Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Traveling Desserts: Vanilla Pudding and Fifteens

What do you do when you're living at an AirBnB and having super foodies over for dinner? I was faced with this predicament when I was in Scotland for the summer (more on that later!), trying to make new friends by impressing them with my foodie skillz. :) It turns out, without an oven, or many of the conventional tools and ingredients of the trade, one can still turn out a simple but fun dinner party!

The main star of dinner was chicken soup, which sounds like a funny main! But, I had promised a good expat friend of mine (of easiest chocolate chip cookies fame) who pined for American-style chicken soup that I would make him some when I visited, so soup it was. The rest of the menu was cobbled together by whatever looked good in the local markets:

Chicken noodle soup
chicken (from a local butchery), celery, carrots, fresh tagliatelle

Pan-roasted butternut squash salad
ras el hanout-spiced pan-roasted butternut squash and red onion, sliced D'anjou pear, bee pollen, rocket, honey dijon red wine vinaigrette

Bread & cheese bruschetta
pan-roasted cherry tomato and garlic, mature Scottish white cheddar, sourdough toast

For dessert, my friend was going to make brownies to bring over, so to complement the chocolatey squidgy-ness of the brownies, I put together vanilla pudding pots (for which you really just need a whisk, pot, and jars!), with kiwi coulis and fruit. These were also a joy to make in a country in which vanilla paste is actually a standard and easy ingredient to come by! Yum. :)

Finally, I also made some fifteens, which are an Irish cookie! that another one of my Scottish-based expat friends made for me during my visit. Fifteens are a no-bake cookie that is made out of crushing other cookies (ahem, "biscuits") and mixing them with more ingredients. It's like cookie cannibalism! Traditional fifteens have candied cherries and coconut, but my friend, Jefferson, made them with candied citrus peel and almond, which I thought helps cut the ultra-sweetness of the cookie well. So here is Jefferson's version of fifteens!

Hope everyone is having a super fun summer. If you find yourself traveling but in need of a few super simple but totally yummy dessert recipes, here you go!

Happy ☀️!

read on for recipes...