Teissennau Mêl (Welsh Honey Cakes) for St David’s Day

Teissennau Mêl are Welsh honeycakes. (In fact, that’s just what ‘tiessennau mêl’ means in Welsh.) My family doesn’t have many traditions (from the Welsh side or from any others, honestly) but one of mine is to make these every year on St David’s Day – which is today!

A perfectly-sized-for-snacking treat!

A perfectly-sized-for-snacking treat!

This is an old recipe that I have tweaked a bit myself. (Is anyone surprised?) As one might expect for honeycakes, the batter can be quite gooey and sticky! It’s definitely worth the trouble, though, and it is not nearly so challenging to work with as I anticipated the first time I made them.

The cakes themselves are not too sweet, but thick with the flavour of the honey (so make sure you use a honey with notes you enjoy) and a little too delightfully easy to nibble on. I always wind up snagging one (or three) from the platter every time I walk through the kitchen!

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2016: The Good, the Bad, and the “What? Why? UGH.”

A tiny review of the madness this year has held for my writing group. . . 2017, we are looking at you now. Please don’t disappoint!

The Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society

Here we are. We made it. December 31st. That shiny midnight that heralds the dawn of a new year is so close I’m pretty sure I can reach out and touch it, but don’t tell 2016 I said that… it will find a way to postpone it even more.

I think we can all agree that this year has been rough at best. In the realm of celebrities I’m pretty sure we’ve all lost at least one person we really admired. We don’t discuss politics on this blog, but if you’re in the United States you know that no matter your views this election was a mess of bamboozlery, misinformation, and high-strung feelings.

If you’re a Ferret, SOMETHING unfortunate happened to your car at least once this year. We’ve all come out of it with working vehicles, but at times it’s been dicey. We’ve had a car go swimming (okay, that…

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Fairy Nectar (a warm, happy drink)

If you, like me, are spending today hiding away in a blanket fort with adorable animals and reading/movies unrelated to the outside world (I voted early this morning; I hope everyone else in the US has or plans to as well) may I offer a recipe?

I’d intended to make cocoa this afternoon, but it felt too heavy, so I pulled this recipe out, tweaked it a smidge, and came up with a nice – and somewhat lighter – warm drink. Also very simple. You can even just use the microwave to heat the milk first if you prefer.

Happy warms for a stressful day! ☕ Fairy Nectar. #hotdrink #fairynectar #soothing

A post shared by Serena Saint-Marceaux (@serena_marceaux) on

 

Fairy Nectar

1 mug milk
1 tablespoon honey
6 drops vanilla extract
4 drops orange extract
2 dashes cinnamon
1 dash ground cloves

Heat the milk until nearly bubbling, then stir in honey and extracts. Once fully incorporated (a few moments’ stirring) remove from heat and pour into mug. Sprinkle with cinnamon and cloves. Enjoy!

NaNoWriMo Begins!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Participant Banner (space-themed)

Today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo 2016! I can hardly believe it’s time for this madness already, but I’m excited all the same. This post is scheduled, but I will have started my writing project (whatever it turns out to have been; I never choose my NaNo project more than a couple of days ahead of time, sometimes not ’til late on Halloween) just after the midnight bell last night.

This will be my eighth year doing NaNoWriMo, which just seems incredible to me. (Even if I figure in the last six years – and twelve projects – of Camp NaNoWriMo as well.) I will be trying, once again, for at least 100k instead of the standard 50k, split between two projects this year as I did last year.

I haven’t decided for sure yet – of course – but I think this year’s novel will be a supernatural romance. That genre suspicion is all I’ve figured out thus far. . . (And for my second project, I’ll try and add 50k to an existing ‘verse – it’s almost 300k and counting, but there’s a lot more yet in its outline to cover.)

I won’t be posting updates here – this is it, although I might talk abut it again in December when everything is wrapped up – but if you’re interested, I will be posting a weekly update with my progress (and that of the rest of the Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society who are participating) every Tuesday over on the Ferret blog, starting with a bit about each of our projects and thoughts on this year’s NaNo today! You can also find me on the NaNo site proper here – feel free to add me as a buddy if you’re participating too!

Happy NaNo-ing!

Making Vegetable Stock

Last night I tried a new experiment – a super basic one, but something I’ve never done before. I’ve been collecting the ‘ends’ of vegetables when I cook (when I remember) since the end of July, when I came across instructions for it, planning to do this.

I don’t really use vegetable stock for much (usually I use chicken or beef broth in soups) but there is one particular recipe I do, and I have always bought stock for it, of course. This seemed like it might be a delicious alternative and – hey, I’m throwing away those ends anyway now, I may as well at least try it and see how it works out!

Freshly-strained and still-steaming vegetable stock.

Freshly-strained and still-steaming vegetable stock.

Not so much a ‘recipe’ proper, but here’s the basics. Continue reading

Writing as Escape

Writing as escape is something very familiar to me, and it is a comfortable sort of escape, at least in my book.

I’ve been told that I seem to process everything I feel or experience through my writing – I suspect that goes doubly for when the things I have been experiencing (or putting myself through, even if unintentionally) are making me feel like hell on toast.

Some of the worst times in my life, I have retreated to creating new worlds and characters, or playing within existing ones. (Now that means fanfiction – mostly – once upon a time it mostly meant playing out what was basically live-action fanfiction, sometimes convincing other people to play out the storylines I created with me.) It gives me something else to focus on – distraction! – or work through, or both.

When I’m stressed out or have too many things clamouring to be handled (this past week presents a fairly minor example of that, for me, unfortunately) I will start yearning back to my keyboard and pen. Even if the stories are difficult or if I have something I’m too stuck on to be quite as passionate about writing, that represents problems I can solve and a world at my own direction to lose myself in. Continue reading