Tuesday, March 15, 2022

I'm so happy to be back with you!

Let's talk Irish foods.

Even though I do have Irish blood, Irish food isn't something I grew of eating. Ham, cabbage, and potatoes would be the closest, but I didn't like the cabbage.

Let's see if you have ever had or ever heard of these traditional Irish foods.


This first one I've heard of, but have never had.


Every family in Ireland has its own recipe for soda bread, hand-written on flour-crusted note paper and wedged in among the cookery books. Some like it sweet with a spoonful of honey, sugar or dried fruits. Others prefer sprinkled-in seeds, bran and oats for a health boost, or treacle and Guinness for the opposite effect. However, the basic ingredients don’t change (bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk form the raising agent, which is mixed in with flour) and nor does the way it’s eaten: sliced and spread liberally with butter.

Try making your own... Irish soda breadfruit & spice soda bread or our rustic oat & treacle soda bread for a twist on a classic.


Potatoes transformed the Irish diet when they were introduced from the New World in the late 16th century. Ireland’s population boomed with this cheap and plentiful food source, but was later decimated when potato harvests were hit by blight in the 19th century. Potatoes are still a staple at most mealtimes, with traditional dishes remaining popular. Colcannon is a classic, comforting mash of potatoes, cabbage (or kale) and butter (or cream), flavoured with spring onions. Champ is a similar, mashed potato favourite, flavoured with spring onions, milk and butter.

Try making your own... Colcannon or champ made with mustard or celeriac. Want something a bit different? Try our ham hock colcannon, topped with a fried egg.


Potato dumpling, potato pancake and potato bread are all descriptors for boxty; some say the name originates from the Irish phrase arán bocht tí, meaning 'poor-house bread'. The recipe calls for grated raw potato to be mixed with mashed potato and then either: mixed with flour and salt and boiled before being sliced and fried in butter ('boxty dumplings'); added to a pancake-like batter before being fried ('boxty on the pan'); or added to a pancake-like batter before being baked in a loaf tin and then sliced and fried ('boxty in the oven'). Whichever way you choose, your boxty can be teamed with just about anything. Try it alongside bacon and eggs or smoked salmon and crème fraîche.

Try making your own... Boxty with bacon, eggs & tomatoes


Boiled bacon, boiled cabbage and boiled potatoes might not sound all that appetising but it remains a firm family favourite. Traditionally, salted pork – a cut from the shoulder or back of the pig – would have been soaked overnight (depending on how much desalting was needed) before being boiled, with the cabbage added to the cooking pot in the last 10 minutes. A silky parsley sauce is the classic accompaniment.

Try making your own... Boiled bacon with cabbage & carrots


(I don't care for salmon)

Smoked salmon is another must-try – the oak-smoked salmon from the Burren Smokehouse, the beechwood-smoked salmon from the Connemara Smokehouse, and the unusual turf-smoked salmon from The Haven Smokehouse are all worth looking out for.

Try making your own... potato cakes with smoked salmon.


(I do like some shellfish. Clam, have to be deep fried, Scallops, done a couple different ways, though I don't see scallops below)

Visit Ireland outside of summer and your chances of seeing the sun may be slim. On the plus side, you'll be able to feast on the west coast’s plump native oysters (Ostrea edulis), which come into season in September, and pay a visit to the Galway Oyster Festival (28-30 September). Shellfish abound in Irish cuisine, from clams in Connemara to Molly Malone’s famed cockles and mussels, and Dublin Bay prawns, which have their own festival held in Howth every year in May. Try making your own... Mussels steamed with cider & bacon.


(No. Nope. Not going to happen. 🤮 No disrespect meant. But, not a chance!)

The Irish weren’t the only ones to discover the delights of black pudding (pork meat, fat and blood mixed with barley, suet and oatmeal in an intensely flavoured sausage). White pudding (similar, but minus the blood) may be less common around the globe, but no full Irish breakfast would be complete without a slice of each. Beyond breakfast, black pudding is just as likely to appear on the menu of smart Irish restaurants nowadays, served with sautéed scallops, in croquettes, under poached eggs, in salads and risottos and as a garnish to soups.

Try it for yourself... Celeriac soup with scallops & black pudding. Combine two comforting classics with our black pudding potato cakes.


With roots as a working-class Dublin dish, the name coddle comes from the slow simmering or 'coddling' of ingredients in a one-pot stew. The leftovers at the end of the week would be slowly stewed in the oven for hours, with slices of pork sausage packed in alongside bacon rashers or leftover boiled bacon and sliced potatoes and onions. To make a superior version, use top-quality pork sausages and bacon, and serve the coddle with slices of soda bread to mop up the juices.

Try making your own... Irish coddled pork with cider


Enthusiasts make this fruity tea loaf all year round, serving it smothered in butter with a cup of tea in the afternoon. It’s at Halloween, however, that you’d find a charm in your slice foretelling the future: a rag foreshadowed bad luck or poverty; a ring meant you'd be wed within a year; a pea that you wouldn't be wed in the coming year; a coin brought wealth; and a stick foretold quarrels. Raisins, candied peel (sometimes steeped overnight in black tea and whiskey) and mixed spice all go into the mix.

There you go! 

Anyone hungry?

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  1. I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for Irish soda bread. I’ve never tried it. I would try most of these foods, but not all.
    Happy Tuesday, Lisa!
    Pat T

    1. I wouldn't try most of them. LOL Wow, we aren't identical twins after all. :-( ;-)

  2. About the only thing that stands out is the shellfish. We love any form of seafood. I want it all cooked. Now hubby loves oysters on the half shell and could eat his weight in them (he's often tried LOL). I've had fried cabbage, but not boiled. We've eaten potato patties where you take leftover mashed potatoes and add onions and pat out into patties before lightly covering in flour and frying. My grandfather on my Dad's side immigrated to the United States. I can remember my Mom talking about him fixing blood sausage, but know of no one after him to eat it.

    Where I use to be a meat and potato gal, I've learned to at least try something. (A 37 day hospital stay on hospital food only will do that do you.) However, some things I just can't wrap my mind around to even try - like the raw oysters.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Grew up a meat and potatoes girl too. Have added other things once I was on my own. But no matter how old I get, I can't eat green vegetables or for that matter, any vegetables. Onions, potatoes, and corn. That's it for Lisa. No raw seafood for me!