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Posts Tagged ‘In an Irish Home Recipes’

Traditional Irish Gur Cake

My mother-in-law was a resourceful woman…she had to be raising twelve children in Ireland in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. All her life she lived the adage “waste not want not” and passed it down to her daughters and me before she left this world.

But in all the years Mama taught us to be thrifty at home, especially in the kitchen, she never mentioned Gur Cake…which in hindsight is so strange because she taught us to make fresh pressed apple juice, homemade Irish soda bread, thick and hearty vegetable soup, and so much more.

Gur Cake, also known as Chester Cake, Donkey’s Gudge, and Gudge Cake, depending on what part of Ireland you come from, is a speciality of Irish bakers and has been around since the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In recent years, it’s fallen out of favour, having been replaced by muffins, Mars Bars biscuits, custard slices and the like, but it’s still deeply ingrained in the Irish food-psyche.

The ingredients for this cake are as they have always been: stale bits of bread and/or cake mixed with spices, dried fruit, brown sugar, and tea. The filling is rich and delicious and the smell is reminiscent of Christmas.

Gur Cake is a perfect year round treat that is simple to make and a pleasure to eat, especially with a hot cuppa tea. So, the next time you’ve got stale baked goods in your cupboards…don’t throw them out…get thrifty and turn them into something wonderfully Irish. You’ll be glad you did!

~ XoK

Gur Cake

Serves 8-10 Slices

Ingredients

8 level tablespoons/75g/3oz plain flour {self-raising flour}

8 slices of stale bread or cake/350g/12oz {crusts removed from bread and icing removed from cake}

cold water

1 level teaspoon baking powder

1 cup+1 tablespoon/225g/8oz brown sugar

4 tablespoons/50g/2oz butter

2 tablespoons/1 dessertspoon mixed spice {pumpkin spice}

1+1/2cup/254g/9oz raisins

1 large egg {lightly beaten}

2/3 cup/150ml milk

zest of a small orange

2 sheets of shortcrust pastry

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F. Lightly grease a 22cm {9″ square} baking tin with softened butter, then lightly flour the surface, and set aside.

2. Cover the bread with cold water and allow to stand while making the filling and prepping the pastry.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, butter, mixed spice, beaten egg, milk and orange zest. Mix well.

4. Squeeze the bread dry of the water, add it to the flour mixture and stir well.

5. Cut two pieces of shortcrust pastry just big enough to fit inside the baking tin. Line the bottom of the baking tin with one piece of pastry, pour over the fruit mixture and spread it level. Then cover with the second piece of pastry.

6. Prick the top pastry with a fork or score it three or four times across with a knife.

9. Bake for about an hour. Leave in the tin to cool completely. Cut in squares and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* The name “Gur Cake” is said to have come from the Irish slang word “gurrier“, which has been used to describe young lads from the city centre who frequently skip school and are said to “be on the gur“.

** It is said that the gurriers running around the streets of Dublin often had just enough money to buy a fruit slice which, over time, became known as Gur Cake.

*** If you’d like a slice of Gur Cake and don’t want to make it yourself, head into Mannings Bakery in Dublin where they’ve been making it since they first opened in 1945.

**** Recipe based on one found at Odlums.ie

 

 

 

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Irish salmon on a bed of quinoa and chopped kale

I’ve been a huge fan of Rory O’Connell for years. Not only did he co-found Ballymaloe Cookery School with his sister Darina Allen in 1983, but he has also worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in California, he was the 2013 Winner of the André Simon Book Award for his book Master It, and he has been the Ambassador of the Year for Good Food Ireland.

Not too long ago, my husband and I took a cookery course at Ballymaloe and were fortunate to have Rory as one of our instructors. He was funny, wickedly talented, and generous with his knowledge. Here are a few photos from the weekend:

Today’s recipe for oven baked salmon in an aluminum parcel with lemon, chili and mint comes straight out of Master It: How to Cook Today. It is easy to make {despite its long-winded name} and tastes great. Of course, as you know, salmon is a hearty fish with a subtle flavour; the chili, lemon and mint in this recipe adds just a tiny bit of zing to this otherwise delicious fish. I recently served it with a side of quinoa, cooked in vegetable stock, mixed with chopped kale. Rory suggests boiled new potatoes and peas, and sometimes a tomato and basil side salad. Any way you chose, I think you’ll find this recipe really makes for a lovely little dinner.

~XoK

Rory O’Connell’s Salmon in a Foil Bag with Lemon, Chili & Mint

Serves 4

Ingredients

80g/5-1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

4 x 150g fillets of salmon, skin removed

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of chili flakes

Grated zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon mint leaves

4 lemon wedges, to serve

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC/400°F and put a baking tray in to heat up.

2. Cut a piece of foil about 80cm long and lay it on your worktop. Fold in half from the top down, just to crease the centre line crossways, and open it out again. Rub the lower half of the foil, where the fish will be sitting, with some of the soft butter.

3. Place both pieces of {rinsed and dried} fish on the foil and season with salt and pepper, chili flakes and the lemon zest.

4. Pour the lemon juice over and dot the remaining butter on top of the fish.

5. Fold the top of the foil down and seal the sides with two sharp and definite folds. Seal the mouth of the bag with two more tight folds – there should be plenty of space around the fish inside the bag to allow for steam to build up during cooking.

6. Place the parcel on the heated tray and cook for 15 minutes, by which time the bag should be inflated like a balloon {mine did not inflate but it still cooked perfectly}.

7. While the fish is cooking, coarsely chop the mint leaves. Slash open the bag along the top of the foil and sprinkle the chopped mint all over the fish. Serve immediately, on hot plates with lemon wedges, making sure you spoon the buttery juices over the fish first.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* Here’s a few other delicious salmon recipes from In an Irish Home: Oven Roasted SalmonSalmon Fillets with Pesto and Pecorino,  Salmon Pesto Pasta.

** Burren Smokehouse, just 15 minutes from the Cliffs of Moher, is one of my favourite places to buy smoked Irish salmon.

*** From SpoonUniversity a quirky article: “What You Need to Know About Salmon Skin Before Eating It”.

 

 

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Slice of ham and cheese frittata on a white plate

We love leftovers the first night after Christmas. By the second night, however, we are ready for something different. But, what about all that wonderful leftover turkey and ham that’s sitting in the fridge…right?

“Waste not want not” is a philosophy my mother-in-law Mary Rose taught me well, which is why the second night after Christmas, I usually make a ham and cheese frittata. {For your leftover turkey…why not try this Turkey Shepherd’s Pie?}

This recipe is incredibly quick to make and is, of course, delicious. It’s perfect for a morning meal, Saint Stephen’s Day perhaps, and also makes an ideal brunch main course. At a different time of year, say a beautiful summer’s day, this could easily be packed into a picnic basket too. Enjoy!

Ham & Cheese Frittata

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ onion, sliced

8 eggs

2oz/¼ cup milk

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

12oz/168g/2 cups ham, diced

3oz/88g/1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

1.) Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.

2.) Heat olive oil in a 10” oven proof skillet over moderately high heat. With a pastry brush, spread the olive oil to the sides of the skillet.

3.)Add the onion and sauté until translucent.

4.) While the onions are sautéing, whisk the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

5.) Once the onions are translucent, remove from the heat and spread the diced ham evenly over them.

6.) Pour the egg mixture into the skillet.

7.) Sprinkle the cheese over the top.

8.) Place the skillet into the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until the eggs are fully cooked and the cheese is bubbling. Serve immediately.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

* Want to know the difference between a frittata and an omelet? Check out this article from the good folks over at thekitchn.com.

** Here are a few Irish frittata recipes from the world of WordPress bloggers: Irish Breakfast Frittata from The Way I Make It Is; Feta Cheese and Red Onion Frittata from the Irish cookery school known as Cook’s Academy; Bacon Spinach and Potato Frittata from Irish writer Shiela Kiely at Gimme the Recipe; and, finally, a Courgette and Thyme Frittata from Irish food writer Catherine Fulvio.

*** Not into frittatas? Can I tempt you with this amazing Tomato & Almond Tart a la Ottolenghi?

 

 

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Homemade cranberry sauce in a white bowl with a vintage spoon surrounded by Christmas decor

I still remember, with some embarrassment, the first time I made homemade cranberry sauce. I was not yet engaged but having Christmas dinner, all the same, with my now husband’s parents and extended family. After Christmas morning mass, everyone descended on the home of my future in-laws, Dan and Mary Rose, for breakfast, present opening, and, much later in the day, supper. While the men watched the news and sport on T.V., the women retired to the kitchen to make the Christmas dinner {with much laughter and chat}.

Being a guest and wanting to make a good impression, I asked if there was anything I could do to help. Mary Rose replied, “you can make the cranberry sauce”.  In my innocence, I thought that’ll be an easy job. ThenI asked for a can opener. “Why would you need a can opener?”, she asked. “You know”, I said, “to make the cranberry sauce.”

For a moment the room went silent and I could feel my cheeks turn a funny shade of pink. Growing up, the only cranberry sauce I had ever eaten came from a tin can. It slid out nicely, if you opened the can at both ends. To serve, you sliced it neatly on the plate.

My future mother-in-law cocked her head and looked at me for a moment. Then, without missing a beat, she took a bag of Ocean Spray cranberries off the counter, a bag I had not seen, and handed them to me. In the nicest of ways she said, “we make them this way in Ireland”.

And with that, my future mother-in-law and my future sisters-in-law handed me a pot, a big spoon, the sugar, a weigh scale, and everything else I needed to turn American cranberries into an Irish side dish. Nary a word was said about my misstep. Those warm women took me into their hearts and homes that day. I am forever thankful for their love and gentle guidance through the years and for teaching me to make {from scratch!} this very delicious cranberry sauce. Enjoy!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

340g/12oz fresh cranberries

Directions

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

2. Add the cranberries and bring everything back to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can use the back of a spoon to pop the cranberries if you prefer your cranberry sauce smooth.

3. Remove from the heat and pour the sauce into a bowl, cover and allow to cool completely before putting into the refrigerator.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

* For additional flavour, add a cinnamon stick or slices of fresh ginger to the water and simmer with the cranberries. Remove before serving.

** If you like your cranberry sauce boozy, stir in 1 tablespoon of rum, brandy, or whiskey to the cranberry sauce right after taking it off the hob {stove}.

*** For a citrusy zing, Add the peel of an orange to the water and simmer with the cranberries. Remove the peel before serving.

**** The American cranberry sauce I remember from my childhood from the good folks over at kitchn.com.

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Two jars of overnight oats topped with yogurt and blueberriesOvernight porridge {oatmeal} is a familiar thing in our Irish home. To make, I bring a pot of steel cut oats, covered in water, to the boil and then turn off the heat and leave overnight. In the morning, I add a little extra water to the oats, give them a quick stir and reheat. This recipe couldn’t be simpler to make.

But, as my children have gotten older, it has become harder to get them to eat breakfast before they head off to school. So, our beloved hot porridge oats have gone by the wayside and in their place I’ve started making a different kind of overnight porridge: the no-cook kind.

And, you know what? My kids love it. They can grab and go straight from the fridge at home, saving them pocket money, and they can eat their brekkie when they are hungry…not when I want them to eat. The morning argument of “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is gone and I am thrilled.

A close up of a spoon of overnight oats with two jars filled with overnight oats in the background

This recipe is a win-win for everyone. Once you try it, I know you’re going to like it for your kids too. In fact, make an extra one for yourself…it’s just that good!

 

Overnight Oatmeal

Makes One

Ingredients

40g rolled oats, not steel cut or instant

75ml milk/almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon flax seed and/or chia seeds

a pinch of salt

2-3 tablespoons yogurt

fruit to top

Directions

1. Combine the oats, milk, vanilla, honey, salt and flax and/or chia seeds in a glass container and mix well.

2. Top with yogurt and fruit and put the lid on the container.

3. Refrigerate overnight.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* Overnight oats don’t need to be eaten the next morning: they’re good for about three days after you make them. Just know, however, that the porridge will get soggier the longer you leave it. And, if you are going to leave it a few days, don’t add the yogurt or fruit when you make this recipe…add just before you eat it.

** The beauty of this recipe is it can be changed up pretty much however you like. For example, you can add pumpkin seeds or any other kind of seed you like. You can add other stuff like chopped nuts, shredded coconut, cocoa nibs, or dried fruit. How about a pinch of cinnamon or cardamom or stir in some cocoa powder or matcha powder? You could change up the sweetener and add maple syrup, agave, date sugar, brown sugar, or even white sugar, A small squeeze of lemon juice would add a tang to your oats too. The options are endless.

*** For an easy-to-make, and delicious, recipe for traditional Irish steel cut porridge, please click here.

 

 

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A bowl of homemade sweet potato casserole, topped with granola and maple syrup

With more than twenty years worth of cooking under my apron, I’m always trying something new in the kitchen…but not when it comes to this sweet potato casserole. This incredibly “more-ish” recipe has been handed down three generations, from mother to daughter, and is perfect just the way it is.

What’s more? This recipe is easy to make, much simpler than Irish mashed potatoes, for example, and it freezes well. This really is the ultimate side dish for your holiday meal. Enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 lbs sweet potatoes

60g/4 tablespoons butter

2oz/1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions

1. Scrub the sweet potatoes well.

2. Place them in a large saucepan and add cold water until the potatoes are covered by 1-inch. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until a knife tip or skewer goes into the sweet potatoes easily.

2. Drain the sweet potatoes into a colander and peel immediately with a pairing knife while they are still hot {use a clean tea towel to protect your fingers, if necessary}.

3. While you are peeling the potatoes, put the butter into a saucepan and melt.

4. Place the peeled potatoes into a large bowl and mash. Next, add the brown sugar, cream, cinnamon and butter. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* To freeze, let the sweet potato cool completely, transfer to a freezer bag, remove any excess air, and store until needed.

** If you want to add a little crunch and saltiness to this dish, top it with my homemade granola {sans raisins}. And maybe add a little maple syrup too!

*** Curious to know the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? Here’s the answer from epicurious.com.

 

 

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A large bowl of Irish mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving and Christmas

Today we’re making mashed potatoes in our Irish home. And not just any mash either. We’re making velvety, creamy, delicious mashed potatoes. The kind with just the right amount of butter and milk {or cream} and salt added in. The kind that makes you go back to the table for seconds, even when you’re full.

As well as being a seriously homey comfort food, this Master Recipe, forms the base of other well known Irish potato dishes like Colcannon and Champ. It can also be turned into tasty potato cakes with the addition of some grated cheese, herbs, and rashers {bacon}. When topped with smoked salmon or a poached egg, potato cakes make an ideal brunch or light supper.

This recipe freezes well too. Which means you can double batch it for Thanksgiving and reheat it for Christmas {which is exactly what we’re doing today}. To freeze, let the mashed potato cool completely, transfer to a freezer bag, and store until needed. Easy-peasy. If you prefer individual servings, you can scoop out tea-cup-portions of the cooled mashed potatoes onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer overnight or until the potatoes are completely frozen. Then put the individual servings into a freezer bag and store in the freezer.

To re-heat frozen mashed potatoes, simple chose the method that works best for you: microwave, stove top, oven or slow cooker.

Velvety Irish Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 kilogram/2lbs unpeeled potatoes, preferably Golden Wonders or Kerr’s Pinks in Ireland or Russet or Yukon Gold in America

250ml/8oz/1 cup milk and/or cream {or mix half-and-half}

112g/8 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper

Directions

1. Scrub the potatoes well.

2. Place them in a large saucepan and add cold water until the potatoes are covered by 1-inch. Add a big pinch of salt to the water and bring to the boil over high heat.

3. Boil for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low, pour off about half the water, add a lid to the saucepan, and let the potatoes steam for another 20-30 minutes or until a knife tip or skewer goes into the potatoes easily.

4. Drain the potatoes in a colander and peel immediately with a pairing knife while they are still hot {use a clean tea towel to protect your fingers, if necessary}.

5. While you are peeling the potatoes, put the milk and butter into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.

5. Place the peeled potatoes into a large bowl and mash by hand or use a potato ricer for quicker results.

6. Pour half the hot milk and butter into the potatoes and stir well. Add more milk and butter until you get the smooth potato consistency you prefer. {You may not need all that you have prepared or you might need a little more, depending on how dry the potatoes are}.

7. Season with salt and pepper. Taste. Correct the season as you like and serve.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* You may, of course, peel the potatoes before you boil them, but leaving the skins on during the boiling process gives the mashed potato an lovely flavour.

** Using a potato ricer or food mill will give your mashed potatoes a smoother, creamier, texture than mashing with a potato masher. Darina and Rachel Allen, of Ballymaloe, recommend placing them in an electric food mixer using the paddle attachment to mash them.

*** Never use a blender or food processor to whip your potatoes: you’ll be left with a gluey mess if you do.

**** If you have a composter, throw the peeled potato skins into it to help feed next year’s garden bounty.

 

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