stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
We went to an event yesterday and I won a competition. I don't 'do' competitions - in fact I may be the only Laurel of the SCA who did not ever compete (sort of - I did once, early in my SCA life, and the judging was so ridiculous that I had to laugh rather than get mad and that was the end of that.) But this time a friend was sponsoring a "in honor of our neighboring Shire which was just disbanded" A&S competition and I was concerned that there would not be any entries - which would really hurt the feelings of the (probably) two ladies from that Shire who'd be attending the event. So since my first event was hosted by that shire ("Samhain", 1989), I decided to bring their "traditional" dessert to yesterday's event and serve it as my homage. It didn't fit the actual category of the competition since I was not using anything from the Shire's heraldry but I figured that those two (turned out to be three) ladies wouldn't care - they'd just know that their group was remembered with love.

So I back-documented the dessert into the category of "probable", that being the closest we could come to "medieval" (I found one for dates cooked the same way), and was good to go. It turned out that the head cook was also sponsoring a last minute side-board dish competition. So what the heck, I entered that too... again, because he's a good guy and the chances were slim that there would be many entries (there were actually 4 besides mine. I was relieved for his feelings! It sucks to sponsor something and only have 1 or 2 entries.)

I won.

The cooking competition. And got this as a prize:

I was stunned to see the salt/truffle fusion in the prizes. Wow. He spent some money on that. Now - I'm not actually much of an every day cook and don't want to waste his lovely prize so I have decided that I shall do the time-honored thing and save these spices to pass on as an appreciation gift to the Chancellor of Pennsic University this year - he's a kicking good cook and I have not done enough to support his work over the last few months. So this is better than my standard "knitted bag filled with goodies" appreciation thing. But I am going to regret losing the containers. :)

More importantly, a few people liked the dish well enough to take photos of the "documentation" so they could serve it for dessert at feasts they will be preparing in the future or as a dessert for their camp. So Berley Cort's legacy will live on.

The recipe? You're actually interested?

Pears Poached in Cream
heavy cream
canned pears (you can cook them up from raw but why bother?)
assorted spices (I used cinnamon, nutmeg, a tiny smidgen of mace, whole cloves, and chunks of dried ginger)

Combine in a pot and heat over a low temp burner. Spoon up with a slotted spoon.

The cream will last for friggin' ever so be prepared to make this again and again as you try to use up the nummy cream. It microwaves well if you want to just keep opening small cans of pears for a quick 'two person' dessert. Or do as we did yesterday - crumble windmill cookies into the bottom of a bowl and spoon the cream and the remaining pear bits over the top, then eat like a thick pottage. Some of us were thinking about trying it with peaches, though, and spooning the mess over a small spice cake with strawberries on the side.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Members of the SCA will understand this one - other folks may be a tad bewildered. Or just think "Meh. Weird."

Everyone who has been reading my entries knows that I was working fairly hard on a fundraiser for my barony by making and selling lumpia. Ultimately, this time (we did it last year too) we netted about $1100. Not bad. Altogether our two lumpia-making drives got us roughly $1800 closer to a new baronial pavilion, which we really are needing.

This last Saturday was our baronial birthday event. Our silent auction fundraising coordinator faded into the walls before the event happened so I ended up taking care of that, too... it was no big deal, silent auctions being what they are. Neither was I particularly enthusiastic about it, it not being my idea and I have been rather opposed to 'yet another automatic fundraising thingy for baronial members to spend their money on' event activities. Thus the lumpia - one (needed) lunch at Coronation, and a chance for those who like it but can't make it to order some for themselves outside of our local events.

Anyway. Their Excellencies called the lumpia crew (my 'roller-babes'!) into court to thank them for their/our efforts. I'd forgotten that they'd most likely do that. Then, when I was moving slowly into the background again, his excellency stopped me and said he had something to say to me personally. That caught me a bit flat-footed. He started by saying that they'd appreciated the work I was doing, and that he, personally (being also a cancer-fighter right now) knew how challenging it was to do such a thing while dealing with physical pain and weakness, and that he was astounded by my dedication and hard work while being confined to a chair. He was playing with something in his hands, worrying at it. He told the court that there really wasn't anything that they (Their Excellencies) could give to a person who already had all of the awards that the barony could offer. Then he held up a chain, a circle of steel links. He said that he and his two squire brothers (I knew the now-Sir Colin but don't know the other) went into a Sears store together and bought those chains, 'fence chain number 5' as promises to each other that they would see their way through their training and someday, if they were deemed worthy, they would swear their oath of fealty on their 'brother chains'. It was a physical token of their dedication to chivalry. And one day, he did swear his oath on it, and he wore it for five years before putting it aside for a new one. He said he had always cherished it and that he would have sworn he would never, ever, give it away because there was nothing he could imagine that would cause him to part with it.

And then he gave it to me.

stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
January has been lovely - and stressful - but mostly lovely. Our local 12thnight (an interbaronial one shared with our once-twin barony) was more quiet than normal, which I appreciated, and the feast was absolutely fantastic. Fantastic not only for the variety of textures and flavours, but also in the old-fashioned SCA tradition of diners groaning towards the end of the third course because we were all full yet just couldn't not taste the latest dish. Pacing ourselves would have been beneficial. Perhaps not begging the server for a second round of the freshly baked bread and the savoury toasted cheese may have been more beneficial. None of us at the table had regrets, however.

My sons (plus one live-in love) took a week off and spent it with us. That was so grand! Because we had scheduled Giftmas during the week, the first couple of days were not as relaxing as we would have liked as we spent them scurrying around buying stocking stuffers and last-minute gifts. Poor Bossman was our exception. He spent the time resting after his herculean efforts to finish one of the bathrooms before the out-of-towners arrived. That didn't happen but we did have walls up between the two rooms again (YAY!) and most importantly, both toilets were installed. What a relief to a hostess! Two toities between five people (two of which are of the 'take a book and not be seen again for thirty minutes' variety).

Shawn and I, after Bossman was abed, introduced his older brother Zack (I just couldn't keep up the habit of typing "the youngest" and "the eldest") and Zack's sweetie to the series "Suits". Wow, can those kids watch TV. We gathered around my PC with its big screen and started with episode one and all of them sat through four or five episodes a night. I don't think I could have done that for more than one night. It highlighted for me, again, the difference between me and my children's generation. Or perhaps between me and the rest of America (who knows?). I am just not that visually oriented. No, wait. I'm not sure how to put that. I certainly love reading! But sitting still and watching shows for hours on end isn't something I can do. I have to get up and do something in between, and even then could only maintain that level of inertia for one round. Night after night? No way. Especially with my hands empty.

All of us travelled south to Atlantia's Kingdom Twelfthnight. The site was stunning in its elegance compared to any other site I've seen used and the large prints of Holbein's paintings on all of the walls added further to the feeling of being in a palace or large estate for the holiday. I don't know if these will be accessable to everyone, but Mistress Tannis took a nice variety of pictures and posted them in a Facebook album here:!/media/set/?set=a.4678161765400.170801.1634454451&type=3 . As you can see, it was quite lovely. I was surprised by the number of people who actually came in late-period garb. One lady I spoke to said she was wearing a gown (mid-Tudor) that she'd purchased at Pennsic five years ago and had never worn. Until she said that she "usually wore Viking", I didn't recognise her!

We had our portraits taken by Baron Bardulf in the morning. Zack's sweetie wore a gown we borrowed from Baroness Anne, a local lady better known as "The Cheesecake Lady" by most of the kingdom and a healthy few at Pennsic. It was a gown she'd made for herself years ago and fit Mylissa surisingly well. The petticote I made for her at the last minute was not sufficient but she still looked wonderful. I've stuck a picture of her in it at the bottom of this entry. Right now it is the only picture I have available as my phone is being resistant to transferring pictures anywhere... it seems to only work if I post them to Facebook, which would probably tick off my friends by the number of them in one gulp. I can't wait to see the pictures Bardulf took.

The feast was disappointing, but only because of the timing of serving of dishes. Each dish was pretty good but came out so slowly and so far apart that the effect the cook (probably) wanted was completely lost. It was unfortunate for me that the week before we'd had such a kicking one - it made this other suffer in contrast. I felt for the Head Cook. She had challenges I would never want to take on, starting with the kitchen being on a totally different floor than the feast hall. Not to mention the sheer number of diners she had to serve. Still, individual dishes were tasty and ultimately filling, and the feast was better in review than in experience, if that makes sense. (Bera and I were sitting side by side at the table and when we started going over the dishes, mentally putting them together with what would have been their sides, it added up to a very nice array. Well planned and thought out, if not hosed by the serving timing.) Zack's sweetie loved it, though, and was thoroughly impressed by the whole day. She'd never experienced the SCA save at Pennsic, camping with Pandora's Box and attending the Middle Eastern dance classes (she is a ME dancer by profession), so this was a real eye-opener for her. I'm afraid that any subsequent events may disappoint her when compared to how lavish this one was.

I came down with a cold while the kids were here. It slowed me down over the event weekend but thankfully stayed minimal until after the visit was over. Then it hit with a vengence. Now I'm on the upswing from it (so long as I continue to rest - yeah, I beat you to that comment!) but poor Bossman has contracted it and is in the first stages of discomfort. I'm glad I stocked up on chicken soup. We're all out of gumbo - I ate all that was left after the kids were gone, counting on the chicken and the spices to help me recover! It worked, too!

Mylissa at Atlantian 12thNight 2013
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