Where It All Started

ireland 1Nearly fourteen years ago and we were off on the adventure of a lifetime. Stumbling along into this thing called marriage, we were only days into learning how to love each other through blunders and staggers and little did we know this country called Ireland would steal our hearts forever.  The people, the food, the land…beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it.  We did through it all discover that they love their potatoes (it is probably the first and last time we will ever eat chips..french fries…with Chinese food) and David expanded his love of all things percussion by purchasing his first bodhran that I had the privilege of carrying each day for the rest of our three week back-packing honeymoon…now THAT’S love! It was a time we will remember forever.

Last night we gathered our small brood on Saint Patrick’s Day to celebrate the life of an amazing man who dedicated his life to serving God and others and we chowed down on authentic Irish Shepherd’s pie. I found the recipe online years after our visit and have since lost all trace of who it is that should get the credit, but if you have ever eaten at the Euans’ house you most likely have been served this meal.  It is our all time favorite and a definite must on this holiday. It brings back fond memories of the hearty meals we had in pubs. Since the family is not fond of cooked cabbage I decided to make a fresh cabbage salad hailing from my dear old Serbian Grandma who has long gone on but has left her legacy behind with amazing recipes.  It pairs nicely with the main dish and my kids love it which makes it even better.  Lastly, the scones recipe I discovered yesterday and since I just bought 25lbs of oatmeal (don’t think I’m crazy….yet) it makes sense that I use it in every possible way.  They were super yummy served with some warm tea (or hot cocoa as my family prefers).  What a sweet way to end a day honoring such a man of faith.  I leave you with a thought from him, and God knows I need this tonight as we are back to the school routine after a snow day and already feeling behind:

“Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.
Be.” ~Saint Patrick

shepherd's pie

Traditional Irish Shepherd’s Pie

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb ground beef (or 1 lb lamb)

1 large onion, finely diced

3 -4 large carrots, finely diced

1 cup frozen peas

3 -4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped (I use dry thyme 1/2 tsp.)

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup red wine

3 Tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 cup stock (I use Better Than Bouillon Beef 2 tsp. added to cup of water)

salt and pepper to taste

1 large quantity mashed potatoes (estimating 6 cups, fresh or leftover)

grated cheese

Brown meat and onions in oil.  Add flour and stir into meat to cook the rawness out of the four.  Add in the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer on stove for 5 min.  Pour into baking dish.  Top with mashed potatoes and grated cheese.  Bake at 350 for 45-60min or until nicely browned on top with sauce simmering through edge of potatoes.

Grandma’s Cabbage Salad

5 cups of finely shredded cabbage

3 TBL red wine vinegar

3 TBL vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste

Toss the cabbage in the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately or prepare up to a half hour before to let the flavors marinate.

I found a similar recipe online for the scones and changed it to suite what I wanted.  Here is my rendition:

Maple Scones

Maple Scottish Oat Scones

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

2 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup maple syrup

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425. Mix in a large bowl all the dry ingredients.  Add the rest and stir until just blended.  Lightly grease a baking sheet (I used my stone) and role out to 1/2 inch thickness into whatever shape you like.  Mine was a big rectangle. Score the scones to whatever shape or size you want to serve them.  Place 15 min. until lightly brown and risen.  Serve warm with maple drizzle.

Maple Drizzle

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 TBL maple syrup

Cream as needed to thin the icing

Stir together powdered sugar and maple syrup.  Add cream as needed to thin it to the appropriate consistency.  Drizzle over warm scones and serve.

                                                                                                                                                   

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