Terrible tripe and the troubles in Belfast

We have just returned from a weekend in Belfast. With a turbulent past as well as being the home to the construction of the Titanic and Game of Thrones it was a fascinating place!

First stop was the Titanic experience – this attraction was only opened in 2012 – commemorating 100 years since the Titanic. We were there for hours! We enjoyed learning about how the Titanic was constructed, the various classes of cabins, the elegant crockery, the first class menus and even the discovery of the wreckage!

Next stop – Shankill Road and Falls Road – we were both very interested to learn more about the ‘troubles’ that took place in Belfast. We ventured to the streets that were most affected by the attacks from the Loyalists and the Republicans. There was a sense of eeriness as we viewed the memorials, murals and empty blocks of rubble. We even witnessed a protest rally and heard stories of petrol bombings still taking place today.

Game of Thrones has a huge presence in Belfast! It’s where the production studios are based – close to the many filming locations that are scattered around Northern Ireland. Sighting of the stars is supposedly common ( although we did not spot any) and you can even try a Game of Thrones burger! 2 venison patties and black pudding with all the greasy trimmings!

We stumbled across some great markets and even the Christmas markets. Having only previously visited Europe in the summer this was my first experience of a Christmas market! There were Italian sweets, German small goods, fresh pastries to sample and even a pop-up beer hall. We also got our fix of soda bread, Irish whiskey and champ (mash with shallots) in various other markets, bars and cheap eats. I look forward to recreating a few Irish favs when we return home!

Returning now to cooking traditional Scottish food. We are getting really brave with our cooking challenge…. Tripe and onions! Aside from possibly having tripe in my chicken nuggets as a kid, I have never had the ‘guts’ to try it in its full glory! Placing my order for tripe, the butcher told me they did not sell raw tripe and that they only sell it frozen, precooked, in an onion sauce. So I figured I would just buy that (it was same recipe as the cookbook). I defrosted the mix and dumped it into a saucepan to reheat – the smell was vile! I thought I’d add salt, pepper and even a knob of butter in an attempt to make it edible! I served up the sloppy supper with a parsnip purée and sautéed sprouts and carrots. After a few forceful mouthfuls, we agreed that it was the worst thing I have ever cooked. Shannon said that he would rather eat someone else’s snot, and that he wouldn’t even come at it after a week of starvation on combat survival course! …I agreed!

I am not even putting up the recipe – I don’t want to put anyone through it! If anyone knows how to make tripe taste amazing …please share!

I will however finish on a pleasant recipe: Scots marmalade pudding! One of my favourite desserts my mum made us as kids was bread and butter pudding. The Scots marmalade pudding is similar to bread and butter pudding – the difference is that you use breadcrumbs rather than sliced bread, and it’s cooked in a pudding dish rather than a tin. Here is the recipe:

Scots marmalade pudding

100g breadcrumbs (I used cubed wholemeal bread)

2 cups of milk

2 eggs

50g castor sugar

2 tbsp of marmalade

Bring milk to the boil and pour over breadcrumbs. Leave until cool. Separate eggs and beat the yolk with the castor sugar. Add the marmalade and stir into the bread and milk. Beat the egg whites until stiff, and stir lightly into the mixture. Butter a pudding basin and pour in the pudding mixture. If you don’t have a pudding basin you can use a heat resistant bowl, wrap with foil and place into a saucepan. Steam for 2 hours.

The result was spongy and moist, with a citrus tang. It’s a great throw together pudding. One I will be taking back home for sure!

NOV17 - First class titanic
First class suite onboard the Titanic!
NOV17 - Shankill
Exploring the troubles
NOV17 - Merry xmas Belfast
Christmas markets, Belfast, in French tricolore
NOV17 - Soda burger
Soda bread breaky at the market
NOV17 - Gas pub dram
A wee Irish dram in a pub with no electricity – even the lights run on gas!
NOV17 - Tripe
Tripe… Nuff said.
NOV17 - Scots pudding
Scots marmalade pudding
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