Potato Farls, or Potato Scones
are a traditional potato bread made from real potato flakes, flour and salt,
shaped into rectangular or round slices and cooked on a hot plate. Such bread
is also known in Northern Ireland as 'Fadge' or 'Slims'. This
bread started out in the late nineteenth century as a means of making use of
mashed potato leftovers, the potato being a staple part of the Northern Ireland
diet. In some areas they are referred to as Potato Scones or Irish
Potato Bread and not the Potato Bread loaf that is sold in most grocery
stores in Canada
The Irish term for cake centuries ago was
'Bairgin' and if the 'Bairgin' contained rich currants and raisins it became a
'Bairgin Brack' or speckled cake, now more commonly known as Barm Brack.
Barm Brack is unusual in the sense that it does not follow the traditional loaf
shape and instead of being oblong is round. In bygone days Barm Brack was
traditionally eaten at Halloween in Ireland (on All Saints Day), when a host of
myths and customs surrounded the product. Several unusual ingredients would
have been included in the traditional Halloween brack: a pea, a bean, a little
piece of cloth (symbolizing a rag), a stick and a Cladagh ring. The eating of
the Barm Brack then became an event of household theatre: if you got the rag,
you were destined to be poor; the pea meant you'd be an old maid; the bean a
bachelor; the stick a fighter, and the ring meant you'd be wed within the year.
These are packed full of tasty ingredients such as sultanas, citrus peel and
glace cherries, and are suitable as a snack, served buttered with your
favourite jam. These loaves are a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea
Soda Bread: The Irish bread making
tradition is a direct result of the fact that the original Irish home did not
have a built-in oven and bread was thus baked in a pot-oven or on a griddle
over a peat fire. Brown soda or 'wheaten' breads gained widespread popularity
throughout Ireland in the late nineteenth century when the raising agent,
bicarbonate of soda, was first introduced to the island, and has now become a
food synonymous with Ireland.
Soda bread is a moist and light product,
delicious as an accompaniment to soups and starters such as smoked salmon,
topped with ham and cheese or simply buttered with jam. It also goes great with
a full Irish breakfast. Our wheaten bread is the round 'bannock'. Traditionally
baked in a pot oven, bannocks are of Gaelic origin where the word 'bannock'
referred to buttermilk-moistened breads. A cross is marked on each bannock and
history suggests religious connections.
Traditionally, inhabitants of the British
Isles have enjoyed a substantial hot meal for breakfast, featuring eggs, bacon,
and sausages, accompanied with tea or coffee. British imperial experience in
India introduced kedgeree to the breakfast buffet in grander British
households. Today this dish remains popular but is normally served later in the
day rather than at breakfast. Bread and other bakery products have long been
the basis or staple of a Brits breakfast.
England. The full English breakfast
also includes tomatoes and several other items such as beans, mushrooms, black
pudding. These are served with fried bread or toast. Alternatively, fish
(especially kippers) can be served with bread and butter and often scrambled
eggs. Eating a full English breakfast daily is now rare, and most opt for cold
breakfast cereal or toast, which is usually eaten with marmalade. Grapefruit
halves are commonly served.
Note that a full British breakfast can
legitimately run to several courses and can include, as well as the signature
fry-up, cereal, half-grapefruit, kippers, smoked haddock, porridge, rehydrated
dried fruit such as prunes and figs, cheese,ham, toast, rolls, yoghurts, and
fruit salad. Visitors are strongly advised to stoke up on the breakfast buffet:
"The only way to eat well in England is to have breakfast three times a day."
W. Somerset Maugham
Scotland. A full Scottish Breakfast
is egg, black pudding, fruit pudding, lorne slice (a kind of Scottish flat
sausage), and ayrshire bacon (a special kind of sweet cured bacon). Potato
scones can also be served with this breakfast. For simpler breakfasts, porridge
is popular in Scotland.
Ireland. In Ireland, breakfast
traditions resemble those of Britain. A specifically Irish breakfast may
include white pudding, soda bread, and in Ulster, soda farls and potato farls.