Yip, I’ll admit it.  I was once a bona fide corned beef-n-cabbage, green beer sipping girl. Each St. Patrick’s Day, without fail, me and a posse of friends would head out to at least one Irish pub each year on the 17th of March, and happily belly up to a hot paper plate of corned beef and watery cabbage with a side order of green tainted lager…or two {hic}.

It was a ritual, never gave much thought as to why we would do such a thing, we just did….and ohhh, was it fun. Fast forward to life in Ireland where the closest thing to corned beef is that chunk of spiced beef found in the supermarkets at Christmas time or another option resembling something very close to SPAM. My first truly Irish St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the farm probably confirmed my father in law’s suspicions that I was mad when I asked if he had ever eaten corned beef on St. Paddy’s Day. And, while I have come to grips with no longer enjoying corned beef served out of a Nesco on the Day, I have yet to work through the 5 stages of grieving my beloved corned beef and swiss on rye for lunch.

Nowadays, Paddy’s parties are a bit more civilized for myself and our family. We tend to go to the local afternoon parade and then come home and have our “tea” (tea = supper on the farm); a picnic of whatever cold cuts, cheeses, spreads, vegetables I’ve picked up from the farmer’s market along with a quick baked loaf of brown soda bread and a little dessert. I’ve written a piece for the Dean & Deluca Gourmet Food Blog about that first St. Patrick’s Day experience and also what delicious Irish eats we’ll have this year, have a look and see.

This weekend we also celebrate another holiday in Ireland: Mother’s Day! Yes, Mother’s Day is in March, not May on the craggy green isle. Therefore, I am entitled to two special days, in theory. Not so much on paper or in real life, but the option is there if ever a certain farmer would like to be generous {cough cough}.

One of the best parts about Spring in Ireland has to be fresh rhubarb. Rhubarb compote, rhubarb ice cream, rhubarb clafoutis, rhubarb cake, rhubarb muffins, rhubarb crumble and a personal favourite, my very special rhubarb pudding. This recipe for rhubarb pudding came about by happenstance a few years back when I realized I didn’t have oatmeal for my spring rhubarb-berry crumble to bring to the farm for Easter dinner. I had made the oaty version for Mother’s Day the first year I was here and everyone really loved it, especially Grandma whose compliments were ever so heartwarming. I was asked to bring it again for Easter that year, but that morning I suddenly realized we didn’t have the oats to make the crumbly part so I sub’d flour and came out with a cakey, cobbly, crispy on top, cray cray good rhubarb…umm, pudding.  I brought it to dinner and we ate it for dessert with dollops of vanilla yogurt and everyone said it was even better than the crumble. {yippee!}

I submitted my recipe which I named “Farmhouse Spring Pudding” to Sweet Paul magazine’s “Happy Dish” competition last month and he chose it for his Spring 2012 issue, which is online now! I am still pinching myself. I love, love, love reading Sweet Paul; his motto is “ chasing the sweet things in life” and the magazine always lives up to that….beautifully designed and filled with easy + elegant recipes, fun + stylish crafts, entertaining ideas, shopping tips and more.  Pour yourself a cup of tea and give it a good browse when you have some time. Here is a link to the recipe (mag photo and styling by Sweet Paul) and another link to the NY Times Diner’s Journal who also enjoyed reading about my “rhubarb cake”! Give it a go when your rhubarb roosts and let me know how you like it =)

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s & Mother’s Day!

Slan Abhaile,

Imen xx

Photos and styling by Imen McDonnell 2012

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18 Responses to “A Paddy’s Day Picnic”

  1. What a nice post – I can’t wait to make the rhubarb pudding! And thank you so much for linking for my rhubarb ice cream. Happy spring! Valerie

  2. lovely! wish I was there to take part 🙂 x N

  3. […] A Paddy’s Day Picnic via I Married An Irish Farmer […]

  4. Krista says:

    Ohhh, I love the feel of these photos! They’re so soft and bright and feel wonderful. 🙂 I’d never cooked corned beef in my life until I moved to Australia. Now I love it so much I make it nearly every week. Yum!! 🙂

  5. Lorna says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. Thank you and I hope you have a lovely weekend!

  6. Elaine says:

    Lovely post have a happy St Patrick’s day and Mother’s Day :).

  7. KathleenC says:

    Oh, my heart aches for your lost corned beef! I LOVE corned beef and always have. And we didn’t eat it just St.Paddy’s day… my mom grew up eating it regularly, and served it to us once evry two weeks or so, calling it “New England Boiled Dinner”… corned beef, cabage, onion, and carrot simmerred together in the pot… MMMM, just the memory of the smell of it cooking can still make my mouth water!
    Heh, guess like alot of other Irish-American things it’s not so very Irish and way more American. Like me!

    • imen says:

      Hi Kathleen, Ahhh a fellow corned beef lover..my mother grew up in Mass. and used to make us the New England boiled dinner as well! Totally forgot about that! Thanks for your comment xx

  8. Karen says:

    I can attest to how good the Rhubarb Spring Pudding is having served it for dessert last Sunday – an instant hit with all my family and a request from himself to make it again asap. Beautiful pics as always Imen.

    • imen says:

      Thanks for trying the recipe Karen…isn’t it gorgeous? The best things in life are not planned…glad you enjoyed it! xx

  9. Móna Wise says:

    As always – beautiful words and images Imen. Have a lovely weekend. I have the same hopeful cough :0)

  10. Sheila Kiely says:

    looking forward to my first taste of spring rhubarb soon, beautiful post as always Imen.

  11. Catherine says:

    Hooray for Sweet Paul – a favourite bedtime read! I love ‘picky bits’ lunches and will be doing the same on Paddy’s day, so handy as we’ll be spending much of the day digging and planting spuds…

    • imen says:

      Thank you sooooo much Catherine! Love the sound of picky bits..that’s def what we’ll be up to =) Happy spud planting! xoxo

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