When I was a kid, across the street from us, there lived an English family. The mom of that family emigrated to this country when she married her husband. Lily was a petite, dark haired woman, much shorter than her very tall husband, and she spoke with the loveliest British accent. I listened with fascination to her homeland tales, and observed with great interest how she continued on with the customs of her native country. For example, Lily never drove a car; in fact they didn’t own a car. She rode her bicycle everywhere including to the grocery store. She liked to buy her produce daily, and as regular as Big Ben, you could see her head out at the same time every day to the grocery store. The way she pronounced my name encouraged my sister to call me the same ... “Poo-la”. Of course, my Italian grandma pronounced my name “Pole –la”, and I thought it was so cool than one name could be pronounced differently all over the world. Even back then, I was fascinated with accents, languages, and cultures other than my own.
Perhaps that is why I enjoy the Olympics so much. Although I appreciate a close finish, I’m not into competition much; rather, I love the stories associated with the athletes. I admire their determination and perseverance. Their guts. Doing what they do away from home in front of thousands. Plus, since I homeschool, the Olympics are one gigantic social studies and geography course. As I write this, the athletes representing
When thinking of English food, several things come to mind. Of course, they make the best fish and chips on the planet, and they also lay claim to some wonderful pub food, fry ups, holiday recipes, and desserts. I searched the internet as well as scoured through my cookbook library (I have a *thing* for cookbooks) searching for something unique, easy to prepare, and that scores top points in the flavor. I was in the mood for soup today, plus I had some smoked salmon in the fridge that I wanted to use. Tell me what you think of the menu I came up with. And my apologies to my English blog friends if I totally missed the mark!
See the finely grated carrot? It added a wonderful texture to this creamy soup. Yummm!
Cheese and Ale Pub Soup
½ stick of butter
¼ cup onions chopped fine
2 small spring onions chopped fine
¼ cup grated celery fine
1 medium carrot grated fine
¼ cup flour
2 cups ½ and ½
½ cup milk
2 generous cups freshly shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese (not pre-shredded)
½ generous cup beer
White pepper to taste
In a 3 ½ quart saucepan, melt the butter on med high heat. Add all of the onions, celery, and carrot and stir. Heat until tender, not quite 5 minutes. Wisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly wisk in the ½ and ½, and milk. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Stir in the shredded cheese, small handfuls at a time, until all has been added and cheese has melted. Stir in the beer. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes more; do not let it boil. Stir in white pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chives and paprika. (NOTE: This is not gluten free. Next time I make it, I'm going to modify it so my gluten free kiddo can have some, too. She still dined quite well tonight, feasting on chicken and rice, as well as smoked salmon minus the bread!)
Smoked Salmon with Watercress and Horseradish Cream Toasts
1 palm sized piece of Smoked Salmon
10 Watercress leaves
½ teaspoon Horseradish
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayo
5 thin Toasted baguette slices
Break the salmon into medium sized chunks. On each toasted baguette slice, place enough salmon to cover most of the slice. Dollop a ½ teaspoon (or more!) on top of the salmon. Top with two watercress leaves. Sprinkle with paprika.
By breaking the salmon into chunks, you don't have to worry about the toppings toppling off the toast. See how yummy this is? The cheddar soup pared beautifully with the salmon. Just looking at this photo makes me want to start singing "Britannia Rules the Waves" and "God save the Queen"! ok, ok, don't get cheeky ... I'll just hum it! :-D