A Full Irish Breakfast is very hearty and delicious. It can often sustain you the whole day. This meal usually consists of eggs, rashers (bacon), bangers (sausage), baked fresh tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, white pudding, black pudding, fresh fruit, brown bread, or toast, or scones, with a bit of butter and marmalade. Add a bit of juice, a pot of tea or freshly brewed coffee with cream and a bit of brown sugar and you truly have a meal. In Northern Ireland, the fully cooked breakfast is called an ‘Ulster Fry’ and includes the addition of a fried potato farl. Did you know bacon and eggs are of Irish origin?
Bacon in Ireland is back bacon, a meatier bacon than is sold in the United States, its closest relative being what is called Canadian bacon in the US. And then there are the puddings-sold in packages the size of salami. Black pudding is really a blood pudding which is a staple across the European continent. The French call theirs ‘boudin noir,’ the Spanish ‘morcilla,’ the Germans ‘blutwurst,’ and the Italians ‘sanguinaccio.’ The Italians even make a sweet pudding for dessert from blood pudding.
Irish brown bread is sometimes made with oatmeal, but its unique taste comes from using the finest milled wheat. In legend, this developed in the monasteries around the country, and each county developed a version of their own. Be sure to save room for a scone at tea time.
Irish Brown Bread
Legend has it that the different Irish counties vied to see whose brown bread was the best. The secret lies in the flour, so buy the best flour you can get.
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, combine both flours, bran, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, oil, and buttermilk. Make well in the center of flour. Using a fork, gradually mix in liquid ingredients. When the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and can be shaped into a loaf, turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly for about 5 minutes. Divide ball in half. Put each half into lightly greased 8 inch round pan. Cut an X across whole top of dough with a sharp knife. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 30 minutes until crust is light golden brown, and loaf sounds hollow when rapped with the knuckles. Cool on wire rack.
Yield: 2 small loaves