Irish Cooking

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Over the next few weeks we are expecting to have friends over for dinner.  I have been trying to think of dishes to cook that are Irish but that don’t require an oven.  Food is one of the few things I can talk about in Japanese but I am never sure what to tell people when they ask about food from Ireland.  What are our traditional dishes?

I have seen recipes for corn beef and cabbage – but really I have never eaten that anywhere but America.  And I don’t believe that adding Guinness or Baileys to a recipe makes it authentically Irish either.  The other problem is that I’m from the North of Ireland so have never eaten Dublin Coddle or Boxty (actually I had to look both these up when I first came across them as I had no idea what they were).

Potatoes are a key ingredient in Irish cooking but I don’t like champ or colcannon.  I do like Irish stew and potato soup and potato bread but I need a bit more variety than this as I don’t think we can have potatoes for all the courses.

I do wonder though how much the diet of Northern Irish people has changed from the traditional meal of meat and potatoes.  I rarely cooked potatoes when I lived there.  I was much more likely to cook Chinese, Italian or Mexican food.  Every other restaurant is a Chinese restaurant and Indian food it also really popular.  It’s actually difficult to find anywhere in Belfast that serves food that could be called traditionally Irish or British.

I am seriously considering cooking chicken tikka masala as my main dish.  Jamie Oliver’s recipe for this is really good and it is one of the most popular foods in the U.K. It may even have been created in the U.K.  I just don’t think that my Japanese friends will  be expecting spicy food served with rice but they are much more likely to come across that in Belfast than they are Dublin Lawyer or Dublin Coddle.