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 sultans, 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.


Updated: 08/15/2016, Veronica
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


frankbeswick on 08/16/2016

I found it growing in abundance in a ruined monastery on an island off Anglesey.

Veronica on 08/16/2016

I had not heard of this. TY

frankbeswick on 08/16/2016

One plant once cultivated in the Celtic regions of the British Isles is Potentilla anserina [sometimes known as Argentina anserina], silverweed. In the past Irish,Scots, Welsh and South Western British ate the roots of the cultivated variety, which is a good source of carbohydrate. The potato squeezed it out, but it still grows wild and can be foraged.

frankbeswick on 08/15/2016

It is early for apples. To be ready they should come off easily in your hand when you lift and twist them, otherwise they will not have fully developed their sugar content.

Some blackberries are ready, but only the first ones. Bear in mind there is so much genetic variability in the blackberry [and indeed in the genus Rubus, to which it belongs] there will be some variation in times at which fruits mature. There are different species of blackberry and many local varieties; while dewberries are a group of species belonging to Rubus and closely related to the blackberry.

I cooked rhubarb today.

Veronica on 08/15/2016

They used food that was readily available. They had to.

Even now, yesterday we foraged for apples and I am going to make apple sauce with that. Today we have picked 7lbs of rhubarb I am going to preserve that tomorrow. I am committed to using what is around us. The blackberries aren't ready yet but I shall pick them when they are.

frankbeswick on 08/15/2016

More background. The recipe uses juniper berries, the great advantage of which for foragers is that juniper grows on a wide range of soils and often grows in moorland or mountain,so it is a forager's staple, easily available. The variety of juniper used would be Juniperis communis hibernica, a small subspecies that is natural to Ireland. I am not aware that the berries taste any different from other varieties, but this small subspecies grows wild and abundantly in the island.

Veronica on 08/15/2016

The Irish had to be canny with food because of their poverty.

frankbeswick on 08/15/2016

A bit of background here. Many western Irish farmers kept or still keep store cattle, which were bought when just past the calf stage, and then they were kept in fields to be sold on when grown to the owners of richer lands to the East,so the fields were emptied by Autumn, but they had been enriched with cattle manure. Field mushrooms love to grow in manure-rich pasture, so many a farmer got a mushroom crop from his now empty fields. Hence your beacan bruithe.

Our mutual friend Cahal remembers his grandfather getting him out of bed early one morning when the fields on their Mayo farm had suddenly sprung up with a mass of white field mushrooms, all of which were thriving on the soil enriched by store cattle.

Veronica on 08/15/2016

Beacan Bruithe

I have found another traditional Irish recipe and given the amount of traffic this post receives I have written it up for you all on the page above.

Irish food .... yummy...what is left to be said.... :)

Veronica on 06/11/2016

Well it 's an excellent combination and as you say very adaptable. In Britain it is Bubble and Squeak that's for sure. I am glad you liked it. I haven't made it for a while.

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