Saturday, April 14, 2012
Today is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the world's most famous ship. April 14th, 1912, the end of innocence.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, I have researched a fabulous recipe from the first class menu that was served on board Titanic on that fateful day, and I present it to you to mark this solemn occasion as we think back to a time when extravagance was celebrated, exotic tastes were savored and class was a way of life.
I hope you have a go at trying this historic recipe out, and before you get too upset with me, my confession is that I have modernised some wording and weight measurements in order that we may understand it. They may not have used the word 'aurgula' for example, but at least you know what I mean in 21st century America!...apart from this, the recipe is authentic.
Dedicated to all those kitchen staff on the Titanic who perished, unknown and uncelebrated.
Ladies and gentlemen I give you....
Spring Asparagus and Sweet Pepper Arugula Salad with Champagne-Saffron Vinaigrette
(Sixth course, First Class menu served April 14th 1912. RMS Titanic)
• 1 lb slender spring asparagus (tough ends trimmed and roasted)
• ¼ sweet yellow pepper (roasted and finely diced)
• ¼ sweet red pepper (roasted and finely diced)
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
• Olive oil (to drizzle)
• 4 cups Arugula salad greens
• 1 ½ oz shaved Ivernia Irish cheese (or Parmesan)
• 4 Tbsp champagne vinegar
• 1 shallot (minced)
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• ¼ tsp saffron threads
• 1 Tbsp honey
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper
How to make it
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spread asparagus and peppers in a single layer on roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 8-10 minutes until crisp tender.
2. To make salad dressing soften the saffron by adding a tsp of boiling water and let it stand for a few minutes to soften. Whisk in the champagne vinegar, minced shallots, honey, mustard and finally add the olive oil in a slow steady drizzle. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In a large bowl combine the Arugula with enough vinaigrette to coat the greens.
4. To assemble the salad arrange in the Arugula in the center of each plate. Arrange the asparagus spears and the roasted red peppers. Finish with drizzling a little more vinaigrette over salad. Sprinkle over Ivernia shavings.
Judie the Irish Foodie!
(check back next week for a glimpse at 21st century Belfast - Titanic town is thriving!)
Oh, Please also check out the itinerary also for our upcoming 'Culture & Culinary' of Ireland, where we will visit the new Titanic museum in Belfast in the Docks where Titanic was built and explore the city of dreams. see attached, and let me know if you're interested!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Belfast in 1912 was a highly motivated, wealthy and industrious city on the cutting edge of technology and advancement. The status of the city was reflected in the many elegant Edwardian building projects that were springing up around the town, which make it such an interesting place to visit today, giving it an aire of elegance. The twentieth century though would prove to be tough on this Edwardian jewel of a city but after one hundred years it really has found it's place in the sun again.
So, in many ways the story of the Titanic is the story of Belfast, and of Northern Ireland. A piece and place of wonder in early times that went into a period of decline, but is emerging today as a major world attraction!
Today massive cruise ships pull into Belfast harbour every week, full of curious tourists who want to see this famous city, the birthplace of Titanic and of so any stories and culture, and all of this makes me so proud.
To mark the centenary I'm going to post three blogs - this one which looks to Belfast of the past. A second post where I will share an authentic and wonderful recipe that I recreated from the first class menu of the final day of the Titanic's voyage, and a final post giving you a glimpse into the breathtaking elegance of Belfast as it is today. So, there it is!...and if you would like to visit Belfast yourself this year, remember that I am leading a 'Culture and Culinary Tour' to Ireland this summer, created and facilitated by 'Specialized Tours' of New York, and we still have a few spots open so check out the link below:
So, check in with me later in the week for another fascinating installment and a free Titanic recipe!
Judie the Irish Foodie.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Growing up in Northern Ireland, our family always had Easter Sunday traditions. On Easter Sunday morning, as children we were allowed (at last!) to open our large chocolate Easter eggs that we had been glaring at with envious eyes all week. Those huge globes of chocolaty goodness are a tradition throughout the British Isles and Ireland, and if you stop by a British store, such as the wonderful little 'Corner Shop' on Marietta Square run by my friend Tina, or the equally delightful 'Taste of Britian' over in Norcross owned by my other great friend Edna....you will see what I mean!
I remember the 'Milk Tray' egg, and the 'Smarties' egg, and the 'Milky Way' egg (with the Milky Way kid on the front), and last but not least the 'Aero' egg. Yummy, yumm yumm in my tumm! Brings back wonderful memories, and if you've never been to Ireland or the UK at this time of year, or been to a British store, you've no idea what I'm talking about do you? Well, ok, check out this photo for a clue:
So, apart from chocolate eggs though...what is on your menu for Easter? Or perhaps you haven't thought about it? Well, here's a suggestion for you....
What about firing up the grill and trying some lamb? Yes, I know, many folks don't do lamb in America...but let me urge you to give it a try, especially at Easter. Here in Georgia we have had unseasonably warm weather. We simply skipped Winter it seems, Spring is more like Summer...and who knows what August will be like so I say we go outdoors this weekend and enjoy it!
Lamb is a flavorful, succulent meat choice and when cooked just right can be a talking point of any meal. This weekend it has added symbolic significance also as millions of Christians around the world celebrate Easter so, what could be more fitting? I just add some of my delicious homemade peach salsa for that Southern touch, and viola!
Happy Easter everyone!
Lamb ingredients (serves 6–8 people):
• 4–6 lbs. boneless leg of lamb (cut into 8 pieces)
• 6 fl. oz. (¾ cup) natural yogurt
• 2 fl. oz. (¼ cup) Dijon mustard
• juice and zest of 1 lime
• 2 rosemary sprigs (stems removed)
• 2 cloves of garlic
• ½ Vidalia onion
• 1” piece of root ginger (peeled)
• 1 medium red chili pepper (seeds removed)
• 1 tsp. kosher salt
• ½ tsp. ground black pepper
Mint drizzle ingredients:
• Bunch of mint (1½ cups with the stems removed)
• 2 tsp. sugar
• ½ tsp. kosher salt
• 3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
• 4 fl. oz. (½ cup) olive oil
How to make it:
1. In a food processor or blender mix all the marinade ingredients together to make a smooth paste.
2. Rub the resulting paste all over the cut portions of the lamb and marinade for 4–6 hours or overnight, covered in the refrigerator.
3. Preheat the grill to a high heat.
4. Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the remaining liquid.
5. Place the lamb on the grill and cook on both sides for the first few minutes to sear.
6. Turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook the lamb according to your preference, turning frequently. (The lamb is cooked medium to well after 30–40 minutes.)
7. While the lamb is cooking on the grill, prepare the mint drizzle by placing the mint leaves, sugar, vinegar and salt in a food processor. Pulse in the processor for a few seconds to form a roughly chopped paste, and then slowly blend in the olive oil.
8. Transfer the resulting liquid in to a small bowls and then set aside.
9. When the lamb is cooked according to taste, remove from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to settle.
10. To serve, place the lamb in the center of each serving plate then drizzle a little mint dressing onto the plate and spoon some over the meat.
11. Spoon some salsa onto the side of the plate and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Judie the Irish Foodie
(the chocolate egg gobbler!)
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Of course Rachel Ray and Gwyneth Paltrow beg to differ, claiming they did indeed pen their own books, but I personally think that was PR damage control. After all, who wants to buy a book that is a phoney? But, I need to give them the benefit of the doubt I suppose, perhaps they are different - but this article did strike a chord with me because I am a cookbook author who did indeed write her own book. My talented hubby and I made every dish, wrote every word, photographed every scene, created every graphic and spent three years of our life in what was our passion...that's time celebrities can ill afford between movie sets, TV shoots, make overs, Rodeo Drive shopping and fabulous dinners on the town...
Here's a snippet of the article in case you missed it:
"Many real-world cooks have wondered at the output of authors like Martha Stewart, Paula Deen and Jamie Oliver, who maintain cookbook production schedules that boggle the mind. Rachael Ray alone has published thousands of recipes in her cookbooks and magazine since 2005. How, you might ask, do they do it?
The answer: they don’t. The days when a celebrated chef might wait until the end of a distinguished career and spend years polishing the prose of the single volume that would represent his life’s work are gone. Recipes are product, and today’s successful cookbook authors are demons at providing it — usually, with the assistance of an army of writer-cooks.
“The team behind the face is invaluable,” said Wes Martin, a chef who has developed recipes for Ms. Ray and others. “How many times can one person invent a new quick pasta dish?”
Mr. Martin, and dozens of others like him, have a particular combination of cooking skills, ventriloquism and modesty that makes it possible not only to write in the voices of chefs, but to actually channel them as cooks.
“It’s like an out-of-body experience,” Mr. Martin said. “I know who I am as a chef, and I know who Rachael is, and those are two totally separate parts of my brain.”
Employing writers and recipe developers has long been routine; chefs, after all, have their own specialized skills, and writers are not expected to be wizards in the kitchen.
Ghostwriting is common among business leaders, sports figures and celebrities. But the domesticity and intimacy of cooking make readers want to believe that the food they make has been personally created and tested — or at least tasted — by the face on the cover. And that isn’t always the case, especially for restaurant chefs. "
So, what do you think?
Next time you pick up Rachel's books, just think..ok, ok, I'll get off my soap box now, but I just needed to say this as I know what it takes to create a book from scratch. My book, The Shamrock and Peach, was a labor of love, and I hope that shone through.
Till next time!
Judie the Irish Foodie
Friday, March 16, 2012
Wait...is that a burrito he's holding?
(St. Patricks Cathedral, Armagh - Northern Ireland)
So here it is, the day has arrived when everyone is Irish, when everything appears green and when we all try on the Irish brogue (for a few words anyway) -even if the catch phrase involves 'me lucky chaaaarms'! Oh yes, and despite being mistaken for Australian yesterday (ha!) I have to say I do love this time of year, as I'm sure oul' Saint Patrick would if he were around to see it all....
But wait a minute....who exactly was Saint Patrick anyway? Do ya know? Do ya care? Did he drink green beer and fall into the fountains in Savannah? Did he really pick up a shamrock for the King of Tara whilst wearing his 'kiss me I'm Irish' hat....or was he even Irish I ask???
Well, fear not because I'm going to clue you in on a big secret....
You see, um....well, no.....he wasn't Irish. He, he was British!! Roman British in fact - toga and all, and he didn't even drink green beer. None of that, he was in fact an early Christian missionary who crossed the Irish sea with a mission to purge pagan Ireland and by so doing to bring about the coming of Christ, as Ireland in those days was considered as 'the far edge of the world'...(think of Christ's words about the gospel reaching the ends of the word, and you'll see what I mean.)
Yes, he lived in the 5th century and yes he came to Ireland to save souls, even though his was a Brit, so that's why most monuments to Patrick in Ireland are Christian in nature, such as the early cross pictured below in Downpatrick in County Down, near the grave site of St. Patrick.
You see, the story goes that Patrick as a young man, was captured by Irish pirates (red beard I'm guessing, not blackbeard!!) taken to Slemish mountain in Northern Ireland, but after a period of some years managed to escape and eventually get back home to what is now England. But what's really cool about this is that many years later, as a prominent bishop and more mature Christian he felt a calling to go back to Ireland to spread the gospel to the very people who enslaved him!
Yup, that means he was kind of a hero, and a clever one at that given he managed to persuade kings and peasants alike to turn to Christ from paganism. Quite a feat, and completely without the use of green beer, beads, silly hats, or corn beef for that matter!
OK, I know I'm being kind of light hearted about this...but truthfully, the real Saint Patrick was a very noble individual who was obviously courageous, inventive and driven to what he did, so overall he was a cool guy methinks!
Growing up in County Armagh in Northern Ireland, which is Saint Patrick's country, I was always surrounded with reminders of Patrick from placenames to church names to street names and never thought much about him until later in life. In many ways I suppose you could say I took him for granted, oblivious to the great festivals thrown in his name around the world. As an example, the church below is Saint Patricks ancient cathedral in Armagh, which is sited on the spot of Patrick's first church and is a thousand years old! Not bad.
St. Patricks, Armagh Northern Ireland
Now, I know that the festivals and parades are more about being Irish than they are about St. Patrick himself, but I thought it would be fun to clue you in....So, there you have it!
Hope you enjoy the day, whatever you decide to do!
Wearing the green! Enjoy!
Judie the Irish Foodie
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
OK, so it's March again and in Georgia we are having a heat wave! Temps are expected to get into the low 80's for the rest of the week up to St. Patrick's day, and it looks like we'll be wearing green shorts and t-shirts this year to the parade, so, to complete the mood I thought it might be good to share with you my scrum-didly-umptious Irish whiskey sauce recipe. It'll make everything taste goooood, and even though it may be a tad early for the backyard grill, with the weather as it is my guess is that we may need it this weekend!
I mean, winter passed us by, right? The trees have been blooming for a month already, so maybe it's not too early to dust off the old grill and pay a visit to your local butcher for some tender provisions to grill...and I promise, if you use this sauce, they will go especially well with all that green beer!...trust me.
In my last blog entry I did promise a cool Irish whiskey sauce recipe, and here it is....so, get out that shamrock t-shirt, don that silly green hat, dye your hair green and fire up the grill. It's going to be a hot St. Paddy's day to remember!
Irish whiskey barbecue sauce ingredients:
• 2 Tbsp. butter
• ¼ large onion (chopped)
• 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
• 8 fl. oz. (1 cup ) Irish whiskey
• 8 fl. oz. (1 cup) ketchup
• 6 fl. oz. (¾ cup) apple cider vinegar
• 2 fl. oz. (¼ cup) water
• 6 Tbsp. cup brown sugar
• 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tsp. kosher salt
• ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 2 tsp. coco powder
• ¾ tsp. cumin
- To make the barbecue sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan and cook the onion for a few minutes until they are soft but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Then combine all the remaining ingredients and simmer gently for 20–25 minutes or until the sauce has been slightly reduced. Cool slightly before processing with an electric blender until smooth.
Now add liberally to the meat of your choice and enjoy...Irish whiskey style!
OK, enjoy the season!
Judie the Irish Foodie
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Did you even know there was a difference? or do you even care??...well, let me clue you in here, lest you wallow in whiskey indifference!
Now, we Irish like to say that we invented the stuff, the 'water of life' that is, whilst the Scots just perfected it...but as I'm Scots-Irish and am frequently balancing between the two let me just say that both have merits. Yes, Bushmills in County Antrim, Northern Ireland is the oldest distillery, going back to 1603 or something of that order but you have to hand it to the Scots, they just did things a little different such as adding smokey flavors to the malted barley and they stole the show.
So, what are the differences?
Well, firstly, Irish whiskey is triple distilled which means they run the stuff through those big ol' copper pots using heat and evaporation three times. Whilst Scotch is only distilled twice...(the Tennessean variety, such as Jack Daniels is only distilled once I think...ha!)....So, this means that Irish whiskey is a touch lighter, and can blow your head off more easily!!...just kidding!
Then what? Well, then both types of whiskey (whisky...they're also spelt differently!) are matured for years and years and years and years in aged oak caskets. Typically ones that were previously used for port, or sherry. Yes, they pop the whiskey, which after distilling is perfectly clear and transparent, into these old caskets (they look like something out of a Pirate movie!) and stack 'em in sheds for eons....and after several years the whiskey takes on that familiar caramel color and flavor from the wood. See?
Now, I know all this runs counter to current culture, but some things in life are worth waiting for, right? Yes, I know, it seems odd to make something then stick it in a shed for ten years, but if you've ever been to Ireland or Scotland you'll know that time is viewed differently than it is here in the United States, so perhaps that might make more sense to you...
So, there you have it!
Irish and Scotch whiskey, the water of life and wonderful stuff to cook with, and to prove it next blog I'll post a recipe that uses whiskey to flavor the sauce. So, check in next time and go ahead and pour yourself a tipple of whiskey to warm the heart and comfort the soul on these cold wintry nights!
Judie the Irish Foodie.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
None other than 'Pancake Tuesday'. 'Huh?' I hear you shrug...yes, yet another Irish custom, and this one is a cherished childhood memory of mine that I thought I would share.
So, what is Pancake Tuesday?
Today is also known as 'Shrove Tuesday', 'tis the day before the fasting of Lent begins, so years ago in Ireland this meant having a good old feast of yummy, sticky goodness the day before the chocolate and alcohol were locked away in the build up to Easter. As a child, I remember our school cafeteria serving pancakes of questionable quality on Pancake Tuesday and my Mum and Dad always had pancakes as a side, or a dessert after dinner on Pancake Tuesday.
Sometimes festivities across Ireland and UK would mean pancake tossing competitions, and believe it or believe it not even the fabled Kate, the dear old Duchess of Cambridge along with 'Wills' came to Belfast, Northern Ireland last year to delight the onlookers with her pancake Tuesday tossing skills...William was very impressed I'm sure!
So, there you have it! Yet another piece of Irish fun-factness to store away, and to suitable mark the grand occasion my husband has gracefully agreed to share his secret Saturday morning pancake recipe with the world. It's his one culinary contribution, and of these fluffy rounds of goodness he is very pleased.
Judie the Irish Foodie
(makes around 16 pancakes)
2 cups of flour (shifted)
3Tbs of sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2-3 cups of buttermilk
1/2 stick of Irish butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
2 Tsp of vegetable oil
Mix the dry ingredients together first, then add the eggs, butter, vanilla nd finally the buttermilk. Whisk lightly without overbeating and ladle onto the waiting hot griddle!
Believe me, once you've made real pancakes you'll never go back to store-bought mixes again....and sometimes to make these special, I'll whisk up some of my special Irish whiskey caramel sauce to spoon onto them. But that's another blog for another day my friends!!
J the I F
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Yes, believe it or believe it not we Irish can have a romantic side, and this week I have a super duper 'after-dinner' recipe to prove it. Ladies and gentlemen I give you.. 'Winter Tipsy Trifles'. Decadent, delicious and just the thing to round of a perfectly romantic evening with the one that you love.... ahh.
You see, during these dark wintry nights we all need a wee something to lift our spirits. Something dark, sweet and preferably with a kick of whiskey would do the trick! So, I am presenting a wonderful chocolaty treat that will whisk away those cold February blues. Curl up with one of these and your honey bunny before a roaring fire, and all will seem well with the world...
These wonderful desserts are also very easy to make and are a fun Scots-Irish spin on the traditional English Sherry Trifle, using Bushmills Irish whiskey instead of sherry. So, have a go. Make one of these and you never know!!!
Dark Chocolate Custard ingredients:
• 4 egg yolks
• 1 Tbsp corn flour
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup light cream
• 2 Tbsp sugar
• 11.5 oz (1 1/2 cups) dark organic chocolate (at least 70% cocoa )
How to make it:
1. Gently heat the milk in a small saucepan, being careful not to boil. Remove from the heat.
2. In a clean bowl combine the egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar and gently whisk together.
3. Whisk in the warm milk to egg mixture and then transfer all the combined ingredients to the small saucepan used to heat the milk earlier.
4. Cook the custard on medium-low heat for 2 minutes stirring constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the chocolate until it has melted.
Irish tipsy trifle ingredients: (serves 4-6)
• 4 oz lady fingers or an 8”sponge cake (cut in to small piece)
• 3 Tbsp raspberry preserves
• 4 Tbsp (¼ cup) raspberry flavored liqueur
• 4 Tbsp (¼ cup) whiskey
• 10 oz raspberries
• 4 Tbsp (¼ cup) sugar (plus 2 Tbsp water)
• Dark chocolate custard (see custard recipe)
• 4 fluid oz (½ cup) heavy whipping cream (1 cup whipped)
• 1 Tbsp fine granulated sugar
• (for the garnish)
• 3 oz (¼ cup) Chocolate (shaved)
• 6 mint sprigs
• 6 raspberries
Hope you enjoy your Valentines Day!
Judie the Irish Foodie.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Neeps and what?
Actually, they're a fun and incredibly comforting and delicious way to serve root vegetables. Very fitting for these Winter nights (what winter I hear you cry??)
So, the neeps is Scots slang for parsnips...neeps, nips, get it? And the tatties are the beloved po-tat-o.
Oh yes, never grows old.
So here's the thing...Scots-Irish folks love to mash their root vegetables and when freshly dug from the earth, boiled, seasoned and mashed, there are few more simple pleasures than these. A true comfort food that suits the colder climates in Scotland and Northern Ireland, this simple pairing will never-the-less work as a cold comfort in Appalachia also. Serve the Neeps’n Tatties mashed side by side either on their own, or as a side dish. Enjoy.
Ingredients for the Neeps:
• 1 lb. turnip/rutabagas (peeled & cut into chunks)
• 1 lb. carrots (peeled and quartered)
• 2 tbsp. butter
• 3 tbsp. half cream and milk
• ¼ tsp nutmeg (good pinch)
• 1 tbsp. parsley (chopped)
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• ¼ tsp. white pepper
Ingredients for the Tatties:
• 2 lbs. white potatoes (peeled & quartered)
• 2 oz. butter
• 4 tbsp. half cream & milk
• 1 tbsp. chives (chopped)
• ½ tsp. sea salt
• ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
How to make the Neeps:
1. Prepare the turnip and carrots then cut into small even pieces.
2. Place the turnip in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil.
3. Cook for 10 minutes before adding the carrots.
1. Cook the vegetables together for a further 20-25 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork.
2. Drain the vegetables and mash them together.
3. Gently heat the milk and butter together, incorporate liquid with the vegetables and stir in the parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
How to make the tatties:
1. Prepare the potatoes and place in pot of cold water.
2. Bring to the boil and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork.
3. Drain and dry out by placing the potatoes in metal colander over a saucepan, allowing the heat to gently dry and steam them.
4. Warm the milk and add the butter.
5. Mash potatoes and add wet ingredients.
6. Stir in the chives, salt and pepper.
Judie the Irish Foodie...