Molly Malone

For breakfast this morning I indulged myself with a big oul Scottish fry. Square sausage, bacon, eggs, mushrooms and toms. I then added small rounds of black pudding, vegetarian haggie, fruit pudding heavily spiced with white pepper and of course a nice wedge of soda bread to soak up the bacon grease left in the pan. On the side of my plate was a famous Morton's roll, available only in Glasgow, unfortunately for you. A large mug of tea and a peaceful swatch at the newspaper completed my morning before I gathered my thoughts about preparing this evenings meal.

We currently have guests staying with us from Ireland, and is the way of most Irish women, they like to outdo each other in the kitchen, so it is a battle of the ladies this very night. Have you never wondered just why the wee Map man fae Limerick is so portly these days? Just ask his gorgeous lady wife. My guests are from the south, while my good lady herself was raised in the north. Game on! Friendly rivalry has begun.

To stir up the pot slightly, I have suggested that they prepare the following.

Molly Malone

1/4 cup virgin olive oil
2 fresh carrots
1 bulb fresh fennel, diced
1 fresh leek, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 glasses of dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 glasses of dry cider
1 pint of fish stock
6 pinches saffron threads
8 red potatoes, quartered
1/2lb Scottish cockles
1lb Irish mussels, cleaned
1lb fresh white fish of your choice, cut into 1-inch cubes
12 large prawns, peeled and de-veined
1lb of squid, cleaned
6 rashers of lean smoked bacon - diced
1 ounce Pernod
1lb ripe toms, seeded and roughly chopped

In a Catholic stock pot, heat the olive oil and the carrots, fennel, leek, celery, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and garlic. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add the Protestant wine, tomato paste, fish stock, and saffron. Simmer for 8 minutes. Bless the fish and give thanks to your own God that the mercury has thankfully been washed clean away at the fishmongers slab. Blend for 1 minute with a hand-held blender until smooth. Add the tatties and begin adding the seafood as gently as a Presbyterian ministers wife weeing behind the barn on a winters evening after the annual hayride. Firstly, the cockles (cook for 1 minute) and then the white fish (cook for another minute). Then add the cider, squid and mussels. Fry off the bacon and a handful of scallions to taste, but for the love of all things holy, do allow them to cool before you introduce them into the pot. Add the liqueur and chopped toms. Simmer for 8 minutes. Place in large soup tureen or serve in individual dishes with garlic toast and small rounds of grilled black pudding.

For the sake of the divil himself, do not season with salt as this will be deemed as an insult to your flavour combinations and is punishable by spending the night in the spare room next to your mammy-in-law. And we all know how much scallions upset her digestive system, eh?


  1. Feck the gym, just set an extra place pal! :¬)

  2. Ahhh for the love of God, is that your wee car pulled up at my gates already? You must have heard me twist off the top on the Jamesons!

  3. Heaven pal, pure heaven! (Make up the spare bed will ya?)

  4. Aye, I've already arranged your usual room for yis. Siobhan is, as we speak, putting fresh straw in the barn and a bucket in the corner.

  5. Okay, I'll bite...pun intended. Education time: what is a Morton roll? Try not to roll your eyes and sigh. You did say I'm not in the correct geographical region to have eaten one.

    I thought of you and your kitchen Sunday morning when I was in mine, using a recipe for a morning cinnamon bread delight. Okay, I cheated and used one ingredient bought from a store instead of homemade, but I will not feel guilty as the recipe is called "simple and quick" for a reason. :) To my credit, the pecans used I actually gathered from the 150 year old pecan tree in my front yard, which I shelled, then sealed to keep them fresh for a very long time. Unless Hubby wants pecan pie...as do his relatives. Just because I was raised in the South doesn't mean it's the only thing I can bake. I find baking relaxing. :)

    What made me think of you was the fact that I grabbed a rolling pin that belonged to my great grandmother...one which had been hand carved out of a single piece of wood. I thought you would appreciate the symmetry of that somehow. :) Me? I was wondering how many pecan pies she baked in her life...although I hear apple was her specialty.

    Sorry, rambling on again...off to wash the dishes now.

  6. Chef and Mapstew in the same house? Please tell me this is Scotland's latest and greatest reality show and that we can tune in for the stories and the songs. We need photos and/or a video blog of your culinary mastery, I am sick of that other Scottish chef....what's his name? he claimed he once played for the unmentionable bottom dwelling blue bastards that I will not mention on such a green page.
    Cheers, Sausage...
    PS. I am now starving for a black pudding supper!

  7. Hope, They use rice flour on the top of them to give the distinctive taste. It's the texture. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. They are not hard to eat like other soft flour rolls and are pure dead brilliant with something fried inside them. They are only readily available within the inner city limits and have shelf life of roughly 4 hours.

    Pecans huh? From a real tree too! My all time favourite nut. There is no other nut that goes so well in flans and pies. Double bonus points to you for the use of wooden implements, especially one as fine as the one piece affair. Utensils are crucial for excellence in the kitchen at all times. I would be very interested to have your pecan pie recipe if it is on offer dear lady.

  8. 'Away in a manger' for me is it? So that's why folk bless themselves when the pas me!

  9. Catholic stock pot, Protestant wine...you crack me up.

  10. Mr Earl, as long as you stand on one leg and stir in a clockwise direction it is perfectly legal to mix religions under the one roof.

  11. Ahhh Map, c'mon the noo, only the very best for you mah wee pal. Until you learn that wardrobes are for hanging your clothes in and NOT for peeing in, you will have to share a stall with the goats and the other wee donkeys.

    It's a crying shame about the smell, but they will have to put up with it.

  12. Sausage, the person of which you do not dare mention has been very quiet since his blue buddies tumbled to the foot of the pile with such a loud clatter. Could you imagine the likes of himself abusing me in the kitchen?

    The Map and masel are as chalk is to cheese. He is talented beyond words with the oul singing thing he has going on and I will admit to being a bit of an auld fan of his ability to belt out a good tune.

    As for the black pudding supper, you cannae beat it!

  13. Don't believe a word of it Sausage, there's not a man about who can sing 'Boston Rose' as well as my culinary pal!

    Now did someone mention Jameson?

  14. Ha! My wife once described my singing voice as a cross between a horse galloping on gravel and barbed wire twanging a sheeps knackers.

    ...and yes, the gold is flowing well, I can fell the wee divils hot pincers tweaking my chest.

  15. Right so, scooche up on the forma, refill me and name yer tune. I feel a long night comin' on!

  16. Tis away out to the scullery to fetch us in a smooth bottle of Powers it is then. I've a wee tune in my head that will set the feet tapping so. How's about a wee turn of McAlpine's Fusiliers?

  17. When, pray , was there ever a two piece rolling pin?
    And why veggie haggi when you are haveing bacon?
    I'm just jealous to be truthful.

  18. 'I've worked till the sweat near had me bet with Russian, Czech and Pole
    On shuddering jams up in the hydro dams or underneath the Thames in a hole
    I grafted hard and I've got me cards and many a gangers fist across me ears
    If you pride your life, don't join, by Christ, with McAlpine's Fusiliers'

    Hic! Fill 'er up agin lad!

  19. Be glad to share. Especially when I'd told people for years that it was my Mom's recipe...I did get it from her. I discovered by accident, years later, she got it from "Dear Abby", who's an American "Help" columnist...who got it from some famous chef in Atlanta. :)

    The piece of tree you see in my icon? That's the old gal...the pecan tree. I tell people we bought the tree and the house came with it. ;)

  20. Pat, there are many 2 piece pins on the market dear lady. Normally they are constructed of plastic and double as slot in / out cookie cutters. They are but a shilling to buy (ok, £5.99) and can be found in places like Morrisons and Sainsburys. Avoid them like the plague!

    Vegetarian haggie is packed with extra barley and oats and contains less fat than the norm. They are sponges when it comes to absorbing flavour, plus you can slice them extra thick without them breaking or getting soggy. Another good tip, I use a lot of turkey bacon as it is healthier and you cannae tell the difference in taste or texture.

    The only traditional item I cannae stand on my breakfast plate is a Scotch pancake. Soda bread for me.

  21. Map, that second bottle has left a head about me this morn. For a moment or two when I wakened I struggled to aim straight. Be a good fella and fetch us the mop afore herself awakes.

  22. Hope, recipes are meant to be shared, they have no real ownership. It's always interesting to see how peoples variations differ around the world. I was incredibly shocked when I first saw a recipe from America involving putting a whole chicken in a deep fat fryer. The most shocking recipe involved the preparation of newborn chicks served in their own shell.

    I passed on that one.

    Nice story about the tree by the way.

  23. Oh dear, I haven't heard McAlpine's Fusiliers in a long time.....and did someone rashly mention Powers. (I'll bring my own glass)...and now I suppose I'm about to learn that the origins of bouillabaisse were brought to France by the Wild Geese...

  24. Anonymous4:05 pm GMT+5

    a true melting pot of all religious persuasions. i presume us atheists get to bring the whisky?

  25. "Catholic stock pot" is the unexpected, morning belly laugh out of nowhere. Okay. I owe you.

    You last paragraph reminded me that I once opened the loo door and saw my mother-in-law, big, old lady panties down around her ankles, sitting on the thrown doing her business. What a HORROR SHOW. I wanted to gouge my eyes out. Does the woman not know how to operate a door lock?!

  26. I do love that tree, Chef. Will have the recipe to you by this weekend, promise. I always share recipes, yet I have family members who guard some like they're national secrets!

    @Pat. When it comes to rolling pins, I guess it's what you grow up with. Mom's rolling pin had "stationary" handles, but the middle was somehow separated, so that it "spun" faster. I have one with wooden handles, but the middle is made of marble...great for pie crust. To see one hand carved, probably by my great grandfather as they lived on a farm, was just amazing to me!

  27. Fly, Powers is always to hand in my humble home for those of the good taste. Bring your good self along, never mind a glass, I have plenty to go around.

    Do keep an eye out for my own version of Spanish bouillabaisse coming soon. It will always remain a typical French dish originally from Marseille. Unless you know different of course. Do let me know if I am wrong.

  28. Daisy, you and I my dear will be seated together on the head table to observe and pass judgement to our hearts content. We will be the unholy twosome for as long as the gold is in our hands. That may be quite a while hen!

  29. UB, you know as well as I do that the ladies truly believe that the smallest room in the house is there for the usage of them only. All this lid up lid down malarkey is too much to take in. I built my own WC to the exact requirements for myself. I have both a his and hers en-suite on opposite sides of the bedroom in order for me never have to worry about toilet seat etiquette ever again. The trouble is... I built it too well, everyone wants to use it.

  30. Hope, thanks doll, I appreciate it. Don't forget though.... my email is never actually read!

  31. In a Catholic stock pot...

    That's going to stay with me for days, you know.


  32. Just back from a night 'out the back' lighting fires and drinking cans with the plumber. His good wife calls it 'date night'! Man talk we call it. Your good self was mentioned, keep an eye oot fer a wee baldy fella and a big plumbing fella on the 5th Dec!

  33. Pearl, all decent stock pots are Catholic. They are normally large, sturdy and full of goodness.

  34. Map, That date will mean that you will be drinking vodka and singing Russian folk songs.


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