Friday, March 16, 2012

Colcannon (Irish Potatoes)

Colcannon is an Irish dish of boiled, mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage or kale and flavored with leeks, shallots or onions, cream or milk and butter. 

Not only is it delicious but it's a great way to get extra veggies in your diet.  If you're like me and still like to play with your food, you can shape it into four leaf clovers with the back of a teaspoon!

It is wonderful served family style as well,

 or topped with boneless, lightly breaded and fried pork chops.  We had this for dinner a little over a week ago and everyone loved it, except for Ashton.   I'm sure it would be perfect with corned beef!

Colcannon is a word derived from the Gaelic cal ceannann' which literally means white headed cabbage.  Colcannon's earliest reference dates to 1735 when a William Bulkely of Bryndda made two trips to Dublin at that time.  The potato and cabbage dish was introduced to England in the 18th century and became a favorite among the upper classes.

Irish tradition associates Colcannon with Halloween festivities where it was used as a purpose of marriage divination.  A charm would be hidden in a bowl of colcannon as portents of marriage proposal should an unmarried girl be lucky enough to find it.  Others would fill their socks with a spoonful of colcannon and hang it from the door handle, believing that the first man through the door would become their future husband.  Hmmm...don't know about that one.   I'd hate to wear those socks...or wash them!


1 1/2 lbs chopped cabbage or about 2 10 oz bags
8 medium potatoes  (about 2 lbs)
3 leeks
1 1/3 cup milk
1 cup butter divided
1 pinch ground mace 
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chives or green onions for garnish

Boil cabbage until tender, drain and set aside, covered to keep warm.
Chop leeks from the whites up to the dark green leaves (don't use those) and put in a skillet.  Pour milk over and simmer, covered, until tender.  Stir occasionally to keep milk from scalding.
Peel and boil potatoes until tender.  Drain and mash with 1/2 cup butter, a pinch of mace and salt and pepper (I salt and pepper liberally with this dish).  Stir in cabbage, leek and milk mixture.   Traditionally this is served by making well in individual servings,  filling the well with a little melted butter.  Sprinkle with chives or green onions.

Colcannon can also be made with a little ham or bacon chopped up and added to the mixture.  Topped with cheese, and then baked, it is extra yummy!

(legend is that a four-leaved Shamrock is of such rarity that it will endue the finder with magic power)
by Dublin poet, musician, artist
~Samuel Lover~

I'll seek a four-leaved shamrock in all the fairy dells,
And if I find the charmed laves, oh, how I'll weave my spells!
I would not waste my magic might on diamond, pearl, or gold,
For treasure tires the weary sense, such triumph is but cold;
But I would play the enchanter's part, in casting bliss around - 
Oh! not a tear, nor aching heart, should in the world be found!

To worth I would give honor!  I'd dry the mourner's tears,
And to the pallid lip recall the smile of happier years,
And hearts that had been long estranged, and friends that had grown cold,
Should meet again - like parted streams - and mingle as of old;
Oh! thus I'd play the enchanter's part, thus scatter bliss around,
And not a tear, nor aching heart, should in the world be found!

The heart that had been mourning o'er vanish'd dreams of love,
Should see them all returning - like Noah's faithful dove,
And Hope should launch her bless'd bark on Sorrow's darkening sea,
And Misery's children have an ark, and saved from sinking be;
Oh! thus I'd play the enchanter's part, thus scatter bliss around,
And not a tear, nor aching heart, should in the world be found!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special 
Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday
Friday Inspiration At The Picket Fence 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My House Featured at No Minimalist Here

I wanted to let you all know that my house is being featured this week at No Minimalist Here.  Sherry mentions that we have lived here for less than a year, which is true.  For those of you new to my blog or coming over from No Minimalist Here, I thought I'd share a link to photos of the house as we found it HERE, and since  I haven't shown you this room yet I thought I'd post a few photos of the portion I can show right now.  The portion I can get to that is! =) This room has been taken over by Ethan temporarily, as he and Michael moved back in with us for a few months.  I won't show you more than this because it's consumed with his clothes and belongings piled in every corner and the couch he has made into his bed...until April 4th when he and Michael move back out! 

This armoire/bookcase is a piece of furniture I have come to like more and more over the past couple of years.  This is one of my few Craigs List finds.  It's a true antique from France and I think it's the heaviest piece we own.  I like big pieces of furniture, much to my husband's and sons dismay! Most of you don't know this, but not only have we moved this past year, we have moved 7 times in the last 10 years!!!  And, that includes one out of state move and moving my entire business / dish inventory each time which equates to a move in and of itself.    We have moved ourselves each time so we are quite proficient but I can also say we are quite tired of doing so.  I'm ready to have my own home and stay put!  Someday I'll write more about some of those past experiences.

I think that the hinges on the doors are fairly unique and whether that's the case or not, it is one of the things I love about this piece of furniture.  They are on the outside and run the entire length of the doors.

This room adjoins the dining room so I continued on with the brown transferware in here.  I have a collection of brown transfer printed pitchers from the Aesthetic Movement (all but the one on the far left) displayed across the top of the case.

To either side of the bookcase/armoire I have some half moon shaped French tables.  They are dressed with family photos and some of my favorite lamps with brown velvet burn out shades.  I love the paisley design!

I hope you all will go over to Sherry's and see the rest of the home tour!  Thank you Sherry for choosing to share my home on your gorgeous blog!

I'll see you tomorrow with a St. Patrick's Day tablescape.

Joining:  No Minimalist Here
Wow Us Wednesday
Miss Mustard Seed