Culinary Chronicles of Róisín Murphy: From Iberico Ham to Her Aunt’s Yuletide Pudding

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Róisín Murphy's culinary experiences

An editorial presented by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

There was a time when my father created a poetic tribute to my mother’s culinary prowess. His words were ‘we ensnared a wild hare, and with your adept yet gentle hands, you prepared it’. The truth? He never did catch a wild hare; it was just a figment of his imagination! However, our most unforgettable feasts often arose when he stumbled upon something unexpected. Occasionally, he would encounter a poacher in a pub and return with a rare treat – salmon from the River Slaney. The meal would take on a ceremonial atmosphere whenever this happened. He’d also bring home things like pheasants and venison, sourced from his pub acquaintances. My mother, being a skilled cook, would then transform these into delicious meals.

Spanish cuisine, in my opinion, is a meat-lover’s paradise, especially here in Ibiza where I currently reside. I have a particular fondness for restaurants that specialize in fire-grilled meats, and my top pick is secreto Iberico, a cut located beneath the pig’s shoulder. I also recently dined at a hidden gem of a sushi restaurant in the city. It’s an exclusive spot with only nine seats, where the chef passionately shares the backstory of each fish dish, but its location and contact details are a well-guarded secret.

My Italian partner is an expert in crafting traditional Italian delicacies. One of our favourites is cotoletta alla Milanese or veal Milanese. Just yesterday, he fried some bread from scratch, topped it with stracchino – a delightfully creamy, white cheese. He’s also adept at making arrosto di maiale al latte, which is roasted rolled-up pork in a milk-based gravy. Despite its unappealing description, the dish is a gastronomic delight.

I have a soft spot for slow-cooked corned beef, but it’s not your typical corned beef. A substantial cut of meat is boiled for several hours, and cabbage is added so it can absorb the meat’s flavours. Ideally, it’s served with British Queen potatoes, which have a light, flaky texture and burst when boiled. Paired with mustard, it’s an impeccable dish. My Aunt Linda has a knack for these slow-cooked Irish classics. Her Christmas pudding, which I’ve come to love over recent Christmases, is simply the best.

In Tbilisi, Georgia, hospitality is all about abundant food. During a gig there, we spent a few days with the president. We were taken to a rustic restaurant on a hill outside the city where elderly women served mountains of food – fresh cream cheese, veggies, flatbreads, and meats, including an assortment of kebabs. Everywhere we went, their aim was to fill our bellies and put a smile on our faces, president or no president.

The memory of tasting a freshly-picked potato from a farm in Wiltshire is one of my most cherished food experiences. Cooked in an Aga and served with homemade chilli, it was so moving it brought me to tears.

Whenever I return to Ireland, the first thing I do is buy a snowball from the local garage. Despite its lack of culinary finesse, it instantly transports me to blissful childhood memories. Similarly, Tunnock’s Teacakes send me into a sugary frenzy. If I get hold of a packet, someone has to confiscate them after I’ve had two, or I’d devour the entire lot. It’s the gooey, white marshmallow filling that just does it for me.

Róisín’s latest album, Hit Parade, is set to release on 8 September 2023. Her singles, CooCool and Fader, are currently available for streaming.

This story was featured in the Summer 2023 edition (Issue 20) of Food by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Róisín Murphy’s culinary experiences

What are some of the memorable meals Róisín Murphy talks about from her childhood?

Róisín speaks fondly of meals made from unusual ingredients her father would bring home, such as salmon from the River Slaney, pheasants, and venison. Her mother would turn these into unforgettable feasts.

What does Róisín Murphy appreciate about Spanish cuisine?

Róisín admires the Spanish mastery of meat preparation. She particularly enjoys fire-grilled meat and is a fan of secreto Iberico, a cut from beneath the pig’s shoulder.

What is a standout dish that Róisín Murphy’s Italian partner makes?

Róisín’s partner prepares a variety of Italian classics. One standout dish is arrosto di maiale al latte, a roasted rolled-up pork dish served in a milk-based gravy, which Róisín finds absolutely delicious.

What is a food item that Róisín Murphy always gets when she visits Ireland?

Whenever Róisín visits Ireland, she makes sure to buy a snowball from the local garage. Despite admitting it’s not a gourmet item, she finds it nostalgically delicious.

What is a particularly poignant food memory for Róisín Murphy?

Róisín shares a touching memory of eating a potato fresh from the ground, cooked in an Aga and served with homemade chilli at a farm in Wiltshire. The experience was so emotional for her that it brought her to tears.

What is Róisín Murphy’s latest work?

Róisín’s latest album, Hit Parade, is set to release on 8 September 2023. Her singles, CooCool and Fader, are currently available for streaming.

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