The Voice of the Irish – Calling Saint Patrick Home

Saul's Church

The site of the original barn that was given to Patrick by the Irish Chieftain

With only a few days until St. Patrick’s Day I wanted to follow up on my story from last week about the journey of our patron saint, as this is such a great story, and worth telling, so here we go…

When Patrick returned to Ireland, the land of his previous slavery, he landed just outside Downpatrick, in County Down where he promptly converted a local chieftain to to Christianity. The chieftain was so impressed that he donated a barn for St. Patrick to live and worship in and this primitive building became the very first church in Ireland in the early 5th century.

In 1932, Saul’s church was then built on the very same spot as the original barn to commemorate the first place of worship established by St. Patrick in Ireland. It’s a very special place to visit and in the words of Dr. Tim Campbell who guides our tour groups to the site “it’s a thin place” and a stillness that encapsulates a sense of wonder. For those of you who have visited here with me you can recall these feelings and if you have not visited I encourage you to put it on your bucket list. Still a few spots open on my two Legendary Irish tours this summer…

Here are the dates:

June 17th to 23rd $2495 per person sharing (6 nights and 7 days)

June 30th to 7th $2895 per person sharing (7 nights and 8 days)

https://shamrockandpeach.com/legendary-ireland-tour/

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Judith  (Shamrock and Peach)

 

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A Voice from the Sea – Ireland is calling

St. Patrick's Call to Ireland

“the voice of the Irish” calling

The Irish sea was a place of terror for young Patrick who had been violently ripped from his family in ancient Roman Britannia by a band of Irish pirates and hauled off to a place that the Romans called Hibernia (meaning – the land of perceptual winter). He worked as a slave in what is now County Antrim in Northern Ireland, but hope was not lost. Through a God inspired dream, Patrick had seen a boat, and his possible means of escape from his years as a slave to Miliucc, the Celtic King of Antrim. This gave Patrick the courage to get up, leave his place of bondage and run away in hope of finding this sought after ‘dream boat’, which he eventually did after many dangerous days of travel through the ancient oak forests of Ireland.

Arriving at the south coast, after a long and difficult journey, Patrick boarded a ship, after convincing the captain to take him with them, and sails to Gaul – modern day France. Once in Gaul, he was back in familiar Roman ground and after sometime managed to find his way back to Britain and his northern home after many years of enslavement and hardship.

For many, this might mark the end of a fateful journey, but for Patrick, it was only the beginning as he encountered another dream where he was called back to the very people who had enslaved him. The story goes that one  night he dreamt that he was visited by an angel called Victorious, holding “countless letters” who hands over the mail to Patrick. As the letter is opened Patrick is stabbed in the heart by a voice near the Western Sea crying “We beg you to come and walk among us once more”. The voice of the Irish, fate was calling…

Our next adventures take us to Downpatrick and the landing of our patron saint back in Ireland that would see him transform from captor to apostle. Stay tuned!

Shamrock and Peach

Judith

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

Crazy Green at Crazy Love

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

https://www.crazylove.coffee/

In keeping with all things green and of Ireland here’s a blessing…

“May green be the grass that you walk on

May blue be the skies above you

May pure be the joys that surround you

May true be the hearts that love you”

Judie the Irish Foodie

Irish Heritage Leek and Potato Soup

Classic Irish Soup Recipe

Heartwarming Irish Potato and Leek Soup

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

(serves 4-6)

  • 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:

  1. In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the leeks and onions allowing them to “sweat” until they are fragrant.
  2. Add the stock and potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  3. 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.
  4. Allow the soup to cool slightly before using an emulsion blender to smooth.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Judith the Irish foodie

 

 

 

Discovering the real St Patrick…

Shamrock and Patrick-1

St. Patrick’s statue in Armagh, and a shamrock on the Antrim coast…

What does St. Patrick’s day mean to you? Hearty beers and beef? How about shamrocks and green top hats? Or the river running through the city dyed bright green? Or just a fun night out with great friends? Well, the thing is that St. Patrick actually means a lot of things to different people, and I say…happy days!  After all, if Irish culture can be celebrated like this once a year with folks having fun and enjoying themselves, then why not? – but what about ‘ol Saint Paddy himself?

Most people don’t think about it, but St. Pat was quite a man. A trailblazer, a peacemaker, a kingmaker, a leader, a pastor, a father figure, a statesman, a writer and the stuff of legends, even in his own lifetime. He spent a lot of his time and founded his first church at Saul in County Down in the north of Ireland, and to this very spot I bring groups of guests each year on my tours to hear about Patrick’s inspiring story.  – We all squeeze into this wonderful place that was founded in the 5th century and marvel at the history and the legend. – How could one man achieve so much and now be celebrated the world over?

The Saul church - St. Patrick's first church founded in the 5th century

The Saul church – St. Patrick’s first church founded in the 5th century

County Down and Saint Patrick’s country is so inspiring that we actually always spend a day in this region whilst on the Shamrock and Peach Irish Tour – and why not? apart from the eye-opening and inspiring history around every corner, it’s also a very beautiful place with the Mourne Mountains sweeping down to the sea – a place that has to be seen to be believed.

So, take a moment this March 17th, and think of the man himself – then consider joining me on one of our tours this summer and I’ll introduce you to him personally! – We will walk in his footsteps, look out to sea and dream…let’s go!

click on this link to know more…

www.shamrockandpeach.com

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all!
Judie the Irish Foodie XX

The most famous Irish dish for St. Patrick’s day?

Irish Spring Lamb for St. Pats

Irish Spring Lamb for St. Pats…delicious the wide world over!

Every year people wonder what to make for Saint Patrick’s Day. The corned beef, whilst good if prepared correctly, might seem the obvious choice to take home the coveted ‘most famous Irish dish‘ award, but world wide, the prize actually goes to one of our Irish favorites that does not feature beef, but showcases lamb. Spring lamb. (lamb you said?)

Yes, turns out that Irish stew made with spring lamb is very popular in Ireland, the UK, Europe wide and through the other parts of the Irish diaspora, such as in New Zealand and Australia, but not so much in America, which is a pity. However, let me encourage you to give this a try this week and I know you will be a convert!

Go on…be brave and try it, you won’t regret it, and yes, it IS the most popular Irish dish world wide. Here is my take on it, seasoned with rosemary sea salt to prefect the dish. Enjoy!

Irish Spring Lamb Stew ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 2 lbs. of gigot or shoulder lamb chops (bone-in)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 lbs. (about 6 medium potatoes) (peeled and diced in to 1” chunks)
  • 2  medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 4 medium carrots (peeled and cut in to 1 ½’ chunks)
  • 1 pint (2 cups) water

Condiments:

  •  Rosemary Salt (1 tbsp. sea salt to 1 tsp. finely chopped Rosemary)
  •  Parsley (finely chopped)
  •  Olive oil (to drizzle)

 

How to make it:

  1. Peel and dice the potatoes and carrots. Place in a bowl of cold, salted water.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Trim off any visible fat from the lamb chops.
  4. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and coat the chops in flour mixture.
  5. Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet and braise the chops in small batches. When done, transfer the meat to the base of an ovenproof dish.
  6. Sauté the onions in the same skillet as used to braise the lamb for 3-4 minutes to soften and lightly caramelize.
  7. Transfer the onion and half of the potatoes on top of the meat.
  8. Cover and bake for 1 ½ hours.
  9. Add the rest of the potatoes and carrots. Simmer with the dish covered for an additional 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  10. To serve; remove the bones from the chops and stir the meat and vegetables together. Place in individual bowls and garnish with rosemary sea salt, chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.

Looking forward to celebrating St. Patrick’s with you…

Judie the Irish Foodie

Best thing I ever ate in Ireland (part 3)

Locally caught Seafood

Chef Danny Miller pulls out the stops…

No visit to County Down would be complete without stopping by Balloo House to eat some delicious locally caught seafood. This most memorable Roast Cod with Strangford Lough Shellfish and Comber Potatoes was one of the best dishes I ate in Ireland last year with my tour groups.  When you taste each perfectly prepared morsel it’s no surprise Chef Danny Miller won best Chef in Ireland back in 2010.

My American guests are always enchanted to eat in the fine dining restaurant of Balloo House, a coaching house with a 400 year old history.  Other prestigious endorsements also include the Michelin Guide, Georgina Campbell Guide, McKenna Guide and the AA Restaurant Guide.  Many thanks to Chef Danny Miller and I cannot wait to return this summer.

Only weeks away until March 17 it’s appropriate to play tribute to Co. Down where our Irish saint is buried and Strangford Lough – Shellfish is the best.

Judith the Irish foodie

St Paddy’s Artsy Kale Dip

Go Green with Kale

St Paddy’s Kale Artichoke Dip

It’s time to go green again and no better way to do it with seasonal antioxidant packed kale. Yup, this dip was been a huge hit on my Kerrygold Aprons Cooking Tour, and the stout whole grain mustard blends beautifully with the perfectly baked artichokes and kale. Artichokes and Kale, Artsy Kale, get it?….oh well.

The recipe also substitutes some of the mayonnaise for Greek style yogurt to slip in some more protein packed nutrition for celebratory munching. Of course, the Dubliner Irish Cheese with it’s natural crystals conjure flavors of Parmesan and Swiss, and totally melt in your mouth with ease. So, without further adieu please allow me to share my recipe and wish all my friends and followers a happy, healthy and fun St Paddy’s day!

Dubliner Kale and Artichoke Dip with Guinness Mustard

(serves 4)

 

  • 6 oz of Kale (1 bunch with the curly stems removed and roughly chopped)
  • 12 oz artichoke hearts (frozen or a canned drained/chopped)
  • 1/2 cups plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2 Tbsp whole grain Guinness Mustard
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups Kerrygold Dubliner Irish Cheese (grated)
  • 1 Tbsp Kerrygold Irish butter (room temperature)

 

How to make it

  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan.   Add the kale and blanch for 1 minute.  Strain the kale and place in a bath of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze out any excess water and set aside.
  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.
  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, pita chips or crackers.

Slainte to all!

Judie the Irish foodie

Ireland in a warm bowl

Winter comfort food

leek and Potato Soup (with Spring Onion Puree and Garlic and Garlic and Herb Dubliner Croutons)

This cold spell even in “Hotlanta” (Atlanta) is bringing me to the soup kitchen and conjuring up flavors from my Irish homeland. There are a few special soups that for me represent Ireland in a bowl and this recipe no doubt is high on my favorites list.

Truth be told,  I am a huge ‘soup person’,  and this one is creamy, flavorful and satisfying with a buttery spring onion puree topped with crunchy garlic & herb butter and Dubliner cheese croutons. Satisfying indeed on a cold night! – The amount of Irish butter in the initial sauté seems rather indulgent but I promise you it creates a magnificent taste and texture.

As in previous years, this week I am again heading to Florida with my sponsor (Kerrygold) for a St. Patrick’s day tour of Publix Aprons cooking schools –  and I’m so excited to get out there and meet folks, and share what’s great about Ireland!  If you live near Sarasota, Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee or Atlanta please check out the event page of my website and come and see me. -This soup is one of the yummy features on my very Irish menu just in time for St. Patrick’s day!

Leek and Potato Soup with Chive Puree and Kerrygold Garlic and herb croutons

(serves 4-6)

  • 4 oz Kerrygold 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 Kerrygold 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 butter
  • 1 oz Dubliner cheese (finely grated)

How to make it:

  1. In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter over low heat.  Add the leeks and onions allowing them to “sweat” until they are fragrant.
  2. Add the stock and potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  3. 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.
  4. Allow the soup to cool slightly before using an emulsion blender to smooth.
  5. 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 Kerrygold butter and slowly drizzle in to the puree to create froth.
  6. 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 Dubliner over croutons for 1 more minute to melt.
  7. 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.

Slainte and Happy St. Patrick’s day Y’all

Judith the Irish foodie