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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Traditional Irish Breakfast

                       A thatched roof home somewhere in County Donegal, Ireland.

First of all, let me just say, if Ireland is not already on your list of must-see places, put it there fast!  It is the most beautiful country I've seen so far in my lifetime.  My husband and I recently spent about nine days just driving the Northern Coast and then back around, ending up in the Dingle Peninsula.  What you will see is miles and miles of gorgeous green pastures, giant rocky cliffs, ocean, smoky fog that settles on top of mountains, sheep grazing, and adorable village towns, just begging for a stroll through the streets.  Our favorite towns were, Cushendall, Doolin, and Dingle.

Beautiful Cushendall

A walk to Doolin town for dinner 

Panoramic view of the Dingle Peninsula

Along the way, we stayed in several Bed & Breakfasts (B&Bs).  These were great, because it's like you're staying in someone's home.  You not only feel like you're having a very authentic Irish experience, but breakfast is included...and sometimes the company of your charming hosts as well.

Our B&B in County Sligo...Ross Farmhouse

Breakfast at Ross Farmhouse

Our hosts sat down with us while we ate the breakfast they had prepared.  We talked about his days of swimming in the Atlantic, minks getting their chickens, and her pet rabbit that she walks on a leash...interesting breakfast conversation.

Perhaps the most inspired breakfast we had was here, at An Dooneen B&B on the Dingle Peninsula.

Our lovely and lively host, Mary.
The traditional Irish fryup.

So maybe you're thinking, "and what is this post about again? because it looks like this chick just wants to show us her vacation pictures."  Well, let me get to the point.  We decided to recreate the traditional Irish breakfast at home.  This is how it all "panned" out. Ha!  I can't stop making food puns!

Meet my friends, John and Kate and baby Lydia.  They joined us for breakfast.  I knew I had a somewhat tough critic, because John moved to the U.S. from England when he was in high school.  His childhood was spent in a town called Cheam, in the London Borough of Sutton.  He knows a thing or two about a large European-style breakfast!

We started by preparing the scones and brown soda bread.

I was a little nervous about these, because I'm not a very good baker.  My husband's favorite thing on the trip was the brown bread.  So he was in charge of that.  It turned out great!  He is a great chef!  The scones could have risen more, but they had a nice taste and texture.

Brown soda bread and scones with Irish butter (Kerrygold), orange marmalade, strawberry jam, and honey. In Ireland, the fresh butter would always be room temperature, and I would spread it on my bread like icing!  So good!
The recipes I used are here:
Soda bread

Next, it was time to cook up a lot of meat and prepare the first course.
That's a big plate of protein!  But it's part of an Irish breakfast.  We just used Aidell's chicken apple sausage and country ham from the grocery store.
At an Irish B&B, pre-breakfast is usually fruit and yogurt, or muesli.  We simply did plain Greek yogurt with honey drizzle and mixed berries.

Potato Pancakes or Boxties were part of the main course.

Fresh mushrooms and tomatoes, seared in the meat juices with fresh basil.

Kate is overseeing the egg-poaching process.  We've never had the best luck with poaching.  Luckily, she had watched Giada do it the day before.

Egg-poaching process.

Our table spread.

My plate...very similar to the traditional Irish breakfast at the B&Bs.

This was my grandmother's serving dish.  It still has her address sticker on it, for taking to church potlucks.  Though it is dishwasher safe, and an everyday dish, I always handwash it so the sticker will stay intact.

Everywhere we went, there was an electric kettle.  It's so easy, because you just pour water into it, flip the switch and it boils in no time for tea or French-pressed coffee.  When we got home, I said goodbye to my coffeemaker and ordered this kettle from Amazon.  
You can get it here:  

Overall, I was pleased with our traditional Irish breakfast.  I think the other eaters were too.  Though it's not something you would prepare and eat every Saturday, or maybe even any Saturday that's not a special is approachable.  It can be fun to prepare as well.  It made me nostalgic for cool, cloudy weather, lots of green hues and coastal highway.  A quick tip to moms and dads of littles: hosting a breakfast or brunch for friends can make a Saturday, that might otherwise get somewhat tedious, very very pleasant!  Get to Ireland as soon as you can, friends.  It's worth it!