Slow Days: Favorite Birthday Cake  

INTRO: People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

When I was a child, the birthday cake that my mother always made for us was an angel food cake: white and towering, sweet, and fluffy, decorated with Royal Frosting. It was my ‘gold standard’ for birthday cake, even if it was made from a boxed mix. When Dear Husband took over the job of providing birthday cakes, he wanted to cook his dream cake: yellow layers with chocolate icing. For years the Darling Sons and Dear Husband made a series of layer cakes. Dear Husband had never made a sponge cake and was a bit spooked by the prospect. At last, I said, “I’d like this cake for my birthday — a hot water sponge cake from Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook.” He said, “OK, but with a chocolate ganache icing.” So we set to work to make it happen.

The mise en place, for a one-half version of the recipe

Hot Water Sponge Cake for a 9” springform pan. From Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

Heat oven to 350F. Have an ungreased 9” springform pan.
1 cup pastry/cake flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
few grains salt
Sift together and set aside.
2 egg whitesBeat into soft peaks
¼ c sugarBeat gradually into the egg whites and set aside.
2 egg yolks
¼ c hot water
½ tsp vanilla
Whisk the yolks. Add the water and vanilla, and beat until thick. The heat will cook the yolks a bit.
½ c sugarBeat into the eggs.

Now you have three bowls containing different components of the cake.

Pour the yolks over the whites and fold until blended.
Fold in the flour until blended.
Gently scrape batter into the unbuttered pan. Bake 20-30 mins. Cool cake in pan.

For whatever reason, the first time we prepared it, the cake turned out with a sunken center. Time to turn lemons into lemonade — or in this case, lemon curd. Determined to fill in that divot, I spooned some lemon curd [from a jar] into the center, pretending that it was part of the original plan.

Baked, cooled cake Remove the wrap-around part of the pan from the cake, but leave the cake on the metal plate that is underneath it. Place on a rack over a larger plate.
Lemon curdIf there is a low spot in the center of the cake, spoon in enough curd to fill it completely. If there is no low spot, top the cake with a thin, even layer of curd.

Then we made a Chocolate-Cream Ganache Glaze from the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Biranbaum.

3 oz bittersweet chocolate Break or chop or process into very small pieces. Put into a heat-proof bowl.
1 c. heavy creamPut into a saucepan and heat until starting to boil.
Pour ¾ c of cream over the chocolate, cover, and let sit 5 mins. Chocolate should melt. If it doesn’t or ganache is too thick, add more hot cream, tablespoon by tablespoon, and stir.

Pour the glaze over the center of the cake, guiding it a bit so that it covers the top and runs down the sides. Smooth any rough spots with a knife and place on a serving plate.

Here is a full recipe of the cake: on the cake stand, ready to be served to friends with Champagne at my birthday party.
You can see the lemon curd under the ganache. A marvelous contrast of flavors and textures.

After he sampled it, Dear Husband said, “I want this for my birthday too!” So we repeated it a month later. It is now our traditional favorite birthday cake. I hope you will like it too.

Slow Days: Pistachio-Cherry-Chocolate Biscotti  

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

‘Biscotto’ means ‘twice baked.’ Twice-baking is an old way of preserving baked goods. The 2nd baking dries them out, so they can be stored for future use. Examples include the dried bread called rusk or zwieback or sukhariki. Their origin seems to be as marching food for the Roman army. Army forts always had granaries and bake-houses, producing vast quantities of fresh and twice-baked bread. In the Renaissance, the twice-baked bread was reborn, made delicious with almonds. A baker in Tuscany is given credit for the introduction of ‘cantucci,’ perfect for dunking in the local Vin Santo as a dessert. It is a delicious combination, as sampled in Firenze. As fresh baked goods became readily available, not many people bothered with preserving bread. And then biscotti were reintroduced, taking America by storm in 1990s coffee houses. At first, many customers were put off by the ‘stale cookies’ but dunking became popular again, and so did the twice-baked cookies. If you think that biscotti are born in a package, wrapped in plastic, then you must try baking them at home.

This particular version is adapted from Chocolate by Nick Magliere. The biscotti are lovely as a Christmas gift or for enjoying at home with a leisurely cup of coffee during the holidays. I like the green nuts and the red cherries, seen together in a slice. A real treat from your very own kitchen.

Set rack in middle of oven. Preheat to 350 F.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
1¾ c flour
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Combine these, mixing well
8 Tbsp/1 stick butter Cut in 8 pieces and toss with flour mixture. Rub or cut butter into the flour.
¾ c dried cherries or cranberries
¾ c chocolate chips
¾ c/4 oz unsalted pistchios
Stir into the flour-butter.
2 two-oz eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Whisk together, then stir into above mixture with a fork until dough comes together. 
Cherries, chocolate chips, and pistachios all mixed together with the flour-butter.
2 two-oz eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Whisk together, then stir into above mixture with a fork until dough comes together. 
Divide dough into 2 portions, then roll each half into a log 12” long. Place the 2 logs on the prepared pans with 2” between them.

Bake 25-30 mins, until dough is browned and firm to the touch. Remove to cutting board to cool.
When cool, cut each log with a serrated knife into ½” slices, straight across or on diagonal. Put slices back on parchment paper on the cookie sheet.
Bake at 325F 15-20 mins, until light brown in color.
Cool, then store in an air-tight tin.

Slow Days: Lussekatter

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

For the December 13th Feast of Saint Lucy, the Swedes have a special bread for breakfast. The bread is called Lussekatter and the giving of bread, especially yeasted breakfast bread, is an important part of the entire celebration of the day. Lussekatter can be baked in many different shapes. In 2014, it was featured in a Master Class of the Great British Bake Off. The recipe is simple and easy to prepare, even if you’ve never worked with yeast before. We enjoy it every year on Lucy Day, and you can too. You could use Paul Hollywood’s recipe if you wish, but our’s comes from the Var Så God cookbook by the American Swedish Institute

OOPS! That 1 cup of flour in the right-hand position should be 2 [two] cups instead of only one.
1 pkg active dry yeast  ¼ c water, warmDissolve yeast in warm water and set aside for ~15 minutes to wake up the yeast. 
¾ c milk ½ c butter = 1 stick
¼ tsp saffron, powdered or in threads
Warm the milk, add butter to melt. Add saffron to infuse for 5 minutes. Then cool to lukewarm and add the yeast water.
2 eggs
2 cups white whole wheat flour ½ c sugar
Put these in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Pour all the liquids through a sieve into the bowl. Mix for 3 minutes with a stand mixer.
2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ tsp salt Add flour and salt, and beat with wooden spoon. Fold and push the dough on a board, adding a little flour for easy handling. When smooth and shiny, put in a bowl and let rise to double in bulk.
After kneading, the satiny dough is ready to rise.
2 oz dough per bun OR
Divide dough in 2 for cakes
Turn out on floured board. Curl buns for a Sicilian ‘S’ or other Lussekatter shape. Let rise on greased cookie sheet or in pans. OR put the pan of shaped rolls, wrapped, in the freezer.
1 egg 
2 T water Raisins or dried black currants
If freezing the shaped buns, take out the night before to rise overnight in a cool place. Brush with egg and water mixture before baking. Put a raisin in each curl of the buns.  Bake at 450F. for 10 minutes.

After baking, the Lussekatter becomes the star of the breakfast on Saint Lucy Day.

A Lucy Day breakfast of Lussekatter, Canadian bacon, and clementines, presided over by a tiny Saint Lucy herself, complete with a wreath of candles in her hair.

Since there are but two of us, not a village, I make only enough buns for one breakfast. To the remaining dough, I add dried fruit and candied peel, and knead it in. The dough is nudged into a Christmas-tree-shaped pan which is then wrapped and frozen for a breakfast closer to Christmas. Yippee! I love preparing in advance!

Slow Days: Peach Wine, continuing

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Wine is not something we discuss on a Fast Day. Too many empty calories. But the nice thing about the Fasting Lifestyle is that since you Fast only two days per week, you can enjoy wine [responsibly] on the other 5 days. Three months ago we began to make a batch of Peach Wine. The wine has been sitting on the floor of the dining room, while the yeast cheerfully ferments sugars into alcohol. All the while, fine particles — dead yeast cells and fruit pulp — have been settling to the bottom of the glass bottles. These are called “lees.” At the three month point, the wine above the lees should be fairly clear. To see how clear the wine is, we can use the Tyndall Effect. If you shine a strong flashlight beam through the wine, you can see how much suspended residue remains.

Our job today is to “rack off” the wine. That means to pour off the clear wine into a clean bottle, leaving the lees behind. Use Camden Solution to rinse out a gallon jug and a 750 ml wine bottle, returning the rinsing Solution to its storage container.

Pouring off the cleared wine takes a sustained effort and a steady hand. You must pour the wine without stopping — if you pour out some, then put the jug down again, the lees will have kicked up and clouded more of the wine. It will settle again, but that will take a month or two. So: in one steady, slow stream, carefully pour the wine into the clean jug, but stop pouring when the cloudy liquid starts to come out. In chemistry, the process of pouring clear liquid off from a cloudy liquid is called ‘decanting.’ DO NOT think that you can use a filter to strain out the lees — it does not work. It is not cheating to use a funnel to help you to pour.

On left, the wine decanted from the smaller bottle into a 750ml bottle. Next, the wine decanted from the jug into a clean, sterilized jug. Third from left, the clearer of the cloudy wine poured into a 750 ml bottle for further clearing. On right, the really sludgy lees that will be poured down the sink.

Top off the jug with clear wine from the smaller bottle. You can pour the lees down the sink. The yeast that remains will give a nice boost to digestion in your septic tank. Seriously. There will be some wine left over in the first jug and 750ml bottle, which is now cloudy with lees again. I put most of that into a small bottle to settle out again so I can save that wine. I’m such a Yankee!

Here is the gallon jug with a gallon of peach wine inside. Also, the bottle with cloudy wine that needs to settle out.

Fit the jug with the airlock, transfer the label to the wine jug, write in your wine notebook the date that you racked off, and put the jug aside in a cool, dark spot to clear again and to mature.

That didn’t take long. See you again in six or seven months for bottling. NB: at that time, you will need 5 clean, empty 750 ml wine bottles [you can use empties — no need to buy them]; 5 new wine corks [I use the size called #9]; a bottle-corking device; the hydrometer and the graduated cylinder from before; and maybe some sugar.

Slow Days: Turkey Leg Confit

INTRO: People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Last Thanksgiving, since neither of our sons could/would travel due to Covid, we were faced with a sad culinary conundrum: what form of turkey to serve to only two people??? A whole turkey was out since the smallest ones were in high demand. We could make our usual Turkey Roulade, but even that served three generously for more than one meal. Happily, I heard of doing confit treatment to turkey and I found this recipe by André Baranowski on Saveur.com. Since we were accustomed to preparing a duck confit, this seemed like a great idea. As I always do, I cross-referenced to see if there were any other hints or refinements to include. Here is my synthesis. HINT: If preparing for Thanksgiving, start 5-7 days ahead. This takes a short amount of working time during two days at the start, then a wait of 5-7 days before eating.

2 legs from a 15# TurkeyDAY 1  Pat dry the turkey legs. Transfer turkey to a 9”x5”x4” loaf pan
½ tsp. rubbed sage
½ tsp. dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1 Tbsp Kosher salt  generous grind of black pepper
DAY 1 SEASON AND COOL In a spice grinder, grind the herbs to powder. Rub turkey with herb/salt and chill overnight, loosely covered.
2-3 quarts rendered duck fat OR lard I used 1 quart duck fat DAY 2  BAKE AND CURE Heat oven to 275°. Pour out any liquid from the pan of turkey. Microwave fat in a jar on low power or warm in a pot over low heat until the fat liquifies. Pour fat over turkey to cover the meat. Cover pan with foil; bake until very tender, ~ 2 hours. Let turkey cool in the fat and put the pan in the ‘fridge for 3-7 days.

When first I heard of confit for meat, I was horrified: all that salt and FAT? Ugh. But the salt and fat work to kill bacteria and also to make the meat very tender. The fat does not go into the meal, keeping the turkey low in fat.

DAY 5 or 7 HEAT AND EAT  Heat the pan until fat is just liquefied. Pour fat into a jar to freeze/store. Take legs from pan and let the extra fat drain off. Place legs in a cast iron pan and cook until browned and crisp, ~15 minutes
Plate with your favorite sides for a succulent meal.
What a grand Thanksgiving meal! A dish of stuffing was baked separately, since there was no bird to stuff.

Slow Days: Pumpkin Ginger Scones

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Genevieve Ko, writing in the New York Times, published this article last year. It looked promising, so I tried it. Finding the dough a bit too dry, I added applesauce and that turned out to be just right. And look! The recipe calls for ‘pumpkin spice’!!! So trendy this time of year. Try these and see what you think. The recipe makes 6-8 scones, depending on how you cut them.

50g/6.5 Tbsp whole wheat flour 
95g/¾ c all-purpose flour
1/3 c/25 g rolled oats 
¼ c./50 g sugar 
2 tsp baking powder  + ½ tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice**
In a bowl, whisk these ingredients together.



**¼ tsp cinn, ¼ tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp mace, 1/8 tsp clove, ¼ tsp allspice
¼ c/57 g cold butter, sliced thinly 1/3 c/45 g crystallized ginger OR ½ tsp ginger powderAdd butter + toss to coat. With fingers or a pastry cutter, knead/cut in butter until coarse crumbs form but peanut-size pieces remain. Chop ginger finely, and mix in.
1/3 c/85 g pumpkin puree 
1 Tbsp applesauce
1 two-oz egg
Whisk pumpkin and applesauce with egg until smooth. Add to dry ingredients. Mix with a fork until no dry bits remain and mixture comes together in a mass.
Place dough on baking pan and press it into ¾”-thick round that is 6” diameter. Refrigerate or freeze until stiff.
Heat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray a glass pie plate with cooking spray.
Rolled oats for sprinklingCut dough into 6-8 wedges with a sharp knife. Nudge wedges apart. Sprinkle tops with oats.
Bake until golden brown and firm when gently pressed, 20 minsTo test for doneness, insert a toothpick in center to see if there is wet dough. If so, return pan to oven for a few mins.
Cool pan on a rack 5 mins. Serve warm or room temp.

Served with ham and yogurt with applesauce and berries, these scones are a lovely treat.

Slow Days: Spiced Cauliflower Pasta  

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

As Summer turns to Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, our taste buds seem to want the warmth of spices in our food. “Pumpkin Spice,” anyone? [Which is not derived from an actual pumpkin. It refers to the spices used in pumpkin pie. But I digress.] This pasta dish is excellent. The curious addition of spices tells us that its origin was in Medieval Times. Nobles returning from the Crusades [this is the one good thing to result from the lamentable Crusades] brought with them ‘exotic’ spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. European cuisine embraced them, often producing daring parings of spices with meat [as in Tourtiere] and vegetables. Of course the tomatoes in this recipe did not show up in Europe until the early 1500s, and they are a good addition. Sicily was a port of call for Crusaders and Lynne Rossetto Kasper is the source of this Sicilian recipe found in her The Italian Country Table.

The mise en place for 2 servings.
Serves 4 — original recipeServes 2 — how I do it
Large head cauliflower florets370 g cauliflower floretsBlanch in boiling water 1 minute. Keep water on the heat.
EVOO
1 cup onion, chopped
salt & pepper
EVOO
½ c onion, chopped
salt & pepper
Film bottom of a non-stick saute pan with oil and heat to medium-high. Stir-fry cauliflower 2 minutes, then add onion and seasoning and stirfry until golden.
Large pinch red pepper flakes
ditto for ground cloves
ditto ground cinnamon
¼ c basil + Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oil-packed anchovies
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes
ditto ground cloves
ditto ground cinnamon
2 Tb basil + Italian parsley
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 oil-packed anchovies
1½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
Chop the basil and parsley before packing in the measuring cup. Rinse the anchovies. Add these to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
4 oz zitti/penne per person2 oz zitti/penne per personCook pasta in salted water until al dente.
2/3 cup pasta water
14 oz canned whole tomatoes
1/3 cup pasta water
7 fl oz canned whole tomatoes
Drain and chop tomatoes. Add pasta water to saute pan and scrape up the brown bits. Add tomatoes, and boil until cauliflower is tender-crisp, ~3 minutes.
Reduce heat and add cooked pasta. Stir to blend. Season to taste
¼ pound ricotta salata OR Parmesan
1/3 c pine nuts
2 oz ricotta salata OR Parmesan
3 Tbsp pine nuts
Shave cheese into curls and add to serve hot, topped with pine nuts.
Plated with a nice piece of sourdough bread. You are correct: the pasta is neither zitti nor penne. You don’t have to stay inside the lines all the time.

Slow Days: Chow

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

The word ‘chow’ has many meanings. The Chow is a medium-sized dog with a curled-up tail. It is a slang word for food. As a verb, followed by the word ‘down’, it means ‘to eat.’ Then there is chow as a relish… In Pennsylvania Dutch areas, chow is a combination of pickled, chopped garden vegetables — cauliflower, onion, carrot — served as a sweet condiment. In the American South, cabbage takes center stage, with unripe tomatoes and red sweet and hot peppers as co-stars. It is served on hot dogs and with black-eyed peas. In Prince Edward Island, we met our favorite: Maritime Chow, aka ‘Acadian ketchup’. We were dining with friends at a small oyster house on the dock at Malpecque Bay. After a dozen oysters, we ordered fishcakes. We asked the young man who brought the food [former oyster-shucking champion] the name of the delicious relish. “Its Chow,” he replied, a bit confused. What is it made of, we asked. “Well…you know…its Chow,” he attempted, “My grandmother makes it.” So I asked my local PEI friends for a chow recipe. Lillian P. shivered and said, “Ugh. Chow. I never make it.” Cathy K. had no recipe. Nona McL. kindly wrote out her recipe for Chow, which in the Maritimes is always made with unripe tomatoes. This is Nona’s recipe.

20 cups sliced green tomatoes 5 cups sliced onions
½ cup pickling salt
DAY 1 Combine and leave overnight
6 cups sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 cups white vinegar
pickling spice in a bag
DAY 2 Drain tomatoes + onions and put into a large pot. Add these ingredients to the pot. Simmer 1 hour. Take a little liquid from the pot
¼ cup cornstarch
1½ tsp turmeric
1½ tsp dry mustard
Mix these ingredients with the reserved liquid from the pot. Then add to the pot and cook together for ½ hour.
Put into sterilized 1-pint or ½-pint canning jars and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 9 pints.

Since I had some half-ripe tomatoes, I was eager to get started. By Day 2, I realized that I had neither turmeric nor dry mustard in the pantry. Time to substitute: yellow Indian curry for turmeric and Dijon mustard for the dry mustard. I was pleased with the result and served it at a luncheon, attended by all the afore-mentioned ladies. Lillian tasted it and asked what it was. “Its Chow!” I crowed, “Made with Nona’s recipe.” When Nona tried it, she exclaimed, “That’s not my Chow — you have changed my recipe!” I acknowledged that I had made substitutions… Both of those worthy matrons agreed that “it isn’t Chow, but it is good.” Now I make a batch every year. This is my recipe.

4 cups sliced tomatoes = 1 L.  chose under-ripe ones with some red areas but mostly green
1 cup sliced onions
1.5 Tbsp pickling salt
DAY 1 Combine in a medium-sized bowl and leave on the counter overnight. 
Some red on the tomatoes, but mostly green.
300 ml sugar = 1¼ cup
100 ml cider vinegar = 3.75 fl oz
50 ml water = 1.75 fl oz 
100 ml white vinegar = 3.75 fl oz
1 Tbsp pickling spice  [no mustard seed] in a bag
DAY 2 Drain tomatoes + onions and put into a large pot. Add these ingredients to the pot and simmer one hour.
15 ml cornstarch = 1 Tbsp
½ tsp Dijon mustard, en lieu of mustard seed
3/8 tsp CGE curry
Take a little liquid from the pot and add these 3 ingredients. Stir together until smooth. Add back into the pot, stir, then simmer for ½ hour.
Makes 5 half-cup jars
Process in boiling water 10 minutes

We always serve Chow with Fish Cakes. For this meal, they are made the Maritime way: using Salt Cod instead of fresh fish. I also have a recipe for fish cakes made from fresh fish, from the Legal Seafood Cookbook.

The lovely, savory-sweet, rosy-hued Chow is in the center. Pickled beets are our favorite side dish for Fish Cakes.

As the summer garden winds down and you wonder what to do with all those half-ripe tomatoes, Chow is the answer. Chow down.

Slow Days: Making Peach Wine, DIY Day 2

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

On a Fast Day, the empty calories of wine are not a good choice. But wine in moderation on a Slow Day is alright. We are making Peach Wine in this blog, continuing from two previous blogs on the topic. THIS IS THE 3RD POST IN THIS SERIES.

DAY 2: Combine all the ingredients and pour into the glass fermentation vessels.

Starter bottle from previous blogThe bottle contents should be bubbly on the top. If not, gently shake it to see if bubbles rise to the top. This tells you that the yeast is activated.
Camden Solution from previous blog large bowl/colanderSterilize a large bowl and a colander with Camden Solution. Pour excess Solution back into its jar.
Mashed peaches in waterStrain the peaches through the colander into the bowl, saving the juice. 
This peach mush can be used to make jam or mix it with maple syrup to spoon onto waffles. Yum.
2 quarts boiling water 2 ¼ pounds granulated sugar
Bring the water to a boil. Put the sugar into the bucket or bowl that had the peaches last night. Pour the water over the sugar to dissolve it. You may need to stir it with a sterilized spoon to ensure that all the sugar goes into solution. Put the lid on it and let it cool for 1 hour. The liquid ought not to cool to room temperature. 

reseved peach juice
½ tsp pectic Enzyme   1 tsp Citric Acid ½ tsp Grape Tannin
Add the peach juice to the sugar – water mixture when it has cooled a little. Then stir in these additives.  They are necessary to balance the flavors of the fruit and the sugar.
Hydrometer hydrometer jar Camden solutionSterilize the hydrometer jar and the hydrometer.
Pour excess Camden Solution back into its jar. 
Pour some of the peach juice+water+sugar into the hydrometer jar to within 1½” of the top. Put the hydrometer into the liquid and give it a little spin to rid it of any bubbles. Read the scale labled Specific Gravity [S.G.] and the scale labled Potential of Alchohol [P.A.] and write down those values in your notes. Pour the ‘wine’ from the hydrometer jar back into the bucket. The P.A. should read around 12%. If it is lower, add more sugar. If it is higher, add some boiled water. Then take another reading.
Starter Bottle The liquid in the bucket should by now be just a little warm. Pour the contents of the Starter Bottle into it and stir to mix. Cover the bucket and let it sit for 15-30 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and frothing. You should see and hear it!
Fermentation is well under way. See the big bubbles?
1-gallon glass jug 750-ml glass wine bottle funnel 2 air-locks with 1-hole corks
Camden Solution
With the Camden Solution, sterilize the jug, the bottle, the funnel, the corks. Pour the excess Solution back into its jar. Using the funnel, pour the fermenting peach juice into the jug, filling it almost up to the neck. What remains in the bucket goes into the glass wine bottle. Fit the air-locks into the corks and snug the corks into the tops of the glass vessels. Pour Camden Solution into the air-locks, up to the half-way point. 
Now lable the bottles with a little tag to remind yourself: the type of wine; what day you began to ferment the wine; and the value of the P.A. Put the bottles into a dark, sorta cool place where they won’t be disturbed.
Here is our ‘proto-wine’ all ready to sit quietly and work for a while.

At this point, the wine looks very unappetizing — sludge-colored, cloudy, and that icky foam on top. Fear not: as the days progress, the wine will clear, the color will improve, and all the sludge will go to the bottom.

Here it is, labeled as directed, after a few days. Notice the solids, called lees, settling to the bottom. Notice that the foam has died down and that the color is improving.

All you have to do now is to clean up the kitchen and wait 3 [three] months for the next step. THE NEXT STEP IN THE PROCESS WILL BE IN 3 MONTHS. HOPE TO SEE YOU THEN.

Slow Days: Making Peach Wine, DYI DAY 1

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

On a Slow Day, you can drink wine with dinner. Why not make your own? THIS IS THE 2ND POST IN THIS SERIES.

On Day 1, we make a Starter Bottle of yeast mixture and prepare the peaches:

1 pint glass jar, sterilized
8 oz apple or orange juice
½ oz/ 4.5 tsp sugar
½ tsp yeast nutrient
Heat to boiling and put in the sterilized jar. I use a 1-pint canning jar with a ring.
Put a piece of cloth or paper towel over the top of the jar, then screw on the ring. Let it cool.
¼ tsp yeastOnce the liquid cools, add the yeast. Agitate the jar, cover again, and let sit until tomorrow.

Here is the Starter Jar. This gives the yeast a head start.

Prepare the peaches:
Camden Solution
the 2-gallon bucket/bowl with lid
Sterilize bucket by pouring in some Camden Solution and sloshing it around. Use a paper towel or your hands to make sure that the Solution touches every surface. Wash your hands. Pour any extra Solution back into its jar
2 quarts waterBring water to a boil.
2½ pounds whole, ripe peaches
nb: I’ve used white peaches, yellow free-stone peaches [Red Haven variety], and very red yellow peaches.
Don’t bother to peel the peaches, but if there are some bruises, remove them. Cut the peaches in half, remove the pits, then squish the peaches in your hands before they go into the bucket.
Pour boiling water over the peaches. This cooks the fruit a bit so it will release its juice. It also kills any germs or wild yeast on the fruit. Cover with a lid and put the bucket in a corner where it can cool for 12-24 hours.

Squished peaches covered with boiling water in the sterilized bucket. The covered bucket cools over night.

The next post in this series will be tomorrow [in one day].