Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Cola-Baked Country Ham with an Irish Whiskey Rub

Less than a week to go until Christmas and I'm sure many of you are planning your special menu for the day, or planning on what you may bring to your mother-in-laws this Christmas, huh? Well, fear not as I have a goodie recipe for you to treasure. A true Irish & Southern festive fusion that is incredibly wonderful and sure to earn you lots of points with even the most awkward of relatives. Straight from the north pole I present to you my special Christmas recipe:

Christmas Cola-Baked Country Ham with an Irish Whiskey Rub

I know you're not going to believe this and think I've had a touch too much eggnog but here's the thing...Atlanta’s favorite drink combined with some brown sugar and Irish whiskey produces the tastiest results you could imagine and may be the best baked ham I have ever eaten! The flavors are a favorable marriage, making a Southern style country baked ham with an Irish twist that will keep your guests coming back for more and begin endless stories of how you, not the Grinch, saved Christmas. The story alone is good entertainment for your guests!

A friend of mine gave me the tip about using cola as a means of basting the ham to bring out the flavor, and despite some misgivings I originally had, it works! The brown sugar and Irish whiskey rub came a bit more naturally to me, but again, it’s the marriage of the two methods that works wonders here, so give it a try!

To get a handy dandy recipe PDF of the Christmas Ham, please click on the link below and go to my new fangled Irish food blog and there you will find the gift that keeps on giving...and when you're there, please sign up on my new blog as I intend to add loads more features to it!

Here's the link:

So, in the meantime, may I wish you and yours a very happy, merry, joyful and meaningful Christmas.

Festive greetings!
Judie the Irish Foodie

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What are the differences between America and Ireland at Christmas?

I am asked this question a lot, so I thought I would blog a wee entry and attempt an answer...what are the differences between Christmas in America and Christmas in Northern Ireland? What makes Christmas on each side of the Atlantic unique? Are there any similarities? What weird things do Irish people do at this time of year that Americans don't..or vice versa?  :-)

Well, firstly, you actually may be surprised to learn that the cultures are quite similar. The pop culture part of Christmas in America and in the UK and Ireland is the very same. The north pole, elves, snowmen, red nosed reindeer, strange bearded men in red suits invading your home through the chimney, that sort of thing. Yes, that's all the very same. The stores all have the same marketing gimmicks, the TV commercials are all quite what are the differences I here you cry? Well, below is a few (with my tongue firmly in cheek!):
  • Irish people eat turkey and goose for Christmas dinner
Yes, because there is no Thanksgiving feasting a few short weeks before Christmas, Irish people all generally eat large stuffed turkeys at Christmas, unlike many of their of American cousins who are thoroughly sick of the large gobbling bird by the time December rolls around.
  • underwhelming Christmas decorating
In Northern Ireland the vast majority of families put a Christmas tree up in their living rooms. but that's it!
Hard to believe eh? No Griswold style home lighting theatrics, no lighted reindeer in the garden, no inflatable snowmen, just a sad little tree in the living room. (Pathetic! I hear you cry!)

Of course in America the outdoor lighting is becoming quite spectacular, and fascinating...just like the photo above that I took in my neighborhood tonight. Our very creative neighbors put together a winter wonderland complete with glistening reindeer drinking by a blue lighted stream...superb indeed!
  • Christmas crackers, silly hats and terrible jokes
Yes, those wonderful British Christmas crackers are a vital part of any Christmas dinner in Northern Ireland, followed by the wearing of those silly paper hats and renditions of the worst jokes ever!
  • Brandy fueled Christmas pudding
This is a nice one, but in many Irish and British homes, the final ending to the Christmas meal is the presentation of the Christmas pudding where a spoonful of heated brandy is lit and poured over the delicacy to great effect!
  • Christmas is called Christmas
OK, this one sounds funny, but it's true. The UK is a very diverse country, but somehow Christmas is called Christmas and all the PC gymnastics don't exist over there.
  • The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day, and St. Stephens Day
In America the day after Christmas is...well, nothing but the 26th, whereas in Northern Ireland this day is very special. It's Boxing Day! A big day for sporting events (soccer games) enjoyed with lashings of left over turkey! In the Republic of Ireland the day has a slightly religious touch being St. Stephan's day...
  • Irish people actually like fruit cake
Hard to believe, I know...but the American Christmas cookie thing didn't make it across the pond. Over there Santa is offered fruit cake in compensation for his amazing feats!
  • The Queen's speech
Oh yes, at 3pm or so all stops to listen to what dear old Liz has to say. Actually, this is quite a nice thing. The Queen normally has interesting things to say in that wonderful clipped accent she has...then it's back to the turkey!
  • No eggnog
Irish people generally don't know what this is, so cousin Eddie would be drinking sherry in Ireland from his silly glass...not eggnog.
  • ...and lastly, the Christmas sweater is not a joke!
Yup, Irish people spend 9 months of the year wearing sweaters (or jumpers, as they're called) so, strange designs are not uncommon!

OK, I could go on and on...but that's it. Remember, this is just a bit of  'tongue-in-cheek' fun, so please excuse me!

Hope your Christmas plans are coming together, and look out for a fantastic recipe idea I am planning to make your Christmas dinner special, which I will be posting shortly, so stay tuned!...and as a reminder of the joy of the seasons I'm posting a fun photo of my youngest son in front of the Christmas tree on our porch. This joy is what it's all about!

Festive blessings to you and yours!
Judie the Irish Foodie!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Festive Gingerbread spiced Scones

Firstly, apologies to all my followers out there and casual web passers by as I acknowledge that I have been swamped and haven't been blogging as I should have. Yes, confession is good for the soul, so there it is, but my excuse is a good one. Really. Thing is that the response to my new book 'The Shamrock and Peach' has been overwhelming so I've been run off my little tootsies trying to keep up with the requests and the book signings, which all mounts to good things! So, there it is...and now that I'm back in the groove I will return to the blogisphere for more Irish goodness.

So this is Christmas (to quote John Lennon) and we are once again in the season of 'everything'. It seemed to start especially early this year, which is understandable given how hungry people are for business in this economy, but switching lights on 2 weeks before Thanksgiving? C'mon! But, look on the bright side, it's December, the lights are twinkling, the neighbors are competing, the parking lots are a-filling and what are we to do? Well, fear not for I have a great little festive recipe for you to consider as you plan those Christmas parties and family get-togethers. So, here it is:

'Festive Gingerbread Spiced Scones with Citrus Clotted Cream'.


Ginger and cream are a scrumptious combination any time of the year, but I especially love to serve them for tea and at parties around the Christmas holiday season. The aromas of the spices as they bake in the oven are both heartwarming and festive, and are perfect to bake up and serve just before those relatives or guests arrive at your home. That gingerbread aroma will make the guests feel relaxed as they enter and make your home seem welcoming and filled with the warmth of Christmas. Seems like a winning combo, huh?

Gingerbread is an Old World recipe that has somehow become synonymous with Christmas in America as every child builds gingerbread houses and bakes gingerbread men this time of year to please the ‘big man in red’, so let me invite you to get out the spices, warm up the oven, don that awkward snowman sweater and make delightful treats that will please random visitors and distant family members who come to your parties no end!

May you have a continuing wonderful Christmas season, until next time,

Judie the Irish Foodie

(oh, and if you would like a superb Shamrock and Peach Recipe sheet in PDF format, then let me encourage you to go to my new food blog over at Wordpress where I'm now making these formats available for download...absolutely free!! Follow the link below:)

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:
1. Preheat your oven to 425° F.
2. Sift the flour with the baking powder then combine the remaining dry ingredients together in a food processor or a large mixing bowl.
3. 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.
4. Beat the buttermilk, egg, and molasses together in a small bowl and combine with the dry ingredients, mixing well.
5. Turn the resulting dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
6. Knead the dough a few times and then roll it out with a lightly floured rolling pin until it’s about ¾” thick.
7. Cut the scones out of the flattened dough using a 1” biscuit cutter.
8. Brush dough scones with egg wash and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
9. Bake 12–15 minutes until well risen and golden brown on top, turning the baking tray halfway through baking time to ensure even baking.
10. Best served warm. Serve sliced in half and slathered with clotted cream.

Clotted cream ingredients (makes just over a cup):
• 3 oz. cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
• 1 Tbsp. fine granulated sugar
• zest of 1 lemon, or orange
• pinch of kosher salt
• 8 fl. oz. (1 cup) heavy whipping cream

How to make the cream:
1. In an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, lemon zest, sugar, and salt.
2. On low speed, combine the heavy whipping cream into the mixture, being careful not to over-beat, until cream mixture becomes stiff.
3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Scotland, Salmon, Seaweed and Stone Mountain

What a blast I had this past weekend at the annual Scottish fling known as the 'Highland Games' in the Stone Mountain Park right here in Atlanta. The weather was perfect, the kilts where blowing in the breeze and chef Noel McMeel and I were creating a buzz with the very special Irish culinary treats we prepared for the guests and passer-bys at the Tourism Ireland stand. A lot of fun, and pictured above is just one of those interesting treats...'Cured beef (or smoked salmon) and creamed cheese on Irish smoked oatcakes with sesame marinated seaweed'...phew, quite a title, and very delicious.

Smoked Irish Oatcakes ( an Ulster Kitchen product from Ditty's bakery in County Derry in Northern Ireland) are the perfect base for seafood and cured meats. The texture of these oatcakes are wonderfully crunchy and in this case we complimented them with a spread of cream cheese to create a bed for the cured beef or salmon. Finally, we topped it off with a scrunch of seaweed that I had marinated in sesame oil and the result was perfect! The folks who attended the Irish food demos loved these, and they were snapped up in an instant.

So we chatted and demonstrated our hearts out, and y'know, it was quite a pleasure to promote Ireland I have to say.It gave me a lot of pride to represent my country and I'm always amazed at the great reactions we get. People just love Ireland and long to visit there. Several people even signed up for the culinary tour to Ireland I'm leading this coming, it was great fun all round.

But, we weren't done yet, to follow the seaweed we made and gave away hundreds of mini 'Raspberry cranachan' desserts. (what is that, you cry?) Cranachan is a 'trifle' dessert with white chocolate cream, raspberries, oatmeal and ...yes, Bushmills Irish whiskey (we had to sneak it in somewhere!)

So, there we have it. It was a lot of fun, and on top of it all I got to launch my book; 'The Shamrock and Peach' doing a brisk business in pre-sales (thank you, thank you!)

If you would like to learn more about these dishes and how to make them, then drop me a line through my website:

Or come along to my Irish Cooking class at Whole Foods in Alpharetta on October 25th where we will have a lot of very elegant food to taste, sample and enjoy:

Until next time!

Judie the Irish Foodie.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A wee bit of tartan with me and Noel McMeel!

Yes, it's that time again when the good people of Georgia cast all sense of propriety to the wind (literally!) and don their kilts in preparation for the Stone Mountain Highland Games. Pipes, fifes, drums, haggis, clans, swords, cabers, thick white socks, bony knees, Southern men in kilts, along with the very talented Chef Noel McMeel. Yes, that's what's going on this coming weekend at the fabled Scottish fling right here in the heart of Georgia. Who would believe it?

It's getting to be quite a tradition now, but every year thousands (and I really mean thousands!) of normally 'happy to be Southern folk' are transformed into 'Braveheart' extras look-a-likes for the pageantry of these wonderful few days in Stone Mountain park in Atlanta. I personally couldn't believe it the first time I went, and now, like a Celtic moth to the blue flame of all things Scottish I'm drawn to this event year after year! Trust me, you should check this out:

But seriously, this year I'm particularly thrilled to be there as a guest chef of Tourism Ireland and I get to hang with and cook with the incredibly talented Irish celeb chef Noel McMeel. Noel and I will be cooking up some wonderful Irish and Scots-Irish treats for visitors to the Tourism Ireland stand in the games and whilst the food vendors offer up soggy fries and horrific plastic burnt burgers we will be giving away hundreds of gourmet Irish treats, all courtesy of our friends at Tourism Ireland.

The goal is to try and paint a true picture of the Scots-Irish beyond all the haggis and kilt things, and with a bit of luck people will see why Northern Ireland is truly a world class destination! (but then again, I'm biased, ain't I?)

If you haven't heard of Noel McMeel...please, please check this chef out. He is the talent behind the Lough Erne resort, home to Rory McIlroy and one of the most incredible golf resorts in Ireland. Noel is just incredibly famous throughout Ireland and the UK for his inventive food presented as an artform, so please have a wee lookie.

Here's a few links to whet the appetite:

So, don that kilt, work on your best 'Shrek' impression and come and check us out this weekend!

Judie the Irish Foodie

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Irish American Apple & Blackberry Pie

Don't you just love the Autumn, turning leaves, cool mornings, pumpkins, jackets and apple pies!

After a long hot summer (90 plus days of 90 plus degree heat in Atlanta this year!!) it's amazingly, wonderfully cool again in the morning and evenings and as the weather turns cooler and leaves begin to loosen on the trees many of us think of baking again, particularly with the abundance of autumn fruit now available on farm stands and markets across the land, and in my mind I tend to turn first to that classic bake, the apple pie. After all, as I consider the Scots-Irish heritage in both Northern Ireland and Appalachia what could be more classically American and also classically Ulster than the apple pie? Known as apple tarts in Northern Ireland these pies are a great tradition in County Armagh, also known as the Apple County where I grew up. In the autumn I spend an entire Saturday baking these for my freezer so I can enjoy them all winter and if you are like me and plan to make several to freeze, do not slit the top of the crust or bake; wait until you are ready, then prepare.

Also, to give this wonderfully traditional recipe a new twist I have added a taste of blackberries into the mix which add a delightful nuance to the flavor of the tart combining the sweetness of the berries with the sharpness of the apple. The results are just wonderful.

So, if you would like this recipe I've have a new and easy way to get it which should make it much more convienient for all you cooks out there...I have condensed the recipe into an easy-to-read PDF file as below:

To get this handy PDF in your mail-box either click on this link which will lead you to our website and send me an e-mail:

Or...jump on over to our new Irish food blog!...yes, I have started a new and improved food blog and will move all my posts over there soons, but I want you to move with me. Here's the link:

Enjoy the turning of the leaves and the delights of autumn!

Judie the Irish Foodie XX

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alas, the end of summer...

So, here it is. Labor Day has passed. The sun is setting that wee bit earlier. The mornings are just that wee bit cooler. The beach holiday is a memory, the neighborhood pool is closing and your car is now just a little less than 3 million degrees when you return to it in the supermarket parking lot! Yes, it's the end of summer.

So, what to do methinks to celebrate this passing of the season? Well, one of my childhood 'end-of-summer' memories is the gleaning of the blackberry bushes that surrounded our farm in Northern Ireland. Sticky fingers, messy shirts and tummy aches accompanied the ritual, but oh how good it was to peruse the blackberry bush and taste that sweet fruit!

Archaeological evidence tells us that people have been eating blackberries for eons, and why not? It's a delicious, easy to obtain fruit that grows easily in a range of climates. In fact, it's almost a weed in Ireland! And, it's versatile, lending itself to jams, syrups, sauces and in this case, a wonderful 'end-of-summer' celebration salad dressing.

Yes folks, here's another sneak peak into our upcoming book; 'The Shamrock and Peach; with a wonderful recipe pinched from it's pages. I give you:

"Golden Pear & Irish Blue Cheese Salad with blackberry balsamic vinaigrette and spiced walnuts"

Enjoy this superb salad as you contemplate the summer that's been, and as ever...enjoy!

Judie the Irish Foodie xx

Salad ingredients (serves 4):

• 4 handfuls of salad greens (washed)
• 2 ripe pears (quartered and cored)
• handful of blackberries
• handful of spiced walnuts
• 4 oz. Irish blue cheese
• 2 fl. oz. (¼ cup) blackberry vinaigrette

Blackberry vinaigrette ingredients:

• 5 oz. (1 cup) ripe blackberries
• juice of 1 lemon
• 2 fl. oz. (¼ cup) honey
• 1 shallot (minced)
• 2 fl. oz. (¼ cup) balsamic vinegar
• 6 fl. oz. (¾ cup) olive oil
• sea salt and pepper

How to make it:

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. To make the spiced walnuts, combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne in a bowl.
3. Coat the walnuts in egg white and toss them in the prepared dry mixture.
4. Spread the coated walnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.
5. Stir the nuts and bake for a further 5 minutes, being careful not to burn.
6. Prepare the vinaigrette by blending the blackberries and lemon juice in the food processor.
7. Strain to remove seeds.
8. Blend strained lemon blackberry purée, shallot, honey, and balsamic vinegar in the processor. Add the oil in a slow, steady drizzle.
9. Season with salt and pepper then refrigerate.
10. To serve, divide the salad mixture between 6 plates, then arrange the pears, blackberries, blue cheese, and a few spiced walnuts on top of each salad mixture.
11. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Queen in Ireland!

Yes, it actually happened. After ninety years of bad taste and ignoring the issue, the heads of state of two neighboring countries in Europe, countries with extraordinary close links and ties, met together. Mary, the Irish President and Elizabeth, the British Queen....and it was the Queen who was wearing green!

Both looked fabulous as they wandered around Dublin, and I'm sure the chat was great. They visited the sights, the Queen was even tempted to try a pint of Guinness, but to no avail.

Then to top it all off, the Queen was the honored guest at a state banquet in Dublin castle, once the hated seat of British rule in Ireland. Amongst rich symbolism they dined and spoke their way into history.

I would just loved to know what was on the menu! (oh, and check out the beautiful diamond brooch the Queen is wearing, just amazing)

To me, this visit is actually very emotional. A watershed moment in Irish history and to celebrate I'm going to post my favorite food fit for 'tea with the queen'...White Chocolate and Raspberry Buttermilk Scones. They're decadent, delicious and if the Queen came to my house, it's defiantly what I would serve

So, check back this weekend for a recipe fit for a Queen!

Judie the Irish Foodie.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Lamb Irish Stew

Spring has sprung! Atlanta is in bloom with dogwoods and azaleas brimming with color. Leaves are bursting from the branches, birds are chirping, Spring break is here and we're all feelin' gooood, right? Of course you are, and with Easter just around the corner I thought it might be quite appropriate to post a wonderful Spring recipe to suit the season. So, without further ado I give you... 'Spring Lamb Irish Stew'

Lamb is not just as readily available in the US as it is in Ireland, so it takes a little more effort to find the right cut, but the beauty about most slow cooked one pot meals are that they are suited to cheaper cuts of meat. 'Lamb shoulder chops' are very inexpensive, but loaded with flavor when braised and cooked properly, and there is nothing as quintessentially Irish as this stew. The staple dish of most Irish farms.

To be honest it’s been a very long time since I served this classic meal to my boys and I was a little dubious of their response, but delighted when they loved it. It’s a very nutritious meal and goes a long way, particularly if you have a pack of hungry boys to fill like me.

So, give this a spin this Spring time and see what you think! (Oh, and by the way, adding the potatoes in two batches allows the first for thickening the stew and the second to stay in chunks.)

It’s actually also great to prepare the day in advance if you have a busy schedule and need to plan ahead.

Judie the Irish Foodie!

(Serves 4)
• 2 Lbs. of gigot or shoulder lamb chops (bone-in)
• 1/2 kosher salt
• ½ tsp. ground black pepper
• 2 Tbsp. flour
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 2 Lbs. (about 6 medium potatoes) (peeled and diced in to 1’ chunks)
• 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
• 4 medium carrots (peeled and cut in to 1 ½’ chunks)
• 1 pint (2 cups) water (Condiments)
• Rosemary Salt (1 Tbsp. sea salt to 1 tsp. finely chopped Rosemary) • Parsley (finely chopped)
• Olive oil ( to drizzle)

1. Peel and dice potatoes and carrots. Place in a bowl of cold salted water.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Trim off any visible fat from the lamb chops. Combine flour and salt and pepper. Coat chops in flour mixture. Heat oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet and braise chops in small batches. Transfer meat to base of an ovenproof dish.
4. Sauté the onion in same skillet used for the lamb for 3-4 minutes.
5. Transfer the onion and half of the potatoes on top of meat.
6. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
7. Add the rest of the potatoes and carrots and simmer covered for another 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
8. To serve remove bones from chops and stir meat and vegetables to combine. Place in individual bowls and garnish with rosemary sea salt, chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Saint Patty's Corned Beef & Colcannon

OK, after years of resisting this we've finally given in, and we are presenting 'Corn Beef & Cabbage' for St. Patty's day! We've crossed the line....

As you may or may not know, this has been a long running inside joke with us as folks always ask us about this dish in March, and we have always been a little embarrassed to confess that we actually never heard of 'Corned Beef & Cabbage' until we landed on these star-spangled shores. Yup. Corned beef is truly more culturally Jewish than Irish, and a total unknown in Ireland...but it has ended up as the national Irish American dish. Strange but true.

But tell me why I hear you cry? Well, it was actually in the late 19th century that it began to take root. When the Irish emigrated to America and Canada, where both salt and meat were cheaper, they treated beef the same way they would have treated a "bacon joint" at home in Ireland: they soaked it to draw off the excess salt, then braised or boiled it with cabbage, and served it in its own juices with only minimal spicing - may be a bay leaf or so, and some pepper.

This dish, which still turns up on some Irish tables at Easter, has become familiar to people of Irish descent as the traditional favorite to serve on Saint Patrick’s Day. Certainly, there will be many restaurants in Ireland that will be serving Corned Beef and Cabbage on March 17th , but most of them will be doing so just to please the tourists. Truth is, in Ireland there really isn't any one particular Saint Patrick dish to think of.

But hey, why spoil the fun?... if we want Corned Beef & Cabbage, then let's have it! But let's make it a tad more gourmet shall we?

I serve my Corned Beef with curly Kale Colcannon and a Parsley Cheese Sauce which would be traditional in Ireland with a cooked ham or gammon steak. The tangy beef brisket works wonderfully with the cheesy parsley sauce, and the curly kale in the potatoes makes for a very satisfying combination. Serve with your favorite Irish stout and there you are...Irish for the day!

(Colcannon Potatoes)
• 2 ½ Lbs Irish potatoes
• ¼ cup milk
• 7 oz Curly Kale (hard stalks removed
• 8 spring onions (finely chopped)
• 1 ½ tsp sea salt
• ¼ tsp black pepper
• 4 oz unsalted Irish butter
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream
• ¼ cup reserved cooking liquid from Kale

• 1 ½ Lb Flat Cut brined Corned Beef

(Parsley Cheese Sauce)
• 2 oz butter
• 2 oz flour
• 1/2 pint whole milk
• 1/4 pint chicken stock
• 1 oz Dubliner Irish Cheese
• 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
• Handful of curly parsley (leafy part only finely chopped)
• Curly Parsley sprigs (for garnsh)

How to make it:

1. To cook the brisket preheat oven to 300 degrees. Wrap up the brisket like a parcel inside a sheet of foil fat side up. Drizzle over a little olive oil and roast for 1 hour per pound leaving 15 minute for meat to rest before carving.
2. To make the Colcannon place potatoes in a large pan of cold salted water with milk, adding just enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.
3. Drain potatoes with a metal strainer. Set potatoes back on the warm stove top to allow them to dry out a little.
4. In a large saucepan bring water to a roaring boil and blanch Kale for 1 minute. Drain and place Kale in blender pulsing for a few seconds.
5. Melt the butter with the cream and reserved cooking liquid from Kale. Infuse the spring onions cooking for 30 seconds to soften. Mash potatoes and slowly add liquid. Fold in the Kale, salt and pepper.
6. Prepare parsley sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and allow cook gently for 1 minute stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk and chicken stock and bring sauce to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in cheese, mustard and cook for 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper and stir in chopped parsley.
7. To serve spoon potatoes in to a warmed plate. Place slices of corned beef on top. Drizzle meat and dish with about 2 Tbsp of parsley sauce.
8. Garnish with a small sprig of curly parsley and serve immediately.


Judy the Irish Foodie

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sticky Toffee Pudding

So, what have you been doing during these cold winter days? Lighting the long dormant fire? Sipping hot tea in your favorite polka-dot wooly socks? Or flicking through those annoying travel magazines dreaming of sunny days on sunblest beaches?

Well, dream you may, but for me, this is the time for comfort food! Yes, something cozy. something gooey. Somthing warm and sticky. Something hot and sweet. Yes, it's time for, it's time for....

'Sticky Toffee Pudding!' (hooray!)

Did you ever wonder how the British and Irish survive those ever so long dreary winters? Endless rainy days and freezing fog? Knitting perhaps? Or cracking good chat shows on the dear old BBC? No, here's how....'sticky toffee pudding', and lots of it.

Go into any decent pub, small hotel or restaurant in Britain and they'll have mountains of this wonderful stuff flowing with sticky, buttery toffee sauce. Why, some people judge restaurants not on the elegance of their wine list, but on the quality of their sticky toffee pudding! Forget the entree, with desserts this good we should just skip the steak and jump straight into the pud! Life is much too short.

You can tell I love this dish, right? Yes I do, and honestly, every time I make this and serve it to guests we have folks performing 'backflips' over how good it is. America did not know what she was missing!

Now, I've piqued your interest at this point. right? and you know I have a killer recipe for this superb dessert, right? So, where is it? Well, I do have a killer recipe for this pudding, and it will be in my upcoming book, 'The Shamrock & Peach', but for this blog entry I've decided to just share my joy and tease you into action. So, here's what... if you want the recipe, jump onto my website;, send me an e-mail, and I'll send the recipe to you. How's that?

It's a true winter comfort food, and once you learn the recipe you will spend a lifetime perfecing it, then you will pass it on to yor kids. Trust me, it's that good.

So, throw another log on that fire and light up the stove! Winter can have it's blessings!

Judith the Irish Foodie

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cock-a-leekie Soup

Oh the winter blues! Cabin fever, freezing temps, the snow bound South!? It's enough to get you down, right? Well, never fear, as I am here with a heart-warming, 'pick-me-up', comfort food special right out of the mists of time. A dish Braveheart's 'William Wallace' would have enjoyed. Something to warm you up while we all wait on the ice melting so we can get back to work...I present to you one of our favorites, 'Cock-a-leekie' soup.

Few Scottish recipes date back as far as this traditional soup which can be traced as all the way to the 16th century. A time of kilts and castles and roaring cooking fires when Scots folk where always going back and forth to Ulster. So, this is an old recipe, but I have given this old bird a new twist with some modern flavors to enliven the ancient experience!

A version of this soup was always cooking on the Aga cooking stove when I was growing up and must be one of the most popular farm house favorites throughout Northern Ireland. Sometimes my mother would replace the rice with barley, and the family recipe did not include the traditional prunes, but most other ingredients are true to tradition.

The chicken left over from the stock pot would typically then be served up with a pot of potatoes as our main course after the soup, just to ensure that nothing was wasted in our home. (in good Ulster-Scots tradition)

So enjoy a warm bowl of this Ulster-Scots favorite as we wait out the winter and look forward to warmer days!

Cock-a-Leekie Soup

• 10 dried plumbs (6oz)
• 1 small chicken (3 lbs washed with giblets removed)
• 6 medium size leeks (2 lbs) washed and chopped
• 2 oz long grain rice (washed)
• 3 medium carrots (grated)
• water to cover chicken (6 pints)
• Bouquet garni (thyme sprigs, sage, bay leaves)
• 2 tsp salt
• ½ tsp freshly milled black pepper
• 4 slices of smoked bacon

(parsley puree)

• 1 bunch flat leaf parsley (1 cup with stems removed)
• 2 medium garlic cloves
• 1 oz Kerrygold Ivernia cheese (grated)
• 4 fluid oz olive oil
• zest of one lemon
• 1 tsp kosher salt

How to make it:

1. Soak prunes overnight in cold water.
2. In a medium size saucepan add chicken, half of the leeks, 1 slice of smoky bacon, bouquet garni and enough water to cover the bird. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 ½ hours until the meat is falling off the bone.
4. Strain the stock in to a clean pot. Remove chicken from the bones and discard everything else. Add remaining leeks, grated carrots and dried plumbs and cook for 20 more minutes. Remove from heat and add a portion of the cooked chicken very finely chopped. Taste to adjust seasoning and add salt and pepper.
6. Prepare puree by placing parsley, garlic, cheese and lemon zest in food processor and slowly drizzle olive oil to make a paste. Sautee remaining slices of bacon to crispy and chop.
7. Serve in warmed bowls using a fork to swirl a little parley puree and sprinkles of chopped crispy bacon.

Judith the Irish Foodie

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year with an Irish Coffee!

Happy new year to you my readers, my customers, my friends and anyone else who may stubble across my Irish culinary verbage on this new year occasion! 2010 was a great year for me, and for my small business 'The Ulster Kitchen', and it is my sincere wish that 2011 be even better for us all! So, to celebrate this fine new era, I'm including an absolute recipe for the perfect 'Irish Coffee'. What could be better?

An Irish coffee is a way we say welcome and offer hospitality in our home. It’s definitely a celebratory drink, the perfect ending to a great meal and the perfect way to carry on a conversation.
It may surprise you however to know that Irish coffee is a relatively new tradition in Irish terms, created in 1943 by bar man Joe Sheridan. The drink was first served to transatlantic passengers arriving on boats from the USA to Foynes in Co. Limerick and it did not take long for the recipe to spread all over the island. The drink became even more famous in 1952 when a journalist from San Francisco visited Ireland and brought the recipe back home passing it on to Jack Koeppler owner of the Buena Vista. The drink was a huge hit and the rest is history!

Here are the measurements for 1 cup of coffee, and you can make them to order as your guests are ready to enjoy. In Ireland it is traditionally served in a glass, so you can see the dark coffee and whisky base with the floating cream on top. The cream is lightly whipped and not beaten too thick so it will float on the top.

So, raise your glass, tip the tipple, enjoy the comfort and start the new year in style!

Judith the Irish Foodie.

(measure for 1 cup coffee)

• ½ cup strong hot coffee
• 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar (to taste)
• ¼ cup Irish Whiskey
• 2 Tbsp cream (lightly whipped)
• freshly ground nutmeg


1. Beat heavy whipping cream with electric beater until stiff. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to serve coffee.
2. Heat stemmed glass or coffee cup. Place the sugar in the bottom of the glass before adding the freshly brewed coffee. Stir until dissolved.
3. Pour in the Irish Whisky.
4. Top with the freshly whipped cream spooned lightly on top. Sprinkle a little freshly ground nutmeg on top. Do not stir.