From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
1 tblsp olive oil
1 onion (finely chopped)
400 g whole peeled plum tomatoes
pinch of sugar
100 g ball mozzarella (cut into small cubes)
100 g mature cheddar (cut into small cubes)
225 g raw floury potatoes, peeled
225 g cooked floury mashed potatoes (still warm)
50 g plain flour (plus a little extra for dusting)
a little butter (for frying)
maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lightly dressed mixed salad, to serve
To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes until softened but not coloured. Pour in the tomatoes and add the sugar, then season to taste. Mash down the tomatoes with a potato masher to a pulp and then simmer for 8-10 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened. Leave to cool, then blend with a hand-held blender until smooth.
To make the boxty, coarsely grate the potatoes into a clean tea towel, then over a bowl wring out all of the excess starchy liquid. Tip the squeezed potatoes into a separate bowl and cover with the mashed potatoes.
Once the squeezed out liquid has settled the starch drops to the bottom. Carefully pour off the clear liquid from the top and discard, then mix the starch thoroughly with the grated and mashed potatoes. Sift over the flour and salt and knead lightly in the bowl until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out on to a floured board and roll out a circle that is about 2cm (3/4") thick, then cut into 4 x farls (triangles). Heat a griddle pan or large frying pan and add a knob of butter. Add the boxy farls and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through.
Leave the farls to cool a little and then spread over a little of the tomato sauce. Scatter over the cheese and flash under a preheated grill for a couple of minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve at once on warmed plates with some mixed salad.