Tooting Family Kitchen

Tooting Family Kitchen

Fun Family Cooking

29. Ireland: Cooking an Irish Family Feast

Thank you for joining Tooting Family Kitchen for Week 29 of our 52 Meals Challenge. If you are hitting our blog for the first time, welcome! We are on a culinary journey, exploring different cuisines from around the world to get kids cooking and learn about different International Cuisines and Cultures – celebrating Diversity through Food.

We have set ourselves a challenge to cook 52 Meals from 52 Countries in 52 Weeks, sharing our family cooked recipes and experiences as we go. If you like our content please do share and subscribe (at bottom of the page) to ensure you don’t miss out on future family cooking destinations – we promise we won’t spam you, just a weekly reminder when we publish our latest International recipes 😊

This week we head to Ireland, a very small country with a seriously big personality that seems to transcend the planet in so many ways. About the size of South Carolina and with a population of less than 5 million, it may surprise you to know that around 80 million people worldwide claim Irish descent, a number which includes more than 36 million Americans claiming as their primary ethnicity. The Irish are generally thought of as being a fun bunch who don’t take life too seriously, love a laugh, love a drink, love a good story, don’t take sides, have the gift of the gab and most of all…have the best craic! I have always felt an affinity with the Irish (along with 79,999,999 others clearly), mostly due to Irish family friends I have grown up around and namely my Godfather (and neighbour) Tony. He pretty much embodies all the positive characteristics of the Irish and is the sort of guy that if you ask for directions, is likely to take you there himself. The best of the Irish have a way of focusing on what’s important in life, the simple things, seeing past all the trappings connected with ego, money, fame and general materialism. They just seem to get what matters in life…the people!

Wherever you go in the world you are bound to see the Irish influence in some shape or form and more often than the not it’s in the capacity of having fun! Just arrived in Mongolia, where do you head? The Grand Khaan Irish bar of course. In Nepal and planning on climbing Everest? Why not grab a bottle of Guinness first? Likely to have been carried by mule to the Irish Pub in Namche Bazar, 3.5km above sea level! Fed up of visiting temples in Cambodia, head over to O’Neil’s’ late night Irish Bar in Kampot! No matter where you are in the world, if alcohol is permitted, you are bound to find an Irish bar and you just know you are not going to want to leave after one or two!

Ireland’s influence on the world however goes further than ‘the craic’ and providing an entertaining template for tough Boston cops in Hollywood movies. Head down to Argentina and Ireland can take some credit in the formation of their Navy through Admiral William Brown, an Irish born Argentinian, who founded it. He is considered a national hero and many warships and political entities are named after him. Cross the Atlantic to South Africa and you may witness an extremely strong bond formed since the 1800s, when Irish missionaries started traveling there to work in education and health. The Irish government were also strongly opposed to apartheid and whilst Nelson Mandela was languishing in Pollsmoor Prison in 1988, he was awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin which he accredits with being a source of strength. Pop over the Indian Ocean to China and many will credit Ireland, and in particular the Shannon Free Zone created in 1959, as being the inspiration behind China’s economic re-development after a Chinese custom’s official (Jiang Zemin who later become President) took a training course on the Shannon model and a similar free zone was set up in Shenzen later that year, kick starting the economy which went into hyper growth. Despite all this, when asked for the first 3 things that pop into your head when you think of Ireland, most of us will go with St Patrick, a Shamrock and a pint of Guinness. All 3 are proud symbols of Ireland of course, but interestingly St Patrick (arguably) was born in Wales, a Shamrock is not the national symbol of Ireland (a harp is) and more Guinness is consumed in Britain and Nigeria than Ireland, which ranks 3rd in the world, although of course its population is far smaller.

Irish food and drink is relatively simple and is based on the crops it grows and the animals it farms, epitomised by the rustic yet classic dishes of Irish Stew, Colcannon and Soda Bread, that we have made today. It is also responsible for one of the best (and yet so simple) pairings known to man…Guinness and Oysters! Fortunately, living in Tooting where there is a large Irish community, it’s possible to get one of the best pints of draft Guinness in London at the Ramble Inn, as well as taking in live Irish Music. Hopefully the landlord Jimmy will be dishing out the oysters soon too 👍

We hope we have done Irish food justice and wish you all, the luck of the Irish. Cheers!

Tooting Family Kitchen have Guinness and Oysters and cook Irish Stew, Colcannon and Soda Bread.


What's in the stew?

Getting the stock going

Head baker getting to work

Perfecto! Thanks Delia

Mash up!

Oysters & Guinness

What’s in it...

12 x Irish rock oysters or similar
Shallot Vinegar – 1 x diced shallot mixed with some red wine vinegar
1 pint of Guinness (or more optional)
1 lemon

What to do with it...
  1. Shuck the oysters (be careful!) and present on a bed of ice being careful to retain as much of the liquid as possible. Serve with the shallot vinegar on plater garnished with lemons alongside a fresh pint of Guinness…simple 😊

Irish Stew

What’s in it...

1kg of lamb meat cut into pieces (shoulder/leg/cutlets)..ideally a 1kg of bones for stock
2 onions, peeled and chopped into large pieces
500g floury potatoes, peeled and chopped
500g waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped
500g carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
Chopped parsley to garnish


Lamb bones
2 onions, halved
1 stick of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 tsp of whole black peppercorns
1tsp of salt
1 bay leaf
Good sprig of thyme
Handful of parsley

What to do with it...
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan put in all the ingredients with approx. 3 litres of water and bring to the boil before gently simmering for around 2 hours removing some of the impurities that float to the top. When ready strain the stock through sieve and bring to the boil again reducing it to around 1.5 litres. This can be stored for further use and any fat can be removed when chilled as it will solidify on the surface.
  2. Place the lamb in a heavy bottomed large saucepan with the onions and bring to the boil and gently simmer for 30 mins. Add the floury potatoes and carrots and continue to simmer for 15 mins and finally add the waxy potatoes and thyme (check seasoning) and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes until the lamb is tender. Take off the hear, cover and leave for 10 minutes before serving garnished with the chopped parsley.


What’s in it...

2kg of white potatoes
250g Kale
6 spring onions, chopped
100g of butter
Salt – to taste
I cup of whole milk

What to do with it...
  1. Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks and simmer in a big pan of water for approx. 15 – 20 mins or until tender all the way through. Drain and leave to steam off a little in a colander.
  2. Heat a tbsp of butter in pan and wilt the cabbage for 2 mins and then toss in the onions for another 2 mins.
  3. Mash the potatoes with the remaining butter, milk and salt until smooth and then add in the cabbage and greens and mash through again.

Soda bread

This is a recipe from the ever reliable Delia Smith

What’s in it...

375g strong stoneground wholemeal flour
75g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 level dessertspoon fine salt
1 x 284ml carton buttermilk
75ml water

What to do with it...
  1. Place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and combine, then add the buttermilk and water and mix together to form a soft dough. Shape into a ball and place in baking powder on a baking tray and pat it down a little.
  2. Cut a 3rd of the way through the loaf in a cross shape and dust with a little more flour before baking in a pre-heated oven for approx. 40 min at 180C before cooling on a wire rack.

Our Irish Family Feast

All good so far!

He's definitely a fan!

He's definitely a fan!

Let's get going!

More popular than the oysters for this one

Stew always goes down well!

Thank you Ireland!

Thank you Ireland, that was epic! Can’t wait to explore more of your cuisine.

Next week we are excited to visit Vietnam … please don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE (scroll to bottom) & SHARE and if you have any International Food ideas or recipes from around the world you wish to share please do drop us a line 👍


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See you next week!
Tooting Family Kitchen


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