Cook a traditional Irish breakfast for your family on St Patrick's Day, March 17th 2011 and celebrate your Irish roots in true Irish style.

Irish breakfasts are a big part of Irish food culture. Every petrol station has a hot deli, where you can order traditional Irish breakfast food, on a demi-baguette (a half size French stick loaf). Every builder has a Breakfast Roll every day, usually about 10am. No other country has breakfast rolls or hot delis that sell hot sausages, black pudding slices and bacon rashers all day long.

You will need to buy in the sausages, puddings and bacon ahead of St Patrick's Day, preferably all Irish, naturally. You can then choose whether you make Irish Breakfast Rolls or a traditional style Full Irish Breakfast for your family.

What is a Traditional Irish Breakfast?

A large plate full of bacon rashers, Irish sausages, black pudding, white pudding, fried eggs, fried bread, baked beans, mushrooms and hash browns. Tea and brown soda bread or toast are served on the side. Hash browns and baked beans (navy beans) might sound American, but the Irish have taken them to their hearts and still include them in a full Irish breakfast.

It would be a good idea to try out Irish sausages and puddings well before St Patrick's Day because there are many different manufacturers, and each person has favourites among the different brands. You may find a local butcher who makes his own white and black pudding, even his own Irish recipe sausages. This would be your best supply option, failing that, then search the Internet, but check delivery charges.

Irish rashers are different from the bacon rashers you may be used to, try them out before the day of the Big Breakfast.

Irish sausages are made from very finely minced pork, mixed with cereal, salt and spices.

Black puddings vary but always contain pig's blood (usually dried), barley and spices such as allspice.

White puddings are blends of minced pork with barley and spices.

Brown soda bread is best made yourself, either from a bread mix or from a recipe, though you should be able to buy loaves, especially as St Patrick's day gets nearer.

Traditional Full Irish Breakfast Recipe

Timing is everything. Getting everything ready together is much more difficult for six people than it is for two or four, but using the oven for cooking sausages and hash browns will help because the oven cooking time is less critical than if you were frying them.

The quantities here will feed six hungry adults and keep them going all day in true Irish style.

18 bacon rashers, 12 Irish recipe sausages, 1.5 pounds of black pudding, 1.5 pounds of white pudding, 2 tins of baked (navy) beans, 12 hash browns, 12 eggs, 2 loaves of brown soda bread, half a pound of mushrooms, oil for frying bread and eggs, 1 loaf of bread for toast and fried bread, 1 jar of marmalade, butter, tomato ketchup, brown sauce.

Serving time Minus 60 minutes - Put oven on 200 degrees C, 310 degrees F, gas Mark 7. Separate sausages, slice black and white pudding into slices about half an inch thick.

Serving time Minus 45 minutes – Put the sausages on a tray in the oven.

Serving time Minus 30 minutes – Put the hash browns in the oven. Slice brown soda bread and butter it, preferably with Irish butter.

Serving time Minus 20 minutes – Start frying the rashers. Break your eggs into glasses, 2 eggs per glass

Serving time Minus 15 minutes – Put plate of sliced black and white puddings into the microwave and cook for 8 minutes, check after 8 minutes and cook for longer if necessary. Dip 6 slices of bread quickly in oil, then put it on a plate ready to fry. Heat large frying pan ready for fried bread. Heat oil in non-stick frying pan for frying eggs.

Serving time Minus 10 minutes – Cook mushrooms. Heat beans in a pan. Start frying eggs, 2 at a time. Put the eggs on a warm plate when ready. Fry bread on both sides and when cooked remove from pan and keep warm. Start cooking toast.

Serving time Minus 5 minutes – Turn oven off. Check everything is ready. Make a pot of tea, or just use cups or mugs and teabags if you prefer.

Be sure to remember the ketchup, brown sauce and marmalade. You can spread the marmalade on buttered toast or brown soda bread.

Serving time – Serve, enjoy and imagine you are in Ireland.

Variations: Halve the quantities and serve on half size French stick loaves as Irish Breakfast Rolls. Use one small loaf per person.

You can add anything you else you fancy. Some people like tomatoes or fried onions with their traditional Irish breakfast. Every family has its own traditions; your family can start its own, too.