In just a few days time people the world over will be donning the green and celebrating St. Patrick's Day 2015! I was recently challenged by Ocado's Irish Shop to create a three course meal, suitable for four people to help celebrate this special day! As you know I love nothing more than a challenge! This is always fun for me and something which I really enjoy, so without further adieu, here I go.
Here is my St. Patrick's Day Celebratory meal for 2015. I do hope that you will enjoy it and be inspired to do one of your own!
For my first course I chose a delicious Irish Soup called Balnamoon Skink. I am sure some of you are familiar with the Scottish version called Cullen Skink. This bears no resemblance to that soup, which is delicious in it's own right.
This Irish version is light and delicious, and embraces the use of early spring vegetables. The original recipe called for using a couple of trussed fowls to create a well flavoured chicken stock.
I used a good quality chicken stock in it's place. The other ingredients are quite simply garden peas, spring onions, celery, lettuce leaves and chives . . . with a bouquet garni of parsley and thyme sprigs and a bay leaf.
It goes together really quickly. A simple thickening of cream and an egg yolk are the finishing touches and then a sprinkle of parsley and chives on top. I added the chives to the top because I had them and we like the flavour of chives.
It was served simply . . . hot along with butter and some Irish Soda Bread which I was able to also buy from the Irish Shop. Mmmm . . . good. And simple.
*Balnamoon Skink*Serves 4 to 6
1. Place the vegetables, herbs (bouquet garni), seasonings and stock into a saucepan.
2. Bring to the boil. Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
3. Remove the bouquet garni.
4. Blend the cream and egg yolk together and whisk into the soup, heating thoroughly. Do NOT boil.
5. Adjust seasoning as required.
6. Ladle into hot soup bowls to serve, garnished with a bit of chopped fresh parsley.
3 sticks of celery, wiped, trimmed and finely diced
4 sprigs of parsley, 1 spring thyme, and a bay leaf, tied together3 fluid ounces of double cream
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
For the main course, I chose to do a somewhat traditional Hunter's Pie. I suppose this is very similar to a Shepherd's Pie, but also very different in that the mashed potato actually encases the meat from all sides, like a pie crust.
Buttery mash lines the pie dish and up the sides. It's filled with simmered lamb chops. I chose to cut the meat from the bone as I didn't feel anyone would enjoy bone in their meal.
The simmering juices from the lamb are blitzed to a smooth and rich gravy, some of which is poured into a hole in the top of the pie when you are ready to serve, with the remainder being passed at the table in a gravy boat. All you need on the side are some simple vegetables.
Normally I would have chosen cabbage and carrots, but we have a cabbage hater in the house at the moment and so I did peas. All in all it made for a very delicious main course, that everyone enjoyed! If you have some soda bread left, it would be nice to pass it at the table as well. You could also bake this in individual pie dishes, which is what I did on the day, so everyone had their own individual pie.
*Irish Hunters Pie*Serves 4
1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.2. Heat the oil or dripping in a frying pan and lightly brown the vegetables in it. Scoop out and place into an oven proof dish. Season the chops on both sides and brown them in the remaining fat, then place them on top of the vegetables in the oven proof dish. Bring the stock to the boil and then pour it over all. Cover tightly and then place into the oven. Braise for 30 minutes, or until the chops are tender.3. Scoop the chops out and allow them to cool. Remove any bone and cut into chunks.
4. Blitz any stock in the dish with a stick blender until smooth. Set aside and keep warm.5. Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water until fork tender. Drain well and mash with the butter. Season to taste.
6. Use half of the potato to line a buttered 2 pint (2 cup) pie dish. Press well to the side and base.
7. Place the lamb over top of the potato.
8. Top with the remaining potato, roughing up the top a bit with a fork. Brush with a little milk, and dot with butter if desired.9. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
10. Just before serving, makie a hole in the top of the pie and pour in some of the gravy. Serve the remainder separately in a gravy boat. Serve with some steamed carrots and peas.
oil or drippings1 carrots, peeled and chopped1 onion, peeled and chopped1 stick of celery, trimmed and chopped8 lamb chops, wiped and trimmed1 pint of rich brown stock or gravy (2 cups)3 pounds of potatoes, peeled and quartereda walnut sized knob of buttersalt and black peppera little milk and butter (optional)To serve: peas and carrots
Serves 4 people
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
(Click here for a Printable Recipe)
For Pudding I created a simple Berry Buttermilk Cobbler. Buttermilk is a very popular milk in Ireland. Over here in the UK, for the most part, you can only buy it in 425ml sized containers. (1 cup) I was thrilled to find it in one litre containers in Ocado's Irish Shop! I know where I will be buying my buttermilk from now on!
For the cobbler you create a simple buttermilk batter . . . spread it into a pan and then top it with a bag of frozen berries.
Like magic the berries sink to the bottom whilst the cake batter rises to the top . . . the buttermilk makes it incredibly moist and delicious.
It's also such a very simple dessert and can bake in the oven as you are enjoying your main course. It bakes up quickly . . . and is best served warm.
A simple custard created simply by whisking together refrigerated custard (again, an Irish brand from the Ocado shop) with some Irish Cream for that extra special little touch!
*Berry Buttermilk Cobbler*with an easy Irish Cream Custard
1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.
2. Butter a 9 inch round cake tin really well and set aside. Alternately, spray with cake release spray.
3. Beat the butter and 100g (1/2 cup) of sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.
4. Sift together the flour, soda and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients and mix just to combine.
5. Gradually whisk in the buttermilk. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
6. Arrange the frozen fruit evenly over top of the batter. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
7. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden brown and cooked through.
8. While the cobbler is baking make the custard. Gently heat the custard through and whisk in the Irish Cream Liqueur. Keep warm.
9. Allow the cobbler to stand for 10 minutes before spooning out into heated serving bowls, along with some of the warm custard.
65g of unsalted butter, slightly softened (1/4 cup)
100g plus 1 TBS for sprinking of Caster Sugar (1/2 cup, plus 1 TBS)
1 large free range egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
140g of plain flour (1 cup)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
125ml of buttermilk (1/2 cup)
1 bag (480g) frozen mixed berries, unthawed (12 ounces)
For the Custard:
1 large tub of ready made custard from the chiller cabinet
2 TBS Irish Cream Liqueur
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
(For a Printable Recipe click here.)
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!
~An Old Irish Blessing
I wish for each of you a very Happy Saint Patrick's Day. May it be filled with some love, laughter, good food and good friends.
Many Thanks to Ocado's Irish Shop for inviting me to particpate in this challenge. Do remember if you are looking for any Irish Ingredients for your own St Patty's day dinner, it's the perfect place to find them!