Wednesday, 22 March 2017

What We Ate Wednesday--Roasted Cajun Corn and Sweet Potato salad

Hello lovelies! Because I am a bit of an OCD organised freak, I have a recipe index where every recipe we've ever eaten and really liked is catalogued under subheadings by main ingredients as well as the cookbook/recipe binder where it can be found. It sounds like a lot of work (but it was truly a labour of love) and it makes things so much easier.

Case in point: this meal. We've been having lots of white potatoes recently as they have been on sale, but I wanted to change it up and have some sweet potatoes. So I looked in my recipe index under the words sweet potatoes to see what would be good to make this week as I was planning my menu for the next 7 days. Yes, of course I make a menu! Did I not already mention that I was an OCD organised freak??  A menu is great idea --especially if you are on a budget like us--it prevents overspending because there is a list to follow when you shop. Yes, of course there is a list! In fact, there are multiple lists for multiple shops because I have another book that tells me where the best prices are in town, What part of OCD organised freak do you not understand???

Anyway...a 1kg bag of sweet potatoes containing 5-6 sweet potatoes costs me 95p at Tesco and I can make that go for three to four separate meals or I can make it go for a big soup that feeds us for two days and one additional meal. So this is where I need to decide which recipes I want to use, so I know the best way to divide up my taters.

I decided on the three meal approach this week by looking at recipes and seeing what we already had in the pantry that could be used for the meal. This recipe was an easy choice because it is really tasty, we haven't had it in a while so it will be a treat, and we already had most of the ingredients on hand. We always have frozen corn and I had recently cooked up a 500g bag of black eyed peas and portioned them off in my freezer into servings. I've always got spices and condiments like oil in stock, so I really just had to buy the vegetables and the pumpkin seeds.

This recipe is based on what we ate whilst on holiday in Chichester  many years ago. I noted down all the ingredients and figured out how to make it at home.

Roasted Cajun Corn and Sweet Potato Salad

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F.
In a large roasting tin combine the following:
1 small red onion, diced
half a chopped pepper
 1 tin black eyes peas, drained and  rinses and blotted dry
1-2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted in boiling water and blotted dry
1 TB oil
3 tsp Cajun spices
Marinade:
1.5 TB liquid sweetener (Maple syrup or agave would work. I used golden syrup)
zest and juice of half a lemon


1. Stir well to combine oil with the beans and vegetables then sprinkle on the spices.
2. You want to serve this over a grain so start it when you need it. I used easy cook brown rice that cooks in 25 minutes so I started it right before I put the roasting pan in the oven.
3. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir and add  1/4 cup (40g) pumpkin seeds and roast for another 15 minutes.
3.Remove from the oven and drizzle over the marinade of lemon juice and liquid sweetener.
4. Serve over a grain like rice or couscous or quinoa.

It is tangy and spicy and little bit sweet and 100% delicious.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Murder Ballad Monday--Harpa Toner (Norwegian)

Hello and welcome to part seventeen of Murder Ballad Monday.

Last week we looked at a Norwegian version of the ballad The Twa Sisters. This week, I would like to look at another Norwegian version by a band called L.E.A.F.
                       Image result for l.e.a.f. band harpa toner
While it is identical lyrically to last week’s version, the tune is slightly altered.

The refrain is:
Harp tones tender and fine.
(Humming)

The Norwegian version is unusual compared to the English language versions in the body parts that are used to make the instrument. English or Scottish version tend to use the fingers, the breastbone, and the hair whilst the Norwegian version uses the leg bones and the hair.   

If you’d like to see the Norwegian lyrics side by side with the English lyrics go here: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/harpa-harp.html

L.E.A.F. have a really lush sound with bells and chimes which puts me in mind of the Cocteau Twins. This version of Harper Toner features Oliver S. Tyr of the German band FAUN. Listen to it here:
  

Here’s how it breaks down compared to other versions: (same as last week)
Name of ballad: Harpa Toner
Performed by: Bergtatt
Refrain:
Harp tones tender and fine.
Fa la la la la la la la la la
Number of sisters: two
Where did they live:  by the shore
Appearance described as: The young one went forth like the sun,
The older lagged behind like a worm in the ground.
Sweetheart: Mentioned, but not named
Excuse to go to the water: “let us go down by the river”
Body of water: river
Does it contain the line “Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam”: no
Miller and child: no
Mistaken for: n/a
Described in death: n/a
Who finds her on the bank: two shepherds
Instrument she becomes: harp
Body parts used: leg bone and two locks of hair
Would her song “melt a heart of stone”: no
Do the strings sing individually: yes
What does the instrument sing:
It told of the bride's evil deeds which caused the bride to stand frozen on the spot.
Is the sister punished: doesn’t say, but you presume so as her guilt is giving her away

Here are the lyrics in Norwegian if you would like to try to follow along.
 Det bodde en bonde ved en strand,
Harpa toner var og fin.
To fagre døtre hadde han.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Den eldste til den yngre sa:
Harpa toner var og fin.
La oss ned til elven dra.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Den yngste gikk føre som en sol,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Den eldste etter som orm i jord.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Den yngste satte seg på en stein,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Den eldste dyttet, hun var ikke sein.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Hun strakte ut sin hvite hand,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Og ropte søster hjelp meg iland.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Hvis jeg ikke hjelper deg,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Så vil din kjæreste ekte meg.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Det var to gjetere på den strand,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Og de så liket som fløt i land.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

De tok fra hennes kropp et ben,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Og lagde av det en harpe ven.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

De tok to lokker av hennes hår,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Og harpa gyldne strenger får.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Til søsterens bryllup ble harpa bragt,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Og på en strubbe der ble den lagt.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Det var senere på denne kveld,
Harpa toner var og fin.
At harpa spilte av seg selv.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Da den første strengen lød,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Den fortalte om brudens onde dåd.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

Da den andre strengen slo,
Harpa toner var og fin.
Bruden som forstenet sto.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

So, that's it for for version seventeen of The Twa Sisters. Stay tuned next Monday for version eighteen.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

What We Ate Wednesday--tangy roasted chickpeas and vegetables

Hello lovelies! OK....confession time. Last night we were *supposed* to have Cajun black eyed peas and kale over brown rice. But then, right around 5pm I discovered that I had already used the last of the kale and had forgotten to defrost the black eyed peas I had cooked earlier. So basically, all I had was brown rice.  Uh-oh.

But never fear. I looked around my well stocked kitchen and saw a tin of chickpeas. I can always do something with a tin of chickpeas. Roasting is the way to go. Chickpeas go all brown and chewy and delicious in the oven. Throw in some veg and rice and you have  meal.

So I adapted a recipe called Tamari Roasted Chickpeas from Dreena Burton's excellent cookbook Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. Her recipe just roasts chickpeas, but I roasted some vegetables I had in with the chickpeas and let me tell you...it was YUM.


Tangy Roasted Chickpeas and Vegetables

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F
In your biggest roasting tin add:
1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed. 
1 chopped onion
half a chopped pepper  (I used a yellow one as that is what I had, but red would have been prettier)
a small carrot, cut into half moons (or use a half a carrot)
1.5 TB tamari or soy sauce
1.5 TB lemon juice (freshly squeezed is great, but i used lemon from a squeezy bottle and it was fine)
1 TB olive oil
A squidge of liquid sweetener (maybe a teaspoon?)
a good shake of dried rosemary
lots of grinds of pepper

1. Mix all that together until the marinade covers all the chickpeas and vegetables.
2. Roast for 12 minutes, then take the pan out and stir then roast 13 more minutes.
3. Meanwhile you should have been cooking your brown rice. I forgot to mention it. My rice takes approximately 25 minutes so I started it right before I put the chickpea/veg mixture in to roast.
4. Throw some frozen peas in to your cooked rice to add an extra vegetable and make it look pretty.

That's it. The chickpeas are all chewy and delicious and the flavour is tangy and savoury and yum.
It feeds two hungry people quite easily.

Happy eating!

Monday, 13 March 2017

The Perils of Being Me


If you have seen my Facebook page, you have seen that I spent a lovely day making kiln fired glass with some friends.
Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor
I am a creative person. I love to make things. I sew, I do paper crafts. I re-purpose rubbish and turn it into art. I love to make. I love how it feels to create things with my hands. It brings me great joy...unless something goes wrong.

Then I am *very* self critical.

This has gotten better over the years, with the help of Spiderman and the reminder that I would never talk this way to anyone else.

But I can be VERY mean.

It is just one of the perils of being me.

As I child I made many things. Some good, some not so good. But I loved the process of making and I wasn't as concerned about the product. There was this paint-your-own-pottery shop called The Sunshine Shop that I visited nearly every weekend. I painted boatloads of stuff. Often messily, but with great joie de vivre. Everything I made had a story behind it. Two sloppily painted ballet slippers-one pink, one gold? A tale of a ballerina who lost a shoe before a crucial audition and a good fairy came and gave her a gold slipper to replace the lost one as the ballerina had been so kindhearted. The good fairy had disguised herself as a homeless bag lady and the little ballerina had shared her last piece of bread with her. Then the fairy knew the little ballerina deserved to make that audition.

So where did things start to go wrong for me? What caused this evil self critical monster to grow to such an enormous size?

How did I develop this perfectionist streak? When did I become so cautious of trying something where I might be a failure? I seem to only be a perfectionist when it comes to something I *should* be good at.

Like art.

I think what happened was this:
Other people I cared about began to make critical remarks. My Mum was exasperated at my careless painting. Probably she was tired of forking over money for me to half-ass paint stuff, but I started to hear that voice in my head. You should stop painting if you can't do it properly. 

This is one of the perils of being me.

Many years later at summer camp in North Carolina I made my Mum a copper engraving because she LOVED copper. I remember it was really awkward to etch the acid on the copper to do the engraving. You had to do it on the back and in reverse of the design that you intended on the front. My dyscalculia kicked in and it went wrong. The camp counsellor in charge of arts and crafts let me have one more go, but only if I wouldn't "waste it" like I did the other one because materials weren't cheap. I should have listened to the voice, but I tried again. It wasn't brilliant, but I made it for her with great love. She was really critical of it. I think she had no idea how hard it was to do and I how my hands shook like I had Parkinson's disease as I made it for fear of doing it wrong. She made comments the whole rest of the vacation about how Michelle had made a much nicer one for her mother with a better picture and Michelle was younger than me. Why couldn't I have made a lovely waterfall scene with a deer like that? I am not sure at this point, how much of this criticism was from my mother and how much was in my head. I know she did say those things abut Michelle's being nicer. I know the voice in my head called me an idiot for choosing something that had to be done backwards. A waterfall scene would look the same in reverse, dumbass. I never worked in copper again.

This is one of the perils of being me.

When we were exchange students in London, something occurred which we call the "Brass Rubbing Incident of 1990." At Westminster Abbey, you could do a brass rubbing. Basically you have a textured metal plate based on something in the church/crypt and you use an oil pastel to rub a design
onto black paper. You with me so far? I had been *dying* to do one. I had even selected my design. Margaret Peyton, the lace lady.

Large Vintage Brass Rubbing of Margaret Bernard Peyton:
NOT my brass rubbing, this is someone who did theirs better than me and is selling it on ETSY

I chose the design because I knew from having a Fashion Plates toy as a girl (which was basically the Barbie version of brass rubbing), that textured designs came out the best.
Image result for fashion plates
 I chose carefully so that I would be successful. And then something happened.

There are two versions to this:
My view is that it did NOT go well. The textured lace came out perfect but the smoothness of her face gave me trouble and it was streaky. I was so upset that was going to tear it up then and there, but it seemed inappropriate to go quite mad in Westminster Abbey and tear it to shreds. So I just sat there are cried. Fat tears plip-plopped down my face and I felt so ASHAMED that I had failed at this artistic endeavour. I am sad to say that SHAME was really the emotion I was feeling. It really was a misplaced feeling in this instance, but I couldn't see that back then.

Spiderman's version:
"It was all going well and was seemingly normal and then for no reason I could understand you started crying and wouldn't tell me why. You just kept saying you felt sick and ashamed. I had no earthly idea what had gone wrong." (Editor's note: he married me anyway in spite of this many other similar incidents. At least he knew what he was getting into)

Years later he found it in a poster tube (I was sure I had destroyed it) and hung it up as a surprise. Let me tell ya, it was a surprise all right, but not the one he was expecting.

This is one of the perils of being me.

There was a time in my life when I would spend all day in the summer holidays making artwork for my classroom when I was teacher. Seriously, I would go to LC with Spiderman when he worked there and I would bring all my art materials to Government Documents in the basement. I would make and make and make things for classroom.

I would work nonstop for eight hours and then if I perceived the tiniest flaw in the finished product, I would have to destroy the work and begin again. Spiderman would say that it was fine. More than fine. Really good. He would tell me to sleep on it before doing anything rash like destroying it. But I just couldn't. The flaw, however minor, leapt out at me and shouted that it was
Garbage
 Shit
 A Failure
That meant that I was Garbage/Shit/A Failure and it must be destroyed. This sort of perfectionism led to the nervous breakdown I had after my dad died where I had to quit teaching.

This is one of the perils of being me.

With hard work, I have (mostly) overcome this inner voice. But in new situations like Sunday where I was working on the kiln fired glass, I could hear it whisper.

These days all it does is whisper and I tell it where to go and (mostly) bugs off. Mostly.

I think the problem was:
1. the materials were not mine. I don't mind experimenting with my own things, but I did not want to waste someone else's materials.
2. the materials were expensive. I sure as hell didn't want to waste someone else's expensive materials.
3. I was unfamiliar with the art form. This can be a trigger for me because there is a chance it can fail.
4. I felt paralysed by the fear of the product not coming out well. I have worked hard to be free in my own artwork to try different techniques and be more about the "process than the product," but I did not feel I could just cut up lots of someone else's expensive glass and then decide not to use it.

How did I overcome this:
By not taking too much of a risk. I wanted to try new techniques and make it more abstract, but the fear of hating the end product and then associating that feeling of hate with the day would mean I would have it ruined twice for myself. I would remember the experience as bad and I would have been very self critical about the product and wanted to smash it. I am too old and too tired to have to put up with bad memories of my own making.

So I made something simple. Something a bit plain. Something I knew I would be happy with and had a reasonable chance of it coming out well. I wanted a colour background, but the powder to colour it was expensive and you had to set it with asthma inducing aerosol hairspray. I had to leave the room every time someone sprayed their glass, so in the end I decided to Keep It Simple and just leave it clear and let the simple design speak for itself. I think I succeeded.



I only had a few moments of angst where I felt everything going wrong. At those moments I popped into the loo and gave myself a good talking to whilst taking some deep breaths.

I genuinely had a good day.

It was fun.

It was with friends.

I learned something new.

I created something beautiful.

But when I came home, Spiderman and I talked about the perils of being me.

At least it is better than it used to be. At least I am better than I used to be.

I wish it wasn't so bloody hard to be me. But it is.

That is the peril of being me.

Murder Ball Monday--Harpa Toner (Norwegian)

Hello and welcome to part sixteen of Murder Ballad Monday.

For several weeks, I have looked at versions of the traditional ballad The Twa Sisters. I explored those versions which contained a supernatural element where the murdered girl’s bones are turned into a musical instrument and versions where the miller is also responsible for her death. We now move back into the supernatural.

Lurking on folk music message boards I managed to discover a few versions that were in languages other than English. This is terribly exciting because for many of them, if you understand the structure in English you can completely follow the song in another language. 



                                Image result for bergtatt band

The Norwegian text was translated and adapted from a traditional Scottish version of the ballad by a band called Folque back in 1974, but I prefer the rendition by Bergtatt (which means bewitched in Norwegian). This song uses the exact same tune and as the one by Pentangle which was recorded in 1970. 

The refrain is:
Harp tones tender and fine.
Fa la la la la la la la la 

You can see the influence of Pentangle in the Fa la la la la la la la la part of the refrain. Perhaps Folque heard the Pentangle version and four years later recorded their own.  Who knows.

Bergtatt has recorded this ballad with lots of longing in the singer’s voice which I feel fits the mood of the ballad. I have included a translation of the lyrics in English below if you would like to follow along as you listen. Listen to the Bergtatt version here:




Here’s how it breaks down compared to other versions:

Name of ballad: Harpa Toner
Performed by: Bergtatt
Refrain:
Harp tones tender and fine.
Fa la la la la la la la la la
Number of sisters: two
Where did they live:  by the shore
Appearance described as: The young one went forth like the sun,
The older lagged behind like a worm in the ground.
Sweetheart: Mentioned, but not named
Excuse to go to the water: “let us go down by the river”
Body of water: river
Does it contain the line “Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam”: no
Miller and child: no
Mistaken for: n/a
Described in death: n/a
Who finds her on the bank: two shepherds
Instrument she becomes: harp
Body parts used: leg bone and two locks of hair
Would her song “melt a heart of stone”: no
Do the strings sing individually: yes
What does the instrument sing:
It told of the bride's evil deeds which caused the bride to stand frozen on the spot.
Is the sister punished: doesn’t say, but you presume so as her guilt is giving her away

Here are the lyrics if you would like to follow along. I have eliminated the refrain so that it won’t be so long.

The Harp

There lived a farmer by the shore,
Harp tones tender and fine.
Two beautiful daughters he had.
Fa la la la la la la la la

The elder to the younger said:
Let us go down to the river.

The young one went forth like the sun,
The older lagged behind like a worm in the ground.

The young one sat on a rock, (cliff)
The older pushed (her off), she wasn't held back.

She reached out her white hand,
And cried : "sister help me ashore".

If I won't help you,
Then, your loved one shall be mine.


There were two shepherds on the beach, (shore)
And they saw the body floating to land.

They took a bone (leg) from her body,
And made a harp off of it.

They took two locks of her hair,
And golden harp strings they now got.

The harp was brought to the sister's wedding,
And on the stub it was placed.


It was later this evening,
That the harp started playing by itself.


When the first string sounded, (was played)
It told of the bride's evil deeds.

When the second string was struck,
Harp tones fine and tender,
The bride froze in her place.
Fa la la la la la la la la la

 So, that’s it for version sixteen of The Twa Sisters. Stay tuned next Monday for version seventeen.


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

What We Ate Wednesday--cheating stir fry with peanut sauce

Hello Lovelies! Today is one of my favourite quick meals. When I am working in the shop I don't get home until 6pm. Spiderman usually gets home around 4pm from his job so he can chop the veg and get food a-cooking before I get home. Fridays are the exception. We both get home at 6pm.

He is tired. I am exhausted.

He is hungry. I am ravenous.

This dish is the perfect remedy for that. It's a stir fry. In a delicious peanut sauce. With a little bit of a cheat to make it faster. If you think frozen food is tantamount to child abuse, I suggest you sod off look away now.

I use a combination of frozen stir fry veg and fresh veg for this dish. You can't really tell about the frozen veg as it is smothered in peanut sauce. Who doesn't like peanut sauce? People with peanut allergies, for a start. OK, besides them. Who else doesn't like peanut sauce?

I buy this bag of frozen stir fry vegetables at Tesco. It cost £1.20 for 600g.


I also buy these rice noodle nests from Tesco at £1.49 for 5 nests. These are a Godsend when you need something like NOW and don't have the time/energy/patience to wait for rice to cook. These babies cook in 3 minutes in boiling water. 3 minutes, people!!! We prefer to break up the noodle nests with our hands before we add the boiling water. If you forget (because you are exhausted and ravenous) then just use your kitchen scissors to cut up the cooked noodles after you drain them. You don't even have to cut or tear them into bits, really. But be aware you'll be slurping up a mile long noodle with peanut sauce clinging to it and it *might* just leap up and flick you on the glasses causing you to swear and preventing you from watching Doctor Who. Not that I would know anything about that....
Mama Vermicelli Noodles 225G
I wish they were brown rice noodles, but they are not. If wishes were horses poor men could ride.

I  always have a tin of water chestnuts on hand because their crunchy goodness makes everything better.

I also save time for the prep for this by doing a bit in advance. Any time I use a red pepper or a carrot I always put half away in the fridge for the next day's meal. Carrots like to be covered in water, Peppers do not.



Cheating Stir Fry in Peanut Sauce

Make your sauce: (or have someone else do the sauce while you do the rest)
This sauce is based on one from the cookbook Vegan on the Cheap. She used rice vinegar and I can't find that here or when I can it costs too much money so I just use lime juice from a squirty bottle that costs 85p.
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 TB soy sauce or tamari
1.5 TB lime juice
1 TB liquid sweetener (I use golden syrup, but agave would be good too)
1 TB toasted sesame oil
garlic to taste--by that i mean lots
about a TB of chopped ginger root (I also have this pre-prepped--I cut up a big piece of ginger and freeze it in portions)
2 TB water to thin it out

to make the stir fry:
1.  Boil your kettle. When it boils, pour water over noodles and set the timer for 3 minutes. When it beeps, drain them and let them sit until you are ready for them at the end.

2. Measure out 200g frozen stir fry veg (a third of the packet for me) and add 1/2 cup frozen peas and a 1/2 cup frozen edamame.

3. Heat them (no oil needed) in your biggest pan until it is warm and nearly defrosted. There will be a bit of water. Don't worry about it now.

4.  Add your choice of fresh ingredients. we favour a half a chopped red pepper, a half a carrot cut into matchsticks, 5 chopped button mushrooms and a drained tin of water chestnuts.

5. Cook for a few minutes until the fresh ingredients are crisp-tender. Carefully drain away any excess water.

6. Add the peanut sauce and stir to coat. Let the sauce heat a bit and then add the noddles. Stir to get everything all coated with the lovely sauce.

Then slump down on the sofa and eat like you haven't had a meal in a hundred years while you watch Doctor Who.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Murder Ballad Monday--The Halliards

 Hello and welcome to part fifteen of Murder Ballad Monday.

For the last few weeks we have looked at versions of The Twa Sisters where the supernatural element has been removed. In previous weeks, the miller rescued the sister, then stole her jewellery, and pushed her back in again.

This version harks back to the first one Murder Ballad Monday that I wrote about. It is entitled Minore and uses a chorus similar to the one collected by Sir Walter Scott in 1802. He changed Edinburgh, Edinburgh in the refrain to Binnore, Binnore. In this version Minore stands in for Binnore.  

The refrain for this song is:
Minore, oh Minore
By the bonny dam sides of Minore

 

This version is by a band called Halliards. I stumbled upon them on YouTube looking for versions of this song. I confess I had not heard of them at all, and struggled to find any information about the band at all. Finally, I stumbled onto australianfolk.blogspot.co.uk which had this to say about it:

 I know very little about this band but they brought out this LP in Australia in the late 1960s. The band members are listed as Derek Moule, Brian Hall, Paul Langford, Stan Armstrong and Eric Brooks with some help from Rob McCarthy, Bernie Kellow and John McLaughlin. They were an Australian group but it is obvious that some of them are ex-pats from the United Kingdom and Ireland. (Not to be confused with the folk band "Halliard")
This is a great LP and they do great justice to the songs on this LP both vocally and instrumentally. In fact, it is one of my favourite albums. The songs are mainly a mix of tracks from the British Isles with one Australian traditional.

This is similar to last week’s version in that he seems to be courting both sisters. The song says:
He courted the eldest with all of his land, but he courted the young one with his right hand.
He bought the eldest a broach and ring, but he loved the young one above anything.

Somehow in the other versions he seemed to be a bit of a “Jack the lad” trying it on with both sisters, (perhaps the jolliness of the music makes me think this) but somehow in this one, it seems different to me. Perhaps there was pressure to marry the eldest, but his heart went to the youngest. Like in the book/film Like Water For Chocolate where he marries the eldest to be close to the youngest who is not allowed to marry (she must stay home and care for the elderly mother.)

This version is also different because the sweetheart in question is the miller’s son and it is he who finds the body of his beloved.  

 Halliards version of this traditional ballad is really lovely, just a harp in the background with the singing over it. Listen to it here:



Here’s how it breaks down compared to other versions:

Name of ballad: Minore
Performed by:  Halliards
Refrain:
Minore, oh Minore
By the bonny dam sides of Minore
Number of sisters: two
Where did they live: in a bower
Appearance described as: the youngest was the fairest and the eldest was plain
Sweetheart:  the miller’s son
Excuse to go to the water:  “to see our father’s ships come in”
Body of water: the dam
Does it contain the line “Sometimes she sank, sometimes she swam”: “she swam up and she swam down”
Miller and child: the miller and his son
Mistaken for: n/a
Described in death: either a swan or a milk white maid
Who finds her on the bank: n/a
Instrument she becomes: n/a
Body parts used: n/a
Would her song “melt a heart of stone”: n/a
Do the strings sing individually: n/a
What does the instrument sing: n/a
Is the sister punished: no

 Here are the lyrics if you would like to follow along. I have eliminated the refrain so that it won’t be so long.
There were two sisters in one  bower
Minore, oh Minore
And there came a young lad for to be their wooer
By the bonny dam sides of Minore

He courted the eldest with all of his land
But he courted the young one with his right hand.

He bought the eldest a broach and a ring
But he loved the young one above anything.

Sister, sister come to the dam
To see our father’s ship come in.

They went to the dam and stood on a stone
And the eldest pushed the young one in.

She swam up, and she swam down
And she swam to where her sister stood.

Sister, sister give me your hand
You can have the miller lad and all of his land.
He’s the bonny miller lad of Minore.

It wasn’t for that that I pushed you in
For you are the fairest and I am plain.

Father, father come to the dam
There’s either a swan or a milk-white maid
Who lies drowning in the dams of Minore.

There’s none of them there knew her face so fair
But the miller lad knew the yellow hair
Of his own bonny lass of Minore.

 So, that’s it for version fifteen of The Twa Sisters. Stay tuned next Monday for version sixteen.