One of the greatest privileges of our trip has been the opportunity to eat a variety of delicious food. Most might claim eating tasty new food is one of the best (if not THE best) benefits of travel. Well, trust us. We’re doing our best to live up to the claim.
Dining out is always fun, but most the meals we’ve selected for this coveted glory are those which have been cooked and prepared at home. We’ve sampled English and Irish classic cuisine, both esteemed for their respective, belly-warming qualities. After much consideration and discussion (and consumption), we’ve decided to rank our top 5 meals, to date.
Let the countdown begin…
5. Ann’s Free Range Baked Chicken
Amazing meals start with amazing food and ingredients. Every ingredient in this dish was farm to table, much like everything else we ate while in Reen. This meal started with a conversation between Ann and the farmer who raised the chicken, which then lead to a deliciously seasoned and perfectly tender baked chicken. To this day, the best chicken we’ve ever had.
4. Martin’s Wood Oven Baked Spelt Pizza
It’s easy to enjoy meals when the fundamental ingredients are healthy. Martin strictly bakes with spelt flour, a slightly healthier alternative to ordinary flour. Not only that, he prepared about a dozen fresh vegetables and meats for us place atop his homemade marinara sauce. You can make your dish as sinful as you like. If he took orders to go, he’d beat the pizza industry one pie at a time.
3. Maloney’s Fish & Chips
To eat fish and chips at a pub… and to eat fish and chips at an Irish pub are two completely different endeavors. BUT to have fish and chips at Maloney’s on Friday night ‘fish and chips night’ IN Ireland will quite literally make your life complete. Seriously though, Maloney’s only sources their delicious fish from the fisherman in town who catch it that day. Pair that with the classic, casual atmosphere of a traditional Irish pub and you got yourself a top-5 meal. (Add a Murphy’s and game over!)
2. Split between: Ed’s Chicken, Bacon & Tarragon Risotto AND Ann’s Classic Mushroom Risotto
This was a toughie. Two different approaches to an Italian classic, both with gourmet finishes. On one hand, Ann prepared her risotto with flawless Italian style. She left a perfect and subtle snap to the grains with complementing texture. Ed’s was a bit more contemporary combining three different proteins for heartier appetites. The more we discussed, it would be impossible to pick a stand-alone winner between the two. Both were delicious for their respective occasions and audience. Also, we’re not looking to start any bragging wars between the Shaws.
Side note: Ed’s triple protein risotto not pictured – consumed after Mary Coughlan, before time for photographs.
1. Ann’s Lamb Shank with Mint & Black Currant Jelly
Ann easily gets the nod for the top spot on our meals list. Preparing a meal neither of us had eaten before; as soon as the word “lamb,” dropped out of her mouth, ours began to water. Seasoned with garden-grown rosemary and served with homemade black currant jelly, this sweet & savory delight was bone-pickin’ good. Seriously. Matt picked the scraps off the bone. Even the contrasting temperatures of the cooked meat and cold jelly brought this mind-boggling eating experience to the next level. This one goes down in the record books for us.
Ed’s Steak & Veggie Stirfry on Bulgur Wheat
This list wouldn’t be complete without recognizing the diverse talents and culinary flexibility of our most recent host, Ed. With limited ingredients and a little creativity, Ed prepared an oriental classic. The hiss of the veggies sizzling in hot groundnut and sesame oil added to our anticipation. Served on a bed of bulgur wheat, a starch not commonly served in the states, this dish was an ideal choice for our last meal together.
A BIG thank you to the talented and generous chefs who’ve shared their passions with us, we are very appreciative.
Which meals would make your top 5 list? Share recipes with us in the comments!
Blondie and the Beard