The ladies at Improper Butter – Elaine Lavery and Hannah O’Reilly – are on to something. Simple idea (small packs of brightly flavoured compound butters which can snazz up anything from a sandwich to a steak), clever name (for those familiar with the Irish language – ‘im’ means butter) and snappy tagline (‘Butter. But better.’)
Normally, at around this time of year – and in a post that has become almost as predictable as Christmas itself – you’d find me waxing lyrical about the fine art of roasties.
I’ve had a lot to say on the subject over the past few years: there’s my comprehensive 12-step roastie program, my deliberations on the best choice of potato for your Christmas roasties (that, in my opinion, being Golden Wonder and, according to an article in this week’s Irish Examiner, I am not alone in this choice). I have also examined the (not entirely advisable) practice of freezing partially prepared potatoes ahead of time and, last year, found myself and my roasties featured in the Irish Farmers’ Journal Country Living magazine, not to mention being interviewed on the topic by an online Christmas radio station.
Can there really be anything more to say? Not much, perhaps, though I did note an addition to the Christmas roastie scene this year, with Keogh’s, ever the spud innovators, bringing out their Rudolf’s Roasting Potatoes. There’s no magic roastie trick here, just some attractive and clever packaging, with recipe included, of a couple of kilos of Rooster potatoes. They will indeed make for perfectly acceptable roasties, as will any Roosters you care to buy.
In other news, and for those of you who may have been perusing today’s Irish edition of the Sunday Times, it was cheese, rather than roasties, that were my concern (though, come to think of it, there’s no reason why those two things cannot come together…). An article I wrote on the impressive breadth and quality of Irish farmhouse cheese made the front cover of the ‘Sunday’ section – woo! – featuring a picture of the legendary Veronica and Norman Steele, creators of Milleens cheese, the original of the Irish farmhouse cheese species. Due to an unfortunate sub-editing error – boo! – my name, however, did not appear as the article’s author. That, I’m afraid, is the black-and-white of life in the printed world.
As the content for the article lives somewhat inconveniently behind a paywall, I can’t even direct you to a readily accessible online copy. For those interested in Christmas cheeses, however, do check out this extensive guest post by Glynn Anderson, one of the authors of Farmhouse Cheeses of Ireland (and which, for the digitally inclined, is now available for the Kindle), wherein he has plenty of timely advice on putting together a festive Irish cheeseboard. Between that and the roasties, I reckon your Christmas is well sorted. I know mine is.
There I was, proud as punch, admiring my first batch of feta cheese.
Until I remembered that technically I’m not allowed to call it feta.
Not according to the European Union at any rate.