Balnamoon Skink ; Irish food

by Veronica

If you're of Irish descent and want to try the food of your ancestors,or are interested in World or Irish food, here's a " taste of Ireland". It's more than Irish stew or soda loaf

Poverty and hardship could not stifle the inventiveness of Irish cooks who cooked with what little they could find. But although much of it was frugal food, the rivers teamed with wild salmon, The loughs ( pronounced locks ) of the West were full of eels, wild fruits grew by the roadside and wild garlic still grows naturally and was frequently used instead of onions.

I have tried to include just a few of the more unusual dishes rather than Irish Stew or Soda Bread.

Basic Traditional Irish Ingredients

Fancy food it isn't but delicious it is. I was brought up on this  sort of Irish food. I am just giving a few examples .


Here are some basic foodstuffs ;-



Baking soda



Fresh herbs,


Freshly caught fish.

Buttermilk ( liquid left over from when the butter is made )

Wild fruit from the hedges

Wild Garlic

Wild garlic
Wild garlic wild garlic
Irish soda bred
Irish soda bred


Balnamoon Skink ( a Scottish sounding soup is indeed found in Ireland. )


Balnamoon Skink

3 lb diced Chicken
4pts salted stock
1 stick of Celery, chopped
1 Leek, sliced
 1 lb carrots  Carrot, sliced
 8 oz peas
2 Egg yolks
 splash of  cream

Boil up the vegetables and chicken in a pan until cooked . Mix the yolks and cream together and add at the end of cooking . Heat through.



Balnamoon skink
Balnamoon skink
Bing Images

Coddle ,Colcannon and Boxty


Dublin Coddle

450 g (1 lb) good-quality butcher’s sausages
200 g smoked streaky bacon or rashers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 onions, sliced
450 g (1 lb) baby potatoes, halved
500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Quickly fry the bacon,  sausages and onions and transfer to a pot containing stock . Simmer on top of the cooker until the potatoes are soft . Serve with soda bread



Dublin coddle
Dublin coddle
c/o Edible Ireland
Google image


This is made using left over mashed potatoes and left over cabbage.

Fry over some onions and add to the left over mash and cabbage mixture. Add them to a dish with a little warmed milk. Serve with a little butter on top.



A boxty is a potato pancake, add mashed potato to a buttermilk pancake mixture and fry over in the usual way.

google image


Barm Brack  Traditional Irish fruit bread

225g plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
375g packet of dried fruit mix
250ml cold tea
50ml of whiskey
125g light brown sugar
1 large egg

Mix all the ingredients together and put into a large loaf  tin . Bake for 1 hour on about 170C

Irish barm brack
Irish barm brack
google image

Castleconnel cake.          C/o

My dad's family were from Castleconnel Limerick so this is special to me.

Two cups of flour, one cup of sifted sugar, three eggs, scant one-half cup milk, four ounces of butter, one cup of currants, one teaspoon baking powder, one teaspoon of mixed spice, one-half cup sultanas, two ounces of candied peel (can be omitted).

Rub the butter into the flour, sprinkle the baking powder over this, add all the rest of hte dry ingredients, mix with the beaten yolks of the eggs thinned with the milk, and then fold in lightly the well-whisked whites. Put in a cake tin well-greased and lined with paper and bake in a moderate oven an hour or more. Try at the end of an hour, but it may not be done for fifteen minutes longer. This only one, a good one, of the many currant cakes so popular in the British Isles. The recipe of which this is an adaptation used two ounces of lard and two of butter.

My favourite; Kerry Apple Cake

Kerry Apple Cake

 6oz butter
 6oz caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
 8oz self-raising flour
2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1tsp lemon rind finely chopped ( or use zest )
2tbsp demerara sugar
spice to taste

Preheat oven to gas 180 C, and grease and line a cake tin. Cream butter and sugar. Gradually add eggs and flour. Stir in apples and lemon rind. Pour into the tin and sprinkle with demerara sugar 

Bake for 1- 1 1/2 hours.

ULster fry
ULster fry
Kerry Apple cake
Kerry Apple cake
Google image

addition Oct 2015

ULster fry/ full Irish

The" Ulster FRY" or "Full Irish " are the names used for a massive cooked breakfast although in Ulster ( N Ireland )  it can be eaten throughout the day.

The Full Irish would consist of bacon, fried eggs, fried sausages, white pudding, black pudding, tomatoes. mushrooms, beans soda bread and hash browns.

In the Ulster Fry it would be similar to the Full Irish but it would be served with soda farls shallow fried and no black pudding.


August 2016 additions

Beacan Bruithe

I am always looking for new Irish recipes and these look delicious.


Beacan Bruithe ( Baked mushrooms ) ( pronounced  back-on briha )

 12 large field mushrooms

3 ozs chopped onion

3 oz bread crumbs

4 ozs minced pork

2 ozs butter

crushed juniper berries


Remove mushroom stalks and chop finely

Soften the onions in melted butter

Add chopped stalks and all other ingredients and cook gently in melted butter

Divide the mixture between the mushrooms and bake in a shallow dish in a moderate oven for 20 minutes.


Ancient Irish Oatmeal and Leek Soup

This is a new one to me but I shall be giving it a try. Oats are very healthy food.  This is a traditional chunky soup but could be blended if you want it smooth.


1/2 pint  milk

1 1/2 pints  vegetable/chicken stock

4 ozs Irish oatmeal

2 ozs Irish butter

4 chopped leeks

salt and pepper to taste

8 ozs chopped spinach

8 ozs peeled sliced potatoes

1 tbsp. cream  (optional)



Heat stock and milk and add oatmeal.  Simmer gently.

Fry the leeks gently in the butter .

Add the leeks and potatoes to the oatmeal mix and stir.

Cook for 20  minutes, stirring occasionally but don’t boil .

Just before serving add the chopped spinach and stir .

Season with salt and  pepper and serve with a swirl of cream if desired.  



McKeever Ulster Warm Potato Salad

A healthy option

My Ulsterman nephew in law David gave me this recipe for an Ulster Warm Potato Salad so I have added it here for you.

It is very healthy as it contains no mayo !

McKeever Ulster Warm Potato Salad

1lb baby new potatoes

2 rashers of bacon finely chopped and quickly grilled over

2 tbs olive oil

lemon juice

1tsp wholegrain mustard

2 chopped spring onions/scallions


Scrub the potatoes and do not peel them. Boil them in water for about 20 mins.

Grill bacon and chop in to small pieces

Chop spring onions/ scallions

mix oil , mustard and lemon juice and pour over warm potatoes, bacon and chopped scallions


My favourite potato salad.




Irish soda bread

by request - my favourite bread,

This is very good if you can't stomach yeast.

170g/6oz self-raising wholemeal flour

170g/6oz plain  white flour

½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda  
  • 290ml/½ pint buttermilk  

Mix all the ingredients together

Make a dome shape and slash a cross over the top so it cooks evenly inside

Cook in a hot oven for about 30 minutes

Irish apple upside down cake

This is a recipe by Irish TV chef, Rachel Allan, my favourite Irish chef . I have adapted it to work with Apples

  • 50 g butter
  • 250 g brown sugar
  • 350 g apples sliced
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml buttermilk
  • 75 ml vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • whipped cream, to serve


Lay put the apples on the base of a dish and sprinkle with half the sugar and  some cinnamon

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the liquids and stir.

Pour the mixture on to the top of the apples and spread out  evenly .

Bake in a moderate oven 180C Gas 4 for about 30- 35 mins

Serve hot or cold.

Wheaten ( Northern Ireland ) Soda Bread

c/o Ploshkin

Gentleman genius Frank Beswick very kindly found a recipe for N Irish wheaten bread and mailed it to me for inclusion on this page.  It is by a writer whose pen name is Ploshkin

Thank you Frank.


8oz wholemeal flour (you don't need strong flour)
4oz plain white flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
2ozs sugar
1/2 pint of buttermilk (or half and half plain yoghurt and water)
1 egg
1 tablespoon of oil

Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the liquid and mix well.
put in a well greased 2 lb loaf tin. It will just fit into a 1 lb deep loaf tin.

Cook in a hot oven (200c) for 15 mins.
Turn down to 150c and cook for a further 25 minutes."


Wexford Beef

I had this today at a fantastic little pub in Glossop, Derbyshire, " Hare and Hounds " . It is delicious. This is my take on it and not the marvellous chef's recipe. It takes less than ten minutes.

Wexford Beef  is prime strips of beef, in red wine, onion,  multi-coloured peppercorns and cream.

Wexford Beef

Cut 1lb of best quality beef steaks into strips. Season them with salt and fry them over quickly in some oil with the sliced onions.

Add red wine and peppercorns to the pan and bubble the mixture for 2 minutes. Turn heat down , stir and add the cream. Heat through but don't boil.  Serve immediately.  

Irish Whiskey Cake

This is a very popular cake in Ireland and there are many variations of it. 

Irish whiskey cake 

  • juice of an orange 
  • 125 ml  Irish whiskey
  • 6oz sultanas
  • 6oz  soft butter
  • 5oz caster sugar
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 9oz self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder


Soak the fruit in whiskey and orange juice over night so the fruit swells up. 

Next morning , cream butter and sugar together, add beaten eggs  and then flour and baking powder. Mix together, add the soaked fruit 

Put the mixture in a cake tin and  cover with paper . Bake for about one and a quarter hours on 350F/180C/Gas4.

Cork Bacon Broth

Bacon Broth is popular all over Ireland but this one is a take on my favourite Irish chef 's Rachel Allen 's recipe. The woman is a star!

The bacon or ham is diced in this recipe. It is a meal in itself. 

Cork Bacon  Broth

10 ozs bacon diced 

2tbsp oil

5 ozs peeled diced potatoes 

1 onion 

2 sticks of celery 

2 cloves of garlic 

1 tin of tomatoes 

1tsp sugar

pepper to taste 

1 and 1/2 pts chicken stock 

2 ozs shredded cabbage


Fry potatoes, bacon , onion, celery

Add to the pan with tomatoes and chicken stock . Season to taste. add sugar and cook slowly until the veg is soft 

Stir in the cabbage just before serving.  Serve with chunks of soda bread. 

March 2022

Bruitin / CHAMP

Bruitin ( I would say Bru -teen )  

Bruitin or CHAMP is a very popular, easy  Irish recipe of Mashed potatoes, Spring Onions, ( scallions ) milk and butter. 


This is a traditional recipe for CHAMP

8  large potatoes

6 Spring onions ( scallions ) chiopped

4 ounces of  Irish butter

1/3 pint of milk 

Black pepper 



Peel and boil the potatoes, drain well and mash them.
Meanwhile, soften the scallions by cooking them in milk for a few minutes.
Add the scallions, seasoning and a bit of butter to the mashed potatoes and mix. Use just enough milk to soften and cream the potatoes.
Place hot in a serving dish. Make a well in the centre and pour melted butter into the well.

Dip your spoonful of Champ into the well of Irish butter.



Northern Irish Potato Bread

American tour groups at my hotel this morning saw the breakfast bar and said " Oh my! I LOVE this country " 

One American lady ate the potato bread and said she wants to know how to make it.


This is the best potato bread I have tasted- EVER. And you get it at Europa Hotel Belfast. 

So here it is. 


1 lb of  mashed potatoes

3 ounces of butter 

1 tsp of salt 

black pepper to your taste

enough all-purpose flour to bind it together 



Add 2 ounces of butter to the warm mashed potato. Season and mix. 

Add enough flour to just bind it together smoothly.

Flour a breadboard and roll the potato dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.

Put it into a frying pan. 

Carefully turn it when it is cooked on one side and cook on the other side. It will look uneven .

Cook for a few minutes either side. 

To serve, cut into wedges and put bits of butter on top. Eat hot. 



Updated: 06/23/2022, Veronica
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frankbeswick on 06/25/2022

Ireland was overpopulated in relation to its economic model. Parasitic landlords were draining wealth and resources from the island without putting in any goods or services to compensate. There was enough food in Ireland to feed its people,but grain was being shipped out to sell for landlords' profit. That is why potine was banned,it used grain that the landlords took for themselves.Then the potato crop failed.Moreover,landlords held the rights to fish in the loughs.

Veronica on 06/25/2022

That is a mighty fine supply of mushrooms.

frank is good at identifying them. I am not!

Veronica on 06/25/2022

Considering your close Irish ancestry, it must be extra meaningful for you to cook Irish recipes.

The Irish are very adaptable; just change ingredients as you like.

frankbeswick on 06/24/2022

Veronica,though wild food was present,it was not sufficient to supply the eight million people who dwelt in Erin pre-_Famine. Ireland's population has still not recovered from the famine.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/24/2022

Thank you!

The frozen juniper berries are good.

The grocery store where I shop does nice ground turkey and turkey bacon.

Edible black trumpet (Craterellus caeruleofuscus) and yellowfoot (Craterellus tubaeformis) chanterelle, chicken-of-the-wood (Laetiporus sulphureus), giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea), old-man-of-the-wood (Strobilomyces strobilaceus,) and oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) mushrooms grow around the box elder and eastern white pine trees and in the meadow.

I have wild onions.

Bread is offputting to me except when it's toasted. But there's a special on honey stinger waffles so I might use their crumbs.

So it'll be a go for Beacan Bruithe this weekend!

Veronica on 06/24/2022

I am always saddened by discussions on the Irish Famines because Ireland is teeming with wild can walk about and there are eels and salmon in the loughs, wild pears, apples , black berries, wild garlic, herbs . I have always been surprised why people did not utilise these foods during bad times.

frankbeswick on 06/24/2022

As Ireland is cattle rearing land the fields tend to favour mushrooms that grow on soil to which dung has been added.An Irish friend of mine used to visit his grandfather who kept store cattle. This involved rearing cattle in nearly summer then selling them on. The result was that in late summer the untrampled fields were white with field mushrooms.

Veronica on 06/23/2022


Any mushrooms would work here but i do like field mushrooms for flavour. I use dried juniper . Ground turkey or beef would substitute for ground pork

DerdriuMarriner on 06/23/2022

Do Irish preparers of Beacan Bruithe have a particular preference for the type of field mushroom?

I have fresh-collected field mushrooms that look and sniff nice and would look and sniff even nicer in Beacan Bruithe!

So everything is available and ready. The only delay may be if the juniper berries are the worse for freezing from six months ago.

But if it works, what would you substitute for minced pork?

DerdriuMarriner on 06/10/2022

Thank you, Frank and Veronica, for the information on the sadly non-replicability of Irish butter for us all east (Atlantic) ponders.

Frank, I'll be looking at your soil articles as I continue re-reading your wizzleys. I remember them but not to the point that I can answer this question for myself before re-visiting them.

Will I find that you already have mentioned the French approach to soil conditions as affecting drink and food flavor on a district-by-district basis (and that therefore spell checker has no excuse for not recognizing the concept and the word this time around)?

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