Thursday, March 19, 2020

Keep Calm and Carry on Cooking - Cookbook Giveaway

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You may be home at the moment through no choice of your own, trying to keep your spirits up and perhaps with kids to keep entertained.
Keep Calm and Carry on Baking Cupcakes
I’m giving away my Kindle cookbook, Alchemy: Simple Ingredients, Magical Food, for the next 5 days, starting today, Thursday 19th March. I invite you to download it and try some of the recipes.
Click the image to go to the book
Make stuff with your kids as an activity – try the Cupcakes; the Carrot  Cake is always a hit; if you don’t have condensed milk and chocolate, then Wellington Squares can stop at Shortbread – simple and delicious!
Try Buttermilk Pancakes for breakfast (even if you don’t have buttermilk), or one of my favourites, Maple French Toast Sticks (without the maple if it means a special trip to the shops – choose your own flavours).
Keep Calm and Carry on Pouring Maple Syrup over French Toast Sticks
If you have panicked and bought a ton of pasta, there’s always Macaroni Cheese with Bells & Whistles.
Keep Calm and Carry on Eating Your Greens
There are lots of tips so you can adapt the recipes to suit you.
Keep Calm and Carry on Pouring Maple Syrup over French Toast Sticks
Keep Calm and Carry on Cooking!
Keep Calm and Carry on Eating Cake for Breakfast
Keep Calm and Carry on Finding New Uses for the Peppers at the Bottom of Your Fridge
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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Colcannon Jacket Potatoes - Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit !

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Cál Ceannann - more than the sum of its parts

Due to the developing situation, Paddy's Day celebrations have been cancelled but you can still celebrate at home with one of my favourite Paddy's Day foods. If you haven't already been introduced to Colcannon, then let me tell you about someone who has.

At my sister’s wedding two summers ago, the Casey Clan had the absolutely pleasure of meeting the family and friends of her beloved. They had travelled all the way from Canada to celebrate the occasion, and to enjoy a relatively well-behaved Ireland, weather-wise.

At the feast, I noticed one of the guests tentatively poke the cnoc (hill) of carbs on his plate. It was flecked with green and spilling pools of golden butter. He aimed a forkful at his mouth and tasted it suspiciously ... and then his eyes rolled, and his face melted alarmingly into a range of emotions that shifted too quickly for me to read.

What! Is! This! Stuff!, he gasped.

You don’t like it? I enquired, somewhat anxiously.

Oh! My! God! It’s! Ah! Mazing!

It was Cál Ceannann - Colcannon - one of those simple little dishes that is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Here it is, with its jacket on, because March winds can be a little chilly!

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit !

Not so green as I'm cabbage-looking!

For 2 Colcannon Jacket Potatoes (which will serve 4 as a side, or 2 as a snack or lunch), you will need…

2 large baking potatoes
a little fine salt for coating

100g kale, or other frilly cabbage

25g Irish butter
1 large spring onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and white pepper to taste

50g Irish cheddar, finely grated

Irish Cheddar - grate!

Preheat your oven to 200°C

First scrub the potatoes to remove any earth, and remove any blemishes with the tip of a sharp knife. Stab about 8 times with a fork. Shake some fine salt into the palm of your hand and massage over the damp skin of the potatoes. Place in the preheated oven directly on the oven rack (or suspended on a rack over a baking tray) and bake for about 45 mins or until cooked and soft all the way through. 

Meanwhile, cook the kale (or cabbage) in boiling salted water for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat, drain into a colander. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out any excess water with your hands, then chop very finely.

Check the potatoes after 45 minutes by piercing them with a skewer. It should easily pierce the potatoes all the way through. If not, then give them another few minutes and check again. Once cooked, remove from the oven and cut in two length-ways.

Using a teaspoon, scoop the flesh of the potatoes into a heatproof bowl, leaving behind the potato shell and about 1cm of potato flesh so that it forms a little bowl.

The food of the gods...

Mash the hot potato with the rest of the ingredients, except for the cheddar. When well mixed, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Pile into the potato shells. Sprinkle with the cheddar (you may have to pack it into place) and return to the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheddar has melted and the potatoes are hot through.

... just got better!


Other Paddy’s Day dishes you might like:

Guinness Chocolate Cake – a piece of this is your only man!

Falafel – little green Patties on Paddy’s Day

‘Irish’ Eggs – Green, White and Gold for Paddy’s Day ! (And yes, I know it's really orange, not gold!) 

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