Leinster (including Dublin, the Republic Of Ireland’s capital city) is the ancient province in the central-east region of Ireland, and these are a collection of local and regional recipes handed down within families who have lived and worked in the Leinster area. All of the recipes below are regionally authentic, originally coming from recipe books published in the 1800s or 1900s, with the weights and measurements adjusted (alongside the old standards) where appropriate for the modern kitchen.
LEINSTER POTATO SOUP
2lb (1Kg) potatoes, 1 medium onions, 2 medium leeks, 1/2 Lb (250g) Dublin Bay prawns – fried in butter (you can also use lobster instead), 2 oz (60g) butter, 3 pints (1.8 Litres) of half milk and water or stock and milk, 1 cup (240ml) light (single) cream, chopped chives or parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the peeled and chopped leeks and onions and cook gently but do not brown. Add the peeled and sliced potatoes, season to taste, then pour over the milk and water or stock. Cover and cook gently for about an hour. It is then put through a sieve or liquidiser until it is pureed. Add the cream and gently re-heat but do not boil. Serve with freshly chopped chives or parsley on top, and the fried Dublin Bay prawns (or Lobster) finely broken up with a fork sprinkled over as garnish.
Porter is a weaker form of ‘stout’, and here Guinness is used for this recipe, which makes an excellent moist rich cake.
1 lb (500g or 4 cups) sifted cake flour, 1 lb (500g or 2 cups) brown sugar, 1 lb (500g or 3 cups) seedless raisins or half currants and half raisins, 1/2 lb (250g or 1 cup) sultanas, 1/2 lb (250g or 1 cup) butter, 4 oz (115g or 1 cup) glace cherries, 4 oz (115g or 1 cup) blanched chopped peel, 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (melted in the warm Guinness), 4 eggs, 1/2 pint (300ml) Guinness lukewarm, grated rind of 1 lemon, pinch of mixed spice.
Rub the butter into the flour and add all the other dry ingredients. Blend very well. Beat the eggs with the lukewarm Guinness and add the bicarbonate of soda. Mix this very well into the dry cake mixture and turn into a greased and lined cake tin measuring 9 inches (23cm) in diameter and 3 inches (7.5cm) high. It should be covered with a greaseproof paper and baked in a slow oven (120C – 250F – gas 1) for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours, removing the paper for the last half-hour. Test with a skewer before removing from the oven. In Dublin this also made a good Christmas cake, and if iced, it will keep well in a tin.
1 double measure Irish whiskey, 1 cup of strong, hot, black coffee, 1 tablespoon double cream, 1 heaped teaspoon sugar.
Warm a stemmed whiskey glass. Put in the sugar and enough hot coffee to dissolve the sugar and stir well. Add the Irish whiskey to fill within an inch of the brim. Holding a teaspoon, curved side up across the glass, pour in the cold cream slowly over the spoon. Do not stir the cream into the coffee. The cream should float on top and the hot whiskey- laced coffee is drunk through the cold cream. When drinking with friends use this toast, Slainte ‘gus Saol agat! Health and long life to you!
This was a rich and decorative pudding of the early 1880s and 1890s.
4 oz (115g or 1/2 cup) butter or 1 cup very thick cream. 1/2 lb (250g or 2 cups) ground almonds, 2 oz (60g or 1/4 cup) caster sugar, 2 stiffly beaten egg whites, 1 tablespoon brandy, a few drops of orange flower water, angelica, blanched split almonds and maidenhair fern for decoration
Heat and make a mixing bowl very warm, and into it put the butter or cream. Beat into this the almonds and sugar and when well mixed add the brandy and a few drops of orange flower water. The beating should continue until the bowl is quite cold, then the stiffly beaten egg whites are added and well amalgamated. The mixture is then left overnight in a cold place until it is quite stiff. It is then broken into rough pieces (it will be soft but firm) and piled on to a glass dish in the shape of a pyramid. It is decorated with strips of green angelica, shredded blanched almonds and, in the old days, little fronds of ‘maidenhair’ fern were used to resemble plats, such as shamrock growing out of a rock.
8 (1/4 in thick – 1cm thick) ham or bacon slices, 8 pork sausages, 2 lb (1Kg) potatoes peeled and sliced, 4 large onions – sliced, 4 tablespoons chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
Cut the sausages, bacon or ham into large chunks. Place the chunks in boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain but reserve the liquid. Put the meat chunks into a large saucepan (or a suitable oven-proof dish) with the thinly sliced onions, potatoes and the chopped parsley. Season to taste and add enough of the stock to barely cover. Lay greaseproof paper on top and then put on the lid and simmer gently or cook in a slow to moderate oven (100C – 200F – gas 1/2) for about an hour or until the liquid is reduced by half and all the ingredients are cooked through but not mushy. Serve hot with the vegetables on top and fresh soda bread and a glass of stout and Guinness.
1 tongue (soaked in cold water overnight), 1 large onion stuck with 4 cloves, 1 tablespoon aspic powder, sprig of thyme and parsley, pepper
Trim a certain amount of the horny part off the tongue, but leave enough to ensure the stock jellies. Add all the ingredients, then cover with cold water simmer covered for about 4 hours or until tender. Remove from the stock and plunge into cold water. This makes the skinning of the tongue much easier. Skin and trim the tongue and if serving cold, curl it in a circle and put into a basin or dish. Taste the stock to see that it is not too salty then strain off about 2 cups (500ml) and boil up with 1 tablespoon aspic jelly powder (geleatine). Pour this around and over the tongue and when cool pit a plate on top and a weight to press it down Slices can be cut off when cold and served with following sauce.
SAUCE FOR SPICED TONGUE
1/2 cup (120ml) redcurrant jelly, 1 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish, 1 cup (240ml) of tongue stock mixed with 1 cup (240ml) of red wine or port, finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange, 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder, 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar.
Boil all the ingredients together for about 30 minutes; until it is reduced and becomes sticky. Cut the cold tongue into thick slices and heat up in the sauce, A whole hot tongue can be served with this sauce, in which case double the quantities.
POTATO CAKES (TRADITIONAL)
2 cups (500g) freshly mashed potatoes, 4 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons melted butter or bacon fat, salt
Mash the potato well, add the fat and then work in the flour. Salt to taste and turn on to a floured board. Roll out to a 1/2 in (1.5cm) thickness and cut into rounds or triangles. Cook in a lightly greased pan for 3 minutes on each side and prick with a fork while cooking. Makes approximately 20.
WITH BACON AND EGGS
The bacon rashers should be trimmed of rind with a pair of scissors or a knife, put into a warm pan and cooked according to taste. Before adding the eggs, a little knob of butter should be added to the bacon fat, the bacon removed and kept hot and the eggs broken into hot the fat. The fat must not be too hot: that is, the eggs should just set as they are put in and not be allowed to frizzle and become brown around the edges. If the pan is tipped away from the cook and some of the hot fat taken up in a spoon and poured over the yolk, it will give a nice glazed appearance and result in the top being cooked at the same time as the bottom. When serving potato cakes the potato cake mixture (see above) should be made up before starting to cook the bacon and eggs, so that the potato cakes may be cooked in the bacon and egg fat in the frying pan. It is also usual to take cold already cooked potato cakes and re-heat them in the bacon fat too which flavours them.
CREAMED FRESH HADDOCK
8 fresh haddock fillets, 1 heaped teaspoon made English mustard, 1/2 pint (1 cup) half cream and half milk, flour, 4 oz (1/2cup) melted butter, salt and pepper.
Dip the fillets in the seasoned flour, then roll them in the melted butter. Put them in a flat pan with any left-over butter and add the milk and the cream. Heat gently and when bubbling, reduce the heat, cover and simmer very gently for not more than 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked and the liquid reduced.
Remove the fillets to a warm serving dish and keep hot. Stir in the mustard to the sauce and reduce over a hot flame until it thickens slightly. Pour over the fish and serve. It can be decorated with sprigs of parsley if desired. It is a simple dish, but one that enhances the full flavour of fresh good fish. Lemon wedges can be served but are not essential. This method can be used for any fillets of white fish such as cod, hake, plaice etc.
IRISH WILD DUCK
Charlotte Mason’s recipe from ‘The Lady’s Assistant’, published Dublin 1778: “Wild duck, wigeon (slightly smaller) and teal (the size of a young pigeon) are plentiful in Ireland. The finest wild duck is the mallard. It should be hung for at least two to three days before cooking, when a greenish tinge on the thin skin of the belly will be noted. This does not mean this it is bad but correct. Contrary to prejudiced opinion, wild ducks do not taste fishy as their diet consists of the plant life in lakes and estuaries.” It used to be traditional in County Limerick to cook these birds with juniper branches or berries; Juniper bushes grow wild in many parts of Limerick. One wild duck is a good meal for two people, at the most three, so it is advisable to cook two as it is delicious eaten cold. The eighteenth-century recipe uses a chafing dish but can just as easily be done in a roasting tin.
2 wild duck, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) red wine, 1 orange or lemon, 4 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper.
The original 1778 recipe says “To eat wild duck or wigeon to perfection. Half roast them; when they come to the table, slice the breast, strew on pepper and salt; pour on a little red wine and squeeze the juice of an orange or lemon over; put the gravy to this; set the plate over the lamp, cut up the bird, let it remain over the lamp till enough, turning it.”
Cooked the traditional 19thC way: Rub the butter over the birds and roast them in a moderate oven (180C – 350F – gas 4) for 20 minutes. Then add the red wine, orange or lemon juice, salt and pepper and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes. Put the birds on to a warmed dish and keep hot. Reduce the gravy on top of the stove on a brisk flame. A dash of brandy can be added if feeling extravagant. Thin crisp fried potatoes should be served, a lettuce salad with some peeled orange slices mixed in it and an olive oil and vinegar dressing.
GRILLED MACKEREL WITH GOOSEBERRY SAUCE
Charlotte Mason from ‘The Lady’s Assistant’. Dublin 1778.
4 cleaned and filleted mackerel, 1 tablespoon butter, salt and pepper
For the stuffing: 4 heaped tablespoons breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 2 egg yolks, grated peel of 1 lemon, pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper
For the Sauce: 1/2 lb (250g) gooseberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons chopped fennel
Mix all the stuffing ingredients together and put inside each of the mackerel, fold the fish over and secure. Rub a little softened butter over and grill gently on both sides until the fish is done. Cook the gooseberries in 1/2 cup (120ml) of water with all the other sauce ingredients. Do not overcook – the berries should just burst open. Serve hot.
County Wexford is famous for its excellent honey – the unique flavour of this honey is really delicious when slightly warmed and served with pancakes and a squeeze of lemon.
1lb (500g) Jar of honey, 4 eggs – yolks and whites separated
Mix the egg yolks with the liquid honey. (If the honey is thick and ‘set’, stand the jar on a piece of wood in warm to hot water until it is runny enough to be used.) Cook on a very low heat, preferably in a double boiler, stirring all the time until the mixture thickens like a custard. Remove from the stove and let it cool. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and folk into the cooled mixture. Pour into either individual dishes or one dish and chill for several hours before serving.
BEEF BRAISED WITH ONIONS, CARROTS AND GUINNESS
2 lb (1Kg) boned stewing steak (shin of beef has best taste) 1 large onion, 1/2 lb (250g) carrots, 3 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons cooking oil or fat, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1/4 pint (150ml or 1/2 cup) Guinness, 1/4 pint (150ml or 1/2 cup) water, salt and pepper to season – optional garnish: 1 cup (180g) soaked prunes and hazelnuts.
Serves 4. Trim the meat and cut into convenient but not too small serving pieces. Heat the oil or fat in a pan then add the bay leaves. Put a lid on as the leaves will crackle, jump and spatter in the oil. Then put the beef in and fry on both sides: when half done, add the sliced onion and let that gently colour to pale gold. Sprinkle the flour over and let it brown, then add the Guinness and water. A little more liquid – either water or stock – may be needed to just cover the meat. Season to taste then add the parsley and carrots which have been cut into circles. Put the lid on and braise in a slow to moderate oven (150C – 300F – gas 2) for about 2 hours. Stir at least once during cooking, adding a little more liquid if needed. In the nineteenth century soaked and stoned prunes were stuffed with hazelnuts and were added half an hour before the meat was ready. They make a really rich garnish. As with all casseroles, the dish is better if allowed to get cold after cooking and then very gently reheated.
DUBLIN BAY PRAWNS
Freshly caught Dublin Bay prawns should be cooked in as simple a way as possible so that the delicate flavour is retained.
2 lb (1Kg) Dublin Bay prawns, 4 tablespoons (60g) butter, juice of 1 lemon, salt.
Steam the prawns over boiling water for 15-20 minutes then leave to cool. Shell them by removing the head and tail then pinching the belly part of the shell which will crack easily in two. Melt the butter in a frying pan and turn the prawns into the hot butter, sprinkle lightly with salt, add the lemon juice and turn all together in the pan. The butter will absorb the delicate flavour of the prawns and become a faint coral pink.
(named after the Duke Of Wellington born in Dublin)
2 lb (1Kg) fillet steak (tenderloin) in one piece, 3 heaped tablespoons butter, salt and pepper
FLAKEY PASTRY (rough)
1/2 lb (250g or 2 cups) flour, 6 level tablespoons lard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 6 tablespoon iced water, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 egg for glazing, 6 level tablespoons butter.
Cut the fats in small pieces lightly into the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and add a little of the water and lemon juice to mix with the flour. Do not cream the fats. Pour in enough of the liquid to make a fairly stiff dough then turn out onto a lightly floured board. Fold it into three, like an envelope with the open edge towards you. Roll it out and repeat this four times. Leave to rest in a cold place for at least 30 minutes but preferably longer. Season the fillet and rub with butter all over. Roll out the pastry so that it is large enough to wrap around the steak. Moisten the edges with water so that the fillet is sealed in. Bake in a hot oven (200C – 400F – gas 6) for 15 minutes, then glaze it with a mixture of 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water and bake for a further 10 minutes. If preferred, the steak can be cut into portions and rolled individually in the pastry.
Uncooked Lobster should be used for this dish. 1 fresh lobster, cut in two lengthways down the centre, 1/4 pint (150ml or 1/2 cup) cream, 3 heaped tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons Irish whiskey, salt and pepper.
Remove the meat from the tail of the lobster and also from the claws and head but retain the shells. Cut into chunks. Heat the butter without letting it brown and turn the raw lobster in the butter. Season to taste. Gently warm the Irish whiskey, pour over and set alight. Mix the cream with the pan juices and let it just gently heat but do not let it boil. Put back into the half shells and serve hot. Lightly cooked lobster can be used instead of raw but the flavour is not so fine. Crab also makes an excellent dish served in the same way, and it can be cooked first.
SPICED BEEF (CHRISTMAS BEEF)
Spicing mixture for a 6 lb (2.75 Kg) joint:
3 bay leaves. 1 teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon cloves, 6 blades mace, 2 heaped tablespoons brown sugar, 2 heaped teaspoons saltpetre, 1 level teaspoon peppercorns, 1lb coarse salt, 1 clove garlic
For cooking the meat:
6 lb (2.75 Kg) lean boned joint of beef, 3 medium sliced onions, 3 sliced carrots, bunch of mixed herbs, 1/2 pint (300ml) Guinness, 1 teaspoon each ground cloves and ground allspice
Tub all the dry ingredients together then pound in the bay leaves and garlic. Stand the meat in a large earthenware or glass dish and rub the spicing mixture thoroughly all over it. This should be done every day for a week taking the spicing mixture from the bottom of the di9sh and turning the meat twice. Then wash the meat and tie it into a convenient shape for cooking. Sprinkle over about 1 teaspoon each of mixed allspice and ground cloves then put into a large saucepan on a bed of the chopped vegetables. Barely cover with warm water and put the lid on. Simmer gently for 5 hours. During the last hour add the Guinness. Spiced beef can be eaten hot or cold but usually served cold, in slices at Christmas. If intending to serve cold, the meat should be removed from the liquid and pressed between two dishes with a weight on top.
1 fish per person filleted in two halves, 1 heaped tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and time, salt and pepper
Put one fillet flat in the grill pan, skin side down and season. Spread over the chopped herbs and half the butter. With the skin side up, put the other fillet on top and spread the rest of the butter over. Grill on both sides under a moderate heat. The herb butter mixes well with the milky tasting fish.
Black sole vary from 8 – 12 inches (20cm to 30cm) in length and are a much meatier fish than the Lemon Sole. A big one is a large meal for one person as they are plump. For flavour, Black Sole is usually grilled on the bone and can be filleted afterwards if required. However, it is an easy fish to fillet prior to cooking.
Rub the fish with salt 30 minutes before cooking then add a little white pepper and cover well with butter. Grill on both sides and serve with a knob of butter which has been worked with chopped parsley and lemon juice – known as “Hotel Butter” in 19th Century Ireland
‘Cream Crackers’ were invented and marketed in 1885 by W & R Jacob & Co, Dublin
20 cream crackers, 20 marshmallow cubes, 20 small pats butter, 20 almonds
Put a marshmallow on top of each cream cracker. Put a small piece of butter on the marshmallow and press a blanched almond into the butter. Grill under a moderately hot grill until the marshmallow has melted over the cracker.
2 hard boiled egg, 1 tablespoon malt vinegar, 2 teaspoons each of dry mustard and sugar, 1/2 pint (300ml or 1 cup) sour cream or fresh cream with the juice of half a lemon dripped in and stirred.
Pound the eggs and the dry ingredients together until well blended. Then add the vinegar and sour cream gradually. Tear apart the lettuce and put into the salad bowl. When the dressing is smooth, pour over and serve at once. More sugar can be added to taste if desired. This dressing can also be used over cooked sliced beetroot, raw chicory or endive and shredded cabbage. The cream originally used was just slightly soured; it was brought from the dairy and left by a hot stove until thickened.