Spuds and sea

Posted on: 3rd April, 2018

Category: A Flavour of West Cork

Contributor: Karen Austin

It’s been a rough start to the growing season for the garden this year.

The snow just about banjaxed what was left of it after the chickens had had their feeding frenzy in February and the freezing temperatures destroyed what was left of the outside crops, apart from the sprouting broccoli which valiantly emerged from a blanket of snow. These plants are quite tall so too high for foraging chickens to feast on and we are enjoying lots of purple green broccoli sprouts.

We held back our seed sowing after the mice moved in to escape from the cold and ate our early seedlings and now we are beginning again. The propagator is on and the tomato seeds are set. We have a few trays with spinach and chard seedlings but otherwise it’s going to be a bit of a wait.

Like everyone in West Cork we were buried in snow, but after sitting out the snow storms, we set off (with the aid of a surf board to transport our bags over the snow) to spend a few days with family in Spain.

The hospitality was mighty and although the sun was shy we had a great visit. We spent a lot of time around the table sharing food including the recipe below.

There’s plenty of fish on the menu in Spain and this month’s recipe is a dish that we enjoyed. It’s called ‘Patates y Mar’, which translates as Spuds and Sea – it sounds far more poetic in Spanish.

These potato and fish combos are popular all over the Mediterranean. This one has a Catalan twist, using smoked paprika and saffron. The version we ate used clams but unless you feel like digging up clams from the estuary substitute mussels. Or leave them out if bivalves don’t tickle your fancy.

It’s the perfect recipe for this time of the year – very simple to make, uses readily available local ingredients and it takes more time to cook than effort in preparation. It’s one of these dishes that you can pop in the oven and then sit close by with the crossword and/or a glass of wine whilst it cooks. The recipe serves two, multiply to suit your diners.

If you are using mussels be sure they are live – they must be firmly closed. Discard any mussels that are damaged or remain open before cooking.

Patates y Mar

Potatoes and Sea


• 500g potatoes – waxy are best

• 1 medium onion

• 75mls olive oil

• pinch saffron

• 25mls hot water

• half tsp sweet smoked paprika

• 6-7 cherry tomatoes

• 300g boneless white fish filets – I used hake

• 150g mussels or clams – a handful

• salt and pepper

• lemon to serve

Pre-heat the oven 180ºc. Peel the potatoes then slice thinly

Peel the onion and slice thinly.

Put the potatoes and onions into a bowl, drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle a little salt and the smoked paprika then toss to mix well. The potatoes should be lightly dressed with the olive oil. Tip the potato and onion mix into an oven proof pan or dish and spread them out evenly.

Put into the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes

Put the saffron into a small bowl and cover with 25mls hot water. This will make the saffron release its colour and flavour.

Clean the mussels and remove any beards. Discard any that are damaged or won’t close

After 30 minutes take the potatoes out of the oven. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and tuck them onto the potatoes then sprinkle the saffron mix over the top.

Put the dish back into the oven for 15 minutes then put the fish and mussels/clams on top of the potatoes. Put back into the oven for another 12-15 minutes. The cooking time of the fish will depend upon how thick the fish filets are.

Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Here’s hoping for some sunshine!


Lettercollum Kitchen Project

22 Connolly Street

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13th April, 2018  ·  

An evening on the 'Balance of Feeling Good' by Clonakilty Gaa Club Health and Wellbeing Committee followed by Guest Speaker, Cork GAA Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy.

Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
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12th April, 2018  ·  

The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing schulldramagroup@gmail.com

For more information please contact hilary.mccarthy6@gmail.com
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9th April, 2018  ·  

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