Tenth Anniversary of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge sign ups OPEN on March 1, 2019.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Themes That Rocked - An Animal and a Recipe From Jo

Today we have foodie expert, Jo Wake, from Jo on Food, My Travels, and a Scent of Chocolate

You always feature recipes – what made you pair an animal with a recipe for the Challenge?

First of all, thank you for asking me to do this Alex.

As you say, I always feature recipes. However, the whole idea of pairing animals and birds came from my poem Albatross which I wrote many years ago plus the fact that I had read something about the albatross earlier in the year stating it’s endangerment. Had to show off my poetic talent as well of course!

What animal-recipe combination was your favorite?

I don’t think I have a favourite combination. I have been looking back at the posts. There are certain members of the wildlife world I featured which I prefer to others, but they were not necessarily paired with recipes which were favourites. I especially like the fox one which showed a video clip of a fox diving into snow which I found fascinating but I’m not that enamoured of Fettucine and Feta. Maybe the best combination would be the Ibis and Portuguese Iscas which is a liver dish which I love and I don’t like liver. The Ibis is a favourite bird too so this makes a good pairing.

Did you consider picking an animal then a recipe featuring that animal?

Not until you mentioned it, no. I think it would be difficult to do all 26 that way. I will give it some thought though for the future. There were a couple such as octopus and quail – oh and albatross – I could have done recipes for.

Where did you find some of the recipes, like the Indonesian Daging Bumbu Bali?

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of recipes on the internet and I just went hunting for recipes beginning with the letter I needed. I generally try and choose something other people can make. I also generally try and choose different recipes. With very few exceptions, I always post recipes for things I would eat or have eaten.

About how many different countries were represented by your recipes? Which is your favorite?

Gawd, I don’t know Alex. I will have to go back and check it out. OK I found out I used recipes from 20 different countries with repeats from both the UK and the US. I also discovered in my Blog2Print books which I do for all my blogs, I don’t have the first week of April included. Serves me right for not checking them before I downloaded I guess. By the way, Japanese Pizza wasn’t from Japan. As I have already said, I love the Iscas, I am also fond of Baklava although I stay away from it these days. Diets and Diabetes.

How many of those recipes have you made? (I still want to try the Japanese Pizza.)

Prior to the A to Z I had made Iscas, Kedgeree, Sauerbraten, Gazpacho, Quinoa Pilaf and Tourtière. Unfortunately I find I cannot stand for long periods of time which does put paid to some recipes these days. The one you mention, Daging Bumbu Bali shouldn’t be too difficult though. Now you’ve reminded me ……

Which letter was the most challenging?

Actually I don’t remember finding any letter particularly challenging. Thanks to the wonderful services of search engines, it is pretty easy to find animals, birds and recipes beginning with the letter I need that day. Most of the animals and birds I was familiar with but I did come across one or two I had never heard about before. If anything I suppose X and Y, I had never heard of a Xenops or a Yaffle although Yaffle turned out to be a Green Woodpecker. Maybe our dragon friend would be familiar with the Xenops.

What theme are you considering for next year’s Challenge?

Maybe something similar but possibly featuring extinction which is a subject I feel strongly about. At the moment I am particularly concerned about the slaughter of elephants and rhinos for the tusks and horns. Elephants in particular are being slaughtered in large numbers every day, over 22,000 in 2012 for instance, I have recently seen horrific figures of the totals each day but can’t find my source. Wildlife smuggling too is a big concern of mine.

Of course I have to include a recipe. I used to make Yakisoba a lot at one time and here is a recipe for Yakisoba chicken. This is much more Japanese than the pizza recipe.

Yakisoba Chicken

½ tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs canola oil
2 tbs chile paste
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves chopped into 1“ cubes
½ cup soy sauce
1 onion sliced lengthwise into eighths
½ medium head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
2 carrots coarsely chopped
8 oz soba noodles cooked and drained

Add garlic and stir fry an additional 30 seconds. Add chicken and 1/4 cup of the soy sauce and stir fry until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove mixture from pan, set aside, and keep warm.
In the emptied pan combine the onion, cabbage, and carrots. Stir-fry until cabbage begins to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining soy sauce, cooked noodles, and the chicken mixture to pan and mix to blend. Serve and enjoy!

Sounds tasty, Jo! Thanks.

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh is the author of Amazon Best-sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm, and his blog can be found HERE

We are honoring Tina with sunflowers today– we hope everyone can join us and splash the Internet with yellow !
Sign up here - Sunflowers for Tina.

The family has also set up the Downey Education Fund, which will go toward a college fund for Tina’s two boys. You can donate via this link:


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for interviewing me Alex. I love the sunflower header to this page.

  2. I think I have seen the bird but never heard the word Xenops. Nice interview, my friends.

    1. Ah well that's what it was called on Wikipedia - thank goodness LOL

  3. Hi Alex and Jo - I loved Jo's idea for this year's A-Z .. the food and learning about the different birds and animals ... your Yakisoba Chicken looks delicious ... and must suit Ninja Alex ...

    The header is just perfect for Tina .. as too the many tributes around the blogosphere .. to the special lady who does now walk in fields of wild sunflowers ..

    Thanks to yo both - Hilary

    1. It is a lovely header isn't it Hilary? Do try the Yakisoba, I love them.

  4. 20 different countries for 26 posts - I say you covered a lot.

  5. Hi Alex,
    That's really good to see Jo's food court and the lovely interview with lot of food stuff fixed along lovely pics. That bird is lovely too! Hey the title was a bit confusing one ANIMAL....
    The recipe looks Yummy! hey whats that bird Yakisoba Chicken is again new name to me, altogether enjoyed the interview! and the Yummy treat!
    Thanks Alex and Jo for sharing your time with us,
    And He Tina and Sunflower, as I said in my other comment I showered it all over my blogs and Social media spaces. So sad to note her departure from us. A great loss to the blogging community.
    Best Regards
    ~ Phil

    1. Yakisoba is the noodle dish PV, this one is served with chicken as part of the recipe.


  6. What a fun theme! Sorry I didn't participate this year. It appears I missed a lot of great themes and recipes :D Thanks for sharing, Jo, and thanks for the interview, Alex!

    1. Thank you Jennifer. Maybe you will participate next year.

  7. Nice interview, Jo! You did have a great theme for A to Z this year ;)

    1. Wasn't as much work as your theme Nancy. 26 pies, incredible.

  8. Everything here today is delightful. The new banner is gorgeous and the post by Jo is so tantalizing that I have to find some food immediately. She's made me truly hungry.

    1. Funny, a lot of people say my blogs make them hungry, I wonder why.

    2. Must be you capture the flavors in words, then add pictures that are yummy.

  9. This recipe sounds great and Love that you paired animals with recipes. I agree with you about the slaughter of these animals. It is truly horrific and needs to change before there are none left

    1. You are so right Birgit. Unfortunately not enough people take it seriously. I was horrified the other day to hear that Macaws are now extinct in the wild.

  10. All of these recipes look so good, Jo! I really want to try a Japanese Pizza now too. Thanks for sharing. :D

  11. Delicious!
    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Always good to find you out and about, Jo. No surprise you rocked the theme. You rock pretty much everything. :)

  13. Your A to Z theme was fabulous, and I'll give each of your recipes four forks! It was fun learning the backstory for your creations! Great interview Alex and Jo! I also love your special header honoring Tina!


    1. Thanks Julie. Four forks is good.

      I love the header too.

  14. Yum! What a treat. I love Jo's blog! And love the big beautiful sunflower for Tina...


Commenting is now open to all, but will be monitored for spam, ads, abusive language, or anything that is not relevant to the interests of the A to Z Challenge--Please respect this blog space and its users

Please leave your opinions and feel free to ask anything that is on your mind. Irrelevant anonymous comments and spam will be deleted.