Current Mood: Cool
We only have one more “official” day of school left. This last week has been spent “travelling” to different countries to learn about the culture and geography. Yesterday we traveled to France and stopped in Paris to sample some of the special foods from that region. We had a wonderful French Onion Soup with some fruit, crusty bread and brie, a mild soft cheese.
Today we traveled to England to visit with the Queen. It was a grand adventure, especially since they are celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. We were impressed with Big Ben, the Tower of London and even got to see some of the countryside near Bath. The foods we sampled on our trip included Shepherd Pie, Scones, Tea with cream, cucumber sandwiches and English Biscuits which look more like cookies to us than our biscuits. Everything tasted grand and tea with the queen was a special treat. Here is a photo of Catelyn making the soup in our kitchen and both girls eating our English treats.
The book we are using for our culinary experiences comes from “Geography Matters”. We have not been disappointed in one recipe. They all have been wonderful so far. We love the little “Culture a la Carte” section that tells little “fun facts to know” about each country we “visit”. Yes, we realize that “Shepherd Pie” is really an Irish Peasant food, but we really just wanted it, so made it since Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. We used our own version of which I will share the recipe below. I will also share the scone recipe from the “Eat Your Way Around the World” book as a sample of the sort of recipe you might find. All recipes mentioned above were from the book except for the Shepherd Pie.
1 pound ground beef
1-1/2 cups mixed vegetables (we used 1/2 cup each, corn, green beans, and mushrooms canned. Frozen or fresh work well too. Cook before using if fresh)
1 cup brown gravy (we made from bullion, water and thickening agent (flour roux or corn starch), a package or jar of gravy will work just fine)
4 large potatoes, peeled, chopped in chunks, boiled till soft, and mashed with cream (about 1/4 cup or till smooth and creamy), 1 tsp salt and dash of pepper
1 package of Kerry Gold Cheddar Cheese, grated
Brown ground beef in skillet. Drain and layer bottom of 8 X 8 pan. Layer vegetables over that. Pour brown gravy over the top of vegetables. Spread mashed potatoes over everything. Top with Cheese. Place in 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and food is hot.
Scones (From Eat Your Way Around the World)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Topping: 1 egg, beaten, + 1 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter and blend until the misture resembles course crumbs. If you are adding any extras, such as chocolate chips or berries, add 1/3 cup now.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cream, beaten egg, and vanilla, then add to flour mixture. Stir gently then knead dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a circle about 1-1/2 inch thick. cut into 8 wedges.
3. Brush scones with topping; bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
We made blueberry scones and served with blueberry jam. Usually scones are served with creme fraiche similar to the one in this link.
Other than cooking from each country, we have also watched some videos and created travel brochures to share our travels with others. On Hulu.com we have found two series that we’ve enjoyed. One is Rick Steve’s and the other is Travel with Kids. This has been such a fun experience that I believe we will continue our travels throughout the summer to other countries.