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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

SKARA BRAE, Skaill House, and . . . Cock-a-Leekie Soup

Bryan’s journal with more about the Orkneys:

We visited Skara Brae, the site of a coastal Neolithic village that had existed for some 600 years before vanishing. 

 stone furniture
Children played here after a storm revealed the site in the 1920s!  

a reconstructed house:  exterior and interior

Next to the Skara Brae site was the Skaill Mansion with its many rooms and mementos of the lairds. 

Eleanor was impressed by the large parlor.  Here's one half of it.
And . . . the other half.  

Bryan liked the library with its moveable shelves.

                        The dishes in that cabinet . . . belonged to Captain Cook!


Mom picked up some ideas when she worked for Scottish-Canadians and we loved it when she made Pot Barley Soup!   Of course, she just used onions instead of leeks, and I can find only Pearl Barley now.  On board the ship we were offered Cock-a-Leekie Soup so I gave Mom's soup a little tweak.   


1 chicken
10 cups beef stock (Bought is fine.  If you make your own stock, dice 1 or 2 cups of the beef and add to the soup at the same time as the white part of the leeks)
¾ cup pearl barley
3 slices bacon, diced
1 leek
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp thyme leaves (dried or fresh)
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

Chopped parsley for garnish

·        Dice bacon.
·        Wash leeks and slice thinly.  Keep green part separate from the white.
·        Cut up chicken and rinse.
·        Bring chicken to a boil in the beef stock.  Skim.
·        Add pearl barley, diced bacon, bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper, and green part of the leeks.
·        Cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
·        Add white part of leeks and simmer 15 more minutes. 
·         Remove chicken from pot.  Cool.  Discard skin and bones.  Dice the meat and return to the pot.
·        Taste for salt.

·        Reheat and serve, garnished with chopped parsley.  YUM!

Thursday, 10 August 2017



Decorating treat bags

 Farmer in the Dell

Ring Around a Rosy

Here We Go Looby Loo


If you would like to make Nicole’s Chocolate Angel Food Birthday Cake, GRANDMA ROSE’S BOOK is available online for about $5.00 and is worth it!

   The Chocolate Marshmallow Butter Cream Frosting was DELICIOUS.

At the age of 4, what did NICOLE have in common with KEPLER?


                                                      HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NICOLE!

Friday, 4 August 2017

Blending COLLARDS from our GARDEN with GERMAN FOOD

The collards in our daughter’s community garden plot might keep growing all winter!   Time to harvest!

My recipe calls for 2 pounds of collards.  No problem!  The stalks are so remarkably tender I just snipped them with scissors.

Collards, of course, belong in a Southern States dinner, and next time that’s what I’ll plan.  But some family pictures gave me other ideas.  

                              Here's Marilyn enjoying German cuisine at Bavarian Inn, Bragg Creek.

 Lisa and Josef visiting his family in Germany  


  I just figured the collards would fit right in with . . .     

German Cooking

“Erbsenpuree” (yellow-pea pureĆ©) is “a traditional Berlin dish” served with “Berliner Eisbein” (salt-cured hocks and sauerkraut).                
Fresh pork hocks, however, are used in Bavaria.  

As I expected, the collards and sour cream, garnished with bacon, partnered nicely with the peas and hocks. 

   Recipe from:   THE DELECTABLE VEGETABLE by Kay Shaw Nelson

COLLARDS with SOUR CREAM  (Serves 6 to 8)

2 pounds collards
½ cup water
½ tsp salt
4 slices bacon
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup sour cream

·        Remove stems from collards. 
·        Cut collards into one-inch wide ribbons.
·        Put collards into soup pot with water and salt.
·        Cook slowly, covered, for 17 minutes.
·        Chop bacon and fry until crisp.
·        Remove bacon and set aside.
·        Combine 2 tbsp bacon fat, lemon juice, and sour cream.
·        Stir into collards.
·        Reheat on stove with lid on.

·        Garnish with bacon.  

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Kepler Fun Here, There, and Everywhere . . . and QUICK CHOCOLATE CAKE

Charleston,  2013

Fort Lauderdale, December, 2014

St. Petersburg, 2015

Tacoma, 2015
Lake Quinault, 2015

Jacksonville, Florida

Laredo, 2016

Laredo, 2016

Laredo, 2017

Laredo, 2017:  Kepler made Grandpa illustrate the entire three little pigs story for him

Laredo, 2017

Nashville, 2017

Radnor Lake Natural Area and Wildlife Refuge.

Since the recipe for Kay’s Cake is already on the blog, I’m going to share a recipe that is an absolute GEM for busy mothers of chocaholics.  Thank you, Baker’s Chocolate for this fantastic recipe.


          You mix it right in the pan and it makes its own icing!!!!!!
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 squares unsweetened chocolate (so 2 ounces)
¾ cup water
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 pkg (300 g) semi-sweet Chocolate chips, divided
1/3 cup chopped nuts

1.     Preheat oven to 375.
2.     Put oil and unsweetened chocolate squares in a 9 inch square pan. 
3.     Put pan in oven for 4 minutes, until chocolate melts.
4.     In a mixing bowl, beat together water, sugar, egg, salt, and baking soda.  Beat for 2 minutes.
5.     Stir in half of the chips.
6.     Transfer to the baking pan.
7.     Sprinkle with nuts and remaining chips.
8.     Bake for 30 minutes.
That’s it!