Thursday, June 30, 2011

Medications, Murder, New Star?

Yesterday I was kind of listening to TV adverts whilst I was doing Happy Pillssomething else. They frequently advertise medications for various ailments, quite often depression, but not exclusively. When you hear them detail all the side effects possible, it makes me wonder who on  earth would ever take such medications, sounds like you are opening yourself up to far more problems than from the original one, not excluding death in some cases. I won’t name any names, but if my doc ever needed to give me these things, I am not sure I would consent to take them. I would have to be really ill I guess.

Dreadful story about a cop being killed by a 15 yr. old driver this week. The cop had pulled the kid over and was at the driver’s door when the vehicle suddenly accelerated. Apparently the kid too is in hospital with serious injuries which may leave him paralysed. Read the article here He has been charged with 1st degree murder. This makes me wonder, who is actually at fault, the youngster or the parents? I know I had an uncle who used to break into the my grandfather’s garage and steal the car when he was under age. He was a thorough tearaway until he was drafted into the RAF to do his national service and became a different man. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with youngsters, they need the discipline of the draft or national service to straighten them out.

This morning GMA revealed the video of the youngster they decided to make into a pop star in one week. Her name is Lexie St. George and much to my surprise, I actually quite enjoyed the video. Matt said it was monotonous and in one way he was right, but I still enjoyed the video. see what you think.

RoyalsToday Mr. & Mrs. Wales land in Canada and help us to celebrate Canada Day tomorrow. Apparently some of the younger generation couldn’t care less and I even saw a report that there is some resentment against them and yet they report that they are such a charming couple.

This recipe appealed to me when I saw it on Recipe du Jour the other day.

Spinach Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Peppercorn Dressing
2 cups torn spinachSpinach Pepper Salad
1 cup torn curly leaf lettuce
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup (2-inch) julienne-cut green bell pepper
1/4 cup vertically sliced onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine lemon juice and next 5 ingredients (lemon juice through pepper) in a bowl, and stir well. Pour over spinach mixture, and toss gently to coat. Makes 4

Have a great day


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Security, Vincenzo’s, Bombs, Movies, Dogs.

There is a lot of outrage, especially on Facebook, about airport security making a 95 yr. old woman, with cancer, remove her diaper. Now think about it. Everyone is so upset and criminals know that people would get upset and therefore that airport security might not take the risk of making a proper search, so they (the criminals) offer the woman several thousand dollars to carry something in a diaper on their behalf. In her case, she might well have accepted it for her family or anything, she could have even had a bucket list.  Apparently not so in this case, but that’s how criminal minds work. The security people are just doing their jobs. Many years ago, I had to remove a used sanitary pad plus take down my hair for exactly the same reason. Don’t blame security, blame the criminals.

Sometimes my head is like a sieve. I forgot to mention that when we went to Vincenzo’s on Monday, we did a bit more looking around and came across a glass case of goodies of all kinds, things like truffles, truffle oils, top class Balsamics and so on. Didn’t take note of all of them, a lot of them were in little bottles and jars and at least one item was priced at $90. Can’t see us ever buying anything from that case, wouldn’t mind taking a picture of it, wonder if they would let me? I wonder just how many people there are in this area who would buy such items? Its one thing to have the money, but you also have to have the interest. Another thing I saw, in my price bracket, were packs of baby meringues in different flavours. Very useful for desserts. Should check whether they have chocolate cups, local grocery stopped selling them because they broke so easily.

Scary report on GMA today, kids throwing dry ice bombs. These are made by putting dry ice and liquid into a bottle. The resulting explosions are extremely dangerous and the police are treating it as a crime.

Red Riding HoodLast night I watched Red Riding Hood which I rented from iTunes. Not a bad movie. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like, I quite enjoyed it. The big bad wolf is actually a werewolf and they call in a priest to be the hunter and he tells them it could be one of their neighbours or friends.

Funny pictures, a Chihuahua herding sheep and a sheep dog being herded by the sheep. The sheep dog is obviously wanting to do the job but is apparently frightened of the sheep. The Chihuahua, on the other hand seems quite prepared to do the job. They are very brave little dogs, my mother had two of them and they would take anything on. for a video showing Nancy the Chihuahua.

I love stuffed mushrooms and these look particularly delicious.

Spinach and Lemon Stuffed Mushrooms

By Dana Treat
WebMD Recipe from

Picture of Spinach and Lemon Stuffed Mushrooms Make a LOT of these because they will simply fly off the platter. These are a great party food, no plate or napkin necessary. Just pick up and eat. Repeat until full.


1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp. lemon juice
3 scallions, sliced thin
1/2 tsp. salt
24 large mushrooms, stems removed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup store-bought bread crumbs or Panko


For the topping: Process first 8 ingredients in food processor until smooth. Transfer to Ziploc bag until ready to use.

For the mushrooms: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil and set wire rack inside baking sheet. Toss mushrooms with oil, lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in bowl. Arrange mushrooms gill side up on rack and roast until juices are released, about 20 minutes. Turn caps over and roast until mushrooms are well browned, about 10 minutes.

Remove baking sheet from oven. Flip roasted mushrooms gill side up and cool slightly. Snip off one corner of the Ziploc and fill the mushrooms. (Mushrooms can be made to this point, up to three days ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.)

Press each cap (stuffing side down) into bread crumbs and arrange (topping side up) on rack. Bake until filling is hot and topping is golden, about 10 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted From "Cook’s Illustrated"

Total Servings: 24

Have a great day


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Monday

can canYesterday I went bowling and much to my amazement all went well although later my legs did ache somewhat. I even bowled quite well I am pleased to say. I just wish I knew when I could get the other leg done. I almost feel I could dance the can can. I would love to have found a moving pic of a dancer, wasn’t able to.

For supper we dropped in at Vincenzo’s on the way home and bought some samosas, quite large ones too. A couple of vegetable Capreseones and a couple of chicken. The vegetable were pretty spicy. Both were nicely seasoned and we enjoyed them. I also bought some Caprese (see pic) which wasn’t great because the tomatoes weren’t ripe. Plus some Greek butter beans which were also good, not a bad supper.

The striking post office workers have been legislated back to work and yesterday apparently they started sorting and supposedly we should start getting mail today. Matt still has two Father’s Day cards to come, I wonder how long that will take? I still get bank statements in the mail although I check our account every day anyway. I cannot reconcile on line because they call things by different names and also I do transfers which don’t necessarily match properly. Still by checking as I do, I don’t have any real problems.

Today Matt is having an emg on his arm, I am not fully sure what that is even though I looked it up. The docs are wondering if perhaps he is not having TIAs after all. Wouldn’t that be something? She, the doc, talked carpal tunnel, but I am quite sure it isn’t that, I’ve had that for years. It sure ain’t what Matt has.

Watching GMA they are trying to make a pop star from an unknown in one week. Trouble is, the kid they’ve chosen can’t sing. I have no doubt she’ll make it, in my opinion most of the kids out there can’t sing anyway.

Caprese2Here is a Caprese recipe. I have always bought it made of little bocconcini cheeses, baby Mozzarella and grape or cherry tomatoes, however, sliced cheese and tomatoes work so long as the tomatoes are ripe and the cheese is really fresh.

Insalata Caprese

Epicurious | September 1996

by Faith Willinger
Red, White & Greens

(Tomato and Mozzarella Salad)

Insalata caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) is the perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry; slicing is the hardest part. The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for regulars out for a light lunch. They'd order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cow's-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products; everywhere else in Italy it takes the form of tomato, mozzarella and basil.

The dressing is always a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil — only. Vinegar would destroy the delicate flavour of the cheese and is never used. Because this salad is so simple, top-rate ingredients are imperative: Hothouse tomatoes and rubbery processed mozzarella are unacceptable.

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6untitled


2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup packed fresh basil or arugula leaves, washed well and spun dry
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled, if using arugula instead of basil
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fine sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste


On a large platter arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping them. Sprinkle salad with oregano and arugula and drizzle with oil. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Have a great day


Monday, June 27, 2011

Toll Bandits, Dream Yourself Slim, Happy Feet.

Incredible report on GMA just now, people who do all kinds of things to avoid a 75¢ toll, such as some people hanging on the trunk of the car so their feet obscure the license plate. Its not just cheap cars either, some of them can be $70,000 cars. Sometimes they are caught and end up with fines amounting to thousands of dollars. All for pocket change. The State loses millions of dollars or enough to rebuild a road or even make a new one.

One of my health emails this weekend had a suggestion which apparently works, if you have a craving for something you know you shouldn’t eat such as a hot fudge sundae, just start dreaming about something like a beautiful beach, a moonlit night, anything which gives you pleasure, you can stop when the craving has disappeared.

Story in the news at the moment, a penguin from the Antarctic Happy Feetsomehow got lost and has been eating sand mistaking it for snow. They have done several operations on it (penguin is now called Happy Feet) to remove stuff from his stomach, read here to read more about it. All kinds of people are offering to help to return him to the Arctic but there is a problem with a possible virus which could then spread to other penguins and maybe wipe them out.

I am very fond of beets and often buy them, Matt is  so keen although he doe eat them. One recipe I remember from many years ago is hot beets served with sour cream, that was pretty good. Over the weekend I came across this recipe and I thought this was a somewhat different way of preparing them.

Mixed Beet Salad with Basil

By The Nourished Kitchen
WebMD Recipe from


Picture of Mixed Beet Salad with Basil 1/2 pounds mixed beets (Chioggia, golden, white, red etc.), peeled and diced
2 cups chopped mixed basil (Violetta, Genovese, Cinnamon etc.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons unrefined extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar


Steam peeled and diced beets over rapidly boiling water until they become tender, about five to six minutes or so. If using multiple varieties, note that the red beets will stain the other varieties so you may wish to steam them separately.

Once tender, immediately plunge the steamed beets into a bowl of ice water, allowing them to chill until cold to the touch.

Drain the beets, patting them dry with a cotton kitchen towel as needed.

Combine the drained beets with chopped basil and minced garlic.

Dress with vinegar and olive oil.

Serve cold.

Total Servings: 6

Have a great day.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bionic Dog, Books.

On GMA today there was a story about a dog which had had frostbite Bioinic dogon all four paws – he was abandoned in Nebraska. He is now being featured as the bionic dog as he has prosthetic paws on all four feet. A veterinary assistant found him and raised enough money for two back paws and the company that made those prosthetics decided to give him the two front paws. He now runs, jumps and swims with the best of them. There is a video here

I am still having to elevate my leg although it is so much better today I am pleased to report. However having the laptop on my knees like this is a tad uncomfortable to put it mildly. Even last night, had to rearrange the furniture so I could watch TV – I normally don’t sit in front of it unless there is something I want to watch. After my usual stint of Jeopardy which I always hate to miss, I later watched a smash ‘em and bash ‘em movie – Bruce Willis in Die Hard With a Vengeance. Its a fun film but Matt got tired of it so went to play Bookworm.

I just finished a book called Legacies by Mercedes Lackey. I tLegacieshink it is classified as young adult. Not a bad story and the beginning of a series apparently. Book 2 is not out til July I think. I enjoy most of what Mercedes Lackey writes but not her stories about medieval Mediterranean lands, the Heirs of Alexander series. I love her Valdemar books and could read them forever. I am currently reading A Trio of Sorcery which is a collection of three Diane Tregarde stories I am not sure if I have read any of these before. I have two more of her books to read yet.

Wraps are so popular these days I thought I would include one here.

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

WebMD Recipe from

Picture of Black-Eyed Peas with Pork & Greens

Moms and Dads like wraps because they’re neat and compact--so beware: ours is messy and spicy. This fiery combination of buffalo chicken in a modern wrap is guaranteed to drip. Get out the big napkins and have a ball!

Servings: 4

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe Ingredients:
  1. 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
  2. 3 tablespoons white vinegar, divided
  3. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  4. 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 1 pound chicken tenders
  6. 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  7. 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  8. Freshly ground pepper to taste
  9. 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  10. 4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  11. 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
  12. 1 cup sliced celery
  13. 1 large tomato, diced
Recipe Steps:
  1. Whisk hot pepper sauce, 2 tablespoons vinegar and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken tenders; cook until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add to the bowl with the hot sauce; toss to coat well.
  3. Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in blue cheese.
  4. To assemble wraps: Lay a tortilla on a work surface or plate. Spread with 1 tablespoon blue cheese sauce and top with one-fourth of the chicken, lettuce, celery and tomato. Drizzle with some of the hot sauce remaining in the bowl and roll into a wrap sandwich. Repeat with the remaining tortillas

Have a great weekend


Friday, June 24, 2011

Words. Problems.

I have always been interested in words and love acquiring new ones – last night on Jeopardy I came across a good one which I don’t remember ever hearing before – enantiomorph – meaning mirror image. Fascinating word. Satima, if you are reading this, is this a new one to you? An ezine writer invented a word I love, franticulate, I hope it will creep inTheJabberwockyto the dictionary because I think it is such a descriptive word. He used it to describe his excited dog. Lewis Carroll managed to coin chortle which is now part of the English language, galumphing was another. Both words came from his poem The Jabberwock from Through the Looking Glass. Two of my other favourite words are cacography which refers to bad handwriting and deltiology which is used as the official name for collecting postcards. My handwriting is certainly bad and I once had quite a collection of postcards from all over the world which explains how I came across those two words.

I seem to have another problem with my recent operation, I am suffering from pretty major edema in my right leg so I have to keep the leg elevated. Right now I am sitting with my feet in the air and typing on my laptop. Not easy I promise you. Last night my lower leg looked something like a tree trunk. I phoned the surgeon’s office and they told me this is not unusual and that the humungous bruise that I have on my inner thigh could spread as far as the knee. Delightful. I can’t even access all my programmes ‘cos I don’t have all my passwords handy. So, this is all you this is all you get from me today.

Easy Peanut Butter Cake

IngredientsPeanut Butter Cake

1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips

1 tablespoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)

1 package (about 18 oz.) regular white or yellow cake mix (not pudding-in-mix type)



Chocolate curls (optional)


  1. 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and wax paper-line two 8-or 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. 2 Place peanut butter chips and shortening in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1-1/2 minutes or until smooth when stirred. Prepare cake mix as directed on package; blend in melted chip mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. 3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
  4. 4 Frost with PEANUT BUTTER WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve with syrup drizzled over top and sides of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls, if desired. Cover; refrigerate leftover cake. 10 to 12 servings.
    1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips
    2/3 cup milk
    3 cups miniature marshmallows
    2 cups (1 pt.) cold whipping cream
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Stir together peanut butter chips, milk and marshmallows in 2-quart saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until chips and marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth; cool to lukewarm. Beat whipping cream in small bowl with electric mixer until stiff; fold in vanilla and cooled peanut butter chip mixture. About 4 cups frosting.
    Variation: Cake may be baked in greased and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Frost with 1/2 recipe PEANUT BUTTER WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING.

Have a great day


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kindle, Vincenzo’s, Tasting. have a special on the Kindle at the Kindlemoment, Matt was talking about buying me one for my birthday, but…. Actually I have now been doing a bit of research. I have something like 226 ebooks in a library with Fictionwise and it appears I could download the majority of them onto a Kindle or even a Barnes and Noble Nook. I hadn’t realised there were so many ebook readers on the market, I came across quite a few others during my research. I think I might still opt for Palm Zire 31the Kindle though, particularly as its on special at the moment. I basically can’t make up my mind whether I want one or not, I have been reading ebooks on my Palm Zire 31 for a number of years, its pretty small by comparison, but still quite adequate except on a sunny day but then I rarely try and read outside anyway. We figured out the reading area is about 1/3 of the Kindle. I also would like a flat screen monitor for my desktop. Decisions, decisions.

I forgot to mention when I was talking about Vincenzo’s yesterday, they do packets of duck wings confit something I have never seen for sale before. Didn’t buy one, but am bearing it in mind for future purchase perhaps. We didn’t spend as long looking at things as I would have liked, but we will be back.

My friend from South Africa who was recently here in Niagara posted mChateau des Charmes2ore of her pictures. I particularly liked this one which was taken by one of the staff at Chateau de Charmes. We were having a taster or two at the winery which was a delightful place. I think I mentioned it is owned by a Frenchman. Their tasting room is not dark and mysterious as such a lot seem to be but on the contrary, light and airy.

Carrot soups are always an interesting feature on a menu and this sounded a good one. I wouldn’t bother with gluten free stuff for myself but if you are allergic to it then it would be important.

Curried Carrot Soup With Cornbread Croutons

By The Gluten Free Goddess WebMD Recipe from

Picture of Curried Carrot Soup Slow cookers are just the best when the weather turns warm and breezy. It frees you up from kitchen duty just when you need it most -- supper time. Enjoy the time with your friends and family, and let the crock pot do all the heavy work!


Olive oil 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 to 2 teaspoons mild gluten-free curry powder, or to taste (can substitute with regular curry powder) 1 leek 4 large carrots 1 sweet potato Half a banana squash {butternut will do in a pinch} Fresh water, as needed Sea salt, to taste

Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix (can substitute with regular cornbread mix)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon chili powder 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos


For the soup:

Plug in your slow cooker and turn it on to high. Pour a drizzle of olive oil into the bottom. Add in the chopped garlic and curry powder. Stir and cover. Let the curry infuse the oil as you chop the vegetables. Wash the leek, trim, and slice the white section. Peel, trim, and chop the carrots. Peel and chop the sweet potato and squash. Place all the chopped veggies into the warm crock and stir. Add just enough fresh water to cover them. Season the soup with sea salt to taste and cover.

If you keep the soup on high it will cook faster -- say, four hours or so, depending on your make and model. If you need to stretch out the cooking time, turn the slow cooker on to low. It will be ready in perhaps six hours. If you need to stretch it a bit longer I don't think it would hurt, as long as you've put enough water in the crock. The soup is ready when the carrots are tender and split easily using a fork.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender until the soup is silky smooth. Taste test. If it cooked down too much and is a tad thick, add some liquid {for extra creaminess use a dash of coconut milk, although I didn't add any extra "milk" and we loved the fresh, clean taste} and gently heat through for another 10 minutes. Serve with pan toasted cornbread croutons.

For the easy cornbread croutons:

Started with Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix. Follow the directions on the package, substituting the eggs, and using water and olive oil to keep it vegan.

Add the following ingredients to the mix:

1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon chili powder 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos {skip if you need it less spicy}

Baked the mix in a 9-inch cake pan and cooled it on a rack. Slice the cornbread into eight wedges; then wrap each one in recycled foil, and bag for freezing. Use one thawed piece of cornbread for two people. Cut the cornbread into cubes. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle in some olive oil. Add the cubes of cornbread. Gently toss them from time to time as they sizzle and get golden. Remove with soft-tip tongs. Serve hot sizzling croutons on top of the soup.

Total Servings: 4

Have a great day


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Song, Vincenzo’s, Tradition, Il Volo.

There’s a song which I heard whilst typing yesterday, I have heard it many times before, and there is a line which says something like “if perhaps I say a name which perhaps is not your name” and then asks for understanding. No way, more likely to get a slap upside the head. A couple of times when we went to the UK for a visit, we stayed with Matt’s ex wife and the first time we were there, he called me Dinah practically the whole time. Not only was I furious, I was also somewhat hurt.

We finally found Vincenzo’s new home, boy what a store! Much better than they used to be and they Vincenzo1had absolutely anything a good cook could desire. We bought some Borgonzola which is what we were looking for, we also bought some fresh dumplings to try, chatted to the owner of the dumpling section and she told us a story about when she and her sister were kids her dad used to make them prepare dumplings when they got home from school and how they hated it and wanted to go out and play like the other kids. Today she lives in Canada and sells dumplings and her sister also sells dumplings (not sure where) and they make a good business of it plus they both realise the importance of carrying on such traditions. You should see the cheese counter these days, I don’t think there is any cheese they don’t have including the St. Agur Blue which I bought in Niagara last week. They have whole wheat rolls there which Matt says are cheaper than we buy normally at the grocery store, about 15¢ a bun difference. They had some genuine Italian Mascarpone which I bought, the stuff made here has preservatives which give a sweet flavour to the cheese, me no likee. They sell Barrie’s asparagus there too but it’s a nice ride out to the farm. Will soon be the end of the season I think.

We also took recyclables back to the beer store, anything from wine bottles to beer cans. We get about $5-$6 back usually. Today there seemed to be dozens of people taking back cases and cases of beer empties. Matt said the guy in front of him got $56.80 – boy some people drink a lot of beer, it used to be a joke in the UK about having a party on what you got for the empties, I think some of these people I saw yesterday could have done just that.

Finally, American TV has found Il Volo the three Il Voloyoung tenors I was raving about several weeks ago. These are two 16 yr. olds and a 17 yr. old who sing like adults and have the most wonderful classical voices. I already have a CD of theirs and plan to buy more when I can. They were given time on Good Morning America (before PBS, that does surprise me) which will start them off on their North American career. They are already well known in Europe. There were discovered on a show similar to American Idol I learned this morning.

I promised this strawberry recipe for today, it says digestive biscuits, over here we would use Graham wafers although you can sometimes obtain digestive biscuits (cookies) here. This is supposed to be a Wimbledon recipe. You might get berries and cream there, but I doubt you would get a cheesecake actually at Wimbledon. Not that I know, I have never been. Many years ago, when I used to go to the Derby on Epsom Downs in England, you could get strawberries but not the cream.

Strawberry cheesecake

Paul Rankin

Strawberry cheesecake

Paul Rankin layers citrusy crushed biscuits, stewed strawberries and cheesecake in this easy yet dramatic dessert.


For the biscuit layer
150g/5¼oz crushed digestive biscuits
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp caster sugar
½ tbsp freshly grated lemon zest, very finely chopped
6 tbsp orange juice or juice from the strawberries
For the strawberry layer
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water
2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch), dissolved in a little cold water or orange juice
100g/4oz caster sugar (regular sugar here)
1kg/2lb 3¼ oz strawberries, cleaned and sliced
For the cheesecake layer
2 sheets gelatine (equivalent to half a pack of powdered)
1-2 tbsp of lemon juice
350g/12¼ oz cream cheese
225g/8oz caster sugar
300g/10½ oz thick Greek-style yoghurt
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
To serve
whipped cream
sprigs of mint

Preparation method

  1. For the biscuit layer, mix all the biscuit ingredients together and reserve.

  2. For the strawberry layer, place the lemon juice and water into a small saucepan and mix in the cornflour well.

  3. Bring to the boil and when the cornflour is dissolved, mix in the sugar and the strawberries.

  4. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool and thicken.

  5. For the cheesecake mixture, soften the gelatine in the lemon juice and a spoonful of water if needed, for 3-5 minutes.

  6. Heat the mixture gently over a low heat in a small saucepan until the gelatine is completely dissolved.

  7. Meanwhile whisk the cream cheese and the sugar in a mixer or blender on medium speed.

  8. When the sugar is dissolved turn down the speed and add the yoghurt and the gelatine.

  9. When the mixture is blended together add the vanilla extract.

  10. To assemble, place the biscuit layer into the base of six wine glasses, add a good dollop of cheesecake mixture, then add some strawberries. Chill the mixture for a few hours and top with whipped cream and a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.

Have a great day


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cartoon, Rambling, Vincenzo’s.

A friend posted a bunch of cartoons on Facebook yesterday, this one, in particular, appealed to me.


Matt thinks I have an odd sense of humour anyway, but I return the compliment.

We are a pair of dummies, no you don’t have to agree; at the weekend we were wondering why Matt hadn’t received Father’s Day cards from his daughters, guess what, we are in the middle of a postal strike. It just didn’t occur to either of us.

I didn’t go bowling yesterday, decided to wait til next week before stressing my puncture site. I am supposed to be allowing the dressing to “fall off” naturally, it certainly shows no sign of doing so, maybe it will be a permanent fixture and my skin will rot out underneath LOL. I must say I am most impressed with this dressing, it adheres extremely well, I wish we could get Band Aids which stuck as well as this thing does.

Having said I prefer my strawberries plain with a dollop of good cream, I got a recipe this morning which I think I will share tomorrow. It does look pretty good, it’s a kind of strawberry cheesecake although not quite like the ones we normally see over here. It is a BBC version.

Today we are going on a store hunt. There is a shop called Vincenzo’s which is wonderful for all kinds of deli items, great cheese selections, breads, cakes, you name it they have it. They moved last year and we have nevborgonzolaer actually found where they are although we think they have a pretty good idea. So today we are going to check it out, in particular as we have discovered that the store where we always bought Borgonzola doesn’t stock it any more and Vincenzo’s do, according to Tre Stelle who market it. I menColemanstioned Borgonzola a few years back, it is a creamy blue cheese which is a Canadian version of Cambazola (German) and to our taste buds, better. I have heard it described as a copy of Gorgonzola, not really the same at all. Vincenzo’s are also the only place I know of which sells Colman’s dry mustard powder. Once again, there is only one mustard to me. Of course I was brought up with Colman’s mustard. There is nothing better than a really good slice of ham with some Colman’s mustard, yummy. We always used to serve that on Christmas morning with champagne cocktails. We still do, but just for us these days. Everyone else is too busy.

We both like cooked pears and these look good to me. We do another recipe where they are cooked in red wine which is delicious.

Honey Roasted Pears

By The Sprouted Kitchen
WebMD Recipe from

Picture of Honey Roasted PearsInspired by Joy the Baker

I used three pears, because that is what fit perfectly into my cast iron skillet. You could probably adjust more or less depending on what type of pan you use, just be certain it is heavy bottomed and oven proof. I don’t often push an organic agenda, but since this is a short list of ingredients, I’d suggest using organic dairy products for best flavor results.


3 Ripe Pears (Bosc worked beautifully)
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
½ Cup Honey
1 tsp. Real Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp. Muscavado or Brown Sugar
½ Cup Thyme Sprigs
8 oz. Whipping Cream
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Honey
¾ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt


Heat oven to 450′

Cut the pears in half length wise, use a small spoon or melon baller to remove the tough seeded center.

In a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet, add the butter, honey, vanilla, muscavado or brown sugar, thyme sprigs and a generous sprinkle of salt. Let everything come to a gentle boil and stir continuously, about 2 minutes.

Add the halved pears to the pan, cut side down. Give it a shake and let them simmer on the stove about 2 minutes. Turn the pears over so they are now cut side up and transfer the pan to the oven, middle rack. Bake for 12 minutes until the pears are soft and the sauce has caramelized.

While the pears are baking, beat the cold whipping cream with an electric mixer until stiff. Add the honey, pinch of salt, cinnamon and beat another minute to combine. Gently fold in the Greek yogurt, this will make it a bit thinner, but that’s ok, it still tastes lovely, I promise.

Put one or two pears on a plate, drizzle with a hefty spoonful of sauce with a sprig of thyme for garnish, and a generous dollop or yogurt cream

Total Servings: 3

Have a great day


Monday, June 20, 2011

Publishers, Junk for Cash. Madagascar.


The angio I had the other day has left me totally lethargic and in a very “can’t be bothered” mood. I was looking for a picture which showed how I felt, but I came up with the one above which I thought was funny. I haven’t really been following the blogs I normally read with enthusiasm, I certainly haven’t been doing much otherwise, I have not even been very interested in the food I ate despite having strawberries and cream two nights running. I don’t think I will be bowling today either, it is a little too soon for the access point and its seal to take the stress. Yeah I know, I ‘m wingeing.

That said, I finally caught up with Glenda Larke’s latest blog and I cannot believe that an author who has already published 10 wonderful books cannot find a publisher for her latest works. See her blog at Tropic Temper, this page. What is the matter with these publishers, I can’t understand why they haven’t yet accepted her latest work. I have read a Stormlord's Exilelot about self-publishing lately, maybe Glenda too will have to go down this road although I hope it won’t be necessary. Right now, I am waiting with bated breath for the last novel in her Watergiver’s Trilogy it is due in August and I and many others are biting our fingernails waiting for the finish of this wonderful story. Stormlord’s Exile, I have had it on pre-order from for a while now to be sure I don’t have to wait too long. This is the cover from the US and English publishers, as usual, I consider the Australian cover is a much better job.

They had a segment on GMA today about clearing out junk drawers and making money by selling stuff on eBay or Craig’s list. One of the items they were selling were old VHS tapes. I tried that with old Disney movies and didn’t get one enquiry. You can also sell old cell phones and chargers, CDs you haven’t played for 4 years or more and the list goes on. I guess I should make more effort to sell some of the things we have. We have dozens of CDs we have only played once and are never likely to play again – from the days when you could buy 12 and pay for 1. No electronic gadgets though, they seemed to fetch the most money.

This is an excerpt from a newsletter I get from World Wildlife Fund.

615 Species Discovered in Madagascar

Madagascar species Madame Berthe's mouse lemur © Louise Jaspar/WWF Madagascar

Split from the African continent over 160 million years ago, Madagascar developed its own distinct ecosystems and extraordinary wildlife. Most of its reptiles, plants and land mammals exist naturally nowhere else on Earth. From 1999 to 2010, 615 new species were discovered in this island country, reinforcing Madagascar’s standing as one of the Earth’s richest tropical habitats. View the photo gallery of these recently discovered species and find out why it's critical to protect the country's ecosystems.

I find this kind of thing absolutely fascinating, particularly as one tends to believe that we have found all the species there are already. I reported once before on incredible discoveries in another part of the world.

Here is a pretty simple recipe which I picked up from Recipe du Jour. I always love beans of any kind and they are so very good for you.

Mother's White Beans

3/4 cup chopped onionMother's White Beans 1/3 cup chopped carrot 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced 1/3 cup (2 oz.) coarsely chopped cooked ham 2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth 2 cans (15 oz. each) white beans (small whites or cannellini) Chopped parsley

In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine onion, carrot, garlic, cooked ham, and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over medium heat until the carrot is soft to bite, about 10 minutes. Stir in beans and simmer, covered, over low heat until beans are hot, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Makes 4 servings

Have a great day


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday, Thanks, Angio-Seal, Berries.

Yesterday I spent the whole day feeling like a zombie. I assume from the anesthetic. I didn’t expect to have a general, only a local. I think I react more than most do. I was told I would have something to calm me, it calmed me right out of it. I felt like someone had inserted a thick blanket onto my brain.

Thanks to all the people who sent me best wishes for this operation, I really appreciate your thinking of me.

Apparently my surgery involved the use of an Angio-angiosealSeal which is something quite new to me and was certainly not used last time. The idea being, the surgical team doesn’t have to apply pressure for ages on the access site to stop the bleeding. The only thing, it says if the Seal is used the patient doesn’t have to lie flat for hours, so how come I did? Will have to ask about this. I have a card to carry for 90 days from which I assume the seal dissolves by the end of that time. Sorry, it says “absorbs”. I kind of read all the paperwork they gave me before but I am only now beginning to “absorb” the information.

Towers of MidnightI am now up to book 13 of the Wheel of Time Series, Towers of Midnight and once I have read this will have to possess my soul in patience until Brandon Sanderson finishes the last novel which is supposed to be published next year according to latest information. Bearing in mind how long this series has been running, there is a surprising amount that I remembered, on the other hand quite a lot that I had forgotten so it was nice to refresh my memory.

I had intended to accompany Matt to the doctor and then to Barrie’s Asparagus farm but I couldn’t hack it. Anyway, not only are we re-stocked with asparagus but we have our fstrawberriesirst strawberries. I can’t believe they have been available for a week or so and we haven’t had any. Matt got two punnets and they looked pretty good although the ones we saw in a country store last Friday when we were in Niagara were better looking. We added a dollop of Devon cream and made do with what we had!!! They were delicious and we have some more for tonight. I was saying to Matt, strawberries have such a short season that I personally don’t want them messed with, maybe Strawberries Romanoff, but other than that, you can keep all the other strawberry dishes people make, good ripe berries with Devon cream, what more could you want. I guess I mean what more could I want?

I decided to look for a recipe for Strawberries Romanoff and kept finding them with ice cream, no way, ice cream is not original at all. I am not sure how original this recipe is either. Whenever I have eaten this the strawberries have been folded into the whipped cream. This picture looks about right to me.


1 pint. strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halvedStrawberries Romanoff 1 tablespoon sugar curacao, cointreau or grand marnier, to taste 1 teaspoon grated orange zest 1 tablespoon orange juice, (up to 2) whipped cream, sweetened with confectioner's sugar

Combine the strawberries with all of the ingredients but the whipped cream.

Marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Serve in wine glasses topped with whipped cream.

Serving Size: 2

Hope you have a great Father’s Day


Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday, The Boss’s Chair, The Cup.

I was a bit like a zombie all day yesterday and my right leg was hurting quite a bit, I’m still disappointed they didn’t do both legs though. One bit of good newMatt's Recliner 001s, Matt’s chair fell apart on Tuesday and the guy who came to repair it could not get it apart so had to take it away. He brought it back again yesterday and its as good as new, not only that, he didn’t charge an arm and a leg for it, we were delighted, Matt in particular as he hated not having his recliner – and he says I’m spoilt. Mind you he did get me some chocolate chip cookies like I requested.

Today I can shower. Apparently the bandage I am wearing is waterproof but they didn’t want me to wet it the first day. I still have to take it easy for a day or two yet and I am not sure if I will be bowling on Monday or not. Luckily our bowling balls are only about 3 lbs. unlike 10 pin where they are great big heavy things. I can only manage an 8 pounder with difficulty and I think they are meant for kids, the drilled holes are certainly not that big. I regret I didn’t have a very good night, I guess Wednesday night I was still doped to the eyeballs I had no trouble sleeping at all.

Personally I am disgusted with what happened in Vancouver after the Stanley Cup game the other day. Makes one ashamed to be Canadian. Not that I understand any of it, how can you get so upset about a game??? Even so, it is disgusting so much damage was caused by all the rioting. They need something serious to worry about.

So far no cards from Matt’s kids for Father’s Day. Tut tut.

Its that time of year when people who have been growing zucchini or courgettes have way too many of them. On my list of cooking friends, this was posted from the BBC.

Chocolate Courgette Cake


350g self-raising flour Chocolate Courgette Cake

50g cocoa powder

1 tsp mixed spice

175ml extra-virgin olive oil

375g golden caster sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

500ml grated courgettes (measure by volume in a measuring jug, but it's about 2 medium courgettes; if using 1 overgrown one, peel first and take out seeds)

140g toasted hazelnuts , roughly chopped


200g dark chocolate , chopped

100ml double cream


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, mixed spice and 1 tsp salt. In another bowl, combine the olive oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and grated courgette. Mix the dry and wet mixture until just combined, then fold in the toasted hazelnuts. Line a 24cm cake tin with greaseproof paper, then pour in your mixture. Bake for about 40-50 mins, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
  2. To make the icing, place the chocolate in a bowl and bring cream to the boil in a saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until completely smooth and melted. Leave the icing to cool slightly and thicken, then spread it over the cake so it's covered and the icing starts to drip down the sides. Serve with a cup of tea or enjoy as a pud with a spoonful of something creamy.

Baking with courgettes

Courgettes can hold quite a lot of water, which can affect the finished texture of your cake. If your grated courgettes seem watery, place them into a clean cloth and wring out some of the liquid into a bowl. Then add the courgettes to the cake mixture as normal. The timing for cakes containing courgette can depend on the water content of your courgettes, so return the cake to the oven for another 10 mins if it needs it. Simply test with a skewer and make sure it comes out clean.