The Place for real traditions.Irish Culture begins in prehistory. First was a paleolithic mindset-based on hunting. The spirits of animals aid in this. Groups had totems- birds, boar,for identity. Next came a Neolithic awareness- crops, agriculture,farm animals. Villages and lineages. Multiple gods became single gods with many powers. Chieftains by birth ruled. Next the Bronze age with rule by heroes. We got cookbooks and recipes left the mind. How do we know what to do? That's our purpose.

Irish Chieftain's feast

Monday, February 4, 2008

Couldn't Be easer or more traditional- Potato Farls

A centerpiece of the Ulster Fry but also very close to Boxty and known
as Potato Bread. Boxty is more of a batter and made with raw as well as
cooked potatoes. Interesting that these can be given a sweet content
generally apples prepared as apple pie filling with brown sugar
etc...pre cooked or raw. Apple potato cakes are associated with the eve
of St. Brigid's day (February 1) so they are on my mind.

We recently tried many recipes. The one below was found to be the best.
It is interesting that one should not totally mash the potatoes. The
potatoes should be well cooked till soft then dried a bit by putting in
colander over hot dry pot for a few minutes. The mashing done by hand
with other ingredients should not have any hard lumps- hence the well
cooked instruction but lumps can be the size of peas or smaller and be ok.

The question of texture and durability is up to the cook. Try less flour
first- as in the recipe- handful....if you like the texture leave it
that way or add more flour and more hand mixing till you get a more
durable cake. Cook till brown on both sides on dry griddle then fry in
bacon fat (about 1/2 inch in pan) till crispy on each side.

More durable cakes with more flour are heavier but they will stand up
better to a fruit filling. While the potato tastes surprisingly well
with the fruit as it is I would add a little sugar- tablespoon or two to
the recipe and maybe some spices to the potato. Simply put cake on pan
in raw state. Cook till skins over on bottom put in fruit and fold over
on itself. Cook on dry pan till potato is solid then fry in butter.

Here is the basic recipe:
Potato Farls (Rev. J. Mattison,Ulster)

3 large potatoes
Knot of butter (1-2 tablespoon)
Pinch of salt
Handful of soda bread flour

Directions: Boil the potatoes. Mash with knot of butter and salt. Add a
handful of soda bread
flour. Dust your baking surface and roll out, about ½-inch thick. Place
on heated griddle. Cook
both sides.
Alternative: Potato Oaten are made the same way, but with one handful of
pin-headed or ordinary oatmeal

We have reserved to the last the potato-cake, made by bruising, with the

bottom of a tin porringer, two cold,
well-boiled potatoes, and mixing therewith
a pound of the finest Flour, the
yolk of a fresh egg, a print of butter,
and a sup of new-milk, the whole
being well kneaded, then pounded with
a rolling-pin, made into a cake five-
eighths of an inch thick, cut into
squares and diamonds, baked on a
griddle, and, when properly browned
and mottled, each piece torn asunder
like a muffin, and a bit of butter slipt
in to melt in the interior, and then
eaten at tea or breakfast, but particularly
at the former, it is because it was
the most widely disseminated and universally-
admired form of potato-eating
known to all tea-drinkers and cup-toss-
ers from Cape Clear to the Causeway. -Dublin University Magazine. 1854

What do you think? What is your tradition? Great for breakfast and this
is an ancient thing that goes way back.