“Bara-Kornek” means “bread crescent”in Breton. A Hungry Breton’s creation…
To celebrate the apple season and the end of September, I wanted to do something a bit special. Also to illustrate my previous story I posted a couple of days ago, “Boxin The Fox”, when I had to raid an orchard as I was so hungry on the road… I hope you will like it, this is not a traditional recipe, rather original… You never know, it might enter a Traditional Breton cookbook one day?
First, I decided to make a nice flaky pastry, cut them into discs, fill them with homemade thick vanilla custard ( or Crème Patissière) and gently stewed cubed apples from the garden… This is how it went!
“Boxin the fox”: Irish slang for “stealing from an orchard”.
It was the end of September 1991; I was saying my goodbyes to county Donegal where I had worked for two months on a Rhododendron removal project, on the hills… “Slán Tamall Mín an Lábáin agus An Earagail “. Goodbye until later! I stepped onto the bus bound for Dublin after hugging a couple of newly made friends. It felt like yesterday when I landed in Ringaskiddy in co. Cork; I had got a free ride on a school bus trip, back from Brittany, all the way to Sligo; I hitchhiked the rest to Donegal Town, and now I was heading back the long way around. I crossed “The North” for the first time, Enniskillen and the intimidating British Army checkpoint – now long gone – before Belturbet in County Cavan. What a ride!
I wanted to do a little recipe to pay tribute to our Irish Farmhouse Cheddars; especially after visiting Derg Farm in county Tipperary last month, I wanted to do something a bit new and for everybody. I knew that I had an organic cauliflower in the fridge, but I wanted to drift away – at least this time – from the usual gratin that I have previously made. It had to include Cheddar of course and I wanted to avoid a soup and toasties, even if they are delicious together. The idea came when I parked the car in the driveway; I discovered that I had bought some polenta a few month back and when I opened the fridge, I still had a lot of local plums a friend gave me… Click… Clock… Click… Clock… I might have watched “Ready, Steady, Cook!” a bit too much during my early years in Ireland, but it delivered a lovely dish, vegetarian too, satisfying and for everyone to enjoy! And this, my friends, is how last night went…
I do often come across a bit of ignorance from our mainland European gourmands regarding Cheddar. A cheese named after a little village in Somerset, UK; a few miles from Wales. It also refers to a very particular type of cheese making. Unlike camembert from Normandy, the name Cheddar is not really protected so it can be found well outside its original region of production and therefore, due to obvious historical reasons, is found in all shapes and forms in Ireland. Shape wise, it is mostly square, rectangular, white or red (due to a carotene type dye); not really exciting, I’ll give you that, but then again, neither are a lot of main brands of Camembert, chalky, dry versus “boing-boing” plastic. “Tomaytoes-tomatoes”, same difference my friends! The truth is, real cheddar is a bit like some famous French cheese, from Auvergne, like Salers, Cantal or Laguiole. They are not covered with cloth, but their texture and taste can be pretty similar. I even have a theory that they might be related through old French monks’ migrations to England, the same way Wensleydale is related to Roquefort… But that is a debate for another day.