Potatoes for Paddy’s Day

Posted on: 7th March, 2017

Category: A Flavour of West Cork

Contributor: Karen Austin

Lettercollum Kitchen Project, 22 Connolly Street, Clonakilty www.lettercollum.ie Karen@lettercollum.ie

This years’ walkabout has taken us to the Canaries – not the blistering heat of Asia but some very pleasant winter sunshine.

There are similarities to Ireland – both islands are in the Atlantic and have the same longitude. There are storms that smash the coasts and rearrange the beaches but after that, apart from a shared love of spuds, they are quite different.

We’ve visited La Gomera and La Palma, small volcanic islands that are so steep that in crossing from one side of the island to the other your ears pop. The hills are terraced, and bananas, grapes and avocados grow in improbable places. The valleys are green and on close inspection are full of vegetables and potatoes.

Potatoes definitely rule. Wherever you sit for dinner potatoes arrive to the table accompanied by mojos. They are not known as potatoes, nor patates, which is Spanish for spuds, but papas. We went into a shop and asked for a half kilo of patates and were told ’we have no patates, we have papas! The smaller and more ugly the spud, the more prized is the papa.

The Canarian potato dish is called Papas Arrugadas, which translates to ‘wrinkled potatoes’. Traditionally cooked in seawater, as fresh water was often in short supply, they have wrinkled salt encrusted skins.

Very simple and very tasty, they are served with mojo rojo (red Sauce) and mojo verde (green sauce) There are plenty of variations for these sauces, so I have selected recipes with easy-to-get ingredients in Ireland and if you want to be really authentic you could always pop down to the beach for some seawater.

These sauces actually look orange and green, which together with the potatoes make up the colour of the Irish flag, so I thought this would be an appropriate recipe for the March edition of WCP to celebrate St. Patrick’s day.

Papas Arrugadas with Mojo

• 1kg small potatoes – not too floury

• 2tbs sea salt – leave this out if you’ve picked up sea water

Wash the potatoes in their skins, put them in a saucepan in a single layer and barely cover with water, add the salt and bring to the boil, then simmer until the potatoes are just cooked. Drain the water, then leave the potatoes on a very low heat, moving them gently about until all the water has evaporated and the potatoes are covered in a layer of sea salt.

Mojo Rojo – red sauce

• 2 red peppers, deseeded and chopped

• 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

• 2-4 red chillies  – roughly chopped – remove seeds if you don’t like spicy

• 1 tsp salt

• 2tbs red wine vinegar

• 100mls olive oil

• 1 tsp ground cumin

• 1 slice old bread, crusts removed and crumbled

Put all of the above into a food processor or smoothie bullet and buzz until smooth

Mojo Verde – green sauce

• 2 green peppers , deseeded and chopped

• 1 cup fresh coriander or parsley, roughly chopped

• 3-4 cloves garlic

• 1 tsp salt

• 2tbs wine vinegar

• 100mls olive oil

• 1tsp ground cumin

• 1 slice old bread, crusts removed and crumbled

Put all of the above into a food processor or smoothie bullet and buzz until smooth.

Serve with the potatoes. To eat, crack the potato open and dunk in the sauce

These sauces will keep for a couple of weeks covered in the fridge and are also tasty with grilled fish, chicken or roasted vegetables.

By the time you read this we will be back in Ireland and busy planting our spuds but for the moment, sunny greetings!

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.

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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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