Of cabbages and cookbooks

The other day I was given a magnificent, whole red cabbage. After I admired its beauty for a few days, I had to decide what to do with it.

Red cabbage--beautiful inside and out.

Although I love red cabbage raw in a salad or steamed, I decided there was no choice but to make my never-fail red cabbage side dish. It’s from one of my cherished vintage (sounds so much better than old!) cookbooks Irish Countryhouse Cooking by Rosie Tinne, first published by Gill and Macmillan Ltd in 1974.

One of my favorite vintage cookbooks

The book comprises recipes from grand Irish country houses and country house hotels of the time and the list of contributors have titles like Countess, Viscountess, Lady, and The Hon. Each recipe has the name of the house at the top and the signature of the contributor below.

My favorite and utterly delicious recipe for Red Cabbage comes from a page in the book headed The Glebe, Leixlip, County Kildare. A Google search doesn’t show a match, so I don’t know if the house still exists. But the recipe lives on. Here, I share it with you (I’ve put metric equivalents in italics).

My very favorite red cabbage recipe

RED CABBAGE

1 small red cabbage (about 2 lb) (about 1kg)

1 large onion—sliced

2oz butter (about 60g)

1 oz flour (about 30g)

2 apples—peeled, cored and cut in chunks

3 tablespoons white or wine vinegar

2 teaspoons brown sugar

3-4 cloves

3-4 bay leaves

salt to taste

Wash and shred cabbage. Heat butter in fairly large saucepan and lightly fry onion. Add flour and cook for a minute or two, but do not brown. Add ½ pint (about 300ml) water, apples, vinegar, sugar, cloves, bay leaves, salt to taste and the cabbage. Simmer, stirring at intervals, until cabbage is tender (about 1½ hours to 2 hours). There should be no liquid to throw away.

I serve this cabbage dish with pork, but it could easily go with steak or even duck. I keep it in a sealed container in the fridge and eat it by the spoonful!

When I Googled Irish Countryside Cooking, there seem to be copies available at various vintage book stores, as well as Amazon.

I lived in Ireland as a child and, though I don’t remember very much, love reading books set in Ireland–and reading my Irish cookbooks.

Let me know if you like the recipe!

 

Photo of cut red cabbage

© Akarelias | http://www.stockfreeimages.com

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