Thursday 26 November 2009

Irish food

image from

I'm back from Lae. This time last week, I was basking in the glow of a weekend at Madang, snorkeling with Nemo and eating pineapple so sweet, you would weep.

This week, I am back to reality, with the last of Lima Bean's VCE exams and Mme Mouse being laid up with a small operation on her foot.

I have gone from having my own haus mari, to being a beck and call girl.


So, with Mme Mouse bed-ridden and mainlining Panadeine Forte, I needed to cook something delicious and nutritious and easily re-heated.

Colcannon (Irish: cál ceannann, meaning "white headed cabbage") is a traditional Irish dish made from mashed potatoes, kale or cabbage, butter, salt, and pepper. It can contain other ingredients such as milk, cream, leeks, onions, chives, garlic, boiled ham or Irish bacon. At one time it was a cheap, year-round staple food.

An old Irish Halloween tradition was to serve colcannon with prizes of small coins concealed in it, as the English do with Christmas pudding. This is still done today and small amounts of money are placed in the potato.[2]

It is similar to the modern version of the English dish, bubble and squeak. In Atlantic Canada (especially Nova Scotia and Newfoundland), a local version of the dish is popular among those raised in rural communities. Brought to the provinces by Irish and Scottish settlers, the recipe consists of potatoes, milk, butter, diced carrots and turnip mashed together. This gives it a distinct orange and white colour (as opposed to the green of the Irish version). Some also add onions, garlic and even chopped up bacon. It is routinely served during large holiday meals like Christmas, New Years Eve, Robbie Burns night and Canadian Thanksgiving.

The Dutch also have a dish that is similar called stamppot boerenkool, made from potatoes and kale mashed together with milk, butter, salt, and pepper, and often served or cooked with a large sausage. A condiment of pickled pearl onions is common.

It is also called Rumpeldethumps in Scotland. And it is a perfect accompanyment to a roast chook.

Take an organic, free-range chook, and stuff an orange in the cavity. Slide some butter and sage under the skin and bake at 200C for 1hr 20 mins.

While chook is cooking, boil 1kg of Dutch Cream potatoes. Mash roughly with S&P, a knob of butter and some double cream.

In a pan, wilt some cabbage, kale or silverbeet with a diced onion and some diced bacon.

When bacon is crispy and onion glassy, add to potato mix and stir through. Pour into an oven proof dish, top with grated Cheddar and bake with the chook for the last 40 mins.

When done, let the chicken rest, and make pan gravy with some orange juice and a splash of Cointreau, and serve with the colcannon.

Just before serving, make a wee well in the colcannon, and add another knob of butter.

A recipe for the traditional Irish Halloween dinner (lunch) on the back of a 10kg pack of Rooster spuds