The Daily Spud

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Category: Chefs (page 1 of 10)

Spud Sunday: The Big Boxty

Too much happening and too little time to write about it – that has most definitely been the pattern in Daily Spud land of late. Among other things, your intrepid spud reporter has just spent ten days in Canada, with a great number of stories – potato and otherwise – to be related from there in due course. But first, I bring you some record breaking boxty news…

Gloriously big and gloriously bonkers.

That’s what I thought when news reached my ears last Thursday that plans were afoot in Carrick on Shannon to break the record for the world’s biggest (or rather, heaviest) potato pancake. I’ll admit that I didn’t know such a record officially existed (but, according to the Guinness Book of Records it does, covering all regional variations of potato pancake, of which there are many) and, up to last Friday at least, it had stood at a rather hefty 200kg – which is a lot of pancake in anyone’s book.

The organisers of the Carrick Carnival – and chief among them Chef Sham Hanifa of the charming Cottage Restaurant in Jamestown, Co. Leitrim – decided that they wanted to go several kilos better than that by (as you do) making a supersized batch of boxty, Leitrim’s local take on the potato pancake. Sham, in turn, enlisted the help of Mr. Leitrim Boxty himself, Pádraic Óg Gallagher of Gallagher’s Boxty House, to assist in the construction of a true boxty behemoth.

And so it was that last Friday, I took myself off to the northwest and to a covered area beside the quay in Carrick on Shannon, where potatoes were being peeled, grated, mashed and mixed on a grand scale. This is how the record attempt went down.

The boxty boys

The boxty boys: Paddy Fitzgerald, Pádraic Óg Gallagher & Sham Hamifa

Boxty ingredients

Large quantities of everything required:
140kg potatoes – half grated raw & half cooked & mashed – mixed with 100kg flour, 80l milk, 80l water and 1kg salt. Large quantities of volunteers also required for spud peeling duty.


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Spud Sunday: Feeding The 50,000

The invitation was for lunch with Neven Maguire at the Aviva Stadium.

I pictured myself and a capacity stadium crowd being fed personally by Neven, and it seemed like that might be a stretch – even for one of Ireland’s best loved chefs and quite possibly the nicest man in the Irish food business. As it turns out, the crowd was rather smaller – more like 15 than 50,000 – and (get me!) we were lunching in the intimate surrounds of a corporate box, with the breadth of the Aviva as a backdrop, and Mr. Maguire for company (as my sister later put it, I had gone from nought to Neven, and in only five (blogging) years too; jammy was the other description that sprang to mind, which was exactly how it felt to have homemade jammie dodgers à la Neven round off the meal).

Potatoes at the Aviva

A display of spuds lined the corporate corridors at the Aviva Stadium:
I guess somebody told ’em I was on my way through… (and yes, before you ask, there were spuds – in potato gratin form – on Neven’s menu too)

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Spud Sunday: The Christmas Roastie Rhyme

‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the ‘net,
They googled for roasties, the best they could get.

Which spud to choose, to avoid roastie blunders?
Roosters or Pinks, Maris or Wonders?

Goose fat or dripping? Oil or butter?
Who reigns supreme, in the smoke and the splutter?

And lo, there’s Heston, Jamie and crew,
All armed with advice on just what to do.

Parboil and ruffle, steam ’til they’re dry,
Then into the oven and roast ’em on high.

Serve with the trimmings, the turkey and ham,
Piled onto the plate in a glorious cram.

Feast yourself silly, with roasties galore,
Crispy and Christmas and here once more.

Roast potatoes with garlic

You know it’s Christmas when…

You’ll forgive, I hope, the indulgence in a bit of cheesy seasonal rhyme. It marks this year’s edition of an event that has become almost as predictable as Christmas itself – the Daily Spud roastie post.

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