Ireland is known throughout the world for its warm, friendly welcome, magnificent landscapes, and vibrant towns and villages with music filled pubs. But there is another lure. There has been a culinary renaissance in Ireland. Without doubt, Ireland today is a food-lover’s choice. Artisan food-producers and chefs concentrate on fresh, local, seasonal produce offering an enticing contemporary taste.
—Ruth Moran, Irish Tourism
From the Foreword to The New Irish Table: Recipes from Top Irish Chefs.
Guinness® Chocolate Cupcakes
By Catherine Fulvio
“Strange as it may sound, Guinness and chocolate are a perfect combination. It’s a rich smoothness that I hope you’ll all love.”
— Chef Catherine Fulvio, Ballyknocken House and Cookery School in County Wicklow
For the cupcakes
- 6 fl oz (180ml) Guinness
- ¾ cup (180 g) butter
- 1/3 cup (75 g) cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup (225 g) superfine sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60 ml) milk
- 2 ¼ cups (285 g) flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the icing
- 10 tbsp soft butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Generous 2 ½ cups (350 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar
- Chocolate shavings to decorate
Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C).
Arrange cupcake liners in a muffin baking tray.
Pour the Guinness into a medium size saucepan, add the butter, and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cocoa powder and sugar.
In a bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and milk.
Fold the flour and baking powder into the Guinness chocolate mix. Then add the egg, vanilla, and milk mixture to form a thick cake batter. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners in the cupcake pan, and put the tin into the preheated oven for 15 minutes until risen and cooked. Insert a skewer (or toothpick) into the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is done. Leave to cool completely before decorating.
Whisk together the butter and vanilla extract using an electric beater, and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar to form a fluffy icing. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe over the top of the cupcakes. Decorate with chocolate curls, if you wish.
Makes 12, depending on the size.
Smoked Irish Salmon, Cream Cheese, and Traditional Boxty
By Noel McMeel
“Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake that contains a mixture of mashed and grated potatoes, resulting in a unique texture. While suitable for an Irish breakfast or supper table, boxty pairs well with many cuisines for a meal at any time of day.”
— Noel McMeel, Lough Erne Resort in Count Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
For the Boxty
- ¾ cup (125 g) raw peeled potato (a floury variety such as Russet)
- ¾ (125 g) mashed potato, made from 7 oz (200 g) floury potatoes, peeled, cooked, and mashed
- Scant 1 ¼ (125 g) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Large knob salted butter, melted and cooled [about 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons]
- A little milk, if necessary
- Oil, for frying
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup (50 g) olive oil
- Fresh herb salad greens
- ½ cup (100 g) cream cheese
- 4 oz (110 g) thinly sliced smoked salmon (4 slices)
To make the boxty pancakes, grate the raw potato into a bowl. Turn out onto a cloth and wring over a bowl, catching the liquid. This will separate into a clear fluid with starch at the bottom. Pour off and discard the fluid, then scrape out the starch and mix it with the grated and mashed potatoes.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix into the potatoes with the melted butter, adding a little milk if necessary to make a pliable dough. Knead lightly on a floured surface. Cut into ¼ (50 g) portions and flatten like a pancake. Heat the pan with some olive oil and pan fry until light brown on each side.
Make a dressing for the salad greens with the olive oil and lemon juice.
Place the warm boxty in the center of a plate, add a spoon of cream cheese, and place the smoked salmon on top with some lightly dressed fresh herb salad greens.
From The New Irish Table: Recipes from Ireland’s Top Chefs, conceived and edited by Leslie Conron Carola. Copyright © 2017 Arena Books Associates, LLC. All rights reserved. Published by Charlesbridge Publishing.
Master of Modern Irish Cuisine
To learn more about the transformation in the culinary landscape of Ireland, the Post posed a few questions to Noel McMeel, executive chef at Lough Erne Resort. McMeel has cooked for presidents and celebrities and has earned critical acclaim for his use of carefully sourced ingredients and his modern Irish cooking style. He is one of the 10 masters of modern Irish cuisine featured in The New Irish Table.
Q: Despite the sizeable Irish-American population in the United States, some still perceive Ireland as the land of corned beef and cabbage. What would you like people to know about today’s culinary scene in Ireland?
A: Corned beef and cabbage was a standby for a long time in Ireland. But now simplicity reigns. The culinary scene today is one of fresh, local, seasonal foods, simply prepared. We understand that the food itself speaks volumes, and that food must be treated carefully. Today’s Irish chefs connect with the environment and work closely with artisan producers. But if you are looking for corned beef and cabbage, Ireland is still the place to find the very best!
Q: What do you see as the biggest mistake home chefs make in preparing simple, fresh foods?
A: Overcooking. And cooking without knowledge. Overcooked food demonstrates a lack of respect for the food, stripping it of its nutritional value.
Q: Any message you would like to share with the American audience?
A: Think of the fresh, natural food from the earth as a gift, a gift of life. And treat it appropriately. Cooking is fun: be creative and use your imagination when selecting herbs to enhance your dishes.
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