Thursday, November 20, 2008
Snow, Salmon Sausage, Breakfast
Today the world is white although, admittedly, the roads are already back to normal. I understand we are due to get some more snow today, we certainly have been getting a lot of it. I love to see it in the park, but when one goes out and about and sees how dirty it can get alongside the roads, it seems so depressing. By the end of the winter though, we will have large piles of white snow everywhere we turn and that doesn't end up looking yukky until it starts melting. The skies here are loaded with the stuff, I'm not sure what it is about a snow sky but you can always tell snow clouds, they just have a different greyness somehow. I was thinking of the time we once headed for North Carolina for Christmas and Matt planned for us not to cross any mountains until we got to North Carolina believing we would then be clear of any snow, he was wrong. Just as we hit the Carolinas it started snowing as hard as it could, heavy wet stuff too and we ended up getting snowed in and having to put up in a motel, which didn't have any power, for the night. We used the icicles for ice in our drinks. Got the room at a discount though because of the lack of power. Last night for supper, we had salmon sausage. Matt decided to buy some to try. Sorry, I thought it was totally tasteless. Matt didn't dislike it though. It didn't even taste like salmon to me. I wouldn't recommend it, but I guess Matt would. He has my heartfelt permission to finish the other two sausages which are left. I guess I like good old pork sausages. I don't even like beef sausages much. I have mentioned before, I miss Jimmy Dean sausage which we used to get in NC - that was pretty good sausage. Not that its something I ever eat a lot of, calories and all that. Thinking of sausages made me think of a good old fashioned English breakfast - the kind where you had a sideboard full of chafing dishes with hot bacon, sausages, kidneys, mushrooms, eggs, kippers, porridge (oatmeal) and such. You came down to breakfast and helped yourself to things, maybe a nice bowl of porridge with sugar and cream (although my father always put salt on his, not sugar). Then you might eat some kippers and follow it up with a plate of all the other things followed by toast and marmalade once you had finished. People often used to drink ale for breakfast too or small beer. I have never really established what that was. OK so I googled. If you want to know what I read go to Wikipedia. But basically it is a very low alcohol beer. These days very few people eat lamb's kidneys for breakfast (or any other time) and a habit which came from the North of England is to load the plate with Heinz baked beans, horrible. Not something I had ever heard of when I lived in the UK, but it is everywhere today. A good baked bean with a barbecue, OK, but the sweet tomatoey (is there such a word?) stuff on my breakfast plate, no thank you. Of course, that would probably be OK in North America where pancakes with Maple Syrup are eaten with bacon and eggs. The picture shows them on different plates, but I have frequently seen everything on the same plate. Of course, for North America I forgot hash browns too and they eat baked beans as well. I see I wrote a lot about British Breakfasts on February 17 this year. There are many dishes I mentioned there which I haven't covered today. In the current issue of Food and Drink they have a recipe for Lamb and Feta Cigars which we are thinking of making for our dinner party in December. Lamb and Feta Cigars These cigars make for a superb start to the evening as each bite is filled with exotic flavour. They are simple enough to make; roll them ahead of time and fry them, once needed. Call ahead to your butcher and order the ground lamb in advance to ensure it will be available. 2 Tbs olive oil 1 cup white onion, finely chopped 1/4 tsp chili flakes 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground allspice 1 lb ground lamb 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup sweet potato, peeled and finely chopped 1 plum tomato, finely chopped 1½ cups chicken stock 1/2 cup sheep's milk feta cheese 2 Tbs fresh mint, finely chopped 1 package phyllo pastry, thawed 1 egg, lightly beaten 4 cups vegetable oil In a large sauté pan heat oil and cook onions until translucent, add chili flakes, cinnamon and allspice and cook for 30 seconds longer. Add lamb and cook over medium high heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Add salt, sweet potato, tomato and chicken stock. Cover and simmer over low heat until sweet potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook until all liquid has evaporated. While still hot mash large pieces of lamb and potatoes with a fork and stir in cheese and mint, refrigerate mixture until chilled. Lay sheet of phyllo on work surface, trim 1 edge from short end of sheet to form a perfect square, about 12 inches on each side. Place the extra strip diagonally across the square. Working with a corner in front of you, place a scarce 1/4 cup of lamb mixture 2 inches from corner of square, form mixture into a 4 inch log. Roll corner of pastry over top and continue to roll tightly halfway up the square. Fold side corners over top of log and continue rolling to form a cigar. With fingertip, seal the corner closed with the beaten egg. (If planning to fry cigars later in the day, place them on a plate, cover with a lightly dampened paper towel and wrap plate well with plastic wrap). In a large pot heat vegetable oil at medium high heat. Check temperature of oil by placing a few breadcrumbs into oil; if they sizzle it is ready. Once the oil is hot fry the cigars in batches until golden. Drain on paper towel and serve warm. Makes 16 cigars. Have a great day.