Irish Culinary Halloween Traditions

In hope of keeping Irish traditions ‘alive’ at the Feast of the ‘dead’ wishing you all a very Happy Halloween!  As as we prepare for tonight’s trick or treating and the family culinary traditions that make this celebration memorable,  I am also reflecting on my childhood.  In Ireland Oiche Samhain, or Samhain Night , marks the end of harvest and the beginning of winter.  Irish Culinary traditions include Colcannon (potatoes and curly Kale and Spring Onions), Barnbrack (yeasty bread with fruit) and apple pie.

The most fun part of our Irish culinary traditions is the hiding of symbolic items in the food we serve. Oh, the suspense of who would receive what?  The items included money wrapped in aluminium foil (symbolizing good fortune), a ring (symbolizing an upcoming romance or marriage), and a rag (symbolizing poverty), a thimble (symbolizing the person will not marry).  So tonight wherever you are wishing you happy memories with those you love in this ‘feast of the dead’ and beginning of winter.  I hope you may even add some Irish culinary traditions to tonight’ Halloween feast?

Judith the Irish foodie!

Advertisements

Fifteens are a sweet taste of home

A wee taste of home

Northern Irish Fridge Slice

Last week I hosted a dessert coffee evening (thanks to Oli and Ve) for my Northern Irish friend and outstanding singer-songwriter Warren Attwell , who is on his US tour (he’s amazinghttp://www.warrenattwell.com/) and “fifteens” were on the menu. – and what are ‘fifteens’ I can hear you asking? Something more than fourteen, something less than sixteen?

Yes, to my surmise the recipe was unknown to my Atlanta guests; so, I promised to share the recipe on my food blog. The recipe is easy peasy to remember because it’s all about fifteen, hence the name (15 digestive biscuits, 15 marshmallows, 15 cherries and it slices in to 15 pieces)…fifteens, get it?  It’s one of those recipes growing up that we always had the ingredients for in the cupboards, and they could be whipped up quite quickly for an impromptu party or a spontaneous supper when the preacher drops by! …Just one tip for my US followers is to purchase the Digestive Biscuits in the British section of your local grocery store or specialized shop (Grahame crackers are not just as tasty).  Hope you enjoy a Northern Irish fridge cake classic!

Fifteens…(now you know!)

  • 15 Digestive biscuits (8 Grahame Crackers)
  • 15 Marshmallows (cut in to four)
  • 15 Glaze Cherries (cut in half) (or dried cherries)
  • 200 ml sweetened condensed milk (1/2 tin)
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Desiccated coconut (for rolling)

How to make them:

  1. In a food processor crush the digestive biscuits or Grahame crackers.
  2. In a large bowl mix the crushed biscuits, chopped marshmallows and cherries and the sweetened condensed milk and water.
  3. Lay out a large sheet of parchment or plastic wrap and sprinkle with coconut. Spread the prepared mixture along the plastic wrap to form a long sausage shape.  Sprinkle more coconut over the top of the mixture and then begin to roll using the parchment paper to form a circular sausage shape.  Twist both ends to seal.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or allow to sit overnight before slicing.
  5. Slice in to 15 pieces (naturally)

Enjoy!

Judie the Irish foodie

Celtic Thunder Legacy Tour Winners

Celtic Thunder at the Fox

Legacy Tour

Congratulations to our winners Carla Poff and Amy Balogh!  Ryan’s favorite Irish Bread for breakfast is in fact “potato bread’!  We enjoyed an incredible concert last night at the fabulous Fox Theater attending the Celtic Thunder Legacy Tour.  The music was a combination of traditional Irish songs and some modern contemporary pieces, all with a humorous twist. We were all captivated by their stories and music and the theme of ‘home’ and the transatlantic links between Ireland and the US; the songs that make us cry, songs of immigration and of loved lost with the triumph of the new world and hope for tomorrow. The finale brought the house down when all five cast members appeared on kilts and danced to a foot stomping tribute to Ireland.

If you get a chance to catch Celtic Thunder on tour, let me encourage you to do so.

http://www.celticthunder.com/

So, thanks to the Fox Theater and Celtic Thunder for partnering with Shamrock and Peach.  I even got to straighten my curly hair for the occasion and got to take off my chef whites for a girls night out!  We really enjoyed Celtic Legacy Tour 2016 and look forward to your return to Atlanta in the future!

fox-four-selfie fox-one fox-three-optimist

Here’s to all things Irish!

Judith the Irish foodie!

Celtic Thunder Legacy ticket giveaway

celtic-thunder-press-1200x628

I am so excited to announce to my blog followers a chance to go and see the Legacy Celtic Thunder tour at the Fox theater next Thursday night!

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the original members of Celtic Thunder; Ryan Kelly.  Although he studied accountancy at Queens University, Belfast and is a qualified Chartered Accountant by trade – music and theater has always been Ryan’s true passion and he longed for a break, as many of us do! Well, turns out the break came when his brother encouraged him to go and try his hand at the auditions in Dublin back in 2007, and it may have seemed far-fetched, but, he landed the role, and the rest is history. A real inspiration to all of us!

Ryan and I talked about the success of Celtic Thunder and why Irish Culture and music is so loved throughout the world. Ryan artistically described how the Irish have become a nation of travelers and story tellers and set our roots in other countries. We shared a common bond of family, friendship and the love that brings us back home to Ireland – and that’s the feeling many people here express to me all the time. A longing to return to Ireland to explore their roots, to see where their ancestors came from, and to enjoy the culture!

Ryan loves to run and has played Gaelic football and basketball at a national level.  We joked how he likes to run to burn calories after enjoying a full Irish breakfast; his favorite meal of the day.  Yes folks, we are talking about the famous Irish Fry, and for those of you who have been to Ireland, you know what I mean. A hearty combination of Irish bacon, sausages, black pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms and best of all the distinctive Irish breads namely, potato bread, soda bread and brown bread with lots of creamy Irish butter.

So, the question is…which of these Irish breads do you think would be Ryan’s favorite?

A. Irish Brown, also known as Wheaten Bread

B. Potato Bread, also known as potato farls, or

C. Irish Soda bread

To enter the drawing, simply follow the link below to my website and go to the ‘contact‘ drop down in the top right corner. Click on it, fill it out and send me your answer.

www.shamrockandpeach.com

I will announce the winner from among the entries promptly, and you could be on your way to see Celtic Thunder at the Fabulous Fox theater, courtesy of Shamrock and Peach!…good luck to everyone, and send me your entries!

 

Joy in the Journey!

Judith the Irish foodie

Announcing tomorrow’s ticket giveaway to Celtic Thunder

Shamrock and Peach is excited to announce a free ticket giveaway to go and see the Celtic Thunder Legacy tour at the Fox theater on October 13 2016.

The giveaway will be based on a personal interview I had with Celtic Thunder star Ryan Kelly.  Ryan is from the Moy in Northern Ireland and we had so many shared food memories from our homeland.  Tomorrow we will be launching the quizz question to my readers and the winner will receive 2 complimentary tickets to the Fox Theater.

So…stay tuned! Tell your friends, and get ready for a chance to this incredible show at the Fabulous Fox Theater!

Judith the Irish foodie

Ox retains Michelin Star in Belfast

Congratulations to Ox for retaining a Michelin star in Belfast.   It’s pretty amazing that Belfast has two restaurants achieving awards for the world’s greatest dining.  Both Chef Michael Deane’s restaruant Epic and Ox with Chef Stephen Toman and Alan Kerloc’h deserve the highest applause for retaining their 2017 Michelin stars. Ox is one of the incredible fine dining experiences I schedule on my Shamrock and Peach Tours each summer, and am always so proud to showcase just how good the food is in Ireland!

Being a Game of Thrones fan I was also excited when Chef Stephen Toman showed me his set of three Valyrian Steel kitchen knives on display inside the restaurant.  The knives were delivered by Tourism Ireland in partnership with HBO to celebrate Northern Ireland as Game of Thrones Territory.  Chef Stephen told me he has cooked with the knives and they are remarkably sharp.

The photos were taken when I was in Ireland to lead Shamrock and Peach tours. My sisters treated me to lunch and meeting Chef Stephen was a surprise bonus – and I am very excited to be bringing my USA guests to dine there next summer!….please plan to join us!

www.shamrockandpeach.com

Judith the Irish foodie