RECIPE: The Best of Irish Tucker

Nothing opens your eyes like a dirty great fry

Culture NI raids its grannies’ larders to find you the best of Irish grub for 'Ulster Fryday' (January 29).

Here’s our checklist for how to survive the climax of 'Breakfast Month' - the first chapter in Northern Ireland's year-long celebration of food and drink throughout 2016.

1. Set yourself up with an Ulster Fry.

Here’s how to do it (feeds two, depending on hunger levels).

Go to the shops, or raid your cupboards and fridge for:

• 2 thick slices Irish bacon
• 2 sausages
• 1 soda farl, sliced in half horizontally
• 2 potato farls
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or as needed
• 2 slices black pudding
• 1 tomato, halved
• 2 eggs


-   Heat the oven to 150C/300F.
-   Cook 2 pieces of bacon and 2 sausages in a frying pan or skillet until browned (not burnt).
-   Pop them in a heat-resistant dish and stick in the oven to keep warm.
-   Keep the fat in the pan, add 1 soda farl (which you’ve split in two horizontally – mind your fingers) and 2 potato farls. (If you’re not in an Irish-type country or you’re a Nigella in the kitchen, then scroll down for recipes to make your own).
-   Fry until crispy (not burnt).
-   Heat 1 tablespoon veggie oil in another pan, cook 2 slices black pudding (just don’t ask what’s in it) and 1 halved tomato.
-   Take everything out and put it in the dish in the oven.
-   Crack 2 eggs into the bacon/sausage/farl pan and cook until not a health hazard (depending on how runny you like them).
-   Take food out of the oven and divide between 2 plates and serve with lots of brown or tomato sauce and a good cup of tea.

2. Make your very own Irish Soda and Potato Farls.

First of all, know what you’re talking about. The word farl comes from the Gaelic fardel meaning 'four parts'.


• 2 cups plain flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
• 1 cup buttermilk

If you can only get the yoghurt-pot variety of buttermilk, dilute with normal milk until it flows when you pour it.

Alternatively, use normal milk and sour it with lemon juice. Use 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice per cup of milk.

If you can’t find baking soda in your shops, you will find Bicarbonate of Soda in your pharmacy.


-   If you are a granny type you might own a griddle or skillet. If not, get a frying pan out of the cupboard and warm it up on a low heat.
-   Put flour and salt in a bowl and sift in the baking soda. (Don’t skip the boring sifting bit – soda often is lumpy.) 
-   Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the buttermilk or soured milk.
-   Stir quickly into a dough which should be solid and a bit sticky. Knead a little on a floury surface. Don’t blatter it.
-   Squish into a round about an inch/2.5 cm thick and cut into quarters with a floured knife to stop it sticking.
-   Sprinkle a little flour in the pan/griddle/skillet and cook the farls for 6-8 minutes on each side or until golden brown (and not burnt)
-   Eat ASAP with butter and jam.


• 4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved (or a similar amount of leftover mash)
• 1 pinch salt
• 1/4 cup plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 tablespoon melted butter


-   Boil your potatoes. This should take about 20 mins in a pan of boiling, salted water.
-   Turn off heat, drain and return the pan to the ring to dry out over the remaining heat. Mash with a potato masher until smooth (try and avoid lumps at this stage).
-   While still warm (or cold if you’re using leftovers) stir in flour, salt and melted butter. Mix lightly until it looks like dough.
-   On a floured surface, knead lightly until it all sticks together, without sticking to the surface.
-   Roll out with a rolling pin into a 9-inch (20cm) circle about ¼ inch thick.
-   Cut into quarters with a floury knife.
-   Using the skillet/griddle/pan, sprinkle in a little flour and cook farls for 3 mins on each side or until evenly browned.
-   Season with salt and serve.