Monthly Archives: June 2012

Castlecomer – Seeing Her Tonight

I know I’ve posted a video from these guys just a couple weeks ago, but I love them so much I’m posting another one. This song goes through my head all the time!

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June 29, 2012 · 9:23 am

Homemade Perogies

In university perogies were a bit of a staple on our household, so I’m surprised I was never inclined to make them from scratch before! But suddenly the idea was in and I had to make them asap, so I dragged Janice around the grocery store hunting for the perfect potatoes (floury and red skinned) and then hauled everything home to make that very night!

Perogies

  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, plus extra to serve with the pierogi
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • butter and onions for sauteing
  • 5 large potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • Knob of butter
  • 4-8oz of grated cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Pierogi Dough
To prepare the pierogi dough, mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor with a dough hook for this, but be careful not to overbeat. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight; the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Potato, Cheese & Onion Filling

Peel and boil potatoes until soft. While the potatoes are boiling, finely chop onion and saute in butter until soft and translucent. Mash the potatoes with the sauted onions and cheddar cheese, adding salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some fresh parsley, bacon, chives, or other enhancements if you desire. Let the potato mixture cool and then form into 1″ balls.

Prepare the Pierogies
Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8″ thick. Cut circles of dough (2″ for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2″ for large pierogies) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork.

Boil the perogies a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry. Saute chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Then add pierogies and pan fry until lightly crispy. Serve with sour cream.

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The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Despite my overall lack of romantic notions, I do happen to enjoy Pride and Prejudice (I blame my misguided 13-year-old self). Thus it was of great interest to me when a vlog I follow mentioned this new project a couple of months ago. It’s a very fresh re-telling of the classic Austen tale done completely in blog form. I highly recommend it as a change from the excellent but very well-viewed movies or tv mini-series and as a bonus now there are over twenty episodes to watch at your leisure (instead of waiting anxiously like me for a new one every couple of days!) Hope you laugh!

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June 22, 2012 · 4:42 pm

Pea Salad with Prosciutto and Mozarella

This is a delicious salad that is a new spin on peas. I love peas. Any way they come really, but this is one of my favourites because the flavours really offset each other nicely and the creamy mozzarella contrasts with the crunchy prosciutto and the pop of the peas. Its perfect for summer (and drunk with a mojito!)

Pea Salad with Prosciutto and Mozzarella

4 slices prosciutto
100g peas, (preferably fresh)
1 ball buffalo mozzarella, torn into large pieces

juice ½ orange
1 tbsp olive oil
small handful mint, leaves finely chopped

  1. Heat a frying pan. Without adding any oil, fry the prosciutto slices until wrinkled and crisp. Place on a sheet of paper towel and leave to cool before breaking into large shards.
  2. Boil the peas in a pan of salted water for 2 mins until just tender. Meanwhile, mix all the vinaigrette ingredients together, season, then set aside. If making ahead, do not add the chopped mint until ready to serve. When the peas are cooked, drain, then run them under cold water until completely cool.
  3. To serve, divide the mozzarella between 2 plates, scatter the peas over and sit the prosciutto shards on top. Drizzle the dressing over and around, and scatter with the mint leaves.

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Salerno and Pastum

We arrived in Salerno midday and took a taxi from the train station to our B&B. We had a slight problem contacting the owner, who wasn’t there when we arrived, but once we got in touch he had another guest come down and let us in. The room we had was large and airy and had a balcony facing the ocean. It was a beautiful view and Mom spent much time out there doing her readings while I messed about or played with my camera. The sunsets were beautiful there.

Our View

Mom on the balcony

Into town

That afternoon we headed to the beach (avoiding the nearest beach on the recommendation of our wayward host) and found a beach full of locals (large woman sunbathing, old men smoking, young girls giggling with their friends and young men showing off their prowess at sports). They seemed quite surprised to see tourists there (and I, with my blindingly white skin was obviously not a local) so we got gawked at a bit, but everyone was friendly. Because it was Sunday we were worried a lot of the shops and restaurants would be closed and at six, after we’d gone back to the B&B to get changed and find dinner, seemed to be the case. But we wandered through the little side streets to the main thoroughfare of our neighbourhood and found a few bars and restaurants that were open. We ate at a pizzeria which was pretty average, but everything tastes better when you’re hungry! When we left we hit a local gelateria which seemed to have a very loyal customer base, all around the shop were little kids playing and people chatting with their friends and neighbours. As we walked back to the B&B around eight we saw more and more shops opening and realized that in the very non-touristy parts of Italy, shops have very specific opening hours and restaurants do open (even on Sundays!)

Beach day

The next day our host’s wife showed up to make us breakfast which consisted of pastries, strong Italian coffee, tea and orange juice. She was an artist and her art was displayed all around the B&B (mostly ceramics) and she was just a lovely woman. She and Mom really seemed to hit it off, although we had to use the translator on her phone to communicate sometimes! Mom bought a couple of pieces from her that were reminiscent of the bright local style and she showed us pictures of her kids and family. That day we were heading out-of-town to Paestum, the ruins of an old Greek settlement. On the way we ran into our hostess again and she helped us buy umbrellas because of the pouring rain. Of course, once we bought the umbrellas it promptly cleared up and we didn’t need them again. She put us on the right bus to get to the train station and even set a gentleman getting on the same bus to make sure we got off at the right stop.
The train didn’t leave for a few hours so we wandered around central Salerno for that time. We spent a bunch of time in a bookstore where I searched the shelves for an Italian cookbook I could both carry and understand (my search was in vain unfortunately) but we found a fruit market and bought some cherries to eat on the boulevard after finding a little art gallery and wandering through the main religious complex of Salerno. Despite not being a touristy city, Salerno is very pretty with very friendly residents! We had some more pastries and coffee in a very glitzy café before grabbing the train out the Paestum.

Aquaduct

Salerno town

Salerno Cathedral

Mom with the lion

The boulevard

The train to Paestum wasn’t long but the journey was very pretty, taking us through poppy fields and farmland with the mountains in the background. Once we got off the train (with about half a dozen other tourists) there was a distinct lack of signs or directions so our plan was to follow the other tourists who we hoped would know where they were going. Our plan backfired, however, when we accidentally ended up leading the little pack of tourists down this unmarked road away from the train station. Luckily it was the right direction and we happily stumbled upon the large and very impressive ruined city.


Paestum is exactly what you imagine when you think of Greek ruins (which wasn’t what I expected to find in Italy!) The city was founded in 600BC by Greek settlers from Sybaris. It’s funny to think of Italy as a place to be colonized like the Americas… but that’s exactly what we found! The city was named in honour of Poseidon but the name was converted to a more Latin form after the area was conquered by Rome. The Romans made some major changes to the city and its political structure, but the major religious temples were preserved. The three major temples at Paestum in the Doric style are supposed to be among the best remaining examples of Greek temples in the world. I’m very glad we had a chance to see temples that were still so intact. It’s hard to imagine how large the temples are without seeing them in person. I’m always surprised by how much larger things appear to me in person than they look in photos!

And I found the stray!

That evening we headed back to Salerno and had dinner at a seaside restaurant (spaghetti vongole for me) and a bottle of homemade wine before heading back to the B&B to prepare for an early morning meeting Nick and heading to the Amalfi coast.

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