Celebrate St. Patty’s with a Traditional Irish Stew

Although it is 78 here today, we still think we need a Luck o’ the Irish celebration…a pint (or two) of guinness and a wee bit of chocolate guinness cake (the best one..ever, ever, really…ever…link below!).

This stew cold not be more simple.  I also stirred together a batch of cheddar chive Guinness quick bread.

  • 3 large baking potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 lb (900g) boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1½ in (3.5cm) pieces
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 3 carrots, thickly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Large sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2½ cups lamb stock or beef stock


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Beginning and ending with potatoes, layer the lamb, onions, and carrots in a large, heavy french oven such as Le Creuset, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Tuck in the thyme and bay leaf. Add the stock and cover.

2. Bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 30–40 minutes more, until the potatoes are browned and the meat is very tender. Serve hot.


Beef and Potato Stew

Substitute boneless beef chuck for the lamb.

I made this last year and could not wait to make it again this year.  It really is the best ever Chocolate Guinness Cake  I have every tasted.  Today was the perfect reason to make it again!

Design Sponge’s In The Kitchen with Katie Davies Chocolate Guinness Cake

Seeing Green image by/via seebyseeing.net.  Stew and Guinness image by Jpatokol via Wikitravel.


It’s About the Spices!

I love spices, I collect spices, I use spices.

Enter Istanbul.  There was no question that I would wander the aisles and stalls at the Spice Market.  The sights, colors and aromas!  No question that I would pack the suitcase with little bags of spices. All types of spices.  No question at all.

What I didn’t know was that I would bring back pistachios, dates, figs, teas, manti and a wonderful spicy red pepper paste used during our culinary class (and lunch) with Eveline at Cooking Alaturka.  Eveline and her chef were the most gracious instructors providing all the “ins” and “outs” of the Spice Market.  Right down to the stall where she buys her red pepper paste.

I am dreaming of Istanbul today…and yes, my spices need replenishing!

In honor of my beloved SPICES,  on my plate today is Spicy Red Chicken MeatBalls and Pistachio Cardamom Cake.

Istanbul Spice Market

Spice Market Front Entry

Spice Market

Spice Market

Spice Market

Amazing sweets at little shops and the market.

Turkish Sweets

Turkish Delight

Turkish Sweets

Turkish Sweets

Spicy Red Chicken MeatBalls ~ Based on Eveline’s Spicy Red Lentil Balls substituting 1 pound ground chicken breast for Bulgar and lentils.

Turkish Spices

Saute Chicken Balls

Spicy Turkish Chicken Meatballs with Orzo

Spicy Turkish Chicken Meatballs with Orzo

My only regret of the evening was that I did not jot down the ingredients as I created this dish.  Red pepper perfection…my husband asked for it again soon….so…will make a recipe card for round two.

Dessert was perfect….spicy and nutty!

Pistachio Cardamom Cake ~ Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready For Dessert.

Pistachio Cardamom Cake


2 tablespoons (1 ounce/30 g) unsalted or salted butter

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup (60 g) sliced almonds, preferably unblanched


3/4 cup (95 g) shelled unsalted pistachios

1/4 cup (35 g) plus 3/4 cup (110 g) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cardamom seeds

1/2 cup (4 ounces/115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup (200 g) sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

To make the topping, melt the 2 tablespoons (1 ounce/30 g) butter in a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan set directly on the stovetop over low heat. Once melted, remove from the heat and let cool briefly. Sprinkle the 1 teaspoon sugar evenly over the melted butter, then add the almonds, tilting and shaking the pan to distribute them evenly. Set the pan aside.

To make the cake, in a blender or a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulverize the pistachios with the 1/4 cup (35 g) flour until as finely ground as possible. Transfer to a small bowl.

Crush the cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle or seal them inside a sturdy plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Add the crushed seeds to the pistachio mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together the 1/2 cup (4 ounces/115 g) butter and 1 cup (200 g) sugar on medium speed until very light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until completely incorporated.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup (110 g) flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir it into the butter-egg mixture. Stir in the pistachio mixture just until combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan by dropping 4 or 5 mounds on top of the almonds. Carefully spread the batter into an even layer, trying not to disturb the almonds. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Run a knife around the sides of the cake to help loosen it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Let cool completely.

Cardamom, Pistachio and Almonds

Crushed Cardamom

Last Egg into Batter

Pistachio Cardamom Cake

Linked to: Wanderlust and Lipstick

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