Monday, 11 September 2017

All From The Smallholding (well, except for the carrots!)




Boiled bacon, potatoes and cabbage is (was) the staple Irish meal.  Well it was when I use to visit  (go on holiday)my grandparents when I was so much younger than today.  This is starting to sound like a Carpenters song.  I have said it before.  I think they ate bacon and cabbage every single day of the week.  You use to see it served in pubs too.  Its quite rare to see it in our part of Ireland these days.

Once I remember one red hot summers day and there was a whale of a salmon on my diner plate along with the potatoes and cabbage and the 'nice cup' of Barry's tea.  This was before the EEC and every farm (yes every!) seemed to grow a field full of vegetables for themselves and the giant cow cabbages for the cattle and mangels for the horse.  

My late father use to tell me how his parents would kill the pig at home and it would be salted and put in a wooden barrel in ye olde kitchen.  There wasn't a need for a fridge in those days.  We have two freezers full of pork and bacon at the moment.  

Today I dug some potatoes and cut a cabbage and my wife boiled some of our newly butchered Tamworth cross pigs.  You boil it on top of the Stanley range (solid fuel) for twenty minutes to the pound.  So our was boiled for two and half hours.  Twenty minutes before the cooking is finished.  The boiled bacon is removed and the cabbage is thrown in the bacon water in the pan.  

You can see our tea in the picture.  Verdict the potatoes and cabbage was very - especially the salty bacon.  We thought the rare breed cross meat is a bit fatty.  Perhaps its because they are free range?  Our butcher told us to stick to Large Whites in future.  I think he is right.   Do you prefer rare breeds to the Large Whites?

When you weigh up the cost of purchasing, feeding and butchering the pigs.  Its a very costly exercise.  Isn't that the story of any smallholding? But you can't beat homegrown and home cooked food.  At least the freezers are full.  

I am sure my self sufficient hero: John Seymour would of approved of our meal being produced on the smallholding.  The supermarket bought carrots were nothing to write home about though.   Still it was a pretty wholesome meal for a Monday night.  

No microwaves pinged in the making of the above meal!

What traditional food do you not see much of these days?

16 comments:

  1. We had virtually the same home grown meal today Dave (including carrots!), except we had one of our meat birds roasted instead of pork. As far as traditional foods, over here I can never find decent black pudding which I like very much. My daughter is married to an Irishman and when they visit his parents they always bring me back some Clonakilty black pudding.

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    1. Hello Philip. I have the same problem sourcing my favourite English bitter. You can buy Clonakilty pudding on line. I am sure there are Irish grocery shops over there. Thanks!

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  2. I like a piece of boiled bacon, cabbage and potatoes. My father used to breed and fatten Large Whites for the local butcher and I know of no other pork so good as this. This meal is still a staple around here. No microwave ever pings here because I haven't got one!

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    1. Yes I remember you talking about your farm in Norfolk on your blog Rachel. I totally agree with you that the Large White meat is very good.

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  3. Spuds were always cooked in their skins and brought to the table on a big plate and placed in the centre along with a lot of butter and by the way you have forgotten the white sauce - gosaun !

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    1. Yes you're right Heron. Have you read McCarthy's Bar? I love the bit when they go to an aunties house in Dunmanway and even the boys are given Guinness to drink with their enormous meal. Its a brilliant and very funny read.

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    2. Yes. I have read it twice and thoroughly enjoyed it, incidentally my Mrs H knew the author.

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    3. The Road To McCarthy is another good book by Pete McCarthy. Wish I had met him. Thanks!

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  4. Now that is a totally different meal from anything we might eat. And your grandparents are it every day! The Irish are known for their potatoes and cabbage, didn't know about the bacon. Now I've seen the photo I understand what the boiled bacon is that you're talking about. .no gravy, no sauce?
    Bravo for being able to eat what you grow

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    1. Hi LA. We will never be self sufficient but we do eat very well at certain times of the year. We don't have your sunshine or wine though.

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  5. Ham shank, all they seem to have is pork shank, not the same at all.

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    1. Lots of ham shank over here. You can probably get in online. At least you have the wonderful real ales over there Cumbrian.

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  6. In my local pub they used to serve gammon with a poached egg on top accompanied by chips that would never pass the latest scam - the EU chip fryers colour code test.

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  7. I read that the EEC is going to ban certain kinds of hoovers and chip fryers Gwil. Its a pity somebody couldn't invent a silent vacuum cleaner and a silent washing machine.

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    1. I hate those machines people round here have to blow leaves off their lawns. Loud as a jet revving up! Not kidding! One day I'll do a Basil Fawlty and hit one with a branch off a tree if nobody stops me.

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