Monthly Archives: January 2016

A sausage party :)

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This morning my friends Bernice and Henry came over to make sausages with me. We’ve been talking about it for a long time and today was finally the day.

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Henry grew up in rural Manitoba in the 40’s and has fond memories of eating big platters of Mennonite sausages. After carefully reading the ingredient list a while ago and discovering nitrites and nitrates he decided to pass and figured his sausage days were behind him.  He and Bernice eat a very healthy diet of all natural food and the favour – enhancing preservatives just don’t fit with their lifestyle anymore.

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Bernice purchased some pork shoulder from our friends Jackson and Blakeney in Rockingham and I added some from my stash as well. I picked up the hog casings at the local freshmart and we had everything we needed.

We ended up making 3 batches for a total of about 13 pounds.  Some with just garlic.  Some with sage and wine and some it thyme and garlic and wine. With the three of us working it went quickly and we were done and cleaned up in a couple of hours.

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I will let them relax and sweat in the fridge for a day and vacuum seal them tomorrow before I freeze them. Based on the big smiles I suspect we’ll do this again.  More adventures to come…

Back into renovation mode

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The main floor of my house is a little upside down right now. This morning the painter arrived to tackle the living room.  I replaced the front door and all the trim around the windows and doors a couple of weeks ago to match the reno I did in the rest of the house after I moved in. The room was dated looking and drafty with an old wooden door. And despite 2 coats of ceiling paint when I moved in, it still had that gross smoke damaged look to it. By the end of the week it should be all put back together and I can start saving up to update the main floor bathroom (which at least one friend has described as a scary unwelcoming tunnel that would probably scare children:) )

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And I continue to knit socks. I’m developing a bit of an obsession with buying funky sock yarn so more to come for sure. So far it’s 4 pairs since Christmas with another pair on the needles. Two socks at once.

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Soon I’ll be ready to take on a bigger project – whatever that may be.

It’s about time

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I find it hard to believe that I’ve never attempted to make dosa before but I really don’t remember ever doing it.  The picture above shows my first attempt.

Dosas look like a crepe and are made with a batter of rice and urad dal that’s been left to ferment.

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I started by soaking 1.5 cups of rice and a half a cup of urad dal (think lentil) in a litres of water for about 24 hours. Then I drained off the water, blended the mixture to a smooth paste and added water back in until it was a pourable consistency.

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That mixture sat in a loosely covered bowl on the counter for a couple of days until it was a little bubbly and had started to ferment.

To cook, I wiped a heated non stick pan with a damp paper towel and poured in some batter.

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I spread it around with the ladle and drizzled a teaspoon of oil around it. Once it crisped up I flipped it, cooked the other side for 30 seconds and folded it on to a plate.

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They turned out well for a first attempt and they are surprisingly filling.   Often they are served with served with spicy potatoes and sambar – a lentil and veg stew with a sour tamarind note.  Today I served with my standby favourite – moong dal with coconut curry.  It was good.

2016

Happy New Year!

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A week at home was just the right thing.  I very purposely made almost no plans for the holidays.  My life is planned enough during the rest of the year.

While southern Ontario was getting freezing rain and slush earlier in the week we got snow.  Almost 18″ in Killaloe.  I guess Chris was right. It finally seems like winter.

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I got lots accomplished. I knitted a pair of socks for a friend. A new year’s gift I guess.  It’s not likely that she’ll get the chance to read this before she gets them so they will be a surprise.  I have another sock on the needle now and many more planned.

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I took some time to organize my stash.  Between yarn for future projects, the stuff left from previous projects, fleece to be dyed and more to be spun my living room was getting taken over. It seems to be organized and prioritized now and I think I have the resolve to avoid getting any more before I’ve made a good dent in the pile.  We’ll see how that turns out.

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My friend Steve said that 2-part epoxy and clamps were the way to go to fix my wiggly chairs.   I’ve got a good start on the project and by the end of the week should have them done.  My house is so dry in the winter from the wood stove that my wooden furniture suffers.

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And I canned.  Between the 5 turkeys I cooked and the 3 carcasses that were donated I managed to make and can 25 litres of stock.

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I also canned 15 jars of beans: 7 litres of navy beans with thyme, garlic , salt and pepper added and 8 700 ml jars of mixed beans with no added flavourings. The mixed beans came from a bag of dried local beans I bought at Rainbow Heritage Farm near Cobden last winter. I’m glad to have finally put them to use. And  I started another batch of fermented hot sauce with peppers I picked up at the Kitchener Market.  They seem to be screaming hot so we’ll see how it works out.

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I also did a bit of a purge and took a big load of recycling and whatnot to the dump. I went through about 40 old cooking magazines and tore out the recipes that were of any interest before I put them in the blue box.  Still more to go but I’ve made a good dent. History tells me that I won’t make any of the recipes that I tore out but I did it anyway.

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And I cooked lots of comfort food. Over the week I had bbq pork chops,  chicken stir fry, french onion soup, sausage rolls, cabbage soup and chicken pot pie.  And I didn’t have to buy any ingredients 🙂 My goal is to not buy any food for the next while.  I’d like to see how well I can continue to feed myself for as long as possible – maybe until I go away at the beginning of March.

In addition, I saw Star Wars (awesome), watched S3 of Orange, S9 of Doctor Who and S1 of Transparent (really REALLY good), dyed fleece and went snowshoeing in Wilno.

Best vacation in a long time 🙂