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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Memories of DONALD

August, 2015

I always looked forward to visits with Donald.   No one else will ever greet me with that twinkle and a little jab, “You’ve put on a pound or two.”

 And he always had so much going on.

Once when we arrived, Donald was heading out with a little pail in his hand to gather the eggs.  He was disappointed to find that one of the eggs was cracked.  A hen had laid an egg onto some others.

Another time, Donald was out checking his traps; he came in with a coyote.  Buzzards lent him a hand that winter;  he’d hang up a skinned coyote where his traps are and when other coyotes saw buzzards congregating, they headed for the same spot . . .  

He loved gardening.  Karen said he used to be out at 6 am working in his huge garden.  (Once, he had trouble finding carrot seeds but finally came up with some in Russell.   “It’s too late to put those in,” the guy said, but Karen & Donald had a laugh because they said the carrots would be just perfect in late fall – take them out just before the ground freezes.)  Donald even put in some of those new Haskap bushes – a cross between raspberries & blueberries that’s being developed in Saskatoon.

Bees were his latest interest.  He was going to buy bees at an auction for about $150.00 but “The government will pay half,” he chuckled, “because they’re paying me to trap nuisance beavers.”  I asked if he ever tried cooking the beaver tails (which I’d read were considered a delicacy by native people) but the tails had to be sent off in order to collect the bounty.  
Donald’s dog, Butch, got to eat the rest of the beavers.  

Every time we went, we’d go to Birtle for a Chinese dinner.  Donald’s favourite dish was sweet and sour shrimp, very lightly breaded.

Then we'd go home; our car loaded up with vegetables and honey and the pickles Donald made.  

Manitoba has lost so much colour now that my brother Donald is gone.   

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Donald, July 21, 1936 - November 27, 2015

After I broke my foot in the spring, Donald scolded me for not being more careful.  He was concerned  because I have osteoporosis.   

He had just been diagnosed with cancer.

We are all so sad.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

DEMING, Washington . . . and Christmas COOKIES

The Automobile Association Guide (CAA) informed me that Deming Homestead Eagle Park “is a good vantage point for watching bald eagles feeding on spawned-out salmon from December into February”. 
Nov. 21: close enough and a beautiful, if frosty, day so off we went.  Well, the park has picnic tables and a pretty, if very short, trail that’s a good place to let your dog stretch his legs.  

We even went down a muddy bank to get to a creek, but there were no salmon.

“Okay,” we said, preparing to leave, “at least we saw one eagle.” 

 Luckily, just then a group of young locals addressed us and suggested we drive a little further on SR 542 to get to a bridge.  

Then, at the bridge where a bunch of people were fishing in the fast-flowing muddy waters, another friendly local helped us out.

“Oh yes, there are chum salmon in the river.  Just walk down to that gate (Private Property) and you’ll see them leaping and flopping around.”

And we did . . . and it was great!

Then it was time for lunch.  The CAA guide recommended The North Fork Brewery & Pizzeria and a “choice of one of their 10 crafted beers brewed at the on-site brewery”.

We got there just before 12 and it was closed.  We would have pulled out but a bunch of young locals were hanging out in front with a couple of dogs and they assured us that the grills were already fired up and the doors would be opening shortly.

We chose the Rambo because one of the ingredients was Kielbasa 

                                     and it was excellent.

I also liked the rustic décor and the Mysteriam Pale Ale.


Frosty weather means it’s time to start thinking about Christmas baking, right?  

Here’s a wonderful cooky from Betty Crocker:

COOKY-CANDIES  (an oatmeal shortbread)
1 cup butter
¾ cup icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla (yes, that one tablespoon; not teaspoon)
2 cups flour
¾ tsp salt
½ cup oatmeal

¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp water
1/8 cup milk (that’s one tbsp. and 2 teaspoons)
Shredded coconut
Rainbow sprinkles

·        Grease baking sheet.
·        Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. 
·        Blend in icing sugar, salt, and vanilla.
·        Blend in oatmeal.
·        Stir in flour.
·        Start oven preheating to 325.
·        Make small balls and put on baking sheet.
·        Bake 20 minutes until just golden around edges.  Don’t overbake.
·        Let cool on rack.
·        Turn them all upside down.
·        Melt chocolate chips with water in a small bowl in microwave.
·        Stir in milk until smooth.
·        Dip rounded top of cookie into chocolate.  Then sprinkle with coconut or sprinkles.

I like to serve cookies at the end of a company dinner now.  It’s nice to have a small dessert and these are soooo good!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

MARILYN’S INDIA . . . and SOOKHE Potatoes

After their trip to India in 2006, Cousin Marilyn sent me a Christmas ‘letter’ full of pictures and comments.  I looked for it today, but no luck.  Dang down-sizing! 

Fortunately, however, Marilyn re-posted a bunch of pictures from that trip and I’m taking the liberty of surprising Marilyn and sharing a few of them.   Family History :)

                                            Humayun's Tomb



Lindsay Bareham’s cookbook, IN PRAISE OF THE POTATO, contains a recipe for Indian Potatoes called Sookhe Aloo.  She translates the name as “Dry Potatoes”.    
Sookhe in Ukrainian also means dry!     ! ! ! ! ! ! 

This is the second time I have found a Ukrainian word in India.  There is a city in India called NASIK  because of a mythological story involving the cutting of a nose!

Well, then.  No wonder I’ve always been drawn to India.


SOOKHE ALOO:  Serves 4

Make these early in the day because they take 15 long minutes of stirring . . . but they can be reheated and they’re worth it!

1 ¾ lbs potatoes (800 g)
3 tbsp water
Fresh ginger root (about 2 inches)
3 cloves garlic
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cayenne

3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp veg oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
¾ tsp salt

·        Peel and boil potatoes until tender in salted water (about 1 tsp salt).
·        Drain potatoes and let them cool.  Then dice and set aside.
·        Put 3 tbsp water into a small bowl.
·        Peel and grate ginger root coarsely.  Add to the water.
·        Use a garlic press to mash garlic.  Add to the water.
·        Stir turmeric and cayenne into the bowl of water.
·        Heat butter and oil in a large non-stick frying pan. 
·        Add fennel seeds and let them sizzle a few seconds over medium low heat.
·        Add the water and spices.  Stir for a couple of minutes.
·        Stir in the potatoes. 
·        Turn the heat up to high and stir for 15 minutes until potatoes are browned.  Lindsay says keep them moving so they get evenly crisped.  (Mine actually became clumps of mash plus small cubes of potatoes BUT, never mind, they were good!)

·        Take off heat and let them sit until you’re ready to serve.  Then reheat quickly over high heat.

Sunday, 8 November 2015


On our last day in India, we tried to pick out the highlights of this trip.  It wasn’t easy because every day was amazing.

  Flashback to the days of the Raj -- Bryan and Maureen, his sister, in the Maidens Oberoi Hotel . . .

Independent night walk through Chandni Chowk Market in Old Delhi,

and dinner at Karim’s
with our taxi driver.

The Rickshaw Ride through Chandni Chowk Market in Old Delhi was a hit with Bryan and Maureen.

The Taj

Maureen also liked the elephant Ride up to Amber Fort, Jaipur. 

  Ranthambore was on Bryan’s list even though we never spotted a tiger, but   we saw a mongoose and five kinds of deer . . . and got drenched and chilled by a furious lightning and thunder storm.
As we left Ranthambore in our bus, an enchantingly beautiful girl in a pink sari smiled and waved at us.

I liked seeing all the happy, independent pariah dogs in India .  In the 1970s, I was warned not to go walking about alone because I might be attacked by “one of those wild dogs that are everywhere” and I eyed every dog for possible signs of rabies.  On this trip, the dogs went their merry way and I went mine . . . my only regret was leaving behind 3 delightful black and white puppies who were so eager to be friends. 

Maureen only wished for a quiet moment away from the hawkers during the Ganges Boat Ride at dawn in Varanasi.
In the evening, a nine-year-old girl with a basket of candles embedded in flowers  followed me down the steps of the ghat to our boat insisting I buy a candle.  “No,” I said.
“Yes,” she retorted, smiling.
“No, no, no,” I laughed.
“Yes, yes, yes,” she laughed back.
So cute.  I handed her a ten rupee bill.
“Now buy candle,” she grinned.
“No, no, no,” I said, stepping into the boat.
“Yes, yes, yes.”  Then she smiled and waved happily, “Bye, bye.”
The boat pulled away and Bryan and I were sorry I didn’t buy a candle. . .
until Bryan read that the tin foil cups holding the candles are piling up at the bottom of the Ganges.

Ah India . . . poetry and problems.


In 1974, I went to work in a Winnipeg library and that’s where I found two of the treasures in my life:


and A Taste of India by Mary S. Atwood.

One of the first recipes I selected from Atwood’s cookbook was for Seekh Kababs.    My first experience of this spicy appetizer came in 1972 while sitting on a maharajah's carpeted floor.  They came on sticks and I loved them.

Since Atwood’s Seekh Kababs come as meatballs, they are very easy to make and really, really good!

1 pound ground lamb or beef
1 small onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cumin
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
Lime wedges

·        Combine all ingredients, except lime.  Mix well.
·        Preheat oven to 350.
·        Shape into 1 and ½ inch meatballs and place on broiler pan.
·        Cook for 30 minutes and serve hot with lime wedges.

Thursday, 5 November 2015


All our fancy Indian hotels offered huge buffets for breakfast.

Five years ago, I didn’t like the South Indian rice dumplings called idlis.  They come with a sauce called sambhar.   I guess, for me, it’s an acquired taste because I just took one this time as a kind of fond salute to our last trip . . . and I really liked it!

Every one of the buffets had a short-order station where you could order an omelet, eggs the way you like them, or a dosa.

I defy anyone not to enjoy the thin South Indian crepe called dosa.  It comes stuffed with spicy potatoes, but if you ask they will put an omelet inside and voilà – a regular breakfast wrap!

At our last hotel, I reached for a ready-made poori, but the old chef looked horrified.  He waved a finger at me and made me two fresh puffy pooris.  Then, I lifted a covered lid and found my absolute favorite Indian dessert -- hot, syrupy jelebis!

In short, the breakfast buffets in India are OUTSTANDING!


Pakoras are an Indian appetizer I love which also appeared at one breakfast buffet.   I've made the following recipe more than once because it reminds me of a pakora (also called  pakoda in some parts of India).


2 cups blanched broccoli chopped into ¼ inch pieces
1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated cheese (cheddar, Swiss, etc.)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1/3 cup vegetable oil

·        Beat eggs and combine with all the other ingredients except oil.
·        Form into 1 ½ inch balls.

·        Heat oil and cook broccoli until browned on all sides: about 5 minutes.
·        Serve hot.  Irresistible!