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An Irish Whiskey Pumpkin Pie for Halloween

The original Jack O Lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets and has been a popular tradition here for centuries! Immigrants from Ireland brought the Jack O Lantern tradition with them when they went to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America,  were easier to carve into the perfect Jack O Lanterns and they made great pies too!

In recent years, Pumpkin Pie is becoming a popular Halloween dish here in Ireland, as coffee shops and restaurants have been adding this sweet, mousse-like dessert dish to their seasonal menu. I'm adding another little piece of Ireland to the Halloween story, by flavouring my Pumpkin Pie with a little Irish Whiskey. You can use whichever brand is your own favourite!

The first recorded recipe for pumpkin pie was published as a 'Pompkin Pudding' in 1796, in a book called American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. This cookbook is considered to be the first Cookery Book to be published by an American, in America. Only four copies of the first edition are known to exist!

The first American Cookbook: American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons, 
published by Hudson & Goodwin of Hartford, Connecticut, USA, in 1796

Pumpkin Pie is made in the same way as a Baked Cheesecake or a Custard Tart and is flavoured with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. If you've never eaten some, you could be excused for thinking that it might taste like a savoury vegetable quiche - but it's really more like a sweet cheesecake in a pastry crust! The Gingernut biscuits add flavour and also help to make the base crunchier. The evaporated milk gives a richness to the pie and the Irish whiskey works just perfectly with the spices to give it a yummy taste sensation!

You can make this recipe at any other time of year by substituting Butternut Squash or Sweet Potato instead of pumpkin. Their texture and taste are almost the same when flavoured and cooked. In the US, you can buy canned puréed pumpkin for use in cooking.

Becky Pumpkin - Butternut Squash - Sweet Potato

This recipe makes one 10" x 1.5" Pumpkin Pie

To Make the Pumpkin Puree:
Cut a medium-sized pumpkin into wedges and discard all the seeds. Cook the pumpkin in a 160*C oven for 30 minutes or in the microwave on high power for 12 minutes. Scrape off all the cooked flesh and purée it quickly in a blender until smooth. (If you are using canned pumpkin purée you'll need to spoon it onto a clean tea-towel and squeeze away as much liquid as possible.) You'll need 400g prepared Pumpkin Purée for the pie.  

The Puréed Pumpkin, a Splash of Irish Whiskey & Crushing the Gingernut Biscuits

Sweet Pastry and Base
250g Plain Flour
100g Butter
75g Light Brown Sugar
1 medium egg
a little Cold Water
100g crushed Gingernut Biscuits

1. Rub the butter into the flour until it's like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix in. Break in the egg and quickly pull the pastry together adding a little cold water if needed. Roll it out and line a floured  10" Pie Dish (about 1.5 " deep). Trim off any extra pastry.

2. Crumb the Gingernut biscuits in a blender or by placing them in a sandwich bag and rolling them with a rolling pin until fine. Sprinkle the biscuit-crumb over the pastry base, pat it down and refrigerate until needed. Crush the Gingernut Biscuits and gently press them onto the Sweet Pastry.

Crush the Gingernut Biscuits and gently press them onto the Sweet Pastry

The Filling
3 Medium Eggs
160g Light Brown Sugar
1x 410g can Evaporated Milk
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
A pinch of ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Salt
400g Your Pumpkin Purée
35ml Irish Whiskey

1. Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them well. Add the brown sugar and mix in for 30 seconds until they're thick and creamy. Add the can of Evaporated Milk and mix well for about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin purée along with the flavourings and mix everything together until smooth. Lastly add the whiskey and stir it into the filling.

2. Carefully pour the mix into your Pie Dish and tap the side of the dish a few times to help raise the air bubbles to the top. Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 160°C for 40 minutes.

3. Check the pie as you would when testing a sponge cake. It should be soft, but responsive to the touch when it's cooked - giving you a little spring in the centre when gently pushed down.  Leave the pie aside, in the dish to set, until cold.

Zack's Irish Whiskey Pumpkin Pie

To turn it out, put a flat plate on top of the pie, turn it over tap the bottom of the baking tin. Lift off the tin gently. Now put your serving plate on the base of the pie and turn it back over! 

It's now ready to serve with a little fresh cream to which another little drop of Irish Whiskey has been added.



The Ultimate All Ireland Sandwich with Ingredients from all 32 Counties!

Following a competition run by Heinz Ireland and held during this summer to design the Ultimate All Ireland Sandwich, the public nominated their favourite locally made foods and fillings and the final recipe has just been announced!

With the final fillings chosen by David Adams, Head of Heinz Ireland and Dee Laffan, food writer and presenter, the 32 Winners of the Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise All-Ireland Sandwich Competition Ingredients have been released just ahead of the All-Ireland Football Final, being held this Saturday 11th September!

And the Winning Ultimate All Ireland Sandwich Fillings are:

  1. St. Tola Divine, a spreadable version of the award-winning goats cheese representing Co. Clare
  2. Gubbeen Farmhouse Cheese, representing Co. Cork
  3. Sourdough bread from Emilie’s Bakehouse, representing Co. Kerry
  4. Irish butter from Glenstal Foods, representing Co. Limerick
  5. Mature Cheese and Red Onion crisps from O’Donnells Crisps, representing Co. Tipperary
  6. Blaa from Walsh’s Bakehouse, representing Co. Waterford
  7. Cheddar from Coolattin Cheddar, representing Co. Carlow
  8. Cucumbers from Welgro Produce, representing Dublin
  9. Chilli jam from Gibney’s Preserves, representing Co. Kildare
  10. Smoked trout pâté from Goatsbridge Trout Farm, representing Co. Kilkenny
  11. Microgreens from Edmundburry Greens, representing Co. Laois
  12. Honey roast ham from Herterich Artisan Meats, representing Co. Longford
  13. Sourdough bread from The Home Bakery, representing Co. Louth
  14. Organic lettuce from Meade Farm, representing Co. Meath
  15. Shaved New York-style pastrami from Carrolls of Tullamore, representing Co. Offaly
  16. Turkey slices from Green Farm Fine Foods, representing Co. Westmeath
  17. Tomatoes from Wexford Tomatoes, representing Co. Wexford
  18. Salami from Guastalla, representing Co. Wicklow
  19. Smoke roasted organic salmon from North Coast Smokehouse, representing Co. Antrim
  20. Onion jam from Burren Balsamics, representing Co. Armagh
  21. Drumlin garlic cheese from Corleggy Cheeses, representing Co. Cavan
  22. Crispy onions from Scotts Crispy Onions, representing Co. Londonderry
  23. Wild Irish tuna from Shines Seafood, representing Co. Donegal
  24. Black garlic butter from Abernethy Butter, representing Co. Down
  25. Fresh free range eggs from Cavanagh Eggs, representing Co. Fermanagh
  26. Mushrooms from Monaghan Mushrooms, representing Co. Monaghan
  27. Bresola from Ispini Charcuterie, representing Co. Tyrone
  28. Salad leaves from An Garraí Glas, representing Co. Galway
  29. Boxty from McNiffe’s Bakery, representing Co. Leitrim
  30. Sea salt from Achill Island Sea Salt, representing Co. Mayo
  31. Sundried tomatoes from Ballagh Farm Shop, representing Co. Roscommon
  32. Hummus from Sweet Beat, representing Co. Sligo

And all held together with dollops of Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise!

Here's our good buddy and Ingredients judge Dee Laffen with the finished Ultimate All Ireland Sandwich!

I think I'm gonna have to make one of these for Sunday to watch the match with!!!

Hedgerow Blackberry & Apple Jam

"You ate the first one and it's flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue
And a lust for picking..."
-from "Blackberry Picking" by Seamus Heaney

It's Blackberry Time Again!

Autumn comes and  the Blackberries ripen just in time for the back-to-school children. One of my favourite memories as a child is picking blackberries down country roads with my cousins, so that my Aunty Nora could make some of her famous and delicious Blackberry & Apple Jam.

We would never pick them just after it had rained, always checked them for worms and always ate as many as we picked!

There are many recipes and methods for making jams with blackberries and this is my favourite. The fruit is cooked without sugar at the start and then sieved to remove the seeds as they can be quite hard and get stuck in your teeth!

The sugar is added later in the cooking as the amount of sugar in any jam recipe is determined by the weight of the fruit. Removing the seeds will reduced the weight of the fruit by 40% therefore less sugar is required.

The apple helps to increase the pectin content giving this jam a better 'setting' quality, as well as adding more flavour & bulk.

Always sterilise your jam jars before use. You can do this easily by putting them in the microwave on full power for 3 minutes.

My Ingredients:
2kg Blackberries
500g large cooking Apples
2 whole cloves
150ml water
Juice & zest of 1 Lemon
1.5 kg granulated sugar

My Method:
1. Peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Pull the stalks out of the blackberries.
2. Put the apple, blackberries, lemon juice, cloves & water into a large heavy-based pot and bring to the boil.
3. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes stirring ocassionally with a wooden spoon. The fruit should be smooth and soft.
4. Pour the cooked fruit into a sieve and rub it through with the back of the spoon into a clean pot. Discard the seeds & cloves.
5. Add the sugar, stir it in well and simmer the jam for another 20 minutes.
6. To test the setting properties of the jam put 1/2 teaspoon of it on a cold saucer and push the end of the spoon through it. If it sets and leaves a gap then it is now ready. If it falls back on itself, give it another 5 minutes cooking and test it again.
7. Pour your hot jam into the warm sterilised jars. (I put the glass jars in the microwave for 3 minutes to sterilise them.) Cover with a greaseproof paper disk and close the lid tight while it is still hot. Turn the jars upside-down once and then upright again - this helps in the sterilisation of the lid and also helps create the vacuum that will make the jam keep longer.

Leave the jams in a cool place until cold.

Delicious with homemade soda bread and My soda bread recipe is here.

This September I went picking Blackberries with my daughter and found millions of them (well, nearly) That post is here: Picking Blackberries & my Blackberry Madeira Pie Recipe and my Blackberry Ice Cream is Here!



The 2021 Waterford Harvest Festival runs from Monday September 6th to Sunday September 12th

 One of Ireland’s leading food festivals, Waterford Harvest Festival returns in 2 weeks with a newly reimagined weeklong citywide celebration of all things dine and wine from Monday September 6th to Sunday September 12th 2021. This year’s Waterford Harvest Festival, an annual culinary celebration, will plate up dishes and treats to suit every palate, shining a spotlight on the region’s delicious dining scene and local food and drink legends. 


Waterford city will be transformed into a food-lover’s paradise with 7 days of bespoke menus, dining-out experiences, seasonal dishes, local producer collaborations and so many more culinary delights - all celebrating the food and beverage champions from Waterford city and the sunny South East. Everett’s, Waterford’s much-celebrated restaurant set in the remains of a historic 15th century house and intimate wine vault in the Viking Triangle, will host an afternoon to showcase the finest local produce and wonderful producers from across the region. Everett’s Appreciation of Harvest: A Meal to Celebrate is a three course celebration meal showcasing the very best from our rich lands and beautiful seas, with specially selected wines and champagne, thoughtfully paired with each dish. This is a guaranteed lunch to remember! Diners will enjoy a delicious five course tasting menu celebrating wonderful Waterford produce, including vegetables from Ballybeg Greens and Annestown, at the multi-award winning restaurant Momo and their From The Garden Harvest event. Join foodie chats with Bernadette Kervick from Ballybeg Gardens as she shares tips about growing the perfect vegetable garden and how to grow organically.  


Watch chefs of Waterford’s iconic landmark The Reg shucking oysters and then tickle your tastebuds with these delectable delights and a smooth glass of Guinness at Guinness & Oysters at the Viking Longboat at The Reg. The Old Couch Café - a Waterford city gem at the heart of Waterford’s Cultural Quarter  - will be serving up a three curated course lunch menu that spotlights Waterford’s diverse, talented and passionate food producers - all wrapped up in European influence. The Stable Yard Food Hall, the artisan food hall at the epicentre of Waterford city, will feature Harvest specials and surprises across Carters Chocolate café, The Ice Cream Place,The Italian Bakery & Pizza Kitchen and No.9 Barronstrand St. restaurant and Mediterranean Deli! Go Loko at Waterford Harvest Festival with a menu of events in one of the city's favourite spots Loko Restaurant including a vegan midweek tasting menu, a weekend meat feast showcasing the best butchers and meat producers in the region,and The 20km Brunch which serves up a special brunch menu with all ingredients sourced within 20k of their front door. 


The city’s energetic and iconic Apple Market hotspot celebrates Waterford Harvest Festival with a selection of mouth-watering foodie events and not-to-be-missed beer and whiskey experiences. Visit Heerys Bar and Restaurant, right at the centre of the Apple Market hub, and enjoy Heerys Harvest Night, a three-course harvest meal showcasing the finest produce from local suppliers. Eat, drink and be merry with Grady’s Yard X The Phat Cow harvest collaboration; Overlooking the water on John’s Bridge, chomp into the best artisan burgers and cool down with a refreshing YellowBelly beer from one of Ireland’s leading breweries. Are you brave enough to try Revolution's Mega Burger Challenge? Take on the ultimate Man vs Food challenge and attempt to devour this burger and fries beast within 25 minutes at the Apple Market’s Revolution Bar - defeat the monster and it's free! Festival-goers can select from over 290 Irish whiskeys at the award-winning Revolution Craft Beer & Whiskey Bar, including 22 releases from Waterford Distillery – there is not much in Irish Whiskey that they do not stock! During the Harvest Festival, you can enjoy a range of over 20 whiskey tasting trays from just €20.  

Street food fans, craft-beer connoisseurs and whiskey worshipers, will not want to miss out on the Phoenix Yard Feast in association with Tully’s and Tom Mahers. Street food goes restaurant style for this unique food and drink event set in the vibrant surrounds of O’Connell Street. Tuck into a smorgasbord of savoury and sweet tastes and treats from all five mouthwatering food traders while enjoying amazing ales, bubbling beers and a wide selection of spirits - all while kicking back to tunes for the perfect Sunday experience!  


Join in supporting Waterford’s local food and drink landscape, recognising the makers, creators and producers, and celebrating the creativity, passion and determination of this industry. Walsh's Bakehouse, home of the treasured Waterford Blaa, celebrate their 100th year this year and will tickle taste buds with a 1 day live outdoor mini-‘feastival’ A Century in the Baking - Celebrating 100 years baking in Waterford. Join Ireland’s most famous Bread-Bros in Blaa HQ and tuck into oven-fresh floury-rolly goodness while kicking back to some music! Sink your teeth into the best BBQ bites, explore the ‘local legends’ food market, quench your thirst with a cold one and whet your appetite with foodie demos and talks. This is a bread event like no other, roll on down and don’t miss out!  

Go behind the scenes of the GIY TV programme with their exclusive GROW COOK EAT experience. Join presenter and GIY Founder Mick Kelly and GIY’s Head of Food JB Dubois as they take you on a magical journey from their plot to your plate at this intimate dining experience which includes an interactive tour of HQ’s organic food gardens, seed sowing masterclass and homemade pizza cookery demo.  


Join Viking Irish Drinks for their Vikings & Angels collaboration with The Fat Angel Wine Bar and enjoy an evening of foodie and cider pairings and games galore. Dress like an Angel or a Viking and you might win a prize! The award-winning Blackwater Distillery collaborates with a selection of Waterford’s most loved museums, bars and restaurants during this September’s Harvest week. Savour an 8 course Waterford Food Tasting Menu inside the atmospheric 13th century Choristers’ Crypt with drinks reception, brought to you by Bishops Palace Cafe & Blackwater Distillery in conjunction with the Waterford Museum of Treasures. Also, enjoy an evening of Prohibition-themed cocktails and entertainment in a Jazzy speakeasy with in-house mixologists and award-winning guest mixologist - John Coleman at Prohibition Cocktails @ Shush with Blackwater Distillery. 

Launching this September as part of Harvest Festival, A Slice of Culture is Waterford’s brand new intercultural festival which will transform Wyse Park and The Rogue Gallery & Studios into a Hungarian cultural celebration of art, dance, song, stories and aromas. A Slice of Culture is presented by The Rogue Gallery & Studios and Waterford Hungarian Cultural Organisation, and this year’s event will center stage some of Hungary's most famous traditions and dishes. 


Make a holiday out of your culinary adventures with a Foodcation in Waterford city - a much-needed staycation with an emphasis on how to eat like a local and with locals! Waterford offers a plethora of accommodation options for families, friends and couples ranging from family-run hotels to home-from-home B&Bs and guesthouses, all of which can be found at  Overlooking the stunning River Suir,one of Ireland’s three sister rivers, the Darrer family of Dooley’s Hotel have been welcoming guests for three generations. With over 70 years of exceptional service, this popular hotel at the heart of Waterford city will showcase bespoke Harvest menus every day across the full festival run, running from breakfast through to lunch and dinner. Treacys Hotel Waterford, Spa and Leisure Centre offers visitors a fantastic location to explore the city across the festival week and is offering a 3 night B&B Harvest staycation special with the Treacy Triple Treat from only €198 (two pax sharing). The Waterford Marina Hotel is a haven of peace and tranquility nestled idyllically on the banks of the River Suir with complimentary onsite parking and is offering an extra discount to visitors when booking directly through their website. The Fitzwilton Hotel is a boutique style hotel in the heart of Waterford City, with a funky café bar and a stylish restaurant Chez K’s which is a favourite dining location for Waterford locals and visitors alike. Take your staycation to the next level in Ireland’s oldest city and indulge in a foodcation feasting on the very best Déise dishes, blaas and beers. 

Keep up to date on your favourite Social Media platform:

·         Website: 

·         Facebook: 

·         Instagram:

·         Twitter: 

·         Official hashtag: #waterfordharvest

For the full programme of events and booking details visit 

So book in, get your table and your tickets before they are all gone! 

Grab your friends, bring your family and get to Ireland’s No.1 Foodie Destination this September for Waterford Harvest Festival! 

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