Colcannon Croquettes

IMG_2944Happy St. Patrick’s day. As far as I know, I’m not Irish in any way, so I probably have no right to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of green-beer-drinking Americans, so why should I let it stop me? Actually I don’t have any Ceilidhs planned, but I did spend some time Reading Yeats’ poems today, in keeping with the situation. I’d never noticed how preoccupied Yeats is with growing older, but now that I’ve started to become more preoccupied with the subject myself, it seems that his poems are suffused with memories and regrets of youth, and fear of growing old and of bodily decay. Many of them are filled with sadness and disappointment, and though they’re beautiful, they’re not easy to read. I love this one, though. I love the idea of thinking in a marrow bone.

A Prayer for Old Age

God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;

From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song’s sake a fool?

I pray—for word is out
And prayer comes round again—
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.

Colcannon is, I’m told “An Irish dish of cabbage and potatoes boiled and pounded.” I made this with kale, rather than cabbage, but they’re both brassicae, so I think that’s okay. Basically this is mashed potatoes with kale, cheese, eggs and herbs mixed in, and then baked in olive oil till they’re crispy outside and soft inside. You can use any herbs you like (or no herbs at all). I used tarragon, rosemary and basil, because I like them and that’s what I had. I made an olive hazelnut sauce to eat these with, but the boys actually at them with catsup!

Here’s The Sickbed of Cuchlainn by the Pogues.
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Colcannon bread (kale and potato bread)

Colcannon bread

Colcannon bread

Here at The Ordinary, we’re not quite well. Isaac has an actual fever, and the rest of us feel crummy in the head, throat, and spirits. Add to that the chilly drizzliness of the day, and you have a general idea of the mood here. Actually, I quite like a day off with Isaac, as long as he’s not miserably ill. He’s such a little chattery singer, and even as his fever rises he continues a cheerful warble. We’ve cuddled on the couch; made a paper sea-dragon from a book; drawn mixed-up animals, (which Isaac decided he could name any way he wanted to, and he could spell the name any way he wanted to, because he invented them. They won’t be on the test!); discussed the philosophical and moral implications of the statement that it’s hard to be mad at Clio because she’s so cute; made a pancake with cinnamon (Isaac wanted me to tell you about that!); and watched a movie. I’m going to keep it brief so I can get back to the cuddle-couch, but I want to tell you about the movie we saw, because it was remarkable and beautiful. It’s a short, wordless, animated version of Peter and the Wolf made by Suzie Templeton. Technically and aesthetically, it’s wonderful. The film takes place in a bleak and dingy village on the edge of the woods. It’s a modern setting, replete with graffiti and chain-link fences, but even the dreariness is gorgeously rendered. The characters – a boy, a runner duck, a hooded crow, a fat cat, a blue-eyed wolf, and a grumpy old man – are full of personality and glow with inner life. The film brings a real sense of compassion and soul to the familiar story – it’s about friendship and forgiveness, cruelty and kindness. You understand, as you watch, that prey can easily become predator, bullies can be bullied, and cruelty and aggression may be valued and rewarded, but that doesn’t make them right. Everybody wants to live, and empathy extends to all creatures. I can’t wait to watch it tonight with Malcolm and David!
kale and potato bread

kale and potato bread

I’m very very excited about this bread! It’s the oddest thing, but I dreamed about it two nights in a row, and then I woke up and spent the rest of each night trying to figure out how to make it. Colcannon, of course, is an Irish dish that contains mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. In my dream I made it into bread, and so…in real life I did just that! It’s a lovely, light but dense, pale green bread with darker green flecks. The flavor is very subtle – you don’t actually taste kale, just a nice savoriness (which means small boys will like it!). I added plenty of freshly ground pepper for flavor, and an egg and a bit of milk to make it soft inside. It’s got a nice crispy chewy crust. I made one huge loaf, which is very seussical looking, but it probably would have been more practical to make two smaller ones. Maybe next time!

Here’s REM with Wolves, Lower, appropriately, live in Ireland!

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