Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pink Saturday

Taken in Hannibal (home of Mark Twain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown of Titanic fame) Missouri.

Saturday Snapshot

One of our plans is to drive the entire Route 66 trail. We have done bits and pieces of it when we have been in the States. These were taken in Holbrook Arizona. Who wouldn't love to stay in this motel with these cars parked outside?

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to the love of my life!

Friday, March 30, 2012


My Dad's eldest brother died this week in England. He was 86 and had a good life. That leaves his baby sister as the only living member of that generation.
This photo was taken at a cousin's wedding in Ireland 1989, the last time they would all be together.

Friday Favorite Finds - Recipes

Finding Joy in My Kitchen
Please link up to a post containing your list of recipes to try -- do not link up individual recipes please, save those for other linkys.  Be sure to leave a link back here to Finding Joy in my Kitchen.

Strawberry cream cheese crescent wraps



Floral Friday Fotos

Copy this image and its link to place on your blog
I'm posting over here today!

This is my first posting at Floral Friday Fotos and since I love to garden and also digital scrapbooking, I thought I'd post this photo of our pond in the spring. I love these Siberian irises.

Friday Finds - Books

What great books did you hear about/discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS  hosted by MizB over at  Should Be Reading.

The Gods of Gotham 

The Good Father: A Novel 

Skywatch Friday

I'm linking up over here today!

One of my favourite shots taken in Verona, Italy after a rain storm.

All photography on Junk Boat Travels are under copyright. If you would like to use any of my photographs please contact me first.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Recipe Box - Stuffed Flank Steak

Photo taken at McEwan's Don Mills Toronto

My mom used to make stuffed flank steak in much the same way as this recipe. She would never have used boxed stuffing as she always made her own.

This is just a slightly upscale version of hers.

I made my own gravy using caramelized onions and homemade stock. I also didn't bother drenching the meat in flour before browning.

I have also stuffed it with spinach or gravy

Mushrooms would be great served with this.

1 large fl ank steak, about 1 1/2 lbs (750 g)
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil, divided
1/2 cup (125 mL) fi nely chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup (250 mL) panko bread crumbs
or 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) coarse fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh thyme or basil or a mixture
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
Kitchen twine
1/4 cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour

2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups (375 to 500 mL) beef broth or stock
1/2 cup (125 mL) dry red wine


1. Butterfly steak lengthwise using a horizontal cut (do not cut all the way through to opposite side). Open up on butcher paper; cover with plastic wrap and whack with smooth side of a meat pounder (or bottom of a heavy skillet) until about 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick.

2. Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil until shimmering hot in a medium frying pan. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until onion has softened.

3. Meanwhile toss panko bread crumbs with Parmesan, herbs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add onion mixture; toss until well combined. Set aside.

4. If roasting right away, preheat oven to 375°F (190°F).

5. Lay pounded steak so grain of meat goes left to right in front of you. Leaving 2 inches (5 cm) uncoated on far long side, pat filling over meat. Beginning near you, tightly roll up the steak forming a neat roll.

6. Cut 5 pieces of twine, each about 20 inches (50 cm) long. Beginning at the middle, tie roast, spacing ties evenly apart. Trim twine ends; discard. Neaten ends of roll by tucking in any spilled filling or ragged bits of steak. (If making ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to a day. Add 15 minutes to roasting time.)

7. Over medium- to medium-high heat, heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) oil until shimmering hot in a large heavy frying pan capable of going into the oven (cast iron is ideal). Meanwhile, roll tied steak in flour until heavily coated; discard flour that does not cling to meat.

8. Add steak to pan, turning for 8 to 10 minutes in total until lightly browned on all sides. Turn roast seam-side down in pan. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 130°F (55°C). Remove steak to cutting board, cover meat with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes (this completes the cooking).

9. For sauce, add flour to hot pan; stir over medium heat for 1 minute or until absorbed. Pour in 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) broth and the wine; gently whisking, bring to a boil. Sauce should be nicely thickened; if too thick, add more broth as needed. Taste sauce; add seasonings as needed. Strain into a warmed container.

10. Slice steak widthwise into 1/2-inch-thick (1-cm) slices, removing strings as encountered.

2012 Decluttering

I notice as I continue on this decluttering campaign that it gets easier and easier to just get rid of "stuff".

Charity/Give away
Denim blue sweater
Cream sweater
Favourite green sweatshirt
DH Moab blue shirt
DH beige sweater
DH blue sweatshirt
Book to a friend
Italy travel book also to a friend heading there in the fall
USB cable to a friend
4 pairs of socks
2 brand new bras that I don't like

Nail clipper
Phone case
Makeup case from my purse - replaced with an extra one I bought in China.
Three theatre programs with missing covers or of no value
While looking for the Italian book mentioned above I found a bunch of receipts from our trip.
Shelf liners from 2 kitchen shelves that I relined using shelf paper that I had already.
Hair product received at a TV taping
Facial product that has been sitting in the shower forever that I really don't like
Some old Windows 95 computer games
Plumbing stuff for clearing drains - has been in basement for about 10 years
Menu from our flight on Air Moroc to Morocco - remember when you actually got food and a menu??

Using up
Travel tooth pastes - the small ones that are used on one trip then we decide there's not enough for the next trip.
Shelf paper  - see above.
Several travel body lotions

Garage Sale
I am trying to decide if I should have a garage sale in the spring and at least make some money from items that I want to declutter. For now I am going to keep a running list of these items here until I make up my mind. If  I don't do a sale then they can go into the charity box.

This update:
Metal cutlery tray I was using in bathroom for makeup
2 space saver shelves (from cleaning out 2 shelves in the kitchen).
Beer mug
4 photo albums that I emptied wedding photos from - they will be scanned

Theatre programs

London slides
Cribbage game
Small storage basket - blue
2 throws from front porch
5 books
2 cookbooks - Road Grill and a Mexican one from Puerto Vallerta
Cat dish - too big for our little guy

Last update:
Green leather bound binder with blank pages, a ruler and several pockets for holding items. I used to use it to record household measurements or pictures of things I liked for the house. I took all the relvant information and updated my House spreadsheet, took some photos of some pages (old house paint colours) and tore out pages. 
One curtain rod
One shower rod
Minnie Mouse wall hanging
Two air purifiers
Two scarves
One gold basket
Two roasting pans
Four ceramic door knobs
One hanging space saver shelf
One wicker soap dispenser

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up over here. And over at Tina's Wordless Wednesday.
Not so wordless today, but this photo speaks for itself.
Considering that my husband and I have over 30 years (yikes 60 years combined) working experience in technology and are self-confessed geeks it was very embarrassing to have this parked in front of our house last week. They were setting up our neighbour across the street. Actually, he came over to say how embarrassing it was to be parked there as he usually asks us for computer trouble-shooting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday 2

I'm posting over here today.

Taken at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto
All photography on Junk Boat Travels are under copyright. If you would like to use any of my photographs please contact me first.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Macro Monday

Macro Monday is hosted by Lisa at  Lisa's Chaos.
MM3Macro Monday is easy to play, snap a macro (or any close-up) photo, post it on your blog and come back to Lisa's blog and sign 

Taken in Istanbul, Turkey.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week. 

Finished this week:
Nineteen Seventy-Seven 
Synopsis here
I really liked this book, but if reading  about violence and racism will bother you then I don't suggest it for you. This is a continuation of the Red Riding quartet , I read 1974 a couple of weeks ago. The same two characters narrate the story, a copper and a jaded journalist, at times it is hard to distinguish who is speaking.

This is a gritty look into a very bleak world that is corrupt and violent.
I am looking forward to the next book, Nineteen Eighty .

Also finished this week:
The Gallows Bird (Patrik Hedström, #4) 
From the book jacket:
The new psychological thriller from No 1 bestselling Swedish crime sensation Camilla 
Lackberg. A woman is found dead, apparently the victim of a tragic car crash. It's the 
first in a spate of seemingly inexplicable accidents in Tanumshede and marks the end of 
a quiet winter for detective Patrik Hedstrom and his colleagues. At the same time a 
reality TV show is being shot in the town. As cameras shadow the stars' every move,
 relations with the locals are strained to breaking point. When a drunken party ends 
with a particularly unpopular contestant's murder, the cast and crew are obvious 
suspects. Could there be a killer in their midst? As the country tunes in, the bodies 
mount up. Under the intense glare of the media spotlight, Patrik faces his toughest 
investigation yet!

Having read Lackberg's previous three books in this series I feel like I am visiting old friends. I did feel that this plot was a little tighter than The Stone Cutter.
The story is built around a reality TV show which is being filmed in the area. I felt these characters could have been a bit more developed, rather than having them hanging on the sidelines.
I will continue reading her as I really enjoy the setting in Sweden to the point that I had to look at a map to figure out where the various towns are located. Also as I said, I feel like Patrik and Erica are old friends, I was pleased they enjoyed their wedding. I am happy that Anna is back and as always love reading about the crazy stuff the chief of police Mellberg gets himself into.

Started this week:

From the book jacket;
When you step into a time machine, fax yourself through a "quantum foam wormhole" and step out in feudal France circa 1357, be very, very afraid. If you aren't strapped back in precisely 37 hours after your visit begins, you'll miss the quantum bus back to 1999 and be stranded in a civil war, caught between crafty abbots, mad lords and peasant bandits all eager to cut your throat. You'll also have to dodge catapults that hurl sizzling pitch over castle battlements. On the social front, you should avoid provoking "the butcher of Crecy" or Sir Oliver may lop your head off with a swoosh of his broadsword or cage and immerse you in "Milady's Bath", a brackish dungeon pit into which live rats are tossed now and then for prisoners to eat.
This is the plight of the heroes of Timeline, Michael Crichton's thriller. They're historians in 1999 employed by a tech billionaire-genius with more than a few of Bill Gates' most unlovable quirks. Like the entrepreneur in Crichton's Jurassic Park, Doniger plans a theme park featuring artefacts from a lost world revived via cutting-edge science. When the project's chief historian sends a distress call to 1999 from 1357, the boss man doesn't tell the younger historians the risks they'll face trying to save him. At first, the interplay between eras is clever but Timeline swiftly becomes a swashbuckling old-fashioned adventure, with just a dash of science and time paradox in the mix. Most of the cool facts are about the Middle Ages and Crichton marvellously brings the past to life without ever letting the pulse-pounding action slow down. At one point, a time-tripper tries to enter the Chapel of Green Death. Unfortunately, its custodian, a crazed giant with terrible teeth and a bad case of lice, soon has her head on a block. "She saw a shadow move across the grass as he raised his axe into the air." Try not to turn the page!

I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with this one...I'm not a huge fan of futuristic sci-fi types of stories.

Also started this week:
Millennium People
From the book jacket:
The peasants, goes a tedious old joke about Wat Tyler's mob, are revolting. In JG Ballard's unnerving, prophetic novel Millennium People, however, it's the middle classes that are staging the revolution: blowing up the NFT, burning their books and defaulting on their maintenance charges. Rejecting, in short, everything that they've worked so hard for--The Bonfire of the Volvos, as one rather droll chapter heading has it.
At the forefront of this petit bourgeois insurrection are the occupants of Fulham's Chelsea Marina, (as ever with Ballard) an exclusive housing community. Led by the charismatic Dr Richard Gould, a disgraced paediatrician turned "Doctor Moreau of the Chelsea set", Marina residents Kay Churchill, a former film lecturer; civil servant Vera Britain and Stephen Dexter, the parish vicar and an injured airman (another Ballard perennial) have unleashed an arson campaign against targets deemed suitably middle class.
David Markham, a psychiatrist and the book's steely narrator, is drawn into the Marina's inner circle after his ex-wife Laura is killed in an apparently meaningless bomb attack at Heathrow airport, (prime Ballard territory, of course). Meaningless is the insistent motif: Markham's current wife Sally was crippled in a freak accident and the murder of a banal if inoffensive television presenter (loosely modelled on Jill Dando) is one of the seemingly random violent acts unleashed by Gould, precisely because of their apparent randomness. "The absence of rational motive", as he says, "carries a significance of its own".

This is my first novel by this author and the last he wrote. So far, so good.
While researching the author at Goodreads, I came across the following:
The literary distinctiveness of his work has given rise to the adjective Ballardian,defined by the Collins English Dictionary asresembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.  

2012 books read:

The Coast Road - John Brady
Still Midnight - Denise Mina
The Bulgari Connection - Fay Weldon
Good Bait - John Harvey
The Heretic's Treasure - Scott Mariani 
Dead I Well May Be - Adrian McKinty
The Devil's Elixir - Raymond Khoury 
A Darker Domain - Val McDermid
The Impossible Dead - Ian Rankin 
GB84 - David Peace 
The Emperor's Tomb - Steve Berry
Stonehenge Legacy - Sam Christer
Inquisition - Alfredo Colitto ABANDONED!
The Troubled Man - Henning Mankell
Nineteen Seventy-Four - David Peace
Faithful Place - Tana French
Dead Like You - Peter James
Brother and Sister - Joanna Trollope
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton ABANDONED!
A Beginner's Guide to Acting English -Shappi Khorsandi
The Snowman - Jo Nesbo
The Leopard - Jo Nesbo
The Stone Cutter - Camilla Lackberg
Miramar - Naguib Mahfouz
The Gallow's Bird - Camilla Lackberg
Nineteen Seventy- Seven - David Peace

Blue Monday

Taken in Kensington Market area in Toronto last week.

Mellow Yellow Monday

I'm linking up at Mellow Yellow Monday.

In my garden last week...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Foto Finish

Foto Finish

Cat patches hosts this weekly meme. Her theme this week is GREEN.

Taken a few years ago in Ramelton, County Donegal where we had rented a gorgeous apartment for a week.

Pink Saturday

How Sweet the Sound

I'm linking up over here today. 

These were taken March 11 here in Toronto where spring has definitely blossomed early.

Saturday Snapshot


Saturday Snapshots is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.

May 2009 - Xian China

These photos were taken in Xian, China. We went to the opera and there was a dumpling dinner served prior to the show.

Click on the photos to get a really clear shot to make your mouth water!!
Each steamer came with 3 types of dumpling and 3 pieces of each as we were 3 meat-loving people. M had her own vegeterian dumplings and vegeterian soup was also provided. 

Pork – shaped like a pig
Shark’s fin

Chcken – piece of corn at top to resemble an egg
Pork and leek
Hazelnut - loved these if anyone knows of a recipe....

Fried dumplings
Large plate of regular pork
Chicken Soup with baby dumplings

Duck – shaped like a duck

Lotus root with lemon