RSS

Category Archives: Food

Castles, Cakes and Cows #Wales #Roadtrip

screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-3-19-12-pm

Pembroke Castle (Image from Coastal Cottages Blog)

If castles are your thing, then Wales is the place you want to go. I’m not talking about “modern” palaces with fine decor like Neuschwanstein and Versailles, but honest to goodness medieval fortresses, the kind of places to take refuge from the Zombie hordes. Choose carefully though as the castles are in various states of repair with diverse access to fresh water and other necessities.

These hotly contested lands were divided into at least four factions in the 1200’s–all of whom tried to secure their holdings withe stone upon stone. As posted previously, our family road-trip covered four countries, counting Holland, England, Wales and Ireland. I had no idea Wales would become one of my favorite places in all Europe. screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-4-36-47-pm

The Welsh people, much more so than the Irish and the Scottish, have held onto their native tongue (e.g. all signs in Welsh & English, so you know you’ve arrived), heritage, and culture. We heard Welsh everywhere from the pub chatter, the waitresses to the gas station attendants and customers. It’s every day, every where including most schools.

We stayed out of big tourist places making one concession by visiting Pembroke Castle. Having recently seen a bit of the fortress in the movie “Me Before You” (yes, you will cry), I was unprepared for the massive structure. Surrounded by a water-filled moat (swans a-swimming), looming towers, Pembroke captured the best of both history with dioramas, models of various building stages, to scale model reconstructions. Characters stood ready to tell you about the scullery, the knighthood, the falconry and more of medieval life. With our four boys, we broke away from the Free Tour to explore at our own pace.

Pembroke also afforded us our only “gift shop” of the sort to carry my collector spoons, my son’s pins, and Christmas ornament and such. We’d already decided to buy a Welsh flag as well and couldn’t find one till here, where several sizes tantalized.

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-4-24-36-pmAs interesting as Pembroke Castle was, my family enjoyed Wiston just as much, maybe more for the kids. We found Wiston by taking an adventure drive with no destination our first afternoon. Brown signs pointing to castles, ruins, hill forts and such abound. Stumbling upon Wiston, we discovered a ruin built around the same time as Pembroke by Wizo (love that name). Wiston is a prime example of moat and bailey construction.

Hiking through the field past earthworks and up the hill, sharing the place with cows who quite frankly found us fascinating was a real kick. One of my sons took the opportunity to stand on the castle’s hillside and give a speech thanking the cows for their support as his bovine audience lined up to watch him with serious intent. We may have worn our boys out on castles though, as the youngest sidled up to hold my hand and said, “Boy, you guys sure like history.”

img_0065We stayed on the outskirts of Haverfordwest, where a short walk took us to Spittal’s only and authentic community pub, The Pump on the Green where we ate our fill included family style bowls of peas and carrots for all.

Our best food discovery, though, were the Welsh cakes. Even the gas station had them in packages of six–perfect for our troop. I bought a package of Welsh cakes almost every time we stopped. Ryan glanced over and sighed when I returned to the car. But how could I pass up the ginger and dark chocolate Welsh cakes when the traditional fare was made with raisins? BTW- The Welsh Bakery is not to be missed. Their toffee-tiffin cut up like fudge bites is mouthwatering yum-yum.

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-4-29-30-pm

The Welsh cakes we had were almost 3 inches across.

I’m not sure how I lived in the EU so long without visiting Wales, but I would return in a heart beat. “Keep Calm and Cwtch” said the tea cozy, and who of us doesn’t need a nice hug or cuddle?

 

–Kristin

 

 

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 13, 2016 in Food, Travel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dutch Caribbean Menu #Foodie

Romanian Soup Ciorba de Perisoare

Romanian Soup Ciorba de Perisoare

You may remember the posts I did about another part of Holland, the Caribbean islands which are part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. (Yes, I know Holland is actually a region not the country.) My poor husband had to visit the Dutch Antilles for work, and special menu was planned one night of the visit. Was it full of coconuts and exotic islander fare?

Not exactly. Regardless, I thought I’d share the courses and parings for all you foodies out there.

Appetizer – Shrimp Salad paired with “Solo Quinta” 2013 (Rare White Blend)/Recas

Soup – Ciorba de Perisoare (Romanian sour soup with vegetables and meatball – photo)

Click for Romanian Sarmale Recipe

Click for Romanian Sarmale Recipe

Main Course – Romanian Sarmale (Cabbage Rolls made with sour cabbage stuffed with pork, beef, and rice) AND Traditional “Cordon Bleu” (Rose veal meat wrapped around Schweitzer cheese and mushrooms) with spinach and potatoes. Paired with “La Putere”/Feteasca neagra 2013/Recas

Dessert – Cake with vanilla cream, caramel and nuts or fruit salad – Paired with Cabernet Sauvignon 1998/Odobesti

Not what you expected?

Me either. You know how it is when you travel though, it’s hard to say what you might be eating. It’s all part of the adventure.

Related Posts:

This Is The Netherlands?!? (Guest Post and Images by Ryan King)

The Netherlands an Island? (Images of Curacao)

Summer Longing for the Sea (Curacao)

________________

Kristin King is an author and American expat living in The Netherlands. Currently her dog sits to her left and the bedroom balcony door is open on a cool, sunny Dutch day.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 5, 2016 in Food, Living in Holland, Travel

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Turkish Sword Sausage – #Foodie #Friday

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 12.14.55 PM

Driving last week in Belgium, I drove past an old Turkish restaurant I always enjoyed. Since it was early in the day, I could not tell if the place was deserted or awaiting staff to begin meal preparations. I was reminded of the gregarious host who always welcomed each guest with a stage ready voice and wide arm gestures. Located near a NATO base, the front wall was decorated with money bills from all around the world, many I’d never seen before. He made one feel truly his guest. My favorite dish to order with visiting friends was the hand-patted lamb kofta (i.e. kebab) drenched with peppery tomato sauce over a bed of garlic yogurt to sooth the tongue. Our most excellent host would remove the sword like kebab with a waving flourish not soon forgotten. Accompanying each savory dish was a fluffy rice pilav, sweet carrot salad, and lightly drizzled veggies with plump olives.

The delights of foods from around the world were not common to my rural American childhood, but I’ve tried to make up for any lack during these years abroad. Food can be such an adventure if we’re willing to set our feet in new directions.

–Kristin

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 5, 2016 in Food, Travel

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

E is for Eating Cold War Style Behind the Iron Curtain #AtoZ Challenge

Coming at you all April long, my A to Z Blog Challenge theme is “Historical Treasure”

Image from The Winnipeg Jewish Review

Borscht Image from The Winnipeg Jewish Review

Who doesn’t like the occasional food blog? Living overseas, I’ve gotten to indulge in so many good eats that I ran a foodie series in February. Irene was the inspiration for one of those posts. We got to talking once, and I have no idea how it came up, but she told me her doctor said she had the bone density of a woman half her age. What was her secret? Nettles. She practically had to live on them for a while.

Remember in Forest Gump when they start talking about the many dishes you can make with shrimp? Well, nettles aren’t exactly the same, but when she talks of them it reminds me of that movie. There is nettle tea, nettle soup, nettle mash and so on. If you could make it with nettles, Irene and her mother did. If you’re interested, check out that food post here.

When opportunities came in post-war Germany to eat other foods, you can bet Irene hopped to. These everyday details of life behind the Iron Curtain populate her writing. How many times did her family members risk their lives for the simple things–like a big of bread? Irene’s story isn’t her own, it is the story of so many others. Here’s a slice of it from the summer of 1945, shortly after the war ended and Irene’s family discovered they would be in the Russian sector. [Edited for length]

Since we were so hungry, we said among ourselves, “Russia is closer. They can bring in supplies much faster than the Americans. The Russian zone will do all right.” We had been told for years that Russian farmers had fertile land and worked as hard as the German farmers….No one told us then that the Russians were starving. They were not able to feed themselves. They did not send us food, rather they took what little we had.

Stalin with Soviet Flag

Stalin with Soviet Flag

When Stalin heard that so many people in Germany wanted democracy instead of communism he said, “What, they don’t want to be communists?” He laughed, “We’ll starve them and they will come crawling to us!”

….There were some who had food enough, mainly the farmers and the Russians who came to govern us. The Russians assigned to our village stayed in a villa up in the woods. A large red star on their roof was lit by spotlights during the night. They had their own parties, drinking vodka in large amounts, and playing their music as loud as possible.

….One night, after curfew, Nadja and I slipped through the darkness up to the Russian villa. We were very hungry and thought this might be a place to get some food. We stayed int he shadows of a picket fence and some bushes where the searchlights would not fall on us. Our hunger was greater than our fear of what the consequences would be if we were caught.

Several soldiers were cooking in a large pot out in the open. We could smell the meat. “Borscht” Nadja whispered. When they dumped a lot of vegetables into the pot my stomach cramped with hunger.

….[Later] We heard the men fighting over one of the [abducted] women. It must have been another hour before we were sure the men were sound asleep.

“Now!” Nadja whispered as she climbed out of the bushes and over the fence into the garden. I followed. Slowly, quietly, we crept toward the house. The kettle outside still had some warm borscht in it.

We poured it into a pitcher we had brought, then crept into their kitchen. We took some pieces of commisbread. I saw a box I could carry and took it, not daring to risk the noise of opening it.

A man cursed and we knew a soldier was awake. We held our breath in fear…

[Excerpt from…My Years Hidden As a Boy by Irene Kucholick]

Perfect to end there since tomorrow is F is for Fear.

Till then…a shout out to some very diverse AtoZers:

Regina Martins integrates juxtaposed images under one letter theme.

Get in early on a co-written space opera AtoZ.

Fun to see JazzFeather’s D is for Dixieland because there is a Louis Armstrong tie in to Irene’s life later. (Video will be forthcoming.)

______________

Kristin King is an NGO co-founder, author, publisher, mom, dog lover, reader, as well as a born and bred Kentuckian. She has a small bag of dried nettles in her tea tin, because Irene hand-picked that gift for her. Unfortunately, nettles is not her favorite flavor.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Food, Memoirs & History

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ran Out of February…Not Out of Food

IMG_9693In spite of the leap year, I ran out February before I ran out of food posts. The good news is I discovered that #FoodieFriday is a thing, so I’ll continue with those posts in the future.

Meanwhile you may be as surprised as I was to learn about Cookie Jam.  How does a game app fit in a foodie post? Well, I made a small discovery recently that necessitates confessing my Cookie Jam craze. You might go for Candy Crush, Frozen jewels, or the like, but baked goods have always drawn me in.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 7.53.10 AMImagine my surprise when I attended a Scandinavian buffet and saw one of the confections from Cookie Jam prominently displayed. The game was come to life. The beautiful pastry was real. Kransekake is a traditional Norwegian cake often served for Christmas.

Now I have to wonder, how many other Cookie Jam delights are real?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Food

 

Eating Camel Balls

Are you an adventure eater? Try anything once? Ever eaten lamb fries?
IMG_1191
A right of passage at my university was going to a local truck stop called Sam’s with an older student. Once there newbies were “assualted” with a shaker of salt. Thankfully, salt washes out of your hair very easily. Next, we were encouraged to order the lamb fries. “Best you’ll ever eat,” we were told. Growing up in the south I had a vague idea what those fries were and declined. I didn’t want to be the butt of the joke.

For the most part, though, I am an adventurous eater. I’ll try most anything once. The camel balls in question were given to my son during Halloween in Holland where the American international school sponsored trick-or-treating.

IMG_1184My sons wanted nothing to do with this particular treat. They seemed to be half afraid of the contents. I was game even if the package declared them “Liquid-Filled.” What made me grimace was the nubby-textured tan surface that looked for all the world like hairs had been plucked from the hanging-ball shapes. Torn in half, the camel balls had mostly a stretchy-white interior with one drop of blood-colored liquid in the center. Made to resemble a cross-sectioned vessel perhaps?

IMG_1202
Down the hatch! Camel Balls–actual work to chew up as tart flavor coats the tongue and is off-set by snatches of sugar. My mouth screwed up of its own volition, and I shook my head till I could swallow the substance away and go searching for a drink.

Sour Patch Kid fans probably love these, but I have had my last camel ball…of the candy variety anyway.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 27, 2016 in Food

 

Tags:

Pretty Purple…What Am I Eating? (Feb. Foodie)

IMG_9699Dining out in Amsterdam is usually quite delightful. If you get the chance, I highly recommend a full rice table at Kantijl & De Tijger on Spuistraat.

Not long ago, though, my husband and I attended a catered affair where this lovely dish was placed before each person. I had no idea what it was till I dipped in my fork and tasted these perfectly whipped potatoes. Seasoned with curly bits of green onion and topped with a flower, this culinary masterpiece left me wanting more.

Polishing off every bit including the pansy, I figured these were the prettiest potatoes I would ever eat in my entire life.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 26, 2016 in Food

 

Tags: