October 12th, 2005

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Five more ingredients...

From today's Scotsman:

...those "fresh" sauces are seldom fresh in the true sense of the word, with many containing additives and preservatives which we can all live without. And the measly scattering of meat or fish which the non-vegetarian ones contain, leave the average carnivore wanting more.
This recipe for Tagliatelle with Seared Tuna and Basil Sauce solves all these issues.
Buy fresh fish stock if possible - most supermarkets stock it - or Worth recommends stock cubes by Major or Knorr. Five ingredients, plus salt and pepper to season, all in under 15 minutes.

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Again, from The Scotsman:

RISOTTO can be fairly tricky to get right. When I was in my first restaurant job 20 or so years ago our chef was left in no doubt about the quality of his risotto when a disgruntled customer left him a note: "Dear chef, your risotto was crap!"
Contrary to what many people think, making a risotto is not just about boiling rice and mixing it with other ingredients. Doing it properly requires a fair bit of patience, concentration, careful timing and confidence in your flavourings. I should know - I've messed up a few.

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Apple of my eye

The Scotsman covers apples.

Apples are so good for us and useful as a simple end to a lunch or supper. They are also wonderful in cooking. There is a distinct difference between eating apples and cooking apples when heated. I'm quite sure that most of you know that cooking apples, peeled and cored and chopped, fall into a snowy mush on cooking, whereas eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced or chopped, retain their shape in heat - unless they have been stewed for ages. Both kinds of apples are useful in savoury recipes, as well as in sweet. Apples can be delicious with smoked fish - surprising as this sounds to those who haven't tried this combination. Mix grated apples with créme fraîche and horseradish to go with smoked trout, smoked mackerel or hot-smoked salmon, and you will find it an excellent combination of tastes. Apples and cheese is a well known and mutually very complementary combination of tastes - and you can use cheeses of all types, from hard Cheddars to creamy Brie, Camembert and blue cheeses. Apples make the best chutney, I think, just beating green or under ripe tomato chutney into second place. And apple slices fried and eaten with black pudding and bacon makes a quick and good breakfast, lunch or supper.

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The Great Work

I believe every valid religion has a Great Work its adherents are expected to carry out. Judaism calls on its followers to repair the universe (tikkun olam); Christianity, to spread the Good News; Ceremonial Magick, the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel (higher self).

In Wicca, or at least in the StarKindler tradition, the Great Work is the initiation of life to higher consciousness.

In particular, we hold that the animals we keep as pets and companions will, through contact with us, become more individual and less "just an animal". They won't become fuzzy human beings, but they become individuals and are no longer part of a group soul. Eventually, animals become sufficiently individual that they reincarnate as sapient beings with their own unique souls. They become initiated into individual consciousness.

I've seen a few cases now where an animal will come in to a household, and die very young from some disease or genetic condition. (My high priestess had a mastiff that died at under a year of age, because his immune system had never been properly installed.) I've decided this is a case where the animal is "picking up the last few credits" before moving on to the status of unique individual.

Yesterday, Simon, the white cat with gray patches in joansteward's household, had to be put down. The vet said tests had found ten different conditions that were not compatible with life, and offered to waive the cost of euthanasia. He'll be missed.