Tis’ the season for festive cocktails and holiday cheer! Oh yes! – This year we got to bring groups to visit the Jameson’s Whiskey distillery in Middleton, Cork, and whilst there I absolutely fell in love the simple mix of Ginger Beer and Whiskey we were served at the distillery bar, and it made me think of just how fun cocktails can be!
My catering company, Shamrock and Peach Foods, will be serving a fun new Irish styled cocktail that I came up with this year, namely a Cranberry Whiskey Fizz ,at upcoming Christmas events, and I can’t wait to hear the reaction. The cranberry base can be made a few days in advance and stored in the refrigerator, so no last minute scrambling is necessary, and your party guests will love it. It’s very light, totally refreshing and embodies all the flavors of what I consider to be Festive, merry and bright, – and I wanted so much to share it with my faithful blog followers!
So, here’s the recipe and hope you enjoy!
Spiced Cranberry – Whiskey Fizz with Rosemary
5 oz Jameson’s Irish whiskey
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp Spiced Cranberry Syrup
Club Soda (enough to fill up the glass)
(for the spiced cranberry syrup)
1 cup of cranberries
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 rosemary stem
½ inch of sliced Ginger root
(for the garnish)
Rosemary, Cranberries, lime curl
How to make it
To make the Spiced Cranberry syrup place the sugar, water, cranberries, ginger root, rosemary and cinnamon stick in a saucepan and simmer together for 7-8 minutes. Cover and allow to sit overnight and strain before using.
To serve fill a glass with ice and add the whiskey, lime juice, cranberry syrup and top with club soda.
Stir together and then garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a few cranberries.
It may seem as if the holiday of Halloween is a very American tradition with it’s trick and treater’s and all the candy inspired pageantry, however, it may surprise you to know that in actual fact Halloween began in Ireland. Yes, the origins of the holiday is the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated over 3,000 years ago. Today however, Halloween is similar in Ireland as it is celebrated in America – It’s a time to gather family and friends together for some community fun, and of course eating together.
Growing up in Armagh, also known as the Orchard county of Ireland, my favorite ‘go-to-desserts‘ always involved apples. I was practically raised on apple tarts (pies) and crumbles, and so when I emigrated to the Southern US states over 20 years ago, I continued this tradition and just love all the wonderful American fall desserts, such as ‘Apple Dumplings‘.
An apple dumpling is a whole apple filled with brown sugar and a little butter wrapped up like a little present in pastry and baked in the oven. The dumpling is finished off with Candy Apple Sauce and please do not forget the vanilla ice cream!
It’s time to celebrate with apples!
Apple Dumplings(for the pastry)
2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
¼ tsp of salt
2/3 cups of shortening
6 to 8 Tbsp of ice water
(for the egg wash)
1 beaten egg and a little water
(for the apples)
6 medium size baking apples
3-4 Tbsp of brown sugar
2 Tbsp of butter
(for the candy apple sauce)
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 drop of red food coloring
How to make them
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To make the pastry combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and rub in the shortening until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Using a knife stir in the ice water until a dough is formed adding a little extra water if necessary. Form the dough in a rectangular shape disc with hands and then cut that in to 6 equal pieces to make it easier to roll out in to square shapes.
Core and peel the apples and place each one in the center of prepared pastry. Spoon a little butter and brown sugar inside the center of each apple. Brush the inside edges of the pastry with a little water, and pull up to the center to completely cover the apple like a little package. Brush the outside of the dumpling with egg wash.
Grease a medium size baking dish and set the dumplings gently in to the pan. Place the dumplings in the oven and bake them for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are soft.
While the apples are baking prepare the sauce by boiling together the water, sugar, spices and a little food coloring and then whisking in the butter.
To serve place the apple dumpling in the center of a dish and pour of the sauce. Best enjoyed with a spoonful of vanilla ice-cream.
Welcome Spring, the pastel colors, the budding of flowers and that feeling of renewal. My family always baked meringue nests for our table on Easter Sunday and hot cross buns on good Friday and its been some of the many traditions I have continued in Georgia and love to share with my family and friends. The meringues are actually more of a pavlova based recipe because I really like the crispy on the outside and crewy on the inside bite. The balsamic vinegar and coffee cuts some of the intense sweetness of the meringue and for me it’s a perfect ending to the Easter feast.
Hope you enjoy and have a go at making these easy and tasty treats!
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
½ cup of heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
2 Oreos (crumbled)
How to make it
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.
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.
In a separate bowl whip the cream until stiff peaks appear with the remaining ¼ cup of powdered sugar.
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.
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).
Spoon or pipe the resulting cream on top of the Oreo crumble base and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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.
Shamrock and Peach went crazy green at Crazy Love Coffee House last night in Roswell. The menu theme was all things green (some healthy recipes…. some fun recipes…. but everything that just tastes good in honor of the month of March and all things Irish). We had a full house with smiling faces, great coffee, conversations and Irish food. If you live in the Atlanta area, check out Crazy Love Coffee house and I can guarantee you’ll love it. Here’s the link to check out
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
To serve toss the kale in the warm vinaigrette with the bacon.
Serve right away and top each salad plate with a small handful of friend shallots and enjoy!
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.
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)
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)
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/