Oct 30, 2012

Cheeses of the World - Part Fifteen

I know I'm a little pedestrian when it comes to my taste in cheese, but cheddar is my absolute favorite. It's the one cheese that's rarely missing from my refrigerator.

A firm cheese, cheddar is naturally a pale yellow in colour. The orange colour you most often see it in comes from a dye. It comes in many types, from mild to super sharp, plain to flavoured, and smooth to crumbly. The taste depends on the aging. As it ages, cheddar loses moisture and its texture becomes more crumbly.

Cheddar cheese originates from the village of, you guessed it, Cheddar, in Somerset England. Somerset known for rich pastures and the high quality of its milk, but it also had a series of caves which were the perfect temperature and humidity for the curing process of cheese.

Many scholars believe that the Romans actually brought the recipe for cheddar cheese from Gaul but others believe that cheddar is a purely British invention. Historical records show that it dates back to at least the 1100s, and was enjoyed by King Henry II.

Although some cheddar was made at home, most was produced in cooperatives - farmer's would bring their milk for weighing and their contributions were recorded. When they had contributed a hundred pounds of milk they were entitled to a large wheel of cheddar.

The making of cheddar cheese is a lengthier process than that of other cheeses. The curds are gently heated, then cubed and drained. The draining process causes the curds to mat up and this mat is cut into loose blocks of cheese which are periodically turned, allowing for more drainage. This process is called cheddaring, and is essential to the creation of cheddar cheese. The cheddared curds are then cut, salted, and packed into molds to age.

As it ages, it becomes sharper and more flavourful. The color is naturally white or pale yellow but during the mid 1800s natural dyes were added to make it orange, although no one knows why. Mild cheddar can be aged for as little as 3 to 6 months, while sharper cheddars are aged from 12-18 months to several years.

Some Fun Cheddar Facts:

In 1866 a wheel of cheddar weighing 7,000 pounds was produced in Ingersoll, Ontario and displayed in New York and Britain. It was also immortalized in the poem Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing Over 7,000 Pounds, by James McIntrye.

In 1893 a group of farmers from Perth, Ontario produced what was known as The Mammoth Cheese, a cheese weighing 22,000 pounds. It was made for the Chicago World's Fair and when placed in its exhibit, it crashed through the floor. The display was moved to the concrete floor of the Agricultural Building.

Not to be out done by the Canadians, in 1964 a Wisconsin Cheese weighing 34,951 pounds was created for the New York World's Fair. The amount of milk that went into its making was the equivalent of the daily production of 16,000 cows.

The largest cheddar produced to date was created in Oregon by the Federation of American Cheese-makers. This was in 1989 and the cheddar in question weighed in at over 56,850 pounds.

Making Cheddar

It comes as no surprise that I found several sources to choose from if you'd like to try making your own cheddar cheese:
Making Cheese - Cheddar Cheese by Katie Thear
How to Make Cheddar Cheese at Home from Natural Home and Garden
How to Make Cheddar Cheese from eHow food
Make Your Own Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese from the Complete Idiots Guide.

Cheddar can be sliced, crumbled, grated, or melted. It goes with just about everything. Add it to your favourite soup or casserole for some added zip. Serve it with crackers, or Mom's apple pie. Use it in a sauce to pour over steamed veggies. Add it to an omelette or scrambled eggs. The possibilities are endless.


Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup
Scottish Cheddar Cheese and Spring Onion Tea-Time Scones
Pumpkin Pecan Cheddar Bread Pudding
Creamy Cheddar Onion Soup
All Day Macaroni and Cheese
Bacon Cheddar Twice-Baked Potatoes Recipe
Christmas Cheese Crackers Recipe
Cheddar and Macaroni Salad
Cheddar Cheese Bread
Cheddar Cheese Soup Cheddar Cheese Meat Loaf
Cheddar Cheese Pie
Cheddar Beef Pie Ham and Cheddar Eggs
Golden Cheddar Turkey Or Chicken Casserole

Oct 29, 2012

Muriphobia Monday

muriphobia ~ fear of mice

Just so you know, we're supposed to get the fallout from hurricane Sandy tonight and tomorrow so if it really is the end of the world, it's my fault because for the second week in a row I got all my posts done and posted on time. And I didn't have to resort to any extremely late nights either. ;-)

As I'm sure you've guessed by the reference to Sandy the weather's still pretty craptacular. It is cooler, which I'm enjoying, and the wind started picking up on Sunday. So far we haven't been in danger of flooding, but because of the wet weather and the amount of leaves on the ground, we could be in for a problem if the leaves block the storm sewers.

There's still time to vote for my 55 word story, Love Eternal HERE. And I urge you to read the rest of the stories entered. Also, as I mentioned last week I signed up for this month's AW Blog Chain. With perfect timing my number came up on the weekend and you can read my link in the chain HERE. If you're reading this on Random Writings then you can just scroll down a bit. ;-)

I take back every bad thing I ever said about stationary bikes. Because it's so low impact I figured it was a poor second to walking. Boy was I wrong! The first day wasn't too bad, but the second . . . With walking I feel it mostly in my calves, but the bike I feel in my thighs. Owie! And hey, I even managed to get some walking in last week so I'm feeling very virtuous.

Did you notice the little NaNo word count widget on the left? NaNo starts in just a couple of days folks. If you haven't signed up yet, go HERE. Then after you sign up do a Search for Lady Cat (that would be me) and add her to your buddy list. :-)

I finally settled on an idea for my NaNo novel. I am going to write the sequel to Jessica's story. It's called Lucky Dog and it should be a lot of fun to write. And considering Jessica's story is closing in on 70,000 words, 50K for Lucky Dog should be a snap.

For the duration of NaNo there will be a slight change in my blogging schedule. I'm suspending the poetry posts and the flash fiction, leaving Fridays free for NaNo updates. While I'll be doing my book review this week, for the month of November I will be skipping them and be filling that space with some reposts from my Grapling With Grammar series. This is my final week for Cheeses of the World, and I haven't quite decided what's going to take its place, but it'll be another best of series. The serials and the Hunks will continue as ususal. ;-)

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts I will be posting the final installment of Cheeses of the World, Cheddar. The book review on Random Writings will be the one I'm reading on my Kindle right now and I can't remember the title.

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Seventy-five of Shades of Errol Flynn. Jessica's finally out of the dungeon. But how far will she get? On Random Thoughts there’ll be a new hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Forty of Water (on Random Thoughts). I have no idea what's going to happen next. These characters are really secretive.

Friday on both blogs there will be a NaNo update and hopefully an excerpt from Lucky Dog.

Oct 26, 2012

Flash Me Friday

This was actually posted on my other blog a long time ago, but I thought it fit the atmosphere of impending Halloween enough for a re-posting.

Sorrow Thy Name is Woman

“Julia . . .” the wind whispered her name through the trees.

Julia stumbled and broke into a run again, or at least as much of a run as she could manage. Her clothes were in tatters, arms and legs scratched from fighting her way out of a patch of juniper where she’d tripped and fallen. God only knew what happened to her pack.

“Julia . . .”

Would this nightmare never end? Her breath caught on a sob and she pushed herself harder. She’d hoped to make the ranger station before dark but sheer panic had made her disoriented and now she was hopelessly lost. All she could do was keep moving.

“Julia . . .”

They tried to warn her about this forest, warned her to stay away, but she hadn’t listened. Instead she laughed, calling them superstitious fools, and loaded up her back pack for a prolonged hike. She wasn’t laughing anymore.

“Julia . . .”

Branches seemed to pluck at her, like they were sentient and trying to hold her back. For all she knew they were. There’d been something not right about this forest from the moment she’d stepped into it. If only she’d turned back when she’d had the chance, but no, she was too stubborn for that. She didn’t believe in superstition or psychic energy, she was too level-headed.

“Julia . . .”

The voice sounded louder. Was it getting closer? Oh, God, she was going to die here. She was going to die a horrible death and no one would ever know what happened to her. No one except those people in the village. This was all their fault! They goaded her into entering the forest, they deliberately teased and taunted with their stories. And now she was going to die because of them.

“Julia . . .”

Dusk was starting to fall. It was getting harder to see where she was going. Was that a break in the trees up ahead? A flicker of hope stirred in her breast.

“Julia . . .”

The trees parted abruptly and Julia grabbed hold of a tree trunk to keep from falling. Hopelessly she stared down into the ravine. Her breath came in sobbing gasps. There might be water in the bottom of the abyss, it was too dark to tell.

“Julia . . .”

Jumping wasn’t an option. Or was it?

Oct 23, 2012

Cheeses of the World - Part Fourteen

Camembert is a soft-ripened cheese and much of its flavour depends on the quality of the cow's milk that is used in making it. It's one of the most popular soft French cheeses in the world with a succulent, buttery flavour and a soft white rind that is meant to be eaten with the cheese.

Legend has it that Camembert cheese was first created in 1791 in the town of Camembert in Normandy by Marie Harel during the French Revolution. Because of its somewhat delicate nature, distribution of the cheese was somewhat limited. However, in 1890 a French engineer created a balsa wood box that protected the cheese, but still allowed it to breathe.

When the reputation of the cheese grew and other countries began to produce it, the Normans established the "Syndicat des Fabricants du Véritable Camembert de Normandie" (Genuine Camembert of Normandy Makers Syndicate) to define what exactly a Normandy Camembert was and how it should be made. In order to be labelled Camembert de Normandie the cheese had to be made in a strictly controlled fashion using raw (unpasteurized) cow's milk produced from the Normandy region.

During World War I Camembert cheese was issued to French troops but it wasn't until after World War II that the first production factories were built to produce Camembert, still using raw milk.

Today some of the production of Camembert is done using automated processing, while other cheese producers use the milk from Norman cows and still produce it the old fashioned way to preserve the quality.

Camembert cheese gets its characteristic flavour from naturally occurring chemicals, such as ammonia, succinic acid and salt. Over-ripe camembert contains an excessive amount of ammonia, which is produced by the same microorganisms required for ripening.

True connoisseurs can taste the difference between Camembert made with pasteurized milk as opposed to Camembert made with unpasteurized milk. Like most cheeses, the taste of Camembert depends on its age. When it's young, after being aged three weeks, it has a milky, sweet taste. As it ages, four to five weeks, the taste becomes stronger.

Camembert should be served at room temperature. Slice it in wedges, like a pie, and serve it with French bread, fruit, or jam and honey and a Riesling wine. It melts well and can be used in appetizers, sandwiches, omelettes, or sauces.


Camembert Cheesecakes
Leek and Camembert Tart
Camembert and Onion Filled Pancakes
Baked Camembert Pasta
Grilled Camembert Sandwich
Camembert Croquettes
Caramelised Camembert With Macadamia Nuts
Pasta With Camembert Cheese
Pears and Camembert
Camembert Fritters

Even if you don't live in France, you can make your own Camembert cheese. The New England Cheese Making Company has some detailed instructions that include a link to a video.

Canadians can buy their Camembert from Springbank Cheese while Americans can purchase it from igourmet.com

Oct 22, 2012

Mixotrophic Monday

mixotrophic ~ combining different modes of nutrition

Wow. Be still my heart. Not only did I get all my posts done, but I got them all up on time as well. Could this be the end of the world as we know it? ;-)

The sad part is, I don't know what the secret was. Other than a couple of real late nights . . .

The weather's still pretty craptacular, although it's warmer. Frankly, I don't care about the temperature as much I care about the lack of sun. Given the choice, I'd rather it be on the cool side. I have a nice selection of sweaters and I'd really like to be able to wear them!

As well as getting my posts done last week, I also managed to sneak in a little extra writing. One of my accomplishments was a 55 word flash fiction for a contest. It's called Love Eternal and you can read it and then vote for me HERE. And I urge you to read the rest of the stories entered. I read a few of the better ones to my husband and his comment was: "You people are all really sick!"

All this grey weather has been making me really tired and I find I've been getting way too much sleep lately. This leads to either napping or coffee-drinking, neither of which are good for me. And it's also blown my schedule right to hell.

So, starting today I'm going to try and get back on track with my schedule, including getting some exercise every day. It may be raining outside, but that's no longer an excuse. I have a stationary bike, an elliptical whatever, and a rowing machine. Not to mention assorted exercise tapes. I have run out of excuses. Finally.

I was really hoping to get Jessica's story finished before NaNo, but I don't think it's going to happen. And I still haven't decided yet what I'm writing for NaNo. I've narrowed it down to four possibilities. I have an idea for a trilogy written down, and I could write one of those. They take place simultaneously, so it really doesn't matter what order they're written in. And if I finish one of them early, I can just go on to the next one. My other choice is the next book in the Jessica series, which will be called Lucky Dog. I'd still serialize it on my blog afterwards, but at least you know I'd be posting on time. :-)

I went through my poetry and flash fiction and printed a bunch of them off to start making the selection for my anthology. I think the flash fiction will be easier to pick out than the poetry. There's a lot of poetry. *sigh*

Something else I did a week or two ago was to sign up with a Blog Chain on Absolute Write. I haven't done one of these in ages, and it was one of those impulsive things. I'm second from the bottom of the list, but people are posting quickly so my turn may come up this week, for sure next week. So be on the look-out. I only have two days to get my piece posted before I get sent to the bottom of the list in disgrace, so it may disrupt my blog schedule. The post will appear on Random Writings but I'll be sure to announce it on Random Thoughts as well.

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts I will be posting the fourteenth installment of Cheeses of the World, Camembert. The book review on Random Writings will be Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint.

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Seventy-four of Shades of Errol Flynn. We'll see how Jessica's jail break is progressing. On Random Thoughts there’ll be a new hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Thirty-nine of Water (on Random Thoughts). At this point I'm not sure whether I'll continue the scene from Taja's point of view, or if I'll switch to Ravi's. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Friday I have a new poetry form all picked out for Random Writings and I'm really hoping I get wacked with the inspiration stick again to come up with a flash story Random Thoughts. The problem is, most of my ideas lately have been long ones.

Oh, well. C'est la vie!

Oct 19, 2012

Flash Me Friday

Just One Wish

The old man was dressed in rags and when the wind shifted she caught a most unsavoury smell emanating from him. She wanted to think he'd merely stepped in something, but somehow she doubted it. Pamela moved to one side to pass him, but he lurched unsteadily into her path.

"This is for you," he slurred, holding out an object in one grimy hand.

Pamela recoiled, putting out a hand to ward him off. Using his free hand to grab her wrist, he slapped the object into her palm. Reflex had her fingers closing over it.

"Whatever it is, I don't want it," she said, trying to hand it back to him.

"You're the mother of Adam Hamling, ain't you?"

"No! You're mistaken," she said, eyes wide in a suddenly pale face.

"Instructions is inside," he said, satisfied by her reaction that he had the right woman.

"Instructions for what?" she asked, glancing down at the small box in her hand. But there was no answer. When she looked up, the old man was gone.

Pamela looked down at the box again. If there had been a garbage receptacle nearby she might have just thrown it away, but there wasn't. Stuffing it in her pocket she pulled her coat tighter around her against a chill autumn wind and hurried home.

Once she reached her apartment, with it's security guards and locked doors, she forgot about the old man. Until she went to hang up her coat and the box fell out of the pocket. Picking it up, she carried it with her into the kitchen where she made herself a drink, and then on into the living room where she sat it on the coffee table in front of the sofa.

Curling up on the sofa, she stared at the box while she sipped her drink. The old man had called her Adam Hamling's mother. How had he known? Even she was sometimes startled at the change in her appearance. Being the mother of a serial killer will do that to a person. So will testifying to have him put away for life.

A parent should never be put in the position of testifying against their own child. It wasn't right! But then, it wasn't right that her sweet baby boy had killed twenty-seven women either. One for every year of his life.

Lifting her glass for another sip, she was surprised to see it empty. Pamela thought about getting another one, but instead put the glass down and picked up the box. Should she open it or shouldn't she? Who knew what might be inside.

"Oh, just get it over with," she said out loud. Pamela opened the box. Nothing leaped out at her, no poisonous gas escaped. Inside was an acorn made of some kind of black clay, and a piece of folded paper. Remembering the old man had said there'd be instructions, she unfolded the paper and read:

You have been gifted with a single wish. Hold the acorn in your hand and concentrate on your wish. When your mind is clear of everything but your wish, squeeze the acorn to dust. Use your gift wisely.

She gave a snort of laughter. "I had the crap scared out of me for this? Seriously?"

Tossing the paper on the table, she picked up the acorn and looked at it closely. It was beautifully made, very lifelike. She remembered when Adam was little and they used to go to the park and throw acorns from the bridge to make wishes.

Her cell phone rang and after glancing at the caller I.D. she answered breathlessly.


"Mrs. Hamling? I'm sorry to be calling you so late, but the police chief thought you should know. You're son escaped from prison earlier today. But you needn't worry, we'll have extra guards in your building and a patrol out front."

Numb, Pamela thanked the officer and hung up the phone.

He'd been such a sweet little boy. Where had she gone wrong? Had she been too lax with the discipline in high school? She'd been appalled to learn he took his first victim in his senior year. That lovely Miss Marivan, his English teacher. Everyone thought she'd eloped.

Or maybe she should have taken him to counselling when she found him with the dead cat, when he was twelve. He'd sworn it had been someone else that dismembered it, but then why was the blood on his clothing?

Little things, warning signs throughout the past, chased each other through her mind. The neighbour's yappy dog that disappeared when Adam was nine. One of his little friends accusing him of killing the class hamster in the second grade. Catching him using a magnifying glass to burn ants when he was only five. But boys will be boys, right?

Any one of those moments could have been the pivotal moment in time where a firm hand could have made a difference. Or maybe that moment was the night she took the short cut through the park instead of sticking to the sidewalk. She might never had ended up with a rapist's baby in her belly.

Pamela held her hand out flat with the acorn in the center. What if she'd been given a second chance? Closing her fingers tight around the acorn, she made her wish.

Oct 16, 2012

Cheeses of the World - Part Thirteen

When I think of Spain one of the last things I think about is cheese. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Spain produces a great deal of cheese, the most famous of which is Roncal cheese.

Roncal cheese is a pale yellow in colour and sometimes has small holes or cracks in it. Younger cheese is moist and smooth with a slightly nutty flavour. As it ages, the colour deepens and the cheese develops a stronger tang to it. What gives Roncal its unique flavour is the fact it's made from sheep's milk.

Records of the making of this cheese go back to the thirteen century. Seven villages in the Roncal Valley of Navarra banded together to create it from the milk of the Lacha and Aragonesa breeds of sheep. The time-honoured hand crafted methods of making Roncal are closely guarded secrets, unwritten and passed down from generation to generation.

Another defining feature of Roncal is that the milk is not heated during production. The sheep's milk is curdled by the addition of rennet and then the curds and whey are separated. The curds are poured into moulds that allow for further drainage, and then pressed. Once the pressing stage is complete the cheese is removed from the mould and submerged in a brine for about thirty hours before being removed for aging.

Roncal cheese works well as either an appetizer or a dessert cheese. It should be eaten at room temperature to enjoy the full flavour and is best served with red wine. You could also try grating it for use in soups, casseroles, or pasta.


Chicken Breasts With Roncal Cheese
Marinated Loin of Ibérico Pork with Roncal Cheese
Cod Shells with Roncal Cheese
Pimientos del Piquillo Rellenos de Queso Roncal
Sweet Pea Soup With Majorero Cream & Roncal Crisps
Potato and Roncal Cheese Souflee
Hake Bites with Roncal Cheese

To my surprise, I actually came across a recipe in case you'd like to try making your own Roncal Cheese. It can be found HERE at the Cheese Forum. But just remember, true Roncal Cheese can only be made in the Navarre region of Spain. While it's not likely you'll find Roncal Cheese in your supermarket, in the U.S. you can buy it at Artisanal Cheese or Gourmet Sleuth. In the U.K. you can find it at ibergour.com.uk

Oct 15, 2012

Monepic Monday

monepic ~ comprising only one word or single-word sentences

Everybody enjoy their short week last week?

My positive attitude towards last week lasted until about Wednesday, then it drowned in all the rainy weather we've been having lately. Why couldn't we have had some of this rain in the summer?

Well, I think I'm making progress. I still didn't get Friday's posts done (the flash fiction and the poetry) but at least I got the others up on time . . . for a change. I think my goal for this week will be to get those posts up on time once more, and do at least one of my Friday posts - poetry or flash fiction, it doesn't matter which.

One of my hubby's bowling friends stayed with us on the weekend, which of course meant I needed to put a little extra effort into the house cleaning. Strictly speaking I put more effort than was required, but every once in a while I like to give the kitchen a thorough cleaning. Hey, I even did windows! The picture window in the living room and the deck doors in the dining room.

I got caught up on a lot of my emailing last week. I don't know why I put off sending emails to people. I think a lot of it has to do with mood - sometimes I just don't feel like talking. And that's pretty much what sending an email (or snail mail) is like for me - I write them like I'm talking to the person. The one advantage of this is, I can talk all I want and no one interrupts. :-)

The NaNo session at the library went well. It was a small turn out, but then we didn't give people much notice.

Speaking of NaNo, they're letting us upload our book covers this year - they didn't last year. I'm trying to teach myself how to use PhotoShop so I can redesign last year's cover (which never got used) and create one for this year's novel, but so far I'm not having much luck.

I've got a bunch of short stories that need to get written, and I'm thinking the sooner the better. I want to get them done before NaNo starts. And I need to make a decision this week as to whether or not I'll be getting my poetry anthology done in time for my reading in November. It's doable, but not if I keep farting around with it. I'm back to my original idea of having it contain my darker poetry and my darker flash fiction, which will leave me with enough poetry for another anthology for the summer.

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts I will be posting the thirteenth installment of Cheeses of the World, the Spanish Cheese, Roncal. The book review on Random Writings will be Blood Mountain, by J.T. Warren.

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Seventy-three of Shades of Errol Flynn. We'll see if Jessica's friends know what they're doing or not. On Random Thoughts there’ll be a new hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Thirty-eight of Water (on Random Thoughts). At this point I haven't decided if we're going to learn more about Taja through her past, or skip back to her and Ravi in the records room, so I guess we'll all be surprised.

Friday On Random Writings cross your fingers for a poetry form, and you can do the same for a flash story on Random Thoughts. But you never know what the week may bring, maybe I'll get both done. :-)

Oct 10, 2012

Hump Day Hunk

Today seems like a good day to lounge around in bed. What do you think? ;-)

Oct 9, 2012

Cheese of the World - Part Twelve

Mozzarella cheese is arguably the most popular cheese in the world. From the cheese polls I've seen it edges out cheddar by a fraction of a point. But here's a fact I'll bet you didn't know about mozzarella, traditionally it was made using the milk from the water buffalo. Seriously!

The name Mozzarella comes from the Italian verb mozzare, which means to cut off. It describes the spinning and cutting method of making several varieties of Italian cheese. Of course milk from a water buffalo being pretty expensive, it's rare to find traditional mozzarella outside of Italy. These days this soft, fresh cheese is more likely to be made from cow's milk.

Legend has it that the first mozzarella was created by accident in a Naples cheese factory when some curds fell into a pail of hot water and formed into a ball of cheese. It's also believed that mozzarella was first made after the introduction of the water buffalo to southern Italy. Because the milk is high in fat and protein it was undesirable for drinking, but perfect for making cheese. Some believe Hannibal brought the first water buffalo to Italy, others believe they were left behind from Arab invasions, and still others say they were brought over from India.

Whether it was made from water buffalo or cows, the milk used was unpasteurized and early mozzarella was a fresh, as opposed to aged, cheese, making it extremely perishable. Only the very wealthy, or those who lived close to where the cheese was made, had mozzarella available to them, so it wasn't widely known until the later part of the 18th century.

Mozzarella's most distinguishing feature, aside from the milk it's made from, is its stringy texture. Once the whey has been discarded, the curds are strung or twisted, then cut and immersed in water to firm it up.

Today there are four kinds of mozzarella. Filata, or stretched mozzarella, which is made from cow's milk and has a creamy, soft texture. Pressed mozzarella, which is denser and contains less moisture, making it not stringy. Fior di Latte, which has the highest moisture content (usually around 60%) and is soft, mild, and tastes like fresh milk. Mozzarella di Bufala, which is made from the milk of the water buffalo.

The most popular use for mozzarella is as a pizza topping or in lasagne. But it can also be used in a variety of recipes, including salads, soups, and pasta dishes. It can be sliced, diced, or shredded and added to your favourite casserole.


Mozzarella Puffs
Baked Pasta with Zucchini and Mozzarella
Sausage Mozzarella Supper For a Crowd Bruschetta Chicken Bake
Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Mozzarella
Balsamic Chicken and Fresh Mozzarella
Chicken Rice Casserole with Mozzarella
Mozzarella Melanese Cheese Sticks
Macaroni and Mozzarella Cheese
Easy Honey-Mustard Mozzarella Chicken
Basil, Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich
Baked Tomatoes with Mozzarella Cheese
Cauliflower and Cheese Bake
Pita Pizza
Chicken Alfredo Pizza
Pizza On the Grill
Veal Mozzarella

Mozzarella is very easy and quick to make, perfect as a beginner's cheese for anyone wanting to get into cheese making. I actually found a great video on YouTube and also some easy to follow written instructions from About Home Cooking.

You can also buy mozzarella anywhere cheese is sold, or try one of these online stores: igourmet.com has traditional Mozzarella di Bufala Campana available in the U.S.
Laverstoke Park Farm appears to be a U.K. source for mozzarella.
Springbank Cheese Company has five different varieties for those living in Canada.

Oct 8, 2012

Matriherital Monday

matriherital ~ of, like or pertaining to inheritance along the female line

First off, to all my fellow Canadians, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

That's right all you Yanks. Canada is smart enough to have its Thanksgiving in October, where it belongs, instead of smack dab in the middle of NaNoWriMo. ;-)

Anybody besides me even thinking about NaNo yet? For those of you who are new and don't know what I'm talking about, go HERE. The last couple of years I've sworn I wasn't going to bother, but as November first approached I'd cave every time. This will be my seventh year participating and this year I talked some of the members of my writer's group into it AND I talked our local library into hosting a couple of write-ins. So I guess I'm pretty much committed.

Last week was kind of a strange week. I had one really good day and one really bad day and the rest were kind of up and down. I missed both my poetry and flash posts completely, and although I was only a little late with the installment for Shades of Errol Flynn, I was a whole day late with Water. I guess despite my knocking on wood last week I tempted the Fates after all. :-)

The weekend was pretty much a bust, writing-wise. Saturday . . . I really have no excuse for Saturday. I pretty much indulged myself in a slacking off day. I probably had it in my mind somewhere that I could make up for lost time on Sunday, forgetting of course that we were having our Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday.

I don't know about the rest of you, but when I think of Thanksgiving dinner I think fresh. As in, no canned or frozen veggies. So my day was pretty much peeling, chopping and mashing. And then of course came the eating, and then more eating. I think the turkey I got might have been a little big for four people. Today, like Canadians everywhere, I'm suffering from a turkey hangover. ;-)

I have only one day with stuff going on this week, and that's Wednesday. A friend is stopping by for the afternoon and then I'm helping out with an info session on NaNoWriMo at the library in the early evening. So in otherwords, if I don't get things done it's my own fault. I'm adopting a positive attitude, however, and facing the week with optimism.

There will be one minor change in the blogging line-up. Sorry hubby, and all you other guys out there, but I'm discontinuing the Hussies on Wednesdays. I'm having too hard a time finding pictures that are appropriate for posting, which means I'm wasting too much time on it. So we'll be back to just the Hump Day Hunk.

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts I will be posting the twelfth installment of Cheeses of the World, Mozzarella Cheese. The book review on Random Writings will be Private Parts, by Tori Carrington.

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Seventy-two of Shades of Errol Flynn. We'll see if Jessica's friends know what they're doing or not. On Random Thoughts there’ll be a new hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Thirty-seven of Water (on Random Thoughts). I think we need to learn a little more about the woman Ravi encountered in the records room, don't you?

Friday On Random Writings I guess I'm back to square one with the poetry forms, but I'm hoping to present a new one. And I will do my best to produce a flash story for Random Thoughts. But you never know what the week may bring. :-)

Oct 4, 2012


As you might have already guessed, there's going to be a delay with today's installment of Water.

My apologies, but please check back tomorrow and I promise I'll have it up by then.

Oct 3, 2012

Hump Day Hunk and Hussy

A picture paints a thousand words, right? So here's your thousand for today. ;-)

Oct 2, 2012

Cheeses of the World - Part Eleven

Gouda is one of my favourite cheeses for just snacking on. It's a fairly mild, semi-soft cheese with a taste that can range from mild to sharp, depending on its age.

It's probably the most famous Dutch cheese, accounting for 60% of the cheese produced in Holland. The younger Gouda is mild, sweet and fruity, while mature Gouda (aged 18 months or more) darkens in colour and develops a slightly harder texture with a more intense flavour. Gouda that has been aged for two years or more is almost brittle in texture and has a nutty, almost cheddar like flavour.

Though some varieties are made from goat's milk, Gouda is usually made from cow's milk and the colour ranges from almost white to light butterscotch, depending on the age. Because it's a semi-firm cheese it usually comes wrapped in a wax rind. You can also find Gouda smoked, or with herbs, spices, or peppers added to it.

The first settlers in the Netherlands were already making cheese, but it was not until the Middle Ages they began to export it. By the 17th century Holland was known as a "cheese country".

Holland is a country well suited to the dairy industry because of their wet soil which is excellent for milk production. Like many cheeses, Gouda is named after a town, in this case the bustling market centre for the cheese trade in the area. Today there is a cheese weigh house dating back to 1668 that stands as a tribute to this most famous of Dutch cheese, and tourists still visit for ceremonial cheese weighings.

Unlike most cheeses, Gouda has a sweet undertaste to it. This is accomplished by a process called "washing the curd". The milk is cultured and heated to produce the cheese curds, but then some of the whey is drained off and replaced with hot water. The curds are then pressed into circular molds for several hours. Next the cheese is soaked in a brine to give it a rind and then allowed to dry before receiving its waxed coating. It is then aged for anywhere from a month to several years, depending on the desired result.

While I like Gouda on its own, it also goes well on dessert platters, in sandwiches, and at wine tastings as a palate cleanser. It's a popular breakfast treat and is great with dark grained breads or fruit. It also grates easily and melts with no trouble to be used over baked potatoes, or in macaroni and cheese, or as a substitute for cheddar in your favourite recipes.


BBQ Chicken Pizza
Creamy Soup of Cheese and Vegetables
Baked Three-Cheese Pasta
Italian White Lasagna
Dutch Onion, Potato and Cheese Soup
West Indies Chicken Soup With Gouda Cheese
Fried Mac and Cheese Balls
Broccoli Salad With Gouda
Potato Stuffed Red Bell Peppers
Crustless Spinach Quiche
Smoked Gouda Risotto
Gouda Penne With Spinach
Baked Macaroni and Gouda Cheese

If you'd like to try making your own Gouda, I found two videos with step by step instructions: the first is from New England Cheesemaking, and the second is from Made Man.

If you prefer to buy your cheese, you can find Gouda cheese in the deli section of your favourite grocery store, or you can buy it online. In Canada I recommend Gort's Gouda and in the U.S. you can try Scray Cheese Company.

Oct 1, 2012

Manicate Monday

manicate ~ having a woolly growth that can be peeled off

Last week pretty much made up for the previous really bad weeks I've had lately.

The only post I missed last week was the flash fiction, and that was due to circumstances beyond my control. My two serial posts were late going up, but everything else was on time.

Not only did the writing go really well last week, but other stuff went well too. I had some unexpected houseguests who fortunately gave me some warning because the guest room looked like it had one of those donation bins dumped in it. Not only did I have the room cleaned up, but there were fresh sheets and blankets on the bed and clean towels for them. And the meals went without a hitch - nothing burned, everything on time, no last minute disasters. It went so well it kind of freaked me out.

My sister was given a Kobo (e-reader) for mother's day and still does not know how to use it. She never synced it before so while she was here I helped her do that. Suddenly she had all these books downloading. Turns out her husband has some kind of tablet and was using her Kobo account to download books to his tablet, which meant they ended up downloading onto her Kobo as well. She's just happy she has more than a handful of books on there now, so I guess that's all that really matters.

Saturday morning a couple of my writing buddies dragged me kicking and screaming to a seminar on publishing at the library of the next town over. Ed Greenwood (yes, the famous one who created the Forgotten Realms) gave a very interesting talk on the different stages of traditional publishing, and Shane Joseph gave us some editing/formatting tips for self publishing.

I'm really hoping my luck holds for this week - it's supposed to be grey and miserable, and you know by now what that means. I'm not even asking for good luck - just not bad luck. *knock wood - don't want to tempt the Fates*.

For a change, my weekend wasn't quite as productive as my week. After the seminar on Saturday we went to the wedding of the son of my husband's cousin, which pretty much took up the rest of that day. It was one of the biggest weddings I've ever been to. And has anyone noticed that people don't seem to get married in churches any more? What's up with that?

As for Sunday, I started out being all organized, but in an effort to make sure supper was right on time (the kid's request) I decided to get things started in the morning so all I'd have to do is pop them into the oven at the appropriate time. Only one of the peppers I was going to use for potato stuffed peppers was black inside. Which meant an unplanned trip to the grocery store, which is quite the adventure in parking these days. From there I never did seem to get my day back on track, but I will say that supper was served on time. :-)

I was surfing around on Facebook last night - okay, wasting time on Facebook - and I followed a link to this website that debunks all those amazingly weird animal pictures you have popping up on Facebook. Things like the Two-headed Kestrel, or the Venezuelan Poodle Moth. And on this site I got a really cool idea for a shapeshifter novel. Not that I need another novel idea, but it was still a good one. :-)

I have found the ultimate in distractions! I give you . . . The Kitten Cam! Seriously, you have to check this out. These guys are too cute for words!

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts I will be posting the eleventh installment of Cheeses of the World, Gouda Cheese. The book review on Random Writings will be I'll Be Yours For Christmas, by Samantha Hunter. I actually finished reading this quite some time ago and can't believe I haven't reviewed it before.

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Seventy-one of Shades of Errol Flynn. Still not sure how Jessica's friends are going to break her out of jail - good thing they appear to know. On Random Thoughts there’ll be a hunk and a hussy for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday we have Chapter Thirty-six of Water (on Random Thoughts). Now that Ravi's an experienced breeder, what's next for him?

Friday On Random Writings I seem to be on a roll and will once again present a new poetry form. And hopefully I'll be able to finish the flash from last week for Random Thoughts. But you never know what the week may bring. :-)