We were in Wexford over the weekend and, as soon as we passed the county border, there were stalls and huts and mobile units of every description selling potatoes and strawberries – foods for which Wexford is famous.
I’m not terribly fond of potatoes – but new potatoes are lovely and it would have been an awful shame to have left Wexford without a bag of their finest spuds.
These are lovely just boiled in their jackets with a blob of butter melting on them.
Today, there were two very ripe avocados in our fruit bowl and I figured it was time to use them up. I made this avocado dip to go with boiled potatoes:
2 Ripe Avocados
2 Red Chillies
2 Teaspoons of Ginger-Garlic Paste
4 Tablespoons of Thick Yoghurt (Natural or Greek)
1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce
8 Leaves of Fresh Mint
Peel and de-seed the avocados.
Snip the ends off the chillies. If you want to take the heat factor down, use just one and cut out the seeds and the membranes. The membranes (not the seeds) are where the heat is stored. Cut the chillies into small pieces.
Cut the mint as well. The easiest way to do this is put it in an egg-cup and hold the egg-cup at a tilt, snipping away at the leaves with the tip of a small kitchen scissors.
Blend all the ingredients and chill before serving.
The other thing we did with the potatoes was make a meal that was inspired by a Polish woman I know. Magda’s recipe calls for caraway seeds, but I don’t like them (and, therefore, don’t have any in the house), so I used fennel seeds instead. I was also able to use up the second half of a bag of beetroot and the mushrooms that had been in the fridge for a few days. Another beetroot wouldn’t have hurt, but I didn’t have one.
The recipe for this one is as follows:
3 Tablespoons of Plain Flour
300mls Stock or Warm Water
300g of Cooked (not pickled) Beetroot
5 Tablespoons of Thick Yogurt (Natural or Greek)
1 Teaspoon of Hot Mustard (I used English)
1 Teaspoon of Fennel Seeds
800g Potatoes (Floury rather than Waxy)
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Peel the spuds.
Chop the beetroot into bite-sized pieces.
Peel and chop the onion.
Peel and chop the shallot, but keep it separate from the onion.
Trim and slice the mushrooms.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Lightly oil a 23cm baking tin.
Put the potatoes in cold water with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion.
Fry until soft, without letting it colour.
Stir in the flour and remove from the heat
Gradually add the stock, stirring until it’s all well blended.
Return the pot to the heat and simmer for about a minute.
Add the beetroot, yogurt, mustard and fennel seeds.
By this stage, the potatoes will probably be done, so drain them well and mash with the milk (maybe a knob of butter) and some salt and pepper.
Dribble a little oil in a frying pan and fry the shallot.
Add the mushrooms and fry until they start to brown and release their liquid.
Spoon the potatoes into the tin and make a well in the centre.
Spoon the beetroot mix into the well in the potatoes.
Spoon the mushrooms over the beetroot.
Cover and cook for about half an hour.
It probably wouldn’t hurt to take the cover off the dish and sprinkle a bit of grated cheese over the top before returning to the oven for a final ten minutes, until the cheese bubbles and the potato crisps a bit. I didn’t, but I might the next time I cook this.
Now for the strawberries. 🙂
On Twitter yesterday, @babsbear (Barbara Murray) was talking about her glut of strawberries and wondering what to do with them. (Aren’t they gorgeous?)
One of the things my mother did really well was strawberry cheesecake. This is her recipe – so I can vouch for it being delicious – but I have no idea of the provenance of it: It could be from the back of a packet of Philadelphia cheese or a Woman’s Weekly or she might have made it up. We’re estranged now, so I can’t ask her. In any event, here it is:
175g Digestive Biscuits
225g Cream Cheese
1 Packet of (Vegetarian) Strawberry Jelly
200mls of Boiling Water
500mls of Cream
2 Tablespoons of Caster Sugar
500g of Strawberries
Wash, dry, hull and slice the strawberries.
Put the biscuits in a Ziploc bag and close the bag.
Bash the biscuits with a rolling pin until they are in small pieces, but not dust.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat.
Tip the bash biscuits in with the butter and mix them together.
Press the mixture into a tin (if you have a springform one, so much the better).
Pop the tin in the fridge to let the base cool while you make the filling.
Whip the cream with the sugar.
In a separate bowl, beat together the jelly and the cream cheese.
Fold in the strawberries. If you like, you could reserve a few for decoration.
Spoon the filling over the biscuit base and return it to the fridge.
Chill for about 3 hours.