Celtic Culture on the isle of Mull

Sitting in a wee pub in Tobermory on the island of Mull, also know as the Western Isles of Scotland, I was transported back home to Ireland. With only 12 miles of water between Scotland and Ireland, the people of the narrow water are held together closely, not just by geography, but also by culture.  Our red headed bar tender was from Donegal in the North of Ireland and we were later entertained by a musician (also from Donegal) singing modern and  popular Irish songs to the early hours of the morning. The locals were only getting going around midnight when we left and we knew the craic (Gaelic word for a good time) was only getting going!

At the bar sat the fishermen, and we knew that the fish had to be good, – and it was. Our guests all said it was the best fish and chips they had ever tasted, with flaky meaty flesh and perfectly crispy batter as we enjoyed a farewell luncheon booked at Macgochans Pub , sitting, viewing the bay in Tobermory in idyllic surroundings.

The joys of Scotland – the other Gaelic land!

Take me back to Tobermory!

Judie the Irish foodie

Congratulations to Rory McIlroy and Erica

Built in 1228

800 years of history

Shamrock and Peach would like to congratulate Northern Irish Golfer Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll on their recent marriage and wedding at Ashford Castle, in Co. Mayo.  It’s just lovely to see a fellow countryman enjoy so much success and still maintain the Irish values of humility and generosity. I loved reading how the couple met in 2012 and did not date until 2015 and Rory appreciated the fact they were friends first before going out together.  The fairy tale wedding was this past weekend at the 800 year old Ashford Castle built by the Anglo-Norman de -Burgos.  The castle has had several owners since including the famous Guinness family.  The Castle is nestled in 350 acres of gardens and woodlands and the perfect setting for this grand affair.

Shamrock and Peach tours are gearing up to visiting the Castle staying at the Lodge at Ashford this June.  Here a few pictures from our stay last year!

Keep up the great work Rory and we will be raising a toast to you this June!

Joy in the Journey!

Judie the Irish foodie

Neeps and Tatties Patties (Burns Day Grub)

Veggie Burger with a Scottish twist

Burns Day Dinner

In honor of Burns Night, and the celebration of the famed Scottish poet, Robert Burns, may I present to you ‘Neeps and Tatties Patties’…

An authentic Burns Night Supper includes whisky, haggis, Neeps and Tatties (Potatoes and Turnips). However, my family are taking a different approach tonight and going with a ‘Veggie Burger’ with mashed turnip, sweet potato and oats; a really tasty and nutritious alternative to haggis!  I think even Rabbie himself would agree it’s a great substitution… so Cheers to you Rabbie (and we will be raising our glass tonight in your honor)

…and, let me say, there’s no substitution for Scotch ‘whisky’ so please, rest easy in your grave tonight… we get it…

Burns Night Dinner Jan 25 2017

Burns Night Celebrations

Here is the recipe….

Neep’s and Tattie’s Patties (Vegetable burgers with Oats, Turnips and Sweet Potatoes)

 

  • ¾ Lbs sweet potatoes (cut in half lengthwise)
  • ¾ lbs small turnips (cut in half lengthwise)
  • 1 cup quick oats (1 minute oats)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups of cooked black beans (mashed a little)
  • 1 large shallot (finely diced)
  • ½ cup mixed fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, chives)
  • 1 tsp natural sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • semolina flour (about ¼ cup to roll Patties)
  • Coconut oil (about 3 Tbsp to sauté)

How to make them

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place cut sweet potatoes and Rutabaga’s flesh side down.  Roast for about 35-40 minutes or until soft.  Set aside to cool and then remove the skin from flesh.
  2. To make the patties in a large bowl combine the sweet potatoes, rutabaga, cooked black beans, shallots, mixed herbs, salt, pepper, paprika, hot sauce and cumin.   Use a potato masher to evenly incorporate all the ingredients together.
  3. Process the large oats slightly in the food process and then add to the mixture stirring to combine and thicken the patties.
  4. Divide the mixture into 8 round balls and then flatten to create a disk shape. Dip each patty in to semolina flour.
  5. Add coconut oil to the pan and begin to cook the burgers in batches 3-4 minutes each side adding more oil as needed. The patties should have a brown crust.
  6. Serve warm and enjoy!

We still have a few spaces on our Historic Scotland Tour May 29th to June 4th 2017 ,please check out our website and send me an email…

http://www.shamrockandpeach.com

Judith@shamrockandpeach.com

Scottish hugs xxxx

Judith 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

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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

The best thing I ever ate in Ireland (number #1)

Dessert perfection!

Banana Praline Parfait

I am ending this ‘best thing I ever ate in Ireland’ series from my Shamrock and Peach Irish tours with a sweet note – ‘Banana Praline Parfait’.  The dessert was served at the Beechill Country House Hotel in Derry-Londonderry by Head Chef Ryan Burke.  I loved this dessert so much that I recreated it for my family yesterday for Easter Sunday.  So thanks to Chef Ryan for sharing his recipe and I cannot wait to dine again in June with some more guests from the US.

One of my favorite things about dining at the Beechill Country House is the quality of the vegetables, fruits and herbs that are grown in the walled in garden on site.  The garden has been restored to recreate what life would have been like 200 years ago.  Inspiration from the modern menu comes from a historic cook book written by ‘a lady’ by the name of Mrs Skipton (a previous owner of the Beechill). Some of the recipes in the historic cook book are most amusing given the time they were written and a fun buy on Amazon, especially after staying at the Beechill Country House and seeing the restored walled gardens for yourself.  After all it’s the power of great stories that make the best food memories!

Finally,  I hope to see some of you in Ireland to try some of these delicious dishes created by some of our best Irish Chefs.

Judith the Irish foodie

Banana Parfait-17

The Best thing I ever ate in Ireland (part 2)

Showstopping dessert

Warm Dark Chocolate Tart with Raspberry Sorbet

This week we are celebrating Valentines Day so my mind is twirling with Dark Chocolate and Raspberries and I was brought back to an Irish food memory.  In fact, one of our favorites was a showstopping Warm Dark Chocolate Tart with Raspberry Sorbet….super delicious!!

We always end our tours with dinner in the Saddle Room Restaurant at the Shelbourne Hotel and the results are always sweet.  Each dessert at the Shelbourne is presented like a piece of prized art work,  the chocolate tart is served warm topped with lightly toasted meringue and pairs beautifully with fresh raspberry coulis, raspberry sorbet and a fabulous sugar spun accent.  A little taste of heaven on a plate….

The Shelbourne Hotel itself has been an iconic landmark for over 100 years and it’s historic elegance lives up to it’s name, earning 5 Stars for good reason.  The dining room is described as having dark oak walls with rich splashes of gold and it is very elegant indeed.

Head Chef Garry Huges uses the finest Irish ingredients and he is my pick for this weeks best thing I ever ate in Ireland series.  Part 2 of a 5 part series, look out for part 3 next week.

Group Selfie on tour

Guests on the Shamrock and Peach Tours

Our Guests taking a group selfie (I am at the back of the coach causing trouble)

http://www.shamrockandpeach.com/

Our new website has lots of fun new pictures so please check it out…

Hope to see you in Ireland…

Judith the Irish foodie