I’ve had the luck of the Irish with this family recipe. Maria, my saxophone teacher friend, had been talking to her sister about her love for my Grandma’s baking. Her sister, Padraigin is very much the cook in their family and she sent this delicious recipe for Flakemeal biscuits over from Ireland. She wrote to me as follows:
An Irish family story
“My sister has been raving about you and Grandma Abson’s baking. She said you were looking for a special Irish baking recipe for St Patrick’s Day. The things I can remember being made are Apple tart or Apple crumble. People were poor and money was very scarce so I think they concentrated on main courses for dinners, savoury foods and breads to fill you up. Growing up in the 1970s and 80s through the troubles was very challenging for our Mum. She was a fine cook and she always made an effort to celebrate certain occasions.
“For St Patrick’s Day, she set a green jelly. Later she prepared an orange or a yellow jelly and when it was cooled and starting to set, she poured it on top of the green jelly. Angel delight was whipped up and that was our Irish special dessert! Mammy loved a Knickerbocker glory when on a trip to the sea side. I’m starting to think of a green yellow and orange Knickerbocker glory style dessert with green grapes, kiwis, mango, pineapple and mandarin orange. Our children will have fun making and eating that!
“Anyway – here’s a recipe I have from our Mammy’s collection. These biscuits are my husband’s favourite. I make them at different seasons of the year. I need to go and get the dinner sorted now. All the best!”.”
225g/8oz Flakemeal (Porridge Oats)
225g/8oz butter or margarine
110g/4oz plain flour
Put everything in a bowl and mix well. Make into dough. Roll out onto a floured surface about ½ to 1 cm thick. Cut out rounds with a cutter. Bake for 30 minutes at 180C/Mark 4/350F.
I’ve been saving this family favourite recipe to make as a special treat for St Patrick’s Day on 17 March. It makes about 36 biscuits and the recipe is very simple but very tasty!
Origins of St Patrick’s Day
St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on 17 March and commemorates St Patrick the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in the late fourth century but taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped his enslavement but went back to Ireland later with a mission to convert the Irish to Christianity. He was executed for his faith but by then, he had set up churches, monasteries and schools. There were many legends which evolved about him. It is said that he drove snakes out of Ireland and explained the Holy Trinity by using the shamrock.
How is St Patrick’s Day celebrated today?
In time, although St Patrick was never formally canonised, the day of his death on 17 March came to be associated with celebrations for the national day. It’s celebrated by Irish communities across the world by taking part in parades, going to céilís, wearing anything green with a shamrock in your lapel and drinking Irish beer and whiskey.
Thanks to Padraigin for this wonderful recipe and their family story. If you have a recipe to share, please pass it on so we can try it out on Yorkshire Bylines.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh (la ale-lah pwad-rig son-ah jeev) which means ‘Happy St Patrick’s Day’!