Month: March 2015

My Favourite St Patrick's Day Recipes

Top of the MORNING to ya! I love St Patrick’s Day, me, and not just because of my Irish mother and her large and characterful Irish family, but because it’s also my BIRTHDAY. And how wonderful it is to walk into the pub on my birthday and be greeted with an Irish band singing Chieftains covers, a loud bunch of extremely happy people throwing their heads back and roaring along, and pints and pints of the black stuff. Imagine my JOY at legitimately being allowed to have boxties (leftover-mash-pancakes) for breakfast on my birthday. And Irish coffee at all...

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Ham, Pea & Mint Casserole, 30p.

This delicious ham casserole is adapted from a favourite old recipe of mine – where I would boil the ham joint whole to make a stock, before shredding it into the casserole. This faster version is no compromise, making a delicious hearty dinner in less than half the time. For an extra special twist, serve with crusty bread topped with melted cheese and green vegetables. Serves 4-6 depending on age and appetites, at 30p each 500g cooking bacon, 85p (or ham joint or streaky bacon) 2 small onions or 1 whopping one (about 250g all in), 15p 1 tablespoon...

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Cabbage griddle scones, 13p

Griddle scones can be a simple weekend breakfast to make those lazy weekend mornings feel special and luxurious. Although these are extraordinarily easy to make, when I taste the sweet crunch of fried greens with melted butter or see a mixing bowl and spoon in the washing-up pile I feel like I’ve achieved something, even if it’s almost midday. I like to eat my griddle scones warm straight from the pan with butter, natural yoghurt or a squeeze of lemon juice. To make a sweet version, simply substitute a handful of sultanas or other dried fruits for the cabbage...

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Colcannon, 25p

Colcannon is a traditional Irish recipe made with kale, spring greens or cabbage – depending on what you have available. (I generally have kale kicking about, for those controversial kale pestos and the occasional grimacing penitence of a green juice on ‘the mornings after the nights before…’) Colcannon was a staple of my childhood but my mother, born and raised in Belfast, simply called it ‘champ’ – readers have been in touch in droves to explain the differences between the two, and Mum’s seemed to be a hybrid depending on what we had in the veg drawer. We used to eat it with a pile of sausages and gravy, and fought over seconds. Serve with sausages, chicken or eat as it is straight from the pot. The quantities are easily doubled, for larger families or appetites. Serves 2 as a side dish at 25p each 350g white potatoes (fresh or tinned – I use tinned as they’re FAR cheaper, AND already cooked), 20p a handful of kale (30g), 15p ½ an onion (100g), 6p a generous knob of butter (25g), or more to taste, 9p If using fresh potatoes, wash and dice them. If using tinned potatoes, drain and leave them whole. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, pop the potatoes in and simmer until super-tender – 20 minutes for fresh potatoes, 5 minutes for tinned ones....

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Double Chocolate Guinness Birthday Brownies, 15p

Firstly, for the budget-conscious among you raising eyebrows at the use of a bottle of the authentic black stuff in a batch of brownies, fear not, for this recipe makes 24 of the little tinkers, and uses a little over half a can at that, so you could stretch to 40ish from a single can if you’ve a crowd to feed. If that doesn’t satisfy you, well, most supermarkets sell an own brand value range can of bitter at around £1 for 4x440ml cans, indeed, I recommend it for my sausage casserole recipe and a few others besides. But,...

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