Friday, 6 July 2012

A Summer Dedication

Woodford Bournes Patrick St
Its quite some time since I last wrote a post. Many things got in the way mainly too much much going on and something had to give. Over the last couple of months though one of things that did not change was my interest in cooking in fact it has served me well as a stress reliever. I recently spent a few days away in West Clare with the kids, my Mum, her Sister, my Cousin and her little girl. We were staying in self catering accommodation so everyone brought stuff with them including  my Mums pressed ox tongue and a galantine. These items have always been firm family favourites in our family as my gran had always included them on the menu for special occasions. So last week there was alot of oohing and aaahhing over them and they didn't last too long!! These things have morphed in may ways over the years and I now make them my way for my family and have become favourites in my home too. This got me thinking about how I got my love for cooking and brought back many early food memories. My Mum is a marvelous cook and she didn't lick it off the stones. My Gran won many competitions through her involvement in the ICA and indeed fish cookery was her speciality as my Grandad was very partial to a bit of Turbot or Brill on a Friday!!
During the course of planning this post I had the most wonderful conversation with my Mum about grocery shopping back in the day. My Mum is from Cork and she told me all about how wonderful the shops on both Princes St and Patrick St were, recalling merchants like Woodford Bourne wine & spirit merchants, Smiths Stores and the L&N who were general merchants with whom you would place your order and it would be all packaged up and delivered to your door. She recalls shops called Quaines for fish, Mortells for eggs, Rose Bros for Pork and O Hares in the English Market for meat.

The English Market
She particularly recalled being sent into town when she was about twelve to get some vegetables and picking  up a bunch of radishes in Russells vegetable shop and a lady asking her what they were !! So really it is no wonder that my earliest memories of food are cooking with my Mum and Gran and I can still recall the aromatic smells from their kitchens. So the two main recipes in this post are a celebration of the fabulous influential women in my early life , both of whom instilled the importance of good home cooking into my psyche.

Pressed Ox Tongue with Port Jelly
Country Terrine
Rice & Pimento Salad
Mushroom Salad
Beetroot Jelly
Stuffed Eggs
Potato Salad  
What my Gran called a General Salad

Pressed Ox Tongue with Port Jelly

1 Pickled Ox Tongue (soaked overnight)
1 Onion
1 Carrot
1 Stick celery
1 Bouquet Garni
2 Gelatine leaves
50 mls Port

Place the soaked tongue into a large pot add the onion halved
the carrot and celery along with the bouquet garni and cover with water. Allow come to the boil and simmer on a low heat for approximately 3 hours. At this stage remove the tongue from the cooking liquor and allow cool a little. Retain the cooking liquor. when the tongue is cool enough to handle remove the skin and any fatty bits at the base.  Put 150 mls of the cooking liquor into a pot and heat gently. Soak the gleatine in 50mls cold water and allow soak for approx. 10 minutes until spongy. Squeeze out and add to the liquor and allow the gelatine dissolve stirring gently. Finally add the port. Then quickly curl the tongue into a tight fitting bowl and pour over the jelly. Cover tightly with clingfilm and invert a saucer on top. Place a heavy object on top ( I use the bowl of my pestle & mortar) and stand until cool. The place in the fridge with weight still on top in the fridge overnight.

Country Terrine

My gran would have called her version of this a galantine which is traditionally made from minced chicken but that would have been extremely expensive back in the day. She used to use beef mince and sausage meat. She also used to put two boiled eggs in the centre, wrap it in muslin and boil it.


500g Lean beef steak mince
300g Turkey Mince or pork mince whichever you prefer.
A boiled ham hock
1 onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic
150g mushrooms sliced finely.
4 tbsp freshly chopped herbs such as parsley, sage, thyme, chives
1 egg
100g breadcrumbs
dash of Leas & Perrins
dash of tomato sauce.
sat & pepper to season

Preheat you oven to 200 C or 180 C Fan. Gently fry the onions and garlic together until almost translucent. Add the sliced mushrooms and allow to soften. Drain on some kitchen paper and allow to cool. In the meantime cut the meat off the ham hock and cut up into rough chunks. Then put all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together ( I use my hands for this). Tightly pack the mix into a 2lb loaf tin  ... it will fit I promise! Then boil a kettle. Place the loaf tin into a roasting tin and fill the roasting tin until it comes just over half way above the height of the loaf tin. Put in the oven and time for 20mins. Then lower the temperature to 160 C or 150C fan and allow cook for a further 60 mins. Allow cool in the tin until lukewarm otherwise it will fall apart. When you remove it from the tin wrap the terrine in greaseproof or baking parchment and then tinfoil. Allow the terrine to go completely cold and then refrigerate overnight

A beetroot jelly would be made by adding chopped beetroot to blackcurrant jelly. A rice salad would be made with red pepper, scallion and some dried fruit. Gran stuffed eggs and my Mum still makes the best potato salad ever!  All of this would be served on crisp white linen with appropriate condiments such as homemade chutney and my Grandads pickled onions! My Mum has continued these traditions to this day and I am determined that my kids will carry these skills though to theirs. So thanks ladies for the love of food.