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A hearty Irish platter

india Updated: Jun 25, 2011 00:32 IST
Rupali Dean
Rupali Dean
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Traditional, hearty, satisfying and delicious, that’s Irish cuisine for you. The Irish love to eat well and drink plenty, and why not… local produce and sea food are readily available here and are decadent to the core.

Hearty snack
It’s joyful to wake up to a full Irish breakfast, owing to the cool climate and the high quality farm produce. It consists of eggs, thickly sliced bacon rashers, sausages, sliced grilled tomato, scrumptious Irish bread, black pudding and white pudding followed by a large pot of tea. And, no, the puddings are not dessert; the white pudding is made from oats and meat, an Irish speciality, whereas the black pudding is made from blood and fat and is not for the faint hearted! Interestingly in Northern Ireland the breakfast is known as Ulster Fry and the Soda Bread and Potatoes are extra for that Northern flavour.

The Mains
If you are a meat and potatoes kind of person, you’ll love Irish food. Buttery mashed potatoes, over a meat, carrot and onion filling makes for a delicious cottage pie. The recipe usually uses the new potatoes. It is said that the original crust was sliced potatoes laid in an overlapping pattern, like the roof of a cottage, hence the name. Corned beef with cabbage is another popular dish. Lamb, potatoes, and cabbage is a very Irish combination, but traditional Irish stew is lamb with potatoes, usually prepared with carrots, leeks, onion, parsnips and rutabaga. Dinner usually consists of roast beef, steak, roast pork or ham with a side dish of potatoes. Cup-cakes, apple tarts, home-made cookies and various cakes are extremely popular at any time of the day with a cup of Irish coffee or tea.

Guiness
A trip to Ireland is incomplete without a few pints of Guiness, and if you happen to be in Dublin, a visit to the seven storey storehouse is a must in the itinerary. For just Rs 700 one can enjoy the story of Guiness as well as a free pint at the Gravity floor on the top floor along with a terrific view of the city. Guiness gets it ruby red colour (not black) owing to the barley being roasted in the same way as coffee beans. Interestingly, the famous creamy white is achieved by the tiny bubbles created by nitrogen as the beer surges from the tap. I was told that the best taste should have a creamy head and should be served at exactly 42.8F. Slanche (cheers in Gaelic) …on that note!

Interesting Facts
1.Guinness is the perfect diet drink. A pint contains only 198 calories.
2.Brooklodge in Wicklow village is home to Ireland’s only certified Organic restaurant.
3.Bodega in Waterford serves the best steak and chips and has won many awards.
4.Knockdrinna Farmhouse in Thomas Town takes pride in making the finest quality artisan cheese, using the best quality milk from local farmers.
5.Danny Miller, Head Chef of Balloo House has been awarded the Best chef in Northern Ireland.

Did you know?
A century and a half after the Great Famine brought starvation and death to perhaps a million Irish people, and forced a similar number to emigrate, the Irish are, ironically, perhaps the best-fed nation in the world.