Last week my friend Tash got in touch to tell me about Gone Rural, an amazing social enterprise she runs here. The non-profit organisation employs over 750 women in rural Swaziland gain financial independence by selling their beautiful table mats and baskets. As soon as I saw the pictures she sent me, I felt inspired. I love the idea of women like Tash helping others harness their skills (that, in this case, have been passed down for generations) in order to make money from them. They’re made from the lutindzi grasses that grow in the hills of Swaziland, I’d love to know more about the process, how they're dyed and treated.
So I wrote this recipe below to celebrate International Women’s Day and in support and admiration of all those Swazi female weavers ...
Fried colcannon cakes with pickled wild mushrooms, crispy chorizo and poached eggs
This recipe is also inspired by another superwoman, my Mum, who used to cook potato cakes and poached eggs for cosy evenings. Happy Mother's Day, you are the best :)
It’s a perfect Sunday night dish too because you can use up all the leftovers.
I heartily recommend it, the pickled mushrooms last forever in their liquid and you can use them in salads too. I love how they cut through the sweetness of the egg and saltiness of the pork.
First pickle your wild mushrooms. Promise this is the easiest thing to do.
Toast some cumin and fennel seeds. Mix 500ml water with 3tbsp caster sugar and 3tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp ground turmeric and the seeds. Slice your assorted wild mushrooms into strips (or leave whole if they’re baby) and bring to the boil briefly in the pickling liquor. Cool.
Mix some leftover mash, leftover cooked cabbage or greens with a bit of grated cheese (gruyere yum) and lots of whole grain mustard, pepper and maybe some nutmeg. Shape into the cake shape you want. Chop up the chorizo small and fry in a nice hot non stick pan. Remove and use the remaining oil to cook the cakes - on both sides til golden. Careful they don’t stick to the pan or you’ll lose the best bit. You want it on a medium flame to get colour but not burnage.
Meanwhile poach a few eggs. Arrange your warm potato cakes with the wild mushrooms on top and a few green leaves if you like. Eggs on top with sprinkles of crispy chorizo, chopped parsley and some extra virgin olive oil.