At Andrew and Sarah's wedding, the choir sang Healey Willian's arrangement for SATB of "Rise up, my love, my fair one" (from Song of Solomon); it is a particularly beautiful arrangement. I had to include it in the drawing at the top of the letter. We do not have a colour printer so the colours in the original drawing of the wedding bells and 1st few bars of Healey Willian's arrangement weren't sent in the hard copy of the four page letter that went with the present we sent. Here is the original version of the drawing:
This is roughly how the printed version of the letter looked. I used "Amaze" font for the hard-copy of the first page of the letter and "Book Antiqua" for the rest of the pages. If your computer does not have "Amaze" or "Book Antiqua" then, of course, the letter will look even less like the one we sent to Andrew and Sarah. Please note that I had to lighten the background of the drawing so that it would show up in black and white.
Dear Andrew and Sarah;
Use the guard!! This is sharp sharp sharp. When we see you in August, please remember to give us the penny back so you'll have "purchased" the blades. We wouldn't want our relationship severed because of giving you this lethal weapon. (I love these ancient superstitions.)
The bag is very similar to the bag I made for our mandolin. We find it's much easier to use if it's hanging on the kitchen wall rather than sitting languishing in a box in a drawer. Please note that it's a good idea to hand-wash and dry the blades and put them away in their case immediately after using. They WANT to bend. . . .
Our favourite thing to make with the mandolin is fake latkes or hash brown potatoes. THE best thing to have with breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Mmmmm they're amazing with grilled steak.... The mandolin is also great for making scalloped potatoes, beet chips, oven dried pears, etc. etc.
All the best for many years of happiness together.
Love from Elizabeth and Totton
4 Med-Large Yukon Gold Potatoes *
1 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1. Mandolin the potatoes into shoestrings (use the blade that looks like a fine toothed comb). USE THE GUARD WHEN MANDOLINING! Put the potatoes into a bowl of cold water and gently swish them around to remove some of the starch. Do this a couple of times until the water is clear. Put the potatoes in a colander to drain well. (You want them to be relatively dry.)
2. Use your hands to mix in flour and egg.
3. Heat oil in a cast iron pan or flat skillet. Form the potatoes into pancakes and fry on a flat surface til golden brown on both sides.
Serve with plain yoghurt and/or apple sauce.
* Note: We usually use Yukon Gold potatoes, but any good baking potato will work. If you decide to cut the recipe in half, don't bother trying to use half an egg. Just throw in the whole thing; it's not going to make that much difference.
1. Same as above but omit the egg and flour. MAKE SURE TO USE THE GUARD WHEN SLICING THE POTATOES!! Without the egg, they won't really form into pancakes, so just put them in a relatively thin layer into a cast iron pan that has been liberally coated with hot oil. After the bottom layer is golden, they tend to hold together a little better and can be turned with a decent egg lifter.
Serve with grilled chop. Or bacon and eggs.
(This is inspired by chef Eugene Shewchuk's recipe for Cities' Potato Gratin)
4 large baking potatoes
¼ c butter
1 c half-and-half cream (10% butterfat)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (optional)
250 gm Swiss or Cheddar cheese, grated
1. Wash baking potatoes well (we like "Yukon Gold"). Do NOT peel. Slice thinly, using the mandolin WITH THE GUARD!! Slice one of the potatoes by hand if you'd like slightly less uniform width of slices.
2. In a small saucepan, combine butter, cream, garlic, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil.
3. Place potatoes (and onions, if using) in a large bowl; pour boiling cream mixture over them and toss till all coated with cream.
4. In an 8 inch square baking dish at least 2 inches deep, arrange the potatoes and onions in neat layers. Pour any remaining cream from the bowl on top. Bake in a 300F oven one hour.
5. Spread the grated cheese evenly on top. Continue baking another 20-30 minutes till the crust is golden brown.
Serve with roasted or grilled meat.
1. Wash pear well. (A slightly under-ripe pear actually works better.) Use a mandolin to slice the pear very thinly - core, stem, seeds and all. REMEMBER TO USE THE GUARD!!! Slice from the bottom of the pear toward the stem for the nicest looking results. Dip the pear slices in cider vinegar to stop them from oxidizing. Place them in a single layer on a rack that has been laid over a cookie sheet.
2. Oven-dry the pears. I have used the toaster oven at its lowest heat - it took about 30 minutes because I decided the pear slices shouldn't be tooooooo chewy. But a regular oven can be left at a lower temperature so the pear slices may take longer to dry - around an hour or so at 200F. Note that the pear slices get harder when they cool.
These pear slices are wonderful on their own, on a cheese plate, with in Wine Poached Pears, or in red leaf lettuce salad with toasted pinenuts, or...
1.Beet chips: Wash, peel and mandolin beets. USE THE GUARD!! Toss the slices in olive oil to coat.
2. Place the slices on wire racks without overlapping (it's probably easier to just use parchment paper).
3. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 250F and bake 45 to 60 minutes longer (turning the slices at least once) until they are crisp but still red coloured.
4. Salt, or not, to taste. (I didn't.)
5. Dip: In a small bowl, stir mayonnaise, plain yoghurt, spices and mustard together until smooth.
Serve the cooled beet chips with the dip as a pre-dinner snack. I'm guessing that the chips can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for some time without spoilage. But we finished ours... beet slices shrink dramatically!
** I didn't actually intend to put ground cardamom into the bowl. I reached for a jar that I thought was garam masala. I confess that I didn't look carefully at the label and I didn't smell the contents of the jar before adding it to the bowl. Silly me. But... cardamom is a common ingredient in garam masala so the extra cardamom didn't go amiss.
Did we remember to say to use the guard when playing the mandolin? (Don't ask.)
And here is the present (I was particularly pleased with the beaded tassel I made by fraying a little extra fabric and attaching some fresh water pearls and small beads). For the bag, I used left-over fabric from a pair of Totton's favourite Pakistani trousers. The lining for the blade pouch is made from left over fake leather after patching a small hole in the saddle of Totton's Harley. (Please click on images to see larger views.)
This is what our mandolin and bag look like - yes, they're remarkably similar, aren't they? We love having easy access to the mandolin though and also love the way it looks on the cookbook shelf. We hope that Andrew and Sarah like their mandolin and bag as much as we do ours. (I just hope that we remembered to caution them to always use the guard!!)
photos: mandolin, guard, mandolined radishes for radish butter and our mandolin hanging on the cookbook shelf
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