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Archive for the ‘Irish Food’ Category

The sauce for these mussels is a revelation: full of wonderful flavours and balance, rich and yet light. Don’t be afraid of the amount of whiskey you put in either – it really works.

Irish Whiskey Mussels – to serve 6

  • 2kg mussels
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 stick of celery
  • knob of butter
  • 250g undyed smoked haddock, skin removed and pin-boned
  • 150ml Irish whiskey – we used Green Spot
  • 200ml double cream
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
Wash and debeard the mussels and throw any that won’t close away.

Finely slice the leek and celery (keep the yellow celery leaves for sprinkling over at the end). Put a wide, deep pot on a medium heat and add some olive oil and a knob of butter, along with the leek and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft then flake in the smoked haddock and pour in the whiskey. Set the pan alight and wait until the flames die down – mind your eyebrows.

Add the mussels and double cream. Stir well, put the lid on the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the mussels have all popped open – throw away any that stay closed. Move the mussels to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Bubble the cooking liquor until it thickens. Roughly chop the parsley and add to the pot. Taste the sauce for seasoning and pour it all over the mussels Scatter the celery leaves over and serve with bread or skinny chips.

(Original recipe Highland Mussels by Jamie Oliver from Jamie’s Great Britain, Penguin 2011.)

Wine Suggestion: Pick a nice dry and good quality German Riesling which should give you racy acidity, minerality and Riesling flavours which work well with the mussels and smoked haddock. We had a stunning example from Wagner Stempel – well worth checking out this up and coming producer from the Rheinhessen region (infamously known for Liebfraumilch!). Or you could always have a shot of whiskey!

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We love  champ, and this recipe adds an extra layer of deliciousness. This idea is from Jamie’s latest book and we especially liked the addition of yellow celery leaves at the end.

King of mash: Irish champ

  • 1kg potatoes
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 leek
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 50g butter
  • a small handful of watercress (we omitted this as there was none in the shop)
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • a small handful of yellow celery leaves

Peel the potatoes and bring a large pan of  salted water to the boil. Cut the potatoes into 2.5cm chunks then add to the pan and boil fast for 12-15 minutes, or until completely tender.

Meanwhile, slice the scallions and leeks as finely as you can. Put them in a saucepan with the milk, bay leaf, butter and plenty of seasoning. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about 7-8 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and let them steam dry for a few minutes in the hot pot. Mash the potatoes, adding spoonfuls of the milk as you go. Taste and season. Roughly chop the watercress (if using) and stir through the mash (discard any thick stalks).

Just before serving reheat the mash with a lid on over a gentle heat. Stir in the parsley and celery leaves and serve with more butter if you like.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Great Britain by Jamie Oliver, Penguin, 2011.)

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It’s another Irish Food Bloggers Association Cookalong and this time the theme is Irish. We were tempted to do an Irish stew but thought that was a bit obvious, we thought about beef and Guinness but that’s not all that original either and then to make things more difficult we invited a vegetarian for dinner.  It was then that we thought about using some Irish cheese as the base for a dish and after eating many variations of cheese and pastry all week we came up with this. Irish potatoes, leeks and a west Cork Cheddar all baked up in a pie. Delicious!!

Serves 4-6

  • 650g waxy potatoes
  • 750g leeks
  • 50g butter
  • 200ml creme fraiche
  • 180g Bandon Vale Vintage Cheddar, grated
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 500g puff pastry
  • beaten egg for glazing

Heat the oven to 200C.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices. Boil in plenty of salted water until tender (it’s ok if they go a bit mushy).

Meanwhile, throw away the very green bit of the leeks and slice the rest into rings. Wash really well in cold water to get rid of any grit.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the leeks. Cover and cook over low-medium heat until tender – about 20 minutes.

Mix the  leeks, potatoes, creme fraiche and cheddar and season well with salt, pepper and a little bit of nutmeg.

Roll the pastry into two rectangles (about the size of your baking sheet).

Pile the potato mixture into the middle  of one sheet and leave a good rim around the edge. Brush the edges with beaten egg and lay second piece of pastry over the top and press the edges down, pinching firmly to seal. Trim off any excess.

Brush all over with the egg and cut 3 or 4 slits along the width of the top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater Tender Vol 1 – A tart of leeks and cheese)

Wine suggestion: A full-bodied white was nice with this. We had a Santenay Blanc followed by an oaked Semillon from the Clare Valley.

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