Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty Years Later...

C. S. Lewis has been given the great honour of having a memorial stone placed in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner. You can read more about it here. The ceremony took place earlier today, the 50th anniversary of Lewis' death.

Makes me want to pull out my copy of The Weight of Glory and read it in his honour... And to the honour of God, who gave the world such a great thinker and writer in the man Jack Lewis.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis

Monday, November 18, 2013

Something Yummy for Cranberry Season

I promise that my blog is not simply becoming a recipe site. I have been thinking about a lot of complex things recently, but I have been rounding out those thoughts in various dialogues with friends. Once a few of them get a little more polished I may try to write about them.

Until then, I have been making all sorts of food lately, and I think it is fun to keep a sort of recipe journal for various seasons. No pumpkin this time, on to cranberries! There are plenty of ways to use cranberries, but I made up a recipe today so that I could both make sandwich bread, and eat something tangy.


1/2 C rather warm water (110-115º)
2-1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar

Combine and set in a warm place (about 10 minutes) while you complete the next step

1-1/4 C cooked steel cut oats, heated (110-115º)
1/2 Tbs oil (your choice)
2 Tbs sugar or honey

Combine, add proofed yeast

1/2 tsp sea salt
2 [ish] C bread flour (unbleached white/whole wheat), sifted
(If you do not have bread flour, add about 3 tsp of vital wheat gluten to all purpose flour - that is what I do -- it works just fine)
1 Tbs flax seeds (chia, sunflower, or millet seeds work, too)

After you work the flour into the dough, knead by hand for 6 or 7 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes and oil a glass bowl. Knead for another 6 minutes. Tuck the seam of the dough on the underside and place in the oiled bowl (roll the top of the ball in the oil so it doesn't dry out).

Cover with a cloth and let stand in a warm place for about 1 hour (I put mine in my gas oven -- it always has a bit of heat inside due to the pilot light).

After the dough ball has approximately doubled in size, spread it on a very lightly floured workspace. Knead for 30 seconds to 1 minute to work the gluten strands - do not pull the dough, you will break the gluten strands. Flatten into a round about 8 inches in diameter and spread about 1/3 C of cranberries down the middle. Tuck the sides and end of the dough around the berries (you can add walnuts or pecans, too), place the loaf seam-side down in an oiled bread pan. Dust with old fashioned oats. If you wish, put 3 or 4 diagonal slash marks in the dough at this time with a very sharp knife or razor blade.

Let loaf stand in a warm place 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400º, place bread in hot oven. After 5 minutes, turn the heat to 350º and bake for 45-55 minutes (or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped). Allow to cool (if you have patience) for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Makes delicious sandwich bread, or a great side for soup when all slathered with butter. I ate four pieces today alone... I also hiked. ;)

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Taste of Autumn

In case you had not observed this fact, I delight in eating pumpkin. I would say I adore pumpkin, if adoration were not specifically set aside for God alone. I really do enjoy the versatility of the marvellous squash He made. Perhaps my taste buds adore Him when I eat pumpkin things and drink pumpkin spice lattés.

I recently acquired four or five cups of pumpkin when I roasted and puréed a small 'pie pumpkin'. Let me tell you, I have been revelling in pumpkin recipes since that time. I have made a pumpkin roll (with my mum), pumpkin sandwich bread, the afore posted pumpkin pancakes (twice!), a failed attempt at curry pumpkin soup, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin pastry cream, and the two items I am about to highlight.

(No, I didn't make all those things out of my roasted pumpkin. I also used three cans of the stuff... A very respectable amount of goods to be made from ten or eleven cups of pumpkin, indeed.)

Pumpkin and canned chicken broth are on sale this week, so I 'stocked' up on these delectable (and useful) supplies. Wanting to redeem my miserable failure of 'pumpkin soup', I tried again to make something delicious - with much more success on my second attempt. Taste the result yourself:


2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs butter
(sauté these first over low heat - don't burn the garlic! Slowly add liquids next, then pumpkin)

1 can chicken broth (reduced sodium)
1-1/2 to 2 C. whole milk
1 can pumpkin
1/3-1/2 C flour (beat with hot soup mixture in a small cup/can - add this paste to the whole soup, more or less flour depending on how thick you want the soup to be)

3/4-1 tsp applewood smoked sea salt (or 1/4 tsp seasoning salt, optional)
1/2-3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
dash of onion powder
small dash of nutmeg

Toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish and crunchy texture.

Paired with this creamy soup, try these pumpkin, honey-butter dinner rolls. Mine did not look as soft and fluffy as these, but they were very tasty.