It started simply thus: I had cauliflower in my fridge and potatoes on my mind.
My ponderings on what to make using said combination lead me first in the direction of this yellow, coconut-milky curry which, in turn, drew me to an old Thai-style favourite. The ever-present desire – nay, duty – to mix things up, potato-wise, took those thoughts and translated them into a bake, layered with potatoes and cauliflower and a coconut-milky sauce. And it was good, maybe very good, even. But my tastebuds told me that, while the cauliflower was fine, some aubergine would be even better. I, naturally, took my tastebuds’ advice.
Potato and Aubergine Bake
So here it is then, the net result of my potatoey thought processes – not a cauliflower to be seen but, nonetheless, with cauliflower to thank for the initial inspiration.
'Nuff said, just head right this way
Yes indeed, another year has brought with it another Bloom in the Park.
I do think that Bord Bia‘s five-day long festival of gardens and food in the Phoenix Park just keeps getting better and better, though, granted, I might be marginally biased by the fact that this year’s event included a dedicated potato cookery stand (it being a well-established fact that, to make anything better, you just need to add spuds). Ray Moran from Harry’s Bar & Restaurant in Inishowen was on hand to demo a range of potato recipes – including fish cakes, potatoes with pesto and a potato, chorizo and butternut squash ‘risotto’ – all of which can be found in a booklet brought out by Bord Bia and Potato.ie as part of their grand plan to get spuds back onto the Irish dinner agenda (you can download the booklet here).
Ray Moran gets to grips with some spuds at Bloom
Darina Allen's volume on Irish Traditional Cooking
“Writing it has been a labour of salvage as well as one of love.”
So writes Darina Allen in her introduction to Irish Traditional Cooking. First published nearly 20 years ago, the blurb on the front cover tells you that this newly released edition includes over 100 new recipes, which is all well and good, except for the fact that, when they say new, I really rather think they mean old. For this book is all about old Irish recipes and ways with Irish food that, to a greater or lesser extent, had fallen into neglect in recent decades, as traditional cooking and true home economy had given way, first, to the lure of new-fangled shop-bought bread and later, to the convenience of a growing number of packaged and processed foods. We are learning to appreciate some of these traditional food ways again, however – “even as half the country is living on pre-cooked foods from garage foodcourts, there is a deep craving among growing numbers of people for forgotten flavours and fresh local foods,” says Darina – so a re-publication of this volume is timely.