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When my mother recently passed away, because we are a scattered family, one of my younger brothers had the great idea of setting up a private Facebook page for the immediate family to talk in – mainly about funeral arrangements but also just in general.
One topic, which I inadvertently started, was about her cooking. It’s fair to say, and she would agree, that cooking was not her forte. She was able to feed us but it was never exciting. That’s me being respectful.
So we were joking amongst ourselves about that when the subject of her two most ‘original’ recipes came up and we each tried to remember exactly what was in them. Here, to the best of our ability, is what we agreed on.
Pasta. This had to be Marshall’s macaroni, a Scottish speciality and the only pasta I ever ate until I was about 18 years-old, apart from tinned spaghetti, usually in the form of spaghetti hoops.
Bacon. This would normally be unsmoked Ayrshire back bacon. Not American bacon!
Onions. White onions. We didn’t know they came in other colours.
Tomatoes. Scottish tomatoes are surprisingly good.
Salt. Common iodised table salt. You know. Natural salt. None of your fancy sea flavoured salt nonsense!
Pepper. Black pre-ground and stale.
Boil pasta according to pack instructions. Or a bit longer if you get distracted. Drain.
Cut bacon into pieces. Chop onion approximately finely. Chop tomatoes into eighths. Fry bacon and vegetables. When ready add drained pasta and mix. Apply seasoning if you remember. Even if you remember, under season.
During WWII, around 17,000 Polish soldiers were stationed in Scotland, first temporarily in the border areas but later in east Scotland where my mother lived. (Her elder sister married one of them). Family lore has it (from my mother) that she learned this recipe from one or more of those soldiers.
I’m fairly certain that there was little if anything Polish about it, but suppose its possible it was those soldiers’ attempt to recreate something from home without really knowing the recipe and having to use whatever they could find in the way of ingredients.
If anyone here is Polish, of Polish descent or just knows more about Polish food than I do knows of any Polish dish that this could even vaguely resemble, I’d love to know. It was memorably distinctive - bright purple. I'm sure it glowed in the dark.
Hard boiled eggs
Pickled beetroot (store bought and pickled in malt vinegar)
Heinz Tomato Ketchup
Brown Sauce, preferably HP Sauce.
Chop all the ingredients except the ketchup and brown sauce into small pieces and mix together.
Mix ketchup and brown sauce in a 50:50 ratio, and fold into the other ingredients. If too dry, add a little of the beetroot pickling liquid.
Father's 'recipe' coming up next.
I've already polished off half a box of Harvest Crunch Granola today. I haven't really eaten cereal in years, but these crunchy granola clusters are hard to resist.
What's your favourite cereal, and what do you eat with it?
(Big bowl, big spoon, and 2% milk for me.)
LUNCH FROM THE JAR, I.E. LAYERED SALAD IN THE OFFICE
Most of us take lunch boxes to the office. Some lucky people can warm their food up at work The rest have to eat sandwiches. Sandwiches are great, but even if we absolutely love them we could get fed up with them in the end. Regardless of where we work we can save the situation with salads. Every day we can prepare a different one and we have an entirely new lunch. If we also take an attractive dish, we have something that is not only tasty but also glamorous.
I would like to share with you the recipe for a salad which looks equally as beautiful as it is yummy. The chickpeas and groats make it a satisfying and balanced meal, after which we won't be hungry. I think that if you prepare your lunch in the morning and plan to eat it at lunchtime, we should keep the salad and the dip separately. Otherwise, after a few hours in the jar, we have an unappetising dish with squishy lettuce, which isn't what we want, is it?
Ingredients (for 2 people)
200g of tinned chickpeas
100g of bulgur
1 fresh green pepper
4 lettuce leaves
200g of natural yoghurt
handful of minced chives
1 small chili pepper
salt and pepper
Clean the beetroot and bake or boil it. Grate the beetroot and carrot. Cut the pepper into thin strips. Boil the bulgur in salty water. Arrange in layers in a jar the beetroot, chickpeas, pepper, bulgur, carrot and lettuce. Dice the chili pepper. Mix the natural yoghurt with the chives and chili pepper. Spice it up with salt and pepper. Add the dip to the salad just before serving.
ALMOND CUSCUS WITH CRANBERRIES AND PINEAPPLE
I hate getting up in the morning. My household knows that before 8 o'clock I'm unbearable, and because almost every day I wake up much earlier, I tend to be unbearable more frequently than I want. Every extra five minutes of sleep is priceless, so I appreciate a good breakfast that is not too complicated and is quick to prepare.
Recently, I have been preparing breakfast with groats and flakes. This time I chose cuscus. This product is a cross between pasta and groats, and it doesn't need long to prepare. It is enough to add hot water or milk and leave for a few minutes. I added some fresh pineapple, cranberries and banana. I spiced it up with some hot chili pepper .
Ingredients (for 2 people)
125g of cuscus
400ml of almond milk
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
2 slices of fresh pineapple
1 teaspoon of minced chili pepper
150g of fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 tablespoons of flaked almonds
Wash the cranberries and put them into a pot. Add two tablespoons of water and the brown sugar. Boil, stirring gently until the cranberries burst and the sauce has thickened. Boil the almond milk with the vanilla essence. Pour the milk onto the cuscus and leave for 5-7 minutes. Slice the banana and roast the almond flakes. Peel the pineapple and dice it. Mix the pineapple, chili pepper and honey. Add the pineapple to the cuscus and mix it in. Put the mixture into two bowls. Put the cranberries and banana on the top and sprinkle with the almond flakes.
Enjoy your meal!
By Lisa Shock
I developed this recipe for a friend who wound up with many cans of Solo brand apricot filling and was wondering what to make with them. I adapted this recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Sour Cream Coffee Cake, found on page 90 of the Cake Bible. The apricot filling works it way down through the cake and winds up near the bottom of the pan, making an attractive top later when the cake is inverted. Please use some sort of ring pan that holds at least 9 cups. You may substitute butter for the toasted almond oil, but remember that the oil adds flavor. I specifically developed this recipe with the home cook in mind, regular salted butter, and AP flour work well here. To reduce the sodium, use unsalted butter.
113 grams (1 stick) salted butter
26 grams toasted almond oil
200 grams sugar
6 grams vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
160 grams regular sour cream (do not use low fat or fat free)
50 grams almond meal
175 grams all-purpose flour
2 1/2 grams baking powder
2 1/2 grams baking soda
12 ounces (1 can) Solo Apricot Filling
Preheat the oven to 350°
Spray a 9+ cup tube or Bundt pan with non-stick spray or grease with an oil & soy lecithin blend.
Lightly toast the almond meal in a frying pan on the stove top until it has a light beige color and has a mild fragrance. Allow to cool.
Cream together the butter, oil, and sugar. Add the vanilla and egg yolks, mix until the mixture is even and creamy. Add the sour cream and mix well. Add the cooled almond flour and mix well.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture and mix until it everything is evenly incorporated. Do not overmix the batter.
Place 2/3 of the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Place the apricot filling in an even layer on top, keeping a small space between the filling and the pan's edges. Place the remaining batter on top and smooth to create a relatively even surface.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes at 350° or until the top is dark brown and springs back to a light touch.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Invert the pan onto a serving plate. Cool and serve. Be cautious about serving this hot, as the apricot filling can cause serious burns. When fully cooled, cover or wrap in plastic wrap to store. Will keep for several days in a cool, dry place.
Nutrition (thanks MasterCook!)
324 calories, 15g fat, (7g sat fat, 6g mono-unsat fat, 1g ploy-unsat fat), 5g protein, 43g carbohydrates, 175mg sodium, 101mg potassium, 58g calcium
42% calories from fat, 52% calories from carbohydrates, 6% calories from protein
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