World Cooking – Ireland

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Ireland
Progress: 91/193

As I will not be covering the UK until I finish my culinary journey around the world, today’s Irish food will be the closest I get to home. Geographically anyway, I don’t think I ever really grew up with a lot of British food being cooked – usually a blend of other cuisines – although I am a bit partial to a good toad in the hole.

Sometimes when I do these food countries, I know exactly what I am going to end up making. This is not, in any way, me talking smack about Irish food – rather that there are some more obvious suspects that I just could not wait to make. I think it also speaks to the interesting ubiquitous nature of Irish cuisine in most of the pop culture I consume – and the extent to which Irish food has made its way to America.

If I was going to be ultra cheeky, I would have just gone with a full Irish breakfast because there are few things I like more than a good fried sausage. I also could have gone and made some potato bread, especially as I don’t think I have ever had potato bread outside of some potato farls. Sounds like it would be pretty delicious.

Bread: Soda Bread

I think that, outside of some flatbreads, this is the first proper loaf of bread that I have made for this particular challenge. I’m not usually someone that bakes in general, so I am taking my chances to learn more where I can. The idea of doing a soda bread was pretty obvious to me as it is one of the first things that comes to mind when someone mentions Irish food – also it’s something I don’t tend to get so it would be nice see how hard it is to make.

Turns out, thanks to this recipe on AllRecipes, this isn’t just very easy to make but also incredibly tasty. Due to this being a non-yeasted dough, this soda bread was something that I really didn’t have to spend a lot of one-on-one time with and still got a delicious result – even if it did need 10 minutes more in the oven than expected. Probably because of how big it is.

This is one of those recipes that I feel has inspired me somewhat and that is not just because I have no desire to drink the rest of the buttermilk that I have in my fridge. I’m thinking about adding some rosemary to make a nice herbal soda bread when I next have a day off.

Main: Irish Stew

I mean, there is nothing more stereotypical than making Irish stew when doing Ireland for an around the world cooking challenge. For me, however, this was a bit of a return to something that I haven’t made for 10 years – since the last time I made Irish stew I caught my little finger pretty bad and just gouged out a chunk of it with a potato peeler. Thankfully no such misadventures happened this morning.

It has been a while since I last used the slow cooker for this challenge (Greece more than a year ago) and this Irish stew – courtesy of Olive magazine – might be the best thing that I have made in my slow cooker for a long time. Granted there was me frying up lamb in the early morning so it wasn’t too late a lunch, but it was worth it for this gorgeous melt in the mouth stew that was perfectly paired with the soda bread. What a great week!

The food of Africa is rarely far from my thoughts when it comes to this challenge, even if it has been a long time since I last made something from there. I am edging closer and closer to the halfway point – which makes me think that it will only be another 2-3 years before I end up finishing my little voyage.

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