Tiffin Cake

February 7, 2017 by Katie

Tiffin

Tiffin Cake is a favorite in Ireland at home with a cup of tea or in a coffee shop. Tiffin cake is also known as Chocolate Biscuit Cake or Chocolate Fridge Cake, however it is more of a cookie consistency than a cake.  The best part about this recipe is there is no oven required, only the melting of chocolate chips which can either be done on the stovetop or in the microwave, making this an extremely easy treat to prepare. This recipe is a little different than the traditional recipe. I use condensed milk instead of golden syrup because I prefer the taste and the rich fudgy taste it gives. Tiffins are made with Digestive and Rich Tea biscuits which I can find at my local Stop and Shop in the Irish/British section. I have also bought them at World Market and on Amazon but please if you cannot find them do not stress,  you can use graham crackers for the Digestives and animal crackers in the place of the Rich Tea biscuits.  I will include pictures of the packaging below for the biscuits. This recipe is best eaten chilled. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

(1)   Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

(1) 12 Ounce Bag of Milk Chocolate Chips ( If you prefer you can use dark chocolate or any combination of chocolate you choose)

(1) Stick of Butter

(1/2) Sleeve of Digestive Biscuits

(1/2) Sleeve of Rich Tea Biscuits

 

 

Directions:

  1. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin with plastic wrap. Leave excess plastic wrap over the sides, this will be used to cover the cake and also to pull on to remove the cake from the tin once it has chilled.
  2. Break the biscuits/crackers into small pieces but not too small,  you want to have good sized cookie chunks.
  3. Place a heat resistant bowl over a pot of boiling  water.  Add the chocolate chips and butter and stir continuously  until melted. You can also do this in a microwave I am sure. I do not because years ago we got rid of ours years ago.
  4. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the condensed milk.
  5. Add the broken biscuits/crackers to the chocolate condensed milk mixture. Make sure all of the biscuits are completely covered in chocolate.
  6. Pour into the plastic wrap lined loaf pan and press down to get  a smooth top and get out all of the air. Cover with the plastic and press down some more to really get out any air so the cake will be dense and solid.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Remove from plastic and cut into small squares or fingers. Enjoy with a hot cup of tea or coffee!

 

 

10 Irish Films Found on Amazon Prime

June 22, 2016 by Katie

I am always looking for new Irish films and TV shows.  I am addicted to Amazon, anyone who knows me can tell you this. I may be one of their best customers because I am constantly ordering something, something I probably do not need but I just cannot help myself. Having the Prime movies and TV shows is an added benefit to my subscription. These 10 Irish films available now on Amazon Prime for free if you have a subscription. I have not seen all of these and some of the ones I did see I have mixed feelings about while others I really loved. I am curious to know your opinion and if there are any you have seen recently that were really good. I will start with my absolute favorite Irish film – Waking Ned Devine!

 

Waking Ned Devine – A winning lottery ticket transforms the lives of the inhabitants of a rural Irish village.

Kings – London has been a promised land for centuries for people across the globe, including its Irish neighbors. Thirty years after emigrating from Ireland to London in search of a better life, five men are reunited when a mutual friend is lost in tragic circumstances. This film is in Irish with English subtitles.

The O’Briens – Two years after the death of his wife, an Irish Father summons home his two Sons & Daughter, causing all to fear the worst, but he is not the only one with a secret…

Noble – The extraordinary true story of the fearless and feisty Irish heroine, Christina Noble, who overcomes the harsh difficulties of her childhood in the slums of Ireland to realize her destiny on the streets of Vietnam.

Obama: The Road to Moneygall –     Before Barack Obama was elected President, the people of an Irish village became his biggest fans. Plumber Henry Healy claimed a blood tie to the Senator from Chicago, and joked that one day Cousin O’bama would visit Moneygall. 3 years later it happened.

Songs for Amy – Songs for Amy is a feel good love story set in the west of Ireland and New York, with large measures of Irish humor. After a disastrously debauched stag night, a struggling musician tries to redeem himself in the eyes of bride-to-be Amy. With his relationship hanging in the balance, he plans to win her back by writing the perfect album of songs, with a helping hand from his misfit band mates.

Sensation – A naïve young Irish man starts a relationship with a sexy call girl, and together they hatch a plan to open a brothel using the proceeds from the farm he recently inherited.

Jig – Following nine 11-21 year-olds as they compete for the world title in the annual Irish Dancing Championships, “Jig” documents 365 days in the lives of the young dancers and their families as they aim for the top spot on the winners’ podium.

The General – The incredible story of Martin Cahill, the Irish gangster that for twenty years captured the imagination of the public while eluding capture by the police.

The Last September – In 1920s Ireland, an elderly couple reside over a tired country estate. Living with them are their niece, nephew, and married houseguests. All of the principals are thrown into turmoil when one more guest arrives with considerable wit and unwanted advice.

Dingle – A Must See Destination in Ireland

May 5, 2016 by Katie

Dingle 1

Dingle is a must see destination in Ireland.  The Dingle Peninsula is located in County Kerry and is the westernmost tip of Ireland and in all of Europe. Much of the Dingle Peninsula is  Gaeltacht , a region in Ireland where the Irish language is widely spoken. The scenery is breathtaking, sheep filled green meadows with rugged spectacular coastlines that go on for miles.  Driving however is another story. . .

Dingle

I had not given much thought to driving Ireland, I figured it would be fine and  take a little getting used to but no big deal. Well… the first 5 minutes in the car I was already panicking. It was  so strange to me turning and remembering to stay on the left side. My mom was a nervous wreck and quickly she got sent to the back seat.  My son , who became the best copilot,  came to the front. Once we got on the highway I calmed down and began to think I could do this. Dingle  is filled with colorful shops and  restaurants. There are plenty of pubs, even one where you can do some hardware shopping, get your bike fixed and have a pint.

bar

We rented a pre-famine  cottage about 3 miles from Dingle town. The cottage was located on Slea Head Drive, which is one of the most scenic drives in Ireland but also the scariest place I have ever driven. Just when I thought I was getting the hang of the whole driving on the left side thing we arrive at Slea Head Drive. Let me tell you the road is extremely narrow and there is nothing but coastline. There are no barriers to keep you from driving off the cliffs into the ocean and to make things even better there are huge tourist buses coming straight at you with whom you need  to share the road. I was sure we would die, I even began to cry a little and I think my family was legitimately scared not only about falling off a cliff but I think they thought I had finally lost it too.

drive

The drive though was worth it. Once we  arrived at our cottage and  I had a strong drink to calm my nerves the reality set in. The area was gorgeous, amazingly beautiful, I could not have been happier. The sounds of the ocean waves crashing against the cliffs, the  sounds of the sheep,  cows and horses made all of the grey hairs I probably have from that drive worth it. Did I mention the sheep? They are everywhere, even on the roof of the cottage,  just watching them and hearing them  bleat makes me so glad we stayed away from the main part of town and were able to experience this. The cottage is very cozy and has a wonderful fireplace for burning peat logs which smell incredible.

Dingle Cottage

Dingle Failte Door

The week we spent here was wonderful,  we saw so many wonderful places which I will write about in another post. I definitely recommend going to Dingle if you are visiting Ireland. The scenery, sounds and people will remain with you forever.

Dingle Horse

 

10 of the Best Foreign TV Shows

April 11, 2016 by Katie

I know I usually only write about Irish things here but I wanted to do a post about the best foreign TV shows. Last year we gave up our cable subscription,  it was outrageously expensive and now just pay for internet. I do subscribe to Amazon Prime, Netflix and Acorn TV. This is all I watch now. I hardly ever watch any American TV, I would say I am a bit obsessed with anything foreign. I have seen some amazing TV shows that I have really enjoyed so I decided to make this list. This is as of right now as I watch more I will update the list. Hope you enjoy them!

 

The Missing

Tony and Emily Hughes’ life changes forever when their five-year-old son, Oliver, mysteriously disappears during a family holiday in France, triggering an obsessive, years-long manhunt.

Available on Amazon

 

30 Degrees in February

This 10-part,  drama follows the stories of a few Swedes who leave the cold and snow of the Swedish winter behind, and head for the warmth of Thailand. Each person has their own story and reason for leaving  and you are drawn into their lives from the beginning.

Available on Netflix

 

Happy Valley

Sarah Lancashire is a  a hard-working, earthy police sergeant in Yorkshire.  Catherine’s work and personal life are already complicated in crime-riddled Happy Valley when Tommy Lee Royce wanders into town, freshly released from prison. Was he responsible for Catherine’s daughter’s death, as she believes? And will her suspicion cloud her judgment when another young girl goes missing?

2 seasons are available on Netflix

 

Broadchurch

 Two detectives – the strong yet compassionate Detective Sergeant, Ellie Miller, and the by-the-book Detective Inspector, Alec Hardy – are brought together to solve the murder of an eleven year-old boy on a picturesque beach in a small coastal town. Under the glare of the media spotlight, the two race to find the killer, while the clock ticks and the mystery deepens.

2 seasons are available on Netflix

 

River

 

John River is a brilliant detective whose fractured mind has a  tendency to communicate with the dead more than he communicates with the living. He is a man haunted by the murder victims whose cases he must lay to rest.

Available on Netflix

 

Top of the Lake

 

When pregnant 12 year old Tui tries to kill herself in a freezing New Zealand Lake, Detective Robin Griffin has plenty of questions for her and her investigation is in the beautiful but haunting rural New Zealand.

Available on Netflix

 

The Returned

 

Several people come back to their home town in the same week after they have been dead for years in this eerie dramatic series set in France.

2 seasons available on Netflix

 

Srugim

Meet roommates Yifat and Hodaya, and their friends Reut, Nati and Amir — five modern-Orthodox singles looking for love in Jerusalem as they approach the big 3-0. Captivating and alive with characters and story, this episode is what starts off the entire series.

3 seasons available on Amazon

 

Witnesses

French detective Sandra Winckler follows a bizarre clue to begin unraveling a ghastly crime perpetrated in a model home.

Available on Netflix

 

The Great British Baking Show

This may seem like an odd choice for this list but I really loved watching this. A talented batch of amateur bakers face off in a ten week challenge hoping to be named the best in the U.K. This is not like American cooking reality shows, no one is mean or full of themselves and they help each other. This show made me want to bake a Victoria Sponge.

Available on Netflix

Cottage Pie

March 18, 2016 by Katie

Cottage Pie

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s day and my son begged me to make him Cottage Pie. I love Cottage Pie,  it is the ultimate Irish comfort food and one of my favorites. Here in the United States it is always called Shepherd’s Pie but Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb and Cottage pie is made with beef. This recipe does take some time but it is so worth it and as a bonus for your hard work you can finish off the rest of the bottle of wine while you wait… In the end you are left with an aromatic and delicious meal.

Filling Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds of ground beef

Olive oil

2 onions diced

3 carrots chopped

3 stalks of celery

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp.. tomato paste

3 tbsps.. flour

Very large glass of red wine

3 tbsps.. Worcestershire sauce

3 cups of beef broth

2 bay leaves

Few sprinkles of dried thyme

Salt & pepper to taste

Mash Ingredients:

Potatoes

Milk

Butter

Strong cheddar, grated

For the mash I do not have set amounts of ingredients. I buy a 5 pound bag of potatoes and use about 3/4 of the bag.

Add butter and milk to your liking until the desired consistency is reached. Then mix in  strong cheddar, I add a lot but everyone is different.

You can also add a few gratings of fresh nutmeg if you like, some people prefer without. I think the nutmeg adds to this dish. You can always test a small amount with the nutmeg to see if you like it.

 

Note – My son likes me to add peas. I like them also but it is up to you. These would be added during the last minutes of cooking.

 

Directions:

  1. Brown ground meat in pan with some olive oil and then remove from pan.
  2. Add more olive oil along with onions, celery and carrots, cook on a low heat until soft about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, garlic and flour and cook for a few minutes. Return the beef to the pan.
  4. Pour in the wine and let it boil and  for a few minutes. Now add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and Thyme.
  5. Let this simmer and cook uncovered for about 45 minutes. The gravy should become thick if there is still a lot of liquid increase heat so the liquid boils down. This should not be dry but the gravy should coat the meat.
  6. Once done,  season the meat to your  liking with the salt and pepper. 
  7. In the meantime while all is cooking you can make the mashed potatoes.
  8. Once everything is ready spoon the meat into 1 0r 2 dishes depending on their size.
  9. Pipe or spoon the mash on top to cover the meat mixture. Sprinkle some remaining cheddar over the top and put into oven at 425 degrees for approximately 30 minutes until the topping is golden.

 

Irish Shortbread Key Lime Pie

November 19, 2015 by Katie

key

I had recently bought key lime juice when I was in Key West and could not wait to make a Key Lime Pie but as with most things I thought – “How can I give this an Irish spin”? I decided to make an Irish Shortbread Key Lime Pie.  The Irish shortbread crust was delicious with the key lime filling. The shortbread gave the tartness of the key lime filling a sweet buttery texture. The pie was very easy to make and if you do not have Key Limes or Key Lime juice you can substitute with regular limes or lime juice.

Ingredients for Shortbread:

3 cups of flour

1 1/2 cups of cornstarch

1 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar

5 sticks or 2 1/2 cups Kerrygold butter ( yes you read that right)

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

  1. Mix the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixer until pale and fluffy. Sift the flour and cornstarch and gradually add to the mixture until a soft ball is formed.
  2. Press the dough into the pie pan. I had extra dough left and used the rest to make cookies.
  3. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes. You may need to adjust the time.  Shortbread should be pale in color you do not want the crust to be browned.

 

Ingredients for Filling:

3 or 4 ounces of Key Lime juice – depending on how tart you like the filling.

1 – 14 ounce can of condensed milk

4 egg yolks

 

Directions:

  1. Mix condensed milk and egg yolks at low speed.
  2. Slowly add lime juice until well blended.
  3. Pour mixture into shortbread crust and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  4. Refrigerate for several hours so filling is firm and completely cool.
  5. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

 

NYC Irish Film Festival 2015

September 24, 2015 by Katie

This is an event I wait for every year, the Irish Film Festival. This year the festival will take place from Friday October 2, 2015 -Sunday October4, 2015. Irish Screen America, formerly known as Irish Film New York,  puts together this three day festival every year which showcases Irish filmmakers.  I have seen some wonderful Irish movies and documentaries each year. I truly recommend going and seeing one of the films or all if you can. Here are some of the  trailers for this year’s films, if I could not find a trailer I left the link to the description and how to purchase tickets. I am most looking forward to the Sundance winner Glassland”  and “I Used to Live Here” . . . both look amazing. !

 

TradersFriday October 2nd – 7:30PM 

http://tix.smarttix.com/Modules/Sales/SalesMainTabsPage.aspx?ControlState=1&DiscountCode=&SalesEventId=4404&DC=

 

Traders

 

 Directing Master Class with Cathy Brady – Saturday October 3rd – 2PM

http://tix.smarttix.com/Modules/Sales/SalesMainTabsPage.aspx?ControlState=1&DiscountCode=&SalesEventId=4415&DC=

Award-winning director Cathy Brady will give a director’s master class at New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House.

 

A CHRISTMAS STAR – Saturday October 3rd – 4PM

http://tix.smarttix.com/Modules/Sales/SalesMainTabsPage.aspx?ControlState=1&DiscountCode=&SalesEventId=4416&DC=

 

 

New Talent Showcase  – Saturday October 3rd – 7PM

A Selection of Shorts, Web-series, and Animations featuring New Irish Actors, Directors and Writers

http://tix.smarttix.com/Modules/Sales/SalesMainTabsPage.aspx?ControlState=1&DiscountCode=&SalesEventId=4417&DC=

 

Glassland – Saturday October 3rd – 8:10PM

http://tix.smarttix.com/Modules/Sales/SalesMainTabsPage.aspx?ControlState=1&DateSelected=&DiscountCode=&SalesEventId=4408

 

 

 

Local Heroes and Beyond  – Sunday October 4th – 4PM

Local New York Irish Talent showcase.

http://tix.smarttix.com/Modules/Sales/SalesMainTabsPage.aspx?ControlState=1&DateSelected=&DiscountCode=&SalesEventId=4425

 

I Used to Live Here  – Sunday October 4th – 6PM

http://tix.smarttix.com/Modules/Sales/SalesMainTabsPage.aspx?ControlState=1&DiscountCode=&SalesEventId=4420&DC=

 

After the Dance – Sunday October 4th – 8PM

 

http://tix.smarttix.com/Modules/Sales/SalesMainTabsPage.aspx?ControlState=1&DateSelected=&DiscountCode=&SalesEventId=4411

 

 

 

3 Irish TV Shows You Should Be Watching

June 24, 2015 by Katie

 

 

 

It is very easy to find British TV shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. While I love all of the British series I am always on the lookout for any Irish TV shows.  Unfortunately they are a lot harder to find. When I do find them I make it a point to watch them, here are three Irish shows to watch:

 

1. The Fall

 

“The Fall” stars Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan  who stars in “50 Shades of Grey” film.  I must say now that I have seen Jamie Dornan in these series I cannot picture him in any other role except a creepy killer.  When the Belfast police are unable to solve a  series of murders, London-based Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) is brought in to take over the case. This gripping Irish series is dark and unsettling but very good. Netflix now has season 2 available so you can binge watch both seasons. I absolutely love this series. I am almost done with season 2 and I cannot wait to go home and watch. Yesterday I had so many things I should be doing but did none of them and watched 3 episodes and it was worth it.

 

2.  Jack Taylor

Ken Bruen’s bestselling crime novels are brought to life in this Irish series about an  Irish cop-turned-private-investigator . Jack Taylor investigates crime his way which usually involves him getting himself into some kind of trouble. He is talented at what he does although he may not always go about it in the most legal of ways. Season one is available on Netflix.

 

3. Love/Hate

 

“Love/Hate” is a gritty  drama that depicts Dublin’s underworld of organized crime. This series has won quite a few Irish Film and Television Awards including best television drama.  These characters are all different in their portrayals of gang life and some are actually very likable. I have only watched the first season but  I have heard season 2 is much better. This series used to be available for free on Netflix but no longer is. You can watch it on Amazon but will have to pay. Season one is $6.99, seasons 2 and 3 are $10.99 each. There are a total of 5 seasons but the rest are not available at this time. 

Irish Quiche

May 7, 2015 by Katie

 

IMG_1925

My sister visited a few months ago and we went to a local place for Quiche and since then I have had such a craving for it. I decided I would try to make my own but give it an Irish twist. What makes everything more delicious, yup you guessed it – Guinness and Irish Cheddar! Two of my favorites. I also added bacon and some fresh kale ( now it is healthy right?). The quiche was so simple to make and was just as good as the one I had in the restaurant. I used a ready-made pie crust because I did not have much time but you can make a fresh crust. I sautéed my onions in the Guinness which added a wonderful aromatic flavor to the quiche. This quiche would be great for a brunch, a shower or a delicious dinner. I paired it with a fresh salad and everyone at home loved it. Hope you enjoy!

FullSizeRender (2)

Ingredients:

6 Eggs

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/4 cup Irish Cheddar

1 clove of garlic

1/2 cup chopped kale

1/2 cooked bacon

1 ready-made pie crust

1/2 cup of Guinness

Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil to cook onions.

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook the  onion in olive oil until tender.

3. Add a chopped clove of garlic and cook for about a minute – do not let the garlic burn!

4. Add the Guinness and cook until Guinness is absorbed. Meanwhile finish off the rest of the Guinness in the bottle while you wait!

5. In a bowl crack open the 6 eggs, add the cheddar, salt and pepper, cooked bacon and chopped kale. Mix well.

6. When onions are done mix them into the egg mixture.

7. Pour mixture into the pie crust and sprinkle with a little more Irish cheddar.

8. Place into the oven for approximately 35 minutes or until quiche is set and golden.

9. Quiche can be served with a salad and more Guinness of course!

 

 

 

 

 

Pancake Tuesday

February 17, 2015 by Katie

 

 

 

Happy Pancake Tuesday

Hello all, today is Pancake Tuesday also known as Shrove Tuesday. Pancake Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. It is called Pancake Day because it is the day traditionally for eating pancakes  as a way to use up any  milk, butter and eggs which at one time were forbidden during the abstinence of Lent.

In Ireland, the family, and sometimes friends and neighbors, gathered around the fire which was often fueled in part by Christmas holly, which had been saved for this special day. The pancakes were baked over the fire and the honor of tossing the first pancake was given to the eldest, unmarried daughter of the host. If she could toss the pancake and get it back into the pan successfully,  legend said she would be married within the year. If she failed however she would remain single. Usually the mother would put her wedding ring into the batter for the first pancake and if the daughter was able to properly turn the pancake, she would immediately divide the cake into enough servings as there were guests. The person receiving the piece that contained the wedding ring was doubly fortunate – they’d be married that year and their choice of a spouse would be a good one. Wow who knew pancake making could be so stressful!

I will be making pancakes tonight for dinner. I do not have a daughter and my son is 14 and I am definitely NOT ready to give him up, so I will be doing all the cooking. . .

Irish Pancakes

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
1 oz. unsalted butter
Additional butter for frying
granulated sugar
lemon juice

Directions:
1. Beat the milk and eggs together in a bowl. In another bowl, sift the flour and salt together; add half the milk and egg mixture, stirring constantly.
2. Melt the butter and whisk it in. Whisk in the rest of the remaining milk and egg mixture.
3. Allow the batter to stand at least ten minutes and whisk again.
4. Melt 1 tbsp. butter in frying pan.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, tilting it from side to side to spread the batter all around in a thin layer. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  The pancake is ready to flip when the upper side is looking dry. Flip the pancake and cook the other side. If legends are true I am surprised I am not single because flipping is not my thing. This is usually an awkward turn over with a spatula but hopefully you will have more luck.

Finally, sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice, roll up and enjoy!