A Brooklyn transplant and I were lamenting the absence of good ethnic food here in the south as he was car-sharing me over to Aldi t’other day . . .
Fresh from our joint lament, I discovered ground lamb in Aldi’s meat section, neatly packaged in 1-pound packs.
I like lamb! Mom used to fix it only at Easter, as dad didn’t appreciate it. When I was living north of downtown Chicago around the Lakeside neighborhood, there was a great little family-run restaurant with lamb on the menu. Even before that, while IBMing in California there was a sublime Mediterranean restaurant . . .
Cutting to the chase — If anyone has a ground lamb recipe they’d like to share, do tell, ’cause I’m searching.
Editor’s note: The maaany links in today’s post should all open on separate pages. Should, but they won’t all cooperate & I’ve given up trying to force them. Just wanted you to know, in case you’re expecting them to all do the same thing.
As most frequent readers will know, the recipe above was altered when I made it up — I was looking for a spicy microwave cake recipe that didn’t require an hour’s baking time (in other words, a quick Raisin Spice Cake alternative). You can download it here.
I’ve been giving the above with spice variations a trial run. So far have made it twice, managed to waaay over-spice the first one (hint: 1 teaspoon of ginger, not 2 ), forgot the molasses the second time, but got the spice amount a bit better.
As usual, I only used 1 tablespoon of brown sugar rather than the 3 listed. Have yet to try it with a few raisins, but the chocky variation, which includes chips, came out nicely. So maybe a few raisins will be fine.
As mentioned above, this also chimes in with Deb’s & Donna’s monthly #WhatsOnYourPlateBlogChallenge.
But I’m tempted by this one as denims would “go” with everything. It’s James C Brett Marble Chunky MC10.
However, on close examination (hence the close-up), all the Brett Marble Chunky is probably 2-ply. But aren’t those strands thicker than the 4-ply of the red Vanna Yarn on the right (which I used yonks ago & still had a bit of)?
I know Vanna is not as soft as Brett’s Marble Chunky. Which might be why I’m not too keen on using any of the specified Lion Brand yarn. Aside from the fact I cannot find any colour I like. 😒
Uhhh … mmm … so long as you soak them overnight and don’t re-use the water you soaked ’em in you’ll remove some of the etceteras that make them… er, let’s just say, hard to digest, okay? 😉
I’m chiming in with Deb and Donna’s INAUGURAL What’s On Your Plate Blog Challenge, and looking forward to collecting some exciting new recipes!
My sis#2, J, mentioned making another pot of bean soup during a cold spell this winter, and I asked for deets. I vaguely remembered some kind of bean soup being available, and had tried various over the years, but hadn’t connected with the above munificent collection of 15. Nor had I read a recipe, or had anyone telling me the soup was good for using up leftovers.
Wonder of wonders! The 15 bean soup mix is available at several grocers in my area, so I immediately started experimenting. Mind you, I did read their recipe off the back of the packet first. (Here it is on online.) My versions can vary considerably.
I’ve recently been cutting up a bit of Canadian bacon and tossing into the basic soup, for when I don’t add the last of a chicken or beef dish. I’ll ladle out half a serving of soup and add in the last of whatever else, knowing the beans will make a full meal. A couple minutes in the microwave and I’m eating.
With J’s advice, I don’t use the included flavour packet, mostly because I use about ½ cup of the beans at a time, not the whole bag. (Makes more sense as I’m cooking for one.) There are plenty of online variations, and I’ve a hunch the crock pot’s coming out for summer versions. You can check out some variations here.
My Basic: Soak about ½ cup of beans overnight. Next day, drain the beans. I’ve always got chicken broth around for the base, along with no- or low-sodium canned tomatoes. Sometimes I’ve some onion or garlic to throw in, and I really love the slightly sweet tang of balsamic vinegar, so a good dollop of that goes in, and lots of ground black pepper. Oh, and a bay leaf!
This is the sort of soup that can include anything but the kitchen sink, and I can honestly say I haven’t made a bad batch yet.
So glad you could join us today – help yourselves to a tea of your choice, and some soda bread. Here’s the toaster & spread in case you want to try a warm slice.
I posted the recipe here in case you’d like to make your own. 😉
This sweet bread has a different consistency partly because it uses almost 2 cups of buttermilk. I’ve still got about 2 cups of b’milk left! Anybody have or know of a scone recipe using buttermilk? I’d like to try one, if it exists.
Please feel free to introduce yourselves. How was your journey? Hope the day’s going well for you. Yes, today is unusually warm for March, even down here.
What do you think about this herbal tea assortment? It’s the first time I’ve tried it. I’d like to be growing my own, if a window box in a sunny window would work.
Any gardeners here? What do you think? I’ve one south-facing window, but later afternoon sun gets blocked. Do you think I could grow some herbs?
Your invitation Please feel free to celebrate with Su of Zimmerbitch and me with a post of your own, a recipe, or a piccie of your own cuppa.
I’ll update this post with a ping back to your post. If you’re an IG person, we’re at #virtualteaparty2021.
Hello, Lovely Readers, and welcome to my Friday evening!
🌬 🌦 🌈 ⚡️ 🌪
We’re very much in see-saw weather so I’m flipping between fleece and cotton, with intermittent cogitations on corduroy & ponte — the season of “what to sew next?” But more on that in another post.
Before I forget ~
In case you’re peckish for something oaty but your recipes are calling for an oat type you’ve never heard of, have a gander at this page. It describes what American oat growers & grinders mean when they use “their” terms. Hope it sheds some light.
I always enjoy a jaunt with Joanna Lumley and was delighted one night to follow her around her own isle, Britain. You don’t have to have access to BBC’s iplayer to watch – just check out YouTube for her latest 3-part series, Home Sweet Home.
On a sad note – The hyacinth I’ve been photographing committed hari kari. Yes, this last ickle bulb, the runt in Aldi’s litter, always had a disconcertingly major bend in the bud stalks. That evidently became too much to overcome Wednesday dead-of-night, and it toppled off a high shelf. 💔
I haven’t done a thing on my blues blanket since pinning 2 of the 3 long rows together, preparatory to joining them. They got carefully rolled up, put away, and not looked at since.
Problem is I keep thinking I need to clear off my long cutting table. Sewing long rows together needs consistent tension everywhere, no? And to get that, everything needs to be flat, right? Any suggestions or hints? Am I being too cautious?? Is a monster trying to stop my progress?!?!?!?!
Amidst the stormy weather, we can carry on, because the tea stays hot & the food never runs out.
This month we’re having a scrumptious Cranberry Bread, chock full of cranberries and sliced almonds.
Although it’s not quite bready enough to toast, we can always put a few slices in the oven, on Low, and you can enjoy a crunchy version.
The other treat this month can be similar if you choose. Tea sandwiches with a spread based on non-fat plain Greek yogurt, with additional ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard, in a combination known only to my taste buds.
For those who might prefer a dip instead of a spread, I’ve toasted thin slices of homemade bread. There are also the traditional Jacob’s Cream and Ritz crackers, cheese slices and cherry tomatoes for garnish.
Shall we compare notes on who has managed to get a C-19 vaccine shot? Or exchange more recipes? It seems to me that my state and county aren’t playing nice with each other just now.
Everyone’s trying to register with both, but nothing much is happening. Which isn’t such a bad thing, I guess, as vaccine availability is so limited.
Hate to think we’re looking at another year of social distancing and wearing masks, don’t you?
Quick – let’s change the subject.
Su (Zimmerbitch) and I share hosting a Virtual Tea Party each month, around the 15th. Everyone is welcome to join in, write a post of their own, contribute a recipe, or just enjoy the party. You can also find us at #virtualteaparty2021 on Instagram.
When Su and I first discussed a virtual tea party a year ago, neither of us knew how it would resonate with our followers. We certainly wouldn’t have believed what the world was about to experience.
A most extraordinary year later, still in the midst of pandemic and societal injustices it’s helped expose, I’m not feeling very analytical.
But I do recognise that some things haven’t changed — the need to eat, to communicate, to enjoy the company of others — and these things can be shared electronically. New interests can develop, new life paths can be found.
The humanity of mankind can and does flourish, especially in hard times — in pot banging to support first responders, in childrens’ rainbow pictures in windows, in communities banding together to give a single mom a car…
And we can all enjoy the comfort of a warm (or cool in summer) cuppa, with a bit of a nosh along side.
For this month’s Tea Party I decided to try making — or prepping things so you can make your own — Cranachan.
Cranachan is a traditional festive Scottish pudding of whipped cream, toasted oatmeal, raspberries, and whiskey.
Alas, my kitchen doesn’t run to the last, but if you’ve got your own wee flask, suit yourself. 😉
As is also traditional, I’ve got plates and bowls of the ingredients so you can mix your own – in layers or all mixed together. And if we run out of raspberries, I’ve blueberries, raisins, cranberries – but this is virtual cranachan, so there’s no fear of running out!
It wouldn’t be a holiday for me without an extra spicey Raisin Spice Cake, and some digestives for those without a sweet tooth.
If you’d like something more substantial with your tea, I’ve Mrs. Beeton’s scones – a delicate, plain variety to offset a mustard chicken & grape filling, with some sunflower seeds to give it extra crunch.
Not being much for champers, I usually toast in the New Year with either a good seltzer & fruit mix, or hot chocolate.
Whatever your tipple, enjoy it as we look forward to the beginning of 2021!
Please feel free to celebrate with us with a post of your own, a recipe, or a piccie of your own cuppa.
I’ll update this post with a ping back to your post. If you’re an IG person, we’re at #virtualteaparty2020.
The Lovely Canadian, Deb (The Widow Badass), has posted a most delectable tea, and you will not believe the ornament at the top of her post!
Here it is, the middle of November, and time for another virtual tea party.
Welcome, everyone! I’m especially delighted to see you!
After what we’ve all been through one way or t’other, can’t say we’re not ready for a hot cup and a warm scone or two. It’s been quite a month, and frankly, I’m glad to see the back of it.
But I’ve always been one for phone calls and now FaceTime and Zoom and Skype. (Did you know I was teaching a monthly vocal workshop, including a Spanish soprano in Málaga (Spain) in 2000?) I’ve been waiting a long time for video teaching to come of age. 🥴
Back to our tea. . . My little scone & biscuit book (here it is in U.K. and U.S.) has a cranberry scone recipe that I decided to try out. Have been having a thing for dried cranberries lately (with chicken, but that’s another story) and decided to try the recipe.
The dough is very soft and makes huge round scones. As usual, I skimped on the sugar and the taste was fine. But I should have soaked the dried berries first. Duh! Luckily, most of them were plump anyway, so the occasional chewy one didn’t bother me.
However, their size had me eating half a scone, and saving the rest for later. So I decided the next batch should be half size, and baked for a shorter time. Now they’re much more appropriate for tea time nibbling! But everything went so quickly I forgot to photo the scones, so have to rely on the photo through the oven door (the first batch, above). Sorry! 😥
Then I decided to do my favourite digestive biscuit recipe. Strangest thing – they decided to become savory instead of sweet. Found myself adding garlic, pepper, and basil and leaving out most of the sugar. After rolling them out much thinner, I left them in the oven longer so they’d crisp up.
They looked about the same, and the taste was wonderful! Love that peppery note on the back of the tongue, and will try more garlic next time!
Virtual Tea Party
When Su (Zimmerbitch), a talented New Zealand photographer and crafter, mentioned a monthly virtual tea party last year it seemed a wonderful idea to me, so I asked if she’d like to go international, and if so I was volunteering.
Little did we know what was about to happen . . . . .
So we’ve continued inviting everyone to join us virtually around the middle of each month, for a cuppa and some goodies. As Su writes, the tea is always hot, and the calorie-free goodies never run out. So come as you are, when you feel like company.
For those who favour IG, we can be found at #virtualteaparty2020.
You’re welcome to bring something to share, or a recipe, or just your own Good Selves.
Deb, aka The Widow Badass, has brought the most amazing lemon-almond cake we’ve ever tasted! Her post describing it is here!
Today may be dark & dank outside, but inside it’s bright and cheerful, with the kettle steaming quietly in the background as friends drop by virtually for a cuppa, a nibble and a natter.
After visiting Su’s glorious tea party yesterday down in New Zealand, it’s nice to share some of that conversation with friends up here, and catch my breath, so to speak. 😉
We seem to have a “normalising” in the whole wheat flour production industry up here, so I’ve splurged a bit and made an extra wholemeal loaf for everyone to enjoy. Also on hand is an apricot spread I pureed as part of an experiment. 🤫
The homemade digestives are in the tin, and there’s also a plate of oatmeal chews for those with a sweet tooth (the recipe is here.)
The NZ election for their Prime Minister is this Saturday (our Friday, so today), and they’re sounding a great deal like many of us up here.
But we’ve got three more weeks before our official election day. (Although several million of us voted early).
How’m I coping? By almost totally not watching telly. I do check several online newspapers each day (headlines only), local online news (mostly for weather), etc. And for entertainment, I’m leaning more and more on BritBox shows with absolutely no mention of anything political.
For example: Has anyone seen a current program, Shakespeare and Hathaway? If you haven’t you can read about it on Wiki here, and do a bit of watching over here. I like the actor playing Hathaway and that led me to watch the first episode.
Then I became intrigued with the other main cast members, not the least of which is the town (city?) of Stratford. I haven’t seen much architecture from Shakespeare’s time, so I’m watching more than just imaginative costuming. (Why do the British love dressing up so much?!)
On another note, somewhere around late Spring I discovered, from one of my lovely blogging mates whose name I don’t remember (sorry, luv!), Kate from The Last Homely House. Do you know her? She’s a crafty, gardeny, cooking sort of person living up on a Northumberland farm.
I find her YouTube videos calming, humourous. and thoroughly addictive. If you don’t know Kate, sit yourself down, click over to her YT channel, pick out a subject and begin watching. (I’d recommend this one , which is a charming introduction to herself and her videos.)
Thank you for coming round today for our little tea party. Sit yourselves down, have a hot cuppa, we’ll toast you some bread and pass down the digestive tin and the oatmeal chews. They’re virtual, so no calories or allergies, and no worries about indulging yourself at the end of the week.
#virtualteaparty2020 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images over there.
And so, on with the conversations! Any good programs to suggest? What do you think about the ones I watch? D’you think the chews are too sweet? I shorted the sugar, but don’t trust my un-sweet tooth which thinks they’re still too sweet. (Remember, I drink my cocoa without sugar, so . . . 🙄)
Thank you all for coming and being such delightful guests! Until next month, everyone please be safe, take care, and come back soon! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Welcome, Everyone! I’m so delighted to see you! The virtual kettle’s on the boil, and the goodies are all ready. Come in outta the heat and, as the Welsh might say, “fill your boots!”
There are lots of summer berries and grapes in our shops just now, so I’ve got selections of a few favourites, plus some new flavours for you to try.
Goodness! Are we really half way through August? It doesn’t seem possible!
There I was yesterday, anticipating greeting you lovely blogdom friends, whilst mixing up my American granny’s Foundation Cake recipe.
I’ve no idea where she got it. It almost reads like an offshoot of the Depression and war-era recipes I’ve served in the past, until you get to the then-expensive or rationed eggs and milk.
Taking time, I measured out everything before getting out the mixer and really doing things thoroughly. The result is a very light cake with a lovely texture. (See top photo)
I added “pumpkin pie” spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice), but no raisins. You might think it would be too much like a Raisin Spice Cake, but to me it’s lighter in flavour.
Ripe berries are now in season, so strawberries and blueberries are on offer for today’s tea, along with the lightly spiced Foundation Cake, and chocolatey Wacky Cake, which I made in a loaf pan this time.
The recipe says you can do that, so I lengthened the cooking time and it turned out beautifully. I did the same with the Foundation Cake, so there were the two loaves to slice and sprinkle with fruit and cream, as desired. (Sorry, I didn’t get a piccie.)
Now let me tell you a bit more about grannie… She never talked much about her childhood, and only came to stay with us when widowed. Even then she shared her time between her two sons, so she wasn’t always with us.
As a child, her family traveled westward from the Ozark Mountains by covered wagon, settling in what’s now Oklahoma. (“Indian Territory” was the government’s designation then.) I learned more recently that the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma was very fluid then, which today’s genealogists find very confusing.
Growing up in the heart of the Depression’s Dust Bowl region made for a hard life, and neither dad nor uncle talked much about their experiences. My uncle said sometimes they would shell pecans for a nickel a bucket. If you’ve ever shelled a pecan, you know how hard that it.
Many of our ancestors have known and survived hardships and deprivations over the years. I hope that remembering them can help bring today’s problems more into perspective.
Meanwhile, go in Peace and Be Safe, Dear Friends. . .
❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
I’m joining in with Su’s Virtual Tea Party. Do go over and try one of her tarts – they look amazing!
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