Now the demolition is complete. The electricians and plumbers have been here. Today drywall was delivered and the drywaller will be here on Monday. I will have it all put back together so soon.
I think this project is going as well as any project can. And to think that I didn't even have a contractor on November 10. Mind and will are more powerful that I ever dreamed.
Today I subbed for a Grade 9 history teacher. They are studying Ancient Egypt and I have offered to give a class on the food of Ancient Egypt. This is my program!
We had a blast! I had no time for pictures! Actually I walk to the school and I couldn't carry anything more. My hands were full.
I made a spice kit so they could see and smell. I had cumin, black cumin, coriander seeds, ras el hanout, za'atar, cinnamon sticks, star anise, saffron, sea salt, dried mint and bay leaves. They especially enjoyed the spice kit.
They loved the pita bread and carrot sticks with the cheese dip. Not so many were interested in the hummus. They all loved the pomegranate and feta and some even tried olives! A couple of them tried capers. Even the difficult kids who refused in the beginning to taste anything, joined in when they saw how interested everyone else was. All in all, it was a huge success.
They definitely know where Egypt is now!
1 cup coarsely chopped feta
2 cups very thick yogurt (Middle Eastern style or labne)
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
Puree in a food processor. Chill and serve with fresh vegetables or pita bread or chips.
The Story of Food in Ancient Egypt
Looking at the location of Egypt on the map, you can see it is in North Africa and very close to Asia and the Mediterranean. This location has influenced the food as much as the climate and land. Even though Egypt is in Africa, its food is considered more Middle Eastern than African. They mainly have influences from Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece and Palestine. Dishes are simple and hearty, made with naturally ripened fruits and vegetables and seasoned with fresh spices and herbs. The food in the south, closer to North Africa, is zestier than that found in the north, but neither is especially hot.
The Nile River area was also known as the Fertile Valley. It would flood every summer and this would provide rich silt to keep the soil fertile and to provide water. If you look at a map of Egypt the only fertile areas are those close to the Nile River. Crops were also irrigated using the water from the Nile River. Today the flow of the Nile River is regulated by the Aswan Dam.
The climate is very hot and mostly arid. Not all plants will grow in this climate. The most common fruits were citron (lemons), dates, figs, grapes and pomegranates. A type of wheat and barley were the main crops. Olives were common and were pickled or pressed to make olive oil.
The food eaten varied greatly according to your wealth. Most people were very poor and they lived on a diet of mainly vegetables, grains, lentils, beans and fruits. It was more rare to have meat. And they would have fish, of course. The wealthy had the best access to meat that would include chickens, geese, duck, lamb, beef and goats mainly.
The commonly grown vegetables were cucumber, onions, garlic, tomatoes and greens.
Cows and goats were also raised for their milk. Milk was very important especially in the poor families. From the milk, they would make a very thick yogurt and some unripened cheeses.
Nuts were commonly used. They used almonds, pistachios and walnuts. Honey was the most common sweetener but they also grow sugarcane and make cane sugar.
Seasonings included salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, sesame, dill, fennel, saffron, sumac, black cumin, anise, bay leaf, sage and cinnamon.
The average person ate from pottery bowls and plates. Knives and spoons were the main utensils. Forks were not used until the Middle Ages. So the typical way to eat would be to scoop up the food with bread like pita bread. Stone was also commonly used for storage jars.
The storage of foods was critical. In the extreme climate food would rot easily. They would dig holes in the ground. Some of these pits would be large enough to store the entire supply of the village’s dates or grains. Holes would be dug into the ground and lined with stones. Caves were also good storage places. Olive oil would be poured into pottery jars and stored in caves. Fruits and vegetables would be dried so they would keep longer. Pickling was another way of preserving food. Olives, fish and onions would be pickled. Fish were also often salted and dried.
Ovens were simple and could possibly be a simple bed of coals. Larger clay ovens would typically be in the courtyard or often one commercial oven would be available for several households to share. They would take their mixed and formed bread to the commercial oven and the person operating the oven would bake it for the women.
Other food was cooked in simple clay pots, using wooden utensils and stored in jars. There were few kitchen tools – pestles, mortars and sieves.
Some Ideas for Recipes to Taste
2. Cheese Dip (feta and yogurt) with carrots, celery & cucumber
3. Stuffed Vine leaves
4. Roasted carrots with ras el hanout
5. Turkish delight (made with rhubarb)
Other things to Taste
1. Pomegranates and pomegranate syrup
Now I have had two more calls. One is for a home economics teacher in junior high. Right up my alley!
And then I received a call from another 'new to me' school for grade 8 social studies and math.
I am becoming much more confident and composed! It has been so so long since I taught that it has taken a bit to let go of this stress.
To build my business I am giving food gifts. Sometimes it will be my homemade preserves or my homemade spicy blue corn crackers. Or, it is those heavenly haskap oatmeal squares. I will have to devote an entire post on those. I know you have no idea what a haskap is but it is divine.
|Dumpster now full!|
|New bathtub and closet opened to the bathroom.|
Trying to pin down someone to do an inside renovation during the warm season is next to impossible. So I patiently wait. My first choice carpenter was non-committal. But I am a woman on a mission. I want this kitchen/house renovation completed so I can get on with my life as I want it.
So I went searching and found a nice young man who would come in November. In all fairness, he did call me in November and I was so excited. He thought he could do it but in the end...he couldn't. He took a full time job and would only be able to do my work on weekends. My job is not a little one.
|These are two colours I am considering|
Then he recommended a former employer who is a builder. I cannot believe my luck. This (also) young man builds houses and knows his stuff. He has a full slate of work but has no inside jobs. He agreed to take me on. I was his only inside job. The only time he could start my job was if the weather turned cold. He was so busy.
I don't wish any ill will on anyone but I prayed for cold weather. Well, it came. And it came with a vengeance. I now have their undivided attention until the job is almost complete. I am so thankful. And the true bonus is that they are so competent. I am also lucky.
|My basement kitchen. Check out the wiring!|
|Don't you love my Italian headboard!|
|A beautiful sight!|
|And what does Miss Sugar have to say about all this.....|
Drizzle the squash halves with sorghum and put a pat of butter in the cavity. Bake the squash at 350F until tender. Scoop out in chunks and let cool.
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeded
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 two inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cilantro cube
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- yogurt for serving
Puree onion, garlic, and a splash of water in a food processor until smooth.
Add fennel seed, mustard, and coriander and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add onion puree and ginger and cook until golden, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste and cook another 3-4 minutes.
Pour in remaining water, red pepper flakes, cilantro cube, and salt. Simmer gently for 15 minutes to develop flavours.
Add chunks of squash.
If you like a thicker sauce (which I do!) use a wooden spoon to mash 1/4 of the squash against the side of the pot.
Stir and serve over brown rice.
Garnish with a dollop of yogurt if desired.
See that big dumpster outside the window? Isn't that just the best thing you have ever seen!
My kitchen will be without a fridge and stove as of Friday. My new appliances won't be delivered for awhile. I have decided to live with my cold room and a picnic cooler for a few days. It is winter. Making ice is no problem! I'll buy perishables as I can eat them.
I will be dining on my freezer food until I run out. But you cannot believe my luck! I have won two dinners from a local company that makes home cooked meals for busy people. They will come in handy.
Ingredients : (makes about 40 pancakes)
1 1/2 cups
Plain flour (all-purpose flour)
| Method :|
Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.
Goat Cheese Soufflé in Phyllo Cup serves 8
I think I will re-name No Knead Bread to Never Fail Bread! I am using up all my flour and ingredients before my kitchen renovation begins. I can't remember when I mixed up this bread....eeek! I think it must have been Wednesday morning but perhaps it was Tuesday evening. I set the pan in the cold oven to proof.
here. I used about a cup of multigrain flour and the rest was bread flour. The bread was wonderful, even though I completely forgot about it and have no idea how long it was sitting!
Then I had a bright idea! How about using them in soup. If they burst and spilled their contents, it would just add to the flavour of the soup.
I used my homemade duck broth from this post. And my perogies from this post. When I made one of my batches of perogies, I added a dollop of black truffle sauce to the mashed potatoes. The result was divine. The truffle flavour actually came out nicer in the soup than they did when I served the perogies in the traditional style with sour cream.
I brought the broth to a boil. Salted to taste. Plopped in the perogies and continue to gently simmer until they were done. There is a nice glisten of duck fat on the surface and the flavour was amazing.
Chicken and Roasted Sweet Pepper B'Stilla
2 cups cooked chicken
1/2 orange pepper
1/2 red pepper
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon ras el hanout
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons pinenuts
salt to taste
1/2 cup butter, melted
Roughly chop the chicken and set aside.
Roast the peppers and cut into strips. Roast the garlic clove and mash. Dice the onion and saute until translucent.
Toss the peppers, onion, garlic and chicken. Add toasted pinenuts and seasonings. Add beaten egg.
Spread the chicken mixture on the phyllo pastry. Cover with 3 more sheets of phyllo pastry brushed with melted butter between each sheet.
Repeat with another layer of chicken mixture and phyllo pastry.
Bake at 375F for 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut into large squares. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Today I am using odds and ends from the fridge and made this wonderful potato soup. I received my inspiration from Andrea The Kitchen Witch's potato and bacon soup and Dinner with Julie's, bacon smashed potatoes.
Creamy Potato Soup with Pancetta
1/2 cup diced pancetta
2 tablespoons finely diced onion
1 tablespoon finely diced celery
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium sized potatoes, cut in a 1/2" dice
1/2 can evaporated milk
1 cup partially skimmed milk
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
Add the olive oil to a pot large enough to cook the soup and heat on a medium setting. Add pancetta and brown. When almost browned, add the onions and celery. Cook until translucent. Add garlic and continue to saute until garlic is becoming aromatic.
Add the evaporated milk, partially skimmed milk and water. Bring to a simmer. Add potatoes, salt and pepper. Continue to gently simmer until the potatoes are very soft. Add more water as necessary. Adjust the seasoning. Serve.
Foyer and one bedroom done! Yes! Only another thousand square feet to go!