Food in Focus: Irish Cuisine

Food in Focus: Irish Cuisine

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, it’s a great time to try some Irish cuisine. Most Irish foods rely heavily on potatoes and hearty meats, so there are sure to be some comfort foods that everyone in your family will love.

 

Shepherd's pie with beef, carrots and mashed potatoes served on a white plateShepherd’s Pie

A traditional shepherd’s pie is made with minced lamb or mutton, vegetables and mashed potato. However, when the dish originated, the meat was often whatever leftovers were available to scrounge together. Shepherd’s Pie was created to be economical and was known as a poor man’s dish. It has now become a staple in Irish cuisine and its popularity has spread across the globe. Try Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for a traditional shepherd’s pie.

 

Barmbrack or BrackBarmbrack, traditional Irish bread with dried fruit on a cutting board

This traditional bread is also known as speckled bread because it’s filled with raisins. Barmbrack is sweet and is commonly served with coffee. There’s a fun tradition that goes along with Barmbrack if it’s served on Halloween. The bread has a hidden pea, stick, cloth, coin and ring. Each item has a meaning assigned to it. For instance, if you get the slice of Barmbrack with a ring in it, then it means that you’ll be married within the year.

 

Colcannon, an Irish mashed potato dish with leeks, cabbage, ham and butter

Colcannon

Colcannon is a mashed potato dish with kale or cabbage mixed into it, and it’s often then served with boiled ham. There’s even a traditional Irish song dedicated to Colcannon because it’s a common comfort food in Ireland. Colcannon is also a part of Irish Halloween traditions, where it’s common to hide a ring, thimble or coin in the dish. Whoever finds the prizes gets to keep them.

 

CoddleIrish coddle, a sausage, bacon, onion and potato hot pot

The Great Famine hit Ireland in 1845, which caused for a lot of Irish recipes to use all parts of the animals in their meals. There are several recipes that call for pig’s blood, pig’s feet or kidneys. While it was common during the famine to use all parts of the pig, most Coddle recipes today just include sausage, bacon and potato. Coddle can include barley and Guinness, but this also isn’t as common anymore.

 

Triangle of Dubliner Irish cheddar cheese on a cork plate with grapes and lettuce

Dubliner Cheese

In 1990, an Irish man, John Lucey, set out to create a new cheese. When Lucey originally created the cheese, he named it “Aralgen.” It’s described as having the sharpness of a mature cheddar with the sweetness of parmigiano. In 1994, Dubliner earned its new name as commercial production began. It’s common to include Dubliner on a cheese board or use it to make grilled cheese sandwiches.

 

While not everyone is brave enough to try a traditional Irish dish like Skirts and Kidneys, there are several tamer options for those of us looking to eat conventional meat options. No one can deny that a meal of mashed potatoes, sausage and beer sounds delicious, so try making your own version of an Irish classic to celebrate St. Patrick’s day with a good hearty meal.

 

Text by Katherine Polcari  

5 Tips for Throwing a Fantastic Super Bowl Party

5 Tips for Throwing a Fantastic Super Bowl Party

Let’s be honest: the best thing about the Super Bowl has nothing to do with sports. Football’s just an excuse to eat and drink with our friends while the game plays in the background. Here are a few tips for throwing the perfect viewing party for football fans and food fans alike.

 

Decorations

Snacks on table decorated like a football fieldIf your party is rooting for a particular team, feel free to decorate with your team’s colors and logos. You can also make impartial Super Bowl decorations. For instance, a green plastic table cloth and masking tape can transform your tabletop into a football field.

 

 

Themed Cocktails

To stay in line with your Super Bowl decorations, you can paint mason jars to look like footballs so that your guest can gulp down a glass of team spirit. And speaking of spirits, why not stir up a themed cocktail? Or you can give your game day brew Super Bowl Sunday superpowers with a beer-margarita or lime and beer cocktail.

 

Party Games

Guests play games at Super Bowl party

Don’t Say It is a Super-Bowl-party-perfect game that doesn’t require a wealth of knowledge about football. To play, give each of your guests a plastic whistle at the beginning of the party. Choose a word or phrase that is taboo, and, if you can catch someone saying the word, you get to take their whistle. Whoever has the most whistles at the end wins. There are also games centered around the Super Bowl itself. You can place bets on how many touchdowns are scored, guess which commercials will air or what songs are on the set for halftime. Also, these printable Super Bowl bingo cards will help get all of your guests in the game — even if they’re not into football games.

 

Cute American bulldog puppy in jersey with plush footballPuppy Bowl

If you get tired of football, screen the Puppy Bowl in another room so that guests can walk away for a puppy break without interrupting the football fans in the other room. You can place bets on the Puppy Bowl, like how many times the referee has to call a time-out for a clean up on the field or which puppy gets MVP. Want to keep the kids entertained? Print these precious Puppy Bowl Trading Cards, or make a card for your own pup. The best part of this game day pick-me-up is that all of the puppies featured are rescues that are ready to be adopted.

 

Have the Best FoodBeer, wings and sliders for a Super Bowl party

Ultimately, the game of throwing the best party is really about serving the best food. If you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, Market Table has some Super Bowl specials that are sure to be crowd-pleasers. We offer buffalo chicken dip, wings and burgers, not to mention wine and beer. Looking for something a little more hearty? Our catering menu offers sliders, sandwich trays, hors d’oeuvres and desserts sure to make your guests cheer, no matter the score.

 

Text by Katherine Polcari