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March 2001 Issue
Potatoes and Breads
by Victoria Smith
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Irish Potato Cakes

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 6 oz. white flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes -- fresh, with milk
Cut butter into flour until it forms large granules. Add salt and baking powder, mix well. Mix in potatoes. Knead for a few minutes. Roll out onto lightly floured board with floured rolling pin. Cut into 2 rounds. Cook on a dry griddle or skillet until brown on both sides.
  • Yields: 2 cakes
  • Preparation Time: less than an hour


Irish Shortbread

  • 8 oz. butter
  • 4 oz. caster sugar
  • 8 oz. flour
  • 2 oz. cornflour
Cream butter and sugar. Add flour and corn flour. Cut into squares or into rounds and bake in a slow oven until done.
  • Yields: 1 serving -- you'd better make a lot of these!
  • Preparation Time: not long -- watch the baking as it can burn quickly


Wicklow Pancakes

  • 4 large eggs -- or 6 small ones
  • 2 1/2 c. milk
  • 4 oz. fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • 1 pinch chopped thyme
  • 2 tbsp. chopped chives or scallions
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter
Beat the eggs lightly, then add the milk, breadcrumbs, herbs and seasonings, and mix well. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a pan until foaming, then pour in the mixture and cook over a low flame until it is brown underneath and just set on top. Put under the grill to finish. Serve cut into wedges with a knob of butter on each portion.
  • Yields: 4 servings -- if 2 aren't too hungry!
  • Preparation Time: about 30 minutes


Irish Tea Bread

  • 12 tbsp. strong tea
  • 1 lb. mixed dried fruit
  • 6 oz. soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 oz. butter (melted)
  • 9 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda (don't worry about this -- it will be fine)
The mixed fruit can include raisins, currants, and any other kind of dried fruit you like; chop any larger pieces down to about raisin size. Place the tea, mixed fruit and sugar in a bowl; cover and leave overnight. Stir in the egg and melted butter. Sieve the flour and the bicarb together and fold them in. Line the bottom of a large loaf pan with baking parchment, and brush the whole inside of the pan with melted butter. Pour the mixture in and smooth the top. Bake in a preheated oven (360 F) on the middle shelf for 1 1/2 hours. After removing from the oven, leave in the pan for 2-3 minutes; then turn out of pan and cool on a wire rack.
  • Yields: 4 servings at the most
  • Preparation Time: about 2 hours


Boxty (Potato Griddle Cakes)

  • 1/2 lb. raw potato
  • 1/2 lb. mashed potato
  • 1/2 lb. flour
  • milk (enough to make a batter)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Grate raw potatoes and mix with the cooked mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper and flour. Beat egg and add to mixture with just enough milk to make a batter that will drop from a spoon. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a hot griddle or frying pan. Cook over a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with a tart apple sauce: or sausage links, fried eggs, fried bread pudding, fried soda bread ... and beans, too, if you like beans.
  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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