Sunday 28 February 2010

February Full Moon

'Is the moon tired? she looks so pale
Within her misty veil:
She scales the sky from east to west,
And takes no rest.

Before the coming of the night
The moon shows papery white;
Before the dawning of the day
She fades away.'
Christina Rossetti 1830 - 1894
It's the last day of the shortest month of the year and there is a full moon sailing in a cloudy sky. The February full moon is called the Snow Moon, the Ice Moon or the Hunger Moon, though it has other names in other cultures. For example, some colonial Americans may know it as the Trapper's Moon while the Cherokee name is Bony Moon and the Choctaw people call it the Little Famine Moon. Meanwhile the Sioux know it as Moon of the Racoon or the Moon When Trees Pop and that last name seems to me to be similar to the Chinese name of the Budding Moon.
I found this version of an 18th century English recipe for 'Moon Shine' – and this is not for the alcoholic beverage! I have simplified it as much as I can, though I have to say there are some steps that seem quite confusing.
It is made in a large half-moon shaped mould and in one large and two or three smaller star-shaped tins.
  • Boil two calves feet in a gallon of water till reduced to a quart.
  • Strain, allow to cool and skim off all the fat.
  • Take half the jelly and sweeten with sugar to taste.
  • Beat the whites of four eggs and add to mixture.
  • Stir over a slow heat till it boils.
  • Strain through muslin till clear.
  • Put it in a clean saucepan and add an ounce of blanched sweet almonds ground very finely in a mortar.
  • Add two teaspoonfuls of rosewater and two of orange-flower water.
  • Strain through a coarse cloth.
  • Stir in four large spoonfuls of thick cream.
  • Stir it all together till it boils.
  • Have ready the dish you intend it for.
  • Lay the half-moon tin in the middle.
  • Pour the above blancmange into the dish.
  • When quite cold remove the moulds.
  • Mix the other half of the jelly with half a pint of good white wine.
  • Mix the juice of two or three lemons with some sugar.
  • Add the well-beaten whites of eight eggs.
  • Stir it all together over a low heat till it boils.
  • Sieve it through muslin until it is quite clear.
  • In a china basin carefully fill up the spaces left after the moulds were removed.

  • Let it stand till cold.
    I would add one final step . . .

    • Now throw away!!
The full moon always rises at sunset while the new moon always rises at sunrise.
Much of this trivia I have gleaned from the internet. I was pleased to see the moon tonight though it is not shining brightly and I guess we will have more rain before morning – oh joy!


  1. You would not believe how glad I am to have unflavoured gelatin, or Jello, rather than have to make it from calves feet!

  2. Love that first photo! My sister tells me that the full moon in February is called the Worm Moon because the earthworms come above ground...

  3. Beautiful pictures, the moon is not so easy to photograph ! but now I also understand why I didn't sleep well yesterday night ! Your recepe is to long, lol ! If ever you saw sunshine in my post it must be a mistake, I don't even know anymore how it looks like ! and yesterday afternoon we had a terrible storm in Belgium with 100km/h wind !

  4. Judy - I think I'd go forever without if I had to go to all that palaver!
    LadyFi - what a lovely name but the worms must be wearing steel helmets to battle their way through the frozen soil - or perhaps these earthworms live in warmer climes?
    Gattina - I saw on the news that many areas in Europe were experiencing terribly strong winds. I hope things are calmer for you today. PS: we have sun today :-)


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