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September Cottage Cooking Club & the Papal Visit in Philadelphia



Welcome to our September edition of Cooking Along with the Cottage Cooking Club where monthly our group of food and travel bloggers from throughout the world gather together to share prepared recipes from the cookbook “River Cottage veg everyday!” written by British cookbook author and television personality, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Each month our talented and fearless leader, Andrea, of “The Kitchen Lioness, notes from a very small German Kitchen,” provides a list of recipes from within the books pages and members then each commit their choices from among these designated categories of vegetable dishes. The process engages a collective opportunity in the ongoing preparation among the seasonal bounty of fresh vegetables in many diverse ways.

badge_ccc_320 As we work our way through the book, we have the opportunity for nourishment, not only in the meals that we prepare, but in the friendship of the community that we continue to build, and in the welcome of those who would also like to join us at our collective shared table. 

In our shared meals over the month of September, we enjoyed a make-up month, that is, one offering flexibility in choosing any from among the pasts months recipes, an opportunity to go back and select recipes during the in-between season, those summer crops still abundant while rapidly finishing their flourish, and those vegetables brightly emerging in the colorful roots of autumn, many that will sustain us over the cooler months ahead. Above, I prepared a simple salad of Fennel and goat’s cheese macerated in fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Looking back on the month of September, when early on, fennel did not look so good at the market and came at a high price, causes me now to reflect back and wonder, where did the time go? 


Of course, there is the obvious in the fall, as the children resume school and one is occupied with filling out countless forms, Back to School Night, fundraisers, school pictures, music classes, after school activities, and daily homework. This year my grandson, the J-Dude, began running cross country. He loves it, and won his first ribbon at his first city meet in Philadelphia a couple of weeks back. The training is a few nights a week then requiring an early dinner with time to digest before the evening run, and shortening my day with a bit less time to accomplish things.  But these are the sort of things we do for our families, and especially those things that make them happy, ultimately bringing us more joy.


And so, speaking of families, and the importance of the family brings me to the past weekend when the Holy Father, beloved Pope Francis, was in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.  There was then no running meet, and so I prepared the sensational Baby beet tarte tatin, shown above, to enjoy as we watched the local Papal news coverage on his departure. This is the third time I’ve prepared the dish, but the first time it was photographed as we always seem to have served it past the window of sunlight. In fact, this month, due to such a busy schedule, I prepared each of the Cottage Cooking Club dishes over the weekend watching more hours of television covering the papal visit than I could remember since being sick with the chicken pox as a child. But then, I remembered one other time, the grievous day of 9/11. That day which took away the lives of Americans, caused strife to their families, and forever affected many of our freedoms as Americans. The site of the 9/11 Memorial was also a visit on the Papal Visit in New York as part of an interreligious service, which I also watched, calling people over the world a place in our hearts for greater tolerance, understanding, peace, and love.


Leading up to the arrival of Pope Francis in Philadelphia and region presented a great many challenges, many of which, due to the nature of today’s security, and, such a volume of people coming into the city for the World Meeting of Families, the frustration on our local folks ability to get into the city to see the Pope. There were train lotteries, and tickets, and streets, highways, and bridges were closed off, some as much as a week in advance. Many businesses and schools were closed down.

Too late I realized I should have taken my grandson out of school and down to Washington, DC where there was much greater accessibility in getting a glimpse. There was much disappointment by the local community eventually resigned to staying home and viewing the activities as they transpired. Strangely, this ended up, not to disappoint, but to lift up, for on clear screening, presented in its entirety, was each magical moment that touched the hearts and lives of so, so many, including me. Most of all too, I loved the part where families, who had come from throughout the world, provided testimony to their own family lives, not their perfections, but some of their struggles, and ways they had found inspired grace and strength through them. It was so truly moving, as was the response of Pope Francis and his understanding of peoples lives in families, some of which, he animatedly expressed, may even on occasion ‘have plates flying.’ Not that any food blogger would dare ever think of losing a plate at such moment.


A church and it’s people so in need of healing found inspiration on this visit. As Pope Francis gave his final blessing at the top of the airplane steps in Philadelphia, I found tears rolling down my eyes, an inexplicable sadness in his departure, for despite the inconveniences and disappointment in not seeing him in person,  more so then for those days he filled my house with inspiration, peace, love, and too, even in the sharing of each dish of our Cottage Cooking Club foods together.


Late Saturday afternoon I prepared the Red Cabbage, parsnip, orange and date salad shown above. Delicious.


And then, we got a bit of a chuckle trying out a fresh simplicity, Radishes with butter and salt. We liked it.


And for dinner, we enjoyed the Stuffed cabbage leaves using blanched Napa cabbage, all rolled up with a cooked barley combination before topping with fresh garden tomatoes sauce, dotted with sour cream. In some ways a rather humble dish, enjoyed by all.


The Leek and cheese toastie served as the hors d’oeuvre, and a reminder just as many from religions and diverse beliefs from throughout the world implore in so many languages, ‘give us this day, our daily bread.’ One needn’t be a mystic in the appreciation of our daily food, or, in the coming together to nourish through sustenance and community at the shared table. But in this bread, a simple appreciation, topped with whatever one chooses, from the plain, the simple, the abundant, just as in this dedication of the weekend celebrating the visit of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, may we each throughout the world, share in the embracing of life’s feast. Amen.

To see what other members of the Cottage Cooking Club have posted as transpires click here.



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  1. Posted September 28, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    A lovely post! I made the leek toasties, and hope to make the others you made in September soon!
    EmilyC recently posted…CCC ~ September 2015 ~ make-up monthMy Profile

    • Posted September 28, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Hello Emily, thanks so much and it was a pleasure to prepare the delicious selections especially during those inspirational moments watching the Papal visit in Philadelphia.

  2. Posted September 28, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi Peggy, what a beautiful post, love all the dishes you prepared. I have had radishes with butter before and I have to say it is always so amazing how the simplest foods can bring us so much joy. And yes, it does seem the Pope’s visit has been so inspiring to so many people. Thanks!
    cheri recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club Month of SeptemberMy Profile

    • Posted September 28, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much Cheri. The Pope’s visit was indeed an inspiration to many, including those of other faiths. Surely in our world today all people can benefit by a ‘lifting up’ of humanity, and encouragement to those common values of goodness shared, including keeping open our hearts, tolerance, peace, and love.

  3. Posted September 29, 2015 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    This Pope is the people’s Pope, no doubt, and truly a vicar of Christ. He seems to espouse all of the WWJD ideals. It’s a shame that local people had so little access to a visit. I know there were many from MA who made the journey, as late as Sunday, for Mass.

    These dishes are gorgeous! I love stuffed cabbage, and I have taken to roasting radishes; they sweeten up nicely. Everything looks delicious!

    Good luck to your grandson on his cross country season! 🙂
    Kelly recently posted…Move over PSL…there’s a new pumpkin in townMy Profile

    • Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Hi Kelly, thanks much. Agreed on Pope Francis truly being a Vicar of Christ and espousing those ideals of WWJD. It had been disappointing on the local access and ultimately although attendance was upward of a million at the mass, so many obstacles were presented for months before, it kind of scared folks away. Even late Sunday morning they were announcing there was still room if people wanted to attend- an impromptu I would definitely have taken up on- if I were 25. Nevertheless, the coverage of every moment was shared on continuous footage both days providing locals access to everything which was indeed very uplifting to view. I have never roasted radishes, I’ll need to give that a go. Thanks on the J-Dude, he’s having a blast! See you soon. Big Hugs.

  4. TheKitchenLioness
    Posted September 30, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Dear Peggy, what an inspirational post indeed – how wonderful that the Pope visited the USA for a week – I followed the news coverage of his visit closely – it is always such a pleasure to “follow” his travels…And all your dishes look delicious and seasonal – and I just know that they must have tasted absolutely wonderful. I cannot imagine a better way to share your love of cooking and your faith than through your lovingly prepared dishes for The Cottage Cooking Club!
    Sending you hugs and and a warm “thank you” for your continued participation in the CCC!
    Liebe Gruesse,

    • Posted October 1, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Hello Andrea, thank you so very much and having the Pope here in Philadelphia was indeed inspirational as well as enjoying the dishes from the Cottage Cooking Club while viewing the moments during his visit. Thank you as always, for all that you do for the Cottage Cooking Club and it has been a great pleasure getting to know each of the members and the lovely preparations that they make as part of our monthly group. Thanks again and see you soon. Big Hugs back to you!

  5. Posted October 1, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Wonderful post, Peggy, and your dishes are beautiful as always. I so enjoy these make-up months where I’m reminded of the dishes I made and enjoyed and of the ones I still want to make. I remember loving the the fennel-goat’s cheese salad and the leek and cheese toastie was popular with everyone who made (and ate) it. Until next month…..
    Zosia recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club – September 2015My Profile

    • Posted October 5, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Thanks so very much Zosia, the make-up months really are quite fun with lots of interesting choices. Both the salad and toastie were delicious and I’m looking forward to our month ahead! See you then!

  6. Posted October 1, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful post, Peggy, and a great tribute to the pope’s visit. He’s in many ways exactly what the church needs right now to draw people together under the basic principles of just being good people. I also loved all your gorgeous photography, as I always do. That beet tarte tatin just pops out of the page like a garnet and the stuffed cabbage leaves look homey and warming. Cheers to you and your family this Fall–it’s really a great time of year!

    • Posted October 5, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Katie, we did have a good selection of choices for the month with our Cottage Cooking Club. Yes, I too think that Pope Francis is just what the church needs right now, and drawing people together under the basic principles of just being good people. It truly was a special weekend just to be a part of viewing all of the coverage, and being inspired by it. Hope you and your family enjoy the fall as well, it really is (although always busy) a great time of the year!

  7. Posted October 2, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Wonderful story and gorgeous pictures, Peggy!
    Jolma recently posted…Tibetan Dumplings Brighten Other LivesMy Profile

    • Posted October 5, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Jolma, hope all is well at Beyond her kitchen and I love the literacy through food work you have been providing through the Tibetan community! See you soon!

  8. Mary Hirsch
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Wonderful, wonderful post, Peggy. Although I am not a Catholic, I was thrilled with the Pope’s visit as well and watched as much as I could. I did not enjoy wonderful meals like your family did as I watched it, however. He was inspiring. When my girls were in junior high and grade school, the Pope (John, I think), came to Iowa where we lived. He was speaking at the Fairgrounds and the state was in an uproar over it. So excited. Of course my kids wanted to go. Me, in all my wisdom, decided that there were going to be such crowds, etc., that we should stay home and let the Catholics be there to enjoy it. In the end, there were not the anticipated crowds and I should have been there with my girls. One of my biggest regrets and they have never let me forget it. The Beet Tartine is one of my favorites and the parsnip salad, as well. Was surprised about that. All your dishes look delicious. BTW, out Emma who is 14 and just entered high school, went out for the Cross Country Team. She made Varsity, a very big deal, I guess, and in her third meet against a tough team, game in 1st over-all. She had gotten a 3rd and 4th but never won. I had to enjoy it from afar so I am envious that you get to see your grandson runj. Enjoy. Very nice and interesting post.

    • Posted October 8, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Hi Mary, Thanks so much and so good to see you. Thanks also for sharing your story on the visit of Pope John Paul to Iowa years ago and it is too bad you did not go. People from religions all over the world seem to always feel the embrace of the Pope and I do think so fondly of Pope John Paul who, not unlike our current Pope Francis was a champion of his day. This is to say, I do believe he went as far as he could for the times, and these times call for more focus on the members of the church, not so much the clergy. Meanwhile, I am so delighted to learn the great news on your granddaughter who indeed must be quite good to make Varsity at this young age! 3rd and 4th places are quite good too, not only in age but in the numbers of competitors and their age. I hope you get to see a race sometime in the future! Have a terrific month and see you soon.

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.