I don’t know how things are in your town, but around here it seems like there’s some kind of festival on every other weekend. You can’t walk through the park on a Saturday without seeing a bunch of tents. The best thing about these festivals is that they’re free! And free is for me.
When weekends roll around, it usually doesn’t take us long to fall into the vultures from The Jungle Book routine. Going to the movies can be so expensive. I love eating out, but that adds up too, in dollars and calories. And shopping is almost always out of the question. Taking in a free cultural festival is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, learn something about your community, and support local vendors.
Recently we checked out the Scottish festival in Kapiolani Park. I was hoping it would make my husband a little less homesick. They had everything you’d expect. There were bagpipers, rigidly adorable Celtic dancers, medieval combat, dudes in skirts throwing heavy balls, and, of course, haggis.
You can usually get yourself a pretty tasty lunch at one of these cultural festivals for a decent price. And it’s fun to try stuff you’ve never had before. We didn’t get to stay for lunch this time, but we did try some crazy sodas at the Latin festival a few months back.
When you live in the middle of the ocean, it can be extremely expensive to get off your island. But the park is only a mile away. Ethnic food and music in a beautiful park across from the beach in Waikiki? I don’t mind if I do.
Of course, you can also make your own ethnic food anytime you want. I don’t get to take vacations. I have to pretend. Don’t worry, I didn’t make you haggis. By far my favorite thing to come out of Scotland is shortbread. It’s simple, sweet, and oh so buttery. Perhaps it’s not as exciting as other things in your cookie jar, but there’s a reason this stuff has been around for hundreds of years. It’s heavenly.
- 240 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 120 grams (1 cup) sugar
- 240 grams (1-1/4 cup) flour
- 120 grams (1/2 cup) semolina
- Stir together the softened butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. You don’t want to work too much air in.
- Sift in the flour and semolina then stir that in as well. I used a combination of a cutting and stirring motion.
- On a piece of parchment paper, trace a 9 inch circle.
- Empty your mixed dough onto the parchment and knead a few times until smooth.
- Press the dough to fill the circle. Pat it around the edges to make it smooth and flat.
- Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the circle into 8 equal pieces, but don’t move anything.
- Prick the dough with a fork all over to prevent rising.
- Put the dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes to let it stiffen up.
- Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat it to 325.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and place on the preheated baking sheet. Bake for 55 minutes until it is lightly golden.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle evenly with sugar. Recut the shortbread while it’s still warm. Allow to cool on baking sheet.
- Try to keep your husband from eating the whole batch in one day. Good luck.
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