By Elena Leeming
I have spent most of my adult life living in Ireland, that is 15 years and 3 months to be precise. While the sight of cooked sausages and bacon for breakfast frightened me at first, I learned how to embrace the Full Irish very soon. As the country embraced its local produce more and more, so I have embraced the local culinary scene. From oysters to black pudding, Irish food became my new favourite. While you might not know that there are some major differences between the two cuisines (English and Irish), I spot those fast.
Myself and my family love to throw an Irish feast now and again. Whether you are a fan of soda bread or black pudding, you will find something appealing in the recipes below.
Irish Soda Bread
Quick and easy to make (under 60 mins), this bread is good to serve with soup, chowder or sour cream/butter and smoked salmon or pate.
340gr/12oz self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
290ml /½ pint buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6.
- Tip the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a large fork to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.)
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
- Form into a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet.
- Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.
Irish stew was traditionally made with mutton – older sheep – but more often nowadays, is made with lamb, unlike Guinness stew, which is made with beef. Like all stews and casseroles, they benefit from being made the day before, this one is no exception. This dish is a perfect winter-warmer or to serve on a chilly spring St Patrick’s Day!
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound of diced lamb
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 2 pounds potatoes (peeled and cut into quarters)
- 1 cup onion (roughly chopped)
- 1 cup celery (finely sliced)
- 1 cup carrots (roughly chopped)
- 1 1/2 pints beef stock
- Salt & pepper (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C/ Gas 4
- In a large frying pan heat half the oil to hot, but not smoking. Add half the lamb pieces and brown all over by turning in the hot oil
- Remove the lamb with tongs and place into a casserole dish
- Add half of the quartered potatoes, onions, celery, and carrots
- Add the remaining oil to the frying pan, heat again then add the remaining lamb and brown all over as before and add to the casserole
- Add the rest of the vegetables
- Add the flour to the frying pan and stir really well to soak up any fat and juices. Cook on a gentle heat for 3 minutes
- Then add stock a ladle at a time until you have a thick, lump-free mixture
- Pour it over the lamb and vegetables
- Season with salt and pepper
- Add the remaining stock to the casserole, cover with a tightfitting lid, cook in the oven for 1,5 hours.
- Serve with crusty bread or on its own
I hope you make those and enjoy!
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!