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