This post was first published on 5th June 2016 & has since been updated & republished.
Every year for the past few years, my family have packed up a weeks’ worth of clothes and a car full of dogs and driven somewhere for a holiday sometime during the summer. This year, ten of us (and two dogs) piled into two cars and drove to Dingle, Co. Kerry (via Holyhead). I love this week away – I’m so not normally a wet-dogs-sand-between-my-toes-getting-freckles in-the-sunshine kind of girl, but somehow, for that week, I run about in jeans and bare feet and and paddle in the freezing-cold sea and pick wildflowers from the hedgerows to plait into my hair.
With ten of us, we can take turns cooking and tidying and brewing enormous pots of coffee in the morning. I’ve had a hard past few months, with one thing and another and, without wishing to sound like a #blessed stereotype, it has been so wonderful to be reminded how lucky I am to have such a funny, generous, loving family (even if we all get on one another’s nerves the other 51 weeks of the year), and to have a break from real life in such a beautiful (and mostly WiFi-free) part of the world.
Because I love brunch, I decided to make my family a gluten-free twist on a traditional Irish recipe, gluten free potato farls. When I ate wheat, I used to love potato farls. They’re a real treat: buttery and salty, fluffy with potato inside and golden crunchy on the outside. I love them as a breakfast, with mushrooms and spinach and eggs, but they are also a perfect way to finish off a night of one-too-many pints.
The Irish Gluten Free Potato Farls recipe:
Irish Gluten Free Potato Farls
- 4 Medium-small potatoes (approx. 150g each)
- ½ tsp. Sea salt
- 6 tbsp. Vegan spread (I use Stork, at room temperature) (plus extra for frying)
- 60 g Rice flour (plus extra for rolling)
- ¼ tsp. Ground black pepper
For the mash
- If possible, make the mashed potato ahead of time (preferably the day before), and allow it to cool completely before making the rest of the dish
- Peel and roughly chop the potatoes, then put them in a large saucepan with half of the salt (¼ tsp.)
- Cover the potatoes in the saucepan with hot water, bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn down the heat a little and simmer for around 15-20 minutes, until very soft
- Drain the potatoes, then return them to the pan, with half of the spread (3 tbsp.), and roughly mash
- Allow the mash to cool – preferably refridgerate it overnight
- When you’re ready to make your potato farls, take the mashed potato and knead in the remaining spread (3 tbsp.), the rice flour, the black pepper, and the remaining salt (¼ tsp.)
- Once it is at a doughy consistency, divide into four and roll to form into balls
- Sandwhich each ball of dough between two sheets of baking parchment and use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough into a circle, around half an inch thick
- If you’re making a lot of farls (or saving them for later) you can pile the uncooked cakes on a plate, with baking paper between each layer, and they will save in the fridge for a few days
- When you are ready to cook, heat a large, cast-iron frying pan, or skillet, over a medium flame
- Melt some more spread in the hot pan, then lightly flour the bottom of the pan with more rice flour
- Remove the top sheet of baking parchment from your first farl, then gently cut it into quarters* (like a pizza or a pie), while it is still on the bottom sheet
- Carefully transfer the farl into the pan (put it in 'top' down, with the remaining baking parchment now on the top, then peel the parchment off)
- Cook the farls for about 5-6 minutes, then lightly dust the topside with rice flour and carefully turn and cook the other side for another 4-5 minutes
- Both sides should be golden brown and sizzling a little when you take them out of the pan
I made enough gluten
*The word ‘farl’ literally means ‘fourths’ of ‘quarters’, referring to the shape of each piece. When I made these in Kerry I couldn’t locate a rolling pin, so you may notice that I’ve made four separate, much smaller flat circles from each big ball of dough, which was much easier when cooking for the five thousand.