Catherine & Siúcra's Shamrock Cake

Shamrock St Patrick’s Day Cake

Serves 10 to 12
For the lemon lime curd

  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 2 lemons, juice only
  • 180g Siucra caster sugar
  • 120g butter
  • 4 egg yolks

For the cake

  • 180g Siucra caster sugar
  • 180g unsalted butter, softened
  • 7 large eggs
  • 380g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml milk

For the butter cream:

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 550g Siucra icing sugar
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • Green food colouring
  • Black food colouring
  • Siucra roll out icing, to make shamrock cut outs and a leprechaun hat
  • Cut a 15cm heart shaped template from baking paper
  • A large cake board or wooden board
  • A piece of green or white ribbon for around the board (optional)

To make the curd, place all the ingredients into a saucepan over a low heat and stir most of the time until a thick curd forms. Remove and leave to cool completely.

For the cake, preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan160°C/gas 4. Brush 3 x 18cm cake tins with melted butter and dust with flour.
Cream the Siucra caster sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Whisk in the beaten eggs one at a time.
Fold in the flour and baking powder. Add the milk and mix well.
Spoon the mixture into the 3 cake tins and bake for about 20 to 22 minutes or until golden and when a skewer is inserted into the middle it comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

To make the butter cream, place the butter, Siucra icing sugar and lime juice together and whisk until smooth, light and fluffy. Retain 5 generous tablespoonfuls of buttercream for sandwiching together. To make a pale green mix, add green colouring to the rest and whisk again until you’ve reached the colour you want. Remove about 4 tablespoonfuls and add another drop of the green food colouring and mix again. Retain this for piping rosettes later.

To assemble, place the heart shape template onto a cake and cut the shape. Slice the cake in half and repeat for the two remaining cakes.
Spread some curd on one cake half and divide the 5 tablespoonfuls over the other halves and sandwich them together.
Place the points of the hearts facing inwards in the shape of a shamrock (you may need to trim them a little so they fit together.) Use a trimmed piece of cake as the shamrock stem. Spread the pale green butter cream over the top and sides of the cake.

Colour a piece of Siucra roll out - one green and a small piece, black. Using the green roll out, cut out small shamrocks and cut out or shape a leprechaun’s hat and trim with black rollout icing, place on the sides and top of the cake.Spoon the darker green buttercream into a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe around the cake.
Secure a piece of ribbon around the board if you are using this.

Catherine's Sweet Scones

Sweet Scones

There is nothing more mouthwatering than scones straight from the oven, butter melting onto them, a good dollop of homemade raspberry or strawberry jam and topped with freshly whipped cream! 


Makes 17 scones approximately

  • 1 lb (450gr / 4 cups) plain flour
  • 2 heaped teaspoons (2 ¾ US tsp) baking powder
  • Large pinch salt
  • 1 oz (25gr / 2 US level tablespoon) castor sugar
  • 4oz (100gr / 1 US stick) chilled butter
  • ½ pint (280ml / 10 fl oz / 1¼ US cups) milk approximately
  • Beaten egg & sugar to glaze

Preheat the oven to Gas 8 / 450F / 230C

Sift all the dry ingredients together. Rub in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add most of the milk. Mix to a soft dough adding all of the milk if required.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out to about 1 inch (2 ½ cm) thickness. Dip the cutter into flour and cut the dough into rounds of 1 ½ inch (4cm).
Place scones on a floured baking tray, glaze with the beaten egg and put immediately into the hot oven. In 15 minutes approximately, the scones should have risen and have a golden top. Enjoy with Irish butter and homemade jam!

Catherine's Curried Mussel Soup

Curried Mussel Soup

This is an elegant dinner-party-style soup – it’s quite filling, though, so it’s good to opt for a lighter main course to follow. We have an abundance of wonderful mussels here in Ireland, so we should use them more in home cooking. They take flavour very well and are particularly tasty with curry spices.

 For the broth

  • 1kg / 35oz fresh mussels
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
  • ½ fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 100ml / 3 fl oz dry white wine
  • 400ml / 13½ fl oz vegetable stock

For the Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder
  • 400ml / 13½ fl oz vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp sherry
  • 200ml / 6 fl oz double cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • ½ fennel bulb, finely diced
  • ½ celery stick, finely diced
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • 4 tbsp sour cream, to garnish

To make the broth, first clean the mussels by scrubbing or scraping the shells under cold running water to remove seaweed, barnacles and mud. Pull away any ‘beards’ hanging from the mussels. Then drain them and discard any that are cracked or have opened. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the fennel and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine and bring to the boil. Stir in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil again before adding the mussels.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the saucepan occasionally, until the mussels are open. Strain the mussels, keeping the broth. Scoop the mussels out of their shells and place in a bowl. Discard any that remain closed. To make the soup, put the butter, flour and curry powder into a large saucepan over a medium heat and stir well before adding the vegetable stock and the mussel broth. Keep stirring until it thickens slightly. Add the sherry and cream and stir well. Return the mussels to the saucepan and heat through.

Check the seasoning, adding salt and a little freshly ground black pepper to taste.

To prepare the topping, combine all the ingredients.

To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls.

Top with the finely chopped vegetables and garnish with a little sour cream. 

Catherine's Sesame Pork Meatballs with Pappardelle

The Italian side of my family might well tut tut for suggesting pappardelle with Asian-influenced meatballs, but they’re a cracking good combination.

Sesame Pork Meatballs with Pappardelle Pasta

Serves 4

For the pork meatballs:

  • 500g lean minced pork
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 30g sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sunflower oil
  • For the Pappardelle pasta:
  • 300g pappardelle pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  1. Combine the pork mince, spring onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, oyster sauce, mustard, beaten egg and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Fry a tiny piece of the mixture and check for seasoning, adjusting the main mixture if required.
  2. Using wet hands, roll the mixture into 20 meatballs.
  3. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
  4. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add some oil and sauté the meatballs for about 10 minutes, until cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and toss with the butter, sweet chilli sauce and sesame oil.
  6. Divide the pasta immediately between 4 plates and place the meatballs on top.

Catherine's Rhubarb Orange & Ginger Cheesecake

Rhubarb Orange and Ginger Cheesecake

Serves 12

 For the rhubarb

  • 150g fresh rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 5cm lengths
  • 80g Suicra caster sugar
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 70ml water

 For the base

  • 20 digestive biscuits, crushed finely
  • ½ orange, zest only
  • 120g melted butter

For the filling

  • 200ml cream
  • 1½ leaves gelatine
  • 400g soft smooth cream cheese
  • 70g Siucra icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped crystalised ginger
  • ½ orange, zest only

For the orange topping

  • 150ml orange juice
  • 80g Siucra caster sugar
  • 1½ gelatine leaves
  • Orange segments, to decorate
  • Candied orange rind, to decorate
  • Poached rhubarb, to decorate
  • Mint leaves, to decorate

To cook the rhubarb, place the rhubarb pieces into a large saucepan, sprinkle over the Siucra caster sugar and ground ginger and pour in the water. Carefully poach for about 10 minutes, moving from time to time until just cooked but the pieces are whole. Once cooked, leave too cool completely.  

To make the base, line the base of a 23cm spring form baking tin with parchment. Brush the sides generously with melted butter.    

Place the crushed biscuits and orange zest into a bowl. Pour enough melted butter to coat the biscuits and spoon this mixture into the base of the spring form tin, flatten with the back of a spoon.

Leave in the fridge to set for ½ an hour.

To make the cheesecake filling, warm the cream in a saucepan over a medium heat. Place the gelatine leaves into 100ml cold water to soak until softened. Squeeze the excess water from the soaked gelatine leaves and place into the warm cream and stir until dissolved. Leave to cool. Whisk the cream cheese, Siucra icing sugar, vanilla extract, crystalised ginger and orange zest together. When the cream is cold, whisk it into the cream cheese mixture.

Drain the poaching liquid from the cold rhubarb pieces, retain a few pieces for decorating with. Fold the piece into the cream cheese mix and spoon over the biscuit base.

Leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set.

To make the orange topping, place the orange juice and Siucra caster sugar into a saucepan and heat until just hot and the sugar dissolved. Place the gelatine leaves into 100ml cold water to soak until softened.

Squeeze the excess water from the soaked gelatine leaves and place into the hot orange juice and stir quickly until the gelatine is dissolved. Cool this down by placing the saucepan on some ice or in very cold water and letting the liquid thicken slightly before pouring over the top of the cheesecake mix.

Leave to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

To serve, run a warm thin palette knife carefully around the tin, unlock the tin, peel the wrap off and slide on a cake stand.

Decorate with orange segments, candied orange rind, pieces of poached rhubarb and mint leaves.

Fine foodCatherine FilvioGood living


Ballyknocken House & Cookery School
Glenealy, Ashford,
Co Wicklow, A67 X720
Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)404 44627
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