House-Sitting and Mughlai Lamb Biryani

Next weekend it’s house-sitting time at Robinson Subdivision, between Carcross and Whitehorse. What a spot! House-sitting for our friends there is like a vacation for us. They own a beautiful two-storey log home which they built themselves. The best part is the view! I’ve posted some pictures to show you what the view is like from the back door, as well as the red sky at sunset in December 2005.

When house-sitting, I enjoy spending a bit more time preparing some of my favourite recipes that require extra time. My mother-in-law gave me a delicious East Indian recipe for Mughlai Lamb Biryani from Madhur Jaffrey’s Illustrated Indian Cookery, which is currently unavailable to buy. It is a lamb and rice casserole drizzled with saffron milk and mixed with raisins. It’s hard to describe the flavour, though the saffron comes through nicely. The taste of this dish is unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I thought of writing out the recipe here, but it’s very, very long, and I did find another blogger who went through the trouble. So here it is, if you’re interested, thanks to Ruth Daniels in Toronto.

P.S. Actually, Ruth Daniels has such interesting recipes on her site that I’ve added her to my blogroll.

View from back of house

View from back of house 2

Red Sky at Robinson


“Icanarod, Iwillarod, Iwinarod, Iditarod”

Elite Iditarod

My partner came across this hilarious picture from The Onion, a satirical newspaper/website.

After the end of the Yukon Quest, some mushers will be heading to Anchorage for the start of the Iditarod on March 3rd. Sled dogs don’t look like what most people imagine, though they also don’t resemble anything in the above picture.

My posting’s title is from the book Ellen Degeneres: My Point…And I Do Have One.

Marchand de Vin Sauce

Yesterday, Valentine’s Day, I was doing my daily web reading when I came across a fellow Urban Yukon contributor’s post, Yukon Jen. It was a warning about not buying a ham as a Valentine’s Day gift as it can spell disaster. Well, I hadn’t exactly bought a ham as a gift, but it was what I planned on serving for dinner. And, so far so good, it wasn’t disastrous.

In fact, I found an recipe for a sauce in my Joy of Cooking cookbook that looked interesting. It’s called Marchand de Vin sauce, which I had never heard of; it’s a butter and wine sauce. The only problem was that the cookbook’s recipe (on p.327) referred me to p.326 for Brown Sauce, and this recipe referred me to p.541 for Mirepoix, whatever that is. Why make it so complicated? I was ready to pull my hair out, so I gave up and went to the Internet to see what I could find.

My first hit was a hit, literally. I ended up finding a straightforward recipe that was absolutely delicious. You can find the recipe here at, and you can also use it for steak and roasts. The flavour is out of this world!

Thank goodness for the Internet!

First at Braeburn

The first checkpoint after the departure from Whitehorse is Braeburn Lodge, famous for their huge (and I mean HUGE) cinnamon buns. Hugh Neff, who was the 19th racer to leave Whitehorse was the first to arrive at Braeburn after being on the trail 9h24m. I just so happen to have a video of his departure, which I’ve posted here for your pleasure (I grudgingly had to post it to YouTube before I could upload it here). The sky is blue, Golden Horn mountain looms in the background, and the dogs are just beautiful. Enjoy!

56 Feet (Paws) Down and 1000 Miles to Go in This Year’s Yukon Quest

The 2007 Yukon Quest got underway this morning, so I went downtown to catch some of the action.

Here’s one of my pics – this one of Kyla Boivin and her team leaving the starting chute in chilly -22 -29°C (with windchill) weather:

Kyla Boivin and Her Team

These dogs are patiently waiting. Perhaps they’ll be racing in the Yukon Quest 300, which starts later in the day:

Waiting Dogs

[Update: No, this is NOT the Iditarod!]

Les pensées d’une étudiante

Quand je pense à ma vie

Ici, souvent je m’ennuie

La fatigue et les affaires

D’école et du travail

De rien, maintenant, je raffole

Au manoir, je deviens folle

Les amis et les ennuis

J’ai seulement hâte qu’ça soit fini

Livre après livre

Les pages deviennent tordues

Lettres embrouillées

Mes pensées perdues


Tannée d’expliquer

Ce que je pense, ce que je sais

Je ne veux plus étudier

Ni parler, ni penser


Puis-je me reposer?

Prendre un somme et rêver?

Sans être obligée

D’utiliser ma pensée?

Est-ce presque fini

Ce martyre non béni?

Cette torture psychologique

Qui affecte mon physique

Maux de tête

La fatigue

Une tempête



Uncle Denis

I once knew a man named Denis

So fit that he still could play tennis

Even now that he’s old

If truth be told

We’re careful ’cause he’s still a menace


Don’t fret if you’re looking for him

You’ll find him fiddling with somethin’

Under a car’s hood

Or in the neighbourhood

Of something in need of a fixin’


Avec amour,


Yukon Scenery

Yukon scenery is breathtaking, to say the least. There is something about the place that makes people want to stay. It’s been almost five years now since my move to Whitehorse (wow, has it already been that long?), and I was only supposed to be here one year. But, alas, it’s the same story you hear from everyone who has moved here.

Below is a picture I took from my aunt and uncle’s backyard a couple of winters ago. In the background is beautiful Grey Mountain.

Grey Mountain

Here’s another photo I took in the Yukon, again showing mountains that seem to go on forever.

Yukon Scenery

Yukon Winter Day (Haiku)

Sun is shining bright

Cold, still air; blue skies above

Winter sundogs high


 Sundog Picture and information at ExploreNorth


Working in the schools, I had the privilege of meeting one of the north’s favourite mushers, Hans Gatt, and a whole bunch of his sled-dogs. Gatt is a veteran of sled-dog racing, including in the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.

Gatt ended up leaving Atlin, BC (two-hour drive from Whitehorse) later than anticipated, so the planned morning visit had to be postponed until the afternoon. Considering the late time of day and the long drive ahead of them to Fairbanks, Alaska, I was very pleased at Hans and Suzie’s immense generosity in taking the time to stop at the school, take all their dogs out (one student counted 23) and then “pack ’em all up” for the trip ahead.

The grade six class I was working with were very excited, to say the least. They went around the truck petting each of his dogs, getting to know them and getting answers to tons of questions from both Hans and his friend, Suzie.

Having that many dogs in one place at one time, you’re bound to see EVERYTHING dogs do, all within a five-minute period. And, because sixth graders are, well, six graders, I got a kick out of hearing their reactions to seeing dogs be dogs.