First of all, I want to wish everyone who is reading here, and some who aren't, a Very Happy Easter. I hope you have a marvellous weekend with family, friends and neighbours.
Hopefully you will get lots of eggs! I expect the Easter Bunny will be rushed off her feet! Or his feet - I've never personally run into the Easter Bunny, but I did watch the very funny episode of The Vicar of Dibley a few years ago.
Here, in England, Easter weather is very unpredictable, especially as the celebration may fall anywhere between late March and he end of April. We have a saying "Ne'er cast a clout till the May is out."
This is May:
Personally I haven't cast many 'clouts' at all so far.
But whether nor-easterly gales howl, clouds scud or snow flurries, or there is a balmy breeze and pale sunshine, whether the trees are still gaunt and winter-bare, or in the first flush of spring leaf, there are certain dishes which will always be eaten with pleasure.
Good Friday may no longer be a fast day, as ordained by the Church, but for many it remains a day for quiet reflection and self-restraint, and a plain supper based upon fresh fish is popular.
In Scandinavia, a traditional accompaniment to the Good Friday main course is Janssen's Temptation:
3 large onions
2 lbs waxy potatoes
2 tins anchovies
Half a pint of single cream, or cream mixed with the top of the milk
3 oz butter
You peel and thinly slice the onions and cut the potatoes into strips like matchsticks.
Then you grease a shallow oven dish. Arrange a layer of potatoes, criss-cross with a lattice of anchovies, arrange the onions, finish with another layer of potatoes. Pour over half the cream, then the anchovy oil and dot with butter. Season with black pepper.
Bake in a very hot oven for an hour, or until the potatoes are browning. Pour over the remaining cream. Cook a further thirty minutes or so.
8 oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
Half a teaspoon cinnamon
4 oz butter
3 oz caster sugar
3 oz currants
1 beaten egg
A little milk
1 oz candied peel, chopped
Sift flour, salt and cinnamon. Rub in butter. Stir in sugar, currants and peel. Form into a stiff dough with the egg, and some milk if necessary. Chill the dough for at least one hour.
Roll out thinly. Cut into rounds. Bake on a baking sheet, at 200C/400F/Gas mark 6 (you may need to lower the temperature if you have a fan over), until the biscuits are a pale gold. This is usually about fifteen minutes. Cool on a tray. Brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar.
Did you know that an old folk lore is that bread baked on Good Friday will keep for seven years, and a loaf of it hung in the barn will keep the rats and mice away? Never tried it myself, but thought you might be interested. We have been simply plagued with rats, mice and a stoat, all winter!
As usual, I am expecting the family over for lunch, but on Easter Monday this year, instead of Sunday. As some of you know, I have been completely immersed in reading the Outlander books. (And would you believe it? My wretched daughter has beaten me to 'streaming' the first five episodes of Outlander on her SMART TV. Poor Dan has been forced into going out and getting hold of a similar TV for us, or live with me marching up and down and howling like a banshee!
However, I am digressing. Thinking about food (well, doesn't everyone?) I was looking in my Jane Austen cookbook with interest to find out what they ate in the second half of the 18th century. I thought you might be interested to know what a "course" of food consisted of back then.
As far as our Georgian ancestors were concerned, as soon as they walked into the dining room they saw before them a table already covered with separate dishes of every kind of food - soup, fish, meat, game, poultry, pies, vegetables, sauces, pickles, sweet and savoury puddings, custards and jellies - in number anything from 5 to 25 items, depending upon the grandeur of the occasion, and arranged symmetrically around the centre dish; this spread constituted a course which was only a part of the dinner! No wonder they called them "removes". You would've had to remove me by force; I think so much food would've paralysed me. No wonder they all suffered from things like gout.
I was reading what the local vicar, a Revd James Woodforde from Norfolk, ate for his Easter dinner. See what you think:
"A calf's head, boiled fowl and tongue, a saddle of mutton rosted on the side table, and a fine swan rosted with currant jelly sauce for the first course. The second course was a couple of wild fowl called Dun Fowls, larks, blamange, tarts, etc, and a good dessert of fruit after, amongst which was a damson cheese." The good Revd said "I never eat a bit of a swan before, and I think it good eating with sweet sauce. The swan was killed three weeks before it was eat and yet not the lest bad taste in it."
Thank goodness we don't eat swan these days!
Life in the Starsong household has been pretty much normal of late. I have hidden the Big Nipper in the bottom of my underwear drawer. (Dan rarely ventures there!) But I did receive rather more than a reminder spanking the other day.
It was one of those occasions when I thought perhaps spankings were a thing of the past. Whilst most of you seem to get regular attention paid to your 'situpons', Dan is pretty hopeless that way, and I have long since given up issuing him with reminders, or asking for spankings.
So it came as rather a surprise to me the other morning to be suddenly upended over the side of the bed and thoroughly spanked.
Although very occasionally I lean over the wooden footboard once it has been padded with the duvet, mostly I am an over the lap type of girl. It is comfortable, it is a bit silly, Dan likes to lean back against the headboard, and frankly, it leads to other things. Lots of other things. Smug look here.
But this last few days I have been sporting some rather exotic looking horseshoe shaped marks all over my bottom and thighs. And one or two other places too. (Dan did warn me to keep still. He might as well have asked me to fly to the moon!).
Did I ever tell you that as much as I love the Rose paddle, it can be a bitch?! Especially when Dan chooses to swipe with it, and especially when he is not amused, chooses to force my legs apart and stand between them, and chooses to spank all up and down my thighs, my sit spots and even one or two places where I would rather not be spanked at all.
To begin with I thought it was funny, but I soon changed my mind. I am positive the power of having that paddle in his hand goes to his head at times. I kept telling him not to spank so high. Then I kept telling him not to spank my hips. Then when we had finished with that little argument (he never seems to aim where he should be aiming!) he spanked as far down as my knees before returning and going back up the same way.
I can honestly say that I have never been spanked quite like it. I really don't know where he got the idea from!
"Oh, it's a nice colour of red" he joked. (I was busy burying my face in the duvet and making strangled noises.) "Let's see if we can make it a bit redder shall we?"
He kept muttering all those "cliche" sort of things like "I haven't finished yet", "Keep still", "Stop crawling forwards", "I seem to have missed a bit", "You will NOT tell me what to do", "Next time you mention inconsistency perhaps you'll remember this."
When he finally let me up he decided he wanted to be all frisky. Ha! You could've toasted bread on my poor bottom! Personally I felt glad to survive. I was extremely glad to sit on a cushion at our kitchen table. I didn't dare moan and wriggle around in case he suddenly decided an encore was required.
Funny. You read about times like these and never think it will happen to you. Believe me when I say I have never been so glad in my life that the first implement he came to was the Rose paddle. I don't think I would have worn knickers or jeans for a week if it had been something made of wood!
But I have to admit that as much as I hate to be spanked hard, it does something to my brain and turns me into a much happier, more content person. It must release some magical endorphins that have the "rose tinted spectacles" effect. Immediately after a spanking like that, and the excellent sex that follows, I am the model submissive wife. Now who would have thought it?!
Before I finish, this is a REAL road sign not too far from us. Can anyone beat it? LOL!
Till next time, lots of hugs!