Thursday, March 31, 2016

Laundry Increase, Exercises, Pest Control, Bowling, Lamb,

One more day!!

In my bed bug saga I have mentioned the vast sums of money we have been spending on laundry. Just to encourage us, the laundry owners have put the price up by 25 cents. Not a lot, but it mounts up. It's not the building management, the laundry machines are contracted out.

Also, I said exercises were starting on Wednesday. Two people, one from the Community Services Group and one from the building management called me early to tell me they were postponed for a week. The realty owner was very apologetic.

This morning, Thursday, we have to get up at the crack of dawn because the Pest Control company is coming to inspect us. (Don't they know retired people don't necessarily prepare for the day that early?) I honestly don't know if we still have bed bugs or not. Haven't seen any and have slept quite peacefully for the best part of a week now although I am still nervous going to bed. Our beds are still surrounded by Diatomaceous Earth which is marvellous stuff in my opinion. Wish I hadn't taken notice of the Pest people and tried it out earlier, look at the misery I would have been saved. Mind you I hadn't found the very helpful videos about using it then either.

Thursday afternoon we bowl. More finger crossing please, but my shoulder hasn't been giving me a problem so hopefully things will be better.

I tried the Lamb Stew and Black Olives recipe for Wednesday night supper. Of course mine was pre-cooked lamb so I just added it in long enough to warm through before I was ready to serve. It turned out very well. I think it would work very well with other meats too and will be experimenting.

I got an email today heading Recipes using Leftover Chocolate. What is that?

Here is a vegetarian recipe which I thought sounded good. I love mushrooms and there are lots in this dish.

Spaghetti with Mushroom Bolognese


Three kinds of mushroom plus eggplant and carrots come together in this satisfying vegetarian

Bolognese from F&W's Kay Chun. Miso is the secret ingredient that adds extra seasoning and depth of flavor.

1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 baby eggplant (8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 pound cremini mushrooms, one-fourth sliced, the rest cut into 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into 1/4-inch dice
Kosher salt
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon white miso
One 2-inch chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus grated cheese for serving
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1 thyme sprig
1/2 teaspoon turbinado sugar
12 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a small bowl, cover the porcini with 1 cup of boiling water; soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Finely chop the porcini, discarding any tough bits. Pour off and reserve 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid.
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook over moderate heat until light golden, about 8 minutes. Add the eggplant and 2 tablespoons of the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes. Stir in the cremini, shiitake, chopped porcini and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste and miso and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chunk of cheese, the tomatoes and their juices, the thyme, sugar and reserved mushroom soaking liquid and bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig; season the sauce with salt and pepper. 

In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
Add the pasta, pasta water and parsley to the sauce; toss to coat. Serve in bowls, topped with grated cheese.


The mushroom Bolognese can be refrigerated for 2 days.

Have a great day

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A to Z, Asparagus, Exercises.

I have done about 15 posts for the A to Z Challenge. I think last year I had them all done which gave me lots of  time for visiting. I am one of the few bloggers who is used to posting 6/7 anyway so it shouldn't be too difficult for me to catch up, I hope. The madness all starts on Friday, April 1. If you don't know what this is all about, just click on the A to Z badge on the right where you can find all the information and the sign up list which allows you to join in if you would like to do so (the one on the left is not linked but there is a URL you can use. The whole blogfest/challenge was started by Arlee Bird and has grown to be a very big blogging event. I believe there are something like 1,500 people signed up, a lot of whom will drop out before it begins and more will drop out during the month of April for various reasons. The list is regularly culled by our own Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavenaugh, Each of the people responsible for running this Challenge does so with the help of Minions which are part of their teams.  I volunteered a couple of years, it is pretty hard work.

Many, if not most, of the entrants have a theme for their A to Z Challenge. In my case it is food related. Big surprise. I am taking an ingredient, talking about it and then giving a recipe using this ingredient.

By the end of the month I am hoping the asparagus will be ready. I keep getting lots of recipes in my
email for my favourite green stuff, but don't expect it just yet awhile. However, we have had such a mild winter that with any luck, it will be available before the end of April. My fingers and anything else I can cross, will be crossed. It is already available in the States, local I mean, not the stuff imported from Mexico or such places. I only ever eat local asparagus because it is so much sweeter, more tender and you don't need to waste any by snapping off the ends as you obviously do with the plants shown in this picture.

I was delighted to find that tomorrow we can go back to our exercise classes. The super's wife who told me we couldn't use the Party Room for 3 years must have got it wrong unless she meant 3 weeks. I am told a lot of the chairs are missing but the landlords are going to buy some more.

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

By Dawn at FoodTV

I got this recipe from a nurse at work. We're always sharing easy and family-pleasing recipes. The sauce tastes like a creamy Alfredo sauce. This is great with noodles.

  • 3 lbs chicken pieces
  • 1 (2/3 ounce) package Italian salad dressing mix
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (divided)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 12 cup chicken broth 


  1. Place chicken pieces in crock pot and sprinkle Italian seasoning over chicken. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons melted butter.
  2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan and saute onion and garlic. Add Cream of Chicken Soup, cream cheese, and chicken broth. Stir until smooth.
  4. Add this mixture to crock pot and cook on low for an additional hour.
Have a great day

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Shoulder and Bowling, Stitches and Bunnies. Balconies.

I am sure I have moaned and groaned over the years about my left shoulder and the pain it gives me. The orthopaedic surgeon locally, who specialises in shoulders, assured me there was nothing he could do for me although I later discovered he said to my family doc that if necessary they should send me to get therapy. Anyway, I mostly haven't done that and have plodded along with a dull ache with occasional extreme pains. Part of life. an Easter gift, my right shoulder has started to hurt, especially Sunday, it hurt like hell. So, you say, so nothing, it's my bowling arm!! I was quite worried about it. However, this morning, Monday, it was somewhat better and didn't seem to hurt with the swinging motion needed to throw a bowling ball (thank goodness I have a 5 pin ball and not a 10 pin). At bowling this afternoon I was somewhat worried which meant my first game was appalling. However, having thrown some 30 balls without hurting myself unduly, I settled down and had an excellent second game. My third game was in between, but by then I was concerned about leaving on time because Matt was going to get his stitches removed.

We made it in time and sat waiting for a while before they called Matt in and almost before I turned my tablet on, he was back out, stitches removed. He still has nasty bruises, but you can hardly see where the actual incisions were.

I had a comment from a friend on my last blog insisting that we eat our Easter bunnies in a hurry
because she hated animal cruelty. I had to start eating up my last bunny didn't I? I can't offend my friend because of my cruelty. Matt hasn't started his second bunny yet so he is still being cruel. There was an article on the CBC page talking about a woman who has 500 bunnies of all kinds which she displays at this time of  year. Phew, 500 bunnies. What on earth does she do with them between seasons? I don't really have any collections although some people got the idea we collected shot glasses so we do have a few of those. Not too many thank goodness.

I discovered today that the work they are doing on the balconies here is being done in segments, i.e. they are doing 3 sides of the building this year and they will be doing the other 3 sides next year. I case you don't remember our building is Y shaped. We are not included in this year's programme so have to wait til next year. Matt is worried about what we will do with the chairs etc. I guess my "office" will be loaded up once again.

For Easter I cooked a delicious leg of lamb which turned out really well. However, having had it cold a couple of times, I am planning to turn it into a stew. Obviously the lamb, being cooked already, will be added at the end in order to warm up.

Lamb Stew with Black Olives
From: Good to Know
Serves 4
This rich and hearty lamb stew with black olives is full of Mediterranean flavours
and is packed with vegetables, so great for the whole family. It makes the perfect Saturday night supper served with polenta or mashed potatoes and a glass of red wine. Use stewing lamb, or cut up a shoulder of lamb into chunks or use diced neck fillet, and stew until meltingly tender. Use any flavour olives you like and add a few sun-dried tomatoes too if you wish. Why not make double and freeze some of this delicious stew for another day.


2tbsp vegetable oil
500g stewing lamb, cubed
I onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, sliced
2 courgettes, sliced (zucchini here)
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
400g can tomatoes
2 sprigs rosemary
2tbsp tomato purée
300ml lamb stock
50g black olives
Parsley, to garnish

  1. Heat the oil in a large casserole. Fry the lamb until it has browned on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and set aside.
  2. Add the onion to the meat juices in the pan and fry for 2-3 mins until tender, add the garlic and fry for 1 min. 
  3. Return the lamb to the pan and add all the vegetables. Pour over the tomatoes, add the rosemary sprigs and stir in the tomato puree. Add enough lamb stock to just cover everything then bring to the boil. 
  4. Cover with a tight fitting lid and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Cook for 1- 11/2 hours until the meat is tender. Add the black olives then taste and adjust seasoning, adding a little sugar to balance the acidity if necessary. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
You can cook this stew in the oven if preferred. Bring to the boil on the hob then transfer to the oven and cook at 170C/325F/Fan 150C/Gas Mark 3.

Have a great day

Monday, March 28, 2016

Bugs Again, Chocolate,

I know you are all agog to know how my battle with bed bugs is going. I am sure there is nothing else on your minds. I wish there was something else on my mind. Anyway, it appears that this diatomaceous earth (DE) is doing the trick. I appear to be avoiding any more bites, so we decided to do the same with Matt's bed. When I started a found a nest of bed bugs on one of the creases of his mattress cover, as I mentioned the other day. Got rid of them and then surrounded the bed with diatomaceous earth. Two days later I checked again and found a smaller nest in the same place, but this time the bugs were dead in place or certainly almost dead which proves to me the stuff works. They had to cross it to get to his mattress cover. There has been nothing since on his bed or mine. Hoorah. I think I was beginning to go mentally bonkers with this business of being a feeding station every night. Of course I don't know about the rest of the rooms - I am assuming they must still be around so I need to do more spreading of the DE. The pest control people are supposed to be coming on the 31st (Thursday) and I will be able to tell them at least the beds are OK, no thanks to them. They will also now find what uncooperative really means. There is no way I am going to strip my home the way I have done twice before in order for them to work on the place. I will deal with it, thank you very much. At the moment I cannot use my bedspread as it dangles on the ground and that is an invitation to the little pests to climb up.

I regret to say that at least two of our chocolate bunnies are somewhat the worse for wear. In fact Matt and I both seem to go for the ears first. Being Lindt chocolate it is absolutely delicious. We have a Lindt store locally but I wouldn't dare go there very often. They give you a Lindor Ball when you walk in the store and you can try before you buy with many of their products. There is no doubt in my mind, that Swiss Chocolate is the very best. I am not alone in this opinion of course. Dutch and Belgian chocolate is pretty good too, but the Swiss have them all beat. Er, update, our first two bunnies have gone the way of all things.

This, to me, is a very unusual tart.

Swiss Easter Rice Tart

8 to 10 servings

Francesco Tonelli for The New York Times

Have a great day

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Recipe

Help, I've just realised it's only a week til April 1.

I just came across this recipe and thought it was cute. I am only posting the picture and a link though.

The recipe below was on Taste Book a week or so ago. For me, you can't go wrong if it includes smoked salmon although some of you might wish to forego that part.

Irish Potato Cakes

By Hung Quach

Makes 12-14 pancakes

This traditional Irish peasant dish, also known as boxty, is best when made with a mix of waxy (red or yellow varieties) and starchy (white or Russet) potatoes. This recipe is also the perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes from last night’s dinner. Serve them for breakfast with gourmet toppings—like smoked salmon and sour cream or bacon and poached eggs—or as a side dish for lunch or dinner.


1 1/2 lb starchy potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 1/2 lb waxy potatoes, grated
1 2/3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil or butter for frying
8 slices smoked salmon
2/3 cup sour cream
Wedges of lemon


  1. Place the starchy potatoes in a pot and boil until cooked through. Once cooked, drain the potatoes and mash them with the butter and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Add the grated waxy potatoes, flour, bicarbonate soda, buttermilk, scallions, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well until combined and you should have a thick pancake like batter.
  2. On medium heat, heat the olive oil or butter in the frying pan. Place dollops of the batter to create 10 cm diameter cakes. Fry on each side for 2 to 3 minutes or until brown. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, 2 slices smoked salmon serving and a wedge of lemon.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your Easter break.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday, Bugs, Bowling,

Happy Easter to you all. I hope you enjoy it and it relaxes you for a day or two.

Matt and I will be munching on Hot Cross Buns for breakfast today. Then there are some Lindt gold bunnies hiding somewhere. Normally we only have one each of course, but this year there was a shopping goof. I am not complaining.

Thursday I had an email from a friend in the building about something different. However, she added a paragraph which is so very apt. I thought I would share it with you and maybe with our realtors next week. With regard to the bed bug situation, both pest control and Schiketanz need to realize that many seniors do not have the stamina it takes to prepare an apartment for treatment. Also, some of us don't have the resources or family nearby to help us with any heavy work. It's unfortunate they don't understand that people slow down as they age and most of us do the best we can. It would probably save Schiketanz a lot of money if they hired someone to do both the prep work and the pest control for those who aren't able. I think they should make that investment for Joe (the neighbour where it started, for us anyway) and you and in my mind, that's the only solution that makes any sense. Stamina was a good word for her to use and one which didn't occur to me. It is also true that Matt and I do not have any family to help us as others do nor the finances to pay professionals to help us.

Bowling was useless today. I managed to get past the 100 every time, but that was about it. Matt bowled better than I but even he didn't bowl terribly well.  I was blaming it on my hip and said Matt could plead his chin which looks a right mess at the moment. He is telling everyone I beat him up. He certainly has more bruising than he did for his previous basel cell op. He does look like someone has been using him as a punching bag.

I couldn't resist sharing this recipe when I found it Thursday morning. Bit late for Easter but you could shop and make on Saturday if you were sufficiently keen I guess.

Bunny-Bottom Pudding Cookies

Kraft Kitchens

2 cups flour
1 pkg (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened, divided
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
4 oz (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4-1/2 tsp milk
few drops red food coloring
12 large JET-PUFFED Marshmallows
24 JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows

1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Combine flour, dry pudding mix, baking soda and salt. Beat 3/4 cup butter and brown sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Blend in egg, then vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well after each addition.

3. Roll dough into 24 balls, each about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets; flatten with bottom of cup.

4. Bake 10 to 12 min. or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet 3 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

5. Beat cream cheese, remaining butter, powdered sugar and milk with mixer until blended. Reserve 2 Tbsp. cream cheese frosting; spread remaining frosting onto cookies. Mix reserved frosting and food coloring until blended.

6. Use kitchen shears to cut each large marshmallow crosswise into 4 pieces. Top cookies with marshmallows as shown in photo. Spoon tinted frosting into small resealable plastic bag; cut small piece off one bottom corner of bag. Use to decorate marshmallow pieces as shown.

Servings: 24 - 1 cookie each

Have a great Easter.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Weight Loss, More on Bugs,

I have often been told by weight management authorities to use a smaller plate for my meals. This finally explains why.

Answer: The Delboeuf Illusion
The Delboeuf Illusion, named after the Belgian mathematician Joseph Delboeuf who created it
in the late 1880s, is a simple illusion wherein there are two identically sized filled-in circles placed side-by-side, but one of the circles is surrounded by another circle (ring). Despite the identical size of the two filled-in circles, people consistently rank the circle-within-the-circle as being smaller because the presence of the outer circle (ring) creates a perceptual error.
So how can an optical illusion that creates a perceptual error in size help anyone lose weight? It turns out that the same mechanism that leads us to believe the circles are not equal in size can also apply to serving sizes on plates. In a series of experiments, researchers from Georgia Tech and Cornell University demonstrated that study participants consistently took up to 13 percent more food than they intended when using larger plates. The smaller the plate, the more likely the participants were to not only portion out less food than the people with the larger plates, but to undershoot their portion goals by 12 percent.
The take-away? Serve your meals on smaller plates. The smaller the plate, the bigger the food looks and the less likely you are to over serve (and over eat).
I stole this from How to Geek. They often come up with some interesting  trivia in their emails and this was certainly one.

I have been telling the realtors here that we are getting bugs from across the hall. This morning the pest control people came and worked on the hall carpets for about an hour. Not sure what they were doing. Matt said they had all kinds of buckets of stuff and they were obviously using a machine as well. However, it means somebody finally listened to me. Oh, by the way, I was NOT bitten last night. Keep your fingers crossed for me that it will continue. Neighbour lady said she hadn't been bitten for 10 days. I was very envious.

I guess I am either getting tired or extremely lazy, but I bought some of my local store's Decadent Molten Chocolate Cakes for Easter. We have had them before and they are delicious. I am pretty sure there are 4 in a box. They were on special, two boxes for $8 so, yes, I bought two. Well I am all for a bargain after all!! They keep fine in the freezer.  Actually I was a tad annoyed with the bakery dept. at Zehrs (our local store) because I phoned them to check they still had them. Thought they might have been a Christmas item. In the first place the girl I spoke to in the bakery didn't seem to know what I was talking about then she asked someone else in their department and they didn't know either. Yet, when I went to the store, there they were.  Matt used to make these, but he doesn't do much cooking any more and as I will be dealing with a roast of lamb and the trimmings, I took the easy way out.
However, on the assumption you may not be feeling as lazy, here is the recipe Matt uses. It is really very easy. These have a lot of different names, Lava Cake is one often used. Actually, if you eat these cold, they are also delicious.

Warm Chocolate Cake (Volcanoes)

6 oz Bittersweet Chocolate
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/3 cup all purpose (plain) flour

1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). In heavy pot on low heat, melt chocolate and butter together. Cool slightly.

2. Beat together sugar and egg yolks with electric mixer until thick and creamy, about 4 mins.

3. Pour in chocolate mixture and beat together for 5 mins.

4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, about three mins. Fold into mixture along with flour.

5. Pour into 6 nonstick buttered moulds or non-stick muffin tins (we use cocottes or ramekins). Bake for 5 to 7 mins or until edges are just cooked and centre is still liquid. Cool for 5 mins in cooking dish. Carefully remove to serving dishes. Serve with lightly whipped cream

Freeze, uncooked, overnight or up to 2 weeks if you wish

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Take ramekins out of freezer and remove plastic wrap. Bake volcanoes for 18 minutes - no longer! Cool on rack for 5 minutes. The outsides will be crusty and the centers will be gooey - sort of like your average volcano.

Servings: 6

Source: Food & Drink

Have a great day

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Belgium, Bugs, Bursitis, Balconies,

The Belgian coast used to be a stomping ground for my family and I many years ago. It was so sad to hear the news today. However, this is being well covered by everyone so this is my only reference to it. My heartfelt sympathies go to the people of Belgium.

We have been pursuing our personal battle today. I showed you the pix of the diatomaceous earth round my bed, today we put a ring round Matt's bed. We took the bedding off both beds and laundered it or ran it through the dryer. Whilst working on Matt's bed I was horrified to find a nest of bugs on his box spring. Luckily I had my steamer going so I grabbed it and steamed those perishers to death. Of course it's all my fault for not co-operating! I was talking to a woman in the laundry room and she had the sniffer dog in her apartment (she had to pay for it??) and they said she was clear and as she had so much leather furniture, the bugs didn't nest there. Tommy rot. I googled; bed bugs will nest anywhere. They prefer to be near their feeding station though. Not only that, a woman on our wing had the sniffer dog in and was pronounced clear but it turned out she did have them. So much for sniffer dogs. In case you are wondering the bugs emit a smell I am told.

Had to pick up the cortisone for my injection but it is still a way away yet. My bursitis is causing me problems in bed at night. Have big trouble getting comfortable. Same woman in the laundry room was under the impression she had to pay for a cortisone injection. I assured her that she did not. There's a lot of us old fogeys in this place. Not least of which is the 94 yr. old who was in the exercise classes with me. She just got a notice about clearing her balcony because they are going to be working on it soon. Said she didn't understand it. I gather they are talking about doing all the 10s first. Weird. Matt had trouble figuring that one out too. Not sure what we are supposed to do with the chairs etc. on the balcony. Like we have a lot of room to store such things. Not sure I mentioned before that they are going to be doing the balconies over the next three years, not sure what they are doing but... something. I suppose after 40 years or so they need attention.

Of course fresh asparagus is not yet available here yet although I have been receiving lots of recipes using it. this one appealed to me so I am sharing it.

Asparagus-Goat Cheese Soufflés

:  March/April 2011
Puffy and warm, these asparagus-goat cheese soufflés are the essence of spring. Serve them alongside a big
salad with a tangy vinaigrette for a light supper or a special brunch. Though these are wonderful either way, the addition of truffle oil is spectacular and decadent-tasting.

  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature (see Tips)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons truffle oil (optional; see Tips)
  • 8 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup crumbled or diced aged goat cheese (see Note) or Manchego cheese

  1. Fill a large skillet with 1 inch of hot water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus. Partially cover and cook the asparagus until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain; refresh under cold water. Blot the asparagus dry with a clean kitchen towel, then cut into 1/2-inch slices.
  2. Position rack on lowest level of oven; preheat to 375°F. Coat six 10-ounce ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Place ramekins on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking often, for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and slowly whisk in hot milk. Return the heat to medium-low and continue whisking until the mixture is thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and whisk in 4 egg yolks, one at a time, and truffle oil, if using. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the asparagus and cheese.
  4. Place 8 egg whites in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer, slowly increasing the speed, until they begin to foam. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and continue to beat until the whites hold their shape; do not overbeat. (You’ll know they are ready when you lift the beaters out and the peak doesn’t flop over.)
  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir one-third of the whites into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites just until blended. Divide the soufflé mixture among the prepared ramekins, filling them almost to the top. (Discard any leftover mixture or prepare another ramekin for another soufflé.)
  6. Bake the soufflés on the bottom rack until puffy and golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 145°F, 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overcook—the centers will look soft.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Equipment: six 10-ounce ramekins
  • Tips: To bring an egg to room temperature, either set it out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge it (in the shell) in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.
  • Look for truffle oil in small bottles near other oils in well-stocked supermarkets or gourmet food shops.
  • Ingredient Note: Goat cheese, also know as chèvre (French for “goat”), is earthy-tasting and slightly tart. Aged goat cheese has a nutty, sharp flavor and is drier and firmer than fresh goat cheese. Look for it in a well-stocked cheese section at large supermarkets and specialty cheese shops. We don’t recommend using fresh, creamy goat cheese as a substitute—Manchego cheese is a better choice.

Have a great day

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bowling, Skin Op, A to Z Reveal.

Well, I don't know, we went bowling and it was a waste of time. Not only Matt and I bowled badly, but so did the rest of our team. My excuse was I was worried about leaving on time to get to the Plastic surgeon, Matt's might be because he was having the op. but not sure what excuse the other two can give. Anyway, we got to the clinic early and waited for a while. Eventually they called Matt in and I sat playing solitaire on my tablet. It didn't seem very long at all before he came back with two very small band aids on his face. He was totally fine to drive although he can't wet his face or shave for 24 hours. However, later when we sat down to supper (soup was all Matt could manage as his chin/mouth area was still somewhat numb) I suddenly realised he had been bleeding from one of the two areas. Quite a lot of blood in fact. (He is on a major blood thinner which the Dr. didn't seem to take into account). Seemed to stop after a while but I want him to put some gauze over the bandaid (which is soaked) otherwise I think our little visitors will be on him like flies on a dung heap. Not pretty I know.

Today was Reveal day for the A to Z. I didn't take part as such but in fact my A to Z will be food related as it has been for several years. I have written some of them, but with all the problems in our lives right now, I am not too sure how much I will achieve. I will do my best though. I want to finish the challenge but life is getting in the way lately.

I love soup, and I love making soup. If you have never tried kombu, I have only tried it once when we made rice for sushi. I loved it and could have eaten a lot more of it. Many of these ingredients are available in supermarkets these days, but if not, an Asian store will certainly carry them. I have a problem, my favourite Asian store is in amongst all those stupid roadworks I have written about.

Mushroom Miso Soup

New York Times  - David Tanis

This miso-enriched brothy soup is pleasing on many levels. You get complex flavor
with minimal effort, especially if you make the dashi in advance. All the little garnishes are optional.

2 large servings



1 piece of kombu, about 6 inches square
3 large dried shiitake mushrooms, crumbled
3 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons mirin
2 tablespoons sake
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt to taste


3 ounces fresh shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced, about 2 cups
3 ounces King oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
½ teaspoon grated garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons white or red miso
6 ounces silken tofu, at room temperature


Enoki mushroom tips
2 tablespoons slivered scallions
4 shiso leaves, slivered
Sunflower sprouts
2 tablespoons slivered toasted nori
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Toasted sesame seeds

Make the dashi: Put kombu, dried shiitakes, soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar in a large soup pot. Add 6 cups cold water. Place over medium heat, allow the liquid to barely reach a boil, then reduce heat to low and let cook at a very slow simmer for about 30 minutes. Skim foam as necessary. Let cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and add salt to taste. (Dashi may be prepared up to 2 days in advance.)
Put the sliced mushrooms in a bowl and drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce. Add garlic and ginger and season with salt and pepper. Toss and let marinate for 10 minutes.
Put dashi in a large soup pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Add mushroom mixture and cook gently for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are just tender.
Remove 1/2 cup hot broth from pot and place in a small bowl. Stir in miso to dilute, then return miso-broth mixture to the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning. Once the miso has been added, do not let the soup boil.
To serve, cut the tofu in half and place a 3-ounce chunk in each of two large bowls. Ladle 2 cups of hot soup over the tofu. Sprinkle with enoki mushroom tips, scallions, shiso, sunflower sprouts, nori, red pepper and toasted sesame seeds as desired.

Have a great day

Monday, March 21, 2016

Plastic Surgery, Parcel, Diatomaceous Earth, Dr. Flash Drive

Sorry no Satuday Recipe. Things got away from me on Friday not least of which we had to visit the plastic surgeon for Matt's basel cells. Dr. Ma has fitted him in for Monday afternoon at 4 so we will have to go bowl and leave early. Nice of her to do it so soon though. When we go to the offices to see these Plastic Surgeons, they have a very small parking lot behind their building, a delightful old house which must have been something in it's hey day; right opposite the parking lot is a huge building, high rise maybe, which is in the process of construction. Being a bit slow, it only hit me, on Friday, that it is the building which is where our old bowling alley used to be. Got a bit disoriented because we have to get there in a roundabout way because of the road works on King St. so I hadn't quite realised where we were. That's my excuse anyway.

We then had to go to the post office to pick up my parcel from Amazon - we were not home because I was seeing my orthopaedic surgeon and then bowling. This one included the bug proof mattress cover and interceptor plates for the bed feet.

Saturday we began. First whipped off all the bed clothes and put them through the washers and dryers
as well as the pillow. We then took mattress and box spring off the bed and I put diatomaceous earth (DE) all round the frame and brushed it into cracks with an old paint brush. We pulled the bed really far away from the wall so I could put a thick line of DE behind the bed. Then pushed it back again. When the linens were ready, we made the bed covering the mattress with the new cover, and then put the DE in defensive lines all round the bed as well as putting the plastic interceptors under the feet. Sprinkled DE between the box spring and mattress too. Must admit I didn't think we would manage to put the new cover on as it's a heavy mattress to handle for two old fogeys like us. But we did.

I have now discovered this food grade DE can be taken as a drink and is touted to have all kinds of health benefits. Just not for bed bugs I guess. Supposed to be good for all kinds of things, like de-toxing, improvements in hair and nails, etc. etc. so maybe you will soon hear of me taking the stuff.

By the way, I was carrying on about how young my new orthopaedic surgeon is. I just came across this picture of Dr. Martin. He actually looks a tad older here.

How very odd, I have just had a Flash drive fall apart on me. Didn't realise that could happen.

Tried a new recipe on Saturday night. I think I needed to cook the cauliflower somewhat longer. I didn't mind it, but Matt found it too crunchy. Of course I cut back the recipe considerably as there were just two of us. Not only that, I used roasted red peppers from a jar. It still worked very well and was quite delicious.


12 servings


    • 4 red bell peppers
    • 2 heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 2-inch florets
    • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup large capers (not salted), drained and rinsed


    1. Toss cauliflower with 1/4 cup oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl, then divide between two 4-sided sheet pans. Roast cauliflower, turning it and switching position of pans halfway through, until just tender and browned in spots, about 20 minutes total.
    2. While cauliflower roasts, whisk together lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large serving bowl, then add remaining 1/2 cup oil in a slow stream, whisking. Finely chop about 1 tablespoon capers, then whisk chopped and whole capers into vinaigrette. Add warm cauliflower and peppers and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature.
Cooks' note:
Peppers and cauliflower can be roasted and tossed with vinaigrette 1 day ahead and chilled.

Have a great day

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hip, More about Bugs, Bowling, Plastic Surgeon

So I went to see this 16 yr old kid today (Thursday) about my hip. No really, he did not look old enough to be a doctor, let alone a surgeon. I told him so too. However, I liked him and he was very good at showing me and telling me all the problems. I do not need a hip replacement, hurrah, he said the pain I had had a month or so ago was a flare up caused by my fall before Christmas, but he proved to me that I have bursitis in my upper thigh/hip area (that is the pain I have suffered in bed at night) and we have arranged for me to have a cortisone injection in a few week's time. I think that must have been weighing on my mind, along with a few other buggy things, because I felt very much better, mentally, after we left. We then went bowling and I thrashed the old man. Woo hoo.

I had a phone call in the morning from Terry, the manager/owner of the real estate company which is returning.
runs this building. She says the pest control people are telling her that we are not co-operating with them and doing what tenants are requested to do before they come in. Really. I wonder what all that stuff was in plastic bags, not to mention all the pictures taken off the walls and switch plates removed, dresser drawers emptied, ornaments removed from all the rooms and so on? As I pointed out to Terry, we did what we could but as a couple of oldsters etc. some things were difficult to do anyway. We have spent over $150 on the laundry machines in the last few weeks. amazing how quickly $2 a time mounts up. That's for both thedryer and the washer so if using them both, $4. But we are not co-operating? I actually think I am beginning to get on top of the job anyway and once I spread the diatomaceous earth around (Matt says I like that word), I firmly believe we will not need them any more. I spoke to a woman in our corridor who has the same problem and she tells me she hired a company to do all the vacuuming which is necessary etc. and it has cost her $700 which she is going to claim from the landlords. She'll be lucky. I told her my cleaners would have done it for a lot less. I think she was nuts to pay that kind of money. I have also been told, by the same neighbour, that the guy where it all started, across the hall, is not coming back anyway. Not sure how true that is. The super says he

Friday Matt has to see the plastic surgeon about his skin cancer again. Should be fairly easy to deal with this time, unlike when his leg had to be treated. I assume they can do it in their own clinic instead of going to the hospital If only we had known how dangerous the sun was 70 years or so ago. He will not be seeing the same doctor as she is on pregnancy leave I gather, but this one looks just as attractive on line. I wonder if she too will be a disappointment when we see her.

I kind of invented a dish for supper on Wednesday. It was an amalgum of two or three recipes but it worked pretty well. Looks a bit messy but I am no photographer I'm afraid. It was pretty good to eat though.

Chicken in Foil

2 leeks, washed and cleaned
1 carrot
2 chicken breasts
olive oil
2 Tbs yoghurt
1 Tbs Dijon mustard

1. Prepare two pieces of foil to be made into packets. Big enough to cover everything above in two packets. Place on a cookie sheet with the edges turned up.

2. Slice the leeks in rounds. Use mainly the white parts. Slice the carrot. Divide the vegetables between the packets and season.

3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper as well as some thyme. Place each  breast on top of the vegetables and drizzle with a little oil.

4. In a small bowl, mix yoghurt, mustard and wine (not too much of the latter, just enough to make it spreadable) and cover the chicken breasts with the mixture.

5. Close up the packets tightly so they don't leak and place in a 375°F oven for 25-30 minutes. Unwrap carefully to ensure the steam doesn't burn you. Place the chicken on a plate and tip the vegetables and juice over top. Arrange more prettily than I did.

Servings: 2

Have a great day

Thursday, March 17, 2016

My Buggy Story, Easter Lamb,

My bag of diatomaceous earth arrived today, Wednesday, along with the puffer for spraying it into receptacle areas. I think I am beginning to win the battle anyway with my steamer so this should fix my little visitors but good. I sent the building manager another email with a picture of some of my bites. I got a notice saying that the pest control people will be here on the 31st to inspect. That's two whole weeks. It would probably be another whole week before they would be here to treat once again. Meanwhile I am supposed to lie in my bed getting bitten? I am hoping by that date I will be able to tell them where to go with their pest control. I sent them 2 pix, this was one. The line of red is bites.

Today, Thursday, I get to see the orthopaedic surgeon having picked up the CD of my Xray. I am hoping to call in at The Rising Dough bakery for some more Cornish Pasties and some Hot Cross Buns. They make very good ones. For me, Good Friday needs Hot Cross Buns the same as Easter weekend needs a lamb roast. This is half a picture which has always fascinated me, it's from one of my Time Life Cookbooks. It shows the men of a Greek village cooking their family's sheep over a communal barbecue in the street. Meanwhile their wives are preparing everything else which goes with the feast. I don't know if it still happens, but they used to get a young lamb and bring it up as a family pet, then slaughter it at Easter which was symbolic of the crucifixion. I cannot imagine living with an animal and then eating it. I was talking about a programme called Cook Abroad. The chef was in Egypt and they slaughtered the lamb in front of him. It was not shown on film but some years ago there was a travel programme made in the UK and they did show a goat being slaughtered before being eaten. One knows it happens but most of us are unable to watch such things. We like to get our meat in a nice little packet all wrapped up in the supermarket. I am just as bad as anyone else.

I personally never cook anything special for St. Patrick's Day. Nor did most Irish people living in Ireland. It is much more celebrated here I think. I read the other day that the first St. Paddy's Day parade took place in Boston - not in Ireland.

This a recipe from England. I have never heard of browning the roast before you put it in the oven, but if you have time, not a bad idea.

Roast lamb studded with rosemary and garlic

BBC Good Food

If you have time, stud the lamb a day in advance to allow the flavours to really permeate the meat

Serves 6 - 8
  • leg of lamb  weighing 2½ kg/5lb 8oz
  • garlic  bulb
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • carrot , cut into large chunks
  • onion , cut into quarters
  • 1 glass red wine (about 150ml)
  • 1.2litre beef or lamb  stock

  1. The first job is to stud the lamb with garlic and rosemary. Use a sharp pointed knife, make at least 30 small incisions all over the meat. Peel 4 garlic cloves, thinly slice them and prod a slice into each incision. Next, pull off small sprigs of rosemary and push into the incisions,too. If done in advance, cover the lamb well and refrigerate. Remove from the fridge 1 hr before roasting
  2. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Heat a large frying pan, add a little oil and brown the lamb all over. Scatter the carrot, onion, remaining garlic and rosemary in a large roasting tin, pour in the wine and stock, then place the browned lamb in the tin.
  3. Roast for about 1 hr 45 mins. Turn the lamb halfway through so by the time it’s cooked, each side has been in the stock. When cooked, remove the lamb and allow to rest in a warm place covered in foil for about 30 mins.
  4. While the lamb is resting, make the gravy. Pour all the stock from the tin through a sieve into a saucepan to remove all the vegetables and herbs. This stock should be rich, slightly thick and have a great lamb flavour. Reduce it a little on the hob if you feel you want to concentrate the flavour, skimming off any fat that comes to the surface. Serve the lamb with the gravy, potatoes leeks and butternut squash

Have a great day