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Irish Stew and Soda Bread

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.

Next Up: Israel

Kitchen World Tour Day 57: France

Entree: Onion Soup
Main: Cassoulet
Desert: Raspberry Soufflé

I was excited to get to the culinary powerhouse of France. First up was the classic French Onion Soup. I had tried to make this years ago, failed and Kas hated it so this time I was determined to work out why this is so famous. Firstly you need a really good bone stock, so I roasted some bones for an hour in the oven and then simmered these into a stock with vegetables for the next 12 hours. Next the onions: 12 onions slowly caramelised for 2 hours then added to the stock. Then topped with Gruyere cheese mini-toasts made it really special.

Next was the Cassoulet. I first tried Cassoulet in Carcassonne, southern France, and have been in love with it ever since. It is slow cooked bean stew, with duck, crispy pork belly, Toulouse sausages and vegetables. One of the world’s truly great dishes.

Lastly, my first ever attempt at the tricky French dish Soufflé finished of a lovely meal.

Tonight I served up Sienimunakas-kääryle, Rosolli Salad and Pickled Herring.

Sienimunakas-kääryle is a thick omelette rolled with a mushroom filling. Being mushroom lovers this was right up our alley.

Rosolli Salad is traditionally eaten for Christmas dinner so we expected something exceptional. Quite a bit more plain than expected.

Herring is Finland’s favourite fish and apparently there are hundreds of different types of pickles and marinades. It is estimated the Finnish eat around 80,000 tons of it a year, which is about 60kg per person.

All the recipes I cooked tonight are listed here along with a great selection of other popular Finnish dishes.

Next up: France

Kitchen World Tour Day 53: Estonia

Main: Hernesupp and Dark Rye sour dough.
Dessert: Estonian Kringle

Hernesupp is the the Estonian version of a pea and ham soup. Made with yellow peas and barley it was quite different to the pea and ham I am used to. This was served with lovely Dark Rye sour dough. Estonia is famous for its fermented black bread. This is achieved by a long fermentation of rye flour.

Kringle is a braided bread filled with a sugar/cinnamon mix. Fun to make and great to eat. To make it you roll out a thin layer of yeasted milk dough, cover it with the cinnamon, roll it up into a sausage shape, cut it in half and plait/twist it like hair.

Next up: Ethiopia

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