Thursday, December 8, 2011


Ron and I have been missing for a while, well not really... just a whole lot of unfortunate events that has kept us from blogging.
At the end of August after some continued minor home repairs to our home, it came to our attention that my camera was missing. Ron had taken some picture of a nagging problem he had with the kitchen floor, and took it over to Home Depot for some advise. I thought I saw the camera in the car, he says he brought it home. Long story short, the camera is gone! Home Depoy doesn;t have it , we checked all the cars, the house, all our little nooks and little red camera. He had it last!

Barb, lent me her super expensive Nikon, (you need a degree in engineering to figure it out) I took some lovely food pictures,but was remiss about posting them promptly. When a few spare moments came along and I was ready to blog, I could not find the cable that went from the camera to the computer to download the pictures! Truth be told I still haven't told her it's missing and now her camera is also dead as a doornail. Oh my... do you think I have to go to a camera store to replace this part? Surely it will turn up soon? But then neither has my little camera that I loved so much.

I guess all good things come to an end eventually, and change ultimately sometimes is for the good, well time will tell. In the meantime no food pictures, no yummy recipes,no quickly the months have flown by and how I have missed my little blog and here it is almost Christmas  from my heart a sincere wish for all of you to have your lives filled with the joy and happiness that this holiday season has to offer. Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to everyone. See you all in the New Year, I'm sure a new camera will be under the tree waiting for me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

English Fish and Chips in a Beer Batter

 It was a dreary day here in Ottawa... oh don't get me wrong the sun did make a feeble attempt at peeking out a few times today, but basically it was a good day for laundry and a good book.

I really don't know where the craving came from , because we usually don't eat this greasy , so if you have a heart condition , or are watching calories stay clear  from this recipe.

However, once in a while, it isn't so horrible or terrible to have a little indulgence.
 I made homemade fries and had haddock in the freezer although a cod is also a good fish for this dish. I must say, the batter was really light and 3 minutes on each side for the fish was the perfect time for a beautiful tender flaky fish. I like mine with a spritz of lemon , the hubby with tartar sauce. Either way you like it, sometimes the day just calls for a good fry.

Beer Batter
140 g. flour
50g. corn starch
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg beaten
250mi. beer
Mix the first 4 ingredients
In another bowl beat the egg and then mix with the beer,
Incorporate the beer mixture into the dry ingredients. Whisk and make sure there are no lumps.
Make sure that your fish has no bones and that the fillets are dried with a paper towel, the batter stick better to the fish and stays crispier when the fish is fried.

Heat vegetable oil in a pan and when hot fry the fish one piece at a time,
Garnish with fries, lemon wedge and tartar sauce.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Israeli Couscous Mediterranean Salad

 Our August weather is still holding up quite nicely and with the sun shinning and the out door temperatures still hovering up there a cool salad for supper seemed to be the answer for a quick supper meal.
 I had some cooked shrimp in the freezer, olives and feta are a staple in our house as are grape tomatoes,cucumbers and a bunch of dill...this was definitely becoming a Mediterranean salad.  I had some Israeli couscous which is actually a wheat pasta, but you could use whatever pasta or orzo you have at hand.Voila Done.

1/4 cup fresh dill
3 T. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. good white wine vinegar
1/2 C olive oil
salt and pepper
Pulse first 3 ingredients in blender, then gradually pour in the olive oil, season to taste.

Prepare 1 lb. Israeli couscous according to instruction.(Ratio 1cup to 4 cups of water.)
1large cucumber peeled and cubed
3 -4 green onions sliced
1 sl. package of grape tomatoes , halved
1/2 c.cup lalamata olives  halved
20 shrimp cooked

Note: The hubby loved the salad, but he did make a suggestion and that was to have grilled the shrimp or served them up in a garlic butter with bay spice. I had just defrosted the cooked shrimp and tossed them in the dressing along with the rest of the ingredients. Maybe a little bland. Your choice. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Easy Beer Bread and Corn Chowder

 I'm not really a fan of corn I know everyone is in shock now... don't get me wrong I enjoy my corn on the cob, especially with a good lobster boil, or roasted on the grill yummy... but by the third time I tend to pass on this summer crowd pleaser. Last week, my neighbour offered me some corn and because it was a busy week I am ashamed to say that the corn never even made it to the fridge. I hate to spoil food so the corn was quickly grilled then scraped off the cob. I quickly sauteed 3 sliced celery ribs with a large diced onion in some olive oil. Added that to 4 cups of milk, 2 cans of creamed corn 2 potatoes that I cubed and then in went the roasted corn for a quick corn chowder soup.Bacon Garnish optional
Over at Stone Gable , Yvonne had posted this or a similar recipe and included this super simple Beer Bread that I just had to make . Not only is this a simple bread recipe but quick to make in a pinch.

Beer Bread
21/4 C. flour
3T. sugar
1/2 tsp,bakeing sodar
1 T bakeing powder
Mix all the above ingredients.
1 bottle beer
1T oil
ix the oil in the beer and then pour into the flour mixture. Mix just until batter is incorporated. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 400 for about 45 minutes until golden. ( If you wish pour 1 T. melted butter over beer bread before bakeing.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Iron Chef Charity Throwdown

 A challenge was offered.

 A  food basket supplied, the mystery food presented... beef tenderloin and organic chicken breasts.
The rules:Each group had to produce  appetizers, a salad, a main meal and dessert.
 A good time was promised.
The reward: we would all share in the meal.
The cause: was for an organization close to all our hearts. THE PALLIATIVE CARE OUTREACH PROGRAM.

It always amazes , but never surprise me how a beautiful group of  professional women that are grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters but mostly friends ...come together and are so generous of their time, energy and love for each other and their strong belief system that in life you must give back. Thank you to all that participated and donated so generously to this worthwhile program.

Meet our hostess Sandi Grant

and the lovely members of TEAM I
chopping, dicing, and whispering secret ingredients.
hum will that be a salsa, or dessert?

TEAM II also hard at work...The pooch was the official floater whose job it was to oversee the work ,comment and sweep the floor.

Hey Barb, you belong to Team II are you snooping (read spying)  on Team I??

Meet the GALS on the GRILL
Sandi and Dr. Margaret..... WOW these gals rocked big time on the EGG, Smoker and BBQ Grill.

 It 's almost ready!!
 Set Up

 "What do you mean it's a mock Bellini????

'To love and be loved."


The rules to the competition were that all foods in our baskets had to be incorporated in the meal. We were allowed one secret ingredient, and could purchase items that did not total more that 5$ from our own pockets to enhance or help in our preparation 
 ( all other food provided by our host) 
OOPS downloaded pictures in an incorrect order.. sorry..
Recipes to follow in later blog entries.

 Beef tenderloin grilled with a balsamic reduction on a bed of roasted potatoes, mushrooms,and almond green beans.

 BBQ  garlic beef tenderloin in a coffee/chili rub, dill potatoes, grilled chicken stuffed with cheese and a pineapple salsa.

 Grilled vegetables marinated in a balsamic tomato basil dressing.

 Tangerine, fruit Romain salad served with a tangerine dressing (not Shown)

 Pancetta Cesar salad

 Baguette appetizers grilled with garlic butter and topped with pancetta & cantaloupe,Others topped with homemade tomato/olive salsa.

 Mock chilled Bellini

 Artichoke dip served in an eggplant boat and served with...

grilled baguette to accompany the dip.

PS. Apologies for the pictures that were missed such as the grilled asparagus and I'm sure a few other items. Dessert pictures never made it to the table as the brandied fruit, whipped cream and shortbread cakes would have literally resulted in the explosion of the already full and satisfied participants!


A JOB WELL DONE, WE were all winners!

The end of all our hard work was the communal supper shared by all with tales of how we had spent the supper to date. We laughed, congratulated each other on a job well done, praised and drooled over the food and later dangled our feet in the warm water of the swimming pool. But we also talked and shed some tears for people missing from the evening and the reason for this fund raiser.

Our cause is a program that deals with events that has touched all of us in our life experiences... The Palliative Care Outreach Program.

Here in Ottawa Canada, Dr.Margaret Farncombe   started the program in 1997, when she realized the need for at home care for the terminally ill.
Most of us present have cared for a loved one during the dying process.

The Palliative Care  Outreach Program provides an all encompassing approach to the care and support of individual clients with terminal diseases and to their families in an out of hospital setting to ensure an environment of comfort,respect and dignity in accordance with the clients goals,needs and belief system.

 Please visit their website at


There really was no competition, as we all had way too much fun , that the consensus was that the  winner was the FOOD and of course the MONEY raised for the Palliative Care Outreach Program. We have vowed to do another event in the fall so stay tuned .

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Strawberries, strawberries,

When my neighbour called and asked whether I would like some strawberries never did imagine that I would have 4 huge baskets of strawberries ! The strawberries are more than likely the last of the season but a huge amount of them where still firm and Oh my so sweet.

So without much hesitation I went about cleaning and hulling the stems, while my brain was already thinking up recipes for pies, and tarts and jams, and just plain old freezing these lovely berries for smoothies that I will enjoy long when the hot days of summer are over.
But for today, I knew that Ron would enjoy his favourite pie Rhubarb and Strawberry.

A quick trip to the freezer, a frozen bag of rhubarb and some  of today's strawberries, and voila dessert for supper! Done.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Catch- Up

In my previous entry I was lamenting about rushing through the past 6 weeks, without taking the time to feel any joy in what I was doing. You know the feeling? when you are running as fast as you can and never reaching the finish line?
But to be honest there were some really great moments and times. March ended with Rosanna's birthday, but she rang in 3 more birthdays in April, Lynne, Mary and my sister Heidi's... she looks pretty good for 72 years young!

 Baking as mentioned was a huge bust with me lately. Recipes were read wrongly or even when they were executed properly just feel short as in this lemon- lime tart that just didn't set correctly and even though it tasted great was just always a little runny to the very last bite.
 Easter and Mother's day brought joy in the form of beautiful flowers that will always
warm my heart and put a smile on my face. So even when life has you dancing as fast as you can, please take the time to smell the roses.
I hope to get in one more blog before I have a little surgery and then come back after a little rest and recuperation.


I've been absent from  this blog mainly because when things get hectic meals become quick, plain, and unexciting. It shouldn't be this way, because when I look at the title of my blog it puts me to shame. Food should be a celebration, a meal with a loved one should not be rushed. We have become a society of everything being "Now" and "Instant" and sometimes I too need a little reality check, take a breath and just calm down and relax and enjoy the simple things that are meaningful , like preparing a meal with a little more thought and not  something that has become another chore on my never ending list of things to do.

This lemon chiffon cake was just another example of the "OOPPS", in my life lately.
I was in a hurry, seems to be my mantra lately, and wanted just a simple light no fuss cake. I have posted a fancier lemon chiffon cake in the past, but this time just wanted something that would go good with a cup of tea or coffee and could last all week as I  was under time restrictions.
Looking at this cake you can probably already see all the BooBoo's.
1. I used 1 tsp. of baking powder instead of 1 Tablespoon.
2. Then I wanted a light drizzle on the cake and well I don't quite know what happened but it turned into a big blob mess.
Let's just say it was one of those days when you just want to sit down and cry for no reason at all! Yes, I have those days also.
All in all, the cake really was delicious, even with all the mistakes I had made, so you can imagine how really good it can be had I not screwed up.Please give it a try.

3-4 lemons
21/4C. cake flour
1TABLESPOON baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 c. water
6 large eggs separated at room temperature
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

2c. icing sugar sifted, more if needed
2T. lemon juice , extra if needed
1T. heavy cream

In a clean bowl combine the egg whites and cream of tartar.
With a whip attachment beat until soft peaks are formed.
Sift together flour, sugar , baking powder and salt on a sheet of parchment.
In another bowl combine oil, water, egg yolks, lemon juice and some lemon zest whisk until well mixed.
Switch to a spatula and combine dry ingredients into the wet and mix until combined.
Gently fold 1/2 of the white eggs into the batter until almost fully incorporated then add remaining whites until just combined.
Batter should be smooth but foamy, pour into tube pan.
Bake until toothpick comes out clean. 45-50 minutes at 325 degree oven.
Invert on a rack let cool completely for 45 minutes . To loosen pan, tap against counter top until cake disengages.
 For the glaze whisk ingredients adding more lemon juice as needed if too thick. Pour and let it drizzle along the sides.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


 Saturday was such a lovely day, that after we did our little trip to Kemptville, Ron and I decided to hook up to the 401 and just go to Montreal.
 No trip there is complete without spending some time at the Jean Talon Market and a visit to Premiere Moison for some Bread.
 This place also sells a delectable array of pastries, terrines and cold meats. So it is also a nice place to sit down and have a coffee with a sweet or a baguette with some pate.

 We also stopped at the cheese shop there and bought a nice selection of our favourite cheeses. The Bartlett pears were to die for, sweet and juicy.

That day the bakery was highlighting a sweet baguette with walnuts and maple. Ron and I devoured the loaf by ourselves with delicious white creamy honey, on Sunday morning. No guilt here! It was so yummy.

If you have a chance to go before Easter,pick up some bread and their hot cross buns ..lovely!. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011


 I wouldn't even know where to find chicken livers at my grocery store. OK maybe I'm exaggerating, but honestly I don't ever recall seeing them in the meat freezer, and in all of my 35 years of marriage have I served them.

My sister tells the story of some 45 years ago when her and her husband, as newly weds and still a little naive about life, bought their first home after saving their money to do so. Little did they know after putting this money down as a down payment , that there would still be extra costs involved. She recalls how when faced with this dilemma the only choice they had was to cut back on their already meager grocery bill. One option was to buy chicken livers which at the time was the cheapest source of meat . The good news was that for the next 4 months  , she collected about 100 different ways to serve chicken livers. The bad news , her husband now refuses to even look at a chicken liver, let alone eat one!

That being said , I have my own issues with any type of liver, but that's another story. However, I do have a hubby that likes to whip up special little dishes. and  He made this mousse for our special family dinner ,and this was the perfect little appetizer  much to my surprise and very tasty.Everybody agreed.

 This recipe is not one of my sister's but rather our own Ricardo TV cooking show host.  The process starts with melting butter. adding chopped shallots and browning the chicken livers. Season with salt and pepper and deglaze with wine and cognac. Reduce heat and cook until livers are pink in the center.
Transfer to food processor.
Add sugar,oregano &1/4 cup of cream . Puree until smooth.

 Push through a sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes.
In a bowl, whip the remaining cream until soft peaks form.

 Using a spatula, fold the whipped cream into the liver mousse. Adjust the seasoning.

If serving as a teaser, spoon the mousse into individual shooter glasses. Smooth the top and refrigerate  for another 45 minutes or until ready to serve. Or put the entire mousse into a little terrine dish and serve as an appetizer like you would a pate.

Chicken Liver Mousse
1/2 lb. chicken livers. trimmed
2 shallots chopped
2T. unsalted butter
1/4C white wine
1 T cognac
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. oregano
3/4C 35% cream

GARNISH 1 firm pear diced very small
2 tsp. marmalade
2tsp/lemon juice
a few fresh chives
Mix all ingredients

recipe makes 12 shooters.
The morale: Don't turn your nose up to chicken livers, try this recipe and be pleasantly surprised.