Saturday, June 21, 2008

Scottish Dessert Evening

This week I’m blogging about a ‘Scottish Dessert Evening’ I recently catered, and had a blast doing so. ‘Scottish desserts?!’ I hear you cry?? Ooh Yes.

A group from Atlanta who are planning a trip to Scotland this July asked me to give them a taste of some traditional desserts to prepare their culinary sweet tooth for their trip, so I turned in several highland delights for them to enjoy and I believe everyone had fun…..Scotland’s not all whiskey and haggis y’know!

We served Punjana Ulster tea and the hostess provided elegant Scottish china including a blue calico Wedgewood tea set that was a replica made for John Wesley by Josiah Wedgwood back in 1760 with the Rose for England, the Shamrock for Ireland and the Thistle for Scotland. As you can imagine I was in my element. The Scottish Cranachan (also known as Cream Crowdie) was served with my Ulster Butter Shortbread and Flake cookies that can be dipped in to the Cranachan. Blackberries or Strawberries can be substituted, but raspberries are the traditional choice. Serve in a tall glass on dessert plate with cookies on the side. Summer raspberries are in season so go ahead make it at home and enjoy!

In the coming weeks I’ll post recipes for some of these desserts, beginning with Scottish Cranachan next week, so check back for details!

Scroll down for a few pics of the food and the event.

Scottish Dessert Evening photos

yours truely, Pam and Deborah....thank you ladies!

Scottish Cranachan ..............Chocolate Roulade

Pavlova with ripe strawberries.. Chocolate Pavlova with Highland toffee

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Grilled lamb with peach salsa and mint drizzle

Here is a fresh and memorable entrĂ©e which is simple enough to make for a lazy Sunday lunch, and yet impressive enough to entertain friends if you so wish. It’s another ‘fusion’ recipe inspired by one of my favorite Ulster classics, ‘roasted leg of lamb and mint sauce’, with a definite Southern twist!

I know, I know…lamb is rarely cooked in American kitchens, but let me encourage you to give it a try! It’s really a terrific meat choice. Full of flavor, yet lighter than beef. Ooh, I can just recall the childhood memory of the succulent lamb rising to aromatic heights in the kitchen with the sound of it crackling and hissing in the oven! Yum! Realizing that helping Mum would speed up the proceedings, I was all too willing to chop, mix & stir! Even running out to the herb garden was one of my favorite little tasks, picking and adding the mint, sugar and vinegar…

In Ireland the leg of lamb is traditionally surrounded by roasted root vegetables and potatoes and served with rich gravy. However, living in Georgia, or ‘Hot’lanta, the back yard grill mentality has led me to reinvent one of my favorite comfort dishes using local ingredients to tantalize the taste buds, and suit the outdoor climate.

And…. As Georgia is also known as the peach state, peaches are just now in to season. Wonderful succulent fruit can be purchased at road side stands all over Georgia. Go out and get some...

So, try this one out to make a sunny summer day even more memorable!


Barbequed Lamb with Peach Salsa and Mint Drizzle

4 Lbs boneless leg of lamb (cut in to 6 pieces)
1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup natural yogurt
juice of 1 lime
2 rosemary sprigs (stems removed)
2 cloves garlic
½ Vidalia onion
1’ piece of root ginger (peeled)
1 medium red chili pepper (seeds removed)

(Mint drizzle)
1 ½ cups mint (stems removed)
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
8 Tbsp olive oil

(Peach salsa)
4 peaches (peeled, stoned, finely chopped)
1 medium tomato (finely chopped)
1 small red onion (chopped)
1 jalepeno pepper (seeded, finely chopped)
¼ cup cilantro (stems removed, chopped)
juice of one lime
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp sugar


In a food processor or blender mix all marinade ingredients. Cut leg of lamb in to desired portions. Rub paste all over lamb and marinade overnight.
Preheat grill. Discard marinade and season lamb with kosher salt. Place on grill and cook, turning frequently for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare mint drizzle by placing mint leaves, sugar and salt in food processor. Add vinegar to form a rough chopped paste. Slowly blend olive oil. Transfer to squeeze bottle to drizzle.
To make salsa combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Taste to adjust seasoning.
When lamb is cooked according to taste, remove from grill and let it rest for 10 minutes.
To serve place lamb in center of each serving plate. Drizzle a little mint dressing on plate and spoon on side of meat and a little on top. Garnish with a piece of mint or cilantro.