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My god, it’s full of stars…!

I saw something white scattered on the kitchen floor a little while ago. Being that I’m nearsighted, I got down on my knees and shined a flashlight on it. It was…tiny stars.

Dammit, they mice have got into my cake decorations!

April 19, 2021 — 8:00 pm
Comments: 7

Friends in low places

I’ve bitched before about my inability to get cinnamon candy in the UK. At least, not without paying scary Amazon “we flew these over first class for you today” prices. Well, lookee who has a 24-pack!

I made friends with a candy shop owner in town, who declared himself an essential business (candy is food, dammit) and thus is open. Dude knows his stuff. He got these and Hot Tamales for me. Also, he sells a mean chocolate-covered raisin.

The reason I put my big stupid hand in every photo is for scale. And so you can’t see how cluttered my countertops are.

Oh, watched Joe Biden’s presser earlier. I don’t usually watch press conferences, but his has the exciting unpredictable-but-potentially-disastrous atmosphere of Formula 1 racing or a high wire act.

He didn’t exactly crash and burn, though. He rambled, made a few oopsies, but his eyes were clear and his speech was a lot less slurred than it has been of late.

I want a bucket of whatever it is they shoot him up with before these things.

March 25, 2021 — 7:27 pm
Comments: 7

My descent into lockdown madness is complete

I bought a spiralizer. It came today.

I know what you’re thinking and it’s a filthy lie. I do not intend to make zoodles. I tried them once. As an interesting experiment in oven-roast zucchini, it would probably be okay. As a substitute for pasta, shit’s nasty.

No, I had a sudden and terrible craving for spicy curly fries. Can’t get them here. For all I know, you don’t eat them there any more, either.

There are a bunch of recipes floating around. I’m going to try baked rather than deep fried. Deep fryers scare me. I did a stint at Dunkin Donuts – the kitchen had a tile floor slippery with wet flour and I was sure some day I was going to slip and plunge my arm up to the shoulder in the Fryolater.

I have a vivid imagination when it comes to pain.

I couldn’t try a recipe at lunchtime. I remembered I had chicken stock that really needed to be made into soup, so I spiralized the hell out of all my soup vegetables. I liked the texture and it cut cooking time way down.

Any good spiralizer ideas?

p.s. I also bought a strawberry corer, but it’ll be three months until strawberry season. Look out – I’m a madwoman!

March 17, 2021 — 7:07 pm
Comments: 19

Ooo! I want to try some…

It’s qurt. Also called qurut, kurt, kashk, jameed or chortan.

Sun-dried yoghurt balls.

Very high in protein and calcium, it was historically very important across Central Asia as a portable and nutritious food. It will keep without refrigeration for years. It can be dissolved into a beverage or a soup. They’re salty, apparently, and can be spiced in various ways. They go hard as little rocks eventually.

The article says it “gave nomads a strategic military advantage in the 12th and 13th centuries A.D.” So, like, are we not allowed to call them Mongols any more? Because we’re obviously talking Genghis and the boys here (who, probably coincidentally, were said to stink of sour milk).

On this subject, if you haven’t heard Dan Carlin on the Mongol Invasion, that’s eight hours of your life that you didn’t spend listening to Dan Carlin on the Mongol Invasion. Unlike me. Though I think I bailed after three. Hardcore is right.

I can’t find a local source. They give a recipe, but a) it looks like a lot of work and b) how would I know if I got it right if I never tried it before? Also, the British version involves blow driers, because wet little island. Phooey on this ‘multicultural society’ thing if I can’t even get qurt on a whim.

p.s. If you aren’t on Atlas Obscura’s mailing list, I highly recommend it. One of the few bits of solicited junk mail I get that I actually read.

p.p.s. Have a good weekend!

March 12, 2021 — 8:23 pm
Comments: 25

It’s a gingerbread duck

From our local bakery. For whom we are very grateful.

They fled town a couple of years ago because the rents were exorbitant. Now they’ve opened back up in the middle of all this (in a much smaller shop without an eat-in section) and we make a point of stopping there every few days.

Their bread is excellent. They make a mean doughnut. I’m a little iffy on the gingerbread ducks.

More to the point, we’re trying to be as thoughtful as we can about where our money goes.

No matter how good your intentions, you can’t avoid buying goods from China. I doubt there’s a zipper factory left anywhere else in the world, and I don’t look so good in a toga.

But I can certainly avoid giving my money to Bezos. We’re still lucky enough to have a local butcher and greengrocer and several excellent farm shops, and now our baker again, so we can cut down on supermarkets.

I don’t have much power, but I’ll enthusiastically swing my tiny axe.

February 15, 2021 — 7:55 pm
Comments: 11

I have found them!

Grape-Nuts, that is. Not always easy to get here.

My mother’s favorite cereal. She told me they were twice-baked bread. She was wrong.

Sort of wrong, anyway. They’re flour, salt and yeast (and water, presumably) baked to the consistency of Roman cement and put through a grinder. They add vitamins, too, these days.

Did you know you were experiencing a covid-induced Grape-Nuts shortage? At least, I think it’s the States (it’s in USA Today) and I think it’s now (2021/01/27 is in the url). I hate it when they don’t explicitly say location and date.

How did I live in New England all those years and never encounter Grape-Nuts icecream? And it’s not a stupid modern fake Ben-and-Jerry’s flavor, either – it goes back almost as far as Grape-Nuts themselves.

But Grape-Nuts is not my favorite cereal. That would be its textural opposite, Rice Crispies.

I feel better for sharing.

p.s. I guess I’m off of Twitter now. It’s demanding a phone number before I can log in and I can’t be bothered to find out how to fake one. The shakes aren’t too bad yet.

February 3, 2021 — 8:10 pm
Comments: 24

Happy Burns Night!

Haggis! Neeps and tatties! Those are the things in this picture!

We’re having chicken fingers and instant mashed potato.

I like instant mashed potato. Don’t judge me.

I might have a whisky, though. Especially as I have to go finish filing my taxes now.

January 25, 2021 — 8:13 pm
Comments: 9

For real this time

So this time I followed the recipe. For the wraps anyway. I didn’t have many of the ingredients for the filling. Who has Chinese chives on hand? (Don’t say “Chinese people”. You’re better than that).

I did have ground pork, so I’m not surprised they tasted pretty close to the commercial ones despite substitutions. Pork is the thing.

So, yes. They came out well. Steamed for 15 minutes in a bamboo steamer, then lightly fried on one side. Perfect-o.

I made an absolute pig of myself and ate twice as many as I intended, and did it in that weird late afternoon time between proper meals. That’s dinner screwed.

January 5, 2021 — 8:35 pm
Comments: 17

Farewell and good riddance…

Yay! These came today! They’re for making Chinese dumplings AKA potstickers AKA gyoza AKA Jiaozi AKA 餃子. Yes, of course I looked that last one up.

I love these things. Now I can make them!

I didn’t have any ground pork, so I didn’t bother making proper wonton wrappers either. I had some leftover puff pastry from a disastrous turkey pie I made the other day. That was totally wrong for potstickers but made pretty okay tiny sausage and cheese pasties.

I’m whistling and cooking and slowly backing away from 2020. No sudden moves, people, and we might just make it.

December 31, 2020 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 11

Death by turkey

We did it! We conquered the turkey!

Cold turkey for supper last night. Turkey sammiches for lunch today. Three meal-sized portions of mixed white and dark meat vacuum-packed and frozen. Then I boiled the carcass all day (my, doesn’t that stink?) and extracted enough broth and back meat for several pots of soup and a pie. Which we’re having tonight.

If we can face it.

A couple of tweets to share. Divine: this amazing Welsh church.

And, well, this. It made me laugh.

December 28, 2020 — 8:57 pm
Comments: 13