Saturday, May 19, 2018

DVD Player, Air Con, Asparagus,

I mentioned in my last blog that I had bought some DVDs which only played on Region 2 players
(UK) and not on region 1 (North America). After a fair amount of research plus lots of trial and error I finally found out how to unlock my DVD player so it will not run both types of DVD. I eventually discovered that the manufacturer itself had posted the instructions to make the change. I am so pleased, it means I don't have to either throw out the ones I have nor buy a new player or any of the other solutions I had considered. Amazing, you can find out the answers to most things on the net can't you?

Also, we managed to remove the grille on our a/c and I washed the filter. The last one wasn't done in 16 years (didn't know it had to be done) and could virtually stand alone. Getting the grille off isn't as easy as they show, but we did it in the end. Also, there is a frame which is part of the apartment fixing. Neatens it all up, but it has to be unscrewed too. Now if I could just get off my rear end and do the silver.

I didn't even go to exercise classes on Friday as my legs were really hurting. Roll on these tests I am booked in for.

Friday supper cooked the Garlic Asparagus with Shrimp and it turned out very well, however, if I make it again I will par boil the asparagus first. Also, I used the asparagus from the store. It wasn't bad but wasn't as good as I get from  the farm, so off to the farm I will be going toute suite.

I had to pass on this recipe before I forgot it. I couldn't believe anyone would come up with such a recipe. Must be lots of lobsters wherever they come from. I somehow doubt I will ever try it, too expensive by half. If anyone does try it, do let me know.

Lobster Shepherd’s Pie 

Potatoes and Stock

2 lb russet potatoes, scrubbed, pricked all over with a fork
¼ cup ( ½ stick) unsalted butter, divided
1 ½ lb lobster tails, meat removed from shells and cut into 2" pieces, shells broken into 2" pieces
2 Tbs tomato paste
½ cup dry white wine
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, halved through root end
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 celery stalks, halved crosswise
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 2" pieces, divided
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
Kosher salt
1 cup half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup chopped dill
2 Tbs prepared horseradish
8 oz pearl onions, peeled


¼ cup ( ½ stick) unsalted butter
8 oz pearl onions, peeled
3 medium carrots, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 2" pieces
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup half-and-half
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Flaky sea salt

Potatoes and Stock

Place a rack in top-most position of oven; preheat to 400°. Roast potatoes directly on rack until tender, 60–70 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium-high until melted and foaming. Add lobster shells and cook, stirring often, until bright red, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it starts to brown and stick to pot, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, scraping up browned bits, until almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add yellow onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaves, peppercorns, and 4 cups water. Toss in a generous pinch of kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and simmer briskly until liquid is reduced by two-thirds, 50–60 minutes. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof measuring glass; discard solids. (You should have about 1½ cups.)

While potatoes are cooling, warm half-and-half and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over low heat just to melt butter.

Split potatoes lengthwise and scoop flesh into half-and-half mixture. Smash with a potato masher until mixture is smooth and lump-free; season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Remove from heat and mix in egg yolks, dill, and horseradish; cover with plastic wrap.


Melt butter in a clean large saucepan over medium. Add pearl onions and carrots and cook, stirring, until onions start to turn translucent, 5–8 minutes. Sprinkle flour over; stir to combine. Cook, stirring, until flour leaves a film on bottom of pot, about 4 minutes. Stirring constantly, gradually stream in stock, then bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in half-and-half; season sauce with kosher salt and pepper. Let cool slightly.

Arrange lobster pieces in a shallow 1½-qt. baking dish and ladle sauce over. Dollop mashed potatoes on top and use the back of the spoon to spread across surface, creating decorative swirls. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet until lobster is cooked through and filling is bubbling around the edges, 20–25 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil pie just until topping is browned in spots, about 1 minute. Let rest 5–10 minutes before serving.

Servings: 4

Do Ahead: Pie can be assembled 1 day ahead; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and uncover before baking.

Source: Bon App├ętit

Author Notes
Removing the lobster from the shells prevents them from overcooking, and the shells help build an excellent sauce for this sheperd's pie recipe.

Have a great day

Friday, May 18, 2018

Very Local Asparagus, Bowling,

Thursday afternoon and I  have just bought 2 lbs of asparagus from the local store which is locally grown but is $5.98/lb as opposed to $3.98 at the farm. The farm is, of course, 20 minutes, or so, drive from here. I will eat some over the next few days and make a decision as to which I prefer. One bunch I picked up, and put down, had knobbly white bits on some of the ends. I have decided I am going to make the Garlic Shrimp with Asparagus for Friday supper. I posted it a couple of days ago.

Saw the scores for Wednesday League Bowling. Much to my surprise, I had the third highest average and the third highest triple. Our team is also in second place, but I really don't expect that to last. There are some very good bowlers who come to the Summer League. Mind you, today, I bowled a high average couple of games too. One was a 200 game. Oh if I can keep it up.

We have been watching As Time Goes By tonight, with Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, our favourite comedy series. Matt really enjoys them. Left if a bit late so have to scramble a bit to finish this blog. I have two sets  of DVDs which we can watch and 2 sets which are region 2, i.e. they won't play on my machine. Didn't realise when I bought them. Then I discovered one could set the computer to play them, so I did. Unfortunately at some point, the Windows was updated and once that has happened one cannot re-set it. Infuriating. I did think of buy an all region DVD player but never did so. I then fell into it with another DVD - The Cruel Sea - which is also region 2.

This is a recipe I picked up fairly recently and is one I have yet to try.

Asparagus with Indian Spices 

Long green spears of asparagus are not the usual Indian vegetable but with the right spices it really does work. Hari says.

Asparagus is a beautiful vegetable that only has a very short season, but when it is fresh, it’s perfect. Asparagus starts to appear in May until about July and I know it's a vegetable that needs very little to be done to it. The more simply it's cooked, the more tasty it is. That being said I like to experiment
and try new things and although this was a tricky one to put with some spices, by using the lovely aromas of fennel seeds I found that it really worked. I decided that keeping it simple with a couple of flavours worked well…so here you have my Asparagus with Indian spices - make the most of it while it’s in season. If you can’t get hold of amchoor, just use a little squeeze of lemon instead.

2 garlic cloves
3 cm piece ginger
500 g Asparagus, chopped
3 tsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 onion, sliced
1 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
½ tsp amchoor powder (dried mango powder) (or a squeeze of lemon juice)
3 tomatoes, chopped finely
Salt to taste

1. Crush the ginger and garlic in a pestle and mortar to a paste.

2. Heat the oil in pan and on a medium heat add the cumin and fennel seeds.

3. Once sizzling and fragrant add sliced onions with the chopped green chilies and crushed ginger and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.

4. Add the chopped asparagus and sprinkle in the salt, red chili powder and amchoor.

5. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Servings: 4

Author: Hari Ghotra

Have a great day