It’s nearly time for the wearing of the green, where we search for shamrocks and watch out for tricky leprechauns. St. Patrick’s Day is only a few days away.

We were having overnight guests at our house in the Cape; what a great excuse for an Irish themed luncheon to greet them upon their arrival. I made Potato Leek Soup the day before, and just had to heat it up and add the milk when we were ready to sit down. I had thoughts of making Irish Soda Bread to accompany it, but ran out of time. A little cultural diversity set in with purchased Italian ciabatta loaf. salami and Greek olives. I managed to find Irish Cheddar, however!

The table was easy to assemble.

I’ve had the Spode Fitzhugh salad plates for years, though the Aerin green-edged scalloped dinner plates are a new acquisition. I see they’re finally back in stock at Williams Sonoma – these were an eBay find.

My Fitzhugh Green collection is somewhat motley. I have the coffee and tea pots, six demitasse cups and saucers, the tureen, a small leaf plate, a sugar bowl and a number of pitchers, but so far no creamer. I’m still on the lookout for it.

Fitzhugh Green was first produced in the 1950s and finally discontinued in the 80s. It’s made of ironstone and thus is very sturdy. In terms of colour spectrum, it has a slight grey undercast. My favourite part is the twisted handles on the jugs with a delightful pattern of cascading leaves and berries.

Colonial Dame iced tea glasses by Fostoria really come into their own on St. Patrick’s Day. They’re truly a vibrant green,

The Arte Italica pewter-lidded soup bowls have long since been discontinued, but one can readily procure similar soup bowls in any number of places. Apilco makes a version with a white lid. The white porcelain goes well with the ironstone and the Aerin plates.

I found the sign at Christmas Tree Shops for the princely sum of $3.99; couldn’t resist the old-fashioned charm of the girl with the lovely spring hat, clutching a large shamrock.

Three beguiling leprechauns came home with me from the same place, for similar prices. I think I got out of there for under $10.

We finished up our fairly virtuous lunch with a small indulgence: Chocolate Pots de Creme. I had originally spotted this no-bake, easy peasy recipe which involved heating the cream in the microwave and pouring it over chocolate chips, sugar and an egg which have been pulverized in a blender (or in my case, a food processor).

Alas, the food processor refused to pulverize, after I’d added the raw egg and the sugar, of course. Frustrated and annoyed (a few choice words might have been used), I tossed the now-slimy chocolate chips into a colander and rinsed them thoroughly with cold water. Happily, I had not yet heated the cream. Time for plan B: do it the old fashioned way by heating the cream, melting in the chocolate, and then adding to a mixture of egg yolks whisked with sugar. The resultant chocolate confection is then baked in a Bain Marie, a fancy term for a plain water bath, the principle behind which is that water heats only to the boiling point, or 212° F, perfect for cooking the egg yolks to a creamy custard.

That done, I spooned the uncooked chocolate custard into six Fitzhugh Green demitasses and four small ramekins and arranged them all in a tin lasagne pan before pouring hot water around the containers up to about halfway. Cover tightly with foil and bake in a 325° F oven for about 45 minutes. I allowed them to cool slightly before removing the demitasses and ramekins from the water and chilling for a few hours. They turned out to be delicious; a bit more tedious than the no-bake 7-minute method extolled in the first recipe, but I need to replace my food processor before I can render an opinion on that one. Stay tuned! I’m determined to try it.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.