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


Spooky Chilli for Halloween

Warm Chili

Chill for Halloween

Yet again it’s time for trick or treaters, and for us, we have an annual family tradition to make spooky chili on Halloween night – spooky, but good! . We live in a suburban Atlanta neighborhood and Halloween is actually one of the best times of year for our community to come together. Our little street will be hosting a fun party with many of our neighbors making different types of chili – and it really is very fun. We always have a toppings bar with various options such as cheese, avocado, chopped cilantro,  smoky olive oil and more – and people just love the fun of this – perhaps your neighborhood could too?

The forecast will be chilly (can’t help myself…) so a warm bowl of chili will hit the spot!

This fall I have been making chili for cooking classes and received some rave reviews (not bad for an Irish lass whose only been to Mexico once!) So, here’s my best shot…  Hope you enjoy!

 Grass fed Beef Chili (garnished with Avocado, Cilantro and Olive Oil)

 (for the base)

3 ancho chilies

3 dried chipotle chilies

1 Tbsp Coriander seeds (toasted)

1 tsp cumin seeds (toasted)

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds (toasted)

3 cloves of garlic

2 (14 oz) cans whole tomatoes (drained)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp coco powder

1 Tbsp fresh oregano (1tsp dried)

(For the chili)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion (chopped)

1 stalk of celery (finely diced)

2 lbs grass-fed ground beef

1 (15 oz) can of chili beans

(for the stock)

1 bottle of Irish Stout (Guinness)

2 cups of chicken stock

(for the garnish)

1 avocado (chopped)

Kerrygold Irish Cheddar cheese (grated)

Juice of one lime

Drizzle of good olive oil

Bunch of cilantro (chopped)

How to make it:

  1. To make the base broil the chili’s on a grill turning until they are charred on all sides. Place them in a zip lock bag for about 10 minutes to sweat until the skins are easy to remove. Using plastic gloves or a zip lock bag turned inside out remove the stem and the seeds (leaving a few seeds will be good).
  2. In a large blender combine the prepared chilies, toasted coriander, mustard seeds, tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, coco powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Add olive oil to a large saucepan and add the onions and beef stirring together until browned.
  4. Pour over the chili base, stock and beer. Season with a little salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hour.
  5. Stir in the chili beans and simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes.
  6. To serve top with freshly chopped cilantro, avocado and a drizzle of Olive Oil.

Happy Spooky Halloween!

Judith the Irish Foodie


Irish Barmbrack for Halloween

Irish Sweet Bread

Halloween Baking

Halloween was always one of my favorite times of the year growing up in Ireland, and it should come as no surprise that my best memories are related to home baking and fun traditions shared around the dinner table. My mother would always hide hidden charms in our favorite Halloween baked goods as a tradition, and amongst those treats she always included a wee home made BarmBrack loaf and an apple tart.

Barmbrack is a traditional warm and spicy fruit loaf that is absolutely delicious hot from the oven with loads of creamy Irish butter – and of course, apple tart is an apple pie here in America! So now you know!

So, here is it to share  – my family recipe that’s enjoyed in Ireland this time of year.

This name “brack” comes from the Irish word “breac” meaning speckled (the speckles are the fruits and candied peel baked in the bread).  I used to be so excited to wrap tiny items in silver foil for my mother to hide in the sweet bread.  All of the items we would bury in our baking had a hidden meaning, for example a ring (for love), money (for good fortune), a button (bachelor), a thimble (spinster), rag (poverty). I always wanted to get the ring for love and was devastated if I had the slice with a rag or thimble!  It was all in good fun and made great memories shared together around the kitchen table. Hope you enjoy this recipe and maybe even event  your own ‘lucky charms’

  • 4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • ½ cup soft brown sugar
  • 4 ½ tsp of dry active yeast (2 packets)
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups of warm milk
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 cup of golden sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 1 cup of dried currants
  • ¼ cup of candied orange or lemon peel (finely chopped)
  • (for the glaze)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp warm water

How to make it

  1. Butter a 9’ round cake pan and set aside.
  2. Measure and combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl including the flour, spices, salt brown sugar, dry active yeast and the dried fruits and candied peel.
  3. Combine all the wet ingredients in electric bread mixer including the warm milk, melted butter and egg. Slowly add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time and mix to combine.
  4. Transfer the sticky dough into the prepared pan and pat the dough in place. Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside in a warm place for about an hour for the dough to rise.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and then bake for about 30 minutes (to test the bread insert a skewer in the center and should come away clean).
  6. Dissolve the sugar in boiling water to make the glaze and brush over the bread. Return the bread to the oven for a further few minutes until the loaf is glistening.
  7. Transfer to a rack to cool and serve with Irish creamery butter.

Judith the Irish foodie

Last of the Summer Lime

Zesty and Creamy Pie

Last of the Summer Lime

I must admit I’ve always been a sucker for a good Key Lime Pie!  Our son surprised us and came home from college yesterday, and it was so good to see him. As ever, he brought a few of his college friends with him, and so, I decided to bake a Key Lime Pie for us to share the joy – and why not?!

Key Limes are harvested in Florida from June to September and I wanted to make one last pie as a kitchen farewell to the summer season. Key Limes are higher in acidity and have a stronger Aroma than Persian Limes. They are also smaller, harder work to grow, harvest and juice, but worth it, right? Just like the name suggests, Key Limes were grown commercially in Southern Florida and the Florida Keys until the 1926 hurricane wiped out the citrus groves. Then the growers replaced the groves with more Persian Limes trees as they were easier to grow but Key Limes are said to be making more of a come back as consumer demand grows for a zestier punch. I used British style Digestive cookies (found in the international section of American supermarkets) and they are so much more superior to Graham Crackers!  Give them a go…. you wont be disappointed!

Enjoy the end of the season harvest as we begin the new!

Key Lime Pie

(for the base)

20 British Style Digestive biscuits (or 2 cups of crushed graham crackers)

4 oz Kerrygold Irish  butter (1 stick)

3 Tbsp sugar

(for the custard filling)

3 egg  yolks

1 Tbsp of lime zest

1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk

1 pound of key limes (2/3 cups juice)

(Whipped cream)

6 oz heavy whipping cream (3/4 cup)

1 Tbsp fine granulated sugar

How to make it

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter and stir in to the crushed graham crackers and sugar.
  3. Transfer the cookie crumb mixture in to the base of a 9 inch pie plate using your fingers to pat down to make a crust, shaping it up the edges of the dish.
  4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and allow cooling.
  5. To make the filling whisk the egg yolks and lime zest together in an electric mixer until it begins to thicken slightly. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk beating for 3-4 minutes and then whisk in the lime juice until everything is smooth and fully incorporated.
  6. Pour mixture in to pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the pie from the oven and cool and then store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
  8. To serve whip the heavy whipping cream and sugar and spoon or pipe on the pie.

Judith the Irish Foodie

Green Orchards and Irish Oatcakes

Apple season in the American south is in full swing, for those leaf peepers driving to the mountains looking to pick apples and visit rustic barns full of fall produce and gourds, the time has arrived! For me, the weather is just perfect this time of year, with the warmth of the summer still lingering, but the crisp cool nights and mornings a welcome change. The appearance of apples on farmstands and in country stores also reminds us of the change of seasons as we move towards Harvest – always a great time for foodies. Ripe produce and produce in abundance!

This October, I am really excited about teaching a fall inspired menu at my upcoming class entitled ‘Green Orchards an Irish oatcakes’ at Salud Wholefoods in Alpharetta   The menu is inspired by my homeland in County Armagh (also know as the Orchard County of Ireland) where Bramley’s are King of the crop, whilst the menu will also celebrate local North Georgia apples with delicious apple fusion recipes. So, as we were inspired, we drove up to North Georgia last weekend to enjoy the fall culture in full swing and fill our pantry with local apples and produce. -It’s been a tradition in our family since we moved to Georgia to make time to drive to the mountains in autumn to the source of the freshest produce we can find…and here we are! So, enjoy the ripe bounty and please check out my upcoming seasonal menu:  Here are the details:

Friday, October 06, 2017

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM



With Chef Judith McLoughlin


Apple Chutney with Kerrygold Dubliner Irish Cheese on Oatcakes

Celeriac and Apple Soup with Apple Wood smoked Bacon and Creme Fraiche

Apple Chicken with Sage, Spinach, Potato and Fennel

Georgia Apple Crumble with Irish Whiskey custard


Whole Foods Market| 2800 Old Milton Parkway | Alpharetta, GA 30009 |

770.442.3354 x2 office

 Love to see you if you live in the Atlanta area!

Judie the Irish foodie

Goodbye Summer, hello Fall!

Today is the first official day of Fall (also known as the equinox). Its the astronomical start of fall in the Northern hemisphere, and Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. The earth is in alignment with the sun directly above the Earth’s equator which means equal day and night…it’s still hot here in Hotlanta, but the promise of cool, fresh fall is in the air (hopefilly!!)

It’s also time for fall festivals and home baking with our favorite recipes, using pumpkins, squashes and apples – which makes this a favorite time of year for me. So, to celebrate I thought to share one of my favorite recipes (shared by a friend when I first came to the American South).  Hope you enjoy! Happy Fall baking….  Let the season begin….

Pumpkin Bread (makes 2 loaves)

  • 3 1/2  cups all purpose Flour (sifted)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fresh nutmeg (or ½ tsp ground)
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature and beaten)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (or cooked fresh pumpkin)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 fluid oz) vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 large size loaf pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and ginger (unless you are using fresh ginger).
  3. In a large cake mixer or bowl beat the eggs and sugar. Add the pumpkin, oil, beating well to combine.  Slowly add in the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Pour batter in to prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour in the center rack in the oven or until skewer inserted in the center of bread comes out clean.
  5. Cool slightly before removing bread from tin and finish cooling on a wire wrack.

Judith the Irish foodie