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St. Patrick's Day: Irish cookbook recipes come to life in Manhattan 

Darina Allen's rutabaga and bacon soup with parsley oil from her new "Simply Delicious" cookbook. (Kyle Books, $27.99)Who hasn't paged through a cookbook and wished for dishes from its pages to magically appear without her or his own effort?


It happened just ahead of St. Patrick's Day for about three dozen food writers and editors who stepped away from their own test kitchens earlier this week to watch -- and taste -- as three of Ireland's top chefs presented their recipes.    


While Noel McMeel, executive chef of Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland, was the only one not promoting a new cookbook, his 2013 volume, “Irish Pantry,” has been recognized by Gourmand International as one of the world's best cookbooks.


Bringing recipes from new cookbooks to life were Darina Allen, co-founder of Ireland's celebrated Ballymaloe Cookery School with its 100-acre organic farm, and Clodagh McKenna, a food-world darling

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Summer drinks: Three ways to chill

Photo courtesy of Driscolls BerriesIn the scorching days of summer, cool drinks are essential. Try the three ideas below to add good flavor and keep your drinks chilled in the healthiest ways. 

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Snow day recipe: Welsh Cakes (or scones made in a skillet)

Welsh Cakes with tea (Photos by Kimberly L. Jackson)Snow days always make me want to cook up a soup or bake some sort of comforting treat. Today, with a considerable amount of snow forecast, I decided to revisit Welsh Cakes.


Any recipe with “cake” in the name will get my attention, and I first learned of Welsh Cakes from a cookbook by one of Britain's top pastry chefs. I was intrigued by maître pâtissier Will Torrent's recipe where a scone-like dough is shaped by a cookie cutter and then griddled like a pancake. The recipe, from his cookbook “Afternoon Tea at Home” (Ryland Peters & Small, $24.95), has less than five steps and fewer than 10 ingredients, which tends to be my personal limit with the usual kitchen rush.


Torrent's take on Welsh Cakes also offered an opportunity to explore the flavor of allspice, an ingredient that rarely gets to shine on its own. It's often mingled with other spices to season foods ranging from pumpkin pie to jerk chicken.

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Apple smoothie recipe update

Icy apple smoothieApple smoothies are a smart snack with less sugar and more nutritional value than milkshakes. The drink also benefits from a little maple syrup. Here's the recipe:

For two servings: Core, chop and peel your favorite apple variety. Process in a blender until smooth with 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 2 tablespoons quick oats, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon pie spice, 1 cup of light coconut milk (or rice milk), 2 teaspoons maple syrup and 4 ice cubes.    

Photo courtesy of U.S. Apple Association


Savory oats: Flahavan's oatmeal salsa recipe and more to explore

Oats are a secret ingredient that make a salsa recipe from the Irish brand Flahavan's more filling and nutritious. It involves cooking a blend of chopped onion, olive oil and the brand's steel-cut oats with fresh and canned tomatoes and seasonings.

Oatmeal-fortified salsa


2 tablespoons olive oil

5 tablespoons Flahavan’s steel cut oats

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Juice of half a lemon

Juice of 1 lime

1 red chilli chopped with seeds (see note)

2 cans (14 ounces), chopped tomatoes

2 large tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cilantro


Heat oil in a large pan and sauté onions for 2 - 3 minutes. Add oats and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice and chilli. Add the 2 cans of tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, cilantro and sugar. Season well. Cook over medium heat for 20 – 25 minutes until the sauce reduces and the oats soften. Add water if to thin, if desired. Cool before serving.


Note: Wear gloves when chopping chili. For less intense heat, remove the seeds and add only half the chili.


Adapted from the original Irish recipe by Mary Flahavan for Flahavan's