It’s a simple, inspired and fun idea, which immediately focuses attention on Ireland
The global greening is indicative of the relationship our little island has built up with our diaspora, and the new partnerships Ireland has forged around the globe. The world celebrates with the Irish on St Patrick’s Day. It’s a brilliant opportunity for Tourism Ireland to promote Ireland worldwide and to encourage people to study and invest in Ireland, and to showcase Irish companies.
The word about the Irish food scene is spreading fast. Last weekend, the legendary Murray’s Cheese Shop, in New York, hosted a high-profile event with Ballymaloe Relish “to celebrate the Irish food Renaissance”, and it caused a mighty stir among the media and food cognosecenti. The latest book on Irish food to be launched in the US to considerable fanfare is Cathal Armstrong’s My Irish Table, published by Ten Speed Press.
Dublin-born Cathal is now an internationally renowned chef, with seven restaurants to his name in the Washington DC area. Food and Wine magazine called him a “one-man urban-renewal engine”, who kicked off a dining revival in Old Town, using French techniques and local produce. Armstrong is a multi-award-winning chef and the White House have honoured him as a ‘champion of change’ for his work on ending childhood obesity, and his involvement in improving the school lunch system.
Here are some of the recipes from Armstrong’s book, which is co-written with David Hagedorn.
Let’s celebrate St Patrick’s Day proudly, ourselves, by inviting our family and friends to a traditional Irish feast.
This is a classic Dublin peasant dish that many hated growing up. It wasn’t anything more than breakfast sausage and bacon cooked with milk. So my version is more like a French blanquette, a rich and elegant cream-based stew, with potatoes added, of course. This recipe doesn’t call for salt because the bacon we use supplies all this is necessary. If yours doesn’t, taste and add half a teaspoon salt if needed.
Sweat the onion: In a medium flame proof casserole over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion to the pot and let it sweat for about 8 minutes, until soft but not browned at all (this is a white stew, you don’t want the onion to take on any colour).
Cook the coddle: Once the onion is translucent add the bacon and continue to cook over a low heat until the bacon is pale pink and a few tablespoons of the fat have been rendered, about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, sausage, chicken stock, cream and bay leaves. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring liquid to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook slowly until the potatoes are cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Add the herbs and serve: Remove the coddle from the heat, stir in the parsley and thyme and serve immediate-ly with lots of crusty bread. If you wish, sprinkle a little bit of cracked black pepper on top. The coddle can be made a day ahead and gently reheated on the stove for in a 150C/300F/mark 2 oven for 30 minutes.
In this recipe we use Cashel Blue Cheese and brown bread as a riff on what has become an American classic. Feel free to make the brown bread topping crouton size. At the restaurant, we use fine bread crumbs.
Make the dressing: Combine the egg, garlic, lemon juice and anchovies in the bowl of a food processor. With the machine running, add the oils in a thin stream through the small tube in the bowl’s lid to create an emulsion. Add the salt to taste.
Make the bread crumbs: Preheat the toaster or conventional oven to 180C/350F/Mark 4. Crumble the bread into fine crumbs and place them on a small baking sheet. Bake them lightly for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are crunchy.
Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cheese and 1 cup of the dressing tossing to coat the leaves well. Mound the salad on 4 plates and sprinkle them with the bread crumbs and ground pepper. (Leftover dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
Cut the pineapple: Quarter the pineapple length-wise. Remove and discard the core form the quarters, halve them lengthwise, and then cut each eighth crosswise into ½ inch slices.
Prepare the caramel: Spread 1 cup of the sugar on the bottom of a well-seasoned 9-inch cast iron skillet and place it over a medium heat. Let the sugar cook for a few minutes, until you see a ring of clear syrup around the edge of the pan. Stir the sugar until it begins to caramelize (take on a golden hue) breaking up any clumps of sugar crystals that may form. Continue stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved and the caramel is deep brown.
Cook the pineapple: Stir the pineapple into the skillet. The caramel will come together in a mass, but will turn to liquid again as the water in the pineapple boils and melts it. Continue cooking the pineapple, stirring occasionally, until most of its water evaporates and the caramel becomes a thin syrup, about 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside to cool. Prepare the batter: Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Mark 4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the remaining 2 cups of sugar on a high speed until white, light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, completely incorporating each one before adding the next and scraping the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, fold the flour into the batter by hand.
Bake the cake: Spoon the batter into the skillet, spreading it over the pineapple. Bake the cake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove the skillet from the oven and immediately invert the cake onto a cake plate. Use a rubber spatula to scrape off any caramel or pineapple left in the pan and spread them onto the top of the cake. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.
Wild garlic or ramps are in season again. There are two types, wild garlic or ransoms (Allium ursinum), which grow in shady places along the banks of streams and in undisturbed mossy woodland. They have broad leaves and white star-like flowers later in the season.
Snowbells (Allium triquetrum) resemble white bluebells and usually grow along the roadside or edges of country lanes. The leaves and flowers of both are delicious in salad, pasta, sauces, soups, stews and pesto.
Cork Food Policy Council brings the Feed The City initiative to Cork today 10am–4pm. There will be talks on growing your own veg, composting, managing waste and cookery demonstrations.
A new urban dining initiative, Feed the City aims to feed 5,000 people a tasty and nutritious vegetarian curry absolutely free at 1pm.The initiative will highlight the issues of food waste and sustainability, and will only use vegetables that have been deemed surplus or otherwise going to waste.