The perfect start to the day;


The Merchant Fry

What better way to start the day (only not too often), than a traditional fry up. All of the U.K and Ireland have their own version of a fry, some contain hash browns or baked beans, I’ve even had one with tinned tomatoes ‘Horrendous!!’, but what makes our Ulster fry unique is the addition of potato farls and soda bread as well as all of our fantastic local produce.
All of the ingredients that we use at the Merchant hotel for our fry are sourced from the best of Irish produce; I have added the names of the producers in the ingredients list below. They are well worth trying to source as this will make you fully appreciate why the fry has become one of our national dishes.


4 slices Stautons black pudding    
4 slices Stautons white pudding                  
8 McCartney’s of Moira breakfast sausages        
8 slices  Moyallen dry cured bacon                     
4 Large field mushrooms                           
4 oven roasted tomatoes                                                                                     
4 Home made soda farls (recipe follows)  
4 Home made potato bread (recipe follows)                    
4 Organic eggs, lightly fired in Irish butter


For the perfect fry, cook the sausages first in a little vegetable oil and butter, remove from the pan and keep warm, cook all of the other ingredients until they are all cooked through.
To serve, place 1 slice of white pudding, one slice of black pudding, 2 sausages, 2 slices of bacon, 1 cooked field mushroom, 1 tomato, 1 potato bread, 1 soda bread and 1 egg per plate serve at once and enjoy.

Potato Farl

The word farl originates from the Gaelic word ‘fardel’, meaning four parts. These potato cakes are best cooked on a griddle and served hot with Irish salted butter, but are best served alongside soda bread as part of our famous Ulster fry.


4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved      
1 pinch salt   
¼ cup plain flour, plus extra for dusting          
1tblsp melted butter


In a pot, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer on medium-high heat until the center of the potatoes are tender when pricked with a fork, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Drain, return potatoes to pot and allow to completely dry out over remaining heat. Mash with a potato masher until smooth.
Place warm mashed potato in medium bowl. Stir in flour, salt and melted butter. Mix lightly until dough forms.
On a well floured surface, knead the dough lightly. The dough will be sticky. Use a floured rolling pin to flatten into a 20cm circle about 1cm thick. Cut into quarters using a floured knife; alternatively shape the potato bread into small cakes as we do in the merchant.
Sprinkle a little flour into the base of the skillet or a dry frying pan and cook the farls for 3 minutes on each side or until evenly browned.
The potato cakes are now ready to use as you wish.

Soda bread


600g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of sugar
1tsp vegetable oil
600ml buttermilk


Sift together all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk and mix together. Turn onto a work surface and knead lightly for a couple of minutes.
Work the mixture into large flat cakes 1cm thick, any thicker and they will not cook properly, alternatively you can work the mixture into small cakes as we do in the Merchant.
Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium heat, sprinkle a little flour into the dry pan and place the soda farls in the pan, cook for 6-10mins on each side, make sure the heat does not get to hot or the farls will burn.
The soda farls are now ready to use as you wish, but I personally recommend split in half with a good helping of Irish butter

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