil. Add herbs and reserved halved head of garlic. Reduce heat so broth is at an active simmer and cook until garlic is very tender and broth is reduced by nearly half, 30–40 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.

2. Strain broth through a mesh sieve into a large bowl (or, pass a wide slotted spoon through it a few times to fish out garlic and herbs).

3. Divide broth among bowls. Sip it as is, or you can add cooked noodles, drizzle in some whisked eggs to make stracciatella, or rub toast with raw garlic and drizzle with oil and float on top.

4. Do Ahead: Broth can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Servings: 4

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Books, Easter, April Fool's,

I am still pursuing the Madeleine l'Engle books of which A Wrinkle in Time was the first in the series I am reading. I have read three of them so far and am finding them quite delightful stories to read. Also with a few challenges in them for the children who were intended to read them. I have just ordered book 4, Many Waters, from the library. OK, I know they were not intended for my age group, but I am really enjoying them. I gather the movie has not done very well  which is a pity.

There is a short interview with the author and one thing that struck me was her response to the question "What is the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?" the answer "Just Write" wasn't that from Mark Twain? It is still an excellent piece of advice I think.

Been a relatively quiet weekend again although the weather has been pretty putrid. It rained practically every day except Sunday but at least we didn't get the forecast snow which many people did get in the States. Quite a lot of it in some places. I cooked my leg of lamb for Saturday and tried roasting it in a slow oven for a longer time. It turned out pretty well but I think another time I would take it out of the oven sooner. Been munching hot cross buns from the local baker. Pretty good except for the icing crosses because the icing just melts when you warm them up. Waste of time really.

Of course, Easter Sunday was also April Fool's Day but nobody played any pranks. Helen Venn posted about April Fool's pranks and how cruel some of them could be. She also linked with a BBC show which I saw many years ago and which was extremely well done - go take a look - and which a lot of people were dumb enough to believe.

I have never made Eggs Benedict and, in fact, I don't remember ever having eaten them. This is an easy version and although it is for 12, can obviously be scaled back.

Eggs Benedict for a Crowd

We tackled every element of the classic eggs Benedict recipe to optimize it for a crowd. Poaching eggs in advance. A hollandaise that will stay luscious for hours. A tray of perfectly toasted, buttery muffins. Yep—it’s all here. This recipe comes together in under an hour and much of it can be
prepped in advance, leaving you free to entertain.

12 large eggs
Hollandaise Sauce
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbs plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¾ tsp (or more) kosher salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
6 English muffins, split
12 slices cooked ham, thinly sliced (about 12 ounces)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs thinly sliced chives
Cayenne pepper (for serving)


Fill a large pot three-quarters full with water and bring to a bare simmer. Set up a large bowl of ice water and place near stove.

Working one at a time, crack egg into a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl and shake gently to allow the more liquid part of egg white to pass through. Gently transfer egg to a medium bowl (eggs are more resilient than you think, but be careful not to break the protective ring of egg white surrounding yolk). This step might sound insane, but it eliminates the thin tentacle-like strands of egg whites that form when the egg hits the hot water.

Once you have 6 strained eggs in bowl, gently position bowl over pot of simmering water and, one at a time, slip each egg into pot. Cook eggs, gently encouraging each to rotate with a slotted spoon so they cook evenly, until whites are set and yolks are still runny, 3 minutes. Transfer to ice bath and let cool (you’ll reheat them later on).

Skim off and discard any foam or bits of egg white in pot. Return water to a bare simmer. Repeat poaching process with remaining 6 eggs.

Do Ahead: Eggs can be poached 1 day ahead. Store in ice bath in fridge.

Hollandaise Sauce

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over low until melted. Set aside ¼ cup melted butter for assembly. Transfer remaining butter to a small liquid measuring cup.

Fill a blender pitcher with very hot water and let sit 3 minutes to warm blender (this will prevent the sauce from separating). Drain pitcher; dry well. Blend egg yolks and lemon juice in blender just to combine. With the motor running, slowly stream in melted butter in liquid measuring cup until hollandaise is thickened, glossy, and pale yellow. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in salt and cayenne. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed (it will need a fair amount of salt to balance the acidity and fat). If sauce seems too thick, thin with 1–2 Tbsp. warm water and adjust seasoning as needed.

Do Ahead: Hollandaise can be made 1 hour ahead. Transfer to a heatproof container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set in a small saucepan of very hot water to keep warm. Whisk until smooth before serving.


Preheat oven to 450°. Arrange English muffins, cut side up, on a sheet tray. Brush with reserved ¼ cup melted butter. Toast muffins until golden brown around edges, 6–8 minutes.

Divide ham among muffins. Return sheet tray to oven and toast until ham is warmed through, about 1 minute. Transfer muffins to a large platter.

To reheat eggs, bring a large pot of water to a bare simmer. Remove each egg from ice bath and lower into pot, then turn off heat. Cook eggs 1 minute, then gently transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet tray to drain.

Place 1 poached egg atop ham. Season eggs with salt and black pepper. Spoon hollandaise sauce over. Top with chives and cayenne.

Servings: 12

Source: Bon Appétit

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