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Monday, 9 May 2016

Windles and Ships . . . and Downton Abbey's Irish Stew

Browsing through Jessica Fellowes’ book, I came across a recipe in honor of Tom Branson, the Irish chauffeur who won the heart and hand of Lady Sybil.

I plan to make the lamb stew for our next Friday Family Dinner.  I’ll let you know how it goes – last week I served Irish Trosc Bake (trosc is the Irish word for cod) and it was a disaster.

Nothing can stop me, however.  I am determined to find and share  good Irish recipes as a salute to my husband’s Irish heritage.

Both sides of Bryan’s family emigrated from Ireland in the 19th century. 

In the case of his mother’s side (the Windles and Bradleys), they came to Canada before Confederation (1867).

I dug up some more pictures of our trip to Ireland and asked Bryan to write something about them.   Here’s what he gave me:

Some of my relatives may well have crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a “famine” ship similar to the replica seen above. 

They were often called ‘coffin’ ships for good reason. 

Such sea voyages were hard on those anxious to find a better life but who were not in the best of health because of their impoverished circumstances.

Many Irish, along with German and Polish Catholics, settled in the hill country of what is now Renfrew County in the Ottawa Valley. Love, being no respecter of ethnic differences, resulted in plenty of mixed marriages. 

My late Aunt Patsy (Windle) and Uncle Bert Blimkie were no exception and they have a large family to show for it.

My grandparents, Patrick and Mabel Windle, had a farm on one of those high hills. They and their large family attended church in nearby Mount St. Patrick that boasted a “holy well”. 

My cousin, Velma and her husband Jack O’Shea, stand in front of this “storied’ site where people still visit to take some of the supposedly miraculous water.


Verdict’s In:  The Irish Lamb Stew was VERY GOOD!

The potatoes sit on top of the stew while it cooks, covered, for 1.5 hours.

Before serving, it was easy to remove the potatoes.

I served the potatoes separately and they were DELICIOUS.

Fantastic dinner!

You should be able to find the book in your library.

Bryan also made the Parmesan straws on p.242, but the dough didn't roll out well so he made Parmesan rounds.

Diana loved them.