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Happy Halloween to All Our Readers !

Published October 31, 2016 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs

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Some Halloween traditions can be traced back to the ancient Celts and their belief that spirits of the deceased were able to wander the Earth during Samhain.

Treats were laid out to appease the spirits, and costumes were worn so the living would blend in with the departed.

If you encounter spiders in your house on Halloween, don’t kill them, they are deceased loved ones watching over you.

Children who are born on Halloween are said to have the gift of second sight.

Black cats are considered good luck in Ireland, Scotland and England. In the U.S., black cats are a symbol of bad luck.

Never wear clothes or jewelry belonging to a deceased person on Halloween. Roaming spirits will chase after you !

If you must pass a graveyard, turn your pockets inside out to make sure you don’t bring a ghost home in your pocket.

Legend has it…

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May Recipes

Published May 10, 2015 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs

vinegar and chili peppers in jar

Herb Vinegars

Tarragon and Red Wine Vinegar

20 fresh tarragon leaves

10 juniper berries

2 cups red wine vinegar

Place tarragon and berries in a clean 16 ounce glass jar. Slowly pour in the vinegar, cap the jar and store it in a cool dark place. Allow the flavors to mellow a few days before using.

Rice Vinegar With Coriander

4 thin slices of galangal

2 cloves of garlic

20 fresh coriander leaves

2 cups rice wine vinegar

Place herbs and vinegar in a clean 16 ounce glass jar. Cap the jar and store in a cool dark place. Use within a month.

Red Chili Vinegar

Using a sturdy wooden skewer, poke several holes in 2 whole chilies. Place the chilies in a clean glass jar and slowly pour in 2 cups of white wine vinegar. Cap the jar and store in a cool dark place. This vinegar will remain…

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Tips on Cooking With Herbs

Published May 10, 2015 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs

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When using herbs in salad dressings, allow the flavors to mellow ten minutes before serving.

Work the flavors of herbs into meat, poultry, and fish by rubbing the herbs with your hands before cooking. The warmth of your hands will release the herbal oils.

Bouquets of fresh herbs can be placed in jars or glasses filled with an inch or two of water. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Use within a week.

Add a bay leaf to the water when cooking beans, lentils, rice or other grains.

Add a pinch of ground cinnamon to tomato sauce. Cinnamon brings out the sweetness and removes the bitter taste of canned tomato sauce and paste.

To chop fresh herbs quickly, place them in a glass measuring cup, insert scissors or kitchen shears and snip away.

Roasting garlic gives it a nutty flavor. Bake on a foil lined pan at 350 for about 15…

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Easy Herbal Recipes

Published April 12, 2015 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs

Basil: Create an easy pesto sauce by combining: 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 3 tablespoons of walnuts, 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves garlic. Puree in a food processor. If too thick, add a bit more oil. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Freeze for longer storage. Use pesto in pasta dishes, rice, vegetables or toss with cooked, cubed eggplant. Chop basil and add to ice cube trays, pour water over fresh chopped basil and freeze. Keep frozen cubes in a zip lock bag or air tight container. Fresh-frozen basil- always ready to spice up a dish. Basil is good for you as well. Loaded with anti-oxidants. Enjoy basil raw, or chopped and sprinkled on a homemade pizza before baking.

Cilantro: Snip a few leaves into salads, stir into tartar sauce or chili-sauce. Delicious in Mexican dishes, add…

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Salame de Chocolate

Published March 10, 2015 by Ch'kara

This looks a bit decadent and yum

Goan Recipes

It’s obvious that Salame de Chocolate (Chocolate Salami) has a European origin for us Goan’s. It is made mostly for Christmas and Easter in Goa. But in our household it was made for Birthday Parties along with Marie Biscuit Cake(spin-off Italian Tiramisu)  because it makes for a rich decadent dessert. The melt in your mouth Salami would always impress our friends as it’s not a very common dessert in Goa. So if you are a vegetarian who has heard about the real deal Italian salami than this one is for you my friend :-).

chocolate-salami-de-goan-christmas-sweets-recipe-italian-portuguese-cacaoIn Goa we get Marie Biscuits, but if you are in the US and have no access to it you can use Graham Crackers. If you want to make it just for adults than add a tablespoon of rum or brandy. You can skip the egg yolks and replace it with heavy cream. The Goan…

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Tea Time

Published January 28, 2015 by Ch'kara

Mystical Magical Herbs

Not only does tea taste good, it’s good for you…

True tea is made from the leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis tea bush. Depending on how the tea is produced, it falls into one of these six classifications: green, white, yellow, oolong, and He Cha [ dark black ]. There are also dozens of teas within those classes, depending on where they’re grown.

Not all tea beverages are made from tea. Herbal teas are brewed from the roots, bark, stems, flowers, seeds or fruit of any other plants, and would be classified as herbal infusions. Instant powdered teas and ready to drink bottled teas aren’t true teas either.

While these fruit and sugar laden bottled teas may be pleasing to our taste buds, they don’t offer the health benefits of true tea. Teas promote health through their flavonoids and other compounds. Each of the tea classes mentioned above have different…

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Dark Chilli Chocolate Mousse

Published January 1, 2015 by Ch'kara

Today here in Oz (New Years Day) we have a friend coming for lunch and she loves her sweet dessert, therefore I have made this awesome Chilli Chocolate Mousse.  It is only a hint of chilli so don’t be put of by the name.  The rest of the meal will be healthy, so I figure we can have an indulgence.

Hope you all have a wonderful 2015.

Blessed Be!

Dark Chilli Chocolate Mousse

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Serves: 6                      Prep Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

2x100g blocks Lindt Excellence Chilli dark chocolate, chopped

4 eggs, separated

½ cup caster sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

300ml tub thickened cream

Dark chocolate shaving to decorate

Method

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Sit bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until almost melted. Remove from heat. Stir until smooth. Alternatively melt in microwave (it takes about 1 ½ minutes)

Beat egg whites in a bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. With the motor running add sugar, I tablespoon at a time. Beat until glossy.

Stir egg yolks into melted chocolate. Fold in egg white mixture until just combined.

Beat cream in a bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Spoon mousse evenly among six serving glasses (1 cup capacity). Refrigerate, covered, for several hours, or until set. Decorate to your liking with chocolate shavings

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And now for something completely different…Chocolate Mousse Cake!

Published December 24, 2014 by Ch'kara

Meeka's Mind

I  apologize for not having a picture to show you but the birthday girl attacked the cake before I remembered to grab the camera  😦

Anyway, just imagine a brown cake with lots of shaved chocolate on top and you’ll get the idea. What you won’t get is how sinfully, decadently, waist-expandingly rich this cake is. Oh and it tastes divine too 😀 Have I titillated your taste buds yet? If I have then read the following recipe, make a shopping list and get cracking. But before you thank me be warned – THIS CAKE SHOULD ONLY BE EATEN ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR! I take no responsibility for any strokes, cardiac arrests, type II diabetes or other assorted woes that may result from cake abuse.

Ok, to work! The cake part. This was my Mum’s recipe and one of the first things she ever taught me to make because…

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Happy (fill in your holiday here) and making peppermint bark

Published December 24, 2014 by Ch'kara

A New England Cook in Canada

Yup the big day is almost here. Thursday most of us will be opening gifts, eating yummy food and drinking something tasty. There are so many wonderful foods that we only make at this time of year. From eggnog to special cookies to pies and treats.

Now this treat is really simple. It has two ingredients and is best made with the children around.

Peppermint bark is made with candy canes and white chocolate. That is it. Really.

First thing to do is pick up some candy canes. For the purpose of this treat really picking up the broken ones is the best. Take those broken candy canes and place them between two towels. Then get out your hammer, be it a kitchen meat hammer or a regular work one and smash those candy canes to bits. This is the part to get the kids doing. When I had my…

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Haley Newlin - Writer

Here to share my own writing, from poetry and short stories, to articles of all sorts. Enjoy!

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