Showing posts with label Irish food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Irish food. Show all posts

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving in Ireland

I may have mentioned that I live near Plymouth, Massachusetts. Yes, that place where Thanksgiving began. Recent archeology seems to have pinpointed exactly where the first settlement was located—where those poor cold and hungry settlers were struggling to survive, with a little help from the local Indians.

But right now I’m not at home, I’m in Ireland. This is a nice time to travel to Ireland, since it’s not too crowded and not too cold. And this year I’m setting up my own cottage (including the kitchen), which is a real thrill.

I’ve been visiting Ireland since 1998, and it grabbed hold of me then and never let go. Now I own a half-acre piece of it, in sight of where my great-grandparents were married, and where the bride’s family, the O’Regans, had lived for generations. I can see the church steeple from my land. Rather than braving a new and unknown land, I’m taking back a bit of the old country.

But this is a food blog, right? Let me say up front: Irish food is great. That wasn’t true when I first visited, when watery stew with lots of potatoes and carrots was all too common. Now it will stand up to anyone’s cuisine. I’m not talking about fancy white-tablecloth places, I’m talking about little storefront restaurants with a couple of hardworking women turning out simple tasty and creative dishes (I promise I’ll share one of those with you soon).

Here's one good example, from the Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen: a warm steak salad.
The steak was sauted with coconut milk, soy sauce and red chiles and served on "mixed leaves"
(don't you love it?)

I’m madly in love with the Skibbereen weekly farmers’ market—I plan my visits to include at least one Saturday there. The local supermarket Fields is also terrific, with fresh game, and bread baked daily, and an amazing array of cakes (the Irish do seem to love their sweets—maybe that’s where I get it).

Freshly-baked bread
From the farmers' market: on the left,
goat cheese with fresh herbs; on the right,
gubbeen ( a local specialty)

Yes, that thing at the bottom left is a rabbit
I passed.
But I had to have the pheasant.

But I can’t give you a recipe right now because I’m still getting to know my kitchen. The appliances all work, but they’re tiny by U.S. standards (no way an American turkey would fit in that oven!). We’re still scrubbing and sanding and filling and sorting and so on, and we’re lucky if we can even see a countertop. I’m also still buying all the “essential” cooking tools. Give me a few more days and it will be ready to roll.

It's coming along. At least all the
appliances work!

In addition, I have a vintage Rayburn cooker (the Irish term for stove/oven). It dates from around 1950, so it’s probably original to the cottage. I’m hoping that as soon as I get it clean(er) and patch up a few joints, I can manage to produce something like food in it—at least a loaf of soda bread!

My Rayburn cooker, ca. 1950

I am grateful to all you followers that have read our books, which helped me find a way to reclaim a piece of my own history. Don’t worry, I’ll be headed back to Massachusetts soon, but I hope I’ll be able to get over here a few times a year. So now I have two homes, each with its own history.

Next week: a recipe! (I hope). 

Cruel Winter, the next in the County Cork Mystery Series, coming from Crooked Lane in March 2017.

Of course I'm doing research here! No snow yet, but definitely frost in the mornings.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fully-Loaded Irish Colcannon for St. Patrick's Day from Cleo Coyle

New York may be crowded, loud, and expensive, but it's also a beautiful, endlessly inspiring mix of peoples and cultures. Almost every week, a celebration of one kind or another is taking place. 

Last week, for instance, the city joined its Asian communities in celebrating the Lunar New Year. We even had our first-ever Lunar New Year fireworks display along the Hudson River. 

For a glimpse of that spectacular display and a little video trip to Chinatown, click here.

Now we're gearing up for our annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Events, parties, and parades will soon be taking place all over the city, including the biggest parade of all, down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. It’s the largest parade in the world and Marc and I always enjoy it.

The recipe we have for you today is a bit of a culinary metaphor, tipping its hat to Irish tradition, but with flavors added to reflect our city’s glorious melting pot...

Cleo Coyle's 
Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Fully-Loaded Colcannon

As mystery writers, murder is our business. As cozy mystery writers, so is word play. And that’s primarily how this dish came about. 

Back in 2009, my husband and I were writing Roast Mortem, a book that pays tribute to the FDNY, which has a long history of Irish pride. During our collaboration, we joked about what might happen if we "loaded" the colcannon. 

Wait a second, we thought, why not fully load it—like a baked potato?!

Marc and I then put the recipe together much like New York City puts its cultural communities together: We started with a basic Irish colcannon; added an Italian kiss of olive oil and hug of warm, sweet garlic; and finished the dish with an American-style flourish of gooey melted cheddar and smoky crumbled bacon.

It's a colcannon that's practically exploding with comfort-food flavor. (Hey, no groaning, remember, puns were once the highest form of humor!) 

FYI - A slightly different version of this recipe appeared in our Coffeehouse Mystery, Roast Mortem, along with plenty more tasty recipes.
See Roast Mortem's
free recipe guide
clicking here.

Our fully-loaded colcannon truly makes a wonderful side dish; it's addicting, nutritious, and delicious. And now Marc and I invite you to jump into our melting pot...

Cleo Coyle's
Fully-Loaded Colcannon

Makes about 6 cups


1 pound red potatoes, cut into uniform pieces
2-3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped (or 4-5 regular bacon slices)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, sliced thin (about 6 cups)
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or ¼ teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2/3 cup (around 2 or 3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
      (mild or sharp cheese, your choice)

Step 1—Cook the potatoes: Boil the red potatoes, skin and all, as you would for mashed potatoes—about 15 to 20 minutes. (Test a potato to make sure they’re cooked through.) Remove the pot from heat, drain any extra water, and cover to keep the potatoes warm.

Step 2—Render bacon: While potatoes are boiling, chop bacon into small pieces and cook over a very low heat to render the fat. When bacon is brown, remove from pan and set aside.

Step 3—Sauté veggies: Turn the heat to medium, and add the olive oil to the drippings in the pan. Then add the garlic and onions and cook until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add cabbage and continue cooking another 5 minutes, stirring often to coat with the delicious flavors.

Step 4—Add milk and simmer: Reduce heat to low. Stir in milk, butter, salt, and white pepper; cover with a lid and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 8 minutes. (Test a few pieces to make sure the cabbage is cooked through before moving to the next step.)

Step 5—Mix and mash: Combine the hot cabbage and the potatoes. Mash with a metal potato masher or large fork until the ingredients are blended.

Tip - As you mash in the potatoes, they will soak up
remaining liquid. If there is much more liquid
than what you see in my photo above, then
continue to cook the mixture, over low heat,
until the excess liquid evaporates.

Step 6—(Finish) Lock and load with cheese and bacon: Fold in the shredded cheese, which will melt in the heat of the mixture. Serve topped with crumbled bacon bits.

Stay cozy!


~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * *

Once Upon a Grind:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

* A Best Book of the Year
Reviewer's Pick -
King's River Life

* Top Pick! ~ RT Book Reviews

* Fresh Pick ~ Fresh Fiction

* A Mystery Guild Selection

Delicious recipes are also featured in my 14th 
culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind, including...

* Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev 
* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
* "Fryer Tuck's" Ale-Battered Onion Rings
* Poor Man's Caviar 
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaways

...and many more recipes, including
a guide to reading coffee grinds...

See the book's
Recipe Guide (free PDF)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop

Get a free title checklist,
with mini plot summaries, 

by clicking here. 

Or learn more about the
books and meet Jack Shepard,
our PI ghost 
by clicking here. 

Sign up for my Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
(Recipes, contests, videos, fun info)

* * * 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Food

by Sheila Connolly

(With a tip o' the hat to Krista Davis, who kindly let me slip into her slot for this special day.) I gave you an Irish recipe last week, but since today is Saint Patrick's Day, I want to wallow in the glories of current Irish food, both raw and prepared. If there's any doubt that Ireland has joined the ranks of foodie nations, I hope these pictures will lay that to rest.

That's me and "the tart with the cart," perhaps better known as Mollie Malone, with her cockles and mussels, in Dublin.

Shall we begin with the "full Irish"?
(that would be breakfast)

And then on to lunch: a nice ordinary sandwich, with a bit of brown bread and smoked salmon

And then a bit of dinner, with mussels and samphire (which grows on rocks, I'm told)

And now off to the country, where I will have a kitchen to play in.

Bread at Field's Market in

My favorite fishmonger in Union Hall
(he was thrilled to have a real writer
in his shop)

The cheeses at the Skibbereen
weekly market
Fresh greens in November!
No, the baby's not for sale

And don't forget dessert!
(Known somewhere else as
mille feuilles or Napoleons)
Bramley apples
Is it any wonder that I've set my County Cork series in Ireland? I go for the food. And the craic. And the people. And the views. And the history.
(And if I've convinced you--go buy the books (Buried in a Bog and Scandal in Skibbereen), más é do thoil é! (And go visit!)