Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Taste of the Celtic World...

I have three marvelous cook books that I acquired some years back, if memory serves from Dover Books, a firm that did reprints of old, classical and collectible books. They are titled respectively, A Taste of Ireland, A Taste of Scotland and A Taste of Wales and were edited and compiled by Theodora FitzGibbon. All are lavishly illustrated with wonderful old photographs presenting life in the three regions a hundred years or more ago. I am not sure if they are still available anywhere or not but betcha might find them on eBay or possibly Amazon or maybe in an obscure used book store.

At any rate, I have enjoyed them and although I am by no means a gourmet cook, I did find some dishes my family enjoyed over the years. Some of the ingredients may require substitution and be forewarned that many of the recipes do not meet today's heart healthy and fighting obesity guidelines! But what the hey, we all have to kick over the traces now and then so for special occasions, try a few!

Today I'll hit the Irish book for a couple of faves.

Tea Brack

I have used this for many years in lieu of the traditional fruit cake-- which I secretly like, at least some of them-- generally reviled and put away to turn to cannon-ball consistency! And this one is actually pretty healthy --a cake without any fat! Like fruitcake, it is best aged a bit.

3 cups seedless (blond) raisins
3 cups regular raisins
(Optional--1-2 cup currents and/or citron, chopped dates or other dried fruit)
2 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar--I like dark for the flavor
3 cups milk-less tea* or 1/2 tea and 1/2 Irish whiskey   * tea often served with milk like coffee "over there"!
    ( rum or brandy can also be used)

Soak the fruit and sugar in the liquid overnight. I put the mix in a large bowl and covered it with a tea towel.

The next day add alternately:
4 cups flour w/ 1 TBSP baking powder and
1-2 tsp spices if desired--cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice etc. mixed in
3 beaten eggs

Mix thoroughly to form a batter, i.e. a cup of flour, one egg and stir, etc.. Turn into lightly greased bread pans and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 300F  Recipe makes three middle-sized loaves. You can also use a bundt type pan for a ring cake.

When cooling brush the top with melted honey to give a nice glaze

This is good served with a thin white frosting type sauce and delicious with a hot cup of tea, warm punch or other holiday drink to include egg-nog but you do not have to limit it to Christmas! Once baked and cooled, wrap in foil and refrigerate or freeze for up to 4-6 weeks, best if also wrapped in saran wrap to stay moist.

Dublin Coddle--a nice stew for supper!

8 slices 1/2" thick of ham or bacon
4 large onions sliced
4 TBSP chopped parsley
2 lbs potatoes peeled and sliced
4 cups boiling water
salt and pepper
8 pork sausages

Boil the meats in the water for about five minutes. Drain, reserve the liquid. Put the meats in a large saucepan or oven-proof dish with the thinly sliced onions and potatoes over the top and the parsley garnish. Season with salt and pepper. Add enough of the reserved broth to just cover the meat and veggies. Lay waxed paper over the top and then put on the lid. Simmer gently on stove top or cook in a moderate oven (250F) for about an hour until the liquid is reduced by half and all ingredients are cooked but not mushy. (Test potato slices with a fork for texture desired) Serve hot with vegetables on top, fresh soda bread and glasses of ale or Guinness.

A couple of Scots recipes next time!!

Update on the Iditarod--Aliy Zirkle was in first place for a bit and then Martin Buser got ahead again. He'd dropped back to 5th but really hauled it I guess! They are in the last 48 hours or so now as today was day six and finish may come late in the eighth day or early the ninth. The trail is now heading to the coast where it will be windy, icy and likely very tough going I expect. My second fave, DeeDee Johnrowe who is a cancer survivor and one heck of a gutsy lady, has moved up several places and may well finish in the first ten--and doing that is awesome. A surprising thing is a good part of the mushers are over forty, some well into their sixties and another neat fact is that a number of families have been racing for three generations since this is the 41st race! I'd love to share pictures but they are all the property of the Iditarod committee or individual photographers who do not readily grant permission to use, even for non-commercial purposes, so you'll have to visit Iditarod.com to see them!

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