Food & Drink

Nature’s Harvest

Amanita Muscaria

Amanita Muscaria

I love this time of year.* The summery weather has not entirely run its course (at least it hadn’t when I started writing this post a few weeks ago), the trees are still mostly in full, green leaf and there are still plenty of daylight hours in which to enjoy the mild and (hopefully) sunny weather, but it is also cooler than high summer. Why is this a good thing, you may ask. Well, it means that you can start doing all the things that it’s too hot for, like having the oven on for Sunday roasts, walking without wilting, and knitting**, not to mention to exciting prospect of the wide variety of forage and harvests in evidence.

*in truth, I love every time of year, just for different reasons.
** of course you can knit all year round but having a lump of warm woolly stuff in your lap when it’s 30C is not at all comfortable.  (That Oxford comma is quite deliberate btw.)

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A Lammas Spread

87044073085829998Welcome to the Lammas edition of the Tarot Blog Hop. This time we have been asked to share something from our table and if you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that there’s nothing I love more than sharing a good recipe 🙂 However, since this is supposed to be a Tarot blog, it seemed appropriate to draw a card first to determine the nature of the recipe. Of course, the simplest thing would have been to draw a card from the Epicurean Tarot and share the recipe on the card, but unfortunately I don’t have that deck (I know, how remiss of me!), so I’ve used the Housewives Tarot as the next best thing 🙂 (more…)

From Beneath the Bushel

gilded-00706Welcome to the Solstice (Litha) edition of the Tarot Blog Hop. I haven’t participated in the last couple, but it’s nice to be back. You can find links to the previous and next posts in the Hop at the bottom of this page, along with a link to the Master list in case of any broken links.

I must admit that I struggled somewhat with the broadness of the topic (though mostly with all the references to “faeries”), the main theme of which was to share a gift or talent with the circle. I’m afraid that I suffer from a rather British reticence about blowing my own trumpet in any sort of blatant way. Our overseas cousins have never seemed to be afflicted by this malaise and are quite happy to blithely puff away, but over here, we tend to find that kind of thing faintly unseemly and embarrassing, albeit increasingly less so these days based on the wannabe culture of  X-factor and the myriad of other such shows. On this occasion, however, I have girded my loins, pulled up my big girl knickers, armed myself with cliches and set aside my reserve. I have emerged from beneath my bushel, blinking mole-like into the Solstice dawn. I have buffed up the brassware, taken a deep breath or three and am all set to blow like Gabriel. Ready?

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Backing a Winner

Waddya mean those aren't horses?

Waddya mean those aren’t horses?

I used to be quite good at picking the winners in horse racing. My links to horses and racing go waaaay back to when I used to ride along with them, they being on the TV and me being on my rocking horse. I rode real horses from the age of 7 until teenager-dom made it a bit uncool. Then later, at my first job, I would watch the racing while waiting for the backups to finish on Saturday afternoon, deftly (and almost always correctly) marking the winners in whatever tabloid I found had been left behind in the office. I never put money on the races (betting shops were very much the preserve of grubby, tobacco stained giffers in dirty macs as far as I was concerned), the uncomfortable exception being when I braved the seediness to put a small bet on the Grand National…oh, and a trip to the racecourse. Of course, I never won if there was money at stake. Perhaps the money aspect clouded matters so that I just didn’t trust my instincts or perhaps I’m just not lucky that way. That said, I am pleased to report that I have definitely backed one winner: today is the 21st anniversary of DH and I getting together and it’s out 19th wedding anniversary next week 🙂

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Stuff of Life*

BreadI was inspired to bake some bread last week, largely because the children were still on holiday so I had to feed them something and after our holiday the previous week, I’ve been far too busy catching up with work to shop and besides, the bank account is a bare as…umm…the bread bin. Time being at something of a premium, I cheated and just threw the ingredients into the bread machine and by lunchtime the smell was making it hard to think of anything else. Home made bread, even if it is untouched by human hand, is just so tasty… and irresistible. In fact, this is the main reason I don’t make bread very often or I’d be the size of a house.

*Yes, I am aware that the expression is that bread is the staff of life.

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Herring Is A Word In My Dictionary

imagesI am Polish and so “herring” or, more accurately, “sledz”*  is most definitely in my dictionary. Alas, the same can not be said of Dirk Gently** or the major supermarkets, in this area at any rate. Not one had fresh herring fillets or even packs of salted herring. A few had some wretched. small jars of  marinaded herring (I made the mistake of buying one and could not believe how sweet and utterly revolting the contents were).

*(Pronshledj, the “s” and “z” have accents

**see Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

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Tudor Day

200px-Red_Rose_Badge_of_Lancaster.svgAs another Costume day at school dawns, you find me frantically putting finishing touches to the outfit and dressing the Tudor girl. Costume day has sometimes been a royal pain in the proverbial (particularly back in the days when you were only given about a week’s notice to frantically knock out a suitable period outfit), but on this occasion (and despite being very busy) I’ve loved it. Tudor is one of my favourite clothing periods (along with Medieval and Victorian) as it has such a variety of sumptuous loveliness and lots of interesting underpinnings and accessories. DD and I had lots of fun making and stuffing the bum roll and selecting pearls, trims and fabrics for the outfit. Sadly, I didn’t have time to make her a penner for her quill and ink, but we managed the rest of the outfit just about in time.

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A Dumpling in the Hand…

Pierogi_07-01…is obviously worth far more than two in the bush. ‘A dumpling, a dumpling, my kingdom for a dumpling’ and so on. Clearly with the cold weather upon us and Pancake Day no more than a distant memory, we still crave comfort food, so let us celebrate the dumpling in all its cultural diversity. The English favour the stodgy suet dumpling, an unstuffed ball which is robust enough to prop up the meatiest stew, the Chinese have Won Ton, the Japanese Gyoza, the Italians have Ravioli, to name but a few, but the Poles have Pierogi, which, quite frankly, knock the rest into a cocked hat.* (more…)

What a Tosser

lemonJif Lemon Day, as my friend Viv calls it, is upon up again and I must admit that although I have both lemon and lime juice in my fridge, it is unlikely that I’ll be using it today. We will be having pancakes for dinner, but something a little more substantial than lemon and sugar is required for a main course. There seems to be a peculiar notion in this country that pancakes are a sweet dish, whereas there are so many possibilities to stuff them with savoury fillings. To this end, I’ll be making chilli later and we’ll be having that in pancakes, topped with cheese and sour cream. The plan was to have chilli with rice on Monday and use the matured and slightly drier leftovers for the pancakes today, but the perpetual chicken* has made everything slip again.

*lasting a record 6 days (8 elapsed thanks to a Chinese New Year takeaway on Friday and an indulgent Rugby pizza on Sunday)

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Currying Favour

lambI have noticed that the leftovers bandwagon is trundling along nicely at present. All the big foodie blogs are writing about how to use up your leftovers, as if the idea of doing so was some amazing, new and previously unconsidered discovery. As far as this household is concerned, NOT throwing away food is the norm, as it was when I was growing up. Maybe the odd, almost empty jar of something that has been lurking at the back of the fridge or cupboard gets tossed out occasionally, but otherwise it is only packaging and bones that end up in the bin.

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