Friday, June 16, 2017

Anna Sultana’s Cream Scones

Strawberries and cream go together so well.
But sometimes one can have too much of a good thing, as in a leftover cup or two of heavy cream.
If you’ve had your fill of berries - or would like something to serve with a cup of tea - why not make a batch or two of cream scones?

This is a quick and easy recipe that will make light and airy scones.
The heavy cream replaces the butter and milk.
Don’t get too excited about the recipe not needing butter - the calories are about the same.


This recipe calls for currants, but it will work with other chopped dried fruit, such as dried blueberries.
Blueberries go well with lemon zest.
Dried cranberries and orange zest make a good combination.

If you have extra zest you can combine it with 2 Tablespoons sugar to sprinkle on top.
If you don’t have zest, you can add 1 teaspoon lemon or orange extract when you add the vanilla.
Don’t have either extract? Use an extra teaspoon of vanilla.

The clotted cream is in the dairy section of most supermarkets.

To reheat scones, wrap loosely in foil and heat at 300 F for 10 minutes.

Don’t have leftover cream? Try these scone recipes:

                        Cream Scones

Makes 12 scones 
grease and lightly flour a large cookie pan         
preheat oven to 450º F  

In a large bowl, mix together
1 2/3 Cups flour
3 to 4 Tablespoons sugar 
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange or lemon

Stir in to coat
1/2 Cup currants

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture.
1 Cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla 
Stir lightly with a fork.
Dip your hands in flour and knead about 6 times.
Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces and place them on the prepared cookie pan.
Dip your hands in flour and shape each piece into a circle, gently patting to flatten into 2 5-inch rounds.

Dipping a knife in flour before each cut, cut each round into 6 wedges. 
Brush the tops with a little milk, cream or melted butter.
Sprinkle each round with sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve warm with butter or clotted cream.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Anna Sultana’s Grilled Greek Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce, Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice

Ah… June in Manitoba!!

Time to be outdoors, live outdoors, eat outdoors!
Make a great meal, toss a salad, fire up the grill, call the gang over and have fun!
Time to celebrate - weddings, graduations, whatever.
And the family favourite -  Father’s Day!

Check out this page that has links for some of our old favourite barbecue recipes.
And, hopefully, something that will become a new favourite for you.

Father’s Day has changed a bit over the years.
In 2006 I wrote a piece for the CKUW radio show 2000 & Counting - Older & Wiser.
The story got a chuckle from the other hosts and the staff then.
I hope it will get the same today…

Wishing all you Dads a great Father's Day!


If you're using wooden skewers soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading the chicken pieces onto them. Wrap the ends of the skewers with foil before placing them on the barbecue to prevent them from burning as the chicken cooks.

Don’t have a barbecue? This will also work in the broiler.

                        Greek Chicken

6 - 8 servings

Cut into 2 inch chunks
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Combine in a large bowl
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Stir in the chicken breast pieces.
Let chicken marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.

While the chicken is marinating prepare the sauce.

                        Tzatziki Sauce

Peel and chop
1 small cucumber
Spread the pieces over a paper towel.
Sprinkle over the cucumber
1 teaspoon salt
Let sit 30 minutes, then pat dry.

Finely dice
1 green pepper

Place in a strainer over a medium bowl
1 1/2 Cups plain yogurt
Let drain 15 minutes.
Discard the drippings and scrape the drained yogurt into the medium bowl.
2 Tablespoons mint
2 Tablespoons parsley or coriander
1 clove garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
the prepared chopped cucumber and diced green pepper
Stir together, cover and refrigerate.

Thread the chicken pieces onto 8 skewers. 
Discard the marinade.

Heat the barbecue to medium high heat.
Grill 12 to 15 minutes or until done, turning occasionally. 
Serve chicken with the tzatziki sauce.
For a starch, how about pita bread or a hot cooked whole grain or rice?
A salad with crumbled feta cheese would be nice, too.

About the sky this week and next, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

June 15 - The ringed planet Saturn will light up the night sky from dusk till dawn today. Earth will be positioned between it and the Sun, bringing Saturn to what astronomers call opposition. Saturn is opposite the Sun.

June 17 - Last Quarter Moon, 7:33 a.m. In this phase, the Moon appears as a half Moon. While summer hasn’t officially started quite yet, stargazers can still spot the Summer Triangle on these spring evenings at dusk. Look for a triangle that’s composed of the three brightest stars in the sky: Deneb, Vega, and Altair. 
Lean more about the Summer Triangle here

June 19 - Look to the east one hour before sunrise to spot brilliant Venus and the waning crescent Moon paired up in the sky. Hope for clear skies! The Moon and Venus rank as the second-brightest and third-brightest celestial bodies after the Sun.

June 21 - Summer Solstice at 12:24 a.m.. This is when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the celestial equator. Summer is officially here!  

June 23 - New Moon 10:31 p.m. The Moon is also at perigee, its closest to Earth for the month. A super new Moon!

If it rains on June 27, it will rain for seven weeks.
If it rains on St. Peter’s Day (June 29), the bakers will have to carry double flour and single water; if dry, they will carry single flour and double water.

Rain on Peter and Paul (June 29) will rot the roots of the rye.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Anna Sultana’s Strawberry Sangria and June’s Full Strawberry Moon

The May we had in Winnipeg has been on the brisk side.
To be honest, so cold we had the heat on last week.
But now it’s June, and that means Summer.
Okay, not really for three more weeks, but the cottages have been readied and everyone has summer on the brain.

Sangria is perfect for this time of year.
It has something alcoholic (usually wine - either red or white) and chopped fruit. 
The alcohol is a bit watered down, so there’s less risk of dehydration.
Think of it as a warm weather version of mulled wine.
In honour of June’s Full Strawberry Moon, why not make a pitcher of Strawberry Sangria.

People first talked about sangria in the 18th century. 
Some say they got the name from the Spanish word sangre (blood) because of the red colour of the drink.
Others say it comes from Sanskrit as in the Urdu word sakkari (sugared wine).

Whatever… in the late 1940s Hispanic Americans and Spanish restaurants introduced Sangria to the United States and it really became popular when the 1964 World's Fair in New York was in full swing.


Dry white wines such as a Rueda, Jumilla, or Valdepeñas are traditional for sangria with white wine.
Other popular choices are Pinot Grigio, moscato and Sauvignon Blanc.
You can also use red or rose wine.

Don’t have strawberries? No problem. You can use whatever fruit you have on hand, such as apples, peaches, melon, berries, pineapple, grapes, kiwifruit or mangoes. 
You can sweeten it with honey, sugar, syrup, or orange juice. 
Seltzer, Sprite or 7 Up can be used to top up the pitcher. 

Allow the sangria to mellow in the refrigerator for several hours, or a full day.
Add the soda (if you’re using it) just before serving.
Have on hand plenty of ice to refill the bucket. 
This way your friends can add as much ice as they want, and the flavour won’t get watered down.

For the kiddies you could make sangria using ginger ale, lemon juice, orange juice and sugar.
And lots of fruit!

                        Strawberry Sangria

Yield: 8 servings

Cut into thin slices
1 lemon or orange

3 Cups fresh strawberries

Pour into a large pitcher 
2 750 ml. bottles of dry white wine (see above for ideas)
2 Cups strawberry-cranberry juice or strawberry nectar or pomegranate juice
the sliced strawberries
the lemon or orange slices

Cover the pitcher and place it in the refrigerator. 
Let chill for several hours or overnight.
When ready to serve fill glasses 3/4 full with the sangria mixture.
Be sure to get some strawberries and lemon or orange slices in the glass, too. 

Top off each glass with 
Chilled club soda or sparkling water
Garnish with 
mint leaves and a whole strawberry

Have on hand plenty of ice for people to serve themselves.

About the sky this week and next, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

June 3 - Venus is farthest from the Sun. Look to the south after sunset to see the waxing gibbous Moon just 2 degrees north of Jupiter. The Moon and Jupiter will be two brightest and the first objects out at dusk. The bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo, will also join the pair, below them and to the left.

June 4 - Look to the east after the Sun sets to see this trio: the waxing gibbous Moon with the star Spica below it; to the right is Jupiter.

June 9  - Full Strawberry Moon at 9:10 a.m. See how this Moon got its name in this short Farmers’ Almanac video. When the full Moon rises it will be just past apogee - its farthest point from Earth, at a distance of 252,526 miles. It will, in fact, be the smallest (to us) full Moon of 2017.  See if you can detect its smaller-than-normal size that night. Compared to the so-called “Supermoon” of last November 14th, the June full Moon will appear 12.3 percent smaller.

June 12 - Look for the Big Dipper asterism, the most recognizable star pattern in our night sky. It will be high in the north during the evening hours during the month of June.

June 14 - Earliest sunrise of 2017. This happens every year around mid-June, despite the year’s longest day - the Summer Solstice - is one week away.