A tale of two ladies – Juliet & Helen

We are savoring our last few hours at Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny, before heading to our next destination, and what an experience it has been! The welcome we received from our arrival has been second to none with a few guests on my tour are telling me they are not leaving this Irish paradise. With it’s elegant Manor house, built in 1757 and the beautiful grounds, stables and gardens, this is a beautiful lady indeed. As is the Michelin star awarded Restaurant, ‘The Lady Helen‘. Our tour group had the chance to dine in the Lady Helen last night, located inside the historic Manor House, and what a lady she is! Each course was better than the last, and yet again I amazed at the sheer inventiveness of Irish cuisine and the flavor of Irish produce, mot of which is produced on this Irish country estate, nestled in 1,500 acres of woodlands and lush gardens.

A big thanks also to Des McGrath another Mount Juliet legend and local character who shared the history of the estate with gusto, graciousness and a sparkle of Irish wit and charm – my guests loved it!  – The one bit of good news is that next week I am returning with a second group and I’m already hungry for more!

Judie the Irish foodie

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Going Green with the Sweet Life

Minty Oreo Cheesecake

Green Desserts for Saturday

Mint Oreo Chocolate Cheesecake

As we are getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day parties, festivals and parades you may be looking for some festive recipe ideas? Here’s a recipe I adapted for a cooking class that’s really green, really fun, and really yummy!  Just in case you haven’t discovered them….But Oreo Cookies now come in mint …. and as far as cookies go… the famous American Oreo is hard to beat?  Now, try combining it with a creamy cheesecake and flavored with creme de menthe?  What’s not to like? Wishing everyone a wonderful and very green St. Patrick’s Day week as we are on the countdown to Saturday!

Here is the recipe…

(Serves 6 in mason jars)

  • (for the base)
  • 18 mint Oreo cookies (crushed)
  • 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter (melted)
  • (for the mousse)
  • 1 ½ tsp of gelatin (1 Tbsp of cold water/2 Tbsp of boiling water)
  • 1 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 (8oz) packets of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 Tbsp of crème de Menthe (or 1 tsp of mint extract and a few drops of green food coloring)
  • 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar
  • (to garnish)
  • ½ cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • Mint leaves
  • 2 Oreos (crumbled)

How to make it

  1. n a food processor roughly chop 12 of the Oreo’s and stir in the melted butter. Divide the crumble between mason jars and press down with the back of a spoon.
  2. To make the cheesecake mousse beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until light and fluffy and add 1 ¼ cups of powdered sugar. Add the crème de menthe and beat until it has fully incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl whip the cream until stiff peaks appear with the remaining ¼ cup of powdered sugar.
  4. Mix the gelatin in 1 Tbsp of cold water and let it sit for a few minutes and then stir until it has completely dissolved in 2 Tbsp of boiling water.
  5. Gradually add the gelatin mixture to the cream cheese mixture, beating until well blended. Fold in the whipped cream and the remaining 6 Oreo cookies (crushed).
  6. Spoon or pipe the resulting cream on top of the Oreo crumble base and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  7. Just before serving whip the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla and pipe a swirl on top of the mint mousse.  Garnish with the Oreo crumbles and a sprig of fresh mint.

Judie the Irish foodie

Go Green for March

Irish Kale Salad Recipe

Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing and Crispy Shallots

I don’t know about y’all but all the winter and holiday eating has caught up with me and it’s time for me to Go Green and eat some healthy and ‘in season’ Kale. I mean, the recipe does call for Apple Wood Smoked Bacon and Crispy Fried Shallots, but it sure beats the heck out of Fries and Butter Burgers?  It’s also the month of March where we celebrate our beautiful Emerald Isle and our patron Saint Patrick. So, here’s a healthy Salad with the goal of going green…

…and finally, in keeping with the theme, here’s a verse from one of my favorite artists and songs, written by Johnny Cash and Forty Shades of Green...

“I close my eyes and picture the emerald of the sea

From the fishing boats at Dingle to the shores of Dunardee

I miss the river Shannon and the folks at Skibbereen

The moorlands and the midlands with their forty shades of green”

Hers the recipe…

Kale Salad with a Warm Bacon Dressing and Crispy Fried Shallots

 Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ oz (5 cups) Kale (hard stalks removed and hand torn)
  • (for the dressing)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 slices uncured apple smoked bacon (finely chop)
  • 8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • (for the fried shallots)
  • 2 shallots (finely sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper

How to make it:

  1. Heat oil in skillet and crisp bacon. Remove bacon from the pan and set on plate lined with a paper towel.  Drain bacon fat from skillet leaving 1 Tbsp for a little flavor.
  2. Add chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute to soften but not brown. Remove from heat and add vinegar, (being careful as pan may splutter some).  Gently shake the saucepan to mix.   Use as whisk to mix the mustard, sugar.  Add ground black pepper.  Finally whisk in the olive oil and gently heat on low.
  3. To make the fried shallots toss in the flour. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or fryer to 360 degrees F.  Add the shallots in small batches so they do not stick together cooking for 10-12 minutes until they are really crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.   Season the shallots with a little salt and pepper.
  4. To serve toss the kale in the warm vinaigrette with the bacon.
  5. Serve right away and top each salad plate with a small handful of friend shallots and enjoy!

Judie the Irish Foodie

 

Angels on Earth (…a healthy and delicious Irish kale dip)

Nutritious and Delicious

Healthy and delicious Kale Dip

Last week I had the honor of being a featured chef at the annual Angels on Earth event to benefit the Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center. The venue was at the gorgeous Bill Low Gallery in Atlanta with 250 attendees, and yes, yours truly was the Irish chef on hand. What a privilege!

What did I present? Well, The Shamrock and Peach featured Smoked Salmon with Cucumber and Dill and Kale Irish Dip, and I believe it was a hit! So much so that several guests at the event asked me to share the recipe, so being the giving type – here it is in all of it’s glory. A Kale Irish Dip Recipe- sharing the love, and hope you enjoy!

 Kale Irish Dip (with Vegetable Credos and Garlic Toasts)

(serves 4)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 oz of Lacinato Kale (1 bunch with the stems removed and roughly chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp of vegetable stock
  • 12 oz artichoke hearts (frozen or a canned drained/chopped)
  • 3/4 cups plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 2 Tbsp whole grain Guinness Mustard
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups Kerrygold Dubliner Irish Cheese (grated)
  • 1 Tbsp Kerrygold Irish butter (room temperature)
  • (topping)
  • ¼ cup of Dubliner Irish cheese
  • ¼ cup of Panko breadcrumbs
  • (to serve)
  • Vegetable Credos (cucumber, radish, carrot, celery)
  • garlic toasts

How to make it

  1. In a large skillet sauté the kale in olive oil for 1 minute and then sprinkle with vegetable stock to soften the kale and cook for 1 minute using tongs to toss.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Combine the yogurt, mayo, mustard, hot sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, cheese and finally fold in the prepared kale and chopped artichokes.
  4. Grease an 8 inch oven proof dish with kerrygold Irish butter and then spoon in the resulting dip.
  5. Bake the dip for 20-25 minutes until the dip is bubbling and has a golden brown crust.
  6. Serve with garlic toasts and vegetable credos.

Also here are just few pictures taken with my iphone from the event….

With love from Judie the Irish foodie

Smoked Haddock and Shrimp Bake

Class Irish Seafood Bake

Cozy Winter Bake

Eating fish on a Friday was a tradition in our Irish home. The local markets and fishmongers always stock the freshest fish and best variety at the start of each weekend in Ireland, as a child I even remember a fish man calling at our house early in the morning selling smoked haddock and a variety of other locally caught fish- so fresh! My own small town still sets up fish stalls in the market center every Friday and it was always so interesting to see the catch of the day packed in ice!

Eating fish on Fridays also has a religious connection because Friday was seen as day of fasting when red meat would not be eaten, so, for some it’s religious but for other it’s the best day to find the freshest catch and enjoy seafood at home with your family…

My mother used to make a fish pie every Friday with the delicious smoked haddock and shellfish with a creamy potato topping.  On cold winter nights it was so comforting and I remember the smell of the melting Irish cheddar cheese and knowing it was almost time to serve our weekly family favorite.  If you are not able to purchase smoked haddock use the freshest flaky white fish you can find and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Happy Friday Cozy Bakes!

Smoked Haddock and Shrimp Bake

(for the seafood)

  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 ½ cups cold water
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 small onion (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 1/2 lbs smoked haddock (skinless and boneless)
  • 8 oz raw prawns (peeled)
  • (for the parsley sauce)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp of all purpose flour
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp parsley (chopped)
  • (for the potato)
  • 1lb of potatoes (peeled and cut)
  • 4 Tbsp of butter
  • ¼ cup of warm milk
  • (for the topping)
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup Dubliner Irish cheese (grated)

How to make it

  1. Place the haddock and prawns in a pan with the milk, water, bay leaf, peppercorn and onion. Season with salt and pepper and slowly poach for 8-10 minutes (reserve 2 cups of stock).
  2. While the fish is poaching prepare potato topping by boiling the potatoes in a pot of cold salted water for 20 minutes.
  3. To make the sauce melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour cooking for one minute and then whisk in 2 cups of reserved stock and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Stir in the parsley and season with a little salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the potatoes over a dry heat to remove any moisture for a few minutes. Mash the potatoes with the warm milk and butter.  Season with salt and pepper and stir in the Dubliner Irish cheese.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. To assemble pour the parsley sauce over the seafood and spoon the potato and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and cheese topping. Bake for 20 minutes and serve right away.

Judie the Irish foodie

 

Grass Fed Irish Butter Burgers (Friday feeling)

What could possibly make a flavor packed grass fed burger better?  Try adding some grass fed Irish butter? Kneading in some grated frozen grass fed Irish butter to your burger makes the juiciest flavor packed mouthful ever!

Get this...Cooking Light Magazine said that lean grass fed beef has a nutrition profile more similar to salmon than grain fed beef! – wow! Cooking light also mentions grass fed beef has half the saturated fat of dark meat chicken!  So, with all that said we could afford to add just a little grass fed butter?  I mean what could be wrong adding more good fat?   Please allow me to share the secret of one of the best burgers you will ever make (or taste)? A ‘wee bit ‘ of Irish goodness goes a very long way…

Grass Fed Butter Burger

(recipe makes 4 ¼ Lb patties)

  • (for the Pattie)
  • 1 lb lean grass fed ground sirloin
  • 3 Tbsp (grated frozen or very cold unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter)
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • (for the burger)
  • 4 slices of Kerrygold Dubliner cheese
  • 3 Tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 4 Brioche buns (toasted)
  • 4 slices of thickly sliced tomato (optional)
  • 4 slices of Bibb lettuce (optional)

 

How to make them

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high.
  2. Caramelize the onion in a little canola or grape seed oil for a few minutes to soften.  Set aside and cool.
  3. Break up  the sirloin and sprinkle with the salt and pepper, garlic powder and stir in the caramelized cooled onions..
  4. Use a box grater to grate the butter grate directly over the ground sirloin keeping everything very cold (try not to touch with hands to prevent the butter from melting).
  5. Gently knead the butter in to the burger and then divide in to 4 patties.
  6. Cook the patties for 3 minutes on one side and then turn top with cheese and then tun them over and grill for another 2-4 minutes.
  7. To serve toast the bun and top the patties with tomato ketchup, bib lettuce and freshly sliced tomato. Place filling inside of bun and enjoy!

Happy Grilling!  Summer is almost here!

Judie the Irish foodie

 

Ginger Pear & Parsnip Soup

pear-and-parsnip-soup-12The cooler Winter months are the perfect time for cooking root vegetables, especially when it comes to bowls of comforting soups, broths and stews. – such an Irish thing, and living in a warm climate such as Georgia, I always enjoy the opportunity for wonderful soups.

This week I had the opportunity to cook at the Piedmont Cancer Center in Atlanta with a menu featuring Winter Root Vegetables, which gave me the perfect opportunity to pull out some recipes from the homeland. – Growing up as a child in Ireland, my favorite vegetables were always mashed carrots with parsnips, and along with roasted parsnips, -essential parts of a traditional Irish Sunday roast dinner. So, when creating nutritious recipes for my Root Vegetable class I was naturally drawn to include parsnips in the menu.

When preparing this delicious soup, the inclusion of fresh ginger and curry, alongside the root vegetables, gives this soup a modern Asian flair while the fresh pears add a natural sweetness. Julienne matchstick pears on top, then gives the dish a refreshing fresh and surprising crunch.  

I do hope you enjoy this healthy recipe which is so good for the body and great the soul!  Finish the soup with a little cream, or olive oil -your choice! It’s all good…

Parsnip and Ginger Pear Soup (with fresh pear garnish and olive oil)
 

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or Kerrygold butter
  • 1 medium (1 cup) Vidalia onions (chopped)
  • 1 celery stick (3/4 cup diced)
  • 4 parsnips (4 cups peeled and diced)
  • 2 medium (1 ½ cups) pears (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups pear juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • (to garnish)
  • ½ pear (cut in to matchsticks)
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Drizzle of good olive oil (or creame fraiche)

How to make it
 

  1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter or coconut oil and sauté the onions, celery, parsnips, pears and grated fresh ginger over a medium to low heat, then over and cook until they are fragrant and beginning to color for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the stock, pear juice, curry powder and salt and pepper and simmer for 25 minutes until all the ingredients are tender and the liquid has slightly reduced. Taste to adjust seasoning.
  3. Using a hand blender puree the soup until smooth or use a food processor.
  4. To serve place 1 tsp of chopped pear in each warm bowl followed by the soup and then drizzle with a little olive oil.

Judith the Irish foodie

Thanksgiving’s Pumpkin Pie Still Steals the Show

Happy Thanksgiving to all my wonderful followers and friends and I am so thankful for you all!  People say there’s nothing more American than an Apple Pie, but I think a more iconic choice would be to say; ‘Pumpkin Pie’.  Growing up in Ireland and in my travels throughout Europe, it’s always been considered an all American classic. For many it’s the taste of the holidays and it’s still the most popular dessert on the Thanksgiving dessert buffet table – I mean, what’s not to like about rich a rich spicy custard filling and buttery pastry?  I love to add a taste of Orange Zest to my filling but I don’t like to fool much with a classic.  I mean good is always just good! Right?

So, Happy Thanksgiving from the Shamrock and Peach…. and enjoy this yummy recipe that will be on my table tomorrow!

Pumpkin Pie (with cinnamon whipped cream)

  • 1 (15 oz) cooked pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • ¼ cup organic brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4 cup volume) deep dish pie shell
  • (cinnamon whipped cream)
  • 1 cup (8 oz) heavy whipped cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

How to make it:

  1. In a large bowl or electric mixer combine all the pie ingredients and stir until well blended.
  2. Pour pumpkin mixture in to the prepared unbaked pie shell.
  3. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until testing with a knife the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.
  5. Beat heavy whipping cream until soft peaks appear with vanilla, cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg.
  6. Slice pie to serve and top with cinnamon whipped cream.

Judie 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

Back to porridge and back to work!

Growing up in Northern Ireland we had a saying “back to porridge (oatmeal)” that meant it was time to get back to work.  In Georgia, schools are back, which means traffic, hectic schedules, meetings, sorts, oh and the list goes on…So, this now means we are looking for ways to supercharge our busy mornings, right?  My niece, Lucie, just graduated as a qualified nutritionist and she has me completely hooked on Chia Jam with my daily oatmeal bowl -who would have thought? Adding protein rich elements to our daily bowl of oats just supercharges our day. They are readily available and delicious creamy nut butters that come in many guises such as almond butter,  means it has never been so easy to add protein, fun and flavor to our breakfast routine.

So,  here area just a few of my oaty favorites to start the day –

  • Bircher Muesli (drizzled with Almond Butter and topped with fresh Berries and Chia and Flax Sprinkle),
  • Warm Oatmeal (with Chia Fig Jam and Fresh Figs) and…
  • Berry Granola Parfait (with Greek Yogurt and Honey)!

Old fashioned Oatmeal (porridge) is filling, hearty, gluten free and energizes you –  so, go get some and supercharge your day!

Judie the Irish Foodie