Wednesday, July 8, 2015
I absolutely love breakfast. But I love eating breakfast out infinitely better than cooking at home. There's so much juggling! Frying the bacon! Toasting the bread! Sauteing the potatoes! Chopping the onions before sauteing the potatoes! Baking the muffins! Dishing out the fruit! Pouring the juice! Cooking the eggs to individual tastes! And all that clean up!
How much better to go to a homey diner and be served! My standard order for my "big breakfast" out is two eggs over easy, sausage (patties, please,) hash brown potatoes, and rye toast. I'm often tempted by my all-time favorite breakfast -- Eggs Benedict -- but usually let my diet conscience persuade me to save that for a feeling skinny day.
Nowhere have I ever had better breakfasts than when I was lucky enough to visit Ireland this past spring! At every inn we stayed, we were offered wonderful cooked-to-order breakfasts, bearing no resemblance to all the breakfast buffets available at our American chain motels.
And although every place had a different menu, every one had some version of the full Irish breakfast, my standard "big breakfast" on steroids!
A typical full Irish breakfast usually includes fried eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, tomatoes, maybe mushrooms, maybe beans, black or white pudding, and plenty of hearty brown bread. And juice or fruit. And coffee or tea. Pretty substantial, wouldn't you say? Enough food to last a 250 pound Irish laborer the whole day. And certainly more than enough for a woman half that size ready for a day of shopping and sightseeing!
But I wasn't about to argue with such a lovely tradition, although I did order a half-Irish breakfast one day.
My favorite full Irish breakfast was at Number 31, a classic Georgian inn in Dublin. It's classic on the outside, with modern interior design.
I neglected to take a picture of our room but it was also lovely.
Breakfast was served in a second floor dining room with an enclosed porch. If you were seated in the porch room, you could enjoy watching the inn's breakfast chef perform, deftly juggling all those wonderful fresh ingredients. We stayed at this inn two nights -- one morning I had to have the full Irish, but my second breakfast was Eggs Benedict, but it was hard to pass up scrambled eggs with smoked salmon.
One of the Inn's specialties is this cranberry nut loaf. I can attest that it is wonderful -- moist, flavorful, just the right balance of sweet and tart -- although I've yet to make it at home.
I'll be sharing more of my Ireland trip. I put to bed any notion that the Irish don't eat well.
Cranberry Nut Loaf
Courtesy of Number 31, Dublin Ireland
4 ounces fresh cranberries
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces butter
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnuts pieces, chopped
Finely grated rind of 2 oranges
1/2 cup orange juice
Chop cranberries and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the peel, juice and egg. Mix well. . Lightly add to the dry ingredients. Add cranberries and nuts. Pour into greased loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3). Bake 350 degrees F for 75 minutes. Cool 15 minutes and remove from pan. Cool and cover.