[posted by Joan]
I just got back from 2 lovely weeks in Ireland. While Ireland is not known
for its fine cuisine, I thoroughly enjoyed every meal I had there.
There is an emphasis on local, organic, free range and fair trade products,
which I appreciate. Menus proudly state the beef they serve is from Irish
cows and you can be sure those cows are grazing on green grass. We see them
There is a wide variety of cheese and I enjoyed two excellent cheese
plates, with different varieties of cow and goat cheese. Sheep cheese is
much rarer, which is surprising given all the sheep in Ireland, the numerous
lamb dishes (braised lamb shank, Guinness and Lamb stew, to name two).
There are many root vegetables at the local markets and we were typically
served potatoes in some form as well as rutabaga puree and cooked carrots.
One nights we were served the best carrot cake I ever had: moist and full of
raisins and a zesty orange flavored cream cheese frosting. The mother of the
guest house manager had made it. Another night she made a not too sweet
apple pie with local apples, available even at this time of year.
One memorable meal was the one served to us by our former hiking guide
Ulrich, who lives in Galway. We visited him at the house he is living in
while he rebuilds his own house that was demolished by a fire two years ago.
However, his land still is full of gardens, plants and fruit trees.
We savored his small tart plums and greenish apples. He served us a
delicious lunch of homemade tomato soup and his own unique sour dough bread.
The tomato soup was made with all his home grown ingredients except for the
red wine added to it.
When asked the recipe, he told me that he sautéed onions until they were
carmelized, add peeled tomatoes, cooked them down, added garlic, a piece of
hot pepper, some red wine, salt and pepper. The soup had been pureed and had
a nice velvety texture full of the good flavors and spice of the hot pepper.
Ulrich served us his two day old bread in thin slices, and it was dense,
moist and flavorful. He keeps a sour dough started that he uses for each
batch, adds equal amounts of whole wheat and rye. After the dough rises (and
he doesn't knead it) he mixes in salt, molasses, pumpkin seeds and sunflower
seeds. He lets it rise in two bread tins, then bakes it.
I hope to try both of these recipes at home, and I know they will bring back
memories of a lovely lunch in Galway on a surpassingly sunny August day.