While we tend to think of Ireland as the land of majestic landscapes, fetching folk music, and mouth watering ales, the Emerald Isle is home to a world of delightful foods that are part of its history and traditions.
Potatoes, cabbage, mutton (or lamb), seafood, pork, and carrots are just a few of the foods that made their way into Ireland’s cuisine. They were all important parts of the Irish diet in the past, and they’re still loved today.
Champ is a simple, traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes and scallions infused with milk and butter. It’s a tasty side dish that can be served with corned beef and cabbage or Shepherd’s Pie.
Traditionally, champ was offered to fairies and spirits during Samhain, or used as a way to appease ancestors who had passed on. It was also eaten on Halloween for a festive treat.
It’s a popular side dish in Northern Ireland, although it can be found throughout the country. It’s often eaten with roast beef and sausages, but it can also be topped with a runny fried egg on top for breakfast.
It’s usually a filling dish that’s a great alternative to traditional meals on a budget, as it’s inexpensive to make and easy to store. You can add peas or other vegetables to the potatoes for an even more nutritious version of champ.
Victoria sponge is the classic British treat that pairs well with a cup of tea. It’s a simple, light cake that was named after Queen Victoria, who was fond of it during her afternoon teas.
This deceptively simple recipe requires the right ingredients to create a light, fluffy sponge. This includes the use of eggs, a good ratio of flour to sugar and the baking temperature.
Using baking powder, as well as a little extra salt, is also a common addition. These add to the lightness and help rise the batter, making it easier to spread in a pan for the perfect cake every time.
In addition to being an excellent teatime treat, this cake is also a popular choice for parties and celebrations. You can find this classic cake in baby sponge sized cakes, which are perfect for sharing and giving away!
Sticky Toffee Pudding
A moist and sweet brown sugar sponge cake soaked in warm toffee sauce, sticky toffee pudding is a classic British dessert that will be a favorite of any family. It is traditionally served with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, but is also delicious on its own!
Medjool dates are the secret to this recipe. They’re rich and moist, but if you prefer less sweetness, dried apricots can replace the dates.
The batter is easy to double if you want a bigger serving size. You can even bake it in a bundt pan for a big slice of cake!
Serve the puddings hot with a little toffee sauce, and top them with a dollop of whipped or custard cream. It’s a simple and satisfying treat for your next party or special occasion!
Boxty is a classic Irish dish, a sort of cross between a potato pancake and hash brown. It’s a wholesome and tasty snack, and can be eaten on its own, with butter, creme fraiche, green onions or bacon and eggs.
It’s also a traditional treat served on Imbolc, February 1st – Brigid’s Day, the patron saint of dairy – though it’s enjoyed year-round. It’s an incredibly simple recipe that uses grated potatoes, flour and baking soda.
The key to making good Boxty is to manage the heat. It should take about 6-8 minutes, on each side, for the mixture to cook through; if it starts to burn before the center is cooked, reduce the heat a bit.