That’s where I was supposed to be today.
Wining, dining and (as it happens) celebrating my birthday.
However, next door in Chile, which was also on the list of places to visit, they have serious earthquake-type things to contend with, so it really was for the best that I steer clear of the region.
Rather than coming over all blue – tempting though that was – I thought that I would, instead, apply the colour green to the situation. St. Patrick’s Day will be upon us very soon and I fully expect the blogosphere to take on an increasingly pronounced Irish accent in the next couple of weeks. So, if you’re food blogging something with Paddy’s Day in mind, why not join me for a little Paddy’s Day Food Parade on the 17th.
To join in, send an email to paddysday [at] thedailyspud [dot] com including:
- Your name
- Your blog name
- A link to your blog post
- A title for your dish or drink (and, boy, do we do like to drink)
- A picture of same (preferably 500 pixels wide, 72 dpi)
- Anything else you’d like to tell me about it
- Include a link back to this post and use the logo above if you like
I’ll accept submissions up until midday (GMT) on March 16th and post the roundup on March 17th. I’m kicking things off with some potatoes (of course) but don’t feel limited by that. Any food or drink that you feel appropriate to what is our Irish national holiday is welcome.
In the meantime (and as evidenced by the extreme emptiness of the bottles in the picture above), you are likely to find me drinking Chilean wine (mostly especially the beautiful reserva carmenère from Carmen). Goodness knows their economy will need all the help it can get.
Not only is champ a classic Irish potato dish, it also, colourwise, just looks downright patriotic – so it seems like just the thing for Paddy’s Day.
A simple milky potato mash mixed with spring onions and topped with melted butter, the recipe here pretty much reflects the formula for champ as included in Monica Sheridan’s wonderful book The Art of Irish Cooking – my secondhand copy of which was originally published in 1965. For those who have never heard of her, Monica Sheridan was our original TV chef and a wonderful writer to boot – the book is a classic.
Interestingly, she titles the recipe “Champ (for children)“, though I think adults are just as entitled to enjoy this. And because I think that champ love should be shared as widely as possible, I’m sending this over to Joanne of Eats Well With Others for what I’m sure will be a mouth-watering Irish edition of Regional Recipes.
- 800g potatoes (4 medium specimens), preferably a floury variety
- 300ml milk
- 6 spring onions, white and green parts finely sliced
- 1 tsp fine salt or to taste, plus more for boiling the potatoes
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Butter to serve
You’ll also need:
- As always when it comes to mash, a potato ricer is the tool of choice, but it’s not mash-threatening if you don’t have one.
- Peel your potatoes and cut into roughly even-sized slices, around 1-2cm thick. Rinse them under cold water.
- Bring about 1.5l of water to the boil in a saucepan, add about 2 tsp salt and the potato slices. Bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, for around 15-20 minutes or until just fork-tender.
- When the potatoes are done, drain well and return them to the saucepan. Then either let them sit, covered by a tea-towel, for about 5 minutes or place the pan over a low heat and stir the potatoes gently for a minute or so while they dry out.
- Put the cooked and still warm potatoes through a potato ricer if you have one, or mash with a potato masher or, if all else fails, a fork.
- Pour some boiling water over the sliced spring onions to scald them (and preserve their bright green colour) and drain well.
- Add the spring onions to the milk and bring to the boil in a small heavy saucepan. Then remove from the heat and mix into the potatoes, giving a mash with a fairly loose consistency. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
- While still hot, place a mound of mash on a soup plate, make a little crater in the top, drop in a teaspoon or so of butter – more if you like – then scoop up some mash, dip into the melting butter and enjoy.
- It’s a fairly basic mash, so of course you could add mustard, parsley, bits of bacon or whatever else takes your fancy. It is just rather lovely as it is, though.
- This amount should serve 4 to 6 people of either the child or adult variety.