St. Patrick’s Day is upon us this Sunday and people all over the United States will become Irish for a day. Whether they are really Irish or not doesn’t matter. St. Patrick’s Day is a day of celebration. What will you be doing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Need a little inspiration? Santa Barbara award-winning and Full Service Caterer Catering Connection has a few recipe ideas to keep the Irish spirit alive and well for you. And there could be no one better to share some Irish inspiration than Catering Connection‘s owner and founder, Ursula O’Neill who (as you probably guessed by the name) was born and raised in Ireland herself. Catering Connection is also one of three pre-approved off-site caterers who produces lovely events at the Santa Ynez Inn and we are delighted to have them.
From a lovely salad to accompanying homemade bread , two popular main entrees (Beef & Guinness Stew and Shepherd’s Pie) to an incredible trifle dessert, you will find a full menu idea here if you are entertaining guests this Sunday. Enjoy!
Guinness is almost a national institution in Ireland: wholesome, healthy and rich. This stew is an Irish take on a traditional beef stew. Perfect for large numbers, it is best partnered with some creamy mashed potatoes, or celeriac mash.
- 1.3kg/ 3lb beef brisket, cut into 5cm/2 inch cubes
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 heaped teaspoon plain flour
- 600ml/ 1 pint Guinness
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1 teaspoon red currant jelly
- 300ml chicken or beef stock
- 1 teaspoon tomato puree
In a large flameproof casserole, brown the meat in the oil in batches, transferring it to a plate as it is done. Add the onions to the casserole and sauté for 10 minutes, until they are just colored. Lower the heat and return the meat to the casserole. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then stir in the Guinness along with the carrots, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, red currant jelly, stock and tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper and bring to simmering point. Cover the casserole and transfer to an oven preheated to 140º Celsius/ 275 º Fahrenheit/ gas mark 1. Cook for 1 ½ hours, until the meat is very tender.
It is so easy these days to forget how basic bread is. Eat a piece of this brown bread and you realize it is real food, not something manufactured and totally devoid of flavor. With a bowl of soup it is a true feast: the best ingredients, handled simply.
- 200g/ 6oz white flour
- 300g/ 11oz coarse brown flour
- 3 tablespoons of bran
- 2 tablespoons of wheatgerm
- 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
- 1 level teaspoon salt
- 1 dessertspoon treacle
- 600-900ml/ 1-1 ½ pints milk
- Makes one loaf
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the treacle and stir in enough of the milk to give a moist but not sloppy mixture. Place in a well-oiled loaf tin 900g/ 2lb loaf tin and bake in an oven preheated to 200ºC/ 400 ºF/ gas mark 3 and bake for a further hour.
Run a knife around the tine and ease the bread out. If it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom it is cooked; if not, return it to the oven for 10-15 minutes. There is no need to put the bread back in the tin; turn it upside down and put it directly on the shelf.
Serves 8, Preheat oven to 170ºC / Gas Mark 5
For the Sponge
- 5 medium eggs
- 140g caster sugar
- ½ tsp pure vanilla essence
- 140g plain flour
For the Custard
- 6 large egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 40g cornflour
- 175ml cream
- 150ml milk
- ½ vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise
For the Fruit Mixture
- 250ml port
- 250ml water
- 500g caster sugar
- 800g fresh or frozen raspberries
For the topping
- 400ml cream, stiffly whipped
- 2tbsp toasted flaked almonds
To make the sponge
Line a 27x3cm loose-bottomed round tin with baking parchment. Using an electric mixer, whisk together the whole eggs, vanilla and caster sugar for 12-15 minutes or until the mixture is pale in colour, has doubled in size and can hold a figure eight made with the whisk. Carefully fold in the sifted flour without deflating the mixture. Spoon into prelined tine and then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
To make the custard
In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour for 3-4 minutes. Place the milk, cream and split vanilla pod in a heavy saucepan and bring to just below boiling point, then pour the hot milk and cream over the egg yolks whisking vigorously as you add the liquid. Return to the saucepan and cook on a medium heat, whisking for 6-8 minutes or until the custard has thickened and is smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat, transfer to a clean bowl and allow to cool. Cover and place in the fridge until required. This custard will keep perfectly in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as you use milk and cream with a good shelf life.
To make the fruit mixture
In a stainless steel saucepan place the port, water and caster sugar on a low heat stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the temperature and allow to boil vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Add the raspberries and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat and strain the fruit from the stock and reserve the port stock syrup.
To assemble the trifle
Break the sponge into pieces and dip each piece into the port stock syrup, allowing the sponge to soak up the syrup. Arrange the sponge in the bottom of the bowl, spoon a generous amount of the raspberries onto the sponge and then add another layer of sponge and raspberries. Cover the entire surface of the mixture with the cold custard, smoothing the surface with a spoon or a palette knife. Then top with the stiffly whipped cream and finally, the toasted flaked almonds. Ideally, return to the fridge for an hour or two before serving. It is perfect to make the night before but, if doing so, don’t add the flaked almonds until just before serving.
- 30 large Dublin Bay prawns, allow 5 per person
- Sea salt
- 15g butter
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1tbsp sweet chili sauce
- 10 large red chilies, de-seeded
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2cm fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1tbsp salt
- 150ml rice wine vinegar
- 150g sugar
- 1 lemon for serving
- 2 small fennel bulbs, cut in half, core removed and sliced very thinly
- Some fennel or dill fronds
- 8 radishes, very thinly sliced
For the Dressing
- 3-4tbsp olive oil
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- A little Dijon mustard
- Pinch of caster sugar
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the garnish
- 2 limes, halved
To cook the prawns
Bring a saucepan of water with a generous amount of salt to a rolling boil. Add the prawns to the boiling salted water and cook for just 2 minutes, no more or they will be overcooked. Drain immediately. Spread the cooked prawns onto a flat plate or tray to stop further cooking as they cool, before peeling. Next, in a non-stick frying pan, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the peeled prawns and a little sweet chili jam and warm for 1-2 minutes, turning occasionally.
To make the Lemon Dressing
Combine the ingredients in a jam jar. Seal and shake.
To make the salad
In a bowl mix together the sliced fennel, herbs and radishes and season. Lightly dress with a little of the lemon dressing.
Pile the dressed salad on a plate and gently place the warmed prawns in the center. Garnish with the lime and some fronds of fennel or dill. This is delicious with a bowl of mayonnaise and some brown bread.
Some classic dishes never change and shepherd’s pie is one of them. Some chefs try to dress it up, mutton dressed as lamb springs to mind, but this is a bad idea. Simplicity is the key to success with this dish-don’t play around with what is already good.
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 4tbsp vegetable oil
- 900g/2lb minced beef
- 1 dessertspoon Bovril, dissolved in a little hot water
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 400ml/14fl oz chicken stock
- Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
For the Topping
- 1.3kg/3lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 200ml/7fl oz single cream
- 110g/40z butter
- 1 egg yolk
In a large pan, gently sauté the onion in the vegetable oil for about 10 minutes, until soft but not brown. Add the mince a little at a time and cook until browned. Then add the Bovril water, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, tomato puree, carrots, stock and some salt and pepper. Cook on a low heat for 50 minutes, then transfer to a pie dish ready for the mashed potato.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain well, then return to the pan and add the cream, butter, egg yolk and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Mash well, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Cover the mince mixture with the potato and run a fork over the top for decoration. Place in an oven preheated to180ºC/ 350ºF/ gas mark 4 for 20 minutes or until the potato is nicely browned. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve. You can prepare the pie in advance, leave to cool and then reheat it later, although it will need more time in the oven-about 40 minutes.
You can contact Catering Connection for your next special occasion at the Santa Ynez Inn – or elsewhere- by clicking here or calling them at: 805-566-1822