Thursday, July 20, 2017

Big Pacific, Bowling,

Just saw the last episode of Big Pacific which showed how the camermen managed to get their shots. One section they were on an island littered - literally - with vipers. I wouldn't have been on that island for any money at all. Sorry to see the series end, it was very good.

Not a lot to talk about today. Although we none of us bowled that well today, our team is now in second place much to our surprise. Be nice if we could get to first place and stay there. Only got a few more games before the end of the summer season. Keeping our fingers crossed. I have certainly never been on a team that came in first so it would be a real thrill for me and for the rest of our team. So please keep your fingers crossed for us.

I always like rice dishes and this one looks good. It may be a lot of work but the spice mix can be made well ahead. I don't keep fenugreek and only ground versions of some of the pods mentioned but such things are all available these days..

Bariis Iskukaris (Somali-Style Rice)

Somali-style rice, when prepared for festive occasions, can be a satisfying meal on its own: The rice is cooked in a rich stock and often jeweled with pieces of meat and vegetables. This version of the dish comes from Ayaan and Idyl Mohallim, twin sisters who make their own xawaash, an aromatic spice mixture that is layered with fenugreek and turmeric. The finished rice is also generously seasoned with saffron, as well as softened peppers and raisins. At Thanksgiving, the rice is a versatile side with roast turkey and vegetables, and the day after, it's a great base for leftovers. You could easily use a vegetable stock in place of a meat stock for a vegetarian version, and add more
vegetables to the topping. The Mohallim sisters, on occasion, add blanched green beans to the mix.

FOR THE RICE:
4 cups Basmati rice
½ cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cinnamon sticks
5 whole green cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
2 tsp xawaash spice mix (see below)
8 cups chicken stock
1 tsp saffron threads, finely chopped
1 cup raisins
Salt

FOR THE XAWAASH (SOMALI SPICE MIX):
1 Tbs cumin seeds
1 Tbs coriander seeds
2 tsp dried whole sage
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 ¼ tsp ground ginger
8 green cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cinnamon stick

FOR THE TOPPING:
2 Tbs olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup raisins
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
Salt

1. Soak rice in cold water 30 to 45 minutes, then drain.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the xawaash: Combine all the spices in a spice grinder and finely grind. Set aside.

3. Prepare the topping: Heat olive oil in a wide, deep pot over medium-high heat and add the onions, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add raisins and allow to soften, about 2 minutes, then add red bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and set aside on a paper towel.

4. In the same pot, make the rice: Heat 1/2 cup oil. Add onions and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, cloves and xawaash and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

5. Stir in stock and rice. Bring to boil, then cover and cook on low heat 20 minutes. Stir in saffron and raisins and season to taste with salt. Cover, turn off heat and steam for 5 more minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, using a large spoon to pile rice in a heap onto a platter. Sprinkle topping over rice and serve.

Servings: 16

Source: The New York Times

Have a great day
 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Artificial Intelligence, Speech Habits, The Photo Ark,

Elon Musk, a man for whom I have enormous respect, is warning us all about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence saying it'sthe biggest risk we face as a civilization. Although novels, Isaac Asimov issued similar warnings with his stories. Look at 2001 with the AI there. Just because they are fiction does not mean it couldn't happen. Through AI people would lose jobs and in the end it would be the AIs which make critical decisions for the human race. If any were left that is. If Elon Musk thinks we are running into problems, the world should listen.

As I told you, last night we went for supper at the Red Lobster. One of the waitresses was chatting to a couple behind me and her conversation was littered with the word 'like" There are so many people who cannot talk without constantly using that word. For others it is the constant use of "you know". Why oh why doesn't someone tell them about what they are doing? It is dreadful to listen to, particularly when it happens on the media.

Creatures of the Photo Ark - photographer Joel Satore: this was a programme we watched on PBS on Tuesday night. Joel Sartore travels the world photographing rare animals which are on the brink of extinction and the collection is retained at his local zoo. This particular programme was a visit to Florida Keys and Madagascar. in Florida he particularly 'visited' the key deer which are a rare animal and only live in the Keys. 120 of them are killed on the roads every year. In Madagascar he photographed the most amazing chameleons some quite tiny and one as small as his thumbnail. Also lots of different lemurs.

It always annoys me when recipes call shrimp scampi. Scampi is a different type of shellfish albeit very similar but tasting different.

Grilled Shrimp Scampi

Best shrimp on the grill I have ever made! I served with lemon spaghetti and had grilled asparagus on the side. The intense garlic flavor really complimented the lemony flavor of the pasta

1/4 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced garlic
ground black pepper
1/4 tsp  crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 lbs shrimp

1. In a medium, non-reactive bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, black pepper and crushed red pepper.

2. Set aside.

3. Thread thawed shrimp onto skewers and cover with marinade for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat grill for high heat.

5. Grill, brushing occasionally with extra marinade, for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until done.

Servings: 4

Author: Chippie1
Source: Food



Have a great day

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

CSC, Red Lobster,

I have just completed a questionnaire for the group who run our exercise classes, Community Support Connections. They also do Meals on Wheels and many other services. I didn't know they also sell frozen meals. Interesting, might look into that and see if they are edible!!! Would give me a break now and then. I have a nasty suspicion they would not appeal to us although they sound alright on paper. Same with the Meals on Wheels, I have a list of sample menus which also sound OK, but.... not that I am planning to have them of course. Thankfully I can still manage to cook. Our tastes would be pretty hard to satisfy I think. I may be doing them an injustice of course.

Matt had his senior driving test, well really an acuity or cognitive test, they don't have to drive or anything. Then we went to get/order his new license. No idea how long that will take but they gave him a temp license well into October!!! It was all a tad stressful so I decided I was going to go on strike and we went out to supper at the Red Lobster. It just so happens they are having a crab fest at the moment so guess what I chose? There were Snow Crab legs and Dungeness Crab legs. Prefer the Dungeness, more meat. Together with a corn on the cob which was good too. I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful. Matt had stuffed mushrooms and then had my favourite their chocolate wave cake. I had a taster but that was all. I was even good and only ate one of their biscuits.

I really like the looks of this recipe and think these would be very "moreish" but will probably never make it as I do not have a stand mixer and the thought of vigorously stirring with a wooden spoon does not appeal. I could have done it once, but not these days.

Pão De Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Pão de queijo, which means “cheese bread” in Portuguese, is a delightful snack from Brazil made with tapioca flour (meaning it's gluten-free) and cheese. Our recipe calls for both Parmesan, which adds a sharp and salty flavor, and farmer's cheese, which is creamy and milky. You definitely want
both!

½ cup whole milk
¼ cup ( ½ stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 cups tapioca flour
2 large eggs
5 oz fresh farmer's cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
2 oz crumbled Parmesan (about ½ cup)

1. Arrange a rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°. Heat milk, butter, salt, and ¼ cup water in a large saucepan over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add flour; vigorously stir with a wooden spoon until dough is dry and shaggy, about 10 seconds. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl. Let cool 5 minutes.

2. Beat mixture on low speed just until dough starts to come together, about 30 seconds (alternatively, vigorously stir with a wooden spoon). Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat on low speed until incorporated (dough will look broken at first, then come together). Continue to beat on low speed until dough is smooth, sticky, and somewhat stretchy; do not overbeat or dough will lose its stretch. Add farmer cheese and Parmesan and beat on low speed until evenly distributed.

3. Using a 1?-oz. ice cream scoop, portion dough and transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, spacing about 2" apart (alternatively, form dough into ping pong ball-sized pieces with your hands).

4. Bake 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue to bake until pão are very light brown, with some darker brown speckles all over (that’s the cheese), and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, 20-25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: MAKES ABOUT 18

Author: Rick Martinez
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day
 

Monday, July 17, 2017

30,000 Elephants a Year, This 'n' that,

I have an idea I stated that 3,000 elephants a year are being slaughtered. I goofed. it is 30,000 a year. Soon we will not have any elephants. I corrected my figure after receiving an appeal from the National Geographic. They together with the World Wildlife Fund and others are trying desperately to stop this terrible massacre of elephants, rhinos and other African wildlife. If you can donate to this worthy cause, I beg you to do so. If we lose this wildlife our world will be a poorer place for all of us. Donate today to fund efforts to protect elephants, the critical habitats they need, and threatened wildlife around the world. 
This link will connect you to the National Geographic site. Or you can donate to the World Wildlife Fund.

Having got our new wall unit air conditioner, we had both forgotten that the extract the moisture from the air and drip it outside. This means if you don't use a bucket the balcony below gets dripped on. Mind you, below us the balconies are unusable as they have no walls. Anyway, had to grab our one and only bucket to deal with the dripping. More or less everything which was on the balcony is in our storage area so the bucket we used to use is well tucked away. Will have to move it when they start taking our balcony apart anyway.

Writing this, we are in the middle of one hell of a thunderstorm, one crack of thunder right overhead nearly made me jump out of my skin. Lots and lots of rain.

I was looking for a recipe for scallops. I came across one I liked and then discovered it was for 12 people and didn't look adaptable. Then I came across this one which sounded pretty good. Haven't made it yet, maybe next week.

Seared Scallops with Mustard Vermouth Sauce

20 fresh large scallops, small side muscle removed
3-4 tbsp grape seed oil (or canola)
Sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 oz vodka
¼ cup vermouth
¼ cup 35% whipping cream
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Thoroughly dry the scallops by laying and folding them within a double layer of paper towel.

2. Pre-heat a heavy-duty skillet over high heat then add oil. When it is almost smoking, season the scallops with salt and pepper and sear them briefly, 1-2 minutes per side, so they are golden on the outside, and still tender inside.

3. Remove them from the pan and pour in vodka to de-glaze, allowing it to flame. When flame subsides, add the vermouth, mustard and cream and reduce to a sauce like consistency. Whisk in the green onions serve immediately.


Author: Michael Smith
Source: Food Network

Have a great day
 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday Recipe

Cucumber is such a refreshing food. I was all prepared to suggest using English cucumbers when I saw that was what was being used in this recipe. Funnily enough the meat in the picture looks just like the Pork Tenderloin Diablo I posted (and cooked) a few weeks ago.

Cucumber, Carrot and Orange Salad

1 large navel orange
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 English cucumber, shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler (about 1 cup)

1. Peel and section orange; squeeze membranes over a bowl to extract juice. Add oil, vinegar, salt, and cayenne pepper to juice, stirring with a whisk. Add orange sections, red onion, cilantro, cucumber, and carrot; toss gently to combine.

Servings: 4

Tips
To get wide, even strips from all sides, slightly rotate the cucumber and carrot after you remove each ribbon with a vegetable peeler. Thinly slice the slender cores and add to the salad for more crunch.

Source: Cooking Light

Have a great weekend
 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Air Conditioner, Bowling, Bastille Day,

Hooray, we have air. Mind you it's almost like winter out there, but we have air if we want it. We are now as poor as church mice but we have air and of course brakes etc. on the car.. He had one heck of a job removing the old one and another heck of a job getting the new one into the sleeve, but eventually he managed it. Was supposed to have someone with him but who knows what happened to him. This picture basically shows you how they work. The sleeve is part of the apartment and the unit slides (joke) in. Mind you, if we ever decide to move, I have a feeling we won't be able to take the unit with us.

After lunch, we went bowling as usual. We ended up with lots of noisy kids. Never known the place to be so bad. We played two games and Matt groused all through them. So we went home. Pity, I was bowling really well. The young man in charge today, said he enjoys kids and gets on well with them, good for him. There was one couple, the youngest kid was kicking his brother and his brother ended up howling his eyes out. That same howler was making enough noise for 6 kids, didn't seem able to speak below a shout. Not only that, there were a whole bunch of women having a pot luck and then bowling. One of the winter leagues I think. In themselves not particularly noisy but it all added to the general noise level. Great for business, not for us.

Today is July 14 or in France Bastille Day le quatorze Juillet. a day of national celebration. I can't believe they invited Mr. Trump to join them even though he has run down France quite a lot. However, I guess he is the President.

Some people wouldn't go near this recipe because of the prunes, but although I haven't yet tried it, I think the combination would be excellent and give a good flavour to the pork.

Pork Tenderloin With Shallots and Prunes

Porc aux pruneaux, which is a classic, is by no means fancy, and it is always much more old-fashioned bistro or grandmotherly than high end. Simply put, it is a pork roast with red-wine-soused prunes. Hardly elegant, although it doesn’t have to be heavy either. In France, countless versions of the dish are made in neighborhood joints and at home. Sometimes a large loin or shoulder roast is used, sometimes pan-fried chops. Here we use a lightly brined pork tenderloin, adding stewed shallots to the sauce for depth and texture, and a touch of ginger for brightness. While the roast is in the oven, the shallots simmer with the wine and prunes for the sauce. The dark red sauce (rather
unctuous really) is both sweet and tart, with a boozy hint of Madeira. It strikes a Middle European chord somewhere deep within. Serve with sweet potatoes or garnet yams roasted in their skins.

FOR THE BRINED PORK:
3 Tbs kosher salt
3 Tbs brown sugar
¼ tsp allspice berries, crushed
¼ tsp black peppercorns, crushed
2 bay leaves
Few thyme branches
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed, about 1 pound

FOR THE SAUCE AND ROAST:
4 oz pitted prunes, about 16 large
½ cup dry red wine
½ tsp grated ginger
½ tsp grated orange zest
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
3 to 4 large shallots, finely diced, about 1/3 cup
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 Tbs Madeira or port, optional
2 tsp potato starch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water.

1. To brine the pork: Dissolve the salt and brown sugar in 2 cups cold water in a glass or stainless steel bowl large enough to hold the tenderloin. Add the allspice, peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme. Submerge the meat, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours (overnight is better). Before cooking, remove the tenderloin, pat dry and bring to room temperature. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. To make the sauce and roast: Simmer the prunes in the red wine until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the ginger and orange zest, and steep for 10 minutes

3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly brown the tenderloin, about 3 minutes per side. (Turn off heat and use the same pan to make the sauce.) Transfer the tenderloin to a small roasting pan. Roast uncovered for about 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 140 degrees. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. (Residual heat will cause the meat to continue to cook a bit while resting.)

4. To finish the sauce, melt the butter in the reserved skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and thyme, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened, stirring with a wooden spoon. Scrape up any browned bits to enrich the sauce. Add chicken broth, turn up the heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in the prunes and wine, and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add the Madeira if using. Taste and correct the seasoning, then add the potato starch mixture and cook for another minute to thicken. Spoon sauce and prunes over the sliced tenderloin.

Servings: 4

Source: The New York Times

Have a great day

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dolmas, Recipe Emails, BB Creations, Elephants,

Wednesday, Denise of My Life in Retirement posted pictures of grapes and leaves. In the comments people we  talking about stuffed vine leaves. Dolmas in Greece. It reminded me of many years ago when Matt was working in a young offenders prison in the UK and one of his inmates was a Greek Cypriot. One day his mother visited and brought a whole casserole dish of Dolmas for her son and because her son liked Matt, he offered some to him who thoroughly enjoyed them. He was full of praises for them when he came home and I was jealous. A week or so later she visited again and brought a large casserole dish of them especially for Matt. They were delicious. We have made them ourselves a number of times but Matt always used to roll them, my fingers just don't work on something like that. I am not good on the fiddly stuff.

I was thinking last night about the emails I get which offer me "the best 36 chicken recipes" or "16 ways to cook fish" etc. etc. I mostly ignore them. If I want to plough through lots of recipe for something I can do it through Google, but mostly I don't. Please, present me with one or even two recipes a day, and that's quite enough thank you. Got one today for dozens of ways of cooking pork chops. Grrr.

I was delighted to see that Birgit of BB Creations tried the curried shrimp recipe I posted a few days ago. She said it was very good. She also said some very nice things about me. Thanks Birgit.

Just watching a programme about elephants, had to leave, getting to stressful. There is a group of orphans being led by a very young matriarch - 16 I think. All 7 of their adults were killed by poachers. One elephant is killed every 15 minutes. I could kill the poachers with no hesitation, it really upsets me.

Of course I had to include a recipe for Dolmas didn't I? Including a link to the website from which I copied the recipe. This has some good pictures of how to actually make the dolmas.

Dolmas

Dolmas or dolmades are very versatile; they can be eaten cold or warm. Traditionally dolmas containing meat are eaten warm with a yogurt sauce that is lightly flavored with garlic. Rice filled dolmas are served cold with a drizzling of lemon juice and olive oil. Dolmas usually have a combination of spices that are both savory and aromatic, a culinary practice of Arab origins.

8 oz grape leaves 1 jar, preserved grape leaves
1 1/2 cups rice
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion medium, diced
2 Tbs pine nuts
1/4 cup currants dried
1/4 tsp allspice
1 Tbs mint fresh, chopped
1/2 cup parsley fresh, chopped
3/4 cup water
Sauce
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp sugar
4 Tbs lemon juice, fresh squeezed

1. To make the sauce: Mix olive oil, sugar and lemon.

2. In a bowl place cooked rice, currants, mint, parsley, and allspice. Mix well.

3. In a small skillet saute the onions and pine nuts in the olive oil until onions are translucent. Remove from skillet and add to rice mixture. Mix well.

4. Rinse grape leaves and pat dry.

5. Place leaf flat on a large cutting board.

6. Place a heaping teaspoon of the rice mixture near the bottom of the leaf.

7. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the rice, and bring the sides inwards following the guide you created.

8. Roll tightly to form a cigar shape.

9. Place seam side down in a skillet lined with the grape leaves.

10. Pour olive oil sauce mixture and water over the dolmas, and weigh down with a plate.

11. Cover and cook on low for about 40 minutes.

12. Allow dolmas to cool in the pan.

13. Transfer to a serving platter and refrigerate for about 2 hours before serving.

Yield: 40

Author: Analida's Ethnic Spoon

Have a great day

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wildlife Art, Car Repair, A/C

Facebook does have its uses. Today it brought this video of our son-in-law's art and I thought you might like to see it. I warn you it is quite a long video but really worth looking at. They are mostly done in acrylics but there are some oils. There is a link on this blog to his current art.



I told you it had to be Mercury Retrograde. We now have an expensive car bill to deal with. It ended up Matt came home having left the car to be repaired. This meant that our usual Tuesday afternoon shop had to be abandoned. I complained the garage that we would starve. He thought that was funny. The A/C is now supposed to be installed on Thursday. The tech apologised but as he said, it was out of his control.

This really appeals to me, I like the idea of mini meals in muffin tins, but have never tried it, here is one I might have a go at. For those of you who don't like lamb, I assume you could sub beef instead but that will be such a shame. Obviously the two unusual items, ras al hanout and Aleppo Pepper are an essential item to make this an African spiced dish.

African Spiced Lamb and Spaghetti Squash Mini Lasagnas

Lamb and Squash

1 small spaghetti squash
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, minced
1 lb ground lamb
10 dried apricots, finely chopped
2 tsp ras el hanout
8 oz tomatoes (I used fresh, but a can and juices would work well too)
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tbs peanut butter
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Coconut Bechamel and Garnish

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup flour
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
Fresh feta
Aleppo Pepper
Cilantro, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375º. Stab squash all over with a knife or fork and microwave on high for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. It should be soft to the touch (but touch it with a towel, it will be hot!). Let it rest while you cook the lamb. Heat 1 T oil in a pan over medium heat and sautée onion with a pinch of salt until beginning to brown. Add 1/2 of garlic and stir until aromatic. Remove to a bowl. Add 1 T oil and cook lamb until cooked through. Add spice mix and hearty pinch of salt and stir to combine. Add onions, tomatoes, apricots and broth, cover and simmer until tomatoes have broken down and liquid starts to thicken (about 5 minutes). Stir in peanut butter until mixture has thickened. Cut squash in half, remove seeds and gently shred with a fork. Heat a pan and toast almonds until brown. Remove. Melt 1 T butter and cook squash for a few minutes. Add remaining garlic and cook until squash begins to brown and liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat coconut oil in a pot and stir in flour cooking for a few minutes. Whisk in coconut milk and broth and continue stirring until thickened, but smooth. Salt to taste. Oil muffin tins. Place a won ton wrapper in each so that the corners go up the sides. Place a spoon of squash, then lamb, then Béchamel into each. Place another won ton wrapper on top rotated 90º and push gently in the center. Sprinkle almonds, then squash, lamb, sauce again. Bake in oven 15 minutes or until edges are browned, rotating halfway through. Sprinkle with cilantro and aleppo pepper and, if you wish, feta

Yield: 12 mini lasagnas

Source: savorthis

Have a great day
 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A/C, Produce, Cornish Hens,

Well, we didn't get our new A/C on Monday. For some reason the unit hadn't 'been released' from somewhere in Cambridge (next town) so they didn't get it before we had to leave for our doctor's appointment. Thought that might be quick, but my appointment was 2:30 and I finally got in shortly after 3. I was a tad p*ssed. Well, I guess we both were. So once again we were up early for no reason. I'm hoping to hear from the A/C people early in the morning.

Monday lunchtime saw me finishing off the last fresh asparagus of the season. Now I have to wait a whole year again. Mind you, I froze quite a lot, plus I bought three jars of pickled asparagus. I also have lots of honey from the farm too. I would love to get corn from them but unfortunately Matt doesn't enjoy corn so it isn't worth going all that way for two cobs of corn. Corn is something which needs to be eaten the day it is picked. I can buy it fairly fresh in my local grocery store once the season starts and I make do with that. I do enjoy it but not as much as if it had been picked that morning.

For some reason I have never cooked Cornish Hens, don't know why, I have always enjoyed them. I remember the first time I ever ate them was in North Carolina where a neighbour cooked them for my birthday dinner one year and that's got to be in the 80's. He made some kind of bread stuffing, never did get his recipe, and it was delicious. Never came across them in England, not sure why. I thought this recipe sounded pretty good and thought I might try it one of these days.

Herb-Roasted Cornish Hens with Root Vegetables

2 1- to 1-1/2- pounds Cornish game hens
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 small turnips, peeled and cut into wedges
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
3 Tbs olive oil or cooking oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp salt

1. Skewer neck skin of hens to back; tie legs to tail. Twist wings under back. Place hens, breast up, on a rack in a large shallow roasting pan. Place carrots, parsnips, turnips, and onions around hens in pan. Combine oil, garlic, rosemary, oregano, and salt; brush onto hens and vegetables.

2. Roast, uncovered, in a 375°F oven for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until hens are no longer pink and the drumsticks move easily in their sockets.(Internal temperature should be 180° F with an instant-read thermometer.) During roasting, turn vegetables occasionally. Transfer hens from roasting pan to serving platter. Cover and keep warm. Remove rack from roasting pan. Stir vegetables. Increase oven temperature to 450°F. Continue roasting vegetables for 15 to 20 minutes more or until tender and browned.

3. To serve, using a slotted spoon, spoon vegetables around hens on platter. Makes 4 servings.

Servings: 4

Source: Better Homes and Gardens®.

Have a great day
 

Monday, July 10, 2017

A/C, Pavlova, Avon, Internet,

For those of you who are interested, we got the estimates for the air conditioner on Friday. It would cost us $600 odd (plus 13% tax) for replacement parts with no guarantee that the compressor wouldn't conk out soon after. The other option is a new unit which will cost $1,600 including tax. We opted for the replacement. The other one lasted us 16 years so doesn't owe us anything. They are going to have the devil of a job removing it mind you, it was really driven in there 16 years ago. If this unit lasts 16 years too we will be quids in. Always assuming we last 16 years ourselves of course.


This is my second version of my strawberry Pavlova. This one is loaded with macerated strawberries and I think will be much better.

It wasn't until I came to post this picture that I realised I hadn't posted a blog for Saturday. By the time I did, it was basically too late and so it is now Monday's blog.

Today, I met my new Avon lady and she and I came to a similar agreement that I had with a previous representative, so I am back to selling Avon, I hope!!!

Is it Mercury Retrograde or something? Last week the air conditioner and this week my internet. After chatting with the tech support people they decided it must be the modem. I hate to think how many modems I have had. They must be very unreliable. However, I got my new one and plugged it in and am back in business. Funny how many times I thought "I'll look it up on the internet" only to realise I couldn't.

Monday lunch will see the last of my fresh asparagus so now I will be miserable until next year.

I have a feeling I may have posted this recipe before, but it is one that really appeals to me.

Caramelized Pear on Warm Brie

1 green onion
2 tsp (10 mL) butter
1 pear, diced
pinch each salt and cinnamon
1/4 cup (50 mL) pear juice or apple juice
3 Tbs (50 mL) chopped pecans
1 Tbs (15 mL) SPLENDA® Brand Brown Sugar Blend
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp (5 mL) cider vinegar
1 round (200 g) Brie cheese

1. Thinly slice green onion, keeping white and green parts separate.

2. In nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat; fry pear, white part of onion, salt and cinnamon for 5 minutes or until pear is softened.

3. Add pear juice, pecans, SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend, thyme and vinegar; boil, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until no liquid remains.

4. Place Brie on ovenproof serving dish; top with pear mixture. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is softened. Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green part of onion.

Servings: 8

Source: Splenda

Have a great day

Friday, July 7, 2017

Air Conditioning, Bowling, TV

What a morning we had on Thursday. We both got up at 6 expecting the A/C company to arrive between 8 and 10 and, on the principle that if you aren't ready something happens, we both got cracking anticipating their arrival. Around 8:45 we got a call from the company saying the technician was outside but had realised we live in a high rise building (9 floors is a high rise?) and they didn't do high rises. Why on earth not? There are balconies etc. Anyway, she gave me the name of a company who did so I phoned them right away and a technician eventually arrived at about 10:30 which impressed me. He took off the front and checked everything out. Phoned the company who made the machine and parts are still available although they wouldn't price them because they had to be obtained through a retail company!!!! Puts the price up no doubt. Anyway, he departed and said they would let me have a quote ASAP.  He also gave me the filter to clean, after 16 years it was pretty filthy.

We then rushed through lunch and headed for the bowling alley where I proceeded to beat Matt three times. Apparently they had 30 kids bowling downstairs and today they are having 81 kids (not normally open) but business is business I guess. Can you imagine, 81 kids at once. Phew.

Dropped off the DVD at the library. Meant to go in and tell them this copy was OK but was tired by this time which is why I didn't write this blog til Friday morning. After dinner I watched TV starting with Jeopardy, then Father Brown and finally Poldark. I don't watch much TV!!!

I thought this might be a useful recipe to have.

Sugar-Free Cheesecake

A rich and creamy, crustless cheesecake made without sugar!

7 eggs
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp no-calorie sweetener, granulated
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 cups cream cheese
1/2 tsp fresh lemon peel (optional)
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line bottom of a 9" springform pan with baking paper. Lightly coat paper and sides of pan with cooking spray.

2. Separate eggs. Reserve 3 yolks, and discard 4 yolks. Set aside.

3. In small bowl, beat egg whites and salt with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

4. In separate mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup of the sweetener and 3 egg yolks until thick. Add lemon juice.

5. With mixer on low-medium setting, beat in cream cheese, a little at a time, until well blended and fluffy.

6. Add grated lemon peel, if desired, and mix in gently.

7. Gently fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture a little at a time, pulling egg whites up through cream cheese mixture.

8. Pour mixture into pan. Shake gently to level batter.

9. Bake 10 minutes at 400°F. Reduce temperature to 300°F and bake for another 40 minutes. When top of cake is set, turn off oven and keep oven door closed. Allow to cool for another hour in oven. Remove and continue to cool on a wire rack.

10. To make the topping: In small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of sweetener with sour cream and vanilla extract. Spread on top of cheesecake when completely cooled.

Servings: 12

Source: dLife



Have a great day
 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A/C, Bowling, Driving License,

Gonna be short because we watched Big Pacific and The Great Yellowstone Thaw and then I remembered the A/C people are coming between 8 and 10 in the morning. You can bet if we aren't ready, they will be here at 8.

Bowling went fairly well today, we clocked up 5 of the 7 points but don't know where we lie as a team at the moment. Will find out on Thursday.

I also renewed my driver's license online today, never done that before. Only valid for 2 years and then I have to go for the old fogey's test LOL. Matt goes for his second one on July 17.

Right, night all.

Can't go wrong with shrimp

Coconut Shrimp Curry

This Coconut Shrimp Curry features delicious shrimp in a coconut curry that's perfect over cooked rice and ready in only 25 minutes! Super easy, one pot and tons of flavors!

For Shrimp Marinade
1 lb extra-large shrimp peeled and deveined
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper freshly ground
1/7 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs lemon juice
For the sauce
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbs fresh ginger minced
1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp curry powder
14.5 oz diced tomatoes
13.5 oz coconut milk
fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
cooked rice for serving

1. In a small bowl toss the shrimp with the marinade ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

2. While the shrimp is marinating, heat the oil in a medium size skillet. To it add the onion, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Stir in the garlic, ginger, pepper, salt, coriander, turmeric and curry powder. Cook for another minute.

3. Add the diced tomatoes with juices and all, the coconut milk, stir and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the shrimp with the accumulated juices from the marinade and cook for another 2 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.

4. Serve over hot rice and garnish with cilantro or parsley.

Servings: 4

Source: Jo Cooks
Author: Joanna Cismaru


Have a great day
 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wimbledon, Mandarin, Shopping, A/C,

I was surprised to learn that Wimbledon is 140 yrs old.  I was also surprised to learn that in the two weeks of the tennis matches they go through 54,000 tennis balls. that's one hell of a lot of tennis balls. apparently a new ball is required regularly (when I used to play, we used the same all balls for ages). They usually ended up being pretty grungy looking too. I guess the tennis ball manufacturers must love tennis tournaments. I always wanted to play tennis with a ball boy, so much easier than chasing after an errant ball yourself. Needless to say it didn't happen, or at least, extremely infrequently.

Well, I had my chocolate covered bacon today (Tuesday) and enjoyed it very much. My friend could
hardly bear to watch me eat it and Matt has never even tried it. Also had some Maple Glazed Salmon which was actually a tad dry. Not sure why, their salmon is usually very good. Our friend even tried half a cabbage roll - not very Chinese at all. Nor is chocolate covered bacon I guess.  They also had bannocks which I think of as Scottish but they came over with the first immigrants and were adopted by the Indians I gather. Hope I get to go again before the end of the month of celebration for Canada's 150th.  There were some bear paws on the dessert tray too which Matt tried. He ate it all so I guess he liked it. Didn't say. They weren't as big as some bear paws I've seen.

After, we went shopping and the cashier was one I had talked to last week and given my blog address too. She said she had been looking at my recipes but hadn't had time to try any yet. As a working girl you don't really get a lot of time to cook and, as I recall, often feel too tired to do so anyway. Then I took Rogue One back to the library and told them it was unplayable. The librarian found me another copy and I played that fine - I enjoyed it very much. A good prequel.

Having eaten a large lunch we decided to have Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Parmesan, fairly light dish for supper. Will be the last time we can have it til next year. Still got some asparagus left, but nearly at the end. I froze a lot but not the same thing at all.

Thursday morning we have a company coming to look at the A/C. I believe it is totally shot which means a new machine. Problem is it was really pushed into the wall sleeve and I believe will be very difficult to get out. Thank goodness at the moment it isn't too hot.

This is obviously a McCormick's recipe but it sounded so delicious. Whether we can get the marinade mix here or not I don't know.

Island Woodfire Shrimp with Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple

1 package McCormick® Grill Mates® Island Woodfire Grill Marinade
1/4 cup oil
2 Tbs cider vinegar
2 Tbs water
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 slices bacon
1/2 ripe pineapple

1. Mix Marinade Mix, oil, vinegar and water in small bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup for brushing. Place shrimp in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add remaining marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 15 minutes or longer for extra flavor. (Marinate seafood no longer than 30 minutes.)

2. Meanwhile, cut bacon slices in half to make 16 pieces. Place 2 layers of paper towels on microwaveable plate. Place 8 pieces of bacon in single layer on paper towels. Cover with 1 layer of paper towel. Microwave on HIGH 2 to 4 minutes or until bacon is partially cooked. Repeat with remaining bacon. Set aside.

3. Peel pineapple then halve lengthwise. Cut off core from each half. Slice pineapple crosswise so pieces are same thickness as shrimp. Wrap 1 piece bacon around each pineapple slice. Remove shrimp from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Alternately thread 2 shrimp and a bacon-wrapped pineapple onto each skewer.

4. Grill skewers over medium-high heat 4 to 6 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through, turning occasionally and brushing with reserved marinade.

Servings: 16

Author Notes: (1 skewer) Servings


Have a great day


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th July, Fireworks, Canada


Right now it is Monday night and there have been no fireworks whatsoever. We heard quite a few last night but I didn't think it was nearly enough for the two big areas that have displays which are basically on either side of us although we can't really see the fireworks from our windows. There are lots of other fireworks let off in the area which we can see however. In recently years I have become anti fireworks because of the fear they cause in animals and I am not just talking about domestic pets but all the wild animals in the area. Squirrels and birds to name a few and I wouldn't mind betting there are one or two foxes around here too. Plus a number of other wild animals I am not clever enough to name. In the States you will be having your own banging Tuesday night. I wish you all a Happy day. I was wrong, there are some fireworks now, it is gone 11 p.m.

We will kind of be celebrating too because we are meeting a friend at the Mandarin. In fact for the whole month of July they are celebrating our 150th birthday by serving what they consider typical Canadian foods including the dreaded Poutine - sorry but it does NOT appeal to me. However, the bacon dipped in chocolate does appeal to me. There will also be salmon cooked with Maple syrup to name another food they are serving. There are others, but I don't remember them all right now. I will say, they do a very good salmon at the Mandarin, I often have it even if I don't think it is very Oriental.

We watched an interesting programme tonight about being Canadian and how others perceive us. It was quite funny in places, but it is true many people south of the border haven't a clue about the country at all.  We are the second biggest country in the world for a start. They say we are very polite, I don't think that's very true personally, but what do I know, I am only an import even though I have been here for 42 years. They were asking non Canadians the name of our capital city and some gave Province names.

Gotta do a Maple Salmon recipe now don't I?

Maple Salmon

"This is the best and most delicious salmon recipe, and very easy to prepare. I love maple in everything and put this together one night. My husband totally loved it; he did not like salmon that much until he had this."

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 lb salmon

1. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.

2. Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.

3. Preheat oven to 400°F (200° C).

4. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.

Servings: 4

Author: STARFLOWER
Source: Allrecipes Magazine

Have a great day
 

Monday, July 3, 2017

DVD, Baking, Pavlova,

Friday evening I was somewhat frustrated. I decided to watch the DVD of Rogue One and found that it wouldn't play on either computer or my DVD player. Don't know what's the matter with the DVD but it sure didn't work for us. I decided to try it again and despite trying twice before, this time it seemed to work. Later in the evening I put it on and started to watch and roughly half way through it started seizing up. In the end I gave up.

I was cooking a recipe for Crispy Lamb on Saturday - I have made it once before, but this time I noticed it called for scallions, but only the green and white parts!!

For dessert on Saturday I used my shop bought Pavlova shell. Not surprised but somewhat disappointed that it was cracked when I opened the box. However, I filled the centre with whipped cream and added strawberries. Not many, but served it with a bowl of macerated berries too. It was delicious. I will certainly buy one of these shells again. The centre is not very deep so more cream could be added somewhere. Made a good dessert for Canada day. Talking of which, there are presently lots of fireworks, noisy ones, being let off outside our windows. Today is the day but I imagine the main shows will be on Monday.

So then we watched The Great British Baking Show and was quite surprised that the competitors were asked to make individual Yorkshire Puddings with fillings. I had never heard of that before, some of the fillings looked quite delicious. I then looked for a picture and liked the look of these so much, I saved the recipe. I love smoked salmon almost any which way. The recipe doesn't say whether the oven temp should be C or F so I have asked R.R. Spink for clarification.  I am pretty sure they mean centigrade. Being somewhat lazy these days, I might well try this with pre-made Yorkshire puds. I would only want a few anyway so hardly worth making a whole batter.

Cold Smoked Salmon with Crushed Peas in Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Horseradish

Using delightfully British ingredients, this is one of our most imaginative smoked salmon recipes and works wonderfully for party canapés, or even as a light lunch snack.

1 packet of R.R. Spink and Sons Cold Smoked Salmon (100g)
150 g peas, fresh or frozen
1 small bunch of mint
100 ml fresh ricotta cheese
1 thumb sized piece of fresh horseradish (or 1 tbsp horseradish sauce)
Half a lemon, juice and zest
Pea shoots, to garnish

For the Yorkshire puddings

Sunflower or vegetable oil
2 large free range eggs
100 g plain flour
100 ml milk
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Pre-heat the oven to 225°

2. Place a teaspoon of oil into each cavity of a small muffin tin or cupcake tin; place in the oven to heat for 10-15 minutes until smoking hot.

3. Meanwhile, mix the milk, eggs and flour together to make a batter the consistency of double cream, season with salt and pepper.

4. Carefully, remove the muffin tray from the oven and fill each section ¾ full with the batter. Bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp and golden.

To make filling:

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil over a high heat, and the peas and cook for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and drain.

6. Cool the peas in a bowl of iced water for 5 minutes, drain and leave to drip dry for a further 5 minutes.

7. Once thoroughly drained, put he peas in a food processor and pulse until you get rough puree.

8. Grate the horseradish into the pea puree, then fold in the ricotta cheese, lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and black pepper.

9. Spoon some of the pea mixture into the warm Yorkshire puddings then top with the smoked salmon. Garnish with the peas shoots and a wedge of lemon.


Source: R.R. Spink and Sons

Have a great day
 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Canada Day, Saturday Recipe,

Wishing all my Canadian friends a very happy Canada Day weekend, it is Canada's 150th birthday and there are all kinds of celebrations arranged for today.


Having just been watching the Great British Bake Off I decided to use one of their recipes.

Mary Berry's Chocolate Cake

Try Mary Berry's chocolate cake recipe for a delicious and moist chocolate sponge cake with creamy chocolate icing. This easy chocolate cake recipe is simple and easy-to-follow, serving 6 people and taking only 50 mins to prepare and bake. Mary Berry's chocolate cake is perfect served with a drizzle of fresh cream for an indulgent dessert or afternoon snack with a cuppa. Store in an airtight container or cake tin for up to 2 days. If you have any of this moist chocolate cake recipe left after 2 days (unlikely!), we'd recommend warming a slice in the microwave for about 10 seconds and serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This is our best chocolate cake recipe and is part of Mary Berry's
three cakes in one recipe, taken from Mary Berry's Stress-free Kitchen. Mary Berry's chocolate cake will keep for 3 days in the fridge, but the icing will lose its shine.

For the chocolate cake:
3 large eggs
175 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
175 g (6 oz)caster sugar
175 g (6 oz) softened butter
1 ½ level tsp baking powder
40 g (1 ½ oz) cocoa powder
4 Tbs boiling water
A little icing sugar, to serve
For the chocolate spreading/ganache icing:
150 ml (5fl oz) double cream
150 g (5oz) plain chocolate, broken into pieces
4 Tbs apricot jam
You'll also need:
2 17cm (7 in) deep sandwich tins, greased and lined with non-stick baking paper

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas 4.

2. Beat together the eggs, flour, caster sugar, butter and baking powder until smooth in a large mixing bowl.

3. Put the cocoa in separate mixing bowl, and add the water a little at a time to make a stiff paste. Add to the cake mixture.

4. Turn into the prepared tins, level the top and bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 mins, or until shrinking away from the sides of the tin and springy to the touch.

5. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn on to a wire rack to become completely cold before icing.

6. To make the icing: measure the cream and chocolate into a bowl and carefully melt over a pan of hot water over a low heat, or gently in the microwave for 1 min (600w microwave). Stir until melted, then set aside to cool a little and to thicken up.

7. To ice the cake: spread the apricot jam on the top of each cake. Spread half of the ganache icing on the top of the jam on one of the cakes, then lay the other cake on top, sandwiching them together.

8. Use the remaining ganache icing to ice the top of the cake in a swirl pattern. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Servings: 6

Source: Recipe taken from Mary Berry's Stress-Free Kitchen by Mary Berry

Have a great Holiday Weekend
 

Friday, June 30, 2017

RIP Michael Bond,

I was so very sorry to hear of the passing of Michael Bond the author of the Paddington Bear stories plus his Monsieur Pamplemousse and his dog Pommes Frites stories which were such fun to read if not as famous. His daughter is a close friend of mine and my heart goes out to her and her family. This photo appeared in the Guardian who published an article about Mr. Bond. His obituary is here.

At bowling on Wednesday it turns out we moved from 5th to 4th place although we only scored three points. Long may it last. Thursday I won the first game, we tied the second game and Matt won the third game, so he was happy. The younger owner of the alley is on vacation from now. He takes the whole of July off. His dad takes June off and the grandson/son fills in the blanks. Really nice family.

Just finished watching Episodes 3 and 4 of Poldark. I am really enjoying the series. Glad I started last week.

Today, Friday, going to the farm to get my last batch of asparagus for the season and then I will be all miserable when it has gone. I've frozen a lot but it isn't the same. Ah well.

Grilled Asparagus with Pepper Zabaglione

3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3 Tbs vin santo or other lightly sweet dessert wine
2 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbs heavy cream
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt
2 lbs large asparagus
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Light a grill or heat a grill pan. In a heatproof medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the egg and vin santo. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water and vigorously whisk the eggs over moderate heat until the sauce holds firm peaks, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl of sauce from the heat.

2. In a small bowl, mix the butter with the heavy cream and pepper. Whisk the cream mixture into the sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Season the zabaglione with salt and keep warm.

3. In a large bowl, toss the asparagus with the olive oil and season with salt. Grill the asparagus over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until charred all over and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to plates.

4. Set the bowl of sauce over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk over low heat until thick and just heated through, about 1 minute. Spoon the sauce over the asparagus, sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.

Servings: 6

Author: Mario Batali

Have a great day