Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hospital, Mapmaking for D Day

Monday night I ended up spending in hospital. Chest pains and high BPblood pressure. They sent Matt home. However, in the end they said I hadn’t had a heart attack. Only trouble is, on the way in, the ambulance paramedic had given me 5 sprays of nitroglycerine and some shots of morphine all of which made me feel much worse and later pushed my BP up even higher. When they came in and said I could go home, I assured them I couldn’t as I was feeling so lousy. The doctor finally decided it was because of the amount of nitro and morphine and having given me the same BP medication as I had at home, they sent me home. I spent the rest of the day in zombie like conditions and slept a lot of it away. I am typing this in between sleeps LOL.

I’m glad it didn’t happen last night, I wouldn’t have been up to bowling today which we are planning to do. I was so doped I didn't even post this properly.

Before this nonsense started, there was a programme on PBS which I didn’t write down the name of, but was all about making suitable maps during WWII for use on D-Day, not something I had ever thought about. It was very interesting. They needed comprehensive D Day Mapinformation about the Normandy coast so they could decide where to land and also know what defences were present and where. It was incredible the details required, but more incredible was the way these details were acquired. One guy managed to steal some blueprints from a German headquarters in Caen and pass them on to the French Resistance. This was a major triumph as it contained all the information about the wall being built in the area. The resistance themselves were being asked to find out certain information in their areas, they used pigeons for a while which were dropped in cannisters, but the Germans cottoned on and shot all the homing pigeons as well as releasing hawks. They had reconnaissance planes flying the coasts, although there were dummy planes too, a lot of the planes were shot down. The pilots who landed behind enemy lines wore silk scarves on which were printed maps of the area they were flying over. They even sent over divers to check the strength of the beaches for landing craft. It was an incredible operation. Millions of pictures were taken and masses of bits of information were threaded into one giant map in Churchill’s underground bunker. Who knew, I certainly didn’t. It took them two years to prepare the maps for the D-Day invasion. I am annoyed I don’t remember the name of the programme, but I was busy worrying about my health and didn’t think of it at the time. I would love to watch it again, maybe I will contact our local PBS station.

Wish I had come across this recipe during asparagus season, will have to make a note of it for next year. This is another recipe from the LCBO Food and Drink and I even left the wine recommendation in, the first time I came across Fat Bastard wine I had to buy it just because of the name, it is quite a pleasant French white wine.

Asparagus-Stuffed Chicken with White Wine-Shallot Sauce 
Spring 2010
By: Nicole Young

Leaving the skin on the chicken helps keep it moist and succulent. Ask the butcher to keep the wing bone attached for an elegFnD_Spr10_P084E_290818.inddant presentation.

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) minced shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
½ cup (125 mL) crumbled goat cheese
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp (10 mL) grated lemon zest
½ tsp (2 mL) each sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

4 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 tsp (5 mL) each sea salt and freshly cracked
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) minced shallots
1 cup (250 mL) white wine
1 cup (250 mL) chicken broth
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp (15 mL) roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp (5 mL) finely chopped tarragon

1. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender and translucent but not browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic and asparagus and cook 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool. Mix in goat cheese, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
2. With knife held horizontally, slice through chicken breasts, starting at the thinner side, about two-thirds of the way through, so chicken breasts can open like a book. Spread one-quarter of the filling over the inside of each breast leaving a ½-inch (1-cm) border uncovered. Close each breast to enclose filling, securing with a toothpick if desired.
3. Heat oven to 400°F (200°C).
4. In a large ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with half of the salt and pepper. Arrange chicken, skin-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Gently turn chicken over and cook 3 minutes more.
5. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter to keep warm.
6. In same skillet, melt butter over medium/high heat. Add shallots and cook until tender but not browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in wine and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer for 3 minutes. Whisk yolks and remaining salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour about ¼ cup (50 mL) of the sauce into the yolks and whisk to combine. Whisk yolk mixture back into skillet and continue whisking, without letting it boil, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley and tarragon and serve over chicken.

Makes 4 servings


Have a great day

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Disasters, In Her Name, Meeting Friends.

I don’t know what it is but every time I look at the news headlines swiss-train-crashlately there is another crash, like a head on train crash in Switzerland, a bus plunging 100 ft. in Italy, you know, you see the headlines the same as me. Makes me wonder what’s happening, have people suddenly developed death wishes or become more careless or what? Just remembered the boat with the bride and best man getting lost overboard because the driver of the boat was drunk. Mind you, if he was, maybe the others were too. Seems to be all death and disasters lately.

I have now started book 3 in my trilogy called In Her Nadead-soulme – The Dead Soul by Michael R. Hicks. The pace and excitement of the books has definitely been maintained and I am as interested in the aliens and their lives as I am in the humans. What I don’t understand is why the aliens haven’t tried to learn any human languages – humans don’t get the chance to learn the language of the aliens, if they meet them they have to fight them and are likely to die one way or another, but you’d think at least one alien would hold their sword for a bit in order to learn the language. Of course, I’m thinking like a human. Referring to Andrew Leon’s post, yesterday, I wouldn’t want these aliens in my head if I were writing this book.

I am really looking forward to my vacation and I have an extra reason now, both L. Diane Wolfe and Jeff Hargett live in North Carolina and we are planning to get together whilst Matt and I are down there. That will be absolutely great. Some years ago I managed to meet a whole bunch of English women with whom I had been corresponding on our cookery club. It is absolutely fantastic to meet people who have become close friends on line and get to know them face to face. Last year I met a friend from South Africa and I know a couple of people in my local area whom I met through the internet. With the internet, the world becomes very small.

I have mentioned before that our source for liquor and wines, LCBO, puts out a magazine called Food and Drink about 3 or 4 times a year, it usually includes some excellent recipes, so I thought I would share a few of them. Those tiger shrimp in the picture really are extra large, look more like lobsters. We don’t see them much round here, I might just use the shrimp I bring up from the Carolinas, next time we have any that is. Run out til September.

Grilled Thai Shrimp and Mango

Summer 2002
By: Heather Trim

If you're not familiar with some of these ingredients, look for them in the Asian section of the supermarket. Lemongrass can be found in the produce section or in greengrocers. Jalapeño or serrano chilies work well in this dish. If serving as an appetizer use extra-large peeled shrimp.

Thai Shrimp and Mango
4 to 6 shell-on tiger shrimp, about 1 lb (500 g)
3 large limes
1 stalk lemongrass
1/4 cup (50 mL) finely chopped coriander
1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) each finely minced hot chili pepper and ginger
1 tbsp (15 mL) peanut or vegetable oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) fish sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 ripe but firm mango
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped fresh mint
  1. Make a lengthwise cut down the back of shrimp shells and remove vein. To allow the marinade to penetrate and cook shrimp more evenly, after removing the vein make the cut a little deeper. Cut 1 lime into wedges. Set aside. From remaining 2 limes, finely grate 1 tbsp (15 mL) lime peel and squeeze out 1/4 cup (50 mL) juice. Place juice and peel in a medium bowl. Remove outer husks from lemon grass and finely chop bulb only. You should have about 3 tbsp (45 mL). Add to lime along with coriander, chili, ginger, oil, fish sauce and sugar. Stir to combine. Add shrimp and push marinade under shell next to shrimp. Marinate, covered and refrigerated for about 1 hour. Meanwhile, peel mango (if you wish) then thinly slice into wedges.
  2. Grease grill and preheat barbecue to medium-high. Thread shrimp, randomly alternating with mango onto skewers. Sprinkle exposed part of shrimp lightly with salt. Place on grill and barbecue until shrimp meat is white and grill marks appear, about 3 minutes a side. If you choose not to skewer shrimp and place directly on the grill, add mango after 4 minutes of barbecuing.
  3. Serve shrimp on a bed of rice, scatter with mango slices and reserved lime wedges. Sprinkle with mint.
Serves 2 as a main course

Have a great day

Monday, July 29, 2013

Facebook, New Trilogies.

Sheesh, my Facebook account was hacked over the weekend, all kinds of people were getting friend requests even though they were already friends. I had to change my photo and my password so I hope this will fix the problem. I cannot imagine why anyone would want to do this – just because they can I suppose.

It is not very nice that I have to admit I am a dingbat. I’m not even first-contact-blonde although I have been during my life. I am taking part in a diabetes study and have to complete a diary every day and Saturday I forgot. No particular reason, I wasn’t excessively busy or anything, I just forgot. Mind you I have discovered a very good set of stories by Michael R. Hicks. I am reading The Last War Trilogy, you can get the first book for free – it’s called In Her Name - First Contact I am now on the second book In Her Name – Legend of the Sword. The series is in three trilogies and you can also get the first book of the second trilogy free – as an ebook that is. It the series continues the way it has started, I highly recommend it. The first book begins with a space ship, the Aurora, which is an explorer ship sent to discover new worlds which they have been doing. However, they suddenly land in an area where there are ships so much more advanced than anything we have in the human worlds. Then comes trouble. However, the author manages to build a sympathetic interest in the aliens even though they kill all the humans bar one The Messenger. If you haven’t read these books I highly recommend them. Space Opera at its finest. Nearly forgot to post this blog, so busy reading my book.

Here’s a weird one. Because of my vascular problems in my legs I do most of my computing from my lounger with my feet up. My laptop doesn’t leave the area and certainly didn’t yesterday. One of the feet has a tendency to come off. I am always sticking it back on. Yesterday it not only came off but has disappeared completely. We have both been hunting for it but cannot find it anywhere. It has completely disappeared. We didn’t leave the apartment or anything. Several hours later, I found it under the laptop stand, I thought I had looked before but…..

I liked the sound of this recipe. Will have to buy some of the ingredients though. About the only thing I have is the chicken and the oil. Oh and the ginger and a couple of other things.

Saucy Coconut-Chicken Stir-Fry

WebMD Recipe from

Thai flavours of coconut and basil come together in this fresh and spicy chicken and cabbage stir-fry. If your family prefers a milder meal, forgo the jalapeño. Serve with: Rice noodles and mango slices.

4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
1  jalapeño pepper, minced, optional
1 bunch scallions, sliced, whites and greens, separated
2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3/4 cup “lite” coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 cups sliced napa cabbage
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring often, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  2. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the wok or pot. Add jalapeño (if using), scallion whites, mushrooms and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant and the mushrooms start to soften, 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
  3. Stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cabbage, the chicken and scallion greens; cook, stirring constantly, until the cabbage is slightly wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in basil just before serving.
Have a great day

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Giant Panda Twins, Raining Frogs

National Geographic is keeping me entertained lately. Now I am Panda Twinsinterested in the birth of Giant Panda Twins in the Atlanta Zoo in the US and the fact that the zoo are having to help the mother nurse the cubs as it is so difficult for a mother Panda to make sure more than one cub nurses at a time. There is an article about it HERE which I find interesting reading. I had never realised it was so difficult for Pandas to raise their young. As you can see they are pretty tiny and they don’t open their eyes for 6 to 8 weeks so cannot see to find their way to the feeding station. Funny looking little squirts aren’t they? There is a Panda Cam here too.

Here’s one for you Ninja Captain, apparently fish, frogs and even Flying frogsalligators do fall from the sky, not apparently sharks though, they are too heavy. Must be quite small gators then. I must say I have seen fish jump into our boat at night, several of us were out in our boats once in NC and it was night time and the damned things were jumping all over the place. Quite big mackerel too, I was scared they could hit someone in the face and do some damage.

This recipe pre-supposes you can get nice fresh clams. It also works for oysters which I used to eat by the bushel in North Carolina. I have seen clams for sale here but I have never tried them, I am not about to pay a quarter per clam for something we could just walk out into the sound and rake up ourselves. Matt built a special fireplace in our back yard in NC where we could cook shellfish outside.

Pop-Open Clams with Horseradish-Tabasco Sauce

Contributed by Marcia Kiesel
4 first-course servings

"You can't get lazier than this," says Marcia Kiesel, who simply puts clams on the hot grill and waits a minute or two for them to open and start sizzling. Then she takes them off the heat and tops them with a spicy sauce spiked with horseradish and Tabasco. FW0608FPR17
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  2. 2 tablespoons drained horseradish
  3. 1 tablespoon Tabasco
  4. 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  6. 1/4 teaspoon sweet pimentón de la Vera (Spanish smoked paprika)
  7. Salt
  8. 2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  9. Grilled slices of crusty white bread, for serving
  1. Light a grill. In a small bowl, blend the butter with the horseradish, Tabasco, lemon zest, lemon juice and pimentón de la Vera. Season with salt.
  2. Arrange the clams over high heat and grill until they pop open, about 25 seconds. Using tongs, carefully turn the clams over so the meat side is down. Grill for about 20 seconds longer, until the clam juices start simmering. Transfer the clams to a serving bowl. Top each clam with about 1/2 teaspoon of the horseradish-Tabasco sauce and serve with the grilled bread.
Have a great weekend.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Train Crash, Ground Cherries, Tardigrade.

Spanish train crashThat train crash in Spain is pretty horrific. Have you seen the video of it actually crashing? You can see the train is speeding as it comes round the bend. I wonder if it was purpose or whether something happened. The thought of heart attacks comes to mind although these days they have dead man fail safes on trains I believe. At the moment the death toll is 78 with over 140 injured, some critically so they are expecting the death toll to increase. If you want to see the video of the crash, go HERE.

I just learned something new. Wednesday, at bowling, someone was talking about ground cherries and ground cherry pie. I had never ground cherryheard of them and they didn’t really know what they were. So of course I googled. It appears they are a husk tomato similar to tomatillos which I have never eaten anyway and a lot of people like to eat them straight off the bush but you can make a cream pie of the fruit. They are, in fact, slightly smaller than tomatillos and as far as I can tell, not the same colour. I just found a lovely sounding recipe for Ground Cherry Chutney at EatBoutique. Now I wonder if they sell Ground Cherries anywhere round here.

Look at this, it’s a genuine photo from National Geographic which at first I thBS8236ought couldn’t be real.
Germany—A color-enhanced electron microscope photo reveals a half-millimeter-long tardigrade in moss. Called water bears, these eight-legged, alien-looking invertebrates can survive extreme pressure, radiation, and temperatures—and years without food. What a peculiar critter. Wikipedia says: Tardigrades are small, water-dwelling, segmented micro-animals with eight legs. Tardigrades are notable for being one of the most complex of all known polyextremophiles. Apparently they have recently found that these can survive in space. The are really weird but fascinating.

Just cruising the web and I came across the following recipe which is one we will try, probably tonight. For some reason we frequently eat fish on Fridays although we have never been Roman Catholics. We had some of our frozen mahi mahi the other day and found it pretty tasteless, so this would be even though the recipe calls for cod.

Roasted Cod with Warm Tomato-Olive-Caper Tapenade

From EatingWell:  October/November 2005, The EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook (2006)

The Mediterranean flavours of a warm tomato tapenade will brighten all kinds of white fish as well as chicken. Make It a Meal: Orzo and Roasted Codsautéed spinach will round out this meal.

4 servings
  • 1 pound cod fillet (see Tip)
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cured olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Rub cod with 2 teaspoons oil. Sprinkle with pepper. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 20 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add olives and capers; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds more. Stir in oregano and vinegar; remove from heat. Spoon the tapenade over the cod to serve.
Per serving : 151 Calories; 8 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 45 mg Cholesterol; 4 g Carbohydrates; 15 g Protein; 1 g Fiber; 602 mg Sodium; 335 mg Potassium
0 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1.5 fat (mono)
Tips & Notes
  • Tip: Overfishing and trawling have drastically reduced the number of cod in the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic Ocean and destroyed its sea floor. For sustainably fished cod, choose U.S. Pacific cod or Atlantic cod from Iceland and the northeast Arctic. For more information, visit Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch at
Have a great day

Thursday, July 25, 2013

George, Banquet, Tigers, Goering.

George Alexander Louis eh? I guess Louis (pronounce Lew ee) from Georgehis great, great (I think) uncle, Louis Mountbatten. Might be another great in there. Certainly the Duke of Edinburgh’s Uncle. He will be George VII. Not sure where Alexander came from unless they too know the Ninja Captain or Father Dragon. I am sorry they chose George, not my favourite, but I guess they didn’t care what I thought. The Queen’s dad was George VI of course. Matt’s immediate reaction GAL (his initials) I wonder if his contemporaries at school will call him that?

At our Bowling Banquet I won for high single (206) and Matt won for high triple (576). We played Bingo and our team won although we didn’t finish the card. So far I have about 27 people for the winter league.

I don’t normally watch a lot of TV, but I did last night. We watched TigerPublic Television, the first was Nature, Siberian Tiger Quest. Looking for tigers in the vast but sparse forest of Northern Russia. The story was about a naturalist, Sooyong Park, who left his family in Korea to spend months and months over a period of five years living in the area on his own in order to film and get to know Siberian Tigers. They too are very much hunted by poachers who sell the animals for thousands of dollars. The poachers build rifle traps – the tigers are wary of humans and keep well away, but of course  rifle traps have no humans near them. This picture is of a Siberian tiger bred in captivity, but the programme showed a lot of wild tigers filmed by Park. Fascinating film, not just of tigers but lots of other critters which live in the area.

The second programme was a Nova presentation about the Nuremburg trial specifically of Hermann Goering. His attitude was incredible and he actually denied any knowledge of what was Goering on trialhappening to the Jews in the concentration camps. Looked to me as though he was cleverly confounding the US prosecutor but I was proud to see that the British guy got him where it hurt. The words used by all the actors were the words actually used by the people at the time. It was an absolutely enthralling presentation although I was staggered that he eventually committed suicide. They said that no-one knew how he got hold of a cyanide ampoule, but surely in those days they had cyanide built into their teeth, or some of them did anyway. He really was a cocky bastard during the early part of his trial and his intention was to reanimate Naziism in Germany. He was fanatically loyal to Hitler right to the bitter end.

This sounds absolutely gorgeous and so refreshing. It’s from the South Beach Diet email.

Mango Lassi

This recipe makes 4 servings
A frothy and refreshing yogurt drink, lassi hails from India, where it is often made with fruits such as mango. A pinch of the ground spicemango-lassi cardamom adds a uniquely sweet and pungent flavour.
1 medium mango(es) peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cup(s) yogurt, fat-free, Greek-style, plain
1 tablespoon sugar substitute
1 pinch cardamom, ground (optional)
  • In a blender, combine mango, yogurt, 1/2 cup chilled water, sugar substitute, and cardamom, if using; purée until smooth. Fill 4 (8-ounce) glasses with ice cubes. Pour Mango Lassi over ice and serve.
    One serving is 3/4 cup
Have a great day

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Apollo 13. The New Prince.

The other night Apollo 13 was on TV again. Matt decided to watch it and I watched it in snatches (I was reading) but then, finishing my Ed Harrisbook I watched the remainder of the film. To me, this is the most incredible movie, we both remember when the Apollo 13 flight took place and we went through the events with the rest of the world in 1970, The film came out in 1995 and eventually we watched it, we knew what happened and how it ended and yet the movie had us sitting on the edges of our seats. I have seen the film at least three times and every time, I am caught up in the tension created by the movie particularly when the mission control room, and the world, are waiting for them to come back in contact, probably the longest 4 minutes ever. For a film to do this is pretty incredible. Tom Hanks played Jim Lovell, but one of the best characters in my book was Ed Harris playing Gene Kranz in the Control Room. They were all good, but for some reason he was my favourite. Maybe I should buy the DVD so I can watch it whenever I want – without ads.

I assume everyone who was interested got to see the Royal Baby Princeyesterday. William says he looks like Kate. It was a delightfully informal occasion and the pair of them looked so very happy. Apparently the prince has two nurseries, one in his maternal grandparents’ home and one in Kensington Palace. In fact he has everything except a name. I would imagine they have chosen a name in advance of the birth, but they sure aren’t telling anyone what it is. Kate is looking pretty good bearing in mind the ordeal she went through yesterday. American TV is certainly going nuts about the birth with special programmes, etc. I wonder how British TV is reacting. When you think of all the press camped outside the hospital and the palace, I guess they are reacting pretty much the same.

Today is the absolute end of our summer bowling season, we will be having a bite to eat (pizza for everyone but me) and maybe a couple of games, one bowling bingo. Their computers have bingo sheets on them, so I will be interested to see how that works. There will also be a couple of small prizes. In fact Matt and I and I believe others will be joining us, plan to bowl on Wednesday afternoons for the rest of the summer. We leave on Sept. 7 for the Carolinas of course.

If you haven’t seen me at your blog lately, I apologise, but life has been getting in the way lately.

Here’s a recipe for my Vegan friends which I found at it mentions Green Giant canned corn, only trouble with that, it’s delicious, but has a lot of sugar in it. If sugar is no problem to you that’s OK.

Vegan-Corn Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Contributed By: Judith, AZ
Easy-Peasy recipe to put together for a picnic or potluck. Keeps well in the fridge for at least 5 days.Vegan Corn Salad

2 cups corn (fresh is exceptional, canned, especially Green Giant, is still really good)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup finely chopped red and green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

In a med-sized non-stick frying pan, heat the wine and braise the corn and garlic on medium high heat until wine is totally evaporated. Toss in the bell pepper and onion and toss for 3 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Combine dressing ingredients and toss with corn and peppers. Best served at room temperature.
Keeps in fridge for several days.

Have a great day

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Elephants, Doctors, Royal Baby.

Painted ElephantsElephant Painted were featured in the National Geographic website yesterday I found absolutely fascinating. What gorgeous looking elephants. It really is worth checking out the rest of the pictures. Apparently once, being a mahout was a family tradition but these days the mahouts don’t want their sons following in their footsteps. What a shame, I think its wonderful to see these elephants. They also use them for the groom to ride on when he goes to his wedding. What about the bride, guess she doesn’t get a look in. Be more difficult for her to get up onto the elephant I suppose, I presume she would be wearing skirts.

After our abortive trip to the doctors’ the other day, we decided to go to actually see the doc on Monday as Matt has a skin problem. Turns out to be a fungus. He has been given cream to plaster doctorshimself with. So I produced my list of medications that I needed refills for and was told I had to have my blood pressure taken before they could give me the BP medication. They took it and as usual it was quite high, it always is, and it is always higher when I go to a doctor’s. White coat syndrome. Whatever, this doctor decided to increase the dosage and I have to go back in a month to have it taken again. What a pain. I think this is one of the problems with having a whole bunch of different doctors so that you don’t see your personal physician every time, or even very often. OK they have your records on computer, but in the old days your own doctor knew you and your problems. Matt took quite a dislike to the one we saw today.

I have just signed up on Kshar’s Kitchen, seems like there are  Persian recipes to be enjoyed. A friend sent me the link on Facebook.

royal easelOh great news, I have just seen the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, 8 lb. 6 oz. that’s quite a big baby . The Prince of Cambridge, I didn’t know that, I didn’t think there was such a title, but there have been princes with that title over the years. I bet the Brits are going wild. I wouldn’t like to have been one of those reporters on duty all this time, especially as London has been suffering a heat wave. Next thing to wait for is a glimpse of the baby plus the announcement of the baby’s name. There are all kinds of welcome messages on Facebook – the birth seems to have generated a lot of excitement.

The following recipe was another one carried by WebMD and I thought these rolls looked delicious. Sadly I know Matt wouldn’t eat them as he is not too keen on figs. I, on the other hand would devour them, so its just as well if I don’t make them. They are 191 calories each.

Fig-Anise Rolls

WebMD Recipe from

The early American yeast bread, anadama bread, made with molasses and cornmeal, inspired these delicious dinner rolls. We think the sweet figs and floral aniseeds enhance the rich molasses flavour and make the rolls extra festive. Any type of cornmeal works fig_anise_rollsin this recipe, but we especially like how stone-ground cornmeal looks on top of the rolls.


1 1/4 cups low-fat milk

1/3 cup molasses

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 cup warm water, (110-115°F)

1 package active dry yeast, (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup chopped dried figs

1 1/2 teaspoons aniseeds, plus more for sprinkling

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1  large egg white, beaten, for brushing


  1. Combine milk, molasses and 3 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and transfer to a large bowl; stir in 3/4 cup cornmeal. Let stand until an instant-read thermometer registers between 115°F and 120°F, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Let stand until the yeast dissolves and looks foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir the yeast into the cornmeal mixture.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, figs, 1 1/2 teaspoons aniseed and salt into the cornmeal mixture until the dough begins to come together but still looks dry. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding more all-purpose flour by the tablespoonful if needed to prevent sticking, about 10 minutes.
  4. Form the dough into a ball. Coat another large bowl with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Add the dough and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Gently punch the dough down.
  5. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Shape the dough into an 18-inch-long log and cut into 18 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, gather and pinch the edges together, shaping it into a rough ball. Place each ball, pinched-side down, on a clean work surface. To shape the dough into a tighter ball, slightly cup your hand over it and move the ball around with a circular motion, keeping the bottom in place while tucking the loose edges into it and stretching the surface of the dough tight. (If the outer skin breaks, set the roll aside and let it rest while rounding the remaining rolls. Reroll once the dough relaxes.) Place the rolls in the prepared pans (or pan). Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until almost doubled, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  7. Brush the tops of the rolls with egg white (you’ll have some left over). Sprinkle with cornmeal and aniseeds, if desired. Place the rolls in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 350°. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Have a great day


Monday, July 22, 2013

Our Friday Storm, Clocks, Doctors, Value of Blog.

On Friday around 5 a.m. we had one hell of a storm. Never seen anything like it, (not even in a hurricane) the wind was so strong the rain was literally horizontal and the apartments at an angle from us were being lashed with rain which was driving straight in to their Bluebirdbestbalconies, I thought about popping round to visit just to see what it was like, looked pretty terrible from our angle. I am talking about the apartments straight in front of you looking at this picture. We then had a lightning strike somewhere on the building and the next thing we knew the lights were out. Shortly after that, the alarm started ringing. Matt felt we should go downstairs, so we did, using the stairs of course, but with no elevators, people in wheelchairs couldn’t come down. However, I don’t think there was any fire and eventually the alarm was shut down. I then wished I hadn’t come downstairs because I had to walk up 5 floors which isn’t funny for me, nor for many of our neighbours.

Luckily I had some salad ingredients and a can of salmon so that’s what we had for supper. It was still light enough to see so preparing food wasn’t bad although there are no windows in the kitchen. After supper I read for a while until I couldn’t see. Later on Matt and I played cribbage by candle light. Finally we went to bed around 10 and I had just about drifted off when the lights came on cribbage boardso I went round turning them off and turning the air conditioning back on. In reports on Saturday it said one woman was killed by a falling tree in Quebec. Also that thousands were still without power so I guess we were very lucky to get ours back so quickly. There are some pictures HERE not local, but it’s just what it looked like. The storm seemed to come back several times, it would clear up and then later start again. I guess it was rolling around the area. There was at least one more violent storm during the night, not sure what time but once again, the rain looked more like fog.

I did not, as you can imagine, use my CPAP machine, apart from no  CPAP3power, it would have been too damned hot. However, when the power came back on there was the clock on the machine, absolutely accurate. Why can’t all clocks be like that? It’s such a pain to have to go reset all of them. Not only that we have preset stations on our radio and they have to be reset every time the power goes off. Even with the power back on I didn’t use the machine as I wasn’t sure if the power would go off again. It is, of course, designed that you can still breathe fine if the power does go off when you are using it, but everywhere was so hot. Saturday night I did use it and it went off at some point anyway, I woke around 4 a.m. and nothing was happening. Pushed the button and it started working fine!!!

It’s been an eventful weekend, our doctor’s office, well she’s turned it into a clinic these days, has a system whereby if you want prescriptions you now have to turn up in person, at the weekends, docwhere they have particular nurses to deal with this. Once the pharmacy sent in faxes for renewals. I find this practice infuriating as we have to drive half an hour to get there and of course half an hour back, as though we have nothing else to do with our time. However, Matt needed something so off we trotted, arrived at the clinic at 1:30 to be told the nurses had just gone to lunch and wouldn’t be back for an hour and a half. I hit the roof. When I do get to see our doctor I will have some strong complaints to make. It really infuriated me. We went home and decided to make an appointment for Monday anyway, being old enough we can get an appointment on the same day. Babies and seniors.

I just found out from Viveka at My Guilty Pleasures that you can go to WEBSIhenderson-jo_blogspot_com-worthTEtheWEB and find out all kinds of statistical information about your blog including what it’s worth. I am afraid mine isn’t worth all that much, Viveka’s is getting up there. You have to enter your domain address. Alex J. Cavenaugh’s blog must be worth a packet I would think.

When we were in Costco the other day we picked up some mahi mahi filletsmahi mahi. Looking for recipes I came across this one by the much maligned Paula Deen and thought it sounded interesting. I love lettuce wraps. Haven’t tried it yet as we didn’t have a couple of items. The other name for mahi mahi is dolphin and people used to get very confused and think it was Flipper, the bottle nose dolphin they were eating, no, it is a genuine fish and very good eating. We were going to have mahi mahi for supper on Friday, but the storm put an end to that. Had them Sunday instead.

Mahi Mahi Lettuce Wraps

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
2 servings


  • 1 mango, diced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapenos, diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 mahi mahi fillets
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Lettuce leaves (recommended butter or romaine)


Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
Combine the mango, tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice in a medium mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Season the fish with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Grill for roughly 3 to 4 minutes per side, until just opaque in the center. Set aside to cool
When slightly cool, chop into large chunks. Add to the reserved salsa and fold carefully as to not break up the fish. Add mixture to the middle of the lettuce leaves and roll.

Have a great day

Saturday, July 20, 2013

In Memorium, Pocket Router, In the News.

For those of you who know Jeff Hargett, today is the day (11 p.m.) he buries his beloved wife. I thought maybe you would like to sign the guest book and read her obituary.

Yesterday I received my mini adapter/router. Only trouble is, I have Portable Minino idea how to use it and the instructions are not easy for me to read. OK for an IT guy but for me, difficult. What fascinated me was the tiny little CD that came with it. However the desktop read it fine. From what I can tell, I need to have a computer handy to use this adapter and the idea was just to be able to use my android and not to have to take my laptop away on vacation. I guess I am going to have to call in my computer guy to show me what to do. I managed to get to the point of identifying some wifi networks in the area, including my own of course, but that was having the USB plugged into the desktop and I sure can’t do that with my tablet. I suppose if I take the laptop I can use both, but the point was NOT to have to take the laptop. Makes me feel positively dumb, don’t comment on that thank you.

Absolutely incredible, a young female student, 16 yrs old, who survived the crash of the Asiana plane in San Francisco was run over by at least one of the fire trucks rushing to the scene. The crews must feel terrible but what bad luck for the young girl. They are going to investigate their response procedures. Another horror story we heard on the local radio, there was an accident, in New Mexico, where a woman rear ended the car ahead of her. The police couldn’t get into the car so broke the window, assumed she was drunk, pulled her out, cuffed her and left her laying on the asphalt on a very hot day. When the paramedics turned up they discovered her blood sugars to be so low she was close to a coma. Turns out the woman was having a diabetes low and needed urgent medical treatment, no alcohol involved. That frightens me, being diabetic myself, I get occasional diabetic episodes, although I do carry jelly beans with me all the time.

I have always enjoyed margaritas. I introduced them to my step daughter one time and she preferred them without the salt on the rim of the glass, now that was what made the drink in my opinion. Apparently there is a reaction against sweet drinks so this is a newer version.

Amante Picante Margarita

Contributed by Patricia Richards
Photo by Christina Holmes

Mixologists are still reacting against too-sweet drinks. This spicy Spicy Margaritamargarita combines three savoury ingredients: jalapeño, cilantro and cucumber.
  1. 1/2 large seedless English cucumber, thinly sliced, plus 8 slices for garnish
  2. 1/2 medium jalapeño, very thinly sliced
  3. 1/4 cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
  4. 18 ounces silver tequila
  5. 8 ounces fresh lime juice
  6. 6 ounces light agave nectar
  7. 1/2 teaspoon celery bitters (optional)
  8. 1 lime wedge
  9. 1/4 cup kosher salt mixed with 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  10. Ice
  1. In a pitcher, muddle the 1/2 sliced cucumber with the jalapeño and 1/4 cup of cilantro. Add the tequila, lime juice, agave and bitters and stir well. Refrigerate until chilled, 1 hour.
  2. Moisten the rim of 8 rocks glasses with the lime wedge and coat with the lime salt. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Working in batches and adding fresh ice, shake the cocktail and strain into the glasses. Garnish with cucumber and cilantro.
Have a great weekend

Friday, July 19, 2013

Printer, Latest Book.

I have a Hewlett Packard printer which I have had for a few years now. For everyday documents, it’s fine, but when I want to do HP Printersomething special like a photo from the photo tray, it doesn’t work too well, nor does it really like printing envelopes. I don’t have a lot of call for photos or envelopes, so I didn’t worry about it. However, yesterday I was trying to print a picture and I got so frustrated that I gave them a call. The first thing I had to do was let them take over my computer, OK, no problem. Then I was watching what they were doing and from my point of view it didn’t seem to have much to do with my printer. In the end they said my computer had registry problems and junk files and they would have to clean that up before they could re-set the printer or something and they wanted almost $200 to do this. Whaat? You must be joking! I said nuts, thank you very much. I can get my registry and junk files dealt with a lot cheaper than that. I still don’t see what it’s got to do with the fact that the photo tray doesn’t work properly and has never done so. Prior to buying this printer I had always used Kodak’s and I wish I had stuck to them. The inks are a lot cheaper for a start. You can guarantee the next printer I get will be Kodak.

Having finished, and thoroughly enjoyed, A Natural History of Blow FlyDragons, I am now reading the latest Patricia Cornwell book, Blow Fly. It is a Kay Scarpetta novel and I have been enjoying those for years. In fact I am not 100% sure I read the last book, part of me thinks I did, part of me is doubtful. I will have to check it out. Kay Scarpetta has moved to Florida and I can’t really remember what happened to force her to do so. What happened to Kay’s lover/boyfriend too, I have no idea. This makes me believe I can’t have read the last book. Frustrating. That’s two frustrations in this blog so far. Doing well.

My brain isn’t working that well today, I received some extremely bad news on Wednesday about a blogging buddy and I have been upset ever since.

This is one of our favourite starters. We actually haven’t made it in a while because it is preferable to have really nice tomatoes of the right size. I cannot believe there is no photo of these – or at least I can’t find it. When you present the tomato it is turned top side down and a basil leaf stuck into the flesh to make it look like a regular tomato to which nothing has been done. I guess we’ll have to make them again fairly soon so I can take a pic.

Tomates Perlines

2 Med TomatoesTomatoes
1/4 tsp sugar
dash salt
Twist of pepper
1 Clove Garlic
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbs slivered almonds
2 Lge anchovies
1 lge canned pimiento
1 Tbs capers
5 Black olives
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar

1. Core tomatoes and place in boiling water for 1 min then put in ice water to cool. Peel and deseed the fruit. Place each tomato in a ramekin and add sugar, salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil to each one. Bake in a 250 oven for 3/4 hr.
2. Mix remaining ingredients, except olive oil and stuff the tomatoes. Turn upside down on a plate and drizzle with olive oil. Decorate with herb leaves, etc.

Servings: 2
Source: Great Cooks

Have a great day


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Movie, End of Summer League.

7 FacesWatched an odd little movie on TV last night, The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao – Dr. Lao played by Tony Randall (The Odd Couple). We both stuck with it so I guess we both enjoyed it, but it was a somewhat different film. The basic premise was a town in trouble and Dr. Lao saves it. But how it was done was what made the film worth watching. Tony Randall was very good in the movie although apparently they had originally wanted Peter Sellers for the part. It didn’t do very well when it was first released but has apparently developed quite a following since that time.

So yesterday was the last full session of our Summer Bowling League and I finally got a decent score. Right on the last day. Next Bowling Pin Placement 5week we have our banquet, for want of a better word, and play one regular game and one game of bingo. Their computers have bingo built in to them so we don’t have to score the game ourselves. Not sure how it works but we shall see. I have got the job of finding out who is going to be bowling in the winter league and then to allocate teams. Properly in bowling, one should establish an average and then teams are made up from that, but these seniors all want to bowl with their friends and probably wouldn’t bowl at all if they couldn’t.

Matt finally managed to find Canadian blueberries in the store, and I came across this dessert. More coincidence. It came in my email from the BBC. It was listed as 606 kcals per serving, but I Googled and that is the same as 60. Here one would use Graham Crackers instead of Digestive Biscuits. No idea what golden caster sugar is, but regular sugar in North America is fine enough. Of course cornflour is cornstarch.

Blueberry swirl cheesecake

By Cassie Best


Cuts into 14 bars

The creamy, sweet texture of this baked vanilla pudding is Blueberry Swirl Cheesecakecomplimented by a vibrant fruit sauce

  • 300g digestive biscuits
  • 140g butter, melted
  • 275g golden caster sugar
  • 100g blueberries
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 3 x 300g packs full-fat cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200ml pot soured cream


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line a 20 x 30cm rectangular tin with baking parchment. Put the biscuits in a food processor and blitz to a fine crumb. Add the butter and blitz again to combine. Tip into the tin, press down firmly with the back of a spoon to cover the base, then bake for 10 mins. Leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, tip 25g of the sugar and the blueberries into a small pan. Mix the cornstarch with 1 tbsp cold water and add this to the pan. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bubble for 1-2 mins until saucy. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese with an electric hand-held whisk until smooth. Add the remaining sugar and whisk again. Add the flour, vanilla, eggs and soured cream, and whisk until smooth and well combined.
  4. Pour half the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base, then spoon half the blueberry sauce on top in small blobs. Cover with the remaining cheesecake mix and smooth the surface with a spatula. Drizzle the remaining blueberry sauce over the top, then use the end of the spoon to ripple it into the cheesecake. Bake for 10 mins, then lower the heat to 110C/90C fan/ gas ¼ and bake for a further 30 mins. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for 1 hr, then leave for 1 hr more with the door ajar. Finally, leave at room temperature until completely cool, then chill for at least 3 hrs or, even better, overnight. Slice into 14 bars. Will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Recipe from Good Food magazine

Have a great day