Thursday, January 14, 2010


Apricot Noodle Pudding

When our 23 New Year's guests had all gone home, we began the job of cleaning up and one of the tasks was to package and preserve leftovers from all the great lunches and dinners that the guys had made. Among the leftovers was a gallon-sized freezer bag of spaghetti. I used some of it when I dismantled half a turkey into two frozen dinners of something like Turkey Tetrazzini with pasta; more of it went into spaghetti with home-made pesto that was very good indeed.

But there was still more. I really dislike throwing out good food, so I cast around in my mind for something else I'd like to make--and noodle pudding popped into my head. I went on line, found something like 20 different recipes and chose the one whose ingredients sounded best to me, and which I already had in the house. As usual, I made some additions, in this case typical dessert spices to give the pudding a better taste profile. I used a lovely old straight-sided crockery bowl of Fritz's and it came out very well indeed. It also tasted delicious!

Apricot Noodle Pudding

1/4 lb. butter (I used the reduced fat Move Over, Butter)
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Mix thoroughly

Grease a bundt pan or 12 cup Jello mold. Put the brown sugar mixture in bottom of mold and pat down with fingers

5 well beaten eggs
1 cup cream or milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. dried apricots, cut up
1/2 c. white raisins
1/2 c. sugar
1/8 lb. butter, melted
1-1/2 to 2 cups cooked noodles (I substituted my spaghetti chopped into short lengths)
2 tsp, cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
Mix thoroughly and pour into the mold on top of the brown sugar mixture.
Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees and test for doneness the usual way.
Cool and unmold onto a plate or platter.

I served this pudding with a dollop of non-fat vanilla yogurt on top.


From BBC News:
Ancient map with China at center goes on show in US

A historic map of the world, with China at its center, has gone on display at the Library of Congress in Washington. The map was created by Italian missionary Matteo Ricci in 1602. It is one of only two copies in existence in good condition.

Because of its rarity and fragility - the map is printed on rice paper - the map has become known as the "Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography". This is the first time it has been on public show in north America.

Ricci created the map at the request of Emperor Wanli who wanted it to help scholars and explorers.

A detail from the China section of Matteo Ricci's world map

The map was purchased by the James Ford Bell Trust in October for $1m, making it the second-most expensive rare map ever sold. It denotes different parts of the world with annotations and pictures. The map had China at the center of the world to underline its importance

In the Americas, several places are named including Chih-Li (Chile), Wa-ti-ma-la (Guatemala) and Ka-na-ta (Canada), and Florida is described as "the Land of the Flowers".

Ford W Bell, a trustee for the James Ford Bell Trust, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper, that the map was "one of the two best in terms of quality, as far as we know. Ricci was a very smart missionary. He put China right at the center of this new universe, this new globe, to underscore its importance," he said. "Ricci, of course, was the first Westerner to enter Beijing. He was revered by the Chinese, and he was buried there."

The first secretary for cultural affairs at the Chinese embassy in the US, Ti Ban Zhang, said in a statement that the map represents "the momentous first meeting of East and West".

Well, that last statement is seriously up for grabs. The Silk Road was in operation during the height of the Roman Empire with goods passing back and forth freely and frequently. When the Western Empire collapsed, the Eastern or Byzantine Empire, centered in Constantinople, sent missionaries to China; they smuggled live silk worm larvae out of the country, which b roke the Chinese monopoly began a thriving Western silk industry that had a big political and financial impact.

Arab fleets sailed to China throughout the medieval period at a time when Islam stretched from the Atlantic coast of Spain and North Africa all the way to Afghanistan. Xian in the heart of China was the site of a major Muslim settlement whose descendants live there today--I visited their mosque in 1985. Jews are documented to have had well-established settlements in several Chinese cities in the 7th and 8th centuries; evidence exists that Jews may well have arrived in China as early as 250BC. Marco Polo's trip to China in the 13th century was a logical development of the millennium-old Silk Route contact between China and "the West."

There is intriguing evidence that a Chinese exploratory fleet hugged the shoreline up the Siberian Coast, sailed across the Aleutian Island chain and southward as far as South America in the early 15th century--that it was the Chinese who, in fact, "discovered America." The returning fleet's description of oval fruits made up of yellow seeds on the outside sounds like nothing so much as corn.

All this was well before the 1602 map. As the years go by and more discoveries are made in uncataloged archival libraries and via archaeology, it becomes possible to see a world far more interconnected into even remote antiquity than we had ever dreamed.

Holy smokes! That sounds wild and awesome.
The pudding sounds wonderful. We also like to use leftovers is interesting and tasty ways.

And, being a map nut, I love the story of the Chinese map. Have you visited the site Strange Maps?
God that looks delicious!

I heard about the map on NPR.
Wow...that looks so yummy!
The Silk Routes has always been facinating to me, in fact inner-Asia is still a deep mystery to me.
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