BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Running to stand still

We started our visit in Ireland with a trip to the bog of Allan. Though there is bog all over the midlands... including a decent chunk just a short walk down the road from where we were staying, Brad felt the need to find something more than just a piece of turf.

Finding the bog of Allan interpretive centre was a bit of a goose chase, as the road signs were pointing in the wrong direction (was it the work of bored teens or the wind?).  After correcting our course we then discovered that the right road was blocked by the construction of a new road... requiring us to completely redirect ourselves all around the countryside until we finally found the locked up interpretive centre. Luckily the caretakers were at home, and they provided us with an enthusiastic tour aimed at our group of 6 young children.

Regardless, the bog of Allan was mostly just a bit of turf, and a two room museum on the history of the bog in Ireland.  This was my favorite museum piece... made of wool that was dyed by bog dwelling plants.
After that first day we put aside sight-seeing and spent our time visiting friends, shopping in Dublin, exploring country pubs and hanging out in Maynooth.
But Brad wasn't done with his search for that piece of Irish wilderness.  So to ease his spirit, we spent our last day searching for the Burren.  Though we didn't hike in... after a 2 1/2 hour drive (only a Canadian consider that to be a "day-trip", though I'm not sure our children would agree!) we did find a piece of the Burren.
Yes, it is a rocky field.  Interesting... but... after seeing the Colosseum in Rome and the Eiffel Tower, I think the children were a little less than impressed.  Nikolai did pick up a rock to bring home... but I think that was simply because there didn't seem to be any tourist shops nearby.

Since I have already blogged a number of Irish recipes... for this blog I'm going to revisit Italy, and share the recipe of Ligurian chickpea bread.  We ate it twice... the first time was at a fast food restaurant that appetizingly described it as "chickpea gruel". The second time we ate it was at a pizzeria, where all of the locals seemed to be eating it as a appetizer to their pizzas.  It was delicious both times and luckily it is easy to make!


The most important thing about farinata is to scale the recipe so that it fits whatever pan you have available. Ideally you would have a 10" deep dish pizza pan. I don't have one of those, so I made a triple batch in my cookie sheet. I think the only real consideration is that the pan should be metal, and have sides at least an inch high.

Whisk to combine 2/3 cup chickpea flour, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Allow to sit for at least 4 hours.

Heavily oil your pan with 2 tbsp olive oil. Pour batter into the pan and shake it around to combine it with the oilt.  The batter should be about 1/4 inch thick.  Then top with your add ins.  These will sink into the batter, and be baked into the farinata. Bake at 400 F for 20-30 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Above is onion, tomato and cheddar, below is rosemary and Parmesan. But any kind of cheese and cooked vegetable combination would work.  At the pizzeria we ate pumpkin, tomato and Gorgonzola!

The texture is sort of like polenta.  And the leftovers were great reheated and served with a tomato sauce.

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