Friday, March 18, 2011

Boiled and yet delicious

I don't often eat beef any more but with The Day yesterday, I thought I'd do a pot of corned beef, cabbage and tatties. It's terribly easy. (It's easy if you buy your beef already "corned.")

Cut the beef into big chunks and boil it up in water. No need for salt but you might add some pepper, rosemary, a bay leaf or two.

Simmer the whole pot until the beef is tender, then add in the tatties...maybe some onions and carrots, too. Last thing in is the loosely cut-up cabbage, which doesn't take long to cook. Let it all simmer another 15 minutes or so.

Serve it with some lovely fresh soda bread and a pint of the black stuff. Corned beef and cabbage is not traditionally Irish--I also like to boil up a pot of colcannon--cabbage, tatties, bacon and some butter...maybe a little greens (like kale).

Boiling meat is popular in many rural cultures because you could use older and tougher meat.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Pi Day...but I haven't any

March 14. 3/14. Pi. Get it?

All I know is that I have no pie.

I do, however, have cake.

My daughter--who is the best kid ever--made me a birthday cake while she was home for spring break. She started her cake-making adventures years ago with boxed mixes and canned frosting. Then she moved on to cake mixes and homemade frosting.

This cake is a moist chocolate two-layer--from scratch. And it is iced with a rich cream cheese/butter frosting, with just a hint of nutmeg.

Delicious, not too sweet, very rich and flavorful.

Birthday cake will have to do on Pi Day. We'll have Pie later in the week.

And speaking of later in the week, I've got a nice corned beef to make for Thursday. Some colcannon, a loaf of soda bread and a gallon of the black stuff.

That sounds like a good St. Patrick's Day, I think.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Haggis En Croute

It has been so long since I've posted here that I need to go back a bit and tell you about the whiskey-soaked celebration that was Burns' Night.

I have no idea what inspired me but I determined to celebrate it with some friends this year. We all brought small bottles of whiskey and I made what actually passed for haggis.

Well, sort of. If you squint your eyes and aren't too much of a purist. It had all the unmentionable offal parts--most of them, anyway--but instead of stuffing it all into a stomach, I rolled out a thin and buttery crust.

I baked the whole thing in a cast-iron pan and it came out piping hot and quite edible. Served it with a couple of different kinds of mustard, with chippy sauce and a green salad.

Haggis en croute--it's either a brilliant modern take on a classic cultural mainstay or it's an abomination. Either way, it was awfully tasty.