Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zebra and Zagreb Veal Steak.

And so we come to the end, sadly this is my last post for the A to Z Challenge for 2014. They are a lot of fun to write and I do hope you enjoyed reading them.

I chose the Zebra last year and wasn’t really planning to do so again and then I learned, from a clue on Jeopardy, what the collective noun was for a bunch of zebraZebras, it is a Dazzle of Zebras. Couldn’t resist writing about that. I discovered last year that there are several species of zebra; I thought they were all the same. The stripes are as different as fingerprints, but each of the three species has similar markings. This is a lovely picture taken by the National Geographic photographers. They say that people are not quite sure why they have stripes but believe it might have something to do with camouflage. A predator would have difficulty focusing on one animal because their appearance is visually broken up, especially if they are running. Family units (especially Plains Zebras, the most numerous) tend to stick together although they might join up with a herd, safety in numbers after all. Lets face it, I get dizzy just looking at this photo, or maybe dazzled. Just picked up some interesting information A comparison of zebra habitats mapped with data about local predators, eco-regions, and insects indicates that a zebra’s stripes are an adapted defense against biting flies, according to a study just published in Nature Communications.

This sounds pretty good although I don’t remember eating it in Yugoslavia as it was called when I was there. We enjoy veal and this dish reminds me a little of chicken cordon bleu. It was a recipe from

Zagreb Veal Steak

By nitko
Photo by nitko
Serves: 4

About This Recipe

"This is popular meal from Zagreb.
There is some dispute about whether egg should be in it or not, but going through literature I have found that it is a 50-50% chance to find egg. So, it is going to be an egg in it. I think positive. Of course you can do it without egg."


    • 700 g veal ( 4 large schnitzels)
    • 60 g ham ( cooked smoked farmer's ham)
    • 60 g gouda cheese or 60 g swiss cheese
    • 2 eggs (hard cooked)
    • 200 g breadcrumbs
    • 150 g flour
    • 3 eggs
    • 50 g salt
    • 1 lemon
    • oil for frying


  1. Beat veal steaks to make them thin.
  2. Cut cooked eggs into halves. Slice ham and cheese.
  3. Salt steaks from inside and put slice of ham, slice of cheese and ½ egg on one side of steak. Cover with other side to make it look like a pocket. Beat the ends of the steak to close them.
  4. Whisk 3 eggs like you are making omelet. Put the steaks into flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs.
  5. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry steaks until golden on both sides (you may use half lard half oil mixture, it is much better).
  6. Cut lemon into slices and serve with steaks. We usually eat the steaks with French fried potatoes.
Have a great day

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yaffle and Yak Kwa.

Yaffle is an uncommon English name for the YaffleEuropean Green Woodpecker, reminiscent of it's laugh-like call (technically urban, you get them in green areas of town). It spends a lot of its time on the ground hunting ants and doesn’t drum on trees as much as other woodpeckers. It is an attractive looking bird and it occurs in most parts of Europe and western Asia. I absolutely love the colours of this bird and would like to see one. We used to get lots of woodpeckers drumming on our trees in the Carolinas including one which is considered to be somewhat rare, the Pileated Woodpecker.

I love ginger so I thought these would be an excellent cookie to share: from

Yak Kwa (Korean Ginger Cookies)

By Celticevergreen 
Yield, 20 cookies

About This Recipe

"These simple cookies are perfect for adding to your holiday repertoire." Yak Kwa



    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt


    • 1 gingerroot, peeled ( 2 inches)
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
    • 3 tablespoons honey
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine or 2 tablespoons sake
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • oil, for frying
    • cinnamon ( for serving)
    • pine nuts, crushed ( for serving)


  1. Combine sugar, honey, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool. Set aside.
  2. Blend ginger and 2 tbsp water in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour through a strainer and set aside.
  3. Combine flour, salt, and sesame oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add ginger juice, honey, rice wine, and 2 tbsp water and process until a smooth, pliable dough forms.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a 1/4 inch thick circle, about 12 inches wide. Using a small cookie cutter, cut dough into 20 cookies.
Have a great day
Jo (2)

Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for Xenops and for X Cocktail

Xenops is the same family as the ovenbirds and are found in Mexico, XenopsCentral and South America. They are small birds with a longish tail which turns up at the tip and a laterally flattened bill. They forage for insects on tree stumps or rotting wood a bit like a woodpecker. Other than a lot of scientific information that is about all I can tell you of this oddly named little bird.

I am not a big cocktail drinker, however, I thought this one sounded good. I do like tomato juice for a start and always enjoy Bloody Caesars. My shot glasses wouldn’t hold this amount of liquid.


X Cocktail

By F.L. KeysJen  Photo
Photo by AmandaInOz

Serves: 1

About This Recipe
"From Absolut Vodka."


    • 1 ounce vodka ( Absolut Peppar)
    • 1 ounce tequila
    • 1 1/2 ounces tomato juice
    • 1 lime wedge


  1. Chill a shot glass with ice or in the freezer.
  2. Empty the shot glass from ice and water.
  3. Pour absolut peppar, tequila and tomato juice into the shot glass.
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Have a great day

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saturday Movie

The DishIn between A to Z, I had to pop in and tell you about the great movie I watched on Saturday night, it was called The Dish and I was unfamiliar with any of the actors, all Australian as far as I know. However, the story was about Australia’s involvement in the Apollo 11 moon mission and some of the difficulties they went through including a hurricane right at a critical moment in which they were unsure whether the dish would stand the wind force. It being like a great big sail when it was positioned to face the moon.

The movie is populated with what are described as “quirky” characters which gives a bit of extra interest to the story, but the nail biting moment in the middle of the cyclone when they don’t know if the whole array is going to collapse taking them with it, is a high spot in the story and when the TV pictures finally arrive from the moon it is primarily due to The Dish in Parkes, Australia which is situated in the middle of a sheep paddock. In the credits at the end, they assured us that the array is still part of the NASA organisation and is still in the middle of the sheep paddock.

I especially enjoyed it because I was unable to watch any of the moon landing on TV at the time it happened, I was busy travelling to the airport in Zagreb to catch a plane home to England. If you get the chance, do watch it.

Hope your weekend is going well

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Wren and Waikiki Champagne Punch

The English name for wrens goes back a long way to probable German and WrenIcelandic origins. The old English name was wraenna and it eventually became wren as we know it today. Only the Eurasian Wren occurs in the old world where they are just called wrens. There are birds in Australia and New Zealand which are called wrens but are not the same family. Most wrens tend to be small and inconspicuous although they are noted for their loud songs. When we lived in North Carolina we used to have many of them feeding in our back yard and one time, Matt left the shed door open, and a wren built a nest at the top of a can of nails. I have also heard of wrens building nests in the pockets of old gardening jackets. They are another perky little bird and a joy to have around.

The minute I came across this recipe in I had to share it. I am a sucker for champagne cocktails. Once again, the picture did not come with the recipe, but it looks about right. Not sure it would serve 15 of my friends.

Waikiki Champagne Punch

By marisk
Servings: 15

About This Recipe

"A delicious, refreshing mix of tropical fruits and champagne. Use fresh pineapple juice when possible. Adapted from a recipe posted on the Not Waikiki Champagne PunchRecommended for those under the legal drinking age!!! I'm sorry, the quantity was not given; my guess may be way off."


    • 1 1/2 quarts fresh pineapple juice
    • 2 (750 ml) bottles dry champagne, chilled
    • 2 cups dry white wine
    • 3 cups pineapple chunks in juice
    • 1 pint strawberry
    • 2 oranges, sliced
    • 1 lemon, sliced
    • 1 lime, sliced
    • ice cube, as needed


  1. Combine the pineapple juice, champagne, wine and pineapple chunks in a large punch bowl.
  2. Add ice cubes as needed.
  3. Decorate the punch with the strawberries, orange slices and lemon slices.
  4. Add additional ice as needed.
Have a great weekend
Jo (2)

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Vole and Vaisiu Pyragas

I apologise if I haven't been to visit you lately. Life just continues to interfere with my blogging. I am trying.

There are approximately 155 species of vole. I just thought a vole was a vole. They are very similar to mice and are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America. I was once bitten by one. Many years ago, in England, we had a cat called Fancy who, like all Bank_volecats, would catch mice and voles and I would periodically endeavour to save them. On this occasion she had a vole and I did save it, it bit me and I nearly gave it back to the cat. They form a sub family with the lemmings and muskrats. The one in the picture is a Bank Vole This is incredible. Voles are small rodents that grow to 3–9 in (7.6–22.9 cm), depending on the species. They can have five to 10 litters per year. Gestation lasts for three weeks and the young voles reach sexual maturity in a month. As a result of this biological exponential growth, vole populations can grow very large within a very short period of time. Since litters average five to 10 young, a single vole can birth a hundred more voles in a year. I am surprised one doesn’t come across them more often.

This sounded an interesting recipe. We used to get a fruit bread in England which Matt loved. I would eat a slice now and again. This sounded quite similar.

Vaisiu Pyragas -- Fruit Bread (Lithuania)

By Sydney Mike
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hrs 30 mins
  • Serves: 30, Yield: 2 large loaves

About This Recipe

"This recipe was found on the internet at easteuropeanfood.abVaisiu Preparation time does not include the times needed for the dough to rise several times."


    • 2 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
    • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
    • 1 1/2 cups milk, warm
    • 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted
    • 3 large eggs, beaten
    • 3/4 lb dried fruit, chopped fine
    • 1 1/2 cups light raisins
    • 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
    • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted ( again)
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar ( again)
    • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


  1. In a large bowl whisk together yeast, JUST 1/2 cup of the sugar, milk, JUST 3 cups of the flour and salt, combining until smooth, then cover and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. After the 1 hour, add the 4 ounces of melted butter, eggs, another 1/2 cup of sugar and the remaining flour, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add chopped fruits, raisins and nuts and knead until well incorporated, then cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. In a small container, mix 1/2 cup of sugar with the cinnamon & set aside, then grease two large loaf pans.
  5. Divide dough in half and, on a lightly floured surface, roll each half, one at a time, into a rectangle about 12 inches by 16 inches.
  6. Spread each half with melted butter & the sugar/cinnamon mixture, then roll the dough up lengthwise & tuck in the ends before placing them in the prepared loaf pans.
  7. Cover pans with greased plastic wrap & let rise until doubled.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F & bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F & bake 50 minutes longer.
  9. Turn loaves out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. If desired, the loaves can be served plain, dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with a vanilla icing.

Have a great day
Jo (2)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Uakari and Udon Noodle Soup.

The Uakari are a genus of monkeys in the New World. They are unusual in that their tails are Uakari_maleshorter than their bodies and their heads are bald. They have no subcutaneous fat so that their faces basically look like skulls. The four species of uakari currently recognized are all found in the north-western Amazon Basin. They are lethargic in zoos, but in the wild are noisy and extremely active being very good jumpers, leaping over 6 meters. This would argue that keeping them in zoos is not a good idea although it does assist preservation and conservation as well as the ability to study the animal.

This is a recipe for soup from, however the picture does not include any shrimp, but it was the closest I could find and I think this soup would look very similar.

Udon Noodle Soup With Chicken and Shrimp

By Abby Girl on July 29, 2007
Servings: 6

About This Recipe

"This soup is fast, easy and delicious. The bean sprouts wChicken Noodle Soupill store longer if placed in water in the fridge"


    • 4 ounces chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, diced ( about 1 breast)
    • 2 teaspoons gingerroot, minced
    • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
    • 6 cups chicken stock ( or beef)
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 6 ounces udon noodles, fresh
    • 2 cups bok choy, sliced
    • 1/2 cup snow peas, sliced
    • 4 ounces shrimp, peeled and devined, chopped
    • 1 cup bean sprouts
    • 2 large green onions, chopped


    • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped


  1. In a large wok or large saucepan sprayed with cooking spray, cook chicken over medium high heat for 4 minutes or until meat is barely cooked.
  2. Add gingerroot and garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring stock and soy sauce to a boil. Add udon noodles; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high; cook for 4 minutes or until noodles are tender.
  4. Add bok choy, snow peas and shrimp; cook for 2 minutes or until shrimp are pink and snow peas are tender crisp.
  5. Add chicken, bean sprouts, and green onions; cook until heated through. Serve soup drizzled with sesame oil and sprinkled with parsley.
Have a great day
Jo (2)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Titmouse and Tourtière

Titmice are ctuftedtitmouseertainly a well known variety of bird in England where, I have learned from 10,000 Birds, that their name comes from old English meaning tit, any animal or bird that was tiny, and mase, a small bird. However, they are a well established  bird in the Americas and appear to be spreading north having found their way into southern Canada (possibly due to global warming). Although not a particularly well known bird, they are numerous and always turn up in great numbers in back yard bird counts. We certainly used to get them in large numbers in our feeder in North Carolina and were always a very popular visitor as far as we were concerned.

Some years ago I obtained the current copy of our local liquor board’s magazine, Food and Drink, and one of their featured recipes was their version of Tourtière. Although basically a meat pie, the French influence has raised it above the ordinary and this recipe, with its use of three different meats with unusual spice combinations, is a particularly good one. In the recipe it says ‘serves 6’; however, when I make these they adequately fill four pies (as shown) each of which is more than plenty for 4 people. You can, of course, make your own pastry, but I always use Tenderflake pastry and find it very good, especially not being a particularly good pastry chef. These keep very well in the freezer too and I always make four at a time.


As a change, you can use frozen puff pastry for your pies.

2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground veal
2 cup finely chopped onion
¾ cup finely chopped carrot
1¼ cup chopped fennel
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1½ tsp dry mustard
1½ tsp allspice
1 1/4 cup beef stock (or less)
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs rolled oats
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley per pie
1 Tbs dried breadcrumbs or ½ Tbs semolina per pie

Egg wash
1 egg beaten
1 Tbs whipping cream
4 boxes of frozen pastry, deep dish - defrosted (2 shells in each)

1. Heat oil in a heavy pot over high heat. Add ground meat and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the pinkness disappears. Drain off fat.
2. Stir in the onion, carrots, fennel, bay leaf, dried thyme, dry mustard, all-spice, cinnamon, rolled oats and salt and pepper. Add enough stock to just cover the top of the meat. Lower the heat to low, cover and cook slowly for about 45 minutes, or until the onions disappear. Check and stir after 30 minutes. Re-season if needed. Cool, remove and discard bay leaf and stir in parsley.
3. Preheat oven to 450°F/230°C.
4. Take out four pastry shells to use as bottoms and sprinkle with breadcrumbs or semolina to absorb any fat. Pile meat mixture onto each pastry crust, leaving a 1 inch border. Brush edge of pastry with water. Top with remaining crusts and press edges together to seal, crimping decoratively if desired.
5. Combine beaten egg with cream and brush over pastry. Cut steam vents into the top crusts.
6. Bake for 15 minutes in lower half of the oven. Reduce heat to 400°F/200°C and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crusts are golden. Cooking four pies it is necessary to rotate their positions in the oven.
Servings: 6
Source: Food and Drink Holiday 2006

Have a great day
Jo (2)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Squirrel and Sachertorte.

I Squirrelhave always loved squirrels, but I supposed nobody would without their fluffy tails. A friend in England takes dozens of grey squirrel pictures although she finds them a great nuisance with her bird feeders and has made many efforts to introduce squirrel proof bird feeders to her yard. Having read her squirrel woes on several of her blogs, I couldn’t resist sending her this picture which I thought was both funny and appropriate. I can imagine this happening, squirrels are cheeky enough for anything. Originally in the UK we had red squirrels which were indigenous to the British Isles and are somewhat smaller. Unfortunately the grey was introduced and they have decimated the population of red squirrels. Pity, they are pretty little animals. Where I live in Canada we have masses of black squirrels which I discovered are an off-shoot of the grey, but much nicer to look at I think, especially in the snow. An English king was once shot whilst hunting in the woods, the person who shot him swore blind he had been shooting at a red squirrel. The king was known as William Rufus because he had red hair.

My parents were lucky enough to spend some time in Vienna, Austria and they certainly went into Sacher’s. Whether they ate the famous torte or not, I really don’t know. This is a recipe from BBC Food which I hope is pretty authentic.


Mary Berry from The Great British Bake Off. This chocolate cake is said to have been be invented in Vienna by the chef Franz Sacher in 1832. It improves if left a day or two before cutting

Serves 12.sachertorte

140g/5oz plain chocolate
140g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
115g/4oz caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
5 free-range eggs, separated
85g/3oz ground almonds
55g/2oz plain flour, sieved
For the topping and the icing
6 tbsp apricot jam, sieved
140g/5oz plain chocolate
200ml/7fl oz double cream
25g/1oz milk chocolate

Preparation method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a deep 23cm/9in round cake tin then line the base with greaseproof paper.
2. Break the chocolate into pieces, melt gently in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring occasionally, then cool slightly. Beat the butter in a bowl until really soft, then gradually beat in the sugar until the
mixture is light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate and the vanilla extract and beat again. Add the egg yolks, then fold in the ground almonds and sieved flour. The mixture will be quite thick at this stage.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Add about one-third to the chocolate mixture and stir in vigorously. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
4. Bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until well risen at the top and the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.
5. To make the topping, heat the apricot jam in a small pan and then brush evenly over the top and sides of the cold cake. Allow to set.
6. Make the icing by breaking the plain chocolate into pieces. Heat the cream until piping hot, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, then cool til a coating consistency. Then pour the icing on to the centre of the cake. Spread it gently over the top and down the sides, and leave to set.
7. For the ‘icing’ writing, break the milk chocolate into pieces then melt gently in a bowl set over a pan of hot water. Spoon into a small paper icing bag or polythene bag and snip off the corner. Pipe ‘Sacher’ across the top and leave to set.

Have a great day
Jo (2)

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Robin and Roly Poly Pudding

Of course when I think of a robin, I think of the English Robin even though I have now lived loeurorobinnger on the North American continent than I ever lived in the UK. The English Robin, a member of the flycatcher family, is the national bird of the UK and very much beloved by everyone. It is in fact not confined to England and can be found all over Europe. It is famous for its song and for its chirpy behaviour often perching on American Robinspade handles when people are digging waiting for worms to be brought forth. However, they can be very aggressive and territorial. Then we have the American Robin which also has a lovely song and is the harbinger of spring. It is not related to the English Robin but is a member of the thrush family. It was named Robin because of its similarly coloured breast. I remember first becoming aware of them when we had a rain storm and shortly after the air was filled with the song of robins.

I had to Roly Poly 2include this pudding, it is so very English. This is a very simple recipe by Nigella as opposed to the traditional ones which are made and boiled and which bring back memories of English childhoods. It doesn’t even look like a roly poly pudding about which pictures have been drawn and poems written. Read the Tale of Samuel Whiskers from Gutenberg books. Nigella’s version uses Lyle Golden Syrup. Once again, traditionally they are Jam Roly Polys.


Roly Poly Pudding

Nigella Lawson
Serves 4.

Roly Poly Pudding
I feel better just contemplating this. You get the comfort of a syrup pudding steamed for many, many hours in 30 minutes. And you do practically nothing to make it: roll out half a 375g packet of good shop-bought pastry, ooze golden syrup over it, roll it up like a swiss roll and bung it in a dish, throwing over some milk before putting it in the oven.

You can eat it with either cream or ice cream: whatever, it is perfect Sunday lunch pudding, though there is a good case for making it any day of the week.
  • 1 x 6 oz slab shop-bought shortcrust pastry (thawed, if frozen)
  • ¾ cup golden syrup or light corn syrup
  • ½ cup whole milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF. Roll out the pastry to a size about 18 x 32.5cm / 7 x 13 inches.
  2. Pour the golden syrup or light corn syrup onto the pastry, leaving a 2cm / ¾ inch margin around the edge.
  3. With a buttered oval gratin dish (28cm / 11 inches long) at the ready, roll up the pastry from the short side into a fat sausage shape.
  4. Transfer to the dish, putting the seam underneath, and pour half of the milk down one side of the roly-poly and half down the other side.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Have a great day
Jo (2)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Quail and Quinoa Pilaf


Quail is a collective name for several mid sized birds. Even the Bobwhite qualifies as a quail and this iBrown_Quails a bird well known to those living in the Southern States. Sometimes they would start calling under our bedroom window at night and drive us potty. Many of the common larger quail are raised for the table and are considered something of a delicacy as are their eggs which are pretty small. I personally have never eaten them but I know my parents did at least once if not more. They are also hunted in season. Such a little bird, seems a tad unfair somehow. In 2007 the US produced 40 million quail. We used to know a guy in the Carolinas who’s name was Bob White. His house was called Quail’s Nest.

This is a recipe for quinoa which has become a very popular grain these days and I have used quite a bit. Quinoa is pronounced Kinwa. I could, of course, have given you a recipe for Quail eggs and caviar.

Quinoa Pilaf in Lettuce Cups

 Quinoa-Pilaf-in-Lettuce-CupsFood Network, UK

  • 350 ml water
  • 8 oz. quinoa, picked and rinsed well (the red kind is prettier, but either the red or the white is fine)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely Technique: Chop To cut large ingredients or dishes into smaller chunks using a sharp knife. You can chop using a serrated blade fitted inside your food processor.
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbs pine nuts
  • 2 tbs chopped dried cherries
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 grapefruit, zested, plus 2 tbs juice
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated


1) Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until quinoa is cooked and curly white germ shows, about 20 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and spices, and sauté until the onion has softened and the spices are very fragrant.
3) Stir in the pine nuts and fruit and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
4) Add the cooked quinoa (all the water should have been absorbed) to the skillet. Stir in the grapefruit zest and grapefruit juice. Taste and season with salt, pepper, to taste. Allow to sit off the heat for 10 minutes so the flavours seep into the quinoa.

Serve in lettuce cups.

Have a great weekend
Jo (2)

Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Puffins and Pierogis

Today being Good Friday, I wish all my friends a Happy Easter.

I’ve alwaysPuffins loved Puffins although I don’t think I have ever seen one, maybe in a zoo, but I don’t remember. Atlantic Puffins spend most of their life at sea, returning to land only once a year to breed. About 60% of the world’s puffins breed along Iceland’s coast. There are three species, the Tufted, Horned and Atlantic Puffin. Apparently their beaks which make them so distinctive are actually only coloured like this during mating season and they shed their bright colours afterwards. When they fly they beat their wings up to 400 times per minute, that is a lot of work. They feed by diving.

I love pierogis but have never actually made them myself. I have certain friends who specialise in them. However, when I came across this recipe I thought it looked delicious and maybe I will have a go.

Potato-Cheese Pierogi With Sauerkraut

Potato-Cheese Pierogi With Sauerkraut

WebMD Recipe from

Potatoes mashed with sautéed onions and sauerkraut makes a flavourful filling in these yummy pierogi. We used whole-wheat pastry flour for added fiber and substituted extra-virgin olive oil for margarine or butter. Pierogi freeze beautifully, so make a large batch if you like.

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, (see Tip)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2  large eggs
1-1 1/4 cups warm water
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1  medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 tablespoons water
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. To prepare dough: Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour and 2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl. Whisk 1/3 cup oil and eggs in a small bowl. Add to the dry ingredients along with 1 cup warm water and stir to combine. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring, until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms. Knead a couple of times in the bowl. Shape into 3 disks, wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  2. To prepare filling: Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until very tender, 15 to 17 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. When the potatoes are done, drain well and return to the pan. Mash the potatoes with cottage cheese, then stir in the onion, sauerkraut, Cheddar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
  5. To prepare pierogi: Put a large pot of water on to boil. Coat 1 large baking sheet with cooking spray; place next to the stove. Very generously dust 2 more large baking sheets with flour.
  6. Place a small bowl of water and the pierogi filling near your work area. Roll out one disk of dough on a well-floured surface until it’s about 1/16 inch thick (an approximate 16-by-20-inch oval). Using a 3 1/2-inch round cutter, cut out dough. Cover the dough scraps with a clean kitchen towel. Moisten the edges of each round with water. Place a level tablespoon of the filling in the center of each round. Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges (the pierogi will be very full); crimp with a fork to seal completely. Place on a floured baking sheet. Repeat this process with the two remaining disks of dough. Then repeat with the dough scraps, rerolling them as needed to make enough pierogi to use up all the filling (48-50 total). Discard any remaining dough.
  7. Cook the pierogi in 5 batches in the boiling water until they float to the top. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the baking sheet coated with cooking spray, letting water drain off from the spoon before transferring them.
  8. Preheat oven to 200°F.
  9. Heat 1 tablespoon each oil and water in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 8 to 10 pierogi and cook until browned on both sides, 6 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the rest. Add 8 to 10 more pierogi to the pan, drizzle in 1 tablespoon each oil and water and shake the pan to loosen the pierogi. Cook until browned on both sides; reduce the heat as necessary to prevent overbrowning. Repeat with the remaining pierogi, oil and water.
  10. Serve sprinkled with parsley, if desired.
Tip: Whole-wheat pastry flour is milled from soft wheat. It contains less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour and helps ensure a tender result in delicate baked goods while providing the nutritional benefits of whole grains. Find it at large supermarkets and natural-foods stores.

Have a great day

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Octopus and Oat and Buckwheat Pancakes With Blueberry Sauce

To begin with, I want to wish Happy Easter to all those who celebrate at this time of the year.
First thing I lBlue Ringed Octopusearned was that there are over 300 recognised species of octopus, that did surprise me.  They apparently have no skeleton although some might have remnants of a shell internally. I didn’t know that all of them are venomous either although there is supposed to be only one that can kill a human. A Blue Ringed Octopus of which there are three types. Fairly small and can hang around in tide pools in the Pacific and Indian Ocean areas of the world. They are fairly Octopusdocile but when aroused the brown patches darken dramatically, and iridescent blue rings or clumps of rings appear and pulsate. They can definitely bite. Octopuses have beaks by the way, their mouths at the centre point of the arms. No wonder they make movies about giant octopuses or squids.

No, I am not giving an octopus recipe, apart from anything else, I am not all that smitten with either octopus or squid. What I am giving is a recipe for my vegan friends. This recipe appeared on

Oat and Buckwheat Pancakes With Blueberry Sauce (Vegan)

By PDX Meems 
 Serves: 6, Yield: 12 4-inch pancakes

About This Recipe

"If you're like me and dislike fluffy white pancakes, then these are for you. They are very hearty and filling, plus they reheat really well in a toaster oven. I rarely make the blueberry sauce but it is delicious with the pancakes. This recipe came from Oat and buckwheat w blueberryThe Complete Vegan Cookbook."


    • 1 1/2 lbs blueberries ( fresh or frozen)
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
    • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
    • 1/2 cup rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
    • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons whole flax seeds
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1 3/4 cups plain soymilk
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the blueberries, 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup, the orange juice concentrate, and the allspice. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow the pan to stand while you cook the pancakes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the rolled oats in a blender and grind to a coarse meal consistency. Transfer to a large bowl, using a rubber spatula to remove the ground oats from the blender. Add the flours, baking powder, and salt to the ground oats, stirring to combine well. Set aside.
  3. Place the flaxseeds in the blender and grind them to a powder, then add 1/3 cup water and blend for 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of the canola oil, the remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, the soymilk, and vanilla, and puree. Add this wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir well, so that all the flour is saturated with liquid.
Have a great day
Jo (2)