Sometimes it takes a foreigner to capture the truth about a nation:
Ireland … isn’t exactly the sexiest country in the world … constant gray skies, cool temperatures and an obsession with one of nature’s homeliest vegetables….
Ouch. Harsh but true.
By tradition, we, like our food, are more hearty and plain than delicate and fancy. We are bacon and cabbage and boiled potatoes. We are soda bread, apple tart and the ubiquitous cup of tea. We are the food that you go to your Mammy’s house for. But when we eat out, we generally look to foreign cuisines for something a little outside of our Irish selves.
Perhaps, to my shame, that’s the reason why, in all my years of living in Dublin, I had managed, until now, to avoid darkening the door of Gallagher’s Boxty House. With its traditional Irish menu and diddly-eye music, it sat firmly in my “just for tourists” category.
Gallagher's Boxty House, Temple Bar
Places everybody. Parade coming through. A veritable feast of food and drink inspired by that most Irish of holidays, St. Patrick’s Day, is coming your way.
Yes, you’ll find a heap of soda bread amongst the parade participants and, yes, you’ll also see a distinct fondness for the combination of beef and Guinness (in fact, Guinness plus just about anything), but there are a few less-than-traditional surprises in there too – coconut faux-tatoes anybody?
Click on the links below to jump straight to your favourite parade floats or just browse the lot while sipping a cup of tea or perhaps a pint of the black stuff, given the day that’s in it. The running order includes:
– A Drinks float to kick things off.
– A jam-packed Soda Bread float.
– Potatoes, who, naturally, get a float all to themselves.
– A float with Starters and Side Dishes, mainly featuring the use of green vegetables.
– There’s a dedicated Beef and Guinness float.
– Quickly followed by a float which hosts plenty of non-beefy ideas for The Main Course.
– There is, of course, a float chock-a-block with Sweet Stuff for afters.
– And we round things off with a Cheese float.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated. As is a Spud’s wont, I have been humbled by the response. Now, if you’re sitting comfortably, let the parade begin!
(image from sweetlifebake.com)
My non-stick pan, it transpires, is really nothing of the sort.
This I discovered today, when I used it to make a colcannon-inspired potato cake, fashioned from julienned potatoes and filled with a mix of cabbage and onion. The cake should have had a really rather appealing pattern of golden potato sticks top and bottom. Instead, having resolutely stuck to the not-so-non-stick pan, the result looked like mush. Very tasty mush, I might add, but mush nonetheless. Hmph.
I actually considered not posting about it. In the hotdog-eat-hotdog world of food porn, this dish didn’t exactly have those porn star good looks. But, as I surveyed the dinner plates that had all but been licked clean, I knew that what it lacked in the looks department, it more than made up for in the I-could-eat-a-mountain-of-this stakes. I mean, this was colcannon with crispy bits. I managed to dress what remained of the mush up for the cameras and got on with it.