Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kell's Shepherd's Pie

This is my favorite shepherds pie of all times, it is from Kell's Irish Pub here in Portland and it is the best!

Shepherd's Pie

Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground free-range beef
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots, diced
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup Guinness draught stout
  • 1/4 cup cabernet wine
  • 7 ounces (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 cup peas, preferably fresh, or frozen (thawed)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Ulster Champ Topping
  • 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, 4 medium
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup finely grated Irish white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup scallions or chives, chopped
  • Salt and white pepper to taste


  • 1
    Brown beef in a Dutch oven or other large heavy saucepot over low to moderate heat. Allow to simmer until cooked throughout, about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain excess fat when cooked and add onion, carrots, garlic, stout, wine, broth, Worcestershire sauce, basil, oregano, sage and marjoram. Stir and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook 15 minutes or until carrots are fork tender. Add peas.
  • 2
    While meat is simmering, bring large pot of water to boil for potatoes.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour to make a roux (paste of equal parts butter and flour used to thicken liquids). Slowly incorporate roux into simmering beef mixture until desired thickness is achieved. (If mixture was simmered too long or cooked too high, less roux is needed.) Continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes to allow roux and flavors to meld. Season with salt and pepper.
  • 4
    Remove to a 9 1/2-inch round casserole dish or deep pie dish.
  • 5
    While meat is simmering, preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare Ulster Champ Topping.
  • 1
    Scrub and peel potatoes. Cut into large pieces. In a large pot, simmer potatoes in water until fork tender. Drain well and return pot to low heat to remove excess moisture. Stir in butter and cheese and whip, gradually adding milk, parsley and scallions or chives. Season with salt and pepper.
  • 2
    Spoon potato topping evenly over meat mixture, making irregular peaks with the back of a spoon. Alternatively, use a pastry bag and star tip to pipe potatoes over meat mixture.
  • 3
    Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and crusty on edges and mixture is heated throughout.
  • 4
    If desired, place casserole under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to crisp potato topping. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly to set, and serve immediately from casserole dish. Serve with HP sauce (Irish-English steak-style sauce), steak sauce or pan gravy, if desired.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bread

I got this recipe from Allrecipies but made a few changes to it.

yields at least two loaves and a muffin tin.

2 cans of Libby's pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups of vegetable oil
3 cups of sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
heaping 1/2 teaspoon of ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour baking dishes (loaf pans and muffin tins although I'd use paper liners - Jeff looks forward to eating them. I know, yuck!)

In a large bowl beat eggs until frothy, mix in pumpkin, sugar and oil.

In a seprate bowl combine flour, baking soda and baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Then slowly add to pumpkin mixture and mix until all is combined.

Lick beater promptly.

Divide into prepared containers. Cook loaf pans for 45 min to 1 hour. Muffin tin I think about 25? I didn't time it, I just checked it when it smelled good and did the "clean knife" test.

Warning: "This ain't no health cake dish", but it is soooo good. :)And it tastes good warm or cold.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chocolate Chip Zucchini muffins

The link above is for half this recipe, I doubled it and added a couple extra ingredients. Trust me, you'll wish you tripled it!

Yields 2 1/2 dozen muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon all spice or whatever other spice you like
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup shredded zucchini
1-2 shredded apple
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a bowl combine dry ingredients. In another bowl combine wet ingredients, mix on speed 2 of kitchen aid mixer for about 2 minutes then add dry mix. Mix on medium speed until smooth, I'd say 3-4 minutes. Fold in zucchini, apple, chocolate chips, walnuts (or pecans).
Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 350 20-25 minutes or until done.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pancakes, a work in progress

Lately I've been on a rampage to find the perfect pancake recipe for our family. It's still a work in progress but I've come up with a couple that are a big hit. I would like to invite all our authors of this blog (ooh so formal sounding) to also share their favorite pancake recipes. Because pancakes really are food for the Gods (is it food FOR the Gods or FROM the Gods? Oh well.)

Swedish Pancakes-

First recipe is from one of my best friends from Middle School's mom. She would make these every time I'd spend the night. (Is it lame that my recipes are never my own? I'm just not to that level of chef where I can experiment and make up my own recipes unless they're incredibly easy like peanut butter and banana and chocolate syrup sandwiches- oh wait, that's Jeff's. *sigh*)

It starts the night before.
Mix 4 cups oats (whole oats or quick oats) with 4 cups buttermilk (and don't skimp on the milk and buy light buttermilk, these are PANCAKES people.) Let it sit over night so the oats soak up the juices from the buttermilk. (leave in the fridge covered.)

Next morning mix
1 cup flour (whole wheat use a little less flour)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
add to oat/buttermilk mixture

lightly beat 4 eggs and mix with 1/2 cup oil.
Add to pancake mix.

And cook on a hot griddle. Add more oil if too thick but mixture should be thicker than you think because it will thin out a little on the griddle.

These taste best with apple sauce I think or any other fruit topping but of course maple syrup (real maple syrup since we are making perfect pancakes here) is always good.

Next up is just plain ol' pancake mix I got off the Internet but made a few changes to it so I guess...THIS ONE IS MINE! I take full credit for it's yumminess.

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

mix dry ingredients then wet and combine. Add a little more flour if too thin (I always do but never measure it so I don't know how much more to add, maybe a tablespoon).
Cook on hot griddle.
I think these taste a little like vanilla wafers. They are a work in progress though, maybe I will try buttermilk instead of regular milk next time.

So what pancake recipes are famous in your house?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sugar Cookies


1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Unsalted Butter at room temperature
1 Large Egg
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt


Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until light.

Beat in egg and vanilla.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.

Divide dough in half. Gather each piece into a ball and flatten into disks, Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 1/8th thickness (thinker for softer cookies thinner for crispier cookies). Using assorted cookie cutter, cut out cookies.

Transfer cookies to ungreased baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.

Bake cookies until pale golden, about 11-13 minutes. (less time will be softer cookies, and more time the cookies will be crispier)

Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
Repeat with remaining dough disk.

Ice and decorate to your taste.

This is a very easy and tasty recipe. I went through quite a few different sugar cookie recipes and this is by far my favorite.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Individual Molten Lava Cakes

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

This a quick and easy recipe that you can use to impress your friends and family. I looks great, taste great, and the warm creamy center puts it over the top for everyone.


Cake Ingredients:

1/4 cup chopped pecans or your favorite nuts (optional)
2/3 cup chocolate baking chips ( I used semi-sweet)
1/4 cup of Butter
3 oz cream cheese (set out and let it get soft before you use)
1/3 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
3 Eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla flavor
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Topping ingredients:
Chocolate, strawberry or carmel Sauce
Vanilla Ice Cream
Sugar cream sauce
Chopped nuts
Powdered sugar
Diced strawberries
Fresh blueberries
* NOTE: I like to drizzle the sauce on the plate and on top of the cake and Ice cream, It helps for presentation.


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Grease the ramekin dishes. I used butter for this. Be sure to get a generous amount on the bottom and sides of the dishes. Make sure you have butter in the seam where the walls and bottom meet. To me, this is the most important step in the recipe. If the cakes stick to the dishes after being cooked, they will bust open when you place them on the plate.

3. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and butter. Microwave for 1 minute stirring every 20 seconds until both items are melted and smooth. Add the cream cheese and mix with your mixer until smooth.

4. In a second mixing bowl, add the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix with mixer until well mixed.

5. Add the chocolate mix and continue mixing until smooth. With mixer on low, slowly add the flour. Continue mixing until well mixed.

6. (If using nuts) Sprinkle the nuts evenly on the bottom of your ramekin dishes.

7. Divide the batter among the four ramekin dishes, filling each to 70% capacity.

8. Place ramekin dishes on a non-greased baking dish and place in the oven.

9. Bake cakes for twelve minutes or until the tops are puffy and cracked. Some ovens cook a little faster than others. If the tops have cracked open and feel a little firm, then they are ready.

10. Remove cakes from the oven and let cook for 5-10 minutes. ( You want to serve these warm, But if you don't let them set then the middles will be too runny.

11. Using a thin small knife, cut around the sides of each cake to release it from the ramekin dish.

12. Place your desert plate on top of the ramekin dish and invert both items at the same time.

13. Slowly remove the ramekin dish. This should leave the cake standing upside down in the middle of your plate.

14. Garnish with toppings of your choice and enjoy!

Giant Chocolate Sugar Cookies

These are some of my favorite cookies. So so good when dipped in milk!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup good-quality unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, substitute 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in shortening (or additional butter). Add egg and vanilla; mix until creamy. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
  3. Using a 2 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 4 inches apart, and flatten a bit with a spatula. Bake until edges are firm, check at ten minutes, but usually takes about 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 days. Enjoy! Love- Jill