The Recipe for Corned Beef and Carrots - Celibrating St. Patrick’s Day -
My first St Patricks Day Dinner
Ah well I remember that Tuesday afternoon 50 years ago, come this Saint Patrick's Day, to be celebrated again on the March the 17Th, a Tuesday this time round.
I had come home from school a little earlier as my right leg was paining and I had not taken an extra dressing change for it. Well that was my excuse for being home early, It was Physical Education that I skipped out of ad with mu leg I could not swim or participate in too much of the running jumping and other energetic activities.
So used the dressing excuse to disapear from school and head on home a bit early, as I had other things to do, I felt like cooking something really grand.
Celebrating St Patrick's Day
Well being of Irish descent, my Great great grandfather came out to South Africa, some time after the 1820's, more than likely in the 1850 at the height of the potato famine.
So obviously I wore green, although in school uniform I could not visibly display the green, the fashion for wearing your shorts high and pants low had not reached us, in South Africa, as yet.
So I wore green underpants, as a salute to my heritage.
Any way I arrived home from school, checked out what was in the line of meat in the fridge defrosting for the nights meal.
A really prime piece of pickled silver-side, taken from the centre of the silver-side, no tapering ends nicely uniform in shape with a good inch of fat covering it.
Out came the large enamel pot, filled it up with water and let the corned beef soak in the cool clear water.
Went through to the bedroom, changed and brought my homework through to dining room where I could listen to the radio and do that curse of the "studying class", HOMEWORK..
An hour passed and I drained the water off the meat, filled the pot half way so that the meat was covered by the water and put it on the stove on high. Covered and let it come to the boil.
When it was boiliing let reduced the heat so that it was now simmering a gently. This took another hour. Now for the culinary skills bit. I added a teaspoonfull of whole peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves half a teaspoon of pickling spices 1 heaped teaspoon of English Mustard powder and two tablespoons, heaped, of brown sugar.
This little bit of adding sugar to salted food, was something that I picked up while assisting with cookery demonstrations at either Anstey's an emporium from the good old days, or at the Grand Rand Show, an agricultural show that ran every year during our Easter Holidays, that particular year it was just around the corner, this coming Monday was the official start.
Anyway I digress the adding of sweet to sour compliments each other and gives you a smoother taste to your palate.
The time was still on my side so I then peeled and quartered a half a dozen potatoes, one each plus one for the pot and then added a couple more for the cook, oops that made it seven potatoes.
This plus two onions cut into quarters and then each quarter sliced across in the half. Peeled several large carrots and cut these into rings, turned the meat over so that the fat was facing the bottom of the pan, added the vegetables, left the lid off the pot and let the meal to slowly cook away.
Washed and sliced the cabbage, into slices about an inch wide, placed this into boiling water added a pinch of salt and let it boil reduced to a simmer and let it cook for ten minutes, till soft but not mushy.
Drained the cabbage and placed it into a serving dish, added a blob of butter and a sprinkle of nutmeg, covered and placed it on the hot tray.
Tested that the potatoes had cooked though, no I did not use one of mine our the one for the pot for that purpose! Removed the meat and onions except a few, removed the potatoes except the cooks one, This was placed into the serving dish and transferred to the hot tray, where it was set to hold it in limbo, so that it was warm and did not carry on cooking the food.
What happened to the left over onions and solitary potato, well after draing the water there remained bits of browned fat and a couple of carrots, this was now my lunch! With a slice of bread to mop it all up, cleaned out the pot with spoon and bread, the pot was as cleanas the proverbial wistle.
Know the secret is out, you can see why I enjoy cooking.