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My Ireland

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    Fermanagh’s Black Bacon

    Food trends come and go, but nothing will beat fresh, local ingredients, and people can't get enough of Black Bacon from County Fermanagh

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    County Fermanagh
    County Fermanagh
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    Lough Erne and its islands

    On the edge of County Fermanagh's Upper Lough Erne you’ll see many things. You’ll see swans glide through the water, dense forests surrounding the lough, and you’ll also see a collection of islands. Among those islands, you will find a Hare Krishna Centre (Inish Rath Island); mysterious ancient carvings on the ruins of an old church (White Island); and an early Christian monastic site once subjected to Viking raids (Devenish Island).

    On Inishcorkish Island you will find a herd of rare breed pigs living here. They roam free in the natural environment on the island and feed on the grasses and herbs that grow there. The man responsible for “Pig Island” is Pat O’Doherty, who is passionate about the concept of “happy pigs”.

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    Inishcorkish Island, County Fermanagh


    As far as work commutes go, this is one of the best we can think of. Along his way to visit his black pig herds on Inishcorkish, Pat is alone with rippling water, a swan or two and Lough Erne’s serene silence.

    This is the image of the local, free-range producer that inspires chefs around the world. But it’s not only chefs who want to cook with produce that has been raised by small-scale producers like Pat. Food lovers want to enjoy it, too.

    Bottom line: as far as grass-fed, farm-to-table quality goes, bacon from pigs reared on their very own island ticks all the boxes.

    Fermanagh highlights

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    Inishcorkish pigs, County Fermanagh

    Pig pals

    After providing such paternal care and intimate attention, does Pat get close to the herd?

    "I become very attached to the pigs," Pat says. "I travel to the island each night to give them little snacks and check on their well-being. I’m fascinated by the way they interact with nature and each other."

    But Pat’s care and dedication isn’t just noticeable in the behaviour of these very happy and well-tended pigs. As his recipe below confirms, it’s evident in the taste, too.

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    Soda farls

    Derrylin soda farl sandwiches with Black Bacon

    Sieve both flours into a bowl with the salt and baking powder. Rub in the butter. Add the buttermilk a little at a time (you may need to add a little more buttermilk, or water, depending on the temperature of the flour).
    Form the dough into a circular shape and cut into six triangles. Heat a large frying pan and sprinkle with flour. Griddle the farls on each side for 10 minutes until risen and golden. Allow to rest for an hour before serving.
    Mix together ingredients for salsa and season with salt and pepper.
    Fry the bacon in a little olive oil until cooked through.
    Split the farls and butter liberally on each side. Slide two rashers of warm Black Bacon into each farl and serve with the salsa.
    • 450g/1lb plain white flour
    • 150g/5oz self-raising flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 25g/1oz butter
    • 568ml/1pt approx. buttermilk
    • Flour for dusting

      For the salsa

      • 4 vine tomatoes,deseeded and diced
      • 2 shallots (spring onions), finely diced
      • ½ cucumber, deseeded and finely diced

      • Fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

      • 1 tablespoon olive oil

      • ½ tablespoon lemon juice

      • Salt and pepper for seasoning

      For the filling
      • 12-16 rashers of Black Bacon

      • Olive oil

      • Butter