Ireland

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Irish Pancakes

Irish Pancakes

Irish pancakes are not like American pancakes. They are thinner, closer to a crepe than to a big fluffy American pancake, with no baking powder. They are typically served with honey or jam, or brushed with lemon juice and dusted with sugar.

Pancakes figure prominently in the Irish celebration of Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, which they also call Pancake Tuesday. This is the day to use up all the eggs and fat in the house to prepare for the Lenten fast. My mother's side of our family still makes pancakes on Shrove Tuesday!

Colcannon

Colcannon Colcannon is a traditional Irish vegetable side dish made with mashed potatoes and shredded cabbage, flavored with leeks boiled in milk or cream. After it is all mashed together it gets baked again and served with melted butter that sits in a well in the center.

Because it has the cream and it gets baked after it is all mashed together, it get a sort of twice-baked potato texture and flavor that goes well with Irish Baked Salmon.

Though I seldom eat potatoes, I have made this easy recipe again and again to share with friends. The biggest part of the recipe can be prepared ahead of time for later reheating. It's a nice change from the ubiquitous garlic-mashed-potatoes and others of that ilk served at so many restaurants today.

Irish Baked Salmon

Irish Baked SalmonThis simple but delicious preparation shows the King of Fishes off to great effect with a savory cream sauce. It relies on fine ingredients, starting with a very fresh salmon filet.

Barm Brack

Irish Barm Brack

Van Morrison includes this sweet tea bread among his reminiscences of youth in his song Sense of Wonder, and most Americans have no idea what he's talking about, or even the words he's using.

Barm Brack is an old Irish recipe typically served with tea in the afternoon. The name means "speckled bread" because it contains raisins or currants. It can be made as a yeast bread or as a soda bread. 

Barm Brack is also traditionally served at Halloween time with some standard trinkets baked into it; if you get one of the trinkets in your slice, then you know your fortune for the coming year. 

Irish Whole Wheat Soda Bread

Irish Whole Wheat Soda BreadThis is great sliced thin and served with almost any kind of cheese, especially farmhouse cheese and local ale!

I made this one with King Arthur Irish-style flour and NH buttermilk, but the supermarket stuff makes good bread too - this is an excellent recipe.

Soda Bread

Grandma's Irish Soda BreadThis is the recipe used by my grandmother, nee Peggy McBreen of Bailieborough, Co. Cavan, on 17 March. She passed on without ever writing it down. 

My sister Pegeen patiently reconstructed the recipe from our memories. We are agreed that she found Gram's recipe, as much as a "recipe" ever existed.  

Honey Pudding

Honey PuddingThis was another tasty surprise from Favourite Irish Recipes. It is not a pudding in the American Jell-o brand pudding style; it is a boiled pudding that comes out like a cake.

Honey Pudding is made from oats boiled in milk, flavored with honey and mace, and then thickened with egg yolks and lightened with the beaten whites. You boil it for two hours, which has the added benefit of leaving the oven free while you make your roast.

We had it with Irish Coffee at the end of our St Patrick's Day Feast, but it is light and moist and would go well with a strong Indian tea. 

Irish Coffee

Irish CoffeeThere's nothing like a hot Irish Coffee on a dreary, sleety night in March. The hot, sweet-and-bitter strong coffee sipped through the cool, rich cream makes for a study in contrasts that can't help but emphasize your comfortable inside setting while the storm howls outside and rattles the windows.

Irish coffee is traditionally served in a special Irish Coffee glass, like the Waterford ones shown here: it has both a stem and a handle.

I always make Irish Coffee with Jersey Cow Cream that I normally get in Vermont, but I guess it is now available in Massachusetts Whole Foods markets.

I also sprinkle the top with a pinch of Demerara Sugar, but that is just eye-candy.

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