Tag Archives: cooking

Strawberries, Malva, Lunch

10 Aug

This morning all the wild strawberries had collected dew on each leaf point:

In the garden the Malva sylvestris is in bloom:

This variety came originally from the British seed company Thompson and Morgan and had a name, now lost in the mists of time.

Since the tomatoes are ripe most days I am eating open-faced tomato sandwiches for lunch.  Necessary ingredients:

Tomato; bread, preferably homemade; mayo, ditto; and today shallot, homegrown.  The shallots I started last year from seed.  They were planted as sets this spring and have turned into lovely large shallots.  The mayo i made with garlic and used pomegranate vinegar–a drinking variety I found at the local Asian store.   Yesterday I used Russian tomatoes from Audrey.  They were fabulous, though small.  To fill out the space on the bread I cut open some Sun Golds.


Oh, and the two campers arrived safely home this evening for supper.

Wedding and other treats

29 Apr

A handful of us went to Ellie’s this morning to watch The Wedding via BBC.  Whilst we watched we had tea, cranberry sparkling water with orange juice, Elli’s almost famous ambrosia, an apple coffee cake, scones with Devonshire cream, jam, and raspberries, and baked french toast.

The scone recipe is adapted from Bernard Clayton’s bread book. It did come from a Mrs. MacNab, of Scotland.  Notice it has no sugar.  The currants are sweet enough.

Mrs. MacNab’s Scones

2 cups flour, approximately

1 teaspoon each salt and baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 egg, room temperature, slightly beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1/2 cup currants or more

Oven: 375 Degrees F

Rub the butter into the mixed dry ingredients.  Add the egg and buttermilk and currants.  Stir, then turn out on a lightly floured board.  There was excess flour in my batch so I just used what there was.  Knead lightly a few times.  Divide dough into 4 portions.  Shape each into an approximate 6″ circle about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into quarters and place on baking sheet.  Cook about 15 minutes.


When we arrived home (Isaac went with me) I tried the yogurt I made yesterday afternoon.  Here is what I did to make the yogurt.

Put 7 cups whole milk in a stainless steel saucepan.  This milk containing pan went into a slightly larger saucepan with some water.  Heated the milk to about 185 degrees F and held it there about 30 minutes.  Something online said it would make the yogurt thicker. (By evaporating some water off, perhaps?)

Removed from water bath and heat.  Poured in 1 cup cold ultra-pasteurized half and half, then placed saucepan in a cold water bath and stirred.  The temperature dropped to below 110 degrees F much more quickly than I anticipated. 110 is the temp to inoculate the milk with culture.

Stirred and whisked in about 1.5 T. yogurt from two different kinds: Chobani and Liberte.

Turned oven on the lowest temp setting it goes to: 170 Deg F.  Poured yoogurt solution into my grandmother’s heavy red ceramic bowl, covered with plastic wrap, stuck thermometer in.  Turned off oven after a few minutes and took the bowl in and out of the oven over the course of a half hour, trying to get the milk up to about 100-110 degrees.  Then left it in the oven overnight.  The thermometer still read about 80 F this morning.  Moved the bowl to the fridge before leaving at %.30 this AM.  The yogurt is delicious and not at all tangy.  Mild and wonderful.  I put a bit of honey on a small bowlful when I got home.

Single, Sunny, Still, Songs, Spiral, Squirrel, Sauce

3 Mar

Single digits but sunny.  And no wind; a wondrous stillness.  Yesterday was a howling whipping wind day.  On top of the thick crunchy sugar crust of snow is a light dusting that fell before the wind.  That thin layer looks like a fine painting this morning: fine brushstrokes covering the surface.  Wind work that artists try to imitate with feathers or fine hair brushes.  And through all the whiteness bright crystal sparkles of reflected light.

Even with the bitter cold, the birds are singing.  It is light earlier and later.  The Northern Mockingbird was at the feeder yesterday.  And the Brown Creeper returned to the suet tree. I had never seen one before last week.  It uses it tail as a support and spirals only up, flying down to work its way back up the tree.  Hawks, crows, jays, nuthatches, chickadees, finches, woodpeckers, the creeper: all are sounding off that spring is coming.  On the road trip last week we saw a pair of yellow-shafted flickers and some turkeys.

Our pussy willow is exceptional only for a few of its branches rather than its gray pussies.  Those are wide and flattened at the end with buds sticking out on every surface.  This one is best–a spiral.  The photo does not do it justice.

I have been contemplating moving the flying squirrels up to an enclosed porch to enable them to acclimate somewhat to the outside temperatures.  I didn’t think it would get into the single digits again.  So not yet.  But they continue to have to work for their food.  I give them whole English walnuts.  They chew one hole and eat some of the nut, then move to another nut.  To encourage them to do better, I put only as many nuts in as have been more thoroughly eaten.  This entails them chewing another hole to get at the other end.  So now I have a few necklaces worth of squirrel-slave-made “beads”.

Jay thinks they should be made into a garland for the Christmas tree.  I think maybe necklaces or buttons?  Each nut needs to be sanded.  Maybe strung with other large beads?

Isaac saw a gray squirrel on the feeder yesterday.  I saw a squirrel– could not tell the color–red or gray–crossing on branch tips from spruce to spruce outside our bedroom window this morning.  The same window Banner used to visit and come into our room through.  Sigh.

Daren harvested five grays Tuesday for me.  We were having guests for supper that would appreciate game.  I boiled them up yesterday morning.  They were noticeably smaller; the meat lighter and more tender than the big ones he gave us at Christmas.  Five yielded about 2.5 cups of meat.  It was ground up and went into homemade sauce for pizza.  Squirrel pizza.  Yum!  Quick sauce recipe: three large cloves garlic, three shallots (bought five pounds of them in the fall–must use them!), a medium onion all chopped fine and cooked in butter.  Add one quart home canned tomatoes (a red-Sungold mix), spices, extra frozen basil, salt, pepper, the rest of the ajvar and the ground squirrel.  Cook for a bit.  Really marvelous.  It got my 20-yr old out of bed.  Well, not until 10.30AM.  But he said he smelled it all the way upstairs.

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