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

 

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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

 

Thanks to NPR for a wonderful Tribute

Many thanks for the interview with NPR that took place just time for me to announce my 2nd edition printing of the Shamrock and Peach, which is now available!

It felt so natural to share my passion with Atlanta writer Beth Ware who identified immediately with the Southern connections to Irish cuisine, and it was a joy to share my passions for food and Irish culture with her.  – Hopefully you have had a chance to check out the article, but if not see the link below:

http://news.wabe.org/post/irish-chef-plants-her-culinary-roots-deep-south

So, the new edition is literally hot off the presses, and I would be glad to sign and send out copies through my website, in addition to the book being available through the usual outlets.  I am also pleased to share all the recipes that were featured on my recent Kerrygold tour with Aprons Publix cooking schools, which were also posted on the NPR website …enjoy!

So, a belated happy St. Patrick’s day to all my followers and as I always say..

Joy in the Journey Y’all

Judith the Irish foodie

 

 

 

Healthy Gluten Free Quinoa (Irish Pancakes)

Today we celebrate Shrove Tuesday, (the day before Ash Wednesday), and a time marked for feasting before the beginning of lent.  Traditionally its a time to use up any food that would not be part of the 40 days of fasting during Lent; so those more pleasurable foods such as eggs, dairy and meat are enjoyed in abundance.  Growing up my mother made very think pancakes more similar to french Crepes as opposed the the thicker American pancakes.  Boxty Pancakes are also very popular made with left over mashed potatoes and freshly grated potatoes and fried in the pan. But, I am excited to share a new pancake recipe with you that’s not only gluten free but includes protein packed quinoa.

This recipe is part of my 2017 Aprons Publix cooking schools tour sponsored by Kerrygold Irish butter and cheese and includes my yummy Dubliner…. So, how can you go wrong…?  Those of you who live in the cities of Sarasota, Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Atlanta please come and see me at the Aprons cooking school near you…. So, here’s the recipe for all to enjoy…

Dubliner Quinoa Pancakes

Ingredients:

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup shredded Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese

2 Tbsp morgue flour (or other gluten free based flour)

1 egg plus 2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon Chile powder

Pinch sea salt

Dash black pepper

1/2 avocado, peeled and chopped

1/2 medium tomato, chopped

Olive oil cooking spray

 

Combine onion, quinoa, bell pepper, cheese, egg and egg whites, garlic and Chile powder, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl and mix gently with a spoon or spatula.  Heat a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Using a ½-cup measuring cup, measure half cup portions of the quinoa mixture and turn out into the pan, flattening each until 1/2-inch thick.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bottom is browned and the cake is firm.  Flip  the pancakes over and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Top each serving with half the chopped avocado and tomato, dividing equally. If serving as individual cakes, top each with 1 tablespoon of chopped avocado and tomato.  Makes 6 cakes.

Wishing everyone a blessed Shrove Tuesday!

Judith the Irish foodie

 

Rise Up Atlanta! – Hot Wings, Irish Style…

superbowl-wings-2017

The last time the Atlanta Falcons were in the Superbowl, our eldest son was a babe in arms, and today he’s getting ready for college…so, it’s been a looong time y’all!

So, we are celebrating, whatever happens, but rooting for an Atlanta win with some really good food in the shape of hot wings marinated and glazed with my secret Irish beer and garlic hot sauce (well, secret, but recipe is below….just for you!)

So, Rise Up Atlanta, and enjoy!

Hot Wings (Rise Up Atlanta Wings)

(for the marinade)

  • 3 Lbs of chicken drumsticks and wings
  • 1 bottle of Harp Irish Beer (12 oz)
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grated stem ginger
  • 1/3 cup hot sriracha chile sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • (for the glaze)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup spring onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chili (finely chopped for garnish)

How to make them

  1. Marinade the wings in the beer, garlic, ginger, sriracha, lemon juice, olive oil and soy sauce for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade (and reserve).
  4. For a crispier skin sear the chicken meat side down for a few minutes first in a skillet to help render the fat and then transfer with tongs to a large roasting pan for about 12 minutes.
  5. While the wings are in the oven transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and reduce it by at least 50 per cent. Whisk in the honey and half of the spring onions.
  6. Remove the wings from the roasting pan and transfer to a warm platter. Toss the wings in the glaze and sprinkle over the reserved spring onions and fresh chili.

Judie, the Irish Foodie

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