The Love Of The Irish
For as far back as I can remember I have loved anything and everything Irish. It began when I was a little girl and started to read the stories and legends of the fairies, then grew up enough to appreciate the actual history of Ireland. All of my favorite musicians are Irish, from U2 to The Celtic Women. There is so much passion and beauty in every song they sing. Dancing is done with so much joy, you would never imagine that the history of Ireland is so tragic. But then out of tragedy comes the realization that nothing is promised, so enjoy today while you may, and they really do.
Of all the many countries I have visited in my life, Ireland is the one I’ve wanted to see the most, and the one I haven’t been to yet. As a consequence I have never eaten actual authentic Irish food. The nearest I’ve ever gotten was in an Irish Pub somewhere in Missouri, where we had the most amazing fish and chips ever!
Anyway, due to my lack of experience I had to look for ideas and recipes for our annual St. Patrick’s Day supper via the trusty internet. I found a lot of the same things over and over again, so I decided to ask my friend, who really is Irish, what kind of spices they use in Ireland because I wasn’t finding much online. She laughed and said they didn’t really use spices much. Apparently the food there is rather bland. Salt, pepper, and nutmeg are about it. Oh well, I would figure it out.
Of course corned beef, with potatoes, cabbage, and carrots, are a must. This is the only time of the year I make it, so we really enjoy it. A lot of people boil it. I put it all in a roasting pan, sprinkle the little packet of spices they give you over it, cover it really well with aluminum foil, and then roast it in the oven for at least 4 hours, until it is very tender and just melts in your mouth. Or that’s the idea anyway. This year I didn’t cook it quite long enough, but it was still good. I also didn’t get a picture of it.
However, I did get a picture of the really yummy soda bread that I made to go with the Irish butter and cheese we found in the local grocery store. For desert we had a Chocolate Irish Whisky Cake that I found on Pinterest. I garnished the cake with heavy whipped cream and sprinkled it with, nutmeg!
May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door! ~ An Irish Blessing
Irish Soda Bread
(This recipe is found on RecipeGirl.com)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups currants (or seedless raisins) (I didn’t use the raisins or caraway seeds)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans or cookie sheet.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender until crumbly. Mix in currants. Beat egg and buttermilk (and caraway seeds, if using) into dry ingredients until blended.
3. Turn dough onto floured cutting board and knead until smooth (2-3 minutes), adding more flour as needed if dough is too wet to handle. Divide dough in half and shape into rounds.
4. Place rounds into cake pans or onto cookie sheet. Press down and cut crosses on top, 1/2-inch deep.
5. Bake 35-40 minutes.
Chocolate Irish Whisky Cake
(This recipe is found on the WordPress blog titled, “The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado”. I made it a bit differently. Click on the link to see the original recipe.)
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1-1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons strong coffee
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. Toast walnuts in small pan, remove from heat and mix in tablespoon of brown sugar. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl combine milk, oil, Irish whiskey, remaining sugars, coffee and vanilla. In a larger bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add wet, mix until there are very few lumps remaining (some are ok). Pour half the batter into prepared Bundt pan then sprinkle the walnut/sugar mixture over batter, cover with remaining batter. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes or until the cake feels firm to the touch and has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan.
3. When done place pan on rack for 10 minutes then remove cake from pan and place on rack.
4. When the cake is cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with sweetened whipped cream. I sprinkled a little nutmeg on the whipped cream.