Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sunday Extra.

This idea was something I got from Kern Windrairth at Odd Particle - if you want to know what it's all about, go read his blog. I think it's a great idea. Do spin it and see what you get.

Have a great day

Saturday Recipe

I was just sitting around on Thursday night and it occurred to me that my blog name includes the word chocolate, right? So then I wondered about asparagus and chocolate. This is what I found. There is actually a video of this on YouTube if you want to see exactly how they make it. The presentation in the video is somewhat different though. Of course you don't have to use English asparagus, that grown on a Canadian farm or an American farm is equally as good.

White chocolate and English asparagus tarts

Reynolds Greengrocer (England)

Ingredients (serves 12)

White chocolateSweet pastry cases
  • 1 ½ eggs, beaten and chilled
  • 500g plain flour
  • 50g glucose syrup
  • 250g unsalted butter, diced and well chilled
  • 200g icing sugar
White chocolate and asparagus filling
  • 250ml double cream
  • 350g English asparagus, finely sliced (n.b. you can use stalks and is a good way of using up trimmings)
  • 420g white chocolate
  • Mascarpone to finish


Sweet pastry cases
  1. Sieve flour and icing sugar into food processor bowl, then add glucose and butter. Blitz until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs then gradually add beaten egg until mix comes together.
  2. Remove from bowl, wrap and chill for at least two hours before rolling.
  3. Preheat oven to 180°c. Roll the pastry out onto a floured work surface to approximately 3mm thick, then use a 90-100mm cutter to cut out the discs for the individual tart rings (80mm diameter, depth of 10mm). Press the pastry into the pre-greased tart rings then chill for 30 minutes before cooking.
  4. Blind bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the tart to cool before filling.
  5. Alternatively you could line one 25cm flan ring and make one large tart.
White chocolate and English asparagus filling
  1. Place the cream and the sliced asparagus into a heavy based pan and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a pan over some simmering water, ensuring the water is not in contact with the bowl.
  3. When the cream has reached boiling point and the asparagus has softened, pass the cream through a fine sieve and squeeze out any leftover moisture using a ladle.
  4. Combine the melted white chocolate and the asparagus cream and mix well before pouring into the pastry cases. Chill for two hours before serving.
  5. Finish with a quenelle of mascarpone and a chocolate shaving.

Have a great weekend

Friday, May 29, 2015

Blogging Platform, Drought and Fishing.

I am not a happy camper. For most of this week I have not .been able to post my blog from Windows Live Writer. I am not really sure why, but I have found something which implies Blogger has made changes and Microsoft has not been keeping Live Writer up to date. What I now have to do is either write my blog at Blogger or write it on my PC and then copy and paste it. For now I am going to paste because it is easier to do so. One cannot paste the photos though so I have to upload them separately. I looked at another platform but I didn’t really know what information they wanted from me. Alex J. Cavenaugh tells me he writes his blog in Word and my favourite Dragon says he writes his directly on the Blogger site. I want to do it the way I have for several years, I want, I want, I want. Drums heels on floor.

Still no rain, the farmers must be tearing out their hair by now. I am wondering how long asparagus is going to be available which, at the moment, is my main concern. I suggested to Matt that we should,
in fact, take a trip up North. Our second year here, I think, we travelled up to the Thunder Bay area and there was a drought at  that time too. This enabled us to go fishing on a local lake and to catch 6 or 7 Whitefish which are normally only caught in the winter because they swim deep in the summer. The funny thing is, we didn’t even know what we had caught, it being our first summer holiday in Canada. We gave some of them away to the camp site owners but kept some for us to eat. We barbecued them and they were delicious. Only time I have really enjoyed fishing.

I have never tried this recipe, although one of my favourite foods, lobster isn’t the sort of thing one buys every day. or even very often.

Asparagus and Lobster Crêpes with Fines Herbes Hollandaise Sauce

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
Cooked meat of 1 large lobster, or 2 lobster tails (about 1 1/2 lbs lobster before cooking)
sprinkling of salt plus 1/2 tsp.

Fines Herbes Hollandaise

2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed
2 Tbs lemon juice
white pepper to taste
1 Tbs fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chervil, finely chopped.

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. In a large pot, steam or boil asparagus until just tender, about 10 mins, cool under cold water, drain and set aside.
3. Coarsely chop cooked lobster, set aside
4. Prepare crêpes.
5. Divide the asparagus into 8 separate bundles. Place a bundle in each of 8 crêpes, sprinkle with salt and roll to enclose. Place asparagus in a glass baking dish, top with lobster and cover with foil. Just before serving, and no sooner, place in heated oven for 15 mins to warm through.
6. In a small saucepan over medium high heat reduce (boil) vinegar, water and 1/2 tsp salt until approximately 3 tbs remains, remove from heat.
7. Lower heat to medium-low, add yolks to pan and return to heat, whisking constantly until foamy and lightly thickened. Make sure not to scramble eggs; if the eggs begin to cook too quickly pull off the heat and whisk vigorously to cool slightly before continuing.
8. Begin to whisk butter into pan 1 cube at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, whisk in lemon juice, white pepper and fresh herbs. Use immediately.
9. Place two asparagus crêpes on each plate and top each with some of the warmed lobster. Spoon hollandaise overtop, serve immediately

Servings: 4

Source: Food and Drink Spring 2010

Author Notes
If preparing this for a dinner party, the asparagus, lobster, crêpes and vinegar reduction can all be prepared beforehand so that the only thing left to prepare is the hollandaise. Make sure to use a good quality butter so that the hollandaise has great flavour.

Have a great day

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Storm Warning, Whale Eye Sockets, Bowling.

We were under storm watch for a few hours this afternoon (Wed) and I saw something I liked “When thunder roars, go indoors” good advice I thought. n fact the severe weather seems to have passed by and we still do not have any rain. Pity Texas can’t share some of theirs with us and California. According to the forecast Oklahoma and Texas are still in for more problems.

Most of you will have read,  yesterday, that the whale eye sockets
sold for about £170 at the auction in London. Now I want to know who bought them and why. I could, possibly, understand a museum, but why my cousin had them in the first place I cannot imagine. Most of the things went for similar prices to those estimated by the auction house, but apparently one lot, estimated around £150 actually went up to £2,200 and as far as I could see from the list, there was not much in it at all. It contained mugs, maybe there was something special there which hadn't been noticed by the auction house, but that doesn't usually happen.

Wednesday is bowling of course and I am pleased I had some good games, not brilliant, but above my average which means it has gone up a tad. Matt, on the other hand, only had one good game, one moderate and one lousy. Guess what happened to his average!  At the beginning of a season, one's average jumps around all over the place anyway until it finally settles down to a regular average which doesn't change much week too week.

One of my favourite TV chefs is Mario Batali. This is his recipe for asparagus.

Grilled Asparagus with Pepper Zabaglione

3 large egg yolks1 large egg
3 Tbs vin santo or other lightly sweet dessert wine
2 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbs heavy cream
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt
2 lbs large asparagus
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Light a grill or heat a grill pan. In a heatproof medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the egg and vin santo. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water and vigorously whisk the eggs over moderate heat until the sauce holds firm peaks, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl of sauce from the heat.
2. In a small bowl, mix the butter with the heavy cream and pepper. Whisk the cream mixture into the sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Season the zabaglione with salt and keep warm.
3. In a large bowl, toss the asparagus with the olive oil and season with salt. Grill the asparagus over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until charred all over and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to plates.
4. Set the bowl of sauce over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk over low heat until thick and just heated through, about 1 minute. Spoon the sauce over the asparagus, sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.

Servings: 6

Author: Mario Batali

Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Whale Eye Sockets, My Tuesday, Rain.

For those of you wondering yesterday, this is a picture of the eye socket of a blue whale. What you would do with it when you had one, I have no idea. Not something I would want to collect but this cousin had some very wide ranging interests apparently. You should see the list of the stuff up for auction, pages of it. I sent a copy to JoJo Mendonza as I thought she would be interested with all the collecting and art she does. I was right, she was and would have liked to have gone to the auction, as would I, just for interest’s sake.

I finally got round to getting a hair cut. Met an elderly Scottish woman there (91 I believe) who looked at my hair and said I didn’t need a hair appointment. Sweet of her. Actually I had been thinking it would soon be time to braid it. After that, went to a local electronics store because our CD player in the car has jammed. Can’t get the cartridge out and it won’t play. I have to make an appointment to see a technician some time in June. The guy I spoke to annoyed me so I kind of went
off in a huff, but I guess I will have to phone and make an appointment. Then, we went to get more asparagus. Eaten 3 lbs since Friday LOL. Tim Barrie, the farmer, looks terribly worried as we are in drought conditions. He says the plants are very stressed. We were supposed to get rain last night, not a drop, supposed to tonight, (Tuesday) so keeping our fingers crossed. On Facebook the other day he joked about keeping camels now he was living in a desert, but he is not a happy camper, understandably. I won’t be either if the asparagus season gets cut short. Maybe I should go do my rain dance. It worked once before. We are not as bad as California of course, yet. Then there is Texas where they have floods. Weather doesn’t seem to give a damn does it?

Another asparagus recipe which I found on MyRecipes. Don’t despair those of you who don’t like the stuff. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Asparagus with Balsamic Onions and Blue Cheese

Asparagus with Balsamic Onions and Blue Cheese Recipe
Source Cooking Light

Take your baked asparagus to a whole new level with Blue Cheese


Serves 4

1 pound trimmed asparagus
2 teaspoons olive oil 
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil 
1 1/2 cups vertically sliced sweet onion 
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ounce crumbled blue cheese


Preheat oven to 425°. Combine asparagus, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 9 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil; swirl to coat. Add onion to pan; sauté for 6 minutes. Stir in vinegar, thyme, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Top asparagus with onion mixture and crumbled blue cheese.

Have a great day

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bowling, Estate Sale, Supper.

Pin_Animation1[1]As we missed bowling last Thursday due to me fainting all over the place, we decided to go on Monday. I discovered I had more achy places than I realised. My first two games were lousy which I  blamed on attributed to such aches. However, my last game was pretty good so maybe the excuse wasn’t really valid. This is the last Monday they will be open until September. They only do Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer although they are open at weekends I believe. This means to get two games, we have to bowl two days in a row. Did it last year, assume we can do it this year so long as I don’t go hurting myself any more. I love that little animation as you will guess from the number of times I have used it.

A distant cousin of mine died a while back. I never met him as he Grandfather Clocklives in London. His effects go up on sale at auction today, what a very odd list of things he collected. Whale eye sockets?? What on earth are they? It’s one heck of a long list and described by the cousin who sent me a copy as being a very eclectic collection I’ll say -and although not much is valued over £100 or so, there is so much that if it all sells, it will fetch a nice little pile. One thing which would sell well over here is an old grandfather clock which seem to be very popular in North America. I wouldn’t give a cent for one. Stayed with some friends who had one and the damned thing kept me awake all night – well at first. Other than being mahogany, I have no idea what it is like of course.

For Monday supper I am making the Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus recipe I posted a few days ago. Later - it was delicious. I did make a couple of alterations. The recipe calls for cooking the shrimp til brown. I think that if one did that they would end up like leather. So once they started to turn pink I turned them over. I also added a good splash of white wine with the stock and I served it over spaghetti. Next time I will use fresh Fettuccine which I can buy at our store. They say the recipe takes 30 minutes. That depends on whether you peel your own shrimp or buy it already peeled. Guess what I do? Peel it myself.

Below is certainly a simple enough recipe. But doesn’t it look delicious – well if you like asparagus in the first place of course. I could dive into that pile of green stuff with a will.

Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Grilled Asparagus With Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
Oxmoor House

If your plans for dinner don't involve the grill, this asparagus is also delicious roasted. Place the asparagus spears on a jelly-roll pan, and roast at 450° for 5 to 7 minutes.

6 servings (serving size: 1/6 of asparagus)

2 pounds asparagus spears   
Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) shredded fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese


Preheat grill.
Snap off tough ends of asparagus (not necessary with farm fresh asparagus). Coat asparagus with cooking spray; place on grill rack, and grill 4 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning frequently. Place asparagus on a serving platter.
Combine vinegar and oil in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Drizzle over asparagus; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cheese. Serve immediately.

Have a great day

Monday, May 25, 2015

Renting Movies and stuff.

Saving Mr. BanksGuess I must be a tad slow on the uptake. I have only recently realised I can borrow all kinds of DVDs from my local library and it doesn’t cost me a cent. How dumb can you get. I have been buying them or renting them on iTunes when all the time I could get them for nothing. A while back I watched Saving Mr. Banks on iTunes – Saturday night I watched it again. It’s a great movie. I just might buy it anyway. Two of today's best actors, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson play the lead parts and they are, as usual, brilliant. It’s such a lovely story about Walt Disney and P.L. Travers who wrote the Mary Poppins books. I now have a yen to see Mary Poppins again. I have it on VCR so I must unearth it.  I have other movies on request now, unfortunately some of them are so popular it’s going to take a while. The American Sniper has several hundred waiting for it although they have 50 copies.

For those of you who read about my dizzy episode last week, I discovered a bruise on my back. I thought I had just slid down the wall, but I guess I hit something. Maybe the hand rails. Who knows. No, I haven’t seen the doc yet. I don’t think it’s urgent and she is on vacation for another week.

Having missed our Thursday bowling, I think we will be going this aft instead.

I have always like cooking things in parcels. No muss no fuss. Little clean up. Unfortunately this one doesn’t come with a picture. It’s pretty simple to do though.

Asparagus Dinner Parcels

1 lb and a bit white fish fillets (sole, orange roughy, haddock)
4 tsp lemon juiceAsparagus2
16 medium Ontario asparagus spears, trimmed to 6 inches
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
2 green onions sliced
2 Tbs chopped fresh dill, cilantro or tarragon (or 2 tsp. dried dill weed or tarragon)
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Cut four 12 x 13-inch rectangles of parchment paper (foil may be substituted if cooking in a conventional oven). Fold in half lengthwise and crease. Open each one. Arrange fish fillets on one side of each rectangle. Drizzle evenly with lemon juice. Place four asparagus spears on top of each fillet. Sprinkle tomato, onion and herbs evenly over asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Fold other half of paper over. Seal completely by making a double 1/2 inch fold on all cut edges. Place parcels on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes or until fish flakes and asparagus is tender-crisp. (If using parchment paper you can microwave on full power 9 to 10 minutes. Allow to stand 5 minutes). Serve on individual plates.

Servings: 4
Source: Ontario Asparagus Growers Marketing

Have a great day

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mummy Paint. Monitors, Farm,

Just a quicky, but I was surprised that not one of you commented on the Mummy paint yesterday. I thought it was fascinating.

Thank you all for the concern you showed me though.

Today we went to the cardiac clinic for Matt. This is an annual thing since he had a bunch of TIAs a few years ago. He is now enjoying having two 24 hour monitors strapped to him which he has to return at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow. The beeping is getting to me, dunno about him. Not good for sleeping with.

We then went to Barrie’s Asparagus and I bout 3 $10 bags of asparagus, two for friends. Also more honey and some rhubarb. Tim Barrie is worried because they are calling for frost again tonight.

Asparagus alla Milanese

28 stalks of asparagus, medium sizeasparagus alla milanese
4 Tbs unsalted butter plus 4 tablespoons
4 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil and set up ice bath. Trim asparagus of hard ends and drop into water. Cook 70 seconds. Remove with tongs and refresh in ice bath. Drain and set aside.
2. In a 10 inch to 12 inch sauté pan, heat 4 tablespoons butter until very dark brown. Add asparagus and toss until warm. Remove asparagus and divide among 4 plates. Towel off saute pan and add remaining butter. Cook until foam subsides. Crack eggs in and cook sunnyside up, about 2 minutes. Place one egg over each plate, sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Servings: 4

Source: Food TV

Have a great weekend and for my US friends, enjoy Memorial Day.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mummy Paint, Dizzy but not Blonde

mummyThis is the oddest story I think I have ever read. A specific shade of brown paint was produced from pilfered Mummies. These were stolen mummies which had been originally thought to have medicinal properties as did many paint materials apparently, they were used by apothecaries, and then someone, somewhere, discovered they made a fantastic brown paint. Eventually artists discovered the source of their favourite brown paint and the use gradually petered out although not until the ‘60s did the practice stop altogether due to a lack of source materials. This was a story I was lead to by How to Geek and is well worth a read. When all the mummies have been dealt with in the movies, now you know what to do with them.

I was going to write another pity me section, but after hearing a friend had a TIA I feel guilty about doing so. However, it was not a fun experience. We were heading to the bowling alley. Got to the faintingelevator, felt a tad faint but figured it would pass. Matt went to the garage I went to sit in the lobby. Still feeling dizzy, told Matt I wasn’t going so he went to the garage to park. Big mistake I should have got him to come with me. In the elevator I fell to the floor, luckily I slid down the wall. Eventually I managed to stand (thank god there are rails) tried to open the door and a friend was there. Asked for help but I was on the wrong floor. He held on to me until we got to my floor and virtually heaved me to my door. Matt had arrived by that time. I was gasping for breath, shaking and sweating.  Matt said my pulse was tumultuous. The two of them got me on the bed and once I was horizontal I started to recover. I guess I was fainting and neither the blood nor the oxygen was getting to my head. This was a pretty scary. They were going to send for an ambulance but I didn’t need it in the end. Not sure why this happened – I dozed for an hour or two and finally woke up starving. I have been a bit shaky ever since, but nothing like I was. Last time I did that was when I was about 18.

So, sorry, can’t be bothered to hunt for a recipe tonight. My apologies.

Have a great day


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bowling. Weather.

5 PinMr. Clever Clogs, otherwise known as my husband Matt, beat the stuffing out of me today at bowling. I didn’t bowl badly either and in both cases our averages went up. Matt’s went up significantly. Long may it happen. Today the owners introduced a 50/50 draw. Half goes to the winner, then $5 goes to one person  (selected by draw ticket) if they throw a strike. If they don’t, the $5 accumulates by the same amount in the following weeks until someone does throw a strike. Not quite sure what happens to the remains of the pot, whether it goes towards prizes or towards the banquet. Pity Matt didn’t get that ticket, he was throwing strikes all afternoon. Although of course it will be worth more in a week or two if it isn’t won before that. We have a pretty good turnout for the summer league but there have been dropouts for weird reasons. One woman  dropped out this week – she said she didn’t think it would be competitive. It isn’t really. We do accumulate team points but that’s about it. Nobody really cares how good you are. It’s basically all for fun and that’s what we go for.

Our weather doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do at the moment. Wednesday was a beautiful day, sunshine and very few clouds, but the temperatures were quite chilly. One day we can wear shorts the next we are back into long pants.  There was talk of frost again. I do hope not as it will hurt the asparagus crop once more, they lost a bundle last week. It’s unbelievable as June is not far away.

I like the asparagus soup I already make, but I thought this sounded an interesting version even if a little more work is required. I love the flavour of avgolemono which the Greeks use in several different recipes. I have made it myself and it is delicious.

Lemony Roasted Asparagus Soup

2 lbs jumbo asparaguslemony-roasted-asparagus-soup
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1 lb oyster mushrooms, torn into small pieces
Chopped dill and dried oregano, for garnish

1. Peel and trim the asparagus. Slice the stalks diagonally 1/4 inch thick; reserve the stems and peelings. In a saucepan, combine the asparagus trimmings, onion, wine and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, over moderately low heat until the asparagus trimmings are soft, about1 hour. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and puree until as smooth as possible. Strain the broth through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids. Wipe out the pan.
2. Preheat the oven to 450°. Melt the butter in the saucepan over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour until golden brown and nutty smelling, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the asparagus broth until smooth and bring to a gentle simmer. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon juice. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot broth, then whisk in half of the remaining broth. Return this mixture to the broth in the saucepan and simmer, whisking frequently, until hot. Season with salt.
3. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sliced asparagus with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 8 minutes, stirring, until the asparagus is golden but still slightly firm.
4. In a nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over moderately high heat until golden and crisp, 8 minutes.
5. Transfer the roasted asparagus to shallow bowls. Ladle the soup over the asparagus and top with the mushrooms. Garnish with dill and oregano and serve.

Servings: 4
Source: Cassie Piuma

Author Notes
Chef Cassie Piuma prepares her version of the lemony Greek soup avgolemono with a broth made from asparagus trimmings. Her other unconventional additions include roasted asparagus and oyster mushrooms.
The strained asparagus broth can be refrigerated for 2 days.

Have a great day

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bedspread, Earring. Shoulder, Blood Boobs and Carnage

New BedspreadFor ages, I have been hunting for a new bed spread. I didn’t want a quilt or a duvet or anything like that, just a throw I guess. I finally found one at Sears, I don’t like it as well as the one I had, but the under part of that one was shot and I was unable to launder it properly any more.

It’s as stiff as a board and maybe I should wash it first. I tried to manhandle it myself. Joke, my shoulder would not take it.  Matt was out for a while so when he came in we got it sorted out.  I am not one for masses of pillows or cushions. Don’t want to mess with that stuff when I go to bed. I was surprised it came by UPS. I thought Sears had their own trucks.

I should mention, having groused about my shoulder yesterday, I phoned my doc and discovered they
are closed for the week. Nice!! In fact, if I really need to, I can go to their main office in the next town, but I started going to this centre because it is just up the road, not a 3/4 hr. drive. I also discovered a blogging friend who has much more to complain about than I do which promptly made me feel a whining Minnie. One knows there are people out there far worse off than oneself, but when you are hurting, it's difficult to remember others.

I didn't do the Blood, Boobs and Carnage blogfest because I figured I hadn't anything to add. However, having put down the Harry Dresden book I was reading, it occurred to me that the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher are a perfect fit. There is always lots of blood and carnage when Dresden is around and many of his books feature the most gorgeous women whom, I would presume, were not flat chested, otherwise what man would describe them as gorgeous? In the last few books he has been signed on as the Winter Knight working for Queen Mab, the wickedest of the queens of the fae. She is certainly described as unattainably beautiful, or wickedly beautiful. So, sorry Alex, I could have joined your BB and C fest after all.

For lunch today I had some Asparagus Pesto (I posted the recipe the other day) delicious. I don’t know why I don’t think of eating it more often. I use it for starters at a dinner party, but never think of having it for lunch. Would you believe I dropped another earring? This time I knew where it was. Had to take all the drawers out of the bedroom dresser in order to get at it. I never do this kind of thing – not sure why I have started doing so now.

Asparagus with Curry Butter

2 tsp butter, melted
1 tsp curry powder (see Tip)Asparagus with Curry Butter[5]
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1. Combine butter, curry powder, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add asparagus and cook, stirring, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir the curry butter into the asparagus; toss to coat.

Servings: 4 Yield: 1/2 cup each

Tip: Check the ingredient label on your brand of curry powder: if it has added salt (as some do), you may omit the salt in the recipe or salt to taste.

Source: Eating Well

Have a great day

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


I am sorry if I haven’t made it to visit everyone in the last day or so. I have had a bad shoulder for some years. It comes and goes, right now it is visiting me with a vengeance and I am feeling quite sorry for myself. I went to a specialist a few years ago and was told there wasn’t anything he could do. It was a holiday yesterday, but maybe I will call the doc today and see if there is anything new. The result being, I may not be around too much and my blogs may be a bit sparse for a while. Sorry everyone.

As I mentioned, it is a holiday weekend here in Canada, Victoria Day or May 24th weekend (nowhere near the 24th this year) and so we have fireworks. We had them on Saturday night, we had them on Sunday night and we have them on Sunday night (whilst writing). Sunday night they even went on til about 1 a.m. I sounded like someone was letting off bangers in a barrel or something. Idiots. I always worry about the animals and birds. Wild ones in particular. They must be terrified.

I was looking for something for supper and decided I might try this. Not today though. Not in the mood. We did have fish, a simple recipe I found which turned out to be delicious. I bullied Matt into cooking it.

Garlic Shrimp With Asparagus and Lemon

By Cookin-jo
Servings: 3

About This Recipe

"This easy sauté uses one pan and is ready in under 30 minutes but the result is wonderful. A real taste of spring with the asparagus and lemon. Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine."

Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus


1 lb shrimp, medium to large, peeled and deveined
1 pinch black pepper, to taste
1 lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil or 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, sliced thinly
3/4 lb asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut into 2 inch lengths ( about 2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch


  1. Place shrimp on paper towels and dry very well.
  2. Sprinkle shrimp with a bit of the pepper.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off strips of the lemon peel and then cut the strips into very thin long pieces; be sure to peel only the yellow part of the peel, not the bitter white part.
  4. Cut lemon in half and juice it into a small dish, removing seeds.
  5. Heat a deep 12 inch skillet (preferably NOT non-stick) over medium high heat for 1 minute.
  6. Add 2 Tbsp of the oil and heat until it's shimmering hot -- just a few seconds.
  7. Add the shrimp in a single layer and do not disturb it; let cook for about 2 minutes until browned.
  8. Turn shrimp over and brown the other side, about 1 1/2 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Shrimp should not be cooked through.
  9. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic, stirring for 30 seconds.
  10. Add asparagus, lemon zest strips, red pepper flakes and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add chicken broth and cover, simmering for 1-2 minutes until asparagus is almost done.
  12. Stir cornstarch with 1 Tbsp water and stir into the pan.
  13. Add shrimp back to the pan and cook another 1-2 minutes until done.
  14. Stir in 1 Tbsp lemon juice, then taste and add more juice and pepper if needed.
Have a great day

Monday, May 18, 2015

Relation? Asparagus, Bowling Balls.

From Italy With Love Jules WakeI happened to be reading a review on Chick Lit Love and Laura was talking about From Italy with Love by Jules Wake. My ears pricked up, Wake, is of course our last name. Turns out that Jules’ son is called Matt Wake and her father in law was also called Matt Wake. Matthew is a very popular name in the Wake family which makes me think that there is definitely some relationship. It sounds like a very good story too so I must check it out. The story is set in the parts of France and Italy that I love and I would love to do the journey that the heroine undertakes in the book.

On Friday I asked several people if they would like me to pick up some asparagus for them. One was a bowling friend who said she would pick it up on Monday. It suddenly occurred to me on Saturday that we don’t bowl on Monday any more, the winter league having finished. So we wouldn’t be there til Wednesday by which time it would be close on 5 pina week old. She might just as well buy it from the store in that case. She agreed and came over to collect it. It’s going to take a while to adapt to Wednesday bowling instead of Monday. By the time I do, it will probably be back to winter league again. My friend Gary from Klahanie Blogspot wrote a post about Gutter Balls. Even though some of his readers also read my posts they still don’t seem to grasp the difference. 5 Pin bowling balls weigh in10 pin the neighbourhood of 3 to 3 1/2 lbs. NOT 10 lbs. up. 5 pin bowling is very different from 10 pin. Talking of 10 pin there is an alley quite close to us and they recently had a big fight there where people were chucking bowling balls at one another. I can hardly pick them up let alone chuck them at someone. You see how in the top picture the ball is being held in the hand. In the bottom pic the ball is much bigger and needs holes for the thumb and fingers to pick it up. The lowest weight I have ever come across is 8 lbs and that is still very heavy for me.

Here’s another fairly simple way of preparing my favourite vegetable

Asparagus and Endive Salad

1 lb fresh asparagus , trimmed and cut into 2 inch piecesAsparagus & Endive Salad
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1 Tbs Juice, orange, fresh
2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs small shallots , minced
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp black pepper
8 oz Belgian endive, fresh, head , cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips (2 heads)

1. Place 1/2 inch of water at the bottom of a 12 inch pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add in asparagus and cook until tender yet crisp, about 2 minutes. Place in strainer, rinse under cold water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the orange peel, orange juice, vinegar, oil, shallots, sugar, salt, mustard, and pepper until well combined.
3. Add the asparagus and endive to the bowl with the dressing. Mix well to evenly coat and serve.

Servings: 4

Source: dLife

Author Notes
Light and elegant salad combining asparagus and endive in a homemade orange Dijon vinaigrette.
Try using a sugar substitute instead of regular sugar.

Have a great day

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday Recipe

OK, I will give asparagus a rest for today. Here is a recipe from one of my favourite chefs of all time, Jacques Pépin.

Wine-Braised Pork with Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes

Contributed by Jacques Pépin

wine-braised-pork-with-chestnuts-and-sweet-potatoesLegendary chef Jacques Pépin sears pork shoulder to make a terrific crust, then braises it slowly with stock, wine, chestnuts and sweet potatoes until it’s meltingly tender.


  1. One 4-pound boneless pork shoulder
  2. 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  3. Pepper
  4. 1 onion, finely chopped
  5. 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  7. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  8. 5 parsley sprigs, plus chopped parsley for garnish
  9. 3 thyme sprigs
  10. 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  11. 1 pound vacuum-packed roasted peeled chestnuts (3 cups)
  1. Season the pork with the 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Heat a large cast-iron casserole over moderately high heat. Add the pork, fat side down, and add 1/2 cup of water. Cook until all 
of the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook over moderate heat until the pork is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 5 minutes longer. 

  2. Add the onion and garlic to the casserole and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, wine and parsley and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, turning once, until the pork is just tender, 2 1/2 hours. Add the sweet potatoes and chestnuts, cover and cook until the pork and sweet potatoes are very tender, 30 minutes.

  3. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sweet potatoes and chestnuts to a platter. Strain the jus into a bowl and degrease with a spoon; season with salt and pepper. 

  4. Slice the pork and arrange it on top of the vegetables. Garnish with parsley and serve with the jus.
Make Ahead
The braised pork can be refrigerated overnight and reheated before serving.

Have a great weekend, for us it’s Victoria Day on Monday, so a holiday.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bees, Bowling Again.

BeeA very worrying report on Thursday morning. Bees are already in crisis with great losses in their numbers and now, just in the last year, there has been a 40% loss of colonies in the US. No bees, no pollination. No pollination, no food. If man doesn’t stop using toxic chemicals, there will soon be no bees left anywhere. The badge I display at the side is not a joke.  If bees die out so will we.

Thursday was our third bowling session this week. Wasn’t My Ballsure about it, but realising that an 87 yr. old friend had bowled that many times this week, I thought I should be able to do it too. I am pretty sure the 90 yr. old, who bowls in our leagues, bowls at least twice a week. Compared to them I am a spring chicken. Later: Having now done this, it wasn’t too bad. Legs a tad tired at the end of the day. Maybe my bowling arm was tired the whole time – it didn’t seem to be working very well!!! Matt did OK again though. We were joking about one friend who’s daughter said you didn’t get much exercise at bowling. We said we should challenge her to come and play three games.

This is a very tasty and very simple way to prepare asparagus. Must admit I had forgotten about it myself. Guess what I am going to do tomorrow with my asparagus ration. Yes, I eat it every day.

Asparagus with Anchovies and Garlic

Source: Eating Well

4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs minced garlicAsparagus Anchovies Garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 bunches asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbs water
2 tsp anchovy paste or 1 anchovy fillet, minced

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add asparagus, water and anchovy; cook, stirring often, until the asparagus is tender-crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.

Note: Farm fresh asparagus only takes 2-3 minutes to cook.

Servings: 4
Yield: about 3/4 cup each

Have a great day