Wednesday, October 27, 2010

National Geographic's Great Migrations

November 7th, the National Geographic channel starts airing their new program: Great Migrations. I had the opportunity to see the first episode this Monday after the Random House Kids Preview for booksellers. It is phenomenal. The photography is gorgeous. I also managed to win one of 4 prize packs they had (and I never win at these things). Inside the bag was the adult hardcover that goes along with the show, and 5 kids books - one generic about the show, 4 dealing with the migratory patterns of specific animals (with quizes, vocab and ways to help).

A bit about filming the show, from the kid's guide. The photographers spent:
350 hours perched in trees
400 hours underwater
150 hours in helicopters
250 hours filming at night
800 days shooting

I suspect the DVDs for this program - and the books - will find their way under many Christmas trees this December.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Jeff Lindsay in Toronto

Last night I was privileged to attend a special bookseller event to meet Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter (good guy/serial killer) books. He's in town promoting his most recent book, Dexter is Delicious and will be doing events at the International Festival of Authors. I brought my copies and talked to other booksellers as we waited for him to arrive. The poor man's flight was delayed, so after coming in for a quick 1 question Q&A, he signed our books then ran to his next appointment, giving a pre film speech for a special showing of Casablanca.

My video taping wasn't the best, so I've put a still photo over the voice track of Mr. Lindsay explaining where he got the idea for the Dexter books.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Can't Blog... Canning

Sorry for the paucity of posts recently. I've been busy with life things. Like canning. This week I did 4 bottles of pizza sauce, 3 bottles of chopped tomatoes and 5 of hot mixed vegetables. I've only done a bit of home canning as an adult (my mother did a LOT when I was young), so I decided to start with smaller batches to avoid major problems (like fermenting my german pickles last year). Hopefully all will turn out well with these attempts.

Next week I've got to dig over my garden and prep it for the winter. And sometime soon I really ought to vacuum...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kitty Moment

I finally managed to achieve a measure of peace in my office with regards to the kitties. The one who meowed outside my door got to sit on the bookcase below the window and look out. The other one could curl up on the second chair in the room. Ah, peace.

Alas, I had to repot my herb garden so it fit into one planter and move it inside. The only place where it can get light is my office bookcase - where I kept my seedlings this spring. The cat didn't like being supplanted. I tried to keep her out at first and gave that up. I thought she might jump up on the bookcase and sit opposite the window next to my plants and be good.

Nope. She wanted to be between the planter and the window, and as I watched, she started eating my herbs. So now she's not allowed in my office again, and I have to put up with her begging outside my door.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Corn Maze

(Canadian) Thanksgiving Sunday, my husband and I went to a corn maze. There'd been rain that week so some parts were muddy, but on the whole it was a lot of fun. I love how the walls are high enough that you can't cheat and look over, nor can you see anyone more than a few feet away.

Instead of making the maze solvable, the owners turned it into a game. You're given a map with numbers on it - the corresponding spot on the map has the clue for a word puzzle to do once you've found all the evens or odds.

The shot with people is to give you an idea of how tall the stalks really are.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


This is a German dish my mother used to make for special occasions (when we didn't have turkey with all the trimmings instead :P ). I've heard there are lots of varieties, so I'll explain how my family makes them. Like most home style recipes, amounts depend on how many servings you're making so I didn't list any here.

beef 1/person (see note below)
chopped white onion for sprinkling on the beef
thinly sliced uncooked bacon (optional - I leave it out)
plain mustard
salt & pepper for seasoning
cotton thread for tying
1 beef bouillon cube
1-2 cups water
flour for thickening the broth

Notes on the beef:
- I typically buy actual roladin cuts at European grocery stores, but at times I've had to get creative and have therefore also used shabu shabu sliced beef in Japan and fast fry beef in Canada. You're looking for beef that's about 1/8" thick, 8" long and 3" wide. I'm pulling these off the top of my head, so anything long enough to be rolled without making the rolls too thick should do it. And you do want the beef fairly thin.
- If you make extra beef rolls, you get a richer sauce and both the sauce and meat freeze and reconstitute well.
- wash and dry each slice of meat
- put a thin later of mustard on top, followed by salt and pepper, onions and bacon
- roll up the meat and tie it with the string
- brown the meat rolls in a pot (once you add water they won't brown anymore)
- add water (the more water you add the less flavourful the gravy will be, so start with 1 cup depending on the number of meat rolls, taste the broth and adjust accordingly), bouillon cube and bring to a boil
- reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes
- remove the rolls, cut off the strings
- whisk flour into the broth to create gravy
- return the roladin rolls to the pot
In my house, roladin was typically served with egg noodles, bread or potato dumplings, mashed potatoes, corn and red cabbage. I've started adding stove top stuffing and yorkshire puddings to that list. Oh, and the leftover sauce is fantastic on rye bread.

** I found out the last time a bought meat for this dish from the international grocery store that it's actually spelled rouladin, though a google search brought up both spellings. As I learned most of my German via culture rather than through school I guess I shouldn't be so surprised I was spelling it 'wrong'. I wonder if the German uses an umlaut... as that would explain the variation.