Celtic Oatcakes

Celtic Oatcakes (cookies)

225g oatmeal
75g flour
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
50g butter
boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 225 ˚C/425 ˚F.
2. Put oatmeal, flour, salt, and baking soda into a bowl and mix.
3. Melt butter and stir into the oatmeal and flour mixture.
4. Add enough boiling water to make a stiff dough
5. Roll out the dough on a floured and oatmeal board to 1cm thick.
6. Use a glass to cut out circles, put on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes.

Robin and I took this Celtic recipe that Mom found in a book at the Enniscrone library and made them. This is how Celts made oatcakes many, many years ago.

I did not like the oatcakes. They reminded me of the story “Everything on a Waffle” because Miss Perfidy made mothball cookies and they probably didn’t taste good either. Next time we make oatcakes we will use another recipe.

Mom and Rose liked the oatcakes.

Various Custard Recipes

We have been making our own custard. We have made four different flavours: vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and mocha. They are very easy to make. Here are the recipes. The vanilla came from the package of custard powder. The others we have invented.

Vanilla Custard
2 Tbsp custard powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pint milk
1 tsp vanilla

Put the custard powder and sugar into a cup or bowl. Put the milk into a measuring cup. Add a few spoonfuls of milk from the measuring cup into the powder until you can stir the powder into a paste. Pour the milk into a pot and put it on the stove at medium high heat. Stir the milk with a whisk to make sure it doesn’t burn and cook until it is almost boiling. Then add the paste to the milk and cook stirring all the time until the mixture boils and gets thick. Take off the stove and add in the vanilla. Leave it to set overnight in the fridge (or eat it hot as a soup it is still really yummy)

Chocolate Custard
2 Tbsp custard powder
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Cadbury’s drinking chocolate
1 pint milk
1 tsp vanilla

Add the drinking chocolate to the paste and do the same as for the vanilla custard. (Even harder to wait until it is cool)

Coffee Custard
2 Tbsp custard powder
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Shots of espresso
almost 1 pint of milk
1 tsp vanilla

Put the espresso into the measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 pint. Then do the same as for the vanilla custard.

Mocha Custard
2 Tbsp custard powder
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Cadbury’s drinking chocolate
2 Shots of espresso
almost 1 pint of milk
1 tsp vanilla

Add the chocolate to the paste and do the same as the coffee custard.

A very good use for left-over custard. Make a pie crust. – cook it first, put the custard into the pie crust. Spread it around until it is evenly spread. Top with fruit if it is vanilla and leave it plain for other flavours.

We made a vanilla, lemon, fruit pie using lemon curd, vanilla custard, fresh picked blackberries and grapes. This one was incredibly yummy. Lemon and vanilla go very good together. It is very fun creating them.

A recipe for a delicious meal

Tonight for supper we made a cross between curry and casserole which is my own creation. Here is the recipe.

Cooked Macaroni
Lightly cooked Cauliflower
Cheddar cheese (Irish red cheddar)
Double cream half fat
Left over cooked chicken
Sauce – you can buy one that you like or make ours

Sauce recipe
Fry two large, minced cloves of garlic and three chopped shallots in olive oil. When starting to turn golden, add a heaping tablespoon of curry paste. We used a mild paste so that I would like it. Fry for a minute or two until it smells really good. Add four chopped tomatoes and cook, stirring often until the tomatoes are all mushy. Add a can of coconut milk and stir. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Curry / casserole recipe

Put a little bits of macaroni into a casserole dish unlit the bottom is covered. Add the cauliflower on top of the macaroni and add a little bit of macaroni on top. Then add your chicken as the next layer, then add the rest of the macaroni. Dump your sauce on top of everything. Drizzle on 2 ounces of cream in a spiral. Put the grated cheddar cheese on top and cook.

We cooked for half and hour at 180 degrees celcius. That is 350 degrees F on our stove at home until the cheese was bubbly and starting to brown.

Sweet Soya Sauce Soba Noodles

Wow! Is it ever wonderful to be staying in a place that is designed to be lived in. Especially, since it seems to have been designed to be lived in by us. I have been having to be very limited, albeit, sometimes creative in my cooking since we have been away. Limitations are no longer a problem.

Jackie and Dwayne have a great kitchen, it is reasonably small, bright and open to the living areas, and really functional. Reminds me a lot of home. Small, open, bright and functional. They have a gas stove and now that I have a longer lighter I love it! I have never had a gas stove before and it is wonderful to cook on. Especially since Jackie and Dwayne also have woks, grill pans, and great heavy duty pots with stainless steel pads on their bottoms. The pots remind me a lot of our Paderno pots.

I recently made up a dish that I will call “sweet soy sauce soba noodles” for lack of a more original name. We all liked it a lot and it feels really wonderful to get back to eating more vegetarian meals.

Sweet Soy Sauce Soba Noodles

2 cloves minced garlic
1 pkg firm tofu drained and cut into small cubes
1 carrot peeled and grated
1 handful of snowpeas tipped and stemmed
1 small bok choy chopped
small handful of cilantro minced
1 package of soba noodles cooked and drained (I can be lazy here and buy them already cooked!)
2 shallots thinly sliced
1 – 2 Tbsp canola oil
2 – 4 Tbsp sweet soy sauce
2 Tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce (found this in Jackie and Dwayne’s fridge and we really love it – I suspect that it is good that all the ingredients are in Dutch and I can’t read what I am eating)

Place tofu cubes in a wok over medium heat and cook gently until the water has evaporated, then add oil, turn up heat to high and cook until lightly brown. For the next steps keep stirring so that nothing burns or sticks. If it starts to stick add a bit more oil or a bit of water. Add garlic and shallots and stir for about a minute, then add snow peas and cook for about another minute (until bright green). Add bok choy and grated carrots and cook for another minute. Add noodles, stir to incorporate and heat through. Add in the sauces and cilantro, stir for another 30 seconds or so to mix in. Then you are all done.

Gordie and I like it with even more sweet chili sauce on top.

Mary Poppins – Chapter 2 “A Day Out”

Mary Poppins has a day out and she went to see the match man whose name is Bert. He took her towards the chalk drawing and they decided, yes they wanted to go, and then they walked into the drawing. So they stepped into the picture and their clothes changed. Mary had buckles on her shoes and Bert was cleaner and had much nicer clothes. A waiter took them to a table and they had strawberry jam cakes and tea. I would have liked to have strawberry jam cakes and tea. I drink tea everyday. My favorite kind is vanilla rooibos. I can’t wait to share this new flavor with Mrs. Craig when I get back.

After tea, the waiter showed them the merry-go-round. Mary Poppins got on the black horse and the match man got on a white horse or the other way around (I can’t remember for sure). The waiter said they close soon so they went out of the picture and changed back into their regular clothes. Mary Poppins went back to 17 Cherry Tree Lane after saying “Goodbye, Bert.” Jane and Michael were very excited to see here back at the house. My middle name is Jane, just like in the book.

I never had strawberry jam cake, so I found a recipe and I will try making it when we have a oven the works again. Jackie and Dwayne have an oven but it is not working right now.

Cooking in Paris

If Kenny and Wenny lived in Paris we would go out to eat, but they don’t, so we have cooked all of our meals so far.  In the kitchen we have to cook things with a hot plate, a microwave and a toaster.  There is also a small fridge.  There were no knives of utensils for cooking so we had to buy knives, a spatula and a whisk.  We needed the whisk to make crepes.  We also have a frying pan and a pot with no lid.  There isn’t much here!  

We wanted to make a French meal, so we decided to make crepes.    We bought chicken, lambs lettuce, cheese and crepe mix.  ( we can’t find either baking powder or baking soda so we bought a mix ). We fried the chicken in olive oil.  Then we washed the frying pan.  Next we made the crepe mix in the pot because there are no big bowls.  Then we cooked the crepes in the frying pan.  When a crepe was cooked we put it on a plate, added chicken, cheese, and lettuce, then rolled it up.  I liked the crepes.   

chocolate bar of wonder

My own chocolate recipe from Ridder sport cafe

Buy some chocolate (milk is recommended ) melt it and put inside a small bowl only half way full

Buy some strawberry candy canes and chop so they are small put in a little bit in the chocolate, add a little hand full of sugar crumbles, and a tiny bit of mini marshmallows mix it all together and pour in a chocolate bar mold.Refrigerate for one hour or for 30 minets what ever it needs.when it’s hard hit on a cutting bored till it comes out of the mold. THEN EAT!!!

Sunday World Cup Congee

Yesterday was a very lazy day for all of us. Lots of naps and watching videos and watching Germany trounce England in their World Cup match. We were really happy that it was the 4pm game and not the 8:30 match. The cheering, horns, shouts and firecrackers were almost over by bedtime. Though the noise did start up for a bit after the second game ended.

The only constructive thing that I did yesterday, aside from taking the girls for another gelato, was make congee. For those who don’t know, congee is usually made as a rice porridge eaten for breakfast or a light supper. There are many variations from country to country and house to house. When I make congee it is less porridge and more rice stew or thick soup. We usually have it for supper and, like many dishes, eat the leftovers reheated for breakfast.

Stores are not open on Sunday in Berlin, at least not in our neighborhood. I think that I saw online that there is one grocery store somewhere in Berlin open on Sunday, but I have not found it. Restaurants, pubs, attractions, and for some odd reason, florists, are open Sundays but that is about it. None of the usual corner stores to buy milk. That means that Sundays you cook what you have. This can get tricky when you start to get used to picking up food for each day as it comes. Also when you are on vacation and can’t keep track of what day of the week it is.

Yesterday it was a good thing that I never seem to rely on recipes or cooking something the same way twice in a row. That way no one noticed that Sunday world cup congee was any different than any other creation from our kitchen. What it really was, was here what we got, eat it, stores open again tomorrow. Luckily, it was tasty and like most congee, comforting. Perhaps most importantly, finished before game time.

Mince garlic and ginger together. Fry in a bit of olive oil in a large pot. Add sliced tofu or small pieces of meat. When starting to brown, add some sweet soy sauce, sake (I really like the Red Crane brand that I found here – good drinking too), mushroom soy sauce, tiny bit of sesame oil, and crushed chilies or chili paste. Probably a tablespoon or two each of the sake and soy sauces and a teaspoon or two of the oil and chilies. Add some rice. I think around a cup. Cook for a minute then add water. Probably around eight cups and, heaven help me, a package of French onion soup mix. (at home I have boxes of organic mushroom and onion bouillon cubes from Organic Horizons that the Root Cellar orders in especially for me – the closest I could find here was the envelopes of Knorr soup mix) Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer about ten minutes. Add chopped vegetables, whatever you have of what tastes good to you. I had chanterelle mushrooms, green onions, broccoli stalks and florets, and chopped potatoes. Cook for another half hour or so until all the vegetables are cooked. Eat as is or add more chilies.

I could tell you that the reason there are no exact measurements is because there are no measuring cups of spoons of scales here. And while that is true,


From “Everything on a Waffle” by Polly Horvath

Mix together 2 cups pf flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt. In another bowl put 3 large well-beaten eggs, 1/2 stick of butter and 1 1/2 cups of milk. Make a hole in the middle of your dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients and stir it all up. Make sure your waffle iron is hot and greased if it i the type that is supposed to be greased and then pour in enough batter so that it spreads all over but not quite to the edge or it will end up leaking out the sides and making a big mess. If you have an electric waffle iron, it will tell you when the waffles are done, otherwise you must check them and turn the iron on the burner until the waffle is brown. Serve with butter or syrup. Or if you are at The Girl on the Red Swing, everything.

Polynesian Skewers

From “Everything on a Waffle” by Polly Horvath

Take a slice of bacon and stick the end of it through a skewer. Then put a piece of pineapple on, then another bit of bacon, then a water chestnut, piece of red pepper, mushroom, olive, or whatever vegetable or fruit is appealing. Grill until the bacon is done.