In rural Ireland during the construction boom of the 1990s food counters in convenience stores (many in fuel stations) started to offer baguettes, buns, flatbreads and rolls filled with a combination of bacon, black and white puddings, fried egg, mushrooms, sausages and sliced tomatoes.
It caught on and is now seen as a traditional habit. There was an earlier tradition.
The traditional Ulster fry is still a favourite with tourists and travellers but in the early and mid mornings the worker’s breakfast is a filled farl.
Generally made with commercial white soda farls, this is fried bacon, fried egg and fried beef sausage (also known as the steak sausage because of the lower fat content) in an easy-to-eat package, in or out of the café.
It tastes better with freshly made soda bread, grilled bacon and sausage and poached egg.
Traditionally soda bread was made on a griddle over a smouldering turf fire or on the far side of the fire box on a wood fire slow burner or range.
This allowed the dough to heat gently, rising and forming a crust. Some homes continued this tradition by baking the bread in a cast-iron frying pan over the lowest possible heat on an electric or gas cooker. These days
it is just as easy baking the bread in an oven with medium heat.
- 750 g white wheat flour, t550
- 475 ml buttermilk
- 5 g bicarbonate of soda
- 5 g salt
Sieve flour into a large bowl with the salt and soda, add buttermilk, stir with a wooden spoon to form a slack semi-sticky dough.
Fold onto a floured surface, knead dough into a large round. Place on a greased baking tray, cut a deep cross in the dough.
Bake at 160°C for 50 minutes.
Alternatively place the dough on a floured cast-iron frying pan, bake over a very low flame or lowest setting on an electric hob for two and a half hours.
- 8 beef (steak) sausages, grilled, each sliced along length
- 8 back bacon (rasher) slices, grilled
- 4 eggs, poached
- Butter (optional)
- Black pepper, pinch
- Salt, pinch
Slice farls along their length, butter (or not) both halves, place two slices of bacon on one half, arrange four pieces of sausage followed by the poached egg, season, top with remaining half.
Repeat with remaining items.