Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes

March 16, 2019

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So did I hear you say that you are totally over corned beef & cabbage? Or that you never liked it to begin with? Well, don’t fret, I’ve got a great dish that you can serve on St. Patrick’s Day and there is no corned beef in sight. What you do have is a flavorful, succulent loin of pork roasted with a Guinness & Honey glaze.

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I don’t know what it is with Guinness. I don’t really just like to sit around drinking pints of the stuff. Seriously, one pint makes me feel as though I’ve eaten an entire loaf of bread. But I absolutely love every recipe where it makes an appearance. An this pork loin is no exception. That Guinness Honey Glaze is amazing – sweet and tangy. Just the perfect flavor combination for pork.

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And these little potatoes are fantastic all on their own. I’ve rubbed them in a bit of bacon drippings and roasted them until soft and tender. Then they are sprinkled with a bit of sea salt. They’re great with or without the gravy.

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This tasty dish is very easy to prepare leaving you plenty of time for other St. Patrick’s Day activities. Believe me, with their plate piled tall with this Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin & Roasted Potatoes no one will be missing that Corned Beef & Cabbage!

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Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 2 1/2 lb. Pork Loin
  • 150 ml. Guinness Stout Beer
  • 50 ml. honey
  • 125 grams light brown sugar
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth
  • splash Guinness

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 355° F.

For the glaze: Place the Guinness, honey and sugar into a deep sided saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is reduced by half and thickens to make a syrupy glaze. Take care that the mixture does not boil out of the pot onto your stove. You will be very sorry to have to clean up that sticky mess!

Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Place in in a roasting tin and bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, generously baste the pork with the glaze and then continue to cook for a further 40 -50 minutes, continuing to occasionally brush the glaze over the meat from time to time. Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the glaze for the gravy.

Once it reaches an internal temperature of 160° F, remove it from the oven. Place on a cutting board to rest and tent it with aluminum foil.

Pour the 1 Tablespoon of glaze into the roasting tin, add a splash more of Guinness and one cup of broth. Place over a burner and heat until it comes to a boil. Whisk in a bit of flour if you would like the gravy to be a bit thicker.

Serve Pork with the Gravy and Roasted Potatoes.

Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. Baby Red Potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup of reserved bacon drippings or canola oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the baby potatoes in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover them by 1″. Add the salt to the water and heat until they just reach a boil. Remove the potatoes from the heat, drain and pat dry.

Place the melted bacon drippings or oil into a shallow dish. Add the potatoes and stir them around until they are coated. Transfer them to a baking sheet.

Season with additional salt and pepper. Place them in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully turn the potatoes over and continue to bake for 25 more minutes, or until they are soft and fork tender.

Enjoy!

Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes:

Chicago Professional Roasting Pan with Rack

Oxo Good Grips Large Silicon Basting Brush

Oxo Good Grips Gravy Whisk

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Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce

March 12, 2019

 

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Breakfast for dinner? Absolutely – especially if it is this dish! Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce is just amazing. Now, I know when you hear bacon, you might be thinking breakfast. But this is a pretty hardy meal and everyone knows, bacon is good anytime – breakfast, 2nd breakfast, elevenses, lunch, tea, dinner, supper, late night snack…I think you get the picture.

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The bacon I used here is not the streaky bacon you are likely more familiar with. This is Irish Bacon or rashers. It is traditionally cut from the back of the pig rather than the belly, which is from where streaky bacon is cut. It is similar to Canadian Bacon, but I would say has a very different flavor. Irish Bacon, or rashers as they are usually called are cooked until done, but are not until crisp like American bacon. Truth be told, the original recipe for this dish calls for uncured loin of pork. A pork chop essentially, but I happened to have some rashers on hand, so there you have it. If you have pork chops, feel free to sub them in!

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One thing I can tell you is you are absolutely going to love this decadent, silky Colcannon Butter Sauce. I think the Husband wants to put it on everything now. And potato leek cakes are right up our alley as well. Can’t do wrong with fried potatoes, not to mention the leeks. We can’t get enough of them! All in all this meal was truly a winner and would be a perfect alternative to a corned beef & cabbage feast. Or maybe make it the day after St. Patrick’s…who says you can’t have it all!

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Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices Irish Bacon or Rashers
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, green & white parts separated and finely sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 medium egg yolk

For the Colcannon Sauce:

  • 50 grams (1/4 stick) butter
  • 5 cabbage leaves, finely shredded
  • a small potato, finely diced
  • 4 Tablespoons white wine
  • 200 ml heavy cream

For Garnish: handful of cherry tomatoes (if desired)

Directions:

Make the potato cakes: Fry the dark green part of the leek in a little butter, and mix well with the potato, flour, cream and egg yolk.  Place the potato mixture into the refrigerator to cool. The mixture becomes easier to handle and shape when cool. Once it has chilled, then mould into four to six small round discs. Set aside until ready to serve.

Make the Colcannon Butter Sauce: Melt half the butter in a pan and add the cabbage and potato. Cook slowly for 5 mins, then pour in the white wine and reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce by half. Season and remove from the heat. Stir the rest of the butter into the sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.

Cook the Bacon: Heat a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. Fry the rashers of bacon until they are golden on each side. Should only take a few minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.

Add a bit more butter to the pan. Sweat the remaining white part of the leeks and some tomatoes if you desire. Season to taste. Remove from the pan and set aside. Fry the potato cakes in the remaining butter for 2 minutes on each side.

Enjoy!

Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce:

Donnelly Imported Rashers – This is for an 8 pack of bacon. More than you need for this recipe, but you might be feeding a crowd for all I know…


Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas

January 26, 2019

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The Husband and I went on an amazing trip this time last year and seeings how yesterday was Robbie Burns Day, I’ve just got to tell you about it. That’s right- January 25th is the birthday of Robert Burns. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. On January 25th folks throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, will be remembering him with a Burns Night Supper. Robbie Burns has indeed inspired me to share this recipe for these delicious Scottish Pies, sometimes also called “Scotch Pies” which is perfect for a casual Burns night supper.

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I’m often inspired by our travels to come home and make one of the dishes from the area we visited. Although I have done a few of these blogs in the past, I am woefully behind on them. But I am really going to be doing some backtracking and telling you about our past travels, boring you with our vacation photos, offering a few recommendations on hotels, tours etc. and sharing a recipe or two in the process. So let me get on with it! At the end of January 2018, we set out for the Shetland Islands via Glasgow and with a stopover in Iceland on the way back. The Shetland Islands are a group of islands which lie between the north Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, 104 miles north of Scottish mainland. It is the same latitude as southern Greenland and closer to Norway than Scotland. Now I bet you’re wondering, “Why exactly did you go there in the middle of winter? Wasn’t it cold?” Well, truth be told it wasn’t really much colder than it is in Virginia in the winter, temperatures hovering slightly above freezing. However it was a whole lot more windy and wet. The precipitation did come down as rain vs. snow, but oh my Gawd was it windy! And why January? Because that is when the town of Lerwick, the largest in the Shetlands with a population of about 7,500, holds its annual Up Helly Aa, a viking festival, which we had been itching to go to for years. But before I get into the big event, our first stop was Glasgow.

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Spoiler! Keep tuned for next post about this amazing Viking fire festival!

I had actually visited Glasgow previously. It was the husband’s first visit. Glasgow has been overlooked as a destination for years, losing tourists to the fancier, more posh Edinburgh. And while I think Edinburgh is a gorgeous city, I have always been partial to Glasgow. To me, Glasgow felt much more laid back, friendly and comfortable. In recent years, the city has undergone a revitalization, seeing a large influx of bars, restaurants and shops. The place is absolutely buzzing with excitement. We were lucky enough to have ended up there during the annual Celtic Connections music festival. The husband and I love going out to see live music, so this was right up our alley. We saw the Deslondes, one of our favorite bands which hails from New Orleans,

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in an amazing venue – Òran Mór. Located in Glasgow’s vibrant West End, Oran Mór was formerly the Kelvinside Parish Church, but has now been transformed into a truly unique venue, offering up two bars, a restaurant, a nightclub as well as a live music hall.

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We also saw ever enduring (celebrating 30 years together this year) English folk/punk band The Levellers at Glasgows Old Fruitmarket – another unbelievably cool music venue tucked away in Glasgow’s stylish Merchant City.

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The Fruitmarket, was as the name suggests, originally a market where fresh fruit and vegetables were sold up until the 1970’s. The amazing renovation manages to retain all of the period charm of the original building including all of the ironwork, balconies and beautiful vaulted ceiling.

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Although we didn’t have a lot of time in Glasgow before venturing further north, we were able to visit Glasgow’s stunning cathedral,

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stroll through the Necropolis (Glasgow’s large Victorian cemetery),

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visit the iconic Cloisters of the University of Glasgow,

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explore the extensive Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

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spend a luxurious afternoon at Blythswood Square Spa

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and relax in one or two (or so….) of the local pubs.

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We also did manage to get out of the city for one day. Frank Jones, the owner of Wee Adventours, picked us up in his very luxurious Land Rover and whisked us away from Glasgow out on an action packed day of adventure. We knew that we did not want to get crammed onto a big bus full of tourists to be rushed from stop to stop. We wanted something a bit more personalized and relaxing and that is what we got with Wee Adventours. The lovely Frank was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with, so friendly, funny and charming, it felt as though we had known him for years. Having worked in the tourism industry for some time, he was very knowledgeable about the history, customs and landmarks of Scotland and enthusiastic to share it with us. He spent a little time before the day of the tour finding out what our interests were and then customized an itinerary just for us. We did a small hike around Loch Lomond

img_3232 (3)and visited the town of Sterling. We had a great time at Doune Castle which is not only where Monty Python’s Holy Grail was filmed, it is also Castle Leoch from The Outlander television show and was further used as the set for Winterfell in Game of Thrones pilot.

 

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Last but not least, we visited charming Glengoyne Distillery for a tour and a Whisky & Chocolate tasting. Just an amazing day!

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Already an action packed holiday and we hadn’t even got to the main event! Turns out, much to my delight, the Husband absolutely loved Glasgow and said he couldn’t wait to return. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that we really made an excellent choice when we decided to stay at The Dakota Deluxe Hotel. The Dakota was fantastic! They offer free airport transfer during the week, which was so nice. Everyone we met who worked there was so friendly, charming and ready to help in any way they were able. The spacious rooms were decorated tastefully and the beds were very comfortable. The location was perfect, we were able to easily walk to most everything that we wanted to do. We look forward to our next stay, which will definitely be happening!

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Funky rope dog found in the Dakota’s reception.

So this is how we actually found ourselves in Scotland, Glasgow is particular, on Robbie Burn’s birthday. In the past I’ve shared lots of recipes with you that would be great for your own Burns Night celebration. There were these Cranberry Bannocks:

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And these Drop Scones – which might be better for Burns Breakfast – perhaps served around 2 am after a wee too much indulgence in the pubs.

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There was Steak Auld Reekie served over Crispy Tatties & Neeps:

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Dundee Cake with Hot Whiskey Marmalade:

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Scotch Egg Pie:

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Cock-a-Leekie soup:

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Which I always serve with this Scottish Harvest Bread, called Struan:

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And who could forget thyme impressive and delectable Scotch Eggs!

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Which I have also done deviled:

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Last year, we did not attend a big, formal Burns Night Supper, but did enjoy a lovely dinner in Fault & Blame – a fantastic, laid back pub located on in Glasgow.

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It was there that was we were served these delicious Scottish Pies with mushy peas and mashed potatoes. Absolute heaven I tell you!

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Now I know I’ve told you how we absolutely love meat pies. This blog is chock full of recipes for them. I’m pleased to say that the Scottish Pie (sometimes called Scotch Pie) is no exception to our pro-pie stance. A Scottish Pie is a small, personal sized double crust meat pie, usually made with mutton or minced lamb. Very popular in Scotland, and actually throughout the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada & Australia, these pies are often found at football matches resulting in the nickname – “football pies”. But these pies are not a modern invention, oh no no no. In the middle ages the Scottish church really had it in for these little treats. They viewed them as decadent luxurious English style food, cautioned their parishioners against the perils of indulging in them and advised them to stay clear. Thank goodness these little delights were able to endure the test of time! The pastry is a hot water crust pastry, the lid of which is placed 1cm or so lower than the edges of the pie. This recessed space is often topped with mashed potatoes, baked beans, brown gravy or even an egg. Very portable and quite tasty served hot or cold, they are the perfect fast food!

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I served my Scottish Pies with mashed potatoes and Mushy Peas. Mushy Peas are a traditional side dish and are pretty much exactly what they sound like – peas which have been cooked until they are mushy. Anyone who is from the American South should be familiar with this vegetable preparation method. There is one difference though. The peas traditionally used for Mushy Peas are marrowfat peas, not the usual pea you would find in an American grocery store. Marrowfat peas are peas which have been allowed to dry naturally in the field rather than be harvested whilst young. The resulting peas are larger and have a much higher starch content than your regular pea. This gives them a smoother, creamier consistency which is desired in properly prepared Mushy Peas. Now, you can use a regular pea to make this dish, but if you’d like to try for a more authentic experience, use marrowfat peas for sure. You can find these type of peas in British specialty shops or simply on Amazon. I have supplied the link below. And do remember that since you are using dried peas, an overnight soak in salted water is required to soften the peas prior to cooking. Don’t forget to put them into soak before you head off to bed the night before!

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I will admit, the hot water crust pastry used to make the pie casing is a bit of a challenge if you’ve never done it. Before you ever get started, you’ve got to go find some lard. I would’ve thought it would have been no problem. I started searching around my local grocery store and when I couldn’t find it, I asked one of the employees, ‘Sorry – could you tell me where the lard is?” The reply I got was “What is lard?”. Hmmmm…..so that is what we’ve come to…folks don’t know what lard is anymore! After a few different stops at a few different stores, I was able to get ahold of some. Lard is absolutely necessary in the hot water crust recipe as it is what makes that crust strong enough to stand up to the filling. Then, I had to actually shape the little pie cases while that pastry was warm. I used some mini cheesecake springform pans ( 4″ diameter pans – not the really really small cheesecake pans) that I had, but you can also shape them over a canning jar, ramekin, or even the bottom of a glass. This method is a bit more tricky as you have to thoroughly grease the item you are using for a mold and then once the pastry has hardened you have to gently tease it off of the mold. I tried each method and the springform pans are much, much easier. I have supplied an Amazon link for them below.

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All that fiddly work was so worth it in the end! These pies were crisp, juicy savory perfection! And I think it was quite appropriate that while writing this post, I was also able to reminisce about our lovely time in Glasgow one year ago. Sure didn’t Robbie Burns write Auld Lange Syne in 1788. He definitely understood the pleasure in remembering the fun times past that we’ve shared with our friends and loved ones. I did intend to have this post on my blog for January 25th. However as Rabbie so knowingly said “The best laid schemes o’ mice an men, gang aft a-gley” (translated “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”). I can definitely say my plans did go a-gley, but here it is, a day late. I will say, you can enjoy Scottish Pies and Mushy Peas year round. And just think you’ll be so prepared for Burns Night next year! So remember to raise a wee dram on January 25th for Scotland’s National Poet on his birthday. And by all means, make yourself some of these indulgent Scottish pies. Don’t worry for your soul, you can repent tomorrow. (PS – Don’t forget to check back soon to see all the action from the second leg of this journey – The Shetland Viking Fire Festival Up Helly Aa!)

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Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas

  • Servings: 4 -8 Pies depending on the diameter
  • Difficulty: moderate - in making the pie casings
  • Print

recipe from: Mother Earth News (for the Hot Water Pastry) 

Ingredients:

For the Pastry:

  • 450 grams (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten and at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (200ml) water
  • 80 grams (3/4 stick) butter
  • 80 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) lard

For the Filling:

  • 450 grams (1 lb.) minced lamb (I couldn’t find lamb and used ground beef)
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 -4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 Tablespoon flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. First make the pastry.

Mix the flour, salt, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle, pour in the egg and toss a liberal covering of flour over the egg.

Place the water, butter, and lard into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil. When the liquid boils, pour it on to the flour, mixing with a spatula as you go.

When cool enough to handle, gently knead the pastry until all the egg streaks have gone and it is smooth.

Separate 1/4 of the pastry and set aside to use to make the pie lids. Make sure it remains warm.

Thoroughly grease the jelly jars, ramekins or mini cheesecake springform pans that you will be using to form the pastry cases.

Roll the pastry out to 1/4″ thickness. Measure the diameter of the cases you will be using and add twice the depth to the diameter. This will give you the appropriate size of the circle of pastry you will need to cut to fit your cases. The pastry cases should have sides approximately 2 – 21/2″ tall or can be taller as you prefer. Once you have finished shaping your pie shells, place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that they can firm up.

In the meantime, prepare your filling. Heat a small amount of oil in a large sauté pan until hot. Add the lamb or beef to the pan and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. If the meat has released a lot of grease, drain off at this point and reserve. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Sautee the minced onion in 1 Tablespoon of the reserved drippings until it is soft. Add the minced garlic and sautée for 1 minute. Return the meat to the pan and mix to combine. Add the thyme leaves, nutmeg, beef broth, & Worcestershire sauce and stir until combined. Simmer for 1 -2 minutes and then add salt and pepper to taste. Finally sprinkle the 1 Tablespoon of flour over the meat mixture. Stir to combine and allow it to simmer for a few more minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Remove the pastry cases from the refrigerator. Gently slide them from the jelly jars or ramekins if you are using them. Place your cases onto a parchment lined baking sheet to be filled.

Divide the meat mixture between the pastry cases, pressing it down well.

Roll out the reserved pastry dough to form the lids. The lid should be cut using the diameter of the case as a guide. Paint the edges of the pastry case with a bit of egg wash and them fit the lids on top, crimping the edges with your fingers to seal the pies.

Brush pies with the remaining egg wash. Cut a hole in the lid of each pie to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve hot or cold as you prefer. If you are serving hot, consider topping the pies with mashed potatoes & gravy with a side of mushy peas!

Mushy Peas

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dried Marrowfat peas
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 200 ml boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • lemon zest to taste
  • salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Directions:

As I mentioned, these peas need an overnight soak. So the evening prior to which you want to serve them, dissolve two teaspoons of baking soda in boiling water.  Place the dried marrowfat peas in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them so that they are covered by at least 3 inches of water.  Give the peas a stir then leave them to soak for at least 12 hours.
On serving day, drain and rinse the peas. Place them in a large pot with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and allow the peas come to a simmer.
Continue to cook for 30 minutes or so until the peas are broken down. Add the butter, lemon juice and zest. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
Serve immediately as the peas will continue to thicken the longer they sit. Should you need to reheat them, adding a bit of water will help.
Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Batchelor’s Marrowfat Peas

Wilton 4″ Mini Springform Pans

Links for Planning your vacation in Glasgow, Scotland:

Accommodation:

The Dakota Deluxe Hotel – Luxurious & stylish boutique hotel in a superb location in the city. Absolutely love our stay here!

Tours:

Wee Adventours – Specializes in exclusive personal tour services for small tourist groups. Owner Frank Jones has over 10 year guiding experience and is passionate about his country. For all you Outlander fans, he does an amazing Outlander tour which will take you to many locations around Glasgow & its environs were the popular series has filmed. Frank is available for day tours or multi-day journeys. For a luxury custom experience, give him a call!

Restaurants & Pubs:

Òran Mór – Formerly the Kelvinside Parish Church, this is a truly unique live music venue which also boasts two bars, a restaurant, and a nightclub as well.

Fault & Blame – Sad to report, as of November 29, 2018 Fault & Blame has closed. It was a wonderful venue.

Slouch Bar – Our favorite pub in Glasgow thus far. Fantastic, comfortable pub serving homemade food every night until 2 a.m. Burgers, wings, pizzas as far as the eye can see. And one of the meats on their meat-lover’s pizza is haggis! You can’t pass that up!

Mother India Cafe – Glasgow has been voted Britain’s curry capital many times. So if you visit Glasgow you have to try out one of their many south asian restaurants. Glaswegians definitely like it hot, so if you do as well, you’ll be in good company. We asked several locals where their favorite place for a curry was and Mother India kept coming up. A stalwart for many years, Mother India has several locations in Glasgow. We went to the Cafe located just opposite the Kelvingrove Museum. It did not disappoint! The tapas sized portions were spectacularly spiced and the service impeccable. Definitely a must!

Things to See:

Glasgow Cathedral – A fine example of Scottish gothic architecture, with a breathtaking array of stained glass, this Cathedral is the oldest building in Glasgow

Necropolis – Approximately 50,000 folks are buried in the 37 acres of Glasgow’s Victorian city of the dead. It is located on a hill just adjacent to Glasgow Cathedral.

The Cloisters at the University of Glasgow – The Cloisters, also know as The Undercroft are a group of impressive archways and are an iconic part of the University of Glasgow. They have made appearances in many television shows and movies, such as Outlander. And although Harry Potter movies were not filmed at the University, certainly it was the inspiration for that School of Wizardry. Surrounded by the beautiful castle like architecture and soaring spires, you will feel like you have actually set foot on the campus of a real life Hogwarts!

Kelvingrove Art Museum & Gallery – Free to enter, The Kelvingrove boasts 22 themed galleries. You can find it all here – with over 8,000 items on display there is plenty to explore!

Doune Castle – You probably don’t know it, but you have likely seen Doune Castle many times. This 14th Century castle is featured in Monty Python & The Holy Grail, it was Winterfell, home of the Stark Clan, in Game of Thrones and is also Castle Leoch, home to Colm MacKenzie and his clan, in the Outlander television show. Highly recommend a visit here!

Loch Lomond – Located in The Trossachs National Park this picturesque (The Bonnie Shores o’ Loch Lomond) freshwater lake (or Loch) contains many islands and is surrounded by hill, including Ben Lomond. You will find many hiking and cycling paths there.

Glengoyne Whisky Distillery – Located in Dumgoyne, a short bit north of Glasgow (approx. 40 minute drive), this picture perfect whisky distillery has been in continuous operation since 1833. It is unique in that it produces Highland single malt whisky that is matured in the Lowlands. The Distillery is located on the border with its stills in the Highlands. The whisky is then sent across the road, to the Lowlands, to mature. They offer many fun & informative tours, classes and tastings.

Things to Do:

Blythswood Square Spa – Housed in the luxurious Blythswood Square Hotel, this 10,000 square foot facility boasts a thermal suite, two relaxation pools, nine treatment rooms, lounge and cafe. All right there in Glasgow’s city center.

Celtic Connections Music Festival – Annual music festival held every January in Glasgow since 1994. Features over 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, late night sessions and workshops. Whilst the focus is on Scottish music, you will also find international folk, roots and world music artists.

 

 

 

 


Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce

November 23, 2017

IMG_6627Woah! Here it is Thanksgiving already and no doubt Christmas will be hot on its heels. Before we blink it will be upon us! I can’t believe I’m actually able to get this post off today because the Husband and I have been craaaa-zeee busy lately. But here you go – Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce, just in time for the holiday. Yes…as I previously mentioned…I do know that Thanksgiving is today. I also would wager there are quite a few of you stuck in the kitchen right now saying ” Oh no! I’ve still gotta do the cranberry sauce”. Don’t reach for that can of cranberry jelly. You can have some lovely homemade cranberry goodness all made up in about 20 minutes or so! Easy peasy! And like a lot of things I make, this Cranberry sauce has a kick…namely Bourbon. Bet no one would notice if you took a wee nip or two while you were preparing this dish. I’m sure you need it about now if you’re cooking for the family. Consider it medicinal.

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Now I will admit, this is a bit of a cheat because I have published this recipe before but it was hidden within other recipes. Like this Thanksgiving Pie -Toffee Blonde Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Pumpkin Ganache and Boozy Cranberry Sauce for example:

img_3579This year, I decided it should get the limelight. (And I did mention that things have been nuts around here right…). Sweet, tangy and a bit boozy, it is the perfect complement to items on your Thanksgiving menu. Not to mention, it is wonderful to have around when you dig into all those Thanksgiving leftovers! What would the Thanksgiving leftover sandwich be without it? Or maybe you could make up these Holiday Leftover Pirozhkis that I told you about last year?

img_5322It is also wonderful stirred into yogurt or as an oatmeal topping. This Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce it so fantastic and easy to make – which is very important since preparing holiday meals can be somewhat frantic to say the least – I bet it’ll show up on your Christmas table. There is no reason it should be relegated to Thanksgiving alone.

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This sauce can actually be made up several days before your holiday event as well and does just fine chilling in the fridge. So there you have it, a quick, easy and tasty Thanksgiving side dish, just in the nick of time. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 2 1/2 cups yield, about 8 - 10 folks depending on their appetites...
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces, weight Fresh Cranberries
  • 3/4 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Loosely Packed Orange Zest
  • 1/2 cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup quality Bourbon

Directions:

Pick through the cranberries, removing any stems or berries that don’t look plump and ripe. Rinse the remaining cranberries well, then place them in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan with the sugar, orange zest, orange juice, water and cinnamon stick. Stir to combine, then place the pan over medium heat. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.

After 15 minutes, the cranberries should all have burst. Remove the pan from the heat. The sauce will look very liquidy, but will thicken as it cools. After the sauce has cooled completely, stir in the bourbon. Remove the cinnamon stick and serve the cranberry sauce at room temperature or chilled.

Cranberry sauce can be made 2–3 days ahead of time.

Enjoy!


Zucchini Tots

October 11, 2016

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Wait….wait! I’ve got another delicious zucchini recipe to share before zucchini season is over. Zucchini Tots! Crispy on the outside and oh so tender on the inside, whether you serve them as a side, appetizer or the main event, these little nuggets are unbelievably addictive. The husband says he likes them better than regular Tater Tots. Now me…I don’t think I can go that far. Nothing against these zucchini tots, which are spectacular, but I love me some potatoes. Don’t really care how you make ’em…mashed, baked, scalloped – but fried can’t be beat. I think I’d categorize these little zucchini gems as a totally different thing. I probably should have called them zucchini bites. That being said, I certainly feel more virtuous having eaten Zucchini Tots rather than Tater Tots, so there is that.

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Another great thing about these tots is that they are really easy and pretty quick to make. Just be sure you squeeze as much water out of the zucchini as you can before mixing it in with the other ingredients so that you can achieve ultimate crispiness. You see I love the crispy bit, that’s why I rolled these tots in a bit more panko before baking them. But you can skip the panko roll step if you aren’t that into crispy or simply can’t be bothered. No matter what, these Zucchini Tots will still knock your socks off – guaranteed!

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Zucchini Tots

  • Servings: 20 tots
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: The Wimpy Vegetarian

Ingredients:

  • 2 -3 small zucchini, shredded (you should have about 2 cups worth)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup small-diced yellow onion
  • ⅓ cup grated Asiago Cheese (feel free to use Parmesan, mozzarella, or even cheddar)
  • ¼ cup Panko (bread crumbs) plus 1 cup additional for coating tots
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Don’t use foil – the tots will stick to it like super-glue. Trust me. Place 1 cup of panko in shallow bowl and set aside.

Combine all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl using a large metal spoon.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop the zucchini mixture into mounds. Drop zucchini mixture into the middle of the panko bowl. Gently roll to cover will Panko and gently shape into a tater tot shape. Arrange on the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes, gently flip over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Zucchini Tots brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Zucchini Tots:

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop

 


Irish Potato Bites

March 16, 2016

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Goodness Gracious! Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day! How time does fly! Here is a great little St. Patrick’s Day appetizer, Irish Potato Bites! These are little, one bite sized, twice baked potatoes stuffed with Corned Beef and Irish Cheddar and then topped with a little dollop of sour cream. They are completely addictive. And another fantastic thing about this dish is that you can make these little gems ahead of time and freeze them. Just pop them into the oven straight from the freezer to bake. Once they’re done, all that is left to do is garnish with the sour cream, chives and flaky salt just before you are ready to pass around the appetizer tray.

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Truth be told, while it was great that these appetizers were small enough to just pop into your mouth, it did make them a bit difficult to work with. The smallest melon baller I owned was too big to scoop out the inside potato bit, so I had to resort to a teeny tiny dessert spoon. It was totally do able, but I also bet you could go with a slightly bigger potato and serve these as a side dish rather than an appetizer if you were a bit short on time…or patience…or both.

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But if you don’t mind a little prep work, these appetizers are ahh…mazing! When I served them up, folks were delighted. Potatoes, Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar…you just can’t go wrong!

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Irish Potato Bites

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy - but a bit fiddly
  • Print

recipe from: White Lights on Wednesday

Ingredients:

  • 20 Baby Red Potatoes, small (golf ball size)
  • 1/2 Cup leftover Corned Beef, chopped finely
  • 1/4 Cup Irish Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter, melted
  • Salt & Maldon flaky sea salt for serving
  • Sour cream & chives for toppings

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.

Add potatoes and boil until they are fork tender.

Preheat oven to 400°F

Once potatoes are cooked and have cooled cut each one in half and cut a small slice off of the rounded end so the potato will not roll over. Place the potato halves on a parchment lined baking tray.

Carefully scoop out the flesh of each potato half into a medium sized bowl.

Mash the potatoes with butter until it is smooth Add the shredded cheese and corned beef to the potato and mix well.

Salt and pepper mixture to taste.

Sprinkle some salt over the reserved potato skin halves.

Scoop potato/corned beef/cheese mixture into potato halves and then place them on a baking sheet.

Pop baking sheet in oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven. Pipe a small dollop of sour cream onto each potato bite and garnish with fresh chives and few flakes of Maldon Sea Salt.

Enjoy!

Irish Potato Bites brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Helpful Links to Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Potato Bites:

Oxo Good Grips Melon Baller

 

 


Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes

March 13, 2016

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O.k…So you know that Colcannon I told you about yesterday? It is pretty ahhhh..mazing all on its own right? Well guess what? I don’t know if you will actually have any leftovers when you make up a big old batch of Colcannon…but if you do…you can make Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes the next morning!

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Squeeeeee! I love leftover recipes! And boy oh boy is this a fantastic one! You take that mouthwateringly delicious Colcannon and stir in some lovely Irish Cheddar, an egg and a bit of flour. Then you simply drop it onto a hot skillet and fry it up. Good Lord above!!! These little Colcannon Skillet Cakes are crisp and crunchy on the outside and filled with all the warm, gooey, cheesey Colcannon goodness on the inside.

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You might just have to  double your Colcannon recipe just to make sure that you do have leftovers so that you can make these Skillet Cakes. And they’re not only great for breakfast. We’ve had them as a side dish for dinner as well. So delicious! I wouldn’t have thought you could improve on Colcannon, but here we have. Comfort food nirvana has been achieved!

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Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes

  • Servings: 8 cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup leftover Colcannon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, grated
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • oil to grease skillet
  • sour cream & chives for serving

Directions:

Place leftover Colcannon in medium mixing bowl.

Make a well in the center of the Colcannon and add beaten egg. Mix until combined.

Sprinkle grated cheese and flour over Colcannon/egg mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated

Heat a thin layer of oil (I used bacon grease, though any vegetable oil or even butter will work just fine) over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Drop large cookie scoops full of Colcannon mixture into the pan. You can actually make any size Colcannon cakes that your heart desires. However, I have found that smaller cakes give you more of the crisp factor than larger cakes. But proceed as you wish.

Allow cakes to cook undisturbed until the underside is golden brown. Flip the cakes and continue to cook until the second side is browned.

Remove cakes to a paper towel lined dish covered with foil until ready to serve. Serve warm with sour cream and chives if you desire.

Enjoy!

Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes:

Norpro 2 Tablespoon Cookie Scoop

Le Creuset Iron Handle 10 1/4 ” Skillet

Le Creuset Silicone Cool Tool Handle Sleeve

 


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