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

Rise Up Atlanta! – Hot Wings, Irish Style…

superbowl-wings-2017

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

  1. Marinade the wings in the beer, garlic, ginger, sriracha, lemon juice, olive oil and soy sauce for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade (and reserve).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Judie, the Irish Foodie

Welcome first day of Spring! (St. Bridget Feast Day in Ireland)

The first day of Spring (Feb 1st) has been important in Ireland from the Neolithic period.  In Ireland the lighting of fires and candles invited the power of the sun in the period between the cold Winter months and Spring!  Can you believe it folks….? We’re almost there and I am ready for the warmth of the sun and the buds of Spring to appear.

The relics of St. Bridget and Columcille are said to be enclosed in Downpatrick in the same grave as our National St. Patrick.  I loved this photography shared on the Friends of Saint Patrick’s website today of a group of students from John Brown University in Missouri placing a St. Bridget’s cross on the grave.  The hanging of the St. Bridget cross on the front door is symbolically asking Gods protection on livestock and homes in many homes in rural Ireland.

Those of  you who have been on Shamrock and Peach tours are familiar with Dr. Tim Campbell and this quote he often shares around the grave side.

“In Downpatrick, three saints one grave do fill, Patrick, Bridget and Columcille”

Welcome Spring and and let the feasting of St. Bridget begin!

Judith 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

You’ll love Yule log! – A Celtic Christmas tradition

yule-log-2016-4

It’s Christmas again, and with each passing year we enjoy a tradition in our home that I carried form Ireland, namely, the traditional Yule log. Yes, our family loves this, and trust me when you try the combination of chocolate and fresh cream you will too..

…but what is a ‘Yule log’ I hear you ask?

The history of the Yule log cake stretches all the way back to Europe’s Iron Age, before the medieval era. Back then, Celtic peoples would gather to welcome the winter solstice at December’s end. People would feast to celebrate the days finally becoming longer, signaling the end of the winter season, and to cleanse the air of the previous year’s events and to usher in the spring, families would burn logs decorated with holly, pine cones or ivy. Wine and salt were also often used to anoint the logs. Once burned, the log’s ashes were valuable treasures said to have medicinal benefits and to guard against evil.

With the advent of Christianity, the Yule log tradition continued, albeit on a smaller scale. Families may have burned a log on Christmas Eve, but smaller hearths became the norm so huge logs were impractical. Those small hearths, however, were perfect for baking cakes. We don’t know who exactly made the first Yule log cake, but judging from the individual ingredients it could have been as early as the 1600s. Marzipan and meringue decorations, two of the most popular choices for Yule logs, appeared on many a medieval table. Sponge cake, which often constitutes the base of the log, is one of the oldest cakes still made today…however, I make mine with delicious chocolate and fresh cream, so – the tradition continues, but the way we like it!!

christmas-photo-2016-127-2

So, from our home to yours, may I wish you a very merry Christmas – filled with the joy of Advent, and the hope of tomorrow, just as those Celtic peoples did so long ago as they gazed into the yule log…

Judie the Irish Foodie,

X

 

 

Lemon Posset is making a come back!

Lemon and Raspberry Posset

The Posset makes a come back

This tangy lemon dessert is perfect for holiday entertaining and fantastic paired with ginger snaps or Irish butter shortbread.  During my Shamrock and Peach Tours last year I was pleasantly surprised to see ‘the Posset’ making a come back in many of our top Irish Chef’s menus.

…and what is a posset I hear you cry? The Posset goes as far back to medieval times where hot milk was flavored with honey, wine or ale. Today, the Posset has evolved to a dessert classic and is simply delicious with passion fruit and citrus. The lemon is perfect for holiday entertaining and I like to serve them in tiny shot glasses for the perfect small indulgent treat….just perfect!

Here is the recipe and what’s not to like about a recipe with 3 simple ingredients?

Lemon Posset:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 lemons (5 Tbsp plus zest)
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup berries (for garnish)

How to make it:

Finely grate the zest of lemons and then juice.

  1. In a small saucepan heat the cream, sugar and lemon zest to a gentle boil stirring for about 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  3. Allow the posset to cool slightly before pouring in to containers (4 Martini glasses or 8 shot glasses).
  4. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
  5. Before serving garnish with fresh berries.

Merry Christmas and I hope this graces some holiday parties this season!

Joy in the Journey

Judith the Irish foodie

When in Ireland, we brake for Sheep!

 

Speckled and Black Faced

Speckled and Black Faced

My father is an Irish sheep farmer, raising his sheep on the gentle grassy slopes of his County Armagh farm, however, he buys them when they are young lambs from the West of Ireland, just as his father did before him! I grew up going with him to the wild and untamed mountains of Connemara in County Galway, to buy lambs in the Spring time. The ewes and lambs came off the mountains, and once bought, my father transported them in trucks to our farm where those young sheep were in for a treat – used to scrub grass on the mountains, they would now graze on lush lowland grass fed by the Newry canal that runs through the farm. Every morning from March to December I would pull my bedroom curtains and gaze at those Connemara lambs, and loved to see how contented there were in those green Irish fields.

Irish Lambs

Black Faced Connemara Lamb

The distinctive Connemara lambs are hardy, with shorter legs, sturdy feet and a broad back to weather the mountainous terrain of the West of Ireland, and those wee lambs thrive on foraging their diet of grasses, wild flowers, wild herbs and heather. Another distinguishing mark is their heads that are generally a light black color or slightly speckled. Of course, there is an occasional black sheep, but they say there is always one in every family…right?

So, Ireland is full of sheep – millions of sheep roam through the fields and mountains there and are now very much a symbol of Ireland adorning postcards, bags, shirts, you name it! In fact, when we travel to the West of Ireland with Shamrock and Peach Tours our guests are always asking us to stop the coach to take photos of those cute we critters, so yes, we do brake for sheep!… see?

(oh, and photo credits to my husband Gary, who took these lovely sheep photos when in Ireland last year…)

Enjoy!

Judith the Irish foodie

 

Irish Boxty Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Summer Bites

Irish Style Summer Bites

Griddle Boxty BLT Bites with apple wood smoked bacon, Lettuce and Tomato

Summer tomatoes are now ripe on the vine for the picking, so now is the time to enjoy them. Inspired by attending the ‘Attack of the Killer Tomato’ Festival in Atlanta last weekend, I am harvesting my own garden tomatoes and making all kinds of cool eats with them, including this one – Irish Griddle Boxty BLT bites.

There’s an old Irish saying that goes like this “Boxty in the griddle, Boxty in the pan, if you cannot make Boxty, you’ll never get a man“.  The recipe has come in very handy for me over the years and I hope you enjoy this recipe idea from the Shamrock and Peach cook book.  It’s a fun summer appetizer using a base of classic Irish Potato Bread or ‘Boxty’.  So, enjoy summer tomatoes while they last and are at their very best!  Here’s the idea…..

Boxty BLT bites ingredients (allow 3–4 per guest):

  • 24 potato bread rounds
  • 12 roasted red tomato halves (cut in half)
  • 1 bunch Arugula leaves (stems removed)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper (to season)
  • 8 slices thick cut smoked bacon (cooked and cut into 3 pieces)
  • 2 fl. oz. (¼ cup) mayonnaise

Roasted red tomatoes ingredients:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes (cut lengthwise)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme)
  • 1 Tbsp. good quality olive oil
  • ½ tsp. sugar (to sprinkle)

How to make them:

  1. Preheat oven to 250° F.
  2. Toss tomatoes in olive oil and season well with sea salt, pepper, sugar, and herbs. Place tomatoes face-side up on a baking pan and slowly roast for 1½–2 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  3. Follow the instructions for classic potato cheese bread.
  4. Roll out to ¼” depth with a floured rolling pin and cut with a 1” biscuit cutter.
  5. Fry bacon in a large heavy-based skillet until crispy and set aside on a warmed plate.
  6. Sprinkle a little flour on griddle and cook Boxty bread bites in small batches on medium heat for 3–4 minutes on each side until the crust is golden brown.
  7. To assemble bites, begin by slicing bacon into thirds and dressing Arugula with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place a small dollop of mayonnaise on top of the Boxty bread, followed by the Arugula leaves, smoked bacon, and the sliced roasted tomatoes.

Enjoy the fruits of summer!

Judith the Irish foodie

How Brexit is good news

euro-pound-dollar

During the climax of the summer travel season, Britain has chosen to leave the European Union through a popular vote known as Brexit. While markets are scrambled abroad, many immediate effects of Brexit are taking effect, namely the exchange rate between the American dollar and the British pound. With the pound being recorded at its lowest point in 30 years, the dollar is triumphing, providing American travelers noticeable discount on prices paid throughout Britain.

In simple terms, Americans visiting Northern Ireland and Scotland can truly gain a lot more bang for their buck, literally. The most noticeable ‘bang’ we are seeing is one that holds most Americans back from their dream vacations, air fare. Flight tickets from the US to Northern Ireland and Scotland are currently around the price range of $400-500 for a round-trip. This is understandably unheard of, due to the fact that just two or three years ago summer flights to Northern Ireland and Scotland were floating around the $1,800 range. So go on, the age-old burden of the expense of air travel has been relieved for you to live your dream, check off another item on the bucket list, and seek adventure, nothings holding you back now!

Please check out our website for more details on tours to Northern Ireland and Scotland

www.shamrockandpeach.com

Enjoy your summer!

-Judie the Irish foodie

Irish tours begin – sun and fun for all!

Summer is here at last, and my tours of Ireland have begun! After months of careful preparation, phone calls, emails, events and more the time has finally arrived, and I could not be more excited to share the beauty of Ireland with another group of my wonderful guests.

My first tour this year was particularly blessed with majestic weather, which made the beauty of the land shine all the more and I really believe some of my guests were deeply impacted by the landscape and history. Few places are so beautiful when the sun shines, believe me! -I just love to see the smiles on the faces of people when we turn a corner and a mountain vista opens up, or a castle comes into view. This is why I do what i do…

more to come…hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Judith…somewhere of Paddy’s green Irish shore!