Tag Archive | cooking

A New Chapter

Star date: 68812.441019787

We moved into a new home at the weekend, to fairer pastures hopefully. The house needs work, and there’s unexpected issues with the electricity but it’s a lovely big space and I’m really looking forward to getting settled here.
As you can see, we only have a small garden – nothing like the rolling expanse of New Earth in the Delta Quadrant (a girl can dream, can’t she?!) – so any ‘homesteading’ will have to be on a modest scale but I’m hoping to be able to get a little vegetable growing in there.

It’s a lot more rural than it looks – apart from the few houses around us, we’re about ten miles away from anything. So i still feel a little bit like a pioneer/ prairie girl which is kind of what I was looking for. An isolated farm would have been nicer but this is better than we could have hoped for in reality so I am more than happy.

And I’m really excited to have a kitchen that I can happily and comfortably cook in now – I can’t wait to get baking! I’m still waiting for my books which have been in storage all the time we were renting. But I’m a dab hand at improvising now – a little of this, a little of that!

Kes is out in the kitchen right now whipping up some scrambled eggs for the troops while I write my log, and the boys are tending the fire (a real, open log fire, so Chakotay is loving it!)

Finally, I may have mentioned the intermittent time-space portal which allows us to communicate with Earth on occasion? Last week we had a surprise visit from my mother who is now too elderly to look after herself, so it looks like that may be a permanent visit. 

We’ve put ‘Nanna’ in what would have been the baby’s room. It feels like the final twist of the knife, but I will just have to put on my Captain’s hat and suck it up. She is family, after all.


Kathryn x

Recipe: Israeli Leek Quiche


I just thought I would share a very quick link to a great recipe for you:

Israel Leek Quiche recipe from the Israel Forever Foundation:

I often make my quiches crust-free, as a couple of us need to eat gluten-free and lower carb, and which of course would work well for Pesach. More Pesach recipes to come soon, hopefully.

Please share what your Pesach recipe plans are!

Ohana Home Education Yahoo Group

When I started home educating, the internet was fairly new, and so at the time (1999) the main source of networking between home educators was ‘e-groups’ which eventually got taken over by Yahoo groups.

I know that almost everybody now has migrated over to Facebook, but although I am obviously there (and Ohana Home Education has a presence there), I’m not a big fan and don’t particularly like entrusting photos or files to them, and so while lots of yahoo groups now stand empty or quiet, I have decided to revive one of my groups as a handy place to store files and links that may be of use to home educators.


The group is, surprisingly enough, is called Ohana Home Education and you can find it here: https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/OhanaHE/info

There are already lots of files and links there. Mainly they are related to lapbooking, unit studies, home economics and some religious topics (mainly relating to Messianic Judaism, celebrating the festivals, cooking etc.), but I hope in future to add resources and worksheets on all other topics, and anybody is free to contribute.

It is not particularly meant to be a discussion/ support group, although if it does get used that way it would also be OK. But there are of course lots of other places online (especially, inevitably, on Facebook) for that sort of thing. One of these days I will get round to making a list of the most helpful groups.

So please do go on over and take a look, and if you would like to join to contribute/ make use of what is there, please do make sure to confirm when you apply that you are a home educator. Feel free to suggest as well the topics that you would like to see there.

I know that, when I was first home educating, I very much appreciated the resources that other home educators had made available for free, so it is all good to make sure that there are free resources still available for a new generation of home educators.

A Girl Called Jack: 100 Delicious Budget Recipes

A Girl Called Jack: 100 Delicious Budget Recipes

This budget recipe book was recommended to me a year or two ago when we had a rough patch before we sold our house, and I will have to look at it again as we are struggling to budget in our reduced circumstances.

It’s a good collection of cost-cutting ideas and clever, simple recipes, although obviously cooking from scratch where economically viable. (Sometimes it works out more expensive, since there is economy of scale with packaged foods.)

Please note though that it isn’t a Christian book (although oddly, she uses a Bible quote at the beginning). I don’t remember anything particularly offensive, but I followed Jack on twitter for a while and found her to be quite foul-mouthed and unpleasant 😦 I didn’t follow her for very long though, so hopefully I just caught her in a bad mood and got the wrong impression. She was, though, very political and very ‘liberal’ (in quotes because ‘liberals’ tend not to be very keen on liberty unless it suits their purposes, but that’s a discussion for another post!).

As always though, take the ‘meat’ and leave the ‘bones’.

I would love to hear any tips you might have for frugal homemaking and cooking, as well as any other book recommendations.

Chag Purim Sameach!

I really wanted to experiment with some Persian cooking for this Purim but as it turned out, it was a very busy week and didn’t have a chance, so in the end we had chicken (and vegetable for the vegetarians among us) korma as our Purim meal.

We did manage to make Hamantaschen – chocolate flavour this time!

But I am still interested in learning about Persian cookery, so perhaps by next year I’ll have something appropriate to make.

What do you eat at Purim? What have you had this year?

Not all the traditions are ‘kosher’ but parties are nice! Did you get together with others for fellowship?

How do you celebrate?

Just Cook for Kids Week 4 Notes

4.1 Basic Concept: Growing a Kitchen Garden

Maya emphasized how good home-grown fruit and vegetables are, and how easy it can be, and how children who are involved in growing their own food tend to make better dietary choices.

4.2 Guest Appearance: Rita Botini – Growing a Kitchen Garden

We were encouraged to grow herbs such as basil, thyme and so on. Maya and Rita made it sound easy but I have never had very much success with gardening so far. One thing Rita did that I hadn’t seen before was to cover the pot in clingfilm to simulate greenhouse conditions until the shoots show through. So I will try again to develop my green fingers 🙂

4.3 What does Organic mean?

Maya emphasised that ‘Natural’ has no specific definition and mustn’t be confused with ‘Organic’ which is mandatorily defined as containing no synthetic pesticides, fertilisers, genetically engineered crops, or ‘sewage slops’ What? I have never heard of ‘sewage slops’ being used in growing food! Does that mean human sewage?! I am shocked. I hope that is an American thing and that the UK is more strict. I will have to investigate that…

4.4 Basic Concept: What does ‘locally grown’ mean?

Maya mentioned that ‘locally grown’ should mean within 100-400 miles, but I’m not sure whether that is a mandatory definition. The best way to be sure that something is locally grown is to buy from farmers or at farmers’ markets. Advantages of buying locally grown include the fact that less travelled food will be fresher and have a lower carbon footprint. Food bought in season is also usually cheaper than imported, out-of-season fruit and vegetables in the supermarket. And then where the money goes was considered: a $1 to a big corporation goes towards overheads and owners/ shareholders with a small percentage going to employees and an even smaller proportion to the farmers. Whereas a $1 at a farmers market goes straight to the farmers which supports the local economy.

4.5 Focus Point: Healthy people = healthy planet

Modern methods of raising meat are very bad for the environment. Grass-fed, organic, traditionally raised meat is a closed loop system, where the sunlight feeds the grass, the cows eat the grass, and the cows’ manure fertilises the grass. Modern American methods, where the cows are stalled (in a ‘CAFO’) en-masse and fed corn (which is not good or natural for them, but is cheaper! But the corn is also grown using fossil fuels) has an enormous environmental cost overall. Even the manure, which in the natural system is a perfectly helpful component, becomes a problem. And then, due to living in such unnaturally close quarters, CAFO cows are subject to more diseases requiring more antibiotics. 80% of antibiotic use in the US is used on cattle.

The conclusion was to limit red meat in your diet, preferring lean meat instead, and choose more veg. But I would say rather, choose grass-fed organic red meat.

4.6 Focus Point: Sustainable Eating

Going on from the previous videos, it was mentioned the deleterious effect of pesticides and fertilisers which are not only troublesome in the right amounts, but they are generally overused to the extent that excess runs off the fields and ends up in the water and when it runs into the sea it creates dead zones where there is not enough oxygen to support marine life. I had heard of these ‘dead zones’ but I had no idea that they were created by pesticides and fertilisers. Very sobering.

4.7 – 4.9

Three recipes this week: a basic, interchangeable soup recipe, basic how to cook fish (using a mayonnaise-based sauce or other ‘marinades’) and steaming vegetables with a basic white sauce.

The course videos are here, but the optional videos aren’t included. I’m not sure if they are available elsewhere, but they are very good and thorough and would be of interest to anybody with a serious interest in Nutrition.

Just for Kids Week 1 summary and Week 2

I’m doing several courses now, so I’m struggling a little bit to fit everything in, along with my everyday life and work, so this will be just a brief overview.

Week 1

I was a bit disappointed with week 1 the first time I watched the videos as it seemed overly simplistic, but I decided to make the most out of this free course, and watched a second time, taking notes and interacting with other students using Twitter (using the #JustCook hashtag) and facebook (on the official page and a private discussion group.)

Week one emphasised moderation and balance, and the benefits of eating together as a family. The fact that children who eat at home together with their family and parents at the table have ‘better emotional health’ was quoted several times. I have no doubt that it is true, but it would have been helpful to have a link to a solid study that supports that conclusion.

Recipes included fruit / yogurt smoothie, vegetable stir-fry, and ‘egg-in-a-hole’.

The final video of week 1 was a summary defining the problem of the ‘epidemic of obesity and disease’ and attributed these to packaged, processed foods and the changes in the culture of eating.

Week Two

The first video of the second week addressed what balance and moderation means in practice. Then each video has been a focus on each group of macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins etc.) I was very pleased on balance with the way Maya Adams approached the topic of fats, as it is a controversial issue. Her emphasis was on natural rather than man-made fats. The issue of sugar was addressed in video 2.5. Maya Adams acknowledged that some scientists have been calling table sugar a toxin. Nevertheless she advised that, in moderation, it is acceptable. More emphasis on sugar on its natural fruit forms, with its fibre intact (and also less processed brown sugar) might have been a good thing. Video 2.7 looked very basically at the glycemic index, and it was briefly touched upon that foods with a low glycemic index include fibre, protein and healthy fats but it didn’t go into much detail about why or how these foods are lower (fibre and protein especially slow glucose down).

Recipes this week included oatmeal (porridge), home-made pasta sauce and almond cake.

The final video again was a focus on moderation. Maya said that, with moderation as your rule, no food need be banned, and if you need rules, check out Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules” (which I plan to check out). I loved this quote as well: “Even the practice of moderation should be approached with moderation!”

Recipe: Refrigerator Oatmeal Yogurt Pudding!

Just a quick share – this looks so cool! I’m going to have to get me some mason jars tomorrow! 🙂 have fun experimenting with flavour combinations!


Just Cook for Kids

I decided to sign up for the Just Cook for Kids course on Nutrition from Stanford via Coursera on a recommendation – partly just for fun (nutrition is a subject I have studied informally for years and health is an ongoing interest for me), and partly because it has been so long since I did any formal study that I thought it would be a good idea to get as much practice in as I can before I start my formal studies with the OU.

Week one consisted of 10 videos, a few of which included practical cooking activities, a quiz and a survey.

The actual nutrition component of the course so far has been extremely basic, only covering macronutrients, apparently wholly in agreement with the USDA’s MyPlate recommendations (which, for anybody who has looked at nutrition in-depth, and the role of grains and carbohydrates, are worth questioning) and I was shocked and dismayed when white sugar was recommended as one of the basic staples of healthy cooking!

I seriously wondered who the course was aimed at, since the recommendations to avoid processed foods, cook from scratch, and eat vegetables are so basic, I am pretty sure everybody knows it, but the figures on obesity and ill health are so shockingly high, the message obviously isn’t getting through.

I thought rather than do nothing but criticise, I would try to make the most of it and “take the meat, and leave the bones”.

Course notes to follow.

The Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cooking

I have a lot of cookery books – I’m something of a collector! I have many Jewish and a couple of Israeli cookery books. But when we were at the library yesterday, this book caught my eye because, although I recognised the name of the author – Marlena Spieler – I don’t have this particular volume

The Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cooking – An extraordinary culinary encyclopedia with 400 recipes and 1400 photographs celebrating Jewish cooking through the ages, including influential cuisines and dishes inspired by Jewish foods, featuring dishes from Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Iran, Israel, the Middle East, India, the United States and Latin America.


It really is a beautiful big book, what you might call a ‘coffee table book’, with mouth-watering photographs – not only of every recipe, but often with several photographs of different stages of the recipes. There are also 30 pages of culinary history detailing the different influences on Jewish cuisines around the world and how food relates to and is interwoven with Jewish life and identity.

This book will definitely be added to my wish list, and I will certainly endeavour to try out some of the recipes before I have to return it to the library.

Which are your favourite recipe books? Which do you use most? Who are your favourite culinary authors? I would love to hear from you.