Before I took the name of my husband, my maiden name was Duffy so you can imagine Irish blood runs through my veins. I have only visited Ireland on a few occasions but each time, the welcome has been very warm and genuine. With this great nation, comes big hearts and it is a country of which I am very fond. Although, not renowned for it’s soaring temperatures, (a bit like Scotland!), the fields of Ireland are very green for a reason! However, the Irish know how to have fun and good craic is guaranteed each time you visit.
Growing up as a teenager, one of my favourite films was The Commitments, I’m a big fan of soul music and while I listened to the soundtrack incessantly, it was not just the music that made the film for me, the humour and the overall theme of overcoming hardship made it compelling viewing.
At University, if I was in the company of my Irish friends, then it would always lead to an evening filled with belly-aching laughter. I have such happy memories and my time there was more enjoyable in part, thanks to them. Among my favourite comedians are Ed Byrne and Dara Ó Briain. You will understand why if you view this clip here.
It would of course be remiss of me not to mention that beautiful accent too. Okay…. I might be slightly biased! If, you haven’t seen it already, there is a film on Jenny Keogh’s website celebrating Irish slang and phrases here. It brought a huge smile to my face. What do you think of it?
It is true what they say, you know, you haven’t tasted the real thing, until you actually drink Guinness in Ireland. It tastes completely different and far superior to any other Guinness I have tasted since. Any trip to Dublin should include a visit to The Guinness Brewery I was very much encouraged about the history of Guinness and how well Arthur Guinness provided for his employees. The sites of Dublin from The Gravity Bar are not to be missed and you can spend some time poring over the many successful advertising campaigns from the Guinness empire.
So with it being St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday 17 March, I thought I would make a dish that I have resorted to time and time again using one of Ireland’s finest exports. This Beef and Guinness Stew is quite rich but the slow cooking renders the beef into a melt in the mouth texture, contrasted with the large chunky pieces of carrot and served alongside buttery, fluffy mash – this dish is comfort food all the way. You can find the recipe here.
Although, it is probably not the most original when it comes to celebrating Irish cuisine, I do make this dish quite a lot, especially in the colder, Winter months. It is such an easy dish to prepare and the slow cooking means that you have plenty of time to catch up on other things. All the better for me!
Serving mashed potato is the obvious choice for me but to accentuate the Irish experience, you could serve it with Colcannon (leaving out the ham!). Rachel Allen has a good recipe here.
Other Irish recipes I spotted that look rather appealing include:
Irish Soda Farls by Niamh Shields
Farmhouse Cheese and Caraway Soda Bread Puddings by Ruth Cousineau
So if you are inspired by any of them, why not give them a go?
Guinness can be a very rich, I enjoy it very cold in a half pint, any more then I would find it quite rich. My hubbie on the other hand can sink a few pints quite easily. What are your thoughts on Guinness? Are you a fan? I’d love to know in the comments below!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all celebrating!
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