Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Norwescon 43 Friday Afternoon High Protocol (Mad) Tea Social Menu

This is the menu for the event. Actual event details can be found here.
Several of the teas served are blends by the Friday Afternoon tea company. Be sure to stop by their booth in the Dealer Room to sample lots more of their delicious teas, and take some home with you!

Arrival drinks ~
  •   Tea ~ Very Good Advice

    Friday created this playfully fragrant herbal blend in honour of Alice. This brew brings you to the English garden of a young girl dreaming of adventure, and is perfect for preparing for the adventure to follow!
    (Ingredients: Lemon verbena, linden flower, lavender, lemongrass)
  • Coffee ~ Organic, fair trade, shade grown, dark roast. 
  • Ice water
  • (More to come ~ Stay tuned!)

First course ~ Savouries 
          
 Teas
  • Queen of Hearts Blend ~ Ceylon black tea, rosebud, rose hip and black peppercorns make this an unusual flowery and spicy blend.
Sumptuous Savouries
  • Queen of (Artichoke) Hearts' stuffed mushrooms ~ We don't know which side will make you tall or small, but all sides will make your mouth water! (crimini mushrooms, artichoke hearts, spinach, [additional ingredients to be added], parmesan cheese, butter)
  • White Rabbit's garlic blue cheese stuffed mushrooms - There's time to say goodbye hello to these flavourful fungi! (crimini mushrooms, blue cheese, smoked garlic, [additional ingredients to be added])
  • Open face curried chicken cucumber sandwiches  (GF, DF) ~ An exotic take on the classic, cucumber sandwich: Fresh cucumber slices, topped with curried cranberry chicken salad (curried chicken breast, cranberries, walnuts, organic leeks, and mayonnaise)
  •  Open face curried hummus cucumber sandwiches  (GF, DF, Vegan) ~ The vegan version of the above: Fresh cucumber slices, topped with curried cranberry hummus (curry hummus, walnuts, cranberries and organic leeks)
 Garden & Grain Tray
  • Baby carrots
  • Grapes
  • Tomato medley
  • Pita chips
  • Cracker assortment (GF options)
  • Ranch dip
  • Spinach artichoke dip
  • Hummus (GF, DF, Vegan)

Second Course ~ Scones & Breads

Teas
  • Wonderland Blend
    It's a mad tea party indeed, with this delightful infusion! Caffeine-free for all ages. Brews up a magical purple and is fabulous hot or iced!
       (Ingredients: Apple, blueberry, and hibiscus.)
  • Dorian Gray ~ Inspired by Friday's favourite Oscar Wilde novel, this blend is as dark, murky and exotic as the character after whom it is named. This one has been a big hit at every NWC Friday Afternoon Tea, thus far, and tastes a lot like drinking a cinnamon roll (in a good way)!
    (Ingredients: Pu-er black tea, gunpowder green tea, ginger root, blue cornflower)
 Toothsome Treats
  • Mad Hatter's Honey Whole Wheat Black Bread
  • Scones in a variety of flavours (GF options)
  • Silver Dollar Crumpets
  • All served with fresh, sweet cream butter, clotted cream, lemon curd, and apricot preserves

Third Course ~ Dessert

Teas
  • Satyr's Blend ~ This ridiculous blend is a bizarre combination of several herbal components, spices, and (whaaaaaat!) dark chocolate chunks! The scent of the dry leaf is wild, foresty and slightly spicy. When brewed, this tisane creates a fascinatingly smooth flavour profile.
    Ingredients: Rooibos, peppermint, chocolate, mate, rose, ginger, lime, peppercorn, clove
  • Cheshire Smile ~ Playful and delicious, this lemon meringue white tea blend will drive you mad with its heavenly aroma and mysterious colour-changing properties. Is it blue? Purple? Pink? Yes.
    (Ingredients: White tea, grapefruit peel, butterfly peaflower, hibiscus, natural vanilla and lemon flavouring)
 Delightful Desserts
  • Madly-made-to-order pancake cupcake teacakes, back by popular demand! ~ custom additions include: dark and/or milk chocolate chunks, dark chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, dark chocolate & mint M&M's, peanut butter cup chunks, walnuts, jams, and more TBA.
  • Dark chocolate covered pomegranate, açai blueberry, & almond bites (GF)
  • Lemon tea cookies

~ Dairy free creamer and sugar substitutes will be on hand. 

~ Gourmet coffee and ice water will be available in addition to or instead of teas.  

~ Please feel free to bring additional food and/or non-alcoholic drinks for yourself or to share, especially if you have special dietary needs/allergies.

~ Please do bear in mind that the snacks, whilst suitable for a light repast, are not meant to be a full meal, so it may be prudent to plan for a light meal shortly following or prior to the Tea.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Review ~ SOSA Belicoso (6/10)

 So, it turns out the few of these sticks I have left from the bundle I bought ages ago are now a bit of a rarity. 

Originally, they were made by the Fuente family in the Dominican Republic, but in December of 2016, A.J. Fernanzez announced that he would be buying the entire Sosa family line, and would be producing them, using the same blends and wrappers, but he would be growing the tobacco himself, and using his own, distinct manufacture and curing methods, as of January 2017, so I imagine the ones put out after that would have been a similar, but not the same cigar.

I got these around 2015, so they would have been the ones made at the A. Fuente Factory, apparently by Juan Sosa, himself! (Pretty cool factoid there, IMO)

They have since been completely discontinued. I'm not clear on just when that happened, but they are not available anywhere that I can find. Just as well they aren't a new favourite or I'd be hosed! ;)

Anyhow, on the the review part!

The construction was good and solid. It felt firm, with just the right give, and it looked nice - chocolate milk brown, and a smooth sheen to the wrapper. 
The scent was fairly straightforward tobacco, with a bit of coffee and spicy chocolate. 
It lit up nicely, using the light and cut method. 

Despite the light and cut, the cigar started out pretty harsh, (the first time that has happened since I learned that technique!) and I was wondering if it would end up in the ashtray in short order, but at about an inch or so in, the harsh beginning gave way to some actual flavour, albeit difficult to define. It was almost acrid, like a very, very dry white wine, but not in an unpleasant way. 

I have to admit, I was a little confused by the seeming disparity between the unlit smell and the taste of the smoke, but it isn't the first time I've encountered this. I may have even noticed it when I smoked the rest of them, several years ago, and then forgotten, or, perhaps, the time in the humidor has changed their profile more significantly than it does most.

The flavour continued to improve, as well as mellow, and by almost 1/3rd of the way down, I started detecting notes of cedar, and something almost, but not quite like leather, along with a tobacco... "crispness", is the best way to describe it. Definitely not bad at all.

It was about that time that the uneven burn became clear as well, but I'm willing to speculate that the breeze and not keeping it rotating could be at least partially to blame. It was simply a matter of having to periodically torch one side a bit.

The emergence of black pepper on the tip of my tongue, joined (finally!) by a nice black coffee/espresso flavour, and followed closely by hints of unsweetened cocoa was a nice turn of events.

At about the halfway point, I was confronted by a nasty "burnt cigar butt" taste, and was afraid the cigar was done, just when it had started to get pretty good. Luckily, just blowing it out well and letting it burn for a couple seconds banished the burn, and it was back to the slightly spicy, rich, dark, chocolate espresso profile for the duration which turned out to be right down the last inch and a half or so!

Most of the cigars I smoke with cocoa and/or coffee notes also tend to have creamy or sweet notes as well, and, curiously, this one didn't. At all. Like, there wasn't so much as a hint of either. Different from the usual, but not at all a criticism.

They are meant to be medium to full bodied, but I found it pretty mild after the initial few, dubious puffs. 

The ash held firm to a little past an inch and a half on average, and was a dusky, blue-grey.  The volume of smoke wasn't terribly impressive, but, while those thick billows of velvet clouds are usually a plus for me, as there is more to play with and taste and get a good mouth feel, it's not the end of the world. 

All in all, it was a decent smoke, and I do look forward to enjoying the rest of them over time. It gets a solid 6/10, which is pretty good from me, for something I didn't flat out love.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Crazy Weather (Ode to Etta James and Climate Change ~ A Parody)


(Sung to the tune of Stormy Weather)

Don't know why
There's so much sun up in the sky
Muggy weather
Repubs just can't get their facts together
Hurricainin' all the time

Land is bare
Deforestation everywhere
Global Warming.
Climate change is messin with the weather.
Emissions of all kinds .. all kinds

Since El Nino days the ice caps all are melty
If it stays that way, carbon and methane's gonna get me
All I do is pray greenhouse gases won't effect me
If I use the sun for power.

I can't go on
All my biofuel is gone
Sunspot weather
Now my skin all looks like leather
Acid raining all the time
It's surely the end times

© 2019 Khaos WolfKat

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Save those stale baked goods for the world's best bread pudding!

Fresh baked... well, anything is so wonderful! The problem is, it never stays fresh for long, and stale breads, cakes, cookies, etc just aren't the same. Don't throw them out though! 
You can give them a new life and look like a culinary deity at the same time, by turning them all into a divine dessert (or breakfast, or snack, or lunch, or... whatever. No judgement here) fit for the gods themselves that will have everyone begging for more. 

Best of all, the recipe is cheap, easy, and wildly versatile!

Here are just a few options for variations on the basic recipe.

  • Classic, "Worlds Best Bread Pudding"
  • French toast "casserole"
  • Breakfast in Bread
  • Full English Bake Up 
  • Toasted Cheese Breadwich
  • Savoury Garlic Parmesan
  • Holiday cranberry, pecan, candied orange bread pudding
  • Curry cauliflower "souffle" 
Look for all these variations to be added and linked up here eventually!

All you have to do is start putting those bread ends, leftover rolls, cookies, toast, English muffins, the last slice of cake, old doughnuts or bagels, the fortune cookies no one ever eats,  the "test" pancakes, bread that didn't rise properly, pastries, etc, into the freezer before they get mouldy. I use gallon size Ziploc bags. 

If you want to do savoury as well as sweet, put the sweets in separate freezer bags.

 The one "rule" is that you want to have at least about half of the things be more "bready" than sweet (bagels, rolls, bread, pizza crusts, etc) to get the right texture. If most of your leftovers are sweets and you don't bake your own bread, grab a loaf of cheap, day old artisan bread from the grocery to supplement. I really love having a good amount of sourdough in mine, but any bread will do, really. 

Once you've got a full bag or two, you're ready to whip up a batch of awesome. 

 Want to know what's even more awesome?
Not only is the flavour and add-ins variety practically endless, but there are several different cooking methods as well!

Besides the traditional, oven method, you can also make this delicious dish in your Instant pot/electric pressure cooker, regular (stovetop) pressure cooker, slow cooker, BBQ grill, campfire (cast iron Dutch oven needed), regular skillet on the stove, and even the microwave!!

Next week, I'll be posting the "base recipe" for sweet OR savoury, along with instructions for all the above cooking methods, so STAY TUNED!

 

 

Monday, 9 September 2019

A Money Saving, Waste Reducing, Better Tasting Bread Pudding!

This recipe is for your classic, standard bread pudding, but with a twist!

If you just want to go directly to the recipe, without the story behind it, scroll down a bunch or click here

Like many of my recipes, this was born of necessity (read, poverty), using what was on hand, on sale, or free to feed a hungry household on the dirt cheap. 

This one came about because of bagels. Lots of bagels. Many, many, MANY bagels. An amount of bagels that made the excess of stale loaves of bread seem paltry by comparison.

The food bank always had three things that you could have in unlimited quantities. Those were potatoes, onions, and older than day old bread. There was always more than they could offload back then, cause the economy wasn't completely jacked. (But let's avoid that side rant, for now. Today is recipe day, not political rant day!)

So, on this particular week, in addition to the regular, plentiful, varieties of breads and other stale-ish baked goods, they had approximately 8 gazillion loads of all the bagels in the world. Consequently, each client got one full measure of all the bagels in the world. 
You think I'm unnecessarily exaggerating, but I'm not. We walked away with two of those huge, black trash bags full of bagels, for a household of 6 people. Every variety you can find in the bakery was there, and then some. 

The freezer was stuffed with bagels. The deep freezer was stuffed with bagels.
 WE were stuffed with bagels!

We ate toasted bagels, bagels with cream cheese, breakfast bagels, mini bagel pizzas, peanut butter bagels, bagels and gravy, SOS over bagels, bagel sandwiches, bagel hamburgers, bagels for snacks, bagel breadcrumbs, bagel croutons, bagel dog, cat, and rat treats... You get the idea. 

We were running out of new things to do with them and, frankly, getting pretty tired of bagels, when one of my housemates mentioned it on a phone call to his (Mormon - traditional - home cooked everything) mother. She said, "Well, why dont you make up a bunch of bread pudding?" 

None of us actually knew what bread pudding was at the time.. Just that it didn't sound very appetizing, but she insisted it was delicious and made him write down the recipe. (This was before YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and even before most households had internet at all. AOL was just starting to gain steam then, and dinosaurs still roamed the Earth). Once I looked at it, and figured out that "pudding" didn't mean what I thought it did, it sounded worth trying, so I did. And it was AMAZING! 

The bagels made the texture kind of chewy and more substantial than a typical bread pudding (which I found out much later), and the combo of cinnamon raisin, blueberry, oat, bran, sourdough, regular, and  other types of bagels made for an out of this world taste. We weren't tired of bagels anymore! We made it for the kids' school, for the neighbours, for a block party, brought it to picnics and potlucks, and ate far more bread pudding than we probably should have in any given time, but you can get away with that in your 20s! 

Later, I tried making "normal" bread pudding, rather than the poor people version, and discovered that I didn't like it nearly as much, so I started experimenting with different types of baked goods. that were old, but not mouldy. Breads, donuts, muffins, you name it!

Later still, when I started baking my own bread, and discovered that when it doesn't have preservatives in it, it goes bad WAY faster, and has to be stuffed in the freezer if not used in about 4 days. SO I ended up with lots of partial loaves of bread, leftover rolls, and the like, as well as a few failed loaves that didn't rise, but were still GREAT for adding different textures and flavours to the ever-evolving bread pudding. 

At some point, it occurred to me that I could try throwing those fortune cookies, and stale crackers, and random other cookies that didn't get eaten into a batch. Yup! Worked great! And, of course, you can customise the recipe with lots of add ins too, but that is some other posts. 

For this one, it's just the improved, classic version.

Now, if you like, you an totally just use regular, day old read, and it will still taste great, but in my opinion, the taste and texture is WAY better with a variety of bread stuffs!

Here is the recipe...

World's Best Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

  •     1/lb of stale bread products (about 1/2 store-bought loaf amount) 
(Up to half can be sweets, like cookies, donuts, cake, brownies, etc)
  •     3 Tablespoons of butter (1 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp)
  •     4 Beaten Eggs
  •     2 Cups Milk or half & half (or soy/almond/rice/coconut/other milk)
  •     3/4 cup of white sugar
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •     1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Optional Ingredients:
  •     dried, canned, or fresh fruit
  •     nuts
  •     cardamom
  •     other spices
   
Instructions:

  •     Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and use 1 Tablespoon of butter to coat the inside of your 8 in. square baking dish, cast iron fryer (deep) skillet or dutch oven.
You can also use individual ramekins or smaller dishes. If you do, reduce initial baking time by 10-15 minutes and check to See if done.
  • Break your bready things into around 1" or smaller pieces into the buttered baking dish along with your add ins. Make sure different ingredients are distributed fairly evenly.
  • Melt your remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and drizzle over bread pieces. 
  • In a bowl, whisk your eggs well, then mix remaining ingredients, including sugars/syrups, extracts, and spices until mixed thoroughly.
  • Pour mixture over the bread and add-ins and stir it up a bit, making sure it's all well coated.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top of the bread pudding springs back after lightly touching it with a fork.

 I swear by cast iron for most baking, and use either my Dutch oven or fryer skillet for this recipe, depending on what size batch I'm making.  

Note: I am now using Amazon Affiliate links, so if you click any of the product links from here to buy things, it costs you the same, and I get a small commission!

Thursday, 5 September 2019

TEOTWAWKI!! (Not all that likely, but...)

There's a lot of talk about "The end of the world as we know it" - total, global collapse of commerce, infrastructure, society, law and order, etc. -  and being prepared for such an eventuality. 

Preppers prep for it. Scoffers scoff at it. Most people completely ignore the whole idea.

The reality is that total collapse is not really all that likely a scenario, and most of us do realise that. The thing is though, pretty much all the same preparations for the ultimate SHTF situation will also stand us in good stead for the more likely situations. Things from the mundane - normal winter storms, scheduled (or not) utility maintenance, fried squirrel/bird/racoon transformer blowout, or a vehicle hitting a utility pole - to more severe things like earthquakes, floods, severe storms (hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, etc).
 All of these routinely include downed trees, blocked or closed roads, and power or other utility outages, and often come with little to no warning. 

Preparedness makes most of these things a relatively minor inconvenience, rather than an emergency, and makes even the more major disasters more easily survivable, so you and yours are not only doing ok, but also, not further straining rescue efforts, and potentially in a position to help!

Even something as simple as having car trouble and being stranded on the side of the road somewhere for a while can end up being a dire emergency if you're not properly prepared. 

I have personally experienced several situations over the years, where being prepared made the difference between emergency and inconvenience, including: Being stranded in a vehicle in the middle of nowhere for one to several days (alone and with kids/dogs); stranded in a van with the back half hanging off a nasty drop overnight once (with 2 adults, 2 big dogs, and a pre-teen in the van!); house full of holiday guests totally snowed in with no road access for nine days, almost half of which with no power or running water; caught in gnarly bad storms out in the middle of a National Forest, with exit roads impassable; stuck for extra time in the forest due to nearby forest fires (or emergency personnel fighting them) blocking access roads except for evacuation areas; multiple power and other utility outages; being stuck with no vehicle and no way home (or anywhere) overnight or for days/hours, due to cancelled Greyhound buses/inclement weather or just missing the last local bus; and various other "interesting times". 

Every one of those experiences was reduced to, at worst, a royal pain in the arse, and everyone involved was able to get/stay warm (or cool, as needed), dry, fed, sheltered, safe, comfortable, and had a sanitary way to relieve themselves and clean up afterward. Most of the time, we were even entertained too! 
That outcome, in every instance, was a result of being prepared!

So... Even if you are a total scoffer, and don't think there is any chance, whatsoever of TEOTWAWKI, there are plenty of good reasons to prepare for it anyway!

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Ode to HNGs ~ by Dr Sluice (AKA Me)

 Dedicated to all the internet creeps who inspired this!


Hello Mistress I U slave,
Beat me now make me behave.
U so pretty tie me up now!
Y U no like? You a fat cow!


Fapping, fapping, what a sleaze,
Tightie whities round your knees
I do not want to chat with you,
Or see your Cheeto dusted goo!


What you mean I not your type?
I want you now; What's your Skype?
Can't you see you make my dick hard?
Don't you make me play the race card!

You a lesbo? what you mean?
I fix with my magic peen.
What you need's a good hard fuckin'

No, that's got me near upchucking!

Then I be ur dominate
No, that's something that I'd hate
If you won't kneel and suck my dick,
It prove you
really not a chick.

Call me Master, I insist
Are you ready for my fist?

I do not want to be your pet
That really doesn't make me wet.


In the trunk with you my slut
Then my dog will lick your butt.

I do not want sex with your collie
that isn't what I meant by poly!


Come massage me in my room
Does the rubbing come with poon?
I'm only joking, can't you see?
But will you break the law for me?


Can't you read, you douchcanoe?
All my rules, they mean you too!
I'll not give you happy ending
Your wall of text, it is mind bending!


Open marriage, gee that's swell;
Mine is too, but don't you tell.
Let's be discreet, I think you're hot
I'm poly but my wife is not.


Cheating, I will not assist,
Or meet with you for a tryst!
Philandering is not my kink
I think you need to see a shrink.


Even though I mailed you first
Your reply my bubble burst.
So since you didn't want to play
I didn't want you anyway!

U R Beauty and my dear
I paste this to all girls here
Maybe if I send to many
I will stop not getting any.


Copypasta turns me off
And you clearly live in sloth.
Mummy's basement's not a dungeon.
Your lines leave me in high dudgeon.


© 2012 Khaos WolfKat