Summer Time is Picnic Time

I have a friend who’s quite an amazing woman – she blogs about food – and food history, in posts chock-filled with fun and facts. And not only that! Each summer Louise has a picnic. A huge picnic! We each have to choose a letter from the alphabet then bring some food matching the letter. My letter this year, is V. V for Valentine? Oh! No, that’s in February. V, for our picnic! ~ for the foods I’ll carry to our picnic tables and the blankets tossed on the flat ground near the imaginary lake, will be Vegetable Things of Spring Salad . . . Veal Shank with Risotto . . . and Viennese Chocolate-Cherry Torte. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Olive oil, bacon fat (oh yes), prosciutto, Spring onions and dandelion greens rough-cut . . . all tossed over medium high heat in a skillet with the sugar snap peas then salted and peppered and doused with apple cider vinegar, to keep it real. This is my Vegetable Things of Spring Salad.

I’ll put up the recipe for the veal shank at the end of the post!

Here is the Viennese torte recipe. It’s a bit messy – I’ve had it around since forever ~

If you’re visiting me for the first time here, you’ll notice that most of my posts don’t have food photos or recipes. That’s because I do that sort of thing on the facebook page linked to this blog. If you’re still hungry after the picnic, the door is always open to visit there!

Now here are my co-conspirators in this picnic thing. It looks like we’re going to really party . . . uh . . . hearty????!!! Um hmm.

A- Almond Joy Pie

B- Baked Beans

C-Chocolate Picnic Cake

D-Dutch Funnel Cake

E-Easy Blender Chicken Pie

F-Five Bean Salad

G-Granola Bars

H-Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad

I-Incredibly Fruity Raspberry Cakes

J-Jeweled Picnic Bars


L-Long Island Lemonade Cocktail

M-Mushroom Tart

N-Nut Roast

O-Olive Nut Bread

P-Pomegranate Mousse Cake (absolutely worth the wait, as I’m sure yours is:)


R-Raspberry Chocolate Macarons

S-Spicy Glazed Shrimp and Veggie Kabobs

T-Turkey and Pear wraps w/ Curried Aioli!!

Well, I’m off to the picnic . . . must visit everyone to see their stuff close-up and personal! And thanks once again, Louise – it’s always a pleasure to visit with both you as you, and you as Picnic Mistress at Dainty Delights from Diverse Directions @ Months of Edible Celebrations.


Oops! Almost forgot – here is the always-worthy Elizabeth David’s recipe for Veal Shanks . . .

P.S. Last minute additions! They look lovely.

P-Pomegranate Mousse Cake (Chef Dennis) @ More Than a Mouthful

U-“Unoriginal Whole Foods Salad Bar” (Mae) @ Mae’s Food Blog (Mae “threw” this post together just this morning, sweet heart that she is.)


Monkeying Around with The Mombogombo Tart

I had an urge the other day for a Mombogombo Tart. The only problem was, that there is no such thing.

Or rather, if there is I don’t know about it. There was no recipe to be found in any place I looked and nobody else had ever heard of it (except for one guy who I think was kidding).

The Mombogombo Tart was only in my mind. It was a figment of my imagination, hovering with sweet sympathy in the mists of unreality, until I should be able to grasp it somehow and make it real. And then, as these things happen, my friend Lori (of the blog Accro) started to get hungry for a Mombogombo Tart, too.

Therefore, it is imperative we put our minds to creating this thing.

Every recipe starts with someone playing with their food. Our task is to create a Mombogombo Tart. And when you’ve created it (since I am hungry and waiting for Mombogombo Tarts) please bring it to me!

Now . . . your own Mombogombo Tart might be a pastry. It might be any Thing, really, that can be eaten. Or ~ since all the things we eat are not made of food but rather they can be made of words, or of visual art ~ your Mombogombo Tart might be a story, a poem, a word picture, or a piece of art or photography.

The one thing that must exist in every Mombogombo Tart – in order to have some common bond with other Mombogombo Tarts (and also because the last post was about dairy cows and somehow dairy cows are linked to Mombogombo Tarts in my mind) is milk. Milk must somehow be a part of your Mombogombo Tart.

I’m going to create my Mombogombo Tart sometime over the next few days, and will post it as a comment to this post. I hope you’ll bring me some more Mombogombo Tarts (just post them as a comment with a link). There is no time limit, because of course! Mombogombo Tarts can not be rushed.

If there are enough tarts to make a gathering, I’ll tag this post as a Page, for posterity.

For who knows, the world might just be waiting with anxious eyes, hungry just for a Mombogombo Tart, just like I am.

Will you answer this call to action?!

Kitchen Romances: The Constable and the Maid

In classic English detective fiction, one of the dangers of being a maid in a house where a murder has been committed is the introduction of the constable to the scene. The constables are most decidedly charming to the maids and inevitably end up being invited to the kitchen for a cup of tea and cakes.

My favorite example of constabulatory charm exists in the form of Sergeant Wiggins, who more than once has pried apt and dreadful facts from the housekeeper or maid over tea and cakes in the kitchen. Wiggins is assisted in his charm to the women in the kitchen by the fact that he is a dreadful hypochondriac. It is well known that, at least in fiction, male hypochondriacs somehow ooze sex appeal.

But Wiggins has helped solve the case for Richard Jury more than once, so I believe he deserves his tea, cakes, and kitchen romances.

If you find a constable entering your kitchen,  you may want to have cakes ready for him yourself. I can’t think of a better place to send you for recipes than Baking for Britain. Get your egg beaters ready, the oven warmed and a few of the guvnor’s smokes off to the side and you are set! Cheers!

A Cup of Tea and a Biscuit with William Shakespeare

Hello, William! How nice to see you for a visit! Yes, yes I know we are just married but I’m still trying to sort out what to bring with me when I leave my cottage (and its 90 acres, let’s not forget that) and besides, we haven’t paid for the marriage license bond yet and the fellow standing over there is waiting for me to give him 40 pounds. What? You say you forgot to pay it? Well, that’s fine. Just let me toddle over here to find a bit of old silver to give him.

Do sit down on one of my nice hard uncomfortable chairs there and we’ll have some tea. I’m sorry it may take some time – the microwave hasn’t been invented yet and I’ve got to get the girl to boil the water over the fire in the fireplace in the other room, but in the meanwhile you can enjoy the sunshine and cold draft on your neck coming from the window! There’s a book there. You might enjoy reading it. I know you like words.

Let me see what we have to eat today! I’m not feeling all that perky – you know, being three months pregnant can make one that way, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something tasty. Ah, here we are! You’d like to see the recipe? Why of course. Here it is!

To make Banbury Cakes
Make a Posset of Sack and Cream, then take a Peck of fine Flour, half an Ounce of Mace, as much of Nutmeg, as much of Cinamon, beat them and searce them, two pounds of Butter, ten Eggs, leaving out half their Whites, one Pint and half of Ale-Yest, beat your Eggs very well, and strain them, then put your Yest, and some of the Posset to the Flour, stir them together, and put in your Butter cold in little pieces, but your Posset must be scalding hot; make it into a Paste, and let it lie one hour in a warm Cloth to rise, then put in ten pounds of Currans washed and dried very well, a little Musk and Ambergreece dissolved in Rosewater, put in a little Sugar among your Currans break your Paste into little pieces, when you go to put in your Currans, then lay a Lay of broken Paste, and then a Lay of Currans till all be in, then mingle your Paste and Currans well together, and keep out a little of your Paste in a warm Cloth to cover the top and bottom of your Cake, you must rowl the Cover very thin, and also the Bottom, and close them together over the Cake with a little Rosewater; prick the top and bottom with a small Pin or Needle, and when it is ready to go into the Oven, cut in the sides round about, let it stand two hours, then Ice it over with Rosewater or Orange Flour and Sugar, and the White of an Egg, and harden it in the Oven

I’ll be right back, dear. Must go get another shawl. It’s rather chilly in this house!


On this day in 1582:

On 28 November, 1582, two husbandmen of Stratford, named Sandells and Richardson, became sureties for £40 in the consistory court of Worcester to free the bishop from liability in case of lawful impediment, by pre-contract or consanguinity, to the marriage of “William Shagspeare and Anne Hathwey” which might proceed hereupon with only one publication of banns. The episcopal register records the marriage bond granted to one Wm Shakespeare stating that the condition of this obligation is such that if hereafter there shall not appear any lawful let, or impediment by reason, of any precontract, consanguinity, affinity or by any other lawful means whatsoever, that William Shagspere and Anne Hathwey may lawfully solemnize matrimony together…

The documents apparently refer to two different women; Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton and Anne Hathwey of Stratford. The interpretation of these documents have led to all sorts of speculation. Was Shakespeare involved with two women, both called by the same first name? Did he intend to marry Miss Whateley but as soon as the license was issued did Anne Hathaway intervene saying that she was pregnant? Did he really love Miss Whateley but was forced to marry Miss Hathwey due to her pregnancy? Or was the name simply entered incorrectly on the first document? Or was she in fact a widow and therefore known by either Whateley or Hathwey ( Hathaway ) by local people?

The postcard shown above appears to be from the 1950’s – 1960’s, printed in England. There was no writing on the back, so it may have been bought as a souvenir on a trip to Anne’s ‘cottage’.

For a modern-day look at Banbury Cakes, which are often now called tarts (and which of course are not a biscuit) take a look at this wonderful post at Baking for Britain. Delightful!

In Apple (Custard) Pie Order

ap pie fin

close up fin

end fin

Here is the pie I baked for you, Benjamin. I hope you like it!

It tasted delicious to me, and not least of all because of the words that were running through my mind.

There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine is drunk.

Written, of course by M.F.K. Fisher, who saw the effects and happenings of the WWII (a bit too close for comfort)!

Cheers! I’m glad I met you.

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There’s a party going on at Vintage Postcards today! I’m sending a piece of pie to everyone there!