I’ve Been Hiding

Hey kids – sorry I’ve been gone so long.

Here’s the latest:

  • Unearthed my old synth and started to play ‘piano’ again (my synth will have to do until I can afford to get a baby grand)
  • Realised that I can’t keep eating all the different ice cream flavours I like  – even if Ben & Jerry’s is on sale
  • Got a fitbit one to count my steps and am wearing it everywhere. Dad got one too and is getting quite competitive.
  • Found I was bearly doing half the amount of steps I should be (most days it is a tad under 6000 until I make a special effort to increase my movement).
  • Accepted that I can’t do everything
  • Plan on running again – want to start a relay team for the July fun run

my fitbit one

Great huh? Amazing!
How’s the time change treating you today?

5 Unusual Foods from Around the World

One mans delicacy can be anothers worst nightmare. Here are 5 foods that you may or may not be pleased to find on your plate.

1. Balut

Balut is a fertilized duck or chicken egg with a partially developed bird embryo inside. The egg is boiled and then eaten right out of the shell! It’s often found in Asia, frequently in the Phillipines. They’re often served with beer!

balut photo

2. Sannakji

Sannakji is the name for a Korean dish that is made of raw, live octopus! The small octopus is cut up into pieces, then served immediately — and is still squirming on the plate!


One of the most interesting things about sannakji is that because the octopus is still moving, the suction cups on its tentacles can cling to the inside of your mouth or throat and create a choking hazard. Thus, people eating sannakji are advised to chew every piece thoroughly.

3. Haggis

Haggis is a traditonal dish of Scotland, and is contained in the boiled stomach of a sheep. The stomach is stuffed with the minced lungs, heart and liver of the sheep, along with onion, oatmeal and other seasonings.

haggis on a plate

It is traditional to have a glass of whiskey with your haggis!

Some speculate that haggis was created as a way to quickly use up the parts of a sheep that tend to spoil faster. You can find haggis in many Scottish supermarkets and restaurants.

4. Black Pudding or Blood Pudding

Black pudding, also known as blood pudding, is a kind of sausage made from cooked animal blood. Cattle or pig blood is most often used, and the sausage is commonly found in Europe or Canada as part of breakfast. Different varieties of the dish can be found all over the world!

black pudding

5. Criadillas or Rocky Mountain Oysters

These are known as Rocky Mountain Oysters in the US, and called criadillas in Spain and Mexico. They’re actually not oysters at all, and are actually bull testicles! They are often served deep-fried, as as an appetizer.

Rocky Mountain Oysters

These are most popular where castration of bulls for non-culinary purposes is common, such as the American West.

Cat Power and Catching Flies

A house cat makes a good mouse/mole deterrent.  We have an abandoned cat that adopted us and promptly had several litters.  She trained each one of them to be a mouser with great success!  Only problem is she likes to bring her catch into the house to show it off, before its dead.


As far as flies go, 2008 was the worst year for flies around here.  We used a fly trap years ago called a “Big Stinky” and it worked surprisingly well.  Especially if you put a piece of afterbirth inside with the water.  It’ll attract flies for acres and kills them dead.  Its amazing sometimes how effective it is, but don’t put it near your home as it lives up to its name.

I found it online here:

But our local feed store had an equivalent that worked just as good.  The idea is to have an attractant in the water so when a fly enters the top it gets trapped and drowns.  After awhile the “bug juice” ferments with fly enzymes and attracts other flies like you wouldn’t believe.  Neat thing about it is when the jar fills up, you dump it into the garden since fly cadavers are high in phosphorus and acts as a fertilizer (but save some of the bug juice when you refill the water). ~ M

Grape Sorbet Recipe

No matter the season, we all love frozen desserts. If you’re anything like me, you’ve already tried all the standard ice creams, sorbets, and frozen yogurts in the grocery store and have been craving something a little bit different. Not that there is anything wrong with strawberry or raspberry sorbet, but sometimes we need to embrace new flavors, textures, and expand our culinary horizons. To that end, I present today’s culinary experiment: my first grape sorbet recipe.

I have never seen a grape sorbet available for sale, and seedless grapes were on sale at the market, so I decided to give it a try. I started with a basic fruit sorbet recipe, drastically reduced the sugar, and then replaced the sugar itself with honey because honey has less of an impact on blood sugar than regular sucrose. In order to smooth out the texture, I added a bit of vodka because the alcohol will prevent the final grape sorbet from freezing as hard as it otherwise would. A pinch of salt rounds out the flavor and turns the taste buds up to eleven.

For all my ice creams and sorbets, I use a trusty little Cuisinart ice cream maker that has served me well for quite a few years. It has a removable bowl that needs to be frozen for 24 hours before it is ready to churn. Amazon has quite a few different similar models, as well as some with built-in compressors that eliminate that 24 hour wait completely.

Basic Grape Sorbet Recipe

Like all great sorbets, this recipe is very simple. I used seedless green grapes in this version because they’re my favorite, but it should work just as well with any seedless variety. Varieties containing seeds should be seeded before we begin.

Ingredients for Grape Sorbet

  • 2 1/4 lbs Seedless Grapes
  • 1/3 Cup Raw Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Vodka (this helps keep it from freezing rock hard)
  • Pinch of Salt

Add all ingredients to your trusty blender and puree very thoroughly, about five minutes. Many sorbet recipes ask us to strain the pureed fruit through a fine mesh strainer, but it’s not necessary in this case. There are no seeds to strain out and the skin is chopped up fine enough that it doesn’t hurt that final texture.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer your finished grape sorbet to an air-tight container and harden in the freezer for at least three to four hours before consuming.

Garnish with a few fresh grapes if you like and enjoy.

grape sorbet

This grape sorbet recipe makes just about a full quart. Most commercial sorbets consider a serving size to be 1/2 cup, but since no one ever only eats 1/2 cup of sorbet at a time, the figures below are based on one cup servings, which is much more realistic. Just remember that even though sorbet is made from fruit and is fat-free, it still contains a huge amount of sugar, so nosh accordingly.

Feeding Hummingbirds in the Garden

Our ‘nectar’ for feeding the hummingbirds is a mixture made up of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water – boiled together for 1 to 2 minutes to kill any bacteria and also to help slow down spoilage. Once cooled it is stored in the refrigerator.

We couldn’t believe how many hummingbirds come now we have started to feed them. They seem really drawn to the feeders – perhaps because of the red colour (?) – most of the feeders we saw at the pet shop seemed to have red and some kind of flower motif.


We read that they particuarly like flowering plants such as Columbine, Begonias and Holly Hocks, as well as Fuchsias and Petunias so increasing these in our garden might be a future project!

Hummingbirds can get quite territorial over the food but we haven’t had any problems like that – at least not yet.

Watching hummingbirds is a definite joy.