Tag Archives: St. Patrick’s Day Party

St. Paddy’s Day Party!

Our St. Paddy’s party on Saturday was so much fun!

St. Patrick even smiled on us with our first non-cloudy night in months and the view was spectacular! And it was warm enough for people to hang on the deck.

Do you see that rainbow-esque fruit and veggie display at the end of the table? The marshmallows are a “cloud” and the banana sices in the bowl are a “pot of gold.”

I served two appetizers, both of which I passed myself… when you have the time and are together enough to pass your appetizers, it really is the best. You get to A. say hello to all the guests B. your appetizers are served at their peak temperature (hot or cold) and C. it makes sure that people actually eat them instead of just gabbing away!!

Above, Emerald Eggs from the Food Network… I highly recommend this recipe… the green color is achieved naturally from watercress, tarragon and scallions.

Hard-boil 6 eggs, then peel and slice in half. Scoop the yolks into a food processor and puree with 1 cup watercress leaves, 1/4 cupmayonnaise, 2 tablespoons each chopped scallions andtarragon, and salt and pepper. Fill with the yolk mixture.

The second appetizer I entitled ‘Dr. Seuss’s Sammies.’ They were simply English muffins, Candaian bacon and eggs dyed green all cut with a biscuit cutter into little circles.

The Mr. also made his infamous Guac (love all the lime juice he puts in it). I gussied it up a bit by serving the chips in Tiffany’s and the guac in Bernardaud. I do love how green it is. And of course it was devoured by the end of the night.

The pretty flowers were from Diane from Ellermann Design–didn’t she do an amazing job? She used a block of florist foam and poked leaves into it to create a pretty base for the vase.

We also had some live Irish entertainment… I met Charliah at the ‘Enter the Dragon‘ dinner a few weeks back and it turns out she is a violinist so I asked her and a friend to come play for us! She’s at the Best Music Academy in case your little one needs tutoring or you’d like some lovely music at your next party.

And then there was the main buffet. Here was the menu:

  • Corned Beef! For the second year in a row we completely ran out of this delicious roast even after I doubled down, from 4 lbs to 8 lbs. I really reccomend trying this at home. It is not hard at all (just takes time) and the results are awesome. I slow cooked it for 8 hours in Guinness, water, some sliced carrots and onion. I served it with a jar of mustard. And by the way, if you’re in HK and craving corned beef, Tenderloin Fine Foods, a great meat and fish delivery service I like, sells it prepared–so all you need to do is cook it.
  • Kelly’s Irish Soda Bread. Again, a huge hit. This time I did include Caraway seeds which makes it a little more savory… but to be honest I think I prefer it just with currants. Recipe here.
  • Boston Baked Maple Beans. 35 people is a LOT of people to feed dinner so I decided to augment the beef with a lot of beans. I loved this recipe–again it’s very easy, just takes time… it cooks pretty much all day. It was also great for the Veggies to have something to eat besides bread. And sweet-ish beans really are yummy.
  • Chive and Parsley Mashed Potatoes. Basically you just make regular mashed potatoes, but to make them green you puree chives and parsley with olive oil in a food processor and then mix it all together for a festive and tasty result!

And then there was dessert!

Pots of Gold Caramel Corn, Sugar Cookies, and Lucky Charms to go.

I made the little ‘We Are Lucky You Came’ label from cutting up a cereal box and then finding the other letters in magazines. I then just shrunk it down a bit on my home scanner and printed them off.

The idea was to give people a little Lucky Charms for breakfast the next day! I just love favors… people really appreciate taking a little souvenir home from the party and I think it really makes them feel special!

People also took home little pots of gold. After all, as a hostess I think your main goal is to make sure people feel like you’re really glad they’ve come and that you’ve tried to take good care of them while they are in your residence. A favor is your little way to thank them for making the effort to come.

And in this particular case to thank so many people for going to the effort to wear green!

Tomorrow: Irish Carbomb Cupcakes!

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St. Paddy’s sweets

Three ideas for fun St. Patrick’s Day desserts: pots of gold caramel nut corncut-out sugar cookies, and Irish Carbomb cupcakes.


We added a little rainbow (I re-purposed this artist’s palette from Anthropologie and put the caramel corn on that for people to much on) with the pots of gold on the end.

I decided to display a few of the St. Paddy’s day cards I’d received, too.

Lauren was sweet enough to come an hour early to help me set-up… it makes all the difference between enjoying versus stressing about your party to have an extra set of hands to put things in place while you change and powder your nose! And people are usually happy to help. When they ask what they can bring, you can say… well, I would love a hand just getting things pulled together last minute!

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Pots of golden caramel nut corn.

One of the fun things about living abroad is trying out new brands of food, like this yogurt from France. I tried one… and quickly became obsessed. I think it’s because we don’t actually get real milk here (I don’t think raw milk is available and all of the milk comes from Australia or (used to come from) Japan so its been pasteurized for Extended Shelf Life, meaning much of it doesn’t even need to be refrigerated).

So this la fermière really does it for me. The only issue is that it comes in these delightful little clay pots that are impossible to throw away. So they began to stack up…

Until I realized that once painted gold they would be the most adorable pot of gold for St. Paddy’s day.
Unsure of whether the $1 US can of spray paint I found here was safe…
I stuffed the jars with saran wrap to keep the paint far from the food… which was to be my Aunt Steph’s famous caramel nut corn. I was able to find golden syrup, the key ingredient, at Grate.


Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shelled pecans
  • 4 cups shelled almonds
  • 2 cups macadamia nuts
  • 2 cups toasted coconut
  • 12 cups popped corn
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup golden syrup
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 pound unsalted butter

1. Toast the nuts separately on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Combine the popcorn and nuts in a lightly oiled bowl. Toss to distribute evenly.

2. Combine the sugar, syrup and water in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, washing down any sugar crystals clinging to the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.

3. Add the butter and continue cooking until a candy thermometer registers 300 degrees F.., about five minutes.

4. Pour the hot syrup over the popcorn and nut mixture. Quickly toss to coat the mixture with the caramel, and spread it in a thin layer on 2 lightly oiled baking sheets.

5. Cool completely before breaking into bite size pieces. Store in airtight containers until ready to use.

A few closing thoughts for first-times candy makers:
1. Yes, you can do it. Making candy really is not that hard and it’s a pretty quick endeavor as well.
2. A candy thermometer is a must. The difference between hard crack (candy) and soft crack (caramel) is just a few degrees.
3. You must be speedy! The candy will seize very quickly so having an extra pair of hands handy for the mixing is very helpful. I was home alone and so my candy (above) was not as well mixed as it could have been.

Next post: I’ll show you the whole St. Paddy’s day dessert spread!

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St. Patrick’s day dinner.


We threw our  St. Patrick’s Day party over the weekend, but there is still time for you to put together a nice dinner for Thursday or next weekend!


Corned beef. I made my own corned beef by making a brine with sugar and salt and leaving it to soak for three weeks, but you can easily buy ready made corned beef. I slow cooked ours for 8 hours on low with two Guinesses, chopped carrots, quartered onions and water to cover. My brine originally included lots of cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and allspice, but if you’re using store bought corned beef I would recommend adding these into the slow cooker as they (the cinnamon in particular) really adds a lot of depth of flavor. I served the beef with mustard.

(We had 25 people at our little fete so I got a pony keg for the deck, which cut down on bottles and cost. Plus, I used it for the beef! If you’re in HK and looking to order a keg, just call Johnny at 9326-7327)

Champ. This is a very traditional Irish side dish and the perfect accompaniment to corned beef. I did Epicurious’s version, which included potatoes, lots of milk, chives, and peas. You can make this the morning of and just re-heat it when you’re ready to eat.

Kelly’s Irish Soda Bread
. My good friend from Notre Dame Kelly (who is so Irish that her wedding color is Kelly green) gave me this recipe and it was divine! And also super easy. This is also good made a day or two ahead of time, but it is insanely good right out of the oven!

  • Sift together 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder and a dash of salt.
  • Add 1 and 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup of caraway seeds and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour into a loaf pan and sprinkle top with sugar.
  • Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Currant scones. Now you probably don’t need these if you’re also doing the soda bread, but I thought they were quite delicious so I’m including them here.

Finally, in addition to the signature Irish Carbomb cocktail (if you can even call it a cocktail), I made some little jello mint mojitos, topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. The Mr. manned his bar, played traditional Irish music, and read a few Irish toasts. It was a very fun night indeed!

All the flowers are by Diane at the very talented Ellermann Design–didn’t she make simple white carnations look amazing? The dessert table is on tap tomorrow.

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