Keeping things quiet

I was possibly a little premature with my optimism re: self-publishing my novella in last week’s post… I haven’t heard back from the self-publishing firm I initially contacted since I received a quote for services nearly two weeks ago. Given that it’s still very early in the year, though, I’m trying to be charitable for the time being, on the assumption that it’s a very busy time for them and my emails have simply gotten buried in the pile. In the mean time, I’m poking around for other top-rated UK-based self-publishing firms, as well as neurodiversity-friendly fiction publishers (fewer royalties but I wouldn’t have to pay for production costs). I should probably try to look for literary agents with the same criteria, as well…

In other news, for this week’s culinary experiment I defrosted one of my lumps of bargain sausagemeat, split it into six patties and cooked them up with various dressings/glaze-type things — two with sweet chilli sauce (I always try to keep a big bottle in my fridge because it’s so versatile and yummy), two with apple chutney and two with a home-made maple-mustard glaze.

They all turned out well (and deliciously!), but I might well have used a bit too much mustard in the maple-mustard mixture. Practice makes perfect, though, so I’m definitely going to try again until I find the right ingredient ratios. After all, discovery requires experimentation…

Tasty, tasty experimentation! πŸ˜€

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American Philosophical Association Eastern- Virtual Issue 2019 β€” The Philosopher’s Eye

By Elizabeth Levine In January 2019, the American Philosophical Association will hold its Eastern meeting in New York City. In honor of the One Hundred and Fifteenth meeting, Wiley has compiled a free collection of the top cited articles in Philosophy from our publishing partners journals. This collection can be read by anyone untilΒ […]

via American Philosophical Association Eastern- Virtual Issue 2019 β€” The Philosopher’s Eye

Experimental week

I’ve gotten the ball rolling on getting my novella self-published — slow going, for now, but at least it’s going! πŸ˜€ I’m both excited and more than a little nervous, but I’ve selected a very well-regarded self-publishing company with whom I’ve worked before, so everything should go fairly well ^^

In foody news, I’ve been experimenting this week — I had an idea to try mixing up corned beef, baked beans and cheese in one saucepan, inspired by part of the Real Heroes of Telemark documentary, when the team of modern commandos reconstructing Grouse team’s route were doing something similar with their rations. It turned out pretty rich, but very very delicious! Certainly something that’d get you across the Hardangervidda in winter πŸ˜€ Though, of course, Grouse wouldn’t have had Heinz curry-flavoured baked beans or Sainsbury’s chilli cheddar… Ehehehe. I did a variation on the theme tonight, piling the beef, beans and cheese in separate layers on top of a couple of slices of bread and heating the ensemble in the microwave — this was just as good πŸ˜€

The experimentation will continue tomorrow — shortly after Boxing Day, I nipped into Sainsbury’s for some stuff and came across a large pile of 500g blocks of pork sausagemeat (tagged as being part of the festive food range) which were on yellow-label reduction for 5p apiece. Not to be sneezed at! I bought a large pile of ’em, since they’d make good freezable emergency rations, and I’m defrosting one in the fridge to make kiev-esque things with — essentially a blodge of the sausagemeat wrapped around a piece of cheese. I’ll be using the chilli cheddar, since I still have some of that left, but I might nip out tomorrow to get some herby-soft-cheese type thing and use that for half the kievs. Ah, the joys of food!

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6th January 2019 – Epiphany Happy New Year β€” Diane Seed

In Italy it is the custom to eat lentils on New Year’s Eve to bring prosperity in the coming year, probably because the pile of lentils looks like a heap of small coins. Lentils were a staple in ancient Egypt and one of the earliest ingredients in the then known world. In the OldΒ […]

via 6th January 2019 – Epiphany Happy New Year β€” Diane Seed

Out with the old, in with the new!

Happy New Year to all of you reading this! πŸ˜€ Here’s hoping 2019 is slightly less of an annus horribilis than 2018 ended up being…

On a ore cheerful note, I made pumpkin pasta this week (pasta in a pumpkin sauce), using a tin of pumpkin puree to avoid all the faff of separating out seeds and fibrous bits and so on. It turned out pretty darn well! A bit bland, perhaps (might add chilli flakes next time) but a very acceptable meal πŸ™‚

Also, I should be in a position to poke around for a self-publishing quote for my novella this week! I’ve finished doing the mock-up of the front cover, so now I just need to do one final check-over of the manuscript and I’ll be good to go! It’s a bit scary, actually, being so close to making things real…

Festive greetings!

Not much to say on the food front this week — I’ve been raiding the selection of festive nibbles at my local Sainsbury’s store! Ehehehehe

If you celebrate any festival(s) around this time of year, I hope you have a good time, and if you don’t celebrate/observe anything, I hope you have a pleasant few days anyway!

Don’t be sauer…

Oravska pochutka was this week’s recipe experiment — a sausage, potato and sauerkraut casserole from the Orava region of Slovakia.

I have to admit, I mostly tried this recipe out of morbid curiosity, because the ingredients list called for a full kilogram of sauerkraut, which I’d never had before. I ended up having to fudge a couple of quantities — only 700g of potato (about half the amount given in the recipe) and one jar of sauerkraut that gave about 500g of the stuff once it was properly drained. My largest casserole dish simply wouldn’t hold any more! I was able to use nearly the whole 500g of meat called for in the recipe, but since sausagemeat tends to get kind of expensive around this time of year, I used the cheapest back of Sainsbury’s basic sausages that I could find — they tasted perfectly acceptable, and weighed in at 454g.

The actual dish turned out ok — the onion-and-sauerkraut layer on the top proved to be a fairly effective insulator because there was just so much of it, and the shape and size of the casserole dish I was using meant the whole thing was deeper than the Hairy Bikers probably intended when they wrote the recipe, which meant that I had to give it 15 extra minutes in the oven at a slightly higher temperature (nearly doubling the stated cooking time) to make sure the sausage pieces were properly cooked. Surprisingly, this didn’t char or carbonise the top of the casserole very much, which was good πŸ™‚ The casserole itself tasted perfectly acceptable — the cooking process made the sauerkraut taste noticeably milder, and eating a small bit of sauerkraut in the same mouthful as a large-ish quantity of potato and/or sausage only helped this effect (I suspect that something like this also lies behind the traditional methods of serving lutefisk and rakfisk). Ultimately, though, it turns out I don’t like the taste of sauerkraut all that much. I got four hefty portions out of this recipe (two of which I have already eaten — one yesterday and one today — and two of which are in my fridge awaiting consumption) and I will definitely eat them (I loathe wasting food), but I don’t think I’ll make this recipe again, at least in this form. I might adapt it into a low- or no-sauerkraut form to use as a pie or pasty filling, because it turns out that juniper berries go really well with pork sausages, potato and onion! πŸ˜€

In non-food news, I’m working on a mock-up of a possible cover design for the novella I wrote over the summer — I’m getting reasonably close to finishing, but art block’s been striking for the past couple of days 😦 I’ll try to work through it over the holidays, though, because the increasing likelihood of a catastrophic no-deal hard Brexit come March is making me want to get it into the system and published sooner rather than later (I’d originally thought of going for an April release date, to tie in with the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network’s Autism Acceptance Month (#walkinred #redinstead) — I’ve written the protagonist as autistic, so it seemed appropriate).

Papal pasta

I went for an old favourite this week — pasta alla papalina πŸ™‚

It’s a fairly simple sauce, really, containing onion, ham, cream, eggs and parmesan — the recipe in my edition of Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces doesn’t specify the type of cream required, only that about 200ml is needed, so I usually use crΓ¨me fraiche, which tends to be sold in 200ml tubs.Next time, though, I might try using double cream — this recipe is somewhat rich anyway (given that it uses 4 eggs) and thus seems a sensible choice for when the weather gets really cold. This coming February, then, I think…

An interesting little tidbit: this sauce was created by the ‘La Cisterna’ trattoria in Rome and was named ‘papalina’ in honour of Cardinal Pacelli (a frequent patron) when he became Pope Pius XII — that’s where I got the title of this post from.

Bon appetit!

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The Immacolata, Christmas and future Travels β€” Diane Seed

Today, 8th December, is a public holiday in Italy, the day when the Catholic Church honours the Virgin Mary who was herself conceived without original sin. The Pope visits Piazza di Spagna and holds a service around the Column. For most Italians today is the beginning of Christmas, and the Christmas tree lights are turnedΒ […]

via The Immacolata, Christmas and future Travels β€” Diane Seed