Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Taste of Ireland

What a great weekend, we just enjoyed! My family was supposed to visit us last week; however, the Icelandic volcano kept them in Colorado. My brother's trip which was scheduled in the middle of my folk's trip went on as scheduled and so we enjoyed a few short days with him.

We enjoyed plenty of food, wine, beer, hill walking, sight seeing, wildlife viewing, visiting and even managed to find a Trad Session on Friday night in Kilkee.

Chadd arrived as scheduled on Thursday. Patrick was out fishing, so I made my way to the Shannon Airport to pick my brother up. We made our way back to the house, I gave him a quick tour, then went down to the village for lunch and a pint at The Long Dock. I love the feel inside the Long Dock, it's cozy, like the whole pub is a "snug" and the food and Guinness are pretty good and as local as you can get without enjoying a meal at our Sunset Diner.

After our lunch we strolled into the square and I introduced Chadd to our Post Master, the first person I met when I arrived in Carrigaholt last June. Our village isn't very big, even though it is considered a "Large Village" by the County Council, so Chadd's quick tour ended with another pint inside Keane's, the first place I enjoyed a pint when I arrived last June.

When we were finished we made our way back to the house for afternoon tea and finally met up with Patrick who brought home fresh crab claws and mussels.

I could continue to describe many of the details while brother was here; however, this blog is about food, so I'm going to change the format and give you highlights from our dining experience.

We started with fresh crab claws and a fruity salad of mango, apple, kiwi, cucumber, onion, spinach and butter lettuce with an apple and poppy seed vinaigrette followed by baked Pollock with mushrooms, onions, green peppers, leeks, and a few knobs of butter accompanied by baked potatoes. For dessert I made Toffee Bread Pudding which was heavenly.

We started Chadd's first full day in Ireland with a Full Irish Breakfast which included: 1 poached egg on toast, bacon, rashers, white and black puddings, beans, fried mushrooms and tomatoes before setting out on a tour of the north side of the peninsula.

Chadd enjoyed his first "99", although is was sans the Flake, in Kilkee and also enjoyed a pint and a bag of crisps at The Lighthouse Innon the bay in Kilbaha. Before returning home for homemade crab cakes and mussels. For dinner Friday night we had a bit of a BBQ and enjoyed chicken on the grille and homemade potato salad. We finished out evening with Banoffee Pie that was even more heavenly than Thursday's night's bread pudding.

We finished the evening in Kilkee at Fitzpatrick's for a Traditional Irish Music session.

I think we all agreed when we woke up Saturday morning (mind you, we didn't get to sleep until 3:00 am) that we were full from all the previous meals and drink... that didn't stop me from making us Apple and Banana Pancakes with a bit of fruit on the side. I think we rolled to the College Bay for our walk to the Battery.

Chadd got a taste of rain Saturday afternoon, but not before Patrick gave him a tour of the Fiona David, Patrick's boat. When we got home, we enjoyed a hot mug of tea, the last of the BBQ chicken and potato salad then nibbled on the treats Chadd picked up in Heathrow - Chocolate and shortbread.

Patrick's parent came down from Moycullen, outside of Galway, to meet my brother and spend the evening with us. We had a great evening, as the rain cleared and the sun came out just in time for us to enjoy dinner at our Sunset Diner. On the bill, I made us Crab and Lobster salad and Patrick made Bacon and Cabbage with mashed potatoes and boiled turnip. We sweetened the deal with the last of the Banoffee Pie, a cowboy cookie and chocolate.

The conversation was great, and different and carried us well into the night. A little after 11:00 pm, Chadd, Eileen (Patrick's step mom) and I walked into the village for a serving of Curry Chips from our local chipper. As Chadd was informed, Curry chips after a night on the drink is considered an Irish delicacy! I'd say they weren't as good as something Patrick and I could create in our kitchen - it was worth the experience anyway.

Chadd flew out Sunday, mid-day from Shannon, which made for a whirlwind morning getting ready and eating before departing. We had leftover mashed potatoes so Eileen showed me how she makes potato cakes and Patrick made us a big fluffy omelette after he and Chadd washed and dries the pile of dishes from the night before. It was a great food finale to Chadd's expected-unexpected visit.

All those highlights behind us now, I'll leave you with Eileen's Potato Cake Recipe, perfect and easy for any morning.

1 onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, minced
Any amount of mashed potatoes (we had about 3 cups)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper, a handy sprinkling of both
seasoning of your choice, Mixed herbs, Curry powder, Aromat, whatever you like

Preheat a frying pan to medium/medium high with a little oil. Fry the onion and garlic in the heated oil, until tender.
Meanwhile, mix last four ingredients together in a bowl and add onion and garlic when cooked through.
Next set out about 1/2 cup of flour to coat your hands before forming the mixture into cakes (any size you like).
Fry the cakes in the hot oil for about 3-5 minutes, on either side until golden brown.
You can enjoy them straightaway or keep them warm in a moderate oven.


  1. How do you make the top part of the Banoffee pie?

  2. Top: One container of whipping cream, 1 tspn instant coffee (cheap brand will do), 1 tspn vanilla, t tbsn sugar. Mix these ingredients in this order, adding the vanilla and sugar when the cream is close to the thickness you prefer.

    Middle: sliced Bananas, probably 2 depending on your dish size
    Toffee: 1 can sweetened condensed milk boiled for 1-3 hours, depending on how stiff you prefer
    crust: 1 pkg graham crackers or digestives, crushed, mix with 1 stick butter and 1 tspn sugar (you can melt the butter for ease in mixing), press into a pie plate or similar

    That's it, assemble all the ingredients and chill until you're ready to enjoy it!