A tale of two ladies – Juliet & Helen

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!

Judie the Irish foodie

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Irish Soda Bread Cooked Over the Fire

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.

http://www.lodgemfg.com/

Soda bread bannock ingredients:

  • 1 lb. (4 cups)  all purpose lour (sifted)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda (sifted)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 16 fl. oz.  (2 cups) buttermilk
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 Tbsp. Irish butter (melted)

How to make it:

  1. 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.
  2. Meanwhile measure all the dry ingredients together and sift to incorporate as much air as possible.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour and add enough buttermilk and melted butter to get an easily handled soft dough.
  4. Knead very lightly and form into a circle then make a cross in the center using a knife and place on the parchment paper.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until the bread is baked.
  7. 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).

Enjoy!

Judith the Irish foodie

Fire Flame Cooked Guinness Oysters

Oysters cooked over fire

Fire Fork Feast Guinness Oysters

I had no idea how many foodies out there love to eat Oysters!  So, here’s the recipe for those of you who have written in to request that I share my recipe and others who attended the Fire Fork Feast event in Nashville over the weekend.

Reducing the Guinness for me was the key to amazing flavor and of course in the words of Derek Wolf, founder of Over the Fire Cooking, “fire is an ingredient”  with the smokey flavor enhancing this sensational dish. I recommend equal parts butter to oyster… and if in doubt…where possible… always reach for Irish grass fed  Kerrygold but (it’s da bomb)!

Grilled Oysters on the Half Shell with Guinness Herb Butter

  • 2 dozen large fresh oysters on the half shell
  • ½ cup of Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
  • (for the Guinness butter)
  • 8 oz (1 cup) of salted Irish Kerrygold butter
  • 1 cup of Guinness stout (reduced to 4 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp shallots (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp thyme (finely)
  • 2 Tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

How to make them

  1. Prepare oysters using an oyster knife and shucking severing the muscle that is attaching the oyster to the shell. Leave the oyster in the shell that is more cupped shaped.
  2. In a small sauce pan simmer the Guinness, sugar and thyme until it has reduced by 75% (leaving 4 Tbsp of liquid) and cool.
  3. To make the Guinness butter sauté the shallot in 1 tbsp of vegetable oil for a few minutes to soften and then add the garlic at the end and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Whip the room temperature butter by hand or with electric whisk and add the cooled reduced Guinness, parsley, shallots and garlic, salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat the fire or grill to 400-475 degrees F.
  6. Arrange the oysters in a single layer on a grill and spoon 2 tsp of the butter mixture into each oyster shell and then top with finely grated Dubliner Irish Cheese. Grill uncovered for 6-7 minutes until the butter is sizzling and the oyster is puffed up.
  7. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.

Judie the Irish foodie

Mocha Meringue Nests for Easter Sunday

Easter Desserts

Mocha Meringues

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!

Here it is……

Mocha Meringue Nests

( makes 12 nests)

  • 4 egg whites (room temperature)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp extra fine sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp quality cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp chocolate infused balsamic vinegar (or quality balsamic)
  • 1tsp of coffee essence (or freeze dried coffee dissolved in boiling water)
  • (for the topping)
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream (1 cup whipped)
  • 2 tsp extra fine sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of grated dark chocolate eggs to fill the nests
  • coffee balsamic (reduced)

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Line and grease a baking sheet with parchment wax paper.
  3. In electric mixer beat egg whites and salt until they are white and foamy. Slowly incorporate sugar one teaspoon at a time.   Blend in the cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, coffee essence and cocoa powder.
  4. Pipe the meringue in a circular round mounds with an indent in the middle to form a nest shape on to a lined baking sheet, building up the edges a little higher than the middle.
  5. Set meringue in the preheated oven and then immediately turn the temperature down to 250 degrees and bake for 30- 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the meringue to dry out as the oven cools.
  6. Decorate the nests by whipping the fresh cream and sugar until soft peaks appear.
  7. Place some eggs in the nest and sprinkle over grated chocolate.

Happy Easter!

Judie the Irish Foodie

Go Green for March

Irish Kale Salad Recipe

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

 Ingredients:

  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. To serve toss the kale in the warm vinaigrette with the bacon.
  5. Serve right away and top each salad plate with a small handful of friend shallots and enjoy!

Judie the Irish Foodie

 

Valentine’s Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Poetry

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

A valentine’s dessert to remember

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

(makes 6)

  • (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

  1. Place 2 Tbsp of water in to a small bowl and sprinkle over gelatin. Let it stand for 5 minutes until the gelatin softens.
  2. 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.
  3. Strain the cream mixture through a sieve and add the buttermilk and remaining cream.
  4. Divide in to molds and chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Judie the Irish Foodie,

in love…

Bacon and Crispy Cabbage with Mustard Sauce

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

  1. 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.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid for the sauce.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Judie the Irish foodie

 

Southern Greens Thanksgiving Salad

Collards Greens Salad

Thanksgiving Salad

Collard Greens are are a staple thing if you have grown up in the American South, but they get a little bit of a bad wrap…but I want to change your mind! Growing up in Ireland I naturally gravitate to Kale and Cabbage for my Winter Greens, and find some similarities to Southern traditions, so, hey let’s combine the best of both worlds!

The leaves of Collards are hearty and spicy with tough stems, and they make delicious salads. They can stand up to lots of strong flavors such as garlic and do not wilt like other greens when dressed with vinaigrette, which is a huge plus when it’s time to plate the salad.  In fact, if anything, collards do best when they have been resting in a vinaigrette and have given time to break down the leaves and absorb the flavors.

This is the best time of year to enjoy Collards when they have tender and younger leaves because they do tend to be tough when the leaves are mature.  Our family are big fans of marinating our collards and this salad will be gracing our Thanksgiving table this Thursday…can’t wait!

Wishing all my friends and followers a very happy Thanksgiving!

Collards and Power Greens with Roasted Sweet Potato and Seed Brittle

2 medium Sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)

2 Tbsp Olive oil

4 cups Collard Greens (hard stalks removed/thinly sliced in ribbons)

4 cups Power Greens (Baby Spinach, Baby Kale)

½ cup dried cranberries

(for the seed brittle)

2 Tbsp Pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp Sunflower seeds

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

1 tsp Irish Kerrygold butter (melted)

1 1/2 Tbsp raw honey

Pinch of kosher salt

(Garlic Vinaigrette)

3 Tbsp cider vinegar

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

1 Tbsp course Dijon Mustard

2 tsp honey

½ cup of Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper

How to make it

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the sweet potatoes in olive oil and bake for 15 minutes until they begin to brown on the edges.  Remove from the oven and cool.
  2. To make the vinaigrette whisk the apple cider vinegar, garlic, mustard and honey and then slowly incorporate the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To make the harvest seed crunch preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the melted butter and honey together.  On a parchment lined baking sheet toss the seeds with the butter and raw honey.  Toast the seeds for 10-12 minutes and then stir and bake for a further few minutes until they are golden brown and aromatic. Remove from the oven and allow seeds to cool completely.
  4. To shred the Collards greens remove the hard stalk in the center and then roll in a cigar shape and slice in to ribbons.
  5. Toss the shredded greens in about ½ cup of the vinaigrette and allow marinating and softening the greens for about 10 minutes. Fold in the power greens, cherries, additional vinaigrette and season with a little more kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve the salad break up the seed brittle and sprinkle over the top of the greens.

Judie the Irish Foodie

Last of the Summer Lime

Zesty and Creamy Pie

Last of the Summer Lime

I must admit I’ve always been a sucker for a good Key Lime Pie!  Our son surprised us and came home from college yesterday, and it was so good to see him. As ever, he brought a few of his college friends with him, and so, I decided to bake a Key Lime Pie for us to share the joy – and why not?!

Key Limes are harvested in Florida from June to September and I wanted to make one last pie as a kitchen farewell to the summer season. Key Limes are higher in acidity and have a stronger Aroma than Persian Limes. They are also smaller, harder work to grow, harvest and juice, but worth it, right? Just like the name suggests, Key Limes were grown commercially in Southern Florida and the Florida Keys until the 1926 hurricane wiped out the citrus groves. Then the growers replaced the groves with more Persian Limes trees as they were easier to grow but Key Limes are said to be making more of a come back as consumer demand grows for a zestier punch. I used British style Digestive cookies (found in the international section of American supermarkets) and they are so much more superior to Graham Crackers!  Give them a go…. you wont be disappointed!

Enjoy the end of the season harvest as we begin the new!

Key Lime Pie

(for the base)

20 British Style Digestive biscuits (or 2 cups of crushed graham crackers)

4 oz Kerrygold Irish  butter (1 stick)

3 Tbsp sugar

(for the custard filling)

3 egg  yolks

1 Tbsp of lime zest

1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk

1 pound of key limes (2/3 cups juice)

(Whipped cream)

6 oz heavy whipping cream (3/4 cup)

1 Tbsp fine granulated sugar

How to make it

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter and stir in to the crushed graham crackers and sugar.
  3. Transfer the cookie crumb mixture in to the base of a 9 inch pie plate using your fingers to pat down to make a crust, shaping it up the edges of the dish.
  4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and allow cooling.
  5. To make the filling whisk the egg yolks and lime zest together in an electric mixer until it begins to thicken slightly. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk beating for 3-4 minutes and then whisk in the lime juice until everything is smooth and fully incorporated.
  6. Pour mixture in to pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the pie from the oven and cool and then store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
  8. To serve whip the heavy whipping cream and sugar and spoon or pipe on the pie.

Judith the Irish Foodie

A touch of green! – Salsa Verde Flank Steak

Fresh and Easy Recipe

Grilling Out

We have really been enjoying Salsa Verde with our Grilled Steak this summer, and thought it was time to share this magical touch of green!  This Mexican style Salsa Verde uses green Tomatilios (not to be confused with green tomatoes). These fruits are wonderful, however, the skins can be a little tough so they need to be blanched or roasted before adding to the salsa Verde…little tip!

The recipe can be made chunky style (chopping all the ingredients by hand) or smooth by using the food processor or Vitamix to blend. Either way, it’s really fresh and delicious, and a good way to enjoy the last few weeks’ of grilling season.  Adding just a touch of Kerrygold Garlic and Herb butter to the resting flank steaks adds to the love (making this an Irish Mexican style recipe).  As always Enjoy!

Flank Steak with Salsa Verde (Mexican Style influence)

(recipe serves 4 people)

(for the steak)

  • 1 ½ to 2 Lbs Flank Steak (room temperature)
  • Salt and pepper and olive oil
  • 1oz kerrygold garlic and herb butter
  • (for the salsa verde)
  • 1 Lb (about 5) tomatillos (husked and washed)
  • 2-3 Serrano peppers or jalepeno peppers
  • ½ small onion (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to make it

  1. Preheat the grill to 400 degrees F. Season the room temperature flank steak with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Cook the steaks for about 4-5 minutes on each side for medium cooked and juicy and a few minutes longer for well done (depending on the thickness of the meat).
  2. While the meat is cooking make the salsa. Place the tomatillos in a small saucepan with just enough water to cover them and gently simmer for 5 minutes just to soften.  Remove from the heat and place in an ice bath.
  3. In a food processor add the tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic, cumin, lime and salt and pepper and pulse until smooth.
  4. Remove the steak from the grill and place on a platter to rest for 6-7 minutes. Spread the Kerrygold butter on the steak while it is resting.Slice the steak against the grain at an angle and then spoon over the Salsa Verde.

Judie the Irish foodie