FOOD & DRINK

Ways to celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Places to go or a great soda bread and Irish cheese combo

It’s Paddy’s Day in two weeks’ time and London’s considerable Irish population will be already considering how to mark the big day. So here are a few ideas for real Paddies, Plastic Paddies (those like me, born in England of Irish parents who suddenly become very Irish when they do something well) and those with no Irish connection other than the love of a good craic.

To celebrate this year, premium Irish Whiskey, Roe & Co, is bringing a taste of Dublin to London, for a five-day celebration. Kicking off on March 13 and running until the day itself, March 17, expect an array of Irish-themed activities, from unique masterclasses to an exciting pub lock in, at some of London’s coolest venues.

Here is a rundown of the events:

The Ten Bells, Spitalfields

Over in East London, Roe & Co is heading to The Ten Bells, where it is teaming up with Guinness to host the ultimate Irish cocktail masterclass, on Monday, March 16. There will be a Roe & Co and Guinness pub quiz, offering all who take part the chance to win a day trip for two to Dublin, with a tour of the Guinness Brewery, and Roe & Co Distillery.

The Lock Tavern, Chalk Farm

For the North Londoners, Roe & Co is teaming up with The Lock Tavern, a newly renovated pub, to dish out more St Patrick’s Day festivities. On the weekend ahead of St Paddy’s, whiskey fanatics can indulge in a limited Roe & Co menu at the main bar, which will be serving a range of cocktails such as, an ‘Irish Seadog, which is Roe & Co, Belsazar Rose and Pink Grapefruit  and Arthur’s Pears’, Roe & Co and pear juice. What’s more, on St Patrick’s Day itself, Roe & Co will be reinventing the Irish ‘lock in’ tradition, where guests can enjoy an artistic cocktail masterclass with an innovative twist, pimping out their drinks with Irish emblems. 

Mark’s Bar, Bankside

South of the river, underground bar, Mark’s Bar, Bankside, is hosting a premium St Patrick’s Day extravaganza. For one night only, guests will have the chance to taste a selection of exclusive mini dishes, featuring Peter Hannan’s Glenarm Estate beef and sugar pit pork, paired with Roe & Co whiskey cocktails such as an ‘Irish Highball’, comprised of Roe & Co, peppermint tea and soda. On the night, there will also be a tasting table, where guests will have the opportunity to make their own Roe & Co cocktails, with GB Brand Ambassador, Kirsten Jarin (pictured). Click on the link above for ticket info.

Black Rock, Finsbury

Finally, over the weekend of the March13-14, Roe & Co is taking over  Black Rock Whisky Bar, offering cocktails such as, ‘Roe Fashioned’, a new modern take on a classic and ‘Super Stout’, made with Roe & Co Irish Whiskey and Guinness Draught. Black Rock Tavern, above the whiskey bar, will be hosting a live Irish music session, on 13th March, with the Roe & Co Dram Tram stationed outside Black Rock.

If you prefer to celebrate at home, here’s a recipe to get you into the Irish mood. It’s from Paxton & Whitfield, the UK’s oldest cheesemonger. 
This recipe for a traditional Irish Soda Bread uses two special ingredients – Cashel Blue cheese (Ireland’s first farmhouse blue cheese) and Fig & Walnut Conserve (a rich and sticky fig and walnut paste to eat with cheese). 

Also, if you are looking for a delicious collection of cheeses to enjoy for St Patrick’s Day then the Taste of Ireland Cheese Selection (£30.00) is delicious.

Recipe: Cashel Blue, Fig & Walnut soda bread

The beauty of traditional Irish Soda Bread is the speed and ease of baking. It takes around 10 minutes to make, 30 minutes to bake and is delicious eaten warm with a scraping of butter.

Ingredients

–        200g Cashel Blue cheese

–        90g jar of Paxton & Whitfield Fig & Walnut Conserve

–        300g Wholemeal Flour

–        200g Self-raising flour

–        1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

–        1 tsp salt

–        400ml whole milk

–        1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

–        Set the oven to 180°C (356 °F)

–        Mix the whole milk with the lemon juice and leave to curdle.

–        Combine the wholemeal & self raising flour into a bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda, salt and mix together.

–        Make a well in the middle of your dry mixture and pour in the curdled milk.

–        Add the Cashel Blue cheese (cut into small pieces) and spoon in the jar of Fig & Walnut Conserve.

–        Using a wooden spoon, gently mix the ingredients together.

–        Lightly dust the mixture with wholemeal flour and use your hands to form the dough into a ball (trying not to handle the dough too much)

–        Line your baking tray with baking paper and a small dusting of flour.

–        Place your dough onto the tray and mark with a cross on the top.

–        Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

–        Remove and cool on a wire rack. Best enjoyed the same day. 

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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