Well I don’t know what took me, I mean the weather was beautiful and all, maybe it was the long walk in Mullaghmeen forest with Doggie Woggie that gave me the Munchies, or the fact that Ireland was playing Italy, for an ultimate football showdown in France that evening, but I started to develop some serious cravings for a good auld bacon and cabbage… I know, I know, it is one of them self satirical and self derision thing the Irish enjoy so much. The funny part is, Brittany has very similar dishes; not one, but several! ( some are frankly gross, like that one rolled in bread dough and then boiled in a cloth, from an Island where I used to work). Some of France’s most famous traditional dishes, like Choucroute, Potée or even Garbure are just different versions of Bacon and Cabbage… Here is the way I make mine…
The sun is shining today on the isle or Ireland, gently flirting with a 19°c. The Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and all the Hirundinidae (Swallows and Martins) are back from Africa. My blind cat “Wilson” decided to make friends with my neighbours cows and after two months, we finally have a Government that nobody really wants or democratically voted for. An Independent politician from Co. Kerry has joined the climate change deniers’ list with a fine statement that I expected to hear from a pub pillar after a couple of scoops, just not in the Daíl (National Assembly). As you can see, all is good in “Iwerzhon”, so good that I decided to turn off the radio, enjoy watching my cat making new friends and make a quiche… Just like that!
I love apple compote. It reminds me of my grand parents’ house, where we used to make batches and batches with the apples of the garden. Where I am from, apple compote is mostly used at breakfast, on bread instead of jam, to flavour a natural yogurt or inside those wonderful “turnovers” my mother used to buy after school… Another thing that is synonymous with Brittany, is a love for salty caramels… Oh yeah. I got some beautiful cooking apples at the weekend and decided to put the two together; sure, what could go wrong with those flavours?
Well apart from our National anthems, Bro Gozh ma Zadoù (Old Land of My Fathers) and Hen Wlad fy Nhadau (Land of my Fathers), Breton and Welsh also share a love for the auld leek. My rare Breton name, meaning “The Lanky” appears for the first time in 1641 in Ergué-Armel near Quimper… Some say that we might have come from “The land of song”, like a lot of other aborigines from Ireland and England who made their way across to Brittany for a new life since the 5th century.
I often make that bread; focaccia like, it works really well with a full Irish or a healthier breakfast like this one. I also serve it when I make a curry or even Couscous, you know, for the sauce. So Hungry “B”’s bread? Here we go.
- 200g pasta/ pizza flour
- 10cl of warm water
- 2 tsp of dried yeast (if you can get fresh one, by all means… Ask your local baker or pizzeria for a bit).
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of organic Greek style yoghurt
- 1 tbsp of rapeseed or olive oil
- Coarse sea salt
Put the flour in a bowl, I prefer organic in general; throw in a pinch of salt. In a bowl, pour in 10cl of warm water, 2 tsp of dried yeast and 2 tsp of sugar. Give it a stir and put in a dark place (the press or “cupboard” or even the oven ( yes, leave it off). After 10 minutes, you should get a cappuccino like foam. Pour the lot with the flour; add the yoghurt and the oil. Start with a spoon or a fork, then my friends, use your hands. I like to keep the dough relatively wet. Cover the bowl with cling film and back in its dark place it goes for thirty minutes. Put the dough on a floured baking tray, just like that, roughly flatten with the palm of your hand but don’t fuss too much. Pour a bit of olive oil on top and some coarse sea salt. Bake at 200c for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a bit. You will find that the bread has an amazing soft texture.
To dress your breakfast, spread the bread with soft goat’s cheese ( nothing too strong in this case), thinly slice a ripe avocado and squeeze a drizzle of blood orange. Fry an organic free range egg gently for 5 minutes (I cover the pan with a bowl so the yolk can remain soft but not runny).
Serve with a glass of freshly squeezed blood orange juice, a great healthy and tasty way to start the day!
We’ve all been there, midweek is coming and Sunday’s roast chicken left overs need using. Curry, stir fry? This time I went for quiche, with a bit of sheep’s cheese from the West of Ireland. Not strong but full of wholesomeness. Ok, from scratch, here it goes!