Saturday, August 31, 2013

Botox Anyone? X-Ray Offices.

How nice, I have just received a coupon through CARP (same as the American AARP) which offers me : Book a complimentary appointment with Dr. Torgerson and receive Restylane and Perlane Injectable Filler at $100 off per vial and Botox at only $10 per unit! First of all it's for a surgeon in Toronto which is quite a distance away, and secondly I don’t know what those fillers are, but if I am being offered $100 off, they must be pretty pricey. I assume $10 for Botox is good, but how many units does one need? I am a pensioner for goodness sake. It is one of my peeves that these facial treatments and suchlike are only for the rich and those of us who are not rolling in money have to put up with sagging skin and muscles. Not that I would want a full face lift or anything, but a couple of tweaks here and there wouldn’t go amiss LOL.

Friday morning I had to go for an X-ray and went to the usual True North Imaging only to find they weren’t quite there. They had moved to new quarters on the same floor. Behind us so we didn’t see them at first. Real swishy place now, the waiting room used to be a pokey little place, but now it’s huge and the chairs are a lot comfier too. Appeared to be lots of changing rooms as well. Guess it’s a while since I was last there. I was quite impressed with their upgrade. Just as well I didn’t have an appointment time as the traffic was terrible, no idea why it was so backed up, never saw anything which could have caused it.

Not a lot going on in our lives at the moment. Just kind of gearing up for our trip next Friday. When we were both working, we used to go away Labour Day weekend in order to get the extra day. These days it doesn't matter.

I didn’t know Parmesan crisps, which we make slightly differently, are really tuiles.

Parmesan Tuiles with Heirloom Tomato Salad

Contributed by Grace Parisi for Food and Wine
Chopped red, green and orange tomatoes are tossed with olive oil and herbs, then served on Parmesan tuiles. The result: a supremely colourful, incredibly easy hors d'oeuvre.  parmesan-tuiles-with-heirloom-tomato-salad
  1. 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  3. 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pressing
  4. Freshly ground pepper
  5. 1 1/2 cups finely diced heirloom tomatoes
  6. 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  7. 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped tarragon
  8. 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  9. Salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese with the butter, flour and a generous pinch of pepper and mash the ingredients until a dough forms. Form the dough into a 4-inch log. Cut the log into 12 equal slices and arrange the slices on the baking sheet. Using your fingers, press the slices into 1 1/2-inch rounds.
  2. Bake the tuiles on the lowest rack in the oven for about 7 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the tuiles are golden brown and sizzling. Let the tuiles cool completely, then transfer them to a paper towel–lined plate and blot the excess fat.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the tomatoes with the chives, tarragon and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the salad over the tuiles and serve right away.
Make Ahead The parmesan tuiles can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Recrisp in a warm oven before topping with the tomato salad.

Have a great holiday weekend.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Exotic Pets, Syria, Mars Colony.

People are nuts, there is a report about officials removing a baby alligatoralligator from a home close to Winnipeg, Manitoba. At the moment it is a fairly pretty looking animal, but alligators grow and boy do they grow, possibly 4 metres long and up to 450 Kg. by which time they would be very dangerous animals. Not only that, from the animal’s point of view, living in someone’s home is not a good idea, especially when you bear in mind their natural habitat in places like the Everglades, although with the increasing number of pythons there, maybe the Winnipeg home is safer LOL. Some people will do anything to have something different and I am not sure they really care about what it is. Not only that, they are illegal in Manitoba although I am disgusted to find they are not illegal in all Provinces.

I  am pleased to see that both Canada and the UK are against bombing Syria. It really did not make one bit of sense to me. Another way must be found for dealing with them. Using chemical weapons on their own, or any other, people needs to be prevented.

Another report says almost 7,000 Canadians have been attracted to a one way trip to Mars – the objective being to start a colony Mars Colonythere. I’m not sure, if I were a young person, that I would want to go in the foreseeable future, I don’t think we know enough about anything to carry out such a project. They are talking about the expedition taking place in about 10 years time so I might well be able to see what happens – not sure how long it takes to get to Mars. Sounds like the Ninja Captain has signed up, one applicant describes himself as a Ninja warrior. Have you Alex? Makes me think of the Ray Bradbury book, The Silver Locusts, which is the name it was given in England, The Martian Chronicles in the US. I think the first title was much more appropriate.

BBC Food frequently come up with dishes that appeal. The following is one which sounds delicious to me. I like goat cheese so where can I go wrong?

Goats' Cheese Cannelloni with Cherry Tomatoes
By Simon Rimmer from Something for the Weekend

Serves 4

400g/14oz cherry tomatoes, halved
125ml/4fl oz extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g/14oz ricotta
300g/10½ oz goats' cheese
300g/10½ oz parmesan (or a vegetarian alternative), grated
200g/7 oz baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, crushed
12 12cm/5in x 10cm/4in sheets fresh pasta
To serve
parmesan shavings
green salad leaves, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Preparation method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/365F/Gas 4.
2. Place the tomatoes into a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Add the
thyme and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Place the ricotta, goats' cheese and parmesan into a clean bowl and
mix well.
4. Add the spinach and garlic and season well with salt and freshly
ground black pepper.
5. Lay the pasta sheets onto a clean work surface. Place a line of the
cheese and spinach mixture along the longer edge of each pasta
sheet, then roll up like a cigar.
6. Drizzle the cannelloni rolls with a little of the oil that the tomatoes
have been sitting in, then pour the remaining oil into the bottom of an
ovenproof dish that will hold all 12 cannelloni.
7. Place the cannelloni tubes into the dish and place the tomatoes
evenly over the top.
8. Transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
9. To serve, place three cannelloni onto each of four plates. Sprinkle
with parmesan shavings and place a spoonful of dressed mixed
green salad leaves alongside.

Have a great day

Thursday, August 29, 2013

More Pythons, Bowling, Michael Douglas.

It seems we have a lot of people in Eastern Canada who like Pythons. A woman out walking the dog found one on her front lawn, not to mention all the reports which have been in the news lately. They figure this latest one was either an escaped pet or someone ‘threw it away’ in the local woods. These snakes would not survive a Canadian winter. This one is a ball Python which doesn’t grown more than 2 metres (that’s still a lot of snake) and are not very aggressive so less danger to humans. I wouldn’t want one any where near me thank you.

I hadn’t registered until today,  but of course, next week is the first week of September which means that the leagues start up. Not ours because of the holiday on the Monday, but it does mean it will not be so easy for us to play. It also turns out that we would be the only two anyway next week plus we are heading out on Friday, so we decided to miss out bowling for next week. So our next 5 pin bowling will be when we return from North Carolina.  One of the owners of Towne Bowl showed me some pix he had taken of our old bowling alley which is basically a heap of rubble right now. Took them long enough to start pulling it down. We haven’t been up that way ourselves lately, no reason to do so. Suppose we could have taken a trip to see what they were doing.

Apparently Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have decided to split up for a while, ostensibly to evaluate their marriageAPTOPIX 85th Academy Awards - Arrivals whilst they are apart. The report says that the health issues they have both been coping with have caused a lot of stress on their marriage –what happened to “in sickness and in health”? His throat cancer and her bi-polar disorder have placed great strains on them it is said. Seems a shame, I thought they were such a well matched couple and they seemed happy together. Mind you I think it would have put a bit of a strain on my marriage if my husband had announced in public that his throat cancer was caused by oral sex. His dad, Kirk Douglas, used to be one of my favourites once upon a time, historically of course!!! His son Michael looks very like him.

In England they used to have a fish and chip shop on every corner, nowadays its an Indian takeaway. Indian food is extremely popular. This recipe from BBC Good Food is a healthier version of a favourite.

Healthier chicken balti

By Angela Nilsen
Serves 4

A lighter version of the Indian takeaway classic from Angela Nilsen, this tomato-based curry is packed with extra spinach and peppersBraised Chicken Scallions
  • 450g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1½ tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods, split
  • 1 small to medium green chilli
  • ½ tsp cumin seed
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 2½ cm-piece ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 250ml organic passata
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded, cut into small chunks
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 85g baby spinach leaves
  • handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • chapatis or basmati rice, to serve (optional)
  • Tip - How to make it healthier
    Angela makes her balti healthier by: Using sunflower oil instead of ghee; Frying in a non-stick wok to reduce the amount of fat for cooking; Using skinless chicken breasts; Stirring in lots of veg to provide 2 of your 5-a-day; Keeping salt to a minimum by using a quality organic passata that contained less salt, and using less for seasoning.


  1. Put the chicken in a medium bowl. Mix in the lime juice, paprika, chilli powder and a grinding of black pepper (step 1), then leave to marinate for at least 15 mins, preferably a bit longer.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick wok or sauté pan. Tip in the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, whole chilli and cumin seeds, and stir-fry briefly just to colour and release their fragrance (step 2). Stir in the onion, garlic and ginger and fry over a medium-high heat for 3-4 mins until the onion starts to turn brown. Add the remaining oil, then drop in the chicken and stir-fry for 2-3 mins or until it no longer looks raw. Mix the turmeric, cumin, ground coriander and garam masala together. Tip into the pan, lower the heat to medium and cook for 2 mins (step 3). Pour in the passata and 150ml water, then drop in the chunks of pepper. When starting to bubble, lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 mins or until the chicken is tender.
  3. Stir in the tomato, simmer for 2-3 mins, then add the spinach and turn it over in the pan to just wilt. Season with a little salt. If you want to thin down the sauce, splash in a little more water. Remove the cinnamon stick, chilli and cardamom pods, if you wish, before serving. Scatter with fresh coriander and serve with warm chapatis or basmati rice, if you like.
Have a great day

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Isles of Glory, Syria, Bowling.

Not a whole hell of a lot happening in our lives at the moment. I The Awarehave just finished proofreading The Aware by Glenda Larke which is the first book of The Isles of Glory. Amazing, I had read it before some years ago and I was surprised how much I had forgotten. It’s a great story and now Glenda is offering it as an ebook. I bought the ebook a short while ago, but found there were a few errors or typos in it and at my request she sent me the book in PDF form to proof. Hopefully will accept the update at which time my ebook will get updated. I am not sure whether the Look Inside will work from my blog. I like this cover although the girl doesn’t look much like the one in the story, do they ever? Glenda has also sent me the next book to proof so I will be starting that right away. It’s called Gilfeather. Even Glenda said when she read through it she didn’t remember writing some of the book. There is one scene which stands out in my mind and which I will never forget. It was when…… no, no spoilers.

I don’t understand this Syrian business. Everyone is upset because they used chemical weapons against their own people. Now the US is planning to bomb Syria and kill a few more of their people for them. At least, that’s how it seems to me.

We will, of course, be bowling this afternoon. Only one more of these ‘friendly’ sessions and then we disappear to the States and the winter league starts on the 9th without us. I got myself a few US dollars today, we don’t take many as we find it more convenient to use Visa all the time, but there are some things for which you can’t use Visa.

I am one of those odd people who don’t like cobblers, especially not if they are made with apple, but even I found this one looked appealing.

Double Corn-Blueberry Cobbler

From EatingWell:  May/June 2011
The hallmark of a cobbler is a biscuit topping baked right on top of the fruit. Here blueberries (or blackberries) and corn make a fun match. The sunny cornmeal batter comes together quickly and looks gorgeous on top of the deep-dark fruit filling. We like the rustic texture of medium- or coarse-ground cornmeal, but any type works.

Blueberry Cobbler
8 servings
  • 4 cups blueberries or blackberries (about 1 1/4 pounds), fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white whole-wheat flour (see Note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal, preferably medium- or coarse-ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh, frozen (thawed) or canned (well-drained)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. To prepare filling: Combine berries, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl. (If using frozen fruit, let stand for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to thaw the fruit before transferring to the baking dish.) Transfer to a 9-inch shallow glass or ceramic baking dish.
  3. To prepare topping: Whisk 1 cup flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until well blended. Whisk egg yolk, buttermilk, oil and 3 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to blend. Fold in corn.
  4. Evenly spoon the batter on top of the berry mixture; the fruit will be almost completely covered with batter. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake until the berries are bubbly, the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the topping comes out clean, 35 to 50 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
  • 1. Note: White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. It is available at large ­supermarkets and natural-foods stores and online at or Store it in the freezer.
Have a great day

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Historical, Bogue Inlet Pier, Grousing.

Well now I’m upset. An author labelling her book as historical fiction when it was set in 1961. Historical!!!! I was in my 20s and I don’t consider myself part of history. Technically I suppose yesterday is historical, but when people talk of historical fiction I think of early 20th century or before. Not 50 years ago!!! My past is not historical, I am not a figure from history. Hmpf!!

Bogue Pier3At the moment the weather at our North Carolina destination is cool in the morning but warms up during the day which will suit me down to the ground so long as it stays that way. Our friends who are already there for their vacation won’t be too happy if it isn’t beach weather, but as we aren’t really beach people it won’t affect us that much although we both like to spend time on the pier and gaze at the ocean or watch the fishermen and women – fisher people? In fact I was discussing with Matt the idea of renting ourselves some rods this year. We gave all our fishing tackle to a friend when we left NC – don’t think they still have it. Some very big fish are caught off thiBogue Pier2s pier, we haven’t ever caught anything very large ourselves, but certainly large enough to provide supper. This pier has been damaged by hurricanes over the years, a couple of times in my memory, but luckily they have repaired it every time although some of the other piers on Emerald Isle, NC have disappeared since we have been visiting the area, keeping them repaired is a pretty expensive proposition I gather. Long may they continue to do so.

There is a restaurant that I was quite determined to try last year but didn’t get there, so this year I am even more determined. It’s called Sammy’s Seafood and from what I see on Facebook, their food looks really good. We usually go to another restaurant, Floyds 1921 for my birthday meal although normally Matt and I never go out to dinner on a Saturday which is the day my birthday falls on this year. I am still wondering whether to go out that night or not.

Although we can’t actually see it because of lots of trees, there is a school which we face from our apartment. It’s for fairly young kids, no I don’t know what grades, I have never grasped the system. However, after they broke up for the holidays, workmen moved into the grounds and have been there all summer, digging up all round the front, there are great piles of dirt and deep holes. We have no idea what they are doing, but if they can finish it by the time the kids come back to school, I will eat my hat. What really teed me off, Friday night it was nice enough to have the bedroom window open, 6 a.m. Saturday morning they started work, banging and crashing, we were not happy. They have all kinds of heavy machinery there too. 6 a.m. I ask you?

Everyone, but me, loves potato salad. It always turns up at any summer gathering in one form or another. This one was from and I just might try it although I don’t know I would bother to make it.

Potato Salad with Parmesan and Tomato

Source: Le Cordon Bleu Home Collection - Potatoes

Serves 4
Potato salad is a perennial favourite - especially in summer - and can be enjoyed as a side dish, or simply on its own. This particular Potato Salad Parmesan Tomatoversion is satisfying and flavoursome.

6 medium to large boiling potatoes, scrubbed (see Chef's tip)
1 large tomato
1 butterhead lettuce
1 shallot, finely chopped
Chopped fresh chives, to serve
Grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

For Vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons mustard
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until tender to the point of a knife. Remove and plunge into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking. Peel the potatoes, then cut them into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside to cool.
Bring a small pan of water to a boil. With the point of a small sharp knife, score a small cross in the skin at the base of the tomato. Drop the tomato into the boiling water for 10 seconds, then plunge it into a bowl of cold water. Peel the skin away from the cross, then cut around and remove the stalk from the tomato. Slice the tomato into quarters, remove and discard the seeds and finely dice the flesh. Set aside.
Mix the mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl and season to taste. Gradually pour in the oil in a thin steady stream, whisking until the mixture emulsifies and thickens. Stir in the grated Parmesan, then gently toss the potato cubes in the vinaigrette until well coated.
Arrange the lettuce leaves on six plates. Pile some potato salad in the center and garnish each salad with a sprinkling of shallot, chives and diced tomato, then a little extra Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.
Round white or red waxy potatoes as well as new potatoes are well suited for using in salads.

Have a great day

Monday, August 26, 2013

Trivia, Space, Dinner, Sunday Lunch.

Here’s a piece of trivia for you that we learnt over the weekend, did you know the Statue of Liberty’s nose was 4 1/2 ft long? That is one heck of a large nose.

For my scientifically minded friends, here is the Canadian, Chris Hadfield, who Face Cloth in Spacewas Commander of the International Space Station for a while, giving a demonstration of what happens when you wring out a wet cloth.  Something which I had never thought about. I was also fascinated by the face cloths with which they are provided. Tickled me too, that the microphone was floating in front of his face whilst he was talking. We don’t really comprehend what happens in space even though we are told, nothing can take the place of experiencing it.

Saturday Matt cooked the Sichuan-Style Chicken with Sichual-Style Chicken with PeanutsPeanuts dish that I posted last week. It was very good although we didn’t have any peanuts so we used pine nuts. I actually prefer those anyway. It could have done with a spot more heat for my taste, Sichuan food is very often mouth burning, this had a tingle but that was it. However, I can thoroughly recommend it. We have leftovers as it was for 4 people. It is certainly one we will make again.

Our Sunday lunch turned out to be very successful. The roast lamb and roast potatoes were delicious we were told. So many people in North America don’t like lamb it’s nice to find people who do. Unfortunately I shot the bolt when it came to my diet, they brought some Brie and crackers as a gift and I couldn’t resist. Oh well, tomorrow (today I guess) is another day.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Pine Nut-Kasha Granola and Ricotta

Contributed by Justin Smillie
8 first-course servings

Discovery Book
© Christina Holmes
“Everyone adds nuts to salad, but I wanted to do something different,” says Justin Smillie. He tops crisp snap peas with a savory granola that includes pine nuts and kasha. Ricotta adds another layer of texture; Smillie makes his own cheese at the restaurant, but good-quality store-bought fresh ricotta is also delicious.


  1. 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
  2. 2/3 cup kasha (roasted buckwheat groats)
  3. 1/2 cup flaxseeds
  4. 1/2 cup pine nuts
  5. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  7. 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  8. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar


  1. 1 pound sugar snap peas
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  4. Maldon sea salt
  5. Kosher salt
  6. Freshly ground pepper
  7. 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
  8. Chopped mint, for garnish
  1. MAKE THE GRANOLA Preheat the oven to 325° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the oats with the kasha, flaxseeds and pine nuts. Add the remaining granola ingredients and toss until thoroughly coated, then spread on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. Bake the granola in the center of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden and nearly dry. Turn off the oven and prop the door open halfway; let the granola cool in the oven, stirring occasionally.
  3. MAKE THE SALAD In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, simmer the snap peas until bright green and crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain and cool the snap peas under running water, pat dry and halve them lengthwise. In a medium bowl, toss the snap peas with the lemon juice and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, then season with Maldon sea salt and pepper.
  4. In another medium bowl, whisk the ricotta until smooth and season with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon the ricotta onto plates and top with the snap peas. Sprinkle some of the granola on the peas and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped mint. Serve right away.
Make Ahead This recipe makes 5 cups of granola, which can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Have a great day

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pup Calls 911, Justin Trudeau.

Was a very quiet day yesterday, didn’t do much of anything except read. Well Matt watched golf on TV.
k-9-puppy-cbc-2colFunny story in the news, a puppy called 911 and when the police arrived it turned out that its owner was wanted by the cops anyway. In fact they figure the phone was dropped and the puppy stepped on it causing 911 to be called. The man has been arrested and the police think the puppy will be a good candidate for their K-9 division.

A lot of fuss in the news about the Liberal candidate, Justin Trudeau, who admits to smoking pot since he has been a member of parliament. His dad was Pierre Trudeau who was, IMHOP, a great prime minister and I think everyone was expecting him to follow in his father’s footsteps. Maybe that hope was unfounded.
Sunday we have friends coming for dinner. Should be fun. I am cooking a leg of lamb which we know they enjoy.

The only problem I have with this recipe is the ingredient 1 lb leftover grilled ribeye steak. I would never have any leftover steak, let alone a whole pound of it. Therefore to make it I would have to plan to grill the steak in advance.

Turkish Lettuce Wraps

Contributed by Tim McKee

Lettuce Cups A130326 FW Handbook July 2013
© John Kernick
The rich and luscious sesame sauce is key to these quick Middle Eastern–flavoured lettuce cups.
  1. 8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  2. 2 tablespoons tahini
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  5. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  6. Kosher salt
  7. 2 cups shredded carrots
  8. 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  9. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  10. 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  11. 2 heads Bibb lettuce, leaves separated
  12. 1 pound very thinly sliced leftover Grilled Rib Eye
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with the tahini, half of the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt.
  2. In another bowl, toss the carrots with the cilantro, cumin, paprika and the remaining garlic, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt.
  3. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a very large platter and spoon a small dollop of the sesame yogurt in the centers. Top with the beef and the carrot slaw and serve right away.
Have a great weekend

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tell a Joke Day, Shopping.

According to Stephen Tremp August 16th was National Tell a Joke Day. Not to be left out, a friend sent me a whole bunch of jokes by email and I thought I would pass this set on to you.

We hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
~Aesop, Greek slave & fable author
Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished
by being governed by those who are dumber.
~Plato, ancient Greek Philosopher
Politicians are the same all over.
They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.
~Nikita Khrushchev, Russian Soviet politician
When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President;
now I'm beginning to believe it.
~Quoted in 'Clarence Darrow for the Defense' by Irving Stone.
Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the
tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
~John Quinton, American actor/writer
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign
funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other
~Oscar Ameringer, "the Mark Twain of American Socialism."
I offered my opponents a deal:  If they stop telling lies about me,
I will stop telling the truth about them.
~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952..
A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.
~ Texas Guinan. 19th century American businessman
I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter
to be left to the politicians.
~Charles de Gaulle, French general & politician
Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better
to change the locks.
~Doug Larson (English middle-distance runner who won gold medals
at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, 1902-1981)
What happens if a politician drowns in a river?
~That is pollution.
What happens if all of them drown?
~That is a solution.

My shopping trip ended up fizzling out today. Having visited the doc’s briefly, we went to a friend’s house for lunch and was persuaded to wait til we get to the States where clothes are a lot less expensive. So, I am still wearing flappy shorts. Had a great time visiting though and didn’t do my diet a lot of good with what I ate for lunch. Ah well, just one day I guess.

I love stuffed mushrooms and this is one I haven’t tried before.

Almond and Herb Mushroom Caps
LCBO Food and Drink

Many herbs are perennial FnD_ESum09_P084_290098and all need little tending in a sunny garden or in balcony pots. Snip and chop whatever is most abundant for these delicious hot mushrooms.

24 cremini or button mushrooms, each about 1 1⁄2 inches (4 cm) across
3⁄4 cup (175 mL) toasted slivered almonds, divided
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
1⁄4 cup (50 mL) minced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 mL) tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) each of chopped fresh rosemary and oregano or 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh mixed herbs
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) fresh white-bread crumbs
Maldon or other coarse salt
Several sprigs fresh rosemary or other herb

1. Remove stems from mushrooms; finely chop. Finely chop 1⁄4 cup (50 mL) almonds. Set caps and remaining almonds aside.
2. Heat oil and butter in a small frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add chopped stems; sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until much reduced in volume. Remove from heat, stir in pepper, tamari, vinegar, herbs and chopped almonds. Then stir in bread crumbs.
3. Dividing among caps, firmly fill each one. Place 8 to 10 slivered almonds over filling. Mushrooms can be covered and refrigerated for up to half a day.
4. Grill upright on hot barbecue for 3 to
5. minutes or until hot and mushrooms are partially cooked. Garnish each with a few salt flakes and tiny sprig of rosemary or chopped herb. Serve immediately.

Makes 24 nibbles

Have a great day

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cover Reveal, Bowling, Shopping

The Lascar's Dagger 1My friend Glenda Larke has now revealed the cover for her latest book, what a fabulous cover it is too, The Lascar’s Dagger, Book 1 of the Forsaken Lands. Unfortunately the book itself will not be ready until March 2014 which is a long time to wait. It will also be available on Kindle when it comes out. I love Glenda’s books and was delighted to find that her first book in the Isles of Glory series, The Aware, is now available as an ebook. I have all her books except that series. OK I now have the Kindle edition of The Aware.

For once bowling went pretty well yesterday, I had one really gMy_Ballood game and two fairly good games. Matt didn’t bowl badly either, so it was more enjoyable. Two more Wednesdays and the winter league starts; without us though, as we will be in North Carolina for the first two weeks. We have bowled ahead so our scores will be added in when the other two team members bowl. I’m sorry we always miss the beginning of the season, but we like to go away when all the kids are back at school and also when the cottage rental drops somewhat. September is usually a very nice month there although they, along with other parts of the States, have been having a fair share of rain lately.

Today I have a doc’s appointment in Cambridge and have had a store suggested to me there  to perhaps buy some shorts. I will pop in and see anyway. Trouble is I don’t like Capri pants, nor do I like long shorts down to the knee which is what I seem to find when I go shopping, not that I have done so for a while.  Those long shorts are like schoolboy pants to me, being from England. They probably don’t wear those any more, but they used to and the image is firmly implanted in my mind. Looking for pictures, it doesn’t look as though they do wear them any more.

I couldn’t resist this recipe from

Fudge Brownies

Source: Casual Cuisines of the World
Makes 24 brownies

The difference between a plain brownie and a fudge brownie is that, in the latter, the center stays moist and chewy. These bars are perfect for picnics because, wrapped airtight, they will remain fresh all day. If you like orange flavour with your chocolate, substitute an equal amount of orange liqueur for the vanilla.
Fudge Brownies
3/4 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)
1 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped almonds
1 tablespoon confectioners' (icing) sugar


Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

In the top pan of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over (not touching) simmering water in a pan, combine the butter and chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the eggs and granulated sugar until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and holds a trail for 3 or 4 seconds when the beaters are lifted from the batter, 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the vanilla and the cooled butter-chocolate mixture until no streaks remain; do not over mix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour, baking powder and salt until just blended. Fold in the almonds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some wet crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes.

Transfer to a rack and let cool in the pan. Cut into 2-inch squares. Just before serving, using a fine-mesh sieve or sifter, dust lightly with the confectioners’ sugar.

Have a great day

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clothing, Paladin’s World, Books

Back to my clothing woes, in particular shorts, a girlfriend popped in weight-loss-cartoon_thumb1to see us today and she too is losing weight. She said her sister had said her clothes looked like crap and told her to buy some new ones, she more or less said the same to me. Her contention was that I would feel so much better about myself and also look slimmer too. She basically told me to get out and do it, so maybe I will do just that. She also suggested stores for me to try so we will see what happens. I’m not quite as bad as this cartoon, but there are times when the scales are one’s worst enemy. The gurus say you shouldn’t obsess about the scales, easy for them. One thing I do regret is that I didn't take any measurements before I started dieting. I can wear some clothes I haven't worn in quite a long time, but it would be nice to know how many inches I have lost.

My friend also brought the latest Elizabeth Moon book in the Limits of PowerPaksenarrian world, Limits of Power. We have been reading these books religiously, and thoroughly enjoying them. Apparently there is going to be at least one if not two more to finish the series. I love Elizabeth Moon’s writing and her Remnant Population is one of my favourite first contact books. Her Speed of Dark is another fantastic story featuring autism. I have both these as Kindle books and talking about them, I think I just might read them again soon, they were so fantastic. Especially Remnant Population with an elderly woman as the protagonist.

Also, my friend brought us some fresh corn, delicious, and some plums which were equally delicious. I envy her living out of town with easy access to farm shops.

We are bowling again this afternoon, just three or four of us today I believe. Nothing formal but enjoyable. Won’t be long before we are doing 10 pin at MacDaddy’s in Cape Carteret, North Carolina.

I came across this recipe today which I plan to make very soon. Haven’t used snow or sugar snap peas for a while and I thought, yum, about time I did so.

Sichuan-Style Chicken with Peanuts

Sichuan SauceSichual-Style Chicken with Peanuts
3 Tbs reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbs tomato paste
2 tsp Chinkiang rice vinegar, (see Note) or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, plus more to taste

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, or thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp Shao Hsing rice wine, (see Note) or dry sherry
1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs canola oil
2 1/2-inch-thick slices ginger, smashed
2 cups sugar snap peas, (8 ounces)
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 scallion, minced

1. To prepare Sichuan sauce: Whisk broth, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch and crushed red pepper to taste in a small bowl.
2. To prepare chicken: Combine chicken, rice wine (or sherry), soy sauce, cornstarch and garlic in a medium bowl; mix thoroughly.
3. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl oil into the pan, add ginger and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Carefully add the chicken mixture, spreading it out. Cook until the chicken begins to brown, about 1 minute. Using a spatula, stir-fry for 30 seconds. Spread the chicken out again and cook for 30 seconds. Continue stir-frying until the chicken is lightly browned on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes. Add snap peas and stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir the Sichuan Sauce, swirl it into the pan and stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened and glossy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a platter (discard the ginger) and sprinkle with peanuts and scallions. Serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Have a great day

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gun Safe Surprise, Horseradish, Books

Uruguay MarijuanaWell, how about that, a man in Ohio ordered a gun safe online and when he got it, much to his surprise, it contained 127 kilograms of marijuana worth about $420,000. The safe was made in Nogales, Mexico and was shipped with a whole bunch of them but this was the only one with marijuana inside. The truck driver has gone missing! I wonder why? This happened in June but police kept it quiet whilst pursuing their enquiries.

Prince William was interviewed about fatherhood which was shown on Good Morning America this morning, Apparently he says “George is a bit of a rascal". If you would like to see the video it’s HERE.

I got lots of responses about my horseradish complaint yesterday. I now have to go hunting around for horseradish root.Horseradish root Doesn’t look much does it, but I have been advised to handle it with gloves and to take care when I chop it or grate it as it can cause one’s eyes to water for a long time. I want my eyes to water, but only when I use it with beef. I checked online and it can be frozen for short periods both grated and steeped in vinegar or in its raw state.

As a break from the intense books I have been reading, I decided on something lighter for a while. I am reading Wicked By Any Other Name byWicked by Any Other Name Linda Wisdom. It’s a light frolic about witches, wizards and other magickal creatures. Got a love interest in it too. I am enjoying it so far. It is about a couple of witches who live in a small town which was once a mining village and have done their part to ensure that no developers take over the town. Now one of them, Anastasia, is being sued by a human for ruining her love life. The townspeople are aware the pair are witches of course. The plaintiff has hired a wizard lawyer, yes a wizard, Trev, who’s a lawyer, to prosecute her complaint and guess who both have hearts spinning above their heads? In non human law, defendant and opposing lawyer can have dinner together.

I like grilled peppers and so when I saw this salad in WebMD I thought, this is for me.

Grilled Pepper Salad

WebMD Recipe from

Toss a colourful mix of grilled bell peppers with briny olives, sweet sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette for a lovely side dish. grilled_pepper_saladOr spread crostini with goat cheese and top it with this salad for an easy summer appetizer.

4  bell peppers, (mixed colors), halved, seeded and stemmed
1/4 cup halved and pitted oil-cured black olives
1/4 cup rinsed and chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt

  1. Grill peppers on medium-high, turning once, until soft and charred in spots, about 5 minutes per side. When cool enough to handle, chop the peppers; toss with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, oil, vinegar and salt in a large bowl.
Have a great day

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ouch, Horseradish, Books,

We have been putting off cleaning the silver for a while, a whole load oshinf excuses, but finally, Saturday morning, we got down to it. Part way through, I am standing at the sink, and I suddenly get the most excruciating pain in my lower leg, in the front. I literally couldn’t walk for a few moments. Matt then helped me to a chair and for the next hour or so it kept coming and going. Eventually it decided to go altogether, but that was the most painful hour I ever remember. No idea what it was other than one of those strange pains you get with diabetes. Could also have been vascular. No real idea. All I can really say is “ouch”.

Life isn’t treating me too well. I like horseradish with my beef, but I do like it really hot so it brings tears to one’s eyes. I can’t seem to Horseradishfind one – had one fairly good one but didn’t make note of the name – bought a new one last week and tried it on Saturday night, yuk, it was horrible, it tasted so sweet I wanted to upchuck. Why on earth would you need sugar in horseradish? Revolting stuff. I know that fresh horseradish doesn’t keep its pungency for very long, but adding sugar won’t help. There are markets around here with quite a few Germans or Mennonites, who sell homemade horseradish. It is great, but it doesn’t retain it’s heat for very long unfortunately. I guess I need to buy a root and grate it when I need it. I wonder if it freezes. It seems, in Ontario anyway, they don’t like really spicy horseradish.

Season of the HarvestI was raving about Michael R. Hicks and his books last week – his In Her Name series, one of which is not yet available. As I said, great stories. Then I started reading another series by him Season of the Harvest which I have just finished. The story is very edge of the seat, and this time the aliens are NOT sympathetic one little bit. The first book would stand alone, but in fact there are two more, once again the last one is not published. It is due summer of 2013 so any time now I guess. Summer isn’t quite over, not that it ever really started here. Have had a few nice days recently. I must be honest, I don’t enjoy days of sweltering heat, so I shouldn’t really complain.

The following recipe from for a barbecue sauce looked good enough to share. Personally I would omit the yellow mustard and add Colman’s mustard powder. That would make it really spicy. I think I would omit the grape jelly, but that is a personal preference, I don’t like grape jelly. Actually I don't like yellow mustard either, horrid stuff. I make my own mustard with mustard powder. A note for my British readers, when something is what we would call hot, it is usually referred to as spicy here.

Spicy Barbecue Sauce

Contributed By: David, KY

Pick your favorite protein - this easy barbecue sauce is delicious on any meat of choice!

INGREDIENTSSpicy Barbecue Sauce

½ cup molasses
½ cup honey
1 ½ cup catsup
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup yellow mustard
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp black pepper
1/1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs minced dried onions
2 Tbs grape jelly
½ cup dark brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and slow simmer for 30 minutes.

Have a great day

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Value Village.

It was suggested that the problem of my over large shorts could be resolved by visiting thrift shops. Not a bad idea except I am no shopper. However, I did call in at Value Village yesterday, which is a Thrift Shop. They didn’t have many shorts in my size, even Value Villagethough I have lost weight, I tried on a couple of pairs, one was a bit big but hideous and the other too small. That ended that little foray. Like I said, I am no shopper (in fact I hate clothes shopping) and anyway there wasn’t a lot there for me. I’ll have to wait and maybe next year invest in some shorts which do fit me by which time I should, I hope, be somewhat smaller. Matt was with me, he is much better at this kind of shopping than I, but we didn’t really see anything for me.

I seriously thought about not blogging at all today and taking a break, so this is yer lot.

Some people don’t like okra, I learned to do so many years ago in the Mediterranean where they use it a lot. I thought this was a great idea from Food and Wine.

Okra Double Dippers

Contributed by Kay Chun

SERVINGS: 6 to 8

This okra gets not one but two coatings: Dip first in miso Okra double dippers A130423 Food & Wine Handbook August 2013mayonnaise, then add crunch with sesame seeds or heat with fresh chiles.
  1. 1 pound okra
  2. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  3. 2 tablespoons white miso (also called shiro miso)
  4. Black and white sesame seeds and thinly sliced fresh red chiles, for dipping
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the okra until bright green, about 30 seconds; drain well. Transfer the okra to a baking sheet and refrigerate until it has cooled slightly.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the miso. Put the sesame seeds and chiles in 2 small bowls. To eat, dip the okra spears in the miso mayonnaise, then dip in the toppings.
Have as great weekend

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tsunami, Lions, Lioness.

tsunamiA friend sent me an interesting link to a video taken during the major tsunami in Japan in 2011, I don’t know why this video has only just surfaced, but although long and not the best camera work I found it fascinating to watch. Apparently embedding is disabled so here is the link. It’s worth watching, it is nowhere near as dramatic as many of the videos which were, and still are, available, but this was obviously taken inland and shows just how the devastation spread. What astounds me is the warnings, the official truck patrolling presumably telling people to get to higher ground or something and yet people appear to be taking little or no notice. Not even the cameraman. And the garbage!!!

National Geographic sent some links to lots of fantastilionsc lion pictures, but this one tickled me, it was titled, Yes Lions do have Bad Hair Days. Some of the pictures were surprising, pictures of male lions playing with one another (these two maybe), I thought once they got to a certain age they left to form their own prides. Maybe these two were still quite young. They sure don’t believe in share and share alike when it comes to food, but the dominant male hardly has to do anything, just walk over to the food and everyone else vanishes. The link is HERE and it’s well worth watching.

Lioness and carTalking of lions, there were a couple of pictures on Facebook of a lioness walking up to a car (in a safari park) and pulling open the back door with her mouth.  Despite being told, the occupants hadn’t locked all their doors. They were somewhat shell shocked I guess as apparently it took them a while to wake up and drive on. The lioness chased them all the way to the gates. People can be such idiots. There was a video, a while back, of a man getting out of his car to walk over to a pride and take pictures. He never made it back. His family had the pleasure of watching him being mauled to death.

Another vegan recipe. I like white beans and this sounds like a tasty recipe. D’you know, I have some spinach, I might just adapt this recipe using it.

Quick White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes

Source: Food and Wine
The Good News Low in fat but high in protein, beans are one of Joe Bastianich's favourite ingredients. He uses white beans here, but he also loves making this recipe with chickpeas and flat gigante beans: "The bigger and creamier the beans, the better."

Serves 4
2 pounds Swiss chard large stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup canned tomatoes chopped
1 16 ounce can cannellini beans drained and rinsed

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until tender, 8 minutes. Drain the greens and gently press out excess water.

In the saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the beans and simmer over moderately high heat for 3 minutes. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until the flavours meld, 5 minutes.

Season the stew with salt and serve.

Have a great day