This delicious juicy rhubarb cake, based on an enriched bread dough, was made all over the country. Originally it would have been baked in the bastible or ‘baker’ beside an open fire. My mother, who taught me this recipe, varied the filling with the seasons.
Download Country Rhubarb Cake as a PDF for Printing
Blackberries and apples were referred to in glowing terms in the Irish medieval Fionn Mac Cumhaill legends. ‘Beautiful golden yellow apples’ and ‘beautiful blackberries’ are frequently mentioned in the 12th-century Fianna text Agallamh na Seanórach (The Colloquy of the Ancients).
- Damson Tart
- Worcesterberry Tart
- Rhubarb Tart
Download Blackberry and Apple Tart as a PDF for Printing
These buns may be iced with dark chocolate icing or coffee icing. They are also delicious, painted with raspberry jam or redcurrant jelly and dipped in coconut.
Download Beautiful Butterfly Buns as a PDF for Printing.
Once you’ve made your buns you can have fun icing and decorating, and putting twiddles and bows and whatever else on top! People used to make these laboriously using the creaming method, but I now shoot the whole lot into a food-processor, whizz it up for 4–5 seconds and bake in the usual way. It may not be a forgotten skill, but I don’t see any virtue in getting blisters on your hands from creaming when this gives a very good result.
Download Fairy Cakes and Variations PDF for Printing
In her Ballymaloe Cookbook (1977), Myrtle Allen discusses the question of carrots in the Irish Stew – everyone she asked says they did put them in. Her mother did, as did everyone in Shanagarry. It seems to have been common practice in the south and Myrtle noted that they were used as far north as Tipperary. She continues: ‘Originally, we made Irish Stew by putting alternate layers of onions, carrots, potatoes and meat in a pot. It was seasoned, covered with water and stewed gently for 2 hours. Very simple and enjoyable.’ Later on when my children were small, a good woman called Madge Dolan came to cook for us and brought us a new and better version, which is the basis of our current recipe.
This is a perfect example of the way in which recipes originally cooked on an open fire can be adapted to produce the most delicious results today. Anna Dodd of Castlebaldwin in Co. Sligo, who gave it to me, remembers how her grandmother would strew the bastible with chopped rhubarb, sweeten it with a sprinkling of sugar and cover it with an enriched bread dough. When the cake was baked, it was turned out so that it landed upside down, with the sweet juice soaking into the soft, golden crust. It was served warm, with soft brown sugar and lots of softly whipped cream.
Dan’s chickens take 12 weeks to reach maturity. They are fed on organic feed and range freely on his farm in Dungourney, East Cork. Every Thursday and Saturday, customers queue at his stalls in Mahon Point and Midleton to buy the flavourful chickens.
They are delicious with so many things – cabbage and champ, lentils, a bean stew, shredded into a broth with diced vegetables or in a split pea soup. We also love to add chunks of quartered cabbages to the cooking water about half an hour before the end of cooking.