Hey! The blog has been really quiet for ages (years!), I know. But we’re back in Slovakia for a few weeks, so we thought we’d share some thoughts and pictures from the old homestead. We’ll try out some recipes as well.
One of the first things we noticed was how much the food culture here has improved. Score! I used to tease Valerian because he always reads the supermarket circulars that come in the mail (which go straight to recycling in California). But they’re actually worth a look these days; while the pictures of raw chicken are still a feature, there are so many new products! There’s chia seeds, hummus, fancy cheese, and yes, that’s Ben & Jerry’s!
When we moved to our house in Slovakia, we were so excited to have a huge garden. We went a little crazy planting trees, which were still skinny saplings when we left. No longer! We have a jungle out there.
The plums were sadly shut out by a late frost, but the cherries are loaded–we have a long-suffering old tree in the front of the yard, and back in the orchard, we have several varieties of both sweet and tart/cooking cherries. Apples and Asian apple-pears are on their way, and possibly even before we leave there will be peaches ready to eat.
Valerian created a “berry alley,” which is now overgrown into more of a patch, with plenty of raspberries, some struggling gooseberries, and rampaging currants both black and red.
Years ago when I visited a Swedish friend at her home near Stockholm, she served an amazing dinner and afterwards, took us out to her back yard where she had a thicket of red currant bushes at the edge of a lake. We filled a bowl in the late twilight of the far north, and then brought the berries back in where my friend crushed them with a little sugar and served them over vanilla ice cream. It was a simple and splendid way to finish the evening.
We do love our European yogurt, so I was inspired to layer up some parfaits to celebrate our summer return. Easy and festive! Maybe you’ve had red currant sauce at Ikea, or tried black currant jam; if you see some in the produce section, snap up a pint and try this recipe (or just substitute another berry). If you can’t find currants, raspberries or blueberries are just as delicious, and probably need less sugar.
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 1/2 cups puffed rice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 cups red or black currants, or a mixture (about a pint), or another berry
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar or to taste
- 4 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 325° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then stir in oil and honey. Mix thoroughly.
- Spread the mixture in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, stir gently, then bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before stirring to get nice chunks of granola.
- In a medium bowl, gently crush the currants with the back of a spoon. Stir in the sugar.
- When the granola is cool, layer the yogurt and currants in four jars or glasses. Top with the granola (you'll likely have leftovers). Top with additional honey, if you like a sweeter treat!
- Granola adapted from Megan Gordon, A Sweet Spoonful