Tag Archives: links

Eat from the Larder 2016 – What to Do With Green Tomato Chutney

So, as I’ve mentioned before, I made a lot of green tomato chutney last October, when the frost knocked my tomato plants down, and now I’m not sure what to do with it.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s working out great as a sandwich spread (I’m about to make myself yet another roast pork sandwich with grainy mustard and GTC), and the sweet-spicy-tangy-umami mix of apples, mustard, vinegar, and tomatoes doesn’t hurt as an addition to lentil stew or some kind of bean-based dip.
The thing is, sandwiches don’t take more than a teaspoon of chutney each, and even a large stew isn’t going to need more than half a cup of chutney thrown in if it’s being used as a seasoning.
The sugar content makes me wonder if it would work as a stew-base, or if it would just be too sweet, but… I’m still hoping to re-jig a few recipes (like the following) in order to use up a couple of pint-jars of green tomato chutney (maybe with some crushed tomatoes thrown in as well).
Green Tomato Stew AKA Tomato Kootu
Thakali Masiyal
Green Tomato Pork Stew
Curry In A Hurry (also ft broccoli and sweet potatoes)
Green Tomato & French Lenils Soup
Wish me luck!

Earrings for Pancreatic Cancer Canada

Hey, folks.
So, for those of you (most of you, I suspect) who don’t know: My dad is one of the many folks who’s died of pancreatic cancer. He got diagnosed in August of 1999, and died the following February. Which is about a month later than we were expecting, once the diagnosis happened. The disease works pretty damn fast, is what I’m saying.
Anyway, it was almost 14 years ago, so I’m not deep in the grieving process at this point and, honestly, I know he turns up in spirit-form every so often (if not more frequently) to check up on me, so I know he’s not really “gone-gone”. It’s just that his body isn’t a physical one anymore.
One of my aunt’s brothers-in-law (I never knew him) also died from pancreatic cancer, about five or six years later. I wound up doing a CD for the funeral (three pieces: “Angel” and “I will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlin, plus an accapella rendition of “Amazing Grace”) so that I could sing at it long-distance.
What I’m saying is that my family is linked to pancreatic cancer in a fairly personal way.
And so now my mom works for Pancreatic Cancer Canada. A pretty decent place, by all accounts.
Anyway. Part of what PanCan Canada does is they raise money for (specifically pancreatic) cancer research. They do this in a bunch of ways, but one of them is through their “shop purple” store, which is part online shop[1] and part pop-up store (they bring their stuff to events, that sort of thing). The idea is that you buy the Purple Stuff (thus getting something concrete in exchange for your cancer research donation) and then, when people go “Where did you get that awesome ________________?” you can use it as a jumping off point to do some educational outreach and general awareness-raising about pancreatic cancer[2].
So, to get to the rather me-me-me point of this post: As you all know, I make jewelry.
I recently made a bunch of jewelry for Pancreatic Cancer Canada to sell in their shop. I do get paid for the pieces, but I’m donating my labour on these. According to Mom, each piece will go up on the site at a different time. Right now, the one they have up is this one:

Key to the Cure Piece A Seven pairs available, but that's it. 8mm amethyst beads + surgical steel hooks and silver-tone key-charms and findings. 1.75" long, not including hooks. $20/pair.

Key to the Cure
Piece A
Seven pairs available, but that’s it.
8mm amethyst beads + surgical steel hooks and silver-tone findings.
1.75″ long, not including hooks. $20/pair.
Click on the picture to go to their shop.

As it says in the caption:
8mm amethyst beads + surgical steel hooks and silver-tone key-charms and findings.
1.75″ long, not including hooks. $20/pair.
Available from Pancreatic Cancer Canada.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] It’s not exactly an online shop. You can see what they have on the webpage, and then you have phone in what you’d like to order. I’m pretty sure it’s a project of theirs to update the “store” section so that you can just click and do an automatic check-out or similar. I hope that this happens, soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰
[2] That’s one of the many, many things that I loathe about the whole “pink washing” thing. Stuff gets done or sold or bought ostensibly because it’s “raising awareness” about breast cancer but… It’s really not. There’s no coversation-starter built into, say, the pre-sliced mushrooms at the grocery store that come in the pink plastic tray rather than the blue one. At least my mom’s org does stuff to go along with what they’re selling. (Like their Purple Lights awareness campaign, that involved getting various municipal landmarks across Canada to light up in purple, complete with press-conferences, in conjuntion with selling purple LED outdoor fairy lights to people in their shop). Anyway. It’s a bit of a thing. Don’t mind me.

Herbs for Witches: Handy Things to Know (Courtesy of The Witch of Forest Grove)

Posting a small heap of links pertaining to the magical and medicinal uses of various handy wild herbs (weeds) that grow around my neighbourhood and, apparently, also in BC.
Bittersweet (Woody Nightshade) – To mend a broken heart and to access the World Tree, among other things. (Not the same Nightshade as the one in Flying Ointment, FYI).
Red and White Clover – To attract money and prosperity, or chase out evil (red), to break curses (white), among other things.
Dandelion – To enhance psychic ability, also good for making poppets, among other things.
Hedge Bindweed (and Morning Glories) – For binding and guarding/crossing thresholds among other things. Roots can be substituted for High John the Conqueror, apparently (good to know).
Mullein – To keep away nightmares, among other things. Tea encourages prophetic and lucid dreams. Useful for seeing into the Otherworld(s).

Published! :-D

Happy Imbolg, all!
I’ve got chocolate custard flavoured with vanilla, sweet orange, and cloves[1] baking in the oven, and a new poem published at Hyacinth Noir (go check it out).
Imbolg Chocolate Custard
6 eggs
1/2 C milk
1/2 C cream
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp butter
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp orange extract
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Fill a shallow baking pan (I use a glass cake pan) 1/3 full of water and set aside.
Grease an oven-proof dish (like a casserole dish or some corningware), and set it in the water pan.
Preheat the oven to 350F
Blend eggs, milk, orange extract, and sugar in a 2C glass measuring cup (or a small bowl) – use an immersion blender for this, as it will make things really smooth.
In a sauce pan (or a double boiler) on MEDIUM melt the chocolate chips with the butter, vanilla, cloves, salt, and cream, whisking gently until very smooth.
Reduce heat to LOW, and add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture.
Whisk mixture steadily while it thickens (takes 5-10 minutes. If it winds up getting kind of grainy, it’s okay. Not as smooth as you might like, but it doesn’t hurt anything).
When the mixture is thickened, pour it into the greased oven-proof dish.
Put everything in the oven.
Bake for 45-60 minutes
Remove from oven and allow to cool
Serve on its own, or spoon over angel-food-cake or baked pears (or both).
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] This combination invites joy, love, sensuality, prosperity, & bliss, while banishing jealousy. Poly Custard for the win! ๐Ÿ˜€ As a bonus, sweet orange and cloves (although not-so-much vanilla) correspond to fire and the sun and, thus, are good for honouring Brigid and/or the noticeably longer days, as is appropriate for this time of year. ๐Ÿ˜€

Little Magics Everywhere – Wedding Edition Part Two

I’ve got ginger snaps in the oven right now. They’re full of candied ginger and a little bit of orange extract and vanilla, along with the usual ginger, cinamon, nutmeg, and cloves. These are basically the edible version of the happy-home candles that I made ages ago.
(I’ve also made shortbread – my grandmother’s recipe – cooling on a wire rack. But, beyond the good luck association it has with New Year’s, they aren’t blowing magic around the place… that I know of. They are super-tasty, though. :-D)

We’ll be serving these – along with umpteen million other things, the majority of which have been home-made by me, my maid-of-honour, or my bride’s baking buddy.
I’m brining some of the Tomato-Peach Salsa I made back in July, as well as some of my Spicy Peach Chutney (which I made in August). I figure they’ll go really well with the cheese plate and some of the other dips. ๐Ÿ™‚

Beyond that… I’ve pulled together a few vases (and one silver pitcher, borrowed from my mother) and some black, wire-edged “velvet” ribbon, and my Plan is to do flower arrangements featuring red and white flowers (probably chrysanthemums, but we’ll see what’s easily available…) plus whatever seasonal greenery I could snip with my sheers while sauntering around the neighbourhood.
What I’ve got:
Cedar – for prosperity and longevity
Juniper – for protection
Spruce – for adaptability
Yew – for altered states of consciousness
Fir – for immortality

… Although I’m actually guessing about having spruce and fir. The “fir” is something I was able to pick up from a heap of discarded tree-trimmings (someone giving their xmas tree a hair cut to make it fit into their house better), and those tend to be douglas firs often as not. Plus it looks right. Likewise, the spruce was also a guess but… chances are good it’s a Norway Spruce, as it’s got the same feathery fronds and weeping branches as this one.

Strictly speaking, altered states of consciousness aren’t… typical(?) for wedding-blessing but we’ll go with it. The rest are good ones for anybody. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Although, I grant you, I’m reading “immortality” as “posterity” more than “can’t die”).

Anyway. Lots of good fun there. ๐Ÿ™‚

Meliad the Birch Maiden. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ricotta! (Or: Adventures in Cheese-Making – Part One)

So today I made my first attempt at Making Cheese.
Like many people (apparently) I started with the kind of cheese that you can make with (a) milk, (b) salt, and (c) acid. The kind that doesn’t have much wait-time between doing the kitchen chemistry and actually getting to eat your product (we’re talking hours as opposed to months, or even years, here, folks).

I used the recipe over at Smitten Kitchen and… so far it seems to be going well. I’m cautiously optimistic, if you will. ๐Ÿ™‚

I went with the 3C milk + 1 C cream recipe, and I used a cloth napkin rather than cheese cloth (I don’t have cheese cloth and, hey, what you’re going for is a piece of cloth that will let the liquid drain out while retaining as much of the solids as possible), and have since switched the partially-drained proto-cheese to a reuseable mesh coffee filter purchased for exactly this purpose.

It’s still draining, but so far it’s yeilded a few cups of whey (which are now being turned into maple brioche-esque bread for this evening’s feast of roast duck and other goodies) and the cheese is… about the consistency of good yoghurt.
Given that, I’m assuming it will act kind of like yoghurt and, if I were to leave it in the fridge to futher drain overnight, it would end up with the thick, slightly dry consistency of yoghurt cheese – which takes about 4-6 hours to drain.
So I’m betting that, by the time my dinner guest arrives, I’ll have actually-cheese-like ricotta on hand (I’m going to blend it with some maple syrup or honey, and a hint of vanilla, and serve it over poached pears).

Right now, I’ve got about half of it sitting in the mesh coffee filter, which itself is sitting in a sceive. There’s a paper coffee filter on top of the cheese mixture and, on top of that, is a weight (a tin of bamboo shoots) to help “encourage” the excess whey to vacate the premacies. It seems to be working (though I don’t want to loose too much of the solids while it’s happening… and that’s a bit of a risk at this point, or so I’m guessing).

Anyway. Adventures in cheese-making! Eventually I’ll try kitchen mozzerella or something else that requires (eek!) rennet but, for the moment, we’re all good.

Go me! ๐Ÿ˜€

Meliad the Birch Maiden

More About Dandelions

Hey again.

Just a quick couple of links to other people’s posts about how to use wild dandelions beyond the obvious salad greens:

First, of course, is dandelion root “coffee” (which my ex girlfriend adores as-is, but which I think would be neat used as a mocha-esque flavour for ice cream, cupcakes, or other goodies).

According to this site, you can also blanch dandelion roots and include them in mixes of (sweeter) roots like beets, celeriac, carrots and parsnips for use in casseroles and stews.

According to this page on edible flowers, young dandelion blossoms have a sweet, honey-like flavour (if you pick them small and cut off the green parts). You could combine them with, say, red clover blossoms, cornflowers (bachelor’s buttons), hardy rose petals, elderberry flowers, a handful of rhubarb slivers[1] to make an iced tea reminiscent of lemonade with hints of licorice, clove, and nutmeg hiding in its flavours.

The Daily Spud suggests frying dandelion flowers the way you might do with squash or daylily blossoms.

The Herb Garden has a recipe for dandelion flower jelly.


You can find a recipe for dandelion wine over at Allotment Heaven.

[1] You could also use rosehips, red/staghorn summac berries, or maybe even thin slices of crab apples, to add sharpness if you are making this in August/September rather than May/June/July. Garden/French sorrel could work for a slightly lemony kick as well.

Caviar Dreams

Years ago – I probably was about sixteen, give or take a year, so literally half my life ago – I went fishing with my Dad, and – much to my shock – caught a catfish.

Now. I am not particularly fond of catfish. The texture is… weird… (Maybe that’s just the one I caught, or maybe it has to do with the body makeup of cartilage fish versus that of boned fish like the bass and trout and similar that I was used to) and I understand why then get done up in Cajun spice at the grocery store. :-\

However. The catfish I caught had a belly full of gleaming orange eggs (to this day, when I imagine what “orange” would taste or smell like, the fishy scent of those eggs rises in my mind – way more than tangerines or clemintines do, funilly enough…).
I felt slightly terrible, having caught a girl and, thus, kept her from bringing more catfish into the world. Like I’d just wasted a few thousand fish right there. At the same time, though, I wondered if you could eat them.

I didn’t eat them. Not then. But it’s a question that’s come back to me many times over the years – even more-so after I discovered Sushi and the Masago and tobiko that decorate maki like little red and orange jewels, popping so perfectly on your tongue. (Love ’em!)

So, with fishing season Actually Here (fishing license, er, still to be obtained, mind you…), and having just read a couple of posts about trout caviar over at Starving Off the Land, I thought I’d do some poking around.

What I turned up were the following how-to posts on brining your own fisheggs:

Curing Salmon Roe (from The Homebrew Chef)
How to Make Caviar (from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook)

So. Now I know. If, over the coming summer, I somehow manage to catch myself a brown trout full of eggs, I’ll know what to do with the eggs. ๐Ÿ™‚

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Quick Link on Butchery

So I’ve spent the last… six(?) hours working on a post for an upcoming blog carnival (there will be links as well as the post in question – stay tuned) but I wanted to throw a quick link up here today.

Home Deer Butchering 101

Sofya writes about killing and butchering your own food – among other things – with great enthusiasm and a practical approach (and lots of pictures).

Even though most of the pics are in sepia, I was watching my reactions to reading about (and seeing, albeit quite second-hand) the process of butchering a dead deer, and I was interested to note both (a) my initial squeemishness over the idea of cutting through joints (in spite of the fact that I do this all the time with cooked dead animals…), and (b) my growing interest and comfort with the subject.

I’m definitely not at the point where I can seriously start working on Going Hunting. I haven’t even killed a fish yet, after all. But I wanted to read this, to SEE this, even at a distance, just to see where I’m at with it. Taking my temperature, so to speak. If my long-term goal is to be able to competantly hunt and kill my own food, the first tiny micro-step in that is to be able to look at what comes after – the process, with all its blood and smells and mess, of dressing and butchering a carcass – with open eyes.

It’s a tiny step. But it’s a step.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Blackout Day on the Internet (cross-posted to Syrens)

So. January 18th, 2012. Blackout Day on the Internet.

Basically, because of SOPA and PIPA threatening to wipe out free speech on the internet, a bunch of websites, big and small, have locked their contents for the day and left a note for their readers/users/contributors/etc explaining why.

No, actually, Iโ€™m not being hyperbolic about this. Watch this video for details (the last minute of the video is probably most important in relation to this post):

I support this black-out. It’s meant to show people – people who might otherwise not pay attention to something about Hollywood – what the internet could end up looking like if these laws get passed.

However, Iโ€™m also in Canada and thus, like everyone else outside of the U.S. (who none the less uses U.S.-based (either by owner or by ISP) websites), Iโ€™m pretty-much stuck.
Their vaguely-worded, heavy-consequence-bearing would-be laws would screw the rest of us, too, but we donโ€™t have a political voice (or perhaps a political ear?) to harass their congress into stopping it.

Seeโ€ฆ Hereโ€™s the thing. In theory, this is about the entertainment industry having cart blanche to shut down any website (entire site โ€“ as in all of WordPress, not just one blog) theyโ€™ve decided is violating copyright laws in some way (like, say, someone posts a video of themselves recreating a Lady Gaga video in their livingroom). But it has the potential to be grossly abused both in the U.S. and as a model for laws passed elsewhere[1].

This is why people are so (rightly) up in arms about this. And this is why, if you live in the U.S., the rest of us would really appreciate it if youโ€™d get on the phone (or the email, or the twitter feed, or the snail mail, or all of the above) to your congress-person/senator and tell them in no uncertain terms that you do NOT support these laws and donโ€™t want to see them pushed through. Americancensorship.org even has a handy pre-fab letter you can send in directly (hey) via the internet.

Go forth and save us all.

Thank you, (no, really, THANK YOU),
Meliad, the Birch Maiden

[1] Like here, not to put too fine a point on it.