Last Sunday, I travelled early to East County Galway for the 20th “Potato Fleadh”, organised by my friends Caitlín and Pádraig Rua. Known across the Isle of Ireland as the “Fleá na bPratai”, it is a candid and warm gathering of friends or gathered friendships, a fertile ground for strong family ties; an illustrated analogy surrounding the peaceful cottage, could be the hundreds of acres of bog land, layers and layers of wild colourful growth, in a perfectly tuned cycle. Like I said, I left early, the boot of the car full of craft beers and cheese… I love visiting my hosts bearing gifts. I selected a few tunes for the road, from Bob Dylan to Blind Willie Johnson in order to set the mood; anxious to make a grand appearance, I put on my recently purchased GAA Gaelic Football Brittany Team Jersey on. They had been invited and qualified to play in the International Gaelic Games this week in Dublin… A proud moment for Hungry Breton! I could picture all their faces now, the reactions! Singing along with Blind Willie Johnson on the speaker phones of the car while flicking the gear stick on fourth; “The rain don’t fall on me”…. How optimistic was I?
The plan was simple. Before starting the festivities, I was going to say hi, drop the beer and cheese, have a quick cup of coffee, and while most were still asleep in their tents and beds, head West for Carraroe and Spiddal to take a few pictures for the “Chimney Sweeper” story I wanted to write. Caitlín’s Father Mike decided to accompany me for the spin, share a few stories with this natural born Seanachaí from Shetland. The weather never picked up, it remained dry until we got to the fine coral beach but started raining on our way back East, before turning into a full blown storm… A great excuse for an evening of beers, cheese and music, accompanied by Pádraig’s special potatoes and garlic and his “Wee Tatties”, little discs of potato breads, delicious with a bit of sea salt!
The day after, I went for a long walk in the bog next door, thinking of these potato breads; I was thinking of making some myself! What a great breakfast it would make! A grand fry! Before I left, shortly after lunch, my friend gave me a basket of home grown goodies from their garden, and that is how the Irish Veggie Fry “Kilreekil style” was born. And this my friends, is how it went.
You will need a few things for this recipe, but nothing to hard:
Franckie’s Potato Bread
- 100g of organic pasta flour
- 4 medium potatoes ( 800g)
- 120g of Hegarty’s Cheddar (or a good Farmhouse cheddar)
- 1 egg
Peel and boil the potatoes in salted water until cooked inside. Allow to cool. In a bowl, place 100g of organic pasta flour and one by one grate the potatoes over followed by the cheddar, both with the coarser side of the cheese grater; add one egg, and with a spatula start mixing. Place the mixture in a buttered dish ( make it fit), and “paint a bit of melted butter on top. Bake at 200c for 20 minutes or when you see the cake turning golden.
For the rest, and in order to recreate the famous baked beans in tomato sauce, I used the broad beans my friends gave me and put them in salted boiling water for five minutes. I removed them from their envelopes, revealing their deep green colour. I had a bit of tomato sauce left that I reduced ( fried onions, garlic and a bottle of passata reduced), and mixed the broad beans in it. I put a couple of tomatoes under the grill with sea salt, black pepper and dried herbes de Provence; I sautéed a few mushrooms with garlic and fresh thyme from the garden. Before serving, I fried a couple of eggs in olive oil and I was ready for a small feast!
That dish is very enjoyable at breakfast or for lunch, especially if you are still covered with a few cobwebs from a night of music, tales, chats and… Beer… I left that day with a gift but felt that I received so much more; unconditional and selfless friendship…
Keep Well, Eat Happy