Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts episode 3 – Ireland

Mary Berry's Simple Comforts episode 3 - Ireland

Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts episode 3 – Ireland: Mary visits Ireland, where humble comfort food is at the heart of the local cuisine – as Mary discovers at Cork’s local food market, which is jam-packed with culinary delights, from fresh fish and steaming stews to beautiful breads and the famous Boxty potato pancake.



Cork was once the centre of the world’s butter exchange, so Mary sets off in a sidecar to explore Cork’s famous butter roads. She stops along the way to sample some of Ireland’s famous butter before going in search of a traditional Irish cake that is said to tell your fortune.

Mary’s Irish adventure is interspersed with making simple, warming recipes, including a salmon and fennel one-pot wonder, a bubbling lamb and haricot bean casserole that is full of flavour, slow-roast pork with the perfect crackling and a side of buttery Colcannon mash and an irresistible coffee and praline cake that is perfect for any family celebration.


Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts episode 3 – Ireland recipes:


Coffee and praline cake

Coffee and praline cake
Coffee and praline cake

Indulgent, sweet, impressive and comforting – this is a special occasion cake! You will need two 20cm/8in loose-bottomed deep cake tins.


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease two deep, loose-bottomed 20cm/8in cake tins and line the bases with baking paper.
  • Dissolve the coffee in 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Put the eggs, baking spread, sugar, flour, baking powder and coffee into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and level the surface.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, or until well risen and the sponge has come away from the sides of the tins. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  • To make the praline, line a baking sheet with baking paper. Put the sugar and 4 tablespoons of water into a saucepan over a low heat. Slowly stir until the sugar dissolves and you have a clear syrup. Remove the spoon, increase the heat and boil, without stirring, until the syrup is pale golden. (CAUTION: boiling sugar is extremely hot. Handle very carefully). Add the hazelnuts and swirl to coat them in the syrup, then quickly tip the mixture onto the baking sheet. Leave to cool and harden.
  • To make the buttercream, dissolve the coffee in 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the coffee and icing sugar a little at a time, beating until smooth, light and fluffy.
  • Break the praline into pieces over a wooden board, then chop into very small pieces.
  • Put one cake on a plate, spread with half the buttercream and sprinkle with half the praline. Sit the second cake on top, spread with the remaining buttercream and sprinkle with the remaining praline.

Slow-roast hand and spring with crackling and onion gravy

Slow-roast hand and spring with crackling and onion gravy
Slow-roast hand and spring with crackling and onion gravy

The hand and spring is the upper part of the pig’s foreleg. It is usually sold boned and rolled as a joint, and is less expensive than the major roasting joints, such as leg and loin. Here it is cooked on the bone, slowly braised until really tender. You can also cook pork belly this way.


  • Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
  • Rub 2 tablespoons of salt over the skin of the pork. Put the onions, garlic, bay leaves, sage and stock into a deep roasting tin. Sit the joint on top, skin-side up. Cover the roasting tin with foil and seal the edges tightly. Roast for about 40 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2 and cook for 2½–3 hours, or until the meat is completely tender and falling off the bone.
  • Transfer the pork to a board. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the onions into a bowl, remove the bay and sage and discard. Spoon the onions onto a serving platter, cover and keep warm. Strain the stock into a jug.
  • Turn the oven up to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Lay a piece of foil on a baking sheet. Carefully remove the pork skin and place on the foil. Using scissors, snip into narrow strips. Sprinkle with salt. Cover the pork with foil and keep warm. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and cook the skin for 5–10 minutes, or until it is crisp and deep golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir over the heat for a few seconds to make a roux. Whisk in the reserved hot stock over a medium–high heat, whisking until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  • Pull the pork off the bone and arrange next to the onions on the serving platter. Snip the crackling into pieces and add to the platter. Serve with the hot gravy in a jug.

Braised lamb with sweet potatoes and haricot beans – Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts episode 3

Mary Berry’s hearty family stew is full of flavour and perfect for feeding a crowd. If an extra person turns up unexpectedly, add another tin of drained beans to make it go further!


  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a deep, ovenproof frying pan or flameproof casserole dish. Fry the lamb over a high heat until browned all over (you may need to do this in batches). Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and set aside. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3.
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan, then add the onions, celery and garlic and fry for a few minutes. Add the spices and fry for 30 seconds, stirring.
  • Stir in the stock, tomatoes, tomato purée and mango chutney and bring to the boil, stirring. Add the lamb, season with salt and pepper, stir for a few minutes, then cover and transfer to the oven for about 1 hour.
  • Add the beans and sweet potatoes, bring back to the boil, then cover and return to the oven for another 45 minutes, or until the lamb is tender and the potatoes are just cooked but still holding their shape.
  • Check the seasoning and serve piping hot.


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