Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Off to Bed.

Had a lousy night last night. it's gone 11 now so I'm off to bed. This is all the blog you are going to get. Sorry.

Have a great day

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Computers, Pickling, Supper,

I started the day reconciling bank accounts. Wasn't sure I could be bothered, but it is actually something I enjoy doing. Maybe I should have become an accountant or something. Too late now I guess, apart from which, I have always been bad with numbers. Only one teacher ever managed to get through to me about math and unfortunately my dad went bust and I was taken away from that school. Pity. However, that was a long time ago. Computers really helped me which is maybe why I got so involved with them right from the beginning even if a friend, working in the company computer department, assured me I would never be able to use them. Admittedly that was in the days before modern computers came out. In those days they printed on cards and tapes etc. and everything meant you had to be able to code.

After lunch I finally got round to making some pickles. I bought extra vinegar thinking we had run out and then discovered a whole container full which meant I had three large containers. So, I made two large jars of fridge pickles and three smaller jars. By that time I had had it so will do another jar tomorrow as I have brine left. Won't have room in the fridge for anything else now anyway LOL.

For supper we finally ate the rest of the stuffed peppers  I did a while ago when the peppers mostly split because they weren't too fresh. They are good though and I will be making some more in the not too distant future.

I was reading an email about recipes and thought this was an Instant Pot recipe. It isn't but I thought it sounded good anyway, so I will be trying it. Actually, I think, with a little thought, it would certainly work in the Instant Pot.

Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar

For Paula Wolfert, this rustic Lyonnais dish is comfort food. Slow cooking transforms red wine
vinegar, tomato, shallots, garlic and a touch of honey into a perfectly balanced sauce for chicken.   

14 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs tomato paste
2 Tbs unsalted butter
8 large chicken thighs, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs crème fraîche
3 Tbs chopped tarragon

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, broth, honey and tomato paste to a boil, stirring well. Simmer the vinegar sauce until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes.

2. Heat the butter in a large, heavy skillet. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add half of them to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining thighs.

3. Add the garlic and shallots to the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the wine; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup. Add the vinegar sauce and bring to a simmer.

4. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Cover and simmer over low heat until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to plates.

5. Add the crème fraîche to the skillet and boil for 3 minutes. Add the tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Servings: 4

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Monday, July 29, 2019

Lamb, Corn, Mousse,

I did lamb chops in the Instant Pot again, they were absolutely delicious. However, Matt isn't too happy with bones so I am going to see if I can slice up the leg of lamb I have in the freezer to make "steaks" which I could cook the same way.. I just learned something - I had always understood a gigot of lamb was sliced leg, but it appears it is actually the whole leg of lamb. Taken me around 65 years to learn that.

Don't tell ladydog, but I bought a couple of ears of local corn when I was at the Victoria St. Market on Saturday. I know she wouldn't approve because, being able to get corn right from the farm, she wouldn't think it was fresh enough. However, it was delicious just the same. I cook mine in the microwave, in the husks, for 3 minutes and they come out perfectly. Matt doesn't like corn unless it's done on the barbecue so I hogged them to myself. I don't put butter on them, better for me and they taste very good just plain. Actually, I tasted a kernel which hadn't been cooked the other day and it was delicious, which made me wonder why we cook them anyway. If you try them in the microwave, chop off the stalk end so the cob shows. When you remove the corn from the microwave, shake it by the end with the silk and everything comes off clean.

Sunday evening I made this dessert. I had some goat cheese left over from the tomatoes the other day so Googled and this is what I found. I didn't have any blueberries so I used strawberries. The desserts were pronounced delicious by both of us. I did the strawberries at the last minute as I hadn't realised they needed cooking. Once finished I put them in the freezer for about half an hour or so until they were good and cold - not frozen of course. We have two more of these for dessert tomorrow. It's no wonder I am gaining weight what with corn and this mousse.

Goat Cheese Mousse

1/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs sugar
8 oz Greek full fat yogurt
4 oz Goat cheese
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Blueberry Compote:
1 pint blueberries
1 Tbs sugar
Zest of one lemon
pinch of salt

1. Make the blueberry compote by adding the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and salt to a pot.  Cook on medium low heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved.  The blueberries should be a bit soft but still maintain their shape.  Allow to cool slightly and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

2. Make the mousse by whipping together the heavy cream and sugar, either with a stand or hand mixer.  Beat in the yogurt, goat cheese, vanilla and salt.  Pour evenly into four 8 oz. jars or glasses and refrigerate for about an hour to firm up. When ready to serve, top each with an equal amount of the blueberry compote.

Servings: 4

Source: The Hungry Couple

Have a great day

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Tomatoes, Garage, Grocery Store, LCBO,

I forgot to mention yesterday that I had tried the Oven Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Goat Cheese last night. I used about 6 oz. cheese for 2 tomatoes and, because I was in a rush, made a couple of mistakes. I cooked them in the Air Fryer and they turned out well, except I couldn't lift them out of the fryer so tipped them out. Didn't look pretty but they tasted very good.

Slow morning today, but then after lunch we went to the garage. Bob laughed at the card I had made for them. I sat on one of their comfy couches and went to sleep again. Had a lousy night last night, I could not get cool. Our A/C is in the living room and it doesn't always manage to get to the bedroom. I finally got to sleep around 2:30 and then awoke around 6. Infuriating.

Eventually, the car was ready and Bob said he had "done some magic", he sure had, he quoted $240 yesterday, he charged me $186 today. Great. Headed off to the store because I had forgotten to order Matt some luncheon meat. Think I have mentioned what a mess the place is because they are installing a Starbucks which I believe is a waste of time. Things are not where they should be and the shelves are not as full as they were. Enough to put you off shopping there all together. Thank goodness for PC Express which enables me to let someone else do my shopping.

Then went to the LCBO or liquor store and after that home. Not a sound from the car so this time what was wrong is definitely fixed.

When we got home I fixed salmon in foil for supper which we ate later on with a pea relish. I have posted both recipes previously.

Here is a simple recipe from Kevin Lynch of Closet Kitchen. Now I am off to bed.

Dakkochi (Korean Skewered Chicken)

  • 1 pound chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 3 cloves garlic (grated)
  • 1 inch ginger (grated)
  • 1/2 small onion (grated)
  • 1/2 Asian pear (grated)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 green onions (chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Mix everything in a freezer bag and marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Skewer the chicken on wet skewers and set aside.
  3. Strain the solids from the marinade and simmer the marinade until it thickens and becomes saucy, about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Grill the chicken until cooked, about 5 minutes per side basting it with the marinade as you go.

Have a great day

Friday, July 26, 2019

Mandarin, Car, Card

Went to Mandarin as I said, and had a great lunch. I indulged myself on chocolate bacon, delicious, and especially so today they seemed to have used much more chocolate. And no, I didn't make ladydog eat any. Matt had some and seemed to enjoy it. Because they are still celebrating Canada (all month long) they still had some maple glazed salmon which is delicious. They also had miniature tortières. which I make anyway, and Poutine which I wouldn't touch with a barge pole. I don't like gravy on fries in the first place and fries made soggy with anything turns me off.

On the way to the restaurant, the car was making the same noises as it had done before, basically it sounded like something rubbing against something else. After we had had lunch, it was even worse so we headed to the garage. They took it out for another drive and put it on the ramp lifting it up and down. They finally decided it was the right emergency brake cable rubbing against something. They replaced the left cable the other day. I just knew it wasn't cables slapping the bottom of the car. Anyway, taking it in on Friday afternoon - it will take 1 1/2 hrs, hopefully, and cost us another $240. I started singing the 16 tons story, St. Peter don't you call me 'cos I can't go, I owe my soul to Meineke. I later amended it to "You drive 16 miles and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don't you call me 'cos I can't go, I owe my soul to the Meineke store". Later on I did a card which I will take with me, the front picture is as follows:

I do wonder if this is an actual picture. They just might curl up in a warm engine. Anyway, inside the card is the changed song. Think they'll get a kick out of it. Really looking forward to sitting there for an hour and a half, that's three times this week. Boh, the office manager, said I knew I enjoyed hanging out with him drinking coffee. Riiiight. I told him to be careful his wife didn't find out.  He is a fun guy.

I had ordered some lamb's kidneys from the Victoria St. Market and Thursday they had arrived. After  leaving the restaurant  we went straight to the garage. ladydog was also going to the Market so I phoned her to tell her where we had gone so she wouldn't be concerned at us not turning up. She picked up the kidneys for me. 12 kidneys for $8 - not bad. So, the following recipe is mostly for her. And for anyone else who likes lamb's kidney of course. We also just fry them in butter or bacon grease to have for breakfast but although Devilled are traditionally a breakfast dish, Matt and I eat them for supper as do many people I am sure.

Devilled Kidneys

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs prepared English mustard (Colemans)
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs tomato purée
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and ground black pepper
2 Tbs butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
8 lamb's kidneys, skinned, halved and cored
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley to garnish

1. Mix the first 6 ingredients together (including salt and pepper) to make a sauce.

2. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the chopped shallot and cook stirring occasionally, until it is softened but not coloured.

3. Stir the kidney halves into the shallots in the pan and cook  over medium high heat for about 3 mins on each side.

4. Pour the sauce over the kidneys and quickly stir so that they become evenly coated. Serve immediately sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Servings: 4

Note: To remove the cores from the kidneys use sharp kitchen scissors rather than a knife. Much easier.

Source: The Ultimate Hot and Spicy Cookbook

Author Notes
"Devilled" dishes are always hot and spicy. If you have time, mix the spicy ingrendients together in advance to give the flavours time to mingle.

Have a great day

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Bowling, Weather, Car, Pensions, Supper, Mandarin,

So today was bowling. Turned out there were only three of us on our team today, no idea what happened to our fourth member. None of us bowled well for the first two games and then suddenly I woke up in the last game and threw strikes and spares to end up with 163 which meant I added one point to my average. The first two games I barely scraped over 100. Matt was not really on form either and had very low scores close to or just above the 100 mark. However, it was fun and I guess that's really the reason we go, along with getting a bit of exercise. There is a lot of walking involved going back and forth.

Once again the weather was delightful although I am assured that we are in for another batch of high heat and humidity in a day or two. How delightful.

On the way home, the car made the most awful noises, I thought the rear was falling off or something. Went straight to the garage and they looked at it high on the ramp and couldn't see anything so the mechanic took it for a drive - told him to drive on a poor surface which he did and when he came back he figured out it was some cables slapping at the underside or something. he dealt with them one way and another and they sent us back home. Didn't cost a cent either, pretty good of them. I fell asleep whilst we were waiting, never done that before. Anyway, driving home it was quiet enough so we will see how it goes.

Got notices of an increase of  about $6 each, per month, on our pensions. We're rich. Better than a decrease I suppose.

It was well past time to start supper but I was feeling pretty rough, not sure why, managed to throw some "dump and go" items into the Instant Pot to make Hawaiian BBQ Chicken and then fell asleep again. Woke up and the Pot was just about ready. Tried instant releasing but it was leaking sauce so had to turn it off and let it settle down on its own. I then used my Bear Claws for the first time ever to shred the chicken thighs - meanwhile cooking rice. All, so very easy thank goodness. Love the bear claws, they made shredding an easy job.

Tomorrow we are going to Mandarin with ladydog. Probably the last time for their Canada celebration and chocolate bacon. They are also doing maple glazed salmon. Their salmon is always delicious.

Once upon a time, I used to make a lot of chutneys - but then I used to make a lot of curries. I thought this one sounded really good. I had a really nice fresh peach yesterday, maybe I will get some more.

Peach, Currant and Cilantro Chutney

“The day I created this chutney, the ingredient list grew and grew because I just kept adding things,”
says chef Minh Phan, who loves to improvise when creating pickles. Adjust the vinegar brine’s flavor until it tastes good, then add the fruit and continue to tweak the flavor. “The main components to play with are sweet, tart and salt. There’s really no messing up: You can always add more sugar, more salt or more vinegar. If you like a particular herb or spice more than others, just add more of it.”

Five 1/2-pint canning jars with lids and rings
2 1/2 lbs firm-but-ripe peaches
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 cup dried black currants
1 1/2 Tbs minced fresh ginger
1 Tbs cumin seeds
1 lemongrass stalk—lower third of the tender inner bulb only, cut into 1-inch lengths and smashed
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
3 curry leaves
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 tsp coarsely ground pink peppercorns

1. Fill a large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Add the canning jars, lids and rings along with a set of tongs and a ladle and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes to sterilize. Cover the pot and turn off the heat.

2. Set a metal rack in another large pot. Fill the pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Add the peaches and boil until the skins loosen, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool. Peel the peaches, then halve and pit them and cut into 1/2-inch dice.

3. In a large skillet, combine the cider vinegar with the granulated and brown sugars and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugars. Add the shallot, currants, ginger, cumin seeds, lemongrass, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, curry leaves and bay leaves and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the peaches and simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 4 minutes. Discard the lemongrass, curry leaves and bay leaves. Stir in the cilantro and pink peppercorn and season with salt.

4. Using the sterilized tongs, remove the jars from the hot water and transfer them to a large rimmed baking sheet. Ladle the chutney into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Using the tongs, place the lids on the jars followed by the rings. Screw on the lids securely but not too tightly.

5. Using canning tongs, lower the jars onto the rack in the pot of boiling water, making sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Boil the jarred chutney over high heat for 15 minutes. Using the canning tongs, transfer the jars to a rack to cool until the lids seal (they will look concave); refrigerate any jars that do not seal. Store the chutney in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months; if the chutney separates, stir to combine before serving.

Yield: makes five 1/2-pint jars

Source: FOOD & WINE

Have a great day

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Cannabis, Weather, Shopping.

Today I had to go to talk to the doctor on line once again in order to renew my prescription for cannabis. He suggested I should take cannabis when I got to bed. He said I might feel better when I got up in the morning. Maybe, but my pocket wouldn't. He appreciated that finances were a problem, the stuff is damned expensive. He told me the company from whom I have been buying my cannabis has gone out of business. Apparently they were growing twice as much as they should, some of it in secret, and the doctor said he was not sure what was happening. Funny, they seemed OK when I phoned an order in last time. However, I am being referred to a different company.

It has been gorgeous weather today, the heat wave and high humidity we have been suffering from has finally broken and everyone was really enjoying it. In the afternoon I took the car to be washed, it was filthy from being in the garage whilst they were cleaning it. Didn't wee the notices as we didn't leave the apartment. Then it rained a little bit when we were out which made it even worse, could hardly see out of the rear windshield. Now the car is all clean and shiny.

Later in the afternoon picked up my groceries. When we got back to the apartment building, backed up to the back door and someone came out with the shopping cart, I thought they were bringing it to me, idiot, they were taking it for their own shopping. We had to wait. I was being driven by a Community Support driver. Turns out these carts do belong to a local store and they took one back again but appear to have left us with one. Hope they continue to leave it.

Tomorrow bowling which we are both looking forward to.

Would you believe I didn't use my Instant Pot today, instead, I used my Air Fryer and did the chicken which is in the book. I love it but haven't done it in a while. It is so easy and delicious. I thought these looked delicious but haven't tried them yet.

Caramelized Balsamic Onions

As these onion halves cook, the balsamic mixture becomes syrupy and caramelizes the onions, giving
them a bronzed caramel color and a luscious, rich flavor

2 Tbs butter, melted
1 Tbs olive oil
? cup balsamic vinegar -- (or cider vinegar)
2 Tbs dry white wine, reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
1 Tbs sugar
¼ tsp salt
? tsp ground black pepper
4 medium yellow onions (about 1 1/2 lbs total)
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine butter and olive oil in 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Whisk in vinegar, wine (or broth or water), sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside. Peel off papery outer layers of onions, but do not cut off either end. Cut onions in half from stem through root end. Place onions in dish, cut-sides up. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Using tongs, carefully turn onions over to cut-sides down. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes longer or until onions are tender and balsamic mixture is thickened and caramelized. Serve cut-sides up. If desired, sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Source: Diabetic Living Magazine

Have a great day

Kidney Stone, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Today we went to see the Urologist who, we were surprised to find, has let his receptionist go and is cutting down his hours and doing his own office work as well. Hard on the receptionist, a nice woman. Matt's kidneys were pronounce clear of his stone so that is OK. He has an appointment to see the doc in a year. I trust we will be alive and kicking then.

Nearly forgot to mention, when we were in the elevator at the doctor's, three people got in and the man towered above me, I had to ask him, he was 6 ft. 5 in. Never been close to anyone that tall, got a crick in my neck. He was a full foot taller than I am.

Tomorrow I have to go to the Cannabis doctor quite early, have to leave home about 9 as it is a fair distance, which, of course means heaving myself out of bed and getting ready early. Then, in the afternoon, late, I have my escorted shopping trip.

Wednesday is, of course, bowling. I was thinking maybe I should do something to strengthen my arms but Matt says lifting weights is needed. The only weights we have are 10 lbs a piece, I don't think so somehow. In exercise class they have small weights and I have seen them for sale - maybe I should get some. Hm, I saw them in our local drug store but they don't have them any more.

A comment yesterday reminded me of this cake which I made some time ago. Nowadays it would be too big, but if I have to "take dessert" it would be perfect. It also tastes pretty good.

Snowball Chocolate Cake

1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil's food cake mix
1 pkg. (250 g) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, softened
1 egg
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Vanilla INSTANT Pudding
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup cold milk
2 cups thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping
1 cup flaked coconut

1. HEAT oven to 350ºF.

2. PREPARE cake batter, in 2-1/2-L ovenproof bowl, as directed on package; scrape side of bowl. Beat cream cheese, egg and granulated sugar until well blended; spoon into centre of batter in bowl.

3. BAKE 1 hour 5 min. or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool in bowl 10 min. Loosen cake from bowl with knife; invert onto wire rack. Remove bowl. Cool cake completely.

4. MEANWHILE, beat dry pudding mix, icing sugar and milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in Cool Whip. Refrigerate until ready to use.

5. PLACE cake on plate; frost with pudding mixture. Cover with coconut. Keep refrigerated.

Servings: 16

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Size-Wise At 16 servings, this fun-to-make cake is a great dessert to serve at a holiday party. Easy Cleanup Save on cleanup by mixing and baking the cake batter in the same bowl! Substitute 3 squares (84 g) Baker's White Chocolate, grated, for the coconut. To grate, first warm the chocolate in microwave on DEFROST 1 min. for each square or until warm. Use a coarse grater for best results.

Source: Kraft What's Cooking

Have a great day

Monday, July 22, 2019

Brake, Mandarin, Dementia Group,

I finally got my emergency brake cable installed. Thank goodness that is all over and done with. Bob, who runs the Meineke where we take our car, was telling us all about the head on collision he was in 30 years ago. Some woman driver fell asleep at the wheel. Started off we were comparing backaches. He would appear to have had his a lot longer than I.

Received a letter from Mandarin. I have been taking part in their Mandarin Eats, giving opinions etc. and they have awarded me a free meal. Nice of them. Have arranged to go with a couple of friends.

I have finally got around to emailing a Dementia group who have informal gatherings every other Tuesday. They sent me the schedules etc. Apparently they expect you to take dessert now and again, not a dessert cook, but can do so I guess, and to help clear up. No can do, not fit enough. Only trouble is, I have arranged my shopping escorts for Tuesdays so will have to re-arrange it.

I had to talk to my IT provider the other day and mentioned about the hundreds of emails I get which I don't want. She said all of these companies had to have an unsubscribe link. I hadn't realised that, so I have been happily unsubbing all of the ones that come in. Trouble is I have forgotten which I have already done and some of them said it would take a while for it to go through. Oh well, I can wait a while.

I know I am always going on about the Instant Pot but I really think everyone should have one LOL. Not the first time, but I cooked my favourite sausage and peppers dish and then popped in a pot with rice to just do enough for the pair of us. So easy. Not only that I have discovered I can put 1/2 cup of Basmati in with 1 cup of water, cook it for 4 mins and allow it to sit for 10 mins and it is just the right amount for us. Meanwhile what I have also cooked is sitting with a lid on and keeping warm enough to eat when the rice is ready.

I joined another site which specialises in Instant Pot recipes and today I see they have a load of Chinese recipes. The site is Pressure Cook Recipes and they have a stack of them.

Instant Pot Chinese Chicken Stew

Make this Spicy Hot Xinjiang Classic Instant Pot Chinese Chicken Stew (Dapanji or Big Plate
Chicken; Chinese

1.5 lb (736g) chicken quarters , cut into pieces
2 (500g) medium potatoes , cut into large chunks
1 (200g) onion , roughly chopped
6 (20g) garlic cloves , crushed
1.5 Tbs (22.5g) tomato paste
½ cup (125ml) unsalted chicken stock
1 (0.2g) bay leaf
6 (3g) dried red chili pepper
1.5 tsp (4g) sichuan pepper (Chinese: ??)
Half (2g) cinnamon stick
1 (1g) star anise
2 Tbs (36g) chili bean sauce (doubanjiang or Chinese: ???)
1 tsp (5g) sugar
1 (100 - 200g) green or/and red bell pepper
2 Tbs (30ml) regular soy sauce
1 Tbs (15ml) rice wine
2 Tbs (18g) cornstarch
3 Tbs (45ml) water

1. Marinate Chicken: Chop 1.5 - 2 lb chicken leg quarters into smaller pieces. In a mixing bowl, marinate chicken with 2 tbsp (30ml) regular soy sauce and 1 tbsp (15ml) rice wine for at least half an hour to up to 8 hours.

2. Toast Spices: Add 1 tbsp (15ml) peanut oil and 1 tsp (5ml) sesame oil in Instant Pot. Place 1 bay leaf, 6 dried red pepper, 1.5 tsp (4g) Sichuan pepper, half (2g) cinnamon stick, and 1 (1g) star anise in Instant Pot. Heat them up using the "Sauté More" function for roughly 3 minutes. The spices will slowly release their aroma.

3. Saute Onion and Garlic: Once the spices are fragrant and the oil starts to smoke, add in chopped onion and 6 crushed garlic cloves. Saute for roughly 2 minutes.

4. Saute Ingredients with Chili Bean Sauce: Add in marinated chicken and all the leftover marinade. Add in 2 tbsp (36g) chili bean sauce, 1.5 tbsp (22.5g) tomato paste, and 1 tsp (5g) sugar. Saute for roughly 3 minutes.

5. Pro Tip: If your Instant Pot is extra sensitive to the burn error, layer the tomato paste (without mixing it in) on top of everything right before pressure cooking.

6. Deglaze Instant Pot: Pour in ½ cup (125ml) unsalted chicken stock, then completely deglaze the bottom of the pot with wooden spoon.

7. Pressure Cook Chinese Chicken Stew: Add in potato chunks. Close the lid and turn Venting Knob to Sealing position. Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 3 minutes, then 10 minutes Natural Release. Remove the lid carefully.

8. Cook Bell Pepper: Add in 1 (100g - 200g) green or/and red bell pepper. Bring the Instant Pot to a boil using the "Saute Normal" function. Let the bell peppers cook for roughly 1 minute.

9. Thicken and Season Sauce: If you find the sauce too watery, you can thicken the sauce - mix 2 tbsp (18g) cornstarch with 3 tbsp (45ml) cold water in a small mixing bowl. Then, add the cornstarch mixture one third at a time to thicken the sauce until desired thickness (you don’t have to use all the thickener. Use according to your preferences). Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt if desired.

10. Serve Instant Pot Chinese Chicken Stew: Your deliciously spicy Chinese Chicken Stew (Dapanji) is ready to be served. Serve the Chinese Instant Pot Chicken Stew on a large tray, mixing bowl, or a large plate. Enjoy!~

Author: Amy and Jacky

Have a great day

Friday, July 19, 2019

Saturday Recipe

I have always loved Gazpacho, the Spanish cold soup. Wonderful in the summer. I confess I have only ever made it once, not sure why, time I did so again. However, the following is a different twist on Gazpacho.

Strawberry, Tomato and Fennel Gazpacho

One 7-inch piece of baguette, crust removed
2 lbs tomatoes,
2 Tbs finely diced, the rest chopped
2 lbs strawberries, hulled and
2 Tbs finely diced, the rest chopped
1 large green bell pepper,
2 Tbs finely diced, the rest chopped
1/4 medium fennel bulb,
2 Tbs finely diced, the rest thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups sparkling mineral water
2 garlic cloves, minced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. (You will need about 1 cup.) Scatter the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, strawberries and bell pepper with the sliced fennel, mineral water, garlic and bread cubes and, working in 2 batches, puree in a food processor. Strain the gazpacho through a fine sieve set over another large bowl. Season the gazpacho with salt. Refrigerate for about 25 minutes, or until chilled.

3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, strawberries, pepper and fennel. Refrigerate until chilled.

4. Spoon the diced mixture into shallow soup bowls and ladle the gazpacho on top. Drizzle each bowl of soup with olive oil and serve.

Servings: 8

The gazpacho and the diced-vegetable garnish can be refrigerated separately for up to 6 hours.

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great weekend

Silver, Laptop, TV, Lion King,

These are a couple of pictures of ladydog's hard work (and mine) today.

As she said, it looks so pretty once it has been done. One thing, the cleaner I use is long lasting, well it's called Long Term and it really does last a lot longer than other silver cleaners. Of course we had to wash all the glasses (well she washed, I dried). Big job but now it's done for a while. What I could do with is a few Brownies living in the house and taking care of everything for me. Not being able to do that, I was so very grateful to ladydog.

I finally managed to get  hold of someone at my provider to sort out my internet problems. Finally had time too of course. So, not only can I now receive emails on my email programme on my desktop, but I can also do so on my laptop. I do need to get a couple more programmes on it for if and when my desktop decides to play up. It is an old machine after all although it has done me well all the time I have had it.

Watched Vera tonight, English cop programme, I really enjoy that programme although the accents are from the north of England and a tad difficult not having lived in the UK for a while. However, Vera herself, played by Brenda Blethyn, is very easy to understand. I gather she is a top actress in the UK these days. She certainly does an excellent job in this series.  I wish I had discovered it earlier as I gather it has been running some years.

Talking of theatre, I would really love to see this new version of The Lion King (even if lion prides are really run by the lionesses). I saw a snippet of it on Good Morning America today, the segment with the Warthog, Meercat and lion cub singing Hakuna Matata. The Meercat hung on the Warthog's horn at one point, looked so realistic. I am not sure how it is done, I assume the same way they did Aslan the Lion in the Narnia series. But a whole film of animals, must have taken one  heck of a lot of work. Think I will be in line for a DVD.

I love cooking salmon in foil packets, so easy and great for clean up.

Grilled Lemon-Pepper Salmon in Foil

We're willing to bet that this easy grilled salmon in foil recipe will become a regular in your weeknight dinner rotation. Cooking fish in foil keeps it super-moist, plus you don't have to worry about the fish sticking to the grill. Butter, lemon pepper and fresh parsley perk up the flavors for this
versatile main course. Cook some vegetables, such as asparagus, zucchini and corn, alongside the fish packets for a healthy dinner that's ready in less than 30 minutes.

4 (6 ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp lemon pepper
½ tsp salt
8 thin slices lemon (from 1 lemon)
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

Preheat grill to medium-high (400-450°F). Place 4 (12-inch) foil squares in a single layer on a work surface; coat with cooking spray. Place 1 salmon fillet, skin-side down, in the center of each. Top each fillet with 1½ teaspoons butter, ¼ teaspoon lemon pepper, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 lemon slices and 1 parsley sprig. Crimp the sides of each foil packet together to tightly seal. Place the packets on the grill; cover and grill until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 8 to 10 minutes.

Author: Robby Melvin

Have a great day

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Apollo 11, Laptop, Bowling, Silver, Artichokes,

50 years ago this week, I was on my father's boat in Yugoslavia. On July 17th John (my first husband) and I had to leave to go back to England. We got into the cab and the first thing we were asked was did we have a TV on the boat. No, we didn't. On the cab radio they were broadcasting the moon walk, in English of course, but their local station was overriding it in the local language so we had difficulty hearing it but I remember the excitement we felt. Of course, when we got back to the UK we saw all the pictures on TV. Incredible that it was 50 years ago and nobody has tried to go back. The TV here has been inundated with programmes about going to the moon and one thing someone said at the time, we would put men on Mars before the end of the century. What a disappointment that is. Finally they are building a new rocket to go back to the moon.

Not had a lot of time to do anything with my new laptop yet. It is up and running but I haven't installed any external programmes on it, I am delighted with it though. It is a 14 inch Hewlett Packard Snowflake. Smaller than my previous laptop. I haven't had time to install much on it yet, probably have to work on it over the weekend.

Went bowling this afternoon, I was thrilled to bowl one 158 game which I haven't done since before I went into hospital. I foolishly hoped all three of my games would be the same, no such luck, but my scores weren't that bad. We were apparently bowling against the top team and ended up taking the first and last game from them. Not bad considering the other two members of the team are not all that interested in team standings.

Thursday ladydog is bringing subs for lunch and then we are going to clean silver. There's quite a lot of it, big job. She and Sue offered to "chop carrots" for me and I said doing the silver would be much more helpful LOL. Unfortunately Sue is a working girl so it's just ladydog and me.

Had to go into the grocery store on the way home as I hadn't received a couple of things on my order. The store is a total mess at the moment because they are building this Starbucks. I checked out the Produce Department too and was delighted to find Artichokes, haven't had any for ages, the store just hasn't been getting them. I splurged and bought four. I love those things.

I thought this recipe looked good although using Saffron is an expensive proposition.

Persian Roasted Chicken with Dried Cherry-Saffron Rice

Anoosh Shariat, the executive chef at Park Place on Main in Louisville, Kentucky, likes to use
supertart dried sour cherries in this buttery, exotically fragrant rice dish. But raisins, dates or pecans are also delicious.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
6 lbs chicken breasts, thighs and legs, with skin, on the bone
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups basmati rice
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup dried sour cherries (4 ounces)
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 cup slivered almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, onion, lemon juice, cumin and half of the saffron. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and turn to coat. Let the chicken stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. Drain the chicken, scraping off the onion and saffron and transfer it to a large metal roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 25 minutes longer, or until the chicken is cooked through.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the rice in a colander and shake out any excess water. In a small bowl, dissolve the remaining saffron in 1 tablespoon of water. Return the rice to the saucepan and stir in the saffron water.

4. In a small skillet, melt the butter with the dried sour cherries and sugar. Spoon one third of the rice into a buttered 2-quart soufflé dish. Top with half of the sour cherries and slivered almonds. Cover with half of the remaining rice and the remaining sour cherries and almonds. Top with a final layer of rice and pour any remaining butter on top. Cover the soufflé dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes (while the chicken is baking), or until the rice is tender, light and fluffy.

5. Preheat the broiler when the rice is done. Broil the chicken, skin side down, for 2 minutes. Turn the chicken and broil until the skin is browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Pour the pan juices into a warm gravy boat. Serve the chicken with the rice, passing the pan juices at the table.

Servings: 6

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


I am writing this on my new HP laptop. It arrived today and I am endeavouring to set it up and get used to it.

This won't be much of a blog I don't think. Not sure how to do all the things I need to do and am sure not getting recipes here yet.

So, see you on the flip side.

Have a great day

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

DVD Player, Laptop, Brigadoon,

I spent a lot of Monday trying to find out how to change my DVD player to an all region machine. I thought I had found the way from Philips last time but I think I was wrong. They kept sending me to different numbers (glad they were all 800s) including twice to a number which led me to a company selling Life Alert. (No I didn't call the number twice!!). In the end I went back to the internet and finally found a Region hack for my player. I can finally play my Region 2 DVDs again, including Brigadoon which I haven't even played yet. I thought I did something different last time but I remember now. This time I have printed it out and attached it to the Philips books in case I need it again.

I fell for Amazon Prime Day and have bought a smallish laptop for a good price. It arrives tomorrow. All my tech is ancient so I thought I would get at least a modern laptop.

Monday night - I have just finished watching Brigadoon which was as good as I remembered. I am so glad I got the Region fixed although it seems like I have to do that every time I play a Region 2 movie. Matt didn't enjoy it and went to bed. Pity. I always loved Cyd Charisse and with Gene Kelly one couldn't go wrong.

This recipe is from the same source as yesterday, lots of lovely tomato recipes. I love goat cheese, if you don't no doubt ricotta would work.

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Goat Cheese

For these buttery-soft roasted tomatoes, Alain Coumont boosts the flavor of the creamy goat cheese
filling with garlic and basil. The result works both as a side dish or a main course with a salad and crusty bread.

12 medium tomatoes (3 pounds)
1 2/3 lbs fresh goat cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs finely chopped basil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Slice off the top 1/2 inch of each tomato and reserve the tops. Scoop out the tomato cores and seeds. Cut a very thin sliver off of the bottom of each tomato to help them stand up straight. Arrange the tomatoes in a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.

2. In a bowl, combine the goat cheese with the egg, garlic, basil, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spoon the goat cheese mixture into the tomatoes, mounding the filling 1/2 inch above the rim. Cover with the tomato tops and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

3. Bake the tomatoes for 35 minutes, until tender and browned in spots and the cheese is hot. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Servings: 12

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Monday, July 15, 2019

Ghandi, Supper, Peterborough,

I am writing this on Saturday night. I have just watched the movie Ghandi which I had seen before a number of years ago. It made me ashamed to be British. Unfortunately it is not the only history which has had that affect on me. I was brought up to believe the British were lily white. Were we hell. We committed some dreadful atrocities all over the place. Not only that we were riddled with prejudice, although we didn't make a programme of killing those we despised. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the film again and ended up with tears in my eyes. Although I was only 9 when he was assassinated, I remember news pictures of Ghandi in England which surprises me. I don't remember much about it other than the pictures. A man of great courage and wisdom.

We both enjoyed our supper tonight, I bought a ham steak, something we haven't had for a while, I have no idea why. I basted it with a home made sauce and broiled it. It was good. I did a Pea Relish and the Meals on Wheels Carrot Salad together with some chunky fries cooked in the air fryer. Followed up by the chocolate wave cake from Red Lobster. I thought I would only eat part of the cake but before I knew it, there was nothing left. No ice cream of course, that is only in the restaurant. Their ice cream comes from a place in Peterborough, up north of here. I suggested we made a day trip (assuming we can get there and back in one day, might be longer) to Peterborough to visit the creamery that makes this delicious ice cream. Map from Kitchener, Ontario to Peterborough, Ontario

Turns out it is about 2 1/2 hours from here. Been up that way in the past but not for a long while. But it would be quite a nice day trip. This shows using a motorway, but I have a feeling it might be better to take lesser roads.

In case you are unfamiliar with this area, the lines going through the lakes are the borders between the US and Canada.

Got my bill from Community Support and could not figure out why I had two escorted shopping rides at $4 and one at $14. Was waiting til Monday to find out. I then remembered I had also used them to take me to Costco when I went, duuh.

There was a whole section on dishes made with tomatoes in my Food & Wine email. There were some delicious ones, but I picked this out as being somewhat unusual. A friend used to dredge green tomatoes slices in corn meal and then fry them, they were delicious.

Green Tomatoes with Pistachio Relish

Relishes typically contain cooked and pickled vegetables; the one here is mouth-tinglingly tangy.
James Syhabout of Oakland, California's Commis makes it by pickling shallots, capers, pistachios and pink peppercorns overnight in Champagne vinegar and olive oil. It's awesome on tomatoes, but he also likes using it on fish

1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup very finely chopped shallots
2 Tbs small capers, rinsed
2 Tbs Champagne vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Sea salt
4 Green Zebra or other ripe green heirloom tomatoes, very thinly sliced
Small basil leaves, for garnish

1. In a jar, combine the pistachios with the shallots, capers, vinegar, sugar, pink peppercorns and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with sea salt. Refrigerate the relish overnight.

2. Arrange the tomato slices on plates. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Stir the relish and spoon it over the tomatoes. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.

Servings: 4

The relish can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Author: James Syhabout
Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Friday, Saturday Recipe,

Friday we cleaned up a few errands. Luckily it had cooled down today so when we went to get the car which I had parked outside, it was not like an oven inside. Matt had been carrying on about getting his hair cut so off we went. Dropped in at a hardware store for a couple of things I had been wanting to get for a while. We then got to the salon and Matt got his ears lowered. There was a guy in there being attended to by the barber. I don't think he shut up talking the whole time he was there. Never heard anyone talk so continuously. My hair has ended up pretty short again. Oh well, most people seem to like it.

I then went to Victoria St. Market which ladydog had labelled the $50 store. I got some bananas and two punnets of local strawberries. I'm a glutton for punishment, hulling berries and whipping cream is not a favourite pastime of mine. Cream was easier to whip in the UK mind you, thicker stuff altogether. However, when we had them for supper tonight it was well worth it. Delicious.

I cooked salmon for supper, I tried something different with a sauce I had bought at the Market a week or so ago. It was delicious. Will have to remember that. I had forgotten the salmon had skin on - another job I am not that keen on, skinning.

Tomorrow is laundry day as usual. Not sure why we ended up doing it on a Saturday. Mostly we seem to be the only people who do laundry in the morning so that works out well. Don't know if I ever mentioned we have a laundry room on every floor with two washers and two dryers in every one. If you can't have them in your apartment, this works almost as well. We used to have to put coins in but these days we have cards, similar to credit or debit cards, which makes life a lot easier.

I thought this piece of video was fascinating - a Manta Ray needed help and approached a snorkeller to beg for assistance.

This recipe reminds me of our days in Spain where you could find street vendors with large oil drums filled with charcoal on top of which they were grilling corn. When we tried it ourselves, we found frozen corn worked the best once it was defrosted. Later we found soaking the corn well and barbecuing it worked OK too. This recipe is done in the oven of course. ladydog, (an asparagus hater) this is for you.

Mexican Street Corn (Elote)

"When we tried elote (Mexican street corn) for the first time, we basically thought we'd died and
gone to heaven,” say Adrian Harris & Jeremy Inglett, the Vancouver duo known as The Food Gays. "Commonly sold by food vendors in the streets of Mexico, it's an utterly addictive way to prepare corn on the cob, roasted over charcoal until charred and smothered in creamy, cheesy goodness. Totally indulgent and simple to prepare, these babies go perfectly with an ice cold beer (and plenty of napkins)."

4 ears of corn, shucked and halved crosswise
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
1/4 cup feta or cojita cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for serving
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus wedges for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the corn on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes or so, until lightly charred all over but not burned.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, feta, cilantro, garlic and lime juice

3. Brush the corn generously with the sauce. Top with feta and cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges.

Source: The Food Gays

Have a great day

Friday, July 12, 2019

Emergency Brake Saga, Red Lobster, Car, Notre Dame,

Took the car in on Thursday morning, appointment at 11. ladydog picked us up shortly after 11 and we went to the Red Lobster. Mind you they hadn't started on the car. Eventually, once we had had lunch, I phoned the garage. They were going to be starting on it in about 20 minutes!!!! Apparently they had had some kind of hold up. OK I guess. So, to kill time, ladydog took us to Victoria St. Market as she wanted to go there anyway. We then came back and she dropped us off at the garage. Our car was already up in the air. After maybe half an hour, I hear them calling their supplier saying they had been sent a right hand brake cable instead of a left hand!!! I don't believe it. Won't be there before tomorrow so they put the car back together and we went home. In fact we have arranged for it next Tuesday. My lucky day or what?

I did have a great crab lunch though, three kinds of crab legs and claws. Yummy. Matt complained about the time I was taking but ladydog was being very supportive about it. Eventually I shut Matt up with an ice cream whilst I was still eating. Got two pieces of Chocolate Wave Cake to take home as well. Saturday dessert.

Because they have been cleaning the garage, I parked outside. Just this minute remembered (11:00) I forgot to go get the car. Not going down now. Dark out there. Matt wants a haircut tomorrow so will leave it til then.

I am sad to learn, although not terribly surprised from what I have been hearing about old cathedrals, that Notre Dame's arches are in danger of collapsing. Unfortunately this is the case with so many ancient cathedrals, many of which they have managed to save by shoring up the arches. I have linked to the article which is about a report from the chief architect in charge of the restoration. No doubt we will hear more in due course. I am referring to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, of course.

I have never had Banh Mi although I have seen different recipes for it, decided to try this one in the near future.

Grilled-Pork Banh Mi

Luke Nguyen grew up in Australia and learned to cook at his Vietnamese parents’ restaurant. He later
opened his own restaurant, The Red Lantern, in Sydney. On his first visit to Saigon 11 years ago, he had this simple sandwich filled with peppery pork and hoisin sauce.

1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1 Tbs honey
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
6 scallions, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
6 8-inch-long rolls or 2 baguettes, cut into 8-inch lengths and split
Hoisin sauce and Sriracha chile sauce
Vegetable oil, for grilling
1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into 2-by-1/2-inch matchsticks
1 1/2 loosely packed cups cilantro sprigs

1. In a blender, puree the fish sauce with the honey, sugar, pepper, scallions and garlic. Transfer the marinade to a bowl, add the pork and toss. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Thread the pork through the top and bottom of each slice onto 12 bamboo skewers.

2. Spread the rolls with hoisin and Sriracha. Light a grill and oil the grates. Brush the pork with oil and grill over high heat, turning, until just cooked, 4 minutes. Place 2 skewers in each roll, close and pull out the skewers. Top with the cucumber and cilantro and serve.

Servings: 6

Source: FOOD & WINE

Have a great day

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Bowling, Overheating, Crabfest,

Went bowling Wednesday afternoon again. Once we got into the alley, Matt kept telling me he wouldn't be bowling. Once we started, guess what, he started bowling and played all three games. Both of us increased our scores slightly each game. Considering we haven't really bowled more than half a dozen games since I went into hospital, we aren't doing too badly. I didn't win the 50/50 today. Boo hoo. Yes, greedy.

The temps were pretty high today, supposed to go to 31°C. I popped into the grocery to collect my shrimp and then into the liquor store. The car's A/C didn't seem to be doing a lot although of course the car was extremely hot from sitting outside the bowling alley. Got back home and dropped Matt off at the front door and then went into the underground garage. I had put my walker into my trunk as I had found out they were supposed to be cleaning the garage. Should have moved my car out a day or so ago, however, I then had to heave the damned thing out of the trunk, get the shopping and hi tail it upstairs. I started putting things away, and beginning supper and suddenly felt faint. Went and lay back on my lounger. Heart pumping away like mad. Sweating badly. I figure I was overheated. After a while, near the A/C, I began to feel better. In the end got Matt to make me a sandwich which helped. He thought we were going to have to send for an ambulance, but it was OK in the end. Bit silly of me to overdo it although I felt pretty good when I started. Thinking about it, I remember having heat problems when I was a youngster and having to lie down. Guess I will have to be more careful.

Tomorrow, taking the car in and ladydog is picking us up to go to Crabfest at the Red Lobster. Really looking forward to it.  Love crab as does ladydog. Matt does too but has always been too lazy to pick at the legs. He will no doubt have his favourite, Yucatan Tilapia with Shrimp. Another new thing for me, Bairdi Crab, never heard of it before. Looks very much like King Crab to me. Just Googled it "Chionoecetes bairdi is a species of snow crab, alternatively known as bairdi crab and tanner crab. C. bairdi is closely related to Chionoecetes opilio, and it can be difficult to distinguish C. opilio from C. bairdi. Both species are found in the Bering Sea and are sold commercially under the name "Snow crab". I thought it looked similar.

We've had a few fresh local strawberries this  year, but this  recipe is somewhat different. It also includes yet another cheese I have never heard of. I must be getting behind the times.

Grilled Strawberry-Avocado Toasts with Burrata

These hulking avocado toasts with strawberries and creamy burrata are a great early summer lunch
or, cut into thick slices, a crowd-pleasing appetizer. Be sure to use a quality balsamic vinegar here

6 scallions
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 Hass avocado—peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt Black pepper
4 1-inch-thick slices of rustic bread
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
1 garlic clove
8 oz burrata, cut into bite-size pieces
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Flaky sea salt and torn basil, for garnish

1. Light a grill. Grill the scallions over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, 3 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let cool, then cut into 1-inch lengths. Leave the grill on.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the scallions with the strawberries, avocado, lemon juice and crushed red pepper. Season with kosher salt and black pepper and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, brush the bread with olive oil and grill over  high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter and rub with the garlic clove. Top with the burrata and the strawberry salad. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Garnish with flaky sea salt and torn basil; serve.

Servings: 4

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

DVD Player, Reading, Groceries,

I mentioned that I had received a copy of Brigadoon but that it wouldn't play. It finally penetrated to my someone cloudy mind that the DVD Player has somehow lost it's setting (which I plugged in a while back) allowing it to play all regions, i.e. Europe and North America. So, now I have to get a number from Philips to set it all up again. To check this I tried two other DVDs which are region 2 and they wouldn't play either. Took me a while to figure it out.  Hopefully they will answer fairly quickly.

Typically, I forced myself not to read last night but to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Around 5 I had to get up and then could not get back to sleep. Might just as well have stayed up reading.

Went with Community Support to get my groceries this aft. It is a great help to have someone to bring it upstairs for me. They must wonder sometimes when they come in and see Matt sitting there. I racked up a few points today with specials but for the second time they made a mistake about the frozen shrimp I bought (oh for the days in NC when we got fresh shrimp off the boats). Now I have to go in tomorrow and sort it out. Planning to bowl in the afternoon, sort out afterwards.

Haven't had Chicken Satay in a while, Matt used to make it but a much simpler version. Will have to see if I can find the recipe he used, got a feeling his recipe used peanut butter. Meanwhile ...

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

These deliciously spiced grilled chicken skewers are perfect with a sweet-and-tangy peanut sauce

3 plump lemongrass stalks—bottom 8 inches only, outer layer removed, stalk cut into 2-inch lengths
2 large shallots, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbs ground coriander
1 Tbs ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 Tbs Asian fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbs kosher salt
2 Tbs canola oil, plus more for grilling
4 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup canola oil
4 medium shallots, thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 plump lemongrass stalk—bottom
8 inches only, outer layer removed, stalk cut into 2-inch lengths
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tbs light brown sugar
3 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs Asian fish sauce
1 Tbs soy sauce
pinch of crushed red pepper

1. Prepare the satay

2. In a food processor, combine the lemongrass, shallots, garlic, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, turmeric, fish sauce, salt and the 2 tablespoons of canola oil and process to a paste. Transfer the marinade to a bowl and add the chicken, gently tossing to coat each piece. Thread the coated chicken pieces onto 12-inch skewers and refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

3. Mmeanwhile, prepare the peanut sauce

4. In a medium saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, jalapeño and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the aromatics are softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a food processor. Add all of the remaining ingredients along with 1/2 cup of water and process until a smooth paste forms.

5. Scrape the peanut paste back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until very thick and the fat separates, about 20 minutes. The peanut sauce will turn a deeper shade of brown. Whisk in 1/2 cup of hot water until incorporated. Keep the peanut sauce warm over very low heat.

6. Light a grill and oil the grates. Grill the chicken skewers over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until charred in spots and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with the peanut sauce.

Servings: 8

The peanut sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Rewarm before serving, adding a few tablespoons of hot water if it’s too thick.

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Tuesday, July 9, 2019


I tried something new with my Instant Pot tonight. I cooked a Tikka Masala dish then covered the IP insert and with my other pot, cooked some cauliflower to go with it. Turned out very well and made life easy not to have to use the stove etc. etc. The setting was for 0 and I used my steamer basket. Easy Peasy.

Just talking to a friend on the phone and it is now nearly my bed time. I was going to read a while, but if I pick up my book now, I won't be putting it down til late again. It was 1:00 last night. I have to get up reasonably early to put out Matt's pills so I can't loll around in bed all morning.

Not much doing round here at the moment. Got an escorted shopping trip tomorrow afternoon. Just remembered something else I was going to select for my list.

So, sorry, no recipe tonight.

Have a great day

Monday, July 8, 2019

Summer, Car Repair, Books, Cooking,

We seem to be getting summer weather now, in fact it has been pretty hot with 30°C temps feeling warmer than that. Did get some rain Friday but not much. We missed it on our ultrasound trip I'm pleased to say.

I have finally made an appointment to get my emergency brake cable installed. Taken me some time to get around to it. At least it's all paid for. I just hate sitting around waiting for things to be done. However, although I have only ever used the emergency brake once in my life, it apparently is a safety feature which I could get done for if I didn't have it. I don't think Matt ever used the emergency brake either. Maybe one should use it now and again to keep the thing in working order.

Very quiet weekend. Been reading Susan Gourley Kelley's books which I find difficult to put down. In fact I complained to her that I wasn't getting enough sleep. Right now I am reading Murder in the Marina by Ellen Jacobsen. I confess I cannot decided whether I am enjoying  the book or not. Some of it seems a bit too stupid but on the other hand, I want to know who the murderer is.

Saturday night I tried cooking the lamb chops the way I posted a week ago.. However, I had to make a number of changes, partly because I think the recipe was for a 6 qt Instant Pot and partly because whoever wrote it up was out of their gourd. It talked about using 3 tbs of salt - I don't think so thank you. However, with the alterations I made for my pot and so on, it turned out very well and was delicious. I will certainly do this again. Mind you, mine didn't look  this pretty.

Newer version

IP Lamb Chop - Jo's version

2 Tbs olive oil, split
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 Tbs rosemary, fresh
4   Lamb Loin Chops
1 tsp of jalapeno based hot sauce (or to taste)
¼ cup white wine
1/4-1/2 cup beef stock
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch mixed with a little water
salt and pepper (to taste )

1. Put Instant Pot onto Sauté, put in 1 1/2 tbs olive oil, let it come to Hot, add in lamb that has been salted and peppered. Sear on one side for about 2 minutes, flip, sauté for another 2 minute. Take out.

2. Add onions, sauté for 1 minute, add garlic, sauté for another minute. Turn off sauté, deglaze with white wine.

3. Place the carrots, the rest of the olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper, and rosemary, into foil and wrap securely.

4. Add stock, hot sauce, salt, and pepper in with the onions and give a good stir.

5. Place carrots on top of the onions, trivet on top of carrots, and meat on top of the trivet. Set on High Pressure for 5 minutes for medium or 8 minutes for well. Let natural release for 15 minutes.

6. Take meat out and let rest. Stir carrots in with the onions. Mix cornstarch in with water and place in with onion mixture. Put on sauté for about 5 minutes or until thick.

7. Taste gravy and adjust seasoning.

Have a great day

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Saturday Recipe

I thought this recipe looked, and sounded, yummy although I am  unfamiliar with Taleggio cheese.

Tomato and Roasted Garlic Pie

If you haven’t used Taleggio before, now is the perfect time to try it. Don’t be put off by the smell;
this cheese has a very mild flavor and is an ideal complement to fresh tomatoes.

2 ½ lbs mixed heirloom tomatoes, cored, sliced ¼-inch thick
3 Tbs olive oil
¾ tsp kosher salt, divided, plus more
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
6 garlic cloves
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
9 oz Stoned Wheat Thins or other whole grain crackers
2 large eggs
10 oz Taleggio cheese, rind removed, coarsely grated (about 1 ½ cups)
2 ½ oz finely crumbled Parmesan (about ½ cup)
½ cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs chopped thyme, plus ½ teaspoon leaves
1 small shallot, thinly sliced

1. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 475°. Arrange tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, covering entire surface (it’s okay if they overlap). Drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes begin to look dry on top, 25–30 minutes. Let cool.

2. Meanwhile, cook garlic and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling often, until butter foams and milk solids turn golden, 5–8 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof measuring cup; transfer garlic and toasty bits to a cutting board. Finely chop and set aside.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Pulse crackers and ¼ tsp. salt in a food processor until fine crumbs form (you should have about 2 cups). Add eggs and 6 Tbsp. garlic butter and pulse until mixture is the consistency of wet sand.Transfer to springform pan. Using a flat-sided measuring cup, press crumbs firmly onto bottom and 1½" up sides of pan. Bake crust until fragrant and edge is just starting to take on color, 8–10 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let crust cool.

4. Mix Taleggio, Parmesan, mayonnaise, chopped thyme, remaining ½ tsp. salt, remaining ¼ tsp. pepper, and reserved chopped garlic in a medium bowl. Gently dollop half of cheese mixture over bottom of crust, then spread into an even layer with an offset spatula (don’t press too hard or you will break the crust). Layer half of tomato slices over and press down to even out layers. Repeat with remaining cheese mixture and tomatoes. Brush remaining garlic butter over tomatoes. Top with shallot, then scatter thyme leaves over.

Yield: Makes one 9" pie

Author: Rick Martinez
Source: Bon Appétit

Special Equipment -
A 9-inch-diameter springform pan is needed

Have a great weekend

Friday, July 5, 2019

Vascular Surgeon, This 'n' That, Ultrasound, Reheating,

This morning I had my long awaited appointment with the vascular surgeon. I have said my legs have been better since I had the blood transfusion - looked up the date, much to my surprise it was April 10. However, my feet still go numb and I sure can't walk very far although at least I can walk further than I did. However, two or three toe nails are dying on my left foot and the toes themselves look like little sausages. The surgeon said the ultrasound looked great, no changes (that surprises me) and, having checked my feet and the pulses in my groin, he said "see me in a year".  Um, is that it? What about...? So I guess I am stuck with it for a while. It really is a lot better these days but I do think he should still have done some work on my veins/arteries. Oh well.

This afternoon I had to go to the pharmacy again, this time to get the pharmacist to certify Matt was still alive to collect his pension. We didn't know what to use for id because, of course, he no longer has a driver's license. In the end we used his citizenship card. I then popped along to the post office to pick up a parcel of cannabis which I had not been home to receive the day before Also bought some International stamps - 6 stamps for $17 odd dollars - daylight robbery. Then drove into the underground parking to collect my groceries and was horrified to see my phone was out of power. Luckily there was just enough to call them and say I was there. I had ordered ice cream so I was anxious to get home as it was 30°C today, supposed to feel hotter, before it melted. Typically everyone we met complained about the heat today. We humans are never satisfied. Complain about the snow and cold all winter and then the heat all summer.

Tomorrow Matt has an ultrasound to check if the kidney stone has gone. I hope so, it's been a nuisance although luckily Matt hasn't had any pain at all from it.

Last night, I made a "dump and go" recipe in my Instant Pot which was basically chicken thighs, barbecue sauce and a can of pineapple. Pretty good. Then tonight, Thursday, I had a lot left which I had store in the insert pot with a lid on it in the fridge - rice too of course - and I wondered about reheating in the pot. So, I did some Googling and all the things I found were using water and pots within pots and all kinds of stuff. Not what I wanted. Eventually I put the insert back into the pot, set the cooking time at 0 and turned it on. I let it stay on the warm setting for about 5 minutes then vented it. It was perfect. So simple and I didn't have to use any more dishes of any kind.

I love lamb chops of course, as does Matt, and when I saw this simple recipe I thought I might try it.

Lamb Chops Sizzled with Garlic

Las Pedroñeras, in the Castilla–La Mancha region, is considered the garlic capital of Spain. These
juicy, meaty lamb chops sizzled in extra-virgin olive oil with plenty of garlic cloves are Janet Mendel's homage to the village.

8 1/2-inch-thick lamb loin chops (about 2 pounds), fatty tips trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of dried thyme
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
10 small garlic cloves, halved
3 Tbs water
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs minced parsley
pinch of crushed red pepper

1. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and sprinkle lightly with thyme. In a very large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the lamb chops and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until the chops are browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the chops and garlic and cook until the chops are browned, about 2 minutes longer for medium meat. Transfer the chops to plates, leaving the garlic in the skillet.

2. Add the water, lemon juice, parsley and crushed red pepper to the pan and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom, until sizzling, about 1 minute. Pour the garlic and pan sauce over the lamb chops and serve immediately

Servings: 4

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day