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I imagine most people out there have a ever-growing mental list of recipes to try someday.  I used to bookmark every delicious thing that crossed my path while I read blogs, the collection getting to the hundreds and only barely did I look at it when it came time to actually satisfy hunger.  After a recent browser crash and wipe of everything I’d saved, I decided to keep the ideas in my head, with the reasoning that it’s those things that I really wanted to eat anyway!  So right now, that list involves things like homemade bagels, tibetan yak dumplings, mole sauce, and anything ethiopian… and until very recently – anything with phyllo pastry!  I finally tried using it, not without trepidation, in a recipe I’ve been itching to make since the moment I saw it (and did not forget it) – Jenny Wren’s fennel corn phyllo pockets of awesome!  (name-change mine)  

It took me a couple tries to get the hang of it, I will not lie.  But by the end I was folding up neat little dignified triangles with the best of them!  I ate the wonky first ones for lunch today with a tomato compote from the Artful Vegan, and felt pretty durn special, I can say that.  I’m pretty much on vacation for one whole week (wow) before I start summer classes again, so I’m up for any opportunity to get all indulgent in simple things, like tuesday’s mid-day meal.  Not that I wouldn’t anyway, but I broke out the giant white restaurant plate for this one. 

Hmm… and could not possibly resist making an apple-blackberry tart with local yellow delicious apples and BC golden syrup, nooooo…. not while the phyllo is just sitting there all defrosted and feathery and waiting for my apple-craving fingers to mash it into a crispy sugared square of fantastic with toasted walnuts on the bottom even !  It had to happen.  You know it did.  I’m glad it did.  I would have given my eye-teeth for ice cream or even soy milk alongside of this, but regardless it was light and perfect.  

Oh yeah – does anyone have experience with either/both of The Artful Vegan and Millenium cookbooks?  I’d like to get one, I think, but I’m not sure which!  

Woot anachronistic cooking! I’ve been wanting to try some medieval cuisine for a long time now, and a fennel in the fridge seemed as good a time as any to start. This is a pretty straightforward soup recipe, except that the spices are totally left field and extremely yummy. Apparently medieval cooks were heavy seasoners, actually, and used a lot of sour, sweet and spicy, and eastern ingredients when they could get their hands on them. Sounds good to me! And I tried soda bread for the first time — it’s so crusty and fast, I love it.

Damned Tasty Ye Olde Fennel Brothe

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 fennel bulb + greens, diced (put the greens aside)
1 medium white potato, diced (not authentic and tastier without!)
5-6 cups of ‘chicken’ broth
1 tsp dried galangal pieces (1/2 tsp of dried ginger might work, too)
4 whole cloves
a good pinch of saffron
lots of pepper
parsley
salt

1. In a soup pot, brown the onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add the potato and fennel and continue to cook until all the vegetables are golden and soft.
2. Add the broth and spices, bring it to a boil, then reduce and simmer, mostly covered, for about 25 minutes. Add the frilly fennel tops, check for seasoning, and keep simmering until the vegetables just start to break down into the broth. Puree if you’re not feeling authentic (perhaps food mill or pound with a rock?). Serve with soda bread….

Soda Bread (for one)

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 tsp each: salt, sugar, baking soda
2 tbsp + 1 tsp milk
1/4 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider)
optional:
1 tbsp of currants or chopped raisins
1/2 tsp caraway seeds

1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. Sift the flour with the salt, sugar and soda into a large cereal bowl.
3. Add the vinegar to the milk, then pour that into the dry ingredients.
4. Stir with your hands until a raggy dough forms, then turn it onto the counter and knead just a few times to smooth it out. Form that into a little biscuit shape, cut a cross on the top, place on an oiled baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until it’s browned on the bottom and smelling nice.

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