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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

Festive ‘Foodie’ Facts

New Icon Image For Weekend Cooking December 2013oWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth F, over at ‘Beth Fish Reads’.

It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

When leaving your link, don’t forget to leave a comment for Beth F, we all like to receive comments and share your thoughts.

 …

It just goes to show how remiss I have been in contributing to this excellent meme, when I had to download the great new button design for this week’s contribution. No excuses, life just seems to contrive to get in the way of blogging sometimes and that has certainly been the case of late …

Oh, a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage……

Charles Dickens, ‘A Christmas Carol’

Scanning the book shelves, I came across this little gem, a remnant of my book selling days that I just couldn’t bear to part with and which I had forgotten all about …

‘WISE WORDS and COUNTRY WAYS’ by RUTH BINNEY

A unique and fascinating storehouse of accumulated wisdom; from health tips and kitchen tricks to gardening know-how and even predicting the weather.

Ruth Binney has brought together a fascinating variety of traditional sayings, superstitions and axioms and explains whether, and why, they still work today.

So before you dismiss a well-known proverb as an old wive’s tale, consult ‘Wise Words and Country Ways’ and discover that it’s never too late to learn from experience.

FROM THE ‘KITCHEN TIPS’ CHAPTER:-

To Save Separated Mayonnaise, Add Another Egg

Picture Of A Dish Of Homemade MayonnaiseThe 19th Century American, Fannie Merritt Farmer offered this sound advice, as have many good cooks before and since, though hot water is also recommended by some.

Mayonnaise, a fine emulsion of egg yolks and oil, is made by adding oil drop by drop, to yolks mixed with some salt, while beating vigorously and continuously. What happens as you mix is that the oil is broken into smaller and smaller droplets, which eventually stabilize into a rich, thick mixture. Adding the oil too fast, or insufficient beating, are usually what makes the mixture separate out, so that pools of oil form, making the mixture look curdled. Smoother consistency may be restored by taking the yolk of another egg and adding the curdled mixture to it. The bowl containing the mixture should ideally be placed in a larger bowl of crushed ice, to which a small quantity of water has been added.

Incidentally …

Victorian cooks, who used mayonnnaise to dress the salads, then served for supper as main courses rather than side dishes, dreaded having to make it in hot weather, especially when it was thundery. For coloured mayonnaise, traditional additions were lobster and coral for red and spinach or parsley for green.

Finally this week, check out the blog of author Grace Mattioli. I was first contacted by her a couple of years ago, when she requested a review of her debut novel ‘Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees’. Recently we have re-kindled our friendship with the publication of her latest book in the series ‘Discovery Of An Eagle’. As the Grecco family, the main protagonists in both books are of Italian origin, food figures quite heavily in the storylines, so Grace has devoted much of her personal blog to discussing this aspect of her writing.

Picture Of Ricotta Cookies As Featured On The Blog Of Author Grace MattioliMany of the recipes sound mouthwatering, however my favourite has to be these Ricotta Cookies, don’t they just look delicious?

Here’s what Grace has to say…

“In chapter five of my novel, Cosmo bakes ricotta cookies and he and Silvia enjoy them with some Earl Grey tea. Of course, they are wonderful because every thing that Cosmo endeavors to do, he does great. He tells Silvia that he was inspired to make them from tasting a cookie that she had given him during a previous visit. It was a cookie with no dairy, sugar, or wheat, and Cosmo claimed that it tasted like tree bark. Ricotta cookies will taste nothing like Silvia’s health-food cookies. They are absolutely heavenly! See recipe below from foodnetwork.com.”

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cookies: 

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Glaze: 

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container.

I hope that if you are visiting, you have found at least one of my foodie offerings this week fun to discover. I am looking forward to sharing all your great ‘foodie’ posts this week and I hope that you all have a great weekend.

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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6 comments
  • Hi Yvonne. I hope you are enjoying the holidays. I know what you mean, life gets in the way of blogging. I myself have not been online much these past weeks. Thank you for the recipe for Ricotta Cookies, they sound yummy. Wise Words and Country Ways’ sounds like a nice book to have in ones collection as well. Happy and Healthy New Year! xo

    • Hi Naida,

      The time just seems to run away from me and before I know it nearly a whole week has passed between posts, although I do try to keep on top of replying to comments and emails. Even my reading time is diminishing on a daily basis and my review pile is growing much faster than my books read log.

      The biscuits do sound good don’t they, although I probably wouldn’t make them myself, as hubbie isn’t keen on ricotta cheese, so I would end up by eating the entire batch myself, which although enjoyable, wouldn’t be very good for me!

      The book is quite a mine of useful titbits of information and ideas. There is an entire chapter devoted to ‘Kitchen Tips’, so I can see me quoting from it on quite a few more occasions.

      I hope that you have a very Happy New Year and of course all your family also.

  • I love A Christmas Carol! I’m listening to my second audiobook version of it this season (first narrated by Jonathan Winters, this one by Simon Prebble) and we saw a community theatre production of it this month, too!

    • Hi Laurie,

      Whilst I don’t listen to audiobooks, I have to admit that I am a tad biased towards the English voice and could be swayed by Simon Prebble’s soothing tones.

      I volunteer for my local hospice, in one of their retail shops, where surprise surprise! I am in charge of the sorting, pricing and display of the books which are donated. Earlier in the year, we had donated in, a very early copy of ‘A Christmas Carol’, whch earned us a very tidy sum of money when it was sold and I have to admit here and now to sitting and reading it before it went out for sale and admiring the fantastic sketches and drawings it contained.

      I love it when good condition older books are donated, especially when they have inscriptions and dedications which are dated, they make for some very interesting reading, if only the pages of the book could talk!

      Thanks for joining in the discussion here today and may I take this opportunity to wish you and your family all best wishes for the New Year.

    • Hi Beth,

      I wonder if, back in Victorian times, food poisoning was much more prevalent than it is today, or if we have been so protected from everyday germs and diseases, that we are more susceptible to contracting them? This book is full of useful tips and information, that I may well use further extracts from it in future posts, an excellent coffee table book for guests to browse.

      The cookies look just too amazing and mouthwatering for me. Far too unhealthy for someone like myself, who is already way overweight. I just thought the recipe worth sharing.

      Thanks for stopping by and I wish you and your family every good wish for a happy and healthy New Year.

Written by Yvonne

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