Party_Tips_By_Nona is a local girl who is a really good cook, adventurous and inventive. She has agreed to write for Irish Feast once a month and begins her luscious list with that most local of meals - the Ulster Fry!
Saturday wouldn't be Saturday without an Ulster Fry for breakfast or lunch. Of course, you can have a Fry every day of the week but we have ours at lunchtime now as I did growing up near Armoy, Co. Antrim.
The Ulster Fry will certainly set you up for day with its selection of crispy, fried traditional breads, meat, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes. You’ll probably not need to eat until Sunday unless you’ve a hard days work ahead of you.
My Granny made Granda a mini-Fry every morning which she brought to him in bed before he got up for work, served with a big mug of sweet tea. Usually just a piece of fried soda or fadge (potato bread if you’re not from North Antrim) with some crispy bacon but sustenance until the 10 o’clock tea! Granny made soda and fadge nearly every day, frying the bread a couple of days after it was made. Granny and Mum used lard to make their Ulster Fry but I tend to use vegetable oil. Either result in a great fried breakfast but one is slightly healthier than the other!
For me, a good Ulster Fry has to have soda, sometimes a fried pancake but always the fadge. There were fights in our house if you thought you weren’t going to get a bit! I don’t think the hash brown can ever compete with a bit of golden fried fadge dipped in egg!
The meats of course play a central part with these being cooked first and the breads fried in their fat. Bacon is an essential and for us it was usually back bacon. I worked in a small grocery shop as a teenager. I loved cutting the Sprotts Bacon on the slicer, beautiful strips of back and middle bacon.
Then there’s the sausages, pork or beef depending on what looks good in the Butchers. I’m a big black pudding fan but we would sometimes also have had white pudding at home. My mum loves vegetable roll (don’t know why it is called this as bar a bit of scallion there is nothing vaguely vegetable about it!) and would throw a wee bit in the pan for her fry. Vegetable roll is made from minced beef, spices, scallions and sometime a wee bit of leek. My mum would fry this up with cabbage and potatoes.
Now there’s the eggs and the yoke has to be runny to dip all the lovely meat and bread in. We would quite often have got free range eggs from a friend and hoped we get a double-yoker for extra dipping!
With all the carbs and meat there is a little healthier garnish with either a grilled or lightly fried tomato and some mushrooms and that’s it and definitely never any beans!
All you need to complete the perfect Ulster Fry is a big mug of strong tea!