Spiced beef open sandwich

The French Rooms Bushmillls heads west for St. Patrick’s Day

For the hospitality industry, ‘Paddy’s day’ get’s us into shape for a busy season ahead, it’s the warm up after the sleepy winter months! As we wait for the go ahead to re-open The French Rooms Restaurant, Bushmills, our ‘Taste Bud Travels’ series heads across the border ‘virtually’ and along the equally stunning ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ to Galway.

Full disclosure – before we head off, this is a completely biased blog. As a Galwegian, I’m thankful we live in a beautiful part of Northern Ireland, walking distance to the sea with a stunning coastline but it’s been tough not seeing family and friends.

Galway is a truly magical place, ‘The city of the tribes’ in every sense. This medieval city has a contemporary vibe which you will struggle to find elsewhere. It is multicultural, celebrates its creativity in almost every corner, has a vibrant foodie offering but a well preserved charming centre. ‘Going into town’ is not just a shopping experience nowadays, it is an opportunity to eat the best food, be entertained on the street by a diverse variety of talented performers while you browse artisan independent shops and creative spaces. Its atmospheric and if you haven’t been, you must go!

If the Northern Ireland Executive gave me the green light (forgive the pun) to drive from Northern Ireland to Galway today, this is my plan. I would head down the west coast and stop off in Drumcliff (Benbulben is stunning, reminds me of Table mountain, Cape Town, without the crowds). I would stop off and pay homage to Mr. Yates (RIP) and have tea and scones in the Tea House.

Benbulben, Drumcliff, Co. Sligo

Hitting Galway city I would head straight to the Kings Head in the Latin Quarter for a pint, ok maybe a glass of Guinness and a packet of Tayto cheese and onion, could probably stretch to a McVities club bar, the orange one. Then head south to Clarinbridge, try for a table at the infamous Moran’s Oyster Cottage at the Weir. An award winning seafood restaurant by a hard working committed team which happens to double as my maternal grandmother’s birth place, which her father’s father founded in 1760. The food here is stunning, the seafood fresh, the wheaten or rather the ‘brown bread’ is that perfect blend of melt in the mouth with a crunchy crust. If you are lucky enough to reserve one of the old snugs, with a view of the peat fire, you are in for a thoroughly authentic experience.

I would then land at home to a huge plate of bacon, cabbage & potatoes (skins on) with lashings of butter and a coffee slice from O’Connor’s bakery. If, and it’s a big if, I survived all that food I would go for a long walk with my family in Coole park. We would walk through the magical woodland to the lakes in the hope that we might catch sight of the wild swans to finish off what, to me, would be the perfect Paddy’s Day!

Try this recipe!

The dish I will be eating this year is a Spiced beef sandwich . It is a traditional Irish recipe and as a hospitality mangement student I spent one summer placement back in Galway City. On sunny days we lounged around Eyre square during split shifts, grabbing sandwiches from one of the many delis around the city . My favourite choice was a spiced beef baguette with all the trimmings, it was a revelation to learn it was a traditional Irish recipe.

Spiced salt beef

I recently found an interesting but old recipe from the late 1940’s for- Spiced salt beef

  • 1ib treacle
  • 2oz all spice
  • 30 cloves
  • 1 nutmeg

Grind all the dry ingredients and mix with treacle. Put meat in a basin and more the mixture over. Turn beef every day for 10 to 14 days. Boil in the ‘ordinary’ way.

My updated version of the recipe takes less time and features Galway Bay Brewery Buried at Sea Milk Stout which I picked up from our local off license Fairley’s .

  • 4ib beef silverside
  • 300ml Guinness
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 3 tbsp soft dark sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 300ml Galway Bay stout

First, spice the beef blend the pepper, spices and sugar thoroughly then mix bay leaves and onion. Rub the mixture into the meat, then put it into the meat, then put it into a suitable lidded container and refrigerate for 3-4 days, turning and rubbing with the mixture daily. Put the meat into a pan and barely cover with cold water. Place a tight lid on the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook very gently for about 3 1/2 hours. For the last hour add the stout to the cooking liquid. When the joint is cooked, leave it to cool in the liquid .

Serving suggestion – Slice thinly and serve as an open sandwich with horseradish creme fraiche, salad, crusty bread , onions and gherkins washed down with a glass of stout.

Dreaming of a trip around Ireland – Podcast recommendation

My new favourite thing to listen to, during lockdown 3, is Alan Carr’s podcast ‘Life’s a beach’, its hilarious. He recently chatted to the wonderfully talented Imelda May and she summed up by saying the more you travel,the more you gain an acceptance of other people but she added the more she travels, the more she appreciates Ireland and is rediscovering the magic that exists! Subscribe if you love travel and need a good laugh and if your love travelling around Ireland you will love this !

Check out This is Galway on social media to keep up to date on all the visitor information you will need when planning a visit.

Which traditional Irish food do you crave on St. Patrick’s Day and why?

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Chef owner of The French Rooms restaurant in Bushmills which is a French inspired experience soon to be offering six luxury guest suites.

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