Saturday, December 31, 2016

Deeplining, Saturday Recipe,

I know I normally only post recipes on Saturdays, but I had to give you a link to this video from National Geographic. Tightrope walking is always fascinating but these days there is a thing called slacklining, walking elastic wires. Bad enough above ground but these "idiots" and I use the word advisedly, are doing it underground where they are calling it deeplining

In a cave deep beneath the French Alps, German wire walker Lukas Irmler this summer led a team of French cavers and slackliners to an otherworldly site around 500 yards underground. Slacklining, the sport of balancing on an elastic wire, is more commonly practiced above ground—often at high altitudes, where it’s called highlining. The practitioners of the spelunking variant are calling it “deeplining.” The team believes that their expedition, sponsored by outdoor equipment maker Petzl, has set a world record for deepest slacklining. 

This is an incredible video. Do watch.

So, tonight, at long last, we see the back of 2016. My buggy year. I am preparing Steak Diane for supper - we are both fond of this dish - and finishing off our Christmas Pudding with Rum Butter Sauce. All calories removed of course. At midnight I will probably drink a small bottle of fizz to celebrate the turning of  the year. I wish you all the very best for 2017.

I don't drink cocktails much myself, but I thought this one might appeal to you.

Snowball cocktail

This recipe will take you 5 mins to rustle up and serves one person. Double or triple the amounts for more people. This classic Christmas cocktail is sure to make your Christmas party one to remember (or not!) Flavoured with cognac, lime and lemonade, this week's cocktail really does look the part. Decorate with cherries, lime and don't forget those straw umbrellas! Want to make these cocktails extra festive? Dip the rim of the glass in white chocolate and then in dessicated coconut for a snowy
finish! This version of the classic Snowball serves it as a short, creamy-tasting cocktail rather than as a fizzy tall drink with lemonade and ice. Try our version first – you can always add more lemonade for your second glass.

2 ½ measures advocaat
½ measure cognac
½ fresh lime
Cold, sparkling lemonade
Two cocktail cherries

Try replacing the cognac with ½ measure vodka or sweet cream sherry and serve in a highball (tall) glass topped up with lemonade.

1. For this lovely winter or Christmas cocktail start by chilling the lemonade well in the fridge.

2. Put a handful of ice into a cocktail shaker. Add the advocaat, cognac and juice from half a lime.

3. Shake well and strain straight into a martini glass or champagne bowl, before ice has chance to melt and dilute the mixture.

4. Add just enough cold lemonade to double the liquid in the glass.

5. Pop a couple of cocktail cherries onto a cocktail stick and use this to stir the drink to mix in the lemonade.

6. Enjoy

Servings: 1

Source: GoodtoKnow

OK so it's New Year's

Hot Chocolate Shots

We love chocolate, so it should come as no surprise that we've brought our childhood favorite (creamy, dreamy hot chocolate) into adulthood with these whiskey and liqueur-spiked Hot Chocolate Shots.


2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
2 tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup whole milk
¼ cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup whole milk
1oz bourbon
½ oz Grand Marnier, or any orange liqueur
Whipped cream, for garnish
Orange zest, for garnish


In a medium saucepan, whisk together cocoa powder and brown sugar. Over medium heat, whisk in ¼ cup milk and semi-sweet chocolate, continuously whisking until melted. Add remaining 1 cup milk and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon and Grand Marnier. Pour into shot glasses and top with whipped cream and orange zest.
Yield: 4 Shots

Have a great day

Friday, December 30, 2016

Winter Morning,

Having arisen on time and got ourselves ready to go for my ultrasound, we decided there was really too much snow. The lab is in the middle of all the road works that are going on here and, although some of it is finished, finding our way there would still be a tad difficult, especially in the snow. I phoned and they quite understood and re-booked me for next Wednesday. So then I was stuck with not much to do. Not enough time to make some dishes I want to do so I decided to read for a while. Matt went to sleep!!! Eventually, we had lunch and then headed out to the bowling alley which is a much easier trip and the roads were a lot better by then.
It struck me as rather odd that one side of the roads round our building and park were almost totally clear but the right hand side, for us, was still white. Presumably there had been more cars coming our way than going. When we got to the alley there was only one other person there, but it soon began to fill up. Two bunches with kids, the kids weren't too bad, the adults were noisy as hell. Every time a kid got a pin down, they screamed encouragement. Grrr. My ears are still ringing. I felt a bit sorry for the young man on duty today, he was alone and one group were demanding food all the time and then the phone was ringing off the hook plus new people coming to sign in as it were. He is the son and grandson of the two owners so presumably plans to take over from his grandfather one of these days. They are such a nice family.

Afterwards we had to go to the store for a couple of things we forgot the other day and also to the pharmacy to pick up a med for me which turned out not to be ready. I asked them to deliver it tomorrow. Dropped a book off at the library and then home. By the time I got into the apartment I was whacked and when I finally sat down, I dropped right off. Glad I had some turkey soup to use as it didn't take long to defrost later and it is full of turkey and veg so a pretty nutritious meal.

So, in ten minutes it is my favourite programme (Jeopardy) so I am pausing for now.

Kimchi is one of my favourites along with noodles of most kinds. This one sounds pretty good to me.

Kimchi Udon with Scallions

The power trio of butter, kimchi, and gochujang produces an umami ballad so beautiful in this udon
recipe, you’ll want to play it over and over again.

5 Tbs unsalted butter, divided
1 cup finely chopped kimchi, plus ? cup kimchi juice
2 Tbs gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb fresh or frozen udon noodles
Kosher salt
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

1. Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chopped kimchi and gochujang and cook, stirring occasionally, until kimchi is softened and lightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Add broth and kimchi juice and bring to a simmer. Cook until liquid is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, boil noodles according to package directions.

3. Using tongs, transfer noodles to skillet and add remaining 3 Tbsp. butter; cook, tossing often, until sauce coats noodles, about 2 minutes. Season with salt if needed. Divide among bowls and top with egg yolks, scallions, and sesame seeds.

Servings: 4

Author: Andy Baraghani
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Pie Filling, Ultra Sound, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds,

And here's what the Leftover Turkey and Ham filling looks like. It tastes delicious.

One can now put it in a pie dish and cover with puff pastry, or eat it as a casserole. Depends on a) if you particularly like pastry and b) whether you can be bothered to make it, and c) whether you can be bothered to go buy some. Paul Hollywood's recipe for his pastry is easy enough of course, but.... If you need to get the recipe I posted it on The Really Real Housewives of America - I have also done all the conversions for myself if you need them. Just occurred to me, serving the above with noodles would work too. I have just put 5 double servings of turkey soup in the freezer too. Good stuff, had some for supper last night.

Fun, I have to go for ultra sound this morning because my legs are playing me up and I think it is lack of blood flow (had it before) - however, as  that could entail an operation, I'm not sure I really want to know.

Then bowling this afternoon. Monday the league starts again, dummy me, I thought New Year's Day was on Monday.

I was sorry to hear about Carrie Fisher but I am even sorrier to hear about her mom. Debbie Reynolds was a great favourite of mine. So much so, when Liz Taylor stole Eddie Fisher from her, I hated Liz Taylor for years. I am sure they all cared. I will be so sorry if she leaves us as well although it must have been a shock for her when her daughter died - they say they were very close. This is more or less how I remember her although she still looked great today. A couple of my favourites were Tammy and Susan Slept Here. Of course there was also Singin' in the Rain. I will keep my fingers cross that she doesn't follow her daughter. Oh dear, I have just read that she died around 8:30 on Wednesday evening. RIP Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.

This recipe reminds me of our trip to Portugal. I ordered something in piri piri sauce, forget what, and complained that it wasn't terribly spicy (hot) they brought me a small jug of extra sauce which I added to my food and nearly burned my mouth off, and I only used a small amount. Thank goodness I didn't tip the whole lot on. Not having  tried this, I don't know how mouth burning it is. Some of you may think "chicken so soon after turkey?" but in fact there are many people who do not have turkey for Christmas so chicken is no problem.

Seared Chicken Breasts with Green Piri Piri Sauce

Piri piri is a bright herb-and-chile sauce popular in Portugal and parts of Africa. It's traditionally red, but we go green with fresh poblano, jalapeño, and basil. Seed or omit the jalapeño for less heat. Serve with roasted potatoes or a green salad with a delicate vinaigrette so as not to overwhelm the flavor of the main dish If you crave juicy, flavorful chicken breasts, then follow this simple recipe. You'll end
up with a golden brown platter of delicious chicken ready for the tasting. If you omit the piri piri sauce, this is a classic, seared chicken breast that can be used in any recipe including chicken salads, soups, or casseroles

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped seeded poblano pepper
1/4 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
2 Tbs chopped jalapeño pepper
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp sugar
6 garlic cloves
4 green onions, divided
1 Tbs olive oil
4 (6-oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Place basil, poblano, stock, jalapeño, vinegar, juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, garlic, and 3 green onions in the bowl of a food processor; process until finely chopped.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add oil; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes. Turn chicken; cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 8 minutes. Add basil mixture to pan; bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Place chicken on a platter; drizzle with basil mixture. Thinly slice remaining green onion; sprinkle over top.

Servings: 4

Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Guest Post, Turkey Anyone, Bowling

Actually, I was going to be lazy and not post anything today but then I remembered I am guest posting at The Really Real Housewives of America again so I hope you will visit me there. I have chosen a recipe I am planning to make this week because I saw it made on The Great British Bake Show which I thought sounded delicious. The recipe has a crust to make it into a pie, but as the author said himself, it would make a good dish without the pastry. Paul Hollywood called it Leftover Turkey and Ham Pie.

I sure have plenty of turkey left, as I said yesterday, I ended up with a 17 pounder having ordered a smaller bird. There were only 4 of us and one was such a very small eater. Today we had a delicious turkey soup for supper full of meat and veggies. Yummy. Thank the Lord for still having our balcony though, it has been very useful as a fridge these last few days.

We went bowling today and when we got there it was quiet with not a soul but the proprietor. A
couple of our friends turned up and then all kinds of people until the place was pretty full. I hadn't thought of it but, of course, the alley does feel it when the leagues take winter breaks. It's a lot of customers to lose for a couple of weeks. I bowled moderately well, somebody who shall remain nameless, beat me twice but I managed to retaliate on the third game. I wish we could both of us bowl so well on a league day. Our league will not start again until the second week of January although Matt and I will be there twice a week as usual. Funny, the proprietor was telling us about their family party the previous day and how one of his dogs actually managed to pick up a bowling ball (3.5 lbs roughly) in his mouth and carry it off the bowling area. However, he couldn't put it down so the daughter had to help the dog by forcing his mouth further open. The dog is a setter. I couldn't believe it, nor could they I gather. That's my ball. 3 lb 10 oz or thereabouts).

Funny, the year has almost ended and I suddenly realised I hadn't done our rent cheques for 2017. Unfortunately we cannot persuade the landlords to do bank transfers for the rent. A little backward. So today I had to get 'em done in a hurry.

Any mistakes, apologies, I am tired and was just off to bed.

So all for now, for a recipe go visit The Really Real Housewives of America. Told you I was being lazy.

Have a great day

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


I am delighted to say my turkey turned out beautifully after all the worry and angst of the last week or so. The only trouble is, I ended up with a much bigger turkey than I had ordered, 17 lbs., so I am going to have turkey round my ears for ages. There will be soups and pies in the offing. My friend who came to dinner, with her son, told me Santa had left a present for me at her home but she agreed to deliver it for him LOL. When I opened it, I was astonished to discover a globe. I have wanted one forever, not quite sure why, and I must have mentioned it in her hearing. I am absolutely delighted. One of the first things I noticed, explorers, photographers and such are always saying how most of the world is actually water. Looking at the world as a globe, one can really appreciate how true that is. Looking at a flat atlas you just don't appreciate the scale of everything.  For instance the Pacific is a HUGE body of water, I had never realised just how vast it is. They also brought us chocolates and wine - really did us proud.

Christmas may be over, but there are lots of people who entertain for New Year's Eve. Here is a pretty simple but luscious dessert you might like to serve. Find the richest cream you can to make this. Cream in Europe is much thicker than that available in North America.

Baileys no-bake cheesecake

Woman's Weekly recipe Baileys no-bake cheesecake makes a seriously impressive dessert when you’re entertaining friends and family, and this particular recipe is SO easy! It’s so simple to make by combining very few ingredients, including double cream and Baileys for the topping and digestive biscuits and butter for the base. There’s no need to bake this Baileys cheesecake, all you have to do is
pop it in the fridge and wait a few hours or overnight for it to set. Sprinkled with grated chocolate or cocoa powder and topped with cream, this cheesecake makes a delicious dessert than everyone will love - and be asking you for the recipe!

For the base:
100 g butter
250 g digestives, crushed
For the topping:
600 g full-fat cream cheese
2 tbs Baileys
100 g icing sugar
300 ml carton double cream, whipped
100 g dark chocolate, grated
To decorate (optional):
200 ml whipped cream chocolate, for grating
This also looks good with cocoa dusted over the top, rather than grated chocolate.

1. To make the base: Melt the butter in a pan and add the crushed biscuits. Mix well until they’ve absorbed all the butter. Remove from the heat and press into the bottom of the tin. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.

2. To make the topping: Lightly whip the cream cheese and beat in the Baileys and icing sugar. Fold in the whipped cream and chocolate. Spoon onto the biscuit base.

3. Put in the fridge for another couple of hours or overnight. Once set, decorate with whipped cream and a little extra chocolate, if you like

Servings: 12

20cm round springclip tin, buttered and lined with baking parchment

Source: GoodtoKnow

Have a great day

Saturday, December 24, 2016


This is specifically for my reading friends. Have you ever heard the word lipogram. I certainly hadn't but Christmas Eve I got my regular email from How to Geek and discovered:

The lipogram is a curiosity that extends all the way back to Ancient Greece, wherein the author of a poem or piece of literature goes out of their way to exclude a letter or group of letters from the work in question.
While the exclusion of uncommon letters is a trivial task (and can even happen by accident, as we find with Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, which doesn’t contain the letter “Z”), for centuries authors have grappled with much more challenging tasks—like writing stories without very common letters like “E” or “A” in them.
Some of the more notable lipograms are astonishing in their scope. The Greek poet Nestor of Laranda’s lipogramic adaptation of Homer’s Iliad was comprised of 24 books, just like the original, with each book omitting the subsequent Greek letter (thus the first book omitted the alpha character, the second omitted the beta character, and so on).
If you’re looking for an English language lipogram to dig into, Ernest Vincent Wright’s 1939 novel Gadsby includes over 50,000 words, but not a single letter “E”.
I found this absolutely fascinating. I have never read Gadsby but I guess I should check it out. I cannot imagine writing so many words and not including the letter "E". Obviously the word "the" doesn't occur in the book at all. Maybe I should try and write a blog without one specific letter.

I am up to my ears in Christmas preparations. I have a 17 lb turkey instead of 13 lbs. Tonight it goes in the brine but obviously it will have to take a bath before hand.

Have a great day

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Brussels Sprouts

Yes, I know, said I wouldn't be back but I picked up a tip from Great British Baking Show. Apparently Mary Berry has always prepared her Brussels Sprouts the same was as I too have been doing for many years. Apparently her husband said to her, one day, why? Why not cut them in half?

OK, many of you won't be preparing them anyway, and many of you will be trying out the many recipes which appear on line for different ways of doing them, but for those of you who cook them in the traditional manner, I thought this was a useful tip.

Have a great day

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas

I want to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas. Today I am guest posting at the Really Real Housewives of America and, unless things change, I think this might the my last post of the holiday season.

You know, I'm getting too old for Christmas. Tuesday I spent the morning making a chocolate cake, crumbing bread to make fresh breadcrumbs and cutting up more bread for a stuffing. Then lunch, after which we went to do our weekly shopping, the majority of which was for Christmas anyway. I then came home and made the stuffing/dressing I will be serving at the weekend. I think it tastes delicious, Matt says it wants more seasoning, but he is a bit of a salt and pepper freak, especially pepper, Later supper, but that was simple, cauliflower cheese. I have two stuffings to serve now, one chestnut which I like and this new one I have never made before. I think it tastes great too and I generally do not like stuffing. It was touted as Gluten Free Stuffing, I took no notice of that but... I used regular bread, but obviously if you are concerned about gluten you should follow the recipe.

Gluten-Free Stuffing

3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
12 oz gluten-free bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz pork sausage, casings removed
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (3 cups)
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 lbs mixed mushrooms, coarsely chopped (12 cups)
Kosher salt
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Grease a 4-quart baking dish. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until golden and crisp.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the sausage and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the leeks and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sausage mixture into a large bowl; wipe out the skillet.

3. In the skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add half of the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until deep golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the large bowl. Repeat with the remaining oil and mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper and transferring to the bowl. Add the bread, broth, eggs and the 1/2 cup of chopped parsley and mix well. Let stand for 5 minutes, allowing the bread to absorb the liquid.

4. Scrape the stuffing into the prepared dish and drizzle with the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes longer, until golden and cooked through. Serve the stuffing hot, garnished with parsley.

Servings: 8

The cooked stuffing can be refrigerated overnight. Cover and reheat at 325? until warmed through.

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Lunch, Cooking.

Monday was our Christmas lunch at the bowling alley, some stupid so an' so couldn't stop eating. I will regret it when I next get on the scales. However, I did manage an excellent first game, a respectable second game and a not very good third game. I also won a box of Lindor chocolates. I was rather sorry I didn't win the $75 for bowling a strike. It's been running for weeks at $5 a time so accumulating. I left a corner pin up, boo hoo. A very good friend turned up for lunch, she hasn't been to the alley for a while because she has had various health problems. I was delighted to discover one of the owners escorted her back to her car after as she hadn't been able to get close to the building. Anyway, it was a fun day.

Today, Tuesday, I am making a chocolate cake (I posted the recipe in 2008)to take to the alley on Thursday to share with four friends of ours plus I plan to make some of the stuffing I need for Sunday. Don't pick up the bird til Thursday then I will be shoving it in brine for a few hours. I haven't cooked a whole bird in about 15/16 years so I am a tad worried about it.

This is a mouth watering vegetarian recipe but what a lot of ingredients!

Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie with Potato-Chestnut Topping

Star chef Grant Achatz swaps in mushrooms for the usual meat and adds woodsy chestnuts to the
potato topping in his vegetarian take on shepherd's pie.


3 pounds white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 lb leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 Tbs kosher salt
1 Tbs thyme leaves
1 Tbs black peppercorns
1/2 tsp hot curry powder
2 cups heavy cream
6 Tbs unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
8 ounce turnips, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/4 lb sunchokes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 small carrot, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch pieces
Kosher salt
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps quartered
2 lbs mixed cremini, oyster, maitake and portobello mushrooms, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped chives
2 Tbs chopped thyme


2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
One 5-ounce package roasted chestnuts
1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 quart heavy cream
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup mixed chopped parsley, chives and thyme

1. Make the sauce In a food processor, pulse the mushrooms in 4 batches until finely chopped; transfer to a 12-quart pot. Add the leeks, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, salt, thyme, peppercorns and curry powder to the food processor and pulse until very finely chopped; transfer to the pot. Add the cream and 1 quart of water and bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

2. Strain the stock through a fine sieve set over a large heatproof bowl, pressing on the solids; discard the solids. Return the stock to the pot and boil over moderately high heat until reduced to 3 cups, about 10 minutes. Pour the stock into the bowl.

3. Wipe out the pot and melt the butter in it. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat, whisking often, until well browned, about 7 minutes. Gradually whisk in the stock until smooth and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, whisking often, until thickened and no floury taste remains, about 15 minutes. Scrape the sauce into the bowl.

4. Make the filling Wipe out the pot and melt the butter in it. Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the rutabaga, turnips, sunchokes, carrot, parsnip and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 7 minutes. Add all of the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and their liquid evaporates, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the sauce and cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are coated in a creamy sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the filling in a 9-by-13-inch gratin dish.

5. Make the topping In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes, chestnuts and parsnip with the cream and 1 quart of water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Stir in the nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of salt and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

6. Drain the vegetables in a colander set over a heatproof bowl. Transfer half of the vegetables to a food processor, add ¾ cup of the cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Scrape into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and another 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Let the puree cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks and chopped herbs and season with salt. Spread the topping over the filling and swirl decoratively.

7. Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the pie for about 40 minutes, until the filling bubbles. Turn on the broiler and broil 8 to 10 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Let stand for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day

Monday, December 19, 2016

Noodle Accident, Stolen Paintings, Scrooge,

Once in a while I enjoy spicy Noodle soups for lunch - the oriental ones are the best. So Friday was one of the days I decided on the noodles for lunch. Having made the noodles with hot water I sat down to eat them and somehow, not sure how, I knocked the whole lot over me and mostly on the floor. It was pretty hot too. What a mess. Picking up the noodles wasn't too bad, but cleaning up all the liquid was a pain in the butt. I worked on it a lot that afternoon, but decided to let it all dry and see what I had achieved. Not too bad, it will have to be done again, but I think I can leave it til after Christmas.

I also made my rum butter for the Christmas Pudding - I figured I hadn't got enough butter so had to defrost some which meant I had to wait a while before I could finish making it. I did though and it is now frozen.

Just seen an FB post from my sinlaw (the artist) about valuable paintings worth ­£160,000 having been stolen from a zoo. He wants to spread it around to make the pictures "too hot to handle". Good idea. This is a picture of one of the paintings, which I think is fabulous.

There are pictures on the BBC site of some of the other paintings, do have a look, they are wonderful.

Sunday night I watched the musical version of Scrooge with Albert Finney. Hadn't seen it before, I enjoyed it. Pretty well done. Nice to see familiar English actors too.

Denise from My Life in Retirement enquired about the Reindeer Cake shown in my Saturday blog. Here is the recipe. Hmm, they said it was easy!

Chocolate Peppermint Reindeer Cake

2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tso baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
6 candy canes, crushed in a food processor
2 cups unsalted butter
1 tsp peppermint extract
6 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tsp clear vanilla
2 Tbs heavy whipping cream
1 tsp salt
2 large candy canes
12 small candy canes
white pearl food spray to cover cake
wooden cake dowel rods to hold up the cake
white chocolate candy melts
red edible glitter

1. For the reindeer, make this cake recipe twice back to back.


3. Heat oven to 350. Place 3 cups of water in a saucepan and set on the stove with a high heat.

4. In a stand mixer, blend sugar, milk, oil, eggs and vanilla. In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients. Slowly mix into wet and when just incorporated pour in one cup of boiling water. Pulse until thoroughly mixed and pour into two parchment lined Loaf tins. Bake 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Wrap and chill well before cutting and assembling cake.


6. Slice your loaves into two layers. Mix buttercream frosting and spread generously between each layer. Sprinkle with chopped candy cane before stacking each new layer. Chill continuously to ensure cake keeps a firm shape. Once stacked, using a serrated blade, carve out general reindeer shape. Once desired form is taken do a smooth crumb coat using additional frosting. Do final coat using clean fresh frosting. Chill when it looks how you want it and use a fork to create added grooves and dimension.


8. Slightly melt candy canes in a 300 degree oven and bend into desire shapes (Watch your fingers, it's hot!). Adhere to one another by placing an end under a flame for a moment and sticking to a larger piece (They burn very quickly so be stealthy and don't be devastated if any are ruined). Once done pierce the top of you cake with a pointed end and coast delicately with white candy melts.


10. Finish by spraying with edible pearl spray and placing a bed of coconut around your reindeer. (If you're a terrible person and don't like coconut, you can also use powdered sugar or crushed candy canes instead. Paint on a glittery red nose for an extra festive touch!

Servings: 10

Author: ChristineMcConnell

Have a great day

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Health, Gingerbread Cake, Saturday Recipe

Thanks for the good wishes everyone. Had a bit of a scary time on Thursday. Got back from a pretty successful afternoon's bowling and almost the minute of stepping into the apartment I started to feel unwell. I finally decided I might be having a heart attack so better to be safe than sorry I called an ambulance. Ended up with the fire dept. first and then the ambulance. Just as an example when I heard the siren and then the engine hoot, I choked up just for a second or so. Anyway, everyone took my blood pressure (we'd taken it anyway) and I had taken aspirin. Took a low dose then the dispatcher told me to take another and chew it. I did, horrid. They tested my sugars too which I had also done, took what I think was an ecg and everything showed fine. They said I could have a blood test at the hospital to be sure but I declined as everything appeared OK. Very pleasant and helpful bunch although one of the people from the fire department seemed to think I was a 6 yr old, she asked me my name and responded 'what a pretty name', then later they asked me to smile and she said 'what a pretty smile'!!! Anyway, for the rest of the evening I didn't feel too good but knew I wasn't having a heart attack so that was OK. Had a sleep which helped. Whilst the paramedics were here, I couldn't stop shaking. Partly because I was cold I think. Eventually covered myself up with a blanket and Matt did me a hot pad. Went to bed early. So that's why I wrote my last blog.

I just came across this incredible picture of a gingerbread castle which I had to share with you - the article gives details and shows the items individually but this picture alone impressed me. Isn't it a fantastic creation?

And then look at this - oh to be so clever.

I thought these looked absolutely delicious for those of you who are prepared to take the time and make the effort I think they will be well worth it.

Caramel “Falafel”

Pastry genius Dominique Ansel improves on the ethereal cream puff with a crunchy coating of chocolaty panko and a salted caramel filling. When it's fried, it looks like a golden falafel.

1/4 cup whole milk
5 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 large egg beaten with
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1 cup panko
1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg beaten with
1 large egg yolk
Grapeseed or canola oil, for frying
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Make the choux Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/3 cup of water with the milk, butter, granulated sugar and kosher salt and bring to a boil over moderate heat. When the butter melts, add the flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon until a tight dough pulls away from the side of the pan, about 2 minutes.

3. Scrape the dough into a medium bowl. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. The dough should be glossy and fall slowly from the spoon in thick ribbons. Scoop the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe 1 1/2-inch mounds onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Brush the mounds with the beaten egg. Bake the choux for about 30 minutes, until browned and puffed; rotate the sheet halfway through baking. Let cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, make the filling In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, corn syrup and brown sugar and bring just to a boil, stirring. Keep warm over very low heat.

5. In another medium saucepan, cook 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar over high heat, without stirring, until it starts to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, letting it start to caramelize before adding more. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the warm cream mixture.

6. Bring the caramel to a boil over high heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until it reaches 228° on a candy thermometer, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the fleur de sel. Let cool completely. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Refrigerate until just chilled, about 45 minutes.

7. Insert the piping tip in the bottom of each choux and pipe in the caramel filling.

8. Make the coating In a medium bowl, whisk the panko with the cocoa powder. Brush each choux with some of the beaten egg, then dredge in the panko and return to the baking sheet. Freeze overnight.

9. In a large saucepan, heat 3 inches of oil to 350°. In batches, fry the choux over moderate heat, turning, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the falafel to paper towels to drain. Let stand for 10 minutes, then dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve

Servings: 20

Source: Food and Wine

Have a great day

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Not feeling the greatest tonight so this is it.

Have a great day

Shopping, Turkey, Dry Aging,

Busy day, went shopping first of all and spent a lot of money, some of which was for Christmas. Actually, although my bill totalled over $200, I had 50,000 points so got $50 knocked off the bill and then earned 26,000 more points. I love this point system. I have been looking at turkeys and was talking to a local market about fresh ones, they are somewhat expensive, but when I looked at the ones in the grocery store today, they were not cheap either and one had a choice of a Butterball which has synthetic basting in it, or a two stuffing turkey which could be stuffed with who knows what. So when I got home I ordered the more expensive fresh turkey. I had never been on the website for the market store, called Victoria Street Market, and when I did I was amazed to find that they do dry aged  meats. We have been buying the odd thing from them for a while, particularly sausages, but now I am going to try their beef. It will be expensive, but better than Matt throwing stuff away because he says it's too tough. The picture shows their dry aging room which is visible from the store.

I have been searching for a Carrot Cake recipe for ever. It was first published in the LCBO (lquor board) magazine Food and Drink but I didn't know when. I did know I had blogged about it once many years ago. I even asked the LCBO if they could find the recipe. However, I was looking for straight carrot cake - it turned out the title was actually Honey Butter Carrot Cake with Toasted Pecans and Citrus Cream Cheese Icing. which explains why I couldn't find it. The picture of the cake was on the cover of that issue of Food and Drink but the picture they have that I can find online, only shows a slice of the cake. I am hoping they can provide me with the cover picture.

When we got home, the bug man had been for the ants. Couldn't see anything. Eventually I found
little bubbles of something all round the apartment. Clear liquid but obviously thicker than water. Not touched it though. Hope it works. Not my hand, but I wanted to show you how tiny these things are. I am not even sure the ones in the picture aren't bigger than ours. I gather they are sugar ants, but, in that case, why the heck are they in the bathroom?

After lunch I was too knackered to go to exercise class so we hung around until it was time to go get my CPAP machine replaced. That didn't take very long at all. The rest of the afternoon we just relaxed. Forgot, picked up The Santa Clause, one of my favourite Christmas movies. Watched it in the evening and Matt said he couldn't understand why I liked it so much. Not sure whether he is a Scrooge or a Grinch. Tomorrow we are joining the Travel League for lunch and then bowling. First time for a while. Not joined them for a couple of months.

Being Christmas time I thought a nice easy dessert might be useful. I love Tiramisu and this looks like a pretty good substitute.

Brownie Tiramisu

Coffee, raspberries and sweet cream cheese take brownies to an even yummier level in this easy-to-
make tiramisu.

6 brownie squares (2-1/4 inch)
1/4 cup brewed strong MAXWELL HOUSE Coffee, cooled
4 oz (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups milk
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided

1. Cut brownies into bite-size pieces; place in 6 dessert dishes. Drizzle with coffee.

2. Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in milk. Add dry pudding mix; beat on low speed 2 min. Add 1/2 cup COOL WHIP; mix well. Spoon over brownies.

3. Top with remaining COOL WHIP, berries and grated chocolate.

Servings: 6

Source: Kraft

Have a great day

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Carols, Canadian Medical News, Trump's Walls, Weather, Ants.

Well, well, well. For years I have been irritated by the carol We Three Kings as sung in North America because the final word of the chorus was, from what I was taught, incorrect. Today I decided to check it. Now I find that I was taught incorrectly and the North American words are right.  The difference being the last line of the chorus as I was taught was "Guide us by thy ancient light". Now I have discovered that "Guide us to thy perfect light" is the correct wording. I checked Wikipedia and then I decided to check a carol book I have had forever - since 1953 - and blow me, that is the wording in my Oxford Book of Carols. Now I wonder where I got a different version. I was in the school choir once upon a time, so maybe the music teacher gave us that version. I might say I love real Carols. A lot of the Christmas songs irritate me, but a good, old fashioned carol I always enjoy. I often wish I had heard Matt sing as a boy, he was one of the top boy choristers in England and at Christmastime he used to go from door to door singing. He also used to sing at weddings for the local dockyard and the naval officers. As well as singing in their church. Once upon a time, he made a record, but he doesn't know what happened to it. Such a shame.

Had to go to our doctor's today for Matt to get a refill. She wasn't as busy as usual and had time to talk to us a bit. She had mentioned something before, but today explained that the Liberal government have, I think, passed an act creating an oversight committee in the Health Ministry. The members of this committee are able to visit any doctor and ask to see the patient's files. Basically the intention is to ensure the doctor is following correct procedures and practices, but it means that there will be no confidentiality any more and the doctor/patient relationship will be seriously damaged. From what she was telling us, patients tell their doctors all kinds of things they would not want known elsewhere and their right to privacy would be infringed. This is only a concern of Canadians of course. I was horrified though. Not that I give a hoot if anyone sees our files, but I can imagine many cases where the patients would be really upset. The doctor mentioned things like sexually transmitted diseases, infidelities, mental problems and so on, none of which would people want others to know. I emailed everyone I could think of and also published it on Facebook. I think we need to really protest.

Trump built a wall in Scotland and expected the residents to pay for it. This is actually old news, but there is a newer article in the NY Times showing a huge berm Trump has built in front of someone's home in Scotland because they would not sell him their house.

I might say it is very cold here at the moment, there is a bit of a walk from the parking lot to the doctor's office and I froze in the wind. A lazy one, it went through you instead of round you. We also have plenty of snow which I do hope will hang around til Christmas. We have been spoilt having so much warm weather for so long.

Don't think I have mentioned we have ants, seen them in Matt's bathroom, the kitchen and my computer desk. Didn't occur to me to mention it but happened to go collect mail and the new supers were there as well as the Building Manager. I mentioned ants and was told to put in a work order which I did straight away and there is a pest control guy coming tomorrow. However, typically, I haven't seen an ant since.

I love Sweet Potatoes, unfortunately, Matt does not so I probably will never get to try these.

Chile-Garlic Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Give ordinary roasted sweet potatoes a big flavor boost with this quick, Asian-inspired seasoning

1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, scrubbed (and peeled, if desired), cut into 1-inch wedges or pieces
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
1 Tbs chile-garlic sauce (see Note)
1 Tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/8 tsp ground white pepper

1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°F.

2. Combine oil, chile-garlic sauce, soy sauce and white pepper in a large bowl. Add sweet potatoes; toss to coat with the seasoning mixture.

3. Spread the potatoes evenly on a rimmed baking sheet.

4. Roast, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are tender and browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

Servings: 4

Chile-garlic sauce (also labeled chili-garlic sauce, or paste) is a blend of ground chiles, garlic and vinegar. It can be found in the Asian section of large supermarkets and will keep for up to 1 year in the refrigerator.

Source: WebMD Recipe from

Have a great day

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bowling,, Snow, CPAP Machine,

Woo hoo, for once bowling was good. For both of us and for the team generally - we were all there and everyone was doing pretty well. It was such a nice feeling.

The bowling alley was giving out calendars to everyone and I got my usual foodie one. There are some delicious looking recipes coming up for the year, I will, no doubt, be sharing  them in the future.

Although I am delighted we didn't get the snow received by many places, we certainly got a good dollop of the white stuff. Gives me a chance to post a snow rabbit.

I didn't mention before, we had a power outage at the weekend and when I
went to reset the clocks I discovered my CPAP machine was dead. Tried it in another outlet, still dead. I phoned the company I got it from and they are trying to find out if there is any warranty at this stage, I have had it 3 years. Our insurance don't cover me for a new one unless it is 5 years, so I might be SOL. I can't believe it happened. We have had plenty of power outages in the years I have owned it. Typical, of course, I haven't used it as much as I should lately and just when I had decided I really must start doing so again, this happens.

Here's a nice easy recipe for supper tonight.

Orange-Sauced Chicken

Orange-Sauced Chicken is a super-fast supper (think 10 minutes!) that’s rich with flavor, yet only has around 200 calories per serving—which means you don’t have to feel bad about going in for seconds.
Orange juice, chicken broth, orange marmalade, and fresh lemon juice combine to make a truly irresistible sauce for chicken breasts dredged in Italian-style breadcrumbs. Orange marmalade can be found near the jams and nut butters at your local grocery. Serve over sticky white rice with mixed vegetables on the side.

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbs orange marmalade
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp dried crushed rosemary
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves
1 Tbs Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 tsp olive oil
Cooking spray
1 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

2. Dredge chicken in breadcrumbs.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or just until lightly browned on both sides. Add broth mixture; cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with parsley

Servings: 2

Source: MyRecipes

Have a great day

Monday, December 12, 2016

Stupid Story, As We Know It,

So about a week ago we decorated for Christmas. Fine. But I have placemats which I use for Christmas time. They are dark green with gold poinsettias. I could not find them. Not only that, but I have extra place mats of the ones I use every day. Because of their tendency to curl, the Christmas ones that is, I have, for years, store them under the mattress on Matt's bed but because of a) bed bugs and b) new carpet in his bedroom, they were not there. So where on earth were they. I think I searched every nook and cranny in this apartment and in our storage area, but no luck. Finally, Saturday afternoon, I realised there was a plastic storage box in the computer room which I hadn't checked, and yes, they were there. I can't believe it took that long to figure out where they were. I did throw out a lot of stuff during the bed bug phase earlier this year, but I really didn't think I had thrown these out.

There is one heck of a storm crossing the United States at the moment (Sunday) although from what I can see, it is not expected to visit our neck of the woods. On the TV they were talking snowfalls of 30 inches in some areas, yuk.

A friend of mine, Carrie Butler, is releasing her new book today, It is called As We Know It and I had the privilege of proofing it for her a while back. It is a very unusual story and and excellent read. I have always been nervous about earthquakes and this is the background of Carrie's story. At the moment only Amazon seems to have a paperback.

About the Book: Deep beneath the ocean, stretching hundreds of miles alongside the Pacific Northwest coastline, lies the Cascadia subduction zone—a fault on the verge of unleashing a catastrophic earthquake, thirty times more powerful than the San Andreas. Unfortunately, like most tourists, Elena Cordova is oblivious.

She’s got her own pent-up stress to deal with, a humiliating breakup that’s driven her to end her tenure as a human doormat once and for all. So, when a pickpocket makes off with the last remnant of her relationship, she takes action—only to get trapped with him when disaster strikes.

Now, if either one hopes to survive, they’ll have to get past their initial impressions and work together . . . because in fifteen minutes, half the town will be underwater.

Note: Amazon links also available in UK, DE, FR, ES, IT, NL, JP, BR, CA, MX, AU, and IN.

About Carrie: Carrie Butler is an award-winning author and the owner of Forward Authority full-service studio—not to mention an inbound-certified marketer with a penchant for superhero socks and Firefly. Time away from her desk is spent playing with her rescue pup, yelling at the TV during hockey season, and indulging in target-based recreation. Otherwise, you’re likely to find her glued to her chair, discovering new ways to share her daydreams...

Here's an interesting recipe from England. What to do with all the leftovers after Christmas. Of course not everyone will have all these ingredients but it would be a case of mix and match I guess.

Christmas Dinner Pie

This mouth-watering Christmas dinner pie has to be one of the best ways to use up your leftover
Christmas food. It's the perfect Boxing Day treat, serving around 6 people and taking just 1 hr to prepare and cook. This delicious pie is layered with leftover turkey, ham, stuffing as well as veggies too like carrots, Brussels sprouts and red cabbage. The shortcrust pastry pie keeps all of the flavours and juices neatly tucked inside ready for the big reveal. This recipe uses a genius time saving cheat of readymade shortcrust pastry but if you prefer making your own go for it! Serve with plenty of gravy and watch this meaty pie disappear in seconds.

500 g is 17.6 oz
200 g is 7.06 oz

500 g shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten
200 g braised red cabbage
200 g sage and onion stuffing
200 g baked ham
200 g roasted carrots
200 g cranberry sauce
200 g cooked turkey
handful Brussels Sprouts, halved
200 g sausagemeat stuffing
gravy, to serve

1. Lightly grease the base and outside of an up-turned 18cm round cake tin, line the outside of the base with baking parchment and cover the sides and edges with tin foil. Heat the oven to 200C, gas 6.

2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a rough 32cm circle. Place over the outside of the lined cake tin, fold the pastry around the sides to line the sides tightly and trim. Brush with egg wash and chill for 30 mins, then bake for 20 mins, keeping it upturned.

3. Collect and roll out the pastry trimmings into a 20cm circle and chill for 30 mins.

4. Once the pastry has cooled, carefully remove the cake tin, plug any holes with any extra pastry and begin to fill the pie. Spoon in the braised red cabbage, stuffing, ham, carrots, cranberry sauce, turkey, sprouts, sausage stuffing and top with the pastry lid.

5. Brush with egg wash, cut a cross in the centre of the lid and bake for a further 20 mins. Slice and serve warm with gravy.

Servings: 6

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving again.

Source: GoodtoKnow

Have a great day