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Kitchen Index Irish Kitchen Library



Recipes for Lughnasa
contributed by Bridget Haggerty

There is often much confusion surrounding Lammas/Lughnasa because of the variety of names and the differing dates on which it is celebrated. When the Gregorian system was adopted in Ireland in 1782, eleven days had to be dropped to make the calendar astronomically correct. This led to the festival being celebrated on either the 1st or the 12th August, called respectively New Style and Old Style Lughnasa.

To further complicate matters, many Lammas/Lughnasa festivities became appropriated to Christian saints' days or the nearest Sunday. Folklore survivals of Lughnasa are celebrated under a wide variety of names, such as Bilberry Sunday, Garland Sunday and Domhnach Crom Dubh ('Crom Dubh Sunday'), depending on the locality, at various dates between mid-July and mid-August.

The old pagan festival of Lughnasa lasted a month, with August 1 at its midpoint. One of the four great fire festivals of the Celtic year, Lughnasa marks the beginning of autumn. It is the beginning of the harvest season and celebrates the decline of summer into winter. Festivals and rituals typically center around the assurance of a bountiful harvest and the celebration of the harvest cycle.

The name Bilberry Sunday comes from a tradition of gathering bilberries (blueberries) at this time. If the bilberries were bountiful, the crops would be also. This is also the feast of the first grain harvest. Though the exact date of the festival varies, in the old days it was held anywhere from August 1st to August 14th. Often, it began at sundown of the previous evening, or July 31st, since the Celts measure their days from sundown to sundown.

Garland Sunday is so called because garlands of flowers and greenery are usually placed around most of the Holy Wells. These wells are found throughout Ireland and are most often dedicated to the patron saint of the parish. This day also marked the end of the ‘hungry season’ as people were now confident there'd be plenty of new potatoes, freshly-baked bread, and baskets brimming with berries.

Mealie Greachie
This is a traditional dish from north Co. Antrim, where farm workers expect it for dinner at harvest time.
 
Ingredients:
Coarsely ground oatmeal
1 onion
fat bacon

Method:
After frying some fat bacon and onion, add the dry oatmeal and fry till toasted. Serve with the bacon and new potatoes.

Lughnasa Pie
from Celtic Folklore and Cooking by Joanne Asala

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Salt to taste
5 cups of fresh blueberries
Pastry for 9 inch, 2-crust pie
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon butter

Method:
Combine sugar, flour, lemon zest and salt to taste. Add blueberries, tossing to thoroughly coat fruit. Pour mixture into a pie crust drizzle with lemon juice and dab with butter. Place top of pie crust over pie; seal and flute edges. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and bake for another 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

• Click here for another traditional Lughnasa recipe: Fraughan Fool with Sweet Biscuits
• Click here for a delicious Oaten Yeast Bread recipe

Images:
Blueberry Pie Recipe by Linda Hutchinson


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Sat, Aug 2, 2014

"...the freshest of food and
the oldest of drink"
- Irish Proverb

The New Irish Table
by Margaret Johnson



Margaret Johnson’s love of Ireland permeates page after glorious page of mouthwatering Irish dishes, from Smoked Salmon Chowder to Raspberry Buttermilk Tarts. Lavish color photographs of the food, the landscapes, and the people are woven through the text, making The New Irish Table the next best thing to sitting down to dinner in Ireland itself.
Click here for New Irish Table.


 

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