Celebrate the New Year with Black Velvet Cocktails

Black Velvet cocktail-15

Out with the old and in with the new!  The New year is a time of reflection of the year gone by, mixed with the anticipation of new beginnings…and a black velvet cocktail is an exact mixture of the roasted bitter flavors of Guinness stout with the crisp fruity notes of champagne. Surely, a black velvet symbolizes the mix of the old and the new, the bitter and the sweetness of life coming together and we drink to that, eh?!!

The cocktail itself was created in 1861 in the Brooks Club in London by a bartender to mourn the death of Prince Albert and it is said that the cocktail symbolizes the black or purple cloth armbands worn by mourners.  Another more honest explanation though about its creation was that the Guinness was hiding the fact that mourners were drinking champagne after the funeral!!!  Well, whatever the actual creation of Black Velvet as far as I am concerned, with a drink this good I need no further explanation!

The perfect Irish inspired cocktail to bring in the new year…Happy New Year Everyone!

ingredients::

  • one part Guinness (extra stout)
  • one part Champagne (well chilled)

How to make it:

1. Fill half a Champagne flute glass with Guinness

2. Slowly top off each glass with chilled champagne

Happy Black Velvet New Year!

Judith the Irish foodie

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Turkey pot pie… my oh my

Turkey pot pie-15

Anyone still got some Turkey leftovers in the refrigerator?   For those of you who are Irish living in the states we do Turkey twice (Thanksgiving and Christmas day).  We only have four in our family so unless we are entertaining turkey leftovers are the enviable!  My boys love leftovers but to be honest I cannot wait to get them used. This morning I picked up some Georgia homegrown petite sweet Vidalia onions (to me a cross between a leek and onion) and the results were tasty.  These wee pies were so good I would make this recipe with chicken any night of the week (with our without leftovers).  We all enjoyed them tonight for dinner!  Here we go!

Turkey Pot Pie

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 oz mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp Kerrygold Irish butter
  • 1 bunch of petite sweet Vidalia onions (1 ½ cups chopped)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon (chopped) or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 oz Kerrygold Blarney castle cheese (smooth and mild Irish style gouda style)
  • 2 cups cooked turkey breast (chopped)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 egg (beaten for egg wash)

How to make it:

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet and sauté mushrooms in batches until they are golden brown.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add butter to skillet and sauté the petite sweet Vidalia onions until they are soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the cream and chicken stock to the onions and simmer for a few minutes to thicken.  Stir in the tarragon and blarney castle cheese.   Add the chopped turkey and sautéed mushrooms.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Divide the mixture between 6 ramekins. Cut the puff pastry using a large cookie cutter big enough to cover the dish.   Cut a slit in the center of each pie and brush with beaten egg.
  7. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Enjoy the leftovers!

Judith the Irish foodie

Gluten free Ginger bread men

Ginger bread man DSC_0127
What way do you like to eat your gingerbread man?  Maybe you are one of those who like to nibble on the decorations first or begin eating by biting off the head?  There must be some psychological meaning to all of this?  I will forever think of the cry’s from the gingerbread man in Shrek when he says “Not my gum drop buttons”!  Or how about the sassy gingerbread man trying to outwit the sly fox “run, run as fast as you can, you cannot catch me I am the gingerbread man”. We all have our fun stories and memories of gingerbread men and it is part of all of our holiday memories and traditions.

To honor my friends who are gluten-free I asked my friend Sharon from Sharon’s Gluten free kitchen and more to share her delicious gluten-free gingerbread recipe.

Ginger Gingerbread Men

  • ½ cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 ¼ cups sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup sucanat or organic light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup black strap molasses
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 cup rice milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp  ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum

How to make them:

Beat coconut oil at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy or blended well; add flaxseed meal, rice milk. Mix ingredients on high-speed for 1 minute (let mixture set for 2 minutes), then, add honey, sucanat or light brown sugar and black strap molasses, beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine; sorghum flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, real salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and xanthan gum.  Gradually add dry ingredients to mixer, beating on medium speed until blended well.

Place soft dough in a plastic sealed container for several hours or even better overnight until dough is firm enough to be shaped properly.

Pre-heat  the oven 350 degree F.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and divide in four.  Roll out each portion at a time while the remaining dough remains chilled.   Roll dough out on a large floured cutting board and use a floured rolling-pin to roll dough to ¼  thickness  before cutting out ginger bread men with a 2-inch cookie cutter.

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes on cookie sheet before removing and cooling on a rack.

Wishing you a Merry Night before Christmas Eve!

Judith the Irish foodie

The Most Amazing Irish Gingerbread House – of Belfast City Hall!

ginger

Christmas simply would not be complete without plenty of treats and sweets to tuck into, right? But, would you fancy biting into this one? A Northern Ireland baker has created a totally unique treat just in time for Christmas; a gingerbread version of one of Belfast’s best-known buildings, the majestic City Hall…and I’m blogging some images here of how she did it!

Alex Begley made a scale version of Belfast City Hall completely out of gingerbread, decorated with thousands of candies, hundreds of candy canes and great dollops of coloured frosting. The piece even features the building’s courtyard and trademark green rooftops and took the talented baker over two weeks to construct…wow!

Alex, who runs a home bakery in Belfast, said she loves making cakes and baked desserts that are outrageous and eye-catching. The finished piece is 15.7 inches (40cm) high and 29.5 inches (74cm) long.

It stands on a board decorated to look like the grounds surrounding the building, with gummy bears placed around the glittery green board to represent people, and is topped off with a large chocolate Christmas tree. She planned out the entire baking process, and took sketches of the building to ensure that her piece would be as accurate as possible – which is quite something – check out the process below:

cutting out windows

stained glass

construction

baking gingerbread

halfway built

decoration

Now, the question is – what is the most amazing gingerbread house you have ever made or saw? – I was just amazed by this one from my homeland…

Hope you’re all enjoying the season – stay tuned for some more Christmas recipes – I have some real goodies coming up!

Judie the Irish Foodie

Irish blue cheese filled dates, with prosciutto and almonds

Cashel Blue prosciutto bites (1 of 1)

It is the season to be jolly… and be stressed out trying to figure out what festive appetizers to bring to your next Christmas party!   Take out the stress with this simple easy to prepare appetizer, and best of all, these bites are gluten-free for those with allergies – and, I like to prepare half of my platter with almonds for vegetarians and then the other half for carnivores (prosciutto)….it’s good to please, right?

I brought them to a Christmas gathering over the weekend and they were a huge hit.  The Kerrygold semi-soft Cashel blue is buttery and not overpowering but pairs excellently with the sweetness of the date and the rosemary infused balsamic drizzle…yum indeed.

Here are the simple ingredients:

  • 20 pitted dates
  • 4 oz Kerrygold Cashel blue Irish cheese
  • ¼ Lb of thinly sliced prosciutto (cut in to thirds) OR
  • .. ¼ cup flaked almonds (for vegetarian option)
  • (for the drizzle)
  • ½ cup aged balsamic
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

How to make it:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  1. To make the balsamic drizzle combine the honey, rosemary sprig and the balsamic and reduce by about two-thirds.  Remove the rosemary and discard.
  2. Cut the date in half and stuff with the Cashel Blue Irish cheese.  Wrap the cut prosciutto around each date and secure with a tooth pick if necessary.
  3. Place prosciutto wrapped filled dates on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until the prosciutto is crispy and the cheese has melted.
  4. Arrange on a platter and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
  5. Serve immediately.

As always, enjoy the season (I know your guests will be jolly if you bring these to the party- ooh yeah!)

till next time!
Judie the Irish foodie

What’s Christmas like in Ireland?

  • Christmas at City Hall

Almost every week at this time of year folks are very curious about what Christmas is like in Ireland, or more specifically in Northern Ireland. How exactly do the Irish celebrate the season?

The photo above is a festive scene outside the beautiful City Hall in Belfast, and whilst snowy scenes are fairly uncommon in Ireland, it may surprize you how similar Christmas is in Ireland – with a few Irish twists, perhaps like this:

  • Christmas shopping in Belfast, despite the weather…

Yes, people in Northern Ireland generally endure the cold and the rain to shop on the city streets in Northern Ireland’s capital city. They visit Primark, and Marks & Spencers, and a hundred other wee shops – all in the cold, but with that Irish spirit – yes, Belfast has a Christmas spirit about it that is wonderful. Brass bands play, lights twinkle and crowds of folks make for a superb atmosphere, on city streets -(remember that?)

  • Turkey or Goose?

Because we don’t have a Thanksgiving in Ireland, Irish people look forward to a turkey on Christmas – and in rural areas, people look forward to a goose on Christmas day. So, in Ireland the bird is still king on Christmas day…

  • Boxing day, & St. Stephens day

Yes, the day after Christmas in Ireland actually has a name, and special traditions. Boxing day is a day for soccer derby match ups – local teams compete each other whilst folks eat up left over turkey whilst watching on tv. Shops are still closed, and so those who don’t like soccer go for walks in forest parks or on the beach, or hunt. – then, they eat left-overs!

…more to follow

…thoughts, let me know!

Judie the Irish Foodie

Guinness chocolate mousse shots

Irish stout choc shots-3

What could be more Irish than adding Guinness to our desserts? (As if drinking our favorite beverage was not enough?).  Each year Guinness have a new marketing slogan with a clever philosophical twist and this year the campaign is ‘made of more’.  Shamrock and Peach tours take our guests on adventures that inspire the soul and mind through the wonder and beauty of Ireland.  Traveling and adventure have a way of inspiring us all to be made of more.

This recipe was shared during the summer when my tour company visited the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.  I decided to put my own spin on it by serving them in shot glasses and adding cream and gold sparkles for festive fun!  As always, enjoy, and as we close out one year and soon to begin a new one,  remember ‘we are all made of more‘.  Maybe next time is your year to visit Ireland?

Guinness Chocolate Mousse shots

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 10 egg whites (whisked)
  • 2 cups (350 grams) semi sweet chocolate
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) kerrygold Irish butter
  • ¼ cup fine granulated sugar
  • 100 mls (just under ½ cup) Guinness
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream  (whipped)
  • Edible gold glitter

How to make it:

  1. Melt the semi sweet chocolate chips and kerrygold Irish butter in a double boiler and stir in the Guinness draught.
  2. Beat the egg yolks and fine granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the melted chocolate mixture in with the egg yolks and slowly fold in the whisked egg yolks until everything is smooth.
  4. Transfer mouse in to shot glasses and chill.
  5. To serve whip cream and pipe or spoon in to each shot glass.
  6. Garnish with edible gold glitter.

Enjoy as always!

Judith the Irish foodie

Christmas Crunchy Cashel Blue Cheese Grapes

Cashel blue Grape bites

Last weekend we hosted our annual Shamrock and Peach Christmas Open House with entertainment from the Atlanta school of Irish music, which was a real treat to the ears. but of course, I wanted to ensure my guests also had a treat for their tummies with some delicious festive bites…

Kerrygold graciously sent me some cheese for cooking school events and I had the opportunity to create festive pecan and pistachio blue cheese grape bites- which were a big hit I must say!  Cashel Blue from Cashel in Ireland, is my absolute favorite because of it’s’ buttery color and round full flavor. I am also drawn to great stories about where food comes from and this cheese takes the biscuit (with the cheese of course) produced by one family in Ireland and distributed in America by Kerrygold. Small beginnings with a big future!  Here goes the simple recipe:

  • 1 large bunch of red seedless grapes
  • 1 cup pecans (toasted) or pistachios for the holidays
  • 1/2 cup marscarpone cheese
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 3 oz cashel blue cheese

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 7-8  minutes to toast.  Remove nuts from the oven and cool before finely chopping with a knife or pulsing in food processor.
  2. Combine the cashel blue cheese, marscapone and cream cheese by hand or in food processor until smooth.
  3. Wash and dry grapes.  Fold in grapes to cheese mixture with a spatula.  Roll each grape individually in hands until covered in nuts.  Chill prior to serving.

These were a big hit and my open house so please enjoy!

Judith the Irish foodie

Irish Egg Nog

Image

Last night I was invited to host a Shamrock and Peach cook book signing at the Breadbeckers Christmas party in Woodstock Georgia. Sue Becker cooked and demonstrated 12 recipes with over 100 guests without even breaking a sweat.  Anyhow, I wanted to share at least one of my favorite recipes from the evening (with her permission). Naturally, I have added my own Irish twist (Irish man’s Irish whiskey brand is awesome) but adding alcohol to the recipe is entirely optional.

The recipe crossed the Atlantic from England somewhere in the 18th century and is used to toast ones health and associated with the holidays.  The name literally means egg in a cup and descends from the British drink posset.  I must confess that normally I am not a big fan of Egg Nog but Sue’s version has completely changed my mind.  A true toast for the holidays!  Wishing good health to all my friends and foodie blog readers!

Irish Egg Nog

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar or (honey granules)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup Irish whiskey (optional) I recommend the Irish man’s whiskey brand

How to make it

  • In a large saucepan, combine the eggs, sugar, 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream.  Cook and stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the thermometer reads 140 degrees or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.
  • Remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl.  Stir in nutmeg and the remaining milk and cream.  Place bowl in an ice water bath, stir frequently until mixture is cool.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
  • Stir in the Irish whiskey to the Egg mixture using a metal whisk.

Slainte!

Judith the Irish foodie