Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tea Time Sandwiches

Ingredients (serves 20)

  • 2 loaves wholemeal sliced sandwich bread
  • 2 loaves white sliced sandwich bread
  • Filling 1 - Smoked salmon

  • 150g light cream cheese
  • 2 lemons, rind finely grated, juiced
  • 200g smoked salmon
  • 2 tablespoons dill sprigs, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons baby capers, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Filling 2 - Chicken, almond and cucumber

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 500g chicken breast fillets, sliced through centre
  • 1/2 cup whole-egg mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds, toasted
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 1 large Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Filling 3 - Ham, avocado and ricotta

  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 200g thinly sliced leg ham
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, stone removed, mashed
  • 50g baby spinach leaves, trimmed


  1. Make filling 1: Combine cream cheese, lemon rind and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a small bowl. Spread 7 slices wholemeal bread with cheese mixture. Top with salmon, dill and capers. Spread both sides of 7 slices white bread with cheese mixture. Place over filling. Top with lettuce.

  2. Spread 7 slices wholemeal bread with cheese mixture. Place over lettuce, spread side down. Trim crusts. Cut sandwiches into 3 fingers.

  3. Make filling 2: Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until just cooked through. Allow to cool. Finely chop chicken. Place in a bowl. Stir in mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Spread 7 slices white bread with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with almonds. Spread both sides of 7 slices wholemeal bread with butter. Place over filling. Top with cucumber.

  5. Spread 7 slices white bread with butter. Place over cucumber, butter side down. Trim crusts. Cut sandwiches into 3 fingers.

  6. Make filling 3: Whisk ricotta, pesto and milk in a bowl until smooth.

  7. Spread 7 slices wholemeal bread with ricotta mixture. Top with ham and avocado. Spread both sides of 7 slices white bread with ricotta mixture. Place over filling. Top with spinach.

  8. Spread remaining 7 slices white bread with ricotta mixture. Place over spinach, spread side down. Trim crusts. Cut sandwiches into 3 fingers.


  • Tip: Place sandwiches in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Remove 1 hour before serving and place on serving platters.

  • Time plan: The day before - Make sandwich fillings. Refrigerate. In the morning - Assemble sandwiches. Refrigerate. 1 hour before guests arrive - Place sandwiches on platters. Recipe by Dixie Elliott

Friday, February 26, 2010

PARIS - L'Avenue des Champs-Elysees et les Chevaux de Marly by Jasperdo.

Champs Elysees

This variation on the classic sidecar is found in numerous cocktail guides from the 1930s and 1940s. It highlights the wonderfully French pairing of cognac and Chartreuse. Makes 1 serving.


  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces cognac
  • 3/4 ounce yellow Chartreuse
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Dash orange bitters
  • Twist of orange peel, for garnish


Fill a mixing glass halfway full with ice. Add the cognac, yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice and bitters. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass. Garnish with the twist of orange peel.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hot Rum Cow
Stack Of Vintage Quilts In Closet

Hot Rum Cow is “perfect for when you’re cold and wet, and all you want to do is curl up in a big thick quilt and fall asleep”: It’s an ounce of rum, a cup of milk, a couple teaspoons of sugar, and a dash or two of Angostura bitters, heated.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!" ~Mark Twain

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Antoine Vollon, Mound of Butter, 1875-1885
oil on canvas, 50.2 x 61 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Oat Scones
1cup old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick-cooking)
1cup whole-wheat flour
1/2cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2teaspoons baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/2teaspoon salt
2tablespoons sugar
6tablespoons butter, cut up
1/2cup buttermilk
Extra unbleached all-purpose flour (for shaping)

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In large bowl, stir together the oatmeal, whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

3. Using a pastry blender or two blunt knives, cut butter into the flour mixture until the texture is crumbly.

4. In a bowl, beat the eggs and buttermilk. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture with a few quick strokes.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a flat cake. With your hands, press the cake into a 6-inch round that is about 1-inch thick. With a long chef's knife, cut the round in half, then cut each half into 3 triangles. Transfer the triangles to the baking sheet.

6. Bake the scones for 20 minutes or until they are lightly browned.

Recipe from Joy of Baking

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it."
Mae West

Hot Buttered Rum
Bill Sweete, co-owner of Sidecar and Negroni in Toronto, Ont., was inspired by Swedish Glögg for his hot tipple, but swapped out the wine for the richer tastes of two kinds of rum and uses a flavourful compound butter to add spice and sweetness.

Makes 1 drink

Glögg Compound Butter:
• 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
• 1 to 2 tbsp rum or water, depending on your taste
• 1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 tsp each: ground allspice, ground cardamom
• 1/2 tsp each: ground nutmeg, ground cloves

• 1 oz each: dark rum, light rum
• 1 oz honey syrup (mix and heat equal parts honey and water)
• 2 to 4 oz hot water, or to taste
• 1 or 2 whole star anise, for garnish

For Glögg Compound Butter, add cherries and rum or water to food processor. Blend until cherries are finely chopped. Add butter, sugar, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. Process just until mixed.

Transfer to counter or cutting board. Form into log, about 2 inches in diameter. Roll in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm. (Leftover butter can be refrigerated and used as a topping for warm cake, pie or pastries.)

For drink, add two rums, honey syrup and water to taste to heatproof mug. Cut 1/2-inch disc from chilled Glögg Compound Butter; add to hot drink. Stir until well mixed. Garnish with star anise.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

One kind word can warm three winter months.
Japanese proverb

Monday, February 15, 2010

  • Bombay Potatoes

  • 6 potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 knobs butter
  • green beans
  • fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Peel and wash the potatoes then boil in water till they are cooked but still firm (usually this takes around 12-16 minutes).
  • Heat the oil in a pan and fry the spices for a few minutes.
  • Add the butter, then the potatoes and green beans, making sure they are completely coated in the spicy mixture.
  • Cook for about 10-15 mins, then stir in the coriander.
  • Recipe from Jamie Oliver

Friday, February 12, 2010

O, wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Pasta With Blue Cheese and Walnuts


  • 12 ounces fresh or dry pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) walnuts
  • 6 ounces arugula leaves, preferably baby arugula
  • 6 ounces gorgonzola (may substitute other blue cheese), crumbled
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Few drops lemon juice or cider vinegar (optional)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, place a skillet over medium heat, add the butter and heat until melted. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring occasionally, just until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, tear the arugula leaves into 2 or 3 pieces.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the walnuts and butter, arugula, cheese and plenty of pepper, tossing until the arugula wilts and the cheese melts. If desired, add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar. Serve immediately.

Recipe from Donna Hay

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Carrot Couscous with Fresh Chives

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup)


  • 2/3 cup carrot juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup uncooked couscous
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


Bring first 4 ingredients to a simmer over medium-high heat; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Drizzle with oil; fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with chives; toss to combine.

Recipe from Cooking Light

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cauliflower and Yukon Gold Soup

  • Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
    • 1 head (6 cups) cauliflower, cored and broken into florets
    • 1 pound (2 cups) cubed peeled Yukon gold potatoes
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 3 1/4 cups organic chicken broth
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


    1. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add the shallots. Cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

    2. Add cauliflower and potatoes to stockpot. Cover with cold water. Turn heat to high, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook at a simmer, uncovered, until the cauliflower and potatoes are tender, 15 minutes.

    3. Remove pot from heat and drain, reserving a few cups of the hot cooking liquid. Add butter, broth, salt, and pepper. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Add additional liquid as needed to reach desired consistency (fairly thin is recommended). To serve, ladle into warm bowls and drizzle each portion with a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste.

    Recipe from Andrea Immer Robinson, Everyday Dining with Wine

Monday, February 8, 2010

Without music life would be a mistake.
~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
  • Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (Prelude)
    Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Saint-Saëns: Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix (Samson et Dalila)
    Rita Gorr, mezzo-soprano, with Jon Vickers, tenor and Georges Prêtre conducting the
    Orchestre du Théatre de l’Opéra de Paris
  • Duparc: L’invitation au voyage
    Gérard Souzay, baritone with Dalton Baldwin, piano
  • Puccini: Che gelida manina (La Bohème)
    Jussi Bjõrling, tenor with Sir Thomas Beecham conducting the RCA Victor Symphony
  • Richard Strauss: Morgen
    Jussi Björling, tenor with Harry Ebert, piano
  • Berlioz: Le spectre de la rose, (Les nuits d’été)
    Linda Maguire, mezzo-soprano

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Love doesn't make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
Elizabeth Browning

Some of the reasons you could use when compiling your list of why I love you could be:

  • Your strength
  • Your devotion
  • How you are always 100% honest no matter what
  • Your kindness
  • Your smile
  • The way you are always happy first thing in the morning when I am grumpy
  • The way you take pride in how you look
  • The compliments you give me
  • The way you touch my face when we kiss
  • The little looks you give me when we are around friends
  • Your loyalty to me and everyone or everything that matters to you
  • Your compassion for everyone around you
  • Your selflessness
  • Your integrity
  • Your strength
  • Your devotion
  • The way you hold me
  • The way you liven up a room just by being in it
  • How much you have taught me about life and myself
  • Your intelligence
  • The fact that you are good at fixing things or putting things together by hand
  • Your zest for life
  • I love to wake up with you by my side...It makes my days better
  • You always make me feel that you are by my side no matter what
  • I love that feeling of being secure when you wrap your arms around me
  • I love the way you keep your cool when I do something stupid
  • Just being with you feels like I can defy the whole world
  • You mean the world to me
  • I like your small gestures that speak volumes about how much you care

Friday, February 5, 2010

Buttermilk Cookies

For cookies
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, zest, baking soda, and salt.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until smooth.

Drop level tablespoons of dough about 1 1/2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cookies are puffed and edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes per batch. Cool cookies on sheets 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks.

Glaze cookies:
Whisk together all glaze ingredients and brush onto tops of warm cookies.

Let stand until cookies are completely cooled and glaze is set.

Recipe from Edna Lewis

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rest in peace sweet Ruby Tuesday

This morning I held Ruby as she died in my arms. This past week has been tough. We knew that this day was coming soon. Although she was seventeen years old and had a wonderful life, it didn't make the decision easier. I love Ruby. She was my best pal, my comfort, underfoot, constantly eating, over protective and neurotic. But she was my dog and I am so thankful I had her for a long time. I miss you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sweet English Breakfast Porridge

4 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 & 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (uncooked)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring water and salt to a rolling boil. Stir in quick-cooking oats; stirring constantly, cook over medium heat for one minute. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients, mixing well until thoroughly incorporated. Spoon into individual bowls and top with additional cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and/or maple syrup if desired.

Yield: 4-6 servings