Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Codfish Cakes - Funeral Food from Newfoundland



While doing research about various funeral foods from around the world, I came across this fabulous recipe that's apparently very popular in Newfoundland here in Canada. It would seem that these fish cakes became popular at wakes last century (...wakes that commonly lasted for a good three days, apparently...) because they could sit out at room temperature for quite a while without going bad. It would appear that their oily starchiness did wonders for bracing one's innards against the sheer amount of alcohol being imbibed.

I used to live in Toronto's Little Portugal area, and the corner store at the end of my street sold wonderful potato and codfish cakes, and I always made sure to pick up a few of them every time I passed by. This Newfoundland recipe sounds very similar to the Portuguese one I've tried before, but I like the fact that it has a rich Canadian history. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds salt dried codfish OR jackfruit*, if you'd like to make this vegan
  • 1/4 cup butter OR Earth Balance
  • 1 small onion, chopped or minced finely
  • 6 cups mashed potato OR a mix of mashed cooked sweet potato, turnip, rutabaga, cauliflower, and/or yucca if you'd like to make this AIP friendly
  • 1 egg, beaten well OR a flax egg replacement 
  • 1 tablespoon dried summer savoury
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley
  • Black pepper (optional)
  • Flour of your choice (I like to use a mixture of almond meal and tapioca starch, but use whatever suits your diet)
  • Olive or sunflower oil for frying

Instructions:

The salt cod will be... well, crazy salty... so you need to soak it in cold water in the fridge overnight. This will draw out quite a bit of salt, and will rehydrate the fish so you can use it properly. 

Chop it into a few large pieces and pop those into a large pot of water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain well and allow the fish to cool to room temperature, then use a pair of forks to flake all the flesh apart.

Melt the butter in a frying pan on medium-high heat, and sautée the chopped onion until it just starts to go translucent. 



In a large bowl, mix together the flaked cod/jackfruit, mashed potato (or AIP vegetables), egg, and summer savoury. If you like black pepper, this is where you'd grind a bit and add it to the mixture to taste. Combine everything well, then form small cakes or football-shaped dumplings. Dredge these in flour, tapping them lightly to shake off any excess, and set aside.**

Heat your oil in a nonstick pan on medium-high, and once hot, fry the cakes until they're golden brown on both sides. Lift them out with a slotted spatula and place them on newspaper to get rid of any excess oil. These are wonderful when served hot, but are just as great at room temperature, or even cold right from the fridge.

In Newfoundland, the tradition is to serve them with scrunchions, which are chunks of fried salt pork. I haven't tried them, nor do I have any inclination to do so, but feel free to go nuts with that if the idea appeals to you. The cakes are great on their own, but as I'm a fan of sauces and dippy things, I like to make a Paleo tartar sauce to accompany them:

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pureed avocado OR the mayonnaise of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon pickle brine
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or agave or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I like pink Himalayan salt, but sea salt works well too)

Instructions:

Blend all ingredients together in a large bowl, and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


*From what I've been able to research, you should be able to use shredded jackfruit in lieu of the codfish here, but I haven't tried it myself, as it's not something I could find within 100 miles of our little Quebec village. You'd have to season the mixture with salt if using jackfruit, as it's apparently quite mild and doesn't have the preserved cod's extreme saltiness.

**It's a good idea to make a double batch and freeze half. After you've coated them in flour, spread them out on a baking sheet and place that in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once frozen, you can pop the cakes into plastic freezer bags and store them for up to a few months. They rarely last that long, though.

Soul-Warming Curried Pumpkin Soup



curried pumpkin soup

Hello, my darling readers.
I'll skip the apology for the fact that it has once again been almost an entire year since I've updated this blog. By now, we all know that "life happens", and we can't always summon up the time and/or energy needed to tend to projects we love. Sometimes we just need to focus on the tasks at hand and muddle through as best we can.

The maelstrom seems to have passed for the time being (**fingers crossed**), and I actually find myself with a few spare moments to update this wee blog of mine. Autumn is settling in with all her finery, blessing the woods here with every shade of gold and crimson.

It's the turning point of the year, when summer's vibrancy eases into winter's chill. An in-between, liminal space 'twixt life and death, when we can cherish and honour both. It's also the time when our meals turn from light, crisp summer fare to warming, soothing nourishment.

Like soup. (After all, this blog's title features that glorious dish for a reason, right?)
Today's recipe uses the quintessential autumn vegetable: pumpkin.

The Perfect Autumn Meal



My stepfather died a year ago this week, and although he and I never saw eye to eye, he was a decent person in his own right. He was from Glasgow, wept every time he watched Braveheart (which was every few weeks), and loved mashed turnips more than I'll never be able to understand.

I was making a pot of this soup when I got the call that he'd died, so I've associated it with him ever since. He and I had many differences, but I tried to focus on positive memories as I stirred this soup, being present with its preparation.

When we cook with intention, staying in the moment, we appreciate all the subtle nuances our food has to offer us. We can pause in appreciation for all the soil nutrients the vegetables have absorbed over the summer months, revel in their hues, and be truly grateful for small luxuries... like coconut milk and really good curry powder.

Pumpkin Soup



"When times are terrible, soup is the answer. ” 

― Kate DiCamillo
When making this soup, you can either use fresh pumpkin, or canned pumpkin puree. If you go for the latter, try to go organic, if possible. Just make sure that you're using puree, and not pie filling, otherwise you'll end up with a really weird dessert soup.

I use canned puree for this recipe. If you're using fresh pumpkin, I'd recommend preparing it ahead of time by cooking and pureeing it yourself in a blender or food processor beforehand. It just saves time, and you'll be less likely to make a mess with an immersion blender.

Ingredients:
  • 6 cups onion, chicken, or vegetable stock
  • 4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 flat tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream or heavy cream (like whipping cream)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot red chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • Garnish ideas: roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower sprouts, parsley, toasted sesame seeds, chopped chives, chili oil (all optional)
Preparation:

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large soup pot. Once it's warmed, add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly. When they've started to go translucent, add the garlic, thyme, and cumin and stir for another couple of minutes. 

Then, add the stock, pumpkin puree, curry powder, and salt. Stir to combine thoroughly. Once it starts to bubble merrily, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes. 

If you'd like this soup to be spicy, you can stir in some of those hot red pepper flakes. Otherwise, just omit them entirely. 

After it has simmered for that time, stir in the coconut or whipping cream. You may have to use a whisk to make sure it combines thoroughly.

Taste it, and adjust the liquid level if needed. I like this soup to be really thick and creamy, but if you like it thinner, add a bit more stock. Adjust the salt to your taste, and add a bit of cracked black pepper, if you like.

Ladle the soup into bowls, and serve hot. I like to garnish with a drizzle of chili oil and a few roasted pumpkin seeds, but you can serve it as it is. Other garnish options can be chopped green onions, sunflower sprouts, sesame seeds, parsley... anything you like, really.

I like to eat this with toast triangles, but warmed baguette slices are lovely too, as is freshly baked naan bread.


Make it Your Own


As with all the recipes I share here, I encourage you to experiment with this one and adjust it to suit your individual tastes. I've made this with squash instead of pumpkin, and used leftover curry paste instead of powder, etc.

Keep in mind that if you're going to use curry paste, go for the red or yellow varieties, rather than green. The green paste makes the soup a really "interesting" brown shade that's really quite unappetizing.

I'll be making this soup quite often over the next few months, and will undoubtedly think of my stepdad every time.
The funny thing is, I don't know whether he would have even liked this soup. He preferred bland fare, and balked at anything that might have been considered "exotic".
Who knows—maybe he'll develop an appreciation for spices and coconut milk in his next life.

Beannachd Dia dhuit, Andrew. I hope you're journeying well.





Friday, 27 October 2017

Baked Apples to Honour the Dead


My apologies for the delayed update, dear readers. A lot has happened since last I posted on here (last February!), but it seems apt for me to do a bit of scribbling as the Celtic new year approaches.

The period between late October and early November has been noted as a liminal space for millennia. Hallowe'en, Samhain, Nos Calan Gaeaf, Allhallowtide, and El Dia de los Muertos all fall within the same smattering of days, and all acknowledge and celebrate the transition between life and death. It's a time when, it is said, the veils between worlds fall, and spirits can shift between planes to visit loved ones. I have been fortunate enough to feel solid connections with some of my ancestors, and although it's certainly fun to dress up in costume and consume far too much sugar, I find that I prefer to mark this time of year by honouring the Dead, instead.

Since I am mostly of European descent, the foods that I prepare to honour and share with my ancestors tend to be those that they likely would have enjoyed while they were alive. Oat cakes sweetened with honey for my ancestor Knut. Colcannon for my nan Helen. I mix it up from year to year to honour different facets of my ancestry, but the one recipe I always, always prepare, is baked apples.



Apples are the fruit of the Otherworld, ever associated with Avalon (the Isle of Apples), and liminal, in-between places. They are associated with fertility and eternal youth (such as the apples grown and guarded by the Norse goddess Iðunn), and in Cornwall, Kalan Gwav, (the first day of winter, also known as Allantide) is celebrated the eve of October 31st and most of November 1st. For this festival, people give each other large, red "Allan" apples to their loved ones as tokens of good luck and joy for the coming year. This is echoed in the Jewish tradition of eating apples—especially apples dipped in honey—at Rosh Hashanah, symbolising the hope for a sweet and happy new year.

In the Northern hemisphere, apples come to their full ripeness in autumn, so they are abundant and glorious by the time All Hallow's rolls around. These baked beauties can be made with whichever apples you have available locally, and sometimes it's fun to make them with a variety of different ones so you can determine which flavours and textures you like best. Although I love to eat MacIntosh apples raw because they're so crunchy and tart, I generally use Cortland or Honeycrisp for baking.

Baked Apples




Ingredients:

6-8 apples, cored (6 if larger, 8 if on the smaller side). Use local apples if possible.
1 cup chopped nuts (I like a mixture of walnuts and pecans)
1 cup flour (gluten-free if needed)
1 cup quick-cook oats
1 cup unsalted butter or Earth Balance
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup granulated maple sugar
Ground cinnamon
Sea salt

Preparation: 

Preheat your oven to 350F, with your rack in the middle position. 

Slice the bottoms of each cored apple very slightly so they can sit upright properly, and place them in a baking pan. Pour the maple syrup into the pan, over and around the apples. When the oven is warmed, bake them upright for 15-20 minutes, depending on size, then flip them upside-down and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

While those are in the oven, combine all of the dry ingredients with the butter until it makes a crumbly mixture. Add as much or as little cinnamon as you like, and a pinch of salt, and mix thoroughly.

Remove the apples from the oven, cram them full of the crumbly, nutty stuff, spoon some of the syrupy mixture over them to dampen the crumb, and then pop them back into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Serve with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream (dairy or vegan), or clotted cream, or custard, or just enjoy exactly as they are. If you're so inclined, set an extra apple on an empty plate to symbolise sharing it with your ancestors, beloved Dead, and/or friendly spirits who may stop by.

Blessings to you.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Simple Pleasures: Olives, Bread, Oil, and Vinegar



It's been a while since I updated, and I apologise for that. As most of us have realised by now, life has its ups and downs, and sometimes just staying afloat takes almost all of our effort. A new year has rolled over, I've just turned 40, and recent events have left me reeling from a veritable emotional maelstrom. One of my oldest friends recently died after a long battle with cancer, and as I work my way through the grieving process after losing her, I find many aspects of my life have been put into perspective. Funny how tumultuous life events will do that, neh? In any case, I feel as though I am slowly emerging from a midwinter cocoon into a rather new form of existence, though it's a slow process and has quite a way yet to go.
A very slow process indeed.

No metamorphosis comes without growing pains (often quite painful ones), and my own recent shift has required a startling amount of introspection and honesty about old wounds. Some of that culminated in some serious soul searching in a hotel room about a thousand miles from where I am now. The rest has unfolded here in my cabin in the woods, where the snow now reaches my chest if I dare to venture out into the cold.

Needless to say, all of this growth has been assisted by some of my favourite comfort foods.
Sure, my old standbys (potato salad and soup) played a role in this time of change and growth, but I also turned to the simple foods that have soothed my soul on countless occasions over the past few decades: good bread, cheese, olives, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. 



It really is the type of basic peasant fare that people have been enjoying for a few thousand years now, but there's a reason this food is turned to time and time again: it's not just because it's fairly inexpensive and easily accessible, but because it is gorgeously indulgent and comforting. Bread satiates hunger when it actually arises, and just happens to soak up good oil and vinegar rather beautifully. Olives are perfect, fleshy, salty little bites of wonder, and there's wondrous variety to be enjoyed: meaty Spanish black olives, briny kalamatas, green olives stuffed with garlic or pimento... so many to choose from, and delight in.
As an added bonus, as far as comfort foods go, this is a pretty healthy spread. 


I've tasted foods from around the world, but if I had to choose a last meal for myself, I'm quite certain that it would consist of olives, cheese, bread, and balsamic. Probably an excellent wine as well. For those of you who may be inclined to indulge that last bit, I like Pinot Noir, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio best.

And so, a toast: to friendship, to self-care, and to appreciating all that we have... even the tiniest joys, such as these.


Friday, 4 November 2016

A Pile of Pierogies



In my last post, I mentioned how a vat of cheesy carbs can work wonders to soothe one's soul. Once again, we're going to contend with a glorious mess of potato and cheese, but in a completely different form this time around.

My ethnic background is quite mixed, but one solid corner of it is significantly Slavic: Ukrainian, Russian, a bit of Czech thrown in there for good measure. Although I'm not a huge fan of Eastern European cuisine (ask me how much borscht I've eaten over the last four decades...), I have to admit that pierogies (varenyky) are always a pleasure to devour.


These glorious little dumplings have made an appearance at every family funeral I've attended, and I remember many sleepless nights sitting at the dining room table with my mother, filling and folding bite-sized versions of these for the buffet table.

Rich, Soft Pierogi Dough




Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cold mashed potatoes (very smoothly mashed!)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened (you can also use vegetable shortening or Earth Balance)
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature (use very thick flax eggs for a vegan version)
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (if you're using gluten-free flour, make sure it has xanthan gum added to it!)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Extra flour as needed 
(Filling ingredients to follow)

Preparation:

Mix the mashed potatoes, butter, and egg yolks thoroughly until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Then add the water. 

Sift the flour with the cream of tartar and salt, then stir into the wet mixture. This will form a very soft, sticky dough, so you'll need to stir in extra flour in 2 tablespoon portions until the dough no longer sticks to your hands as you work with it. (The dough should still be very soft and fluffy feeling.) 


Knead lightly until mixed throughly, then cover with a towel and let stand for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness, preferably on a floured surface: it shouldn't stick to your rolling pin as you work. Cut circles out of it with a round cookie cutter or drinking glass (for small pierogies, use a small juice glass). 



Place a round of dough in the palm of your hand, and use your fingers to flatten the dough just a little bit. Scoop a small spoonful of the filling in the centre of the round, fold it over to form a half circle, and use your fingers to press the edges of the dough together, pinching the centre closed first, and then working outwards towards the edges.

Make sure that the edge is sealed well, otherwise your filling will spill out while the pierogies are cooking. You can even use a fork to smoosh the edges together firmly, which will also create a lovely pattern around the edges.

Bring a pot of water to a low boil, and drop a few pierogies in at a time: don't cook too many at once! Stir very gently with the handle of a wooden spoon to keep them from touching the bottom, and allow to boil for about 5 minutes. They are generally done when they've puffed up a bit and float.


Remove the cooked pierogies with a slotted spoon, and place into serving bowls or dishes. Serve with sour cream (dairy or vegan), and if desired, chopped herbs like chives, green onions, sage, or parsley.
Note: You can also give them a quick fry in a little bit of butter or olive oil so they firm up a little and go a beautiful golden brown.

Fillings





Pierogies can be filled with just about anything you can imagine, savoury or sweet. I've stuffed them with traditional fillings like potato and cheese or sauerkraut, but I've also made fillings like roasted squash with pine nuts, or sautéed leeks with wild mushrooms. Pierogies with fruit fillings are gorgeous too: sugared blueberries are wonderful to use, as are peaches, strawberries, or pears. Below are a few different ideas for filling options, but don't hold back from using your imagination and being creative!

Potato and Cheese Filling (VG):


  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes, allowed to cool
  • 1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta (or vegan equivalent)
  • Salt and pepper
Sautée the onion in the butter until it's tender and just starting to go transparent and golden. Combine it well with the potatoes and cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sauerkraut Filling (V):


  • 3 cups sauerkraut, drained and pressed to dry it out
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream (dairy or vegan)
  • Salt and pepper
Chop the dried, rinsed kraut very finely. Cook the onion in the butter until it softens, then add in the kraut and sour cream, and season with salt and pepper. Cook this on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until it's tender and the flavours have blended well.

Kasha (Buckwheat) and Mushroom Filling (V):


  • 2 cups cooked buckwheat
  • 1 cup assorted mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper
Sautée the onion in butter until it softens a bit, then add in the mushrooms. Stir well and cook on low heat until the mushrooms darken and release some of their liquid. Add the cooked buckwheat, remove from heat, stir well, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Berry Filling (V):


  • 2 cups whole blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants, or gooseberries
  • Granulated sugar
Place as many berries as you can in the centre of your pierogie round, and sprinkle with as much or as little sugar as you like. Fold and cook as you would a savoury version, and serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. 



Enjoy!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Funeral Potatoes



My family lived in Montreal when I was a child, and the neighbourhood we lived in was incredibly diverse in terms of people's cultural backgrounds and religions. On our street alone, my mother's closest friends were Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and Mormon, respectively, and all the neighbours would get together for everything from barbecues to birthday parties.

Naturally, being such a close-knit community, we also gathered together whenever there was a death in the family. Funerary customs may have differed slightly between our various cultures, but the main themes of togetherness and food were universal. The matriarch of the Mormon family died during the summer before we moved away, and everyone on the block attended her memorial service. The family itself was quite large, and with all of us in attendance as well, you can just imagine how many people filled up their backyard. The gathering overflowed to the next-door neighbour's yard and out into the street, and there must have been at least 20 enormous buffet tables that kept being replenished every time we cleaned them out.

Aside from the trembling mountain of jello desserts that shall ever be burned into my mind, the one dish that I remember from that gathering was an incredible cheesy potato casserole thinger that one of the 90 aunts prepared for the buffet. She must have made a dozen trays of the stuff, because as soon as one tray was scraped clean by the ravenous horde, another would swiftly take its place. I remember this dish so clearly because it was so very different from the types of potato dishes that my Nordic/Slavic relatives made: it was a creamy celebration of gooey cheese and potato, and I must have had three helpings of the stuff.

I'd forgotten all about it until I started doing research into funeral foods around the world and came across this recipe on a blog about common Mormon recipes. Go figure. Apparently the dish is affectionately nicknamed "funeral potatoes" because it always shows up at luncheons after Mormon funerals, especially in Utah. Lucky mourners!

This is an incredibly delicious dish, and when people are in mourning, calories don't count. True fact: every tear shed negates about 50 calories, so go for seconds. Fifths, even.

Funeral Potatoes


Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter (or Earth Balance)
  • One large bag of frozen, shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 1 large Spanish onion, grated
  • 1/4 cup flour (gluten-free or regular)
  • 1 cup milk (dairy, soy, rice, or almond)
  • 2 cups chicken or onion bouillon
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or Gruyere cheese (or Daiya Shreds)
  • 1/2 cup grated old* cheddar or (Daiya shreds)
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (or soy-based substitutes)
  • 2 cups plain potato chips, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions or chives
  • Salt
  • Pepper
*I've made this with smoked applewood cheddar, beer cheddar, and even jalapeño havarti. It'll be delicious no matter what cheese you use.

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 350 or 375 degrees, depending on how hot yours gets.
Grease a 9" x 12"baking dish with some extra butter or Earth Balance, and set aside.

In a large, non-stick skillet or stock pot, heat your butter (or substitute) on medium-high, and once it has started to bubble festively, add in your onions.

Turn the heat down to medium and stir regularly until the onions soften and begin to go transparent.

Add in the flour and stir to blend into the butter, and after a minute or two, add the milk. You may have to whisk this to eliminate any lumpy bits.

Use that whisk to incorporate the broth, increasing the heat slightly and whisking regularly until the mixture starts to thicken a little bit. Lower the heat even more, and stir in the grated cheese and sour cream, blending everything together thoroughly. Taste it, and adjust salt as needed. If you're so inclined, this is where you'd crack some pepper into it.

Turn the heat off completely and add the hash brown potatoes into the mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon to coat everything thoroughly. Transfer this into your baking dish, smooth it with a spatula, and then sprinkle the crushed potato chips and chopped green onions over everything.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes. You're aiming for a nice, golden-brown topping that has bits of cheese bubbling up through it here and there.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for about 20 minutes before allowing the masses to descend upon it.


Yeahhhh. That's a big dollop of creamy comfort food, right there.



Lead photo credit: jumanggy via Foter.com

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Put Brandy in It


"'Drink this.' I dashed some brandy into the water, and the colour began to come back to his bloodless cheeks."
- Dr. Watson, from Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes 

Those of you who know me well are thoroughly aware of how much I love the Sherlock Holmes stories. Although I'm fond of the modern Cumberbatch depiction, Jeremy Brett's Sherlock is the one that won my heart, and I've devoured all the Arthur Conan Doyle stories so many times over that I could probably recite them verbatim.

One thing that I noted as I pored through those stories was how Dr. Watson doled out brandy at every turn, as though it were a cure-all for any illness. Has someone fainted? Give them brandy. They're sobbing in abject misery? Brandy. Elderly person complaining of something or other? Brandy them up.

Personally, I think this is a rather wonderful way of tending to various ills, whether physical or emotional. Below is my own recipe for a hot toddy. Although I make these when I feel a sore throat or a head cold coming on, I've also been known to cup them in my hands and sip them slowly when grave news has come my way. 



Ingredients:

  • 2 generous tablespoons of brandy 
  • 1 tablespoon honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup 
  • 1/4 of a fresh lemon 
  • 1 cup freshly boiled hot water 
  • 1 bag of orange pekoe or other black tea 
  • 1 thin slice of ginger (if desired) 

Preparation:

Bring a kettle of water to a rolling boil. 
Pop the teabag into a small pot and cover with a cup of water. Allow the bag to steep until the tea is as strong as you like it best. 
Pour the honey or syrup into the bottom of your favourite mug, then add the brandy and lemon juice, and stir together to make a glorious slurry. If you're adding in a slice of ginger, pop that in now. 
Add the steeped tea to this mixture, stir it well, and enjoy it while it's hot. 

These drinks have a way of warming people to the core after an autumn or winter funeral, when everyone is back inside and in need of soothing. They're great served with ginger snaps or shortbread biscuits, especially the rosemary cookies mentioned in a previous post.

Blessings to you.




 Lead photo credit: shutterbean