Valentine’s Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Poetry

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

A valentine’s dessert to remember

Valentines day is almost here and in the spirit of love and heart shaped romance I wanted to share a perfect dessert for Valentines, along with a few delicious quotes from one of my favorite Irish poets, the one and only Oscar Wilde…

Many of his quotes are profound and I am always saddened that his life journey was so short. So, in honor of a poet I enjoy, here are a few of quotes on love…

Keep love in your heart.  A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead

Woman are made to be loved, not understood

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance

Hope you enjoy this special Valentine’s dessert….and remember the best ingredient is always ‘love’.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Raspberries and Chocolate with a Sugar Spun Basket

(makes 6)

  • (for the buttermilk Panna Cotta)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 gelatin leaves (3/4 tsp) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • ½ vanilla pod (split lengthwise)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • ½ cup of buttermilk
  • (for the sugar spun basket)
  • 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar
  • (for the garnish)
  • 12 fresh raspberries
  • 4 sprigs of mint
  • (for the raspberry sauce)
  • 1 cup of raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp of fine granulated sugar
  • (for the chocolate sauce)
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup of whipping cream

How to make it

  1. Place 2 Tbsp of water in to a small bowl and sprinkle over gelatin. Let it stand for 5 minutes until the gelatin softens.
  2. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add in to a medium size saucepan with 1/2 cup of the cream, pod, sugar and sea salt. Bring to a low boil and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.  Reduce the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture.
  3. Strain the cream mixture through a sieve and add the buttermilk and remaining cream.
  4. Divide in to molds and chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. To make the sugar spun baskets melt the sugar in a small skillet and boil until it is a light caramel color. Remove from the heat and place the pan in a basin of cold water to stop the cooking process.  Using the back of a spoon, drizzle the caramel in a think steady stream weaving back and forth to create a weave design.  Gently remove the basket and place on a sheet of parchment paper.
  6. To make the sauces puree the raspberries and sugar together and strain to remove the seeds. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler with the cream and stir to melt.  Transfer to squeeze bottles.
  7. To serve remove the panna cotta from the mold and place in the center of the plate. Place three raspberries on the side of the panna cotta and a sprig of mint. Using a squeeze bottle pour three circles of raspberry sauce and a swirl of chocolate sauce.  To serve gently place the sugar spun basket on top.

Judie the Irish Foodie,

in love…

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Food Photography with the Shamrock and Peach

Just this past weekend I teamed up with Shamrock and Peach photography (my husband Gary) to teach a class on Food Photography at Whole foods Salud cooking school in Alpharetta.  Gary is an artist and designer for his day job and a skilled photographer with a passion for creating beautiful imagery that explores the world around us and the Irish landscape.  We got to work together combing food with photography when we wrote our first book together ‘the Shamrock and Peach”.  We are always learning and exploring and we love to share with others.  I heard a quote recently that said “we only own what we give away” so I wanted to share some of the images from our food styling class.  Valentine’s day is coming up soon so I am going to share the recipe for the Raspberry and Chocolate Panna Cotta next!

Oh, and here is Gary’s website if  you want to check out his work http://www.shamrockandpeachphoto.com/

Thanks for following us!

Judie the Irish foodie

Smoked Haddock and Shrimp Bake

Class Irish Seafood Bake

Cozy Winter Bake

Eating fish on a Friday was a tradition in our Irish home. The local markets and fishmongers always stock the freshest fish and best variety at the start of each weekend in Ireland, as a child I even remember a fish man calling at our house early in the morning selling smoked haddock and a variety of other locally caught fish- so fresh! My own small town still sets up fish stalls in the market center every Friday and it was always so interesting to see the catch of the day packed in ice!

Eating fish on Fridays also has a religious connection because Friday was seen as day of fasting when red meat would not be eaten, so, for some it’s religious but for other it’s the best day to find the freshest catch and enjoy seafood at home with your family…

My mother used to make a fish pie every Friday with the delicious smoked haddock and shellfish with a creamy potato topping.  On cold winter nights it was so comforting and I remember the smell of the melting Irish cheddar cheese and knowing it was almost time to serve our weekly family favorite.  If you are not able to purchase smoked haddock use the freshest flaky white fish you can find and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Happy Friday Cozy Bakes!

Smoked Haddock and Shrimp Bake

(for the seafood)

  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 ½ cups cold water
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 small onion (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 1/2 lbs smoked haddock (skinless and boneless)
  • 8 oz raw prawns (peeled)
  • (for the parsley sauce)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp of all purpose flour
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp parsley (chopped)
  • (for the potato)
  • 1lb of potatoes (peeled and cut)
  • 4 Tbsp of butter
  • ¼ cup of warm milk
  • (for the topping)
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup Dubliner Irish cheese (grated)

How to make it

  1. Place the haddock and prawns in a pan with the milk, water, bay leaf, peppercorn and onion. Season with salt and pepper and slowly poach for 8-10 minutes (reserve 2 cups of stock).
  2. While the fish is poaching prepare potato topping by boiling the potatoes in a pot of cold salted water for 20 minutes.
  3. To make the sauce melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour cooking for one minute and then whisk in 2 cups of reserved stock and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Stir in the parsley and season with a little salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the potatoes over a dry heat to remove any moisture for a few minutes. Mash the potatoes with the warm milk and butter.  Season with salt and pepper and stir in the Dubliner Irish cheese.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. To assemble pour the parsley sauce over the seafood and spoon the potato and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and cheese topping. Bake for 20 minutes and serve right away.

Judie the Irish foodie

 

Food Photography

It has been said that we eat with our eyes first and with a world of social media, blogs and iphones we all get to share the magic instantly!  Here are a few images of food photography taken by Gary recently that made my food look mouthwatering.  Only a true artist can see behind the lens and it takes patience, talent and passion.  Here are few that he has taken recently that I really love!

Over 10 years ago when I started my blog there was a need for some great photography and my husband who is a graphic artist rose to the occasion. At the time I am not sure he knew what we was getting himself into, but since then we have published two additions of our first cook book called the Shamrock and Peach filled with beautiful images of Ireland in addition to food photography and now we’re finishing up our second cook book.

Mastering the art of good food photography is not easy and then there are styles and trends and multiple digital features on our cameras to contend with. Gary is excited to share the knowledge of the tricks he has learned behind the lens at Wholefoods Salud cooking school in Atlanta on Saturday Feb 3rd between 10-1pm.  We have a really interesting and delicious Shamrock and Peach menu for you to enjoy as you shoot, eat and most importantly laugh and enjoy some Irish craic.

We’d really love to see you at the class if you live in the Atlanta area and for everyone else thanks for following our blog!  Maybe well share some tips from the class in future posts!  Here is the link for our Atlanta friends to sign up:

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/service/salud-cooking-school-4

Judie the Irish foodie

Bacon and Crispy Cabbage with Mustard Sauce

Happy New Year 2018!  Wishing all my friends and followers good health and Prosperity with Irish Savoy Cabbage Greens and Bacon…a true Irish favorite!

In the South it’s a tradition to enjoy collard greens as part of a New Years tradition (cooked in a smoked ham hock bone and served with black eyed peas and cornbread). The greens are symbolic of paper money and bring good luck and wealth for the upcoming year, whilst the black eyed peas represent the coins… so now you know!

So we wanted to share a new year suggestion for you with some Irish style crispy cabbage and wishing you a year like no other!

Bacon with Crispy Cabbage and Mustard Sauce

  • 3 lbs cured loin of bacon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 stick of celery (chopped)
  • 1 large onion (cut in quarters)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • (for the cabbage)
  • 1 large green savoy cabbage (hard core removed and thinly sliced)
  • 3 Tbsp of butter
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • (for the mustard sauce)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup reserved cooking liquid
  • 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

 

How to make it

  1. Put the bacon in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, celery, and carrot.   Bring to the boil and then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a low simmer for 20 minutes per pound plus an additional 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid for the sauce.
  3. To make the mustard sauce melt the butter and add the flour cooking for a minute and then whisk in the reserved cooking liquid, heavy whipping cream, mustard and salt and pepper.
  4. To make the cabbage melt the butter in a large skillet and then add the cabbage tossing with tongs until it’s bright and fragrant. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of water over the cabbage to wilt slightly but still remaining crispy and bright.
  5. To serve slice the bacon and drizzle with a little mustard sauce and top with crispy cabbage.

Enjoy, and have a peaceful and prosperous new year!

Judie the Irish foodie

 

Winter Solstice at Newgrange, Ireland

We all know Ireland is a special place, but did you know about Newgrange on December 21st? – Now this is really special….

New Grange is older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids and on December 21st ( the Winter Solstice) it is a symbol of light to our dark world. The Winter Solstice is the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.  The mound that you see in the picture covers a single tomb that consists of a long passage and a cross-shaped chamber. The Megalithic chamber was build for the Winter Solstice and when the run rises a shaft of light illuminates the chamber through an opening in the roof box. The actual purpose of the chamber is unclear, although recent research suggests it could of had an astronomical function, but whatever it was built for…it is amazing! How could stone age people have built such an amazing thing?

This year I lead a tour of American guests to NewGrange and the response was that of complete awe and fascination! Just like the ancient Celts we look for light and the sun to break forth in the midst of the Bleak Mid Winter!

…just amazing. Please check it out and I do hope everyone is enjoying the run up to Christmas – excitement is building!

Judie the Irish foodie

Perfect Irish Christmas Pudding

My neighbor is from Co. Kerry in Ireland and she gave me the best gift this year by sharing her family recipe with me for her special Irish Christmas pudding. – what a treat and a joy to receive a recipe such as that from a friend!

Sometime called a ‘Plum Pudding’, even though it never contains plums, this delicious dessert is the traditional end of the family Christmas dinner in most homes in Ireland, and in Britain. Made with fruit, citrus, breadcrumbs and healthy doses of alcohol (in this case Irish whiskey!) the dish is a curiosity in America, but let me encourage you to give it a try…

One of the Irish traditions my friend Anne Marie shared with me was this…”stir the pudding, and when all the ingredients are combined, then make a wish”. These memories are passed on generation to generation and her girls all agree they are going to be passing the recipe and cooking an Irish Christmas pudding when they have their own homes!

So, here is the recipe and remember to make a Christmas wish from my home to yours… Merry Christmas!

Christmas Pudding

  • 8 oz unsalted Kerrygold butter
  • 8 oz brown sugar
  • 6 oz bread crumbs
  • 2 oz all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp of baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 12 oz mixed fruit (currants, raisins and sultanas)
  • 1 apple (finely chopped)
  • 2 oz of glaze cherries
  • 2 oz of nuts
  • ½ tsp of mixed spices (all spice with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • ½ cup of citrus juice (orange or lemon)
  • ½ cup of Irish whiskey

How to make it

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium size bowl until creamy and light. Fold in the breadcrumbs, flour, and baking powder string to combine.  Add the eggs, fruits, nuts, spices cherries and finally stir in the citrus juice and whiskey stirring until everything is fully incorporated.
  2. Transfer to a round shaped bowl. Cover with wax paper and secure tightly with string.
  3. Transfer to a large pot of boiling water and simmer on low for 12 hours. (It does not need to be a constant 12 hours if you are leaving your house you can turn the stove off and restart it again when you get home or wake up)

Judie the Irish foodie

 

Sweet Mince Pies and Snow Storms

We are relishing these rare days of snow in Georgia with 12″ of fluffy white fun falling in Atlanta this weekend!  Our friends and family in Ireland tell us that it’s snowing there also, and we are all dreaming of a white Christmas! -maybe this is the year?

Being Irish, there are certain flavors, smells and traditions associated with Christmas  and one of those has to be warm sweet mince pies.  Whats not to like about melt in your mouth pastry filled with dried fruits, apples and spices (cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)? I can follow up with a recipe for homemade sweet mincemeat but for now, please allow me to share a recipe for some of the most delicious pies I have ever tasted (from my dear Irish friend Marian Lynch).  Your home will smell wonderful as they are baking in the oven – comforting and delicious

Oh, and you should know, despite the name, there is actually no meat as such in the recipe (but eaten as a traditional part of Christmas from the 16th century, and back then, the ‘meat’ may have just meant the filling part). Today it’s a sweet treat not to be missed this season!

Here’s the recipe

Irish Traditional Mince Pies

  • 18 oz all purpose flour
  • 2 oz powdered sugar
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz unsalted Kerrygold butter)
  • 1 large egg yolk (beaten)
  • 3-4 Tbsp ice water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • (mince meat) homemade or bought

How to make them:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine the flour, salt and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add in the ground almonds.  Rub in the butter and margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Blend the egg yolk, lemon juice and the water together and gradually add to the dry ingredients, until just enough to hold together.
  4. Turn the pastry on to a lightly floured board and knead lightly. Cover the pastry and put aside in the fridge to relax for at least an hour or overnight.
  5. Roll out the pastry very thin and using a pastry cutter cut in to 2 inch rounds. Spoon 1 tsp of mincemeat on to half the rounds. Brush edges all around with cold water.  Place another on top and press edges together.  Prick with a fork.
  6. Bake for about 9 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then place mince pies on a cooling rack.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

Judith the Irish foodie

 

Southern Greens Thanksgiving Salad

Collards Greens Salad

Thanksgiving Salad

Collard Greens are are a staple thing if you have grown up in the American South, but they get a little bit of a bad wrap…but I want to change your mind! Growing up in Ireland I naturally gravitate to Kale and Cabbage for my Winter Greens, and find some similarities to Southern traditions, so, hey let’s combine the best of both worlds!

The leaves of Collards are hearty and spicy with tough stems, and they make delicious salads. They can stand up to lots of strong flavors such as garlic and do not wilt like other greens when dressed with vinaigrette, which is a huge plus when it’s time to plate the salad.  In fact, if anything, collards do best when they have been resting in a vinaigrette and have given time to break down the leaves and absorb the flavors.

This is the best time of year to enjoy Collards when they have tender and younger leaves because they do tend to be tough when the leaves are mature.  Our family are big fans of marinating our collards and this salad will be gracing our Thanksgiving table this Thursday…can’t wait!

Wishing all my friends and followers a very happy Thanksgiving!

Collards and Power Greens with Roasted Sweet Potato and Seed Brittle

2 medium Sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)

2 Tbsp Olive oil

4 cups Collard Greens (hard stalks removed/thinly sliced in ribbons)

4 cups Power Greens (Baby Spinach, Baby Kale)

½ cup dried cranberries

(for the seed brittle)

2 Tbsp Pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp Sunflower seeds

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

1 tsp Irish Kerrygold butter (melted)

1 1/2 Tbsp raw honey

Pinch of kosher salt

(Garlic Vinaigrette)

3 Tbsp cider vinegar

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

1 Tbsp course Dijon Mustard

2 tsp honey

½ cup of Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper

How to make it

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the sweet potatoes in olive oil and bake for 15 minutes until they begin to brown on the edges.  Remove from the oven and cool.
  2. To make the vinaigrette whisk the apple cider vinegar, garlic, mustard and honey and then slowly incorporate the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To make the harvest seed crunch preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the melted butter and honey together.  On a parchment lined baking sheet toss the seeds with the butter and raw honey.  Toast the seeds for 10-12 minutes and then stir and bake for a further few minutes until they are golden brown and aromatic. Remove from the oven and allow seeds to cool completely.
  4. To shred the Collards greens remove the hard stalk in the center and then roll in a cigar shape and slice in to ribbons.
  5. Toss the shredded greens in about ½ cup of the vinaigrette and allow marinating and softening the greens for about 10 minutes. Fold in the power greens, cherries, additional vinaigrette and season with a little more kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve the salad break up the seed brittle and sprinkle over the top of the greens.

Judie the Irish Foodie

Heartwarming Dublin Coddle

Heartwarming Irish Coddle

Sausage, Bacon, Potatoes and Onions with Sage

The weather is getting cooler and we anticipate the upcoming winter season. For some of us, this means snow on the way, icy roads and long days driving home in the dark (yuck)…but dreary winter days are made comforting through warm welcoming dishes from the kitchen. (yum)

One of my favorite, easy ‘one pot’  prepared meals is Dublin Coddle, a simple rustic Irish dish with sausage, bacon, potatoes and onions. This winter dish is associated with Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, and is famously served on many pub menus. The verb ‘coddle’ means ‘to cook food in water below boiling point’ (gently boil or stew) or what is often called ‘slow food’. The actual dish goes back as far as the 1700’s in Ireland but this is my take on a old traditional recipe…enjoy!

Dublin Coddle

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 slices of thick cut bacon (thinly sliced)
  • 4 Large Pork sausages (cut in two)
  • 2 medium size red onions (sliced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp butter (room temperatures)
  • 1 ½ lbs Potato (Yukon gold’s) thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh sage (chopped)
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil and butter

How to make it

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet and fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon from the skillet and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add the pork sausages to the skillet and brown on all sides.  Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside.
  3. Pour all but 2 Tbsp of oil from the skillet and fry the red onions until they are caramelized.   Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Deglaze the pan with the apple cider vinegar and chicken stock scraping down all the brown bits and reduce for a few minutes.  Stir in the sage.
  4. Grease a 13×9 size dish with butter and then layer the potatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper on each layer. Pour over the onion, garlic stock and spoon sausages on top.
  5. Bake in oven one hour until the potatoes are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add the reserved bacon and sprinkle over dish. Transfer to oven for a few minutes to warm.
  7. Melt butter and olive oil and fry sage leaves for 1 minute each side.
  8. Remove coddle from oven and add the fried sage.
  9. Serve and Enjoy!

Judie the Irish Foodie