Love Chocolate…. continued….

Dreamy Irish Chocolate Desserts

Shamrock and Peach Tours Chocolate dessert memories

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I am still dreaming of Irish Chocolate! Today I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite chocolate desserts that we had the opportunity to taste and devour last year whilst leading our Shamrock and Peach Tours.

Irish chefs are creating world class chocolate desserts made with chocolate from homegrown Irish companies, which is kind of a new thing. In Ireland, we are known for our wonderfully pure and wholesome dairy products and herds who enjoy a grass fed diet producing milk that is rich, yellow and naturally salted by our clean and pure sea breezes. So, guests who come to Ireland are falling in love with more than just Ireland….. our chocolate alone is worth the Journey!

Yum!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish Foodie)

Advertisements

Love Irish Chocolate… continued

In pursuit of the best Irish chocolates we turn to Dingle Town in County Kerry,a stop on last summer’s Shamrock and Peach Southern Elegance tours. The Wild Irish Chocolate Shop, situated on the main street in Dingle, had an assortment of fudge, marshmallows, toffee, truffles and one of the largest selection of chocolate bars I have ever seen… (in fact you can choose from 47 different varieties).  Dingle is not the only place to purchase Wild Irish Chocolate brand when you are visiting Ireland so take my advice and try it for yourself, with varieties of bars like seaweed and lime splash and White Chocolate Cranberry you will need to leave extra room in your suitcase.

On the countdown to Valentine’s Day this is one of the Irish chocolate stops I will be dreaming about and look forward to returning again this summer to enjoy Wild Irish Chocolates (all handmade in Co. Clare, Ireland).

Love it!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish foodie)

Love Irish Chocolate

Are you just like me and in love with chocolate?  Of course you are! – This week is Valentine’s, and in celebration I am blogging about some of my favorite Irish Chocolate experiences. For us Irish living abroad there are always two requests we have for friends and family who are coming over to the USA to stuff into their luggage before they leave, and they would be – Irish Chocolate and Irish Tea! Make room in those suitcases and fill them with goodies please!

Yes, chocolate is considered one of the foods I adore, so, being Valentine’s day I am excited to share some dreamy, creamy memories.  Here we go…

During my travels throughout Ireland I am always excited to discover new artisan chocolate-tiers springing up all over the country and many of my favorites are in my bucket list to visit this coming year. Last year, Shamrock and Peach Tours had the chance to stop at Hazel Mountain Chocolate in the Burren, in County Clare and considering the ambiance, landscape, never mind the to ‘to die for’ coffee and chocolate ,it did not disappoint!  Tomorrow I am following up with another favorite (and this time with a stop in Dingle)…

Love that chocolate, and check these guys out!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish foodie)

Blue Cheese and Bacon Tatter Cups for the Super Bowl

Tater Cups for Super Bowl

Roasted Potato Cups are so delicious and you can pick your own filling?

Super Bowl 53 is in our hometown of Atlanta this weekend and the buzz is in the air! The sun is shining, it feels like spring, the traffic is horrible (what’s new?) and all the great and good are descending on the ATL for the annual fest of football and quirky ads on TV…

Being an immigrant, we have grown accustomed to the pageantry that surrounds this most American of tournaments every year, and now quite enjoy the spectacle, and of course THE FOOD! – yes, it’s a great excuse to eat with friends and completely ignore the game until the funny ads come on, but then again, who’s counting!?

Each year I like to bring something fun and unusual to the Super Bowl party, and this weekend my offering are these wonderfully delicious and head turning potato cups. Easy to make, and very delicious. I’ve added some kale options for the ladies to feel good, and bacon and blue cheese for the guys…because they don’t care!

Great recipe, hope you enjoy!…and go…um, whoever!

Potato Cups (Kale and Mushroom/Bacon and Blue Cheese)

(recipe for 4 will be 3 potato cups per person)

  • (for the potato cups)
  • 4 Baby Potatoes (red and gold varieties)
  • 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • (for the Kale and Mushroom)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp of finely chopped shallots
  • 3 oz of mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • Handful of leafy kale (de-stemmed and chopped)
  • 1 oz of Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 3 Tbsp of Mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • (for the Bacon and Blue Cheese)
  • 4 slices of bacon (finely sliced)
  • 2 oz of blue cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
  • 3 Tbsp of Mayonnaise

How to make them

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees f.
  2. Cut each potato in half. Using a melon baller to scoop out a hole in the center in the cut side of each potato half.  Use a knife to slice a small piece of the skin side of each potato so they will stand straight when plating and serving.
  3. Brush potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake on a roasting pan cut side down for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.
  4. To make the mushroom and kale filling sauté the mushrooms and shallots in olive oil and then add the chopped kale cooking for about 2 minutes to soften. Remove from the heat and stir in the mayonnaise.  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To make the Bacon and Blue Cheese filing sauté the bacon until it is brown and crispy and then add the garlic and cook for less than a minute. Drain off any excess fat in the ban, stir in the crumbled blue cheese, and mayonnaise.
  6. Fill cups with prepared fillings and enjoy!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish Foodie)

http://www.shamrockandpeach.com

To all Wild Irish Woman everywhere, St. Bridget and Roots of Hospitality

Pouring a Guinness

To Wild Irish Woman everywhere and the story of St. Bridget

Ireland’s legendary hospitality has many roots but on the first day of Spring, February 1st, we remember St. Bridget or Mary of the Gaels.

St. Bridget of Kildare is buried in Downpatrick, County Down beside our St. Patrick, and legend has it that Bridget defied her father, the King at royal matchmaking and gave away food to those in need – not the done thing. This started a life of hospitality, and Bridget would devote herself to giving and loving those all around her with the gracious gift of hospitality. Under a great oak (the sacred tree of the druids) Bridget founded her monastery in Kildare. It was here the sick were tended to, travelers were fed and poets, craftsmen and farmers were welcomed and their trades nurtured. you go girl!

This poem is associated with St. Bridget:

I should like a great lake of finest ale

For the King of Kings.

I should like a table of the choicest food

For the family of heaven.

Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,

And the food be forgiving love.

So I lift my glass to you St. Bridget for all you have taught us, and may your legacy continue in the hearts of the Irish in every corner of the world! To those who have not visited the shores of Ireland you will find a a hundred thousand welcomes, Cead Mile Failte awaits you!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish Foodie)

http://www.shamrockandpeach.com

Scotch Pancakes with Smoked Salmon for Burns

Scotch Pancakes

Burn’s Night Celebration Foods

Wondering what to bring to your Burn’s Night celebrations parties? Here’s a simple Scottish recipe that will be the hit of the party! But, what’s the difference anyway between Scotch and American pancakes anyway? – here’s the rub, Scotch Pancakes are like American Pancakes, but, they are much firmer with a thicker constancy and a perfect base for savory or sweet toppings (and in my opinion just a wee bit… nicer).  The recipe makes 12 pancakes so you may want to double or event triple it because they are so delicious…

So enjoy your Burn’s night and all things Scottish as we ourselves prepare for a trip to ‘The Highlands’ in a few short weeks, researching our next Scottish adventure with Shamrock and Peach Tours…excited.

Here’s the recipe for Savory Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Olives and Dill…

(for the pancake)

  • 6 oz of self-flour (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 7 oz of milk
  • Butter and a little vegetable oil for frying
  • (for the topping)
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Ground black pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Creme Fraiche
  • Black Olives
  • Sprigs of Dill
  • Crème Fraiche

How to make it

  1. Sift the flour with the baking soda, salt and sugar in a bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Whisk the eggs and milk together and pour in to the center of the dry ingredients, stirring until combined.
  3. In a heavy based pan or griddle add a just a little butter and vegetable oil. Using a small ladle drop a small amount on to the hot pan. When one side is golden flip over and cook the other side.  Remove and set aside.
  4. To assemble pile a little smoked salmon on top of each pancake with a squeeze of lemon juice over the salmon and freshly ground black pepper. Top with a little creme fraiche, chopped olives and a sprig of dill.
  5. Best served right away!

Enjoy!

Shamrock and Peach (Judie the Irish Foodie)

 

 

Low Carb Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse with a wee spot of whiskey..

Guilt free January Desserts

Finally, a dessert we can all enjoy that’s not going to mess up our low carb new resolution goals! – Yeah!, right?…and I mention that I add a wee shot of whiskey in there too? It’s just so nice to have that taste of sweet after dinner, and it gives us a chocolate fix all without the guilt…

The recipe has been tweaked from diet doctor I knew, and I custom added a few extra tweaks and instructions, along with that Irish Whiskey, or course!! – The recipe is super easy and fast, but please add the chocolate to the egg yolks slowly (so we do not make chocolate chip mousse..lol). Hope you enjoy and keep up your New Year’s goals, and if your are going to cheat a little (who doesn’t!) then this dessert is your ticket!! Here is the recipe:

  • 1 ¼ cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp of Irish Whiskey
  • 2 egg yolks (room temperature)
  • Pinch of good sea salt
  • 3 oz quality dark chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp Irish Whiskey
  • Mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries and strawberries)

How to make it:

  • Place 3 oz the chocolate in a double boiler stirring until it has melted.   Set the chocolate aside to cool until it reaches room temperature.
  • Use an electric mixer to whip the cream until soft peaks appear.  Whisk in the Irish whiskey at the end.
  • In a clean bowl use a hand whisk to combine the egg yolks and salt together whisking for about a minute until the yolks are pale yellow.  Slowly add the chocolate a little at a time to the egg yolks (this must be done very gradually or else the mixture can seize up).
  • Finally add a few tablespoons of the cream to the chocolate mixture to make a smooth even batter and then incorporate the remaining cream folding through until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  • Fill up a piping bag with the chocolate mousse mixture and pipe in to small glasses.  The recipe makes 10 shot glasses or 6 larger servings.
  • Best enjoyed straight from the refrigerator and left to set for 1 hour before eating.
  • Before serving to guest’s grate a little chocolate over each individual portion and serve topped with fresh mixed berries!

Enjoy (guilt free)… Judith the Irish Foodie (Shamrock and Peach) xx

Winter Warmer Hot Toddy

Irish Whiskey Winter Warmer

Winter Whiskey Cocktail

It’s cold and flu season again unfortunately, and perhaps that means it’s time we stock up on the ingredients to make a hot toddy. – but wait, ‘what is a hot toddy’? I hear you ask? – well, it’s an Irish essential for January, and for cold and flu season. The ultimate comfort made with lemon, honey, plumping hot water and wonderful Irish whiskey – the perfect way to warm up on a winters night, but read on to discover.

So, I just got over a cold myself, and I can tell you, nothing eased my symptoms better than a warm glass of toddy… Yeah, great excuse, I know!! In addition to the whiskey relaxing your body and helping you to sleep, good ol’ Irish whiskey helps to fight off infections and the growth of microorganisms. Yip, it’s true. In fact when you make this recipe you may not want to wait until you have a cold as it’s a delicious winter pick me up drink!

So, for all of you who are feeling a wee bit under the weather, I say make yourself a nice Irish hot toddy and go to bed… when you wake up in the morning your body will thank you for it!

Hot Toddy

  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon Juice
  • 1 lemon peel twist
  • 4 cloves
  • Boiling Water
  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey

How to make it

  1. Prepare the lemon twist by studding with cloves and set aside.
  2. Warm up a glass by filling it with boiling water and then discarding. Add the honey and lemon juice to the glass and then pour over the boiling water filling the glass half full.  Stir to dissolve the honey and the add the lemon and clove twist
  3. Finally, top with the Irish whiskey and gently stir.
  4. Enjoy!

Shamrock and Peach (Judith x)

Season’s Fruits of Hospitality

Festive bites

Sweet Mincemeat Pies

Ireland, the land of a thousand welcomes (Cead Mile Failte) is rooted in hospitality.  For more than a thousand years Ireland was governed by the Brehon Laws which esteemed the values of hospitality to a stranger. It was the hosts responsibility to provide food, drink and a warm bed where possible to a stranger. – Isn’t that amazing?

When the Celts converted to Christianity, the traditions of welcoming strangers continued.

On Christmas Eve a candle was lit and placed on the window as a symbolic gesture to provide a light to guide Mary and Joseph on their way.  Visitors to an Irish home, particularly around Christmas time are treated with a warm welcome and festive cakes, pies and spiced wine. A place is often set at the kitchen table with fruit bread, milk and a light candle for a wandering stranger. So, this Christmas, be welcoming, be warm and follow in the steps of the ancients who loved hospitality!

Slainte, and Merry Christmas!

Judith, The Shamrock and Peach

Tis the Season for Festive Cocktails and Holiday Cheer

Whiskey Coctails

Cranberry Whiskey Fizz

Tis’ the season for festive cocktails and holiday cheer!  Oh yes!  – This year we got to bring groups to visit the Jameson’s Whiskey distillery in Middleton, Cork, and whilst there I absolutely fell in love the simple mix of Ginger Beer and Whiskey we were served at the distillery bar, and it made me think of just how fun cocktails can be!

My catering company, Shamrock and Peach Foods, will be serving a fun new Irish styled cocktail that I came up with this year, namely a Cranberry Whiskey Fizz ,at upcoming Christmas events, and I can’t wait to hear the reaction. The cranberry base can be made a few days in advance and stored in the refrigerator, so no last minute scrambling is necessary, and your party guests will love it. It’s very light, totally refreshing and embodies all the flavors of what I consider to be Festive, merry and bright, – and I wanted so much to share it with my faithful blog followers!

So, here’s the recipe and hope you enjoy!

Spiced Cranberry – Whiskey Fizz with Rosemary

  • 5 oz Jameson’s Irish whiskey
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp Spiced Cranberry Syrup
  • Club Soda (enough to fill up the glass)
  • (for the spiced cranberry syrup)
  • 1 cup of cranberries
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 rosemary stem
  • ½ inch of sliced Ginger root
  • (for the garnish)
  • Rosemary, Cranberries, lime curl

How to make it

  1. To make the Spiced Cranberry syrup place the sugar, water, cranberries, ginger root, rosemary and cinnamon stick in a saucepan and simmer together for 7-8 minutes. Cover and allow to sit overnight and strain before using.
  2. To serve fill a glass with ice and add the whiskey, lime juice, cranberry syrup and top with club soda.
  3. Stir together and then garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a few cranberries.

Judith, The Shamrock and Peach