I remember passing a butcher’s shop on St. Patrick’s Day many years ago: there was a pig’s head, painted bright kryptonite-green, sitting in the middle of the window display. A string of equally neon-green sausages hung from its mouth and draped elegantly across the counter. Thankfully, Irish food has come a long way since then; modern St. Patrick’s Day recipes celebrate several things - tradition, seasonality and the best of Irish-inspired ingredients.
It’s commonly claimed that St. Patrick’s Day became the Christian equivalent of the Spring Equinox festival, which in food terms brings exciting developments. Everything is waking up, and all is new and fresh and green. Traditionally, spring also brings new milk and fresh cheeses - it’s the perfect time for cheesecakes, or for poached fruit with mascarpone, softly whipped cream, or our vanilla bean panna cotta. I for one am very excited about the arrival of forced rhubarb; it’s so gloriously pink, it’s like a one-man disco in vegetable form!
For a more traditional approach, we have some lovely recipes lined up. Our Stout Soda Bread is super quick and easy, with a rich dark flavour. It’s even more delicious toasted and served with jam or marmalade. We also have a wonderful savoury white Soda Bread with Cheddar Cheese, perfect on its own or as an accompaniment to a cup of soup.
For a nod towards our national vegetable, try our Potato and Honey Bread, or serve Potato Farls with poached eggs and spinach for breakfast.
Ireland is currently a hotbed for microbreweries and distilleries; use whiskey in frostings, in marinades, add a cheeky glug to our tea loaf recipe, or try our Chocolate Whiskey Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting.
While Spring is struggling valiantly to burst through in full bloom, we are still seeing some wild and wintry weather - what better warmer for St. Patrick's Day than a good Irish Coffee. Originally invented by Joe Sheridan to fortify shivering passengers deplaning from flying boats on the Shannon, this classic mixture of sugar, whiskey, coffee and cream is far more than the sum of its parts and has become an iconic Irish drink enjoyed around the world.
Recently, the inaugural Dublin Whiskey Festival held a competition at the Irish Whiskey Museum to find Ireland's best Irish Coffee. Tom Stafford of Vice Coffee took home top honours, expertly mixing world-renowned 3FE espresso, new Dublin distillery Teeling's single malt whiskey and orange-infused organic Glenisk cream. Tom's award-winning recipe is featured in our app now.
Don't forget that Irish coffee, while simple, is still a cocktail and should be treated as such! Use fresh ingredients and follow the measurements and instructions precisely to get that perfect balance of whiskey to coffee, not to mention that beautiful layer of floating cream. Remember not to stir your finished product either - part of the quintessential Irish Coffee experience is drinking the hot coffee through the pillowy layer of cold cream.
Tom Stafford from Vice Coffee
Bear in mind that St. Patrick’s Day is also a national holiday on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, so it could be argued (albeit tenuously) that tropical recipes have a place in menu planning! This is the perfect excuse to try our Banana Pecan Loaf. Above all, St. Patrick’s Day should be a day of good food and celebration. As the saying goes ‘Ní geal an gáire ach san aít a mbíonn an biadh’ - laughter is brightest where the food is best.
Banana pecan loaf
All of the recipes mentioned in this post can be found in the Drop Kitchen app (just look for the St. Patrick's Day tab). If you don't have it already you can download it from the App Store.