Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Bird's Eye, PSW, Carving, Taxes, Chipmunks,

It has occurred to me once or twice lately how much I miss Bird's Eye foods, we used to have them in the UK and in the States, but for some reason we don't have them in Ontario. They are specifically frozen foods and we used to enjoy a lot of their products. Seems odd we can get them in the US but not here. Same thing with Butter Buds which I used to use instead of the high calorie real thing. I can buy them through Amazon but they are very expensive.

Today, I am pleased to say the PSW came at 9 and is doing so again tomorrow.  Much better than 7. Not only that, it is the same guy twice in a row so he should be able to do the exercises with Matt without my participation. Turns out he is Colombian so I spoke to him in Spanish. He didn't understand me. I am working so hard at Spanish and he didn't understand me, I am mortified.

I cooked some flank steak at the weekend and we finished it Monday night. It has to be carved and I hate carving. I never did it until recently. When I was a young woman, carving was always done by the man of the house although in Georgian days, in a well to do family, everyone carved whatever cooked meat was served in front of them at the table. Either way, I never carved until recently and I am not good at it. I do try and keep the knives good and sharp of course, but.....

Because of this Covid-19 business the government is, apparently, shelling out some money for seniors, not sure why, but they are, and I was wondering if this money is going to be taxable. I remember, many years ago, when I was working, things were tough (I don't remember why) so companies were offered the choice of closing on Fridays and employees were paid by the government. Me being one of them When it came to tax time, we basically paid it all back. Seemed like a rip off to me.

David Gascoigne wrote about his new friend DB (David's Buddy) which is a chipmunk that feeds out of his  hand, which is so cure. However, it reminded me, we were on a campsite in Wawa, considerably north of here, a number of years ago, and I was watching chipmunks and wearing flip flops. I don't know if they mistook me for food, but one of them nipped my toe. I jumped, they fled.

I am sure you are all sick and tired of asparagus recipes and, bearing in mind the season is just about finished, I thought I would post something else. This looks pretty good to me.

Potato, Bacon, and Cheddar Tart

It’s crucial to use thinly sliced bacon here, (not thick-cut) to achieve an evenly crisp crust. Seek out new crop potatoes for this recipe; they cook more evenly than potatoes that have been in storage.
Save the bacon drippings for toast, basting roasted chicken, or for making cornbread.

2 lbs bacon (not thick-cut), at room temperature
2 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
1 3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 lb aged white cheddar cheese, grated (about 4 cups), divided
2 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 9 cups)
1 Tbs kosher salt, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle position. (A) Place 1 bacon slice in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet so that one end starts in center of skillet and extends along bottom and up side of skillet, allowing the other end to hang over skillet edge. Repeat process using remaining bacon slices, working in a circular pattern and overlapping slices slightly to completely cover bottom and sides of skillet. To reduce the thickness of overlapped bacon in center of skillet, stagger every other slice starting 2 inches from center (creating a longer overhang). Once all bacon is in place, flatten the center using the palm of your hand, ensuring there are no gaps in bacon. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon pepper evenly over bacon.

2. Stir together onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, and tarragon in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup cheese in an even layer over bacon in bottom of skillet. Starting around the inside edge of skillet and working in toward the center, arrange potato slices in concentric circles, overlapping slices by about 1/3 inch, until bottom of skillet is covered with a single layer of potatoes. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and about 1/3 cup onion mixture. Repeat layering process 5 times using remaining cheese, potatoes, pepper, salt, and onion mixture (sprinkle any remaining cheese over final layer). After each layer of potatoes, firmly press down to compact layers. Once all layers are in place, potato mixture will be mounded above rim of skillet.

4. Fold overhanging bacon neatly up and over top of potato mixture, working in a circular pattern and ensuring there are no gaps. To prevent the bacon from shrinking back during cooking, place a 5-inch parchment paper circle on center of tart; top with a small (about 6 inch) ovenproof lid. Place skillet on a rimmed baking sheet.

5. Bake tart in preheated oven until bacon is browned around edge of skillet, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove parchment paper and lid. Continue baking until bacon is crisp and a wooden pick inserted in potatoes comes out easily, about 1 hour and 30 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after 30 to 40 minutes to prevent overbrowning.

6. Remove tart from oven. Carefully pour off skillet drippings; discard or reserve for another use. Let tart rest in skillet 10 minutes. Using a spatula, loosen bottom and sides of tart; invert onto a rimmed baking sheet. Pat gently with paper towels to remove excess grease. Invert tart onto a serving plate. Slice into wedges, and serve hot.

Yield: 10 to 12

Source: Food and Wine

Author Notes
Tart can be assembled and refrigerated overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.

Seek out new-crop potatoes at your local farmers market.

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.


  1. We get Bird's Eye frozen goods here in Australia. They aren't cheap though.
    I saw David's newest friend. I agree - it is indeed very cute and I am not sure whether David or DB are luckier.
    Hooray for a bit of continuity with the PSW.

    1. How odd that we don't get them in Canada, at least not in Ontario Sue. True, both lucky I guess.

      Long may it last.

  2. I did not get any money from our government in the states as I did not qualify based on my income. But I did read that it is not taxable.
    Just Googled Birds Eye and see that they do sell in England. They also sell under various other brand names, like Freshlike, which is also available here.

    1. I should see whether it is taxable here.

      Didn't know that Denise, but as far as I know they are not here under any name.

  3. Here is the thing about South American Spanish, Jo, there are as many dialects as there are countries, and even within countries regional accents and words peculiar to the area. It is not always easy to communicate under such conditions. But he should have been able understand you. In fact, in my experience the Colombians speak Spanish very clearly. The worst for me is in Argentina, where the words are clipped and slurred, and there are numerous words and odd pronunciations not found elsewhere. And, like you I suspect, I go for months or years at a time and never speak a word of it so it gets more difficult when I am compelled to use it. The last time I spoke Spanish was in Panama in April last year, and I have no plans to go to a Spanish speaking country at any time in the future. My fluency will no doubt suffer. Hasta mañana querida amiga.

    1. Dunno why, I never thought of that David. After all I come from a country which is thick with regional accents. My Spanish is not that good yet anyway but I do lessons every day at the moment. Of course, when my parents lived in Spain I spoke a lot more when I was there. How's DB?

  4. DB is doing very well, thank you. He thinks he is lord over the backyard and if a grackle or a robin comes anywhere close he chases them off immediately, and then returns to my hand where he knows the food is reserved for him! Que loco pequeño hombre!

    1. Dunno about loco, seems quite sensible to me David.

  5. Hi Jo...Yes, it is taxable! I work in this business, being a Credit Counsellor so people should really be setting about $300/mth aside from that $2,000 but they are not so next year many people will be upset. It has been said more than once, on tv also but, I think, people hear benefit and $2,000 and shut out the rest. I wonder if the PSW speaks in their own Spanish dialect. It can be quite different since you are learning the proper Spanish. In German, "Machts Nichts" essentially means "don't worry" or something like that. That is the proper German but in Austria, in the Steirmark area_where Graz is, They says "Maks Niks" but in the Tyrol area, where the town of Innsbruck is, they say "Mats Nits". I know this because my Aunt , and other family members live in Graz and when I went to Hungary on a bus trip, there was a girl from Tyrol who said that saying in that matter. Anyway, glad he came at 9 and everything was done.

    1. Thanks for that information Birgit. Why bother to give it to us if it's taxable. Which is what I thought about the Friday payments years ago. Yes, I do realise accents end up changing all over the place, you should try travelling the UK.

  6. Hi Jo - well lots of good advice here ... and interestingly I don't buy Bird's Eye here ... but wrote about how the name came about. Take care - Hilary

    1. I used to love their pearl onions Hilary, and had a super recipe using them, can't remember what it was now, so long ago. How did the name come about?