When I was in Manchester recently, I took the opportunity to visit the city's farmers' market for the first time and was able to catch up with my farmer friend Peter Gott, often found in the mêlée at London's Borough Market, but this time closer to home in the North-West. At the next stall was Graham Kirkham, son of Ruth, whose unpasteurised Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire cheese is right up there in the top ranks of British cheeses. Graham has taken over cheese-making full time, but mum still plays an active role. He offered me a taster of his extra, extra mature Lancashire which I remember trying a couple of years back on the farm. He carefully sliced off a big wedge with his knife and it was delicious, like an English version of Parmesan. I imagined how perfect it would be shaved on to sprouting broccoli. I left with a chunk of the cheese to play with and here it is, served on an Irish potato cake. It's a match for any bruschetta - and let nobody say vegetarian food is boring.
for the boxty pancakes
200g cooked potatoes in their skins, peeled and mashed
200g peeled raw potatoes
200g plain flour
12 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200-300ml buttermilk (or ordinary milk)
A good pinch of salt
Butter for frying
300-350g sprouting broccoli
100-120g extra mature Kirkham's Lancashire (use Parmesan if not)
100g butter, melted
First make the pancakes: grate the raw potatoes and mix with the mashed potato, the flour and bicarbonate of soda then add enough buttermilk to make a thick batter.
Heat a griddle or frying pan and grease well with the butter. Drop in a quarter of the mix to make large pancakes. Cook for 5 minutes on each side until golden and keep warm in a low oven. Meanwhile cook the broccoli in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes, or until tender, and drain. To serve, arrange the broccoli on the pancakes, season and spoon over the melted butter. Finally, with a sharp knife or peeler, shave the cheese over the broccoli.Reuse content