Tag Archives: sugar

Southern Delights

Nau mai, haere mai ki te whare o Silkannthreades!  Welcome, welcome to the home of Silkannthreades, in the South Island of Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand . ~

 

Southern Delight…NO!

 

Southern Delight ……YES!

 

The weather has been grim; southerly blasts sweeping up from Antarctica, trying their best to put us in a state of deep freeze. Fortunately, when one’s own south turns bleak, there is always another south to be found.

Case in point is this piece of the southern USA ~ the Chess Pie; not exactly found, but certainly a new discovery for me. I was alerted to its existence by Linda at  The Task at Hand when we were discussing different types of traditional pies.  And, oh my, is this pie good!  I loved making it. I loved eating it!

Here’s one way to make it.

I am fascinated by traditional recipes, so I don’t mind occasionally indulging in copious amounts of sugar and other naughties in the interest of research. However, if you feel a need to cleanse your palate after visually digesting my Chess Pie, I would suggest a visit to Miss Marzipan, who is embracing what may become a new tradition; that of sugar-free living.

I don’t know if Miss Marzipan lives in the south of her current land but she has connections to South Australia, so I am counting her in on my list of Southern Delights. Interestingly, the I Quit Sugar programme she is following is the brain child of Sarah Wilson , another Southerner, who lives in Sydney, Australia. Sarah’s  book I Quit Sugar won the  2014 Australian Book Industry Awards Illustrated Book of the Year which must, surely, qualify it as a Southern Delight, too.

What I also find delightful ( in a chuckling, ex-sugar-mill-town-kid, sort of way ) about Sarah’s success is that she lives in a big, sugar-producing country. Sugar is Australia’s second biggest export crop after wheat, and brings in a total annual revenue of $A 2 billion. I am trying to imagine what we, in New Zealand, would do if one of our number set about an “I Quit Dairy” movement. The scandal might be so great that the author would need to voluntarily deport his/her person to Australia. New Zealand, mainly through Fonterra,  supplies about 30% of the world’s milk exports, with revenue in the billions; closer to 20 than 2.

A delightful, fun fact to show how seriously we take our dairy industry: this little land in the south once had a Margarine Act, which meant no margarine was sold in public in New Zealand from 1908 to 1974. Butter ruled. Margarine  could only be obtained  on a doctor’s prescription, and only if the doctor considered it vital to the patient’s health and well-being.

Haere ra!  Goodbye from here. That’s enough sweet nothings about milk, clouds, and points south.

PS ( Post Sugar) 🙂  For those readers who are unable to eat sugar or don’t wish to, please enjoy the posts of my most southerly Southern Delight, Pauline, The Contented Crafter. She is loving her I Quit Sugar world.

© silkannthreades

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Preserving the sweetness of things

Our previous minister,  Rev. John Hunt, (now retired), would sometimes  offer the congregation ‘a sweetie for the sermon’. His sermons didn’t ever need any sweetening but he said a ‘sweetie for the sermon’ was an ancient Scottish tradition, and we, believers all, were more than happy to help preserve the ways of the old Kirk.  So the baskets of sweeties were passed from one pew to another and we, smiling and laughing like young ones at a birthday party, selected our sweetie and, then, spent the rest of the sermon, trying to dislodge sticky toffee from our gums and teeth. ( Perhaps we were not as young as our hearts imagined 🙂 ) Gummed up or not, they were sweet moments, and, although, I remember not a word of the sermons, I do remember feeling content and treasured and loved. Sugar it seems is a powerful  preservative of well-being.

In the spirit of ‘a sweetie for the sermon’, I  am spending time trying to capture and preserve  the sweetness of the current season. For there is much sweetness to savour.

There is the sweet fragrance and delicate tones of my dwarf sweet peas both outside

Sweetly fragrant Sweet Pea

Sweetly fragrant Sweet Pea

and indoors, mingled with scented rose.

Rose and Sweet Peas

Rose and Sweet Peas

Then there is the sweetness suspended in the flowers and leaves I  am drying for my home-made potpourri.

Summer Medley

Summer Medley with Tracy’s  butterflies

Potpourri translates as ‘rotten pot/stew’, which, hopefully, mine will not be, if I have dried everything sufficiently well.

Additional sweetness comes in a friend’s seasonal gift of  home-made  Christmas mince pies; so delicious they are impossible to preserve except on camera.

Stars of Wonder

Stars of Wonder

They are a scrumptious-sumptuous combination of melt-in-your-mouth sugary buttery pastry and ‘ barely there tartness’ of rich, fruity mince meat;   made, I am told, with the addition of apple and green tomato to the dried fruit.

So those are the sweeties. Now for the sermon. Sermon? What sermon?  My mouth is too full of goodness to speak.

© silkannthreades

Canada Dreaming

Where do you sail?

Where do you sail?

Although I grew up  on a very little island, my life was far from little or insular. I am not sure how the term insular came in to being because most island life, it seems to me, is  exposed to the comings and goings of the wider world.  It is in the very nature of an island to be outward looking; with eyes always turned to the horizon at sea and minds dreaming of what lies beyond.

Some  of my childhood dreams revolved around a huge country, namely Canada.  My dreaming was  influenced by a book we had, at home, about a modern (1960s!) Canadian family exploring their own country. The book had a stunning photo of what I thought must be the most beautiful lake in the world, Lake Louise. And I yearned to be like that travelling family, standing by that lake, breathing in the beauty of Canada.

My yearning and dreaming, and, most likely, some suggesting to my parents that we take our next holiday in Canada, came to nought. Nought, that is, unless I count my greatest (ever!) school project, entitled Canada. I completed this ‘master’work  during my last year at elementary school, when  I was about 11 years old.  I remember the hours I spent on it; the careful penmanship, the drawings, the maps, the frustration of the maple leaf  that refused to be drawn correctly; the beautifully straight, ruled lines I made across the pages. Ah, it was a labour of love; and  a labour of  heavily plagiarized content, as well. References, or sources, were not part of a school project in those far off days 🙂

Maybe the project lacked originality, but I adored it, and have kept it safe for more than forty years. Like me, it has travelled the world and rested in many homes. Unlike me, it has stayed in good physical shape and, apart from some discolouration and a few loose pages, it is much the same as on the day I finished it.

Here is a glimpse of the project. As you look at the slide show, imagine a young girl, in an old, wooden classroom, in a little sugar industry town, on a small island in the large Pacific Ocean, studiously and carefully  recreating  the story of Canada. And, for extra fun, imagine also that maybe, just maybe, that circa 1968, there was, in the middle of Canada, on a deeply snowy day, a young person dreaming and writing about small islands in the far Pacific, for I am sure there was one such child.

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Did you look carefully at the brochure   for the Canadian Pacific Railway trains? I put it  in my project because I thought those scenes  were the epitome of elegance and luxury.

Note: to  11 year  old self….how could you do this?????

Erratum required

Erratum required

© silkannthreades

In the pink with juice and jelly

The other day, when I was operating in thrift mode, ( https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/heeding-the-needing-for-thrift/ ), you may remember that I boiled up some apple peelings and a few cranberries to make a base for a fruit cordial.  Today, with the help of another brew of cranberries and apple scraps, and a small pot of sugar syrup, I did, indeed, make the fruit cordial; about 2 litres of it.  And I then had enough of the basic fruit juice  to make two little cups of apple cranberry jelly, as well. Now is that nifty thrift,  or what? A bit of this, a bit of that, sweetened by syrupy sugar and stirred with some moments from time and there it is ; complete deliciousness in the very pink of thrift and palatable pleasures. In the pink

And, for an extra helping of good feelings, I decided to add a slice of home-made ginger cake to my plate. Ginger it up

Sweet!

I have heard it said that the colour pink can act as an appetite suppressant. I guess that’s why, after my light refreshment, I didn’t feel like eating  dinner. 🙂 Oh wait, maybe that was the sugar hit.

© silkannthreades