A Full Irish (English, Scottish & Welsh) – a traditional breakfast
As housesitters we get to try food all over the world, but having said that and being Irish there is nothing, absolutely nothing better than a good old fryup or Full Irish. Housesitting in Tipperary has given us free reign to enjoy one of our favourites both at “home” and in many local food joints. Now in the U.K and Ireland you will find these all over, even petrol stops have them, but you can find really good farm fresh sausage and bacon to do a fry up at home at virtually every store. Good smoked Irish rashers will set you back around 1.99 E for just under a pound, 1.99 E will get you a dozen sausages and for around .90 cents you can buy Irish potato scones. These are a few examples of a full Irish breakfast along with other favourites from around the U.K. and it is absolutely not a full Irish without some form of potato pancake or boxty.
Full Irish, Full English, Full Scottish, Ulster Fry, Full Welsh, a fry up, the full Monty are all names for a meal that is the fuel of a good day. Served throughout the British Isles and Ireland for breakfast this great plate of food is consumed in vast quantities. Generally it is served only on special occasions or weekends as it does tend to be a bit heavy, but many B&B’s, roadside stops and restaurants offer their version of a “Full” breakfast. Each area has its own version of the breakfast, often served with regional favourites.
A Full English Breakfast tends to begin with a couple of fried eggs, good lean English back bacon, a couple of tasty pork sausages, fried bread (delicious white bread fried in the bacon grease), baked beans, grilled tomato and mushrooms and sometimes black pudding depending on where in England you are.
A Full Scottish will have a couple of eggs, good Scottish bacon, black pudding, white pudding, tattie scones, and toast.
A Full Irish or as it is known in the North of Ireland an Ulster Fry is similar to the Scottish with Irish farls, rashers (Irish bacon), black and white pudding, eggs, and sausages and sometimes a nice homemade soda bread.
A Full Welsh is very similar but served with Laver bread or laver cakes, these are a kind of pancake that is made with seaweed and oatmeal and is traditionally served with breakfast but sometimes with a roast dinner.
Potato “bread” goes by many regional names, including slims, fadge, potato cake, potato pancakes, farls, and tattie scones in Scotland, Boxty (bacstaí in Gaelic) poundy or poundies. These are totally different to Potato Bread as they are a sort of flat unleavened triangular shaped patty, they are usually made with raw grated potato and some leftover mash although some folks have been known to make them with just left over mashed potato. There are also Soda Farls which are a leavened potato bread often served at breakfast as well.
The best recipes for fadge consist of finely grated, raw potato and mashed potato with flour, baking soda, buttermilk and sometimes egg. The mixture is then gently pulled together and rolled into a flat round shape and then cut into triangles. It is then fried on a griddle until it is browned a little. The “cakes” can then be frozen or kept for a few days in the fridge to be pulled out for breakfast. For breakfast they are fried in a little butter until the cake gets a slight crisp on the outside.
This is a great recipe from European Cuisines site.
- 1/2 pound / about 3 cups of potatoes, peeled, cooked, and still hot
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
It’s important to make the potato cakes while the potatoes are still hot: this makes sure you’ll have a light and tasty result.
Rice or mash the potatoes very well until there are no lumps. (Ricing is really the best way to go with these, as it helps keep the texture of the potato cakes light.) In a bowl, mix the potatoes well with the salt; then add the melted butter and mix well again. Finally add the flour, working in enough to make a light and pliable dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a roughly oblong shape, about 9 inches long and four inches wide, and about 1/4 inch thick. Trim the edges until you have a neat rectangle: then cut again so that you have four or six triangles. (You can cut them into even smaller triangles if you like.)
Heat a dry griddle or frying pan until medium-hot. Then bake the farl triangles until golden brown on each side. Usually this takes about five minutes on each side.
Put the finished farls aside on a plate covered with a dishtowel / tea towel and continue baking them until they’re all done. Then flip the towel over them to cover them. The little bit of steam that comes off them will help keep them soft.
Then make your Irish breakfast or Ulster fry, frying the farls up in the butter or oil that you’re using for the rest of the dish. If you have more potato bread than you can use, it freezes very well: just put it in a Tupperware or similar plastic container first.
Want to learn more about what is Uniquely Irish check out this post.
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