The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Tastes from across the water

tayto crispsDonagh laid the long pack of breakfast sausages (16 sausages per pound weight) on the kitchen worktop.
“What have you got there?” Danny was curious.
“Back in the forties when our Mam was young and training in Dublin, she was instructed to bring a pack of Hafner’s sausages home to Oylegate each weekend. It was imperative that she carried out the mission. The company eventually vanished but a few years ago someone found the recipe and they started production again. I’ve bought a pack of Denny’s too. The famous Jumbo Gold Medal Sausage. I just thought it would be good to try them together.”

The sausages looked unnaturally pink. Irish sausages are different. A universe apart from Musk’s. I included some of each for our Saturday brunch. On our plates they nestled beside Fred’s own bacon, Cottage Smallholder eggs and gently toasted granary bread. The sausages were good but very salty. Hafner’s won hands down, slimmer than Denny’s. But they had the better depth of flavour.

With a magical rustle, Donagh produced 4 packs of Tayto crisps from his suitcase. Danny grabbed a pack and tucked in. Apparently if you have been parted from Tayto crisps, nothing matches the familiar flavour and crunch.

I always forget that Danny is living abroad. Familiar wafts and tastes are hot wired into his psyche. However happy he is, sometimes he must pine for the tastes of home.

If I was living away from the UK, I’d rather receive a pot of Marmite, than a bottle of the best Champagne. Forget the Belgian chocs, a small box of decent tea bags(Twinings 1706) or a jar of Patum Peperium would have me carrying the heaviest suitcase upstairs with a chirrup.

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  1. I love Tayto crisps, and Veda bread and soda farls and cherry scones and club orange… so many good things you can’t get here!!

  2. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Whilst I lived out in Italy I used to crave a nice cup of good old Yorkshire Tea, having lived in York not long before I moved.

    Yet on returning to the UK (apart from the wonderful gelato, cheese, pasta, wine etc etc etc…..) I found I missed Italy’s coffee; & especially the coffee-flavoured yogurt, which just doesn’t seem to be avaliable in the UK (even Amore seem to have stopped selling it lately).

    And the wines from the vineyard of Castello di Brolio…..ah, heaven…..

    Nowadays though, I’d definitely miss LittleFfarm Dairy’s cooked breakfast: consisting our own delicious bacon; our own plump pork & leek sausages (utterly yummy); free-range, golden-yolked, tasty organic eggs from our happy hens; fat field mushrooms fresh-picked from our pastures; our own organic home-grown tangy tomatoes, onions, & fried potato cakes; & of course a warm loaf of crusty barleycorn bread, home-baked using flour from the traditional local mill spread with my hand-churned goats’ butter….all washed down with a nice cup of Yorkshire tea – & milk from our caprine workforce, of course! Hmmm, I wonder how a few tea bushes would fare in the Welsh climate….?!

  3. I get very hungry sometimes for things from the US. But have found several substitutes and one or two new flavours now. I would have a difficult time if I did go back to the US as I know have a taste for British food too.

  4. Well, the alien I live with prefers HP sauce, Foxes Glacier Mints and Branston Pickles to anything made here, and Kirsten misses English Baked Beans (same brand, but those made here taste different!) Luckily there are the British Shops (now even one in Palmy)which cater for ex-patriates who crave Made in Britain tastes.

  5. When we lived in Holland our suitcases for trips home to the UK were loaded with presents of Dutch coffee, speculaas,Dutch chocolate,fresh roasted nuts,big bags of ground roast hazlenuts and proper Dutch cheese…on the way back I took ginger biscuits, dried yeast, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder ( the Dutch aren’t home bakers), muffin cases, chocolate chips for going into the muffins, tea and proper English blue cheese.
    I miss more of what we had in Holland than I missed the stuff from here. Some things so tasty I cannot understand why they have not reached the UK- vla, a sort of ready made custard, which sounds grim, but it is heaven, lime flavoured drinking yogurt,fresh roasted nuts, hazlenut coffee,muesli bread,walnut bread,rosehip jam…I would go on but I’m salivating too much.
    One thing many ex-pats seemed to miss was Branston pickle. This I found bizarre, as I think it vile! They also missed british sausages, but I’m still, four years after coming home, trying to find a british sausage as good as one from my local Dutch organic butcher.It is a great experience living somewhere else and eating the everyday food.The really important thing I preferred about food shopping in Holland was it could still all be done in small specialist shops run by the owner- you could use the supermarket if you wanted, but there were so many small shops to choose from I rarely did!

  6. I always have to take Galaxy chocolate – but only the small bars – and lemon bonbons to my friend in Canada, which were our treats of choice on the way home from school in Liverpool. However, I think this works in reverse too. Having lived in France and Spain as a student and spent alot of time in Canada there are things I miss from there too. Churros from Spain and particular cheeses from France, beaver tails and peaches n cream sweet corn from Canada and loads of fruits and veg from Seychelles which I can’t even begin to spell! Foods which make you think you have died and gone to heaven!

  7. magic cochin

    I’m not sure what I’d crave for if I was living abroad. I once went to visit a friend who was living in France, with my suitcase full of her requested jars of Branston Pickle and John Grisham paperbacks!

    I think it would be a large box of Twinings 1706 Tea Bags – as a tea-oholic who can’t stand coffee, a “nice mug of tea” is definitely what I’d be craving! Even a weekend away from a good cuppa is challenging!


  8. I used to ask for Marmite and Jaffa Cakes when living in Australia. If I or any of our friends went home, there was generally a list of demands from the others: Galaxy chocolate, PG Tips, Frazzles..

  9. Toffeeapple

    That brings back memories of some sweets that were made in my homeland of Wales, they were called Plush Nuggets and Milky Lunch. No longer made…

  10. Dear Fiona,
    That’s so strange because those are EXACTLY the same items I ask for when friends come to visit me from the UK.

    Unfortunately, Italian husband hates Marmite so much that I can’t enjoy eating it in his presence. So I indulge secretly – bit like a lapsed non-smoker having a naughty puff!

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