Thursday, May 31, 2018

Our Thursday,

Having taken the morning slowly, and at my own pace, we later got ready for bowling. One thing I did do, some business cards for our neighbour, I mentioned them the other day. Ended up she wanted something pretty simple.

Went bowling and Matt was being a whizz kid again. I didn't bowl badly but he beat me once more, not by a lot but... I also discovered we beat the other team we were playing against on Wednesday, so, having drawn the first game, we ended up with 6 points. Our team has shot back up to 4th place.

Then we went to the farm and got some asparagus, I only had half a dozen spears left, can't have that!! On the way home we noticed the sky was as black as pitch. We did have some rain overnight but not sure how much. Just got back and parked the car, underground, when the heavens opened and it poured for maybe 10 minutes or so then stopped and it all cleared up again!! Dunno how much good it will do the grass seed. Might have washed it all away of course. When I walked into the apartment (Matt parks the car to save me the walk) some of the lights were not working and the radio was dead when I tried to turn it on. Looked in the kitchen and realised the guy was here to replace the hood from over the stove. He had gone to his vehicle apparently and I frightened him to death when he found I was here. Seems so silly to me - the light switch knob wasn't working so I get a totally new hood. Talk about built in obsolescence. Now all we need is new kitchen flooring to cover the area where they fixed the threshold. Forgot to say, the workman got soaked when he went to his van.

After supper we ended up watching more As Time Goes By which meant time did go by and Matt actually stayed up past his bedtime and now it is past mine LOL. He kept saying we are adults we can go to bed when we like and yet he is the one who is always in bed by 10 if not earlier!

This is a recipe I haven't got round to trying - not sure why not. Simple enough after all.

Asparagus Wrapped in Puff Pastry

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 package), thawed
1 lb asparagus spears

1. Preheat oven to 415 F.

2. Flour a flat work surface, and flour a rolling pin.

3. Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle about 30 cm x 20 cm.

4. With a sharp knife, cut puff pastry into ½ cm strips. There should be one for each stalk of asparagus.

5. Trim the woody ends of the asparagus (unless it's totally fresh of course)

6. Carefully wrap one puff pastry strip around the asparagus. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield: 20-30

Source: Kiku Corner

Have a great day


Busy Day, Bowling, Business Cards,

Coffee Klatsche, Bowling and  then Cosmetic Clinic - too much in one day so I changed Matt's appointment to next Tuesday. Not urgent or anything, just to check on his operation site which is doing pretty well.

Matt bowled brilliantly today, as for me, forget it. Much to my surprise our team, only 3 of us, were playing a very good team and at the  time of leaving, we had drawn one game (very unusual) and won the second game. They hadn't finished when we left though so won't find out what happened in the last game until we go on Thursday. (Today). Actually, for some reason I felt very stiff today and couldn't seem to relax and throw at all.

A neighbour has asked me to do some cards for her to slip into the mail boxes - we agreed she would come and see me after 8. She never came so I knocked on her door, still nothing. Maybe she has changed her mind.

I decided we should go out for supper so went to the Red Lobster as they had an offer of a free dessert or hors d'oevres. Turned out I hadn't read it very carefully, it was for a couple so only one
dessert or starter between us. However, we ended up with a bowl of ice cream each and a hunk of chocolate wave cake to bring home. The ice cream was pretty good I must say. I had Yucatan Tilapia and Shrimp and Matt had Dragon Shrimp. Both extremely spicy and extremely delicious.

Kevin Lynch of Closet Cooking has come up with a new asparagus recipe which I will certainly try. He serves these with a poached egg. I added a link so you could read all about it on his blog.

Asparagus and Feta Fritters

Prep Time: 4 minutes Cook Time: 16 minutes Total Time: 20 minutesServings2
Fresh Spring asparagus fritters with feta and dill.
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons dill, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour (I like to use whole wheat)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  1. Grate or process the asparagus in a food processor.
  2. Mix the asparagus, herbs, green onions, feta, flour, egg, salt and pepper and enough flour that the mixture will hold together.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan.
  4. Spoon the asparagus mixture into the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.

Have a great day

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Balcony Door, Online Shopping, Oiling,

Some time ago, not sure exactly when, but before they did the balconies, I put in a work order about the screen door into our balcony which wouldn't slide properly, didn't keep the bugs out very well either. The Superintendent at the time came up to look and said I needed a new screen. A week or two back I submitted a reminder work order. Guess what, today, Tuesday, they are installing a brand new balcony door and screen. Nice to get some return on one's rent. Now if they could just fix the kitchen floor. I do hope that doesn't take over two years. So we have had the air conditioner going full blast and the doors wide open!!!

I went to the store before they came and picked up my order. I have discovered a new problem, the girl who 'picks' the stuff is tending to think that I have ordered the wrong thing and she is replacing with what I have had before.  Like grape tomatoes, I ordered a smaller box because we had some left and she subbed a larger one. Couple of other things too. Nothing serious but means I have to take them back and change them. When I order smaller things I will have to add notes to the fact that that is what I really want. Still very pleased with the system though.

Bought myself some mineral oil so the next thing I have to do is thoroughly clean my cutting boards and spoons etc. and then oil them and leave them over night.

We are due to get our VCR back today. One of the bowling alley owners had lent us one yesterday and I didn't want to install it without checking on ours. Really nice of him to let us use it though. They really are a wonderful family. Got our own back this afternoon all installed and working.

This is one of our favourite recipes which we have been making every year since I discovered farm fresh asparagus. I freeze it in ice trays and then put into a plastic bag. Keeps very well.

Asparagus Pesto Toasts

1 lb trimmed green asparagus
1 cup toasted walnut halves (I used pecans)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper

1. Cook asparagus until just tender. Refresh in cold water, then drain and dry well. Place asparagus, walnuts, garlic and salt in food  processor. Process until blended.

2. With motor running, gradually add olive oil, then add cheese and pepper. Blend together and check seasoning. Place in covered bowl.

3. It shows the recipe served on crunchy toasted French or Italian bread with a curl or two of parmesan on top and some asparagus at the side.

4. We freeze this in ice cube trays, then wrap the cubes in pairs (separated by Saran, and put in a bag in the freezer until we need them.

Source: Food & Drink

Have a great day

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day, Medical

I was very impressed to see that one young man was working through all the marker stones in one military graveyard by power washing them to get rid of the moss and grime accumulations. Others did other things like laying roses on the graves, but I thought the power washing was the best idea of all. I trust those of you who had family get-togethers had a successful and happy day. In our part of Canada the temperatures shot up to 31°C with a humidex up to 36°. Didn't seem too bad popping in and out of the bowling alley, but I wouldn't have liked to have been out for too long. I bowled pretty well by the way. If only I could always do the same in the league games.

Talking of which, might have a bit of a problem this week as we have to be at the Cosmetic Clinic for 3:45 for Matt to see the surgeon who removed his basel cells. This only really gives us a couple of hours to bowl.

Watched The Great Escape on TCM tonight. Not sure how many times I have seen that movie, had forgotten it was a true story. It really is an excellent film. Although Matt spots everything wrong - he really should have worked for a film company in the continuity and accuracy section. He drives me batty, he expects everything to be so literal and correct. Mind you, I am just as bad when reading a book, that drives me batty when I see printing or typing errors or just plain grammatical errors. When I see one's I make, I cringe.

Denise Hammond sent me some recipe pages today for asparagus and rhubarb. One tip was about freezing.

Freezing asparagus for later 
When there's an abundance of asparagus, wash and bake or grill it all. Take out some for dinner and shock the rest in cold water, drain, place in freezer bags and freeze. The whole spears, baked or grilled, have a better consistency than blanched asparagus.

I shall have to try that. I have always either blanched or just put my spears straight in the freezer.  Not great but better than not having any during the year.

Have a great day

Cutting Boards, Bowling, Cleaning, Messy Magic,

Well, I have just learned something new courtesy of World Wide Recipes. Cutting boards have to be oiled periodically or they will dry out. Mineral oil  is recommended. Funnily enough I have a small cutting board which is splitting right now. Checking on it, I now find my larger wooden one is also beginning to split a bit. Mind you I've had them for years.

After today, Monday, the bowling alley will only be open Wednesday and Thursday (and weekends) for the rest of the summer. Our league is, of course, on Wednesday.

Let it be said, I hate cleaning house. Which means that, because of the water used in our toilets, I hate having to forever keep cleaning them. It really tees me off to see all these dirty water streaks which constantly appear. Not only that, I seem to get an accumulation of a sandy like substance in the toilet tank (cistern in England). Not sure if there is a connection, but....

I just bought myself a new ebook by C Lee McKenzie. Her publisher is asking us to pass on the information so here goes. Apart from anything else, gotta be an original story with an alligator familiar!!!


By C. Lee McKenzie

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical
moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again...

Release date – May 15, 2018
Juvenile Fiction - Fantasy & Magic/Boys & Men
$13.95 Print ISBN 9781939844460
$3.99 EBook ISBN 9781939844477

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand.

These are the links.

I posted this recipe a year ago and have made it at least twice. I decided to make it for last Saturday and I goofed on the amount of horseradish. Thought it was 2 tbs and not sure I didn't put more than that in, can't get a tablespoon into the jar so was using the teaspoon. However, with the extra hot horseradish it was delicious. It is a mistake I will make ever time in future. I do use a really good hot horseradish. When I realised I also added a bit more cream. What, no asparagus recipe you say? They will return sooner than you probably want.

Pork Tenderloin Diablo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Servings: 3

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

Author: Chef John
Source: AllRecipes

Have a great day

Friday, May 25, 2018

Pangolins, VHS Player, Cheshire and the Pennines, Ultra Sound,

On Wednesday night we watched a Nature film all about Pangolins. I knew what they were, but didn't know much about them. What horrified me was the pictures of thousands of them dead and being shipped to the East where they use the Pangolins' shells for medicinal purposes (the shells are made of the same thing as our fingernails so, of course, have absolutely NO medical benefit). They are the most endangered animal in the world, more so
than elephants and rhinos, they are also eaten in Asian countries and are considered a delicacy. From the documentary we learned that they are very friendly little animals and basically live solitary lives. The sacks in the picture are of their scales which are removed and then shipped in bulk and fetch more money than ivory. There are 8 types of Pangolins, four of which live in African countries and 4 in Asian countries, the
Asian ones have been absolutely decimated  so now the smugglers are starting on the African ones. There are places which are now working hard to effect preservation of these animals before they completely disappear. One of the top film stars in China has made a documentary in aid of Pangolin preservation and hopefully, because she is such a celebrity, it will have some effect. I guess you will realise I was very affected by this programme and their nearness to extinction. If you ever get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it.

Bowling today, not bad, not great. Then when we came home the guy came to pick up our VHS player to see if he can fix it. Dummy me, I had disconnected it and of course we lost the signal but I couldn't, for the life of me remember what I had to do to fix that. Screw the cables into the box of course. Duuuh.

I came across a couple of pictures taken a few years ago when we visited a friend in Marple, Cheshire, England, which is where I was born and which I knew nothing about. I had never realised it wasn't flat country before, not sure why I thought it was mind you.

That could be snow covered hills or mountains in the background. No idea which.My geography isn't too hot I'm afraid. There is a ridge of mountains running up the middle of England - the Pennines - and looking at the maps, I think I am pretty safe to assume those snowy ridges in the distance are, in fact, the Pennines.

I am ashamed of what I don't know about the country of my birth. Matt used to cycle all over the country so was much better informed than I.
Being Friday, I have an appointment for an ultra-sound and X-ray on my legs this morning. Let's hope this will help find out something worthwhile.

This salad is one of my favourites. Not made it this year yet, but I can assure you I will soon.

Asparagus and Endive Salad

1 lb fresh asparagus , trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1 Tbs Juice, orange, fresh
2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs small shallots , minced
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp black pepper
8 oz Belgian endive, fresh, head , cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips (2 heads)

1. Place 1/2 inch of water at the bottom of a 12 inch pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add in asparagus and cook until tender yet crisp, about 2 minutes. Place in strainer, rinse under cold water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the orange peel, orange juice, vinegar, oil, shallots, sugar, salt, mustard, and pepper until well combined.

3. Add the asparagus and endive to the bowl with the dressing. Mix well to evenly coat and serve.

Servings: 4

Source: dLife

Author Notes
Light and elegant salad combining asparagus and endive in a homemade orange Dijon vinaigrette.

Try using a sugar substitute instead of regular sugar.

Have a great day

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Accident, Bowling, Thor: Ragnarok

Our cleaner arrived this morning visibly upset. Turned out that she had had very little sleep and that her daughter had run into the back of another car, totalling the cleaner's car. She was driving a rental this morning. I didn't realise at first, daughter is a learner and mother was along for the practice. Not sure how that works in Canada never been a learner over here. Apparently the police took their own sweet time coming, nobody hurt, so they had to sit there with cars almost swiping them for a couple of hours. She finally called them again and said how dangerous it was where they were. Then they came. An accident is bad enough without extra hassle.

Bowling today, didn't bowl too badly - nor did Matt. However, we were against a team with several top notch players, talk about loaded, so we didn't win a single point.

I just watched a DVD of Thor, Ragnarok. What a long movie, I was getting a tad tired of it in some places. Seemed to go on forever. I did enjoy it though but think they could have shortened it somewhat. I don't think I will be watching it again before I return it to the library.

Being flush with asparagus at the moment, I have been looking at recipes. I must say, I had completely forgotten this one. I do agree with the comment at the end about using asparagus as much as possible while it is in season.

Asparagus and Shrimp Paté

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

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

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

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

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

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

Servings: 10

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

Author: Lucy Waverman
Source: Food and Drink

Have a great day

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Online Shopping, Lunch,

Used online shopping again for today. One problem, to me anyway, I clicked on the frozen shrimp I had bought a couple of times recently for $6.99, you will remember I mentioned it, and when I clicked on it the price shown was still the same. However, when I picked up the order today, the price had increased by $4 odd. Sorry, if you select an item at one price, they should NOT increase it - I wouldn't have bothered at the increased price.

We went to lunch at the Red Lobster with a friend - hadn't seen her in a while, had a nice chat. Also a nice lunch. I weakened and had two of their biscuits. I also ordered their Sweet Chili Shrimp which I've had before and is absolutely delicious but I did know it was over 1,000 calories a serving. Oh well. I have just discovered there is a recipe for it online but I don't think I need to know. Matt had Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms and our friend had a pasta dish, not sure what seafood was in it, lobster maybe. I asked two of the staff when CrabFest would be on again and nobody seemed to know!!!

I tried a recipe I have on file for tonight's supper (Tuesday) and was very pleased with it. I wasn't too sure about a) cooking the asparagus in oil and b) the combination with mushrooms, but it worked very well. I'm not sure why I haven't tried it before.

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus

8 oz angel hair pasta
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 lbs fresh asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Cook pasta according to package directions

2. Heat olive oil in non stick skillet. Sauté asparagus in the pan over med. heat for about 3 mins with garlic. Add broth and mushrooms, cook 3 minutes more.

3. Drain pasta and tranfer to a serving dish. Gently toss pasta with asparagus mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan, parsley and crushed pepper

Servings: 4

Source: QCC

Have a great day

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Uniforms, The Victoria and Bull, Darkest Hour,

Discussing the uniforms worn by Harry and William at the wedding. I came across this picture with the two of them walking into the chapel. They are the same uniforms, the frock coat of a major from the Blues and Royals. William has the aguillette because he is an Aide-de-Camp to her Majesty. With the hats on  the uniform didn't look quite so plain. If you would like to read more about it, click here. The general consensus of opinion is that the dresses work by Megham, Princess Henry or Duchess of Sussex, seems to be that everyone loved them but that we were all horrified at the cost. In a comment I was told that the Duchess was worth $7 million in her own right which I guess allows her as generous a clothing budget as she wishes.

Reverting to the topic of Rochester, which I talked about yesterday, I found a picture of the Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel, know as the Bull to most of us. The current hotel is over 400 years old but I was always told Henry VIII met Anne of Cleaves there, which is impossible if the place is only 400 yrs old, however they say it is believed there was another coaching inn on the site prior to the present building. Maybe it was only a nice story, pity. When we first moved to Rochester after WWII, I was around 8, yes I am that old, we stayed at the Bull for a while  before my father bought the house we lived in for a few years. I don't remember much about it but I do know I fell in love with the boot boy!! For many years after, we used to go to the Bull for dinner now and again. Their food was excellent. They opened a more modern steak house - no idea if that is still open - but we went there as often as we could. I remember one time my mother was in hospital and my dad and I had been to see her and then went to the Bull for supper. We were seen by some friends of my parents who assumed I was my father's girlfriend because they didn't know me but knew my mother was sick. My parents thought it was funny.

Today I got a copy of the DVD of Darkest Hour which was about WWII and Churchill - his war cabinet wanted to negotiate with Hitler through Mussolini. On the assumption that it was fairly accurate, I cannot believe there was so much underhandedness going on with a war on hand.
Viscount Halifax was a prime mover in trying to oust Churchill. As one who was alive at the time, not that I knew anything much about it, I am so grateful that he vanquished them. I thought it was an excellent movie, Matt was undecided. It was a little difficult to understand what they were saying at times, but generally a very good film. Gary Oldman did an excellent job of playing Churchill although I must admit I loved the Churchill played by Albert Finney. Both actors did the part brilliantly however. I loved the final words "he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." this was after his "we shall never surrender" speech.

This sounded good especially as I have a bag of shrimp in the freezer. I, of course, would probably serve it with asparagus, maybe the salsa as well

Spicy Jerked Shrimp 

Season fresh shrimp with a homemade jerk seasoning mix and grill over medium-high heat for three minutes on each side. Serve with a sweet fruit salsa made from chopped pineapple, chopped
cucumber, sliced red onion, chopped cilantro, and cider vinegar.

1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/8 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined large shrimp
Cooking spray

1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. Combine first 7 ingredients. Combine oil and shrimp in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Sprinkle spice mixture over shrimp; toss to coat. Thread shrimp evenly onto 8 (8-inch) skewers. Place skewers on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes or until done, turning once.

3. Fruit salsa: Combine 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber, 1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, and 2 teaspoons cider vinegar.

Source: MyRecipes

Have a great day

Monday, May 21, 2018

Rochester, England, The Wedding, Asparagus, Victoria Day,

On Friday Susan Flett Swiderski  at I Think Therefore I Yam posted a blog about trees which was fascinating and reminded me of the 150 yr old Catalpa Tree outside Rochester Cathedral in Kent, England where I used to live. This is an Indian Bean Tree which is rare in England and is said to be one of the oldest. In fact the site where I found this picture has lots of photos of places in Rochester such as the castle and the cathedral itself along with other historical places. It is a very old town and simply full of history. The Bull Inn is where King Henry VIII met Anne of Cleaves and said he would divorce her, she was too ugly! Charles Dickens lived outside the town (his house is now a school and I went there) and a lot of the houses in Rochester were featured in his books. In fact, Satis House where Miss Havisham lived, in Great Expectations, was actually Restoration House in Rochester. I remember attending a Dickens night there, many years ago, when Dame Sybil Thorndike read excerpts from Dickens' books and we celebrated with salmon and champagne. A beautiful house and a delightful evening.

I have, of course, seen pictures of THE wedding. I was very disappointed in Harry's uniform, the Blues and Royals, it was so very plain and dull looking, helped when he put on his cap. Considering the estimated price, Meghan's dress was beautiful but I wouldn't have thought worth quite that kind of money. As a friend commented, one could surely have found it 'off the rack'. Not the train of course. One wonders who actually pays for things like that? Poor Matt, who wasn't vaguely interested, could not see his favourite morning show because it was all wedding. Sunday morning he, like most men, paid attention to the gorgeous Jaguar in which they drove off.

Monday afternoon I am planning to visit Barrie's Asparagus Farm as I was unimpressed with the asparagus I bought close to home. I am also collecting some bags for friends plus some rhubarb for one friend. I have just posted my grocery order today (Sunday) and am now wondering if I should have ordered some Phyllo. I can add to my order up to an hour before my chosen time slot.

By the way, this is Victoria Day weekend, Monday is the actual holiday, Queen Victoria's birthday was on May 24th - unfortunately this is the second night we have had fireworks. No doubt the official fireworks are Sunday night but I am sure there will still be fireworks tomorrow as well.

Asparagus and Salmon Spring Rolls

These spring rolls are filled with smoked salmon, tender-crisp asparagus and plenty of fresh herbs. Spring rolls look impressive when you put them out for a party, but they are actually easy to make. To
simplify the process, lay out all the ingredients you need to make the rolls near your work surface before you begin.

24 thick 12 rolls asparagus, or 36 thin, about 2 pounds
2 3- to 4-ounce smoked wild salmon
12 8-inch rice-paper wrappers
1 ripe avocado, cut into 24 slices
1 cup carrot, shredded
1/2 cup basil, chopped fresh
1/2 cup mint, chopped fresh
1/3 cup soy sauce, reduced-sodium
2 Tbs orange juice
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs mirin
1/4 tsp red pepper, crushed, or more to taste

1. To prepare spring rolls: Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large skillet. Trim asparagus spears to no longer than 6 inches; add to the boiling water. Partially cover and cook the asparagus until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain; refresh under cold water. Cut each spear in half lengthwise. Cut salmon slices into 12 strips no longer than 6 inches each.

2. Soak one wrapper at a time in a shallow dish of very hot water until softened, about 30 seconds. Lift out, let excess water drip off and lay on a clean, dry cutting board.

3. Center a strip of smoked salmon in the bottom third of the wrapper, leaving a 1-inch border on either side. Arrange 4 thick (or 6 thin) asparagus spear halves (overlapping as necessary) over the salmon. Top the asparagus with 2 avocado slices, 1 tablespoon shredded carrot and about 2 teaspoons each basil and mint. Fold the wrapper over the filling and roll into a tight cylinder, folding in the sides as you go. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Cut each finished roll in half.

4. To prepare dipping sauce: Whisk soy sauce, orange juice, lemon juice, mirin and crushed red pepper in a small serving bowl. Serve the rolls with the sauce.

Yield: 12 rolls


Have a great day

Saturday, May 19, 2018

DVD Player, Air Con, Asparagus,

I mentioned in my last blog that I had bought some DVDs which only played on Region 2 players
(UK) and not on region 1 (North America). After a fair amount of research plus lots of trial and error I finally found out how to unlock my DVD player so it will not run both types of DVD. I eventually discovered that the manufacturer itself had posted the instructions to make the change. I am so pleased, it means I don't have to either throw out the ones I have nor buy a new player or any of the other solutions I had considered. Amazing, you can find out the answers to most things on the net can't you?

Also, we managed to remove the grille on our a/c and I washed the filter. The last one wasn't done in 16 years (didn't know it had to be done) and could virtually stand alone. Getting the grille off isn't as easy as they show, but we did it in the end. Also, there is a frame which is part of the apartment fixing. Neatens it all up, but it has to be unscrewed too. Now if I could just get off my rear end and do the silver.

I didn't even go to exercise classes on Friday as my legs were really hurting. Roll on these tests I am booked in for.

Friday supper cooked the Garlic Asparagus with Shrimp and it turned out very well, however, if I make it again I will par boil the asparagus first. Also, I used the asparagus from the store. It wasn't bad but wasn't as good as I get from  the farm, so off to the farm I will be going toute suite.

I had to pass on this recipe before I forgot it. I couldn't believe anyone would come up with such a recipe. Must be lots of lobsters wherever they come from. I somehow doubt I will ever try it, too expensive by half. If anyone does try it, do let me know.

Lobster Shepherd’s Pie 

Potatoes and Stock

2 lb russet potatoes, scrubbed, pricked all over with a fork
¼ cup ( ½ stick) unsalted butter, divided
1 ½ lb lobster tails, meat removed from shells and cut into 2" pieces, shells broken into 2" pieces
2 Tbs tomato paste
½ cup dry white wine
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, halved through root end
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 celery stalks, halved crosswise
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 2" pieces, divided
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
Kosher salt
1 cup half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup chopped dill
2 Tbs prepared horseradish
8 oz pearl onions, peeled


¼ cup ( ½ stick) unsalted butter
8 oz pearl onions, peeled
3 medium carrots, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 2" pieces
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup half-and-half
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Flaky sea salt

Potatoes and Stock

Place a rack in top-most position of oven; preheat to 400°. Roast potatoes directly on rack until tender, 60–70 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium-high until melted and foaming. Add lobster shells and cook, stirring often, until bright red, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it starts to brown and stick to pot, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, scraping up browned bits, until almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add yellow onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaves, peppercorns, and 4 cups water. Toss in a generous pinch of kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and simmer briskly until liquid is reduced by two-thirds, 50–60 minutes. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof measuring glass; discard solids. (You should have about 1½ cups.)

While potatoes are cooling, warm half-and-half and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over low heat just to melt butter.

Split potatoes lengthwise and scoop flesh into half-and-half mixture. Smash with a potato masher until mixture is smooth and lump-free; season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Remove from heat and mix in egg yolks, dill, and horseradish; cover with plastic wrap.


Melt butter in a clean large saucepan over medium. Add pearl onions and carrots and cook, stirring, until onions start to turn translucent, 5–8 minutes. Sprinkle flour over; stir to combine. Cook, stirring, until flour leaves a film on bottom of pot, about 4 minutes. Stirring constantly, gradually stream in stock, then bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in half-and-half; season sauce with kosher salt and pepper. Let cool slightly.

Arrange lobster pieces in a shallow 1½-qt. baking dish and ladle sauce over. Dollop mashed potatoes on top and use the back of the spoon to spread across surface, creating decorative swirls. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet until lobster is cooked through and filling is bubbling around the edges, 20–25 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil pie just until topping is browned in spots, about 1 minute. Let rest 5–10 minutes before serving.

Servings: 4

Do Ahead: Pie can be assembled 1 day ahead; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and uncover before baking.

Source: Bon Appétit

Author Notes
Removing the lobster from the shells prevents them from overcooking, and the shells help build an excellent sauce for this sheperd's pie recipe.

Have a great day

Friday, May 18, 2018

Very Local Asparagus, Bowling,

Thursday afternoon and I  have just bought 2 lbs of asparagus from the local store which is locally grown but is $5.98/lb as opposed to $3.98 at the farm. The farm is, of course, 20 minutes, or so, drive from here. I will eat some over the next few days and make a decision as to which I prefer. One bunch I picked up, and put down, had knobbly white bits on some of the ends. I have decided I am going to make the Garlic Shrimp with Asparagus for Friday supper. I posted it a couple of days ago.

Saw the scores for Wednesday League Bowling. Much to my surprise, I had the third highest average and the third highest triple. Our team is also in second place, but I really don't expect that to last. There are some very good bowlers who come to the Summer League. Mind you, today, I bowled a high average couple of games too. One was a 200 game. Oh if I can keep it up.

We have been watching As Time Goes By tonight, with Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, our favourite comedy series. Matt really enjoys them. Left if a bit late so have to scramble a bit to finish this blog. I have two sets  of DVDs which we can watch and 2 sets which are region 2, i.e. they won't play on my machine. Didn't realise when I bought them. Then I discovered one could set the computer to play them, so I did. Unfortunately at some point, the Windows was updated and once that has happened one cannot re-set it. Infuriating. I did think of buy an all region DVD player but never did so. I then fell into it with another DVD - The Cruel Sea - which is also region 2.

This is a recipe I picked up fairly recently and is one I have yet to try.

Asparagus with Indian Spices 

Long green spears of asparagus are not the usual Indian vegetable but with the right spices it really does work. Hari says.

Asparagus is a beautiful vegetable that only has a very short season, but when it is fresh, it’s perfect. Asparagus starts to appear in May until about July and I know it's a vegetable that needs very little to be done to it. The more simply it's cooked, the more tasty it is. That being said I like to experiment
and try new things and although this was a tricky one to put with some spices, by using the lovely aromas of fennel seeds I found that it really worked. I decided that keeping it simple with a couple of flavours worked well…so here you have my Asparagus with Indian spices - make the most of it while it’s in season. If you can’t get hold of amchoor, just use a little squeeze of lemon instead.

2 garlic cloves
3 cm piece ginger
500 g Asparagus, chopped
3 tsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 onion, sliced
1 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
½ tsp amchoor powder (dried mango powder) (or a squeeze of lemon juice)
3 tomatoes, chopped finely
Salt to taste

1. Crush the ginger and garlic in a pestle and mortar to a paste.

2. Heat the oil in pan and on a medium heat add the cumin and fennel seeds.

3. Once sizzling and fragrant add sliced onions with the chopped green chilies and crushed ginger and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.

4. Add the chopped asparagus and sprinkle in the salt, red chili powder and amchoor.

5. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Servings: 4

Author: Hari Ghotra

Have a great day

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Summer League, Shrimp.VCR. Repair,

Today was Coffee Klatsche morning but I was involved in several things and couldn't make it. Then in the afternoon we had our first game of our Summer League. We are really crowded this year, lots more people playing. I bowled really, really well, I was thrilled to bits - unfortunately I was the only one on our team. Matt was not a happy camper at all and the other two team members weren't that pleased with themselves. I just hope I can bowl that well for the rest of the season.

One of the young men who own the alley has been very good to us over the last few months, first when Matt fell down the stairs, then when we had a flat tire he pumped it up for us, later I had a problem with gears which he also helped with. He is very keen on seafood, such as shrimp, so we decided to buy some as a gift. Went into the store this afternoon and much to my surprise they had a special on. 14 oz. bags of headed and peeled frozen shrimp for $6.99. That's an incredible price round here. Not only did I buy some as a present, I bought some for us as well. Now I can make that shrimp and asparagus dish I posted a couple of days ago.

Nearly forgot to mention, I have found a "guy" connected to a TV store who does repairs on VHS players - he says he will take a look at ours. Probably be later in the month. It is close to the lab where I am having tests done on the 25th.

This is one of my favourite recipes. Unfortunately I have never made it. Matt used to, and I am too scared of using Phyllo. I really need to get over this and get on with it.

Asparagus Phyllo Bundles

For one roll:
Phyllo - 1/2 sheet for 2 asparagus
2 stalks asparagus
Parmesan, grated

1. Brush phyllo with butter, sprinkle with Parmesan, place 2 asparagus in middle and roll. Place in baking dish, sprinkle more Parmesan and put in oven 375 F for 15 mins.

Yield: one roll:

Source: Paula Deen

Have a great day

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Shopping, VCR,

I have just tried my grocery store's Click and Collect programme. Being my first time, I forgot a couple of things and left it too late to change my order but apart from that, it was sooooo easy. You order online, pick a time frame to collect and they deliver it to your car and load the trunk for you.  Guess who will be doing this every time in future? Much less wearing on the legs. I get a month's free trial of the service after which time they charge me $3 which is worth it to me to save the pain in my legs after traipsing round the store. Now all I need is someone to come and put it all away for me. Don't want much do I?

Well, it appears that our VHS player is kaput. I have lots of VHS tapes which are now useless I guess. Somewhat infuriating. I doubt if it is worth repairing, probably cost a fortune to do so. Just trying it out has screwed up a couple of tapes anyway. I have no idea how long we have had it, but basically we mostly play DVDs now but when there is nothing on TV, we occasionally play an old tape. Like a couple of weeks ago we played a Victor Borge tape which had us in stitches even though we have seen it before although not recently of course. I also have some personal stuff on them so will have to see if I can find somewhere that will copy it off for me.

Garlic Shrimp with Asparagus

serve this over pasta to take advantage of the sauce, or with big chunks of french bread

2 Tbs olive oil
2 1/2 cups  sliced asparagus
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs lemon juice

heat oil in sauté pan, add asparagus, garlic, and spices, cook for 5 minutes add shrimp, cook until shrimp turns pink.

stir in wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil, remove from heat and serve.

Servings: 4

Author: chia2160

Have a great day

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bateaux Mouches, The Seine, Bowling, X-ray, Supper.

Denise at My Life in Retirement is doing a series about her whirlwind trip to Europe in 1969. In the one I have linked to, she mentions taking a trip on the River Seine in France. Obviously it made me think of the trip I made around about 1956 or '57 I think, my French boyfriend took me on one of the Bateaux Mouches which plied their trips on the Seine. During the trip I had to go to the bathroom which was on the deck below where we were sitting. For some reason just before I got to the steps going down, I fainted. No idea why to this day. I woke up surrounded by people and right on the edge of this pretty high set of steps. I was so lucky not to have fallen down them. I might not be here writing this blog!!

Eventually I made it to the bathroom and back again. My boyfriend didn't know anything about it as he was some distance from where it happened. A sightseeing trip I will never forget. Unfortunately I don't remember all that much of the trip itself. However, quite a few years later, I really don't remember what year but I was certainly living away from home and not sure I wasn't married to my first husband, my father sailed up the Seine and moored basically right in the middle of Paris. A wonderful spot for sightseeing. I flew over to join them and sailed back to England with them. One thing I do remember was  how dirty the Seine was. But then in those days so were the Thames and Medway, my home rivers as it were. They are now so clean that fish are swimming  their waters.

Went bowling Monday afternoon - no leagues of course. Matt beat me twice, grumble, grumble. Wednesday is the start of the Summer League.

I had meant to go for an X-ray in the morning but then realised the referral I had called for an ultra sound as well for which one has  to make an appointment. So will not be going until the end of the month.

Made Moroccan-Style Stuffed Peppers for Monday night supper - a favourite and pretty easy to do. Having made them in the morning I couldn't remember how to reheat them in the microwave. I didn't want to do them in the oven. Nothing terribly helpful so I ended microwaving on high for a total of 10 minutes and they were warmed right through. Was reminded this morning of a favourite asparagus dish so think I will make them for supper tomorrow.

Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries

1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
salt and pepper to taste
Alternatively used chopped almonds instead of parmesan

1. Dredge the asparagus in the flour, dip them in the egg and then into a mixture of the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.

2. Place the asparagus on a wire rack on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425F oven until golden brown, about 7-13 minutes.

Servings: 2

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Cooking

Author Notes
Asparagus coated in panko bread crumbs and parmesan and baked until golden brown and crispy.

Have a great day

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mother's Day, Bowling, Recipe and Beans,

I hope all you mothers out there had a very Happy Mother's Day on Sunday. I had my usual day of a couple of glasses of Fizz, some smoked salmon and, of course, some asparagus. Not because it was Mother's Day but because it was Sunday. Actually I had a fried egg and some asparagus for breakfast too, no, I didn't have asparagus for supper!!

No league bowling Monday, the winter season is now over. We begin the summer season on Wednesday. I am hoping to get my X-ray and Ultra Sound completed this morning and then we may go bowl a couple of games anyway. Next month the alley is closed on Mondays, in fact during the week it is only open Wednesday and Thursday. Not sure about the weekend. We never bowl then so no idea what happens.

Having decided to treat ourselves to fillet steak on Saturday, I wanted a different recipe so thought I would try this one. I have never seen this kind of butter bean in this part of the world, so I used white beans and, not having yoghurt I used cream and a little lemon juice. It was delicious. I really didn't think it was going to be this good. Only trouble now, I have some beans and leeks left over. Do try it I know you will enjoy it. Sunday I did some googling and it appears that Lima Beans really are butter beans and they can come in green or fade to cream colour like the ones in the picture below. Will have to check it out when I go shopping although the beans I used were fine.

Grilled Fillet Steak with the Creamiest White Beans and Leeks


4 leeks , trimmed and finely sliced
1 small bunch fresh thyme , leaves picked
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
olive oil
1 small wineglass white wine
500 g good-quality tinned butter beans , drained and rinsed
1 small handful freshly picked parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbs fat-free natural yoghurt
good-quality peppery extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 200 g well-marbled quality fillet steaks, 2.5-4cm thick
1 lemon

1. Sweat the leeks, thyme and garlic with a splash of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a low heat for 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet. Turn up the heat and add the white wine. Let the wine come to the boil, then add the beans and a splash of water, so that the beans are almost covered. Allow to simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes until the beans are lovely and creamy. Add the parsley, yoghurt and a good lug of the extra virgin olive oil and taste for seasoning.

2. Heat a griddle pan until white-hot, season your steaks and pat with olive oil. Grill a 4 m/1½ inch thick steak for 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. You can keep them on there for longer, turning as you go, until cooked to your liking. Remove from the grill on to a dish and rest for 5 minutes. Squeeze over some lemon juice and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil. Carve the steaks into thick slices. Divide the creamy beans between your plates and place the steak on top, drizzling over some of the resting juices.

Servings: 4

Author: Jamie Oliver
Source: Cook with Jamie

Friday, May 11, 2018

Asparagus, Crossing Safety, Bowling, Stitches,

I haz me some asparagus - woo hoo. However, I bought a double lot which means by the end it won't be quite so fresh but gas is so very expensive at the moment and it is a long way. I had some for lunch and they were delicious, of course. I phoned a local store to ask why they didn't buy from Barrie's Asparagus, it turns out that the produce they sell is all grown by - what I would call - a smallholder who markets stuff through their store, including his own asparagus. He has 20,000 asparagus crowns apparently. As the store is almost in walking distance, for most people, I will be going there in future. I actually talked to the guy - another Alex - and he could talk the hind leg off a donkey. However, I feel a bit disloyal not going to Barrie's but with gas at $1.35/litre or more it really is somewhat expensive driving for half an hour to buy asparagus. I worked it out that in some places in the US gas is the equivalent of 75 cents a litre.

On my way to the farm this morning, I saw a man running across a crossing with a baby buggy which reminded me how often I see people running across crossings or even roads without them sometimes. When I was a kid, I was taught NEVER to run across a road as you might fall and get run over. Don't they teach that on this side of the pond??

This afternoon we went bowling - surprisingly there were quite a lot of people there today. I beat Matt but that wasn't all that incredible as neither of us were bowling very well. Friday morning we have to be at the Cosmetic Clinic for 9:30 where, I think, they will be removing  the stitches from his face.

This is what I will be cooking for supper Friday night. It has become a habit for me to cook fish of one kind or another on a Friday.

Baked Salmon and Asparagus in Foil

4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets
1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed
2 1/2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon thinly sliced
Fresh dill sprigs, or chopped fresh thyme, rosemary or parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut four sheets of aluminum foil about 14-inch long. Divide asparagus into 4 equal portions (about 8 spears per foil packet) and layer in center of each length of foil. In a small bowl stir together oil with garlic. Drizzle 1 tsp of the oil over portion of asparagus then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rinse salmon and allow excess water to run off, then season bottom of each fillet with salt and pepper. Layer fillets over asparagus. Drizzle top of each salmon fillet with 1 tsp of the olive oil mixture and season top with salt and pepper to taste. Top each with about 2 sprigs dill and 2 lemon slices (if using fresh thyme or rosemary use about 3/4 tsp per each if using parsley use 1 1/2 tsp). Wrap sides of foil inward over salmon then fold in top and bottom of foil to enclose.

2. Place foil pouches in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until salmon is cooked through, about 25 - 30 minutes. Unwrap and serve warm.

Servings: 4

Source: Cooking Classy

Have a great day