...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Family Matters

It’s like busses, there are no competitions on the blog for ages and then two come together. I’ve been busy contacting the winners of the Taste of Dublin competition this week, but if you missed out (or even if you didn’t), I have something even better for you today…

It’s not that my Da will object to a drop of red wine if offered but, truth be told, it wouldn’t be his first choice of beverage. And he certainly wouldn’t be doing any sniffing or swirling of the wine before taking a generous swallow and pronouncing whether he thought it a nice drop or not. Still, we each enjoy our tipples in our own way and, if I were to be completely honest, part of the reason for bringing bottles of red when I visit home is that I get to enjoy them too.

As far as food goes, my Da is a plain eater and has gotten pickier in his old age – spuds and chops, brown bread and cheddar cheese, apple crumble and apple stewed – these are mainstays of his diet. That and his own peculiar take on breakfast. There is, therefore, little point in me bringing fancy foods home to mark Father’s Day, or any other day, for that matter.

You, on the other hand, might like to do just that and, if so, read on.

To mark Father’s Day, which is coming up on June 19th, the distributors of Wyndham Estate are providing me with a hamper of fine food and wine for a (very) lucky spud reader.

If you’re curious as to why Wyndham Estate are keen to mark this particular occasion, their founder George Wyndham, who planted Australia’s first commercial shiraz vineyard in 1830, is regarded as the father of Australian shiraz, which seems like a good enough reason to me.

As to the hamper, it contains oils, vinegars, chocolates, preserves and more – to the value of €500 (now there’s fancy for ya) – and (naturally enough) it includes some of Wyndham Estate’s flagship wine, their Bin 555 Shiraz.

To enter, just leave a comment below. It’s open to anyone with an address in the Republic of Ireland, though you do need to be over 18, what with the wine and all. You’ll also have to promise to drink it responsibly and to share it with your Da if you’re still lucky enough to have him around. I’ll leave this open until midday GMT on Wednesday 15th and then pick a winner from the proverbial hat.

Update: And the hamper goes to… Yvette Harte, who, no doubt, will be enjoying some fine eats and drinks for some time to come. Congratulations to her!

Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Red

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Ginger-not-so-snaps

One of the things that my Da did unfailingly when I was a child was to sample and praise every baked good that I ever made, both the good and the bad, as well as the jaw-breakingly awful. I had an obsession with ginger, so he gamely ate the gingerbread, ginger cake and ginger biscuits that I would produce with regularity.

Ginger is still one of my most favourite ingredients, though I probably use it more often in savoury dishes now than sweet. In honour of my sweet-toothed Da, however, I thought I would revisit old ground and make ginger biscuits, ones which should not, I hope, cause him to break any of his false teeth.

Ginger lemon biscuits

I adapted this recipe from one for cracked-surface crunchy gingersnaps which Shirley Corriher includes in her mighty book of baking know-how, Bakewise. I’ve replaced the molasses with honey and changed the spicing to add lemon and cayenne to the ginger. They spread quite a bit during baking and, for me, turned out much more ginger chew that ginger snap, though adding honey, among other things, can have that effect.

If your dough seems very moist and ends up spreading more than you’d like, try adding a little extra flour to the mix next time. Individual flours vary in the amount of protein they contain and hence in the amount of liquid they can absorb, so you may need to tweak this according to the flour you use.

You’ll need:

  • 350g granulated sugar plus extra for coating
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 3 tblsp honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 3.5 tsp gnd ginger
  • 0.25 tsp cayenne pepper
  • grated zest of 2 small or one large lemon

You’ll also need:

  • One or two large baking sheets (around 30cm x 40cm) and, if you have it, some baking parchment to line them.

The Steps:

  • Beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy, using a stand mixer, food processor or by hand.
  • Add the honey and beat to blend in well, then add the egg and beat to just blend in.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cayenne and lemon zest. Add this to the sugar and butter mixture and mix until it just comes together as a dough. Cover and chill the dough for at least an hour or (even better) overnight.
  • When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180C and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place about 3 tblsp of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Scoop tablespoonfuls of the dough, roll into approx. 3cm balls and then roll each ball in the sugar. Place on the baking sheet about 5cm apart. You’ll need about half of the dough to fill one large baking sheet, so either use two baking sheets or (preferably) bake in two batches.
  • Bake until lightly golden and the edges are beginning to darken, about 10 minutes, but do check them earlier.
  • Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. If re-using the baking sheet for the second batch, cool it off under cold water before re-lining with parchment paper and filling the tin for round two.
  • Enjoy these for the sweet treats that they are or perhaps use them as part of a dessert, along with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit.

The Variations:

  • There are lots of possible variations, but one that particularly appeals to me is replacing the lemon zest with orange zest and perhaps adding a few finely chopped hazelnuts to the mix

The Results:

  • Makes about 40 gingery biscuits.

50 Comments

  1. Kristin

    My dad is thousands of miles away across the Atlantic ocean, so if I won the hamper I’d hand it over to my husband, the best dad our two little kids could ask for.

  2. David

    My Dad lives abroad now, he is currently on home leave but will actually be travelling back abroad on Fathers’ Day unfortunately. I would love to be able to give him this for Fathers’ Day so that he could bring some stuff with him to remind him of home, as it will be months until he is back again.

  3. Murray

    I’m lucky enough to both be a dad, and have a dad. Between us I think we could take care of the hamper! Thanks, M.s

  4. Nicola Santry

    My dad would love this :D

  5. Móna Wise

    My Dad died several years ago (leukaemia) so I would share this with my Mum and of course my husband who is a kick ass Dad to our little crumb catchers…nice loot!

  6. Conor

    I’d love to give this to my Dad as a reward for his attempts at DIY over the years. He’s normally consistent, but a loss of concentration meant he knocked a tooth out with a crowbar recently!

  7. Deano Murray

    My dad loves an old drop of wine. He’d be only delighted to win this. Plus it would save a broke student the hardship of begging to buy his dad a gift.

  8. SJ

    This would be perfect for my Daddy! Fingers crossed …

  9. Daragh Cassells

    Like my Dad says when he’s offered something nice to eat/ drink…’Aw, are you serious?’*takes the something nice*..Thanks,D

  10. Michelle

    If I won I would of course toast my Da. He loved red wine – Spanish in particular – but he wouldn’t object to a glass of Oz being raised!

  11. Julian

    Off to see the old paternal at the end of the month, as it happens. The hamper would make the poshest hold baggage I’ve ever flown with.

  12. Clare - An American in Ireland

    My dad is quite far away but he loves him some red vino *and* ginger biscuits! I think the two would actually pair quite nicely together…

    Love the look of these biscuits, they look crispy and light compared to the heavier ginger snap cookies from the US. Will have to give them a go!

  13. Katie

    Please count me in – my father never objects to wine, especially if the colour is red, the label is black and the percentage is 14%!

  14. Margaret

    Recipe looks absolutely delish!!

  15. Una

    I’d share this with my Ma (she loves her red wine), she looked after my Da so well for so many years!x

  16. Fiona

    This year’s father’s day is the first without my dad. In our family we never made a huge fuss over birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day etc, but last year, on a whim, I gave dad a father’s day card. He looked at it with a raised brow and sniffed, dismissively “you never gave me one of those before!”. Sadly I’ll never get to give him one again – but I will definitely raise a glass to him :)

  17. Loretta McCawley

    What a fantastic gift for a lucky Dad! I know my lovely Dad would thoroughly enjoy every drop & bite in the hamper!!!

  18. Dara Gallagher

    Sadly my father has no further use for wine. But I would look forward to sharing the 555 with the Chef brother!
    I hope that I should be so lucky. Might make up for missing Oxford Symposium this year.

  19. Orla Doyle

    mmm… must try making the gingersnaps with the boys, then if we don’t win the hamper they can give their Dad & Grandads some biccies to sample instead ;-) thanks!

  20. Gerry Brett

    My Dad is no longer with us but I would love to win this for my own family.

  21. Lori

    Unfortunately I can’t win (although, I’d love an address in Ireland), but I have to tell you those cookies are wonderful! I’ll be making them this weekend. An excellent summer cookie.

  22. Nancy Toner

    my Dad is also across the atlantic, so would have to share with the Da of my kids, and he would greatly appreciate it! My Da, like yours, is a very simple eater, but he wanted it done well and would not hesitate to tell me if it wasn’t done just so!

  23. Eimear

    My dad is not a red wine drinker but he does like his fancy foods!!!

  24. Aline

    Great prize. Would love to win it for my dad

  25. Ange

    I’ll throw my hat in for a shot at the hamper goodies.
    Very touched by all the foregone comments. All deserving.

  26. Irene

    Wish I had a Dad to send it to… Husband is a very good Dad but I suppose that does not count !! Good luck to all.

  27. Daily Spud

    Irene – of course that counts!! Good luck to you, ‘cos you’re in the draw and good luck to everyone else – keep ’em coming folks!

  28. Mark

    I promise to give that hamper a good home !

  29. Joan Shields

    I also remember my childhood forays into baking and my Dad’s patience as I reduced the kitchen to what resembled a flour bombsite! (of course to coincide perfectly with neighbours calling) The older I become the more I appreciate how great he and my Mum are – would love the opportunity to share this fabulous hamper with them:)

  30. Finn Gallagher

    My Dad is the best chef in the world and this will be the first Fathers Day he’s ever been at home for. so he should get it. finn aged 7

  31. Caitriona R

    I think after the disaster of a Birthday present that I got him he deserves a treat. I bought him a top for golfing in which turned out to be like a tent. Whoops.

  32. Pauline Cummins

    Sadly my own dad is no longer with us, but my hubby Steve would really love to win the hamper to help him celebrate Father’s Day! And our son and I would love to help share the contents!!

  33. Daily Spud

    Loving all the stories and reminiscences folks and, as for Finn, I never knew my readers were so young :D (though, for the purposes of the competition & the wine, I’ll assume that Finn’s Dad is well over 18!)

  34. Margaret@Oldfarm

    My childhood memories are of my Dad cooking on a Saturday… using every pot/utensil in the kitchen… and then getting us kids to do the wash-up! Isn’t that what kids are for??? But he is still rather partial to red wine!

  35. Kavey

    Can I move in with you? Then I could enter!

  36. Yvette

    Indeed the daddy was most fond of a glass of Spanish red and should I be fortunate enough to win, Joe( the other best daddy in the world) and I would happily raise a glass to him! We may share the spoils with lucky visitors.. Love the tale of your dad’s brekkies; can’t match it but we spent many hypnotic minutes watching him stir his black tea each morning until it was cool enough to drink!

  37. Daily Spud

    Margaret: my Da’s weekend cooking speciality was stew and we always got to do the washing up :)

    Kavey: of course you may, but you might want to double check with Pete first :D

    Yvette: I’d happily raise a glass to your Da myself!

  38. Marie O malley

    my Dad is not very well so it would be great to win a prize

  39. triona

    Can you curl up the snaps when they come out of the oven?

  40. Daily Spud

    Hi Triona, you could try curling the not-so-snaps when they come out of the oven, but I don’t think the dough here is quite right for them to properly hold that shape.

  41. Michelle

    What a fantastic give away! I am going to give these cookies a whirl! I think they look delish!

  42. Deirdre

    My dad is a teetotaller but my husband’s father would love to share a bottle of wine with his son!

  43. Ken McGuire

    I’d certainly share it with my father but truth be told I’d possibly use it as a bargaining chip to get the family boxty recipe out of him. Still haven’t got it, engrained in his Sligo roots and needs to be ported to Kilkenny :)

  44. Daily Spud

    Well, Ken, if there’s a boxty recipe at stake, that puts a whole new spin on things… :D

  45. Sheila Kiely

    ..my Dad just said yes to a Sicilian who has asked for my sister’s hand in marriage so I think he could do with a sit down and a glass of something red :)

  46. Rufus

    “DS’s blog posts have no effect on me at all” I said to myself as I picked up a bottle of Bin 555 Shiraz over the weekend … (blush) … throw my name in the hat and I’ll raise a glass to my Dad on Sunday one way or the other with some red wine. Ta

  47. Daily Spud

    No effect at all, eh, Rufus? Now confess, how many times have you made that lemongrass & lime coconut thingy? :)

  48. TheGlutton

    Wow! Fabulous competition. My dad is very partial to a drop of wine and very partial to visiting us here on the the west coast so I would love to share this with him and with my son’s dad too :) Good luck everyone.

  49. Rachael K

    What with busy lives and Dad often working abroad, we don’t see each other half as much as we would like to. When we do get together though, we have a little ritual; My Dad opens a bottle of good red, decants two over-filled glasses, peels back the lid of a box of ‘green’ Pringles and settles in with his eldest for a good chat on the news, politics or even just a great book we found. A silly little habit, but a very precious one nevertheless.

  50. JoannaSchaff

    My dad is currently helping us buy our first (and probably last) house. I’ve been looking around for something special for him for Father’s Day as a thank you, and this could be it! He is a big wine nerd and I know for a fact he likes the Bin 555 stuff.

    So I will comment and cross my fingers for a win!

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