Vegetarian Cottage Pie

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Vegetarian Cottage Pie

There has been another weather alert issued for the isle of Ireland, this time it is for cold and snow. I am pretty sure someone on the radio mentioned the words “blizzard” and “accumulations”. Some people are getting a bit edgy, stocking up on water and food, just in case, all the weather drama queens out there… uh? Ok, I must admit, I get pretty excited too and yesterday, I did chop a bit more wood than usual but hey, I really don’t fancy doing all this on Wednesday, snow up to my knees and in -7c winds, or at least according to the gospel of Saint Evelyn from Met Eireann, our weather forecasters ( the new Rock’n’Roll stars in Ireland since hurricane Ophelia, you should see them walking down Grafton street, with their confident swag and dark sunglasses, shooting from the hip at every steps), our shepherds… Some even say that it could be – at least for a while-  like the winter of 2010!!! Ta-Ta-Ta… Yes, you read well, 2010 was bad, it was the year the lakes froze solid…

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Winter Salad

I know it sounds a bit weird, a salad in winter? Having made a big pot of ragù Bolognese yesterday, tonight’s dinner is already sorted and wintery enough! Almost as much as the weather forecast schedule to hit us in the next 24 to 48 hours; storm force winds, snow? Hard to imagine this lunchtime, the pale sun is beaming in the sleeping veg garden, where once again I promised myself to have beetroots and herbs, carrots and leaves… One can dream… Or ought to get his act together.

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Choice 2

The dog and one of the cats reluctantly tagged along for a short walk through the woods, across the field and back in the garden. I asked my four legged companions if they were ready to go home for lunch; the dog is standing impatiently by the door of the house as if saying “wow, that was fun, we should do that again sometimes? Now open the door will ya?” They always seem to know when the weather is about to change; but saying that, I do leave the radio on for them in the afternoon.

Cat and Dog
Cat and Dog

So where was I? Yes, lunch, of course and a controversial craving for salad. Fridge door opens, beetroot, carrot, we’ve got a theme going here… What’s this? Red cabbage I bought two weeks ago? Well at least the intention was good. Little head of broccoli for contrast? Why not. I bought a piece of Ardsallagh goat’s cheese from Co. Cork last Friday, which should work pretty well; a few garlic croutons in the pan and a scattering of walnuts… Almost there. To dress the whole thing, I used three Tbsp of olive oil, one of soya sauce and one of Irish apple vinegar.

Red cabbage
Red cabbage
Mature Ardsallagh Goat's Cheese
Mature Ardsallagh Goat’s Cheese
Winter Salad
Winter Salad
Close up
Close up

Now, let’s look at that weather forecast again… Ah sure, it doesn’t look that bad… Does it?

Shelter From The Storm
Shelter From The Storm

Foraging Cake

This lovely recipe is initially my Mother’s famous apple cake recipe; I have twisted it a bit a couple of times but the main frame remains the same. You just have to replace (or reduce) the amount of apples and replace or add some of your favourite berries. Here it goes:

You’ll need:

  • 150g of organic white flour
  • 50g of organic buckwheat flour (or just 200g of white)
  • 200g of salted butter (I prefer)
  • 200g of sugar
  • 3 large eggs (or 4 medium/small)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder/ soda
  • 4-5 apples

How to:

  • Mix the two flours in a bowl with the baking powder
  • Beat the eggs with the sugar
  • In a pan, gently melt the butter and cool a bit
  • Pour the eggs and sugar mix over the flour and keep whisking gently
  • Then do the same with the butter… Easy now.
  • Put in your peeled and chopped apples (Or berries, or quince paste…)
  • Bake in a floured and buttered tin at 200c for 30 to 40 minutes
  • Check with a skewer before cooling that it is cooked through. If not, leave it a bit longer!

Some examples…

Mixed berries and apple cake

Mixed Berries Cake

Apple and Quince Cake served with Bellingham Blue

Apple and Quince cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!