Spud you like
The potato has a special place in Irish cuisine. In these multicultural times, it's not that we can't envisage a dinner without them but whereas rice and pasta act as a vehicle for sauces, a freshly dug spud anointed with butter and a sprinkling of salt is a feast in itself. There's nothing humble about the potato when it's combined with cream, Gruyere cheese, garlic and herbs in a dauphinoise gratin. Recent years have been exciting times for potato lovers, with the introduction of both new and old varieties. Heritage potatoes were first introduced to Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries and had long been lost until dedicated growers re-introduced varieties like the waxy Pink Fir, which is pre-1850s and the Salad Blue (early 1900s) which makes for an interesting blue mash. Irish company Peter Keogh & Sons has launched a new Rooster potato, called the Selena. It's enriched with selenium, an essential mineral that most Irish people have inadequate intakes of and this is a tasty, red-skinned versatile spud. Chip it, mash it, boil it, bake it, roast it or fry it and definitely try it in the aforementioned gratin.
Available from Superquinn stores, €3.99 for 2kg with a special introductory price of €3 until 3 March.
There's a lovely ritual attached to green tea making, which elevates it far beyone the average cuppa. Plus, it's really good for you too. Try the limited-edition Fleur de Geisha from speciality tea house Le Palais de Thes, which is Japanese Sencha tea delicately flavoured with cherry blossom. It has an interesting taste and comes in a beautifully illustrated metal caddy. €13.50, 31 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2
Bye Bye Cookbooks
There are an astounding amount of food blogs on the web and some are really worth spending time on. Delicious Days, from a Munich-based, non-professional cook who is obsessed with food, is our latest favourite. Great recipes, superb photography and interesting news snippets. Visit it at www.deliciousdays.com
Alison Curtis Today FM
IN MY FRIDGE…. Greek style honey yogurt, edam cheese, tofu, peanut butter, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, peppers and a steak for my hubby.
COMFORT ZONE… Fusilli pasta with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, basil leaves and ground pepper.
NEVER TOUCH… Meat. Makes me a boring dinner date!
WANT TO EAT MORE… Japanese food. If I was rich enough to buy what I want, it would be a sushi chef.
ORDERING IN…. Bombay Pantry in Fairview. I always go for Bombay Aloo and Tarka Dal.
Sticky Chicken (with sweet and sour cucumber)
Mix together 4 tbsp mango chutney, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and zest of one lemon. Spoon the marinade over two chicken fillets. Cover and leave for 30 minutes to marinate, or overnight if possible. Scoop out and discard the seeds of one cucumber. Cut into 3 mm slices, add 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 tbsp sweet chilli dipping sauce and 2 finely chopped spring onions. Put fillets under a hot grill for 5 minutes, turn the chicken and brush over remaning marinade. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and continue grilling until chicken cooked through.
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I'd say that there was nothing humble about the potato, full stop :)
There again, I'll admit to being wholly biased in that regard, and even blog to that effect at thedailyspud.com.