Sunday, 17 March 2013

St Patrick's Day - rice krispie shamrocks and other recipes


St Patrick's Day is one of my favourite days to celebrate.  I think it is a combination of pride in my Irish ancestors, indoctrination by the nuns, a love of Ireland and a fine appreciation for green.  In the past there has been green beer, green hair and an amazing cake featuring St Patrick driving the snakes into the sea (sadly photographed before I knew how to focus on food).  Today there have been shamrocks.  I have taken a healthy version of rice krispy treats and added an unhealthy dose of green food colouring.

St Paddy's Day is an occasion for the most unnatural of food dyes.  Finding a green meal for the main course is not hard but green sweet food is more of a challenge.  Avocado, some sneaky spinach or green tea powder are possible but sometimes, nothing but food dye will do.  I had my heard set on making these Shamrock Rice Krispy Treats.

There were challenges.  I wanted to find a rice krispy treat recipe without marshmallows (not each to find vegetarian ones) and no peanut butter (due to Sylvia's allergy).  I found one in Let Them Eat Vegan.  Then I sent out E last night to buy cashew nut butter and rice bubbles (as we call rice krispies in Australia).  I made the green mixture and it tasted very good.

This morning I started with baking biscuits.  Can you spot the shamrock shapes that Sylvia and I made to have for breakfast among all the little ones.  I picked up a shamrock shaped biscuit cutter last year and dug it out especially for St Pat's Day.  It is one of the best symbols of the day, as the story goes that the saint used the shamrock to teach the heathens about the mystery of the trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It seems such a common symbol, that I was taken aback when Sylvia was asking how big were shamrocks, and surprised to hear they are quite small plants growing among the grass.

After making the biscuits, we had a smoothie (banana, peach and passion fruit) and then cut the rice krispy slice into shamrocks.  The shamrocks were to take to a birthday party of a friend of E's.  It seemed that I was the only one there to make food for St Patrick's Day.  Well they were gobbled up anyway.  E enjoyed them but Sylvia decided they were too sweet.  (I think it was the bowl of lollies and the pink iced bun that decided this for her!)

We also had a soup for St Patrick's Day but that will have to wait for another post.  I would love to spend time chewing the fat about my Irish ancestors, my travels through Ireland, the country's history and some of the fascinating famous 'Irishmen' (such as Daniel Delaney, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Denis Cotter).

Instead I have had a think about St Patrick's Day food.  There are all sorts of things you will find online but as always I have my own ideas.  They come from my upbringing.  Raised as a Catholic and fed by a mother with strong Irish heritage, I think of traditional Irish food as stodgy potatoes and cabbage, horrid corned beef, scones and soda bread.  Ironically it is colourless, yes St Pat's Day is about garish greens and colourful rainbows, cheeky leprachauns and bright shamrocks.


Below is a list of some of the foods I have made for or would like to make for St Patrick's Day.  I have tried to avoid putting in every green recipe I love, because there are many.  A few have slipped in anyway.  Mostly I have tried to stick with food that either has Irish icons or is consistent with traditional Irish cooking and baking (or my idea of it at least)!  I hope you had a happy St Pat's Day and had a little green in your day.

St Patrick's Day Recipes:

From Green Gourmet Giraffe:
From elsewhere:

Green shamrock rice krispies
Adapted from Let Them Eat Vegan and The Outlaw Mum
Made 16 shamrocks and lots of scraps!

1⁄2 cup cashew nut butter
1⁄2 cup rice malt syrup (because I can never find brown rice syrup)
4 heaped tsp brown sugar
pinch of salt
1⁄4 tsp agar powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
green food dye
*4 cups rice bubbles (ie rice krispies, or other puffed rice)

Mix all ingredients except food dye and rice bubbles into a large heatproof bowl.  Heat gently in the microwave until warm and gooey.  (I think I did about 1 1/2 minutes at about half power.)  The agar should have dissolved by then.  Stir in a few drops of food dye or as much as you need for your desired shade of green.  Stir in rice bubbles until wall coated with green gooey mixture.

Tip into a greased and lined lamington tin.  Press down until smooth and even.  I used a piece of baking paper (as recommended by Dreena).  Refridgerate overnight.  (It is easier to cut if firmed up in the fridge but I am sure you could refridgerate for less time.)

In the morning, use a shamrock cutter to cut shamrocks.  If you don't have a shamrock cutter, you could use a small heart cutter to cut three hearts and push together to make a shamrocks (with a stick to be the stalk).

*Note: to make these gluten free, choose a gluten free brand of puffed rice.

On the Stereo:
Renaissance of the Celtic Harp: Alan Stivell

18 comments:

  1. They look like a wonderful treat to munch on today. Love the shape.

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    1. Thanks Jac - they were even better than I expected. And I was glad to finally use the cutters!

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  2. What great biscuit shapes the shamrocks make and I adore your green rice crispies. I'm feeling inspired to make some with green tea now. I have date syrup which is relatively healthy but it's very dark, so I suspect would make for a rather sludgy brown colour - will have to think.

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    1. Thanks Choclette - the cashew butter made my mixture quite dark so I had to add quite a bit of green and it was still a bit murkier than I like but green enough! I find that green tea gives a murky green when I have used it so I used the artifical colour for brightness.

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  3. Happy St Patrick's day to you! It's not a day I celebrate but I do like your shamrock krispies and all the green around the web is stunning!

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    1. Thanks Caroline - I thought it was widely celebrated and was surprised to go to a party where it wasn't an issue for others! At least I got to enjoy lots of green on the blogosphere (though the best green of this year was my brother's loud green suit!)

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  4. Agar! That's interesting. I've never seen that in any rice krispie treat recipes, even the vegan ones! Must make them easier to slice into shapes, perhaps?

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    1. Thanks Hannah - the agar came from Dreena's recipe but made sense seeing that the gelatine in marshmallow must help hold rice krispies together! And they were easy to cut into shapes

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  5. The shamrock krispie treats look fab. A little bit of food dye once in a while is ok. Love the sound of all the food you made.

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    1. Thanks Katie - I don't get too fussed about a bit of food dye and feel better about it if the other ingredients are a wee bit healthy!

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  6. I am wishing I'd done something for St Patrick's Day now! These are gorgeous and I love the colour - definitely worth the food colouring. I'm also interested by the agar and am guessing that is what replaces the marshmallows? Very clever.

    I've never been to Ireland but am looking forward to exploring it one day.

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    1. Thanks Kari - I am wishing I had celebrated with my family who were into their St Pat's celebrations this year! I'd be interested to do the nerdy research thing and make a batch with agar and a batch without to see what difference it makes but it worked and I am time poor so I just will believe in it (after all Dreena can't be wrong can she!) You will love ireland - it is a beautiful country

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  7. Adorable treats! Hope you had a great St. Patty's Day!

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    1. Thanks Natalie - nothing like green shamrocks to brighten St Paddy's Day :-)

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  8. They look just perfect to me (and happy belated St Pat's Day). But it's true, once you discount avocado and matcha tea, what other sweet green foods are there? ;) Glad you had fun, though. And of course any recipe of Dreena's is going to be delicious!

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    1. Thanks Ricki - it does seem an uneven balance that there are so many green veg and so few green fruit that will colour food (maybe kiwi fruit could have made some impact). I really need to make more Dreena recipes!

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  9. I love your shamrock shaped rice krispie treats - so cute, and green too!

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  10. Whenever I get a bit of time, I do try and keep up with my blog reads thought i don't get to comment much. i so miss my blogging friends and what is happening in their world. Miss you really, funny I think. I love these rice crispie shamrocks and will make them next year for nephews and nieces,

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