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Celebrate With Irish Fare

Erin Go Bragh or "Ireland Forever." On St. Patrick's Day we remember the music, the Shamrock, the parades and the food. So in the spirit of the later The Early Show invites Darina Allen to share recipes for authentic Irish fare from the motherland.

Allen is heralded in her native Ireland for the way she turns simple everyday ingredients into succulent culinary delights. On the show, she prepares Irish Cheedar Cheese Foccaccia (a variation on the tradition Irish soda bread); Carpaccio of Smoked Salmon with Avocado, Red Onion, Dill and Horseradish Cream; Scallion Champ; and Roscommon Rhubarb Pie.

The celebrated Irish cook and cookbook author runs the internationally renowned Ballymaloe Cooking School at Shanagarry, in County Cork, Ireland. The school is just one of many Ballymaloe enterprises owned and operated by four generations of the Allen family.

Allen began her career in the late 1970s when she began to assist her in-laws in the management of their restaurant on the Ballymaloe family property. Before long, Allen was giving cooking lessons. In the 1980s, she opened a school where students flocked to learn from Ireland's best-known cook.

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The following are her recipes:

Cheddar Cheese Scones


3 1/4 cup white flour, preferably unbleached
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
sour milk or buttermilk to mix -- 12 to 13 fluid ounces approximately
egg wash (1 egg mixed with a little water or a little milk)
4 ounces grated cheese

First, fully preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Sieve the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour most of the milk in at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be soft, not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a floured board, knead slightly for a second, just enough to tidy it up. Pat the dough into a square about 1-inch deep. Brush with egg wash, cut into 12-square scones. Dip the top of each scone into the grated cheddar cheese, place on a baking sheet.

Bake in a hot oven of 450 degrees F for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 400 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cooked.

Serve with soup or as a snack.

Irish Cheddar Cheese Foccaccia

10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan
extra virgin olive oil

Follow the recipe as above. Brush the jelly roll pan with the extra virgin olive oil. Roll the dough into a rectangle to just fit the tin. Brush the top with olive oil or egg wash. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake until golden and bubbly on top, for about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire cable on a wire cable rack. Cut into squares and tuck in while still warm.

Carpaccio of Smoked Salmon With Avocado, Red Onion, Dill and Horseradish Cream

Serves 8

6-8 ozs. Irish smoked salmon very thinly sliced
1 avocado (depending on size)
1 small red onion finely diced
1 tablesp. + 1 teasp. chives
1 tablesp. + 1 teasp. dill
1 tablesp. + 1 teasp. chervil or flat parsley

Horseradish Cream
2-4 tablesp. grated horseradish
1 teaspoons wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup barely whipped cream

First make the Horseradish Cream

Scrub the horseradish root well, peel and grate on a 'silvery grater'. Put the grated horseradish into a bowl with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Fold in the barely whipped cream but do not over mix or the sauce will curdle. There will be more than enough for this recipe, but save the rest for another dish. It keeps for 2-3 days: cover so that is doesn't pick up flavors in the fridge.

To Serve:
Arrange the thinly sliced smoked salmon in a single layer over the base of four large plates. Peel and cut the avocado into a quarter inch dice. Drizzle some Horseradish Cream over the salmon then a sprinkle of avocado and red onion dice. Garnish with snipped chives, chopped dill and chervil or flat parsley sprigs. Finally, a little freshly cracked pepper. Serve with crusty brown yeast brown bread.

Scallion Champ
Serves 4 to 6

Allen says a bowl of mashed potatoes flecked with green scallions and a blob of butter melting in the centre is "comfort" food at its best.


6 to 8 unpeeled "old" potatoes (Golden Wonders or Kerrs Pinks)
4 ounces chopped scallions or spring onions (use the bulb and green stem) or chopped chives
10 to 12 fluid ounces milk
2 to 4 ounces butter
salt and freshly ground pepper

Scrub the potatoes and boil them in their jackets. Chop finely the scallions or spring onions or chopped chives. Cover with cold milk and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse.

Peel and mash the freshly boiled potatoes and, while hot, mix with the boiling milk and onions, beat in the butter. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve in 1 large or 6 individual bowls with a knob of butter melting in the center. Scallion mash may be put aside and reheated later in a moderate oven at 350 degrees F. Cover with tin foil while it reheats, so it doesn't get a skin.

Scallion and Potato Cakes

Allen says you can shape leftover scallion mash into potato cakes; cook until golden on both sides in clarified butter or butter and oil. Serve piping hot.

Wild Garlic Mash
In season: spring

Add 2 to 3 ounces roughly chopped wild garlic leaves to the milk just as it comes to the boil. Continue as above.

Roscommon Rhubarb Pie
Serves 8 to 10

This delectable tart is an adaptation of a traditional recipe, which was originally cooked over an open fire. One could also add a couple or teaspoons of freshly grated ginger to the rhubarb, but Allen says to try it unadorned at first.

11 cups red rhubarb
1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Topping Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 tablespoon superfine (castor) sugar
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 stick butter
1 egg
3/4 cup full cream milk, approximately

Egg Wash
Granulated sugar

9 x 2-inch round tin (Allen says a heavy stainless steel sauté pan works well, if you don't have a suitable pan)

Cook the rhubarb slightly first.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Trim the rhubarb, wipe with a damp cloth and cut into pieces about 1- inch in length. Put into the base of a tin or sauté pan, sprinkle with the sugar. Put the stainless steel sauté pan on a low heat while making the dough.

Sieve all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg with the milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the liquid all at once and mix to a soft dough.

Turn out onto a floured board and roll into a 9-inch round, about 1-inch thick. Place this round on top of the rhubarb and tuck in the edges neatly. Brush with a little egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake in the fully preheated oven for 15 minutes then, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F for 30 minutes more or until the top is crusty and golden and the rhubarb soft and juicy.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes. Put a warm plate over the top of the sauté pan, turn upside down onto the plate, but be careful of the hot juices. Serve warm with soft brown sugar and cream.

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