Margaret Johnson, aka “The Irish cook,” debuted her seventh Irish cookbook which is our favorite entitled, “Flavors of Ireland: Celebrating Grand Places & Glorious Food” (Ambassador International, 2012).  Adapted from www.northerncuisines.com.

She points out the differences between the Ulster Fry and the Full Irish Breakfast, as the Fry does not contain anything that can’t be fried in bacon, and which is meant to be an all-day meal, both hearty and substantial.

The is a basic roster of ingredients are:

  • Streaky bacon / bacon rashers
  • Sausages (typically the kind referred to in these islands as the “chipolata”)
  • Black pudding (an Irish sausage containing blood, a grain such as oats or barley, and various spices)
  • Eggs
  • Potato farl (a potato-based griddle bread, rolled out into a circle and cut into quarters, then baked)
  • Soda farl (soda bread baked on the griddle, also in quarters: “farl” is an old word for quarter)

Other ingredients that sometimes get involved, either as a garnish or as elements of other regional breakfasts that have slithered into the equation from the outside, are white pudding (a sausage like black pudding but without the blood), tomatoes, mushrooms, and fried bread.  You start out by frying the bacon in a heavy frying pan (cast iron is best), as you need its fat to fry everything else in. (A local cook with access to lard will refresh the pan with that, if necessary. However, no one would look down their nose at good Irish butter in this context if the bacon fat runs low. But some Northern cooks would simply say, “You didn’t fry enough bacon.”)