Tomorrow, across the globe from New York to New Zealand, glasses are being raised to Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. This feast day never really struck a chord with me until I lived in America. When I was a student in Providence, Rhode Island the whole city was a sea of green on March 17th with people drinking pints of lager, dyed green, and eating corned beef and cabbage. If I had a pound for everytime someone said to me: “You probably eat corned beef and cabbage every day of the year back home on the old sod?” I’d be retired in my villa on Lake Como around now.
To my younger self, corned beef came in a tin and my taste buds were still recovering from the reek of school cabbage. Corned beef got its name from the corn kernel sized nuggets of salt used to cure the meat.
Our food scene has come along in Northern Ireland and tomorrow I’ll be celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Borough Market in London. Food NI and Invest NI are organising a two week showcase of food from here and artisan producers will be taking over part of the market to sell their produce.
I’ve included two of the recipes I’ll be cooking and have tried to cram as many of the artisan ingredients into the dishes as possible. The first is for Kennedy bacon chops with smoked barley, grilled cabbage and a homemade beer mustard using Lacada ale. There’s a bit of work involved, the mustard seeds need to soak for a few days, but it’s well worth it in the flavour department.
My other recipe is for a spiced ale cake using Hillstown ale, spices and sticky treacle and syrup. It’s lovely, warm from the oven with the whiskey infused plum cream – the perfect way to celebrate our patron saint.