Archive for December, 2014

…Sunday December 21st, 2014…




Thank you, John Glenn Hall!!!!


…these are so good together with  Christmas pudding, that you’d think it was a traditional combination…


1/2 pint (1 cup) chilled whipping cream or heavy cream,  2 Tbsp powdered sugar,  2 tsp vanilla extract

Sift the powdered sugar.

Lay ice cubes in the bottom of a 3 quart metal bowl, and cover them with water.  Nest a second 3 quart metal bowl on top.  For crème  Chantilly  use whipping cream, for whipped cream use heavy cream. Pour the cream into the second bowl, and beat it SLOWLY – with a LARGE BALLOON WHIP, circulating the whip all around the bowl, and lifting the cream as you whip it. Gradually increase the whipping speed, as the cream begins to foam, until a bit of cream lifted and dropped onto the surface will softly retain its shape. For crème Chantilly stop whipping here. For whipped cream, continue until a bit of cream lifted and dropped onto the surface comes near to retaining its shape.

Before serving, fold in the sugar and vanilla essence.

Serves 4 or more…



1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup white sugar, 1 tsp vanilla essence

Best to use a heavy iron skillet or other ironware…

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until bubbles start to form around the edge – do not heat it further and do not let it boil.

Heat the sugar in a large, heavy iron skillet, over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar begins to melt, reduce the heat to low. Continue to stir constantly until the sugar has entirely melted and is a light brown color.

Gradually add the warm cream, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth. If some of the sugar crystallizes out, heat again, stirring constantly, until the crystals dissolve again.)

Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla essence.

(If you are making this in a regular pan, add 2 tsp sugar to allow for crystallizing out.)

…a tasty Bean Casserole!!!



It’s the onion powder makes all the difference…


2 cups green beans, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 6 Tbs flour, 1 Tbs onion powder, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 2 cups milk, 7 Tbs butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Set 5 Tbs of the butter to melt.  Wash the green beans and dry them completely. When butter is melted, stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Add the milk gradually, stirring until the mixture thickens. Fold in the green beans, Spread cheese over the top.

In a separate pan melt the remaining butter, then stir in the bread crumbs and onion  powder.  Spread this mixture over the cheese, and bake for 20-25 minutes.

…more often known as “royal icing” which is a British phrase… here is the recipe from the personal collection of Sir Kenelm Digby – a courtier of King Charles I of England,  cosmopolitan and gourmet…



…[orange flower-water or rose-water, powdered sugar, an egg white, lemon-juice, optional dissolved amber, optional essence of cinnamon]

…you must Ice them thus: Make a thick pap with Orange flower or Rose-water, and purest white Sugar: a little of the whites of Eggs, not above half a spoonful of that Oyl of Eggs, to a Porrenger* full of thick Pap, beaten exceeding well with it, and a little juyce of Limons. Lay this smooth upon the Cakes with a Knife, and smoothen it with a feather. Then set the pan over them to dry them… Repeat this, till it be as clear, and smooth, and white, as you would have it… You may beat dissolved Amber, or Essence of Cinnamon, with them.

* a “porringer” is a shallow bowl with a handle


Years ago, Peter used to sing in the chapel choir at St. John’s College, Oxford. This Christmas Punch recipe, written down on the back of a postcard by Lady Southern, wife of the college president,  brings back many, many  happy memories…


70 fl oz red wine (almost 3 bottles),  15 cloves, 3 sticks cinnamon, 3 oranges, 4 bay leaves, 3 or 4 allspice berries, sugar to taste, optional port, brandy, sloe gin or cointreau to taste

Slice the oranges.  Stew the spices,  oranges and bay-leaves in a quarter of the wine (approx. 17 fl. oz.) for at least an hour.  Mash it a bit to get the orange juice. Add to the rest of the wine and sweeten considerably, to taste.

Add optional port, brandy, sloe gin or cointreau to taste.

Serve hot, but do not let it boil at any time.



If you don’t know Hyde Park Books, you should stop in at this neighborhood gem: the Children’s section is an invaluable local resource  (and they have plenty of young adult, Christian fiction,  fiction fiction,  and classics)…  but more than this: they have half a wall of local authors and poets; they regularly host Ghosts and Projectors,  Tooth and Bristle,  and – of course – Homegrown Theater’s readings series;  and their commitment to local hikes, trails and bike-rides is so huge: they even have a recent edition of  On The Road.  This is the place to get your copy of The Idaho Review,  The First Line, Idaho Magazine, or even a Granny Martin Hat  – all wooly hat proceeds go to local Meals on Wheels. They have the Idaho Wilderness Calendar – and the  associated note-cards – or you can brown bag it with Books by the Pound:  brown paper bags full of Romance, Suspense,  Christian Fiction, and more…

So – thank you to Hyde Park Books for hosting a lovely performance last Sunday, and providing a backdrop that matches our cloth-covered folding tables! And thank you to the wonderful, warm, generous audience and to the many friends who were there…




4 pheasant breasts (with the wings still attached), 2 level Tbs tarragon and thyme mustard, 1/4 pint whipping cream, 2 or 3 Tbs brandy, 1 1/2 oz. butter, 1 Tbs peanut, walnut, or olive oil, salt and pepper, fresh tarragon or parsley

A week or so ahead of time, add fresh tarragon and thyme to regular or Jack Daniels mustard. Let sit in the fridge, to become the tarragon and thyme mustard.

Preheat an iron skillet.

Remove the skin from the pheasant breasts.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter and oil and add the pheasant breasts. Cook  g e n t l y  for 15 minutes or so, turning at least twice until golden brown and just cooked through.  Pour the brandy over and set alight.  Remove and keep warm.

Stir the mustard into the juices in the skillet.  Remove from the heat, and keep stirring. When smooth, stir in the cream and blend well.  Reheat gently, and adjust the seasoning.

Arrange the pheasant breasts on plate(s) to be served. When the sauce is a good temperature, spoon over the breasts and garnish with fresh tarragon or parsley.

Serve immediately.