Saturday, November 25, 2017

Risalamande, A Traditional Scandinavian Christmas Recipe by A.M.Westerling

My husband is Danish and this is one of the fun little customs we keep going.  

Risalamande - Danish Rice Pudding

1 cup pearl rice
5 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
½ cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups whipping cream
Cherry Sauce

Boil rice in milk over low heat 45 minutes. Cool, then add sugar, almonds and almond extract. Whip cream until stiff and fold into rice mixture. Chill. Turn into bowl and top with Cherry Sauce or spoon into individual dessert dishes and top with sauce. Makes about 12 servings.

Cherry Sauce

1 16 ounce can dark sweet cherries.
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Reserve about 1 teaspoon cherry liquid. Turn remaining liquid and cherries into saucepan and heat to boiling. Blend cornstarch with reserved liquid and stir into boiling mixture. Cook and stir until well blended, then cool sauce and chill.

Now here comes the fun part. Place a whole almond in the pudding and whoever finds the whole almond wins a little prize, usually a marzipan pig. As our family has grown, I now use 2 almonds.

This recipe comes from the late 19th century so perhaps was not made during the time of the Cariboo Gold Rush.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Fly Away Snow Goose by Juliet Waldron & John Wisdomkeeper:

Thanksgiving can be tough sometimes, or it can be an utter blast. Some of the most memorable Thanksgivings for me came during the time we were married students, visiting well-heeled relatives of my husband in Gloucester, MA. We became totally irresponsible as soon as we were under the roof of his Aunt and Uncle, all acting like kids again, playing hide and seek in their 30 room Victorian with cousins. Downstairs an epic dinner was being made, and we were off Scot-free if we occasionally passed some time helping in the kitchen, washed/dried dishes, peeled potatoes, sliced apples for pie, or mushrooms and celery for stuffing—whatever weary hand work our elders were sick of. Those times with friends and family were warm, shiny, and are now (in my mind) generally surrounded by a nostalgic golden haze. 

I have come to think of Turkey Day as a kind of late harvest get-together after the crops are mostly in. (Our local exception is the soybeans—now being cut and threshed by giant machinery, producing great clouds of dust, rumbling around the fields.  

When I remember elementary school, I think of an endless series of hand turkeys posted on the cement block walls, of pageants in the auditorium, where they taught us about the first Thanksgiving of the saintly Pilgrims  and their supposed kumbaya moment with the Injuns who had kindly shown them how to survive on these wild shores.

Sadly, all the history I learned later, as I discovered the real scoop on what happened after my ancestors migrated to the “new” world, is some pretty sorry stuff. The acts--some beyond "terrible," that took place during this collision of cultures has taught me plenty of uncomfortable lessons. I’m still learning because privilege can't see itself. Old false narratives require a lot of undoing. 

While writing Fly Away Snow Goose, I learned about the Great Tlicho leader Monfwi. He said that it has become imperative that we learn to “see in two ways” in order for humanity to progress into the future. We must begin to wisely use all the knowledge and skills the people of every nation can bring to the table. The First Nation’s "way" is the wisdom of hunter-gatherers, a way of living with one another and with the earth that we Europeans have been traditionally taught to scorn. 

It seems more than time to deliver on our responsibilities to one another—and to treat the unique biosphere upon which we are ever so privileged to live with respect.

I’ll end with a link to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Thanksgiving Address to the Natural World, a beautiful and meaningful spiritual thank-you to Mother Nature. I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving .

~~Juliet Waldron


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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Recipes of 16th & 17th centuries England by Katherine Pym



17th Century Chef

I don’t cook, well maybe sometimes. I like a pristine kitchen and cooking takes away from that. I don’t hunt through recipe books, but I do take naps when cooking shows are on television. I put the sound down low and the chef's droning takes me to slumber-land almost immediately. What I do find interesting are recipes from earlier centuries. This was a time of exploration. Every season, new items were brought back to England. It was an exciting time.

Bear in mind some of the following recipes include very expensive ingredients and most middling families could not afford them.  I found only one reference in the 1660’s of a cook-stove (range), so not sure if there were many in the field. Most families cooked their dinners in the hearth, bent over until their backs were sore.

So, here we go. Maybe, for those who like to cook/bake, you’ll find a lovely holiday recipe to try:

NOTE: the language is as written nearly 400 years ago but you’ll be surprised how easy it is to read. Also, based on some of the ingredients (some of the quantities boggle the mind), it's a wonder many adults survived past middle age. And some did. In my research, I've seen some adults get quite old, ages 70+.

To Stew a Leg of Lamb the best way:
Slice it and lay it in order in your stewing pan, seasoned with salt and nutmeg, adding a pound of butter, and half a pint of claret, with a handful of sliced dates, and the like quantity of currants, and make the sauce with the yolk of two eggs, a quarter of a pint of verjuice1, and two ounces of sugar. Boil them up and put them to the meat, serving all up hot together.

To make collops2 of veal the best way:
Slice your veal fat and lean, beat half a dozen eggs with salt, grate a nutmeg, and stamp or chop a handful of thyme.  Add a pint of stewing oysters, and stew them together with a pound of sweet butter.  Make anchovy sauce, and strew the dish over with capers, and so serve it up.

To Roast a Shoulder of Mutton with Oysters the best way:
Take one not too fat nor too lean, open it in divers places, stuff your oysters in with a little chopped peny-royal3, baste it with butter and claret wine, then serve it up with grated nutmeg, yolks of eggs, ginger, cinnamon, butter and red wine vinegar.

To Stew a Rump of Beef in the best order:
Season it with nutmeg, salt and sugar, lay the bony side downward, slice a dozen shallots, cast in a bunch of rosemary, elder, vinegar and water, of each three pints, suffer it to stew over a gentle fire in a close stew pan two hours, and then with the gravy dish it up with sippits4.

How to Roast a Hare the Best Way:
The hare being flea’d5, lard her with small slips of bacon lard, stick her over with cloves, the ears being stripped and left on, then make a pudding of grated bread, beaten cinnamon, grated nutmeg, currants, cream, sugar and salt.  Make it up with white wine or claret wine, and put it into the belly.  When tying the hare to the spit, roast it by a gentle fire, which done, make sauce of cinnamon, ginger, nutmegs, prunes, grated bread and sugar.  Boil them up to a thickness, and laying the divided pudding on either side of the hare, serve it up with the sauce.

To Roast a fillet of beef
Take a fillet which is the tenderest part of the beef, and lieth in the inner part of the surloyn, cut it as big as you can, broach it, and be careful not to broach it through the best of the meat, roast it leisurely, & baste it with sweet butter, set a dish to save the gravy while it roasts, then prepare sauce for it of good store of parsley, with a few sweet herbs chopp'd smal, the yolks of three or four eggs, sometimes gross pepper minced amongst them with the peel of an orange, and a little onion; boil these together, and put in a little butter, vinegar, gravy, a spoonful of strong broth, and put it to the beef.

To Roast a fillet of beef Otherways.
Sprinkle it with rose-vinegar, claret-wine, elder-vinegar, beaten cloves, nutmeg, pepper, cinamon, ginger, coriander-feed, fennil-seed, and salt; beat these things fine, and season the fillet with it then roast it, and baste it with butter, save the gravy, and blow off the fat, serve it with juyce (juice) of orange or lemon, and a little elder-vinegar.

Or thus (To Roast a fillet of beef).
Powder it one night, then stuff it with parsley, tyme, sweet marjoram, beets, spinage, and winter-savory, all picked and minced small, with the yolks of hard eggs mixt amongst some pepper, stuff it and roast it, save the gravy and stew it with the herbs, gravy, as also a little onion, claret wine, and the juyce (juice) of an orange or two; serve it hot on this sauce, with slices of orange on it, lemons, or barberries.

1.      Acid juice from sour or unripe fruit - the lightly fermented juice of unripe grapes or crab apples (lemon juice works too). 
2.      Slices. 
3.      Mint or basil.
4.      Croutons.
5.      Skinned

Many thanks to Robert May The Accomplisht Cook (London: 1660) & Wikicommons, Public Domain.

Friday, November 17, 2017

An Acadian Recipe by Diane Scott Lewis

In my novel, On a Stormy Primeval Shore, set in New Brunswick, one of my main characters is an Acadian man, which prompted me to research the history of these people.
Novel blurb:
In 1784, Englishwoman Amelia Latimer sails to the new colony of New Brunswick in faraway Canada. She’s to marry a man chosen by her soldier father. Amelia is repulsed by her betrothed, and refuses to marry him. She is attracted to a handsome Acadian trader, Gilbert, a man beneath her in status. Gilbert must fight the incursion of English Loyalists from the American war to hold onto his land and heritage. Will he and Amelia find peace when events seek to destroy their love and lives.

Available January 2018
Pre-order NOW (link below)
In the 1600's, when France conquered the eastern area of what is now Canada, they called it New France. The settlers were mostly soldiers, farmers and crafts people. They brought their food traditions from rural areas of France, and soon added the foodstuffs, such as corn, moose and black bear, found in this new land.

The staple of the Acadians, as the settlers became known as, was herring, cod, potatoes and pork. Eventually the French recipes disappeared into the local traditions, as purely Acadian. A typical dish is a one pot meal called Fricot, consisting of meat--usually chicken--potatoes, a hearty broth and dumplings (poutines).

For festive occasions, a Pâté à la Râpure or "rappie pie" is still popular in New Brunswick. Grated potatoes are layered with meat or fowl and broth all baked to a golden brown.

1 five pound fowl, chopped
3 medium onions
1 medium carrot
1 celery stalk
2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 pound finely diced salt pork
15 medium potatoes (about 8 pounds)

Combine ingredients, boil until tender, remove fowl's skin and bones, grate potatoes, layer fowl and potatoes and bake at 400 degrees for thirty minutes, then at 350 until crusty brown (two more hours). Of course in the 18th century when my novel takes place, they'd have baked in an iron pot in the fireplace hearth.

For more detailed instructions, click link below for


On a Stormy Primeval Shore Pre-order: click HERE

Diane Scott Lewis grew up in California, traveled the word with the navy, edited for magazines and an on-line publisher. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband.

For more info on my novels, please visit my BWL author page
or my website: Diane Scott Lewis

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Recipe for the Holidays...or Any Time

Of all the dessert recipes I’ve made and consumed over the years, many stand out for their deliciousness and for the many requests over holidays, gatherings, and birthdays. But these days, since a large number of my "boomer" friends and family need to watch what they eat (and not just from plate to fork), I’ve had to find ways to adapt them for a variety of dietary concerns. My father, for instance, was diabetic; my brother-in-law doesn’t eat dairy; another has developed allergies to a gazillion foods; and I have cholesterol issues and need to avoid salt for my blood pressure. While almost anything in moderation can't be too bad, sometimes it’s not possible or even desirable to avoid the urge to splurge.

Take the Romanian delicacy, papanasi (pronounced pop-a-nosh). I tasted it for the first (second and third) time while visiting Romania in 2000. From Bucharest, my friend and I traveled to scenic Transylvania to the mountain resort of Sinaia and to the medieval city of Brasov, where I had the equivalent of gastric euphoria after sampling what my kids (and many others) have come to refer to as Romanian jelly donuts. They used rose petal jam in the restaurant, which was heavenly. My friend and I split a serving, consisting of two of those darlings.

Because they are fried in oil, papanasi is perfect for Hanukkah, along with latkes (yum), and other artery-choking, heart-stopping delights. Papanasi are lighter in texture than donuts and distinctive due to the soft cheese that is an integral ingredient in the dough.

I wish to thank my dear friend (and moose enthusiast), Professor Liliana Popescu, for sending me this recipe back in July 2001, which I have used on more than one occasion for our Festival of Lights celebration feast.

By the way, papanasi, or dumpling, can be prepared and cooked in a number of ways for a number of purposes (think of shrimp a la "Bubba" Buford from “Forest Gump”). The following recipe is as close to the papanasi I remember from my trip. Most of the online recipes nowadays feature an actual donut shape, topped with a munchkin. (The comments in parentheses are mine.)

Papanasi cu branza de vaci

(Fried dumplings with “Cow Cheese”)
makes four large “donuts” or eight small ones


400 g. soft cheese such as farmer cheese (make sure it’s Breakstone), cottage cheese, ricotta
500 g. flour
250 g. sugar (use your judgement; sugar probably is not necessary)
3 eggs
Zest of one lemon
½ tsp. rum extract

Oil for frying
1 Tbs. confectioners sugar
Jam or preserves
Sour cream or crème fraiche


  1. Mix all ingredients (except the oil, jam, powdered sugar) until the batter is the consistency of a sticky dough.
  2. Mould the papanasi into balls (the ones in the Brasov restaurant must have been nearly tennis ball-size)
  3. Fry in hot oil until golden (best done submersed until they rise, or turned frequently).
  4. Dry on paper towels
  5. While still warm use a spoon to pierce the papanisi to create an opening for the jam or preserves
  6. Fill with your choice of jam or preserves
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with sour cream or crème fraiche



Kathy Fischer Brown is a BWL author of historical novels, Winter Fire, "The Serpent’s Tooth" trilogy: Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter, Courting the DevilThe Partisan’s Wife, and The Return of Tachlanad, an epic fantasy adventure for young adult and adult readers. Check out her BWL Author page or visit her website. All of Kathy’s books are available in e-book and in paperback from a host of online and brick and mortar retailers. Look for Where the River Narrows (wriiten with BWL author Ron Crouch), the 12th and final novel in BWL’s Canadian Historical Brides series, coming in July 2018.