Ravenous Traveler: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with Great Irish Food
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is a ravenous traveler marathon. You wake up to the Dropkick Murphy’s “Cadence to Arms” with all its blaring punk rock and bagpipe beauty, then jump straight into the festivities at Dublin’s Saint Patrick’s Day Festival. But before you finish the first Irish carbomb of the day, you may want to consider checking out Ireland’s traditional foods: They will definitely help you with the post-party slump. Plus, in Dublin, Saint Patrick’s Day lasts a week: Wouldn’t you rather be praying for eternal salvation in Christ Church Cathedral than praying for salvation from a whisky headache?
Now we must concoct the perfect St. Patrick’s Day meal. Believe it or not, the potato isn’t native to Ireland. It comes from South American and wasn’t introduced to Ireland until 1589. Nevertheless, it must be represented. Besides potato, we’ll need meat: The Irish have a long history of raising animals, and roasted and stewed meats hold a top seat in Irish cuisine. We’ll also have to represent the country’s high-quality, stone-ground flours, which make excellent bread, such as Irish soda bread. And finally, we must somehow include black pudding (aka blood sausage) and Ireland’s farm-fresh native vegetables and fruits. So, what single St. Patrick’s Day dish contains all of these delicious Irish ingredients?
Though we all love Ireland’s famous cornbeef and cabbage, I think that a traditional Irish breakfast will do the trick on St. Patrick’s Day, and the Lynda Booth’s Dublin Cookery School is here to help us. Located in Blackrock, fifteen minutes south of the Dublin city center, the Dublin Cookery School teaches travelers all about Irish cooking, and it offers one-day cooking classes in its state-of-the-art facility year round.
Sally, who represents the Dublin Cookery School, points out that brown yeast bread is a key component to any St. Patrick’s Day meal, and she has sent the culinary school’s very own, easy-to-make recipe. Brown yeast bread has a hearty texture and makes for an excellent accompaniment to a traditional Irish breakfast of bacon rashers, black and white pudding, sausages, eggs, fried tomato, and sautéed mushrooms. Now that, combined with more bagpipes and a Guinness, is a recipe for the best St. Patrick’s Day ever!
RECIPE: Dublin Cookery School’s Brown Yeast Bread Courtesy of Dublin Cookery School
We are lucky in Ireland to have great-quality, stone-ground, extra-course flour. If this is not available to you, you could try adding porridge oats to flour along with a mix of seeds. The bread is delicious served with cold meats, fresh seafood, or a selection of homemade jam. This is a very straightforward bread as it does not require kneading.
- 1 lbs whole-meal flour (preferably Howards extra-coarse, stone-ground flour)
- 1 rounded tsp salt
- 2 tsp molasses
- 1 oz fresh yeast or 1/4 oz (1/2 tsp) dried yeast granules
- 12 -14 fluid oz water, warm to the touch
- Set oven to 400F
- Grease a 1 lb loaf tin with a little oil. Mix the molasses with a cup of water. Crumble in the fresh yeast or, if using dried, sprinkle the yeast granules on the surface. Leave in a warm place for about 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.
- Mix the flour and salt together in the bowl. Stir the yeast and molasses mixture and pour all at once into the flour. Mix into the flour and then gradually add a little more warm water bit by bit until you have a wettish dough. If the dough is too dry, the bread will not rise properly.
- Place the dough in the tin and spread out evenly. It will only come about half way up the tin. Cover with a dry tea cloth and leave in a warmish place to rise. When the mixture has risen to the top of the tin—this usually takes about 20 minutes—remove the tea towel and place in the oven for about 35-45 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking, remove the bread from the tin, and place it back in the oven upside down for a few minutes.
Written by Ravenous traveler, Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com