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The Countrytown Cookoff: Jemma Beech's Irish Boxty

April 15, 2024 - News

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

Few phrases in the English language are so violently cliché, but there’s a good reason for it: because it’s true. Breakfast, much like country music, is an essential part of every good diet. So for her instalment of The Countrytown Cookoff, Jemma Beech has swung through with the recipe for the recipe for one of her family’s most special breakfasts.

Hailing from the Hunter Valley and now based in Wollondilly Shire, the up-and-coming country star just released her stellar new single, Four Leaf Clover. The track is soulful and soaring, and chronicles the rich ties Beech has to her storied Irish heritage.

The concept materialised after Beech visited Ireland for herself last year – according to a press release, she came home eager to capture a song “that echoed adventure, new love and life”. She went on to mint it with fellow Aussie country stalwart Jake Davey, who served as producer, geeing it up to shine in Beech’s one-of-a-kind live set.

Fitting with the new song’s themes, Beech’s recipe is one for an Irish staple: the humble boxty, a traditional pancake made with grated (and sometimes mashed) potatoes. Have a listen to Four Leaf Clover below, then read on for the backstory and recipe.

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The Countrytown Cookoff

Jemma Beech’s Irish Boxty

Ever since I (and my nan) can remember, boxty has been a breakfast favourite at Nan’s house.

It’s a breakfast staple or an afternoon snack (just put some brown sugar and a banana on it) with a fresh pot of tea, which brings the family together and leaves you with a warm heart and full bellies.

So, what is boxty? Well, it’s an Irish potato pancake!

My nan grew up on a potato farm in Ireland (in County Letrim) and it was her mother who would make them all the boxty. Even though it can be made in many different ways, this is the way our family does it and we love it.

This recipe for boxty has never been written down and because it is so easy to make, it never had to be – until now. I want to share my nan’s recipe for boxty with you so you can make it and enjoy it for your next breakfast with friends or family. In my childhood it was most weekends, and every school holidays us grandkids would spend a few days at Nan’s house and she would cook us up a big Irish breakfast (minus the black pudding).

With my recent trip over to Ireland to discover and see where my nan grew up, it all made sense. She would share so many stories of her childhood, which brought her so much joy, and being over there and seeing her home town – where she went to school, the church, and even though her home was sold and knocked down, the original gates and stone wall were still standing – it was a trip to remember and now has a special place in my heart.

This Irish boxty recipe produces potato pancakes that are crispy on the outside, but perfectly tender on the inside. Simply prepare the ingredients and whip it up like you would a normal pancake, and pour into a non-stick pan on medium heat with some Irish butter or oil, and there you have it!

THE RECIPE

Ingredients:

3 potatoes

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of milk

1 cup of self-raising flour

Tools:

Non-stick pan

Mixing bowl

Spatula

Spoon for mixing

Sieve

Method:

Grate the potatoes on the fine side of the grater.

Spoon out excess water after the potatoes are grated.

Add salt and milk.

Sieve self-raising flour into the mixture.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until the mixture resembles a pancake batter.

Heat your non-stick frying pan to a medium heat.

Add a third of a cup of your batter to your pan. This makes a boxty roughly ten-to-12 centimetres in diameter.

Cook your boxty until golden brown and then flip to cook the other side.

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