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July 1


Saint of the day:

Saint Oliver Plunkett

Patron Saint of Peace and Reconciliation in Ireland

Saint Oliver Plunkett’s Story

The name of today’s saint is especially familiar to the Irish and the English—and with good reason. The English martyred Oliver Plunkett for defending the faith in his native Ireland during a period of severe persecution.

Born in County Meath in 1629, Oliver studied for the priesthood in Rome and was ordained there in 1654. After some years of teaching and service to the poor of Rome he was appointed Archbishop of Armagh in Ireland. Four years later, in 1673, a new wave of anti-Catholic persecution began, forcing Archbishop Plunkett to do his pastoral work in secrecy and disguise and to live in hiding. Meanwhile, many of his priests were sent into exile, schools were closed, Church services had to be held in secret, and convents and seminaries were suppressed. As archbishop, Plunkett was viewed as ultimately responsible for any rebellion or political activity among his parishioners.

Archbishop Plunkett was arrested and imprisoned in Dublin Castle in 1679, but his trial was moved to London. After deliberating for 15 minutes, a jury found him guilty of fomenting revolt. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered in July 1681.

Pope Paul VI canonized Oliver Plunkett in 1975.

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St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Drogheda, Ireland





Colcannon Ham & Cabbage Pie


  • 30g butter

  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, roughly sliced

  • 2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 350ml hot chicken stock

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 heaped tsp English mustard

  • 150ml single cream

  • 400g cooked ham, cut into chunks

  • For the colcannon:

  • 800g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 50g butter

  • 100ml milk

  • 6 spring onions, finely sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

  2. Steam the cabbage in a metal steamer until al dente (i.e. not completely tender)
    then drain and refresh in a bowl of iced water.

  3. For the mash topping, add the potato chunks to a pot of cold water, cover, place
    over a high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potato is
    tender when pierced with a fork.

  4. When the potatoes are cooked, remove from the heat, drain into a colander, then
    add back into the pot with the butter and milk. Using a potato masher, mash the
    potatoes until smooth and creamy.

  5. Add in the spring onions, a small handful of the steamed cabbage and season with
    sea salt and ground black pepper, stirring to combine. Set aside.

  6. For the filling, melt 25g of the butter in a large frying pan, add the onions and fry
    slowly for about 15 minutes or until softened and caramelized. Remove the pan
    from the heat and set aside.

  7. Melt the remaining 50g of butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the flour
    and cook for 1 minute, whisking to combine. Gradually add the stock whisking briskly
    until it thickens. If it goes a little lumpy, don’t worry; just whisk vigorously until it becomes smooth.

  8. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3–4 minutes. Season with a generous pinch of salt, black pepper and add the mustard. Pour in the cream and stir through allowing to cook for a further minute. Add the remaining cabbage, ham and cooked onions to the sauce and stir well. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof baking dish top with the colcannon mash, using a spoon to make a nice topping.

  9. Give the topping an extra sprinkle of ground black pepper and bake in the oven for 25 mins until the top is starting to brown and the mince is bubbling up around the edges. Serve straight away for a delicious and comforting supper!






Panna Cotta with Boozy Berries


For the panna cotta:

  • 1 litre single cream

  • 60g caster sugar

  • 2 vanilla pods, split and seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

  • 10g gelatin leaves (individual leaves vary in weight so check packet for info)

  • Sprigs of mint, to garnish

For the berry sauce:

  • 400g frozen berries

  • 60g caster sugar

  • Splash of crème de cassis (optional)


  1. Place the cream, sugar, vanilla pods and seeds in a saucepan over a
    medium–high heat and bring to a gentle simmer.

  2. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat.

  3. Meanwhile, place the gelatin sheets in a Pyrex or glass dish and
    cover with a little water. Leave to stand for 5 minutes until the gelatin has softened.

  4. Remove the softened gelatin from the liquid and squeeze out any excess.

  5. Remove the vanilla pods from the warmed cream, then add the softened gelatin
    and stir through until dissolved. Divide the mixture amongst 6-8 dariole moulds
    (or glass serving cups), cover with cling film and place in the fridge to set for a few hours.

To prepare berry sauce

  1. place all the ingredients (holding back about 4 tbsp of the frozen fruit) in a small sauce pan and place over a medium high heat and bring to a boil.

  2. Reduce and simmer until slightly thickened. Blitz until smooth with a hand blender and then pass through a sieve to remove the seeds. Stir through the remaining fruit.

  3. To remove the panna cotta from the moulds, fill a bowl with warm water and dip them in.
    The heat will loosen the puddings slightly and allow them to be inverted onto serving plates.

  4. Serve each panna cotta with a few tablespoons of the berry sauce and a sprig of mint.

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