Saturday, December 29, 2018

Bomb, New Year,

Just read a blog from a friend in Sweden. She spends her retirement travelling, safely, all over the world and lives in a small town where she expects to be safe and she has just had a bomb explode at the front door of her apartment. What a dreadful thing to happen. Luckily nobody was hurt. One normally thinks of Sweden as a "restful" country, but apparently not.

Well, only a few more days until 2019. I have my champers cooling in the fridge - well of course I have champers on Sunday morning too. Get a double whammy this weekend. I will probably stay up although Matt won't. He didn't last year anyway. I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year and hope whatever you wish for will come true.

I have always loved Crêpes Suzette and was surprised to find I didn't have a recipe in my files. I thought they would be perfect for New Year's Eve. My first husband thought you could bottle the sauce and make a fortune. Caster Sugar is more or less the same as the sugar we use here anyway.

Crêpes Suzette

1 classic pancake recipe 
3 Tbs caster sugar 
250 ml freshly squeezed orange juice (2-3 oranges)
zest 1 orange
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs Grand Marnier or Cointreau
50 g unsalted butter

1. Prepare pancakes following a classic recipe Fold the pancakes into quarters.

2. Tip the caster sugar into a non-stick frying pan and set the pan over a low-medium heat. Allow the sugar to melt slowly without stirring and continue to cook until it becomes a deep amber-coloured caramel.

3. Immediately slide the pan off the heat and add the orange juice – be careful as it may splatter and spit as it hits the hot caramel. Add the orange zest, lemon juice, the Grand Marnier and return the pan to a low heat to re-melt the caramel into the liquid.

4. Add the butter to the sauce in small pieces, bring to the boil and simmer gently until glossy and reduced slightly. Add the pancakes to the pan and warm through. Serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Source: Good Food Magazine

Have a great weekend

Friday, December 28, 2018

Shopping, Loaners, Cold Wind, Weekend Cooking,

Had to go out again on Thursday, Matt had run out of gin, horrors, and we had run out of bulbs for our chandelier and one blew this morning. They really do make one hell of a noise. The Medigas people who rented us a toilet seat lifter and a walker finally came to pick them up. Odd company. They are brilliant about bringing stuff on time, but they don't seem to care too much about collecting things when people have finished with them.

It was pretty cold out, I had another word in mind there. It was windy and therefore not nice at all. When we came back the Area Co-ordinator was just coming into the building and she had a nice warm woolly hat on. Never thought of it before, but I guess she has lots of clients in this building. She is one of the many who visited me particularly when I was first home and convalescing. I feel lonely now, nobody comes to see me except the physiotherapist, and she doesn't come often any more.

I cooked the Scallops Parisienne for supper and they were very good. We had two huge scallops each. More would have been better but I guess that is being greedy. Meals on Wheels came today,  I thought they were not coming as they had delivered two frozen meals on Monday.  Maybe we will both have one of their lunches tomorrow. For Saturday, I have a roast in the freezer which I don't remember buying. Must have been just before I was taken ill. It's quite big too. On second thoughts, I would like to get some frozen Yorkshire Puddings. Too lazy to make them any more and the frozen ones are excellent. So maybe I will do the roast the following weekend. Will have to ponder on that. Of course it is New Year's Eve next Monday. Not sure what I will do for that.

Here's a nice simple shrimp dish. The pictures on the web site make me salivate. At least she doesn't leave the tails on. Serves 3, hmmm, think it would serve 2 in this home.

Broiled Shrimp with Garlic Butter

1 lb shelled and deveined shrimp or jumbo shrimp
1 tsp salt
3 dashes ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbs chopped parsley
lemon wedges

1. Set oven to Broil setting. Transfer the shrimp to a baking dish and season with salt and ground black pepper.

2. Add the minced garlic and butter to the shrimp, stir to mix well.

3. Broil the shrimp for about 8 minutes, or until they are cooked. Remove from oven, topped with chopped parsley and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Servings: 3

Source: Rasamalaysia

Have a great day

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Day, Boxing Day,

So I cooked. What else does one do on Christmas Day? One thing I did make, which was different, was a Carrot Salad similar to the one Matt got from Meals and Wheels. Mine worked pretty well, I was quite pleased. I was told the ingredients, but not the quantities. Talking of Meals on Wheels, what was unexpected was that we got two frozen meals for the rest of this week!! I didn't expect them to deliver Christmas Day, of course, but thought they would on Thursday. One of the things he got was the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Doesn't look remotely like that. I will be interested to see what it tastes like when defrosted.

Meals on Wheels Carrot Salad

Grated carrots - I did the best part of 2 large carrots.
Cranberry - Not too many, I used close to a handful. Too much
Raisins - as above
Orange juice - enough to cover fruit
Honey - loaded teaspoon
Cinnamon - good shake
Green onion - I used sweet onion.
Black Pepper - To taste
Olive Oil - about 1 Tbs, enough to mix with the orange juice.

Soak cranberry and raisins in orange juice. Mix all other ingredients together.

Today, Boxing Day, I have to go to my family doctor. Apparently I have to get two refills for the blister packs, I also have to discuss bloodwork I got done recently plus discuss my UTI. I have a new set of pills now so I need to show the doc. I really don't want to go haring around on Boxing Day, but needs must unfortunately. We set off early and got there at opening time. Not too many people in front of us, but we still had to wait for quite a long time. Apparently my bloodwork showed that my A1C (diabetes) was rather high, I explained the endocrinologist had taken me off Metformin. Also she discussed my kidney/bladder situation and once I mentioned Dr. Cybulski she was happy with that. She also told me that if my pharmacist writes a note on a fax request for renewal saying something like "have Doctor's permission" they can fax her. Told the pharmacist so she added to my file a note to write a note LOL.

Needed some cereal, forgot to order it, so ended up walking to the other end of the store, with a cane, not my walker, and I was too dumb to get a cart to lean on. By the time I got back my legs were screaming at me. In the afternoon, I didn't nap, I completely conked out in my lounger. This evening we finished off the stuffed turkey breast and the Christmas Pud. Tomorrow must cook the scallops I bought on Christmas Eve. Think I might try a recipe by Kevin Lynch, or one I found in my own files. From the date on the picture I haven't made this in a long time. When we lived in North Carolina we could buy a gallon of bay scallops for $8. Used to make a lot of scallop dishes then. However, by 2009 we were certainly back in Canada.

Scallops Parisiennes

1 glass dry white wine
¼ cup  water
pinch of salt
1 sprig parsley
6 peppercorns
few slices of carrot and celery
1 lb scallops
1 1/2 oz butter
1 green onion
1/4 lb mushrooms
1 oz flour
¼ cup milk
1 Tbs browned breadcrumbs
a little melted butter

1. Put first 7 ingredients (wine - carrot and celery) into a pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Strain and return liquor to the pan. Bring to the boil, add scallops and poach for two mins. Remove scallops and reserve the liquor.

2. Melt butter in a pan and add the green onion, finely sliced and the mushrooms cut into quarters. Cover and cook for about 5 mins. Draw aside and add the flour and the strained liquor from the scallops. Stir until boiling, simmer a few mins. add the milk by degrees, then reduce to a creamy consistency. Stir in the scallops.

3. Fill cocottes. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a little melted butter and brown quickly under the broiler. It is recommended that real butter be used.

4. Serves 2 as a main course, 6 as hors d'oeuvres.

Have a great day

Monday, December 24, 2018

Pre Christmas

We had great fun the other night. Matt went to bed around 10, I wasn't that much later, 10:30 ish. Was just lying there thinking about all kinds of things, as you do, when suddenly the alarm went off. There is one right outside our door. I opened the door, no sign of anything, so phoned the asst. super and he said he was working on it. I then heard voices so assured everyone that there wasn't a fire - I wasn't the only one who had phoned and asked. We finally got back to bed around midnight. No idea what set it off, and electrical fault I imagine, but  couldn't it have chosen the daytime?

A friend came for a short visit, and boy was it ever a short visit, on Friday. I think she stayed about half an hour. Haven't seen her for a while so it was nice of her to call, even if only for a little while.

I have discovered another problem with blister packs. I phoned the pharmacist and they said they were running short of two pills prescribed by the hospital. When I was looking after my own pills, I knew when things were getting short. My doctor will not accept faxes from the pharmacy for renewals. Which means I have to go there. I have to go anyway, but there was no time limit. Now there is because the blister packs are delivered on Thursday. Doctor was charging $5 for renewals on line so I thought "what the hell, only $10" then when I went on line, they don't seem to be doing that any more. I can't go today, Sunday, so will have to go on Boxing Day when they are open for walk-ins again. What a pain in the rear end. Not only that, I have run out of pills for my UTI, this is my second lot and I still have the problem. Don't suppose the urologist will be in tomorrow so I will have to wait til I see the doc on Wednesday for that too. That's the second lot of antibiotics. I am mainly concerned about getting a bladder infection.

One really good piece of news, to me anyway, I tentatively tried some smoked salmon. Hurrah, it tastes like smoked salmon again and not a block of wet salt.

Monday morning, Christmas Eve, a friend is coming over to help me pick up my shopping, in the morning. Nice of her although why she should I don't know.

I doubt I will be posting again before Christmas, so I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, don't eat too  much, or drink too much come to that.

A friend sent me a Country Living magazine, from England no less, as she thought I would enjoy it during my convalescence - needless to say there were recipes and there was one which appealed to me. This is not quite the same, but very similar.

Beetroot and Shallot Tatins

50 g butter, plus extra for greasing
12 shallots, halved if large
½ tsp olive oil
50 g walnut pieces
2 garlic cloves chopped
3 rosemary sprigs, chopped
2 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
12 cooked baby beetroot, or 12 wedges
225 g all-butter puff pastry
plain flour, for dusting
handful rocket

1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and grease 2 x 15cm sandwich tins with solid bases. In a non-stick pan, gently cook the shallots in the oil until golden and softened. If they start to colour before softening, add a dash of water and cover the pan. Tip out the shallots and wipe out the pan.

2. Put the butter in the pan with the nuts, garlic, rosemary, maple syrup and vinegar. Season and allow to bubble until syrupy. Tip in the shallots and cook briefly, stirring to coat them. Spoon half the shallots and syrup into each tin, then add the beetroots, alternating them with the shallots as you go.

3. Cut the pastry in half, then roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface until just larger than the tins. Place the pastry over the vegetables and tuck it down the insides of the tin. Trim off any excess with scissors and pierce the middle of the pastry with a knife to make a hole for steam to escape. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden. Cool for a few mins in the tin, then turn out onto plates and top with the rocket.

Servings: 4

Source: BBC Good Food

Have a great day

Friday, December 21, 2018


Having mentioned my cognitive test yesterday, I was flattered at the comment from Pinky that they should read my blog, I'm sharp as a tack. Thank you Miss Poinker! Cheered me up a bit.

Had a blood test a week or so ago so the doctor called to say can I come in, they don't want to give me an appointment, just a walk in. Not too keen on that as it could be very busy on the day I choose although I believe you can call in, but as it takes over half an hour to get there, it could fill up whilst I am getting there. I won't go til after Christmas although I guess I could have gone today. Legs playing me up a bit though. Busy tomorrow. Physiotherapist in the morning and hopefully a friend in the afternoon.

I had thought of visiting the bowling alley, not to play but just to say hi. We know a lot of people on Thursday. However, my legs said no. So, by lunchtime I was bored, I am used to having people visit us all the time, all these medical people or helpers or whatever you call them, so us on our own is a tad boring now. Sooooo, I read a beef and barley soup recipe from Kevin Lynch of Closet Cooking which I liked the sound of. Knew I had some barley which I hadn't used in a while, so I set to. Not such a good idea. By the time it was sitting stewing all on its own, I was knackered. My legs were screaming at me to sit down. Well I did sit to chop veg and such. But there is only so much you can do sitting down. It still has about 1 hour to simmer but I just had a taste and it was very good. So, guess I've gotta share the recipe. It is more of a stew than a soup although I added liquid just now. I haven't added salt and pepper but  from my quick taste I don't think it needs it.

Beef and Barley Soup

1 oz dried mushrooms
4 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 lbs Ontario Corn Fed stewing beef such as chuck, round, brisket, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup celery, diced
8 oz mushrooms, quartered or sliced
2 Tbs garlic, chopped
1 tsp thyme, chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbs tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
1 cup pot barley
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs fish sauce
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cover the dried mushrooms in 1 cup of just boiled water and let sit until tender, about 15 minutes, before draining, reserving the water, and chopping the mushrooms.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat before setting aside.

3. Add the beef and sear until lightly golden brown on all sides before setting aside.

4. Add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes.

5. Add the garlic, thyme, paprika and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

6. Add the broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon while the broth simmers..

7. Add the broth, barley, bacon, beef, reserved chopped mushrooms, reserved mushroom water, bay leaves, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and fish sauce and either bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the beef is fall apart in your mouth tender, about 2-3 hours, OR transfer to a preheated 350F/180C oven and roast, covered, until the beef is tender, about 2-3 hours, OR transfer to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-10 hours or on high for 3-5 hours.

8. Remove the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Servings: 6

Option: Replace the 4 strips of bacon with 1 tablespoon oil to cook the vegetables in.

Option: Toss the beef in 1/4 cup flour (or rice flour) or sprinkle in 1/4 cup flour into the pan along with the garlic to thicken the broth.

Option: If you have some parmesan rinds, throw them into the soup while it simmers, removing them before serving.

Option: Replace the fish sauce with soy sauce or red miso paste or simply omit it.

Option: Add apple and/or pitted dried prunes to add a touch of sweetness!

Option: If you are in a hurry, you can take it off the heat and enjoy it as soon as the barley is cooked at about 30 minutes.

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Cooking

Have a great day

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Medical Stuff, Christmas, Toilet Problems,

I had yet another visitor from LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) today and she gave me a
cognitive test - exactly the same test as someone gave me before. I didn't realise I was supposed to be artistic so got criticised for drawing a clock with the hands too high from the middle!! Then, my own fault, I whipped through identification of animals and said it was a hippo instead of a rhino, duuh. This means I was 1 point below normal which means I am suspect of not being able to handle my medications. However, I am OK because the pharmacy make up blister packs for us!!! Tees me off actually, I have been handle medications for year, both mine and Matt's now, for one point, they think I am unable to do so. I hate the blister packs too, I don't know where to put the damned things. They end up being quite large and certainly don't fit into the medicine cupboard in our bathroom. We get them delivered every two weeks. I duno, the government classifies me as a drug addict and now I am classified as being below normal cognitive standards. Oh well. I won't have to take another test. She isn't coming back unless I call her and I don't see any reason why I would.

The physiotherapist wanted me to try going back to exercise classes, legs too painful today, sorry. Plus expecting the people to install a new modem. Have tried climbing stairs a couple of times plus I do the exercises she left me so I'm not too concerned.

Our cleaner came today and, knowing she likes white wine, I had bought a bottle for her. While she was dusting, a box of truffles suddenly appeared on the coffee table. Also a card with a delightful message in it. As I said, she isn't supposed to give us presents. We get on very well with her, she is a very nice person.

Forgot to mention something, funny in retrospect, having lunch in the restaurant, I needed to visit the loo on the way out. I didn't even think about it and off I went. Having done what I wanted, I tried to get up and couldn't - never even thought about it, but my knees are still a bit weak. At home I have a grab bar on the bath I can use. Luckily I could use the toilet roll holder to help lever myself up, otherwise not sure what I would have done, waited for my friend to come in I guess. One is so used to doing certain things, you don't even think about not being able to do them. Been practicing since.

This sounds absolutely delicious. Not sure I will make it this year, it would be too spicy for me at the moment, but maybe soon. For the sugar, caster sugar is the same as our regular sugar here.

Asian cured salmon with prawns pickled salad and dill lime crème fraîche

550 g salmon fillet, skin on
2 sticks lemongrass, roughly chopped
125 g caster or granulated sugar, plus 2 tsp and another 2 tbsp
150 g coarse sea salt
2 limes, zested, 1 juiced
5 Tbs Japanese rice vinegar, plus a dash
2 garlic cloves, crushed
28 g pack coriander
20 g pack dill
2 fresh red Thai chillies, sliced (deseeded if you don’t like it too hot)
140 g baby turnips, skin on
1 small red onion, peeled
6 Tbs full-fat crème fraîche
12 large cooked peeled prawns

1. Check the fish for bones and, if needed, remove with tweezers. To make the cure, put the lemongrass, 125g sugar, the salt, lime juice, zest of 1 lime, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 garlic clove, half of the coriander and dill, including stems, into a food processor. Blitz until the lemongrass is finely chopped, then stir in a quarter of the sliced chillies.

2. Cross two large pieces of cling film in a roasting tin and spoon on a third of the cure, then top with the fish. Cover the fish with the rest of the cure. Wrap tightly and leave for 36-48 hrs, then scrape off the cure, rinse the fish in cold water and pat dry. The fillet will feel firm.

3. On the day of serving, start the other elements of the recipe. Shave the turnips into very thin slices using a mandoline, then plunge them into iced water with a dash of the vinegar. Leave for an hour, then drain well. Thinly slice the onion and mix with the turnip slices, 2 tbsp vinegar, 2 tsp sugar and a pinch of salt. Cover and steep for at least 1 hr, or chill for a few hrs.

4. Finely chop the remaining dill leaves and stir most of them into the crème fraîche with the remaining lime zest and a little seasoning, then chill.

5. For the dressing, stir together the remaining 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp vinegar, another quarter of the sliced chillies and the crushed garlic and leave until the sugar dissolves.

6. Slice the fish into approx 20 slices, taking the knife down to the skin, then easing the blade underneath each piece to remove it.

7. When ready to serve, spoon and swoosh the dill crème fraîche down the middle of each plate, then top with overlapping salmon slices. Add 3 prawns per serving. Lift the salad from its juices and mound to one side. Scatter with a little extra dill and the remaining sliced chillies, then drizzle the dressing over the fish and prawns (or let your guests do that bit at the table).

Servings: 4-6

Source: BBC Good Food

Have a great day

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Lunch, Tenderloin Drama, Nutcracker Movie, Washing Avocados,

Took one of our friends to lunch at the Red Lobster today as a small thank you for all she did whilst I was in hospital. We all three decided to really treat ourselves so had the Ultimate Feast.
Friend chose a slightly different version which had lobster mac and cheese in it. Matt suddenly realised at the end that he wasn't really into eating crab legs so I was kind and helped him out!! As usual my main complaint, the shrimp in the middle were in a sauce and had their tails on. The ones on the left had their tails on too but they were dry. The red dipping sauce was slightly spicy too and I ate it OK. Excellent lunch. Matt and I had a Chocolate Wave Cake to bring home and as it normally comes with ice cream, we ate the ice cream there. They decorated it with chocolate sauce and, something not done before, they sent us home a little pot of chocolate sauce too. Yummy.

Afterwards, we picked up groceries. I had, as usual, ordered on line and one of the things I ordered was a whole beef tenderloin which was on sale for $32 reduced by $33. (Not sure how long this link will last) When I got there, I received a shock, the beef tenderloin I had was $86. I sent it back. The butcher apparently said he had never heard of a tenderloin at this price - my friend was going to buy one as well. Then she suggested we split the $86 tenderloin which would give us both quite a lot of meat. So when we got home, that's what we did and whilst at it, she cut my half into steaks etc. Once she had gone, I double checked the web page and the acknowledgement of order from the store. In both cases, the tenderloin was still listed at that price. I then decided to phone the store manager and complain. He too had never heard of this price nor had he seen the web site. However, he offered me vouchers for the difference so I was happy with that. Angie, who is the manager of the Click and Collect department, brought them in on her way home. She also took pix of the web page with the offer as they had not seen it. Anyway, I ended up with quite a chunk of tenderloin for a very reasonable price plus a bunch of vouchers to use on my next order.

My friend was telling me she planned to go see the movie of The Nutcracker danced by the Bolshoi Ballet next weekend, said I wouldn't mind going.

I just read an article about washing avocados and thought, how unnecessary. I was wrong, apparently the skin can hold a lot of germs and such which can get into the flesh when you cut the flesh. Never thought of that. Not had an avocado in a while, I do enjoy them.

I am stealing from Closet Kitchen by Kevin Lynch once again. This looks fabulous and just what I would enjoy. Doesn't it look delicious.

Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce

  1. Lay the puff pastry out flat and place the brie onto it.
  2. Spread the cranberry sauce over the on the brie.
  3. Fold the pastry over the top of the brie.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven for 25 minutes.

Have a great day

Saturday, December 15, 2018


I am spending a lot of time looking for non spicy recipes at the moment. I found three I liked the sound of which involved cooking shrimp in olive oil. I ended up amalgamating them all and taking some shortcuts and ended up with the following recipe which turned out very well.

Shrimp in Garlicky Oil - Jo's Version

16 large shrimp - peeled
6 Garlic cloves
6 Tbs olive oil

For the dipping sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp anchovy paste - or to taste
1-2 tbs Hellman's mayonnaise

1. Rinse shrimp in cold water and let them drain in a colander.

2. Meanwhile mix dipping sauce ingredients.

3. Press the garlic cloves with a knife blade to release the flavour when you fry it.

4. Fry the garlic for approx. 5 mins. on a low heat in the olive oil. Turn garlic and fry for 5 mins more. Turn up the heat and then put the garlic into the pan spreading out til all in contact with pan bottom. Fry them til colour changes then turn and fry until second side is pink. The shrimp are ready when you feel resistance on pressing them. Serve immediately.

I served with risotto, sorry, out of a packet. Very good though. You don't have to stand for hours stirring.

Have a great day

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Pressure Pain, Blogging, Meals on Wheels, Christmas,

I have some advice for you all. If you ever end up with a long stay in hospital, or any kind of bed, if someone tells you to move or get up because of bed sores, do it. They know what they are talking about. I googled bed sores when I came home and hadn't realise they are really pressure sores caused, obviously, by continued pressure on your flesh. It has taken me over 4 weeks to be able to sit without pain any more. Not funny I can assure you. Hospital is no place for sick people!

Been writing this blog over a week or so. I still don't have the energy to write as often as I did. No doubt it will come back. Unfortunately, although Matt is very good at helping where he can, he is not able to do a terrific amount and I find I am having to cook quite a bit. All my energy is going into that instead. He is still having Meals on Wheels three times a week which takes the onus off me occasionally. Nope, I don't think I could eat them. Some of them look pretty good, they provide a soup, a main meal including veg and a dessert. Not a bad deal at all. Means I can give him soup or something for supper without feeling guilty. I am managing to eat more as the time goes by but still cannot handle anything remotely spicy (hot) seems that the inside of my lips, in particular, just can't handle it. I am so hoping this will wear off as I used to love really spicy (hot) things. Kimchi noodles in particular. I have two packets in the cupboard. Maybe I have to build up my tolerance again, but when Dijon mustard burns, I have a long way to go. At least I am drinking coffee again, I found it very uninteresting for a week or two.

Ended up in hospital for a few hours the other night. Well, I have not seen a cardiologist yet, and I have no idea what a heart attack feels like, I was already unconscious last time. I was having pains in my chest so in I went. Seems to have been nothing, they didn't tell me it was anything of any importance any way. Didn't get home til 3:30 a.m. so were a bit tired the next day.

We were hoping to go to the bowling Christmas lunch on the 17th, but there are some wicked stairs to climb which I don't think I can cope with. Decided to go  to the Red Lobster instead and take our friend who gave us such marvellous support during and after my illness. We owe her a lot more than lunch at the Red Lobster, but a lot of it is kind of unpayable. Actually, I could practice stairs in this apartment building. We have a plethora of  them which I normally avoid like the plague. God forbid there should be a fire, although I would have less trouble getting down 5 floors than I would climbing up. We have another friend who also supported us during this time but as she lives quite a distance away and is still a working girl, more difficult to entertain her.

This is one of my favourite desserts. A very English pudding. Never actually made it and this recipe comes from a Canadian.  However, couldn't resist it, and I might even try making it after the holidays. Wonder how it would taste to me at the moment?

Sticky Toffee Pudding

For the date pudding:

8 oz dried dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbs butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
2 large eggs
1 Tbs molasses
2 Tbs golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (gluten-free for gluten-free)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

For the toffee sauce:

1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbs molasses
2 Tbs golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

1. For the date pudding:

2. Soak the dates in the just boiled water along with the baking soda for 15 minutes before pureeing in a food processor.

3. Mix the pureed dates, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, molasses and golden syrup.

4. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking powder and salt before mixing into the wet ingredients.

5. Pour the batter into a greased baking pan and bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes for a muffin pan,to about 30-40 minutes for a cake pan.

6. Enjoy while still warm from the oven topped with the toffee sauce!

7. For the toffee sauce:

8. Heat everything in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until smooth and the sauce thickens a bit, about 5 minutes.

Servings: 12

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Cooking

Author Notes
Option: Replace the dates with prunes!

Tip: Make the toffee sauce a day ahead and simply warm it before using.

Have a great day

Sunday, December 9, 2018

t'is the Season,

Disappointingly, we will not be doing much this Christmas. At the suggestion of a friend, we hauled out some decorations, one box was enough, so have a few things on display. I had given up on the Christmas tree last year, way to much effort then, when we were fairly healthy.

I bought a boxed stuffed turkey breast, cooked one at Thanksgiving and doing another for Christmas. It worked very well just for the  two of us.

Came across this recipe and couldn't resist sharing it. I love meringues, or used to. Not sure what I really like to eat any more. Tried some salmon cooked in foil. I know I have posted the recipe before. For me I cut out the ginger and Tabasco. Anything the slightest bit spicy (as in hot) tends to burn my mouth off. Such a pity. I love Oriental Kimchi Noodles (or I used to).

Spiced Italian Pecan Meringues

3/4 cup shelled pecans
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp grappa
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Spread the pecans on a small rimmed baking sheet and

2. toast, tossing them halfway through, for about 20 minutes, until browned. Transfer to a work surface and let cool, then coarsely chop.

3. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds.

4. Beat in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until the whites are stiff and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes. Beat in the grappa, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chopped pecans.

5. Spoon heaping tablespoons of the meringue onto the prepared baking sheets, spaced

6. inch apart. Bake for

7. minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200° and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the meringues are firm on the outside but still chewy in the center. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool completely.

Source: Food & Wine

Author Notes
Make Ahead

The meringues can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Have a great day

Sunday, December 2, 2018


Hi, it's me, yes really. I am still not 100% and not likely to be so for a while. The  hospital don't really know what happened, I had some poisons in my gut but they don't know where they were coming from and I also had a small heart attack apparently. I don't remember any of this except for collapsing in the bathroom which, being small made it difficult for the parameds to get me out. Matt had managed to dial 911. Not a fun 3 weeks, I gather at one point it was touch and go, I know I was sure I was going to die, but I guess I changed my mind 'cos I am still here.

I was delighted with all the good wishes I received from you, my blogging friends. Not sure I will be a regular blogger just yet a while. Probably now and again if anything.

The hospital food was appalling. Omelettes you could pick up by one corner and they stayed straight in your hand!!! Of course some of the time I was on liquids. The broth they send was OK, but the jellos were almost hard, and I was craving milk which they wouldn't give me for the longest while.

The upshot of all this is that I have lost my taste buds. Everything tastes like cardboard except for things like orange juice and milk etc. I made a cauliflower cheese (big effort) and because I used spicy cheese, I could taste that. My biggest disappointment was when I tasted smoked salmon. To me it was just a block of salt. Horrible!! First night I was home, tried a brandy and soda. Lost it in the middle of the night; couple of days ago, tried a sherry, burnt my mouth. Oh well, guess I won't be doing much drinking for a while. Am trying to cook a few things but it is hard work for me. Everything hurts if I stand around for too long.

I now have my own walker, rollator, been using one from a rental company, (government paid the rent). A friend from the bowling alley came over and put it together for me on Saturday. As it turned out it wasn't too difficult and Matt and I might have been able to assemble it ourselves. However, the friend did it much quicker than we would have. I like these rollators, it means I can walk a bit and then rest when necessary. Only trouble is, they are a bit heavy and awkward to put in the trunk of the car.

Ladydog told me she missed a particular recipe whenever I posted it so I thought I would post it again just for her. This recipe was originally a pie filling made by Paul Hollywood of British Bakeshow Fame. However, I am not a big lover of pies or pastry so I make this as a main dish. I added carrots to the original recipe. Often buy a barbecued chicken, eat one meal off it and use the rest for this dish. It's good.

Leftover Chicken and Ham 

1 1/2 ounces butter
1 lge carrot, chopped
2 large leeks, washed and roughly sliced
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
3 tbs medium sherry
3 Tbs plain flour
2 cups chicken stock (or 1 cup left over gravy and 1 cupl stock)
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
3/4 cup single cream
1 1/2 lbs left over turkey meat, cut into bite size pieces or chicken
1/2 lb left over ham, cut into bite size pieces (optional)
2 Tbs tarragon, roughly chopped
salt and white pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the leeks and carrots to the pan with the orange juice, zest and sherry. Cover and cook gently for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the leeks are just tender. Remove the lid and increase the heat, reduce the liquid until you are left with a few spoons of the buttery liquid. Sprinkle the flour over the leeks and stir to mix evenly. Gradually add the stock, simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add the mustard, turkey and ham and stir. Finally add the tarragon and cream. Season to taste with a little white pepper and salt.

Source: Adapted from Paul Hollywood's Pie

Have a great day