Monday, June 20, 2011

A wee bit about Northern Ireland

The wee beach at Portstewart

My Mum reminded me the other day, that I haven't yet waxed lyrical on my trip home to Northern Ireland. I had planned on posting a few tidbits while across the pond but it just proved too difficult to do. I did, however, bank a few thoughts on my favorite food memories of the trip. And today, the day after Rory McIlroy made it 2 in a row for Northern Ireland winning the US Open, it seemed timely to get my thoughts out onto paper, so to speak.

Despite zero hours sleep the night of our flight over, even my tired eyes could not miss the fields full of sheep, lambs and cows on our drive to my parents home, from the airport. I was amazed I had forgotten the fields are alive in Ireland! All the fuss in the US about grass fed beef, and in Northern Ireland, there is pretty much nothing else available!

We hit lamb season perfectly, so I did make sure to order it at a great little restaurant called Molly's Yard in my old University haunting ground in Belfast. I was not disappointed. I then dragged my husband down Botanic Avenue for a nostalgic stroll, to find there are only 2 storefronts that remain unchanged in the intervening 20 years (yikes) since I lived there! Now, there are numerous interesting restaurants and shops and all in all everything is much fancier that when it was my student stomping ground.

The same is true of Belfast in general, it's revitalization and transformation on the last 15-20 years is gobsmacking! There is a fantastic vibe about the city, great stores and restaurants and culture.

The Griddle Bakery

Those of you who have read my Iris's Wheaten Bread post, may recall my enthusiasm for the  bakery in my childhood hometown of Portstewart; The Griddle. So we visited and devoured some amazing potato bread, scones (yes they were wheaten ones) and a few other fancies. The storefront has changed but the traditional breads and scones are as good as ever. ahhh

the scones at The Griddle

My mums fridge did not disappoint either; Coleraine Strong Cheddar; the creamiest yet strongest flavored cheddar I know of. Eggs; fresh from my Mum's friend's farm (including a feather!) and back bacon; lean and tasty.

Her tupperwares were suitably stuffed with home baking (not for long though!) Gypsy creams, chocolate broken biscuits and a tea bread style cake. Mmmmm.

Gypsy good

Ok, now that I've made your mouth water I'm leaving you hanging because I can't use these fantastic ingredients now I'm back. I will crank out the gypsy cream recipe as soon as I get the holiday overindulgence issue back under control again!

In the meantime, enjoy the view...

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