Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mmm, Bacon Chocolate Fudge...

So, not exactly a period recipe by any shape of the means...but I found this amazing link for Bacon Chocolate Fudge today. The following video has the instructions on it, but I'll go ahead and write them out for you as well: http://presurfer.blogspot.com/2011/12/see-how-its-done-candied-bacon-fudge.html



To start, you're gonna wanna have the following items prepared in advance (the cooking/mixing process happens fast, so pre-measuring your ingredients will be key here) -

Food:
. 10-15 Strips of bacon (I used a hickory-smoked variety myself)
. 1 cup brown sugar
. 3/4 cup butter
. 3 cups White Sugar
. 2/3 cup evaporated milk
. 1 tbp vanilla extract
. semi-sweet baking chocolate (12 squares)
. 7 oz. Marshmellow creme

Cookware:
. 2 Cookie sheets, one covered in wax paper the other in foil
. 1 medium size pot
. 1 bread loaf or cake pan covered in wax paper
. Mixing wisk
. measuring cups
. thermometer

Step-by-Step -

Step 1) Coat your strips of bacon in the brown sugar, place each strip on a cookie sheet covered in parchment wax paper. Make sure both sides are coated evenly.
Step 2) Slide the bacon into a COLD oven, turning it on and setting it to 350 degrees. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until your desired style of bacon is ready (chewier bacon cooks less, crispier bacon cooks longer).
Step 3) Remove bacon from cookie sheet and transport to another surface covered with foil to cool, make sure to keep laid out in strips.
Step 4) Set your burner on high and in a separate pot mix in the butter, evaporated milk and sugar. Stir till it fully melts and blends together, it is critical that the temperature meets 234 degree's of your fudge mixture or else the other added ingredients later will not melt and blend properly.
Step 5) Take off heat and add the vanilla, chocolate and marshmellow creme. Stir together till all ingredients are melted and you have a standard blend of chocolate. The fudge should all be one color and uniform in texture.
Step 6) Layer your bacon in the cake pan prepped, then cover in fudge. Make this like a lasagna, starting with bacon then adding fudge then adding bacon.
Step 7) Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour, I left mine sit overnight.


Mine was still very sticky and mushy, not as solid as most fudges but this is my first attempt! It was still very yummy and so very rich, the bacon makes a unique contrast in flavor to the fudge.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Soundtrack

1) Life's a Happy Song - Staring: All
2) Every body wantsta be Acanthus - Staring: Moonshadow, Skyla, Michael, Eddy
3) I've got a Theory - Staring: Gypsy, Solomon, Noel, Cloud
4) Grim Grinning Ghosts - Staring: Bruja, Gauss
5) Tik Tock - Staring: Jason 13
6) Til I Hear you Sing - Staring: Sparrow
7) Going through the Motions - Staring: Asha
8) Party for One - Staring: Eucharist, Bowie
9) Pictures in my Head - Staring: Asha, Gypsy
10) Fireflies - Staring: Skyla
11) Man or Thyrsus - Staring: Jester, Cloud
12) Confrontation - Staring: Jacob, Marhime
13) Walk through the Fire - Staring: All
14) Dangerous Game - Staring: Lazarus, Christine
15) Mah Na Mah Na - Staring: All

IC: The flower of passion blooms even in the coldest depths of winter

He did not care about the foolish chink or his perverted club offerings. To care about such things was to invest emotion and precious inner flame to a path that bored and drolled onto endless sleep.

He did not care about the brain-rotted redcap, nor the sniveling Pooka who would cower and follow such a man. They were brutes and the victims of brutes, he could help neither and in fact would make good targets for a scam in the coming months.

He did not care about the state of the slums, nor its houses of broken dreams and whitewashed sin. He would use this place, feed his eternal flame within in their suffering if they would fall to his temptations.

He did care for the starved, for the scared. This was not their choice, they could not help what had happened to them and were desperate. They turned to the Brute, to the Betrayer, to the Lazy and to the Politician. They clung to anything that would support them, for they had no choice.

He remembered when he had made those same mistakes. He remembered it had cost his family and friends and entire plantation everything they had. He remembered the starved women and children, those in his old folly had condemned to death. He remembered his Oath to never stand for this again.

He felt that familiar flower begin to bloom within the soil of the soul, uncurling its blood-red petals slowly through his body till every inch of him thrummed with potential and inner flame. The flower needed pollen spread, water applied and soil replaced to grow lest it consume the poor mortal shell that contain it. He gazed upon the moon and let out the primal cry of his people from ages gone past.

"Soon."

Monday, December 12, 2011

A poem

I kinda felt the urge to write this today. No real reason, nothing inspired it. Its not as good as what they rest of you can do but...eh.

Hopefully you enjoy.

* * *

Honor

To fight for the glory of the Crown so near
Along lyst field one day I did proudly hear.
To fight for your Lady's most loving eye,
With chivalry and honor, that is the cry.

I did but pause, and hesitate
My armor twas old, in quite a state,
My body was soft and easily torn,
So I did not fight for honor that morn.

"My Lord" I did say with a small smile,
"My travels have taken me many a mile
I've gazed upon honor quite grand elsewhere.
And many a sight I can happily share."

"If combat and battle is yours to compare,
Let me tell you of honor and glory elsewhere.
Allow me to set a most dramatic scene,
Not often seen displayed in the fighting ring."

"I've seen metal cut deep and ink wells flow far
When battle-ready scribes bring honors to all.
I've seen wvyern, dolphin and triskel's yonder
Carved into vellum to illuminate your honor."

"I've seen fingers so nimble you'd swear them a thief,
With songs sung to bring laughter or even some grief.
They dance along skin, along wood, along string.
Throat dry as they sing your honors till birds ring."

"I've seen sharp blades slice and skin a hide quick
To battle a feast, wit so sharp as to nick.
These cookery generals heaping plates high
In honor of your triumphs, both this day and nearby."

"To each it is said, on our own we should find
That sacred home of honor in our mind.
For though combat guides you to honors homestead,
For me I find honor in your daily bread."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Food fun!

Hello folks, today's recipe and cooking experiments is making homemade pasta and ravioli's from period recipes :) I am cooking with my own Baroness today in her lovely home, and playing with her brand new pasta machine in the effort of creation.

We are using two different book in our pasta creation today, The Art of Cooking; The First Modern Cookery Book (original text from The Eminent Maestro Martino of Como and translated and annotated/redacted by Jeremy Parzan) for our period recipe and Good Eats Volume 2 for our modern interpretation of the pasta by Alton Brown. The reason we are using Good Eats Vol.2 is because the period recipe for pasta is, well..not there. The cookbook assumes you know how to make and craft your own pasta from scratch and is thus teaching you a new method of cooking with it and fillings. Most cook books that have survived to the modern day are not so much instruction manuals as we would see them today, they're a listing of what each dish was and what went into it. It was assumed that if you could read you were already an intelligent man/woman, and by the time you were working in a royal or noble house you have already learned how to do the basics like making pasta or breads and baked goods or know ow to measure and cut without instruction. This can on occasion make cooking difficult for these medieval recipes, but its a challenge I always love to handle.

We are attempting to make Ravioli for Non-Lenton Times, and using the Sicilian Macaroni recipe of pasta for the ravioli's. The idea will be to make 3 batches, one directly from Good Eats step-by-step and one each for myself and my Baroness to do our best and mix the period ingredients with to make our own blend of pasta. The recipe for the Sicilian Macaroni Pasta that we are using is as follows:

Take some very white flour and make a dough using egg whites and rose water, common water if you wish can substitute as well. Make sure the pasta is very firm.

From there the recipe for Ravioli for non-lenten times follows as such:

To make 10 servings: take a half a libra of aged cheese, and a little fatty cheese and a libra of fatty pork belly or veal teat and boil until it comes apart easily; then chop well and take some good, well-chopped herbs, and pepper, cloves, and ginger; and it would be even better if you added some ground capon breast; incorporate all these things together.Then make a thing sheet of pasta and encase the mixture in the pasta, a for other ravioli. These ravioli should not be any larger than half a chestnut, cook them in a capon broth or good meat broth that you have made yellow with saffron when it boils. Let the Ravioli simmer for the time it takes you to say the Lord's Prayer twice.
Serve in bowls, topped with grated cheese and sweet spices mixed together.

* * * *

OK, the first step is to make the good eats Pasta blend. We're simply following the instructions from Good eats Vol.2, page 12 for those following along at home :). The dough we make is pretty simple, our standard ravioli that I'm pretty happy with. We made two batches of that and have moved onto the rosewater based dough. 2 eggs, teaspoon of olive oil, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and 3 tablespoons of water was the liquid blend, then 10 ounces of flour was the solid blend.

Oh man...this is very very naughty. The rosewater and egg white combo is an amazing flavor, and its very rich and silky on the tongue. Mmm...I think we're gonna make many more batches... 3 egg whites, 3 pinches of salt, eough rosewater to cover the eggwhites (just a couple teaspoons) were the liquids for this and 11.5 unces of flour (give or take) was our solid blend.

The pasta machine was actually super easy to work with, I was surprised at how well it all worked out. The pasta was rolled out and we added a chicken/bacon/basil/cheese/rosemary spice blend to make the filling for the Ravioli. A small amount was placed inside the center line, we then used an egg wash to bond the two sections of Ravioli out and cut them into squares (nothing fancy today, this is an extperiment day!). The boiling of the pasta was pretty borning actually, put alas. I boiled until the pasta floated to the top and I did in fact say the Lord's Prayer twice as my counting measure.

I'm afraid I don't have any photo's...because I ate them already. They tasted amazing, the ravioli's were spot on and the filling made it oh so yum. Makes me wanna buy a pasta maker now!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A much needed trip

I just got back from Long Nights, an amazing event and a much needed weekend of rest and relaxation. I met several old friends there, I got to spend time with my "family" and even made a few new friends along the way. The weekend was a turbulent one, but always exciting and adventurous.

We arrived onto site later than I would have liked, stupid Google sent me to the wrong campground and I had to backtrack a bit to reach the right one. The new tent set up like a dream, it was very simple and very spacious even with 2 people and all my cooking gear/Art-Sci gear in tow. I went right away after getting dressed to start a fire as I had intended on cooking for my friends that night, frustratingly much of the wood was still fresh and very green. I'll admit that was the low point for me when I struggled with the fire just to get it past the kindling stage. Thankfully Baroness Ceridwen was willing to offer a hand and soon we got the fire piping hot and burning bright.

The rest of the crew arrived not too long after, and just in time as I had managed to get the coals smoking hot. I did a mushroom and onion soup with pasta added, bread provided by Ever and grilled bratwurst with apples and onions. Nice and simple camp food :). I managed to find the Baron of Marcaster and present him with my gift to him in thanks for hosting the event, and he seemed to like it! We found ourselves up in the Feast hall with Crissy, we went about helping her do feast prep. I worked on and finished up my Art/Sci project, being a perfectionist and having tiny panic attacks the whole time, and we all finally found sleep around 12:30am.

My brain tricked me the next morning, it told me that I had turned my alarm clock off and it was time to get up. I sit up, feeling awake and refreshed to find its an hour earlier than I had meant to wake up...damn my brain! On the bright side, I got to enjoy a lovely shower without worrying about a line and was dressed and in the kitchen first thing, doing my best to try and be helpful and get things going. I goofed a bit by trusting instructions on a box instead of experience with the machine, but we all gotta make mistakes sometime right? I relaxed and then headed out to the lyst field where the Art/Sci was being set up to set up my display for my revamped Mylates of Pork.

I had the honor of being judged by two Laurels, one of whom has a distinct reputation of being an amazingly skilled cook. Both gave me tons of great feedback on my project, several individuals complimented me on my project and many recognized it from Baronial Bash and gave me kudo's and compliments on the latest batch. After that I got to spend the whole rest of the day in the Kitchen working on feast. Yay! I rolled up my sleeves, tied on my new red Apron and dived right into the fray.

My first work was the hummus, I made a crap top of that and it was super yummy. I then moved onto the kabobs, spearing the beef sections and having a lovely talk with a gentleman across the way from me who offered to help. We then moved onto dressing chicken breast, trimming the fat and cutting into edible sections. I went to grab the rest of my Art/Sci display when judging was finished, and we wrapped up the veggie kabobs and began to work on plating for the appetizer course. The battles ran late, adn thus Court and Feast would be delayed, so we started the kabob's cooking early so they would not overcook in the warming container. Man, let me tell you that grill was horrid to work with and I burned the hell out of my left hand...but thankfully with the help of two other lovely women we were able to get the kabob's a workin'.

I was deep into the beef kabob's when Ever comes back into the kitchen calling for me. I had apparently been summoned in court by their Excellencies, and everyone was waiting on me. I froze, and instinctively said "no!" I was covered in cooking mess, sleeves wrapped up, hand wrapped up to cool the burn and my other hand was covered in bloody yogurt. Ever gave me a look and said my name again, which means no more arguing so I quickly cleaned my free hand and made the walk up to the thrones. I'll admit I was terrified, as I always am, and my mind completely blanked as to why they had asked for me. I was given both the Crown's Acclaim and the People's Acclaim for my Art/Sci project, something I feel deeply honored to receive.

I admit...I was a bit unnerved with the King's directness. When it was announced that I had been honored with the Crown's Acclaim he very directly said (while staring at me and grinning) "King liked your pie!". He followed it with "Populous liked your pie" when I was honored with the Peoples Acclaim as well.

Feast went amazing, Crissy was phenomenal in the kitchen and a real treat to work with. After Feast I had my helm checked, turns out this helmet I've had for nearly 8 years is actually a legal SCA helm and it just needs some cleaning to be used! Score! Bardic circle after that was wonderful, tons of good song and poems and I did ever so love hearing Garcia's tales of his Highness in the days of yesteryear. I crashed early, exhausted from the day, but not before saying goodbyes and goodnights to many of the lovely folk.

Sadly, Sunday was a day of packing and returning to the present day. I was speaking with Baron Rurik about my helm and how excited I was, and he reminded me of a conversation I had had with him and a lovely older woman so long ago. Her husband had died shortly before I first began to explore the SCA, and she wanted to donate his armor onto a person who would cherish it and put it to good use. We had talked about me possibly picking up the armor from her, but events occurred to lead me away from the SCA until recently. Rurik still had all the old armor, it just needed cleaning and I was more than welcome to inherit it if I so chose to get it from him. I am incredibly touched and honored, and hope to bring honor to the memory of the man who's armor I will soon take into battle for King and Country.

All in all...great weekend :). I've been refreshed and feel inspired, already working on a filk song and a short story to boot!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

*cues the Rocky music*

Success!

I finally have a pie crust! From scratch! That doesn't suck!

In your face 14th century. Your pork pie is going down...stomachs that is.

Long Nights regional Art/Sci, here I come!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reflection

Looking back sometimes can be rough, but a healthy part of living I feel. Looking back upon huge moments that affect a life is refreshing at times but also can be stressful and generally heavy.

My grandmother passed away yesterday at 9:17am in the morning. She simply fell asleep and did not wake back up, her last hours were pain free and relaxing as her body simply let go. I was never particularly close to my grandmother, I'll be the first to say I didn't like her but she was family and she was loved nonetheless. She was one of the first people in my life, literally right after the doctors and my parents she was there. My grandmother has been a stable and pointed fact in my life for these last 25 years, and quite suddenly she's gone. I said all my goodbyes when I left New Port Richey over 7 years ago, she and many others I did not ever need to see again to live a happy life. But I am still moved at her passing, at the woman who first taught me to plant and grow and garden. This woman who taught me to cook and combine spices, which lead to a passion that fills me completely.

The person you are today is a mash-up of your life experiences, both good and bad. My grandmother who has passed on was a big and important role in many of my life experiences, for good or for ill. If you enjoy the person that I am today, raise a glass in respect for the woman who helped me along my both.

We may not have always gotten along, but you know I always ahve and will love you Grandma.

 - Chris

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

IC: A quiet moment aboard the ship.

Jolan quickly made his way back to the ship, sealing the airlock with a relived sigh. He had barely spent time off the ship, just long enough to gather supplies and price check while the sky was still dark. A small shiver runs up his spine as he shies his eyes away from the singular piece of hull still for repairs and quickly heads to his bunk to seek the solace of darkness and cool metal beneath his hands.

In the past 48 hours his life had been shaken and were it not for his space-legs he may have had far worse of an outburst than a simple punch to Yardley. His long-dead sister comes back into his life, the man whom took her for whatever reason is his Nav-Com, his boss is an alien robot and the ship councilor is a mutant. Jolan wished he could shake his unsettled feelings towards the Captain but he couldn't get over the fact all this was going on aboard without his knowledge. If he had been an ivosch aboard a Fleet ship...

No, he wasn't aboard a Fleet ship and he had to get used to that idea. Maybe that was his big issue, he wasn't home. This ship was beautiful no doubt, a dream come true to any young Vosch who had ambitions of becoming a Fleet mechanic. The crew was full of stories and he knew that in the years to come he would spend so much time laughing, crying and loving with them all fiercely. His sister was just as beautiful as he remembered, and she looked so much like his mother. Adventure was on the horizon and in his mind he knew he made a good choice.

But still.

There was no singing as the ship launched, nor were the sounds of laughter and life echoing from the halls. The lack of pitter-patter of small children was like a void in his heart, the missing sounds of the cook chasing tonight's dinner around the mess hall made his breath catch. There was no sense of history or family for him, no paintings or fabrics from a cousin's mothers uncles wife. Stories weren't being told over the glow of a fuel cell, and there was no silent dancing through the zero-g fields. Everything that made Jolan feel at home was not here, no matter how hard he tried to fill it and put it there himself. No one would give a friendly touch or comforting hug, no one would fight with him when angry or cry with him when upset. Even his sister, the vain hope he clung to that she would be just like any other Vosch, couldn't stand his touch to be awoken by or didn't want to spend personal time with him to learn and just be near each other.

Jolan stared up at the soft red fabric draped above his bun to help him feel more enclosed. On this busy planet, with billions of travelers in and out, and crammed into an old ship with minimal personal space at best...he had never felt more alone.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

SCA Recipe of the day: Glazed Toast

OK, this is part 2 of a combo dish I'm doing for the House meal on December 5th. This part is the Glazed Toast. This is a dish from 14th century Germany, gathered form a collection of camp cook recipes by the wonderful kingdom of Drachenwald (this collection of recipes and more can be found at http://www.drachenwald.sca.org/index_new.php )



The following is the original translation:

Pour faire Tostees dorees, prenez du pain blanc dur et le trenchiez par tostees quarees et les
rostir ung pou sur le grail; et avoir moyeulx d'oeufz batuz et les envelopez tres bien dedans
iceulx moyeulx; et avoir de bon sain chault et les dorer dedans sur le feu tant qu'elles soient
belles et puis les oster dedans la paelle et mettez es platz, et du succre dessus.

The redaction and translation is as follows:

To make glazed toast, slice hard white bread into squares for toast, and roast them lightly on
the grill, and coat them completely with beaten egg yolks; get good hot grease and glaze them
in it on the fire until they are properly glazed; then take them out of the pan and put them on
plates, with sugar over top.
6 slices dry white bread
6 egg yolks (or 2 whole eggs)
oil or butter
sugar

Remove the crust from the bread slices and, if they are not sufficiently dry, lightly toast them before
the fire. Beat the egg yolks. Heat a little oil or butter in a pan, soak the toast slices in the egg and fry
them golden brown on both sides. Serve warm, with sugar sprinkled over the top. This can also be
served with savoury soups, leaving out the sugar.


* * * *

Oh yes, medieval french tost :p. This came out really well, the pre-toasting made these look a touch darker than I'd like but we'll hope that the flavor comes thru just fine. I cut the bread in half to spread the wealth as it were, in hopes that everyone will get a shot to nibble on.

Some of the bread came a little too well done, but that's ok. It tastes very yummy, and the strawberries added on compliments it very well. I'd say another B+

SCA Recipe of the day: Strawberry Puree

OK, this is part 1 of a combo dish I'm doing for the House meal on December 5th. This part is the puree of strawberries. his is a dish from 14th century Germany, gathered form a collection of camp cook recipes by the wonderful kingdom of Drachenwald (this collection of recipes and more can be found at http://www.drachenwald.sca.org/index_new.php )




The original translation is as follows:


Item Schlah Erper durch mit weissem prot vnd mit hönigk, vnd thue essich vnd wein
daran vnd guot gewürcz. Das haist ein Erper muoß.


The translation and redaction from the text are as follows:


Pass strawberries through a sieve with white bread and honey, and add vinegar and wine and
good spices. That is called strawberry puree.
500g (1 lb) strawberries
1-2 slices white bread
honey
white wine vinegar
dry wine
spices (ginger,pepper, cloves)

Even if you do not have a sieve, strawberries mash easily. Boil them with a dash of vinegar and/or
wine and add the white bread, torn into small pieces, to thicken the dish. Stir constantly to prevent it
from burning until the bread has completely dissolved. You can pass the puree threough a sieve or
foodmill if you want it to be particularly smooth. Remove it from the fire and add honey and spices
to taste. It can be served hot or cold.


* * * *


OK, I don't have a sieve...but I do have my guest assistant to help me mash up all the strawberries! Meet my special assistant Juliana:




She's helped me make butter before, but now she's giving me guidance on mashing strawberries and even taking a hand in it herself :p The strawberries mashed well, I added the vinegar and dry white wine (called Prosecco for those curious) for preservation and cooking purposes.


Oh man, all the stirring. I think I stirred for almost 20 minutes, I have several lovely burns on my hand and face but I feel it was worth it! I added a pinch of cinnamon and clove for the smell, along with the rest of the spices. Man oh man does it smell good and it tastes pretty good too. Definetly something I'd serve on the side of instead as a whole dish. B+ from me!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SCA Recipie of the Day: Sausage and Apples with Onions

This is a dish from 14th century Germany, gathered form a collection of camp cook recipes by the wonderful kingdom of Drachenwald (this collection of recipes and more can be found at http://www.drachenwald.sca.org/index_new.php )



The original translation follows as such:

Wildu ein gemacht wurst machen, so henk di wurst in ein rauch und brat si
dann und mach dann ein ziseindel dar uber mit zwifeln oder mit opfeln etc.

The redaction and translation provided by the chef is as follows:

If you wish to make a made sausage, hang it in the smoke and then roast it and add a sauce of
apples or onions etc.

4-6 bratwurst sausages
2-3 apples
2-3 onions
butter or oil for frying
salt
pepper
If you like smoky flavour, you can suspend the sausages over the fire for a while before you prepare
them. Peel, core and dice the apples, peel and dice the onions. Fry the sausages in a pan. Once they
are browned, add the apples and onions and cook the whole till they soften and the sausages are
done. Season to taste – salt and pepper only are fine.


* * * * *

I am sadly not cooking over an open fire (yet) so I will be adding a touch of liquid smoke to try and emulate the flavor. I'll also be reducing the recipe for one person, so only 1 sausage and less on the onions and apples.

By the by, I find I remember how much I HATE peeling vegetables and fruit during this. Alas. The sausage is browning nicely and a wonderful smell is drifting through the kitchen of cooking meat. I added the apples and onions and turned it down a touch, I added a pinch of cinnamon on impulse so we'll hope it goes well over with the whole dish! I went ahead and chopped the sausage up halfway through the cooking process, it seemed to make sense to me that that's how they would serve such a dish so I did an early cut to increase saturation of the juice and flavors into the meat.

OK, meal is off the stove-top and boy-oh-boy does it look yummy. I like my sausage a little blackened so I cooked mine a touch longer than you normally would, but man does it smell heavenly.

...

OK, wow. Like...this is amazing. The apple/cinnamon/onion combo blends so well with the smoked flavors and salt/pepper of the sausage. Its like a party in my mouth, and everyone's invited! The onion and apple are soft and smooth and glide down the throat with the cooked meat, mixing perfectly with the whole dish. This...oh fuck I need to make this more often!

Seeing as mustard was a pretty standard German/period condiment I went ahead and added a bit of the only kind I have in the house (spicy brown, for those curious). I do say the mustard compliments this dish amazingly well, but the spiciness of the mustard distracted from the rich flavor off the apples and onions. Maybe a honey mustard or a standard brown would go better with this, but I would recommend against the spicy brown as it takes away from the flavors already added.

The only drawback I see with this is I will have an abundance of the onion/apple sauce left over after the meat is consumed. I'm told that traditionally that would be saved for other dishes to use as a baster or a marinade, and I believe it! A definite A+ from me folks, do try this one at home whenever you get a chance.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oh, 9 hours can just fly right by...

I wish I had gotten to spend the whole weekend at MMM, but sadly I was only able to spend about 9 hours. Turns out the site is only about an hour or so away from my work, so I daytripped out there and left around 4pm. Overall I had a really fun experience!

So...I didn't sleep the night before. I had a request to bake shortbread and a rough day at work meant that I could use some kitchen therapy time to relax. However I knew if I stayed up baking shortbread I wouldn't really sleep that night, and just making little circles for 4 hours seemed hella boring. In a tiny fit of madness, I decided to make designs and shapes to pass the time, maybe even different colors with food dye. Several people have been really awesome to me and my friends as well as a real inspiration, so I decided to make heraldic devices out of shortbread. I personally, due to lack of sleep and a general crankiness, was unhappy with them at first and embarrassed that they looked horrible. I didn't wanna give these awesome and nice people a bad gift! Photo's below of the finished product!





Those along with about 30 pieces of shortbread later...it was 6am and time for the long drive! I met Sarah at my work, she was nervous but excited to attend her first event. Troll was very welcoming and happy to see us, I always love when we get nice and happy people at troll because it's just a great way to start the event. Warmly welcomed we shuffled our way into registration and then down to camp. 3/4 of everyone were still dead asleep when we arrived, so dropping off the shortbread for later distribution I decided to give Sarah a tour of the campgrounds. I heard the good news at Lana getting belted at the next Kingdom event, I can't think of a more deserving person for such an honor. We ran into Ever and decided to go a'wandering together because she needed help with waterpoint set-up. On our way we encountered a lovely dressed gentleman having issues with his pavilion set-up so we offered to help to make it all less stressful. After the pavilion was all nice and grand and waterpoint was set up nicely I had Ever escort me into the Farflung camp so I could give my first gift.

I'll admit I was incredibly nervous, I know my face was red and I was rambling a bit, but I gave my gift to Rurik and Ceridwen in thanks for how nice and friendly and a real inspiration they've been to me. Ceridwen insisted on showing everyone at camp and giving me public praise at the camp fire, I couldn't do much but bow and look down. I just feel weird about public praise...I mean, I didn't make them the gift to get attention so I always worry people will think such about me. Thankfully I was able to escape the camp with some of my dignity intact and not doing any stammering while talking :p

Lana took Sarah to get her properly dressed while Jake and Kaoru accompanied me to visit his Majesty. He's been a really big inspiration to my friends and I, a great first King for some and a great King to come back to for others. A real role model for honor and chivalry, and I was highly embarrassed to be wearing such threads around him while giving him the gift. He was really pleased and happy about it though, and I was glad to be able to do it before he was in public. After that we made our way to the lyst field for processional of the Crown Lyst. We met up with the womenfolk and watched the parade of wonderfully dressed knights and warriors, there was some snarky political discuession going on to my left that I avoided very simply by moving away.

I got a new hat! I'll get a photo taken at the next event for you to see the current outfit, it's a work in progress sadly. There was more wandering and hanging around, met some new friends and reconnected with others while we looked for their Excellencies of Darkwater and Wyvrnwoode. We eventually found both and I offered both parties my simple gifts, their Excellencies of Wyvernwoode made jokes on how tasty wyverns were while my own Baron joked that next time I should do a device totally in bacon. Jake participated in the Poet Laureate competition, I thought he did wonderfully even if he forgot a stanza (unless you knew the poem you couldn't tell, so it came off really well!). After that we did tours of the archery range, Sarah expressed an interest in that next time, and ended up doing some impromptu retaining for their Excellencies while they had lunch and attended a Laurel meeting :p.

Sadly we had to leave by then and go back to work. I had a great time at my mini-event trip, and like always felt renewed and ready to tackle-dive into my SCA work. Now if only I could have more meeting days off ;).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christmas Wishlist of DOOM!

As is tradition, I like to provide a Christmas wishlist for all of those people who inquire or wish to do any gift-giving towards me this upcoming season. Likewise, if you would like one of my delightfully made Christmas cards or a gift, do let me know your address or provide me with a similar list :)


Electronics:

. XBox 360
. PS3
. New Laptop battery
. Blackberry Cellphone Charger
. Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (PS3 or 360)
. World of Warcraft game-time cards
. iPad
. Digital camera
. iPod Touch
. Skylander (Wii)
. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)
. External drive
. Flash drive

Clothing:

. White tee-shirts (large)
. Khaki shorts (36 waist)
. Socks!
. Fabric for making clothing with (white, blue, red, brown, green and black preferred)
. Elbow pads
. Catcher greeves
. Leather boots (preferably in a 14th century style)

Books:

. Mage: The Awakening Minds Eye Theater addition
. Banisher (Mage: the Awakening supplement book)
. Seers of the Throne (Mage: the Awakening supplement book)
. Forme of Cury
. Wolfheart
. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (hardback)

Media:

. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger tides (DVD)
. Lord of the Rings Extended edition Fellowship of the ring (DVD)
. Howl's Moving Castle (DVD)
. Troll Hunter (DVD)
. The Lion King (DVD)
Captain America; The First Avenger (DVD)

Miscelanious:

. Basic weight lifting set
. Sticks of Rattan
. Decks of playing cards
. Saffron
. Grains of Paradise
. Cubeb
. Kiddie pool (big plastic ones)
. Potting soil
. Onion, Green pepper, basil, rosemary or sage seeds
. Camping lantern
. Fire pit
. Razors
. Gift cards to Wal-Mart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Books-a-Million, Michaels or Jo-Anne's

Monday, November 7, 2011

SCA Meal time!

So tonight I did my first stab at a full SCA-style meal. The dinner broke down as such:

First Course -
. Italian Bread with olive oil (Italian item for Kaoru's persona)
. May Eggs spiced with Powdered Fort and stuffed with Cinnamon Bread (french item for Lana's persona)

Second Course -

. Mushroom Stew (German item for mine and Becky's persona)

Third Course -

. Mylate's of Pork (english dish for Jake and Brit's persona)

Fourth Course -

. Celtic Shortbread (because everyone loves shortbread)

First Course info:

The bread was purchased from Publix, the may eggs were actually my first recipe tried and (almost) perfected the second time around! The spice blend was delightful, the eggs not cooked as I would have liked but till done proper. Next time I need to allow them to cook a tiny bit longer before pulling them out to drain the yoke because I lost a fair bit of white to the lack of better cooking.

Second Course info:

The mushroom stew was supposed to have onions as well, but I had thought one of my friends didn't like onions so I left them out. Silly me, they actually do like them >.<. It was still good anyway, it was from a German recipe book on various camp-style items found by Mistress Madhavi. Only criticism was the lack of onions, so I call it a success!

Third Course info:

I did my best to stick as period as possible with this one. Using a white cheddar cheese instead of parmesan and even making my own pie crust! The pie crust was finally correct, but I didn't spread it thin it enough so the crust was very thick and sections of it didn't cook all the way through. The spice mixture was amazing and the cheese tasted ever so yummy.

Fourth Course info:

This was seriously the best shortbread I've ever made. Like...fuck. It was absolutely perfect, and I don't think I'll ever make a better shortbread cookie. Chrissy says that its because it's cold outside and that helps, all I know is that it works amazingly well and they were goddamned perfect.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Man, I had a great time at Baronial Bash!

So this past weekend was Baronial Bash. It was my third event since coming back and I did have a lot of fun here despite the smaller cam size. I did have some very bad news hit me about an hour before court, but I don't feel like going into that here. Needless to say, if you feel the need to ask, ping me in private.


Now on to happier things!

We arrived onto site on Friday night, it took a little longer to arrive than we desired mostly due to traffic and pie baking on my behalf. Dave was super helpful at troll and we were able to get unloaded and to our cabin with relative ease. I chatted with Chrissy a bit before changing into real clothes, and decked out in garb I sought out adventure! I found Ever and had intended on sharing with her a slice of my Art/Sci project (I made two, one for general eating) but talking and chit chat kept us distracted until the Baroness of Wyvernwoode mentioned she hadn't eaten that night. Ever passed her slice over to the Baroness who was quite taken with the pie, so that made me feel good! Ever also gifted me with a wonderful cookbook of medieval french and Italian meals so now I have more things to play with.

Ever and I made our way into the kitchen to store my Art/Sci project where I once again ran into Chrissy hard at work making bread for the next days feast. There was some idle chit chat going on at first, then next thing I knew I was helping Chrissy make the various breads and getting cooking lessons! We spent nearly five hours kneading dough, grinding rosemary and making the bread while all the while the lovely woman was walking me through quietly with instructions and tips. As always its an honor to be allowed to work with such talented indiviudals and I really feel my chops tightening as a chef because of it!

Their Majesties requested breakfast at 8am so after only 5 hours of sleep I was wide awake and bouncing my way to the kitchen again (much to the chagrin of my cabin-mates). I managed to beat the breakfast cook into the kitchen by 15 minutes, he was confused at my level of perky and to be fair so was I. Breakfast was simple, sliced fruit (apples, oranges and banana's) as well as a breakfast braid of apple, gravy, sausage and various spices using some of the bread we made the night before. I snagged a couple slices for my housemates to entice them out of bed, then Lana and I were off to Art/Sci with our projects in tow and our hearts on the line.

The Art/Sci showing was small, only four entries total, but they were all very good! Besides Lana's scroll and my Mylate of Pork entry there was a woodcarving relief and a viking wedge tent on display. I personally thought the wedge tent and woodcuts were amazing, and thought for sure they'd win something! My judges were fairly cool, I was able to learn a lot fro mistakes I didn't know I was making and the compliments on my successes really invigorated me. Thankfully the judges were patient in explanations and receiving the judging forms in return really will help me to improve my project to become even more period correct and yummy!

After the Art/Sci we went to go cheer Jake on in his first fencing list. It was a very exciting time, and all of the fighters really looked marvelous! The first list was the Don Porthos Memorial Tournament, which raised 500 dollars to support the widow of the late Don. It was a touching display of Chivalry and Honor, and Jake was super awesome during it. He did not win his two bouts, but he did give respect and fought with honor including sacrificing his right arm (and thus his victory) to be honorable to his opponent. Yay Jake! As I was once again leaving for the kitchen Chrissy gave me a token of her appreciation for all the work, a fleur de lis from her dress! I was so touched by the display, I gave her two hugs.

Wearing my new token over my heart, I quickly dived back into kitchen work for the Feast in just 5 hours. The next course I worked on was the lasagna, a vegetarian dish with no meat to compliment all the meat in the rest of the meal. Instead of a whole pan I took each individual noodle and smothered one side in spinach/ricotta cheese blend, rolled into a tube and set upright in a dish of tomato sauce to smother then in cheese and spices. I wrapped 128 of these suckers, then moved onto making the garlic knots (again using dough from the night before and the garlic sauce I made to taste). After this was basic clean up, carving of the corned beef and setting the garlic knots to bake while court happened which Baroness Gryphone insisted I attend on her behalf.

Court was lovely, there was a guy kinda acting out and I wish it had been treated a bit more seriously but I guess you get whatcha get sometimes! It was nice to see all those who had won various lists and awards receive recognition, a young man received his Award of Arms and another fine gentleman I've had the pleasure of cooking with before received his Grant of Arms. It was an exciting time! When it came to Art/Sci awards Lana won both the Peoples Acclaim and the Crowns Acclaim, which I felt were both well deserved. I found myself winning Coronets Acclaim for my Mylates of Pork entry, which took me by surprise because I didn't expect to win anything. Not only did I receive a wonderful scroll (my first!) but we were also gifted with dirt from the Battle of Agincourt, which made my heart stop a bit just from the sheer historical value of such.

After Court came the Feasting! Oh man, so much food. First course was the rosemary bread with either a butternut squash or split-pea soup. Roasted vegetables were the next course with a choice of onion, potato or carrots basted in citrus. Third course were the roasted chicken. Fourth course was the lasagna and garlic knots. Fifth course was corned beef with basted potatoes covered in cheese. Sixth course was the first desert, a seven layer butter pound cake soaked with rum and smothered in chocolate sauce. The seventh and last course was a bread pudding (with or without raisins) and hard sauce. Sadly the Baroness of An Crossira took ill and could not attend feast so I made sure to deliver her the various courses as they arrived.

At the end of the night was dancing! There was good drinking to be had, and I learned two new dances with someone I hop to become a new friend. It was nice to chit chat with various folks, see all the unique costumes and of course all the drinking! I chatted up various meat cooking with those on the grill for midnight meat, danced several rounds with some wonderful folk and generally enjoyed myself.

All in all, a great event. Now to get back to work on cooking :p

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Butter!!





I made butter!!!

Not much to say about it all, lol. It was a terribly simple recipe, thanks to help from my friends Kristy and Ever I quickly assembled the butter-making ingredient: heavy whipping cream. I poured the heavy whipping cream into a tupperware dish and shook for...gods, forever I think. It hit whip cream (I sampled, twas yummy) and I kept shaking till I hard a splashing around. The butter and buttermilk had separated, yayayaya!

Now I have butter, and will be baking late tonight when I make shortbread with it for tomorrow's meeting.

Weee!

Friday, September 16, 2011

SCA Recipe of the day: Florentine Style Meat on Pasta

This is a bit more complex of a recipe than I have made before, Italian food tends to be heavy on the spice to change the flavor of the same ingredients, so we'll see how this one comes out when it's all done :)

  •  1-2 lbs. beef sirloin roast, cut into fist size pieces
  • 1/2- 3/4 onion
  • 1/8 cup prunes
  • 1/8 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch saffron
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup verjuice
Lay meat in a baking dish. Cover with fruit, salt, and liquids. The liquids should be no more than a finger's-width deep in the dish. Put in the oven at 350 degrees. When the meat is half cooked (about 20-30 minutes) flip the meat over and add spices and sugar. Cook another 20-30 minutes, or until completely cooked.

* * * * *


First change to the recipe is the lack of verjuice. I replaced it with an extra helping of red wine so the finished product is going to come out sweeter than expected.  The meat is a bit more than the recipe called for (feeding 7 tonight) so I increased the recipe amount as far as spices went to compensate. I'm feeding a larger ground than I'm used to, so I admit I'm a bit nerous about screwing up dinner :p. The noodle water is started at the halfway point, because I remember how slow this pan boils water. I'm making an alfredo sauce to go on the side, incase anyone here does not want to have the red wine sauce.

At the halfway point I added the rest of spice with ease. It smelled wonderful so far, and I cannot wait for it to be finished!!

OK, this smells and looks amazing. The noodles are cooked al dente as is traditional italian pasta and the beef is thick and juciy. Because I'm eating with other people, I'm gonna have them give their opinion of the dish.

Simon - Ridiculously tasty. Goes perfectly with a Lindemans Merlot 2006

Kaoru - This came out excellently. I would have cooked the meat a little bit less as it was a little tough, but the clove scent was gorgeous without being overpowering in the flavor.

Troy - The beef had a very light and pleasant grape flavor that enhanced the flavor of the beef.  I don't like red wine and the red wine was only an aftertaste on the outside of the beef and didn't overpower the flavor at all. 

Char - Very good, would have liked a thicker sauce, even though it's not period :p

Dave - The meal overall was fantastic, the steak was cooked to a medium though still fork tender. The wine sauce could have been reduced down a little bit more to concentrate the flavors. A schnitzel would substitute perfectly too.

Lana - I would have liked a bit thicker sauce and thinner noodles for better coverage but the flavor was excellent for both the sauce and the beef.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Things I Have Learned Today

I seemed to have learned some valuable life lessons today, I thought I would share.

. Honey boils faster than water. Like...30 second boil time, as in "Oh, let me pour myself a glass of V8 Splash and hey whats that burning smell?"
. Trust your instincts when it comes to something your good at. My eye and fingers said I added enough breadcrumbs, but I was blindly following the recipe and thus ruined the whole batch of Gyngerbrede.
. Honey is a fucking bitch to get off a glass stovetop.
. I have a bad habit of getting riled up about silly things. I need to learn to find my calm and center again.
. It is possible to overprepare at work, espessially when the planned rush never occurs.
. I've not wasted time, I'm not a failure and most importantly I am amazing.
. I have a wonderful set of friends to be amazing with, if only I would share with them more.
. Burned honey smells horrible.

Friday, September 9, 2011

SCA Recipe of the day: Mylates of Pork

This is the first real meal recipe I've attempted from a period stance, this is another English recipe from the 14th century. I really enjoyed making this one, because I had to make a brand new spice!


2 - 3 lbs. cooked pork
4 eggs
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1 1/2 tsp. powder fort
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch saffron
pastry for a double-crust pie 

Cut pork into approximately 1 inch pieces. Combine with eggs, cheese, pine nuts and spices in a large bowl. Mix well and place into bottom crust. Cover with top crust and bake at 350° until golden brown - about 30 minutes. Serve either hot or cold.

You'll notice a recipe ingredient called powder fort, its kinda like a medieval Adobe. The recipie for such a blended spice is included below:

3 Tbsp. ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cubebs
1 tsp. grains of paradise
1 tsp. black pepper

* * *

OK, this is really a nice recipe and I enjoyed making this one. I pre-cooked the pork and didn't spice it, I didn't wanna counter any of the spice that I used in the pie itself. The fort mixed well, it was a bit sticky to blend all the items together but tat was an easy clean-up. I went with a pre-baked crust because I haven't made one in a long time and I didn't wanna mess this up. It all fit into the pie nicely, I was bit worried but I had success!

Thirty minutes later, the pie has come out of the oven. The crust is not as golden brown as it could be, but that's because I didn't egg wash it  It smells wonderful, the crust crumbled a bit but I believe that's because I cut it and sliced it fresh hot. The crust should hold up stronger if left to chill (and this can in fact be served cold). 

Oh man. Oh man...this tastes amazing. Even the pinch of Saffron I added can be tasted, the fort blended so well with the crust and everytime tastes so...yum. A++.

I'm gonna go back to eating. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

SCA Recipe of the day: Celtic Shortbread


For those of you keeping score at home this is a proper food recipe that is not overly complex because it is not French ;)After the May Eggs from yesterday, I decided to try and make a dessert style recipe. The shortbread recipe I used today has been used in several SCA Feasts,  and is from a 16th Century English cookbook.

  • 1 cup butter -- softened
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 300° F. Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour, 1/3 cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed. (Do not overbeat!) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until rounds are just firm to the touch. Yield: 16.

I'm personally not a fan of dark brown sugar so I went with the light version (not as period correct, I know...but if I'm eating these I want them to taste good!) Creaming the butter was a touch difficult, I don't have a electric mixer on hand that works (because my last one broke in a freak baking accident) so I did it by hand. The flour was a bit tricky, forming the dough but not getting it too fluffy was a bit of a waiting game. Thankfully I learned from yesterday not to keep my eyes off the dish, and mixed utill it went smooth. My formation of the dough yielded me 18 instead of 16, I experimented with various sizes till I found one I was happy with.

Now to toss in the oven! If you want to experience the same wait I did earlier, go ahead and wait 25-30 minutes before reading the next section.

* * *


OK, all done! Did you enjoy the wait?

The shortbread has come out of the oven, just as the coloring and texture says it should have from the cookbook. It looks and smells wonderful! The shortbread has a rich thickness to it, wonderful really and its very filling. Though I should try to avoid eating while still scalding hot...hmm...Regardless, shortbread by itself I would call a rousing success, a solid A.


Now to get creative!

Shortbread itself isn't a singular meal or desert item, it is often eaten with other items or various toppings. For this creative experiment, I'm taking 4 from my pile of 16 (I ate two,  hush) and adding various toppings. Shortbread #1 will be sprinkled with sugar, Shortbread #2 will be drizzled with honey, Shortbread#3 will be smeared with Jam and Shortbread#4 will be plain.

Shortbread w/ sugar is not too bad at all! The shortbread has cooled to get the proper amount of crumble to it, the sugar is a subtle but still yummy addition to the shortbread itself. Another solid A! Shortbread w/ honey just smells yummy, before I can even taste it I want it in my mouth from sight and smell alone! It tastes wonderful, my only issue in eating it is with is the mess factor. Honey is very messy and sticky, this would not go over well for the purposes of shortbread...though its still so yum. For sheer mess factor, this is gonna get dropped down to a B. Shortbread w/jam...holy crap! This stuff is amazing, I allowed the jam to melt while the shortbread cooled, so its an even and thing layer across the top...OMFG is this crap amazing. I wanna go buy like...a dozen jams and just smear the shit outta these things now. A+, a solid A+ from me. I kinda feel bad for the plain shortbread now, its so lonely and unjammed...

Ah well. I learned some great things on this recipe, and as always will improve upon my failures to make even more amazing food!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

SCA Recipe of the day: May Eggs

6 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. tarragon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 slice white bread

Place six eggs into a pan of cold water and bring to a boil. After they've been boiling for 3 minutes, remove from heat, and chill rapidly in ice water.

Carefully cut a half inch hole in the shell at the large end of the egg. Cut through the white with the tip of a knife to expose the yolk. Remove the yolk and put it into a bowl (a turkey baster or syringe works well for this). Repeat with remaining eggs.

Mix the six egg yolks together with the extra one, add spices and return to egg shells. Plug the whole in each egg with a small piece of white bread. Place in pan of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and chill in ice water for 2 minutes. Then remove the eggs immediately from the water, dry them off, and carefully remove the shell.

* * * * 
Oh France, making things needlessly complicated since the 1500's! This is my first attempt at a period-based recipe, so obviously there was some trial and error. the eggs pre-boiled a touch too long, so I did not get as much yoke from each egg as I would have preferred. I think the trick there is that each stovetop is gonna have different heat settings, and just to keep careful eye on the water.

I tried to mix in a bit extra egg yoke to compensate for what I lost, though I think the mixture was still a little less than needed as I ended up with a thicker spice blend. A well, lesson learned! :) I left out the tarragon and substituted with onion powder, because I love onions, and I stuffed with wheat bread instead of white as I felt that was more "period correct" for what would have been added.

Feeling creative once completed, I dusted each egg with a different topping to try and see how that would work! One egg has a small coating of freshly shredded cheese, another a thin dribble of honey, a third with a small sprinkle of sugar and the last just plain.

OK, upon eating I can tell its a bit too much spice with the yoke content as assumed. Still really good, but I should have scaled back on the spice to match the yoke ratio. First egg I would rate as a B-. Cheese egg has a similar issue, the sharpness of the shredded cheese is heightening the spice so it's not all that great sadly. I'm sure cheese egg would be better with a yoke ratio higher, but its a D+. Sugar egg...ugh. That was a poor choice, the sweetness and the rough spiciness does not go well in the slightest so this egg is most definitely an F. On the honey egg, on the other hand, surprises the crap out of me. I was kinda holding my gut, thinking I was gonna have another sugar egg on my hands and I was kind of right. The sweetness of the honey doesn't go well with the spice mix, but the honey itself on the egg where the ratio is better actually works really well! I have a good feeling that if the yoke mixture is perfected, the honey egg will be an awesome taste so I'm gonna go and give it a C+ for the effort.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lachlan's Lament

The walk up to 55 West was long and lonely, his steps echoing along the sidewalk. Maybe it was fitting that he make the trip alone, his shame pressing hard on his soul and making him regret ever coming. "Maybe I should have never come. Maybe I should have faced the sun." He ponders quietly to himself as he walks the corner around to the front of the building.

For a moment, his heart leaped. The feminine shape standing shadowed one the sidewalk reminded him so much of her it pained him. The scent of her skin wafted into his nose and calmed him, soothing the pain and wrapping him in a blanket of comfort. "Sairy." He speaks softly as to not startle her.

"Lachlan." Sairy's voice was joyful, and she abandoned composure as she ran up to crush the Gangrel that had been a brother to her in a hug. He nuzzled her cheek softly and smiled. "It is good to see you, brother."

"And I you, darling sister. I am confused...where is Corvin?" Lachlan tilted his head and inquired, the usual scent of her male disturbingly absent.

Sairy explained what had happened, where she had gone and to what lengths she had run. Lachlan felt the hole in his heart throb, though he hurt and just being near family was a torment he could not deny his sister comfort. Enfolding Sairy in a tight embrace, he whispers softly to her and together they make the long climb. Sairy needed his strength, his stalwart emotions to support her and no matter what he felt...Lachlan could not abandon his family.

The reunion was bittersweet. Lachlan felt a warmness in his heart, a swelling he had not experienced in decades as he made the rounds. He was mostly silent, giving bows of respect and brushing himself against his fellow Scarabae to feel comforted by their presence in his life once more. The Amun Brothers were a welcoming sight, and never had a glass of champagne tasted sweeter than when it was poured by his dear friend. Pel was...well Pel, and even her chaotic methods were a welcome sight. Aldar Rainer and Kin once again provided a stable position of authority and dignity to the room. The shock of the Twins being so separated was even smoothed over, his mood so jovial.

Even the dust-up between Corvin and Sairy was but a hiccup moment. As Corvin rampaged in his fury, Lachlan stood by his sister and comforted her. He whispered softly to her, stroked her hair and held her as she sobbed until Corvin returned. He said two words to Sairy, "I'm sorry", before they were both entangled in such a tight embrace to make even the bawdiest of poets blush. Lachlan just turned his back and allowed them to finish their reunion in peace, his own mind calm and centered as he stepped downstairs to greet the newest members of his family.

Then Aldar Rainer began to speak.

"There is one among us missing. My voice, my soothing voice. My Elebeta." Lachlan felt his Beast rise, and it took everything in his rational and controlling brain to keep from leaping across the room and pouncing the Aldar. He didn't hear anything, not what was said or who said it. Once the words were finished, and Pel dug the knife deeper into his heart, Laclan stalked out of the room.

The poor tree didn't know what hit it, his fists becoming cracked open and blood staining the bark. His hurt and pain, fury and angst all poured from him as he imagined the tree being Khemmet. Khemmet was the one responsible for his Bet's death, not Lachlan. Khemmet would pay.

But no matter how many times Lachlan tried to tell himself that, he never believed a word. In his heart, he would always know it was his fault his Elebeta had perished.

Tick tock

Moonshadow frowned as she left the small apartment room Bruja was being kept in. Today was not a good day. Her car had been broken into and her favorite pen was broken on the floor of the seat. It wasn't a big deal, but it clearly set the tone for the rest of the day.

Traffic sucked, it was as if the whole city had been turned into one way lanes for some reason. The target snitch she had to execute ran and she broke a nail chasing after him. Her lunch was burned by an improper heating format. She almost got a speeding ticket when she got the news about the young girls visions, and now it seems she has evidence that the Seers somehow knew about the operation kicking off in just mere minutes.

Grumbling to herself as the automated coffee machine _again_ only half filled her cup, Moonshadow pauses to consider. Who was the spy, who was the snitch? Someone inside the operation somewhere had to have leaked all the details. "Its not like we hid them well." She mutters, remembering Luke's fondness for making sure everyone knew everything. Finding the Seer plant would be tricky, if they've been undercover this long rooting them out will be even longer.

Moonshadow casts a cool eye over the assembled Magi as they all moved with a nervous energy. They all knew this was the big day, the big moment. If they knew they were all going to die, would they still feel the same energy and excitement? Would they die for the cause, or run and hide? "Hey soldier...hold up. I need to talk to you hun." She raises her hand to pause one of the UA members in mid-stride.

"Actually, I was sent to find you miss. The final stratagem meeting is about to take place, your expected to offer any intel you can." The woman magi salutes crispy before heading off again.

Moonshadow frowns. Things are moving too fast, too quickly. She glances over to the door where Bruja was being kept and nods. "They may not believe me, but surely her." She speaks below her breath.

Time was up, and if they didn't listen to her then time would be up for all mankind.

Waiting...

It had been a whirlwind week for Ronald, moving site to site almost every few hours just to keep ahead of patrols. He had fought hard to earn respect as a fighter for the UA cause, even mastering a few stolen Seer rotes. If his father had been alive, Ronald imagined he would be proud of how skilled his son had become.

So why was it, he thought gloomily to himself, that he was stuck doing guard duty on some moody teenager?

One of the fellow guards nods to him and he moves to open the small apartment door. Poor kid, he thought, locked away for so long and now under more lock and key. "'Scuse me ma'am, but you got a visitor." As the young girl looked up from her computer game and gives a small sneer, Ronald shivers. It was if a shade of death stared back, and every time it gave him the Hebe-Jeebee's.

"Not like you're giving me a choice...I've already told you all I know. Can't you just leave me in peace?" She mumbles slightly, a scowl forming on her smooth white skin. She brushed back her hair and quickly typed an excuse to pause on her online game. Looking more like a young woman on the cusp of death than a teenager in bloom, Bruja was used to this kind of treatment.

It had been a strange few days. Her life had been turned upside down, finding out the truth of her father then the "rescue" by some woman named Dea only to be kept "guarded and protected" as they pumped her for all the information she knew of her fathers Seer-related activities. Bruja didn't like the "talks", the UA members always seemed to get freaked out by her simple appearance and the guards had rotated fairly regularly.

She knew something was going on, her eyes were clouded by it. They sounded like lunatic rantings to others, but all she could see clinging to everyone was an encroaching death. Like a slime mold creeping down rank and dark stairs, the stain of death oozed about and clung to everyone it touched. Bruja tried to describe that which could not be described, that death was upon them all, but no one listened. She was stuck in this apartment room, and if she had to be miserable than by _god_ she would make everyone else so.

Brujah raised an eyebrow as a beautiful woman stepped into the room. "Thank you Ronald, leave us. You won't be needed." She spoke softly, like one might speak to a skiddish animal.

Ronald blinked, then frowned as he stepped away and shut the door. The young woman looked down at Bruja and smiled, holding up a file folder. "I know you've been over this a million times, but I'm different. I actually believe you. My name is Moonshadow, and I have less than an hour to try and save a large number of lives on the line. Will you help me?"

Bruja did her best not to look surprised at the forwardness of the woman. She looks to the clock, seeing the shadow of death begin to waver for the first time as it crossed the clock face. "Less than an hour? Then what are we waiting for, how can I help?"

Friday, August 19, 2011

Filk Song #3 - I have a Theory

So as some of you may know, I enjoy writing filk tunes to have acted out in my Game sessions. I'm working on my 3rd musical came currently, I figured I'd give those who follow the blog a sneak peak at one of the songs I've finished.

This one didn't require much work sadly, but once I finish recording it it'll sound awesome! I'll post the link to the finished product when the recording is finished.

Song: I Have a Theory!

Noel: I’ve got a theory that it’s a demon! A dancing demon? No something isn’t right there.

Asha: I’ve got a theory some kid is Waking, and we’re all stuck inside his wacky passion nightmare.

Solomon: I’ve got a theory we should work this out.

Sam, Gauss & Bruja: It’s getting creepy what’s this cheery singing all about?

Solomon: It could be women, some evil bitches! Which is ridiculous 'cause women they were persecuted. Ladies good and love
the earth and women power and I'll be over here.

Cloud: I got'a theory, could be unicorns!

Gambit: I’ve got a theory-

Cloud: Unicorns aren’t just cute like everyone supposes. They got them spiral horns and stompy diamond hooves, and what’s with
all the virgins!? What do they need such pure women for anyway!? Uni, uni, its just unicorns!! Or maybe midgets…

Asha: I’ve got a theory we should work this fast

Asha & Noel: Because it clearly could get serious before it’s passed.

Gypsy: I’ve got a theory, it doesn’t matter. What can’t we face if we’re together? What’s in this place that we can’t
weather. Apocalypse? We’ve all been there. The same old trips, why should we care?

Gypsy, Noel, Dea, Witness, Moonshadow & Eucharist: What can't we do if we get in it. We'll work it through within a minute. We have
to try, we\'ll pay the price. It's do or die.

Gypsy: Hey, once I died.

Gypsy, Noel, Dea, Witness, Moonshadow & Eucharist: What can't we face if we're together.

Noel: What can’t we face?

Gypsy, Noel, Dea, Witness, Moonshadow & Eucharist: What's in this place that we can't weather?

Noel: If we’re together

Gypsy, Noel, Dea, Witness, Moonshadow & Eucharist: There’s nothing we can’t face

Cloud: Except for spirits.

New Orders

Black boots clicked with a solid tick tick tick as they quickly made their way down the hall. No one bothered to look up, no one stopped for casual conversation or a friendly exchange here. This building was not used for such a purpose, this building was home to the Minister's and their dark deeds. Hidden in the heart of Orlando itself, this simple office held some of the most vile men in employ of the Exarchs and was the nervous system for the whole city structure.

Though it was all beautiful, the building and decoration that of a kings chamber in medieval Europe, Mahrime did not pause to look and admire as he might have in the past. Thoughts, dark and confusing to his normally simple mind-scape, swirled around and warred within his own skull. His emotions waged war in his heart, doubts fighting the methodical and cold "lessons" he had been taught upon his Awakening. His eyes snapped forward as he reached the door,tracing the sigal for entry and pushing with silent doors wide open.

Sitting behind a desk and surrounded in a haze of cigar smoke, a shadowy figure wrote on a piece of paper. The only sound in the room was the scratching of his pen, and when finished he folded the letter and handed it to an aid. "Make sure this gets to the proper channels." The voice of the Minister was warped, his visage hidden as was his right to protect his identity and station within the Ministry. Though his eyes were unseen, Mahrime could still feel them boring into his skull. He quickly drops to both knees, looking down in fear.

"You summoned me, Minister?" Mahrime's voice reveals the smallest quiver of fear, was this the day his traitorous thoughts were discovered at last?

"You are pulled off regular rotation, you have been assigned a special assignment," The voice is cold and robotic, as a file folder is tossed down at Mahrime's feet. "As you are aware, the terrorist factions of Banishers have been banding together these past few years, they are preparing their first opening strike as a united front. This assault cannot be allowed to succeed, it must utterly fail and thus forever destroy the moral of the terrorists." He figure sits back, fingers curling together.

Mahrime opens the file folder, his eyes wide as he starts to glance across the pages. "Sir, these blueprints..."

"Yes, the terrorists think us unaware of their cell here in Orlando. They think we are falling for their ploy on the West Coast. They are wrong. False information has been leaked to several key Graverobbers, our spy within the UA ranks who has aided us in constructing this whole affair has informed us they only boast a mere 100 fighting capable Banishers, with an extra 25 considered too fresh for fighting." The shadowy man picks up a cigar and takes a long drag before allowing the smoke to billow from his mouth.

"Sir...you're fielding more than four times their rank. This isn't a fair fight, this is a slaughter..." Mahrime's voice quivers a bit as he steals a glance up to the Minister.

"Is there a problem with defeating terrorists who want to destroy the governments of the world and force humanity back into a dark age, an age ruled not by those who have power but by those who are most popular?" The man speaks slowly, but his voice sounds like that of a knife being sharpened on a whetstone.

"No Minister..." , Mahrime mutters a soft reply.

"Excellent. You have a key target for assassination, if she's removed the resistance will crumble around her. You have 8 hours until the assault is scheduled to begin, I suggest you get to work." The Minister waves and the doors open once more.

Mahrime doesn't take a moment to hesitate, he walks out of the room as quickly and calmly as he can. He steals a glance down at the file folder and almost stops from a heart attack as he looks at his target. In 8 hours or less, he was expected to kill the heart of the local MD: the young Magi named Eucharist.

"What am I going to do..." he whispers, staring up at a sky covered in a thin film of haze and pollution.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fall in line!

"On your feet soldier! Wars aren't won by cry-babies, their won by real Magi who aren't afraid to scrape their knee's a bit!" Dea barks out, watching as the fresh recruit once again failed his spellcasting and took another fireball to the face.

The kid blubbers and cries a bit in pain, but one of the medic's patches him up fast enough. The smell of burnt hair lingers around him as he does his best to look manly and intimidating through puffy red eyes. "Yes Ma'am!" He squeaks out quickly.

Dea sighs and shakes her head, moving on with the drills and instruction. Too many new recruits, too many fresh Magi with no training and no experience were about to be thrust headfirst into a gauntlet of hell on earth. She mentally started to group the recruits as they had begun drills a few days ago, some showed promise while others like Mark could barely handle what little gift they had been given. "Too many bodies..." She mutters as she goes back to her office to review the plans.

Things were going at the correct pace. Everything was according to plan, they had assembled a force of 75 trains fighting Magi and another 55 fresh recruits in the last few months. This was the single largest operation in Banisher history against the Seers, and everything was going according to plan. Mostly.

Two strange new Magi, more powerful than they had a right to be, suddenly appear as if coming from another world. The Voodoo Man abruptly leaves New Orleans, and already there are talks of his neutral domain being fought over by both sides of the conflict. One of her Graverobber connections suddenly goes dark, Luke loses 4 of her best men and another Graverobber suddenly insists she'll be present for the operation. Add in all the hippie that Eucharist kept bringing around, sucking on lolly-pops and hugging people all the time, and things had a strange way of going right.

Reviewing the battle plans and the map of Hope Circle, Dea feels her own surge of hope flowing through her. This was it, this was the moment she was born for. In just 18 hours, the first open battle will take place.

Everything was going according to plan. What could go wrong?

Monday, August 15, 2011

According to Plan

"Hello! I'm April Dawns from HR, its a pleasure to meet you." the woman gave her largest smile, her most welcoming extension of her hand and the coldest look from her piercing eyes she could manage at the helpless corporate drone beneath her.

"Umm...hello..." The young man, his name tag reading T. Barker sloppily applied to his breast pocket.

"Right, its a pleasure to meet you too! I just have a few routine inspections to make here in regards to your workspace niche, and I'm sure it will help your grading score if you could run to Starbucks and grab me a coffee?" She smiles again and moves forward, clipboard in hand and pen at the ready.

The young mans face goes pale and he swallows. "O-of course! I'll go get that right away Ma'am." He bolts like a scared animal, desperate to secure his job at all costs.

The woman tuts, tucking away the fake name tag into her blouse pocket. Sleepers were so easy to con these days, it was sad how cowed and dominated they were by the Seers. Sitting at the computer, her fingers fly into the login for the sub-net that connects all computers, logging in her name and password. Her desktop pops up, as well as the files she requested predominately in her display.

Welcome back, Witness. Her computer always seemed to reflect the same cold demeanor she herself felt when dealing with official Graverobber business. She ignored the fake happy message and began to peruse through all her messages and intel drops.

She breathes a sigh of relief. It was 24 hours till the operation, and so far the Seers hadn't noticed. A surge of hope fills her, then sorrow as she saw the Seers had fallen for their trap. One cell of UA members remained behind in Los Angeles, they would sacrifice their lives to assist in the retaking of Hope Circle. Issuing a small murmured prayer for their souls, Witness continues to scan through the files on Orlando proper.

When she sees that name, her blood runs cold and she stares unmoving as if in shock.

Witness had never planned on being at the Battle of Hope Circle, but now she didn't have a choice. It was 24 hours too long for the operation to begin, and in just 24 short hours she would come face to face with the murderer and instigator of the genocide of her people: the Seer known as The Butcher.

These next 24 hours couldn't come soon enough.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Disturbance in the Numbers

A sea of numbers awashed the seven monitors that made up the nerve center, each running a different command code to compliment and support the other six. A blur of fingers over two different keyboards was the only real movement in the room, the optical screen headset adorning the head of the occupant. The room was pitch black save the semi-circle of screens shining light into the center of the room. It was cold, sterile otherwise a reflection of the occupant.

A small knock on the door and a young woman walks in. She's carrying a small tray of sandwiches and a glass of soda, setting it down next to the blurr of hands across the keys. "Miss...you haven't eaten in 14 hours. Don't you think its time for a break?" The voice breaks the occupants stride and she pauses, as if checking something. She unlatches the clasps from the bracer on her neck and pulls the headset off, freeing her flowing air and blinking with eyes that give off a small green light. The woman who set the sandwiches inside gave a shudder, the ICM's always gave her a queer feeling in her gut.

"14 hours eh? I thought it had only been 10." She makes a small chuckles and takes a bite of the sandwich, not wasting any time in devouring the food not taking the time to be proper or lady-like in her eating habits.

"Miss Gauss...what are you doing in there?" She peers at the seven monitors and does her best to avoid Gauss's ICM-modified eyes.

"Well on one screen I'm playing Angry birds, on the other six I'm currently trying to hack the sub-net. The Seers are up to something...something big. I haven't seen any info on our strike at Hope Circle yet, with only 42 hours till the operation I think it's fairly safe to say they have no idea whats coming." Gauss looks a little proud at that statement, her hands stroking the keys like she might a lover. "I was able to get the info on this prisoner, but I haven't found anything she's been ranting about. No mention of anything called a Free Council, Pentacle or half the names she's mentioned. If she wasn't listed as extreme priority, KOS is she cannot be recaptured, I would think her just some madwoman. But the Seers treat her as some serious threat...and by digging up info on her I've discovered the blackout on info in the sub-net."

"So...these Seers are planning something big, and have been keeping it hidden. But you found it..?" The young woman is obviously just a little slow, then pulls out a blow pop and begins to suckle on it.

"Yeah...wasn't easy. I feel pretty good about cracking it in time though. The battle is supposed to begin in 42 hours from now, the war changer as Luke was babbling on about it. I just can't help this nagging feeling..." Gauss steals a glance at her monitors, a scowl forming on her face. "I'm just concerned at whatever the Seers are hiding...it has to do with our battle. If they know anything in advance...we're done. I just pray this sub-net blackout doesn't pertain to anything..."

Before the younger woman can protest, Gauss quickly dons her headset and submerges herself in the digital battlefield.

Gentle Touches and Rays of Bubble Gum

Mark ran down the ally, crying as he nursed his sore arm. He had been beaten up again, the cops turning a bind eye as the bullies from school pummeled him for what little eprsonal belongings his had. Wiping away tears and using them to clean his dirty face, he kneels down behind a trash can to hide from the sirens as they zoom past looking for people who would not be missed for "experimentation's". Mark gasps as he hears footsteps coming down the walk-way, growing silent as he tries to wiggle into the shadow and hide from what he imagines is a most fearsome foe.

"Hey there sweetie, you doin' ok?" A soft feminine voice comes from over the trashcan and Mark peers up from his arms. A beautiful woman peers back down, holding a hand out to help him up. She was soft in all the right places, smooth of skin and most importantly she was clean and dressed in warm colors. Feeling relaxed just at the woman's presence, Mark gives a small smile and takes her hand reaching up to stand up.

"My name is Eucharist, whats your name sweetheart?" She asks calmly.

"I'm Mark...I was hiding..." Mark mumbles looking down and kicking his feet.

"It's OK Mark, I understand." Eucharist steps around the trashcan and bends down to hug him tight. The huge felt warm and secure and Mar clings back tightly. She slowly, and reluctantly, releases the hug and pulls out a blow-up as well as a wad of 20's. "Here, its Cherry...Her favorite."

Mark happily takes the candy, but looks confused at the cash. "Whats all that for...?"

"For you sweetie. Things are gonna get messy here...I want you to go someplace nice. Get outta town." She still smiles, but a serious tone creeps into her voice.

Mark swallows and takes the cash, pops the candy into his mouth, and quickly scampers away.

Eucharist sighs, giving him a small wave he doesn't see to be able and return it. It had been hard these last years, carrying on St. Macafee's work in a world that didn't want to hear it. Sit-ins, silent protests and other flash mob demonstrations had worked sure...but not nearly enough and not nearly as well as they'd all like it to have. When Luke first approached her about the Operation in Orlando she had been wary, violence was not her way of being and she was nervous about someone as new as Luke being the front man for such an important work. But she realized the truth, and it made her cry.

The Banishers were not winning, this was a slow and brutal war of attrition. The Seers had all the pieces, and all the power, while the Banishers had what meager scraps they could steal from the Seers. More Banishers died every year than Seers, and more ignorant and scared Banishers were defecting to the Seers just to be allowed the basic right to LIVE! Sure, if they remained fragmented they could all last a few more decades...but the candle would slowly flicker till it was extinguished. Better to go out against the Dark burning as bright as possible, Luke had suggested, than to die a slow and silent smothering death. It was Eucharist who had suggested Hope Circle. It was the place that St. Macafee had entered and left the world, and the Battle for Hope had a nice ring to it.

"They may have bigger numbers and bigger guns...but he got heart and we got love on our side. What could go wrong?" Eucharist smiles, having cheered herself back up. She pops a blow pop back in her mouth and goes to meet with her fellow MD members, they had a lot to plan and only 37 hours left.

Filk song #2 - Why can't the Changelings?!

Last glut of posts, I swear :p.

This is an old Filk song I wrote over a year ago, done to the tune of "Why Can't the English" from My Fair Lady.

Mercutio:
Look at her, a prisoner of the gutter,
Condemned by every syllable she ever uttered.
By right she should be taken out and hung,
For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.

Toi Breaker:
Zxcuse me?

Mercutio: (imitating her)
Zxcuse me!
Heaven's! What a sound!
This is what the Changeling population,
Calls an elementary education.

Drago:
Oh, Herald, I think you picked a poor example..

Mercutio:
Did I?
Hear them down in Freehold square,
Flaunting bare thighs everywhere.
Running and acting anyway they like.
You, do you listen to the Crown?

Ugarti:
Wadaya take me for, shortround!?

Mercutio:
No one taught him manners or respect!
Hear a Darkling boy, or worse,
Watch a Wizened man traverse,
Around a woman dressing room openin' doors.
Chickens cackling in a barn Just like this one!

Riley
Garsh!

Mercutio
I ask you, sir, what sort of word is that?
It's "Zxcuse" and "Garn" that keep him in his place.
Not his wretched clothes and dirty face.

Why can't the Freehold teach their Changelings how to speak?
This archaic, pledging diction by now should be antique.
If you spoke as she does, sir,
Instead of the way you do,
Why, you might be running motels, too!

An Changelings's way of living absolutely classifies him,
The moment he talks he makes some other
Changeling sort despise him.

One common rule of law I'm afraid we'll never get.
Oh, why can't the Freehold
learn to
Set a good example to people whose
behavior is painful to your ears?
Tampa and Gainesville's behavior will leave you close to tears.
There even are places where politeness completely disappears!
In America, they haven't practiced it for years!

Why can't the Freehold teach their Changelings how to act?
Hobs obey the market laws;
Most Lost obey their pacts.
In Arcadia every Loyalist knows his rules from "One" to "Ten"
The Gentry never care what they do, actually,
as long as they all worship them properly.

Most Fairest learn etiquette with the speed of summer lightning.
And Ogres learn it handicapped,
which is absolutely frightening.

But use proper English you're regarded as a freak.
Why can't the Freehold,
Why can't the Changelings all learn to speak?