Eat Only Irish for a Week- begins tomorrow, Monday 9th May 2011.
At first, the mind boggles- how could you possibly manage? On further consideration, it’s only two generations since all our people (with the exception of the wealthier ones) ate only Irish all the time. Surely we can do it again?
Driving from Galway to Dublin last evening through the landscape illuminated between showers by the tracery of the Hawthorn bush, an Sceach gheal, some ideas came to mind.
Pancakes seem to have become associated with Shrove Tuesday, but in our house they have always been the breakfast staple for children going out to play sport, or for a late family brunch. Buttermilk pancakes require none of the finesse of cooking crepes-any child over seven can make them. Once you get the heat of the pan right- neither too hot nor too cool- you can’t go wrong. They’re great for a weekend away camping or on a hired boat- just measure the dry ingredients into labelled Ziploc bags before leaving home and add the wet ingredients just before cooking.
These quantities make 15-20 pancakes. The usual serving is 3-5 each (and upwards after a late night!), so make a double quantity if you have more than four people to feed. As the cook does not get to leave his/her station until all the pancakes are made, it can make sense to run two pans side by side.
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- ½ cup fine wholemeal flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon bread soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
- Frozen Blackberries
- Stewed apple
- Irish honey
- Glenisk natural yogurt
(outside of Eat Only Irish for a Week, serve with imported chopped bananas, maple syrup, chopped nuts…whatever you like. Next month, buy Irish strawberries, raspberries, loganberries etc, or, better still, pick them from your own garden)
- Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
- In another bowl whisk eggs, add buttermilk and mix well.
- Add wet ingredients to dry , mixing well.
- At the same time, melt the butter on a pancake pan, then whisk into mixture
- Keep butter by the hob to regrease the pan ever so lightly after every batch of pancakes.
- Use one ladle of pancake batter for each pancake.
Heat pan to a high-medium heat, cook pancakes for a few minutes on one side, then turn with a fish slice. Don’t leave the pan as they cook quickly and could burn. The second side cooks in one or two minutes.
-Odlum’s used to mill fine ground wholemeal. It disappeared from the shelves during the boom so I e-mailed them to ask why. The response was that less people were baking, and that demand had dropped. The one I use since then is available in Northern Ireland- the pancakes taste much better with some fine wholemeal flour. Let’s hope that Odlum’s find it worth their while to begin milling it again, now that the boom is over.
– Every grain of sugar consume in Ireland is now imported. Gone are the pyramids of sugar beet stacked on the roadside in September, waiting for the sugar factory lorry to collect them. Sugar beet grow well in Irish soil- it’s a disgrace that we have to buy imported sugar, and that our labelling laws allow misleading signs on its packaging.
– Cinnamon is included even though it came a long way from Sri Lanka. You can leave it out if you’re a purist. I’m allowing myself the flexibility to drink imported coffee and tea next week rather than go into withdrawal ….it is a compromise but the Hippocratic principle applies in my kitchen as in other areas – “First, Do no Harm”
-My Sister-in-law, Gina, gathered the first honey from her first hive last week. It tastes unbelievably good, with an amazing complexity of flavour. Hard to believe that her bees created it in Drumcondra- she reckons they must know their way to the Botanic Gardens! Thanks to her honey, these pancakes were the best we have ever tasted.