Monday, March 16, 2009
Its Not St. Paddy's Yet, Wedding
On Sunday the radio was pumping out Irish tunes, in New York they had a parade. Someone should tell them, St. Patrick's Day is on the 17th, not the 15th. I think the New York Irish tend to be more Irish than they are in Ireland. All over North America people will be eating Irish foods such as corned beef and cabbage, but in Ireland they will be eating the same things they would be eating any other day of the week. It used to really annoy an Irish friend of mind about all the recipe that would be posted to be eaten on St. Patrick's day, in her book it was all nonsense. I found an interesting article here about St. Patrick's Day traditions. There are several good recipes on this site all of which are basically Irish. I was actually married to my first husband on St. Patrick's Day, a very long time ago. It was a beautiful day but cold as charity and my poor cousins, who were my bridesmaids, were wearing short sleeved cotton dresses and were freezing. The bride wasn't feeling terribly warm either. In those days churches were not heated, don't know if they are today in the UK. Looking for a picture of the church, I found several which give me the impression the church was cleaned in recent years. It sure wasn't that colour when I lived in Kent. There is a website devoted to the church click here to read it. The church is reputed to have been the one featured in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - Pip hid from the convict in a churchyard. Today we are bowling in the morning at 10:30 a.m. because it is the beginning of what is called March Break here and there are likely to be dozens of youngsters bowling in the afternoon. Unfortunately it is likely to be the same on Friday, but most of the bowlers couldn't make it in the morning. Corned Beef & Cabbage Source Irish Culture and Customs If it wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day in your house without Corned Beef & Cabbage, here's an authentic recipe from Darina Allen's the Festive Food of Ireland. Even she points out that it's rarely eaten in Ireland and was most likely made popular by immigrants who missed the salted beef of their homeland. Cured beef was a traditional Easter Sunday dinner; the beef killed and preserved before winter could then be eaten after the long Lenten fast. In the truest sense of the word then, this really doesn't qualify as a traditional recipe. But, it has become so closely associated with the Irish and St. Patrick's Day, we'd be remiss not to include it. Ingredients: 4-pound corned beef brisket - 'silverside' if you can get it; many butchers are familiar with the term and can prepare your cut of brisket in this special way. But, do allow them several days to prepare it properly. 3 large carrots, cut into large chunks 6 to 8 small onions, roughly chopped 1 teaspoon powdered English mustard (Coleman's) 1 large spring of fresh thyme and several parsley stalks tied together 1 cabbage Salt and pepper to taste Method 1. Put the corned beef into a large pot with the carrots, onions, mustard powder and herbs. 2. Cover with cold water; bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 1 hour. From time to time, skim fat from top as it rises. 3. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage and cut into quarters, Add to the pot. * Cook for another one to two hours or until the meat and vegetables are tender. 4. Serve the corned beef cut into slices and surrounded by the vegetables. Serve with a generous amount of potatoes, boiled in their jackets and freshly made mustard. (We use Colman's which is readily available). In addition to the English mustard we also like the following horseradish sauce: Horseradish Sauce 1/2 pt Whipping Cream 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish Whip cream until it stand in peaks. Fold in horseradish. *We prefer our cabbage crispy firm, so, we cook it separately. Cooked quickly in boiling water, it retains its beautiful bright green color. We season it heavily with fresh ground pepper and we don't go easy on the butter! Note: Our dear friend Judith Flynn sent us the following Corned Beef "sauce" which sounds really tasty: Slice the beef and place it on an oven proof serving platter. Mix up 2 tablespoons of (Coleman's English) mustard, 2 tablespoons of catsup and 1/3 cup brown sugar (packed). Spread over the corned beef. If it is a large piece, double the recipe. Put it back in the oven for a bit to warm the sauce. Have a great day.