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Irish


La Pièce Montée – our wedding cake, May 2009.

Brings a whole new meaning to the idea of a cheesecake…

A mix of local and French cheeses served not only as the traditional cake but also as a midnight feast for wedding guests whenever they took a a break from the dance floor not to mention snacks and supper for about three weeks after….

DSC_0798

Black and yellow and red all over.
An all-in-one bowl of grainy goodness. Lots of flavour from the black pudding and the quinoa is nutty enough to take it. This is a crumbly nutty all-in-one bowl that was inspired by a menu at a local restaurant and was delighted to see that one of their starters involved Clonakilty black pudding. I happened to have some in the fridge, a very rare occurrence and thought I could perhaps put it to good use and at the same time attempt to take it out of it’s usual position as a heavy meaty creature and pair it with some quinoa. The nutty firm texture of quinoa seemed an ideal partner for the crumbly nature of an Irish black pudding with its oaty flesh spicy flavours. Despite it’s less then picturesque beginning as pig or cattle blood – descriptions in wikipedia include “before congealing into a sausage”…let this go and treat it as a delicacy to be eaten in small amounts…

Many Spanish tapas include smooth morcilla, the Spanish equivalent, sweeter and smoother then the coarser boudin. In France it is often served as a tatin with apple sauce and is very good. Most Irish or Scottish black puddings are made with a certain amount of oats. Spanish morcilla is alot smoother and perhaps not ideal in this kind of recipe. Irish boudin noir is more crumbly when cooked and becomes the topping for this fast and easy supper. I say supper but makes perfect leftovers for lunch the next day.
In this bowl some pan fried apple chunks would probably be a welcome addition so go for it. Fruit cuts through the inevitably slightly fatty element of the pudding and the combination of black pudding and red fruits in Ireland or black pudding and apple sauce in a Bretagne or Normandie crepe is still a staple on many menus. But let’s face it – the people who made it rather fashionable fare years ago probably would never have paired it with quinoa.

Indeed the majority of quinoa eaters would never ever dream of letting black pudding pass their vegetarian lips. However in this world there exists people who blur the lines. I’m an avid quinoa eater who likes nothing more then a bowl of lentils and may not touch meat for three weeks in a row. But I also savour the spiciness of a boudin noir or the tenderness of barely cooked lamb or a barbecued steak.

I really only draw the line at andouillete but that’s another story and it’s not one that will be told here….

Ingredients

1/2 an onion
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 clove garlic
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (barely cooked)
1 cup red quinoa
4 slices of a good quality black pudding (or boudin noir)
Vegetarians – please note – you could substitute smoked tofu, plain tofu or nothing at all)
1 cup yellow lentils

Making

Cook the lentils in boiling water for about 15 minutes. You want them whole and crunchy not mushy. Often I cook the quinoa with the lentils, they need about the same time. Or you can do them separately. The peas need about 2 minutes so they retain their crunch and their goodness. There is no point in eating a vegetable that has been cooked to death.

Heat a pan and when very hot toast some cumin seeds on it alone until they start to crackle. Then turn down the heat and add a little oil. Fry garlic and onions until soft. Use a little nut oil if you have it. Having sliced the black pudding into slim round discs add this to the mix. They need just a minute or two really on each side. Take off the heat at this point. Set aside some of the pudding at this point to use as a crumbly topping when serving.

The pudding becomes crumbly in cooking so in your still hot pan mix in some of the lentils, peas and quinoa so they absorb some of the cumin and garlic flavours. Then serve with the rest of the pudding on top. A little basil adds a touch of sweetness.

This makes a great warm supper or eat it cold the next day.