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Friday, 30 September 2016


Nick fills both combines while Lee drives the loaded truck home and offloads it.  They are working hard, but, fortunately, they're not going hungry.  

The garden grew gang-busters this year.  Lorne even took some of it to a Market Garden!  Aline stuffed 48 bell peppers from it and has about 40 more.  She’s also been making bacon-wrapped and cream-cheese stuffed jalapeno appetizers!

                                                Time to celebrate!  

                                               (late 1990s)


Here's a recipe for the zucchini in your garden, Aline.


        Based on THE ZUCCHINI COOKBOOK by Paula Simmons


     (Paula also added sliced apples to be marinated with the zucchini.)
2 cups thinly sliced zucchini (or one medium zucchini)
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 cup potatoes: cooked, peeled, and cubed
2 tbsp vinaigrette dressing
1 tomato
¼ cup mayonnaise
Red onion
Romaine lettuce

*Marinate zucchini, celery, and potatoes in vinaigrette dressing about 1 hour in fridge.
*Slice some red onion and chop the tomato.  Stir with the mayonnaise.
*Toss everything together with the lettuce. 

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Mom's Letter: Sept. 29, 1981 . . . and ORANGE SALAD with Nalysnyky

In September of 1981, Mom wasn't thinking much about her 69th birthday coming up soon (the second of October) because, besides harvesting the garden, there was a huge event to get ready for:  a Golden Wedding Anniversary!

"Each day a life . . . " (Dag Hammarskjold)

For a celebration like this, you might decide to make some delicious nalysnyky.  There's a lovely recipe for them in THE LAURA SECORD CANADIAN COOKBOOK page 56.  It came from Ukrainian immigrants living in northern Alberta.

Just one alteration: instead of spreading one pint of thick sour cream on top, I will try sweet cream next time instead. 

Now, what will you serve with them?  Traditionally, they are a main course dish “accompanied by meat, potatoes, cabbage rolls and vegetables or salad”.  Wow!  What a feast that would be!


For a small supper, however, just making the nalysnyky is a big deal . . . so here’s what I came up with:

Bake the sausages in the oven, alongside the nalysnyky, at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.

The orange salad is a snap, too!

            From:  500 SENSATIONAL SALADS, edited by Julia Canning
4 oranges
2 tbsp rose water
2 tbsp pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

Peel the oranges, removing all the pith, and slice in rounds.
Arrange in a dish.  Drizzle with rose water.
Sprinkle with pistachios.


P.S.  The LAURA SECORD CANADIAN COOK BOOK is available online for about $15.00.  

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Meenakari is the art of coloring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colors that are decorated in an intricate design.”

The craft is practiced all over India, but especially in Rajasthan. 

A lot of Meenakari jewelry is very heavy and ornate, but we pounced on Nicole’s pendant in a jewelry store in Ranthambore.


When I was living in India in the early 1970s, I learned that  pearls may have healing properties! 

I was dining with a Brigadier General and his wife and another Indian couple at the brand new Ashoka Hotel which was sponsored by the Indian government.  It looked very grand and very traditional in its architectural style. 

“A certain cure for any disease in this country,” the civilian gentleman informed me, “is to crush a pearl and mix it with milk in the right proportion.  Do you have any idea what a course of such treatment costs?”

Mentally imaging a beautiful pearl necklace poised at his mouth, I barely managed to shake my head.

“100,000 rupees,” he declared.


In 1970, the exchange rate was  7.56 Indian Rupees to 1 American dollar.

All the lights went out.  . .  a power failure.  

The Brigadier was annoyed.  “Poor show for India, what?”


A history book about India told me that the Mughals used crushed pearls as an aphrodisiac.

Pearls may have seemed common to them, though, because they had them sewn all over their slippers.


In India today, other gemstones are believed to have interesting properties.  Google Emeralds, for instance, and you will find:

§  Emerald strengthens Mercury (Buddh) which is a benefic planet. It gives its wearer Intelligence, Wit and Quick Learning Ability.
§  It is also beneficial for business and trade, especially those which are related to communication, conveyance, connections and networks.
§  Emerald grants its wearer creativity and helps talented and artistic people achieve success.
§  It ensures the overall health and strength of the green colored components of the human body e.g nerves, veins etc.
§  Mercury (Buddh) is known as 'Vaani-kaarak'or the 'Agent of Speech' in Hindu mythology. Therefore, Emerald bestows fluency, public speaking skills, confident voice and oratory upon its wearer.
§  Emerald is very favorable in matters of education. It grants mental agility and is believed to be very auspicious till under-graduate level degree.

DHAL . . . and . . . LENTIL SOUP      

Q.  What can make the difference between a good Indian dinner and an excellent Indian dinner?
A.  A side dish of dhal to put on basmati rice!

Here’s a recipe for DHAL that will give you an additional course of delicious soup!

Based on a recipe by Irene McGuinness . . . a food stylist in Vancouver.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 onion = 8 ounces
1 tbsp peeled and finely chopped ginger root
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
7 cups vegetable stock or water
28 ounce can of tomatoes (796 ml)
2 to 3 inch Cinnamon stick
2 cups dry red lentils

Salt to taste

·        Finely chop the onion and set aside.
·        Finely chop the ginger root.  Add to the onion.
·        Chop the tomatoes in a food processor. 
·        Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat.  Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds.  Sauté until mustard seeds begin to pop. 
·        Add onion, ginger, turmeric, and ground cumin.  Sauté until onion is soft -- about 3 minutes.  
·        Add stock (or water) and tomatoes and cinnamon stick.
·        Rinse lentils and drain.  Add to the soup pot.
·        Bring to a boil over high heat.
·        Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes until lentils are soft.
·        Add salt to taste.

·        Remove about 3 or 4 cups of drained lentils and set aside for dhal.

·        Purée the rest of the soup. 

·        Add some of the soup to the reserved dhal.  Save the dhal to serve on rice with a main course!

·        Serve the rest of the soup.  A swirl of plain yogurt in it makes it look as fantastic as it tastes!

·        Chop some cold roasted meat into a salad, slice some bread, et voilà . . . a lovely light, nutritious dinner!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

QUTB MINAR, a World Heritage Site in DELHI . . . and Spicy Rice

A year ago, we were packing for India and drawing up an itinerary for our first day there.  At the top of my list was the Qutb Minar.

In 1191, a Turkic Afghan conquered Delhi.

In the year 1202, the Qutb Minar was begun by Qutbuddin Aibak, the new governor.  He, like the sultan, was a former slave.

Around 1310, Alauddin, another sultan, was a brutal ruler: “commonly crushing his enemies under the feet of elephants and building towers from the heads of the vanquished”.   However, he contributed the Alai Darwaza, as a “superb gate” to the mosque:  red sandstone alternating effectively with white marble. 

No one knows how a mysterious IRON PILLAR got into the site.  It dates back to the 4th or 5th century and has never rusted in over 1500 years.  The wonder is how it was made given the technology of the time.  It is fenced off now, but people used to put their arms around it and make a wish. 

My friend Gale commented, " I remember wrapping my arms around it. It was cool to the touch, although it was summer. " 

In 1838, Fanny Eden wrote of the Qutb Minar site, “I do not think I have yet seen anything so beautiful.”

I saw the Qutb Minar on a beautiful day in December, 1970, and thought the ruins were lovely.  

In spite of our plans, we didn't visit the site last year because the Oberoi Maidens Hotel,  steeped in the ambience of the British raj, turned out to be a very pleasant distraction. 


 This rice goes very well with an Indian lamb dish:


1 ½ cups Basmati rice
¼ cup butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp cumin
3 cups broth or water
Finely peeled zest of one orange
1 carrot
½ cup raisins

·        Start oven preheating to 350.
·        Heat broth or water to boiling point.
·        Rinse rice and drain well.
·        Melt butter in Dutch oven over high heat.
·        Add rice and stir for 3 minutes over high heat.
·        Add salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and cumin.  Continue stirring for 2 minutes.
·        Pour in boiling hot broth, but be careful as it will bubble up.
·        Cover and put in oven for 45 minutes.
·        Peel and coarsely grate the carrot.
·        Cut orange zest into fine slivers.
·        After the 45 minutes, take out the rice, and drop in the orange, carrot, and raisins.   Do not stir.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes (or more if you need to: it stays hot).   
·        Stir everything together, serve, and enjoy fluffy perfection!


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

EXPLORING in the Cariboo . . . and Happy Hour BISCOTTI

Fun roads

Historic sites


and other stuff


Happy Hour


½ cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
½ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

3 eggs
¼ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

*If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, put all the ingredients in it, and mix until it forms a dough.  If you don’t have one, use the following procedure.  DO NOT TRY TO MIX THE FLOUR IN WITH A HAND-MIXER.

·        Grease a cookie sheet.
·        Chop the tomatoes.
·        Put butter, flour, garlic powder, salt, sugar, oregano, baking powder, and Parmesan into a food processor and pulse until well-mixed.
·        Put eggs into a large bowl and beat.
·        Add the sun-dried tomatoes.
·        Stir in the flour mixture, one cup at a time.  You may have to knead in the last of the flour to make a smooth dough.


·        Start oven preheating to 350.
·        Divide the dough in half.  Form each half into a 10-inch log.  (Or you can make 4 logs that are each 5 inches long.)
·        Place logs on cookie sheet.  Keep them far apart.
·        Bake for 25 minutes.
·        Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.
·        Slice logs into ¾ inch pieces.  Cut with a steady downward pressure; not a sawing one.
·        Set slices, cut-side down, on the baking sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes.
·        Turn slices over and bake for another 8 minutes.  Do not overbake.


Saturday, 17 September 2016


My favourite artist!

We have lots of Nicole’s earlier art on our walls.

These are some of her more recent pieces:

Title:  Muted

Now, imagine being all snuggled up in a work of art!

Yes, it's time to go shopping!

 Uh huh, I'm thinking a shawl for starters. 


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

September Camping in the Cariboo . . . and HUNGARIAN BEAN & RIB CASSEROLE


We started out on Friday at 7:45 am.  It was a long, long way so I was able to start and finish reading a Shakespearean play aloud in the car.

 It got dark shortly after we set up the tents and had dinner.

For the next two days, we had the entire site almost entirely to ourselves except for the squirrels.  

Vesper had a great time!

Cooking was a cinch.  Almost everything was prepped ahead . . . from Bryan’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread and

  my biscuits for toasting  

to beans for breakfast and stews for supper and Sauerkraut Buns for lunches!

We were really lucky with the weather . . . lots of sunshine. 
We started packing up at 6:45 am on Monday and were on the road by 8 am.

We passed by one group of deer after another, grazing by the road.

Such a beautiful weekend!    


BABOS KAPOSZTAFOZELEK (Hungarian Bean and Sauerkraut Casserole)
      From DRIED BEANS & GRAINS: The Good Cook Techniques & Recipes

1 ½ cups pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 pound (or more) pork ribs
2 cups sauerkraut, drained
2 lbs. medium tomatoes (about 7 tomatoes)
1 large onion (12 ounces)
2 tbsp lard
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

·        Place the presoaked beans and pork ribs in a large pot.  Cover them with 8 cups water, bring to a boil, and skim.  Cover the pot and cook for one and one half hours until the beans are tender.

·        Peel and coarsely chop the tomatoes. 
·        In a large stainless-steel frying pan, cook tomatoes over high heat for 5 minutes.  Then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring,  for about 5 minutes, or until most of the juice has evaporated and the tomatoes are a thick pulp.
·        Grind the tomatoes in a food processor.

·        Simmer the sauerkraut and tomatoes together for 10 minutes.
·        In a saucepan, sauté the onion in the lard over medium heat until soft.  Add flour and stir until light golden. 
·        Add the onions to the sauerkraut.  Mix well.  Add salt and pepper.
·        Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
·        Start oven preheating to 350 about 45 minutes before you want to serve. 
·        Put beans and ribs into a large pan.  Add sauerkraut.  Pour over top ½ cup of bean liquid. 
·        Cover and heat in 350 oven for 30 minutes. 

·        Serve with salad.  

·        When freezing some for camping, add more of the reserved bean liquid to the jar (about 1 cup) so that it won’t burn when reheating.