Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day and the month of March is all about celebrating our national holiday by cooking classic Irish heritage dishes. It’s traditionally the busiest month of the year for me with sold out Irish cooking classes, intimate catering events and parties. Over the years I have been traveling to Florida with Kerrygold teaching cooking classes at the Publix Aprons cooking schools. This year I am going to be working in Atlanta teaching a St. Patrick’s dinner class at Wholefoods on March 16 and a luncheon at the Piedmont Cancer Center on March 17th.
If you are hosting a dinner party for St. Patrick’s day you may consider serving this soup as a welcome shooter or as an appetizer for your dinner party. It’s warm and comforting and a true taste of Ireland for our festive month of March…So, go green and enjoy!
So, here it is and “Health to you and yours: to mine and ours”….
Leek and Potato Soup with Chive Puree and Garlic and herb cheese croutons
4 oz salted butter
1 medium onion (diced)
2 large leeks sliced (use mainly the white part)
5 medium potatoes (4 cups potatoes peeled and diced)
2 ½ pints Chicken Stock
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8 freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp of cream
(for the spring onion puree)
4 spring onions (chopped)
Fine sea salt
4 Tbsp salted Irish butter (melted)
(for the garlic and herb cheese croutons)
3 slices of day old baguettes (cut in to cubes)
4 Tbsp Kerrygold garlic and herb Irish butter
1 oz Dubliner Irish cheese (finely grated)
How to make it:
In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the leeks and onions allowing them to “sweat” until they are fragrant.
Add the stock and potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Stir to combine on medium heat and bring to a boil. Cover and then turn the temperature down allowing the soup to gently simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
Allow the soup to cool slightly before using an emulsion blender to smooth.
To make the spring onion purees blanch the spring onions in salted boiling water for just less than 1 minute. Strain and place in Ice water. Transfer to a blender to puree. On low heat melt butter and slowly drizzle in to the puree to create froth.
To make the croutons preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Melt the butter and toss in the bread cubes. Bake for 10-15 minutes turning half way or until crunchy and toasted. Sprinkle the cheese over croutons for 1 more minute to melt.
To serve the soup return to heat and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the temperature and finish the soup by adding the cream. Taste to adjust for seasoning. Serve in individual bowls with a drizzle of the frothy spring onion puree and a few garlic and herb cheesy croutons.
Valentines day is almost here and in the spirit of love and heart shaped romance I wanted to share a perfect dessert for Valentines, along with a few delicious quotes from one of my favorite Irish poets, the one and only Oscar Wilde…
Many of his quotes are profound and I am always saddened that his life journey was so short. So, in honor of a poet I enjoy, here are a few of quotes on love…
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead”
“Woman are made to be loved, not understood”
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”
Hope you enjoy this special Valentine’s dessert….and remember the best ingredient is always ‘love’.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Raspberries and Chocolate with a Sugar Spun Basket
(for the buttermilk Panna Cotta)
2 Tbsp water
2 gelatin leaves (3/4 tsp) unflavored gelatin
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
½ vanilla pod (split lengthwise)
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
½ cup of buttermilk
(for the sugar spun basket)
1 ½ cups of granulated sugar
(for the garnish)
12 fresh raspberries
4 sprigs of mint
(for the raspberry sauce)
1 cup of raspberries
2 Tbsp of fine granulated sugar
(for the chocolate sauce)
1 cup of chocolate chips
¼ cup of whipping cream
How to make it
Place 2 Tbsp of water in to a small bowl and sprinkle over gelatin. Let it stand for 5 minutes until the gelatin softens.
Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add in to a medium size saucepan with 1/2 cup of the cream, pod, sugar and sea salt. Bring to a low boil and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture.
Strain the cream mixture through a sieve and add the buttermilk and remaining cream.
Divide in to molds and chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
To make the sugar spun baskets melt the sugar in a small skillet and boil until it is a light caramel color. Remove from the heat and place the pan in a basin of cold water to stop the cooking process. Using the back of a spoon, drizzle the caramel in a think steady stream weaving back and forth to create a weave design. Gently remove the basket and place on a sheet of parchment paper.
To make the sauces puree the raspberries and sugar together and strain to remove the seeds. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler with the cream and stir to melt. Transfer to squeeze bottles.
To serve remove the panna cotta from the mold and place in the center of the plate. Place three raspberries on the side of the panna cotta and a sprig of mint. Using a squeeze bottle pour three circles of raspberry sauce and a swirl of chocolate sauce. To serve gently place the sugar spun basket on top.
Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing and Crispy Shallots
New Season’s Lamb, Mixed Carrots, Colcannon and Rosemary Jus
Just this past weekend I teamed up with Shamrock and Peach photography (my husband Gary) to teach a class on Food Photography at Whole foods Salud cooking school in Alpharetta. Gary is an artist and designer for his day job and a skilled photographer with a passion for creating beautiful imagery that explores the world around us and the Irish landscape. We got to work together combing food with photography when we wrote our first book together ‘the Shamrock and Peach”. We are always learning and exploring and we love to share with others. I heard a quote recently that said “we only own what we give away” so I wanted to share some of the images from our food styling class. Valentine’s day is coming up soon so I am going to share the recipe for the Raspberry and Chocolate Panna Cotta next!
Oh, and here is Gary’s website if you want to check out his work http://www.shamrockandpeachphoto.com/
Happy New Year 2018! Wishing all my friends and followers good health and Prosperity with Irish Savoy Cabbage Greens and Bacon…a true Irish favorite!
In the South it’s a tradition to enjoy collard greens as part of a New Years tradition (cooked in a smoked ham hock bone and served with black eyed peas and cornbread). The greens are symbolic of paper money and bring good luck and wealth for the upcoming year, whilst the black eyed peas represent the coins… so now you know!
So we wanted to share a new year suggestion for you with some Irish style crispy cabbage and wishing you a year like no other!
Bacon with Crispy Cabbage and Mustard Sauce
3 lbs cured loin of bacon
2 bay leaves
1 tsp peppercorns
1 stick of celery (chopped)
1 large onion (cut in quarters)
1 carrot (chopped)
(for the cabbage)
1 large green savoy cabbage (hard core removed and thinly sliced)
3 Tbsp of butter
2 Tbsp water
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
(for the mustard sauce)
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup reserved cooking liquid
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
How to make it
Put the bacon in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, celery, and carrot. Bring to the boil and then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a low simmer for 20 minutes per pound plus an additional 30 minutes.
Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid for the sauce.
To make the mustard sauce melt the butter and add the flour cooking for a minute and then whisk in the reserved cooking liquid, heavy whipping cream, mustard and salt and pepper.
To make the cabbage melt the butter in a large skillet and then add the cabbage tossing with tongs until it’s bright and fragrant. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of water over the cabbage to wilt slightly but still remaining crispy and bright.
To serve slice the bacon and drizzle with a little mustard sauce and top with crispy cabbage.
Enjoy, and have a peaceful and prosperous new year!
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:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
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.
Blend the egg yolk, lemon juice and the water together and gradually add to the dry ingredients, until just enough to hold together.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
Add the pork sausages to the skillet and brown on all sides. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside.
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.
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.
Bake in oven one hour until the potatoes are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the reserved bacon and sprinkle over dish. Transfer to oven for a few minutes to warm.
Melt butter and olive oil and fry sage leaves for 1 minute each side.
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
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
Butter a 9’ round cake pan and set aside.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Transfer to a rack to cool and serve with Irish creamery butter.
Who’s up for a ‘super easy to make’ dessert that’s under 200 calories and tastes awesome? Me you say? How about a shot of Irish Whiskey (80 calories) and some Peachy Irish Whiskey Frozen Yogurt (90 calories)? Tangy, tasty and totally great…
For those of you who are sensitive to dairy products you can switch out the Greek yogurt for coconut milk yogurt, and the pairing will still work a treat. We like to pair this with an Irish whiskey that has a rich and floral fragrance to the nose, and sweet fruity notes of nectarines or citrus with a smooth mellow finish.
Other interesting flavor notes in whiskey that pair well with this peachy little dessert are vanilla & toasted wood, and spicy notes perhaps from flame charred barrels. Just like fine wines it’s all about personal taste and what you like!
Peachy Whiskey Coconut Frozen Yogurt
2 1/2 cups peaches (frozen)
1 cup Greek Yogurt or Dairy Free Coconut Yogurt
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp Irish Whiskey
(Serve with a dram of Irish Whiskey)
How to make it
If using an ice-cream maker be sure to have the bowl frozen for 24 hours beforehand (an ice-cream maker is preferable but the recipe will work without having one).
Combine the peaches, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a food processor or vita mix until smooth and then add the yogurt.
If using an ice cream maker transfer in to bowl. It takes around 15 minutes in my ice-cream maker and it’s best to eat straight away or transfer to a container and freeze for a few hours. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker you can just freeze after combining in the food processor and enjoy the next day.
To serve spoon the frozen yogurt in to a small bowl and enjoy with a wee dram of Irish Whiskey on the side.
Holding Shamrock and Peach cook book (new addition)
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:
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!
Irish Kale Salad
Pan Seared Irish Salmon, Colcannon and Boxty
Sticky Toffee Puddings
So, a belated happy St. Patrick’s day to all my followers and as I always say..
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?