Best thing I ever ate in Ireland (part 3)

Locally caught Seafood

Chef Danny Miller pulls out the stops…

No visit to County Down would be complete without stopping by Balloo House to eat some delicious locally caught seafood. This most memorable Roast Cod with Strangford Lough Shellfish and Comber Potatoes was one of the best dishes I ate in Ireland last year with my tour groups.  When you taste each perfectly prepared morsel it’s no surprise Chef Danny Miller won best Chef in Ireland back in 2010.

My American guests are always enchanted to eat in the fine dining restaurant of Balloo House, a coaching house with a 400 year old history.  Other prestigious endorsements also include the Michelin Guide, Georgina Campbell Guide, McKenna Guide and the AA Restaurant Guide.  Many thanks to Chef Danny Miller and I cannot wait to return this summer.

Only weeks away until March 17 it’s appropriate to play tribute to Co. Down where our Irish saint is buried and Strangford Lough – Shellfish is the best.

Judith the Irish foodie

Irish Valentine (Dark Chocolate Shots)

Valentine's Day Soup

Chocolate Love Shots

Happy Valentine’s Y’all from Atlanta Georgia!   I hope everyone is having a fun Valentines and sure hope that the love in your life took you out and made your feel oh so special? Yes…?

So, what sweet treat is an Irish lass serving for Valentine’s day you ask? Well, this year I am pleased to share my recipe for Dark Chocolate Shots that’s been a big hit at our house today. When I am home in Ireland, leading my tour groups, Chefs often send out ‘Pre-desserts’, which are delicious little teasers. So, a Dark Chocolate shot is a fun addition to any party or a romantic dinner for two to whet the appetite before dessert.

Wishing you a very happy Valentine’s Day with all of my love..

Here is the easy recipe and as always enjoy!

Dark Chocolate shots 

(serves 4)

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup of light whipping cream

How to make it

  1. Combine the sugar and cornstarch and slowly whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the cold milk.
  2. Transfer to a medium heavy based saucepan and begin to heat slowly stirring until it begins to thicken on a low simmer.
  3. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips and a pinch of salt.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  5. Before serving whisk in 1 cup of light cream.

Judith the Irish Foodie

The Best thing I ever ate in Ireland (part 2)

Showstopping dessert

Warm Dark Chocolate Tart with Raspberry Sorbet

This week we are celebrating Valentines Day so my mind is twirling with Dark Chocolate and Raspberries and I was brought back to an Irish food memory.  In fact, one of our favorites was a showstopping Warm Dark Chocolate Tart with Raspberry Sorbet….super delicious!!

We always end our tours with dinner in the Saddle Room Restaurant at the Shelbourne Hotel and the results are always sweet.  Each dessert at the Shelbourne is presented like a piece of prized art work,  the chocolate tart is served warm topped with lightly toasted meringue and pairs beautifully with fresh raspberry coulis, raspberry sorbet and a fabulous sugar spun accent.  A little taste of heaven on a plate….

The Shelbourne Hotel itself has been an iconic landmark for over 100 years and it’s historic elegance lives up to it’s name, earning 5 Stars for good reason.  The dining room is described as having dark oak walls with rich splashes of gold and it is very elegant indeed.

Head Chef Garry Huges uses the finest Irish ingredients and he is my pick for this weeks best thing I ever ate in Ireland series.  Part 2 of a 5 part series, look out for part 3 next week.

Group Selfie on tour

Guests on the Shamrock and Peach Tours

Our Guests taking a group selfie (I am at the back of the coach causing trouble)

Our new website has lots of fun new pictures so please check it out…

Hope to see you in Ireland…

Judith the Irish foodie

Top 5 best things I ever ate in Ireland (series 1)

So, what is Modern Irish food anyway?  I am so glad to answer probably the most frequently asked questions as a professional cook living in the United States. This new blog series is going to explore just what Irish food and Chefs are cooking these days. Foodies and travel lovers who come with me each year on my Shamrock and Peach tours are literally ‘blown away’ by the Chef driven meal experiences planned each day.  It’s hard to nail down the top 5 things I have ever eaten in Ireland but I am going to attempt a series to share flavors that inspire me; and my tour guests were still raving about over breakfast the following morning and still prevalent in our memories.

My series one story begins when the talented Executive Chef Jonathan Keane of Wilde’s restaurant at Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo served this Fois Gras Trifle it was the talk of our table.  At first bite we were stunned by the combination of new flavors and tastes of Rhubarb, Passion Fruit, Bitter Cress and Tuna in a showstopping Foie Gras Trifle.  It’s not very often I am stunned with a culinary tasting pleasure and I want to say a huge thank you to Chef Jonathan Keane for surprising us.

We are returning to dine at Wilde’s this coming June 2016 on our Castles and Culture Irish tour and I cannot wait for my guests to experience another culinary food adventure.  Irish food created in Ireland by Irish Chefs cooking with local ingredients has to be tasted to be believed!

Joy in the Journey!

Judith the Irish foodie