I have to cater a reception after a concert that will be given by a Celtic music group, and I want to feature foods that come from that region. The cookbooks I have consulted are heavy on main dishes…what I need are appetizers and sweets, and preferably things that are finger food so that we don’t have to set out silverware! I don’t necessarily want things that scream Irish! Scottish! etc., but more what is actually being served nowadays…authentic foods you would commonly get if you went to a party in a Celtic country today. Any ideas?
Neeps 'n tatties.
Okay I googled that…Rutabagas? And the recipe I found said absolutley don’t use American rutabagas, so that’s out…besides, can you eat that with your fingers…in public?
There was cabbage and bacon
The night that O’Rafferty’s pig ran away.
That’s pretty Celtic. Plus I just love that lyric.
You’re screwed if you want finger food and to remain authentic.
For Irish, try bacon and cabbage (bacon as in a big roll of bacon meat and cabbage as in curly kale) served with colcannon (mashed potatoes with scallions/green onions/cabbage) and hot mustard. You’d need at least a fork.
For Scots I suppose you could deep-fry haggis bits and use them as snack bites.
What can you cook in wicker?
A keg of beer, a few bottles of whiskey and a packet of crisps
A sweet nibbly: Welsh cakes. If you want to serve them hot off the griddle, sprinkled with icing sugar. If made the day before, spread with a dab of butter.
If you wanted to do a fancy cocktail nibbly with a Welsh flavour (ie, not authentic because this is a breakfast combination), you could steam some cockles and garnish with bacon and laverbread. Laverbread is the same kind of seaweed that the Japanese use for sushi.
Oysters and little spicy sausages. Again not entirely authentic, but goes a treat with dark ales and stout.
What would you actually get? Probably crisps, sausage rolls and a curry or kebab on the way home.
Actually, thinking about the parties I’ve been in Celtic countries recently, you’d be most authentic with Doritos, guacamole, pizza slices, hummus and pita bread, olives, blinis with lox, and nachos.
But I suspect that’s not what you’re after…
You’re probably going to have to content yourself with using a few of the most common ingredients in novel ways, if you’re intent on making it a stand-up affair. So what are those ingredients? IANACelt, but here’s what I saw a lot of visiting Ireland: Sausages, potatoes, cabbage, kale, root veg like turnips and rutabegas, seafood, ground beef or lamb.
So some Americanized ideas using those ingredients and flavors:
Mini-cottage pies, perhaps. Fill a pastry cup with seasoned ground beef and peas, top with mashed potatoes piped from a pastry bag and brown under the broiler for a couple of minutes. This is my favorite basic recipe, but I add a bag of frozen peas to the meat mixture.
Bacon-wrapped scallops - canadian bacon, not American bacon.
Oysters. I hate 'em, but I saw a lot of them in Cork. I’m no help on preparation or serving, though.
Bite sized “fish ‘n’ chips” - a small piece of fried whitefish on a waffle fry, perhaps?
Bite sized sausage slice on steamed kale or cabbage, topped with a dollop of mashed turnip, maybe on top of a slice of rustic bread (you can actally get pretty damn authentic Irish sausages (called “bangers”) from Aldi now! Look in the freezer.)
Tiny pasties, like baked pierogi or empanada, but filled with meat/potato/turnip.
It’s not authentic in terms of what you’d find at a party in Dublin, but I think maybe more in the line you’re looking for.
The mini cottage pies sound doable, and I can stop by Aldi’s and check out the bangers today. I found a great recipe for some lemon cookies in an Irish cookbook. Oysters are out of my budget! There’s a shop at the Westside market that sells pasties, but they are huge…mini ones might be fun to make. They also sell Guiness Cake…but we’re a church group, so anything alcohol based might not be the best idea!
Keep those ideas coming!
The alcohol in a Guinness cake is all baked out of it.
See if you can get “brown sauce”, possibly available in Lidl too, (it looks like ketchup but is brown - aka HP or more authentically for Ireland YR) to dip the Irish bangers in. Also strong mustard - English probably, as it most closely resembles the Irish stuff.
When you say a celtic music group, do you mean the “Americans who are homesick for a place they’ve never been and doesn’t really exist anyway” types, or actual, you know, Irish folks? Either way, just get some stuff from Bennigans as take out. Faux Irish will love the names, real Irish will appreciate the edibility.
Well, you could make what I made last night for the Scotsman’s dinner: Sausage Rolls. These are definitely finger food.
Cook up a pack of sausage links. Note: American breakfast sausage does not taste like British bangers, but Ian found a substitute he likes-- Farmland Bacon & Pork sausage.
You’ll need some frozen puff pastry sheets. Thaw & cut into nine equal squares. Wrap individual sausages in the pastry squares like Pigs In A Blanket, place on baking sheet with parchment paper & brush with eggwash. Bake at 400 for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
They came out quite nice. He enjoyed them emmensely.
Not true at all. *Cheese. * There are several “celtic” (Welsh, Irish & Scots) cheeses, get a variety, cut 'em up. Authentic finger food. Some Irish Soda bread. Water crackers.
Shortbread as a sweet, along with some scones, maybe.
I’ve already checked out some great recipes for scones, and the Sausage Rolls are now officially on the list, as well as the cheeses.
As for the group, the program for the concert series says…“Dermot Somerville leads a group of local artists well-steeped in their cultural roots. Don’t miss this unique celebration of music and féile (hospitality)!” so I can’t swear to their authenticity.
Now I need six sweets and six savory dishes, so we’re making progress. And except for the cheese, I make everything from scratch, so Bennigan’s take-out is out. Though I could peruse their menu, and that from Claddagh Restauarnat , for some ideas…ooh, there’s a new Irish restaurant three blocks away…I could go talk to them. But I’d rather get the ideas from you all…
The butter tart recipe calls for raisins and currents, we always used one or the other. The other trick with them is to make the tarts very small. They are exceedingly rich and tiny works best. Mom always had a smaller tart pan for them. Good pastry is a must.
The family has decided that berry sugar works best for the texture in short bread. (Walker’s shortbread is pretty good if you have never made it before. It does take practice to have a real feel for the dough.
There’s always haggis . . . but I’m not convinced such a thing really exists. My theory is, it’s something the Scots made up so other nations would fear them.
But you have to be prepared to sacrifice whichever friend draws the burnt one. I recommend rigging the drawing somehow.