Greetings From Ireland and a Recipe for Blueberry Parfait

Blueberry Parfait (c)2013 La Domestique

Greetings from Ireland! We arrived in our new home town of Cavan yesterday and the sun has been shining the whole time (which I’m taking as a good sign). Cavan is in the north, just 15 minutes from Northern Ireland. It’s marked by rolling green hillsides dotted with fluffy white sheep and spotted cows. I like it out here. It’s quieter and more laid back than the big city of Dublin. I will say though, ever since we got off the plane everyone has been so welcoming! People are very friendly and kind here. They do talk fast and I’m often looking towards the husband for translation of what was just said. Hopefully I will quickly develop an ear for it. We’re staying in a B & B owned by a family with three very young boys running around. The whole family is lively and fun and our bed is comfy so I’m quite happy. This morning the mother made us a full Irish breakfast, which was a real treat (rashers, black and white pudding, broiled tomato, Irish bacon, eggs, brown bread and scones)! The husband felt like he was finally back home again.

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This Past Week at La Domestique: Honey

Ingredient Of The Week: Honey (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

This past week at La Domestique was devoted to honey. We explored both the sweet and savory side of honey. Shopping at farmers markets is a great way to find honey that’s unrefined and therefore more flavorful and healthful. Look for varieties of honey made from local flora and fauna in your area. Recently I picked up some apple blossom honey from a local apple orchard that is especially delicious for fall. I hope this past week inspired you to try something new with honey.

In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap:

Monday:  Announcing honey as the ingredient of the week.

Tuesday:  10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ideas for cooking with honey.

Wednesday:  Cook in the moment with a recipe for Seared Lamb Chops and Honey-Prune Sauce.

Thursday:  Learn the story of honey: the hive, harvesting, varieties and flavors, cooking and flavor pairing.

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Autumnal Walnut and Honey Soda Bread

I am so excited about this bread recipe I found in the River Cottage Bread Handbook! It’s quick, easy, and perfect for fall. Walnut and Honey Bread is a soda bread recipe made with whole wheat flour. No yeast, no kneading, no waiting for dough to rise. Just throw the ingredients into a bowl, stir to combine, shape into round loaves and bake. My husband grew up in Ireland, and soda bread is nothing new in our house. We go through times when we crave it and keep it on hand until we’re sick of it. The recipe for Walnut and Honey Bread is unique and a wonderful fall version of the classic that I can’t wait to make again.

Daniel Stevens uses one little technique I really like in this recipe. He instructs to crush half of the 7 ounces of walnuts into a powder with a mortar and pestle. It’s like making your own walnut flour. The other half of the walnuts are only lightly crushed so large chunks remain. He writes, “This gives the ideal combination-lots of flavor from the crushed nuts, and texture from the large pieces.” The resulting bread has an intense nutty flavor that’s really special. Oh, and don’t think I’ve forgotten it’s honey week here at la domestique. This bread recipe calls for 7 ounces of honey! I used a wildflower honey, and I think it would be great fun to experiment with different varieties to find the best flavor for this bread. I’ve got some apple blossom honey to try next time.

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Storyboard: Honey

Honey is a viscous, sweet liquid made by bees from the nectar and pollen of flowers. It’s usually named for the plant the pollen came from: orange blossom, buckwheat, clover, wildflower, alfalfa, heather, etc. Each of the hundreds of varieties of honey has it’s own unique flavor- hints of citrus, floral nuances, herbal notes, and even bitterness. For me, exploring honey is like tasting the terroir, or sense of place, in a wine-endlessly fascinating.

Lives of Bees

According to The Beekeeper’s Bible, there are at least four species of honeybees, if not more. Each species creates its own specific type of nest, differing in shape from one single comb to multiple smaller combs. Some bee species like to nest in hollow trees while other species prefer to nest in a cave roof. All honeybees are social insects, meaning they live in organized colonies and work together for the survival of the group.

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Cook in the Moment: Honey

Seared Lamb Chops With Honey Sauce (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

Each week I contribute a column to “Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder” expanding on one of my 10 Ways Tuesday ideas. This week I was inspired by a savory recipe for honey prune sauce found in the October issue of Food & Wine Magazine. Find my recipe for seared lamb chops with garlic and rosemary and the details of the honey sauce by clicking on the Cooking Boulder icon below.

 

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