There are so many things you can do with potatoes, especially when making side dishes. Just ask my family what their favourite potato recipes are and you will get a whole host of replies. Fries! Mashed potatoes! Uh…how about more fries? Yes, there is no shortage of potato-related ideas luckily, but one thing I love to do with the humble potato is make colcannon, a typical Irish dish which pairs with just about everything. This is basically mashed potatoes with cabbage and cheese. It’s important to use a good cheese, and I’ve found the Kerrygold brand to be perfect here. In fact, I often add a little extra cheese to the mix.
Along with the cabbage and cheese, I add milk, salt, onion, butter and black pepper, and those are all the ingredients you’re going to need to get that Irish flavour just right. As for toppings, why not crumble some bacon on top or add some spring onions or chives for a splash of colour? Serve this with anything from sausages or pork chops to steak, chicken or even a hardy fish like cod or salmon. Yes, the bacon does complement the fish believe it or not!
Some people might want to try kale instead of the cabbage and that’s also fine (of course the Irish are more associated with their cabbage than their kale, these days you’ll find ‘anything goes’ so simply add your favourite green vegetable). Serve this instead of your usual plain mash, and see how everyone loves the cheese and bacon additions. In fact, this tastes so good I bet your kids won’t even notice you sneaked that cabbage in there! Try it and see. Continue reading
Chips as they are known in the UK or fries as they are known in the US are always good and they go with everything. Can you think of a meal that wouldn’t be better with a few fries on the side? No, nor can I! Think of Britain and what comes to mind – ah yes of course, fish and chips! That is probably the most famous British dish. But have you heard of chip butties? They are just as well-loved. A ‘butty’ is an English term for a sandwich on buttered bread. Chip butties originated in Liverpool and are typical in the north of the UK, but these days you’ll find them as a staple in pubs all over Britain.
Other names for the chip butty include chip sandwich, chip barm, chip cob, chip roll, chip batch, or even chip muffin, and ‘butty’ is a contraction of ‘bread and butter’ which are the two key ingredients. This used to be a working class lunch or dinner (bread and potatoes are very cheap) but these days it’s more of a snack. Even if you are somewhere they don’t sell chip butties, get some chips or fries, ask for some bread, and make your own!
Wander into a bar in the US and you will probably not have much luck ordering a chip butty, although Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh is famous for their sandwiches with fries (and will add fries to every sandwich unless you say not to) and Burger King made a version of the chip butty for a short while. The traditional way of enjoying a chip butty is to use soft white baps (buns) and toss the finished chips in plenty of salt. Then you can layer them in the buttered bread and add some ketchup or mayo on top, and maybe even a little malt vinegar (the dark kind not the light one) for that perfect British taste! Continue reading
This tasty English recipe is traditionally made with mashed potatoes and vegetables left over from the Sunday roast dinner. The main ingredients are of course potatoes and vegetables, and you can use any vegetables you wish, with carrots, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and peas being typical ones. These ingredients are combined with some fried onion (this is optional but we love to add onion to ours for extra flavour) and salt and black pepper for an easy side dish. The next time you make a roast dinner, make sure you cook enough to have leftovers, because this is well worth making, I promise you!
We often don’t seem to have leftovers because my husband and I appreciate great food and we have 4 growing boys who seem to be hungry most of the time. So even when I cook ‘enough to feed an army’ the food seems to vanish quickly! However, it’s worth making extra so you can make bubble and squeak. Failing that, you don’t have to use leftovers. You can cook mashed potatoes and veggies just so you can make this yummy side dish.
Some people make one big one and then cut it into wedges but I like to make individual cakes. Dip them in flour before frying so you get a nice crust on them and they can be flipped without breaking into pieces. This was a popular recipe during World War II because it was a simple way of converting leftovers into something yummy when most foods were of course subject to rationing. Try them with ketchup. One of my English friends says she likes to serve these with bacon and fried eggs at breakfast time. Continue reading
Every British chef (or British food fan who loves to cook) knows how to roast beef, pork or chicken or cook sausages, fish or another protein, but what about the side dish? What tasty side dish is the best to prepare and serve with perfectly cooked, juicy meat, poultry or fish? Actually there are plenty of British side dish options, and although some unfortunate British generations of bygone years might shudder, recalling soggy boiled sprouts, cabbage or carrots without much fondness, these days British side dishes and vegetables are more about crispiness over sogginess, flavour over blandness, and new, fresh ideas.
Gone are the days when soggy, over-boiled vegetables, a piece of meat and a miserly spoonful of gravy could be called a ‘dinner’ (and this is one reason the Brits do not miss the days of rationing!) These days, all kinds of meats are available, along with vegetables from all over the globe. Sometimes though, it is better to stick to simple recipes – take this basic potato, mushroom and garlic side dish, for instance.
All you need are sliced potatoes and mushrooms, garlic, and some oil and salt. Parsley goes well too. Gather these ingredients and you can make a simple yet supremely satisfying side dish which is sure to complement any protein, be it meat, poultry, fish, seafood or even a vegetarian alternative. The potatoes are pan-fried in oil until crispy, and then the mushrooms, parsley and garlic are added. Cook until the potatoes are tender and crispy, then add a little salt and serve. Omit the garlic if you do not like it, or the parsley if you do not have any. Use baby bella mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms or another kind. Continue reading
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