Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A little bit of Irish

I am busy with a new little project to send overseas with a friend of mine to my sister in-law in Ireland, I am calling it my “Little bit of Irish” project without revealing too much of what it is going to be. 

I am married to a South African who is of direct Irish Decent. Both his parents are Irish and moved to South Africa soon after being married, they had all their children in South Africa.  I hope I am saying this all genealogically correct.  He is very capable of putting on an Irish accent and very proud of his heritage but thoroughly South African, supporting the rugby, loving biltong, beer, braaivleis(An Afrikaans word for a barbecue) and sunny skies.

I met my husband more than 20 years ago, now that sounds like quite a long time ago, but feels like it was yesterday.  When we were still going out (dating) Andre went to visit his parents for the weekend.  On arriving back from the weekend, he told me all about his weekend and mentioned that his mother made Irish Potato bread.  I had never heard of Irish Potato bread before but having had a very keen interest in cooking and baking from a very young age, I exclaimed that I would love to have the recipe.  He just bluntly said “sorry you can’t have it”.  I was quite taken aback at the time but over the years realized that it was a recipe that his mom knew out of her head based on what consistency was required for the end result. I would also like to add, it is by no means a loaf of bread, some would say that sound like Greek to them, no, it’s Irish. The “Your Family” magazine published the recipe some years into my marriage which I was delighted to get and the result was pleasing.  My mom in-law has kindly shared her recipe with me and it really is a consistency thing and the feel of the dough.  I even managed to make them out of my head when we were on holiday recently from left over mash potatoes and they turned out just perfect!  I am very pleased to have achieved making this wonderful Irish Potato bread; it is delicious with fried eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and pork sausages and, like I mentioned before it’s not a loaf.

We went on honeymoon to Ireland in 1990; we spent an entire month in the British Isles with about two and a half weeks in Ireland.  We stayed with my husband’s relatives, some he had never met and some he had not seen in a very long time.  We were also very privileged to stay with both his grannies at the time.  It was a wonderful experience for me to meet his grannies and to visit in their homes, Ireland was magical.  I felt quite at home, a young bride of 20 at the time.  We received some amazing Irish gifts from the family there.  Irish crystal wine glasses (Tyrone Crystal), an Oneida Cutlery Canteen and more.  I thus have a lot of Irish items in my home.  One such item is an Irish Linen table cloth I got from Granny Stratton, Andre’s mom’s mother.  It got torn somewhere along the years but I managed to repair is quite beautifully that one could hardly notice. (It was a very big tear)

I would love to go back and visit Ireland, especially to show my children all the lovely places we visited.

Now look where all this talk of a “Little bit of Irish” has gotten me, here I am digging all kinds of things out of my treasure chest of my memories.


  1. Thank you for sharing your memories with us. I've not been overseas as you know, but your post has taken me to Ireland. Thank you.

  2. That is so very nice to read and interesting. Mommy & I spent a few days in Ireland many years ago and yes it was so magical! I want to remind you that we do have Irish blood in our veins from two 1820 Settlers to the Cape, Timothy Flanegan was from London from Irish parents and then there was Ann Hulley born Brangan from Ireland. How's That!!!

  3. Oh, Janine, you're really stirring up memories of a lovely time spent in Ireland. I would just love to go there again but I suppose that will never be now.

  4. So lovely and I am glad to know that when I am gone I will have left a little bit of Ireland behind me