Luck of the (Not-So) Irish

We had big plans this week to have a really good, traditional Irish FND in honour of St. Patrick’s Day. Then we realized if we did that it would consist of the exact same dishes we had for our Irish dinner last year so we expanded the Irish idea to include green things too (because everyone knows if it’s green, it’s Irish 🙂 )

To start off our dinner we had some bread from a local bakery with a variety of German cheeses sent to Taylor by her godparents. Oh man, they were all so good. If you give the FND crew some cheese and wine we’ll pretty much be the happiest people in the world and last night our stomachs were singing it was so delicious.


IMG_6215Christina just moved back up to the Seattle area for her job so we skyped her into our dinner and it was just like she was there with us. She had her food and Irish decorations and we had ours. Sometimes technology is awesome. Here in Portland our dinner consisted of a Spring minestrone with lots of delicious green vegetables, a roasted Brussels sprouts dish with apples and pancetta and a blackberry and apple crumble which is apparently actually an Irish thing. Who knew? I was trying to avoid desserts with alcohol I wouldn’t drink so this was the perfect dessert to make. And I used an English custard from World Market to top it off. YUM.



As always we had some really good conversation. Some really deep, philosophical kinda talk and some equally important silly girl talk complete with some discussions about attractive men. Ya know, all the good things to talk about 🙂 We had such a great time and even though our dinner wasn’t really Irish, the spirit was there and we were all wearing something green to tie it all together.

Try out these recipes, you won’t be disappointed!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apple and Pancetta


  • 12 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered
  • 2 sweet cooking apples such as Gala or Fuji, cored & cut into wedges
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3 oz. finely chopped pancetta or cooked ham
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with foil; set aside. In a large bowl combine Brussels sprouts, apples, onion, pancetta, oil, salt, mustard seeds, and pepper. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking pan. Roast, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until sprouts are tender, stirring once.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard. Drizzle vinegar mixture over stout mixture. Gently toss to coat.



Springtime Minestrone


  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, sliced thin
  • 1 quart chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1 cup small pasta (such as alphabet or orzo)
  • 1 can cannelloni beans, rinsed
  • 1 large bunch rainbow chard, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 lb. sugar snap peas, chopped in half
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • Fresh grated Parmesan, for serving
  • Squeeze of lemon for serving


  1. Roast the poblano pepper either over the flame on your stove (if you have a gas stove) or under the broiler until black and charred. Set aside to cool and then remove the seeds and chop.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the leek and cook for five minutes, until the leek is bright green and soft.
  3. Add the stock and the pasta and bring to a simmer. Let cook for another five minutes and then add the sugar snap peas, fennel, chard, beans, salt and pepper. Simmer for only a couple of minutes before adding the roasted poblano pepper, peas and mint. Continue cooking until pasta is just tender.
  4. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon.



Blackberry & Apple Crumble


  • 65g (2 1/2 oz.) butter
  • 175g (6 oz.) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 50g (2 oz.) soft brown sugar
  • 60 ml (2 fl. oz.) golden syrup
  • 2 lemons, freshly grated zest and juice
  • 50g (2 oz.) ground almonds
  • 50g (2 oz.) chopped almonds
  • 450g (1 lb.) blackberries
  • 450g (1 lb.) cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an ovenproof dish with a knob of butter.
  2. Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan and sauté the breadcrumbs for about 5 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.
  3. Combine the sugar, syrup, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and gently warm through. Add the breadcrumbs together with the ground and chopped almonds and mix well.
  4. Arrange a thin layer of blackberries in the base of the dish, top with a thin layer of crumb mixture, another of apples, and another layer of crumbs. Repeat the process, alternating apples and berries until all used up and finishing with a layer of crumbs. The mixture should be piled well above the top of the dish as it will shrink during cooking. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and the fruit is soft.
  5. Serve the crumble warm accompanied by a jug of hot custard.



IMG_6233Happy eating, everyone!



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