St Patrick's Day - Embrace the blarney boom

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St Patrick's Day - Embrace the blarney boom
The celebration of all things Irish is a fantastic opportunity to boost profits. PubChef looks at menu ideas for St Patrick's Day. According to a...

The celebration of all things Irish is a fantastic opportunity to boost profits. PubChef looks at menu ideas for St Patrick's Day.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the Irish Food Board, one in 10 people in the UK are planning to celebrate St Patrick's Day on 17 March. For food pubs, St Patrick's Day is becoming an increasingly big opportunity, with customers now looking for much more than pints of Guinness and Irish whiskey. This rise in interest in having a more sophisticated party has coincided with a renaissance of Irish food. So, it is certainly worth looking beyond the beef in Guinness and Irish stew and examining more innovative ideas for dishes.

There is a wealth of Irish produce available, like the range of Irish farmhouse cheese now on the market, including the fantastic Cashel Blue, which has undertones of smoky bacon, or mature Ardrahan, Millens, or Gubbeen. And it should be well worth incorporating Irish beef, bacon, potatoes, butter, or seafood in your St Patrick's menu. At the Norway Inn in Perranarworthal, Cornwall, they will be offering customers a variety of starters, including Irish parsnip and apple soup, black pudding croquette with gooseberry compote, Irish farmhouse cheese parcel and Dublin Bay prawn bisque. For mains, the pub will have fillet of hake stuffed with a mild horseradish cream, Trinity College chicken - from Trinity College, Dublin - Guinness Steak Pie and Irish roast potatoes.

Among the recipe suggestions for St Patrick's Day from Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, are Irish cheese and bacon burgers, shamrock soup with croutons, Irish cheese scones, and stuffed baked potatoes. The food board also suggests beef and red onion kebabs in a Guinness glaze. You can maximise the opportunities in all areas of your menu, including desserts and coffees. So why not incorporate Irish whiskies or liqueurs, such as Baileys, into a variety of desserts.At the Crab and Lobster in Thirsk,Yorkshire, they offer a Baileys cappuccino crème brûlée with white chocolate and cracked pepper shortbread. At the Michelin-starred Stagg Inn, in Herefordshire, chef/owner Steve Reynolds offers a superb dish of baked figs with honey and whiskey ice cream.

With 76% of those surveyed by the Irish Food Board not being Irish or of Irish descent, but with one in 10 still saying they plan to celebrate St Patrick's Day, it would seem that wherever your pub is in the UK it is worth cashing in on the event.

Sirloin steak and red onion kebabs

Full-flavoured juicy Irish beef kebabs, with an extra glow from a Guinness glaze​ Makes 8

Ingredients​ 300ml/10fl oz Guinness 2 tbsp light brown sugar 275g/10oz Irish rump steak 1 red pepper and one yellow pepper - deseeded and cut into squares 1 red onion - peeled and quartered Salt and freshly ground black pepper Mixed salad leaves Olive oil

Method:​ Mix Guinness and sugar in a pan and stir over a low heat to dissolve sugar. Bring to bubbling, then turn down and simmer to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and cool. Cut steak into bite-sized cubes and place in glaze for 10 minutes. Thread meat onto skewers with red and yellow pepper squares and red onion pieces. Paint meat with remaining glaze and season. Griddle for around 3 minutes each side - or until beef is cooked to preference. Serve with salad leaves which have been lightly tossed in olive oil.

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