17 March 2012

St. Patrick's Day cookery

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit - Happy St. Patrick's Day to You!

It has been a long time since I wrote the blog.  I've been busy, but that's not much excuse.  I am going to try to write at least weekly.  I also finally restarted my Examiner.com column, celebrating "Pi Day" earlier this week and today writing a long article on Irish food and drink.   To show that I really do cook what I write about, I thought I would write up what I prepared today.

The soda bread was made for lunchtime, since I have a class on Saturdays and we get food there.  Although you should let soda bread rest a bit after it comes out of the oven, as you can see I wasn't very patient:
My recipe was simple:  One cup of unbleached flour, a half-cup of whole wheat flour, and a half cup of oat flour made by buzzing American oatmeal in a grinder, to which I added a half-teaspoon each of baking soda and baking powder.  While the last isn't traditional if you use buttermilk, I didn't have that so was using evaporated milk, and without the chemical reaction of the buttermilk with the soda, you need to add a bit of baking powder.  As noted, I then added about five ounces of milk, until I achieved a soft dough.  Carefully patting it into a round, I made a deeply slashed cross in the top and baked it at 400(F) for about forty minutes.

While it baked, I had an onion in its skin in a small pan with some water, also baking.  When I took the bread out I added a bit more water and let the onion finish roasting until it was quite soft inside.  It was easy to reheat at suppertime.

For the main course, I made potato cakes, or "boxty", with smoked fish.  To do this I created mashed potatoes with about ten ounces of potatoes, some chopped garlic scapes, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, and about an ounce of butter.  When it was all nicely beaten, I added a third of a cup of unbleached flour and an egg.  it was a bit soft so I just dropped scoops into hot butter and fried them on both sides until done.

As you can see, I have some Irish butter that I used to fry the potato cakes.  It also went onto the soda bread.  The fish were small chubs, and the flaked meat warmed nicely on the hot cakes.  Then I sauteed some kale and cabbage together for a side dish, and here is the finished supper:

If you think the amount of flaked fish looks like less than two fishes worth, it is.  I mixed the rest of the flaked fish into the remaining potato mixture and created two fishcakes.  These I fried and put into the refrigerator with the remaining greens and half the onion - tomorrow's meal is ready to heat!

Very, very yummy.  I didn't make any of the dessert recipes in my article, but with all this I don't need any.