21 December 2012

Christmas Crackers... Clouds in my (Irish) Coffee

"I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee and...." 

Carly Simon 1972 

Cumulus, Nimbus, Cirrus, Stratus, sadly Carly's lyrics don't elaborate further ( not the only conundrum associated with that song ) but from the undoubtedly cloudy island of Ireland where all of them are frequently in evidence, come not one but two world famous beverages celebrated for their iconic, milky cloud cover. One is a well poured pint of Guinness and the other is of course an equally well dispensed and expertly crafted stemmed glass of Irish Coffee.

Irish whiskey can be distilled nowhere else in the world except in Ireland. It is a heavenly golden spirit which has conquered the world and helped put that Emerald Isle on the tourist map. Irish Whiskey - in Irish uisce beatha or "water of life" is smokier and some would say a less smooth version than its closest rivals. An acquired taste undoubtedly, it's the whiskey drinkers' whiskey, a whiskey connoisseur's first choice but for those of us not so lucky to be so well acquainted the best introduction is probably via another quintessential Irish classic - Irish Coffee. The combination of excellent coffee and Irish whiskey topped with rich cream with its classic monochrome good looks makes a uniquely elegant and delicious drink.

How to make one...If there's one skill you perfect this seasonal holiday let it be this one! Prepare all your ingredients in advance as time is of the essence. There is nothing worse than a luke warm drink. Make strong black coffee a long shot of espresso is ideal and keep hot. Lightly whip double cream with a half tsp castor sugar added. Hold in the fridge. Heat a stemmed goblet by dipping it in hot water. Dry and put a teaspoon of brown sugar in the glass followed by a measure of Irish Whiskey. Ideally the whiskey should be warmed so the sugar will dissolve easily. Pour in the hot coffee and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Now for the slightly tricky bit. Pour the cream over the back of a desert spoon so that it falls gently onto the coffee mixture. Under no circumstances should the cream mix with the coffee. Black and white, hot and cold......clouds in my coffee! 

20 December 2012

Christmas Crackers...!

" I pull my aubergines on..." 
David Dundas (misheard) 1976

Aubergine biscuits with parmesan.

Slice aubergine. 
Coat first in flour, then beaten egg and finally grated parmesan.
Bake on a tray at 180 C until golden (about 20 mins) 
Serve with your favourite dip. 

19 December 2012

Christmas Crackers...

What could be more refreshing than ripe sweet and chilled fresh pineapple slices? When looking for some ideas to post over Christmas this one "Acar Timun Nenas" popped out! On our last visit to Malaysia we had it a lot and thought it would be a great recipe to serve at home particularly during this season as it would be a fantastic condiment for all those Christmas cold meats or indeed that turkey curry!

Its an easy but unusual  pineapple and cucumber salad which removes pineapple from its usual fruit companions and launches it into the world of savoury dishes - a kind of "trompe l'oeil" for the palate!

Acar (pronounced Achar) Timun Nanas is such a popular sweet sour salad it is served as an accompaniment to almost everything. It is a terrific counter balance that cuts through the heat and spices of the many Malaysian curry dishes or the Malay national dish of beef rendang and adds a uniquely fresh and tangy note which would also be ideal with grilled or roast meats or barbecues.


1 small cucumber un-peeled
halved and deseeded cut into batons
Half small sweet pineapple cut into chunks
Handful coriander leaves coarsely torn
1 fresh red chilli thinly sliced (deseeded)
2 tsp sugar
i tsp salt
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Tbsp crushed roasted peanuts (garnish)


Dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar and add cucumber pineapple chilli and coriander. Toss to mix. Re-fridgerate until ready to serve. Just before serving garnish with a sprinkling of crushed roasted peanuts.

17 December 2012

Christmas Crackers...

Hand cut crisps... Why not liven up your fajitas or slices of cold meats and game with this classic accompaniment?
Thinly slice potatoes or root vegetables such as parsnip, beetroot, sweet potatoes or celeriac. A food processor or mandolin (mind your fingers) is probably best for this. Pat dry and gently drop into hot oil. Once lightly coloured remove and allow to cool on kitchen paper. To finish off repeat the process until a pleasing colour. Don't forget to season. The crisps will crispen nicely when allowed to dry on kitchen paper. Alternatively serve with your favourite dip. See posts below for suggestions

Posted by incredibly fed

15 December 2012

Christmas Crackers!

Fajitas...Try this tasty way to finish off any of those left over Christmas cold meats. Slices of turkey, ham or game, with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado seasoning and chopped coriander or mint all wrapped in warmed flat breads.

For more relaxed fun why not put out the ingredients and just let your guests assemble their own and for an extra twist smother in Coronation dip - Mix together yoghurt, mayonnaise, teaspoon curry powder, mango chutney, lime juice and seasoning. Adjust to taste! Simples!!

Posted by incredibly fed

7 December 2012


"Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan, if you can't make boxty you'll never get a man"
Old Irish rhyme

Many cultures have recipes for potato cakes and Ireland of course being one of the great potato eating nations of Europe is no exception. Boxty is a traditional Irish pancake made of potatoes but it's slightly unusual in that it calls for both cooked and raw potatoes. Aran bocht ti shortened to bacstai literally means poor house bread or poor house in the Irish language giving a strong clue as to the dish's humble origins. Humble though they may be they must be the most literate potato cakes in the world. As well as the ditty above they appear in the writings of Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Kate O'Brien and Somerville and Ross among others.


250g cold mashed potato
250g raw potato
250g plain flour
The other bits and pieces are store cupboard/fridge staples:
1 teaspoon baking powder
Up to 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 large knob of butter (or bacon fat)
Some milk (about 120 ml) – buttermilk if you have it

The potatoes, also known as the spuds, should by rights be floury, not waxy. Try Record, or even Kerr’s Pinks. 
Put the mashed potato into a large mixing bowl and leave it to one side. Next, grate the raw potatoes into another basin lined with a teacloth or napkin. Wring them very tightly in the cloth over the basin, to squeeze out  as much starchy liquid as possible. Put the grated potato in with the mashed potato. Melt the butter in your frying pan, very gently so that it doesn’t burn. Pour it into the potato mix. Add the flour and the baking powder, and salt. Then add some milk in small amounts until there’s just enough to form a soft dough. Spread the dough ball out onto a floured work surface. Knead the mixture lightly or, better still, mix it well with a knife and do a minimum of kneading at the end. Finally cut the ball up into about four smaller balls and shape them into flat round cakes, then gently cut each one into quarters.Pop them into your frying pan and fry them in a small amount of oil.