There are so many fun recipes around for things to make on St Patrick’s Day – mostly unusually and improbably green things, it must be said. I don’t usually celebrate or make anything special, but this year two friends asked me if I was doing anything, so I took it as a Sign and had them both over the flat for some drinks and snacks.
I wanted to make green snacks, but without employing any food colouring. It turns out that naturally green food doesn’t always stay very green after you process it in some way, so I had varying degrees of success in this endeavour. Here are some snaps I took:
Feta, cucumber and mint skewers. Pretty simple.
Spinach and pea quiche, with thyme crust.
I sort of made this one up. I followed the crust recipe from this mushroom quiche - a very forgiving recipe, as it turns out, since I ended up seriously manhandling the dough with my hot hands and it was still light and crumbly in the end.
The filling was a mix of defrosted spinach and peas, salt and pepper, a splash of milk (I only had a splash left in the carton) and an assortment of whole eggs and egg yolks. There was a lot left over, which I baked in a dish as little crustless quiche bites.
Mini soda breads (not green).
This is a simple food processor dip – a tin of chickpeas, a bunch of parsley, a clove of garlic get whizzed round with a drizzle of sesame oil, then seasoned to taste. To adjust the texture, I added water from the chickpea tin until it was scoopable.
The soda bread was great with either dip, or with some butter sprinkled with smoked sea salt.
Ricotta gnocchi with pesto.
I followed this recipe from Delicious Days, for fifteen minute ricotta gnocchi. I kid you not, it was so easy, genuinely taking less than fifteen minutes even though it was the first time I’d tried the recipe. Sometimes a new recipe takes longer because you’re checking it at every step, but not this one. For a start, there aren’t that many steps to check. For another, it really is that simple – mix the ingredients in the bowl, roll out, slice, boil.
I made the dough ahead of time, only leaving the shaping and boiling until just before serving. Even after sitting in the fridge for several hours, it was light and soft when it was cooked, and tasted amazing even on its own. To serve, I mixed with a drizzle of olive oil and a huge mound of fresh pesto.
If you haven’t made pesto before, I’d say it’s time to give it a try. Another food processor classic; I started with a handful of hazelnuts and two garlic cloves, which I whizzed up until the nuts were finely chopped. Then I added two basil plants and some pecorino, followed by enough olive oil to make a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper and we’re done!
Lime-oncello (disappointingly not green).
This was the same method as my successful limoncello, but with lime rind instead of lemon, and more sugar syrup to balance the more bitter taste. It didn’t turn out nearly as green as I’d hoped, as you can see!
We also made an as-yet un-named and unperfected cocktail. It contained lime-oncello, vodka, gin, simple syrup, fresh kiwi juice and a squeeze of lime. We had it both short and topped up with soda, and it was pretty awesome either way.
I also made these non-green bonus marshmallow pies. Now, the trouble with these is that they were born of a total recipe failure. I tried to make green tea marshmallows using veggie gelatin, and oh boy, did that not work… So I used the resulting gooey, sticky not-marshmallow (which was liquid at room temperature) to fill little pate sucree shells, using the recipe from these jam tarts. This is my go-to sweet pastry, it works perfectly every times. I baked the tarts up, keeping an eye out for the not-marshmallow burning, and ended up with these lovely little things, which were a bit crispy on the top and chewy in the middle. And no longer even a tiny bit green.
Can’t win ‘em all, right?