United Irishmen Flag

Well it’s better late than never, I say. Just think of this post as a jump start to next year’s celebration!

These last few months have been very exciting for me. I recently discovered that along with my new found English ancestry (and a few other Northern European ancestries) and in the company of millions of other Americans, I may have some ancestral roots in Ireland. I am still learning about where it comes from, which has been a very fun process for me and has revived in me my love of anthropology and population migrations. I am not sure how much I will ever really know about my heritage, being adopted with no ancestry history, but it looks like there is a strong Northern Irish connection from all my research so far. So this year, I decided that I want to explore these cultures in my ancestral line through the foods of these lands, and St. Patrick’s day seemed like a good place to start, in good company.

I am not Christian, so for me, my St. Patrick’s celebration is not religious or political, but more of a general Celtic heritage and cultural celebration. It should be no surprise that I have Celtic ancestry, as I have always loved Celtic music (even teaching myself to play the fiddle) and culture, and Scottish and Irish desserts have been among my favorites for years. So I felt like even with its religious roots, this would be a good a time as any to celebrate the rich culture and heritage of Ireland with so many others!


Some Irish Feast Ingredients: Fresh Organic Eggs, Organic Cream and Guinness plus Homemade Buttermilk and Whiskey and Aquavit Soaked Raisins

I wanted to celebrate by cooking some semi- “traditional” dishes, and to challenge myself by cooking with Guinness! So the menu is as follows :

*Guinness Stew
*Sautéed Cabbage in a Mustard Glaze
*Brown Soda Bread
*Guinness Ice Cream

Everything is made from scratch, including the buttermilk in the soda bread. The meal turned out great, and I would certainly make any of these dishes again, for St. Pat’s or any other day.


Brown Soda Bread

I was inspired by several different recipes for this meal, and it all started with Jenny’s Brown Soda Bread Recipe .

As many who follow this blog know, I have been tweaking various bread recipes these past many months, so that the flour can be soaked for at least 12 hours before baking ( to find out why click here ). Jenny is a master at this kind of cooking, even recently being featured on CNN for her Real Food Challenge . When I saw her soda bread recipe, I knew I had to make it.


Guinness Stew

From there, the idea for an Irish feast began. I didn’t have a lot of time this year to research “corning” my own beef brisket , so to speak (maybe next year). So I decided to go with something a bit more in my comfort zone – beef stew with a beef and Guinness broth.

I love sautéed cabbage, and since it was on sale at the grocery store, I decided to grab a head and figure out what to do with it later. As I was cooking the stew, an idea for a delicious spicy mustard and honey glaze was concocted in my mind! I will definitely be making cabbage this way again!


Creamy Guinness Ice Cream without white sugar

I had also been wanting to try this recipe for Guinness Ice Cream for about 2 years. However, I did modify it, to make it more healthy by omitting the 2 cups of sugar called for in the original recipe and using date sugar and maple syrup to sweeten it, instead. I also omitted the brown bread, however I may have to add it in the future, because it sounds yummy!

This was a wonderful celebration to begin to connect with some of my ancestral roots and share it with my awesome and supportive family. Thanks Guys! 🙂 Hope my readers enjoy this menu as much as we did! Recipes under the cut…


Guinness Stew
(inspired by this recipe )


1 lb. Stew beef chunks
2 TBS whole wheat flour to dust
oil for cooking
3 russet potatoes, chunks
6 carrots, rustic chunks
1 small onion, chunks
2 cloves garlic, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cups homemade beef stock
1 bottle of Guinness
1 cup caramelized onions
2 tsp arrowroot


Preheat oven to 350F. Toss meat in flour (reserve any leftover flour that does not cover the meat). In a large dutch oven, over medium-high heat, heat olive oil on stovetop – and brown meat on all sides. Then add potatoes, carrots, raw onion chunks and garlic and season with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Cook veggies in meat fat and oil until browned – about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups beef stock, one bottle of Guinness and caramelized onions. Then add any extra flour and stir. Bring to a simmer. Then place in the oven, and cook for about 1 hour, stirring every 30 minutes and checking for liquid. If extra liquid is needed at any time, add water, more beef stock, or even more Guinness – the choice is yours! But I doubt that you will need any. Then bring it back to the stovetop and let it simmer, with the lid on for another hour. Right before serving, whisk in 2 tsp of arrowroot to thicken. Serve with Irish Soda bread – and a side of cabbage. Save room for Guinness Ice Cream for dessert!


Sautéed Mustard Glazed Cabbage


1 head of green cabbage
2 TBS olive oil
¼ cup good quality spicy mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBS honey


Heat oil in a cast iron skillet until very hot. Add half the cabbage to the pan, with salt and pepper and sautee until soft. Then add the other half. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk mustard, apple cider vinegar, and 2 TBS honey. After all the cabbage is cooked and soft – about 10-15 minutes, pour the glaze over top.


Brown Soda Breadsee Jenny’s recipe . The only modifications I made were that I couldn’t find currants, so I had to use raisins. Also, I soaked the raisins in a mixture of whiskey and Danish Aquavit – to bring out the caraway flavor.


Guinness Ice Cream – as inspired by this recipe from Ice Cream Ireland !

½ c. date sugar
5 organic egg yolks
1 1/8 c. organic heavy cream
1 1/8 c. whole organic milk
1 Can (500 ml) Guinness
½ cup maple syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon


Measure out 100ml of Guinness and set aside. Boil 400ml Guinness until it reduces to 100ml in volume. Cool. Beat the date sugar and egg yolks together until thick and pale yellow. Bring the milk to a simmer. Beat the milk into the eggs and sugar in a slow stream. Pour the mixture back into pan and place over low heat. Stir until the custard thickens slightly (around 70C). Use a thermometer, as at 75C the eggs will scramble! Allow the custard to cool.
Once the custard is cool, stir in both the reduced and non-reduced Guinness. Whip the cream in a separate bowl and gently fold into the custard. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, or cover and place in the freezer. Yield: 6 Servings