Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What are We Missing?

Nothing very interesting in the US 'Unwrapped' progs this morning apart from two things.  One was showing how the sweet 'Seafoam' was made (called 'Sponge Candy' in other parts of the US).  Exactly the same as we make 'Cinder Toffee', but they added a 'secret ingredient' to make it foam (huh, secret! We all know that is only bicarb don't we?).  Once tipped out onto a marble slab, the foam was pressed down to flatten a bit, then cut into oblongs.  Once set it was 'bottomed' with chocolate and when that was set it was coated in melted chocolate.  Something we could easily make ourselves.

The other food made was called 'Polish Kiebasa Sausage'.  This a bit spicy (like chorizo) and not formed into individual sausages, just one long 'rope' that was then looped round rods and cooked in ovens.  Good for reheating on the barbecue.  
It was the fact it as a traditional Polish sausage that interested me the most as it does seem we don't have much info here in the UK about Polish or Hungarian foods.  Or Russian, or Romanian.... There are quite a few Polish foods sold in the supermarkets because many Poles are now living here, but they have never enticed me to try them.  Perhaps I should.

It wasn't until after World War II that we realised that people ate different foods than we did, and over the last 50 years more and more delicious ingredients appear on the shelves.  The problem is we tend to believe that a country lives only on the foods we have become used to.  In India they cook only curries (even though these have different flavours).  In China and the Far East it is mainly 'stir-fry' (again with slightly different ingredients).  In Mexico it is chilli con carne (although believe that originated in Texas).   Italy it is the pizza and pasta dishes,  France - snails and frogs legs come to mind, but generally everything is coated in a sauce of some kind.  With Spain we think of Tapas and Paella, and Morocco is the Tagine.
In the US the first foods that come to mind are giant steaks and beefburgers, Clam Chowder, Mac 'n Cheese, and cupcakes.   

Does this mean all countries tend to think the same way, believing with the English we eat mainlyit will be Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, and Fish and chips (and not a lot else)? Scotland has it'se porridge and now deep fried Mars bars (yes they do sell these). Ireland it's Soda Bread, Wales it's Wesh Cakes and Laver Bread. 
We all know we cook a lot more 'traditional' (and gorgeous) foods than the above in the UK, and so it must be the same in all the other countries.  So let's hear readers from around the world (who kindly read this blog) telling us of other traditional and favourite foods that are lesser known to us.

Time now for me to reply to comments that have been received during the last 24 hours. 
Am sure Mandy, if you move to Warwickshire, you will love the country.  I was born in Coventry, but know the country quite well, my favourite memories are of Leamington Spa (where we also lived for 2 years), Warwick, Kenilworth, and Stratford on Avon, plus Anne Hathaways' cottage at Shottery.  Much of the beauty of the countryside for me came from the many weeping willows that lined the many rivers and streams, also in gardens.

It sounds as though you live fairly close to Morecambe druidsgarden.  You sound very much a part of our English/Scottish, Irish heritage, with almost all your genes coming from various parts of the UK (certainly adding the Welsh side via your OH your children will definitely be 'true Brits'.
How lovely to be able to (almost) trace your ancestors to Robert the Bruce.  Wasn't he the one hiding in a cave watching a spider keep repairing it's web, and came up with 'if you can't succeed, try and try again'?  Which he did.   If so, then hope you have - through his genes - this same approach to life.  It does pay off.

Your mention of the smell of liquorice as you approach Pontefract jane, reminds me of how - when a child and we always went to Hemsby (Norfolk) for our holidays, as we drove into Great Yarmouth we would be met by the smell from the Smith's Crisps factory.  Made my mouth water.  So another request to readers.  What smells take your back to your youth (it doesn't have to be food)?

Hope you enjoy retirement Granny G. (or at least your husband's retirement, you may already be retired).  Have to say that life hasn't really changed at all since I retired, I still have to cook, clean, do the laundry... it's B's life that really has changed, he is now free to get out of bed as late as he wishes, jump into his car and drive to where he wants, and take up hobbies that he now has time for.  I suppose I could do some of that too but nearly 60 years of being 'nobbut a skivvy' has become a habit hard to break, and it doesn't feel right if I do.

The library phone yesterday to say the two books requested by me were ready to collect, so B fetched them later that afternoon.  Still haven't got 'The Clan of the Cave Bear', but the two he brought were Betty Macdonald's 'Onions in the Stew' and 'The Egg and I'.  I have begun reading the latter and her husband sounds very much like mine and Granny G's when it comes to gardening (the 'crash and burn technique').  I was sure I'd read 'Onions...') before, but it all seems new to me, so perhaps I'd been meaning to but never got around to it.  Am pretty sure I read 'The Egg and I', but will find out late once I start reading. 

How lovely that you kept your egg cups Pam, but am wondering why it took you so long to put them to use.  Bet you also kept a teapot. 
When visiting our daughter in America she asked me to bring her a teapot as they didn't seem to sell any there (unless in the 'English' shops where they were very, very expensive).  So I took her a small shiny, fat brown one (the classic farmhouse style).  I also took her a fancy one that looked like The Queen Vic (in EastEnders).

It does seem that Americans have no idea at all how to make tea.  More than once I was given a mug of not-quite-hot water, and a tea-bag so I could dangle it inside.  It was disgusting, although perhaps the brand of tea and the water made with it might have made a bit of a difference (the water in that area was very chlorinated, tasted like swimming bath water).
Mind you, the same thing happened when we were in the Netherlands, the tea served in a top restaurant was just hot water served with a tea-bag (of my choice).   On the other hand, the Dutch coffee was out of this world (I asked the B & B landlady how she made it.  It was Due Egberts coffee with evaporated milk.  GORGEOUS.   Don't know why I stayed with Nescafe Original Instant on our return.  Probably because it worked out cheaper.

Lucky you to live in Kent Taaleedee being 'the Garden of England'.  I always associate the series 'The Darling Buds of May' with that area, so tend to believe in spring the fields are full of fruit trees in flower, there are rows of hops growing, strawberry fields in the summer, and the sun always shining so people eat outdoors in the garden (like 'the Larkins'). 

Like the sound of your 'extreme Grandma duties' Janet.  Am sure you will enjoy all the times you spend with your grandson.  The first 13 years are very precious, after then they tend to forget they have a grandma sometimes, later they forget altogether.
How is the Rossendale Foodbank getting along.  I've heard nothing from the Morecambe Bay Foodbank since the ladies took my recipe book to print, and am too embarrassed to ask in case they say it wasn't any good.

B is out all day helping to put up a fence between our daughter's house and next door (which has just been sold). So far it looks like being another sunny day, although the sky is slightly hazy, with a few clouds.  However will spend most of the day in the garden to get the rest of the plants potted up (not many left to do), check none need more water, maybe sit in the sun for a bit, then back indoors to prepare B's supper (he has chosen Spag. Bol, so I can prepare the meat sauce to be reheated, and cook the quick-cook pasta a few minutes before he wants to eat)

Just one recipe today as I want to get on while B is out of the house (don't know why, but it is far easier when he isn't here, even if he does leave me alone to get on with things).
The recipe is for a savoury souffle omelette and although this one uses three eggs (for one portion) it reminded me of how I used to make a souffle omelette for B's 'pudding' in our early days of marriage (it was about the only thing I could cook then).  Am sure this used only one egg, the white being stiffly whipped, folded into the beaten egg yolk then tipped into a frying pan and cooked until almost set on top, a dollop of jam was put on half the omelette which was then folded over and served.
We don't all grow the herbs given in the recipe so suggest we use any fresh herbs we have (that will go together).  The recipe doesn't suggest chopping them, but I would do so.

Herby Souffle Omelette: serves 1
3 eggs, separated
1 tblsp water
handful grated Cheddar cheese
1 tblsp each parsley, dill, chives, tarragon...
half oz (15g) butter
salad leaves
Put the egg yolks and water into a bowl and whisk together, beat in the cheese and herbs. In another bowl (with clean beaters) whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then quickly fold these into the yolk mixture.  Do this gently to retain as much air as possible.
Heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan until it begins foaming, then pour in the egg mixture and give a shake to level it out.  When it has set, fold over in half and serve with salad leaves.

Sorry the blog is shorter today (although I am sure I hear sighs of relief from readers), but really do want to make the most of my 'B-free' time.  A reminder that the blog will probably be later tomorrow being a Norma (hair) day.  Working outdoors will leaves enough of my mind free to keep you in my thoughts and hope you too will have an enjoyable day.  TTFN.