Welcome to the latest edition of the Tarot Blog Hop. For this Lammas Hop, we have been asked to channel our inner Queen of Pentacles.
I must admit that, at first glance, this topic did not appeal to me at all, given that I identify more strongly with the Queen of Swords usually. However, the more I considered it, the more I realised that I have quite a hefty chuck of the old QoP in there, it’s just that I tend not to give her much recognition. She’s usually the one chained to the cooker while my other Queens are out having a good time: drinking, dancing, having a good time and waving their knickers in the air (metaphorically, at least).
Let’s consider the QoP qualities:
- Fertile – Check! Two children and a fur baby (though I can’t claim credit for giving birth to the latter). However, if you call me matronly, my Queen of Wands and Swords will both slap you.
- Nurturing – Hmmm, I wouldn’t call myself an Earth mother type by any stretch of the imagination. At best, I tolerate children whilst wishing they came equipped with a mute button, or at very least a volume control. My idea of hell is other people’s kids and sometimes the reality of my hell is my own when they are being tiresome. That said, my children are well-adjusted, generally polite and well-behaved/trained and reasonably clean, allowing for the boy, whose socks defy the imagination of anyone who has never had a teenage boy. They are supported and encouraged in their endeavours and education, (two 6s and a 5 for DD in her SATs, 4 being the average score :D) not to mention regularly fed and watered. Even the teenage boy is prepared to have a conversation with me in more than just grunts, so generally the evidence would suggest that I am a reasonably good parent. (My fur-boy is also quite well-trained and polite).
- Domestic – As domestic goddesses go, I’m a bit of a disappointment in the Beautiful Home department. I’m untidy and I loathe housework (at least) 90% of the time, the rest is either a case of “it needs doing, so I’d better grit my teeth and get on with it” or “if I’m going to do it, I’ll do it properly” and it takes days. I blame being an animal lover – Save the dust bunnies!
- Domestic (part 2) – Now when we come to all things culinary and epicurean, I certainly have my queenly, if not goddess, moments. I enjoy making, talking about and consuming the fruits of my labours when it comes to food and drink. I also forage for wild food (particularly mushrooms, but also sloes, damsons, and various berries) and grow my own herbs, vegetables and fruit. I can make wine, beer, bread and cheese and have longed to build a small smokehouse for years. I must admit that this year I have grown nothing but weeds, but nettles make a cleansing tea, right?
- Prosperous – Umm, no. I’m afraid I care little for prosperity as long as I have enough to get by and, tbh, I tire quickly of material things, although once I have them, I am loathe to part with them (especially books).
- Practical – I’m informed that others see my making Tarot bags and cloths as a QoP quality, but I would say that the creative aspect of that activity is more Wands, though I might concede that slaving over the construction (in my very own sweat-shop) is Pentacular.
- Down to Earth – Oh, yes, I’m very much that, but again, I attribute this to Swords logic.
In conclusion, I do have an inner Queen of Pentacles, but only certain aspects of her and I don’t really identify with her much, I’m afraid. The bits that I do identify with are related to food, so I will leave you with a recipe.
Queen of Pentacles Quiche
The eggs symbolise fertility, the courgettes (and tomato) are from the harvest, the cheese, butter and cream represent richness, and the flour is from the Pentacle grindstone 🙂
1 small/medium Courgette, sliced
2 eggs, beaten
5 fl.oz (150ml) single cream or whole milk*
2-3oz (50-75g) Stilton or blue cheese (approx.)
sun-dried tomato puree (optional)
butter and olive oil for frying
salt and pepper
(*milk is the less rich option but don’t be tempted to use skimmed, as it is too watery)
For the Pastry:
8oz (225g) plain flour
2oz (50g) butter
2oz (50g) lard
pinch of salt
a little chilled/cold water
To make the pastry, sift the salt with the flour and rub in the fat. Add 3-4 tbsps or enough cold water to make a smooth dough. (Alternatively, put the flour, salt and fats into a food processor and whizz to combine, then add water a little at a time to form the dough.) Do not over-handle the dough. You can either use it straight away or chill it in the fridge until required.
Roll out the dough and line a greased and lightly floured 8″ or 9″ quiche or flan dish. (The smaller dish will give a deeper-filled quiche and require slightly longer cooking time). Bake blind in the oven at 200C for 10-15 minutes. (I use pastry weights on top of a piece of greaseproof paper or foil to stop the pastry rising.) Surplus or offcuts of pastry can be use to make small sweet or savoury tarts.
Meanwhile, lightly cook the courgettes in a mixture of olive oil and butter until softened, but not soggy, and leave to cool. Beat the eggs with the cream or milk. When the pastry is done, remove from the oven and, if using, spread a layer of tomato puree on the base. Layer on the courgettes and intersperse with crumbled Stilton, then pour over the egg mixture and season. You can also sprinkle on some herbs – either dill, parsley, tarragon, basil or snipped chives, according to your preferences. Return to the oven at 180-200C for about 20-25 minutes if you are using a shallow dish, 25-30mins for a deeper dish or until set. Test with a skewer or cocktail stick for set.
Of course, you can substitute almost anything for the contents of the quiche – leeks, bacon, onion, broccoli, sliced tomato, smoked mackerel, tuna, asparagus or your filling of choice, including any kind of soft or hard cheese, or not. You can even substitute olive tapenade or anchovy paste (sparingly) for the tomato puree or skip it altogether. The nice thing about quiche, is that it’s basically a savoury custard tart with whatever other stuff in it you fancy 😀