It’s that time of the year when many would like to have an Irish shamrock in their hearts.The wearing of the green and an Irish beer or pint of stout, along with corned beef and cabbage, add to the festivities of the day.These recipes are easy to make and are very tasty.I make the corned beef throughout the year and enjoy it every time, along with a slice of Irish soda bread.

It’s that time of the year when many would like to have an Irish shamrock in their hearts.The wearing of the green and an Irish beer or pint of stout, along with corned beef and cabbage, add to the festivities of the day.These recipes are easy to make and are very tasty.I make the corned beef throughout the year and enjoy it every time, along with a slice of Irish soda bread.

Most of the recipes in this column are from Ireland with a little twist from my kitchen.Cabbage also kale, beets and potatoes are healthy and nutritious vegetables and are used in Irish cuisine on a regular basis.Try the recipes below for an added change and treat to your meals.

Potatoes have always been a mainstay for the Irish.One of their favorite recipes, which has been made for centuries, is the Irish Champ.This is a potato dish made with mashed potatoes, and warm milk infused with scallions or spring green onions.Butter and some salt and pepper are added to the dish, and sometimes cooked green peas and/or chopped fresh parsley are added.The resulting dish is creamy mashed potatoes with an onion flavor twist.

 This dish is eaten year round, but is a specialty dish for Halloween. The cook places a coin in the bowl of mashed potatoes and whoever eats the portion with the coin is said to have good luck. A dish of Champ is also set aside out by a tree for the fairies to eat on Halloween acknowledging the Irish heritage.

The chocolate cake with stout is something you should try at least once.Stout is claimed to have chocolatey overtones in its taste, so it makes for a good combination with chocolate.I made it with a good chocolate cake mix once and it turned out well, but this recipe is very good.Make sure to have deep 9 or 10-inch cake pans because the cake does rise quite a bit.The cake is very moist and has a rich dark color coming from the stout.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!




Hope’s Irish Soda Tea Bread

(I won a Blue Ribbon for this recipe.)

3 ½ (three and one half)cups all-purpose unbleached flour

½ (one half)cup granulated sugar

½ (one half) teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ (one and one half)cups dark raisins

3 eggs

1 ½ (one and one half )cups milk, minus 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.Add raisins and mix to coat.

 In a large glass measuring cup mix together milk and vinegar.In a bowl combine eggs, milk mixture, and melted butter.Pour this mixture over dry ingredients and mix until moistened.

 Pour batter into a greased 9-inch loaf pan.Bake in a 375 degree oven for 55-65 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and bread is a golden color.Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then turn out on a wire rack and cool completely.


Quick Bread with Stout and Maple Syrup

1 ¾ (one and three fourths)cups all purpose flour

1        teaspoon baking soda

½ (one half) teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

6        tablespoons butter, softened

¾ (three fourths)cup dark brown sugar, packed

3        large eggs, room temperature

1        teaspoon vanilla extract

½ (one half) cup stout beer or Black and Tan beer

½ (one half) cup sour cream

¼ (one fourth)cup maple syrup, divided

1/3 (one third)cup confectioners’ sugar

1        tablespoon maple sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In abowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.In another large bowl with an electric mixer blend butter and brown sugar on high speed until well blended.Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.Beat in vanilla extract.

In a bowl mix together beer, sour cream, and ¼ (one fourth) cup maple syrup, stirring well.

Beating at low speed, add flour mixture and beer mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beat until just combined.

Baking spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.Pour batter into pan and tap pan on countertop to settle batter and force out any bubbles.Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging.Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, turn out and cool completely on the wire rack.

In a small bowl or cup stir together powdered sugar and 1-tablespoon maple syrup, stir until smooth.Drizzle glaze over cooled bread and let stand until set.


Corned Beef and Cabbage in a Slow Cooker

12      new medium size red potatoes, cut into quarters

6        carrots, sliced into ½ (one half) inch pieces

1        4-pound corned beef brisket

2        medium size sweet onions, sliced

4        whole bay leaves

10      whole black peppercorns

1        medium size head of green cabbage, cut into wedges

1        bottle beer

Place potatoes and carrots in bottom of slow cooker.Add corned beef, onions, bay leaves, and peppercorns.Add bottle of beer andenough water to cover corned beef.Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or on HIGH for 2 1/2 (two and one half)hours.

Add cabbage and cook on LOW 4 to 5 hours or on HIGH for 2 to 2 ½ (two and one half)hours.Remove corned beef and let sit covered with foil covering it for about 20 minutes.Cut against the grain and serve with warm vegetables and mustard, along with a loaf of sliced soda bread.

*** For an extra treat remove corned beef from cooker and place on a roasting pan; mix ¼ (one fourth) cup brown sugar and 2-teaspoons mustard together and spread over top of corned beef.Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes until sugar is bubbly.


Irish Stew in a Slow Cooker

1        cup chicken broth

1        teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

½ (one half) teaspoon garlic powder

1 ¼ (one and one fourth)pounds white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1        pound lean lamb or beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

8        ounces frozen cut green beans, thawed

1        large sweet onion, cut into small wedges

1 ½ (one and one half)cups carrots, cut into ½ (one half) inch pieces

1        medium parsnip, cut into 1-inch pieces or cubes

1        cup dry white wine or a bottle of beer

In the slow cooker combine chicken broth, wine or beer, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper, mix well.

Layer potatoes, lamb or beef, onion wedges, parsnips, and carrots.Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours or until meat is tender.About 2-hours before it’s done add green beans, cover and continue cooking until done.

To thicken sauce, make a mixture of 2-tablespoons corn starch to ¼ (one fourth)cup water.Stir mixture into cooking liquid; cook on HIGH for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring until the sauce thickens.


Irish Champ – Creamy Potato Dish with Scallions

2        pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, about 6 potatoes, peeled and halved

1 to 1 ½ (one and one half)    cups milk or half-and-half

1        bunch green onions or scallions, thinly sliced

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

¼ (one fourth)cup butter

Place halved potatoes into a large pot and fill with enough water to cover potatoes.Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Drain and returnthe pot with the potatoes to the stove on a very low heat to allow the potatoes to dry out for a few minutes.

In another saucepan heat the milk and scallions gently until just warm.

Mash the potatoes and add salt and butter, mixing together.Stir the milk and scallion mixture into the potato mixture and season with pepper.Add more butter if desired.

*** For an added treat add a cup of cooked green peas or ¼ (one fourth)cup chopped fresh parsley to the mashed potato mixture.


Buttered Cabbage

1        small head green or Savoy cabbage, cut into quarter wedges

4        tablespoons butter

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Remove tough outer layers of cabbage.Cut cabbage into 4-wedges from top to bottom.Remove the stalk and cut each quarter into fine shreds, cutting across the grain.

Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of water into a wide saucepan, adding butter and a pinch of salt.Bring to a boil and add shredded cabbage, toss over a medium high heat.Cover saucepan and cook for a few minutes, about 5 minutes.Toss again and add some salt and pepper to taste.Serve immediately, add more butter, if desired.


Pickled Red Beets and Onion Salad

1        pound cooked beets or 1-can beets, drained

1 ¼ (one and one fourth) cup granulated sugar

2 ½ (two and one half)cups water

1        large sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced(Use a Vidalia onion if you can.)

1 ¼ (one and one fourth)cups white wine vinegar

Cook the fresh beets in a covered large saucepan, covered with water, until they are tender about 50-60 minutes.Drain and pull off skins.Let cool then slice into thin rings, then cut in half crosswise.Place in a serving bowl.

Insaucepan add sugar and water, bring to a boil.Add sliced onion and simmer for 4-5 minutes.Add the vinegar and pour over the peeled sliced beets and let cool.This may be refrigerated or eaten at room temperature.


Chocolate Stout Cake

This is a very impressive cake with a very rich chocolate flavor from the stout.

         2 cups stout (such as Guinness)

         2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter

         1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)

         4 cups all purpose flour ( I use King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour for this.)

         4 cups granulated sugar

         1 tablespoon baking powder

         ½ (one half)teaspoon salt

         4 large eggs, room temperature

         1cup sour cream

*** Please note that if you are using Guinness in cans, because it is 14.9 ounces, make up the rest of the difference in volume by adding water.


         2 cups whipping cream

         1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

         1teaspoon vanilla extract

         1 teaspoon grated orange rind or orange zest

For cake:

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 9-ich round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides or three 8-inch round cake pans. Cake will rise high.Line with parchment paper and vegetable spray paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.             Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.Then freeze cake layers of 35-40 minutes before frosting for easier application.

For frosting:

Bring cream to a simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, about 2 hours.

Place 1-cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 (two thirds) cup frosting over it. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 (two thirds) cup icing over it. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.

Another Chocolate Frosting:

1 3/4(one and three fourths) cups unsweetened baking cocoa

2                    cups confectioners’ sugar

1                    cup heavy cream

1                    cup unsalted butter, or 2-sticks, softened

         Pinch of salt

2                    cups confectioners’ sugar

2        teaspoons vanilla extract

1        tablespoon Kahula (Optional)

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat all ingredients together.


Apple Custard Pie

2        pounds cooking apples, about 5-6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into thin slices

2/3 (two thirds) cup granulated sugar


8        tablespoons butter, or one stick

2        tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1        large egg, room temperature

1 1/3 (one and one third)cups all-purpose flour

1        egg, beaten for glaze


2        large eggs, room temperature

2-3     tablespoon granulated sugar

1 1/3 (one and one third)cups heavy cream

1        teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer.Add the eggs and beat for several minutes.Lower speed and add flour.Chill the pastry in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Apple Filling:

Peel and core apples and cut into thin slices.Put into a deep 9-inch pie dish or a 2-quart casserole dish.Sprinkle with some sugar and cinnamon and gently toss to coat.


Roll chilled pastry into a sheet 1/8 (one eight) inch thick and cut several strips to fit on the lip of the dish.Fit rolled pastry onto pie dish.Brush the lip of the pastry with water. Brush the pastry strips with water.Fit the pastry strips around the top of the lip and press dough together, then flute the top edge of the crust and press with the back of a spoon or knife to form a scalloped edge design.Brush the pie crust with beaten egg.Cut a 1 to 2-inch hole in the center of the pie crust and brush crust with egg again.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until the apples are almost cooked, test with a skewer through the hole.


Beat or whisk the egg and sugar together, then mix in the cream and vanilla extract.Through the whole in the center of the pie pour in the custard from a spouted glass measuring cup.Put the pie back into the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard is set.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.