Category Archives: Holiday

Days: Good Friday (repost)

(Yes I am recycling. This is a copy of my Good Friday post from 3 years ago. I liked it so I am sharing all over again!)


This day seems to be the forgotten holiday of the year. There is no lead-up to Good Friday. No frenzied fanfare of festivity. No elaborate feasts to plan and prepare. That is probably why I like this holiday the best.

Good Friday really is a day off from the bustle and hustle of the consumer world. No sales. Just time to contemplate the world. I am sitting here this morning with a second cup of coffee, watching the sun peak over the horizon. There is a slight mist on the roofs of the houses as the day slips from springtime chill to springtime warmth.

I have time to think. Let my brain play with words. Roofs. Rooves. I remember learning in school that the plural of roof was rooves. But now we use the american “roofs”. When did that change? The rule I learned was if it ends in ‘f’ or ‘fe’  then to make the plural you drop the “f” sound and writes “ves”.

dwarf to dwarves
elf to elves
hoof to hooves
knife to knives
leaf to leaves
life to lives
self to selves
wolf to wolves

Of course then there are words that ignore the rule anyway – like the plural of beef is not beeves. And the plural of proof is not prooves.

Ah English the language of rules, and long lists of exceptions to the rules! This is why English is such an exceptional language.

As you can see Good Friday is for getting diverted and contemplative. Mindless musing. The above was simply pointless stream of consciousness.  A raw slice of my brain straight up. I am full of trivia. Or full of something.

My favourite memory of Good Friday is from many many many years ago. I was in my early twenties. I was with some friends driving up to Midland, Ontario to find a very specific restaurant that served Lake Huron whitefish. Our friend and driver had heard the fish was incredibly fresh and delicious.

Now I don’t remember the restaurant name but I do think it was Henry’s Fish Restaurant. I’ve been back a few times so my memory may be muddled. And the fish is still worth the long drive!

But this memory isn’t about the destination. It is about the journey. That day was a foggy Good Friday. Dense white cotton fog slowing us down to well below the speed-limit. The trees and posts shadowy dark flickers flashing by us. The road shiny black and slick. There was no-one else on the road. Just us – some friends on a journey. Cocooned in our own reality.

In the back of the car was a book – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – and for me it was an incredible find. At that moment, in that space, that book and the message inside clicked with me. There are concepts in that book that I had no idea could actually exist! My friend – the driver of the car – saw me thumbing through the book and gave it to me.

From where I sit today I can see that same book looking at me from my shelves. It is bedraggled and stained and dog-eared. The book has survived the years – my friend the driver did not. He died later that year from leukemia. But on that Good Friday there was no leukemia darkening our thoughts. On that day we were full of life twenty-somethings on a road trip. Our driver was a big robust man full of life and zest – and by the fall of that year he was an anemic husk gasping for air in a hospital bed. He was much too young to die.

That Good Friday held no hint of the sadness waiting in our future. We laughed, we talked. The restaurant wasn’t open we arrived, so we walked the waterfront. We drank early morning beers (cans in bags – oh we were so clever!) by the lake, while we discussed philosophy and how we would change the world. By the time we had finished our exploration of Midland – the sun had burned away the morning fog.

The fish was indeed wonderful, and we promised that next year we would repeat the road-trip. We promised that this would become our Easter weekend ritual. I’ve been back since then – but the ritual never blossomed. It withered and died.

In the mid-afternoon sunshine we drove back the way we had come. No hurry to get anywhere, we stopped at used bookshops and curio stores along the way looking for old National Geographic magazines. And books on World War II history. Our own version of an Easter Egg hunt for those that no longer believed in the Easter Bunny.

Good Friday: A good day to remember how we have arrived at this moment in time. And to remember those who we loved and left behind.

Recipes: A Cooked Eggnog

Okay I am a wee bit late for this one – but really is it ever too late for a drink that can contain alcohol?

1/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk (or replace 1 cup with heavy cream)
3 egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream (whipped for serving)

NOTE: Use a double boiler if you have one as it is easy to burn the milk and eggs unless you watch your heat and keep stirring!
1) In a bowl beat 1/3 cup sugar with egg yolks until well mixed then stir in the salt and 2 cups of milk.
2) Put this “eggnog custard” in a saucepan or double boiler cook the custard over medium hear *stirring constantly* until the custard thickens and coats spoon evenly.
3) Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool. Whisk in remaining 2 cups of milk ( or 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream).
4) Beat the eggs whites until foamy then gradually add the 3 tablespoons of sugar – keep beating until soft peaks form. Gently add the egg whites to the cooled custard and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Chill for 3-4 hours.
5) When ready to serve pour eggnog into punch bowl. Add run to taste if desired and stir with whisk. Grate fresh nutmeg over the eggnog, and dot with the fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!

Secrets of success: Low heat, a heavy saucepan, constant stirring and patience are the keys to making custard sauce. If you increase the cooking temperature to try to speed the process along, the custard is likely to curdle. Stirring constantly, making sure to cover the entire bottom and the corners of the pan, prevents scorching and ensures that the mixture heats evenly.


Recipes: Hungarian Crepes

I love pancakes. I especially love the variety known as crepes – and crepes are even better when cooked Hungarian style as palacsinta.


Palatschinke (Photo credit: Mario Spann)

3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup carbonated water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt

Melted butter for cooking crepes

1 tablespoon sugar for sweeter dessert palacsinta (crepes)

1) Beat eggs into milk until blended (also add sugar/salt at this point). Pour the egg/milk mixture into the flour until fully blended into a smooth batter. The batter should rest for at least an hour.

2) When it is time to cook the crepes place a crepe pan to heat (or an 8-inch frying pan). While the pan is heating add the carbonated water to the batter and gently stir until just blended.

3) Add a bit of butter to heat in the hot pan and swirl to cover the bottom.

4) Pour a ladle of the batter into the pan and gently tip and twist the pan so that the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. When the top of the batter bubbles, turn the pancake over and cook for 4 or 5 seconds longer. Remove the cooked palacsinta to a serving plate in a warm oven until ready to serve.
Continue until the batter is all cooked. Remember to add butter before cooking each palacsinta.

For savory palacsinta fill with cooked asparagus, ham and Havarti cheese…or some other dinner filling
For dessert palacsinta try plum jam OR cinnamon&sugar OR Nutella with strawberries….

Palacsinta can be served hot or cold.

Recipes: Simple Tea Biscuits

Apparently I enjoy my tea biscuits! Here is another Tea Biscuit recipe I found in my collection. I’ve been writing them up and posting them here so I can find them – and share them with the world! This one is a fairly standard version of a tea biscuit and fairly quick to make!


4 cup white flour
8 level teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Lard (at room temperature!) (or shortening if Lard doesn’t suit your life choices!)
1 1/2 cups milk (or half&half cream to give a richer feel!)

1) Use parchment paper for baking and easier clean-up!
2) 1 egg with 1/2 cup sour cream – reduce milk to 1 cup and replace 2 teaspoon baking powder with 1 teaspoon baking soda!
3) Add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese! Reduce salt to 1/2 teaspoon (since cheese is salty..)


1) In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
2) If using egg and sour cream in a separate bowl mix the sour cream with the egg until blended. Add milk to this mix.
3) Drop the room temperature lard in the dry ingredients bowl, then using a pastry cutter blend the lard into the flour mixture until the mixtures has a course even texture.
4) Add the wet ingredients and mix well into the dough.
5) Using clean dry hands knead dough in bowl 6 to 8 strokes; if dough is too dry and not binding together, slowly add a bit extra milk a teaspoon at a time. This tea biscuit mixture should be moist without being too sticky! The dough should pull easily away from the sides of the bowl.
All of the above should be done fairly quickly to avoid over-working the flour and activating the gluten! (which would make the biscuits tough…)

6) Form into a ball and cut the biscuit dough. Place in fridge for 20 minutes to make it easier to work.
7) Preheat oven to 450°F
While the oven is heating roll out half the dough 1/4 inch thick. Lightly dust with flour if it is sticking to the rolling pin. Fold in half, and then fold in half again. (Yes that would now be a quarter – but this is cooking not math class!)
Now roll out once more to about 1/2 inch thick and cut biscuits (no bigger than 2 inches wide!)

8) Place biscuits on parchment paper in a cookie sheet. The biscuits should just be touching each other – this will make them puff upwards more than then expand sideways!
Brush the top with any left-over milk to make the tops brown evenly.
Bake for 12 to 17 minutes (or until golden brown on top)

Let cool a few minutes – and then enjoy!

Ramble: January 6, 2016 and Epiphany

Christmas is over. Mostly.

Today is January 6th and the new year is well underway. The echo of Christmas still lingers in Christian lands and homes as today is the Feast of the Epiphany; the day the three wise-men arrive to offer  gifts to the the new born king. In many ways today is the day that “Christmas” gifts should really be given and not December 25th.

For some then this day is little Christmas. I used to leave small gifts out for my kids to find when they were little. While they were sleeping I would place the gift in their slippers for them to find in the morning. Now they’d just ather get some money or borrow my car.

Enjoy the day!