Nostalgic Irish Menus.



I recently came across three menus from Restaurants in West cork and East Cork from the 1990’s.

Two of these are now closed and of course Ballymaloe House in East Cork is still thriving.I decided to make a menu using an entreé main and dessert from each of these restaurants.

Starting with Ballymaloe House. (click on Ballymaloe)

IMG_2596irish menus 4

Traditional Salad with Lydia’s dressing.

Lydia Strangman was the sister of Myrtle Allen’s husband farming partner,

“an unmarried Quaker lady of strict principles, who spent her life painting and making a beautiful garden.”

Cream dressings in the early days were used for salads. Oil was not readily available. When I first went to West Cork in the 70’s “Fauldings” Olive oil was sold at the chemist for earache!!

Lydia’s Dressing.

2 hard boiled eggs,1/4 teaspoon of mustard, 1/2 level teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 tablespoon of wine vinegar, 4 tablespoons of cream.

Seive the egg yolks and add honey salt and mustard. Blend in the vinegar and cream. Chop egg whites and add some to the sauce. Scatter the rest over the salad. Do not dress the saladbeforehand, Put it out in a sauce boat.

irish menusHere I chose Salmon for main course, called Sake Mushi. Taken from the Michelin starred Japanese restaurant Shiro at Ahakista, near Durrus.

John Mckenna has a nice story about Shiro Restaurant at this time on his blog Megabytes.


IMG_2600IMG_2602Sake Mushi is steaming fish or shellfish with a dash of Sake.

Click here to see a Japanese video on this method. Such a simple and refined dish. I used Cognac the “sake” of where I live in France. I used Chard instead of Kombu which is traditional, and I put a garnish of new potatoes, crushed with olive oil,lemon juice and capers with wilted wild rocket. Was delicious.

I am a great believer in using what you have on hand, and not freaking out because you don’t have THE ingredients. Be creative!!

irish menus 2The dessert comes from Lissard Lodge, Skibbereen. New owners these days. This menu dates from 1997??

Lissard was famous at this time for it’s innovative contemporary art collection, including The Sky Garden, by James Tyrell.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Parfait. IMG_2611IMG_2615

IMG_2627IMG_2614The Parfait calls for a fruit pureé, mixed through with whipped sweetened cream and finally folded into this mix goes an Italian (cooked) meringue. I didn’t sweeten the fruit, even though it was rhubarb and it came out perfect.

I used Jane Grigson’s recipe from her fruit book.These orange macaroons go very well with it.


Prepare 250mls of fruit, I used equal portions of rhubarb and strawberries, lightly cooked together, no sugar.When cool, 250mls of whipped cream with sugar to taste is folded into the fruit.Whisk 3 egg whites until stiff and glossy, Dissolve 250gs of sugar in 175mls of water in a saucepan over low heat. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 mins. Pour boiling onto the egg whites with beater going at top speed to make a meringue.Whisk until cool. Fold in fruit purée and 200mls of whipped cream- the amount of cream depends on how rich you want it. Pour into glasses and freeze until set.

I omitted the bitter chocolate sauce, I felt it was a conflict of taste.

Quote for Lydia’s Dressing comes from Myrtle Allen’s Cookbook, THe Ballymaloe Cookbook.

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