Tuesday 29 October 2013

Panellets (Catalan sweets)

Panellets are a traditional sweet from the Catalan countries. They are typically eaten during these days of october, specially the 31st of october and the day after, when we celebrate the "castanyada", which would be the equivalent of All Saints night or Halloween, Magosto or the celtic (also celebrated here in Ireland) samhain.  It seems they were made to be eaten for the All Saints night, when everybody joined to pray for their died relatives and friends. It used to be a cold night, so they prepared high calorie meals to fight against the low temperatures.

Panellets, as well as chestnuts and sweet potatoes, were the main protagonists of the day. Nowadays, Halloween has also arrived to Catalan countries, and it is a cultural fight to avoid the disappearance of the typical "castanyada". If you visit Barcelona these days, you will find some women selling roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes on the corners of the main streets. It is a wonderful time there, despite the high temperatures they are having, because the smell of the burning wood fills the streets of the city. And yes, I loved autumn in Barcelona.

Friday 25 October 2013

Sweet poatatoes with caramelized onion & feta cheese

(Catalan version here)

Autumn has arrived, at least in Ireland, not in Catalonia, though, as it seems for the weather. But autumn is here for us, with the rainy days (less than expected, though) and still quite soft temperatures. And above all, its seasonal products which can be found everywhere, next to Halloween costumes. 

However, what I love most of the autumn season are the smells, the burning wood smell and the baked sweet potatoes one, at home. I  loved that burning wood smell when I was in my town, when the cold weather arrived and the day was becoming shorter. I thought I wouldn't be able to feel that feeling again, but it seems it is a quite common smell here in Ireland, too! 

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Brown irish soda bread

(Click here for the Catalan version)

It's been already four weeks since we landed in Ireland. Now, after having found an appartment for us I feel like returning to the kitchen, to the oven and to the blog. After leaving the country with just two bags, I now find myself without any of the kitchen gadgets I used to have in Barcelona, without my camara tripod and other valuous stuff... But things are going to get better with some time and pacience, so I decided to go on with everyhing I have now. 

One of the things of having a new kitchen is to discover how it works, specially the oven... so these days I'm trying to bake as much as I can to familiarize myself with it. The first recipe coming out of the oven was this irish soda bread. 

During my first days here, in the hostel we were staying, it was quite common to find this bread between the options of the included breakfast. As soon as I taste it, I realize it was not a plain bread, but a kind of cake, as it had sugar in it. The bread I made was sugar free, but you can also add some sugar, butter or some raisins, as well. 

Irish soda bread

- 220g white flour
- 220g whole wheat flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
- 440ml buttermilk.

Preheat the oven to 190º. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt. With the help of an spatula or spoon, start adding the buttermilk and mixing it together. Try not no add all the buttermilk at once so we could incorporate it if the dough needs it. Once combined, transfer it to a floured surface and knead just to make a round. Place the round on your baking sheet and, wiht a scissors, cut a X on the surface.

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

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