Thursday, September 5, 2019

Summer's End and Shoot in the Wildwood/Seven Pearls

The past two weekends have been quite eventful. At Summer's End I was able to help out with my friend Abigail's (Gail Kellogg) vigil, guarding the food from cross-contamination.  I made a fantastic marzipan with her recipe:
  • 2 cups almond flour 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water 
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten (frothy) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom or rose water 
  • Confectioner’s sugar, as needed (about 1.5 cups) 
Bring the sugar & water to a rolling boil, add the almond flour, stirring quickly on low heat, turn egg whites into the pan while hot. Keep stirring 1-2 minutes, add rose water (or other flavoring), stir to combine and turn hot marzipan out onto sugar dusted surface. Knead with a spatula to start, then your hands, adding more confectioner's sugar as necessary until smooth like play dough. Shape by hand or cut into cubes. It will keep in the fridge 2 weeks.

On top of this, I retained a few shifts, I got Peer pressured into soliciting a Pelican (I was going to do it at dinner, anyway), and I helped serve feast.  For as much as I love cooking and eating, serving is by far my favorite role at feast, since it lets me bounce from table to table and socialize with everybody.  And get them drunk.

This past weekend at Seven Pearls/Wildwood I also had a blast retaining and serving feast.  The kitchen left some amenities to be desired, which made the feast appearing to go off without a hitch even more impressive! 

Sunday was a fantastic experience.  I was allowed to attach myself to a team from the Hael for Cast Iron Chef and loved the challenge.  We were given three and a half hours to cook a five course feast for 6-8 judges.  Our great archer Simmonetta got us a 6" cube of venison roast and two 1" thick boneless porkchops. Dagonall the Fool, the team leader, got us the rest of the ingredients from the pantry at the beginning of the challenge.  After that, I spent three hours buried in a 10x15 foot fire pit running a three ring stove.

1) Ricotta with honey, lavender, and fresh figs.

  • Mix together, serve with flatbread.

2) Breaded pork chops with chopped apples, onion, and celery.

  • Bread the chops and sear with vegetable oil on a hot pan.
  • Mix chopped plants and steam as long as possible to achieve an "apple sauce" substitute.

3) Venison stew with pears and root vegetables

  • Sear roast, stick with garlic slivers.
  • Stew with chopped pears and multicolored carrots.
  • Add 2 long pepper cones, 6 cubeb beads, and salt as needed.

4) Armored turnips

  • Slice and steam one large turnip as long as possible to get soft.
  • Incorporate 4 oz cheddar, garnish with another 4 oz.

5) Indian rice pudding

  • Boil 1lb of rice until cooked.
  • Add 1 qt butter milk, 2c sugar, 1tbsp lavender, 1 tbsp cinnamon, and clove.

The competition was well fought!  We scored 42/60 points, with first and second place getting 43.6 and 43.  One of the other two tables got a score in the 20s and I don't remember the fifth table, but I'm very happy with how competitive it was.  Everything I tasted was delicious!

Later in court, Barron Ixac of Delftwood designated our venison as the Barron's Choice.  This made me very happy because a) he "doesn't eat red meat" and it still won him over, and 2) I've never cooked venison and I didn't fuck it up!

The last great thing to happen to me was that Elska gave me her Bead Of Inspiration.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this past half year in the SCA and I really hope I can keep going with the same strength once the semester kicks in.

Oh, and I got a proto-ge friendship bracelet that I singed in the fire >.> At least it was cotton?

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tablet Woven Garters

Holy crap was this a labor of love!

Weaving isn't a difficult task.  Yes, it takes some practice to get even tension and packing, but all in all, if you are doing a basic striped pattern, you can crank it out in a couple of days.  So I did, twice.

It took me a few weeks to find all of my materials.  I ordered 60/2 silk from in three colors and took a week to ball it all up.  I then strung it up on my inkle loom with poker cards, only two strands per card.  I made two and a half garters on this setup and hated every minute of it.  The string had no agency, so unless it was very tightly warped, the card corners would get caught in them and tangle up.  This chewed up the cards pretty bad and stretched out the packing, really messing up the design.

I managed to borrow some wooden cards and a weighted loom at Pennsic and then managed to crank them out a lot faster, and with an even packing.  The problems I had here were that I didn't take into account the warp shrinkage and adding waste to the setup.  So it didn't take me too long to do the actual weaving, but I did take three times as long to add some waste warp and everything else that deals with reorganizing and untwisting the warps.

In the end, the garters came out nice.  I attached them to some buckles I'd picked up at War Practice and they did their job.  But they were a bit on the short side after cutting them off.  Maybe some day I'll make a third attempt >.>

Friday, July 26, 2019

What’cha Wanna Weave?

Pennsic XLVIII

-        Questions to ask before you begin:
o   What kind of project are you weaving?
o   What width?
§  Wide fabric? Full loom
§  Narrow fabric? Belt loom
§  Band/belt? Inkle, box, table loom
o   What length?
§  Continuous warp
§  Open warp
o   How intricate?
§  Rigid heddles
§  Finger picking
§  Card weaving
§  Floating heddles (punch cards)
§  Fixed shape

-        Full/floor loom
o   Width of your wingspan
§  How far you can repeatedly throw a shuttle
§  Normally up to 5’ (60”)
o   Infinite length
o   Varied complexity
§  Rigid heddles (4 is common)
§  Punch cards
§  Finger picking
o   Takes up a large space/small room

-        Belt/back strap loom
o   Most traditional fabrics, still used by modern native cultures
o   Only requires a couple of sticks, two bands (or belts), and an anchor (tree)
o   Shoulder width
§  Vikings ~ 26”
o   Infinite length
o   Varied complexity
§  Rigid heddles
§  Punch cards
§  Finger picking

-        Small looms
o   Box, Inkle, Card weaving looms
o   Inkle
§  Normally has one set heddle
§  Small work space that can be used for card weaving but can be tight
§  Has a set maximum yardage
§  Has small width (couple of inches, depending on loom)
o   Card weaving loom
§  Set maximum yardage
§  Small width
§  Larger working space
o   Box loom
§  Variable length
·        Weighted warp or wrapped around peg
§  Width often up to a foot
o   Weighted loom
§  Open ended warp that wraps around a peg on the finished end and floats off the edge on the far end with weights on each warp
·        If using poppable bobbins or washers, you can run a bolt through the centers to keep them in order
o   Tapestry/Pin/Frame loom
§  Hand weave each thread
§  Constrained to a fixed shape

-        Warp
o   Depending on the tension of your warp, your fabric can be Warp Facing or Weft Facing
o   If using a fixed length loom, your warp is going to get tighter as you work, and your image will begin to lengthen.
o   Tablet weaving can quickly tighten up your warp if you continuously rotate your cards in the same direction and twist up your warps.
o   You want to make sure you “pack” your wefts evenly so as not to distort your image (a plastic ruler works very well)
o   You also want to keep your warp threads at a consistent width
§  Keep the tension in your weft consistent so as to not choke the warps
§  Different cards can space your warps more (wood, bone, hard plastic) or less (poker cards)
§  Rigid heddles and combs will space them out a lot
§  You can use a spacer (which also helps keep threads from switching places)

-        Thread
o   Make sure you are using the correct thickness and “polish” for your project
o   Crochet cotton has a good thickness and resilience for beginners
o   Wool can felt if it rubs together too often
o   Silk can chew through thinner cards
o   Metallic thread can be used but isn’t very structural.  You can run a structural weft thread and then shadow it with the foil.
o   Card weaving will produce a fabric twice as thick as other techniques because it alternates between four (or six) threads per stitch instead of two. This also allows for different designs on both sides.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Decanting for Pennsic

Six boozamahals have been steeping for this year's Pennsic!

I did the first sitting for about a month, decanted and refilled with vodka and let sit for another month.  Today I checked the flavor and bottled it and I'm not in love.  I don't know if it is that I used a different vodka than previous years (Platinum 7X instead of 360) or I just need epic fucktonnes of sugar and some water.  But it is lack luster anyway so I just left it as is with about a cup of white sugar.

I only had one vodka pour of about two cups and five or six weeks.  I ended up adding about two cups of white sugar and a cup of water.  It's drinkable, but not my best work.

This one had only been going for a week. I poured out about 12 oz of liquid, then combined the blueberries with more vodka and brought it up to a simmer since I'm only going to be able to leave it for a couple of days.

So far, so good!  I had about 3.75C of liquid after pulling out the coffee beans.  It could have been ok to just add potato vodka as is, but I'm greedy and filled it up with coffee grounds again,

Is divine! Got two cups of liquid put aside, and added two cups of potato vodka to the solids for a couple of days before adding to the first pull.

This is also amazing in how it brings out all of the spices.  Same process as the mango.

I have no idea when I'll be headed to Pennsic (sometime this weekend? whenever I finish sewing) but I'll probably decant everything right before I leave to allow for maximum steepage.


In egg news, I rejarred a bunch last week and added a can of sliced beets to that batch.  They tasted ok at first, but I am glad to say they did pull in more of the beet flavor in only a few days.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Sesame seed and soy sauce eggs

  • 2 dozen eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Boil soy sauce, water, and seasonings together.  
Add oil, vinegar, and eggs.  
Bring back up to a boil and split into two quart sized mason jars.
Refrigerate and let pickle for at least a week.