Category Archives: Food

Recipes and Local Foods

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.

What will 2015 bring?

Another year has passed. A very emotional and unforgettable year. Twins. Cancer. Transatlantic move. Now that my brain is starting to bounce back from the emotional roller coaster, I am setting my eyes on achieving some personal goals.

A few of my goals will be connected to this blog and I thought it would be a great idea to write about them so I will have some sense of accountability.

European Cuisine
Back in 2012, I cooked my way through Asia. It was a great learning experience and I enjoyed the challenge. David and I are missing England and I thought that it would be a great time to cook our way through Europe.

Knitting
Every year I knit several pieces but yet I don’t blog about them. I would like to show off my hard work to you all.

Quilting
I am looking to start a new venture. I am researching how to quilt by hand. I would like to not only hand quilt but also hand piece a quilt. Maybe English paper piecing or not. I haven’t decided.

Photography
My parents bought me a wonderful flash for my camera and it has opened a whole new world to shooting for me. No more waiting for daylight to take pictures. I would like to learn more about exposure and light and share my journey.

So, this is all fine and dandy but how am I going to do this. The European cuisine can easily be accomplished but how am I going to accomplish the other three. I think I may pick a day of the week and focus on those things like Needles Tuesday or Photo Wednesday. We will see.

So, stay tuned for some changes around here. I am looking to the future and have high hopes for 2015.

What are your hopes for 2015?

Squashed Out

I am going to admit that I am starting to get squashed out. I think everyone in the house is feeling the same way.

I am still persevering though. We had a delicata squash waiting to be used in the pantry and I decided to make something fully out of the pantry. We had some frozen chicken in the freezer, squash and onion in the veggie bin, tomatoes, black beans, broth, and seasoning in the pantry and away we go. Throw it all in a slow cooker and you are done. Wallah!
chicken squash chili
Squash and Chicken Chili

Onion, chopped
Delicata squash, diced with skin on (Butternut is a good substitute.)
3 chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 Tbsp your favorite chili seasoning
2 cups chicken broth

1. Combine everything into a slow cooker.
2. Cook 8-10 hours on low or 4-5 on high.
3. Shred chicken with a fork and serve with sour cream and Tabasco for heat.

We also had some tortilla chips on hand for some added crunch. I love it when I can shop for dinner at home!

Cheesy Squash

Moving right along with the squash theme. This week I put together something with the mildest of the squashes: Spaghetti squash. I wanted to do something different than the traditional pasta sauce dish with the squash. So, I went with the traybake as the Brits call it. (We have really been missing England as of late.)

I think that the key to this dish is the cheese. Don’t use that crappy preshredded stuff that doesn’t taste like anything. Go to the cheese counter or speciality cheeses and get the good sharp mature cheddar.
cheesy spaghetti squash
Cheesy Spaghetti Squash

1 medium spaghetti squash, sliced in half and de seeded
1 onion, sliced
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup sharp cheddar
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven 425.
2. Place the squash in the microwave for 12 minutes until fork tender. Let cool for 10 minutes till you can handle it. Shred the pulp into a bowl.
3. In a saucepan, heat a tsp of oil and the onion and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes until the onions are caramelized.
4. In a large casserole dish, stir together squash, onions, sour cream, salt and pepper. Top with cheese.
5. Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

This was delicious! It is a great replacement for potatoes which are carb rich. This might also be a great sneak in for kids and veggies. Any kid should love any veggie with cheese on it.