Sun 24 Mar 2013
As I sit here typing this blog post, I’m looking outside at the wind and rain and bracing myself for the sleet that is forecasted for this evening. If Irish people are buying that this is Spring, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. The only thing that’s Spring-y about this weather is, well, nothing.
Still, it could be worse. And despite Mountaineering Man’s grumblings about the cruel and unrelenting Irish weather (and financial crisis and corrupt politicians), I still love it here. It’s funny how many times a day I get the OMG WHY DID YOU MOVE HERE FROM LOS ANGELES double-take from stunned Irish people. It’s typically followed by a statement about how bad things are here and how they can’t imagine why anyone would actually want to move to Ireland.
The sentiment I get from blog readers abroad is the complete opposite. I get a dozen emails every week from people all over the world who are dying to live here. They dream of the rolling green hills, the cosy pubs and great Irish craic and they ask me a lot of questions about how they can make that dream a reality. Their love and admiration for the country is palpable; they speak of Ireland with the kind of dreamy enthusiasm that many express about places like Paris, Tuscany and Manhattan.
Sometimes it seems Ireland needs a boost in its self-esteem; it’s a bit like the girl who can’t take a compliment and always retorts with something negative whenever someone says something nice to her. Everyone: “You look amazing today!” Ireland: “No way, I look FAT.” I realise the grass is always greener, and you always want what you don’t have, but Ireland is a very special place and I wish more people here could see that.
Stuffed Curried Irish Potatoes
Ah, the humble potato – I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as many or even thought about potatoes as much as I have since I’ve moved here. It’s one of Ireland’s greatest treasures, despite their unsuspecting appearance. There are waxy ones and floury ones and it seems every Irish person has fifty different ways of preparing this humble tuber. We often cut them into cubes, toss with some olive oil and herbs and bake at a very high temperature, but this week I thought I’d try something different and really make the Irish potato shine. This is a fairy easy recipe and happens to be vegan and very healthy – I hope you enjoy it. I get a lot of potato inspiration from The Daily Spud, a must-read for potato lovers! There are tons of spud-tastic recipes there, so check it out.
4 baking potatoes
1 sweet potato
2 carrots, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 teaspoons red curry paste
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup vegetable stock
Parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 190C degrees. Wash and scrub the baking potatoes and sweet potato and pat dry. Rub olive oil on the exterior of all the potatoes and sprinkle with sea sat. Put onto a baking tray and bake for an hour, or until a knife pierced into the center goes in easily. Remove and let cool.
While the potatoes are baking, heat up a teaspoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add in the carrots and onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Toss in the garlic and peas and cook for another 3 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut each in half and scrape out the insides carefully, using a spoon. Put the potato innards into a large bowl and put the skins on a baking tray, except the sweet potato – once you scrape out the insides you can discard the skin. Using a fork, lightly mash the potatoes until combined and then add in the cooked vegetables, curry paste, curry powder and spices. Drizzle in the vegetable stock – you may not need all of it or you may need a bit more – until the mixture is creamy and easy to scoop, but do not overwork it. Season with sea salt to taste.
Scoop the filling into the skins and place back into the oven and bake for 20 minutes (at the same temp of 190C). Serve with a dollop of natural yogurt if you want, or soya yogurt if you want to keep this vegan. Garnish with parsley.