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!
Irish soda bread is a quick bread traditionally made on a cast iron griddle over an open fire, using what appear to be quite odd ingredients. When I was invited to participate in the Fire Fork Feast event in Nashville recently, organized by Over the Fire Cooking, I was excited to connect with my old school heritage style of cooking. There is no yeast in soda bread, with the leavening agent instead being a combination of bicarbonate soda and buttermilk so it’s ideal for camp fire style cooking. The result is a uniquely delicious and light bread that worked really well with the Guinness Oysters we served. I really loved cooking with Lodge Cast Iron ware and the Dutch oven makes this style of cooking easy and fun too (especially when you share the experience of cooking with friends and family…. and a big welcoming fire)! Here’s the recipe for you to try!
Below is a link to Lodge Cast Iron cookware – I just love cooking with this fabulous cookware.
Preheat the Dutch oven in the fire (charcoal briquettes should be white) and place briquettes on top of the lid Cut a circular piece of parchment paper to line the dutch oven and grease it lightly.
Meanwhile measure all the dry ingredients together and sift to incorporate as much air as possible.
Make a well in the center of the flour and add enough buttermilk and melted butter to get an easily handled soft dough.
Knead very lightly and form into a circle then make a cross in the center using a knife and place on the parchment paper.
Using the Lodge Cast Iron lid lifter remove the lid and set the bread inside the dutch oven pot. Using the Cast Iron Lid lifter replace the lid and add heated briquettes on top before setting in the open fire.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until the bread is baked.
Remove the bread from the Dutch Oven and slice and serve warm with butter.To test, gently tap bottom of bannock (bread is ready when it sounds hollow).
Guinness Oysters (photo credit over the fire cooking)
This past weekend I attended the Fire Fork Feast event in Nashville, Tennessee and so enjoyed the experience. The event was organized my my dear friend and founder of ‘Over the fire cooking’ with an outstanding following of 453,000 on his Instagram! Way to go Derek!! It was so much fun cooking over the fire with so many amazing chefs on the picturesque Wedge Oak Farm in Nashville, Tennessee. OK, so the weather was kinda chilly but it was warm by the fire…and the food was incredible. What a great idea!
I especially enjoyed cooking with Lodge Cast Iron cookware and in my next blog I am going to share my recipe for cooking soda bread over an open fire using a dutch oven.
My main dish for this really inventive festival was Guinness oysters (a butter made with Guinness reduction, herbs and garlic topped with Parmesan cheese)… Pretty yum…!!
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!
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/
Happy New Year 2018! Wishing all my friends and followers good health and Prosperity with Irish Savoy Cabbage Greens and Bacon…a true Irish favorite!
In the South it’s a tradition to enjoy collard greens as part of a New Years tradition (cooked in a smoked ham hock bone and served with black eyed peas and cornbread). The greens are symbolic of paper money and bring good luck and wealth for the upcoming year, whilst the black eyed peas represent the coins… so now you know!
So we wanted to share a new year suggestion for you with some Irish style crispy cabbage and wishing you a year like no other!
Bacon with Crispy Cabbage and Mustard Sauce
3 lbs cured loin of bacon
2 bay leaves
1 tsp peppercorns
1 stick of celery (chopped)
1 large onion (cut in quarters)
1 carrot (chopped)
(for the cabbage)
1 large green savoy cabbage (hard core removed and thinly sliced)
3 Tbsp of butter
2 Tbsp water
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
(for the mustard sauce)
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup reserved cooking liquid
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
How to make it
Put the bacon in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, celery, and carrot. Bring to the boil and then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a low simmer for 20 minutes per pound plus an additional 30 minutes.
Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid for the sauce.
To make the mustard sauce melt the butter and add the flour cooking for a minute and then whisk in the reserved cooking liquid, heavy whipping cream, mustard and salt and pepper.
To make the cabbage melt the butter in a large skillet and then add the cabbage tossing with tongs until it’s bright and fragrant. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of water over the cabbage to wilt slightly but still remaining crispy and bright.
To serve slice the bacon and drizzle with a little mustard sauce and top with crispy cabbage.
Enjoy, and have a peaceful and prosperous new year!
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 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
Preheat the grill to medium high.
Caramelize the onion in a little canola or grape seed oil for a few minutes to soften. Set aside and cool.
Break up the sirloin and sprinkle with the salt and pepper, garlic powder and stir in the caramelized cooled onions..
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).
Gently knead the butter in to the burger and then divide in to 4 patties.
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.
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!
The last time the Atlanta Falcons were in the Superbowl, our eldest son was a babe in arms, and today he’s getting ready for college…so, it’s been a looong time y’all!
So, we are celebrating, whatever happens, but rooting for an Atlanta win with some really good food in the shape of hot wings marinated and glazed with my secret Irish beer and garlic hot sauce (well, secret, but recipe is below….just for you!)
So, Rise Up Atlanta, and enjoy!
Hot Wings (Rise Up Atlanta Wings)
(for the marinade)
3 Lbs of chicken drumsticks and wings
1 bottle of Harp Irish Beer (12 oz)
3 cloves of Garlic
1 Tbsp freshly grated stem ginger
1/3 cup hot sriracha chile sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup soy sauce
(for the glaze)
¼ cup honey
¼ cup spring onions (thinly sliced)
1 Tbsp fresh chili (finely chopped for garnish)
How to make them
Marinade the wings in the beer, garlic, ginger, sriracha, lemon juice, olive oil and soy sauce for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Remove the chicken from the marinade (and reserve).
For a crispier skin sear the chicken meat side down for a few minutes first in a skillet to help render the fat and then transfer with tongs to a large roasting pan for about 12 minutes.
While the wings are in the oven transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and reduce it by at least 50 per cent. Whisk in the honey and half of the spring onions.
Remove the wings from the roasting pan and transfer to a warm platter. Toss the wings in the glaze and sprinkle over the reserved spring onions and fresh chili.
Certain smells and flavors conjure up the essence of Christmas! Just like the aromas of the spices baking in the oven of my favorite Gingerbread Scones. Gingerbread is an Old World recipe that has somehow become synonymous with the Christmas Season around the world including both Ireland and America. These Gingerbread Scones are perfect for holiday brunch are always a hit especially when served with Lemon Curd and Fresh Whipped Cream. Enjoy the season and the spices of Christmas.. It’s the time!
Gingerbread Scones with Clotted Lemon Cream
Gingerbread scone ingredients (makes ½ dozen):
1 lb. (4 cups) self-rising flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 oz. (¼ cup) dark brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground powdered ginger
½ tsp. nutmeg
¾ tsp. cinnamon
6 oz. (¾ cup) butter (cold and cut into small pieces)
1 egg (beaten)
4 fl. oz. (½ cup) buttermilk
2 fl. oz. (¼ cup) molasses
egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water or milk)
How to make them:
Preheat your oven to 425° F.
Sift the flour with the baking powder then combine the remaining dry ingredients together in a food processor or a large mixing bowl.
Cut the cold butter into the mixed dry ingredients then rub the mixture together with your fingertips or add them slowly to a food processor to form a breadcrumb-like texture.
Beat the buttermilk, egg, and molasses together in a small bowl and combine with the dry ingredients, mixing well.
Turn the resulting dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead the dough a few times and then roll it out with a lightly floured rolling pin until it’s about ¾” thick.
Cut the scones out of the flattened dough using a 1” biscuit cutter.
Brush dough scones with egg wash and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake 12–15 minutes until well risen and golden brown on top, turning the baking tray halfway through baking time to ensure even baking.
Best served warm. Serve sliced in half and slathered with clotted cream.
In celebration of my return to Georgia after spending 5 weeks in Ireland leading 3 very fun filled tours, it’s time to make dessert! Summer has arrived here in Georgia with the harvest of fragrant juicy peaches, so, its time to make one of the South’s most beloved desserts, namely Peach Cobbler. When fruits are in season, no frills desserts that accentuate the flavor and texture are the way to go! Our ‘go to’ fruit dessert growing up in Ireland is always a crumble topping made with oats, and in this case, a transition to a cobbler from a crumble makes perfect sense and achieves the same delicious goal of warm luscious fruit textures with a perfect crumbly paring, and oh, don’t forget the ice cream.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and savor each summer day before it’s gone!
(for the peach filling)
8-10 medium size peaches
1 vanilla pod (scraped)
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter
(for the topping)
1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 ½ oz unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter (cold)
¼ cup boiling water
2 Tbsp milk
How to make it
To make the peach filling toss the peaches with the sugar, cornstarch and vanilla seeds. Melt 1 Tbsp of unsalted butter in the pan and add the peach mixture and cook for 6-7 minutes until the peaches begin to break down but are still firm. Add the lemon juice and honey and chill.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
To make the cobbler sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using your finger tips or food processor blend in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the boiling water and milk.
To assemble the cobblers grease 6 small dishes or one 8’ pan with butter. Spoon in the peach filling and then add the topping by dropping spoonfuls of the batter on top of the peaches.
Bake for 25 minutes until the topping is golden brown and serve with ice-cream.