Let there be food…
Amy Heffernan

This month’s recipe is for an Irish tea brack. With Halloween just around the corner it’s a lovely alternative to the traditional Barmbrack which is usually made with yeast and eaten at this time of year. The Irish tea brack requires you to soak dried fruit overnight, but it is simple and quick to make. I hope you enjoy it.

You will need:

100g (3½ oz) Sultanas 

100g (3½ oz) Raisins

100g (3½ oz) Currants

80g (2¾ oz) Glace Cherries

50g (1½ oz) Mixed Peel

300ml (10 fl oz) Fresh hot tea

1 Egg

200g (7oz) Soft Dark Brown Sugar

225g (8oz) Self Raising Flour 

1 Tsp Mixed Spice


Place the dried fruit, cherries and mixed peel in a bowl, and pour in the hot tea. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and allow to steep overnight.


The next day, preheat the oven to 180ºc (350ºF) (Conventional Oven) or 160ºc (320ºF) (Fan Assisted Oven). Line a 1lb (450g) tin with parchment paper.


Gently whisk the egg and then add it and the brown sugar to the fruit mix. Sift the self-raising flour and mixed spice into the fruit mixture and stir until it’s all combined 


Pour into the lined loaf tin and bake for 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the brack comes out clean.


Leave to cool on a wire rack.


Tip: This brack will last well in an airtight container and it can also be frozen.

Africa, Vol 85, No 7, September/October 2020

Irish Tea Brack


This month’s recipe is a warm potato salad. It is something a little different to the usual potato salad recipes we are used to. Instead of using mayonnaise, I use a honey and mustard dressing which is full of flavour and not as heavy. The dressing is simple and quick to make and can be used to dress other salads too. This is a great dish for a bbq during the summer months, but it can be enjoyed as a tasty side any time of year.

You will need:

1 kg Baby Potatoes

2 Tbsp Olive or Rapeseed Oil

2 Cloves Garlic (peeled & crushed)

1 Red Onion (peeled & sliced)

10 Smoked Streaky Rashers (Bacon)

4 Scallions or Spring Onions (sliced)

Salt & Pepper


For the Honey & Mustard Dressing

1 Tbsp Wholegrain Mustard 

1 Tbsp Honey 

1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar

1 Clove Garlic (peeled & crushed)

6 Tbsp Olive or Rapeseed Oil

Salt & Pepper


Preheat the oven to 190°C (370ºF). On a lined roasting tray lay the streaky rashers out flat and place into the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are crispy. Then remove from the tray, slice into small strips and set aside. Keep the tray to roast the potatoes.


Halve the baby potatoes and place into a saucepan. Cover with cold water and place on a medium to high heat. Allow to come to the boil, then cook for 5 minutes. Drain the hot water from the baby potatoes. Then add the oil, garlic, salt and pepper and toss so the potatoes are well coated.


Place on the roasting tray and put into the oven for 20 minutes. Then remove and toss through the sliced red onion. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.


To make the dressing place the mustard, honey, vinegar and garlic into a bowl. Whisk to combine. Slowly pour the oil in as you continue to whisk. Add seasoning to taste. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and add the streaky rashers and sliced scallions. Mix until all the potatoes are covered and serve warm.


Tip: Line the roasting tray with parchment paper, as it makes washing-up much easier. 

Africa, Vol 85, No 6, July/August 2020

Warm Honey and Mustard Potato Salad


Happy New Year to all our readers! To begin the new year, this month’s recipe is a healthy and tasty soup. Roasting the peppers before adding them to the soup brings out a unique sweetness that works great in this dish. Roasted peppers are also great when used in salads, antipasto and with pasta.

You will need:

4 Red Peppers (halved & de-seeded)

3 Tbsp Olive oil

4 Garlic cloves (peeled)

1 Onion (peeled and chopped)

2 Celery stalks (chopped)

400g Chopped Tomatoes (tinned can be used)

500 ml Vegetable or Chicken Stock

2 Tbsp Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp Smoked Paprika (optional)

Salt & Pepper


Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF / Gas Mark 4). Place the red peppers, cut side down, onto a baking tray and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes until the skin is shrivelled and lightly charred. Then place in a bowl, cover and allow to cool. Once cooled, peel away the skin from the peppers, and discard.


Place a large pot on a medium to high heat and add the rest of the olive oil. Once hot add the garlic, chopped onion and celery and fry for 2 minutes. Then cover, reduce the heat and allow the vegetables to sweat for 5 minutes. Add the roasted and peeled peppers, chopped tomatoes, stock, pesto, Balsamic vinegar and smoked paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.


Remove from the heat and using a hand blender blitz the soup to form a silky-smooth texture. If a little thick, add some boiling water to get the required consistency. Taste and add seasoning if required. Serve with some homemade brown bread for a healthy, warming lunch.


Tip: If you want to take a shortcut for this recipe, jars of roasted red peppers can be used instead of roasting and peeling your own.

Africa, Vol 85, No 1, January/February 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (Serves 3-4)

Amy Heffernan is a chef and lives in Co Wicklow, Ireland. 

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