Friday, March 18, 2011

Irish Menu


As promised, here are the pictures and recipes from my St. Patrick's Day menu.

- Irish Porridge (click HERE for the recipe already previously blogged about)

Irish porridge with an apple, plum, cranberry, walnut and brown sugar compote

- Bacon (400 degrees for 20 minutes)
- Irish Breakfast Tea (click HERE for more on Irish tea)
- Irish Brown Bread with Irish Butter and Lemon Curd

Irish Brown Bread (courtesy of

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter or margarine
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt

1. In a bowl, mix all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture forms fine crumbs. Stir in whole-wheat flour and oats.

2. Add yogurt; stir gently. If mixture is too dry to hold together, stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, just until dough holds together; it should not be sticky.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead gently 5 times to make a ball. Set on a lightly greased baking sheet. Pat into a 7-inch circle. With a floured knife, cut a large X on top of loaf. (I put mine in a loaf pan.)

4. Bake in a 375° oven until well browned, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or cool.

This really was delicious, but tasted more like soda bread than the Irish Brown Bread we had when we were in Ireland. Traditional Irish Brown Bread uses molasses, but I couldn't find a good recipe that was more authentic. However, this was quite tasty! I will use this recipe again for sure!!!

- Spinach Salad with Asparagus, Green Beans, Chicken, Corn, Black Beans, Walnuts and Dried Cranberries
- Irish Oatmeal Biscuits
- Irish Cheddar

Irish Oatmeal Biscuits (from my Irish Food and Cooking Cookbook - click HERE for more information on that cookbook)

2/3 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup fine pinhead oatmeal (or Irish steel cut oatmeal)
1/4 cup Crisco

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.

2. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Add the oatmeal and mix well. Rub in the Crisco to make a crumbly mixture, then blend in enough water to make a stiff dough.

3. Turn dough onto a worktop sprinkled with pinhead oatmeal and knead until smooth and manageable. Roll out to about 1/8 inch thick and cut into rounds, squares or triangles (I did hearts). Place on the baking sheet.

4. Bake for 15 minutes, until crisp. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container lined with baking parchment. To reheat, give them a quick toast in the toaster or oven and they will re-crisp right up.

If you try any recipes from this menu, be sure to try this one. These are a great surprise! Now, you need to understand that these aren't sweet at all - no sugar in the recipe, but for a crisp, hearty cracker (biscuit) that will FILL you up and taste GREAT with a slice of cheese, I've never tasted anything better! I didn't snag a picture of mine, so I took a shot of the ones in the book. Mine looked identical except they were in the shape of a heart, instead of a circle.

- Beef and Irish Stout Casserole with Herby Dumplings
- Irish Brown Bread (see recipe above)

Beef and Irish Stout Casserole with Herby Dumplings (recipe courtesy Ireland of the Welcomes magazine)

2 tbs. sunflower oil
1/2 lb. shallots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 in. pieces
1 tbs sugar
1/4 cup AP flour
1.5 lbs. good stew meat
2-3 tbs. Irish butter
2 cups Guinness
3/4 cup Beef Stock
Bay Leaves
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 lb. mushrooms (quartered)
Salt and Pepper
Brown Sugar (my addition)

1. Heat 1/2 the oil in a large, flameproof casserole. Add the shallots and fry until nicely browned. Remove to a plate. Add the carrots, onions and sugar and cook until browned. Add to the shallots on the plate.

2. Put the flour into a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Add the beef and toss until every piece is thoroughly coated. Put the rest of the oil in the casserole and cook the beef in batches until they are all nicely browned on each side. Remove all the beef to the plate with the veggies.

3. Add 1-2 tbs. butter to the casserole and the remaining flour (left over from the beef) and stir until blended. Gradually add the Guinness , rubbing the bottom of the pan to release all the yummy brown bits. Stir in the stock, followed by the beef and veggies, thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and any additional salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, part-cover and leave to simmer very slowly on the stove for 1.5 hours. Add a couple tbs. of brown sugar if the Guinness bitter taste is too strong for you (it was for me).

4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a large pan and fry up the mushrooms. Don't overcrowd the mushrooms. You don't want steamed want caramelized mushrooms. When the 1.5 hours is up on the casserole, add the mushrooms, part-cover and simmer for another hour. (See below if you want to add the herby dumplings.)

Herby Dumplings

1 cup self-raising flour
1 large pinch of baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 tbs butter
1/2 cup cold water
Salt and pepper

1. Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a bowl. Stir in the butter and thyme.

2. Stir in enough cold water to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.

3. Using a spoon, divide the dough into six pieces and drop on top of the simmering stew 25 minutes before the end of cooking.

4. Recover and leave to cook until fluffed up and cooked through.

This stew was AWESOME! Seriously, Andy asked me to make this for his birthday this year. My man is a serious foodie and has a pretty discerning palate...he has to REALLY like something to ask for it on a special occasion. This stew is hearty, a gorgeous dark brown and was WONDERFUL with a thin slice of Irish Brown Bread.

- Irish Apple Cake

Irish Apple Cake (courtesy of my Irish Food & Cooking cookbook)

2 cups self-raising flour
Good pinch of salt
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3-4 cooking apples, sliced
1/2 cup superfine sugar (Baker's sugar)
2 eggs, beaten
a little milk, to mix
Granulated sugar to sprinkle over

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8 inch cake pan.

2. Sieve the flour, salt and ground cloves into a bowl. Cut in the butter and rub until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs. Peel and core the apples. Slice them thinly and add to the rubbed in mixture along with the 1/2 cup sugar.

3. Mix in the eggs and enough milk to make a fairly stiff dough, then turn the mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

4. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until springy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.

I'm not a huge fan of apple pie because rarely can the crust please me...this was a great alternative! I got the yummy cooked apple taste in a not overly sweet cake! I topped it with a bit of whipped cream. Wonderful end to a great day of food!

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