dissabte, d’agost 19, 2006

Welsh and Polish yumyums (English / Welsh / French / Polish)

It's been a weekend of northern European viddles. First, on Friday, I invited JKL&J over for a traditional Welsh vegetarian meal. That's not as easy as it sounds, since the Welsh have traditionally be meat-lovers for a few centuries, especially ever since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, which came to Wales only shortly after getting started down in Cornwall. L & J are vegetarians, and J & K used to be, so a vegetarian meal for them is just fine. They arrived and I served most of them G & T's prepared with Boodles. Jim opted to have one my homemade Honeybrowns, as he had not tried them before, and he gave me a positive review. Hopefulluy soon I will be able to dedicate time to brewing traditional Welsh Ales to accompany my Welsh goodies. When we sat down at the table, since I follow French order when I serve guests at my house, I decided to offer cantaloupe. This may seem like a strange choice, but in France, during the summer, it's quite popular.

Earlier, on Thursday, lorsque je faisais les provisions, I was insistent with the man at the supermarket that he bring me fresh melons. When I got to the melon section, there was only one paltry and thoroughly poked cantaloupe to be seen! He acquiesced, perhaps feeling guilty that he did not know where the currants were in his own shop. Luckily I found them, without his help. Nonetheless, he brought a great crate of new melons and let me run my fingers all over them, picking the nicest, sweetest one for my guests.

For the main course, I prepared Wyau Môn. Wyau Môn (Anglesey Eggs) are made by mashing potatoes (tatws newydd os ar gael...) and mixing them with chopped and boiled leeks and fresh ground pepper. You layer the spuds along the bottom of a casserole dish, and then you slice hard-boiled eggs (mine were from chickens that were "born free"; it was actually stamped on their little brown shells). You line the egg halves over the bed of taters, and then you smother the lot in a creamy cheese sauce made with extra sharp cheddar, milk, butter, flour and nutmeg. Then you bake the casserole until the top is all lovely, brown and crunchy. The end result is lovely, with a creamy cheesey top over a buttery, silky base with what better, hardboiled eggs in the middle.

With the main course I served, peas, of course, one must have peas at a Welsh meal, good for the blood, and the digestion. Everyone raved how good they tasted. They were organic and flash frozen fresh, and of course I melted half a stick of butter in them as well. Besides pys, I made selsig Morgannwg. J of L & J always extols the virtues of my selsig Morgannwg. Selsig Morgannwg are meatless saussages. You use bread crumbs, eggs, fresh parsley, an onion, more sharp cheese. thyme and some milk to bind them. You roll the mixture into sausage shapes, and then you roll them in egg and flour. Finally you fry the lil suckers up. They end up being very tasty and moist!

Following French order, we then ate our salad and then cheese. I offered Stilton, Gouda and Boursin, herb and garlic. For our dessert, I made bara brith, or speckled bread. This you make with currants soaked over night in a half pint mixture of strong black tea and whisky liquor, self-raising flour, dark brown sugar and an egg. It's lovely, sweet but not boozey, and it tastes heavenly with Irish butter smeared across it. To go with the bara brith, I brewed some good, old fashioned black teat, and most folks took their "paned" "te coch", red tea, no milk no sugar.

Today, I went with A & D northwards, to Lake George, where we eventually landed at Taste of Poland. We had skewers with kielbasa and Polish farm cheese, tomatoes and olives for starters. Then we had mizeria, a cucumber and sour cream salad, very yummy. They then served us salads before we had our main course, the Polish Platter. The Polish platter had helpings for each of us of bigos (a sauerkraut, beef and kielbasa mixture) two ricotta filled pierogies, gołębki (what we might call pigs in a blanket or pig in a poke), a half kielbasa each, and two potatoe pancakes. We also enjoyed a bottle of Polish beer each, and finally some nice coffee. Over all the meal was fabulous. One thing you can say for northern European cuisines, nearly all of them require a hollow leg!