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Food & Drink

Celebrating Goat Cheese!

Did you know August is National Goat Cheese Month? Frankly, I didn’t, but a friend who follows a “National Day Calendar” that celebrates foods on a monthly and daily basis reminded me to promote goat cheese before I’m too late.

No problem, as I’ve enjoyed goat cheese countless time during my visits to Ireland. I particularly love St. Tola, a luscious goat cheese made in County Clare, especially when it’s paired with roasted beets — multicolored preferred!



For the beets

2 to 3 medium beets

Olive oil, for roasting

Sea salt 

Ground black pepper

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Food & Drink

Another Easy Summer Supper: Poached Fish

Everyone loves a good portion of fish ‘n chips, but not everyone appreciates the added fat and calories that come with it. 

Here’s where poaching comes in—a simple, healthier and flavorful way to prepare fish with no batter, no breading and no hot oil. When you return to Ireland, you’ll definitely find poached fish in restaurants there, but until then, try this recipe that comes from renowned Chef Jacques Pépin, whom I was fortunate to interview onboard an Oceania cruise where he serves as executive culinary director for the line. 

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Food & Drink

The Yankee Chipper: An Irish Culinary Tradition Comes to Montgomery County

If you are looking for fish and chips in the spirit of a classic Irish “chipper,” look no further than the Yankee Chipper, a fish and chip shop that just opened up in Wyndmoor, Montgomery County, recently.

The Yankee Chipper is owned by cousins Eric Connor and Shana Cox. Connor has been working in the restaurant industry for much of his life, including when he lived in Dublin for about three and a half years. 

“I’ve always wanted a restaurant, and I thought of the concept a couple of years ago,” Connor says. “There weren’t really any restaurants in Philadelphia just focused on good fish and chips. And since we come from a big Irish family, it just kind of made sense for us to do an Irish-themed place.”

The name of the game at the Yankee Chipper is authenticity. These fish and chips take a lot of time and effort to prepare. It is a labor-intensive process. The way the cod is butchered, in particular, is incredibly important for Connor.

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Food & Drink

Here’s an Easy Supper, With Roots in County Cork

If the idea of a one-dish meal with Irish roots is appealing, then this recipe will definitely please. I enjoyed it as the “catch of the day” many years ago at Aherne’s Seafood Bar in Youghal, County Cork. There it featured locally caught cod fillets cooked in a “parcel” with wine, fresh herbs, and wild mushrooms, but you can easily adapt it to whatever thick white fish is available.

You can also substitute cherry tomatoes for the mushrooms if you wish. Make your own herb butter, or for an easier approach, use Kerrygold’s Garlic and Herb Butter. Both butters are delicious additions to grilled, broiled, or poached fish.

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Food & Drink

Bake Up a Springtime Quiche

What’s not to love about spring vegetables? 

Everyone welcomes asparagus, spinach, and pencil-thin spring onions for salads, soups and side dishes, but I love them in cheese-filled tarts and quiche.

Make your own crust, use refrigerated or frozen pie crusts, prepared puff pastry, or make one with no crust at all.

All you need to complete your meal is a crisp salad, a great loaf of bread, and an equally great bottle of wine. Cheers! 

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Food & Drink

Mini Desserts for Every Taste

You like cheesecake. Your mother likes carrot cake. Your son likes brownies. If you’ve ever faced a dessert dilemma — or you’re just looking for a fresh idea for your next special occasion meal or afternoon tea — dessert in a jar is your solution.

In addition to making an impressive presentation, these mini treats offer something to please every taste. If you have small glasses (2 to 3 ounces) or 4-ounce Mason jars that you use for canning or preserving, use them for layering your ingredients.

Mini desserts are ideal for sampling, and they’re especially charming for a spring tea. You’ll find similar mini desserts in my Teatime in Ireland cookbook. To order signed copies, visit

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Food & Drink

Spring Has Sprung … Along with a Springtime Recipe

The March equinox (this year Saturday, March 20, at 5:37 a.m. EDT) marks the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator, the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator, from south to north. 

In simpler terms, it marks the official start of the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere, a time that can’t come soon enough for most of us suffering through a dreary Covid year.

Now that it’s here, we have some lovely things to look forward to — longer days, warmer weather, and for cooks, baking with bright and beautiful lemons.

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Food & Drink

Like Soda Bread? You’ll Love Irish Soda Scones

Penny Thorne is one of the most talented people I know. Her Pawcatuck, Conn., bakery—Black Dahlia Baking Company—is incredibly popular. She could probably coast on the quality of her regular baked goodies, but she is well known for accommodating the needs of her customers who have particular dietary needs.

I asked her for a recipe to help usher in St. Patrick’s Week, and these Irish Soda Scones are what she came up with. They can be made with regular flour, but with a minor adjustment they can be gluten-free instead. With yet another minor adjustment or two, they can be dairy-free, as well.

I have celiac, which means wheat flour is a no-no, so good egg that she is—lame bakery joke—she whipped up some gluten-free Irish Soda Scones and shipped them out to me here in Philadelphia. They were extraordinarily tasty. Slathered with a bit of butter? Pure heaven for this Irish-American boy. If you didn’t know they were gluten-free, you’d swear they were made with regular wheat flour.

Here’s what Penny had to say about them:

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