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me and my vulture

Hey and welcome to all the new people who have found my journal by accident or on purpose!

A few things I want to let all of you know:


Seven Tips for Highly Successful Readers...Collapse )

Not posting

Sorry, no post.  Up to my ears in Xmas cookies.  Will try to eat my way out by Friday, but I make no promises.

Recipe #3: Sugar Cakes

yah rly
Back to the recipes!  We're actually having a fun week; on Monday, Bob and Harv picked up half a load of something like 2.5 tons of bricks we'll use for building our Elizabethan kitchen building, and we're going out tomorrow to pick up the other half, with help from theblueleader.   We've cleared this gorgeous space in the 12 acre property we added on to our acreage.

road out sized for LJ
(This is the road in.)

But!  Recipe!

This one's an easy documentation, because it's featured in Fooles and Fricassees: Food in Shakespeare's England, Folger Shakespeare Library, 1999.  Appendix I is a transcription of Mrs. Sarah Longe:  Her Receipt Booke, c. 1610.  The biggest thing I changed (other than reducing the amounts a bit) was that rather than wash the butter in rosewater, I ground dried rose-petals I had collected from my own (pesticide-free) roses over the summer into the sugar before using it in the recipe.

(I totally cheated on that, btw; I processed it in a blender.)

Despite the name, this is actually much more of a shortbread cookie than a cake.  The dough is rolled thin, and cut out "with a glasse".

Original recipe:  "Take a pound of butter, and wash it in rose-water, and halfe a pound of sugar, and half a douzen sponefulls of thicke Creame, and the yelkes of 4 Eggs, and a little mace finely beaten, and as much fine flower as it will wett, and work it well together [;] then roll them out very thin, and cut them with a glasse, and prick them very thicke with a great pin, and lay them on plates, and soe bake them gently."

Redacted recipe:
1/4lb salted butter (one stick), softened
3/4 cup sugar (I used the ground rose-petal sugar)
1 egg yolk
1tsp mace
1-1/2 cups sifted white flour, plus some extra

Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl.  In a separate small bowl, beat the cream and egg yolk until blended, then add to the sugar and butter.  Add the flour 1/4 cup at a time, sifting into the bowl, until the mixture forms a ball that does not stick to the sides of the bowl.  Makes sure you pick up any dough crumbs in the bottom of the bowl.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325F.  Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until about 1/4" thick.  Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter or wine glass.  Put the rounds on a parchment lined, ungreased cookie sheet.  Prick them all over with a fork* (like shortbread), then bake until light golden, about 17-20min.

Like shortbread, you don't want the cookie to brown too much.  It should be barely golden on top, and a little browner underneath.

*I really did use a big brass pin to prick them all over.  This is actually a good opportunity to do decorative circles or hearts, or whatever you like on the tops of the cookie, since shaped cookie cutters aren't really period.  However, this makes a great cookie for SCA lunches and teas, and for those times, use of a shaped cookie cutter is officially sanctioned by me.  :)

Recipe #2: Fig Pudding

j'town apple
I thought I'd stick with the whole "pudding" theme this week.  No post yesterday, because yesterday was my birthday, and I was busy shopping and watching Mockingjay with Bob.

(It's a pretty good movie.  I thought it was worth watching in the theatre, even in 2D.  I refuse to do Imax because I like my hearing, and prefer to lose it naturally, rather than having it blasted to smithereens by Imax surround sound.) (My hearing is bad enough as it is, thanks to childhood ear infections and scarring.)


(photo by Andrea Callicutt, copyright 2014)

So... fig pudding.  Like the pease pudding, it's cooked in a water bath, either by tying it up in linen or muslin and directly boiling, or by cooking in a bowl put in the water (essentially, a double-boiler effect).  In this case, with the sweet pudding, it's better cooked in a bowl, so you don't lose the flavour of the figs.  Now as to the length of time it's been a pudding, rather than, say, a fruitcake-like thing, it's harder to say, though Wikipedia rather unhelpfully claims it's a 16th century dish, but that's definitely a [citation needed] entry. The fifteenth-century recipe* I have uses raisins and dates in addition to the figs, having all the fruits mixed with eggs, fat, flour, and breadcrumbs, and worked into a dough that is then boiled in water (and then suggests you can warm slices of the pudding on the griddle).  I prefer it with just the figs, as it's an excellent connection with something the Jamestown Settlement & Museum visitors know - "Oh, bring us some figgy pudding" from the carol We Wish You a Merry Christmas - and it is a proper period dish made with just the figs.   My experience with the pudding was that it tastes very much like a Fig Newton.  Without further ado:

Fig (figgy) pudding

2 cups dried figs, chopped small
1 cup lard or suet, if you can get it (it's better with suet)
1 cup flour
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (crumble up some bread; it needs to be fresh, not dried)
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp milk
Lard, for greasing the pudding bowl

medium mixing bowl
medium ceramic pudding bowl
6-qt saucepan

In a medium bowl, combine figs, lard, and breadcrumbs.  Beat the egg and milk together, and add to the fruit mixture, adding more milk if needed to make a stiff dough.  Grease the pudding bowl heavily (be generous; you want the cooked pudding to come out of the bowl), and pack the dough in firmly, flattening the top evenly.  Fill the saucepan half-way with water.  Cover the pudding bowl tightly with foil and place in the 6-qt saucepan, making sure the water doesn't come up more than 2/3 of the way up the bowl.  Bring the water to a boil, them simmer for 3 hours, checking the water every half hour, adding more water if needed.  Do not allow the pan to boil dry.

Once the pudding is cooked, immediately turn it out onto a plate.  Serve warm or cold.

* pp. 112-113, Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, Thomas Austin (ed.), printed for the Early English Text Society, Oxford University Press, 1888(facsimile, Boydell & Brewer, Ltd., New York, 2000). 

Recipe #1: Striped Pease Pudding

j'town pumpkin
Sorry, I haven't gotten to FB yet; I'm still recovering from the busiest two weeks I've had in a long time.  I went to bed at 7pm yesterday.

I actually promised a few people I would post my recipes for the Governor's table at Foods and Feasts (Jamestown), so here's one, with a little history.  I'll do more over the week.  I don't have pics yet, because I was a numpty and forgot my camera, but other people took pictures, and I'll post them whenever they arrive.

First, one of my traditional recipes, that isn't exactly from a book, but is an accumulation of family knowledge mixed with some historic research:

Striped Pease Pudding
1/2 lb yellow dried split peas
1/2 lb green dried split peas
2 tsp butter
2 eggs
2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
salt and pepper to taste
Crisco or lard to grease the pudding bowl

foodCollapse )

I joined Facebook.

jacket Patience

Probably not doing much more than that for the next two weeks - tomorrow we go to Holiday Faire, then we're off to Jamestown for Foods & Feasts, and I have a goose to roast this year.  A goose!

I'm so excited.

Makin' Quiche.

bun:  cooking
4 eggs.
2 1/2 cups of finely grated swiss cheese.
1/2 cup heavy cream.
Proscuttio, torn into small pieces.
2 onions, finely chopped and caramelized.
Bacon and chive seasoning.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Put the pastry into the pan, prick it all over, and blind bake @ 425F for 10 minutes.
Bring it out, let it cool a little.
Decrease oven temp. to 400F.
Spread carameized onions in the pastry.
Pour egg and cheese mixture over top, pat down evenly.
(If desired, arrange sliced cherry tomatoes all over the top in some kind of pattern.) (I favour something fun, like a compass rose.  Or estencely.)
Put it in the oven, bake for 45-60 minutes, until top is well browned.

Serve with salad.  Or on its own, it's got a vegetable in it.  Frankly, you can mix almost anything in it, as long as you keep to the base of four eggs, 1/2 cup cream, and 2-1/2 cups cheese.  It doesn't even have to be swiss, I just happen to like swiss.

It's good hot or cold, and travels great, and it took me about a year of experimenting until I found the exact style I liked.  You're welcome.


Sean Hannity is not a good role model!

bun: tv
Seriously.  "Whupping" your kid when they don't "mind" you is child abuse.

"I got beaten by my Dad" is not a good reason to do the same to your child.

"I just lost my temper" is no excuse.  For anything.

"I'm going to wash your mouth out with soap!" is something no parent should ever say to their child, let alone do it.

Hitting your child with a belt, a switch, a tree branch, or any other object is unacceptable.

Hitting your child because you're angry at them does nothing but teach them to be afraid of you.

Your child being afraid of you is a very, very bad thing.

Saying that "it's different" when a famous person abuses their child makes the problem worse.

You can like the abuser, or even be related to them, but it doesn't make their abusive behaviour any less real.

Silencing the child that speaks up makes you the bad guy.

Pretending it never happened makes you the bad guy.

Hitting a child is not okay.
yah rly
I attended a concert at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. on August 15, 1966 (altho it was still called DC Stadium at that time). I remember being intensely concerned what my ex-girlfriend was doing (she was there, too) and I also recall being acutely aware of her best friend, who was there with her. I had shifted my affections from my ex to her friend and kept my binoculars trained on her more than the warm-up acts. None of this worked out as planned -- the thing with the friend never materialized and I ended up marrying the ex a few years later.

Did I mention that The Beatles were headlining?

The Beatles, playing D.C. on their last tour of the US, with opening acts Bobby Hebb ("Sunny"), The Cyrkle ("Red Rubber Ball"), The Remains (I got nuthin') and The Ronettes ("Be My Baby", fitting, given my infatuation with my ex's bff). 

I read today that The Beatles set in '66 was only 11 songs. I couldn't really say, since between watching my (hope-to-be) new girlfriend, the primitive state-of-the-art sound system at the Stadium, and me and everyone else, screaming incoherently, I heard maybe only a third of what was going on. It didn't matter, of course; it was magical in the way such things are to a fifteen year old.

Interesting stuff happened before the show started. While waiting outside the Stadium, a group of Carnaby Street-clad fellows walked by. My friend and I noted their (to us) outlandish clothes with interest. We later learned that Stadium officials had mistook them for The Cyrkle and let them inside and backstage.

Even more outlandishly dressed were the Klu Klux Klan marchers, who were there to protest John Lennon's infamous lament that the band was more popular than Jesus. As they say nowadays, h8trs gotta h8.

Seeing the Beatles live was one of the epochal events of my life. Since then I've seen many performers live in concert -- Elton John, Billy Joel, Elton John and Billy Joel, Neil Diamond (my second ex made me go to that one), Michael Jackson, Prince, Sly and the Family Stone, Bread, The Fifth Dimension, Grand Funk Railroad and Steven Stills (actually, I didn't see him in concert, I saw him in my jail) to name some. None of them compared to the Beatles; not even seeing McCartney in concert in 2011. It may seem odd that a 30 minute set of second-tier hits beats out concerts that lasted hours. But it was The Beatles, the greatest rock band ever.

Don't agree? Well, all I can say in response to your sad negation is to point out is that the band's last two hits -- "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love" -- were released in 1995, twenty-five years after the band broke up. Not enough? Both songs reached Billboard's Top 100 in 1996, #6 and #11 respectively. Need more? How about the fact that the writer and lead singer of both songs HAD BEEN DEAD FOR 16 YEARS!

There's a t-shirt that says "I may be old, but I saw all the great bands". For me, it should say "I may be old, but I saw The Greatest Band of All Time ".

Pennsic and costume...

Maidstone jacket detail
We're off to Pennsic for the next two weeks.  I'm bringing my Maidstone jacket repro - I've done a little work on it, making it more period.  I will get around to updating it on my site some day.  for now, here's a couple of pictures:
pretty clothes!Collapse )

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December 2014



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