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February 8th, 2010

The Country Cooking of Ireland competition and recipe

Country Cooking of Ireland

To celebrate the publishing of the book The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews, we have one of the books to give away and also for Foodfight readers we have a recipe from the book for you. The competition is after the recipe.

Watercress and Almond Soup

Watercress And Almond Soup

Serves 4

The late cookbook author Theodora FitzGibbon adapted the recipe for this unusual and delicious soup from “a handwritten recipe book, 1735”; she doesn’t specify the family name or country. She does note, though, in her indespensable Irish Traditional Food, wherein her version appears, that “Almonds were immensley popular in richer homes in 18th century Ireland. They were not only used for cakes and puddings, but also with meats, fish, vegetables and in soups.” Watercress is a far more ancient food in Ireland, eaten since prehistoric times.

  • 1 cup/240 ml Milk
  • 1 cup/ 240 ml Heavy Cream
  • Rind of 1 lemon, in 1 piece if possible, pith removed
  • 1/2 cup/ 40 g Ground Almonds
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 cups/ 300g Minced Celery Heart
  • 2 tbsp White Flour
  • 2 1/2 cups/ 600 ml Chicken Stock
  • Salt and White Pepper
  • 2 Bunches Watercress, Trimmed

Combine the milk and cream in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the lemon rind and almonds. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to infuse for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium pot over low heat, add the celery, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the stock in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly, and cook for about 5 minutes, continuing to stir until the sauce thickens.

Strain the infused milk into the stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the watercress and continue to cook for 6 to 8 minutes more.

Puree the soup in a food processor or blender. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve hot or cold.


To win the book, leave an answer to the following question in the comments: Is it beef or lamb that is the meat in Irish stew?
Those with the correct answer will be added to a draw and the winner will be randomly selected.

49 Responses to “The Country Cooking of Ireland competition and recipe”

  1. Maurice says:

    My sources tell me its Lamb :)

  2. Kate Dempsey says:

    It’s Lamb.


  3. Dan says:

    It’s lamb,


  4. Sinead says:

    Lamb. Lovely lovely lamb.

  5. Jeni says:

    Lamb…. yummy, just right at this time of year, I always throw in a few necks, really great flavour!

  6. Peadar Kelly says:

    It be Lamb. Thanks.

  7. Aidan O'Callaghan says:

    lovely lamb

  8. billy flynn says:

    I would rather be wrong but individual –

    As every American knows a

    “real Oirish stew has gotta be corned beef and cabbage, buddy”

  9. Tess Bennett says:



  10. John Delaney says:

    Shur is guess it would be Lamb

  11. James says:



  12. Damien says:

    Its Lamb – same as in shepards pie


  13. Graham VT says:

    Its lamb! Thanks, Graham

  14. David Ruddy says:


  15. Dee says:

    lamb for the lovely stew!

  16. Eva Dunne says:

    it is most definitely lamb, what could possibly be better?

  17. Roisin Bell says:

    It’s beef. Only joking! LAMB.

  18. Sean Tynan says:

    Lamb of course…

  19. Frances says:

    Baaaaa – Lamb.

  20. Lorraine says:

    Without a doubt – you cant use anything other than lamb…. mind you there was a time that only mutton would do,

  21. Steve Rawson says:


  22. Norm Hart says:

    Me thinks it’s lamb! :)

  23. Marion Bruton says:

    It’s Lamb.Yum yum.

  24. Orl says:


  25. Jenny says:

    Answer: lamb
    bah! bah!

  26. Kathy says:

    Lamb. Kathy likes lamb. Laaaamb.

  27. Rebekah says:


  28. Josephine M. Battye says:


  29. Ursula says:

    Lamb for sure

  30. Eileen says:


  31. Sue says:

    Its lamb,lamb,lamb

  32. Joanne B says:

    It’s Lamb all the way :)

  33. Anthony says:


  34. Olwen says:

    Definitely Lamb.

  35. Kathy says:

    Most definitely Lamb

  36. diane skelton says:

    Its lamb in connemara, sweet and juicy

  37. diane skelton says:

    it is beautiful irish lamb, best of all in connemara, sweet and juicy.

  38. Evin says:

    It’s lamb.

  39. Katerina says:


  40. Nollaig Wright :-) says:

    you make irish stew with lamb………….. but my mam makes it with beef hahaha………………..:-)

  41. Andreas sellhorn says:

    the answer is lamb

  42. L Shannon says:

    The Answer is MUTTON

  43. joe murphy says:

    traditional is LAMB

  44. B keating says:

    Answer is lovel spring lamb

  45. Conor Farrell says:

    The answer is lamb.

  46. Kevin Mac Namidhe says:

    Definitely Lamb! Tastes great

  47. Deirdre says:


  48. Emillie Hoadley says:


  49. admin says:

    Competition is now closed, thanks for the answers.