Food & Drink

St Patrick’s Day – Gardening, Parades and Potato Cake Recipe

March 17, 2011

St Patrick's Day in Ireland - parades, food and familyDetermined to take a day off, the holiday started well with a long lay in, mug of tea and a copy of Gardeners World. Unusually, and totally out of character, the children were all up and dressed in their scout uniforms (waiting for the local parade to start at 3.00pm) by the time I got up. It was 10.30am and a gloriously sunny St Patrick’s morning.

After a couple of free overseas mobile phone calls (thank you Vodaphone), I left the bacon to soak and headed out to the garden. The front flower beds are always the last to receive attention, with all work usually centred around the veggy beds.

However, feeling inspired by my earlier reading, I attacked the docks, dandelions and little tingly nettles with enthusiasm, imagining the scent and colour that will hopefully fill the garden in a few months time.

As Mr G can attest, gardening often gets in the way of mealtimes, but I tore myself away from the weeding, and with our middle daughter as a willing helper started to prepare the St Patrick Day’s lunch.

Freshly picked today

Even though Mr G was away for the day we’d planned a traditional lunch. Bacon accompanied by home-grown parsnips, kale, a few of the remaining swedes, and some french beans that were frozen last summer would all be on the menu, leaving carrots and potatoes to prepare from the shop bought veg.

I won’t harp on about boiling bacon and peeling veg, but I will share an old favourite potato cake recipe that I cook whenever friends of family visit from the UK, or on a special day like today. It’s a handy recipe to have up your sleeve too for those annoying times when you only have a few spuds left but have to feed a big crowd.

Potato Cakes

Potato Cake Recipe (feeds 4-5)


70g butter
225 gm self-raising flour
225g mashed potato, cooled
salt, pepper
a little milk


Preheat the oven to 225oC. Sieve the flour into a bowl, then add the butter, rubbing it in. Add the mashed potato and seasoning and mix together. Add enough milk to bring the mixture together and make a dough.

Roll out the dough on a floured board, place on a greased baking tray, marking it in triangles and place in the oven for about 25 minutes.

I also made a mustard seed sauce to accompany the bacon but didn’t measure the ingredients, so I’m guessing to a certain degree. There’s just about enough here for two portions as the flavour’s are a bit too strong for the children!

Potato Dough

Mustard Seed Sauce

Pour 3 ladles of the bacon cooking liquer into a saucepan and boil until it is reduced by about half. Add half a carton of creme fresh and cook for about 10 minutes. Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds and a small knob of butter to taste.

Sadly, as also happens regularly in this house, the yummy dinner was placed on the table 10 minutes before we were due to leave for the parade. It’s always such a rush here! The good news was that we had a pudding to look forward to when we returned – strawberry and rhubarb crumble that Granny and middle daughter made and froze last summer. Numumumum!

Happy St Patrick’s Day

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