Saturday, April 4, 2020

Ladybugs, Toilet Paper, Friar Alessandro,

For those of you who have never heard of biting ladybugs, here is a picture of one.

I don't think it is a very serious bite, so far I haven't been bitten one, fingers crossed. They are an Asian invader but I don't know how they got here. The apparently stink too. Here is an article which I am glad I have read because I didn't know they could swarm and look for a hiding place to spend the winter in one's home. I need to have a good look round. From the article pictures, they come in all kinds of shades of brown to yellow and some in the pictures looked vaguely red. I remember as a kid with the pretty, red, harmless ladybird, as we called them,  We used to get one on our hands and say:

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone.

No idea where that came from or what exactly it meant. Of course Google did. It is something to do with Pagans hiding. The verse quoted was somewhat different to what we said as kids and there were more lines. Anyway, if they are spreading in Canada, I have no doubt they will cross the border into the States in a very few years.

Look what I've got - it's heavy so I had to move it around on my walker. I couldn't seem to get any from my grocery store so I ordered them from Costco. they just arrived. I thought I placed an order with someone else but couldn't find it to cancel. I hope it didn't go through. If it did I am going to be a TP hoarder as well. I must say the UPS guy certainly maintained his social distance when he pushed the box round the door jamb. I complained because they charged me $3 surcharge for 2 day delivery. I didn't request that. I certainly have enough TP for another couple of days or so.

We just watched Friar Alessandro on TV. He is a friar from Assisi (Frances of Assisi) with the most wonderful voice. Just to show you what I mean here is a video of him singing Panis Angelicus

Mind you. he's had a haircut since this was recorded. Watching him sing, I got the feeling he wasn't really singing, he was praying. He brought tears to my eyes several times. Amongst other songs, he sang Ave Maria and Amazing Grace. An incredible voice.

I posted a Beef Stroganoff recipe which was made with ground beef, this one is made with stewing beef. It looks really good.

Beef Stroganoff for Instant Pot®

A truly one-pot meal! Fork-tender beef and mushrooms with egg noodles. This recipe is written using
the Instant Pot®

2 Tbs canola oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 tsp salt, divided
2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbs soy sauce
3 cups chopped mushrooms
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 16 oz. package wide egg noodles
3/4 cup sour cream, or to taste

1. Turn on a multi-cooker (such as Instant Pot(R)) and select Saute function. Heat oil for 1 minute. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook and stir until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Season beef with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add to the pot. Cook and stir until browned evenly on all sides, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in soy sauce.

3. Stir mushrooms into the pot. Stir in flour until evenly incorporated. Pour in chicken broth and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Close and lock the lid. Set timer for 10 minutes. Set to high pressure according to manufacturer's instructions, 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Release pressure carefully using the quick-release method. Open pressure cooker; stir in egg noodles. Seal and bring to high pressure again, about 5 minutes; cook for 5 minutes.

5. Release pressure naturally according to manufacturer's instruction for 5 minutes. Release remaining pressure using the quick-release method. Open pressure cooker; stir in sour cream

Author: Lissa
Source: allrecipes

Have a great day

Friday, April 3, 2020

Traffic, Noodles, Ladybugs, Stitching,

One thing I forgot to say yesterday, if there are so few vehicles on the roads right now, how come people are still crashing into one another. I still keep hearing reports on the radio of accidents. Must be absolutely lousy drivers.

The noodle dish I posted yesterday: I made it with Oriental Noodles, not so successful. I should have stuck to spaghetti or found a lighter recipe for the sauce I think. Anyway, that's enough carbs for a while. Especially as we had potstickers for supper. I did at least serve some broccoli on the side so we got some healthy greens.

One thing I did do today, I happened to look behind the sofa bed in my computer room and found a plethora of dead ladybugs, you know, the nasty kind that bite. I was not sorry to see their demise. I got our my hand held and got rid of them that way. I don't  know why there rather than anywhere else. Seemed odd.

Another thing I forgot to tell you. You know I was carrying on about sewing and then eventually got round to sewing a pair of pants which has been sitting waiting for at least a year, well a couple of days ago, I found that a seam in the rear had come unstitched too. I have no idea how long I have been going around with my rear end sticking out. I certainly didn't notice it before. They are now waiting to be sewn again, not sure how long it will take this time. I have contemplated getting one of those hand held sewing machines, have you seen them? Has anyone tried one? I would be interested to know. For the kind of stuff I need, it would be ideal if they work.

So then I did some Googling for Noodle Soup

Spicy Noodle Soup With Mushrooms and Herbs

Sautéed mushrooms lend extreme and surprising depth of flavor to this clean, spicy noodle soup,
which also happens to be vegan. With the addition of soy sauce, the broth takes on an almost beefy flavor; the vinegar helps to perk it right back up for a nearly hot and sour flavor profile. For the best (and most interesting) results, try to seek out a mix of mushrooms for a variety of flavors and textures.

3 Tbs canola or olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 ½ lbs mixed mushrooms, such as maitake, oyster, cremini or shiitake, torn into bite-size pieces
1 to 2 fresh red or green chiles, such as Fresno, thinly sliced (or 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes)
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
¼ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar, plus more to taste
8 cups water
8 to 10 oz noodles, such as udon, soba, rice or spaghetti
2 cups herbs (tender leaves and stems), such as cilantro, mint, chives, parsley or a mix, for serving
Sesame seeds, sesame oil or both, for serving (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots start to turn a nice golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and half the chile, and season with salt and pepper.

2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, released much of their water and turned a deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. (A browned mushroom will have infinitely more flavor than an unbrowned mushroom, because the water inside it evaporates and the flavor concentrates. So do not skip this step.)

3. Add 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup vinegar and 8 cups of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until the flavors have melded and the broth tastes good enough to drink (you will be drinking it), 15 to 20 minutes. Season with more soy sauce and vinegar as you like.

4. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until just al dente. (The timing will depend on the type and brand of noodles, so consult the package.) Add the noodles to the pot with the broth, and let them hang out in there for a minute or two to finish cooking and soak up all that flavor.

5. To serve, use tongs to divide the noodles and mushrooms among bowls, then ladle the hot broth over the top. Serve with the remaining chile, the herbs and the sesame seeds and oil (if using) for people to dress their own bowls to their liking.

Servings: 4


Have a great day

Thursday, April 2, 2020

401, Cleaner, Bananas, Book, Noodles Asparagus,

David Gascoigne, on Travels with Birds, posted some pictures on his blog from his recent trip to Long Point which is on Lake Erie, (famous for birding) showing the 401 which is one of the busiest, if not the busiest in Canada, it is usually bumper to bumper and absolutely appalling to travel on if you want to get somewhere in a hurry. When David drove on it a few days ago, it was totally empty. He said there were a few trucks travelling on it. I couldn't believe his pictures of the totally empty road. As I said to him, it reminded me of the main route running north and south in Portugal which is a fabulous road to drive on. Very few cars from one end to the other and the surface is perfect.

Well, my neighbour who was considering cleaning my house for me phoned today and said she was not going to do so at the moment. She would contact me again when this virus business was over. So, I guess I will have a dirty house now. I can't physically manage to clean. I am hoping Matt and I can re-make the beds between after washing the sheets. If it's too hard, we might end up with dirty beds too.

I got into trouble with ladydog today, I was planning to go to the store to get some bananas and she said under no circumstances was I to go out and I was treating this whole thing with a British stiff upper lip. She arranged for me to get some bananas today and more in a couple of days. Thanks ma'am. Ought I to salute to indicate my compliance. Actually at one point we had a damned good laugh about it all. But I did appreciate her organising it for me and her niece for making sure I got them. I worry about it because every time I don't eat bananas, I end up with worse cramps than I get with them. There is nothing wrong with my potassium levels, but I still get cramps very easily.

I didn't know I had so many bossy friends: in the comments yesterday I had people telling me not to go out. However, I just told ladydog I will be going to the asparagus farm come hell or high water. In fact, the farmer, Tim Barrie, is already selling stuff under quarantine conditions and other than that I wouldn't be seeing anyone

A very good friend of mine, David Powers-King, just released a book today and I have just bought it as it is right up my street, a dragon story.

"A princess. A dragon. Their quest.

Terrible things happen whenever Princess Celesia falls in love—she blacks out and attacks her suitors, which makes an alliance with a more powerful nation impossible. Believing that she’s cursed, Celesia is given two choices: marry without love, or be responsible for her kingdom’s demise. Instead, she sneaks off in search of a remedy.

She doesn’t make it far when she encounters a dragon who bears a curse of his own—he is a prince, desperate to reclaim his humanity before the dragon takes over. He's heard of a stone that can lift both of their curses, but neither of them can find it alone, and they’re not the only ones after it. An evil alchemist is intent on using it to steal the land’s magic and dominate the realm. Only together, with the help of an even greater magic, can Celesia and the dragon stop this evil, or be bound forever by their curses."

Another thing I didn't get in my grocery order was spicy oriental noodles. I probably shouldn't eat them but.......... I have them at lunchtime now and again, So, nothing loath, I Googled it and this was the recipe I found. I made them for my lunch today, doesn't take long, didn't have sriracha so used a very hot Tabasco I have, can't remember what pepper it uses right now. I need to look up one that has a soup with it although I did enjoy this. Also I cut back on the amount of sauce because it's only for me. Have enough for tomorrow too. By the way, I cooked the spaghetti in the Instant Pot. Just shove it in and forget it til it's done.

20 Minute Spicy Thai Noodle Bowls

These 20 minute Thai noodle bowls are so easy to whip up! They're packed full of sweet and spicy
Thai flavor!

¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 ½ tsp sesame oil
5 Tbs soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
½ tsp Sriracha (more to taste)*
¼ cup peanut butter
2 Tbs honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, minced
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned
? cup cilantro, chopped
½ cup dry roasted peanuts (I used Planters), chopped and whole
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbs sesame seeds

1. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha, peanut butter, honey, minced garlic and minced green onion. Whisk vigorously until smooth.

2. Drain the noodles and return to the same large pot. Add the sauce, red bell pepper, carrot, cilantro, peanuts, crushed red pepper flakes and sesame seeds. Toss until combined, serve and garnish as desired.

3. Add more Sriracha if you like spicier noodles!

Yield: 6-8

Source: Life Made Simple

Have a great day

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Too Many Recipes, Shopping, c-19, Exercise. Burghley House.

I just got a bunch, 40, of recipes for chicken thighs, I started to look through them, but sorry, 40 recipes is too many. Not really necessary in this day and age. Send a couple now and then a couple tomorrow, etc. Not all of  them at once. Anyway there is one of them below which looked pretty good, mind you, all the ones I looked at looked pretty good.

I wasn't too happy with my shopping today, I didn't get a lot of things I ordered and I know darn well, I phoned, that most of the things were in the store. Then I also got charged double for one item. Not really their fault, the kids who do the PC Express haven't got time to think they are so busy. Anyway, I need to get my rear end down there and get the missing items.

It is getting old isn't it? The news is inundated with bad items, very little hopeful. I honestly believe North America is suffering from hype. Not that I am not taking precautions you understand, I could be wrong - no surely not.

I can't believe it is April already. To me February was as long as two months and now March seems to have flown by. Many of you who are not used to being stuck at home probably don't feel that way, but spring is on it's way and, as I have already mentioned and probably will again, asparagus is also on its way.

A bowling friend called me this aft. It was nice to have a little chat. We are both feeling the lack of bowling, he was due to be in a biggish tournament in April, it is postponed of course. Not only that I need to do some exercise of some kind but I just don't have the discipline. Tonight I cooked 13 Bean soup. Originally bought the beans from Amazon, guess what, they are out of stock. Not only that, I really need to do some exercises but I just don't have the discipline to make myself do them.

Last night (Monday) we watched a programme about Stately Houses in Britain. They started with BurghleyHouse built for Sir William Cecil who was Lord High Treasurer to Elizabeth 1. They figured that in modern currency, the place would have cost £1.8 billion to build. It was an absolutely fascinating programme and it is an absolutely fascinating house. Sir William didn't employ and architect but designed it all himself. His descendants fill the place with absolutely marvellous art, one of them virtually bankrupted himself, and another descendent employed Capability Brown (one of the top garden designers of his time) to landscape the grounds. Sadly, Sir William was expecting his queen to visit but illness in the house prevented her from doing so and then he died before she could plan to visit again. However, many, many years later, Queen Victoria paid a kind of honeymoon visit which took them a year to plan for and cost them a few pennies at the same time. There is a beautiful and very ornate bedroom which was just for her and her new husband Prince Albert. I had never heard of the house before so I will make sure and watch future episodes of this programme. Another interesting feature, it was the first time people had built houses instead of castles and the place was full of glass windows, virtually heard of at the time.

Tarragon Chicken with Spring Greens

This aromatic chicken cooked with arugula, watercress and romaine lettuce makes a great one-skillet

2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 Tbs canola oil
8 chicken thighs (6 ounces each)
Salt Freshly ground pepper
5 oz baby arugula, cut into ribbons
1 head of romaine lettuce, cut into ribbons
1 bunch of watercress— thick stems discarded, the rest coarsely chopped
1 leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
3 Tbs finely chopped tarragon
1 tsp caraway seeds
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 oz crème fraîche
Steamed rice, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large, deep ovenproof skillet, melt the butter in the oil over high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook skin side up until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter; pour off most of the fat in the skillet.

2. Add the arugula, romaine, watercress, leek, tarragon and caraway seeds to the skillet and cook, tossing, until slightly wilted, 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and crème fraîche.

3. Nestle the chicken thighs into the greens, skin side up. Transfer the skillet to the middle of the oven and roast for 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Turn on the broiler and broil the chicken for 5 minutes, until the skin is golden. Serve the chicken and greens with rice.

Servings: 4

Source: Food and Wine

Have a great day

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Virus, Facebook, Phoning, Shopping,

Just read on Facebook of a guy who is 99 and recovered from Covid-19. Also of a University in the States bringing back their students. Are they nuts or what? Best thing I saw, in a quick run through, was a question: Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or do we just continue washing our hands? Only trouble is, once I get on Facebook I keep looking at the next one and the next one. Could be there forever.

I did my Spanish lessons early today but thought I had started this blog and hadn't. I seem to have spent most of the day on the phone trying to find out this or the other. This morning I wanted to call the bank about my Credit Card. I reported it not working properly a while back and still have not received a replacement. I ended up waiting on the phone for 35-45 minutes - didn't actually time it but they told me it would be 45. Turns out that they sent me a new card on March 5. That means it is out there somewhere so in the end it was cancelled. Just in case. So then I wanted to get the "card on file" number changed by the PC Express at the grocery store. I thought I had to phone the PC Express office to get it done. I spent forever on the phone again (no I wasn't just hanging on, had it on speaker so I could get on with other stuff including lunch in this case). In the end I hung up in frustration and called the manager of the store. Turned out I could do it myself on my Profile page where I order my groceries, duuh.

I then phoned the convenience store and dashed down to get some bananas. I also checked milk (seems to be in short supply too) and found what I wanted with a sell by date of March 22. The store owner didn't want me to have it and then gave it to me for free. When I got it home, it was fine, I thought it would be. We buy the 3.5% and it is rich enough to last a long time. I forgot to order milk for my shopping tomorrow. Cream lasts forever.

I downloaded the PC Express app. onto my phone today too. Not as easy to use as on the computer but useful Oh yes, I have been looking for Glad Kitchen Catcher Bags of a particular size, only ones that fit my office garbage can. It seems like they have stopped making them. However, it appears they have one a little bit bigger at the grocery store some distance away. Bigger than the store I shop in, so I will have to go check them out.

For some reason, I haven't "fried" chicken in my Air Fryer for a long time despite it being delicious so today I decided to do so. It was as delicious as I remembered. So simple to do too. I am pretty sure the recipe is on this blog somewhere. In case you can't find it, here is the recipe. It is so easy and incredibly good to eat.

Toastmaster Basic Chicken
2 Chicken Breasts
1 Tbs Flour
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
melted butter or cooking oil

Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.Combine all dry ingredients in plastic bag. Lightly brush chicken with oil or butter and drop into bag to coat the chicken. Cook for 8-10 minutes. turn and cook for another 8-10 minutes.

Have a great day, stay safe, stay home as much as you can and stay well.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Isolation, Asparagus, Virus, Toilet Paper,

Only trouble with climbing the walls, it rips the wallpaper.

Don't know how many of you realise, but April starts on Wed. and asparagus season starts at the end of the month. Tm Barrie is already posting about arrangements to pick up and pay for asparagus purchases. Asparagus still grows no matter what virus is spreading and I will certainly be there for as long as the green stuff grows. I don't know where I got this picture from, but one thing Barrie's Asparagus never has is those tough ends you can see in the picture which have to be broken off. I have one jar of pickled asparagus which I will probably break open in early April ready for pickling the next bunch. For those of you who haven't been reading this blog long, you will probably get tired of asparagus recipes before the season is ended although I often throw in some rhubarb recipes too. It's about the only thing I have against ladydog, she cannot stand asparagus.

Hm, I have just read we have 209 new cases in Ontario - biggest spike yet - and 2 deaths. Now he has recovered I have just heard Tom Hanks caught Covid-19 too. Just checking other celebrities, Placido Domingo the opera singer/conductor. Our Prime Minister's wife tested positive too. Prince Albert of Monaco is another and even Harvey Weinstein in prison - now how did that happen? There is a long list of celebrities in various fields, most of whom I don't know, but one wonders how they caught it. I know with Prince Charles they have no idea how he caught it but he was in contact with all kinds of people prior to catching it, as was the British PM.

I was considering how many toilet rolls we had this morning and it made me think of the "old days" when people tore up newspapers to use in their bathrooms. I always remember a scene in Steptoe and Son, which became another programme in the US (Sandford and Son I think) where the old man, who could be a bit obscene himself, got locked in their outside toilet and started reading the news on the sheets of newspaper hung in the toilet for a different purpose than reading. It was a much funnier show in the UK than it ever was over here. Unfortunately I can't find this particular episode on Youtube. However, there are several videos of the original show. I remember one where the old man had a box of false teeth (they had a junk yard) and because something had happened to his, he tried on different plates to find one that fit him.

This is one of the few times I approve of leaving the tail on the shrimp although I still wouldn't do so if I were cooking this.

Air Fryer Shrimp Tempura

Air-fried shrimp tempura for a more wholesome alternative. This is also good served with sweet chili

2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs sherry
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs oyster sauce
1 Tbs chopped scallions
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ginger stir-in paste

1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup club soda
1 lb large shrimp - peeled, deveined, and tails left

1. Whisk soy sauce, sherry, rice wine vinegar, oyster sauce, scallions, sugar, lemon juice, and ginger stir-in paste together in a small bowl. Set dipping sauce aside.

2. Whisk egg, cornstarch, flour, and club soda together in a large bowl. Add shrimp and gently stir until shrimp are coated.

3. Preheat an air fryer to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) according to manufacturer's instructions. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the basket of the air fryer and set aside.

4. Lift shrimp by the tail from the batter using tongs and let excess batter run off. Place as many shrimp as you can on the reserved parchment paper without overcrowding and place into the basket of the air fryer. You will need to cook the shrimp in batches.

5. Cook in the preheated air fryer until desired crispness, about 8 minutes. Repeat with remaining shrimp. Serve with reserved dipping sauce.

Servings: 4

 Author: Soup Loving Nicole
Source: AllRecipes

Cook's Note:Ginger stir-in paste can be found in the produce section of the grocery store.

Have a great day

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Lazy Day, Covid Emails, Proofing, Cell Phone Alert, Supper,

Boring kind of day one of many I am likely to have at the moment. Always reading about people wearing their jammies when they haven't anywhere to go, etc. Thought I would try it today although I felt a bit awkward not being dressed in my normal daytime clothes. Mind you I was wearing a robe,  not jammies. Haven't worn them since I was a kid.

I am getting a mite fed up with all the emails I am getting about Covid 19. All of them quite genuine. All of them offering me helpful information which I no longer need. I do now know, thanks ladydog, how to make disinfectant wipes but other than that, leave me alone please.

I just started proofing a second book by Susan Gourley Kelley - continuing the dragon story. These are not good dragons exactly but I don't think they are going to be really bad dragons - I hope.

Other than that little bit of information I did bugger all today.

Forgot, we got a government warning on our cell phones today (radio let us know it was going to happen) saying if we had been abroad we should quarantine for 14 days. I haven't been anywhere, but I knew that. What interested me, is how the hell they did that. Is there some kind of registry for cell phone number and what about those people who don't have cell phones. There are certainly people in this building who don't have them. Actually, one woman I know, a Limey like me, her sister was over visiting, they went on a week's cruise an then were in quarantine for 14 days. Yesterday, her sister was allowed to fly back to the UK and apparently when she arrived she was not asked any questions, her temperature wasn't take or anything. If that is an example of their security, no wonder their Prince and their PM have got the virus.

So, I decided to do a favourite shrimp dish today, I had every ingredient for the Thai Shrimp until I went to the fridge and found I had about a tablespoon of That Curry paste. Discovered I can add regular curry powder. So later, I put the paste in the pan to sauté for a few minutes when I got a phone call. I then forgot the curry paste. It became a nasty black colour!! I saved a little bit of it and used curry powder for the rest. Not as good but still, it was still good. Matt had a hissy fit and decided not to eat supper. Mind you he ate a whole chocolate bunny this afternoon and probably some squares of chocolate too, didn't see. He is definitely eating more chocolate now. When I saw he had devoured the bunny, I was not best pleased.

Wash day tomorrow. Such a fun life I lead these days. Yes, I know, everyone is in isolation, but not everyone has an Alzheimer patient to live with.

Thought these looked pretty good. I would probably cook them in the Instant Pot with the addition of liquid - possibly V8 - at the bottom of the pot.

Bolognese Stuffed Bell Peppers

This Bolognese filling is spicy, meaty, and creamy. If you're in a hurry you can serve it over pasta
instead of filling the peppers; just omit the rice or orzo

1/2 cup cooked rice
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1/8 cup minced carrots
1/8 cup celery
6 bell peppers (any color) stems and seeds removed, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 lb pancetta or lightly smoked bacon, diced
1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the carrots and celery; cook and stir until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in ground beef and pancetta, and cook until browned and crumbled; drain off any excess liquid, and return to heat. Add marinara sauce, wine, and red pepper flakes, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cream, half of the Parmesan cheese, and rice. Simmer 5 minutes more, or until most liquid has absorbed.

4. Place peppers in a shallow baking dish, and fill with beef mixture. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

5. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Serve hot.

Servings: 6

 Author: KASM75
Source: Allrecipes

Author Notes
Orzo pasta makes a nice substitute for the rice.

If you don't have leftover rice, bring 1/2 cup rice and 3/4 cup water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Let rice stand for 5 minutes; fluff with fork. You'll have a little extra rice.

Have a great day

Friday, March 27, 2020

Imagination, Shopping, Deliveries, Cleaner,

I was quite convinced I had written this blog during the day, came to finish it off and I hadn't written a word yet. My imagination is working overtime.

Our friends' kids very kindly picked up the groceries for us this morning and delivered it right to the kitchen. Wonderful, I was so grateful. I have already posted a new order and managed to get a Tuesday slot. No way I want Thursday again although I guess I could re-arrange my whole life to encompass Thursday shopping. Now, once you have posted your order, you cannot change it in any way or add to it. Covid-10 isn't giving me a lot of problems, but this is one to me. I've got to go to the store anyway because I want a particular size of Glad kitchen catcher which doesn't seem to be online. I can't even find it anywhere else, but the box I have just finished came from my grocery store. I actually use the size for my office garbage can and it is the only one that fits. Prior to someone in the store helping me, I had bought several of the wrong sizes. Also, I can't get disinfectant wipes from this store so I guess I will have to go look for those somewhere.

I got some booze delivered today too. Didn't want to go out and spend time traipsing around the liquor store. I guess we are on self isolation of a kind.

After our cleaner had so unceremoniously dumped us, I phoned the woman who, technically, lives next door and who does cleaning. She agreed to do ours assuming nothing drastic happened between now and a couple of weeks hence. I don't think she realised who I was, we know each other fairly well. I meant to go knock on the door but didn't get a chance today. Had to take our recycling down, for two people we do create a lot of recycling.

One thing I did get from the store today was a large pack of chicken thighs. I was astounded that they had them - or at least that I got them. I hadn't intended to but I ended up making Butter Chicken in the Instant Pot with some of them and put the rest in the freezer.

Damn, I rarely read Facebook for just the reason that I end up reading just one more and then just another. Now it is almost midnight and I gotta get some sleep. So, sorry, no recipe today.

I can't hug anyone right now, so cyber hugs to all of you'

Have a great day

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Royals, Doctor, Cleaner, Movie,

Being a royalist at heart, I was very upset to see Prince Charles had tested positive for Covid 19.  Apparently he hasn't seen the Queen for a while, nearly two weeks ago, so hopefully she is safe at 93 and therefore Prince Philip who is 98. My fingers are crossed.

I was concerned to know if my heart attack had in any way compromised my immune system so I faxed my doc and got a phone reply this afternoon. He had my file in front of him and said no, heart attack shouldn't affect it but my pre-diabetes condition and my age would. Knew about the age of course, but not the pre-diabetes. I cracked a comment that I had read loss of smell was an indication therefore I must have had the disease for 20 or more years. He assured me that loss of smell was misinformation.

We had something of a nasty blow today, our cleaner came this morning and did her usual excellent job. She said she was losing clients and was going to suffer financially She seemed happy and cheerful and not particularly concerned.. She was going to apply for some assistance she had heard of. I then suggested she should come in tomorrow and help me clean the silver as well as bring up the shopping. Thought it would help. In the afternoon I phoned her to change the arrangements somewhat and she immediately told me she was not coming again. Just like that, she has got her financial assistance, $2,000 a month for 4 months, so she said she was so scared of the virus she quit. She didn't seem to care that I was now in something of a bind. I guess I made a mistake thinking we were friends. I was somewhat upset. However, our friend's son and daughter-in-law agreed to come in after all although I felt guilty at messing them around so much.

Talk about coincidence. I found a movie on TV tonight called Outbreak which was about a virus that the government had designed and which had escaped. The whole thing was so apposite for what is going on right now. Excellent movie, Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, Donald Sutherland, Kevin Spacey, Cuba Gooding and son on and so on. A real list of stars. I really enjoyed it although under current conditions it kind of gave me the willies. Donald Sutherland made a pretty good baddie. Of course Dustin Hoffman was the doctor who saved the day. I have always enjoyed Dustin Hoffman's movies whether it be a thriller like this one or a comedy like Tootsie. I never did see The Graduate. Maybe I should try and get hold of it one of these days.

I thought this looked an interesting recipe.

Soto Ayam

Soto Ayam is a chicken soup popular in Malaysia and Indonesia. Easy, authentic and the best soto
ayam recipe. Serve with rice noodles or rice cakes!

1/2 pack rice noodles (8 oz)
2 Tbs cooking oil
1 skinless and boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3 strips
1 can coconut milk, 13.5 fl oz (400 ml)
1 can chicken broth, 14.05 oz (411 g)
1 cup water
Salt, to taste
Spice Paste:
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 piece turmeric (2-inch), peeled or 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 piece galangal, peeled and sliced (2-inch)
1 piece ginger, peeled and sliced (2-inch)
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 cups bean sprouts
2 cups sliced cabbages, optional
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges
1 stalk spring onion, cut into rounds
2 limes, cut into wedges
Fried shallot crisps

1. Soak the rice noodles in warm water to soften them. Set aside.

2. Blend the Spice Paste in a food processor. Add some water if needed.

3. Add the oil in a pot on medium-high heat. Add in the Spice Paste and stir with spatula back and forth until aromatic.

4. Add in the chicken broth, coconut milk, lemongrass and water. Bring it to a boil. Add in the chicken breast cubes. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Add salt to taste.

5. Blanch the rice noodles, bean sprouts, cabbages (if using) in another pot of boiling water. Transfer them to a bowl once they are cooked. Add the Toppings of hard-boiled eggs, spring onions and add the hot chicken broth into the bowl. Serve hot with lime wedges and shallot crisps on top of the noodles.

Servings: 4

Author: Bee
Source: Rasa Malaysia

Have a great day

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Shopping, VHS, Hearing, Scam,

I am annoyed. I now cannot get my shopping on the day I want it. I guess they are so busy, all the pick up slots are filled two days ahead. As ladydog said, "I don't think the computer at PC Express knows about customer loyalty." It annoys the hell out of me though. Of course I don't know how many of the items will be short either. Matt luckily has enough luncheon meat to last him, but only just. Several things have just about run out ready for my normal shop when my cleaner is here to bring it upstairs and this is on a Wednesday, not a Thursday.

Going through our VHS tapes, last night we watched Victor Borge's 80th birthday celebration. He was absolutely brilliant that man. Haven't watched his programmes on our tapes for a while. Sadly he died 20 years ago but as he was 91 I guess he wouldn't have been performing anyway. Then we watched the beginning of a three tenors concert, Pavarotti, Domingo, Carreras, but it was Matt's bedtime so saved the rest for Tuesday. Matt goes to bed at 10 on the dot. I then do Spanish and write my blog. Although I wrote most of it earlier today. We finished watching the tenors and then watched a bit of Alice in Wonderland. Matt was, of course, bored stiff so was glad to go to bed LOL.

We finally got information on the rent increase hearing from the landlords. We have until the end of April to submit our opinions. I phoned one of the other tenants who gave me a copy of what she had written. I composed a letter based on what she had said, but for now I must cogitate. They are holding a "Written Hearing". Amazing, isn't it, they have been unable to have this hearing since the initial request of the landlord in 2018 and now they can finally hold the hearing but have to do it in writing. Fingers crossed please that they are not awarded what they are asking for. I have paid them the recommended guidelines each year but they are asking for quite a big percentage more. Can't remember the actual percentage now, 4.5 or something and I am paying them around 2.2 %. They apparently spent in the millions to do our balconies a few years ago, but isn't that part of what I am paying rent for? Maintenance.

Then I got another letter in the mail saying I had been selected for them to lend me $3,500. Why on earth? Of course I contacted them straight away!! If I needed that kind of money I have a credit account at the bank, thank you very much. I wonder what interest they would charge? Maybe I should have called them?  In case you hadn't realised, I am joking. Trouble is there are a lot of people who would fall for this kind of thing.

I thought this looked like a nice easy, quick recipe so long as you can get the chicken thighs. Mind you I don't carry penne either. If I do buy some penne, I will, of course, cook it in the Instant Pot. Not necessarily any quicker, but it can put it in the Pot and forget about it whilst I am getting on with the rest of the recipe.

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Chicken Penne

Creamy, cheesy, chicken pasta—what’s not to love? This cozy 25-minute meal from The Food Gays
is sure to become your new go-to this Fall.

2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp neutral flavored oil (such as vegetable oil)
1 cup sliced white onion
2 cups diced portobello mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
4-5  boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
grated Parmesan to serve

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook penne according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions for 10-15 minutes, stirring often. Once they’ve become caramelized, add the mushrooms and cook another 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the pan, and set aside.

3. In the same pan, add the chicken thighs. (If needed, add another drizzle of oil.) Cook for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.

4. Return onion and mushroom mixture to the skillet. Add heavy cream, and stir well, scraping all the bits from the bottom the pan. Simmer on medium-low for 2-3 minutes, or until cream has reduced slightly. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as needed. Slice the chicken into large pieces.

5. Add the cooked, drained pasta to the sauce, along with the sliced chicken and parsley. Toss well, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Author: The Food Gays

Have a great day

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Flurries, Singer, Groceries, Pick Up Lines,

According to the forecast there was a possibility of flurries today. They were joking, the whole place has been turned white over night and it has been snowing off and on all morning. Thought we had got rid of this rubbish although I don't know why I was so sanguine, the worst snow storm I ever remember was in April as I have mentioned before.

Nobody commented on my Jonathan Antoine clip yesterday. I played it again just now and it brought tears to my eyes again. Of course I am very familiar with Les Miserables so maybe that is why.

Well I missed ladydog, had to go in the bathroom and then I heard Matt mumbling about somebody at the door and at the same time the phone was ringing so I answered the phone and it was ladydog saying she had dropped stuff at the door. Said thanks and went to see what Matt was on about. Of course it was the shopping plus a lovely Begonia, so nice of  her, then I had to phone her back, luckily her husband was driving. So, thanks to ladydog I now have my Becel, my leeks and some tomato paste. Butter is a pain for our lunchtime sandwiches, I fogot to get it out this morning. I was having noodles but Matt used the last of the Becel on one slice of bread and couldn't butter the second. I managed to scrape off enough for him. That's why I don't use butter much although these days I can't tell the difference between butter and Becel. It's a very healthy margarine and good tasting.

I heard some Social Distancing pick up lines this aft. Some were mildly amusing but I rather liked "I have toilet paper".

This recipe has another recipe for easy lemon curd. You could, of course, buy lemon curd in the store as well.

Lemon Bar Cheesecake

This indulgent recipe marries two delicious desserts: lemon bars and cheesecake. Using a dark
springform pan ensures a golden brown crust on this tart dessert recipe without having to bake before adding the filling.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
1 to 2 Tbs ice-cold water
4 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups Quick and Easy Lemon Curd, divided
Candied Lemon Slices (optional)

1. Pulse first 3 ingredients in a food processor 3 or 4 times or just until blended. Add butter, and pulse 5 or 6 times or until crumbly. Whisk together egg yolks and 1 Tbsp. ice-cold water in a small bowl; add to butter mixture, and process until dough forms a ball and pulls away from sides of bowl, adding up to 1 Tbsp. remaining ice-cold water, 1 tsp. at a time, if necessary. Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 4 to 24 hours.

2. Roll dough into a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a lightly greased 9-inch dark springform pan, gently pressing on bottom and up sides of pan; trim and discard excess dough. Chill 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes or until smooth. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

4. Pour two-thirds of cheesecake batter (about 4 cups) into prepared crust; dollop 1 cup lemon curd over batter in pan, and gently swirl with a knife. Spoon remaining batter into pan.

Yield: 10-12 servings


Have a great day

Monday, March 23, 2020

VHS, Saturday Supper, Bleeding Finger,,

A friend fixed it so we can watch both VHS and DVD movies these days and, being in isolation, I fished out one which was of a Pavarotti concert which took place in Hyde Park, London, in 1991. Princess Diana and Prince Charles were in the audience, everyone getting soaked. The VHS was in pretty good condition considering it is 30 years old and the sound was good too. This is the second VHS we have watched lately. Having watched Saving Mr. Banks for a second time, I fished out our copy of Mary Poppins. I knew there was a glitch in the tape, but after all these years, the glitch, when it got to it, stopped the tape completely. Now I am undecided, should I buy a DVD of it or not. The glitch happens just when Mr. Banks is being "fired" by the bank big wigs. If you've never seen Mary Poppins, the original, you should. It was a great movie and Walt Disney did a wonderful job with it which is what Saving Mr. Banks is all about. I have a lot of VHS movies and some personal stuff which I recorded. There is even some of my first wedding and honeymoon which took place in 1962, i.e. almost 58 years ago. I wonder what condition that is in.

Saturday night for supper I cooked a large sirloin steak which I had bought at VSM the other day. It was excellent, their meat may be a bit pricey but it's good stuff. I made a sauce with it, shallots, red wine, Balsamic vinegar, it is really delicious with beef. I even managed to get the knife good and sharp, I am getting better at sharpening knives.

I somehow bashed my finger, just below the knuckle, the other day. On my desk drawer which was shut. Stupid thing won't stop bleeding. Having trouble keeping the Bandaids on particularly with all this extra hand washing. Every time it falls off I think the wound is OK and then an hour or so later, I'm bleeding to death again.

Sunday night PBS had Jonathan Antoine on again, same concert as before, and, as before, we missed the first bit. I would absolutely have loved to go to the concert in Toronto, next October, but not possible. His voice is so fantastic.I was in tears, this song is so sad, from Les Miserables, and to hear Jonathan sing it, words fail me. Apparently he did lose some weight, but I think he needs to lose a tad more. I am planning to buy his DVD being released at the end of April

Here's a simple recipe from Kevin Lynch, one of my favourite cookery writers

Chicken and Avocado Burritos

Burritos stuffed with juicy chicken, cool and creamy avocado, oozy gooey melted cheese, spicy salsa
verde and sour cream!

4 burrito sized tortillas (corn tortillas for gluten-free), warmed
1 lb cooked chicken, sliced or shredded
1 large avocado, diced
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup salsa verde
1/4 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped

1. Assemble the burritos, optionally toast, and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Tips: Use taco lime grilled chicken, cilantro lime grilled chicken or tequila lime grilled chicken instead of plain chicken

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Cooking

Have a great day

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Shortages, Saturday Recipe

I ordered a few things at the grocery store in the hope that I could get some Becel margarine (Canada only as far as I know, but good stuff) yesterday they had some, by the time I got my order they were out again. Don't know why this is as two other stores in our general area have it. Bit far though. Also, I couldn't get leeks and tomato purée. Odd that these should be out of stock. Talking of shortages, did you hear the story of an Australian woman who claims she ordered a lot of toiled rolls by mistake, she ended up with 48 boxes of 48 toilet rolls which, apparently, cost her $3,000 Australian together with $400 delivery. If she really did make such a mistake, she must be a bit dimwitted I think. The news bulletin put forward the idea she was hoping to make a profit. Could be.

I just happen to have some scallops. However, I have defrosted shrimp for tonight. Actually, I found a packet of Pad Thai noodles which I had wanted to try so decided to do so. We both enjoyed it although I must admit I have never had real Pad Thai. I also now have the Tilapia for  yesterday's recipe.

Instant Pot Risotto with Seared Scallops

Elegant date night worthy dinner out of your Instant Pot? Oh yes you can. This Instant Pot risotto is ready in half the time as the classic stovetop method. Just be sure the grains are well coated in oil
before adding your liquid in order to prevent clumping. Using this easy technique, the richly creamy rice dish makes a perfect blank canvas for experimenting with all of your favorite add-ins, such as green peas or butternut squash. If you’re not feeling scallops, shrimp would be equally delicious in this elegant yet effortless seafood dinner.

3 Tbs olive oil, divided
3 Tbs unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups diced leeks (from 2 leeks)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3 thyme sprigs
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 quart lower-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper, divided
12 large sea scallops
3 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
1 tsp lemon zest plus
1 tsp fresh juice (from 1 lemon)
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

1. Heat Instant Pot on Sauté setting. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter until melted. Add leeks, and cook, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in rice and thyme; cook, stirring often until coated, about 1 minute. Pour in wine, and cook until slightly reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in broth, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper until combined. Press “Cancel”, and secure lid on pot. Set to High Pressure setting for 7 minutes.

2. While risotto cooks, prepare scallops. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel, and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over high. Add scallops to hot oil, and cook undisturbed until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until cooked through, 1 to 2 more minutes.

3. When pressure cooking is complete, carefully release the pressure. Carefully remove lid, and stir well until creamy. Stir in cheese, zest, juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter until combined. Divide risotto among 4 shallow bowls. Top each with 3 seared scallops, and sprinkle with tarragon.

Servings: 4

Author: Nicole McLaughlin
Source: My Recipes

Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Cramps, Shopping, Medical,

Sadly I paid for my cooking enthusiasm yesterday, I should have sat down more to do my chopping prep work etc. I ended up with cramping thighs at about 5 this morning. However, having leftovers from the beef last night means I don't have to cook today although I am itching to do so.

It seems my grocery store have re-stocked and I should be able to get some of the things they didn't have earlier in the week although Becel still seems to be in doubt so I have asked ladydog if she can pick some up for me just in case. Costco has plenty of toilet paper apparently even if not the paper I prefer to buy, but I am fine for the moment and assume the hoarders will be stocked up enough by the time I want more.

I finally managed to get hold of my friend who has COPD and she is doing fine. Well, no special fear of Covid 19 at the moment. I was nervous because I couldn't get hold of her. Also, my cleaner is still coming in, I was concerned she might not.

Pity I can't walk in the park outside our windows, but walking far is not on my list of things to do any more unless they manage to fix my problems. I have an ultrasound on my heart on April 2, I wonder if that will be a go or not. I know major ops are being performed, but not sure about minor. It isn't at the hospital which is one good thing, I think.

I just ordered some Tilapia, this looked so good. Bit previous with his asparagus though, doesn't come out til end of April and I certainly wouldn't buy it before then.

Tilapia Baked in Thai Green Curry

Tilapia baked in tasty Thai green curried coconut milk

1 Tbs oil
1 Tbs green curry paste
1 14 oz can coconut milk
2 Tbs fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 lime, juice and zest
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
2 tilapia fillets
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 red chili, sliced

1. Heat the oil in the a pan.

2. Add the curry paste and saute until fragrant, about a minute.

3. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and zest and lime leaves and bring to a boil.

4. Pour the curried coconut milk over the tilapia fillets in a baking dish.

5. Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven until cooked, about 15-20 minutes. The fish will be cooked when it flakes easily and it is no longer translucent.

6. Serve garnished with cilantro and red chillies

Servings: 2

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Cooking

Have a great day


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Internet Friendships, Foot Nurse, Cooking,

You know the internet is marvellous, we can talk to all our friends, send them virtual hugs and get them back without any of the health risks which would be involved in f2f contact. I think of previous pandemics where people must have felt so alone and shut in without all the facilities we have today. Not only that, of course, but we can talk to people over vast differences and become close friends with people we may never meet. Or closer with friends we have met, for instance,  ladydog I met through the internet, cookery would you believe. I have been lucky enough to meet face to face with a number of the people I met through the internet and we have always greeted each other like long lost friends. But, I have a number of friends in Australia and other countries whom, unless fortune really favours me, I will never get to see but that doesn't lessen our very close friendships which have been developed over the years. In my case, mostly through cooking.

I got in touch with the young woman who is going to be our new Foot Nurse but she isn't working right now because of the virus. That could be a problem, especially as Matt's toe nails grow rapidly. Mine don't thank goodness, in fact one toe nail doesn't grow at all any more. Part of my Peripheral Arterial Disease I believe.

This afternoon, I finally got up of my lazy rear end and made some tomato soup which I have been meaning to do since we drank the last a few weeks ago. It is, as usual, delicious. I then started chopping and measuring to make the following recipe for supper. It says serve it over rice? It has potatoes in it, why would you want rice as well? I suppose Cubans, being a somewhat poorer nation,  need filling up, and we don't in this part of the world. I have a feeling I am going to be doing a lot of cooking over the next week or two. We ate this for supper, without the rice and it was much better than I expected, in fact it was delicious. I roughly halved the recipe for my 3 qt. Pot and that was fine for two meals. Tina of Boulder Locavore was asking her subscribers if there was anything she could do for us in current times and I said thanks but nothing. I then commented I was hugging my Instant Pot and she sent me her file of IP recipes. I was delighted and will probably make more. Jacky+Amy are another great source for IP recipes. Thanks Ivy for changing my life.

Cuban Instant Pot Beef Stew (Carne Con Papas)

Carne con papas or Cuban Beef Stew is a soul-warming dish with rich spices (thought it's not spicy-
hot), chunks of tender meat and potatoes in a savory broth.

2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 lbs Beef Stew Meat (my butcher uses Top Sirloin)
4 medium Garlic Cloves , peeled and diced
1 medium White Spanish Onion , peeled and chopped
1 medium Green Bell Pepper , cored and chopped
2 medium Potatoes (approximately 1 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup Low Sodium Beef Broth
½ cup Dry Sherry or Madeira (note: if you prefer not to use any liquor, substitute ½ cup more beef broth)
1 8-ounce can can Tomato Sauce
1 14.5-ounce can can Diced Tomatoes , undrained
1 ½ Tbs Paprika
1 Tbs Distilled White Vinegar
1 tsp Oregano
½ tsp ground Cumin

1. Plugin the power cord of the Instant Pot and when the LED display reads ‘OFF’ (in standby mode), press the SAUTE button (with the lid off).

2. Add the olive oil and the stew meat. Brown the stew meat, allowing it to sit between stirring to develop a sear on each side (note: it can be done in two batches.). Remove and place the meat on a plate or mixing bowl.

3. Add the garlic, onion and green pepper to the Instant Pot and sauté for 3 minutes.

4. Add the beef (with any accumulated juices) and all the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot. Seal and select MEAT/STEW (which is preset for High Pressure for 35 minutes).

5. When cooking is complete, wait 10 minutes then do a Quick Release. Serve over rice.

Yield: 8 cups stew

Source: Boulder Locavore

Have a great day

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Shopping, Closures,

Well, that was quite an experience. I didn't get some of the things I ordered and the replacements I was offered weren't really what I wanted. I did get a packet of toilet rolls though! Absolutely no chicken thighs and no rice. Both of those items were delivered to me, along with Matt's cereal, by ladydog. She had extra chicken breasts and buys rice by the ton as far as I can tell. She came all the way from her home to take me to the store to pick up my groceries which cost her gas but saved me delivery charges. I had phoned the VSM and they didn't have chicken breasts either but I ordered some brisket from them as I want to try an Instant Pot recipe I have. When we got there, there was a young lady outside with a table full of sanitizer and gloves. We were asked to wear them in the store. Excellent idea. It was incredible, the meat department was almost empty but having ordered the brisket I was OK, also the sirloin steak had just arrived so I bought some of that and I saw they had about 8 Italian sausages left so I bought those too. No other sausages left in the place and not much of anything else.

I can't believe that today was St/ Patrick's Day and because of this damned virus, all the pubs in Ireland were closed. Most other places too I gather. I can't imagine Ireland with closed pubs. I hope everyone was well stocked up at home. The PM of Ontario made an announcement which ladydog and I heard around lunchtime, no meetings of more than 50 people (still too many in my opinion) all the public meeting places to be closed, even churches, theatres and cinemas. Basically the only things open are grocery stores and gas stations. Not only that, gas is down to 96 cents and I thought I was doing well the other day when I got it for $1.02. Of course I now have plenty of gas and nowhere to go. I have been forbidden to go anywhere by ladydog who is turning into a bossy young lady. I said how come she could go out and about, the answer was because she was younger, by about 10 years if you please.

I have mentioned ladydog lives quite a distance away from me and shops at a grocery store a long way from here. I couldn't get Becel which is (or was) a totally Canadian margarine and quite a healthy product. I phoned them and they have tons of the stuff. Their dairy manager ordered extra he said. He couldn't believe I was making enquiries until I told him where my friend lived. I have spent a lot on shopping this week, especially having gone to VSM. Mind you, we won't starve for a long time.

I got this in my email today and thought it sounded good. I have the brisket and I think everything else. One thing I am surprised about is the chicken stock, surely a good beef stock would be better.

Instant Pot Brisket

Super easy to cook Buttery Tender Juicy BBQ Instant Pot Brisket! You'll love this Irresistibly
Delicious Beef Brisket with smoky-spicy homemade bbq sauce.

1.5 - 2 pounds (766g) beef brisket (2 inches thick)
3 – 5 drops liquid smoke

Dry Rub:
2 Tbs (26g) brown sugar
2 tsp (5g) chili powder
2 tsp (4g) black pepper
1 tsp (2.4g) onion powder
1 tsp (2.8g) garlic powder
1 tsp (3g) cinnamon powder
1 tsp (6g) coarse kosher salt
½ tsp (1g) cumin seed, ground
½ tsp (1g) fennel seed, ground
¼ tsp (0.5g) cayenne pepper

BBQ Sauce:
1 (205g) medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (250ml) ketchup
½ cup (125ml) unsalted chicken stock or water
1 Tbs (15ml) maple syrup
1 Tbs (15ml) honey
2 Tbs (30ml) apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs (30ml) Dijon mustard
1 Tbs (13g) brown sugar

1. Dry Rub Brisket: In a glass mixing bowl, mix dry rub ingredients together. Rub the dry rub mixture on the brisket, then let it marinate for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight, so the salt can penetrate into the meat).

2. Pressure Cook Beef Brisket: Add sliced onion, minced garlic, 1 tbsp (15ml) maple syrup, 1 tbsp (15ml) honey, 2 tbsp (30ml) apple cider vinegar, 3 - 5 drops liquid smoke, and ½ cup (125ml) unsalted chicken stock to Instant Pot. Mix well. Add marinated brisket in Instant Pot. Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 75 minute and Natural Release for 15 minutes. Remove the lid carefully.

3. Thicken Homemade BBQ Sauce: Carefully place cooked brisket on a chopping board and let it rest. If desired, use a fat separator to remove the oil from the BBQ sauce. Bring the BBQ sauce back to a simmer by pressing the "Cancel" button, then "Saute" button. Mix in 1 cup (250ml) ketchup, 2 tbsp (30g) Dijon mustard, and 1 tbsp (13g) brown sugar in Instant Pot. Let the BBQ sauce thicken by simmering for 8 - 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt if necessary.

4. Serve Instant Pot Brisket with Yummy BBQ Sauce: Generously brush the addictively yummy BBQ sauce all over the brisket. If desired, use a blowtorch or oven (broil) to slightly caramelize the BBQ sauce on the brisket. Slice your brisket against the grain to maximize tenderness. If you didn't marinate the brisket long enough, sprinkle some salt on the sliced briskets to season them better. Serve with the awesome BBQ sauce. Your delicious & beautiful BBQ Brisket is ready to serve! Enjoy~

Servings: 4

Author: Amy + Jacky

Have a great day

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Shopping, The Virus,

This was me on Monday. I really didn't know what to do about bowling and discussed it with ladydog. Obviously she couldn't advise me not to go but we talked about all the news etc. etc. and all the cancellations. My doctor has even closed their doors and will call you for a telephone consultation. They say the hospitals are choc-a-bloc although I don't think I would want to go there unless it was a dire emergency. Not sure what kind of quarantine they have set up locally, and, horrors, Mandarin has closed their doors to buffet dining although they will deliver and provide takeout. Trouble is, we are not in their delivery range anyway. The liquor store is also too busy to help me and they haven't even time to restock their shelves - at least at one store we go to. In the end I gave in and have given the order to the delivery company who, although they charge fairly stiffly, will at least find everything for me, I think anyway. Later - got a phone call from Community Support saying that they are cancelling all services including the driver to pick up my groceries tomorrow. This means we have to pick them up ourselves, no problem, and bring them up to the apartment, that is a problem. Will probably have to do several trips. Damned virus.

The trouble with all these people hoarding stuff, it makes it difficult for people like me who just want to place a regular order. People are using the online ordering system at the grocery who have never done so before and things are running out fast. My store was out of Matt's cereal, ladydog's local store had it on sale - doesn't  make sense. Anyway, she grabbed me some, thanks ladydog.

Now I hear that people are refilling all their prescriptions in a hurry so the pharmacies are being limited as to how much they can order.

Somebody commented it must have been worse when there was a bubonic plague. In fact, they wouldn't have got the world wide news like we do today, so maybe it wouldn't have been so  bad.

Weather has been beautiful today with the sun shining in our windows.

I originally posted a Bulletin which was in our lobby but ladydog tells me it isn't totally accurate after all, so I deleted it. I guess if you really want to know about the virus you should Google a reliable source like the WHO or someone similar, I just read the NHS in the UK.   The main thing anyone is saying is Wash Your Hands. I just showed the bulletin to Matt who didn't really understand it but he did pick out the bit about refraining from drinks with ice in them (Gin and Tonic has ice). He understood that OK LOL.

Now this is a recipe which I definitely feel is worth a bottle of good red wine.

Red Wine-Braised Brisket

You know those dishes that everyone says taste even better if you make them ahead of time? This is a
perfect example. The flavors continue to deepen as the braise sits, and it’s that much easier to skim the surface when the sauce has a chance to chill

1 5 lb untrimmed flat-cut brisket
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks with leaves
5 garlic cloves, smashed
6 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 750 ml bottle full-bodied red wine
8 small carrots

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Season brisket with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high. Cook brisket, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 8–10 minutes; transfer to a plate. Pour off fat from pot; discard.

2. Place onions, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, tomatoes, tomato paste, and wine in pot and stir to combine; season with salt and pepper. Place brisket on top, fat side up. Cover and braise in oven, spooning juices, onions, and tomatoes over brisket every 30 minutes, until meat is fork-tender, 3–3 1/2 hours.

3. Uncover pot, nestle carrots around brisket, and cook until carrots are tender, top of brisket is browned and crisp, and sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes. Skim fat from surface of sauce; discard. Remove brisket from pot and slice against the grain to serve.

4. If not serving immediately, transfer brisket to a large bowl and pour braising liquid over; let cool in sauce. Cover and chill, at least 4 hours and up to 4 days. To serve, preheat oven to 325°. Skim fat from surface of sauce; discard. Cover and reheat brisket in sauce, 1–1 1/2 hours.

Yield: 10 to 12 Servings

Author: Carla Lalli
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Monday, March 16, 2020

Covid 19, Bowling, Seminar, Mary Poppins,

I have had many emails from stores and restaurants telling me what they are doing to deal with the virus. But one that got me, this morning, Sunday, was the family doctor who sent a long email saying what they are doing and telling us what we should be doing health wise. I promptly sent a response and said thanks, but how do I get this through to someone with Alzheimer's. In the first place Matt doesn't understand what a virus is or what a pandemic is. I have been using the words illness, disease and such, but he still doesn't really get it. As for washing his hands regularly, that's a joke. He thinks I am just being a nag and loses his temper. I have a couple of small, purse sized, bottles of Purell which I have been using occasionally, but there is no way I can replace it. Everyone else thought of it first. What neither ladydog nor I understand is why people are stocking up with toilet rolls. I need them this week and my store doesn't have the ones I want although they do at least have some rolls. I hope they still have them by Tuesday.

I just decided to put through my order (I can add to it until the night before pick up) and they tell me they haven't got the Basmati Rice I use, whole milk and the cereal Matt eats. I will phone tomorrow and find out if this is true. I suppose people will stock up on Milk, but Fibre One cereal (IMHOP horrid stuff)?, and I am surprised at rice. I have asked ladydog to see if she can get Matt's cereal at her local store. Now the library is closed although one can download ebooks. I have downloaded one to try, but I am not sure where I can read it other than actually on the PC.

Well, enough of that, I am still going bowling tomorrow. Gotta get some exercise somewhere along the way Tuesday I am going to a seminar on Caregiver Support which takes place in the afternoon. I will be interested to see what it is all about. There are four of them. I never realised just how much support caregivers need. I just wish it was possible to get the word out to more people - do, I beg of you, offer help if you come across someone in this situation. I regret I never did so when I knew of people with a loved one who had Alzheimer's.

Having watched Saving Mr. Bates the other day I heaved out my taped copy, on VHS, of Mary Poppins. I knew there was something wrong with it towards the end, but it used to get past it and play the ending. Not any more unfortunately. Pity, I was enjoying the movie. Haven't watched it in years. I never realised before that yes, it is Mr. Banks who wants saving, not the children. It really is a great story and Disney made a very good job of it.

I thought this looked pretty good but then I saw 2 bottles of wine which, unless I can buy more on sale like I did last week, seems quite extravagant. There I see the recipe is for 8. I would cut it down to 4 or even 2 if I can, that would make half a bottle of wine. Maybe I am being a bit cheeseparing, but it is not the cheapest ingredient in the world even if it does sound good. Do not, for goodness sake, be tempted by the cooking wine they sell in grocery stores. Apart from anything else I understand it is very overloaded with salt apart from being a low quality wine anyway. If you are tempted, make it with the real deal please.

Red Wine Spaghetti

It’s a showstopper. Two bottles of red wine get cooked down to a glossy mahogany butter sauce that stains the spaghetti in addition to flavoring it. Use a very dry red wine that you enjoy drinking, such as a Sangiovese-based wine like Chianti, or Merlot, otherwise the dish will be too sweet. If this is
sounding like “eating red wine” to you, don’t worry, it tastes like wine in the way beef bourguignon does, and is acidic yet creamy like our beloved pasta al limone. This recipe is from Montreal’s cozy-cool coffee-pizza-wine restaurant

12 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
16 Tbs (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces, divided
2 750-ml bottles red wine
Kosher salt
2 lb spaghetti
Finely grated Parmesan (for serving)

1. Combine garlic and 3 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl. Heat a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium; pour in garlic and oil. Add red pepper flakes and 2 Tbsp. butter; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is very fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add wine, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, until reduced by two-thirds, 20–25 minutes; season with salt. Cover and keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes shy of recommended cook time.

3. Drain pasta and add to sauce, along with remaining 14 Tbsp. butter. Set pot over medium heat and bring sauce to a simmer. Cook, tossing often, until pasta is well coated and sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

4. Divide pasta among bowls; drizzle with oil and top with lots of Parmesan.

Servings: 8

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Family, Visitors, VSM, Supper, Final Jeopardy, Celtic Thunder

Friday afternoon we heard that Matt has a new great granddaughter, Cassandra Serenity (Cassie for short) who, according to her granddad, was a chunky monkey at 8 lbs. Wish we were there (the UK). Matt, of course, doesn't really register the news. Her grandparents are on their way to see the baby and have promised pictures.

Today Zoey and ladydog brought subs for lunch and Matt had a great time spoiling the dog. She is such a beautiful animal and looks great after her recent beauty treatment. ladydog was about ready to leave and double checked with me about shopping at Victoria St. Market and I suddenly remembered I had ordered some kippers which should be in today. They were, so I went with her and found the kippers to be as expensive as the bananas were. Got some huge Argentinian shrimp, amongst other things and then I forgot to get some ostrich thighs. Not urgent, but as I was there!!

I opened the shrimp and used some of them for supper with the Butter Chicken sauce. Forgot to mention I tried some of that sauce in my scrambled egg this morning, it was good. With the shrimp I did some snow peas in a recipe I found on the back of the packet. Basically you put the snow peas in a foil packet, add 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms, some chopped up green onions (I used chopped sweet onion) 2 tbs butter, some dill, (I used tarragon) and some salt. Wrap them up and put on a cookie tray in a 450°F oven for 5 - 10 minutes. I chose 8 minutes and found them a bit too crispy. Tasted good though but I will definitely cook a bit longer next time.

Forgot to mention, I was patting myself on the back tonight because the Final Jeopardy question was about waterbirds. Black-footed and black-browed are 2 species of this seabird whose name was influenced by the Latin word for “white”. The answer was Albatross. And I didn't even go to see David Gascoigne's talk about water birds LOL.

Now I've got to share a poem I wrote many years ago and which was published by The International Library of Poetry in a book called Dances in Moonlight. 2,000.

The Albatross

With wings outstretched
You sail the skies
And, so they say
When a sailor dies
His soul departs
And enters you
To guard o'er ships.
If this be true
Then when you soar
On thermals fine
I pray you guard
This ship of mine.

Later in the evening, found Celtic Thunder was on PBS so we watched that. They finished at 9:30 and Celtic Woman followed. Not so keen so came and did Spanish and this blog. Matt turned them off at 10 anyway. The Celtic Thunder was a compilation of songs from all their DVDs I think, from watching it, might buy it just the same. have it. It was called Ireland. Matt would sit and watch them for hours I think.

I was looking at soups and saw a small picture at the side of this cake, looked pretty good to me so here it is.

Carrot and Orange Cake with Sour Cream Glaze

There’s something extremely delightful in peeling an orange to reveal the sweet and sour flesh hidden inside the fruit. It begins with the intensely aromatic essential oils that form a little cloud of scent around you. Then there’s the tingling sensation that erupts on your lips when you taste your first slice of fruit. This sensation is called chemesthesis; it plays a big part in the flavor experience of eating.

We deal with the phenomenon of chemesthesis daily: in how we encounter the heat hidden inside a
green or red chile, the warmth of a stick of cinnamon, the cooling sensation evoked by mint and green cardamom. When the nerve endings lining the surface of your mouth and lips come into contact with certain chemicals present inside these ingredients, they get irritated and send signals to the brain, which then tells you what’s happening and how to respond, all in a fraction of a second. Over time our brains evolved to interpret this irritation as a pleasurable experience, compelling us to cook with spices, herbs, and ingredients such as oranges and lemons.

My Carrot-and-Orange Cake with Sour Cream Glaze celebrates the way oranges trigger our senses. Pay attention and notice your own responses as you scrape the zest from the orange. Rub a piece of zest across your lips and feel your nerves dance in response. The feast for the senses doesn’t end there, of course: the bright sweetness of the juicy oranges marries with the rich orange pigment carotene in the sweet spring carrots. Chopped pieces of dried apricots and candied orange peels give each slice of cake of spot of unexpected fruit sweetness, while the pistachios add texture to the soft cake. Serve it with a cup of warm tea or coffee to complete the experience.

Baking spray
1 lb carrots, peeled and finely grated (about 4 cups)
3 oz dried apricots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 oz candied orange peels, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 oz raw pistachios, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups grapeseed oil or other neutral-tasting oil
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 Tbs grated orange zest plus
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground green cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 Tbs grated orange zest plus
3 Tbs fresh orange juice, plus more orange zest, for garnish

 Make the cake

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a tube or Bundt cake pan with a generous amount of baking spray. Combine carrots, candied apricots, orange peels, and pistachios in a large bowl. Combine oil, brown sugar, eggs, and orange zest and juice in a high-speed blender or the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on high speed until mixture is emulsified (about 10 pulses). Fold oil mixture into carrot mixture in bowl.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cardamom, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add carrot mixture, and fold to incorporate until there are no visible flecks of flour left behind. Spoon mixture into prepared pan; shake pan lightly to even out the batter and release any air bubbles.

Bake in preheated oven 55 minutes to 1 hour, rotating pan on rack halfway through baking time. (The cake is done when a skewer comes out clean when inserted in center of cake and top of cake is firm to the touch and golden brown.) Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack. Let cake cool completely.

 Make the glaze

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, and add 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Add sour cream and orange zest and juice, and beat on low speed 1 minute. Add remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and beat on low speed until sugar is completely incorporated, about 45 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl, and increase speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is well combined. Drizzle glaze on cooled cake; garnish with orange zest.

Yield: Makes 1 (9-inch) cake

Source: Food and Wine

Have a great day