Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


He wasn't Irish.

I've posted the following recipe before, but it bears repeating. It works well at this time of year in Australia when, during the cooler days of early autumn, thoughts turn to casseroles and stews. While today is forecast to reach 28 degrees, the sky is slate grey and the wind is whipping drizzle across the city, where sentimental workers are right now lining up at pubs and bars for Guinness.

Irish stew.

Roughly slice two large onions; cut four large potatoes into rounds as thick as the head on a pint of Guinness; chop four carrots the same way.

Place lamb forequarter or neck chops in a large pot with alternate layers of onions, potatoes and carrots. Add water to just cover; add salt and pepper and plenty of chopped curly-leaf parsley.

Bring to boil, skim and simmer 90 minutes. Cool and chill overnight. Next day, remove fat before reheating. Serve with barley, colcannon or simple mashed potato.


Some consider this more delicious than the actual stew and they could be right. Peel four medium potatoes, cook until soft. Mash.

Meanwhile, shred a quarter cabbage (I prefer Savoy) and cook it for ten minutes, or until just turning transparent. Drain. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a pan, add the boiled cabbage and a cup of chopped spring onions. Fry, stirring, on low heat for a minute or two.

Now fold the cabbage and onion mixture through the mashed potato, add enough warm milk to give it a creamy consistency, add white pepper (never black), pile up on plates and serve with extra butter melting in its crevasses.

Pour a stout with a creamy foaming head and thank St Patrick, who incidentally was a Scot. There's a conversation stopper for your St Patrick's Day party.


My earliest St Patrick's Day memory is one of the annual marches at which Archbishop Mannix had Melbourne's entire Catholic school population gather in the Treasury Gardens, and then march up to the Cathedral in massed columns, like legions of Roman soldiers. Mannix had always been politically influential, but renewed his efforts after the Labor split of the mid-1950s, when half of Labor sided with the communists. These days they pal up with the criminal class.

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