Yes I know its risky, an outdoor BBQ brunch in Ireland in March.... but the sun shone, yipee! I tried to bring an Irish twist to all the dishes, considering the day that was in it. Some of the Irish twists are pretty tenous - Sweet Potato representing the orange in the Irish flag - weak I know.
Anyway the main reason I love these dishes for a large brunch is that you can prepare most of them ahead and they are all reasonably healthy ( well, maybe not too many of the sausuges!) oh and of course they taste pretty good. The lovely flower arrangements were done by my friend Maria - who is a true domestic goddess and puts all the rest of us to shame.
All the friends brought lovely contributions ; fairy cakes, giant and smartie cookies, cheese-board of Irish cheeses, breads, mini lemon cheesecakes (yummy - ). Last of the guests left at 9.00 which was pretty civilised, I am not sure if that was beacuse Paddys day fell midweek or we are all getting old.
Here are some pictures ( In case you haven't guessed as well as the blogging I am new to photography too.) My 2 favourite dishes were the Guinness beans and the Spiced "barrys" tea syrup with clementines. So here goes the recipes for those:
The Clementine recipes is adapted from a recipe by Vicky Boghal in Waitrose food illustrated - one of my favourite food magazines.
10 yellow plums
150g Golden caster sugar
6 Green cardamom pods, cracked
½ tsp Fennel seeds
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Star anise
½ tsp Ground ginger
2 tbsp Barrys loose leave tea
1. Heat the sugar in a small sauce pan with 300ml water over a low heat; add the cardamom pods, cloves, fennel seeds, cinnamon stick and star anise. Stir now and again until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Turn up the the heat and boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Switch off the heat, allow to cool for 1 minute, then stir in the ground ginger.
3. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain, reserving the spices (to add back in later)
4. Add the tea leaves to the strained syrup and steep for 5 minutes
5. Strain again, discarding the tea.
6. Return the spices to the liquid and leave at room temperature to cool. ( This can all be done days ahead and the syrup stored in the fridge)
7. Peel the clementines and slice into 3-4 rounds ( ie not segments) and place in a large serving bowl
8. Halve the plums, destone them and cut into quarters and scatter in the bowl.
9. Cut the pomengranate in half and scoop out the seeds over the clemintine and plums( bashing the back of the pomengrante halves with a wooden spoon can sometimes dislodge some of the more reluctant ones)
10. Pour over you syrup and spices and serve with yougurt and chopped pistachio nuts.
Guinness baked beans
These don't take alot of work but do take a bit of time as you need to soak the beans overnight and then cook them for 5-6 hours. I did kinda of make this up as I went along so I hope I rememberd all the ingredients correctly. This fed about 20 people as a side dish, there wasn't one bean left
500g of dried haricot beans
500g of dried cannelini beans
300g of smoked bacon, cut into small cubes
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
4 large cloves of garlic crushed
3-4 tablespoons of molasses
2 table spoons of honey/maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp of dijon mustard
2 whole dried chillies
1 can of guinness
2 tbsp of Jameson whiskey
1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of Maldon smoked sea salt ( If doesn't have to be smoked)
1 tsp of paprika
1. Put the dried beans in a large bowl or baisin of cold water and soak over night.
2. Next day drain the beans and place in a large oven proof saucepan with enough water to cover them by about an inch or so( I borrowed my mums large creuset pot). Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes
3. Meanwhile prepare the rest of the ingredients, stud the onion quarters with the cloves. Preheat your oven to 180 C.
4. Drain the beans keeping the liquid. You need about 1 litre of this liquid, add the guiness, molasses, honey, mustard and paprika to this liquid and keep to one side
5. Put the beans back in the large oven proof pot, push all the other ingredients bar the balsamic vinegar and salt into the beans.
6. Pour the reserved liquid mixture over the beans, you probably won't use all the liquid but keep it and continue to add to the beans throuthout cooking.
7. Put the beans in the oven for 5-6 hours, ensuring you stir every hour and add more liquid if needed.
8. Halfway through cooking, add 1 -2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and the salt.
9. At 5 hours test the beans to see if they are cooked, they should be very soft, Season to taste. They may need another hour.
10. These reheat beautifully, I am quite sure they freeze quite well, but I have never got the chance as they are always gobbled up. This also explains the lack of photos as they were all eaten before I got a chance to take one.
Apologies for spelling - not sure where spell check is on this blogging set up, will rectify as soon as I have discovered how to do it ;-)