Celebrate St. Patty's with style
With St. Patrick’s day nearly upon us (it’s next Wednesday, March 17), we consulted with “Ireland’s most famous chef,” Rachel Allen on how to throw a great St. Patty’s party.
In 20 years since studying at Cork County’s Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland, Allen has become a world-renowned TV chef, author, journalist and cooking teacher.
She will visit New York on St. Patrick’s Day to launch her new book, “Favorite Food at Home: Delicious Comfort Food from Ireland's Most Famous Chef,” as well as her new TV show, “Favorite Food at Home,” to be aired on PBS Starting May 1.
“It’s a big day for the Irish to be hugely patriotic,” Allen said. “It’s something we do quite well because we are all really proud to be Irish.”
Setting the mood
1. To get into the spirit, wear something green. Don’t think head-to-toe green, but perhaps just throw on an accent scarf or top. (Green celebrates the lush Irish landscape, the country’s national color and commemorates a shamrock worn by St. Patrick, while explaining the Holy Trinity to pre-Christian Irish.)
2. Always have a little green around the house. Along with a green food item, put out green napkins or use a green apron.
3. Since St. Patrick’s Day coincides with the beginning of spring, use cut daffodils to decorate the house.
4. Irish music is a must (even if it’s U2!).
Food and drink
Aside from the traditional pint of Guinness (a St. Patrick’s Day staple), try these recipes:
Simply fill 2/3 of a Champagne flute with Guinness, top up with 1/3 Champagne or sparkling wine.
35ml ( a little over 1 ounce)Irish Whisky (Paddy’s, Powers or Jameson)
1 tbsp brown sugar
Softly whipped cream
Pour the whisky into a cup and stir in the sugar. Top up with coffee, leaving half an inch free at the top, then gently pour softly whipped cream to fill.
The secret to the cream staying on top is having enough sugar stirred into the whisky.
Spring greens soup
This soup can also be served cold and with a little swirl of crème fraîche or thick natural yogurt in the center.
2 tbsp butter
2 ½ cups milk (add some light cream if you wish)
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
8 oz spring greens, such as spinach, kale, or watercress, roughly chopped
2 ½ cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the potatoes and onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and sweat on a gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off the lid, add the stock and milk and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft.
Add the greens and boil, uncovered, over a high heat for just 2–3 minutes until the greens have wilted. Do not overcook this soup or it will lose its fresh green color and ﬂavor. As soon as it is cooked, puree it. Taste and correct the seasoning and serve.