Saint Patrick's Day Menu Ideas

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I invited my friend Pete to write something for the blog and he came up with a jolly good suggestion - breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes for St Patrick's Day! For those who celebrate this occasion - Happy Day of the Festival of Patrick to you!


I’ve been thinking hard over what I’d do for a St Paddies Day menu and I’ve come up with the following. Of course, the breakfast must contain fat/alcohol and stomach lining foods, lunch also and dinner well, it’s light and easy because by the time I get there, I’ll be not wanting to stand around cooking!!

And seeing as it’s St Paddies day, I’ve made Guinness the staring attraction :)

And of course, as it’s being cooked by a bloke who’s progressive getting more drunk as the day goes on, the recipes get progressively simpler.

Breakfast 6 thick slices bacon 2 small tomatoes, sliced 2 tablespoons butter 1.5 cups whole mushrooms 4 eggs; and 4 slices crusty bread

  1. Lay the bacon slices in a single layer in a large skillet. Fry over medium heat until it begins to get tinged with brown. Fry on both sides. Remove from pan, but save grease.
  2. Melt butter in skillet. Crack eggs into pan, being careful not to break yolks. Place tomato slices, mushrooms, and bread in pan. Fry gently, stirring mushrooms and tomatoes occasionally. Keep everything separate. Turn bread over to brown on both sides.
  3. When egg whites are set, but yolks are still runny, dish half of everything onto each of 2 warmed plates, and serve immediately.

Lunch – Irish Cockle Soup 40-50 cockles Teaspoon of butter 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped 2 heaped tablespoons flour 500 mls of milk 2 sticks celery, finely chopped 2 tablespoons chopped parsley Salt and pepper 150 mls of cream 1 stick of celery trimmed and finely chopped to garnish

  1. Wash and scrub the cockles well, discarding any that are open.
  2. Place in a saucepan with just enough lightly salted water to cover and bring to the boil, shaking the pan from time to time.
  3.  Cook until the cockles open. When cool enough to handle, strain the cockles, reserving the liquid, and remove from the shells.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan and place onion gently until soft, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Mix the cockle liquid and milk together add gradually to the flour mixture, stirring until smoothly blended.
  6. Add the celery cook for 5 minutes, and then add the parsley and seasoning.
  7. Bring to the boil, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes then add the cockles and heat through.
  8. Stir in the cream and heat gently but do not boil.
  9. Serve with crusty bread

Dinner - Dublin Coddle 850 mls of water 8 thick slices of ham cut into chunks 8 pork sausages cut into thick slices 2 large onions, peeled and sliced 700 grams potatoes peeled and sliced Salt and pepper 2 heaped tablespoons fresh chopped parsley Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

  1. Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan, then add the ham and sausages and cook for 5 minutes. Drain well, reserving the cooking liquid.
  2. Set oven to 300 degrees. Place the ham and sausages and chopped parsley and pour over just enough cooking liquid (Guinness for extra kick) to cover.
  3. Cover with a piece of buttered greaseproof paper, put on the lid and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the liquid is greatly reduced and the vegetables cooked but not mushy.
  4. Serve with the chopped parsley to garnish and hot buttered crusty bread on a side plate.

Then to bed :)

Christmas gift idea: gingerbread cookies

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The_Food_Avenue_Gingerbread_man_recipe04

I love gingerbread. It might possibly be my favourite cookie flavour! I really wanted to make gingerbread this year and asked on social media for some recipes! This recipe is adapted from Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things Spiced Treacle Gingerbread Biscuits. Thanks Liz for sharing it!

Not bad for a first attempt making cookies from scratch, eh? I loved the result. It took a lot of self control not to gobble all of these up!

Ingredients

  • 140g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 3 heaped teaspoons of ground ginger or dried ginger powder
  • 3 heaped teaspoons of ground cinnamon or dried cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Icing

  • 1/2 an egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup sifted icing sugar
  • food colouring, optional
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The_Food_Avenue_Gingerbread_man_recipe02

Line two biscuit trays with baking paper. If you are grinding your spices yourself (with a spice grinder), do this now.

Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl (or in a food processor) until light and creamy, then beat in the whole egg and egg yolk.

Fold in the rest of the dry ingredients (the combined sifted flours, spices and bicarbonate of soda).

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for two to three minutes until smooth. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for up to 30 minutes. The dough needs to be really well-chilled so that it is easier to work with when rolling out and cutting.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Divide the dough into two and roll out each one between two sheets of baking paper to 1.5cm in thickness (quite thick!). Make sure you roll the dough so that the surface does not have any cracks or wrinkles. Cut out the dough into the shapes of your preference. You will need to reshape the dough to use up all of the scrap bits of the dough and roll out again. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

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The_Food_Avenue_Gingerbread_man_recipe03
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The_Food_Avenue_Gingerbread_man_recipe01

Place the cookies onto the trays and bake for ten minutes, check to ensure that the cookies don't over brown.  Remove from the oven and leave on the trays for five minutes, before transferring to wire racks to cool.

To make the icing, whisk the egg white until foamy. Add the lemon juice and sugar and stir until glossy. Add some food colouring if you wish to use coloured icing. Spoon the icing mixture into a piping bag and decorate the cookies with cool outfit designs.

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The_Food_Avenue_Gingerbread_man_recipe05

Allow to set. Wrap cookies in clear cellophane and decorate with curling ribbon. How cute are they!!

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The_Food_Avenue_Gingerbread_man_recipe07

Recipe: Christmas popcorn edible gift

My last post about edible gifts from the Capital Region Farmers Market inspired me to make my own edible Christmas gift! So I decided to make a low-cost Christmas gift you can give to friends, family and colleagues! Christmas popcorn is a delicious, affordable and very easy to make festive gift. It’s also a fun activity to do with kids!

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Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp  canola oil
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • 250g white chocolate
  • 6-8 regular sized candy canes
  • ¼ cup hundreds and thousand sprinkles

Method

  1. Pour the canola oil into a large saucepan, heat the oil on medium high.
  2. Once the oil is hot, pour corn kernels in and swirl the pan so that corn is evenly covered in oil. Put saucepan lid on and wait for popping to occur.
  3. Once the popping starts, gently shake the saucepan back and forth to encourage more popping.
  4. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, immediately take the saucepan off the heat, remove the lid and dump the popcorn onto a baking paper-lined baking tray. Arrange evenly across the tray.
  5. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.
  6. Meanwhile, crush the candy canes in a mortar and pestle. Cover the bowl with your hand so that shards of candy do not fly everywhere.
  7. Once the chocolate has melted, drizzle it generously over the popcorn, then sprinkle it with the crushed up candy cane and the hundreds and thousands. Work in small areas at a time so that the sprinkles and candy cane stick to the melted chocolate.
  8. Allow to cool and set.
  9. Wrap popcorn with clear cellophane and ribbon as an edible Christmas gift or serve in a bowl as a festive snack.

How do you flavour your popcorn? Let me know in the comments!

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Recipe: Caramelised pork san choy bow (filled lettuce cups)

By playing around with the ingredients, this recipe can be as simple or as complicated as you want. This is the complicated version but I rarely use all the ingredients (as you can see in the image below) as it tastes almost as good with only half the ingredients! I almost never bother with the rice noodle but it does make the dish slightly fancier. To save time, you could use frozen vegetables at step 5 (finely chopped peas, carrot, corn) and do away with the carrot, water chestnuts and all the garnish ingredients.

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Main ingredients

  • 350g lean finely ground pork (you could substitute with chicken mince)
  • 1 small can of water chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • Piece of ginger approx 10 cm long, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp corn flour mixed with 4 tbsp water
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Small amount of dry rice noodle

Wet ingredients

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp shao xing rice wine
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil

Garnish

  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked
  • 6 spring onions, finely sliced on the angle
  • Ground peanuts
  • Desiccated coconut

Optional ingredients

  • 10 fresh shitake mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 2 large red chillies, cut on the angle
  • Rice to serve

Method

  1. If serving with rice, cook the rice now.
  1. Gently separate the lettuce leaves and trim them to create cups. Soak the lettuce cups in cold water in the fridge to ensure the leaves are crisp. Peel the carrot with a vegetable peeler into long strips, then cut the strips in half lengthways and finely slice. Set aside.
  1. Heat wok or frypan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp oil to wok. Add rice noodles. Flip over. Once the noodles have puffed up, remove from wok and set aside. Add 1 tbsp oil to wok. Add dessicated coconut. Remove from pan and set aside.
  1. Add 1 tbsp oil. Brown pork (or chicken) mince on high heat. Add sugar. When lightly caramelised, add soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, sesame oil. Simmer and then remove from pan with slotted spoon.
  1. Heat wok or pan over a high heat. Add 2 tbsp oil. Add ginger. Add garlic. Cook for 20 seconds. Add water chestnuts, carrot, (if using optional ingredients, add them here). Cook for another 15 seconds.
  1. Return the mince back to the pan. Add the corn flour mixture and mix consistently for another 30 seconds. Add most of the spring onion and the coriander (leaving some for garnish). Remove from the heat.
  1. Divide the mince mixture between the lettuce cups and garnish with the rice noodle, ground peanuts, desiccated coconut, and remaining spring onion and coriander.
  1. Serve as is or with a bowl of steamed rice for a substantial meal for 4 people.

Let me know in the comments below if you do a different version of san choy bow or how you went with my caramelised pork san choy bow recipe!

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Recipe: Crab creme brulee

This crab creme brulee recipe was kindly given to me by my friend Tracey. The dish was from a 10-course degustation dinner party she hosted with her husband. Check out my other post on the details of the dinner party! Crab crème brulee with ocean trout crackling, rouille, pickled ginger and crème fraiche

Processed with VSCOcam

Ingredients

  • 400 ml (1 3/4 cups) cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped/crushed
  • 2 tablespoons pickled ginger, drained and finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 150 g (1 cup) picked white crab meat, finely chopped (dried with paper towel)
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan

Place the cream in a bowl with the eggs, garlic, pickled ginger and some salt and pepper and mix well. Add in the crab meat, ensuring there is no shell, and mix well again. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to allow the flavours to infuse for at least 30 minutes, but ideally up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F).

Ladle or pour the mixture into the ramekins, making sure you get an even amount of crab in every ramekin, as the crab tends to fall to the bottom. Place the ramekins in a roasting tray. Fill the tray with warm water until the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place this bain marie in the oven and cook for 45 to 60 minutes (check after 40 minutes).When cooked through, the mixture should be set but still have a slightly wobbly consistency. Remove the ramekins from the bain marie and allow to cool a little (served warm but not hot).

Sprinkle a very thin layer of Parmesan on top of each ramekin and brown under the grill (or use a blow torch).