Sydney-based Irishman MARCUS DERVIN runs us through ten fantastic popular Irish foods, some of which you may not have known are even Irish …
A mammoth breakfast, especially popular on Sunday mornings to soak up the alcohol consumed on the night before. This consists of any or all of the following: sausages, eggs (fried or scrambled), bacon, baked beans, mushrooms, toast, potato fries, fried tomato, black and white pudding (pigs blood with oatmeal), hash browns and tea or coffee. No need to eat a thing until the evening after that!
Lamb is a delicacy in Ireland. They roam around the mountains (I don’t know how they actually catch them), and you can taste the fresh mountain air when you bite into it. It’s just fabulous. You can do this meal in a slow cooker for extra succulence.
Salmon was once a common fish in Ireland and a staple in the diet. It’s now very difficult to get authentic fresh salmon there that’s not farmed. However if you can get your hands on it, it is Irish food to die for. Fried or broiled, with potatoes (of course), some veg and a sprig of parsley.
Basically a casserole of lamb or (cheaper) mutton, parsley, onions, and of course heaps of potatoes. This is a firm Irish food favourite, and a weekly meal in my house growing up. My Australian wife loves it, and the lamb does taste exceptionally different in Ireland.
Bacon and cabbage
Oh my mouth waters just hearing the words, every week, if not twice a week, we ate bacon and cabbage in my house growing up. And I don’t mean fried little strips of bacon. This is a big hunk of bacon that is boiled for hours, the cabbage is mushy, and of course as ever accompanied by potatoes.
Potatoes are worthy of being discussed just by themselves. I’m not sure if in China people discuss different rice like they talk about potatoes in Ireland. But potato discussions were regular in the Irish community. Were the ‘new potatoes’ ready, how were they. Were the ‘old potatoes’ gone too floury. Kerr Pinks were a type of potato that were popular, and when I say old and new, I’m referring to which part of the season they were pulled out, not how long they were in the pantry. Boiled, mashed, fried, chipped, mashed with milk and butter salt and pepper, the potatoes (spuds) in Ireland and amazing, have to go there to believe it.
Fish was always served on Fridays in my house, people didn’t eat meat on Fridays out of respect for Good Friday. We would buy it fresh from the market, lemon sole was a favourite of mine. And of course like so much Irish food, intrinsically it went with spuds and a little veg.
Carrots and Parsnips
This is part of a meal – with spuds and meat, but its worth a mention so you can easily try it. Just cut up carrots and parsnips in equal numbers, boil them, start the carrots first and then check in the parsnips. Drain the water when soft, and mash them up together with butter, salt and pepper. You will be surprised how good this tastes, delicious.
Vegetable Soup and Irish soda bread
A favourite in a pub on a Sunday with a pint of Guinness. Hot Vegie soup with delicious fresh soda bread and lots of butter. Especially on a cold wet day (about 85% of days are), this Irish food warms the heart and soul. Can’t get enough Irish soda bread (or Guinness).
Popular in England too, Christmas pud is a delicacy, and only strictly eaten at Christmas time. Full of dried fruit, whisky, sugar, suet, with cream, you can’t eat much of this – it’s too filling. And you may also find a coin or two in there so be careful how you eat it. Most homes have coins from 100 years ago or so especially saved for the Christmas pud.
Irish-born Marcus Dervin runs a sharepoint development consultancy in Sydney – to find out more check out www.webvine.com.au To access Irish food in Australia go to www.tasteireland.com.au
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