Mi­lan shares hearty Ir­ish food

Lyn­dey Mi­lan falls in love with Ir­ish hos­pi­tal­ity, writes

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LYN­DEY Mi­lan knew her next cook­ing ad­ven­ture was never go­ing to be easy. It’s one of the rea­sons she headed to Ire­land – a place so fa­mous for its warm and gen­er­ous hos­pi­tal­ity.

The last time we saw Mi­lan in a TV food se­ries was when she headed to the Mediter­ranean in 2011 with her son Blair for Lyn­dey & Blair’s Taste of Greece.

Sadly, the won­der­ful ad­ven­ture ended in tragic cir­cum­stances af­ter Blair sud­denly died at age 29 of acute myeloid leukaemia back in Syd­ney, be­fore the show even aired on SBS.

‘‘I knew that wher­ever I went next would be dif­fi­cult be­cause of Blair,’’ Mi­lan says, ‘‘so I think to go some­where English speak­ing was go­ing to make it that bit eas­ier.’’

In Mi­lan’s true spirit, and to con­tinue her and Blair’s dream, she spent Septem­ber 2011 in Ire­land to film her lat­est se­ries, Lyn­dey Mi­lan’s Taste of Ire­land.

‘‘Af­ter spend­ing that amount of time there – the hos­pi­tal­ity, and the open­ness and the friend­li­ness of the Ir­ish, and their self­dep­re­cat­ing sense of hu­mour – I re­alise we are just like the Ir­ish, there is that con­nec­tion.’’

Mi­lan kicks off her new se­ries in Belfast, and in first-class style when she vis­its the dry dock where the Ti­tanic was built.

‘‘It is such a ro­man­tic story. And the dry dock is just in­cred­i­ble to visit – it’s absolutely enor­mous.’’

As al­ways, Mi­lan com­bines her love of his­tory and food, and here she steps back 100 years to cre­ate a dish from the Ti­tanic’s menu, duck breast with Madeira sauce.

Through­out the eight episodes Mi­lan re­veals an Ire­land rich in pro­duce and meals, along with stun­ning scenery, and of course, its won­der­ful char­ac­ters.

From County Cork, Kin­sale and Clew Bay to Water­ford and Dublin, she trav­els far and wide over this tiny is­land.

And in true Ir­ish style she ad­mits it rained for 23 days straight dur­ing her trip.

‘‘That’s Ire­land – that’s why it’s called the Emer­ald Isle,’’ laughs Mi­lan in her jovial spirit, a rea­son why she’s one of Aus­tralia’s most-loved TV per­son­al­i­ties.

Lyn­dey Mi­lan’s Taste of Ire­land.

‘‘I like to go on the beaten track, but off the beaten track, in the fact that it’s more than just a food show – there’s his­tory and cul­ture. Food and cul­ture are in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked.’’

Mi­lan is ready to si­lence those who think her show will be just about pota­toes.

‘‘First of all, have you tasted their pota­toes? They are sen­sa­tional, and there is an aw­ful lot more as well.’’

Some of her un­for­get­table mo­ments in Ir­ish cui­sine in­clude freshly caught mack­erel, monk fish and tur­bot, plus home-smoked salmon to a clas­sic spot­ted dog.

‘‘Cold wa­ters grow such in­cred­i­ble seafood. The qual­ity and di­ver­sity of (Ire­land’s) seafood re­ally blew me away.

‘‘I had those beau­ti­ful Gal­way oys­ters straight out of the river. I cooked seafood chow­der at a re­ally fa­mous place called Mo­rans at the Wier.’’

She also vis­its fes­ti­vals, farm­ers’ mar­kets and pubs. Mi­lan ad­mits she ac­quired a love for Ir­ish whiskey dur­ing her trav­els.

‘‘Def­i­nitely, I found out I like Ir­ish whiskey, I don’t like scotch. The Ir­ish whiskey doesn’t have that real peat char­ac­ter, and it’s triple dis­tilled, so Ir­ish whiskey is absolutely sen­sa­tional. And there’s noth­ing like Guin­ness on tap in Ire­land – it tastes com­pletely dif­fer­ent.’’

She says it was hard not to en­joy the fa­mous Ir­ish hos­pi­tal­ity and re­calls the episode at a whiskey dis­tillery.

Lyn­dey Mi­lan’s Taste of Ire­land: Premieres Mon­day, 7.30pm, pay TV’s Life­style Food.

Celebrity chef Lyn­dey Mi­lan from

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