Monthly Archives: November 2011

Aside

 Ask any wine enthusiast and I am sure that they will agree with me when I say that wine tasting is a sensory seduction.

While professional wine tasters such as sommeliers undertake rigorous examinations to learn how to analyze and best describe the flavors, aromas and general characteristics of wines, for the average wine enthusiast it is much more of a recreational event, allowing oneself to explore the wine world using a less analytical approach but still using similar terminology.

 I believe that a good wine tasting experience should leave you with a sense of achievement. You should walk away with more knowledge about wine, more appreciation and certainly have bought more wine from the vineyards you were in!

 Wine tasting is one activity that never tires me and if this was an Olympic sport, I have no doubt that I would win a gold medal.  The longer I am at a wine tasting, the more developed my sensory skills become.  (This might be due to the fact that I do not spit my wine out in a spittoon!)

 Your first wine tasting experience should be compared to that of a child tasting their first piece of chocolate.  Your general curiosity should leave you wondering, your first taste should leave you so inquisitive, wanting you to immediately know more about where this taste sensation is coming from, how it was created and where you can find a constant supply.  I have been lucky enough to have visited many wine farms and whilst the majority do follow a similar routine when it comes to tastings – a school-like approach, filled to the brim with information and allowing you to be shown how to taste like the connesiours.  I have however had the misfortune of visiting a few wine farms that have not had proper time management.  Allowing for a very brief explanation about the wine that you are sampling and before you have had time to savor the aroma and taste it, the next wine is being introduced.  In my opinion a good wine tasting should take time, you should experience  sitting in a room full of strangers or even good friends, swirling your glasses and sniffing away at aromas that intrigue your imagination, leaving you feeling like a little child.

 A wine tasting should cover the “five S” steps:  see, swirl, sniff, sip and savor.

This is the basic foundation of wine tasting and the quality assessment of a wine should be achieved through the above method.  There are however further  comparisons with recognized standards  that allow wines to be categorized  according to price range, regions, vintages, styles or certain wine making techniques.

 Please find a brief explanation of 5 steps of wine tasting.

 SEE:  This stage is all about color.  By looking at your wine you should be able to distinguish whether you will be sampling a heavy or light wine by distinctive variations in color.   Red wines that are full-bodied and heavier may appear to have a deeper red color.   White wine shades will vary from anything from appearing to have a golden or caramel color to slight off white color. It is recommended that during this stage, you hold your wine glass against a white background and slightly tilt your glass as it allows the color to run.

 SWIRL:  By swirling your wine gently it is exposed to oxygen.  This is done with most wines, with the exception of sparkling wines as it increases the speed at which bubbles are released. You might notice streaks running down the side of your glass after swirling your wine.  These are referred to as legs or tears and are caused due to the surface tension of the wine against the glass and alcohol content.

 SNIFF:  The aromatic experience of a wine is known as a wine bouquet.  As you gently swirl your wine, smell the aromas coming from your glass and write them down.  The first thoughts that come into your mind, as bizarre as you might find them will leave you pleasantly surprised when you overview them later. The aromas that you picked up may appear on what is known as an aroma wheel.  This is a guide that provides a breakdown of aromas that are commonly picked up on during tastings. These may range from spicy smells such as black pepper and cloves or burnt smells such as burnt toast or coffee. 

 SIP:  Taking a small sip of wine allows for flavors to be perceived.  Once inside your mouth, the exposure of heat allows for your taste buds to be saturated and you may experience the texture, taste and weight of the wine.  By slightly opening ones lips and allowing air in, significantly adds to this experience.

A word from the wise:  When I had my first wine tasting, I was extremely concerned when I saw a group of people spitting out their wines they had just tasted. I found it downright rude and offensive to the vineyard we were visiting.  It wasn’t until my good friend explained that it was an uncommon practice for wine tasters to spit their wines out in to what is known as a spittoon and then proceeding to clear their palate and glass with fresh water.

 SAVOR:  The initial sip of wine whether it may tasting a new wine or a good old favorite, always leaves me in a state of reflection.  Savor these moments especially after your tasting and note the feelings that you have from tasting the different variety of wines.

 Wine tasting can be more complex and if you have enjoyed your basic wine tasting, why not ask the person who hosted the tasting for more information on advanced wine tasting classes.  In this day and age, anybody can do a wine course, be it for professional or personal satisfaction.  Ask about your local community if there are any wine clubs and if not, why not start one up yourself!

Once you get involved, start paring cheese and other delectable dishes with your wines and enjoy every minute of it.

 Life is filled with so many learning experiences.  If you get presented with the chance to do so, take on the challenge.  A simple wine tasting will astonish you and remind you how unique your sensory system really is.    Whether you are fortunate to live in a country with a vast array of vineyards and cellars or if you find yourself on a foreign holiday where you can take advantage of visiting a vineyard, it would not be time wasted. 

 CHEERS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wonders of Wine Tasting

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Aside

I have always had a sense of adventure and a day dreamers mind.  As a child I would lock myself away from the rest of the world and cast myself off to be stranded on tropical islands, advise my counsel as a Queen in a medieval castle in the hills of a faraway land and be bewitched by bravery and magick in other realms.  Yes thinking back, it is no wonder I chose a career that would entail travelling.     Having seen such spectacular sights leaves me with an enormous gratitude and a reassurance that the world is truly your oyster.  If I have any advice to give to a young adult who is indecisive on what to do in their life, I would say travel.  Go and learn new cultures, get lost in translation, fall in Love with Life and take a moment to be silent and reflect on what you have seen and experienced and give thanks.

One of my many favorite destinations would be Greece.  There is something extraordinary about this country and its cluster of islands.   No matter how many times I go back, I seem to fall in Love all over again.

Steeped in ancient history, with never-ending stories on Greek mythology to present economic struggles, the moment I arrive in Greece it seems as if all of my troubles melt away.

Now there are many islands that are breathtaking, but Mykonos has a myriad of experiences that excite me.

There is nothing more spectacular than approaching Mykonos by boat in the morning; the crisp cool air fills your lungs with a sense of relaxation and zest for life. The shimmering morning light dances over rippling waves making you feel enchanted; it captivates and allures you, welcoming you to an undeniable Greek experience filled with hospitality and warmth.  You’re blinded by the beauty of the whiter than white washed houses as the sun’s ray’s bounce off them.   You are immediately made welcome by locals who are standing alongside the pier smoking and drinking coffee.  Although it is still early in the morning, restaurants and local Kafeneias (coffee shops) are preparing ahead for another busy day of footfall from locals, celebs, holidaymakers and cruise ship crowds.

Accommodations can range anywhere from luxurious boutique hotels, self-catering apartments to backpacking lodges for those of minimalistic needs.

Roaming the streets of Mykonos is a unique experience.  Prepare yourself to get lost in the labyrinth of white washed houses with Bougainvillea and geraniums adorning them, arts and crafts, chique boutiques and restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries that are hidden in every nook and cranny.  Just when you think you know where you are going. you accidentally walk into one of many exquisitely decorated churches.  They are so beautiful they make you lose track of time!

Locals sit back and smile and laugh at you and there are plenty of Yia-sas  (Hello in Greek) to be said, so prepare yourself.  The streets are always busy and a word to the wise, while you are so busy looking at what is around you, taking in the experience – watch out for those motorcycles that whizz past you and even the odd donkey who has decided that the road is his right of way and will not move for you.

Mykonos by day certainly does hold a great appeal and there is something for everyone to do, but at night this little islands explodes and your inner party animal can choose from a range of trendy nightclubs, stylish bars, restaurants and local tavern’s where you can pop in to see how the locals party it up until the early morning hours.  Mykonos is very well-known for being a gay friendly island and it comes as no surprise that you will be in awe at the many nationalities you will come across on your night on the town.

For those wanting to soak up the sun, Mykonos does boast some beautiful beaches. Anything from beaches where the party does not stop, to beaches dedicated to the fashion of bronzing where you will find sun loungers after sun loungers and the familiar smell of sun tanning lotion. For the more adventurous, why not try the nudist beach up at Paradise Beach.  For the gay community there is the famous Elia beach.  You can also take a boat over to Kalo Livadi and Kalaftis in the southeast of the island if you want to escape the crowds on the beach.

The crème de le crème of Mykonos, actually any Greek island would be the food.  From the moment you lay your eyes of a Greek dish, you are hypnotized.  The aroma simply seeps through your nostrils, tantalizing your taste buds and telling your tummy it’s time to tuck in!  The dishes boast vibrant colors that remind you of an artist’s palette.  From the hot and cold meze’s consisting of combinations of cocktail meatballs, lamb kebabs and calamari to a selection of freshly made dips.  Tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber & garlic) Melitzanosalata (Eggplant) Skordalia (Garlic), Taramosalata (Roe), Olive and Hummus (Chickpea) served with fresh pita and stoned breads.   Meze’s are usually served not necessarily as an appetizer / starter, but usually together with drinks such as Ouzo or Raki which allow friends and family to sit and enjoy their social gathering.

Moussaka is another well-loved dish and is flavorsome and rich made either with meat or as a vegetarian meal.

Greeks love their meat, especially lamb. Meat is served with most dishes and can range from a simple meatball to a doner or shish kebab.  But for vegetarians there are plenty of options and ones not to forget are the roasted vegetables, stuffed vine leaves, Spanakopita (Spinach and Feta pie) and the famous Greek salad, with the huge pieces of feta cheese, fresh ripe tomatoes, olives and onions.

For our fish lovers, you will be in for a treat.  Fishing is a thriving business and you will always see the fishermen out, hauling their nets out and bringing back their catch.  You are guaranteed to always eat fresh fish.  Shellfish are in abundance, calamari crumbles in your mouth and my favorite is the grilled or barbecued sardines.  Nothing beats that fresh sea taste!

Sweet toothes will find themselves in a sugary heaven with the decadent baklava, which consists of layered filo pastry brushed with butter, honey and nuts, lovingly layer by layer.

There is also the traditional Greek yogurt with a dollop of honey for those not too fond of too sweet a treat.

With all of these many gorgeous dishes to choose from, my favorite dish has got to be the simple, humble little gyros.

Yes this little pita bread stuffed with strips of lamb, chicken or pork, tomatoes, chips and smothered in tzatziki or garlic sauce just cannot be beat.

I Love nothing more than sitting down at the pebbled beach front, watching as tourists stroll the beautiful Mykonos waterfront, meandering the many lanes it has to offer, sampling the local cuisine and absorbing the Greek culture and hospitality and eating my gyros.  As I sit savoring my delight, I soak up the last rays of the setting sun and am captivated by magnificence of Mykonos and the generosity of the Greek culture.

 

 

Mad about Mykonos

Fins and Facts

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I have always surrounded myself with the beauty and mystery of the sea.  No matter where my path leads me, my faithful friend is always there as if to remind me of how blessed I was, to be brought up along the wild coast, on the eastern seaboard of Southern Africa.

The mesmerizing beauty of this coastline that seems to stretch on forever, still manages to make me feel humble by the mere thought of it.

Ask any local and they will tell you that the Wild Coast is renowned for the rough and treacherous seas, but boasts breathtaking rocky and rugged terrains, with a lush wilderness of green hills, deep river valleys and lagoons.  It is a truly magical place and it feels as if by some divine force, the hands of time have stood still over this area and it has been left undisturbed and unawakened by the greedy outside world.

Having all of this beauty on my door step, it comes as no surprise that as I was growing up it was drilled into my head that nature should always be treated with respect. I was told that nature would always provide, as long as you helped in return.   As a family we never had materialist wealth and our family outings would always be free, just as Mother Nature intended.  We would go hiking in the valleys, camping out and exploring one of the many lagoons. But my favorite memories would always be anytime spent at the sea.  Swimming in the warm Indian Ocean, smelling that fresh sea breeze, rolling down sand dunes and trying to out run your friends on the soft sand…. I could dream on forever!  The one activity that I Loved most of all, was helping the men on their fishing trips.  Myself and my cousins were sent out to collect bait and the person who would bring back the best and most bait, would get the ultimate prize – a chance to hold one of the esteemed fishing rods and only hope to catch a fish.  Today, I am sure that if this was my incentive for collecting bait…. I’d tell them to do their own dirty work!!  But life was so much simpler back then and with any excuse to be climbing about like a monkey, picking mussels of rocks, looking for cockles or pumping prawns – I was definitely there!

Once all the collecting was done and the real work started, I would sit, watching, waiting for hours for one simple catch!!  I would watch how the men would battle the tempest sea, sometimes struggling to stay grounded.  But no matter what happened, when a fish was caught, it was examined and if it was too small…. It was sent back to their watery homes until they got bigger.  Victory was celebrated around a fire, the catch of the day was descaled, filleted and seasoned and put on the dancing flames of the open fire.   Women, children and men would all gather around the fire to admire the catch and to give thanks to the mighty sea for the food we were about to receive.

It is this love of the sea that has inspired me to write about a very concerning issue that will simply not go away without any action or support from like-minded people, who in turn respect nature and love the sea and all of its mysterious little swimmers and creatures it holds.  Now is the time to help nature.

Overfishing is the practice of fishing which depletes fisheries by catching too many adult fish, therefore not allowing them to breed and replenish their populations.

Decades of overfishing have finally caught up and there is plenty of research proving the detrimental ecological and economical dangers from this. The allure of more money to be made and unselective fishing practices and specific targets on fish species have finally caught the attention of those in power and I certainly hope that it is not too late to save our finned friends.

Specific targeting of a fish species for monetary reasons, have attributed to the near destruction of delicate ecosystems. These people think of nothing further than their next paycheck and they do not seem to care if they wipe out a particular fish species, as they simply move on to the next best paying species.  Will this continue until there are no fish species left?

Due to the greed and inhumanity of overfishing, laws have been implemented, calling for only one type of fish species to be caught as per the license bought.

For the modest non commercial fishing boat that goes out every day to bring back their catch that would sustain their families and local communities with very little self gain this law is not practical at all.

Fishing for one species often means catching another, and in a mixed fishery where many different fish live fisherman cannot control what they catch. Under new laws, if the fish caught are not the correct species they must be thrown overboard. This means that the majority of these discarded fish will ultimately die, leaving the open aired question of why are we wasting unnecessarily?

Another system that has been brought in to try to save our fish is the quota system.  This system is intended to protect fish stocks by allowing a limit of how many fish of a certain species may be caught.

Let me give you an example of a local fisherman who has a license to fish for cod and his quota would allow him to bring back 100.  Once he has completed his catch and counted out his quota, he realizes that he is over by 50 cod.    As per the quota system, fishermen are not allowed to land any of the over-quota fish – even if they were caught unintentionally.   These fish must now be thrown overboard, some might survive and some are already dead as they may not be brought back in to the docks or a substantial fine will await you or even your license revoked.

I know that for most people reading this, you think that you are not directly affected by all of these new laws and regulations due to overfishing because you do not have any fisherman in your family or you do not live in a small community where fishing sustains the small economy.

Whilst this may be partially true as you may not be affected by having your daily livelyhood being broken down by these laws and regulations, you will however,  notice the sharp increase in price of your favorite fishy feasts and some day you will not be able to find them at all.

So you ask what you can do help?  Easy….

Stay informed – Read up on some of the facts of overfishing and how it may be affecting you’re locality.

Treat your taste buds and taste new species of local fish – go down to your local fish monger and ask them what lesser known species are being caught locally and give it a try!

Spread the word – If you are from a fishing community, why not get friends and family involved.  Let your local officials know how your community feels about overfishing and make sure they explain what they are doing to manage your local waters.   Or simply tell everyone about the consequences of overfishing and what other fish species are out there that are eaten less commonly.

Here’s a true classic that has been altered using a more sustainable fish*

*Starring the oily wonder Mackerel which is rich in Selenium, Vit. B12, Niacin and is low in sodium.

Eating Mackerel can aid in cell repair, maintain healthy reproductive, nervous and cardiovascular systems.

Barbecued Mackerel with a zesty drizzle, chunky crisp chips and pea, feta & mint mash

Ingredients

4 small whole mackerel, gutted and cleaned

3 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil

FOR THE ZESTY DRIZZLE

1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 small fresh ginger knob, finely chopped

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons honey

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 fresh limes

1 Teaspoon Sesame oil

1 Teaspoon Thai fish sauce

Light a barbecue and allow the flames to die down and get cool.  You will know when it has cooled down because the ashes would have gone white.

Make your drizzle by whisking 3 Tbsp olive oil and all the other ingredients together in a small bowl.

Put your Mackerel on the barbecue for +- 5 minutes on each side until they are charred and the eyes have turned white.

Spoon the drizzle over the fish and allow to stand for 2-3 minutes before serving

For good chunky chips, get some good size potatoes and cut into thick chips. (1-2 potatoes per person) Par boil in a pan of salted water for 5-10 minutes until just tender.  Drain and pat dry with a tea towel.

Place onto a roasting pan and generously drizzle with olive oil, freshly ground sea salt and black pepper.

Toss them to coat in the oil and flavorings.  Cook them in an oven on a temperature of 210 degrees Celsius and keep turning them until they are golden and crispy.  When they are done place them on kitchen paper to absorb oil and serve immediately with your mackerel and mash.

Pea, Feta & Mint Mash

A slight variation on the English version of “Mushy peas” and in my opinion much tastier.

Ingredients

500g peas (Fresh is always better)

100g crumbly feta cheese

¼ cup of fresh mint leaves, finely sliced

Juice of one freshly squeezed lemon

Dash of extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Place the peas in a saucepan of cold water and bring to a simmer for +- 3 minutes.

Drain well and place in your serving bowl.

Crumble the feta into the peas then use a fork to mash them coarsely.

Stir in the mint and lemon juice and drizzle with the olive oil.

Serve warm.

The combination of the zesty drizzle, the mackerel’s oiliness with crisp chunky chips and the fresh aftertaste of the mint in the mash are simply delectable. Enjoy this feast with friends and family in the splendor of nature and give thanks!

Aside

Eggs leave me thinking back to my childhood.  When I was growing up we had an endless supply of eggs.  In actual fact we never ran out of eggs and I started to suspect my Mother had a secret chicken coop that I didn’t know about.  My Mother was a fantastic cook and she could whip up a meal out of almost anything and would leave us begging to lick up the morsels left over in the bottom of the pot. But she was never fanatical about cooking breakfast and lunch, hence the constant supply of eggs.  Eggs for breakfast & lunch were an excellent choice…. as long as you were prepared to scrub the frying pan clean.  I was told that eating my eggs for breakfast would give me energy and I would be able to concentrate at school.  My Mother was not wrong at all. In fact, my family were all a bunch of egg heads come to think of it!  My Grandfather would crack open an egg and mix this with a bottle of lucozade (an orange-colored fizzy energy drink) and have this every morning religiously.   He maintained that it gave him stamina for the day, I never saw him sitting still.  I tried the combination once.  Please note that I only tried this once and never again.

My Father loved eggs and his egg delicacy would have been poached eggs.  Being a military man, he adopted the mind frame of taking an ordinary task such as poaching an egg and turning it into a step by step mission.  When my Father was in the kitchen he demanded silence and if you were running around or making a noise, you were sent out.   He monitored everything with precision and would only insert the eggs into the boiling water when the bubbles were the right size!!  I know it sounds crazy, but it made him happy and we left him be.  But the strangest combination for his poached eggs delicacy would be that he would cut a thick slice of fresh white bread, cut off the crusts and lightly smear with a coating of butter and mustard.  He would then take the bread slice and soak it in milk.  When the bread was soggy enough for him, he would take his poached egg and put it on top, add salt & pepper and a dash of  worcestershire sauce.  As odd as this may sound, it tastes absolutely divine. The combination of the warm oozing egg yolk into the soggy white bread leaves you feeling all warm inside.  Just as this comforting feeling starts to linger, the strong tang of the mustard whips your taste buds back into reality.

 So this is where my dilemma comes in.  I am at a stage of life where I want to ensure that my health is optimal and that I eat all the right foods to ensure that I have all the vitamins & minerals needed.

I have many friends who are dedicated to their nutrition and I would take on any advice that they would give to me in a heartbeat, but when they started warning me about the negative points of eating eggs I felt a pang of sorrow as I did not want to bid farewell to my childhood friends.  Now I have been told that eating eggs can lead to high cholesterol and that you should only eat the egg whites. But I decided to stand up for the misunderstood egg and look into a few interesting facts that might clear up some of the misconceptions about these little oval delicacies.

In this day and age, I am sure that most people will agree that finding a power food for the right price is always a positive!  Eggs are great value for money and are used to transform dishes from good to gastronomical glory.

Did you know that eggs are great for the eyes and eating an egg a day may lower the risk of developing cataracts due to the lutein and zeaxanthin content. 

Starting your day with an eggy breakfast can help maintain your weight and may lead to some weight loss as the high protein content will help you keep fuller for longer.

The Choline found in eggs can contribute towards better brain function in adults.

Although eggs do contain a certain amount of fat, in recent studies it is believed that by maintaining a balanced diet and lifestyle, regular consumption of two eggs per day should not affect a person’s lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it. Research suggests that it is saturated fat that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol.

Our little hardheaded friends are loaded with Vitamins & Minerals promoting healthy immune systems, assisting in energy production, development and maintenance of healthy bones and raising antioxidant levels.

 So there you have it, some of the reasons why you should put all your eggs in one basket and eat away.

If you’re a poached egg lover like I am, here is a tasty twist on an old favorite that might tempt you:

PS:  This dish has a bit of a kick to it, thanks to the paprika, chili flakes & coriander….. Minimize the amounts if you’re not fond of the hot stuff…. I call it ….

The Morning After Eggs

 Ingredients

2 Whole Eggs

1 Tablespoon White Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon crushed garlic

½ Cups Natural Greek yogurt

½ teaspoon Paprika

Sprinkle of Chili flakes

Ground Black Pepper

Chopped Coriander or a herb of your choice

Brown seeded bread

Directions

Bring your water to the boil and add the vinegar (This will help your egg not run when placed in the water)

Carefully add your eggs and cook for 3-5 minutes. 

 Mix the yogurt and garlic together and put to one side.

Mix oil and paprika (make sure that you save some paprika for a sprinkle over your eggs at the end)

Spoon the yogurt mix onto the brown seeded bread and add your poached eggs.

Sprinkle the paprika that you put to one side over your eggs.  Add your salt, pepper and chili flakes.

Pour the oil and paprika mixture over the eggs.

Top with finely chopped coriander or the herb of your choice.

 Best enjoyed the morning after an indulgent night! Serve with a freshly brewed pot of coffee or a blended combination of orange, carrot & ginger to get you started for the day. Or a stong Bloody Mary!!

The Misunderstood Egg

Creature Comforts

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I work at sea.  I am not a sailor as such; I don’t do any of the physical work that a sailor does!  I work onboard a floating hotel, otherwise known as a 5 star luxury cruise liner and unlike my fellow sailors from years before there is certainly no shortage of food onboard my vessel!  I found my sea legs about 7 years ago and have enjoyed sightseeing in so many different ports of call around the world. 

Now with the Christmas season fast approaching, myself and my Fiancé will be spending our Christmas onboard. This means that we will have an endless variety of foods to pick and choose from.  I know that this may seem like any food fanatics dream. But it can be quite difficult at times trying to make one’s mind up what to have for dinner.  Especially when there is always such a large variety to choose from, the options are truly endless and you never eat the same meal twice.  Simplicity is certainly lost when it comes to cuisine onboard a cruise liner as everything is prepared for passengers to enjoy as if they were dining in a top notch restaurant. 

What inspired me to write this blog today is what happened yesterday.  We started talking about not being home for Christmas and the longing for normal home cooked food and not silver service. After all the talking I started to feel homesick.  As my Fiancé is Irish and I am South African, I have adopted Ireland as my new home.    We have both been raised within our different cultures and traditions and are two completely different people in most regards.  But when it comes to our favorite comfort food, without a shadow of a doubt we both agree that it has to be mashed potatoes. 

Now I am not a huge potato lover, unlike my Irishman.   I swear that if Potatoes could be worshipped in Ireland, they would.  I have not met one Irishman or woman who does not like potatoes.  The first time I ever had dinner at my future in-laws I really had to try to contain the fits of laughter when I saw not one but THREE different potato dishes on my plate.  Champ, roasted and dauphinoise potatoes.

Yes it is all hail the potato in Ireland….to be sure, to be sure!   So before I get back to our favorite comfort food, I just wanted to praise the potato and educate all on some of the different types of potatoes found in Ireland and their most popular uses.

Did you know that potatoes are an excellent source of starch and contain no fat – only if they are boiled or baked.      
The nutritional value per 100 grams raw potato are as follows:

Vitamin C           11 milligrams
VitaminB6         .44                                                                                       Carbohydrate   17.2grams                                                                                                                                                                                 Thiamine       0.21milligrams                                                                                                                                                                                  Folate        35milligrams                                                                                EnergyKCals   75                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fibre         1.3 grams

There are up to 8 different types of potatoes in Ireland of which Rooster, Kerr’s Pink and British Queen are the most popular.

The Rooster potato is oval in shape with a very distinguishing red skin and has a floury yellow flesh. These gems are extremely versatile and can be used all round from boiling to chipping! Kerr’s Pink potato has an irregular round shape with a distinctive pink skin with a white floury flesh and is best for boiling, baking and chipping. British Queens are another popular variety in Ireland and they are oval in shape with pale sink and floury white flesh.  Best for boiling, baking, roasting and chipping.

On one of my very first outings with my future Husband and his Parents, we drove past a few random signs alongside the road that were marked, PINKS AND QUEENS.  Of course, me being none the wiser – I asked my new family if they knew about the Pinks and Queens event that was being so well advertised alongside the road.  Well I made an absolute fool out of myself and they all started to laugh at me. (In actual fact, they still do)  As we went over another rolling hill on the road, there it was as large as life – A road side stall selling their finest Pink and Queen POTATOES.

So without further a due and praise given to the mighty Irish potato, I will let you know how we Love to make our favorite comfort food – Mashed potato.

This recipe makes +- 2 servings

PS:  This is not for persons who are watching their weight or cholesterol, what makes this recipe so great is the fact that is so simple to make and you can make your mash as creamy as you want!

Ingredients

3-4   Good size Potatoes peeled and chunked  (One potato on average is 150g)
 Full fat milk or cream (preferably warm – +- 80-100ml) you can reduce the milk/cream if you do not like your mashed potatoes to creamy or add more milk to make a creamier consistency.                                                                                                    A chunk of unsalted Butter – I usually add +- 2-3 Tablespoons  (Once again depends on your own taste, butter adds a seductive shine to the mashed potatoes and it tastes so yummy)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Salt and pepper                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1-2 Spring Onion leaves finely chopped

Directions

Bring a large pan on salted water to the boil and insert the peeled and chunked potatoes.                                                                                                                                                                                                          When they are soft enough, drain them throughly and mash them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Take a wooden spoon and beat the milk / cream and butter through the mashed potatoes.                                                            
Add the spring onions and season with salt or pepper.

 If you really want to indulge, add a few shavings of Parmesan cheese according to taste!

Best eaten in your pajamas, sitting in front of a roaring fire while it is pouring down with rain outside.

 *Special thanks to Bord Bia (Irish Food Board) for their nutritional value & interesting facts on potatoes.             www.bordbia.ie