Category Archives: European Challenge


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.



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.


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
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?