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

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

Irish Styled Trout with Oat Crumble, Beetroot and Spinach

 News flash! Oat Crumble’s not just for fruit desserts…let me encourage you to try this delicious savory crumble on pan seared fish for an added textural crunch of Irish goodness…

Oats are in our Irish DNA because we have been eating them for centuries (before potatoes) as our essential daily diet – oatcakes, oatmeal, you name it! So, Irish people know oats, which are very much the rage again due to the health benefits, and they taste great! –  I then infused some reduced fig balsamic from Oli and Ve in to the beetroot for a delicious puree, added a little spinach and raw radish to finish the dish, and hey-ho, there you go…

Here’s the easy crumble recipe!

  • (Savory Oat Crumble)
  • ½ cup Walnuts (chopped)
  • ½ cup oats
  • 4 Tbsp salted Kerrygold butter
  • 1tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp dill
  • 1 Tbsp parsley

How to make it:

  1. In a food processor combine the walnuts and oats and pulse to combine.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium skillet and stir in the oats and walnuts and toast until they are a golden color.  Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest, dill and parsley.

…oh, and as spring advances let me remind you that we only have a few spaces left on our Irish tours this summer, so if you would like to see the emerald isle and experience the incredible food and culture there for yourself, please check out my tour dates before the opportunity slips away:

www.shamrockandpeach.com

Enjoy 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

Top 5 best things I ever ate in Ireland (series 1)

So, what is Modern Irish food anyway?  I am so glad to answer probably the most frequently asked questions as a professional cook living in the United States. This new blog series is going to explore just what Irish food and Chefs are cooking these days. Foodies and travel lovers who come with me each year on my Shamrock and Peach tours are literally ‘blown away’ by the Chef driven meal experiences planned each day.  It’s hard to nail down the top 5 things I have ever eaten in Ireland but I am going to attempt a series to share flavors that inspire me; and my tour guests were still raving about over breakfast the following morning and still prevalent in our memories.

My series one story begins when the talented Executive Chef Jonathan Keane of Wilde’s restaurant at Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo served this Fois Gras Trifle it was the talk of our table.  At first bite we were stunned by the combination of new flavors and tastes of Rhubarb, Passion Fruit, Bitter Cress and Tuna in a showstopping Foie Gras Trifle.  It’s not very often I am stunned with a culinary tasting pleasure and I want to say a huge thank you to Chef Jonathan Keane for surprising us.

We are returning to dine at Wilde’s this coming June 2016 on our Castles and Culture Irish tour and I cannot wait for my guests to experience another culinary food adventure.  Irish food created in Ireland by Irish Chefs cooking with local ingredients has to be tasted to be believed!

Joy in the Journey!

Judith the Irish foodie

Cooking up modern Irish food at the Lough Erne

This summer I got to spend 8 weeks in Ireland and I am returning to Georgia more inspired than ever to cook modern Irish food.  One of the highlights of my time in Ireland was spending time in the kitchens of the Lough Erne working with the Chefs.

Time after time my tour guests are literally blown away by the flavors, presentation and creativity of Irish cuisine.  Our modern Irish food highlights the main ingredient of each dish with subtle flavors such as “Breast of Duck with Beetroot, Carrot Cream, Wild Mushroom, Water Cress Puree, Orange Jelly and Duck and Orange reduction” or the “Vanilla Pana Cotta with textures of Apple”.

On my return to Ireland I caught up on the past episodes of the Bachelorette and I was so excited to see filming at the Lough Erne Resort.  For those of you who admit watching the show you may have enjoyed the entertaining golfing scene and the couples romantic spin in the golf cart?  It’s really exciting to see Ireland being promoted as a world class cultural and culinary destination.

My thanks to the Noel McMeel and the outstanding chefs at the Lough Erne who continually exceed expectations to guests dining at the resort and are a tribute to the Emerald’s Isles new food revolution.  It’s been a wonderful summer in Ireland but I am glad to be back home to Georgia with fresh legs for the Shamrock and Peach.

Judith the Irish foodie