Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Eight Ways with Baked Potatoes – Recipe 6 of 12 from Enjoy!

The humble spud.  A divine medium to be elevated, cajoled, flourished, transformed in whatever direction you chose.  Mash, Champ, Deep-fry, Roast, Gratin, Dauphinoise, Hasselback, Gnocchi, Rosti, Hash, Boxty or as is here kept simple and straightforward baked in its skin until a crispy edible shell beholds a smooth creamy innard that deserves to be adorned.  Here I crown it with Irish Wicklow Blue Brie, Cranberry Sauce and a garnish of chives which will be a simple way come Christmas time to use up that extravagant cheese-board selection and those extra  jars of ‘just in case’ cranberry sauce.
irish wicklow blue brie
cranberry sauce
baked potatoes
In my cookbook Enjoy! I offer 8 alternative ways to serve baked potatoes and it makes a fabulously easy Saturday supper.

Eight Ways with Baked Potatoes
You will need / Method:
Large baking potatoes (I normally use Roosters)
Pre-heat oven to 200oC
Bake scrubbed potatoes (skin on) for 45 minutes to an hour  (depending on size) (push a knife into the centre and it should glide easily when done)
Then indulge with lashings of melted butter, salt and pepper
Or serve in any of the 8 following ways:

  1. Heated kidney beans with chopped red chilli, sprinkled with chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and finished with a dollop of Greek yoghurt


  1. Spiced ratatouille – soften some chopped onions, garlic, peppers and celery in oil with a dash of smoked paprika


  1. Herby lentils – simply soften a chopped onion in a little oil with some herbes de Provence, then add a tin of drained lentils and heat it through


  1. Brie, cranberry sauce and rocket leaves


  1. Crispy fried pancetta, grated Parmesan and rocket leaves


  1. Basil pesto and diced cooked chicken breast with halved cherry tomatoes


  1. Garlic butter and peppered sweetcorn kernels – heat a tin of sweetcorn, add a knob of garlic butter and season generously with freshly ground salt and black pepper


  1. Halved black olives, feta cubes, sliced beef tomato, sliced red onion and a drizzle of rapeseed oil

    No.4 being the simplest is my favourite embellished with a scattering of chives!
    baked potato close up
    ‘Til next time, Sheila

Posted in Dinner Party

Irish Cheese Board

The next time you need to stock a cheese board, you can smugly load it with these goodies in the knowledge that they were good enough for HM Queen Elizabeth II.  These 4 Irish cheeses were selected by Ross Lewis of Chapter One (Michelin Star restaurant in Dublin) to serve at the State Dinner held at Dublin Castle on the occasion of the Queen’s visit to Ireland last week.
Irish Cheeses on board
I’m lucky enough to live close to Cork City and bought all of the cheeses from On The Pig’s Back in The English Market.  I called in there last Saturday and the place was still buzzing after the Royal Visit to the market on Friday.  Every stall-holder had a story of where HM had stopped and what she had said it was great to see what a huge, visible boost it has given to the market.
The cheese biscuit of choice for the State Dinner was Ditty’s Irish Oatmeal Biscuits and according to their website they are due to be available to buy online soon.  In the meantime there are Southern stockists close to me (Ditty’s is based in Castledawson, Northern Ireland) but as yet I haven’t had a chance to try them. I have, however, tasted Gubbeen Farmhouse Cheese Oatcakes which are made by Robert Ditty using Gubbeen Cheese but they had been sold out in the market last Saturday.  Not being able to get my hands on Ditty’s oatmeal biscuits I bought some beautifully packaged Island Bakery organic Savoury Seed Oatcakes that hale from the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland.
Island Bakery oatcakes
These were perhaps a bit of a rich companion with the seeds being a little competitive in the flavour department with the cheese so I would opt for plain oatcakes next time.  Having said that I did love the Savoury Seed Oatcakes and would buy them again.
The four cheeses as pictured here are :
Irish Cheese
(back left) Knockdrinna (semi-firm goat’s milk cheese)***
(back right) Cashel Blue (semi-soft blue cheese – cow’s milk)
(front right) Glebe Brethan (hard comte style – raw cow’s milk)
(front left) Milleens (semi-soft, washed rind – pasteurised cow’s milk)
***NOTE***Sheridans Cheesemongers ( who supplied the cheese for the State Dinner informed me that the Knockdrinna cheese pictured here isn’t the one used on the night – they selected Kilree which is a new softer Knockdrinna cheese.  I will post a picture when I get my hands on some!


Incidentally my actual cheese board is Irish too and was a present from my sister many years ago.  It has been nicely seasoned thanks to the dishwasher (loaded in by the mysterious dishwasher loading fairy) and has lost its knife holder.  I can still make out the maker’s stamp though and it’s by Con Doyle – now trading as Cormac Doyle Woodcraft and stocked by who are having a closing down sale so a few bargains to be had over there at the moment.
Til next time,