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Go green for St Patrick’s Day - recipes

You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St Patrick’s Day (March 17). It’s a great excuse for a party. You can get together with friends, knock up a green-themed meal and lay on lashings of Guinness for a good time.

Did you know St Patrick himself wasn’t even Irish? He was born in Britain to Roman citizens, was captured by Irish raiders at the age of 16 and spent six years in slavery in Ireland.

This chilled avocado soup with feta proves you can do way more with avos than guacamole. Picture: Bongiwe MchunuPeppermint Crisp ice cream sundae. Picture: Bongiwe MchunuGreen mojito. Picture: Bongiwe MchunuPasta with pesto chicken. Picture: Bongiwe MchunuHerb crusted fish. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

He escaped to France, where he trained as a priest. He returned to Ireland and spent three decades preaching and founding churches.

He won converts to Christianity by combining pagan customs with Christian ones. For instance, he used the shamrock, the three-leaf clover, to illustrate the concept of the Holy Trinity.

You may have heard of a connection between St Patrick and snakes. This story probably arose because snakes are a pagan symbol and St Patrick supposedly drove paganism from Ireland.

St Patrick’s Day is actually more of an American holiday than an Irish one. Irish emigrants remembered their homeland on the day St Patrick died, March 17, and today parades, festivals and gatherings are held in major US cities to celebrate all things green and Irish.

We asked chef Jade Sullaphen, the executive chef at the Punchinello’s Food & Dreams Restaurant at the Southern Sun Montecasino, to devise a green-themed menu for this celebration.

CHILLED AVOCADO SOUP WITH FETA

Serves 4

4 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped

600ml plain yoghurt

500-600ml cold water

juice of 1 lemon

salt to taste

black pepper taste

150g Danish feta cheese, cubed

finely chopped Italian parsley

olive oil for drizzling

Place the flesh of the avocado in a blender.

Add the yoghurt, water, lemon juice and seasoning

Blend until smooth. Divide into the serving bowls.

Add feta to each, sprinkle with parsley and drizzle very lightly with olive oil.

Serve immediately.

HERB CRUSTED FISH

olive oil for cooking

4 fresh hake fillets

salt and pepper

60ml Italian parsley, finely chopped

60ml rocket shoots, sliced finely

2-3 potatoes, cubed and fried until crisp

45ml chopped parsley

80g butter, melted

300g green asparagus

Sauce

30g capers, drained and chopped

30g chopped gherkins

150ml cream pouring

juice of 2 whole lemons

ground black pepper to taste

Heat a little olive oil in a pan and brown the hake on both sides. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the parsley and rocket shoots. Place the fish into the herbs and coat both sides. Bake in the oven at 180°C until cooked – about 10 minutes.

Place the potato cubes into the parsley and add 45ml of the melted butter. Season and set aside.

Blanche the asparagus, season and drizzle with the remaining melted butter. Set aside.

SAUCE: Place the chopped capers and gherkins into a pot. Add the cream and lemon juice. Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until thickened. Season to taste.

Place the asparagus on the serving plate. Top with the cooked fish.

Place the potatoes around the fish.

Drizzle the sauce on to the plate between the potatoes.

Garnish with rocket and serve.

PASTA WITH PESTO CHICKEN

300g spinach, cleaned and roughly chopped

250g tagliatelle pasta

30ml olive oil

500g chicken breast fillets, cubed

150ml basil pesto

Parmesan cheese shavings

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove with a draining spoon and set aside.

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking liquid.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken over a high heat until cooked. Take care not to overcook.

Add the basil pesto and a little of the pasta cooking water to thin it down slightly. Add the drained spinach and the pasta and toss together. Season.

Place in a serving plate bowl and top with Parmesan cheese shavings.

PEPPERMINT CRISP ICE CREAM SUNDAE

Serves 6

3 peppermint crisp chocolate bars

100ml pouring cream

peppermint ice cream

250ml cream, whipped

pistachio nuts

mint leaves

green apple for garnish

Melt one chocolate bar with the pouring cream to make a chocolate sauce.

Crumble the remaining bars into rough bits and set aside.

In a sundae glass, place a scoop of ice cream. Then add some whipped cream.

Sprinkle the chocolate and nuts on to the cream.

Add some of the chocolate sauce.

Repeat the process until the glass is filled.

Top with some fresh mint and thinly sliced green apple.

GREEN MOJITO

180ml mojito syrup

180ml rum

6 sprigs of mint leaves

60ml lemon juice

600ml soda water

mint leaves for garnish

Mix all ingredients together and pour into long chilled glasses and garnish with the mint leaves.

Pictures: Independent Newspapers

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