The Daily Spud

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Tag: Padraic Og Gallagher (page 1 of 2)

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: Spuds On High

Potatoes on the roof

Spuds on the skyline: the view from Dublin’s new city centre rooftop potato patch

It makes for a very different kind of water cooler conversation.

Rows of former water cooler canisters, stacked in pairs, have been re-purposed as potato planters, the lower canisters acting as individual water reservoirs for the ones above, each of which houses a different variety of potato plant. There are 160 varieties in all – sourced from Dave Langford’s heritage potato collection – and which now peep, to varying degrees, above their funky plastic parapets. Stand around these water-vessels-turned-potato-pots for any length of time, especially with Andrew Douglas in the vicinity, and your conversation is likely to be punctuated with words like recycling, upcycling, community, education, employment and urban renewal.

Mona Lisa Potatoes

Spuds to make you smile: Mona Lisa potatoes in their Dublin rooftop home

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Spud Sunday: Boxty On The Menu

My cup, or should I say, my dinner plate, runneth over.

I had the pleasure, yesterday, of enjoying my second all-potato menu in as many weeks (and yes, I know what you’re thinking – some gals just have all the luck).

The occasion was a cookery demonstration given by Pádraic Óg Gallagher at Gallagher’s Boxty House as part of this weekend’s Temple Bar Trad Fest, and the subject, naturally enough, was boxty, the traditional potato speciality that gives the restaurant its name. And Pádraic, who has run The Boxty House for some 23 years, knows more than most about boxty. His making of boiled, baked and pan versions of same (which have featured on these pages before) was accompanied by a potted history of the spud in Ireland and elsewhere. For the lunch which followed the demo, you could, if you so desired, indulge in boxty for starter, main course and dessert (and for those who persist in thinking that you shouldn’t put potato and dessert in the same sentence, let alone on the same plate, all I can say is don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it).

Boxty House Menu

Boxty on the menu - it's almost as versatile as the spud itself

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