Friday, 21 September 2012

Self Supporters Bacon Potato Cakes.

Continuing with my food making season.  I  thought I would cook an Irish meal today.  Like all slow food it takes time, probably about an hour in total.  Shall we begin?  Right.  Get yourself 4 small or a 1lb of potatoes. Preferably one's you have grown yourself on your allotment/smallholding/kitchen garden.  Peel them.  Mike Harding (great comedian, folk singer/ writer, friend of rambling and Crumpsall's finest) says that God gave us belly buttons so we can peel potatoes when we are in bed.  Well it makes me laugh any way.

Peel the potatoes and boil them and mash them with a really little bit of butter.  Whilst you are waiting for them to boil get yourself 4 rashers of bacon and cut it up into little pieces with scissors.  Don't remove the fat there is no need.  When your potatoes have cooled down add the now cooked bacon and 2 tablespoons of plain flour and mix it all together.  Then make the mixture into little balls on a floured surface and flatten them (gently) on a  metal baking tray.  Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes and finish them off on top the stove.  Or you can fry them for about 5 minutes each side.

Me peeling potatoes.  The pigs and ducks will get the peelings.  The peeler is brilliant.  Not me - the  utensil.

Cutting bacon strips with 'kitchen' scissors.

Mashed Potato mixed with crispy bacon.

The finished product.
They are really cheap to make and very very filling.  If you want you can eat them with some baked beans?  The most essential accompaniment for me is some HP sauce.  Anybody know what 'HP' stands for?  Give you a clue look at the picture on the bottle.


  1. Certainly look good, bet they go very well with baked brans.

    Just the sort of thing I like to make, not too difficuilt, no special ingredients or equipment needed, slow enough to be real food but fast enough to make any day.
    And go nice with a glass or two of home brew.

    Could even be tweaked with a chopped onion added?

  2. They certainly put you on for the day Cumbrian, especially if you eat them with baked beans. It's worth a couple of potatoes when you make a main meal and use them for potato cakes for your breakfast.

    Like you say they aren't difficult and you normally always have the ingredients in the house. They just take time. But aren't all good things waiting for? You know Cumbrian how long it takes to pour a pint of the 'black stuff' in Ireland?

    I suppose you could add onion or even spice them up. Talking of spices. We have attempted many times to make onion bag-his? I don't think that's the correct spelling, but we have never succeeded. Think the Bangladeshi/Indian chefs have their own secret ingredients.


  3. It's worth 'saving' a couple of potatoes, even

  4. 7 minutes for the Guinness, and a smile as they ask "Will ye be having another one sir?" Last time I went fising to Kilmore Quay, there was a barman put our initials in the froth, they could still be discerned when the glass was empty.

    Onion bahjis


    2 free-range eggs

    3 onions, sliced

    120g/4oz plain flour

    1 tsp ground coriander

    1 tsp cumin seeds

    3 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra if required

    Preparation method

    Beat the eggs in a bowl.

    Add the onion rings and mix well.

    Add the flour, ground coriander and cumin seeds and stir well to combine.

    Heat the oil in a deep-sided frying pan over a medium heat. When hot add a large spoonful of the bhaji mixture and fry for 30-45 seconds, until golden-brown.

    Turn the bhaji over and fry for a further 30 seconds, until crisp and golden-brown all over. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

    Repeat with the remaining bhaji mixture, replenishing the oil in the pan if it runs low and allowing it to heat up again after a new addition.

    Yes I know the purists will say it should be chick pea flour, but that's hard to come by.

    Hasn't rained all day, Raggy cat even gone out to play.

  5. Thanks Cumbrian.

    Think a good barman/barmaid is a social worker, counsellor, political analyst and probably a few more jobs. Never heard of the 'initials, but we have seen the Shamrock in the froth.

    Ta very much for the onion bahjis recipe. I really appeciate you going to the trouble of writing it down for me Cumbrian. Think (certain) it's the eggs. We have never used eggs. Will make them tomorrow and report back.

    Been fixing an old round ring feeder today with number 1 son (remember Charlie Chan?) and we feckled (that's a northern English word) it with text screws and pieces of free corrugated sheets.

    It weighs a ton and Anna Ford my little Ford 3000 dragged it to the field. This means that cattle can stay in fields for a month or so and eat some silage = no 'mucking out' = hurray. Why don't I have a brain wave every day?

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  6. Maybe no mucking out but a very muddy circle and gateway. Suppose it'll recover by next spring though.

  7. Fettled. I forgot to say.

    Been fine all day, pleaswnt sunny evening but starting to feel cold.
    Raggy cat been out most of the day, back in now, shank fat and milk, having a sleep in preparation for a hard night hopefully on vermin patrol.

  8. Hi Cumbrian. The round ring-feeder is placed on a nettle patch, the remnant of my grandfather's old vegetable garden. So if they get rid of some of them I don't mind. The feed could do with re-seeding so I am not to bothered if they cut it up a bit. I am more pleased that we have 'brought back to life' some old scrap metal that was doing nothing. Think I will call the feeder 'Lazarus'.

    Fine this morning. Dosing the cattle and moving them to the field with silage. I also plan on doing some more tidying up in the veg plot. Thanks.

  9. Field not feed. Think I could do with some new reading glasses. I only paid a couple of Euro for these. Sorry!!

  10. Hi Dave,
    Once again your food looks delicious, but just one layman-type observation: why destroy such a simple but highly effective meaL with HP sauce?

  11. Hi Pat, Thanks for the compliments. HP sauce is quintessentially English and a great accompaniment. Your probably right though. I seem to always need to add HP sauce or some spicy stuff. Think you would like the potato cakes Pat. Have a go and let me know what you think?


  12. Hi Dave,
    When I used to ask Chinese and Korean students in Canterbury what they missed most about home, they would all firmly reply: "Dog!".

    Thus, have you ever eaten or would you ever eat dog (or cat) with or without HP sauce? My Chinese and Korean students emphasised that dog was delicious, and European people didn't know what they were missing.

  13. Hi Pat. The only 'dogs' I have knowingly eaten is the 'hot dog' variety. If you care to look at the etymology of 'hot dogs' it was often the case that the sausage meat was in fact canine. In Germany sausage makers often used dog for the main ingredient in the early 20th century.

    I suppose Pat nobody really knows what goes into a pie or a curry..., unless one makes it them self. Chicken nuggets and kebab meat are often made from from the contents of a slaughter works floor.


  14. Dog sounds a bit strange to us, but then we have some of our traditional foods that might sound strange to a foreigner as well.

    And as you say, God only knows what goes into some of the stuff we get ready-prepared from the supersheds and the ethnic minority restaurants and take-aways.

    Suppose enoughh HP would make anything taste better?

    Nice day today, the best I can remember this year, but turning cold, we've passed the equinox, nights cut in fast from here on.
    Raggy cat been out today, come in for shank fat and milk then asleep in front of fire.

  15. You can easily become paranoid when it comes to food Cumbrian. Just pick up a tin of baked beans and look at the ingredients. I have heard chef tales of vegetable soup being made from leftovers from customers plates. Pre-packed Mince meat is another one that we have no idea of it's source. We always ask for steak mince and they put it through the mincing machine for you. Talking to a farmer the other day and he got over a thousand Euro for a 'dry' cow. What's that going to be used for? Don't purchase pre-packed meat, if it's possible.

    I wonder what the ingredients for HP sauce are? There's nothing worse than going in a cafe and they only "AL Cheapo" condiments. Wonder if we could make some sauces?

    Watched 'Dragon's Den' a few years ago when the man launched his: "Reggae, Regaee" sauce. Think Pataks started in a kitchen now they are enormous.

    You made me laugh when you said enough HP sauce would make anything taste better. I think you're not wrong.

    Yes it turned cold last night. Cattle and Shetland pony tucked into silage like they had never been fed. Can't be long until the first frosts. There's not a lot to be said for winter is there?


  16. Brown Sauce

    * Apples – 1.8 kg (4 lb), peeled, cored and sliced (Green)
    * Prunes – 450g (1 lb) stoned and sliced (available from fruit and veg market loose or super market packed)
    * Onions – 2 large, peeled and diced
    * Malt vinegar – 1.7 litres (3 pints) (any strong dark vinegar in super market)
    * Ground ginger – 2 tsp
    * Grated nutmeg – 1 tsp
    * Ground allspice – 1 tsp (if you can get it, doesn't really matter)
    * Cayenne pepper – 1 tsp (see preparation )
    * Salt – 8 tbsp
    * Sugar – 900g (2 lb)


    * Put the fruit and onions into a large pan and cover with water.
    * Cook until tender. Liquidise using food blender or sieve into a large saucepan.
    * Add the malt vinegar, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, (cayenne pepper or Hot paprika powder or Hot Chili powder) (optional), salt, and sugar.
    Cook on a low heat until reduced and thick.

    Start saving bottles for this one, you can tweak it to your taste, a bit extra the hot spices if you like it with a bit more bite.

    I can only think of one reason why anybody would want a dry cow for 1,000 euros.

    Only good things I can think about winter is that the grass & weeds stop growing, no flies and better cod fishing.
    Used to love 6" of snow, it made my garden look as good as everybody elses.

    Lovely morning again, blue sky and sunny, almost a touch of frost.
    Hoping Mrs feels well enough to visit Silloth market and car boot, she felt well enough last Sunday but it was cancelled for rain.

  17. Thanks a lot for the recipe Cumbrian. How much does it make and will it need to be kept in the fridge because its not full of preservatives?

    Been looking up HP sauce on Google. Even 'Houses of Parliament' (answer to my blog question) sauce is not made in Birmingham any more. Heinz (American) bought it and moved it to Spain and the Netherlands. They have even changed the recipe and it's got less salt. Think HP sauce is a British institution like tomato ketchup is in America.

    I will start saving bottles. Must see if I can get some jars with sealable lids on ebay. Think I will have a go at making chutneys and Piccallili....?

    Totally agree about no flies in the house. I hate them.

    Good point about the garden makes every garden look good.

    Yes its lovely here, rain later for all of us. Hope you enjoy your day at Silloth Cumbrian.


  18. I'm well aware that European aversion to eating dog is purely a cultural construction (possibly disguised as an ethical construction).

    My question was would you eat dog, yourself? My Oriental friends view it as a 'better' version of chicken. Thus, me personally, I wouldn't eat it, because I simply don't like chicken. If I did like chicken, I might still not eat dog, because I've been culturally conditioned to view it as being inappropriate.

    So, how about you?

  19. No Pat I would not eat dog. I think there are some animals be it fish, rabbit, (not keen on chicken) that I would not eat. Dogs are too much like us with there carnivore/omnivore diet. So I don't really fancy eating anything that eats meat itself. I suppose it's like saying would you eat cat? You have got to draw a line in the sand somewhere and say that you won't eat some animal species haven't you?

    I appreciate your comments and it's a very good question. Thanks Pat.

  20. Brown sauce in fridge, you're right it's not full of preservatives like mass-produced stuff, but as long as the jars or bottles are sealed should be OK for a long time, and the way you seem to like it, shouldn't get a chance to go bad. I don't use special jars, just re-used honey, jam, or any jar with a rubber sealing ring in the lid, some of mine I've used several times, they seem to be infinitely re-cyclable. Best ones I think would be the original bottles. The only bought jars I own are a couple of biggish spring-top Kilners for pickled eggs, onions and red cabbage. And a few I picked up on a car boot from the 20p box.
    My vinegar bottles (568ml glass) get used for wine, threaded plastic tops and just the right size when there's not a full bottle left in the dj, but too much to put down the sink. And home-made Baileys, it needs used quick once it's opened.

    Liverpool recipe Picallili
    675 cauliflower
    450 small onions
    350 french beans
    1 teaspoon turmeric
    1 teaspoon mustard powder
    2 teaspoons cornflower
    600 vinegar

    Put turmeric, mustard, cornflower in a pan, pour in vinegar
    Stir, boil for 10 mins
    Add veg, simmer for 45 mins
    Jar and seal

    This is the original easy recipe I use, I put ordinary onion chopped into pieces about the same size as little ones, and some baby sweetcorn, broad beans, anything that common sense suggests, don't think it really matters, anything you fancy as long as they're all chopped to the same size and you adjust the spices and vinegar to the total weight.
    I find brown vinegar makes it a bit more muddy colour, tastes OK just doesn't look all bright yellow. My last batch (eating now) came out flourescent yellow (sunglasses needed) but a bit dry, still good though. It never seems to come out the same but always edible; only bad batch I ever made was following a recipe that advised leaving in salt overnight, it was too salty even for me.

    Never tried chutney, but it's only a matter of time until I come accross some excess produce to use up, after all it's a way of preserving surplus produce.

    Didn't make Silloth, Mrs back too bad, she's up now with tea and pain-killers, porridge soaking for brekkie soon.

  21. Thanks Cumbrian.

    Great idea to use the vinegar bottles. Can you plastic cider or pop bottles for wine? Or do I need to start collecting wine bottles for the 'Saki'?

    Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones) said when he lived in France, the one thing he missed from Britain was: Piccalilli. I will give it a go.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  22. I've never seen wine in plastic, the nearest is the tinfoil bags in the wine boxes, so I wouldn't reccommend it.
    Start collecting wine bottles, but don't re-use the corks.

    Again, pity you're not near, I must have 100 empty wine bottles, I seem to hoard re-usable glass containers, you could have taken what you needed, only cost is the re-usable plastic caps from Wilkos, about 10p each last time I bought any.

  23. Will start collecting the wine bottles. Any excuse to get some wine eh? Will look up the reusable plastic caps online.


  24. Good excuse for a trip to France to stock up at their prices as well?
    There's usually some good deals in autumn.

    Wilkos I get my plastic tops from, they seem OK, probably won't last for ever, but long enough.

  25. Hi Cumbrian,

    Yes Cumbrian it would be great to go to France this Autumn. I love the way they celebrate food and drink and won't settle for rubbish. Think I could easily settle in a rural setting, preferably with in walking distance of a village with it's on bakehouse and a cafe/bar.



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