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Posts from the ‘Life In Ireland’ Category

Irish-Jamaican Patties… because it’s finally summer!

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Photo by Kirsten Ivors

*In regards to my previous post, for those of you who may not be living in Ireland, I just wanted to let you know the Irish population overwhelmingly voted in support of women’s bodily autonomy and I couldn’t be prouder to live here.

I want to thank those who commented on my Repeal Cookies post and especially those who told their own touching stories. I am so glad we repealed this thing! The day the results were out, my friend and I added a simple “ed” to each cookie of the last batch. We won’t have to bake them ever again.*

*This isn’t a sponsored post, but I was gifted some Kilkenny Rosé Veal which I ended up using in this recipe.

Now that the referendum is over, we can finally celebrate the great weather we’ve been having over the past several weeks. I love Ireland all the time, but especially in May and June, when the sun is out, silage is being cut (the entire county smells of freshly cut grass!) and we can enjoy the outdoors with our girls.

As soon as the weather started to turn, we devoted ourselves to tidying up our back yard and garden. My lovely husband made me a new raised bed which we were able to fill with bales of our very own compost! I’m very proud of that small achievement. That said, my greatest gardening achievement this year will be to keep the caterpillars off my cabbage – I have never been able to deter them, or keep on top of picking them off. I’ll let you know how that goes.

As you might know, I put on a (roughly) monthly restaurant pop-up in partnership with The Green Sheep in Thurles and White Gypsy Brewery in Templemore. We usually pick a theme, I create a menu to match and we gather with up to thirty guests for a night of food and frivolity.

This past weekend, with the weather being so delicious, we settled on a Caribbean theme. Curry Goat (made with John Lacey’s beef – not goat – but still very good!), Tres Leches Cake with vanilla-roasted rhubarb (taken from my garden and not exactly Caribbean, but the theme was still in mind!), White Gypsy Belgian Dubbel-brined Jerk Chicken and – for me – the one thing everyone needs at a Caribbean party: Jamaican Patties.

Now before we go any further I need to confess something: I may be from North America, but I’ve never been south of Detroit. I have never been to the Caribbean, in other words. I am hardly a scholar in Caribbean-style food, but I did live in Toronto for years, and there is a lot of Caribbean representation in that city.

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Photo by Kirsten Ivors

Every August there is a massive festival in Toronto called Caribana. It is a celebration of all things Caribbean – the people, the food, the music – and the party completely takes over the city. Actually, it’s the largest street festival in North America. For this pop-up, I took a lot of inspiration from that festival, and from my Caribbean-Torontonian friends who are some of the warmest, loveliest people I have ever known.

Their food is pretty epic, too.

Although I’ve never been to Jamaica, these Irish-Jamaican Patties are very representative of my time in Toronto. At every major subway stop, you’ll find a vendor selling these tasty morsels and – let me tell you – when you’re on the way home from work and absolutely starving, there is no better snack than a Jamaican Patty.

If you’re in Toronto, you must go to my friend Chef Craig Wong’s acclaimed restaurant Patois for his Jamaican Patty Double Downs. It’s basically a sandwich but, instead of bread, well… I’ll let you figure the rest out.

Made with a turmeric-infused pastry and a deeply spiced meat filling, these patties are like Cornish Pasties on flavour steroids. I’ve had them filled with chicken and ground beef, but for the pop-up I made them vegetarian with spicy stewed greens and diced mango. The recipe I’m sharing today is one with veal – and not just any veal – Kilkenny Rosé Veal, which comes from just down the road.

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Photo by Kirsten Ivors

The ground veal retains a lot of moisture but isn’t too greasy, like you’ll often find with ground beef. Because it is a rosé veal, the calves are ethically raised and freely roam the pastures, which imparts a beautiful flavour on the meat. Combined with a bit of Caribbean spice, it makes the perfect filling for an Irish-Jamaican Patty.

You can make the filling and pastry ahead of time and then just throw them in the oven right before you want to serve them. You can also bake them ahead of time and re-heat – because I’m using a high-fat local butter in the pastry, it’s very forgiving and stays flaky and tender for a long time. This pastry – if you’re using a beef or veal filling – would also be *amazing* made with Tipperary Dexter Beef Drippings.

Irish-Jamaican Patties

Ingredients:

For the Pastry

480-500g/4 cups plain flour

2 tsp salt

1 cup/250g cold Tipperary butter (or beef drippings)

2 tsp ground turmeric

1 cup/250ml ice water

For the filling

2 lbs/900g ground rose veal, or chicken or beef

2 Tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp freshly chopped thyme

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 cup/250g diced onion

1 bunch finely sliced green onion

1 scotch bonnet pepper, or 1 Tbsp Caribbean-style hot sauce if you can find the peppers

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 cup pale beer, like White Gypsy Belgian Dubbel

1 cup beef stock

Salt, to taste

Directions:

  • Make the pastry: in a large bowl, add the turmeric, flour and salt. Rub the butter in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add the ice-cold water and mix lightly with your fingers until a loose dough forms.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough a few times, just to smooth it out. Do not over-work the dough.
  • Divide the dough into two portions, wrap in cling film and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Make the filling: in a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp of coconut oil over medium-high.
  • Add the onions to the pan and gently fry for 3-4 minutes. Then, add the garlic, scotch bonnet and green onion. Fry for another minute.
  • Add the ground veal and spices. Brown the veal, then add the tomato paste. Stir to combine.
  • Add the beer and gently cook on med-low for 20 minutes. Then, add the beef stock and continue to cook until the liquid has reduced to a sauce (about 30 minutes).
  • Season to taste with salt and let cool slightly.
  • Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out into a rough rectangle. Using a pastry cutter or pizza cutter, divide each dough half into 6 squares.
  • Add 1-2 Tbsp of filling to each square.
  • Using egg wash as glue, fold each square over the filling and press the edges with a fork. Place the patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Egg wash over the tops of the pastries and bake in a hot oven (about 200º C or 400F) for 15-20 minutes.
  • Allow to cool slightly before eating. I like to eat mine with more hot sauce. YUM.
  • This recipe makes about 12 patties. They’ll keep in the fridge for about three days.
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Photo by Kirsten Ivors

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Bake to Repeal the 8th

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Let’s clear something up right away:

I may be very interested in politics (I got my Bachelor’s Degree, years ago, in Political Science) – but this blog? It’s not meant to be political. Maybe on a grassroots, food security level, but it’s not meant to be polarizing. And so I apologize if this post comes off a bit… or maybe a lot… well, polarizing.

I’m writing this post because I’m worried. In Ireland, a referendum on whether or not to scrap the 8th Amendment, which is the part of the constitution that protects the right to “life of the unborn”  is taking place Friday, the 25th of May. If you’re not based in Ireland, you may or may not have heard about it.

I would, generally, never assume to use this food blog as a platform for my political beliefs, but I’m scared that the 8th Amendment will be retained next week. I am scared that women will continue to have zero rights in terms of their bodily autonomy. I am scared that my daughters will have no reproductive health care rights when they reach child-bearing age.

I was scared through each of my four pregnancies in Ireland (one sadly ended in a miscarriage at seven weeks). Before the consultant said anything, during each scan, there was always a rush of anxiety. What if something is wrong with the baby? What if the pregnancy isn’t viable? What if the pregnancy is making me seriously ill?

My first scan for my fourth pregnancy wasn’t until nearly 17 weeks. When I asked the midwife why it took so long to have a preliminary scan, she looked me straight in the eyes and said:

“It’s so you won’t run to England for a quick abortion if something’s not going right.”

I appreciated her honesty, but I also wondered why there was such a lack of trust in Irish mothers.

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Our local Labour TD, Alan Kelly, supporting the cause at The Green Sheep Cafe in Thurles

I come from a country where there are very few limitations on abortion. There is no law saying you can’t have an abortion at any time in your pregnancy. You don’t need to give a reason. You don’t need to have your head examined. You are scanned before 12 weeks. You are supported by your GP and specialists. And you are trusted to do the right thing, always, for your health and the health of your baby, should you wish to go forward with the pregnancy.

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, we were still in Canada until I was nearly six months along. I was offered an amniocentesis, which is the test that checks for chromosomal problems and other possible complications. Guess what? I didn’t want it. I chose to get pregnant, and I wanted my baby, whether she came out with health problems or not. I have never considered having an abortion myself, yet, in Canada, I took my bodily autonomy for granted.

I hope my three daughters get to grow up in a country where they can also take their bodily autonomy for granted. I hope they have full access to reproductive health care, which sadly, at times, means access to free, safe and legal abortion.

That’s why I am hoping that the 8th Amendment gets repealed on May 25th.

The thing is, I’m not Irish. I’m not a citizen. I can’t vote in this referendum.

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But I can’t just do nothing, either. So I baked these repeal cookies. And they are absolutely delicious. Light, delicate and chock-full of social justice.

Are you in a similar position? Are you living in Ireland (or elsewhere!), hope the 8th gets repealed, but don’t have a vote? This is a gentle, loving way to get your point across (and also, maybe a good way to start a conversation with voters who are still undecided).

Let’s bake to Repeal the 8th. Show me your bakes on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – or blog about it, if you have a blog. Show your support through creative bakes. It could be anything. I did these cookies (recipe below) and you can do the same, or make something completely different!

I love this country so much; I am thankful every day to live in the community we do. If we repeal this amendment, life in Ireland will be just that much sweeter for me and my daughters.

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Repeal Cookies

For the cookie dough:

1 cup/250g softened butter

1 cup/250g white sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Rind of one lemon

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups/400g plain flour

For the icing:

2 pkg instant royal icing

water

black food colouring

vanilla

or (if you can’t get royal icing mix) 

2 tsp meringue powder

4 cups icing sugar

water

vanilla

black food colouring

Directions:

  • Make the cookie dough: preheat your oven to 180°C (350F) and line two baking trays with parchment.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon rind. Mix well.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix until everything is well-combined. You can make this dough ahead of time and chill it in the fridge, or do everything all at once.
  • Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into large circles (I use biscuit/scone cutters for this, but if you’re stuck, use a drinking glass).
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until the edges start to brown slightly.  Cool completely.
  • Make the royal icing: in a large bowl, combine the royal icing mix (or icing sugar + meringue powder) and vanilla. Slowly, by the tablespoon, add enough water to make a pipe-able icing. Mix until nice and smooth, with no lumps. Divide this mixture into three different bowls.
  • In two of the three bowls, add the black food colouring (leave the third one white for piping on the letters). In one of the black bowls, add an additional 2-3 Tbsp water to make it liquid and glossy, for flooding the cookie.
  • Put the thicker black icing into a piping back with a small circular tip and make a dam around the edge of each cookie – this thicker icing will keep the thinner black icing from dripping off the edge of the cookie.
  • Using a spoon, add the wetter black icing into the centre of each cookie. Use a toothpick or skewer to spread the black icing over the surface of the cookie. Set aside to dry for at least 20 minutes.
  • Clean your piping bag out well and, using the same tip, carefully write your message on the inside of the cookie. Again, allow the icing to dry completely – this could take several hours.
  • Don’t keep these cookies to yourself – spread the message and the love. They will keep for 1-2 weeks, if they last that long.

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What We’ve been Cooking at the School of Food

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Teaching how to make Citrus Curd

I started teaching an 11-Week Commis Chef Training course at Thomastown’s School of Food almost nine weeks ago and, I keep saying this, but I feel like the weeks have been flying! We got so lucky with an amazing group of diverse, very cool students from all walks of Irish life. They are really passionate about food and have made teaching an actual pleasure.

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Dermot giving a steak demo at our BBQ in Inistioge

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Most of the class (plus Dermot) in Inistioge

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Sylvia and her gorgeous citrus meringue pie, Inistioge

Dermot Gannon, my co-tutor, and myself have been teaching the group everything from how to use a knife to how to ferment. We’ve spent days helping the school’s garden caretaker, we’ve gone outside to make wood-fired pizzas, we’ve packed up the school’s massive BBQ and cooked lunch for visitors, locals and even some Failte Ireland reps at the park in Inistioge and we’ve visited some really inspirational food producers.

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Janine Vine-Chatterton taught the class about Kombucha and Kefir

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Mags Morrissey (Hedgehog Bakery) taught the class about sourdough and fresh yeast breads

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Ballinwillin Wild Boar Farm, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork

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Pat at Ballinwillin

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Wild Boar and Venison products at Ballinwillin

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Caroline Hennessey giving a tour at Eight Degrees Brewing, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork

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Beer and Cheese Pairings at Eight Degrees Brewing

At the end of our course, the students will put on a food fair at the school. Over the past few weeks they have excitedly been developing, pricing and marketing a food product to sell. I am really looking forward to the market, but I’m also NOT looking forward to it – it will mean the end of the course, and saying goodbye (for now, at least) to these wonderful human beings who haven’t just been great students – they’ve become our buddies.

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Mozzarella-stuffed meatballs

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Winner for best wood-fired pizza!

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Marian and her prize pizza

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Fresh-made Brioche

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Gateaux Basque

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Kimchi-Brisket Sloppy Joes

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Carrot Sesame Salad

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Fresh Hake Goujons

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Oatmeal Spice Whoopie Pies

Is it weird to love your job this much?

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Planting pea shoots

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Doing something really important

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Taking pride in their work.

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Great, local Camphill produce

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Getting their hands dirty

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Making life-long friends

 

Being a Busy Bee

Oh, I am so busy.

Today, Ireland is in the midst of a snowstorm – a storm that may last well into the weekend. Not a normal occurrence. I only just started teaching the new 11 Week Commis Chef training course at the School of Food in Thomastown, Kilkenny and we’ve already had to cancel classes due to the extreme weather and messy roads.

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In preparation of the course, Dermot and I visited the local Camphill community in Jerpoint – just outside of Thomastown. What a beautiful place. What a wonderful community. Some of the gardeners at Camphill Jerpoint will be helping to maintain our gardens at the school and we are thrilled to be working with them.

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We are also getting regular orders of their seasonal vegetables for our students to work with – and hopefully some shorthorn beef when the time comes. They are such beautiful, gentle animals – I’m all for supporting ethically-raised beef but I know it would be hard for me to do these handsome fellows in! Just another reason I love the Camphill community for providing us with good, homegrown food.

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My recipe for Irish Bennies was recently published by the Food Bloggers of Canada – do check it out if you’re interested in an Irish brunch for Paddy’s Day.

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Speaking of Paddy’s Day (and the Food Bloggers of Canada), I will be sharing the recipe for these Irish Coffee Donuts (with spiced whiskey crème pâtissière and a deep espresso glaze) this March, so keep an eye out for that!

This coming weekend I am so excited to be attending the Parabere Forum in Malmö, Sweden. This is technically a work trip, since I’ll be writing articles about the forum for several publications, but I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of inspirational voices in food and food security. I know my horizons will be broadened. I’m going to learn a lot. And I’m going to be able to spend some time in one of National Geographic’s “Places You Need to Visit in 2018” with my husband and baby. So. Pumped.

And as I’ll be in Malmö for the weekend we will naturally also spend some time in Copenhagen. T’would be rude not to.

To close, here’s a picture of Ciara and her favourite friend.

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Happy March, everyone!

 

Interested in Becoming a Chef?

  • Are you Irish (or legally living in Ireland)?
  • Are you currently unemployed or working seasonally?
  • Interested in food?
  • Free for roughly the next 12 weeks?

You should take the School of Food’s new 11-Week Commis Chef Training Course!

I will be teaching this course alongside revered Irish chef Dermot Gannon of The Old Convent (located in Clogheen, South Tipperary – near The Vee!). Dermot has won numerous awards in the past several years for his inventive, delicious take on modern Irish cuisine. He’s a great guy to work with and learn from.

This course will equip applicants with the necessary skills needed for an immediate start in a restaurant kitchen. From week 7, the students will spend one day per week working in the industry under one of our roster of great local chefs.

Oh… I forgot to mention: it’s fully funded (we are operating in conjunction with Taste 4 Success Skillnet) which means successful applicants will have to pay €0! We’ll even buy their uniforms. It’s a great course to take if you’re wondering if a career in food is right for you.

At 11 weeks, the students will be professional-kitchen- ready. They will have attained a transferable skill, a certification (QQI Level 4 Equivalent) and all the necessary safety/sanitation training.

If you’re interested in this course – or know someone who might be – click on the link here, email us at info@schooloffood.ie or give us a ring at 056 775 4397. We’d love to meet with you!

Listen here to my radio interview with KCLR 96FM for more info (starting at minute 20).

*Classes start on February 26th.

janine kennedy

Green Sheep Charity Tapas Pop-Up

On November 25th, The Siùcra Shack (my small business), Hedgehog Bakery and The Green Sheep got together for a pop-up tapas night in Thurles. Ìt came about because my friend Lucy, who owns The Green Sheep, was involved in a fundraiser for the Mill Road Riding Club. Members of the riding club were hosting “Come Dine with Me” style nights in efforts to raise money to purchase a special needs saddle for the club.

Lucy thought she would take it one step further and host a pop-up restaurant night with live music, tapas-style eats (meaning food you can eat while standing up!) and a few drinks.

Since I run my business out of Lucy’s cafe, it was natural for me to get involved. We invited our friend Mags to join the fun – she is a boulangiere extraordinare and, if you were at Savour Kilkenny this past October you may have seen her demo on the live stage. A lady of many talents.

Together, we developed a menu for the night: local cheeses (Knockdrinna, Cashel Blue, Derg Cheddar, Cooleeney) and charcuterie (from Irish Piedmontese Beef and The Wooded Pig) with our own pickles, Mags’ bread and chutney from Ayle Farm were the first course. For a starter, I made fresh haddock and cod fritters with warm lardons and preserved lemon salad with buttermilk herb dressing. Then, for the main course I made bulgur wheat salad, tahini-infused remoulade and slow cooked harissa lamb shoulder. We finished the evening with my chubby churros (they were extra eggy; therefore, extra chubby!) and hot fudge sauce.

We sold tickets for €30 per person or €50 per couple. A full house ensued, and we had such a fabulous night. Not without a few hiccups, but it being our first pop-up we were expecting the unexpected. Food producers around the community donated food for the night and everyone says they had a wonderful time.

Now that I’m headed off to Canada from Christmas, I will be sourcing some very special ingredients for our next pop-up. I’m not giving anything away, but I hope everyone who attends likes pork. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

For now, enjoy this mix of photos and video clips I put together from the night. Most of said photos and videos are from the lovely Sinead of Delalicious – I don’t think we would have had nearly as good as night if she hadn’t shown up! What a great human being she is.

‘Til next time, friends.

 

Warm Yule Ol & Bacon Dip with Pretzel Bites

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*Is this post sponsored? No, but I am friends with the owners of this business, I get free samples sometimes and they have donated to events I’ve put on in the past. That said, I wasn’t asked to write this. I like this recipe; it’s seasonal and relevant. I hope you like it, too!*

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Yes, folks, it’s officially the holiday season in Ireland. My Siùcra Shack Christmas Cake is on sale at The Green Sheep, I’ve been very, very busy with holiday parties, craft fairs and our first Green Sheep pop-up event (which will be explained in greater detail in my next post).

It’s also that time of year where my favourite local brewery brings out their Christmas beer! I wrote recently about White Gypsy, a craft brewery in nearby Templemore run by my friends Cuilan and Sally Loughnane, during Indie Beer Week when they had an evening barbecue. It was a great night and, with their recent rebrand, a great way to launch their new look.

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Cuilan developed this special Christmas beer, called Yule Ól, fashioned after the holiday beers found in Scandanavia (generally called Juleøl; for more information on Scandanavian Christmas beers this Serious Eats article is great).

White Gypsy Yule Ol is an easy-drinking, medium-dark beer that’s been aged in an oak barrel. I first tried it two years ago when I was featuring White Gypsy in an article for The Tipperary Star. That’s when I took these photos, so while the branding in this post is a bit dated (see above photo for the new look), this recipe is one I’ve been using ever since.

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Crispy bacon lardons, sharp cheddar cheese (I like to use our local Derg Cheddar, but any aged cheddar will do) and a scattering of spring onion, along with the beer, make this an irresistibly delicious dip. The most appropriate accompaniments for a hot beer dip are pretzel bites – preferably homemade. They are really easy to make, so do give them a try alongside the dip recipe. Crispy pretzels will not be as good; soft store-bought pretzels are a fine substitute.

This hot dip just screams Christmas to me. My brother made it for me a few years ago (obviously with different beer, but I digress), so I have to credit him with the idea (thanks Rory!). Make it this Christmas and share it with your family and friends. You will be popular. If that kind of thing matters to you.

Interested in other Winter beers you can find around Ireland this year? This article from FFT.ie is a good place to start!

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Hot Yule Òl & Bacon Dip with Pretzel Bites

Ingredients:

For the pretzel bites:

4 1/2 cups/600g plain flour

3 Tbsp baking soda

1 Tbsp dry active yeast

1 tbsp honey

1 1/2 cups/375ml warm water

2 tbsp salt

1 Tbsp oil

Flaky Sea Salt (for pre-bake sprinkling)

For the dip:

1/2 cup/125ml White Gypsy Yule Òl (or another lager/ale)

1 package pre-cut bacon lardons or pancetta (about 100g)

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp plain flour

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 heaping tsp dijon mustard

3/4 cup/200ml milk

1 1/2 cups/400g shredded sharp cheddar-esque cheese (Derg Cheddar or Daru – both Tipperary cheeses – are divine in this dip)

Sliced spring onion or chives, for garnish

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Make the pretzel bites:

  • In a bowl, activate the yeast by combining it with the honey and warm water. Let this sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast is “blooming”. Add the oil, salt and flour.
  • Mix and knead for 5 minutes. Place back into the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and let rise one hour.
  • Punch down the dough. Divide into six portions. Roll each portion into a long rope, then cut each rope into 2 inch pieces.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the baking soda, then boil each piece of dough until it floats to the top of the water. Place the pieces on a clean towel, briefly, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle each piece with a generous amount of flaky sea salt. Bake in an oven preheated to 200°C (400°F) for about 15 minutes. The bites should be a dark golden brown and chewy but soft.

Make the dip:

  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan, fry the bacon or pancetta until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towel.
  • In the same pan, add the butter and then, once melted, add the flour. mix well and cook over medium heat for one minutes. Add the beer and cook for another minute before adding the milk. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat.
  • Add the cheese, dijon and cayenne. Stir until the cheese is melted and everything is incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the dip into a bowl and scatter the bacon over the top, as well as the finely chopped spring onion/chives. Serve immediately or reheat the next day to serve with the pretzel bites.

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