Grandma Bercher’s Cinnamon Rolls

Grandma Berchers Cinnamon Rolls ©2013 La Domestique

Cinnamon rolls are a Bercher family tradition. It all started with my great grandmother, Frances Bercher. Born Frances Schuster in Germany, she immigrated to America with her family in 1908 at 13 years of age. Eventually she married my great grandfather and settled along with other German immigrants in Arkansas, where most of our family still lives today. I never knew Grandma Bercher, but she was a legend in our family and in the town. She was famous for her cinnamon rolls, but even more famous for her welcoming, generous spirit. A devoted Catholic, she baked trays and trays of cinnamon rolls for parish functions. Sugar was rationed during the Depression before Word War II, but that didn’t stop her. She and Papa Bercher tended a vegetable garden in their yard and people would bring their sugar to trade for home grown produce so she could continue baking for the community.

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Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce

Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce ©2013 La Domestique

Hello there! It’s been a bit quiet here on La Domestique, but right now can find me over on Contemporary Living with a festive recipe for Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce and Roasted Brussels Sprouts. It’s a quick seared duck breast paired with a tangy, sweet sauce spiced with Christmasy cinnamon and clove. For the full recipe pop on over to Contemporary Living.

I wish all my American readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. It’s my first Thanksgiving in Ireland, and the husband and I are planning a relaxing weekend getaway. Feels strange not to have the turkey and all the trimmings, but I know the most important thing is to be thankful for all the blessings in my life. Thank you for reading La Domestique!

Barley Risotto with Irish Red Ale, Butternut Squash and Sage

Pearl Barley Risotto with Irish Ale, Butternut Squash and Sage (c)2013 La Domestique

It’s been one of those perfect autumn days here in Cavan. We had blue skies and golden sunshine, the wind felt fresh and crisp, and there were even a couple passing sun showers. As I write this now I gaze out the window and watch the sun slowly disappearing behind the hill. Our house looks out onto grassy fields and this is the time of day the cows come round. As I cook supper I like to look out my kitchen window and watch Herefords and Charlaois navigating the bushes looking for tasty bits of grass and basking in the sun. A stream winds its way around the field, and I can see magnificent grey herons gliding towards the water and meadow pipets darting in and out of the grass. I remember that not every home I’ve lived in had a kitchen window, and the thought of cooking in a dark box with harsh florescent light makes me appreciate my view of nature even more. There are times when I wish I lived in Dublin, where it’s all happening, but this is not one of those times. Right now I’m happy to be just where I am, in the rolling hills and the land of the lakes that is Cavan.

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Autumn Mushroom Soup with Thyme and Brandy

Autumn Mushroom Soup (c)2013 La Domestique

Autumn is my favorite time of year. This is my first Irish autumn, and the change in country makes the season even more interesting. It’s not the fall that I grew up with in Arkansas, which was marked by warm golden-hued days with dramatic red, orange and yellow changes in foliage. Nor is it the Colorado harvest season with fields full of pumpkins, bugling elk and blazing yellow aspen trees. Each day I discover something new about an Irish autumn: it is moody and mysterious, soft and subtle, a slowing of pace that sends us back into our nests. A week of cool, dark, misty days is interrupted by a couple of breezy, sunny afternoons– perfect for opening all the windows to let in the cherished light and fresh air. The blackberry bushes have withered, but windfalls of apples arrive just in time. It’s not too difficult to find a friend with an apple tree who needs to offload a bumper harvest of the quickly deteriorating fruits. I’m eager to taste my first quince, slurp down briny oysters and (hopefully) forage for mushrooms.

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How -To Prepare Whole Squid

Moorish Roast Squid with Smoky Tomatoes and Saffron Couscous (c)2013 La Domestique

 

It was a cold and drizzly Irish morning at the Cavan Farmers Market. Making my usual rounds I took a mental note of everything on offer– must get a couple of éclairs from The Mason’s Apron to bring home for breakfast, don’t forget to grab some eggs, the kale is looking good today—I saw the fishmonger was showing the fresh catch to another customer and something unusual caught my eye. I had never seen a whole squid, but there they were, a pile of ink-stained bodies and tangled tentacles. I had bought squid many times in the American grocery store, Whole Foods, but they were already cleaned and portioned. I was used to seeing neat rows of wingless calamari bodies, all exactly the same size, displayed over a mountain of pristine crushed ice. It was all so sterile, those neatly organized remnants of such weird and wonderful creatures.

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