St Patrick's Day: Traditional recipes from Derry producers - including Guinness cupcakes

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 4:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 9:46 pm
Celebrate St Patrick's Day this year with some home cooking. Photo: Shutterstock

St Patrick's Day, March 17, is fast approaching, and with current restrictions making outdoor celebrations unlikely this year, many of us might be donning our aprons to cook up some traditional Irish fare at home.

Whether you're planning a family feast or just looking for a sweet treat, we've got some great recipe ideas to add to your St Patrick's Day menu, thanks to producers from the north west's LegenDerry Food Network.

Guinness cupcakes

Guinness is a key ingredient in this recipe from Yum Cakes.

Featuring that St Paddy's Day staple, Guinness, this tasty recipe comes courtesy of Derry bakery Yum Cakes, which launched last year amid the first lockdown. The recipe will make around 18 cupcakes.


  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 210g self raising flour
  • 40g black cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp Guinness
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk
  • Pour half a bottle of Guinness into a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, turn down to medium heat and let it simmer for five minutes to allow most of the alcohol to cook off. After the five minutes, take off the heat and leave it to cool.
  • Add the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, cocoa, baking powder and vanilla into your mixing bowl. As you add the dry ingredients, use a sieve so that no lumps enter your mixing bowl.
  • Once all ingredients have been added, give them a fast mix for one minute until well mixed.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add your Guinness and butter milk. (Note: only add 3tbsp Guinness, not the whole amount that is left after boiling)
  • Mix for another 30 seconds on high speed and then scrape the sides.
  • Spoon your mixture into cupcake cases.
  • Bake your cupcakes at 160 degrees for 23 minutes.

Mince stew

A comforting bowl of stew is a must on St Patrick's Day.

It wouldn't be St Patrick's Day without a warming bowl of stew, and thanks to family-run butcher Doherty's Meats, you can easily whip up this most comforting of meals in your own kitchen.

You can also visit Doherty's Meats Facebook page for a video demonstration on how to make the dish.


  • 1 lb Doherty's Special (rolled into individual meatballs)
  • 2 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 2 lbs Potatoes (peeled and quartered)
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • Salt and pepper to season


  • Place rolled mince balls, carrots and onions into a heavy based pan.
  • Gently fry until mince balls have started to brown slightly. Add potatoes and beef stock; there should be just enough to cover all ingredients (if not, extra water can be added).
  • Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.
  • Check that the potatoes are well cooked and beginning to break up. Season with salt and pepper to your own taste.

Bacon and cabbage with parsley sauce

A hearty dish of cabbage and bacon from chef John Crowe.

This hearty dish was provided by chef John Crowe, who is a lecturer in hospitality at Northwest Regional College in Derry.

"This is my mother’s traditional recipe which has been handed down to me and I have given a twist," John said.  "Anytime I make this dish, it always reminds me of my childhood growing up in the country and appreciating the bond we have with the land and our traditions that make us unique."

A tutorial on how to make the dish is also available on John's Youtube channel.


  • 4lb/2kg collar bacon joint (unsmoked)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 Savoy cabbage, trimmed, quartered and cored
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • Butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Water

For the parsley sauce:

  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 50g/2oz plain flour
  • 400ml full fat milk
  • 100ml cooking liquor from bacon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped parsley


  • Place the bacon in a pot, cover with cold water and allow this to stand overnight in the fridge to draw out some of the salt. The next morning, remove and discard water. Refill with cold water, place on the cooker and bring to the boil. Again, discard this water and refill again with cold water; this is to draw as much salt as possible from the bacon.
  • Add one onion cut in half, one whole carrot, three cloves, two bay leaves and six peppercorns to the water to add flavour.
  • Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then reduce to a rolling simmer and allow to cook for approximately one hour 30 minutes, or untilthe bacon is cooked and tender.
  • To prepare the cabbage, first remove any other leaves that may be soft or discoloured, then divide the cabbage into four quarters and remove the core.  The cabbage can then be cut roughly, and any stems removed. It is a good idea to soak your cabbage in water overnight with a little pinch of salt.
  • When the bacon is cooked, remove and reserve and keep warm. Drain and wash the cabbage to remove any salt, then add enough of the ham stock to cover and reserve the rest
  • Bring the cabbage to the boil then reduce to a simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. When the cabbage is tender, drain.
  • To finish, chop the cabbage using a knife, add some butter, and season with some freshly ground black pepper.
  • To plate, simply place a generous portion of cabbage on the plate, carve two thick slices of bacon and rest on top.

Parsley sauce:

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, stir in the flour and cook to a sandy texture for three minutes; this is called a roux. Mix the milk and the ham stock together and warm. Then gradually add this to the roux slowly a little at a time.
  • Repeat this process until all the milk and stock has been added. Simmer gently for five minutes, then season with salt and pepper as required. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Lamb with wild garlic boxty and whiskey sauce

Smoked Mourne Mountain lamb with wild garlic boxty. Photo: Donegal Tourism CLG

Serving two people, this delectable dish of hay smoked Mourne mountain lamb with wild garlic boxty, toasted oatmeal and Quiet Man whiskey sauce was provided by Ian Orr at Browns Restaurant.


For the lamb:

  • 2 square cut Mourne mountain lamb rumps
  • 100ml buttermilk
  • 2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon

For the wild garlic boxty:

  • 225g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 225g mashed potato (mashed without butter or milk)
  • 225g of grated raw potato, squeezed of excess liquid
  • 350ml whole milk
  • Bunch of wild garlic, chopped

For the mint gel –

  • 1 bunch of mint
  • 100ml water
  • Ultratex (instant thickening starch) to thicken
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

For the toasted oatmeal –

For the Quiet Man whiskey sauce –


  • Place the lamb rump in a sealable bag or in a covered dish, add 100ml of buttermilk, the roughly chopped herbs and cracked black pepper, and marinate in fridge for at least two hours (preferably overnight).
  • To make the boxty – mix all the ingredients together, heat a little oil in a pan and once hot fry mixture for two minutes on each side. Season to taste.
  • To make the mint gel – blitz the mint with water and strain. Add salt, red wine vinegar and then the Ultratex to thicken. Place in condiment bottle.
  • In a hot pan, brown the lamb rumps and then place in a preheated oven at 180°C. After 10 minutes, take out of oven and set to rest. When the lamb has rested, add to a tin/box with the hay and smoke for one minute.
  • In the same pan the lamb rumps were cooked in, keep on the heat and add the Quiet Man whiskey and honey, then reduce by half. Finish with butter and strain.
  • For the oatmeal – melt butter in a pan, add the oatmeal and toast in the pan for two minutes until golden. Finish with rosemary.
  • Finish the dish with some purple broccoli – cooked in pan for a couple of minutes until tender.

Grilled lamb loin chops with coal roast potatoes and grilled veg

The grilled lamb is perfectly paired with Rough Brothers stout.

Fire up the barbecue for these moreish lamb loin chops by Emily McCorkell from Lo & Slo - they go perfectly with a pale ale or stout from family-run microbrewery Rough Brothers.


  • 6-8 floury potatoes
  • 8 lamb loin chops with fat trimmed, about 1-inch thick
  • 8-10 spring onions
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 slices of pickled peppers, slice finely
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lo & Slo Vinegar Mop
  • Rough Brothers Stout or Pale Ale


  • Light your barbecue, pour yourself a Rough Brothers beer, and create a hot zone and a cool zone by scraping your hottest coals to one side. You’ll cook the lamb over these coals, so make sure they stay hot, around 230-250C. For a cool zone, scrape a single layer of coals to a temperature range of about 150-180C.
  • Pierce and wrap each potato in a double layer of foil. Place them around the coals in the hot zone. Leave the potatoes to roast for 1-1.5 hours, rotating a couple of times.
  • Mix the parsley, garlic, peppers, and a drizzle of oil to make a herby dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Oil and lightly salt the carrots and spring onions in a shallow dish and set aside.
  • Place the carrots on the grill over the cool zone. Keep an eye on them, turning once they begin to soften and char.
  • Take the lamb loin chops out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving to bring up intemperature. Oil and season with salt.
  • Place the spring onions on the cool zone.
  • At the same time, place the lamb over the hot zone. Grill 4-5 minutes each side for medium rare.

When plating the meal, take care when unwrapping the potatoes as they’ll be very hot.  Set the potatoes and veg in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  Stack the lamb loin chops on a platter and top with the herby dressing and generous drizzle of Vinegar Mop. Serve family-style with a Rough Brothers Stout.