Connected???

Bread and berries… connected? How? I’m going to show you a few photos to get the ball rolling…

On the make... toasted sarmie... yum!

The makings of a toasted sandwich or two…

The beauty of berries... on a few levels!!

Berries in a bowl. Connected? Not on your life. How would the two mix? Essentially they can’t and don’t. Until you take a step back. No… don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you put berries on your toastie.

Both are foodstuffs… both are the basics for something good. On this day both were being prepared in the same kitchen. My good lady was making brunch while I was cleaning the berries… to add into a few loaves. There’s another connection. The berries came about 100 kms. The grand-kids helped with the picking, in their own garden. So, as a reward, one of the loaves went back to where the berries originated.

That’s food for you… it connects people. It connects cultures. Yep, even when things look totally unrelated they can be connected. Now, I’m wondering… could a berry toastie be an option? Nice and warm… with a dollop of rum and raisin ice cream splodged on top??

Summer berry loaf... too hot to handle... too good to pass by!!

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New Ideas for a New Year

Here in Ireland we’re blessed with getting some really great (not so healthy) treats at most deli’s and filling station snack shops. Jambons are by a long way my favourite!! By a very long way. Fresh, just out the oven, they are absolutely marvelous! Lately, we’ve been getting Friday treats at work. It did not take me long to insist on getting savouries as well. JAMBONS!! I insisted. Judging by the rate at which they disappear on Friday mornings I’d venture a guess that they’re quite a few folks favourite as well.

But… you know me by now. Once something catches my fancy I want to add my twist. That led to another quest. Many, many… many years ago… when General Tyres was still Corporal Tyres, we found a recipe for Welsh Rarebit in a children’s cookery book we’d acquired. Believe it or not… we still have the book so, I decided to dash on and make my own version of jambons. Not following the normal route but making a Welsh Rarebit crossed between the one in the children’s book and this one by HF-W found on the Beeb’s site.

Then… just another slight twist… I added a bit of background heat, as my friend Rick Stein (I wish) is fond of saying. so, let me give you the bits as they fit together. Oh, before I forget… I used finely diced steak as the filling compliment… yes, I told you I like putting my own spin on things…

To begin with… a pic of the ingredients from the book… look-see, the illustration is in Afrikaans…

Back in the day... this was the kids delight...

The ingredients… note the mustard, red sprinkle material and sauce from some county in England…

The ingredients... note the red sprinkle dust... for background heat!

Chop the steak fine…

Chop the steak fine...

Milk and cheese starting to blend… add a dash of background heat… or a dash and a half…

Don't forget the background heat!!

Add the flour/ milk paste and continue stirring while the sauce thickens. Also add the mustard and Worcestershire Sauce, a good teaspoon of each. Continue stirring to prevent lumps…

continue stirring to prevent lumps...

At this point I couldn’t quite decide if I should first fry off the steak a bit or add it directly to the sauce and leave it to simmer while thickening. I went with the second option, reasoning that I didn’t want to add anything fatty. Also, as the steak was so finely chopped it would surely not need much heat to be safe for human consumption (I usually eat my steak off the braai pretty underdone so I stuck with my gut feel!)

Add the steak...

Stir a while longer before taking off the heat. Look back at the top photo… you’ll see points 5 & 6, which of course, I’d missed earlier on. So, there I was… having to put the mixture aside for a while.

Rich and creamy... tasty, I promise you!

A few hours later… the mix has really thickened nicely. I’d had a few suspicions passers-by who suggested I was attempting to poison them. (Senior Son is notoriously difficult to please… he pulled up his nose and mumbled some pleasantries… )

Thick, tangy and ready for a bit of oven love!

Now for the tricky bit… the puff pastry and the shaping of my version of what a jambon could look like…

At less that a Euro a roll this stuff's a bargain!

Doesn’t look too good, does it?

Will that be any good??

Soon after… looking better in a bit of heat… (do add a bit of foil to the bottom of the oven in case your darlings burst… )

Bring on the oven love!! Tanning quite nicely, don't you think?

Out of the oven… the first batch look a tad rustic but passable… don’t you think?

Yum yum!! Looking goooood!!!

The first sampler soon tucked in… and the skeptics lined up for more… and more… I had to rapidly do a second batch. I’ll add, at this time we were also busy doing our traditional New Year’s braai… multitasking, yes, we can…

The proof, they say, is in the eating!!!

OK… I fluked a winner, that’s for sure.

A few lessons? Add a bit more background heat… and more steak. Or chicken, lamb… ham, bacon… whatever! Judging by the results I know I’m going to be busy on weekends… perfect breakfast… wouldn’t you say?

Think of it this way… the ingredients for 4 batches couldn’t amount too much more than € 12 to €14… that could keep them quiet for a wee while!

PS – Guess what? While I’m working away at my first day back my family are enjoying this mix on toast… ah well, we do it for love, don’t we?

PSS – I’ll put all the pics in a gallery… then you can read the captions… maybe the main reason is because I like galleries!! Have fun, enjoy the second day of the New Year… and yes, I’m planning a potato bake… pasties… more fun!