SHEILA'S IRISH RECIPES
CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE (Traditional)
Also called 'salt' beef, this beef is rubbed with coarse salt to a thickness of about 1/4 in., then with brown sugar and 1 tsp. of saltpetre (this turns it red). The joint is put into a bowl and turned each day for about a week. OR JUST BUY PACKAGED CORNED BEEF AT THE GROCERY STORE. Put the meat into a large saucepan with 1 large sliced carrot, 2 large onions, 1 stuck with 4 cloves, 1 tsp. dry mustard powder, spring of thyme and sprig of parsley, pepper and cold water to cover. Bring to a boil; then skim off any scum. Cover and simmer very gently for 3/4 of an hour, then put in the cabbage, trimmed and cut into quarters. Cook the meat for 30 minutes to the pound and serve on a dish surrounded with the cabbage
COLCANNON (This is traditionally eaten in Ireland at Halloween.)
1 lb. Each of kale or cabbage, and potatoes, cooked separately
2 small leeks or green onion tops
1 cup milk or cream
4 ox. (1/2 cup) butter
salt, pepper and a pinch of mace
Have the kale or cabbage cooked, warm and well chopped up while the potatoes are cooking. Chop up the leeks or onion tops, green as well as white, and simmer them in milk or cream to just cover, until they are soft. Drain the potatoes, season and beat them well: then add the cooked leeks and milk.
Finally blend in the kale, beating until it is a pale green fluff. Do this over a low flame and pile it into a deep warmed dish. Make a well in the center and pour in enough melted butter to fill the cavity. The vegetables are served with spoonsful of the melted butter.
ULSTER CHAMP (Traditional potato dish, particularly in the northern counties.)
4 lb. 'old' potatoes
1/4 - 1/2 cups melted butter
2 1/2 cups milk
4 cups young peas, shelled weight
1 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender; drain well, dry over the heat in the pan for a few minutes, peel and mash with most of the butter while hot. Meanwhile bring the milk to a boil and simmer the peas until just cooked, approximately 8-10 minutes. Add the parsley for the final 2 minutes of the cooking. Add the hot milk mixture to the potatoes. Season well, beat until creamy and smooth and serve piping hot with a lump of butter melting in the center.
BROWN SODA BREAD
4 1/2 cups brown wholemeal flour, preferably stone-ground
3 1/4 white flour
1/4 fine oatmeal
2 rounded tsp. salt
2 rounded tsp. baking soda
2 tblsp. butter (optional)
3-3 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg (optional)
Preheat oven to 450F.
Mix the dry ingredients well together. Rub in the butter. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg, then immediately add most of the buttermilk. Working from the center, mix with your hand and add more milk if necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
Turn onto a floured board and knead lightly, just enough to shape into a round. Flatten slightly to about 2 in. Put onto a baking sheet. Mark with a deep cross and bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400 F for around 20- 25 minutes, or until the bread is cooked and sounds hollow when tapped.
CHOCOLATE SANDWICH CAKE (This cake is unusual in that it contains mashed potato.)
6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) self-rising flour
6 oz. (2/3 cup) caster (fine) sugar
2 oz. plain chocolate, melted or 4 level tablsp. cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
3 oz. (1/3 cup) cooked mashed potato
4 oz. (1/2 cup) butter
4 tablsp. milk
Cream the butter and sugar with the mashed potato, then add the melted chocolate or cocoa. Add the beaten eggs, alternately with the flour and the salt. Finally pour in the milk, mixing well, to make a soft dropping consistency.
Well grease two 8 in. cake tins and divide the mixture equally between them. Cook in a moderate oven, (400 F) for 25-30 minutes. The top will be firm and springy to the touch when it is cooked. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. The two sides are sandwiched together with whipped cream or chocolate icing.