All posts by My Homespun Haven

David and I are starting our adventure in the UK and we want you to be a part of it.

Andorra

Andorra was one of the few countries in Europe that I did not know much about. I couldn’t even point to it on a map. Andorra is a small country that sits on the France-Spain border. The influences of Spain, France, and Portugal are very strong in the cuisine.

I came across a simple dish that reminds me of something I have made before. In the UK, there is a popular dish called bubble and squeak. It is essentially the leftover vegetables from your Sunday roast made into a potato pancake. Trinxat is traditional Catalan (Andorran) cuisine.   Trinxat:  3 slices bacon, chopped; 2 lg potatoes, peeled and cut into 6-8 pieces; 1/2 green cabbage, rough chopped
3 green onions, chopped, keep the white and green parts seperated;  3 garlic cloves, minced

1. In a large pot, add the potatoes and cover with water keeping in mind the cabbage will be added to the pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Add cabbage and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Strain the water from the pot and smash the veggies with a potato masher. Stir in white parts of the green onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, render the fat from the bacon in a large non stick or cast iron skillet over medium low heat. Once the bacon is crispy, remove 1/2 of the bacon for garnish and 1/2 of the fat for greasing the pan later.
3. Carefully, add the veggies to the skillet and make an even layer. Set the temperature to low heat and set the timer for 20 minutes.
4. Use a plate to flip the potato cake onto the plate cooked side up. Grease the pan with reserved bacon fat and slide the cake back onto the hot skillet and cook for a further 20 minutes.

I served this with a simple pork chop sauteed with salt and pepper. It would be a great accompaniment with any protein and is a great way to use up your roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes.

Enjoy!

Dublin Coddle

What a perfect time to cook for Ireland? I’m sure it was predictable enough. Seeing as we are back in the States, I thought it would a perfect time to share something other than Corned Beef for St. Patrick’s Day. Corned Beef is more of an American Irish thing, not a traditional Irish meal.

For the last two years, I have made something called Coddle and it is popular in Ireland. It is basically a stew that is made of sausage and bacon. Dublin Coddle: 2-4 slices bacon, chopped
6 good quality sausages (We used homemade sausages!)
1 onion, chopped; 1 leek, chopped and cleaned; 1 bay leaf; 1/4 tsp dried thyme; 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 8ths;  3 carrots, peeled and rough chop; 1 cup good quality beer;  1 cup chicken stock 

1. In a large pot, render the fat from the bacon. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon when it is starting to get crisp.
2. Saute the sausages. You are going for color not cooked. They are going to cook further later. Remove and set aside with the bacon.
3. Saute onion and leeks until soft over medium low heat. Add bay leaf and thyme and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add the sausage, bacon, potatoes, carrots, beer, and stock.
5. Bring to a simmer and cover for 30-45 minutes until the veggies are soft.

We served this with soda bread and a beer to drink! This is a great alternative to corned beef and cabbage. It is easier on the wallet and the time. 

 Knitting News

 I thought I would also share my sad news. I have knitted an entire slipper and have to take it apart AGAIN! I am determined to finish these slippers but I think I have to move on for the moment. It is making my head hurt. But, they are going to be oh, so, cute when they are done! For now, it is on to the boys’ birthday gifts.

Macedonia

We were plagued by the stomach bug this week! Yuck! We spent four days miserable and trying to keep up with the laundry and the diapers. This winter has been particularly hard with the sicknesses and the 7+ feet of snow in a matter of two weeks. So, I needed a fresh meal that didn’t consist of soup or meat. I wanted something fresh and clean. So, I decided to go around the Mediterranean for this week’s recipe.

Macedonia was the home of Alexander the Great (not Greece) and Mother Theresa. This week, I found a recipe for a cool looking filo pie. I love eating filo, I don’t have the same feelings about working with it. I think I may venture into the making of it for this European challenge, but I am not making any promises. Zucchini Swirl Pie (adapted from greek-recipe.com)
1 pkg filo pastry
1 large onion, sliced and caramelized
2-3 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup cooked grain (rice, quinoa, barley)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup dill, chopped
3 eggs
pinch nutmeg
1/4-1/2 cup butter, melted
salt and pepper

1. Put the grated zucchini and 1/2 tsp salt into a strainer and let it sit on a plate for 1 hour. Use a clean towel and wring out as much water as you can from the zucchini.
2. Preheat oven 375F/180C.
3. Mix together caramelized onion, zucchini, grain, feta, dill, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
4. Grease a cake tin or pie plate with melted butter. And create a work station. Unravel the filo pastry and have the butter and zucchini mix next to you.
5. Brush first sheet of filo with butter. Add 1/3 cup of zucchini mix to the shorter end of the sheet and roll it up like a log.
6. Starting with the perimeter of the dish, wrap the log around the side.
7. Repeat step 5 and continue wrapping the logs inward.
8. Brush the whole thing with butter.
9. Bake for 1 hour until golden brown and crispy. 

Edwyn loved this. I couldn’t cool pieces for him fast enough. David and I were also big fans of this. David said it was like quiche and spanakopita mixed together which is always a winner in our house.

Where to next?

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi or St. David’s Day

This past Sunday was St. David’s Day and we thought it was appropriate to celebrate. St. David is the patron saint of Wales and I designed a menu around the region.

I have decided that because of my time in the UK I am going to cook something for Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to represent the United Kingdom in my European Challenge.

Our first course for dinner was Welsh Rarebit. Main course was Cawl Cennin aka Potato Leek Soup. Leeks are worn on St. David’s Day in Wales. Weird. It was pretty simple. Bacon fat, onion, potato, leeks, garlic, chicken stock, and cream. 

 Lastly, I made Welsh Tea Cakes. The are like if a scone and a pancake had a baby. These cakes can be with served butter, whipped cream, or clotted cream; and with a cup of tea, please. 



Welsh Tea Cakes 

450g plain flour
50g granulated or caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins (I may or may not have added some chocolate chips.)
2 eggs
3-4 tbsp cream

1. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir in dried fruit.
2. Mix in eggs until well distributed.
3. Slowly add in cream until the dough comes together but is not too wet to roll out.
4. Roll dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Use a circular 2.5-3 inch cookie cutter and cut out as many circles as you can. I kept rolling out until I used most of the dough.
YOU CAN COOK THESE EITHER IN A SKILLET OR BAKE THEM.
5. Skillet – Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat with a little oil and cook the cakes for 3 minutes on each side.
6. Bake at 350F/180C for 15 minutes.

Knit, Purl…

I have been a knitting machine. I created all of our Christmas gifts, David’s Birthday gift, and some socks for myself. I wanted to share with you my finish products of some of my creations.

The first was David’s Christmas/Birthday sweater. I think I have mentioned before that he has asked many times for a sweater. I have only knitted one sweater before and it was for myself and I did not like the outcome. So, this was a total leap of faith. Well, the finished product is amazing for a first successful sweater.

I used this pattern at Fibre and Spice. I made a few adjustments to it, but the most drastic was using the knit side instead of the purl side. I didn’t like the way the purl looked so I made the appropriate adjustments. I also used four skeins of Regia Highland Tweed in Olive.IMG_0055Next, I worked on some socks for myself. I am falling in love with hand knitted socks! Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait for sandal and flat weather again but knitted socks have so much character.

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These were knitted with Araucania Huasco and I created this pattern myself but I am sure you can find a similar pattern on Ravelry or Pinterest.

image3So, now, I am on to some reversible slippers. This pattern has to be the most complicated pattern I have ever dealt with. It is double pointed needles and color work which translates to concentration. I have already knitted in entire slipper and unraveled the whole thing! You are not a true knitter unless you have done this. There is something gratifying yet tragic about unraveling an entire piece. Haha.

…Wake Up!

I have disappeared into a world of sleep deprivation and yarn. Since Christmas, Edwyn and Theodore have been teething and growing which means that we don’t get much sleep these days. In turn, my productive mind goes for the rhymic knitting strokes and not the cognitive thinking tasks like blogging or anything other than survival and knitting.

I think in the last week, my husband has really taught me that excuses are the real reason I have abandoned something that I truly enjoy doing, this blog. After all, he is writing a BOOK! Having children really does make you CHANGE. Parents are usually given a slow journey into parenthood. We were given the fast track pass. So, how do I set aside the excuses? By setting goals. I need my productive checklist to keep this mom on track.

For my Spring Time Challenge, I am setting a deadline for April 30th. This will be perfect timing as the buddies’ birthday is May 1st!

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My Spring Time Challenge

1. Europe Cooking Challenge – I will have completed at least 10 countries.

2. Knitting Projects – I will finish and share my slippers and the boys’ birthday gifts.

3. Photography Exploring – I will take at least 10 pictures of anything other than my sons, husband, or food. Hahaha. I want to learn more about light and color. Hopefully, I can stretch myself with this one.

So, what do you want to accomplish this season?

David’s Sweater

I am currently knitting up a storm. It usually happens in September/October. I usually get the knitting bug. The weather drastically changes and I break out the warm fibers and start to work them into a shape. Scarves, hats, socks, mittens, are my usual fare. This year, I was able to pick up yarn from WEBS. I would have loved to make the two hour drive to go looking around but with babies it is a little difficult. For now, I will make my online purchases. My budget loves the closeout selection. Here is a little look into my small stash.

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/6bc/28030641/files/2015/01/img_0001-0.jpg I purchased ten skeins of this Cascade 220 Fingerling in Christmas Green. It is a beautiful green.

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/6bc/28030641/files/2015/01/img_0004-0.jpg This Araucania Huasco is beautiful and the pictures don’t do it justice. I love the way hand painted wool looks. I only purchased one skein and I think I may make socks with this.
This Christmas, I made stockings, a hat, golf club cosys, and I am in the middle of my second ever sweater. David has wanted me to knit him a sweater for a long time and I am finally getting around to it. For David’s sweater I am using Regia Highland Tweed in the color olive. Here is the pattern I am using and I am making some pretty drastic changes. The biggest change is I am changing the front to be the knit side instead of the purl.

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I am almost done. I have the front and back done and have the sleeves and collar to go. I also purchased one more skein bringing my total to four skeins of the Regia Highland Tweed for this sweater. Hopefully, I will finish it in the next two weeks and be able to share the finished product with you.