St Patrick’s Day, that one-day of the year where the local pubs stock up on Guinness to meet the hordes of people indulging in the iron rich alcoholic drink.
My experience was the year in year dinner theme nights cooking for soldiers. If the Regiments had an Irish Heritage then you could more than guarantee a sit down dinner night in two locations meaning a very busy evening for the chefs in the department.
I must admit I have been on three ends to this day, one of the hordes drinking Guinness through the night, catering for the dinner nights and also sitting down on a dinner night and enjoying being served some amazing Irish themed foods.
All were equally as good and generally finished with a Guinness in one form or another.
Today however was a normal day with the family of which I added a couple of Irish foods to our normal dinnertime meal.
I decided to make colcannon potatoes and a soda bread to be used for tomorrow mornings breakfast.
The recipes below were easily made and I hope that you enjoy making them as much as I did and more so, eating them as much as we did.
I will close with an Irish coffee tonight, made using my Nespresso machine, a whiskey shot and topped with double cream and dusting of cocoa powder. An end to a lovely day.
- 700 g Desiree or King Edward Potatoes peeled and cut into even sized chunks
- 225 g Savoy Cabbage finely shredded
- 12 Spring Onions finely shredded
- 75 ml Single Cream
- 75 g Butter
- Pinch of Nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Use a potato peeler to pare off the skins as thinly as possible and then cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks, not too small. If they are large, quarter them and if they are small, halve them.
- Put the potato chunks in a large saucepan then pour boiling water over them, add 1 dessertspoon of salt, put on a lid and simmer gently until they are absolutely tender – they should take approximately 25 minutes.
- The way to tell whether they are ready is to pierce them with a skewer in the thickest part; the potato should not be hard in the centre. And you need to be careful here, because if they are slightly underdone you do get lumps!
- Meanwhile melt 1 oz (25 g) butter in a large frying pan and saute the cabbage for about 3 minutes, keeping it on the move until it's tender and slightly golden at the edges then add the chopped spring onions and continue to cook for another minute.
- Next drain the potatoes, return them to the pan, cover with a clean tea-cloth and leave them aside for 2 minutes to allow the cloth to absorb the excess steam.
- Now, using potato masher mash until smooth, add the nutmeg, cream and remaining butter then mix thoroughly before tasting and seasoning.
- Then finally stir in the contents of the frying pan and serve with or without extra melted butter.
- 250 g Plain Flour
- 250 g Wholemeal Flour
- 100 g Porridge Oats
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 25 g Butter cut in to pieces
- 500 ml Buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C and dust a baking sheet with flour. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then rub in the butter. Pour in the buttermilk and mix it in quickly with a table knife, then bring the dough together very lightly with your fingertips (handle it very, very gently). Now shape it into a flat, round loaf measuring 20cm/8in in diameter.
- Put the loaf on the baking sheet and score a deep cross in the top. (Traditionally, this lets the fairies out, but it also helps the bread to cook through.)
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If it isn’t ready after this time, turn it upside down on the baking sheet and bake for a few minutes more.
- Transfer to a wire rack, cover with a clean tea towel (this keeps the crust nice and soft) and leave to cool. To serve, break into quarters, then break or cut each quarter in half to make 8 wedges or slices – or simply slice across. Eat very fresh.