Mauviel Copper Double Boiler

I was actually doing some cooking today! Well, sort of, Nanaimo Bars (the whole story to follow later - they're actually a type of fridge-bar).

Step 1 is to melt butter, sugar and cocoa in the microwave or a double boiler. I'm lucky enough to have been gifted this Mauviel copper double boiler and I just love having a reason to pull it

Isn't it just plain pretty? All brass and copper and porcelain just like stuff back in the (good) old days. Quality. Weighs a ton too.

Quality comes with a price though. Amazon has these listed at $257 ouch (I mean... each) [list price is about $360]. Mine was bought (for me) in Paris, back before the price of copper rose and the dollar dropped; for substantially less.

Spice Shop

photo credit:

I'm still checking out the photo collection.

This is the 1st food-oriented pic from the trip to Egypt. A spice shop. Approximately 89% of these spices travelled home with me.

This was not in a real touristy area. It's just a regular shop for regular people on a regular street. No self serve; a fellow behind a counter. You wait your turn (while talking to the neighbors who are waiting as well); then chat with the shopkeeper (who is your neighbor too) about what you want.
It takes a while to get the shopping done but there's more people, more community, involved. maybe not such a bad thing.

Snow in Vancouver and Kelowna Too

Looks like the Pacific Northwest is having fun today. Hi to more of the gang.

These are (probably) live webcam shots of 1) Vancouver & 2) Kelowna - who are also enjoying (?) snow.

Big White

Snow in Campbell River

A big Hi to the family in Campbell River. Hope you are enjoying the years first snowfall. Maybe the kids will get a "snow day".

Technical note: Above is a screenshot of Sunday.
Below is a test to try and imbed a live shot of a Campbell River web cam.

The Great Pyramid of Giza: Egypt

Finished around the year 2560 B.C. (4566 years ago) the Great Pyramid of Egypt is the last of the original seven wonders of world that still exists. Some date it as being up to 10000 years old; opinions vary.

The sides are unexpectedly irregular.

We were in Egpyt a year or so ago. I went with a group of (Spanish) belly dancers. There were 3 guys and a whole mess of women; who spent much of the time wearing veils and dancing at the drop of a hat. A most interesting trip.

I've been sorting through my picture galleries, trying to get them in some sort of order (using free software called Picasa [from the Google folks]). And I discovered that I have not one single picture of food from Egypt. Very odd. I do have a picture of around back of a restaurant that we ate at. Maybe it would have been better not to look.

Places like Egypt might sound pretty exotic but from a European perspective it amounts to a low-cost vacation destination that has decent weather in the winter. Comparable to going to Mexico back when I lived in New York.

My Old Hometown

This is the town where I was born & raised. Not bad. I rather liked it. Still miss the place somewhat. My aunt & uncle used to live on a sailboat in this very harbour.

Pizzeria Positano: Paris

Next time you're in Paris, France, try this one out. As far as I'm concerned the best pizza in Paris. Hand made, wood oven, small place, great atmosphere. Seemingly authentic.
It's in the 6th - 15, rue des Canettes. Metro Station: Mabillon, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, or Saint-Sulpice [my preference is St. Suplice]. I don't think they take reservations and it's usually pretty busy so be prepared to be a little bit patient (although I never have had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table at lunch).

And if you're not going to Paris anytime soon you can remember this anyway and recommend it to your friends who do go to Paris.

Stress Test

It's a simple test designed to indicate whether people have too much stress in their life.

It's a picture of two dolphins. The two dolphins appear normal when viewed by a stress-free individual. This test is not accurate enough to pick up mild stress levels.

It's quite simple. If there is anything that appears different about the dolphins (ignore the fact of the slight color differences) it is often an indication of potential stress related problems. Differences, if any, may also indicate the source of your stress.

Sit upright and viewing the screen head-on, take a deep breath, breathe out and then look directly at the picture.

If there is anything out of the ordinary then you should consider taking things a little easier..

Yes, this has been around the web for a quite bit and I should attribute it; if I could find its originator.

China Banquet

This is chinese food. Literally. The pic was taking in Pingyao. This is the leftovers from a 2 person chinese banquet that my S.O. enjoyed while on a recent visit to China. The leftovers.

Deadly Cute

Nyah, Nicole & Naomi (who was 2 days old in this pic)

Tyee Salmon

Way back in '96 (the previous century) I was in Campbell River, B.C., Canada and hauled in this fish. Note how large it in relative to the size of the kid who's line it actually struck. It was 2 days worth of barbeque for about a dozen people.

Tyee Salmon
Also know as a Chinook.

Yes, that's me (many years ago). My mouth's open because I'm probably excitedly chatting about the fish.

This is, by the way, another attempt to post via Windows Live Writer; using a picture (but this time the picture is added via Flickr). Perhaps this is all too complicated.

Canada: Nice Views

Talk about nice views... here's one I took when the family went for a little paddle in Canada.

I've been very lucky that way. Have got to see a few really special places.

Come to think of it there's a couple of pictures from France that I ought to go look for.

Note: Picture carefully cropped to eliminate skinny dippers.

Goya's Dog

Fransisco Goya (1746-1828) was a famous Spanish painter. This is one of his paintings - my favorite. Subtle somehow.

There's a new movie about him showing in theaters here (will probably not hit it too big in America) called Goya's Ghosts. Very enjoyable.

It was also a test of posting a picture to Blogger from Windows Live Writer. Didn't work.

Okay - really really not food related. I had better take some pictures of pizzas at work.

Peering Out the Window

I was over at someone's house, in my cooking duds, and peering out the window at the Galacian countryside. Lovely view. One of the few parts of Spain that isn't full of buildings yet.

¿Did you miss the 'r' when you first read the title?

Kale: Boerenkool: Farmer's Cabbage: Stampot: Stamppot

Speaking of funny vegetable greens...

Isn't it pretty!?

In Holland (The Netherlands: home of the folks known as the Dutch) this is a typical winter dish. In many parts of the western world a colourful variant of this is sold as a crinkly leaved decorative winter flowering cabbage plant; not used for food.

It's known a Kale in many places.

In The Netherlands we cooked it with potatoes and smoked sausage (note the clever tie-in to the previous post).

Today's quickie recipe (by the way, Dutch kids love this stuff).

Boerenkool Stampot


1 kg (2 Lbs) potatoes (about 6)
2 t salt (for the water for the potatoes)
1 kg (2 #s) curly type kale
500 g (1 lb) smoked sausage
300 ml (1¼ C) milk
250 g (½ lb) lean, smoked, bacon (in one big slab [if you can find it])
4 T butter
1 T Vinegar (optional)

  • Kale: Wash, peel away any really tough viens and finely chop
  • Potatoes: Wash, peel, cube (1 cm: ½ inch) and wash (again - to remove excess starch)
  • Put both into a big saucepan (or a pot), with some water and a little salt (mainly for the potatoes [¾ covered]; and yes, the kale will float around on top)
  • Bacon & sausage: on top of this
  • Bring to a boil
    • Simmer low for 30 minutes (to soften the potatoes)
  • Remove the bacon and sausage.
    • Cube the bacon (1 cm: ½ inch),
    • Slice the sausage in pretty diagonals (½ cm: ¼ inch thick).
  • Drain the potatoes and kale
    • Add butter, milk and vinegar (yes, use the vinegar - it's odd but adds a special touch)
  • Mash (stamp [in Dutch]) the potatoes
  • Put into a pre-warmed dish with the bacon and sausage pieces on top



  • Pre-warm a bowl by filling it with really hot water (boiling) and waiting for a bit. Unless the oven was already on to prepare something else and you want to use to oven's residual heat.

Yes, basically it's mashed potatoes fancied up with kale and some meat. If you eliminate the kale and change the sausage & bacon for hot dog pieces you've got a delicious traditional dish that my mother was likely to serve back in the old (old old) days in Canada.

Currently there's no Kale in the shops here yet so I haven't made any this year so far. When I do I'll take a picture (now that my camera's back in action). Meanwhile here's one from wikipedia:

Grelos: Turnip Greens

These are grelos (more or less they're young turnip greens). Cooked with a pork shoulder and, since it's Spain, chorizo (sausage). If you can find a pigs ear toss that into the mix too.

If they are not very very young sweet greens precook them for 5 minutes in boiling water to extract their natural bitterness. Then cook forever (1 hour) with the pork and sausage. Toss in a few potatoes and cook for a half hour more.
That would be a kilo (2 lbs) of green and about 6 potatoes.

Dead easy, tasty, and good for you too. We especially like the sausage part.

It's interesting (to me) that northern Spain (Galicia) and the southern U.S. have similar classic foods.
No, this is not the Galicia as referred to in Galatians in the bible.

Okay, so it's not the most picturesque dish in the world; the kids won't like it. But it really is very tasty.

Totally not Food Related: Hartsdale NY

A little over 3 years ago I left the town of Hartsdale in Westchester New York to move back to Europe.

I've got my camera working again and I was cleaning up some of the memory cards when I came across this; the last picture of the apartment just before I closed the door on my way to the airport. I sometimes miss it. Especially the sound of the creek out back trickling in through the bedroom windows.

It's election day for you Americans out there (the "United States of" types). Get out and vote. When I see the results I'll think of you all and of my ole apartment I'll see whether it's made me feel like I miss the place more or happy that I left.