St Patrick’s Day soup with shamrock shaped cheese croutons
60g butter; two medium white onions, chopped; 600g potatoes, peeled and chopped; salt and pepper; 800ml vegetable or chicken stock: 240g sorrel leaves, shredded.
Cheese croutons: two slices of thick wholemeal bread; olive oil or melted butter to brush on 100g grated Irish cheese.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and potato and cook gently, covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper and stock and bring to the boil.
Simmer uncovered for about five minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add the sorrel leaves and cook for five minutes more. Liquidise the soup until smooth.
To make the cheese croutons: cut shapes from the bread and brush lightly with olive oil or butter. Grill on one side then turn over and sprinkle with the grated cheese and grill until cheese is melted. Place on top of the hot soup.
200g caster sugar; 200g soft butter; four medium eggs; one teaspoon of Irish cream liqueur (optional ); 200g self-raising flour.
Frosting: one pack of green sugar paste; icing sugar and one tub of ready-made royal icing.
Two 12 cup muffin tins, 24 muffin cases and a shamrock cutter.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC, fan 160ºC, gas mark 4. Put the sugar and butter in an electric mixer and beat until pale and fluffy.
Beat the eggs lightly in a small bowl and add slowly to the mix, using medium speed. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a little of the flour. When the eggs and butter mixture is well combined, mix in the liqueur (if using ) and the remaining flour at slow speed.
Divide the mixture among the muffin cases using two teaspoons or a piping bag with a wide nozzle.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the sponge is lightly golden and springs back to the touch. Leave to cool before icing.
To make shamrock decorations: roll out the green sugar paste to about three millimetre thickness using a little icing sugar to prevent sticking. Cut out shamrock shapes and put to one side.
Prepare the royal icing as on the pack and cover the cupcakes with a spoon or pallet knife. Add green colouring if desired. Place the green shamrock shapes on the icing before completely set. Wait until fully set before serving.