Winter Prep

Before it gets really cold I like to stock pile a series of ginger based cold and flu cures.

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This is literally just chopped ginger put in honey. I let it soak in like this in the fridge and use a teaspoon full in hot water to make a really throat soothing, sinus clearing tea. The juice flows out of the ginger, thinning the honey and making a sort of syrup.

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This is my Ginger Soup, loosely based on Hot and Sour soup and something I’ve been inflicting on sick friends since undergrad. Of course as its my secret remedy there’s no one to make it for me when I’m the one whose sick so I like to keep two tubs of it in my freezer (that’s all I have room for).

You will need;

  • One large thumb of ginger
  • Four┬áspring onions or one white onion
  • Six cloves of garlic
  • Two chilis (less if you like spice less)
  • Oil of your choice
  • Rice vinegar (I’m using Chianking)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Stock of your choice

This is really easy to make and I like to use it as the base for a lot of soups. All you have to do is dice the vegetables and brown then in the oil, then add everything else and cook until the flavours are dispersed.

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Medievalish Honey Cakes

As a medieval historian and someone who is a little obsessed with food I’d always wanted to try making the kind of cakes that people would have made before refined sugar, and a couple of years ago (after binge reading a bunch of Marianne Zimmer Bradley, hush, I know, I know) I gave in. I tend to only make this for Samhain and Beltaine when I make pseudo-medieval party food (I say pseudo because I love potatoes too much to leave them out) because one cake takes an entire jar of honey and to be honest the flavour isn’t that different from an ordinary cake. But its the novelty that’s the point here anyway, so without further ado you will need:

 

8 oz of flour

8 oz of butter

4 eggs

one jar of honey

cinnamon and nutmeg or allspice

 

Start by mixing the flour and the spices together, as this is the best way to make sure the flavours are evenly distributed throughout the cake. I add one teaspoon of cinnamon and another of nutmeg but you can use allspice instead and vary the amounts according to taste. Be careful though, if you add too much allspice it will smell fantastic while cooking but taste absolutely awful, so only vary the amount of spice if you have some idea of what it will do. After that mix in the butter, which you can leave to soften up first, and then when you’ve got an even consistency beat the eggs and stir them in too. Finally add the honey. You really do need the whole jar. No, I promise, you do. This is going to have a less solid consistency than ordinary cakes for obvious reasons but if it looks too liquid add some little pinches of flour until it holds together better. Finally bake for around forty minutes at 180 C. The result should be dense and very moist. I prefer not to glaze mine or just spread the top with raspberry jam but feel free to do anything you like and tell me about it in the comments!