St Patrick’s day is nearly upon us and, following the success of last year’s recipes, the Crone feels obliged to share with you some more Irish ideas for keeping body and soul together. As before, these recipes are not her own, but are once again drawn from the collections of assorted relatives who are all handy with a peeler and always ready to boil, roast, bake, saute or fry any kind of spud.
Let’s start with the basics, sent by the Crone’s deep red aunt:
For champ, you chop up some scallions (spring onions in England, and sybies in Scotland) and simmer for a few minutes in milk, then mix the flavoured milk and scallions with mashed potatoes and lots of butter, salt and pepper. Scrummy, esp made with new potatoes. We had a big plate of champ, served on its own as a main meal at least once a week when I was a child (the poor Irish and all that!)
As above, except use curly kale and maybe a little bit of country ham or fried bacon instead of the scallions.
For potato bread, boil and mash some potatoes, season with salt and pepper, mix with enough plain flour to make a firm dough. You can vary this by adding some sweet potato and different herbs. Roll out to about half an inch thick and cut into whatever shape you want and dry fry on a griddle or heavy frying pan just to seal the edges. Then fry as normal with bacon or sausages.
For a different treat, you can make potato apple – put a spoonful of stewed apples between 2 pieces, push the edges together and finish as above
For something a bit more fancy, try the Cackler’s Fish Chowder–the Crone’s father is completely addicted to this:
- 1 lb mixed fish – eg salmon, cod, haddock ( I like to add a piece of smoked haddock)
- 2 tablespoons margarine or cooking oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 2 cups raw potatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup carrot, sliced
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup milk or cream
1. Cut cod fillets into bite sized pieces.
2. Melt margarine in large saucepan Cook onion and celery until onion is tender and translucent. Add potatoes, carrots, water, salt and pepper.
3. Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes until vegetables are tender.
4. Add fish and cook 10 minutes longer.
5. Add milk.
6. Reheat, but do not boil.
7. Serves 4. Serve hot, with freshly baked home made bread or rolls and butter
From Devon, the Country Mouse sends her delicious, luxurious recipe:
1kg nice waxy medium waxy potatoes. Peel slice thin like coins. Soak in little water then pat dry. Sprinkle potatoes with salt pepper and little nutmeg. Layer in a not too deep dish pour which you have rubbed with clove of garlic. Pour on about 1pt double cream. Have a little more available for later. Cover dish with foil and bake in slow oven for about an hour. Check that it does not dry out and if it does add more cream. Take off paper and either brown under grill or increase oven heat for around 15 mins til top is golden.
The Crone usually dislikes potato salad–its too sludgy somehow. But this wonderful, vinegary recipe contributed by Peggoty is really worth making:
Russian Potato Salad
Six good sized potatoes, half way peeled aka…carelessly.
Boil them in water with about 1/2 cup of flavored vinegar: garlic, tarragon, raspberry…does not matter. I favor tarragon.
When just about done, remove, drain and refrigerate until cold.
Meanwhile, as they say in recipes:
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup ” ” parsley
1/2 cup dill: either dry or freshly chopped
l/2 cup cilantro fined chopped
3 chopped hard boiled eggs
Mix together the sauce and combine it with above:
sauce: 1/4 cup flavored vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
(blend this sauce until it is the taste you best like…mayo more or less….vinegar to taste….more/less mustard)
One of the Crone’s uncles recommends “The Irish Heritage Cook Book” by Biddy White Lennon & Georgina Campbell, published by Lorenz Books, and there are also many great books by Darina Allen from Ballymaloe. If all else fails, buy some potato bread from Ormo, pop it in the toaster, and slather it with butter. Happy St Patrick’s Day