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Here we go!

The Summer fete/flower festival/country fair season is upon us and this is a homity pie.

Never had it before. In fact, I haven’t had it now. I’m savin’ it for lunch.

It’s a pastry crust filled with potatoes and an onion and leek mixture. Then it’s covered in cheese and baked. This particular variable has mustard seeds in it, which I haven’t seen in any of the recipes. A nice old lady sold it to us at a country fair.

It looks like the cross between a quiche and a ‘za.

I’ve never heard anyone in the wild say ‘za, by the way. It’s a word I picked up playing an online variation of Scrabble. Very handy for dumping unwanted Zs.

And with that, the festival season begins!

May 27, 2019 — 8:56 pm
Comments: 12

If I eat these, will I die?

An amazing whole bed of these ‘shrooms sprung up over the weekend in one of the flower beds. They were lovely and fluffy and white at first and I’m pretty sure they’re some flavor of champignons.

They’re looking a little tired and not so appetizing now, but I’m still tempted. Color photos wouldn’t help; they’re just kind of grayish.

I have a book on identifying local fungi around here somewhere, but I’m not sure where and I’m lazy. Pls help, internet.

The British have a lovely saying that’s not nearly as rude as it sounds: “suck it and see.”

Deborah HH has won the deadpool with Richard Cole, last of the Doolittle Raiders. You know what that means:


April 10, 2019 — 8:34 pm
Comments: 10

My kitchen garbage smells like cinnamon

My tea came today! That’s a big ol’ bag of chai, innit?

I generally prefer to make it up myself from spices, but this is a very nice commercial blend. If you’re in the UK, I recommend these people (strangely, they have many more varieties of tea in their Ebay shop than their online store). I can’t guarantee they make it up on the day they ship it, as they claim, but we’ve now ordered quite a bit of tea from them and it’s all been excellent.

Not cheap. Not as expensive as some, but not cheap. Fancy tea is dear, even in the land of fanatic tea drinkers.

Good weekend, all!

April 5, 2019 — 8:13 pm
Comments: 8

Battle royal

I have a little stash of American junk food I order online, because I’m pretty sure if my body is ever completely clear of preservatives, they’ll take away my passport.

So this afternoon, I’m like “hey, B — want a plain M&M?”

And he’s like, “what even is one of those?” (He didn’t say it like that. He talks real stupid like “oh, I say, Weasel, whatever might those be at home?” I do my best to translate).

You could’ve knocked me over with a pixie stick. Imagine! So I give him a little pile of M&Ms and he’s like, “oh! Smarties!”

I’ll spare you the argument we had on account of I suck at writing dialogue, but it came down to me yelling “It’s M&M’s because they were first!”

You guessed, didn’t you? They weren’t. Smarties were introduced in 1937 and M&M’s in 1941. We laughed and laughed and then we ate the whole bag because we are pigs.

If you hanker to learn how much of a piece of shit Forrest Mars was, here you go.

March 25, 2019 — 10:08 pm
Comments: 10

Liquorice, yay or nay?

My current chai recipe calls for star anise, which I’ve slavishly added because I’m an idiot obviously. I hate this shit. It gives me the willies.

Anise, star anise (totally different plants, I did not realize), fennel and liquorice all derive their flavor largely (I have learned through a cursory trawl through Google and now I r expert) from a compound called anethole.

But they each have lots of other stuff going on. Like, “90% of the world’s star anise crop is used for extraction of shikimic acid, a chemical intermediate used in the synthesis of oseltamivir (Tamiflu)” Wikipedia tells me.

And once most liquorice was used in cigarette manufacture, giving American cigs a distinctive flavor, until the FDA banned it in 2009 for some reason. Which means the cigarettes I knew and loved no longer even exist.

My mother in law loves the stuff. My mother did, too. We could always con her into taking the black jelly beans.

Black candy. Surely, Mother, they are trying to tell you something.

Can you bear this stuff, or is it just me?

March 18, 2019 — 9:29 pm
Comments: 15

From the moist bowels of FaceBook

I got spotted dick. Because of course I did.

Liner notes: a crumpet is an english muffin. I’ve heard of Americans making potato chip sandwiches, but not Brits — my guess is that should be a chip butty. Also, it’s only a shepherd’s pie when it’s made with lamb; most people make it with hamburger, which is a cottage pie.

Confession: I like mushy peas.

The images was credited to Getty Images/Buzzfeed, which doesn’t seem likely.

March 13, 2019 — 10:04 pm
Comments: 16

Thus endeth a strange week in a recipe

My new favorite snacky:

Soak a cup* of dried soybeans overnight**
Drain and toss into a hot wok with 1 tablespoon† of peanut oil
Wok for ten minutes⁑
Sprinkle with salt‡

Keeps for days in a bowl. Tastes like popcorn, but more satisfying because it’s full of protein-y goodness. (Careful, fellas — don’t grow soy tiddies!).

Image stolen from Sincerely Nuts, a charmingly-named American online purveyor of foodstuffs. Recipes at the link look interesting, too.

Good weekend, all!

* a cup is kind of a lot. I do less in one go, usually.
** Seriously, WTF does this mean? I hate it when recipes say overnight. Is it eight hours? Is it twelve? Is there some magical alchemy that happens to food while the world sleeps?
† I need to start measuring this. I keep eyeballing it and using too much oil which is gross.
⁑ give or take. Less, and they’re chewy. More, and they’re crispy. I like them both ways.
‡ last, before you turn them out of the wok. I think it coats better if it goes on last, or perhaps it protects the surface of the wok. Chunks of coarse sea salt in a grinder is the best.

March 8, 2019 — 8:56 pm
Comments: 13

Recipe for weaselchai

What do I know from chai? I’m a small furry mustelid from Tennessee. I went on YouTube and watched Indians make the stuff. Which is so simple, turns out, the easiest video to follow wasn’t even in English.

Per the instructions, take 2 parts water and 1 part whole milk. Bring it to a simmer, add chai, bubble for three minutes, add sugar and done. If you’ve bought a decent chai mix, that’ll make a very fine drink. There are some nice mixes to be had online.

But what’s the fun in that? What I actually do is boil the water by itself first, including any ‘hard’ ingredients like stick cinnamon or cardamom pods that could use a good boilin’. I let that chunder until I remember it’s on the stove. Then I add the milk and any ‘soft’ ingredients: things like tea that shouldn’t boil too long. Let it all come back to a simmer and then strain into a pre-warmed thermos flask with lots of sugar.

Things that really should be in chai: water, milk, tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger root, sugar.

Things lots of people put in chai: star anise, cloves, peppercorns, orange peel, nutmeg.

Things that can be put in chai: anything. AN-Y-THING. Any spice you like the taste of, any herbal remedy that wants boiling. I know a herbalist who puts turmeric in it. The only error I’ll admit to so far is hops (fine in an herbal tea, too bitter for a sweet chai).

I stole the image from this article on whether it’s okay to re-use tea. It’s an interesting article (and, from the looks of it, a good American tea supplier). Read it if you care.

March 5, 2019 — 8:28 pm
Comments: 6

My cup, let me show you it

I bought a few of these for cheaps on Ebay. They are hand-thrown terra cotta cups, glazed on the inside and unglazed on the outside. They look like what Judah ben Hur would drink his Ovaltine out of.

I’ve been making chai. Not out of chai mix, but out of bits. I am enjoying myself very much, as only a weasel with a chemistry set can. It seemed right to drink it out of one of these. I keep waiting to transmogriphy into Mrs Hyde, but so far it’s just a delicious beverage that makes me piss like a dray horse.

Of all the supposed benefits of multiculturalism, the only ones I appreciate are interesting food, textiles and ceramics.

March 4, 2019 — 10:09 pm
Comments: 8

Then there’s this stuff…

This is (someone else’s) picture of kefir grains. I bought me some (local Sussex grains) on eBay and I’ve switched from yogurt to this. For now.

It’s basically the same organism(s) as yogurt, plus a few more. It tastes like yogurt, but it’s a thick liquid like a milkshake and it’s incredibly easy. No pre-heating the milk or keeping it at a stable temperature or anything.

Pour milk over grains, leave out overnight, swizzle around occasionally — TADA! The only downside is, you kind of have to make it every day. It is a living beast AND IT MUST BE FED.

I think I like thick yogurt better, frankly. But this stuff is so easy and so similar. Also, I kept a wodge of my old yogurt in the freezer for when I change my mind.

Anyone else make this stuff?

August 1, 2018 — 10:06 pm
Comments: 19