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. Amazon.ca 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

Friday, March 13, 2020

Sewing, TV,

According to Liz Seckman, I should stay in and do my sewing because of my age group and this damned virus. Well, I was in all day Thursday and I did some of my sewing. Matt needs a new zip on a pair of shorts - no way I am going to tackle that. Felt quite good at the sewing I did though. Only trouble is, I have a needle threader which I can hardly see anyway, let along putting thread in the needle itself. I was sewing black pants with black thread and couldn't see much of anything at all. Maybe the light isn't good enough where I was sitting. Should go do my sewing in daylight perhaps.

Bit teed off tonight, watching a couple of programmes I enjoy and our local PBS station was having a drive which made the programmes finish half an hour late. I still had my Spanish to do and this blog to finish. Before I came in here, I did Matt's pills for tomorrow and couldn't find one of them. Took me forever to do so. Why does it all happen at once I wonder.

Oops, Friday 13th!!!

This recipe appealed to me especially as Kevin Lynch spoke about the levels of umami in the flavours. I have added a line about cooking this recipe in the Instant Pot (of course). Not sure, but might have to add a little more liquid - I won't know until I have done it. Of course, one can cook the noodles in the IP too.

Pot Roast Beef Stroganoff

A homestyle comfort food pot roast take on beef stroganoff using slowly braised, fall apart tender,
beef which is smothered in a super tasty, umami packed mushroom, onion, paprika and sour cream sauce!

1 Tbs oil
1 1/2 lbs Ontario Corn Fed stewing beef such as chuck, round, brisket, cut into 2 inch pieces
salt, pepper and paprika to taste
1 onion, diced or sliced
8 oz mushrooms, quartered or sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp thyme, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dry thyme)
2 tsp paprika*
2 Tbs flour (or rice flour for gluten-free)
1 cup beef broth
1 Tbs dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp fish sauce (or soy sauce or tamari)
2 tsp dried dill (optional)*
1/3 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, add the beef (seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika) and cook until lightly browned, about 7-10 minutes per side, before setting aside.

2. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquids, the liquids have cooked off and the mushroom start to caramelize and turn light golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

3. Add the garlic, thyme and paprika, sprinkle on the flour and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

4. Add the broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan into the sauce with a wooden spoon.

5. Add the beef, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, and dill and either bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the beef is fall apart in your mouth tender, about 2-3 hours, OR transfer to a preheated 350F/180C oven and roast, covered, until the beef is tender, about 2-3 hours, OR transfer to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-10 hours or on high for 3-5 hours. Or cook in an Instant Pot for 15 minutes and Natural Release the pressure for 10 minutes.

6. Remove from heat, mix in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper.

7. Slow Cooker: Optionally skip steps 1-4 and just place everything in the slow cooker (except the sour cream) and cook as directed, for a quicker version.

8. Option: Start by cooking 4 strips bacon cut into 1 inch pieces and use the bacon grease to cook the steak and veggies in instead of oil and butter adding the bacon back into the sauce near the end!

9. Option: I like smoked hot paprika for this but your favourite type of paprika will work!

10. Option: I like dried dill in this but it is a none standard ingredient so feel free to omit it.

11. Option: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes with the garlic for a bit of heat.

12. Option: Add small onions in addition to the diced onion for even more onion flavour!

13. Option: Instead of the fish sauce use 1-2 tablespoons white miso paste.

14. Option: Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste to the sauce.

15. Option: Add 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese) for an even more flavourful sauce!

Servings: 6

Source: Kevin Lynch, Closet Cooking

Have a great day

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Shopping, Quiet Day, Cell Phone, Shower, Bean Sprouts Recall, Exercise Class,

Today was the day our cleaner comes and then I dash down to the grocery store and she brings it upstairs for me. She is such a super help. I could do with more people like that around.

Apart from the job of putting groceries away, it has been a quiet day and tomorrow will be another. I somehow managed to find lots I need to do though. Boring stuff but it has to be done.

This bloody cell phone I now own is driving me batty. It keeps ringing, just a short ring, and I don't know what for. I keep checking messages and stuff but I cannot find what it is notifying me about, if anything. So, if you find a future blog ranting incomprehensibly you will know what happened.

Thought you might like to know that the W I painted on the tiles in the shower seems to be working OK I haven't been fool enough to get in the shower with my watch on again.

Damn, I was intending to buy some fresh beansprouts for a recipe but I see they are on the food recall warning list today due to possibility of salmonella. Come to think of it, I ate some yesterday at Mandarin.

I went down to the exercise class and for a Wednesday it was busy, i.e. 4 of us, very often not too many people in the middle of the week. Because I seem to have twisted both knees now, I wasn't sure
what I would manage, but actually did quite well. Basically only one exercise I had to go a tad easy on although my hip was giving me gyp in another. Ain't old age wonderful. If you are getting on you know what I'm talking about, if you are still relatively young, you have lots of lovely aches and pains to look forward to. Oh, a couple of the members in the class assured us they had seen Robins. The American Robin, which is a thrush, is considered to be a harbinger of spring. It does have a lovely song, I honestly don't remember whether English Robins sing or not. It is of course called a Robin because it has a red breast which inspires comedians to say things like they had seen a robin but it turned out to be a pigeon with a chafed breast!!  No David, I am not trying to compete LOL. Although you probably think I should have included the Latin names.

Another quiet day tomorrow. (Thursday) maybe I can persuade myself to do a bit of sewing (repair work). The only housewifely duty I have ever been any good at is cooking and sewing has always been the bottom of the heap. At boarding school we had repair mornings on Saturdays and I used to tear off a button from my pyjamas and sew it back on, show it to the teacher and mostly I got away with it.

This looked quite a nice salad recipe - only thing is, I'm not sure we can get hominy round here. I do enjoy salads though and often have them for lunch.

Shrimp Salad with Hominy, Arugula and Lime

With similar ingredients you'd find wrapped up in taco, this brightly colored shrimp salad is light but
very much satisfying. Enjoy with chips and beer on a hot day.

1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbs orange juice
1/2 Tbs shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper

1 Tbs of olive oil
3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 29-ounce can hominy, rinsed and drained
3/4 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 avocado, quartered and thinly sliced
3 oz crumbled cotija cheese
4 cups baby arugula, packed
Salt Lime wedges

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the citrus juices, shallots, garlic, cumin, cayenne, honey and salt together until combined. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a thin and steady stream until the dressing becomes emulsified. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Pat dry and season peeled and deveined shrimp on both sides. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, heat for a minute or so, and drop in the shrimp. Cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side until shrimp are pink and slightly fried. Take off heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the hominy and sliced tomatoes to the mixing bowl and pour in half of the vinaigrette. Toss to coat and let sit for a few minutes.

3. Meanwhile finely chop the cilantro, thinly slice the avocado, and crumble half of the cotija cheese. Add the prepped ingredients to the shrimp and hominy mixture and fold in the arugula. Pour in the remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season the salad generously with kosher salt and a squeeze of lime juice.

4. Transfer salad to a serving platter, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6

Source: Food and Wine

Have a great day