Photo from cookbook
Making Irish Ballycotton Fish Chowder & Spotted Dog Soda Bread-
I'm part Scotch/Irish and have wanted to explore some traditional cooking. I'd run across some recipes by the author Rachel Allen with some really classic Irish Family Foods, but ones that were a bit healthier-
I bought a used copy of her book on eBay. After browsing a bit the first one I decided to try was her Ballycotton Fish Chowder (named after her village). I really liked the fact it didn't have just dairy is the base for the liquid since Dave and I have to take it easy with dairy products. It has a lot of chicken stock in the chowder, but no chicken flavor. This was actually a fairly inexpensive dish to make. I did use some smoked salmon that I found on sale, ditto some small salmon fillets and the Whiting fish I used is also pretty reasonable. We already had some bacon in the freezer, milk, fresh herbs and potatoes. I made a double batch so we'd have some leftovers. I was really tempted to put in some finely diced celery and carrots but decided to follow the recipe instead. This is hands-down the best seafood soup I have ever made ! It was actually pretty easy just a lot of dicing of the potatoes. Really wonderful flavor, cook's pretty fast since you're cooking small pieces of fish. The recipes pretty flexible too. I used Whiting because it was easy to find but you could use the other recipes listed like the Pollock, Haddock or Cod listed. Garnish with crispy bacon and fresh herbs! Nice on a chilly night!
I also wanted to try Rachel's recipe for Spotted Dog Soda Bread which is basically Irish soda bread with raisins. Hers is a little bit different because it does not use any butter, which is very traditional. Instead she uses an egg. I did substitute 1 cup of WW Pastry flour for the white flour, a little healthier! Next time will use just the WW. The bread had a nice crunchy exterior and very, very moist inside. It also keeps really well. I had a slice today with my morning tea break and it was great! I'm looking forward to trying more of her recipes.