The Daily Spud

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Category: Competitions (page 1 of 3)

Spud Sunday: Get Growing

For those attentive souls who have noticed some longer than usual absences in Spud Sunday reporting of late, let me just say that housing – and, to be specific, the buying, the moving and the shortly-to-commence renovating of a new Daily Spud abode – is playing havoc with my attention to all things tuber.

Still, with the approach of spud planting season, there are a few items worthy of some attention:

Firstly – and following my brief appearance on RTÉ’s recently aired episode of Gliondar, which followed the fortunes of participants in West Kerry’s Spud-Off Mór – it came to my attention that the event in question is not, in fact, the only Spud-Off in town.

great british spud off 2014

I was contacted last week by Nick Moyle, one of the gents behind Two Thirsty Gardeners – a UK-based gardening and home brewing website – about none other than their Great British Spud Off (which I shall hereafter call the GBSO, just because I can).

Theirs is a different take on going spud-to-spud. Whereas the Spud-Off Mór was about comparing spuds on the basis of taste and texture, the GBSO rates the size of your yield from a single spud. To be more specific, take one container of your choice, one seed potato – of a variety of your choosing – and add whatever soil or compost you prefer. The winner will be the person who produces the heaviest haul and will bask in the glory of being the 2014 Spud Off champ. Simple as that.

Now, despite what the ‘Great British’ tag might lead you to believe, Nick and Rich – the aforementioned two thirsty gardeners – would love to see Spud Off entries from Ireland (or from any other country in the world, for that matter). Enough outside interest and you never know, they might have to rethink the name of the competition. Suffice to say that if you fancy a bit of a spud growing challenge – and a bit of fun – you should check out the details over here.

Potato Day Sign

As if that weren’t enough to get you thinking about getting your spuds into the ground and on their way, the annual potato pilgrimage to Leitrim fast approaches.

This coming Saturday, March 15th, from 11am-5pm, sees this year’s edition of Potato Day at the Organic Centre in Rossinver. It’s an event that’s been on the go since 1996 (and, as such, lays claim to being Ireland’s longest running Potato Day). It will also, on Saturday, be five years to the day since I first adventured up to Potato Day, with nary a backward glance since. I will, of course, make the trip again this year. I could hardly not.

Amongst the other spud heads in attendance will be guest speaker Dr. David Shaw from the Sárvári Research Trust in Wales – expert on all things blight – along with the usual lazy bed demonstrations and seeds aplenty to buy (new amongst the potato varieties on sale will be two blight busters from the Sárvári Research Trust – early main crop Bionica and late main crop Sarpo Axona – as well as Golden Wonder (my tops for roasties) and red-skinned – as opposed to red-nosed – Rudolph). The menu at the Grass Roof Café promises to run the gamut from boxty to bhaji. I’m getting hungry already.

Spud Sunday: Young O’Donnell Had A Farm…

…and on that farm he grew some spuds, e-i-e-i-o.

More to the point, though, is what young Ed O’Donnell did with those potatoes. With a crunch, crunch here and a crunch, crunch there, he made crisps – and some really rather fine kettle-cooked crisps at that – a fact which I have verified by means of some, eh, selfless personal testing.

Fuelled by no small amount of determination – and featuring crisps flavoured using locally sourced ingredients, like Mt. Callan cheddar from Co. Clare and cider vinegar from Con Traas’ nearby apple farm in Co. Tipperary – O’Donnells Crisps have, since their launch in 2010, achieved an impressive level of distribution here in Ireland. You’ll find them, among other places, in SuperValu, Centra, Londis, Dunnes Stores, Superquinn and Tesco and also in Selfridges in the UK – so it’s here a crunch, there a crunch, and, really, everywhere a crunch, crunch for O’Donnells these days.

O'Donnells crisps and santa hat

And now for the best part...

The other place where you might find the crunch of an O’Donnells crisp this Christmas is in a box, delivered to your door. I have 5 such boxes to give away, and I will be resisting the temptation to eat them myself, so that I can, instead, bestow them, Santa-like, upon 5 lucky Daily Spud readers. Each will contain 20 packets of O’Donnells crisps in the readers’ flavour of choice – either mature Irish cheese and red onion, Irish cider vinegar and sea salt, or their more recently added sweet chilli flavour. Full details below.

Getting straight to the crunch:

If you fancy getting your Christmas mitts on a box of O’Donnells crunchiness, leave a comment below and let me know, flavourwise, whether you’re a cheese ‘n’ onion, salt ‘n’ vinegar or sweet chilli type of eater (or simply whether you’re salty, sweet or cheesy). Feel free, also, to speculate about the two new flavours that O’Donnells are bringing out in the new year – so secret that even I don’t know what they are yet.

I’ll pick 5 winners, and each will receive their Christmas crisp fix in the form of a box containing 20 packets of O’Donnells crisps in their chosen flavour. In a bit of good news for those living across the water, O’Donnells will deliver the prizes, not just to addresses in Ireland (either North or South), but to addresses in the U.K. as well.

I’ll leave this open until midnight GMT next Sunday, December 9th, and notify the winners of their incoming bounty of crisps thereafter.

Update 15/12/12: and so the winners have been chosen and O’Donnells crisps are winging their way to Keith Bohanna, Sara Wilson, Gareth Saunders, Imelda Kinsella and Lauren Bicocchi. Congratulations all and happy Christmas munching!

Spud Sunday: Crisps A Go-Go

Hard to believe, but I have been taken to task in certain quarters for having included on these pages a recipe for so simple a thing as the crisp sandwich. Yes, in these days where tv chefs and cookbook authors are falling over themselves to produce ever easier and ever simpler recipes, this might have been construed as a simplification too far.

My point, of course, was not to teach anybody how to make a crisp sambo per se, but to acknowledge the fact that it sits proudly in the pantheon of spud classics, as much as any buttery mash or creamy gratin. And the same, it has to be said, goes for its close cousin, the crisp toastie.

Crisp toastie

This week's crisp toastie

This particular toastie featured some of the new Keogh’s crisps that I sampled last week. What better place for a handful of the salt and vinegar variety than smushed between two slices of toasted batch bread, with some mature cheddar, tomatoes, spring onions and mayonnaise for company. It was a little piece of midweek lunch perfection.

Figuring that you might fancy making some toasties of your own, Keogh’s have offered to send one lucky Spud reader a sample of their new range, which includes Dubliner Cheese and Onion, Atlantic Sea Salt and Irish Cider Vinegar and Roast Beef and Irish Stout flavours. The rest of the toastie is, naturally, up to you.

To be in with a shout for the Keogh’s crisps, just leave a comment below.

Anyone with an address in the Republic of Ireland can enter and I’ll leave this open until midday GMT on Monday December 12th, after which I’ll pick a winner from the crisp bag.

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