So I’m doing the research to cook some Irish cuisine and it was quite an interesting experience. Although the consensus of everything I could find online said Irish Stew and Soda Bread were official national dishes but the recipes for Irish Stew differs vastly across the net and the disputes over the real Soda Bread recipe are quite dramatic.
For the purists, Irish stew should only have have Neck Mutton, potatoes onions and water. Anything else ruins it apparently.
I went for slightly more exotic version. I added parsley, carrots and lamb bone stock. The lamb bone stock was cooked for 12 hours so it was brown and rich. The potatoes placed on the top rather than in the stew, crisp up on top and the stock bubbles up into them during cooking, giving them the most amazing flavour.
For the Soda Bread I adhered to the advice of the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread recommendations (yes it’s a thing apparently) and just used flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk. Apparently …”anything else added makes it a “Tea Cake!”….
However the result was fantastic. One of the best meals so far, which is a little disappointing to be to be honest as it was missing the usual wide range of spices I love to cook with, but it was still rich and full of flavour.
Tonight I served Kubba Hallab with Amba, Labneh and Fattoush
There are lots of types of Kubba in the middle east. Kubba Hallab is mashed rice dumplings filled with minced lamb or beef. It is then deep fried. This was served with Amba, an Iraqi mango pickle.
If you haven’t made labneh before you should. A really simple cheese. Add salt to yogurt and let drain through a cheese cloth. You need 12 hours for soft Labneh, 48 hours for hard Labneh. I prefer this cheese to be served hard and shaped into balls as an accompaniment to the meal.
Lastly Fattoush Salad, salad with pita bread chips, and the secret ingredient if you can find it is pomegranate molasses. It is sweet and sour, and adds something special to the dressing.