Tricks and tips for time-saving and nutrient gaining, trickling down to us from our grandmother’s grandmother…

Alaskan Sourdough


Backbone of The Wild Wild West

I haven’t got much money
I don’t like to make a show
But when it comes to real good friends
I love to share my ‘dough’

-By Hal ‘Lucky Luke’ Lucas

Some of you may remember passing round Alaskan Sourdough Starters to your friends and family along with your own yarn of how you came to possess such a precious, delicious, practical and ancient culture. Here is a version I discovered on a scrap of paper mixed in with my grandmother’s recipes:

This starter originated from the Sour Doughs of Alaska in early gold rush days, and has been handed down from igloo to ice-box to electric refrigerator and propagated through friendship channels. The original sample was brought from the Yukon. It was smuggled out by a successful miner who found the original in a deserted miner’s cabin on Sour Dough Creek; he in turn, shared his secret with the Captain of a four-master sailing vessel. The Captain gave a sample to the mayor of San Francisco. From him it was stolen by the mayor’s cook who in turn sold ‘starts’ to wealthy Spanish Grandees. My sister in San Jose got her ‘start’ through connections from a hermit who lives back of Mt. Hamilton.

(You may pass this along to your friends, but be sure to add your own flavor to the above story.)

This recipe followed the above yarn:

Sour Dough Hot Cakes

Serves 2 to 3 people

Do this at night:

  • Take 2 cups of sifted flour and add
  • 1 c milk and one of warm water more or less

Mix in your sourdough starter to thickness similarly to hot cake batter. Cover with oiled paper and set over night in a warm place; (on top of the pilot burner is a good place.)


1 Comment

Raw Honey Vinegar

This is an amazingly simple recipe and results in a delicious, high-quality white vinegar with the flavors of the honey you have chosen to use. Try basswood or buckwheat honey for a darker, richer vinegar. Use raspberry honey for a lighter fruitier vinegar. 8:1 Water : Honey Eight parts water to one part honey Wild yeast Method: Place in a…

1 Comment

Preserved Lemons

People all over the world make preserved lemons. They generally leave the jar in the hot sun for a couple of days for the best flavor.

  • 6 lemons (thick skins) organic
  • 6 T sea salt
  • Juice of 3 lemons or more

Wash and scrub lemons. Cut each lemon in quarters but not right through, so that the pieces are still attached at the stem end. Stuff each lemon with plenty of salt.



Orange Spice Pomander

I found this handwritten recipe in one of the many second hand community cook-books I search through for old-fashioned traditional recipes.

  • Whole oranges
  • Whole cloves
  • Powdered orris root
  • Ground cinnamon

Select firm oranges. Stick cloves into orange skin, until rind is all covered. Roll orange in equal parts orris and cinnamon. Pat in as much powder as orange will take.



Temperature Conversions

Oven Temperature Conversions from Fahrenheit to Celsius Slow Oven= 250-325F= 120-165C Moderate Oven= 325-400F= 165-200C Quick or Hot Oven= 400-450F= 200-230C Very Hot Oven = 450-550F= 230-300C



Weights, Measures, Equivalents T= tablespoon t= teaspoon pt=pint L=litre 3t=1T 16T=1c 8T= ½ c 2T= 1oz fluid 1 heaping c= 1c and 3 to 4 T 4c=1qt 1 dessert spoon=2 t 2T=1 fluid oz 4 T = ¼ c 16 T=1c 2c=1pt (1 pound) 2 pt=1 qt 4 qt=1 gallon (8 pounds) dash, pinch, speck=1/16 t 480drops= 1oz 8drams= 1oz…


VJR’s Seafood Masala

VJR is a fabulous Burmese-Indian chef who makes tasty seafood samosas with this freshly made masala. Amounts given are not precise, feel free to adjust them according to your taste and needs. 1/2 c yellow or brown mustard seeds 1/4 c fenugreek 1 T cardamom Method: These spices can be toasted in a dry pan and ground in a spice…


VJR’s Burmese Masala

VJR the Burmese-Indian chef who taught me this recipe made the best samosas faster than anyone I have ever seen. This spice mix is used for mutton, pork, chicken, vegetables or beef and is not used with seafood.

  • small handful cloves
  • 1/2 c cumin
  • 1-2 t hulled cardamom seeds
  • small handful of star anise
  • 1 T anise
  • 1/2 c coriander seeds

Put all the spices in a dry pan and roast over the flame until the smell begins to come up and the spices are lightly toasted. Remove from heat and allow the spices to cool. Grind them into a powder in a spice blender.