Happy St Patrick’s Day

There’s a wee bit of the Irish in many of us; at least I know there is in me. For the rest of us, many people love to party and, let’s face it, St Patrick’s Day is one big party!

Saturday 17 March, St. Patrick’s Day, is a cultural and religious feast day to celebrate the death of St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.

In fact, St Patrick was not Irish at all, but British. Captured by Irish raiders as a teen, Patrick became a devout Christian while working as a shepherd. After escaping, he trained as a priest, returning to Ireland as a missionary to convert the Irish from paganism to Christianity.

Besides celebrating St Patrick’s Day by wearing green and having a Guinness, it’s a great time to tuck into some Irish food. To us, potatoes must feature on any Irish menu.

Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake from the northern midlands. There are many different recipes, however most use a combination of finely grated raw potato and mashed potato mixed with flour, baking soda and buttermilk, fried as a pancake.

The recipe is important enough, culturally, to feature in a nursery rhyme:

Boxty on the griddle, Boxty in the pan,

If you can’t make boxty, You’ll never get your man.

Here’s our version of Boxty, Gold Coast style, to serve for breakfast or as hors d’oeuvres on St Patrick’s Day.

Irish Potato Cakes (Boxty)

Ingredients:

1 cup mashed potatoes

1 ½ cup grated raw potato (excess moisture squeezed out)

1 ½ cup plain flour

½ tsp baking soda

Pinch salt

1 cup milk

1 tbsp lemon juice

Butter to fry

Directions:

  1. Mix milk with lemon juice and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the mashed and grated potato in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together into the bowl. Combine well with the potatoes.
  4. Add milk/lemon juice mixture to the potato/flour mixture and stir well to form a thick pancake-like batter. Add extra milk if the mixture is too thick.
  5. Melt some butter in a 30cm diameter cast iron pan over medium heat. Pour in the mixture so the pancake is about 2cm high. Cook 12 to 15 minutes per side over a low to medium heat until brown and crispy. Tip: Use a dinner plate to help you flip the pancake. (Alternatively, as we did, cook as smaller pikelets.)
  6. When cooked, cut into wedges. Serve hot with butter and breakfast sides such as bacon, poached eggs, sausages, smoked salmon or smoked trout and accompaniments.

NOTE: This article was published in The Sun on 13 March 2018.