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Looks like a dry November
October 31, 2014
10:30 PM

Looks like a dry November

For about 10 years now I have forswarn the drink for the month of November so, as midnight approaches,and I swallow the last of my Picpoul for a bit how do I feel ?

Terrific.


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El Pa Y Tomate
12:03 PM

El Pa Y Tomate

Tomate (640x426).jpg


Staying in a Catalan B&B , the excellent Mas Vilosa in Corca, we breakfasted on superb Catalan fare including the best Pa Y Tomate I have eaten yet.
This is a variation of Pa Y All, Garlic bread, which I wrote about in my blog in 2006


El Pa Y All
May 02, 2006
10:34 AM

El Pa Y All
Having supper with my friends Micheál and Sonya last night I was offered a starter of startling and delicious simplicity.
They sliced pieces of French loaf along the length and then grilled these on top of their range.
Then they handed these around with a supply of halved but unpeeled cloves of garlic, some halved sweet cherry tomatoes , some good olive oil and the pepper grinder.
They explained to us that all we had to do was to rub the grilled bread with the garlic, then with the tomato, sprinkle over the oil and then grind over a little black pepper.
The result was so fresh and delicious that we all managed to consume far too many.
I knew that I had come across this before and a little research into Elizabeth David this morning gave me the reference.
She gives this recipe in French Country Cooking which was first published in 1951, fifty five years ago.
I will quote the entire directions she gives;

El Pa Y All
The breakfast dish of the Catalan peasants in the Roussillon district of France.
A piece of bread fresh from the baker( or sometimes fried in oil or pork fat) is rubbed all over with a piece of garlic, as little or as much as you like; then sprinkled with salt, then a few drops of olive oil , and then the Pa y All is ready

What could be simpler or more delicious.

The further point of interest is that Ms. David comes back to the recipe in an article she wrote in 1963, this was not actually printed until included in An Omelette and a Glass of Wine in 1984.
Writing about Pa y all she has this to add;


"When the book first appeared in 1951, one reviewer remarked rather tartly that she hoped that we British would never be reduced to breakfasting off so primitive a dish.
I was shaken, not to say shocked- I still am- by this smug expression of British superiority and by way of revelation, unconscious, of the reviewer’s innocence.
Believing , no doubt, that a breakfast of bacon and eggs, sausages toast , butter, marmalade and sweetened tea has always been every Englishman’s birthright."


How much more supercilious does that reviewer seem in 2006.
And how very tasty and indeed healthy does the Catalan breakfast seem today,especially when compared to the British Fry.

But now the eagle eyed among you will be wondering where are the tomatoes as eaten last night.

At the end of her article in “Omelette” Ms. David quotes a very recent letter she had received from the wine writer Gerald Asher.
He writes from Sitges in Spain;
“Waiting for lunch one is given a basket of hot grilled bread, a clove of garlic, a tomato salt and olive oil”
It seems that Micheál and Sonya were serving Pa Y all as eaten in Spanish Catalonia.
For anyone who is wondering, my guess, even though I speak no Catalan, is that the dish translates into English as Bread and Garlic.

The Pa Y Tomate which we ate for breakfast contained no garlic. Our host informed us that "Real" Pa Y Tomate never does. (which is just his opinion of course)


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Lost in Translation One Hundred and Four
10:10 AM

Lost in Translation One Hundred and Four

Yesterday in the restaurant El Roser in l'Escala in Catalonia they handed us the "English" dessert menu. First choice was a Yarrow cake. Totally flummuxed we had to ask for a French translation- the French version was Mille Feuille. Instantly understandable.
Back home we discover that the plant Yarrow is of the genus Achillea Millefolium.

You cannot always rely on Google Translate.


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Halloween Barm Brack
October 29, 2014
11:45 AM

Halloween Barm Brack

This recipe is based on one in "Theodora Fitzgibbon's Cookery Book", (from '72)
I just changed the fruit around a bit.

Unfortunately in the most recent edition of this recipe they leave out the MOST IMPORTANT (if sexist) bit which she includes in her introduction to the recipe:
"My grandmother used whiskey (to soak the fruit) which made her bracks very popular with the gentlemen."

I'll bet it did- omit it at your peril.

Whiskey and Tea Brack

For 3x 500g(1lb.) Loaf Tins

775g (1lb 8oz.) Sultanas
225g (8oz.)Dried Apricots
60g (2oz.) Stem Ginger (the one preserved in syrup)
2 cups tea (without milk) (a cup is about 175ml(6 oz.)
1 cup Whiskey
450g (1 lb. dark brown sugar)
450g (1 lb. Flour)
3 Eggs
3 level teaspoons Baking Powder.

The night before chop the Apricots and the stem ginger in pieces and put them with the sultanas and the sugar to soak overnight with the tea and whiskey.
The following day tip these with their liquid into a large bowl.
Beat the eggs.
Stir in a third of the flour then a third of the eggs, stir well to blend, then alternately add the rest of the flour and eggs.
At this stage at halloween various additions were added
( well wrapped in greaseproof paper)
A pea ( poverty)
A bean (wealth)
A ring (marriage)
A coin ( wealth also)
A rag ( the cloth i.e. the religous life)

Butter the three loaf tins and line the bases with non stick paper.
Divide the mixture between the three tins.
Cook at Gas 2, 150 C, 300F for one hour then test with a skewer to test if they are done. They will be very moist inside but should be cooked.
Cook for a further 25 to 20 mts if necessary.
Take them out of the tins and cool on a rack.


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More on Tundishes
October 27, 2014
07:45 AM

More on Tundishes


Tundishes4.jpg


This is my original display of Tundishes in our restaurant in Mary Street in Waterford.In the restaurant, which had plenty of display space , they lined up nicely on a counter - they weren't so easy to house out here .
And then I saw this picture in a French interiors magazine.


Tundish Lamps.jpg

The rest- thanks to the good offices of Clive Nunn- has now become history.

Clive and tuns (640x480).jpg



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