World Cup Wind-down – Fish Tacos with Avocado Dressing – Week 20

Two months ago I didn’t have a clue if the World Cup was about soccer, footie, rugby or sailing. Now I can recognise a famous player or two and sit through, even enjoy, a few plays in front of the television, before I wander off to read a book or edit. How’s that for progress? Not only that, but I even played the betting game. Someone signed me up for an online betting site. It didn’t cost me anything and I found it entertaining to guess scores in a game I knew literally nothing about. At first I asked those in the know for some assistance. Then I turned to strangers on the train, which was not only fun for me, but for everyone listening in. Then I knew enough to guess on my own. My theory was that a team was either good at defence or offense so I could just guess based on previous scores. I made it to number 2 in the rankings. Then I missed betting on a game because the internet was very slow and I was in a hurry. I topped that miss with going out of town and not betting on several games in a row. That brought me back down to a deflated ranking of number 22. Boo. No way to catch up from that. Good thing I’m not really a betting sort of girl. I don’t think there was a pay-out anyway; it was just for fun.

One time I went to the York races and had a small wad of cash to throw away on entertainment. I walked down by the track and watched the horses take their turn on the pre-race track. I watched the eyes. If I sensed a horse was energized, I noted the horse’s name. The first race I did this and placed my bet. I didn’t care about odds, I just wanted my horse to win. I went to the stands and cheered my horse on, triumphant when we won! I skipped over to the window to collect my winnings. I told the guy the horse and handed over my ticket. He looked at me in disbelief. Instead of betting on the number of the horse, I had somehow put my money on the wrong horse. It had something to do with the odds, not the number of the horse. What a dimwit. I went back to the stands to explain my blunder. I noticed two men nearby who looked rather serious about the whole process. They fretted over the sheets and discussed which ones were due a win. I went back down to the track-side to watch the horses run by for the pre-race line-up. I chose my horse, by the look in the eyes. This time I got the betting process (by actually paying attention to what I was doing). Again, I cheered my horse on and we won! I was getting into the whole jumping up and cheering thing. This time when I went to the window, I told the (same) guy not to tell me I had picked the wrong number. He couldn’t believe I won again. I laughed all the way back to the stands and repeated the process. Only the next time I went to bet, one of the two guys who were seriously betting nearby came up and wanted to know who I was betting on in the next race. I had no idea. My horse came in third. So much for my winning streak.

All the sports excitement with tennis, Tour de France and the World Cup meant general partying and left three extra pounds on me. This is not the right direction at all. I admit I have fallen off course and indulged more than anyone in diet-mode should. But what to do? What to do? A couple of sessions of long walks and some heavy lawn mowing has me back down to just one or two pounds more than I was before all the fun began. Oh, and I was pleased we didn’t need the fire extinguisher during the cookout the Tour de France weekend!

More fruit, more veg, more exercise – that’s the ticket. The real problem is sugar. I have been eating sweets. The reality of it is that I can maintain my weight, but not lose pounds if I eat sweets or in between snacks. I haven’t admitted failure yet, but I’m going to have to bump up the radar and just say no to sugar or I won’t make my goal of one stone by the end of August. I will remind myself to drink a variety of drinks throughout the day, eat wholesome food three times a day, and have a low calorie day at least once a week. Wish me luck.

This week I’ll share a dish that I usually have with left-over fish. I bet they would like this in Brazil. Rio looks amazing. I’d love to go on a diving trip there someday. Some people won’t eat leftover fish or seafood. I’ve never had a problem, but I don’t let it hang around long either.

Lisa x

World Cup Wind-down – Fish Tacos with Avocado Dressing – Week 20
By Rachael Ray in Express Lane Meals (A 30 Minute Meal Cookbook)
Serves 4 (or probably 3)

I tend to use this with leftover fish and make large wraps. You can roll in leftover rice as well. Left-over Parmesan – Romano Tilapia is excellent in a wrap.


9 TBSP EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) (separated or to be used into 2 TBSP and 2 TBSP and 5 TBSP)
1 tsp chili powder (1/3 palmful) (or substitute green chilis or your favourite hot sauce)
2 limes, zest and juice
4 halibut steaks or fillets, fresh, 6-8 oz each (white fish or salmon are good. Prawns are nice too)

1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (or your favourite pepper or hot sauce)
black pepper
1 10 oz frozen corn kernels (or leftovers)
½ cup chicken stock

1 romain heart, shredded
¼ cup fresh cilantro (coriander) leaes, generous handful coasely chopped

2 ripe avocados (Haas or whatever is available)
3 TBSP red wine vinegar (2 splashes – eyeball it)
Couple shakes of hot sauce (optional)

12 6-inch soft flour tortillas (or 3-4 larger tortillas, warmed by spraying a large pan and warming each side of the tortillas slightly)

Optional Ingredients:

Mushrooms, diced courgettes (zucchini), tomato, leftover cooked rice, etc., either cooked or raw (I’m not wild about corn so I typically substitute most anything)


Marinate fish in 2 TBSP EVOO, chili powder, juice of 1 lime and a little salt.

Preheat large skillet over medium heat with 2 TBSP EVOO (pour twice around the pan). Add chopped onions, garlic, jalapeno, salt, pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Add frozen corn (and optional ingredients), chicken stock, bring to bubble, then continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add romaine and coriander into a salad bowl. Transfer the heated mixture into the salad, mixing them together so the heat from the corn mixture wilts the romaine. Wipe the skillet clean and return to cooker with 2 TBSP EVOO. Cook halibut 4-5 minutes on each side and flake into chunks with a fork, then add to salad bowl with corn mixture and romaine.

While fish is cooking, make avocado dressing:
Cut all around the ripe avocados down to the pit. Twist and remove pit by popping it out. Either slice the meat of the halved fruit or scoop out into the food processor. (I just mash this because I don’t have a food processor.) Add zest of 2 limes and juice of one lime. Add red wine vinegar and salt. Stream in remaining 3 TBSP EVOO and couple shakes of hot sauce into food processor. Adjust to taste by adding salt, pepper, hot sauce.

Wipe out skillet and place over high heat. Blister tortillas over high heat in dry pan for a few seconds on each side. (I spray the dry frying pan with oil and cook a few seconds on each side.) Wrap in barely damp kitchen towel to keep warm and supple.

Assemble by arranging pile of fish-corn mix- romain mix on a warm tortilla. Top with spoonful of avocado dressing, wrap and roll. Eat and enjoy.

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Ride On – Deviled Crab Appetiser – Week 19

England is hosting the 2014 Tour de France. I have ridden part of the route, not on my bicycle, but in my someday-to-be classic Open Air VW Polo. Towns and villages along the route have gotten into the spirit by hanging bunting, decorating shop windows in yellow, etc. Yellow bicycles dot the area to mark someone’s claimed viewing spot. Car parks have sprung up along the way. One of my favourite displays is in a field alongside the road in Wensleydale near Leyburn. Hay bales were arranged to form a giant cyclist. Very cool. I was determined to get a shot of that. I couldn’t get high enough for a great shot, but I imagine a helicopter camera will do the job. I managed a decent shot by parking across the road and standing on the backs of my front seats. There are advantages of topless cars.

My weekend has started early. Last night friends came over to park their caravan up at the farm before the local traffic becomes unbearable. We found a flattish spot, hopefully not too close to the bees as one friend is allergic. Saturday should be abuzz with activity, not just the race, but the cooking of a turkey. Apparently, it is popular in the USA to cook a turkey outside on this rather unusual (at least to me) apparatus. Robert assures me he has his fire extinguisher and is fully aware of health and safety. Hhm, should I be concerned? He also said he’d bring his wok, also used outdoors for cooking a thai curry with the turkey leftovers. I’m sure that will be worth the risk.

As for me, I considered preparing something decidedly French, then dining al fresco (weather permitting), but I fancied deviled crab sandwiches. Best of luck to all the riders in this weekend’s race.

Lisa x

Deviled Crab Appetiser – Week 19
By Dennis Evans from Redeemer Recipes – 50th Anniversary Edition
Serves 6-8

This is supposed to be an appetiser, which is fine, but if you make patties and pop between buttered herbed bread, you’ll find it makes an excellent lunch with a side salad. You can substitute, adding and deleting as you see fit.


¼ cup celery, finely chopped
¼ cup bell pepper, finely chopped
½ cup butter (wow, that’s a lot, but do it anyway)
Season with salt and pepper (and perhaps parsley, cayenne, chives, chilli, sherry or sweet thai sauce)

2 pounds white crab meat
6 large fresh eggs
1 TBSP Worcester sauce
1 ½ tsp dry mustard powder (or substitute less English mustard)
1/3 cups cracker crumbs (Carrs or other baked crisp variety)


Saute celery and bell peppers in butter with seasonings. Frankly I would normally use olive oil, but I can make exceptions. If using Sherry, let it reduce.

Mix with rest of ingredients. Either make in an 8 oz casserole dish, or stuff greased crab shells, or make into patties on a lightly greased tray.

Bake 30-35 minutes in 325oF oven.

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All Scream for Ice Cream – Clotted Cream Ice Cream – Lemon Spoom – Week 18

Well now, where to start? It seems I was just getting used to the idea that summer had arrived when all of the sudden life became a whirl of change and a hub of activity commenced. I’m not one to hang around for extended periods in front of the television, but I will watch certain programs and certainly film. What news I pick up is over the internet. Over the last week I spent most waking hours drenched with fever and either coughing or sneezing. Hopefully I didn’t manage to contaminate anyone. Summer colds are the worst. I’m feeling much better now. As a treat, I had a waffle cone of Brymor’s mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Brymor’s has a shop on the farm where the cows live and they make the ice cream. They are open every day except Christmas and always have customers. If you go and see a long queue, don’t worry because it moves quickly. I like to watch the birds from the shop’s back window. Today there was a blue tit that discovered the lid was off of the nut feeder and he actually went down into the tube twice while we were there watching. I had the feeling he had gone back to the nest with a nut and shared it, having to go back for another one for himself.

Brymor’s is on the Tour de France route. The place will be buzzing with people who have pre-booked a car parking space. I can think of worse places to be stranded for eight hours. I am planning on staying close to home next weekend though. Some friends are coming over to my house for a weekend party. It just hit me today that I need to sort the food out and tackle the high grass in the garden and clean the house and and and! Good thing I’m over my fever.

On the way out of Brymor’s I noticed a recipe booklet for ice cream, sorbet, etc. I have been a fan of homemade ice milk since I was a child. We had a manual churn and it was a big treat to have homemade ice cream (or actually ice milk since we used whole milk instead of cream). Family reunions always included a churn of vanilla or fresh peach. I don’t have a churn now, but I have a freezer container that does a great job. Now, if I only had a freezer large enough to hold the freezer container I could try some of these recipes. Perhaps my brother will have a go and let me know which one is his favourite. You could even make the clotted cream ice cream and the lemon spoom at the same time (given enough freezer space) since you use yolks for one and whites for the other.

Lisa x

Clotted Cream Ice Cream – Week 18
from Favourite Ice Cream Recipes – Delightful Sweets for All Occasions published by J Salmon Ltd.
(Serves 4-6, but I bet I can eat the whole thing in two days if nobody’s watching)

Clotted cream is lusciously thick and rich and a glorious deep creamy yellow colour. It has a minimum fat content of 55%. It is particularly associated with West Country cream teas and makes a sumptuously rich ice cream.


¾ pint creamy milk
5 oz caster sugar (that’s regular sugar to North Americans) (split sugar into two portions)

5 egg yolks (fresh are best)

¼ pint clotted cream
Few drops vanilla essence (vanilla extract)


Gently heat milk and half the sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Heat until almost boiling.

Beat egg yolks (in a bowl that can be placed over the pan that has the cooking milk mixture) with the remaining sugar until thick and pale. Pour the hot milk in a steady stream onto the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water and cook, stirring, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Stir int he clotted cream and vanilla essence and leave until cold. Pour into a freezerproof container, cover and freeze until firm. Place in the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.

Lemon Spoom – Week 18
from Favourite Ice Cream Recipes – Delightful Sweets for All Occasions published by J Salmon Ltd.
(Serves 3-4, but I bet I can eat the whole thing in two days if nobody’s watching)

A spoom is a very light, fluffy ice cream. Lemon juice makes a very fresh tasting spoom.


2 fl. Oz water
4 oz sugar

Juice of 2 lemons
½ pint whipping cream

2 egg whites (room temperature)


Heat water and sugar in a small pan until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Stir in the lemon juice and cream.

Whisk the egg whites lightly until frothy and add to the mixture, mixing well. Pour into a freezerproof container, cover and freeze until firm.

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All at Once – Fettuccine with Chicken in Lemon Cream Sauce – Week 17

All at Once – Fettuccine with Chicken in Lemon Cream Sauce – Week 17

I went AWOL. Admittedly, I fell into a blue funk. To make matters worse, two weeks of intermittent internet at the farm just gave me an excuse to have a break. My online friend Bob encourages this and refers to it as a Digital Detox. Like many of you, I spend up to 90% of my working day in front of a screen, then often spend up to two or more hours outside of work fiddling with my phone or tablet or notebook PC. I did enjoy my little break, although there were times when I just wanted to post a comment or upload a photograph. But, here I am back at it. I spent all last evening online or on the phone trying to change my address on various US accounts. What a load of horse muck. It certainly doesn’t make me want to move house to have to change all my accounts in the UK. Life can be so complicated, but I do strive to simplify things.

Are you distracted? I was a bit distracted and put on a couple of pounds over the last week. Luckily they came back off, but I’m still struggling to get that number 4 to display on my scales. It’s not too much to ask to just have one little pound melt away. It is summer after all and a lovely warm one here. So, it’s a salad sort of week for me. We can’t survive on salad and cereal alone so I’m including a lemony pasta dish as comfort food.

Life has been very busy. Everything seems to happen at once. I won’t go into it. I did get a change of venue over the weekend and enjoyed visiting with old friends in the Lake District. On the way back we drove some of the Tour de France route. Wow, I’m glad it won’t be me navigating those hills on a bicycle. Just the scare of rabbits running across the road would slow me down, wimp that I am. Best of luck to them though. Our benefit of hosting the race, aside from the tourism and the event itself, is the road maintenance. That’s worth the extra time it takes me to commute to work due to cyclists and road crews.

If I had something wonderfully new to celebrate I would suggest a lovely champagne for this dish, but, sadly, no exciting news this week.

Lisa x

Fettuccine with Chicken in Lemon Cream Sauce – Week 17
from Pasta – Food & Wine Books – Judith Sutton
(Serves 4)


Cracked-Pepper Pasta Dough (3-egg quantity recipe. I use dry pasta instead)
3/4 pound dry fettuccine
Some salt

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, in strips
dash salt
pinch fresh-ground black pepper

2 TBSP butter
1 cup heavy cream

1 TBSP lemon juice
1 ½ tsp lemon zest
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 /4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 TBSP chopped fresh chives, or scallion tops

Additional Ingredients:

Olive oil for sautéing



The directions include how to prepare fresh pasta (which I haven’t done) and a method of cooking the chicken with a dash of salt and pinch of black pepper in ¼ inch of water, by simmering the water and adding the chicken strips to the frying pan, reducing heat and cooking covered for 12 minutes with turning. Cool and cube chicken. (I just saute the strips in olive oil and call it good.)


Melt butter in saucepan over moderate heat. Add cream, lemon juice and zest. Simmer, stirring occasionally. Until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes, taking care not to cook too long or too fast or the cream with curdle. Add 1 ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.


Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling, salted water 12 minutes (4 minutes for fresh pasta)

Toss pasta with chicken, sauce, Parmesan, 1 ½ chives. Top with remaining chives.

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Mentors and Role Models – Spaghettini with Mussels and Pesto – Pesto Alla Genovese – Tips on Cleaning Raw Mussels – Week 16

I have fallen behind in my postings. This is okay from my prospective since technically I started typing in recipes two weeks after I started my Fab Food Diet, which means in Lisa Logic I am right on schedule.

I read a post in Facebook about the ten things that happy people think about and it made me think about my own style of thinking and living. I may tend to grumble when things don’t go my way, but in general I am happy. Like most people I have periods when things don’t go my way, but, as they say, success is really just a matter of never giving up. When I think back to all the people that have been significant in my life, they were either a part of something wonderful or part of something bad that I have survived. How about you. Who are the people that have influenced your life? Do you, or have you had, mentors and role models?

I supposed my family members, old and young, have been a great influence on my life. We are alike in that we are different. Aside from family members, I never considered role models until asked whose mine were. I don’t mean celebrities, I mean people who have touched your life, made your think differently, made you more aware of a higher level of consciousness. Just thinking about these special people makes me appreciate knowing them and learning.

Life is all about loving and learning.

Now for a remake of the following recipe. I have some wonderful recipe books. Typing them in for this blog means I can have them with me anytime.

Lisa x

Spaghettini with Mussels and Pesto – Tips on Cleaning Raw Mussels – Week 16
Pasta – Food & Wine Books
Serves 4, tastes even better the next day

This recipe was a guideline one evening when the offerings were slim in the fridge and cupboard. I steamed some veg while the pasta was boiling, even though you aren’t supposed to cover pasta while cooking. Linguini noodles are thick and can handle this as long as you add oil and stir a few times.


2 pounds small raw mussels, scrubbed and debearded (or use any other seafood, prepared as you wish –
I used 12 oz tilapia baked with oil and herbs de Provence, 15 minutes at 200oC)
½ cup dry white wine (I used sherry, although it tinted the dish pinkish)
4 TBSP butter, cut into pieces
1 shallot, chopped
1 TBSP wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
¾ pound spaghettini (I used linguini, with oil – reserve at least a cup of pasta water for the sauce)
¾ cup Pesto alla Genovese (see recipe, but I used prepared pesto)

Lisa’s Additional Ingredients:

2-3 TBSP olive oil (for cooking onion/garlic)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves roasted garlic (I just happened to have some from a veggie roast the day before)
Mix leeks, peas, carrot strips, cauliflower flowerettes (all steamed – I did mine on top of pasta pot)
3 slices pre-cooked streaky bacon, cut into bits
1 small lemon, squeezed (I used ½ and added the other ½ to club soda for a nice substitute for a glass of white wine)
¼ cup parmesan, grated
Some salt and pepper to taste


If you want bacon or fish, roasted garlic pre-prepare. I just used leftover bacon and roasted garlic from the day before. Measure out all your ingredients, including preparation of your veg.

If you are using mussels: (otherwise, skip to Lisa’s Way)
Discard broken mussels or ones that do not clamp shut when tapped. In a large pot, combine mussels, wine, butter, shallot and vinegar. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Cook shaking pan occasionally just until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Remove the open mussels and continue to cook, uncovering the pot as necessary to remove the mussels as soon as their shells open. Discard an mussels that do not open.
Reserve about 8 mussels for garnish. When cool enough to handle, remove the remaining mussels from their shells, holding them over the pot to catch all the juice.
Pour the cooking liquid through a sieve lined with a paper towel into a measuring cup. Add ½ cup of the strained liquid to the mussels. Discard the remaining cooking liquid or save it for another recipe.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghettini until just done, about 9 minutes. Drain. Toss together the spaghettini, mussels and serve hot or at room temperature. – by Jane Sigal

Tips on Cleaning Raw Mussels:
Wash under cold running water, scraping off barnacles and scrubbing off sand. Pull off the weed-like ‘beard’ and discard. Discard any mussels that are broken or that gape open. If a mussel is still alive, it will s nap shut when handled. To purge the mussels of sand, soak them according to the method for cleaning fresh clams.

If you are using Lisa’s Way:

Cook tilapia, coating with oil and herbs de Province, 15 minutes at 200oC. Leftover bacon bits and roasted garlic really added to the flavour so I recommend using those if you can. Then cook pasta (9-12 minutes) in oil (with veg in steamer on top). Meanwhile in large frying pan, saute diced onion and shallot in 2-3 TBSP olive oil. Add sherry, red wine vinegar and cooked streaky bacon. Reduce. Add roasted garlic, pesto and butter. . If more liquid is needed, take from pasta water. Stir in fish, broken into pieces. Add lemon squeeze and stir in drained pasta. Mix well and serve with salt, cracked pepper and grated parmesan.

Lisa x

Pesto Alla Genovese – Week 16
Pasta – Food & Wine Books
Makes 1 cup pesto, enough for 1 pound pasta. Stores in fridge for a week or freezes well.


2 cloves garlic, chopped with any inner green centre bits removed
1 ½ cups packed fresh basil leaves (Genovese is the premium)
¾ tsp salt
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 TBSP butter, at room temperature


Mince garlic and basil with the salt with mortar and pestle or food processor. Continue processing and pour in oil with small steady stream until well blended. Add pine nuts, Parmesan and butter, processing until nuts are chopped. Or, buy ready processed pesto and let someone else do the work.

Tips on Cleaning Raw Mussels – Week 16
Pasta – Food & Wine Books
This method for Cleaning Fresh Clams works for Mussels.

Wash under cold running water, scraping off barnacles and scrubbing off sand. Pull off the weed-like ‘beard’ and discard. Discard any mussels that are broken or that gape open. If a mussel is still alive, it will s nap shut when handled. If cooking will be in liquid that can be strained, preliminary soaking to pruge sand is not necessary. If cooking will be directly in sauce, soak first in salted water (1 handful salt per quart of water). Add clams/mussels to salted water and soak for 1-2 hours. They’ll slightly open and release the salt.

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Bee Nice – Breaded Pork Tenderloin – Week 15

We had a glorious sun-filled weekend. I set realistic expectations on how much gardening I would accomplish. Judging by the variety of aches I had as the weekend closed, I did plenty. A game of tennis would’ve been fun, but Saturday was the Otley Show so traffic and gusty wind convinced me to stay home.

We had a few close calls with the local homeless bees. We have a few confused bees that didn’t get the message that their queen had moved house. These pesky beasts insist on hanging around the rose bush and the recycle bin. If anyone comes around they buzz you, or worse. They seem to go for your head/neck. One went down my shirt, but he came back out. Sometimes they get caught in my hair, which gets me running like crazy for the sink to douse my head. I’ve saved myself a sting or two this way. As a result of these frequent run-ins with bees I have given up washing my car at home. The only outside water pipe is up by the barn near the hives. Now I just have my car washed when it’s in the shop (which is more often than I care to think about). This weekend was stingless. Actually, two bees tapped my partner’s head. There is a name for that, when the bees hit you, but don’t give you the full sting. I can’t remember what it’s called. The first time I ever heard of it was when the beekeeper’s young son described how he put on the beekeeper’s suit and as soon as he put the hat on, he saw/heard a bee trapped inside. He knew what was coming, even before he could get the hat off. He said it just tapped him on the cheek though so he was lucky – only he used the real word, not tapped. It gives me the heebie-jeebies to think about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of bees, but I’d rather have more distance between my space and their hives. It is cool to watch them work and I do rather like honey. Local honey is supposed to be good to combat allergies, so no guilt involved if you eat local honey. Perhaps we should declare (local) honey free of calories (similar to dark chocolate).

After all that talk of bees, you’d think I’d give you a recipe with honey as an ingredient. Sorry, this week’s recipe is worth the effort, but you can always just make the sauce if you can’t be bothered to make the full recipe.

Breaded Pork Tenderloins – Week 15
From Good Housekeeping

Serves 4 (but you better have a lot of mashed spuds and plenty of veg and pudding because this one can create an appetite in otherwise finicky eaters! Best to wash up as you go because you’ll use pans. Why bother? Because it will quickly become a favourite in your household. You might want to double the sauce mix too because, well, you’ll want some for the mash won’t you?)


1 pound pork tenderloins (or pork loin), cut crosswise into 6 pieces (or into similar thickness strips)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (a bit less actually, but you’ll need a TBSP for the dill sour cream sauce).
1 tsp seasoned salt (I just use ½ tsp salt with seasoned breadcrumbs, below)
¼ tsp black pepper

1 egg, beaten
2 TBSP milk

¾ cup fine dry bread crumbs (I use Italian seasoned)
1 tsp paprika (or a smidgeon more)

3-5 TBSP olive oil (to cover large frying pan to keep meat moist during sautéing)

Dill Sour Cream Sauce: (I sometimes double this.)

½ cup sour cream
1 TBSP flour
¼ tsp dill, dried (but fresh is soo much better!)

¾ cup chicken broth (I usually make this with boiling/hot water at first so it’s still hot/warm when I’m ready to make the sauce.)


Pre-prepare chicken broth, flour, eggy-milk, and breadcrumb mixtures separately. I use deep metal camping plates for dredging / dipping, which is just because I used to eat out on the patio all the time and needed outdoor wear that was kid- and man-proof. Pound pork to ¼ to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut small slits around edges to prevent curling. (I found this isn’t really a problem so I don’t bother.) Coat meat with a mixture of the flour mixture, followed by a dip in the milky mixture, then coat in breadcrumb mix. Heat olive oil in large frying pan and sauté as many as you can for 2-3 minutes per side. Don’t overcook. Remove from pan, keeping warm. (I usually move them to a paper-lined camping plate and cover with the same.) Once all the meat is cooked, prepare sauce. You may want to remove some of the oil; you don’t want enough in the pan to flow.

Dill Sour Cream sauce:

Pre-mix flour and chopped dill into sour cream. Pour warm/hot chicken broth into pan, containing oil and little bits from your breaded meat, scraping to loosen crusty drippings. Turn to low heat and stir in the sour cream mix. Stir and cook over low heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook 1-2 minutes more. Serve with pork (and mash or rice).

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Let Joy Win – Enchiladas – Week 14

Let Joy Win is my new mantra. How fitting I should to write this after visiting my friend down in Devon whose mother Joy was such an inspiration.

I have always been resilient, but sometimes need a quiet reminder that a re-focus on the positive is always the best approach.

Last week seemed to run its course through obstacle after obstacle. I slogged through as much on the ToDo list as possible and took a most welcomed Friday morning train to Devon. After a long weekend with friends in a lovely environment you would think I would come back refreshed, but I came back even more determined to find a home-work balance that I so desire. I will meditate using Let Joy Win. A sure path to success!

Speaking of balance, my scales dipped a bit, going up two pounds, but back down by one this morning. I will add salads a couple of times a week as main meals to finally see another pound fall off.

Meanwhile, I had a hankering for enchiladas … they aren’t as bad for you as you might think as long as you don’t overdo the cheese.

Lisa x

Enchiladas – Week 14
AllSpunUp  Serves 3-4 Pre-heated 350oF oven


1 pound chicken, diced (or turkey/beef/pork or 24 oz extra firm tofu)
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp taco seasoning
Optional: chili powder, green chilies, onion, mushrooms, cooked rice, cooked beans, etc.

1 can enchilada sauce, green or red (12-24 oz I always wish I had a tad bit more)
2 cups cheddar, shredded (or a mexican mix with peppers)
6-8 flour tortillas
Optional: sliced black olives, guacamole, sour cream, coriander, etc.


Cook chicken (or substitute) in olive oil, adding seasonings and green chilies. Cook several minutes, turning, until done but not dry. Remove from pan and mix with 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and 1 cup cheese. Cook any additional raw ingredients until softened before mixing with chicken.

Line a baking pan with enchilada sauce. Roll mix into tortillas, adding any variety of ingredients: cooked rice, black olives, cooked beans, guacamole, etc. Top with the remainder of sauce and cheese.

Bake 20-25 minutes.

These are great leftover. I often use leftover rice in these.

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Technologically Speaking – Chickpea, Spinach and Potato Curry – Raita – Basmati Rice – Week 13

I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I love gizmos and electronic gadgets that are shiny and promise to entertain or make life easier. The only problem is that, all too frequently, these metal/plastic icons can become eyesores and headaches. My first job involving computers was with the local daily newspaper (local to where I grew up, not where I live now). My job was data entry or really to verify other people’s work. I was a speedy typist, so fast I could make a mistake and correct it, zooming along faster than anyone else in the office. The big boss heard about my skill and came to watch. I couldn’t work with him standing behind me. My peripheral vision was quite developed and it was too distracting. He and I fell out eventually, but that’s another story.

This week, with deadlines pressing, I came across an odd problem. I was trying to edit a poster to print for an office celebration. My (new) office laptop suddenly switched to Chinese. I tried everything to switch it back to English, the Queen’s or anyone else’s. An IT guru happened to come into the office and deleted my Chinese and Korean languages. The blasted computer switched to Japanese. Uugh. I deleted that and finally got English to work. Why do these odd things happen when we are in a hurry?

Just to convince me that I have some sort of electronic jinx going on, my home laptop (also new) decided to stop playing sounds except keyboard sounds. I tried to listen to a calming meditation, only to become frustrated. I switched to my mobile phone, which worked fine. Sometimes I want to throw all the electronic devices out the window and go back to the olden days when we used pencils and counted numbers in our head.

With that in mind, I looked for a simple recipe for this week. I had been meaning to use this recipe and accidentally bought chicken as well as the required ingredients. This was supposed to be a vegetarian meal, but I added chicken. It made a huge batch of curry which tasted better the next day as leftovers.

This week I went to a flower show. At one of the stalls I bought a dish with spiraling spikes. This is the coolest kitchen gadget. You put a bit of water on it, snip the end of a garlic clove and grind the garlic into a lovely moist paste. Excellent for ginger, chocolate, etc. It comes with a brush to remove the shredded bits and it comes with a funky tube that peels the garlic with a few rubs on the counter. I wish I would’ve gotten another one as a stand-by gift.

Lisa x

Chickpea, Spinach and Potato Curry
Sam Stern’s Cooking Up a Storm – the teen survival cookbook

(Serves 4, or 6 if you add a pound of chicken)

Ingredients: (Use a very large saucepan/frying pan)

3 large potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 large sweet potato, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 TBSP sunflower oil or groundnut oil (I used olive oil and used more to cook the chicken)
1 large onion (or 2 medium onions), finely chopped
1 pound chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (I added this bit. I cooked the chicken separately, but it is best to cook the chicken first, set aside and add back once the sauce is going in the pan.)
some salt
4 garlic cloves, crushed (or mutilated in the cool grader dish)
2 TBSP korma curry paste (I used 2 TBSP and wished I had used 4)
400 g/14 oz can – chickpeas
500 ml/18 fl oz water or vegetable stock (I used vegetable stock plus some water from the boiled
1 lemon, juiced
200 ml/7 fl oz carton – coconut cream (I used a packet of coconut sauce and should’ve used 2)

1 TBSP mango chutney (I didn’t have any so I used 1 tsp of rice seasoning and 1 tsp raspberry
1 TBSP tomato puree (I used tomato paste)
4 TBSP chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves (I had to use dried)
200 g/7 can – tomatoes, chopped (I omitted this, but probably should have added some)
2 TBSP almonds, ground (I put this on top to serve)
Handful – spinach leaves


Boil cut potatoes 10 minutes, saving a bit of the water to add to the sauce as a thickener. Once the potatoes are done you can make rice (see basmati rice below). I used chicken in this dish so I advice you (just barely white throughout) cook the chicken in olive oil and set aside, adding back with the chickpeas.

Heat oil in very large pan. Add onions, garlic and pinch of salt and cook until transparent. Stir in curry paste. Cook 2 minutes. Add potatoes and chickpeas (and cooked chicken). Stir until coated. Cook 1 minutes.

Add water or stock (plus a bit of potato water), lemon juice, coconut cream, mango chutney, tomato puree, 2/3 or coriander, tomatoes and almonds (I waited until the end for the nuts). Turn up heat to boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat. Cover. Simmer very gently for 45 minutes (or longer – or less if you already cooked the chicken). Stir in spinach and cook 2-3 minutes, until wilted.

Taste and adjust by adding more curry paste, lemon juice or tomato puree, to taste. Throw rest of coriander on top. Eat with rice, naan, cucumber raita, poppadoms and chutney.

RAITA: (serve on the side)
Sam Stern’s Cooking Up a Storm – the teen survival cookbook


10 cm/4 in piece of cucumber
1 spring onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 TBSP natural yogurt
Seasonings (not sure RAITA: exactly)


Mix and add seasoning to serve on the side.

Basmati Rice


Basmati rice (or other rice)
cold water


1 dry cup rice makes 2 cups cooked rice

Add dry rice to pot. Cover with cold water and set at least 10 minutes. Remove any floaters. Pour off all but enough to completely cover rice. Bring to boil. Cover with lid partly off and turn down to simmer for 10 minutes (or until done). Fluff with fork.

This sounds like an impossible way to make rice, but it seems to work best for me.


I bought a package of two, sprinkled a bit of water and heated for several minutes to serve.

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Traditions in the Wind – Lisa’s Mac and Cheese – Helen’s Lemon Meringue Pie – Week 12

Easter was a big deal when I was a little girl. It meant a new dress, flowers, Easter baskets filled with jelly beans, malted milk eggs, marshmallow candy, Easter eggs, and chocolate. We went to church and once we got home we had to pose for family pictures in front of flowering azalea bushes. My father was one of those photographers who had you pose; you smiled, then he fiddled with the lens or the lights until your smile was frozen. He aimed the camera at you again; you smiled all over again, then he said he’d let you know when he was ready. You stood there, frowning. Finally, he was ready. After that, then we had a big Easter Sunday dinner. My mother would always have a terrific dessert; the family fave was lemon meringue pie. My own children never had the traditions ingrained like I did. Instead of a big hunk of roast with fresh (home-grown or home-canned) vegetables, my own family probably can’t remember a single holiday meal that was the same year after year.

More often than not, my girls requested my macaroni and cheese casserole. This American food may not go over well in other cultures. After serving this over the past decade to British friends of the family, the reviews were mixed. Some wouldn’t go anywhere near such a dish ‘slathered’ with cheese. Others ask for seconds. I’ve never given out the recipe before, but it’s time.

You have to sit through a bit of history first though. I was the fourth child, an oops at the end, with boy, girl, boy, girl – as it should be. When I was in fifth grade, I decided to change my name from Lisa to Michelle, my middle name. I can’t remember what made me want to change my name, but it didn’t go well. When, on the first day of school in Mrs Hay’s classroom, I asked to be called Michelle, she brushed me off, saying, ‘You are Lisa, I know your mother and have taught your brothers and sister.’ That was that. It was probably the beginning of my rather lengthy rebellious period.

Being in fifth grade had benefits though, despite the stalwart Mrs Hay. It was the first time children were allowed to change classes. Classes were in a separate building with the sixth graders, the upper classmen of the primary school. I distinctly remember being able to line up on the opposite side of the cafeteria, which was clearly not for the younger children. This was a big deal for me because I was one of the smallest children in the class and wasn’t obviously as old as the other fifth graders.

The school cafeteria was run by Mrs MacNaughton, Mrs Mac. She was sturdy and bubbly and famous for her macaroni and cheese. She used to make the rounds from table to table and get the children to eat their greens. When she retired from the school kitchen, she took a job at the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Not long after that The Pig (as it was known) started serving Mrs Mac’s mac and cheese. As long as she worked there, the recipe was the same. The last time I was at a Piggly Wiggly I noticed they still had the dish, but it clearly wasn’t the same recipe. Over the years I was able to replicate Mrs Mac’s recipe and will share it with you.

I should be sharing the Fish Pie recipe we had last night, but I didn’t measure anything and have no idea what was in the Fish Pie selection we bought from the Fish Monger at the Leyburn Market yesterday. It tasted nice though and will be great for leftovers.
I’m throwing in Mom’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe. She used to make up to seven of these in one go. My father would cut a slice (half a pie) and leave the other slice for my brother. Outraged, I would cut another pie, and so it went and so they went. You would think we were a family of fatsos, but we were not (at least not then).

I hope you had a happy holiday, no matter how you celebrated. I ‘celebrated’ by having Brymor ice cream three times. Decadent!


Lisa’s Mac and Cheese – Week 12
From AllSpunUp onFood 2014, LE Geddes


1 pound elbow macaroni (or another tube-shaped pasta)
1 TBSP butter
3 cups sharp cheddar, shredded and separated into 2 cups plus 1 cup (although I now like a bit of red Leicester on top instead of 1 cup plain sharp cheddar)

1 cup milk
2 eggs

1 TBSP flour
1/8 tsp paprika (dash)
½ tsp salt
1/16 tsp black pepper (pinch)
1 tsp ground dry mustard


Cook macaroni in boiling water 10 minutes (or al dente). Drain. Stir in butter and flour mixture. Stir in 2 cups cheese, reserving 1 cup for top. Stir in milky mixture and pour into 6 x 10 casserole dish. Add remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake 35-40 minutes. I tend to add salt and pepper afterwards.

Helen’s Lemon Meringue Pie – Week 12
From AllSpunUp onFood 2014, LE Geddes

Pie Filling Ingredients:

1 9 inch pie shell, baked (Use your best pie pastry recipe. I will post one at some point.)

1 Cup sugar
1 ¼ cups water
1 TBSP butter (she used margarine, but I prefer butter)

¼ cup cornstarch
3 TBSP cold water

1 tsp grated lemon rind
6 TBSP lemon juice, fresh squeezed (from 3 big lemons – reserves a tsp for below)

3 egg yolks (room temperature – reserve whites)
2 TBSP milk

Meringue Ingredients:

3 egg whites (see above)
6 TBSP sugar (or a bit less)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (dash) – if needed to make peaks form


Preheat oven to 350oF. Prepare 1 x 9 inch pie pastry, prick, bake, and set aside to cool.

Measure ingredients. Mix cornstarch and 3 TBSP cold water. Separate 3 large eggs with whites in large bowl for meringue and yolks in medium bowl. Mix yolks and beat in milk.

Heat 1 cup sugar, 1 ¼ water and 1 TBSP butter until sugar dissolves, stirring. Blend cornstarch with 3 TBSP cold water and add to dissolved sugar mixture. Cook slowly until the mixture clears and thickens (about 8 minutes at sea level), always stirring to keep from sticking. Add 6 TBSP (or a smidgeon more) lemon juice and 1 tsp lemon rind, cooking 2 more minutes. Add egg yolk and milk mixture and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Let cool until not steaming (otherwise your meringue will pull away from the edges of the crust) before preparing meringue.

For meringue topping, beat egg whites, 6 TBSP (or less) sugar and 1 tsp lemon juice (or vanilla extract). Beat until stiff peaks form. Pour filling into pastry shell. Spread meringue over pie filling, touching meringue to edges of crust to seal.

Bake 350oF until brown (12-15 minutes). Cool, refrigerate. Enjoy.

(I don’t remember these pies ever cooling completely. You may find them too sweet. Mostly, I find that I wish I had made an extra one or two.)

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Security and Courage – Veal in Lime Cream Sauce – Week 11

Security and Courage

Over the last week I have ridden high and low with emotions. Just now I finally realised why I have struggled so much in various ways over the last decade or two. That’s a long time and I think I understand that I have not felt secure. Oh, lots of times I have felt great and very secure, almost so secure I may have been quite smug. But the down times were low and I hid that from myself as much as possible.

So what changed? My life has changed drastically over the last five years. We’ll just look at that time. I moved abroad, separated from my husband. It isn’t a secret. Life is complicated so I won’t go into the details, but think of it as change. That sort of change, with a family, without a stable career, is stressful. Add the complications of living in another country and it’s no wonder I didn’t feel secure.
But security isn’t just a safe home, and love from family and a few close friends; it is a type of peace of mind that breathes with us daily. It is the comfort of wearing your own skin and loving who you are, accepting yourself. It is the courage (!) to get up and keep trying when you fall flat on your face. It is the worth you have within you. It is allowing yourself to laugh at life, cry and laugh and feel your way from each day onwards.

So, you might ask what brought all that on. It’s been quite a week. I have been patient – not my most developed virtue. One day last week I was anything but patient – raging inside. Despite good food, exercise, tai chi, etc., I still let little things annoy me. But tonight I did something that I hope will put me back on course, set my sails back to their natural tack. I started meditating.

There is a free 21 day meditation series with Deepak Chopra which is introduced by Oprah Winfrey. I’m hooked. I’m determined to shed this crusty skin of mine and find that sleek layer I used to love. Watch me shine.

Last week had some amazing moments. I sat in on a brainstorming session with a pair of documentary producers plus a friend of theirs and my daughter. I was buzzing. The next day I stayed up half the night participating in a live life / career counselling call with Tama Kieves, who lives in Colorado thus the off hours UK time. Again, I was buzzing, but very sleepy days afterward and have just gotten back on my own time zone. And now I will learn meditation.

Meanwhile, back at the gym, after a sweaty session of squash, I popped on the scales. I was pleased to see a number that didn’t disappoint me. Basically, the 6 is a 6 and that’s that. Even the wonderful Jersey ice cream I had Sunday didn’t wreck my numbers. I have to tell you that if you insist on seeing lower figures on the scales, try standing on the them sideways. You’ll ‘lose’ at least 3 pounds at my house if you try it.

How about some comfort food after all that heavy life talk?


Veal in Lime Cream Sauce (or substitute chicken, etc.)
From Cooking Light – Lazy Gourmet – Over 200 Seven-Ingredient Recipes

(13 minutes to prep; 10 minutes to cook; serves 4)


1 pound veal cutlets (1/4 inch thick) [I’ve never actually used veal, but I’ve used chicken, pork and other cuts of beef]
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
Butter-flavoured vegetable cooking spray

2 TBSP fresh lime juice (zest first – see below)
2 TBSP dry white wine (Gee, that leaves plenty to enjoy with your meal)
1 TBSP plus 1 tsp all purpose flour
½ cup canned low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup evaporated skimmed milk
½ tsp lime zest (saved from above)


Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add cutlets, and cook 1 minute on each side or until browned. Remove from skillet; set aside and keep warm.

Add lime juice and wine to skillet; cook over high heat 1 minute or until mixture is reduced by half. Combine flour, broth and milk; stir well. Add to lime juice mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly 5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Return cutlets to skillet; cook until thoroughly heated. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with lime zest and serve immediately.

I like this dish with rice or mashed potatoes and green vegetables. I don’t use low-sodium chicken broth and you can probably substitute the evaporated skimmed milk with heavy cream and use much less flour; cooking at a lower temperature.

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Waves of Change – Parmesan – Romano Tilapia – Week 10

Waves of Change

I can sense change, not just seasonal change, but life change. Part of this isn’t due to sensing at all, but down to creating change by action. There have been times when I have witnessed other people experiencing fortuitous events and wondered what I was doing wrong to not have the same, or wondered what they were doing right to attract such good luck.

It boils down to serendipity or synchronicity. This week I will concentrate on attracting positives. Part of my plan to improve my life this year is to eat better food, thus the food blog. Another part of the plan is to adjust my habits, not just eating and drinking, but thinking as well. When I am challenged with an idea or personality that rubs me the wrong way, I am going to take a mental step back in order to make sure I don’t have ingrained patterns that hold me back.

Enough of all that. Perhaps I can talk about the office politics book I’m reading or the career coaching sessions another time; for now I’ll give you this week’s offering of a lovely, easy fish dish. I even took a picture of it, but this sort of photography is clearly not my forte. Any of you who try one of the recipes and want to share a photograph, please do.

Namaste x

Parmesan – Romano Tilapia
Cooking Light – Lazy Gourmet – over 200 Seven-ingredient recipes

Serves 4 (or 3 Prep: 6 minutes Cook 10-12 minutes at preheated 425oF


1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonaise (I use a bit more and use regular mayo)
1 TBSP dried onion flakes (or 1 tsp onion powder or some fresh chives)
2 tsp low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard (or 1/8 tsp dry mustard)
1 tsp dry sherry

4 x 4 oz tilapia fillets (or flounder or orange roughy – see Equivalents & Such Page for fish to fish substitutions)

Vegetable cooking spray
2 TBSP Parmesan – Romano cheese, grated and mixed

Optional Additional Ingredients:

1/4 tsp Greek Seasoning
1/4 tsp Herbs de Province at 425oF for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily
1/8 tsp orange peel
Some Caramalized red onion


Combine first 5 ingredients plus any optional ingredients, stirring well. Place fish on sprayed baking tray or rack and (spread with caramalized onions then) spread mayo mixture over. Sprinkle evenly with cheese mixture. Bake uncovered at 425oF for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

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High Hopes and High Protein – Oriental Flank Steak with Asparagus and Wild-Rice Pilaf – Salade Niçoise – Week 9

High Hopes and High Protein

This was a catch-up weekend that didn’t really result in catching up. It was Mothering Day Sunday in the UK. I always panic that I’ve missed Mother’s Day in the US, but they celebrate later. We also set our clocks ahead, which means I lose an hour of sleep. It doesn’t matter which side of the time change I’m on, I still lose sleep either by staying up too late or having to get up earlier.

Saturday morning was my teenage daughter’s film premier. In February she took part in a one week film course. There were two groups of six teens who produced two, two minute films. This isn’t the easiest career choice, but I can only advise her that she needs to work hard and follow her passion.

I finally got outside Sunday evening and got most of the planting done. This year I went for flowers in pots on the patio. I didn’t get the sunflowers planted in February so no need for the cold frame. It blew over two years in a row anyway so I figured I was jinxed if I got organized enough to plant early. I should have all sorts of cut flowers this summer to brighten up my office and home. At the moment daffodils are blooming. The farm is about two weeks later than the rest of the village so whilst daffs have been blooming down the lane, up by mine I they have just started opening. About four years ago while I was a Parish Clerk, we had a chunk of cash to spend on flowers which were to be planted near properties that had been updated. Our Parish Council Chair got a deal whereby we received 10,000 daffodil bulbs, some late and some early flowering. I ended up with a 1000 bulb sack to plant! It was late autumn and horrible rainy weather. I passed on as many as I could and volunteered two friends to help me plant the rest. The top entrance to the village has a row of yellow faces this time of year as a result.

Recently, I have been living off of seafood, chicken, pasta, pizza, soup and salads, but for Mothering Day I made a flank steak with broccoli and new potatoes. Flank steak is called Skirt in the UK. I ended up with a rather large slab of meat so I’ll enjoy leftovers at work. Mmmhm, it tastes better the second day as long as you don”t over cook it.

I forgot to take a photograph of tonight’s meal. Lighting in my house is not the best. I took a shot of the thinly sliced beef, but it seemed rather offensive somehow for the vegetarians so I decided against it for now. My daughter, the film enthusiast, has recently shown an interest in the kitchen. She has started making up her own recipes and taking great photos. I offered to post her recipes and photos, but she decided she could just start her own blog. A few days later my first daughter, also artsy and clever, started doing the same. Perhaps we’ll do a little family competition. (I’d best get my camera out because kids these days grow up with electronic devices plugged into their brains.)

The coming weeks hold a lot of promise for me. I signed up for four months of career coaching with a woman who lives in Denver, Colorado. My group telephone conferences will be at 1.30 am, but I’ll work around that. My objective is to be in a more challenging role, hopefully within my current work group, by the end of the summer. Wish me luck.

This morning I stepped onto the scales and saw a 6, then a 5. After my experience of the display showing 6 when it meant 8 I did a little shuffle, then a proper dance when I realized I had lost 1 1/2 pounds! I was proper thrilled. It must have been the two days last week when I had low calorie days. As a means of celebration I’ll post two recipes, leftovers for one can be used in the salad. Enjoy.

Now for a dose of protein followed by Salade Niçoise.

Oriental Flank Steak with Asparagus and Wild-Rice Pilaf
the best of Cooking Light ©2000

Serves 4. Takes about 1 hour 45 minutes with marinate time.


16 asparagus spears (bottoms snapped off)
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup dry sherry
½ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound flank (skirt) steak

4 cups spinach, sliced
2 cups wild rice, cooked
2/3 spring onions, chopped
½ cup celery, finely chopped
3 tsp dark sesame oil


(I have done this recipe by the book, but prefer to cook in preheated 375oC oven for about 30 minutes until medium rare, then cover in foil 5 minutes before slicing thin on the diagonal. You can use less marinate if you aren’t going to prepare the asparagus. Leftovers are fab and wonderful with a salad or wild rice above or the Salade Niçoise recipe to follow further below.)

Snap off and discard ends of asparagus. Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain well and chill.

Prepare soy sauce mixture by combining soy sauce through garlic (reserving 1/3 cup soy sauce mixture). Set aside. Place remaining soy sauce mixture, asparagus, steak in plastic baggy. Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally. Cook rice as per directions.

Remove asparagus and steak and discard marinate. Heat grill or skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and steak. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired doneness, turning asparagus as needed. Place steak on platter and cover with foil 5 minutes before slicing diagonally into thin slices.

Prepare salad:

Combine 1/3 reserved soy sauce mixture, spinach, rice, spring onion, celery, sesame oil; toss to coat.

Serve spears, steak, wild-rice pilaf. Save some leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch! I’m including a salad that can be made ahead in parts and added together the next day.

Happy eating!

Salade Niçoise
the best of Cooking Light ©2000

Serves 6. Takes about 35 minutes with marinate time. (Add 5-10 minutes to prepare Vinaigrette – or per-make and store in fridge.)


3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 pound tuna steaks (about 2 x 8 oz or leftovers from Oriental Flank Steak)
Freshly ground black pepper

Cooking spray
10 small red potatoes (about 1 pound)
½ pounds green beans, trimmed
4 cups romaine lettuce, torn
4 cups watercress, trimmed (about 1 bunch)
3 medium tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
3 hard-cooked large eggs, quartered lengthwise
1 small green bell pepper, cut into strips
½ cup nicoise olives
2 TBSP capers
6 canned anchovy fillets
Garlic-Basel Vinaigrette (see recipe for dressing further below)


Drizzle lemon juice over tuna; sprinkle with pepper. Marinate in refrigerator 15 minutes; discard lemon juice.
Prepare grill or broiler (or skip and use leftover beef, etc.).
Place tuna on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
Break tuna into chunks; set aside.

Steam potatoes, covered, 3 minutes. Add green beans, and steam covered, 8 minutes. Add green beans, and steam, covered, 8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender; cool.

Combine the lettuce and watercress on a large serving platter. Arrange the tuna, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, eggs, and bell pepper strips over greens. Top with olives, capers, and anchovy fillets. (I mince anchovy into unrecognizable bits.) Drizzle Garlic-Basel Vinaigrette over salad.

Garlic-Basel Vinaigrette
(5-10 minutes to prepare Vinaigrette – or per-make and store in fridge for up to 1 week. Makes 6 x 1 TBSP servings.)


1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (I use regular chicken broth)
1 ½ TBSP fresh chopped basil (or 1 ½ tsp dried basil if I’m desperate)
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, halved
Freshly ground black pepper


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

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Think Spring – Roasted Portabella Burgers with Rosemary Garlic Oven Fries – Week 8

Think Spring

Finally! Spring has arrived. The standing water in the driveway and fields is drying up. There was a brief moment last week when I thought I’d get the mower out and have a go at the front lawn, which is rather thick with long, field grass. Luckily a cloud passed over and spoiled the opportunity.

After my run-in with the rooster I was ready for him every time I went outside. He actually had another go at me Monday morning. I put on my ninja wellies and fought back. We came to blows; I came away with (my) blood on my leg, but I had the last say in the end. I’ve called out the reckless landlord, who fancies himself a farmer. He’ll see to the problem. I can’t have an attack cockerel on the farm.

Over the weekend I stayed up too late after a dinner dance. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to have a picture in my new dress. It’s rare to find a dress that looks great for an occasion and feels just as good – a one-of-a-kind designer number in silk. The shoes were fab (looking) but took some breaking in. They sound horrible, a deep royal blue suede, but matched. After a night of dancing followed by squash games the next two days, my feet were rebelling. Arnica oil and a good lie-in and I was back in form.

The blog is coming along, but I have to stay home long enough to actually get it ready to go live. Life is short. I’ll keep adding to the Equivalents and Such to make up for my notorious use of mixed terms from either side of the pond.
This week I was going to do the saffron sauce dish, but came across the Portabella burger recipe and since I had one of these at Nando’s a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was worth trying. You can also serve these ‘shrooms over a beef or minted-lamb burger, in which case you’ll need to double the other ingredients to stuff each ‘shroom. I think a lemon chilli sauce would be a nice addition.


Roasted Portabella Burgers with Rosemary Garlic Oven Fries
By Rachael Ray in Express Lane Meals (A 30 Minute Meal Cookbook)
Serves 4. Takes 30 minutes. Preheat oven 450oF


1 – 2 ½ pounds red or white boiling potatoes, washed
3 TBSP EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), plus some for drizzling (or duck fat)
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves finely chopped (slide the leaves off and chop)
Salt and pepper

2 TBSP garlic, finely chopped
8 large Portabella mushrooms, stems removed
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar (eyeball this)
4 cups arugula leaves, washed
2 jarred roasted red peppers, seeded (you can improvise here or roast your own)
4 slices prosciutto di Parma (yum)
4 fresh mozzarella cheese (sliced)

Fresh bread or bap, toasted or not.


Wedge the potatoes and place in baking pan. Drizzle with 3 TBSP EVOO and toss to coat. Season with rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes total, turning half way through. At half way point, add garlic, stir and flip. Continue to roast for total of 25 minutes (although it takes longer in my old oven) until brown and tender. (You might want to pre-boil the potatoes and use duck fat instead of EVOO.)

While roasting potatoes, season mushrooms with salt and pepper and place on baking tray, gill-side up. Drizzle with a little EVOO and balsamic vinegar. Transfer to oven and roast for 12 minutes or until cooked through. Leave oven on.

While mushrooms are roasting, coarsely chop arugula and roasted red peppers and combine them in a bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Top 4 of the cooked mushroom caps with a mound of arugula pepper mix, a slice of prosciutto, and a slice of mozzarella. Return to oven 2-3 minutes to melt cheese. Either top one mushroom over a stuffed one and eat with a fork or make a sandwich with a bap. I think a nice lemon chilli sauce would be a nice addition.

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Plateau – Quiche with a Difference – Week 4


I’m a bit late posting this week. My intention was to write up a spicy chicken recipe, but you’ll have to settle for a crust-less quiche. I really like quiche, but I don’t like to make pie crusts. It just takes too long and with a busy social life and two hour round trip commute to work, well, you get the idea – time is always at a premium.

If last week was a personal success for dropping back a pound that had slipped back on, then this week will just be a plateau. I can’t seem to shed another pound. Granted, part of the reason I decided to set my target goal to lose one stone over seven months is that I wanted this healthy lifestyle to be permanent. It’s all in how you look at it. One more week of not losing a pound, is really one more week of not gaining one.

I used to live in the Rocky Mountains, at 7200 feet above sea level on a high plateau. Reaching for the stars was easier there; it was a matter of how you perceived your starting place. Dieting is that way too; if you concentrate on healthy eating and taking the time to enjoy meals, what comes in between and how your body looks, is no longer a focus. Okay, I’m rationalizing.

Now for that quiche.

Quiche with a Difference
(Found in Weight Watchers Switch meal plans)

This takes 10 minutes to prepare, 40 to cook and serves 8.
You can freeze it too.
Preheat oven to 170oC.


Some Low fat cooking spray (I use olive oil)
1 onion, sliced into thin rings (I like leeks too)
75 g (2 ¾ oz) mushrooms, sliced (or more)
(plus sliced peppers, garlic, etc., depending on whatever you have in the house)
I’ve been known to add meat to this dish too.

5 eggs, beaten
100 ml (3 1/5 oz) skimmed milk
250 g (9 oz) cottage cheese
2 tomatoes, sliced
40 g (1 ½ oz) mature cheddar cheese, grated
1 TBSP parsley, chopped
(plus whatever herbs you like such as coriander, smidgeon of dry mustard, etc)
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Sauté onions and mushrooms, etc. until soft.
Spray metal 10 inch flan dish.
Layer sauté mixture.

Mix eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and seasonings. Pour over sauté mixture.
Arrange sliced tomatoes on top and sprinkle with cheese. (or vice versa).

Bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly to set.

I serve this with a salad or seafood with fruit on the side. A couple of slices of bacon go nicely on top.

LE Geddes

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