Happy St. Paddy’s Day

Breath Mint Sized Irish Rental Car

Breath Mint Sized Irish Rental Car

In 2011 I was fortunate enough to spend twelve days in Ireland driving around, seeing the sights. It was a trip for my mother, a birthday present when she turned 50. Although her health limited her from some of the activities, we managed to have an amazing time.
We opted out of the bus tour and set out on our own in a little rental car. Twelve days of driving a 5-speed, breath mint sized car – on the wrong side of the road (to me) and using the wrong hand (left) to shift our way through the highways, countryside and small towns of Ireland.

St. Finnabare Cathedral County Cork

St. Finnabare Cathedral County Cork

Was it green? A common question, yes in June of 2011 it was gloriously green with temperate weather and mostly blue skies . We spent a lot of time on the road between sites and each County had something wonderful to see and share with us tourist types. We got the chance to see some of the most well respected thoroughbred horses in the world, Irish dancers and musicians and my mother insisted on chatting up every store clerk that would indulge her whim, to my impatient dismay almost all of them indulged. 🙂

Mares @ National Stud Farm

Mares @ National Stud Farm

Dublin was all that I expected. We took a tour of Guinness – fun times and good brew. We got a chance to see historical buildings and churches, the new modern downtown area and of course the famous rows of houses with each door a different color. I could have spent another week just in the city, walking around and enjoying the beauty of the people, the architecture and the Guinness. 🙂
It was a glorious trip, one I won’t ever forget and neither will my Mom. She got the chance to visit the small town where her grandparents were born and raised, which I know meant a lot to her. We hope to one day make it back, because it turns out twelve days just isn’t enough to see an entire country to satisfaction.

Downtown Dublin

Downtown Dublin

So, although I have to admit we were highly disappointed in traditional Irish food – it seems being genetically linked to the cuisine does not adjust ones palate for enjoyment. We were thrilled when we found a restaurant that popped up in a couple of the counties where we stayed called Milano – yes we are Italian food in Ireland. We might have starved were it not for the pizza! LOL!

I think about my heritage at this time of year and try to share bits of it with my son. However, since we don’t eat meat (well okay we cheat and eat bacon from time to time, shhhhhhh!), we will forgo the corned beef and cabbage this year and observe our tradition of toasting our heritage with green apple cider – he is only eleven, so beer is out of the question. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by our blog today, we love hearing from you, so comment away. Any questions about Ireland or my trip are welcome and encouraged. Please enjoy the photos from my trip, the recipe below and  take this Irish Blessing with you today on this lucky, St. Patrick’s Day.
“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.”

 

 

Chocolate Mint Smith Island Cake via Delish.com

Chocolate Mint Smith Island Cake via Delish.com

  • 1 box(es) (1 1/4 pounds) Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 2 tablespoon(s) buttermilk
  • 7 ounce(s) (about 4) large eggs
  • 2/3 cup(s) water
  • 2/3 cup(s) oil, vegetable or canola
  • 7 ounce(s) chocolate ganache (recipe below)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 pint(s) (16 ounces) heavy cream
  • 16 ounce(s) semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoon(s) light corn syrup

Cool Mint Buttercream

  • 2 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup(s) (8 ounces) egg whites
  • 1 pound(s) butter, softened
  • Peppermint oil (or extract), to taste
  • Green food coloring, to preferred shade
  • Chocolate sandwich cookies (optional), for decorating
  • Chocolate syrup (optional), for decorating

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or grease 2 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Make the ganache: Mix heavy cream and corn syrup and heat just to a boil. Pour over chocolate pieces in a bowl. Let stand a few minutes for the cream to start melting the chocolate. Mix until smooth and glossy. Set aside.
  3. Make the cake: Combine cake mix, buttermilk, and eggs for 1 minute on medium speed, or 2 minutes by hand. Scrape the bowl and add the water and oil. Mix for one minute on medium speed, or two minutes by hand.
  4. Add melted ganache (7 ounces) and mix until incorporated, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl between mixing.
  5. Fill each pan with about 2/3 cup of cake batter and spread evenly. (This is very important as you want an even layer. An uneven layer will yield a cake that isn’t evenly baked and will also increase difficulty when stacking the cake.)
  6. Make the buttercream: Whisk egg whites and sugar together and gently heat over a double boiler until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 120 degrees F.
  7. Remove from heat and whip until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Add the softened butter a few pieces at a time. Continue to mix until the mixture is incorporated and fluffy. Add flavorings, and mix until combined. Taste and adjust as necessary.
  8. Assemble the cake: Once cake layers are cool, begin icing and stacking. If thin layers are desired, slice cooled cakes in half horizontally to create more layers. Spread a thin, even layer of chocolate ganache onto the first cake layer. (Works best when ganache is set at room temperature. It should have the consistency of spreadable icing).
  9. Spread a thin, even layer over buttercream over the ganache.Repeat with cake and icings until all the layers are used up. We like to measure our cakes to 3 inches tall. Refrigerate until set.
  10. Coat the outside of the cake with the mint buttercream. If desired, grind chocolate sandwich cookies into crumbs. Coated the sides of the cake with crumbs. Decorate the top of the cake with chocolate syrup.

*recipe via www.delish.com

 

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10 Responses to Happy St. Paddy’s Day

  1. susanrhughes says:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip, and that cake sure looks good.

    Like

  2. leighmorgan1 says:

    Kelly, what a fantastic trip to enjoy with your mom. My cousin and her mother (my father’s sister) travel together often and they are closer for it. Happy St. Patrick’s Day…Enjoy your cider!

    Like

  3. Reblogged this on Kelly Rae & Jocelyn Bell Books and commented:
    Celebrating my Irish roots over on The Authors of Main Street, with tales and photos of my time in Ireland. Stop by and take a look, make sure to sign up for our Newsletter for updates and special monthly content. Be the first to know about our summer boxed set!

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  4. monarisk says:

    Hi Kelly, what a wonderful trip you had with your Mom. I admire your courage to drive in Ireland on the ‘wrong’ side! These are fantastic memories that you can slip in a book. A belated Happy St. Patsy’s Day to you.

    Like

    • Thanks Mona, it was an exceptional trip. The driving ended up being really fun, especially with all of the roundabouts they have in Ireland. I got pretty handy with it all! 🙂

      Like

  5. E. Ayers says:

    I admire your driving efforts. My dad tried it and it’s amazing anyone survived.
    🙂
    Oh that cake! I’m drooling!

    Like

  6. Joan Reeves says:

    What a fabulous trip, but the cake recipe very nearly stole the spotlight! Thanks. Going to make it–maybe on Leprechaun Day.

    Like

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