Traditionally soda leavened breads have been around Ireland for a long time. The use of bicarbonate of soda came about when traveling folk wanted to be able to make breads quickly without the need for long fermentation. This loaf uses treacle which years ago was one of the few sweeteners available to your average person in Ireland. The Guinness - a dry stout with a dark colour and characteristic taste, gives the loaf its malty notes.
Every Irish family has their own take on the recipe, with variations depending on the flour, seeds, sweeteners or additives used. Older Irish recipes would have contained more rye and barley than breads today as they were easier to grow, although nowadays the soda bread is a staple in every household in Ireland.
Batch bread has held a fixed place on Irish dining tables for generations. For breakfast or with dinner, it’s on the plates and slathered in butter or dipped in stews. The name “batch” comes from the way this bread is baked in batches of four or nine loaves in a single tin before being torn apart into smaller loaves. This version uses beef dripping which became popular in the UK & Ireland during the war to fry and bake with due to its cheap nature and its full flavour.
This week you will be preparing your own soda bread recipe that you will make on the live class. The course chefs have given you a brief to follow, with some tips and tricks as inspiration. Explore Kevin’s kitchen for some extra recipes and an introduction to one of Ireland’s heritage flour suppliers.
The Irish salmon has featured strongly throughout Irish mythology and used to appear on older coins before the country adopted the Euro. This lesson covers a real Irish classic starter of smoked salmon on brown bread, inspired by Ireland’s long coastline. You will be learning the centuries old process of salting to draw out moisture and cold smoking with the delicate citrus flavours of traditional Irish black tea.
This hot smoked dish uses a cure with plenty of fresh herbs mixed in to impart a clean, peppery flavour. Again, you will be using salmon for its Irish cultural significance and for comparing the difference in texture and taste between cold and hot smoking techniques. Alongside the fish, you will be charring seasonal produce directly on the grill.
In the third week you’ll be smoking hake, a fish with a subtle flavour and firm, meaty texture which will be flavoured with an aromatic brine using Atlantic Wakame seaweed which has its origins in Japan but has since come to flourish along the coast of Ireland. Your fish will be sitting alongside some delicious Jerusalem artichokes wrapped in sea leaves and barbecued for a smoky flavour.
For your live class challenge this month you will be coming up with your own fish smoking recipe. This is your time to get creative and make sure to check the pre-class preparation! This month Kevin shows you around an Irish smoke house and gives you his recipe for his popular seafood chowder.
The Sika deer breed Chef Kerry uses for her dish was shot in nearby Wicklow, Ireland. Venison is one of the most sustainable meats as their species is in abundance in Ireland. In this dish it served with a fruity gin sauce and salt-baked beetroots creating a plate bursting with colour.
This week you will be breaking down a rabbit, making use of different meat cuts for different parts of the dish - the saddle for the main piece and the hind legs for the confit. Cutting through the creme fraiche are the peas, wild garlic and fresh herbs which helps to balance the flavours. This dish also uses an Irish cider to flavour the vegetables and add a refreshing tartness to each mouthful.
Learn how to use an alternative pork cuts as a sustainable way to consume meat and balance the food supply system. You’ll be slow-cooking the pork and using the balsamic vinegar to create a sticky, aromatic sauce. To balance out the meat and pearl barley and to add colour to your plate, you will also be pickling your own vegetables.
In the final live class of the course, you will be taking inspiration from Daniel’s pork cheeks, Alison’s rabbit and Kerry’s venison, creating a dish that really makes the most of the meat that you have chosen. In Kevin’s kitchen this month you have ways of using up leftovers and a recipe for apple cider vinegar to add to your larder, you’ll also be shown around one of Ireland’s heritage apple wall gardens and a local farm.