Ireland Hopping / By Margaret M. Johnson
We all know there’s much more to a great breakfast than a “full Irish,” and for anyone who’s ever enjoyed one, you know it’s a lot greater than the sum of its parts. With that in mind, Georgina Campbell, president of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild, spearheaded her “Irish Breakfast Awards” and honored the winners in Dublin last month. Campbell, who also publishes an annual hospitality guide to Ireland, declared, “We need to stop taking the Irish breakfast for granted and let this simple meal be cause for celebration itself.” And so it is! Campbell’s awards honored three-, four- and five-star hotels, country houses, guesthouses, B&B’s, and food producers who contribute products to the most important meal of the day.
At the highest end of the scale, The Merrion, one of Dublin’s most historic and elegant properties, triumphed for its “range, consistency, and seamless service,” with its baked goods and charcuterie board “showcasing both Irish and international meats and artisan cheeses.” Executive Chef Ed Cooney, who celebrates two decades at The Merrion this year, is pleased to share these breakfast recipes with Echo readers.
MERRION HOTEL GRANOLA
MAKES 14 SERVINGS
3 cups jumbo oats
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup cashews
1/3 cup pistachios
1/3 cup pecans
1/3 cup hazelnuts
2 teaspoons sunflower oil
4 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Berries and yogurt, for serving
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking oil spray.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, and hazelnuts. In a separate large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, syrup, and vanilla.
- Stir into oats mixture and spread out on prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turning 3 to 4 times, or until browned. Leave mixture in oven 45 to 60 minutes, or until crisp. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
MERRION BROWN SODA BREADS
MAKES 9 MINI LOAVES
2 cups coarse whole wheat flour, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Egg wash, for brushing
Softened butter, for serving
- Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease 9 mini molds.
- Place whole wheat and white flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter in a mixer fitted with a spade attachment. Mix for 3 to 4 minutes, or until butter is fully incorporated into dry ingredients. Mix in eggs and buttermilk.
- Spoon or pipe mixture into molds, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with whole wheat flour. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
FLAHAVAN’S PORRIDGE AND YOGURT BREAD
MAKES 1 LOAF
Flahavan’s has been milling oats in a mill on the banks of the River Mahon in Kilmacthomas, County Waterford, for 200 years. The company, honored in the Irish breakfast foods category, is pleased to share this recipe for oats and yogurt brown bread.
2 cups natural yogurt
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon treacle
1 1/2 cups Flahavan’s porridge oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons mixed seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
Butter and jam for serving
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 2-pound loaf pan or line with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine yogurt, egg, and treacle. In separate bowl, combine oats, soda, mixed seeds, and salt. Stir oats mixture into yogurt mixture.
- Transfer to prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300° F and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack before cutting into slices. Serve spread with butter and jam.
BREAKFAST AWARD WINNERS:
Five-star hotel: The Merrion, Dublin. Highly commended, Culloden Estate & Spa, Belfast; The Europe Hotel & Resort, Killarney
Four-star hotel: Ballynahinch Castle, Galway. Highly commended, The Mustard Seed, Ballingarry; Galgorm Resort & Spa, Ballymena
Three-star hotel: Gougane Barra Hotel, Macroom. Highly commended Killeen House Hotel, Killarney; Raheen House Hotel, Clonmel
Country house: Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry. Highly commended, Roundwood House, Mountrath; Rathmullan House, Donegal
Guesthouse: Newforge House, Magheralin. Highly commended MacNean House, Blacklion; Inch House, Thurles
B&B: Corrib House, Galway. Highly commended Ballinwillin House, Mitchelstown; The Mill Restaurant & Accommodation, Dunfanaghy
Brunch: Rua, Castlebar. Highly commended, Knox, Sligo; Hatch & Sons Irish Kitchen, Dublin
Breakfast foods: O’Neill’s Dry Cure Bacon, Burren Smokehouse Salmon, Flahavan’s Oats, Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt.
Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page expands this year to “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, or to order a signed cookbook, visit www.irishcook.com