Ireland is said to be a beautiful country with beautiful landscapes and people. I imagine their food is a perfect representation of just that!
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 200g smoked streaky bacon, preferably in one piece, skinned and cut into chunks
- 900g stewing lamb, cut into large chunks
- 5 medium onions, sliced
- 5 carrots, sliced into chunks
- 3 bay leaves
- small bunch thyme
- 100g pearl barley
- 850ml lamb stock
- 6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
- small knob of butter
- 3 spring onions, finely sliced
- Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Sizzle the bacon for 4 mins until crisp. Turn up the heat, then cook the lamb for 6 mins until brown. Remove the meats with a slotted spoon. Add the onions, carrots, and herbs to the pan, then cook for about 5 mins until softened. Return the meat to the pan, stir in the pearl barley, pour over the stock, then bring to a simmer.
- Sit the chunks of potato on top of the stew, cover, then braise in the oven, undisturbed, for about 1½ hrs until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender. The stew can now be chilled and kept in the fridge for 2 days, then reheated in a low oven or on top of the stove. Remove from the oven, dot the potatoes with butter, scatter with the spring onions, and serve scooped straight from the dish.
Smoked wild Irish salmon with chive pancakes
For the dressing
- 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 100ml olive oil
- juice 1 lemon
For the pancakes
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 140g plain flour
- 250ml milk
- handful chives, chopped
- vegetable oil, to cook
- 6 handfuls mixed salad leaves
- 12 slices of smoked salmon, preferably wild Irish salmon
- 1 lemon, finely sliced
- handful chives halved
- To make the dressing, place the wholegrain mustard in a bowl, then using a whisk, add the olive oil slowly. Add a squeeze of lemon, season to taste, then set aside.
- To make the pancake mixture, mix together the eggs, flour, milk, and chopped chives until smooth. Season with pepper and salt, if you want
- Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over a highish heat. Using a piece of kitchen paper wipe the pan with some vegetable oil. Pour a ladleful of the pancake batter into the pan and swirl to cover the base. Cook for about 1 min, then flip, cook for 30 secs more, remove and place on greaseproof paper. Repeat until you’ve made all six pancakes, then set aside.
- To serve, arrange handfuls of salad leaves in piles on the side of each of six plates. Fold pancakes into four and sit next to the leaves. Loosely drape two slices of smoked salmon over the leaves and pancakes. Tuck two slices of lemon and a few chives under the salmon, then drizzle the mustard dressing over everything and serve.
Guinness chocolate pudding
- 150g unsalted butter, plus extra for the ramekins
- 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), roughly chopped
- 90g golden caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 90ml Guinness or other stout
- clotted cream or thick double cream, to serve (optional)
- Butter four 9 x 5cm ramekins and set aside. Tip the butter, chocolate, and a generous pinch of salt into a heatproof bowl. Set over a small pan of just simmering water and stir until melted, then remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.
- Put the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until pale, almost doubled in volume and thick enough to leave a trail when the beaters are lifted up. Gently fold in the melted chocolate and the Guinness. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, then chill in the fridge for 1 hr. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and put a baking tray on the top shelf to heat up.
- Place the ramekins on the hot baking tray and bake for 18 mins. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for a minute, then serve with a dollop of cream, if you like.