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Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Can’t Get Enough of All Those Pumpkins!

While pumpkins are not native to Ireland, they’re in great demand during the autumn, especially around Halloween (also known as Samhain, one of the four ancient Celtic festivals).

In the U.S. we use pumpkins in many sweet and savory dishes, but most cooks find it more efficient to purchase canned pumpkin rather than to cut and scrape the flesh from a fresh one.

If you love pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie, you’ll adore this rich pudding made with challah bread! Top it with freshly whipped cream enhanced with mascarpone cheese. You’ll find recipes like this in my cookbook Favorite Flavors of Ireland (now BOGO/buy one get one free); order signed copies at www.irishcook.com.

PUMPKIN BREAD PUDDING WITH MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM
Serves 6 to 8
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Food & Drink

Behind the Bar with Aisling Cullen of Con Murphy’s

They start them young in Ireland.

Aisling Cullen, a bartender at Con Murphy’s on the Parkway, started working in a friend’s bar back in Bailieborough, County Cavan, at age 15. At 18, she moved up to bartender and, one way or another, in Ireland or here in the States, Cullen has been pouring Guinnesses ever since.

“I got to learn the ropes from everywhere,” she says. Cullen has been in the U.S. for 12 years, working first at the New Deck Tavern in University City, and then moving on to Con Murphy’s.

We caught up with her recently and chatted with her about her life behind the bar. Continue Reading

Dance, Food & Drink, Music, Photo Essays, Photos

Big Finish: The 2019 Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival

The 2019 Philadelphia Ceili Group Irish Traditional Music & Dance Festival is over, but what a packed, fun-filled festival it was.

We showed you the Thursday night singers night last week, but that was just the beginning of a long weekend of tunes, high stepping, and workshops on how to do everything from play tin whistle to learn a bit of the Irish language to plumb the depths of your Irish heritage.

There was a dance exhibition by the Temple University Dance Team (go Owls!), along with a small orchestra of musicians from the area’s many traditional Irish music sessions, and a superb, intimate concert by piper Ivan Goff and fiddler Katie Linnane. There was a children’s story time, St. Brigid’s cross making, face painting, a hall full of Celtic and Irish vendors, and the kitchen kept on cranking out chow that had people going back for more.

If you were up for a pint or two, that was there, too.

Then, of course, there was the Saturday night finale concert in the ballroom, featuring singer Donie Carroll and Tony DeMarco and his band, the Atlantic Wave.

We have plenty of pictures, courtesy of Denise Foley and Jeff Meade.

Enjoy!

Food & Drink

Touring West Cork

Driving around Ireland definitely makes you hungry—and sometimes forgetful—so after a day of touring around West Cork I arrived at The Fish Kitchen, a small-ish restaurant in Bantry situated, appropriately, above a fish market, without a reservation.

Call it the luck of the Irish, but proprietor Diarmaid Murphy managed to squeeze me and my friend in because of a cancellation.

Great luck, indeed, to grab a table in a place where they focus on three elements of serving fish: freshness, simplicity, and quality. Murphy says, “We do our best not to interfere with the fish, serving it simply skin side-up with a variety of simple butters or sauces on top or on the side … geographically we’re in an ideal location to keep the distance between the sea and the plate as short as possible,” an ethos not lost on the diners.

Here’s one of the standouts on the menu. Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Hot Off the Grill

Move over hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks; make room for a whiskey-enhanced grilled lamb and delicious grilled tomatoes to go with it. With tomatoes coming into season in a big way, I think you’ll enjoy these new recipes to add to your grilling agenda for August and beyond. You’ll find these and similar recipes in my Favorite Flavors of Ireland cookbook…now BOGO, buy one get one free! To order signed copies, visit www.irishcook.com Continue Reading

Food & Drink

These Scones are the Berry Best

Strawberry season has just arrived where I live in the northeast.

The season is over almost as quickly as it arrives, so I grab as many as possible and eat, bake, or freeze them as fast as I can.

As the Fourth of July approaches, they’re especially colorful in red, white and blue scones, treats you can actually eat from morning to night—lathered with a little butter or clotted cream for breakfast or brunch or with a dollop of whipped cream for dessert.

You’ll find similar scone recipes in Favorite Flavors of Ireland; order signed copies at www.irishcook.com Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Potatoes: The Stuff of Greatness

I’m writing this post from Dublin, where I’m finishing up another great visit to Ireland. You know what that means? I’ve had potatoes [nearly] for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in as many shapes and textures as one can imagine: fried potatoes for breakfast, chips to go with fish at lunch, and boiled or creamed potatoes to go with just about anything at dinner.

I’ve come to the conclusion that they really are the stuff of greatness and no more so than in a potato cake, to which any number of other ingredients can be added. These potato cake recipes have appeared in a number of my cookbooks, including Favorite Flavors of Ireland. To order a signed copy, visit www.irishcook.com Continue Reading

Dance, Food & Drink, Music, News

A Little Bit of Ireland on the Waterfront

People have been celebrating their Irish heritage by taking in The Philadelphia Irish Festival at Penns Landing for more than 20 years. That translates to thousands of Irish or those who just want to be Irish for the day. You can add to those impressive stats. The festival is coming up again on June 2. Best of all—it’s free.

Part of the PECO Multicultural Series, the festival offers a day of great Irish tunes, dance, food and drink, vendors, and plenty of activities for the kiddies.

“It’s a family-friendly event,” says organizer Michael Bradley. “It attracts everybody from newborns to people in their 90s. Everybody’s welcome. It’s a nice way to get your family out and to keep the Irish tradition alive, at a beautiful location along the river. It’s just a really neat place to be.”

Free admission means people who might be struggling financially can come out and enjoy the music, the vendors and all the rest. “It’s not a price-conscious thing,” Bradley says. “You don’t see free admission too much anymore.” Continue Reading