Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Irish Shepherd’s Pie With Guinness

Irish Shepherd’s Pie With Guinness
3 tablespoons Olive oil
2 lb Lean ground beef or Lamb (i've even used turkey)
1/4 teaspoon Sea salt and pepper (to season meat)
1 Onion (large)
2 teaspoons Minced garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 to 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Guinness stout
1 teaspoon Dried thyme
1 teaspoon Dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon Dried sage
1/2 teaspoon Dried marjoram
12 oz Peas and carrots (frozen)
3 lb Russet potatoes
2 oz Kerrygold Butter (1/4 stick)
1/4 to 1/2 cup Low-fat sour cream
1 cup White Kerrygold cheddar cheese (grated)
2 packets Brown gravy mix
1 and 1/2 cup Water
3 fl oz Guinness stout
1 teaspoon Tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar

Step 1
Peel and cube the potatoes and place them in a large saucepan. Cover them with water. Turn the heat on high and set them to boil. Add some salt to the cooking water. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. After 15 to 20 minutes they should be fork tender and ready to be drained.
Step 2
While the potatoes are boiling, season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Brown the beef in two to three batches, depending upon the size of your skillet. Strain the beef through a colander to drain off the excess fat. Set aside.
Step 3
Add the last tablespoon of oil to the pan and brown the onions and garlic in the skillet.
Step 4
Return the beef to the skillet with the onions. Next add the Dijon mustard, the Guinness, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Stir well.
Step 5
Add the thyme, parsley, sage and marjoram. Stir to disperse them throughout the beef broth.
Step 6
While the meat sauce is reducing over low heat, strain the potatoes when tender. Mash well or pass them through a potato ricer. Add the butter and half the sour cream. Mash thoroughly, adding additional sour cream as necessary to smooth the consistency of the mashed potatoes.
Step 7
When the meat mixture has thickened nicely, pour it into the bottom of a greased 2-quart glass baking dish (8″ x 11″). Top the meat layer with thawed peas and carrots, spreading them evenly over the surface of the meat. At this point you can add a bit of the Guinness gravy. Spoon the mashed potato over the vegetable layer and spread gently over the top.
Step 8
Place the shepherd’s pie in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees F. Cook for 15 minutes before adding a layer of grated cheese. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes. The shepherd’s pie is ready when the surface is golden brown and crisping at the edges. Remove it from the oven.

To make Guinness gravy.
Step 1
Add the brown gravy packets to the water in a saucepan over high heat. Whisk in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Guinness and brown sugar. Keep whisking the gravy as it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat once it starts to bubble.
Step 2
Using a metal serving spatula, divide the shepherd's pie into 6 to 8 rectangular servings. Serve with gravy poured over top, if desired.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

I keep trying new pancake recipes and this one tops the list. I have to say that I miss the fruit topping on these pancakes, so I added it as a topping with the nuts.  


  • 1 medium apple, cored & chopped
  •  1 cup  almond milk
  • ½ cup fine wholemeal (whole wheat) 
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats 
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ Tbsp coconut oil, for frying
  • These pancakes are delicious served with a sprinkling of nuts, ground linseed and a drizzle of
  • natural syrup. Any leftover pancakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. 
  • Gently warm through in the microwave or on the hob before serving.
  • Instructions
  • Place the milk and apple in a blender. 
  • Pulse to break up the apple then blend on high speed until smooth. 
  • Add the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and pulse until incorporated. Transfer the batter to a jug and allow to rest for 5 minutes or so (this can happen while the pans are heating). If possible, use two non stick frying pans (skillets) to halve the cooking time. Brush the bottom of the pans with a little oil and heat on a medium heat. When the oil is hot, pour a small ladle of batter into the pan (equivalent to a ¼ cup).
  • Gently swirl the pan to spread out the batter to a  5 inch diameter. 
  • Once the pancakes start to firm up, carefully flip them over using a thin spatula. 
  • Cook for a further minute or so, until the underneath is lightly browned.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

It's not just a diet, but a lifestyle change!

Back in November 2015, we had a painful realization that our diet was killing us.  Diagnosed high cholesterol and blood pressure was only the beginning.  Over weight, tired and in pain was not the lifestyle we envisioned when we retired.    We wanted to be healthy 60 and 70 year old adults.  We wanted to be fit to travel the world and continue to explore as we did when we were in the military.
We knew we needed to change something, anything.  Kim as a chef and nutrition guru, started to research nutrition and diets.  In June 2015, we started the South Beach diet.  But that wasn’t working either.  We lost a few pounds, but our cholesterol didn’t come down.  Then in November is came to a painful point.  Kim thought she was having a heart attack!  It wasn’t that so much as it was the acid re-flux and the hernia that was so inflamed that it was causing problems through out her body.
Talking with a nutritionist, we decided to try something different in eating and 1Cabbagecooking.  We were introduced to whole, plant based foods.  Kim was given a book called “Fork over Knives”.  (Recommend reading for more information on this vegan lifestyle.)
After reading about this new way of eating, we jumped in with both feet.  This  is our journey.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Irish Christmas Cookies, Warm from the oven

The sure sign that Christmas is coming is when the very first batch of cookies appeared from the oven! Many favorite Irish cookies baked in the homes of families throughout the Brandywine Valley are filled with Irish Cream or whiskey and candied fruits.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated Sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup Irish whiskey
  • 1/4 cup candied citron, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, blanched and chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare two greased cookie sheets; set aside.
2. In a small mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar.
3. Beat in the eggs until well blended. Add the flour and the Irish whiskey, and beat the dough until smooth.
4. Add the fruit and nuts, and mix well.
5. Drop cookie dough from a tablespoon onto the prepared cookie sheets.
6. Bake at 375 degrees F each sheet of cookies for 8 to 10 minutes.
7. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets with a spatula while still warm.
8. Place on wire rack to partially cool.

9. Store the cookies in an airtight container with a slice of white bread to maintain their soft, fruity texture.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Irish-American Christmas cookies: The Famous Shortbread Cookie

It is time to start thinking of all the wonderful Christmas Cookies that appear this time of year.   I've started pulling out all of my cookie and cake recipes and began planning my baking time.

 One of my favorite is the shortbread

The success of a 'shortie' as shortbread is also known is to handle the dough with care. Do not pound or knead heavily, and make sure your hands and the dishes you use are cold. The resulting shortbread will then be light and crumbly with a dense buttery taste.
Choose the method you prefer for 'rolling' out the dough. You can either roll with a pin, or press directly into a tin or a shortbread mold if you have one.

·         2 1/4 sticks butter
·         Tiny pinch of salt
·         1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
·         2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
·         3 1/2 oz. cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. In a large bowl cream together the butter, salt and sugar until light, fluffy, and pale in color. This can take at least 10 minutes. Alternatively use a food mixer.
3. Mix the flour and cornstarch and sieve into the bowl of butter and sugar. Mix quickly and thoroughly to bring all the ingredients together but do not over mix.
4. Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and bring knead lightly and quickly to form a loose dough. then either:
5. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1/4” thick. Prick the surface all over with a fork. Cut into desired shape or rounds using cookie cutters. Place the Scottish short breads on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until pale brown and crisp. Sprinkle the warm Scottish short breads with fine sugar and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.
6. Grease a Swiss roll tin 9" x 13” with butter. Press the dough into the tin and press with your fingers to level the surface, prick all over with a fork. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. With the shortbread still in the tin, cut into squares or fingers, leave to cool for 15 minutes then carefully remove to a wire cooling rack.

7. Store in an airtight tin or box

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dublin City’s gourmet stuffed breast of chicken

I found this dish while visiting one of Dublin's many pubs.  It was so tasty, I thought I'd share with you.  
This recipe is a delicious way of serving boneless chicken breasts, using Ireland’s major and well loved products of whiskey. Serve this dish with fresh young vegetables from the garden or farmers market and a tomato concasse. A Concasse, is a French cooking term meaning "to crush or grind” or rough chop any ingredient, usually vegetables. The term is particularly applied to tomatoes, where tomato concasse is a tomato that has been peeled, seeded (seeds and skins removed), and chopped to the size of a small dice to medium dice.

Serving four, this recipe provides a great alternative for the Sunday dinner over the traditional roast chicken. It is also a great idea for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner with the family. The smoky and earthy flavor of the whiskey and mushrooms as the chicken is flamed provides and down to earth meal with a gourmet flair.

·         4 (6oz) free range boneless chicken breast
·         8 strips of smoked bacon
·         2 tbsp. Jameson Irish whiskey
·         Tomato concasse
·         Mint leaves to garnish
·         Stuffing:
·         3 oz wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
·         1 oz Irish butter
·         8 oz cooked potato, mashed
·         1 egg free range yolk
·         1 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs
·         Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice each chicken breast into two fillets. Gently pound out the chicken breast fillets to thin pieces that are easily rolled.
3. Begin process for the stuffing. Sauté the mushrooms in the butter until soft. Mix with all the remaining ingredients.
4. Place stuffing in the center of each pounded chicken breast fillet and to with another fillet. Continue until all fillets are used. Reshape the breasts, and wrap each in two strips of bacon. Secure them with thread or toothpicks. The breasts should resemble a small oblong tube.
5. Place the wrapped breast on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes.
6. Flame the chicken with the Irish whiskey. Serve on warmed plates with a little tomato concesse and spring vegetables. Garnish with mint leaves.

Tomato cancesse sauce
·         1 garlic clove, crushed
·         1 small sprig of rosemary
·         ½ tomato, skinned, seeded and diced
·         3 oz Irish butter, divided in half
·         6 oz chicken broth

Sauté the garlic, rosemary and tomato in a small pan using half of the butter until tomatoes are very soft. Add broth and boil to reduce by half. Season and transfer to a food processor. Process with a food processor until sauce is a liquid with no lumps. Return liquid to the pan and add remain butter.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Scot-Irish holiday: St Andrews feast on 30 November

Annually, the emigrants of the Brandywine Valley gather together to celebrate their patron saints. One such saint is St Andrew; the patron saint of Scotland. Many of today’s population are of Scot-Irish decent and embrace both cultures and traditions.

November 30 is the traditional fest day of St. Andrew; however, Wilmington celebrates the holiday on the nearest Sunday to the feast day. This year festive celebration will be on December 6th. Many Scots and Irish gather together in local pubs or homes to eat traditional foods and listen to bagpipers. Others listen while poets recite the Ode to the Haggis by Robert Burns. Kilts and tartans are the costume of the day.

A typical dinner menu for the night:
Cock-a-leekie soup
Haggis (this is a dish of liver, oatmeal and spices cooked in a casting. Most of us prefer the fish and chips to the Scot tradition of Haggis and mashed potatoes).
Mashed potatoes
Mashed Rutabagas

The Cock-a-Leekie Soup
·         1 small boiling chicken
·         1 lb. leeks, thoroughly washed and cut into small pieces
·         10 cups of chicken stock
·         2 tbsp. long grain white rice
·         2/3 cups dried prunes (soaked overnight)
·         1 bay leaf
·         Salt and pepper to taste

Place the Chicken in a large pot with the stock, leeks, bay leaf, and seasoning. Bring to a boil ant then skim off the fat. Simmer for two to three hours or until the chicken is tender. Remove chicken, discard skin and bones. Cut chicken into small pieces and place to the side. Again, skim off any fat, add rice and simmer for another 30 minutes. Place the chicken back into the pot. Check seasonings for taste. Reheat for another 5 to 10 minutes. Serves 6-8

The Shortbread
·         2 sticks butter
·         ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
·         2 ½ cups flour
·         1 tsp. baking powder

Cream butter and sugar, and work in the flour and baking powder. Press into a baking pan and prick it all over with a fork. The size of the pan determines what thickness you want the shortbread to be. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour. Immediate after taking it out of the oven, cut into squares. Let cool.

Serve with a good single malt scotch or very good holiday tea.