All In The Cooking

October 7th, 2015




All in the Cooking is back by popular demand….. I’ve just received a copy from O’ Brien Press who had the foresight to reprint Part 1 which was originally published in 1946.  It was written and compiled by Josephine Marnell, Nora Breathnach, Anne Martin and Mor Murnaghan for the students of Coláiste Mhuire Cookery School in Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin and it remained in use in schools and colleges throughout Ireland until the 1970’s.

In the press release to coincide with the launch, The O Brien Press, tell us that, All in the Cooking has attained, near legendary status in recent years as people search the internet for second hand copies but to little or no avail. It seems that owners of this beloved cookbook are loathe to part with it!

And, I can believe it, because almost 20 years ago I removed my copies of All in the Cooking Part 1 and 2 from the Ballymaloe Cookery School library of over 3,000 cookbooks to an inner sanctum of books that we regularly had to ‘trace’ when borrowed. Mine are soft backs but the new edition is hardback, a reprint of the third edition of Book 1 complete with margarine in virtually every recipes – I respectfully suggest that you substitute good Irish butter but it’s your call!

There are many gems and timeless classics in this book as well as some ‘interesting’ recipes from bygone days, so it’s like a blast from the past which will evoke nostalgic memories for literally millions of Irish school and college students of domestic science.

The foreword to the new edition is written by 97 year old Anne A Browne nee Martin, a co – author of All in the Cooking. It also includes the original preface by K M O’ Sullivan former principal of Cathal Brugha Street.  She tells us that “neither time nor labour was spared in the compilation of the work. The various recipes and explanations contained in it are the result of varied and scientific experience, and have been compiled with minute care and detail”. The public have the further assurance that every recipe has been carefully tested and tried before it was included in the book”

Before the publication of this book “the only Cookery Books available to students and to the public in Ireland were, with one or two exceptions, compiled abroad, and while these were quite suitable to the needs of the people for whom they were specially written, they could not be regarded as meeting full requirements and tastes of the Irish student or housewife”

There was much to make me smile. I remember how posh I thought potato roses were – a little mashed potato nest with peas in the centre.

Cool trendy young chefs, acolytes of Fergus Henderson will be delighted to find an authentic recipe for Sheep’s Head broth which starts by instructing us to “split the skull, lift the brains out – wash the head, pay particular attention to the tongue and parts around it, remove the eyes”……that should separate the men from the boys and send them shuffling back to their well-thumbed catering catalogue where everything is neatly portioned and vacpacked. Should they preserve, believe me the result will be delicious…..

Liver soup, on page 29, I’m not so sure about but I’m very partial to kidney soup. I’d forgotten about the section on invalid cooking which includes some unlikely temptations like steamed chop, gruel, invalid trifle and albumen water but several gems also, like chicken broth, blackcurrant tea (best cure ever if you feel a cold coming on) and recipes for barley water. For me the baking section was always a treasure trove. Here are a few tried and tested favourites

Hot Tips

Derryvilla Blueberry Farm ( in Co Offaly has a bumper crop again this year. The enterprise  is owned by John Seager and managed by Nuala O’Donoghue. No pesticides are used and most of their delicious, naturally grown berries and the products made from them – a tangy blueberry tonic and preserves – are supplied  to selected retailers or sold at Farmleigh Food Market ( But there is also a farm shop on site, and the popular “pick your own” option makes a great family day out during the summer months.

Tel: 057 864 2882


Date for your diary:- Gluten Free Food –  for those who are coeliac, or cook for someone who has a gluten intolerance, find it challenging to produce really delicious, balanced meals. Not to worry help is at hand, there is an intensive half day Gluten Free Cooking course  on Saturday October 3rd at the Ballymaloe Cookery  School.  You’ll learn a whole range of tasty and easy-to-prepare dishes including gluten-free sweet and savoury pastry, crackling salmon with coriander pesto and gluten free raspberry muffins. Suddenly, cooking for coeliacs will become a real pleasure rather than a chore. for more information.


Food on the Edge in Galway promises to be the most exciting food gig this year. It’s a two day symposium for chefs and food enthusiasts. There is a thrilling line up of guests who will talk, debate The theme is ‘Future of Food’, Looks like an unmissable event for anyone who wants to keep on top of the Irish and international food scene.


Celebrate the Honey Bee with Slow Food Northern Ireland on Saturday 26th September. Hendrik Dennemeyer, urban beekeeper will talk about keeping bees and how to get started at ‘The Narrows’, Portaferry, Northern Ireland. Contact Celia Spouncer on 0044 7725646333 or email or for further information.


Recipes taken from All in the Cooking. It is jointly published by the O’Brien Press and Edco, the Educational Company of Ireland.




To make 4 ozs short pastry

4 ozs. flour

Pinch of salt

2-3 ozs. butter  or margarine

Cold water


2 tablespoonfuls jam



2 ozs. butter or margarine

2 ozs. castor sugar

1 egg

3 ozs. flour

A little grated  lemon  rind

A little water

1/4 teaspoonful baking  powder




Jam Sauce

½ pint  water

Strip  of lemon  rind

2 tablespoonfuls jam

1 teaspoonful  cornflour

1 dessertsp. lemon  juice

1 teaspoonful  sugar


To make the short pastry.

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.
  2. Put in butter and cut it into small lumps with a knife, mixing lumps and flour in the process.
  3. Rub the fat into the flour with the tips of the fingers until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Lift the hands high so as to introduce as much cold air as possible into the flour. Care must be taken not to let the fat melt or the pastry will be oily and heavy.
  4. Add the water gradually and mix to a stiff paste with a knife. When paste is wet enough it should stick together, but not to the bowl or hands.
  5. Turn out on a lightly-floured board and knead lightly with the tips of the fingers.
  6. Press out a little with the rolling-pin, and then, with light, even strokes roll into the required shape.

NOTE.-If the pastry  sticks to the rolling-pin or board, scrape off the  part  that  has stuck  with the back of a knife, wipe with a cloth, flour  the  rolling-pin  and  board  and  continue  rolling.  Avoid the use of too much flour when rolling pastry.


To make the tart filling

  1. Have the butter or margarine at room temperature. Put it with the sugar into a bowl and beat until white and creamy using a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
  2. Beat the egg and add gradually to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat well.
  3. Fold in the  flour  and grated lemon rind using  a  metal  spoon, adding a little water if necessary to make to a dropping consistency. Add  the  baking  powder  mixed  with  the  last  addition  of  flour. Baking powder is not required when using an electric mixer.


Next line the tart plate.

  1. Grease a tart plate about 8 ins. in diameter.
  2. Roll the pastry into a round shape a little larger than the plate.
  3. Cut a strip ½ inch wide off the pastry and put round the edge of the plate with the cut edge outwards.
  4. Damp this strip of pastry and line the plate with the remainder of the pastry. Trim the edges, flake and decorate them. Prick pastry with a fork.
  5. Spread the centre  of  the  plate  with 2 tablespoons of  jam,  having  it  about ¼ inch thick.
  6. Spread the cake mixture on top of the jam.
  7. Roll out any trimmings of pastry, cut into strips about ½ inches wide. Put these trellis-wise across pudding.
  8. Bake in a fairly moderate oven for about 30 minutes until brown and thoroughly cooked. Dredge with sugar and serve on a d’oyley on a plate.
  9. Serve with Jam Sauce.


To make the Jam Sauce

  1. Put water, lemon rind and jam into a saucepan.
  2. Infuse for 15 minutes and then bring slowly to the boil, and boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain and pour on to cornflour, which has been blended with a little water, stirring to prevent lumping.
  4. Put back on  the  heat  and  bring to  the  boil, still  stirring, and  boil gently  for 5 minutes.  Add lemon juice and sugar.

NOTE.-If red jam is used, a  few drops  of carmine  may  be required to improve the colour.



1 lb. mixed dried fruit                                 1 lb. flour

1/2 pt. cold tea                                            1 egg

6 ozs. brown sugar                                    1/4 teasp. mixed spice

2 teasps. baking powder

  1. Clean the fruit and put to steep in the cold tea with the brown sugar. Leave overnight.
  2. Add the flour, beaten egg, mixed spice and baking powder. Mix well together.
  3. Put into a greased lined 8-inch tin. Place a piece of tinfoil on top. Bake in a moderate oven for about 2 hours.




1/z pint freshly-boiled water             1 tablespoonful blackcurrant jam

Sugar, if liked

  1. Put jam into a warm bowl, pour the boiling water over. Leave at the side of the stove to infuse, or stand bowl with tea in a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain through fine muslin, and serve in a warm glass. Stand glass on a small plate. Add sugar, if liked.
  3. Add barley, cook for ½ hour. Add vegetables and cook for further hour. Season and add parsley.



Queen of Puddings


1 ½ ozs. Breadcrumbs                       ½ pint milk

½ oz. butter or margarine                  1 level tablespoonful sugar

1 yolk of egg                                     Grated rind of 1/2 lemon, or a few drops  lemon  essence


1 tablespoonful raspberry jam                   1 white of egg

2 ozs. castor sugar

  1. Put butter, milk and lemon rind into a saucepan and heat until the butter is melted. Add and stir until dissolved. Cool slightly.
  2. Beat the yolk of egg and pour the heated milk on to it, taking care not to let it curdle.
  3. Put the breadcrumbs into a bowl, and pour the egg and milk over them. Pour into a well-greased pie-dish.
  4. Place on a fiat tin. Bake in a very moderate oven for about 40 minutes or until set.
  5. Heat the jam slightly and spread   on top of the pudding.
  6. Beat the white of egg stiffly and fold in the castor sugar. Pile roughly on top of the jam.
  7. Return to  a  very  cool  oven  until  the  meringue  is set  and well dried  out,  about  ½ hour.    Allow to become lightly browned.

NOTE.-Instead of making   breadcrumbs, cut the bread into pieces, soak in the egg and milk mixture until soft. Beat well or put in the liquidiser at slow speed for a few seconds.




1 ½  pts. of chicken stock                           1/2 oz. pearl  barley

Salt  and  pepper                              2 ozs. chopped onion

2 ozs. chopped celery                                 1 teasp. finely-chopped parsley

  1. Make stock by simmering carcase and bones of chicken for 1 ½ hours in 1 quart of water. Strain, cool and remove fat.




October 6th, 2015

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen didn’t used to be associated with wonderful food,  but for the past decade, thanks to René Redzepi and his team at Noma, food tourists from all over the world are beating a path to the Nordic countries to check out the food revolution that this iconic restaurant has sparked. Nowadays many of the chefs and cooks who originally worked at Noma has opened their own restaurants to well-deserved critical acclaim.

This weekend I went over to join the fifth anniversary celebrations of one of the best loved ‘spark-offs’ Relae.  Christian Puglisi worked with René at Noma for many years.  Like his friend, he is self-taught and an immensely creative free spirit  – no chefs toques or pompous ego here. He opened Relae in Jaegersborggade , a scary drug crazed street in 2010, where the property was affordable for a reason!  It took real guts and courage. Soon punters, lured by stories of Christian’s food were making their way to a part of town they would not normally frequent. It was the beginning of another revolution, now the street has a tempting selection of small shops, an artisan bakery, a fudge and toffee shop, a cookery school, jewellers and Gröd, a café that just sells porridge in all its forms and always has a queue outside. Relae now has a Michelin star for its simple, organic, sustainable, no fuss food. They serve only natural wines and a superb fresh juice menu to compliment each course.

Manfred’s, the sister restaurant just across the road followed in the Autumn of 2011.  More recently Christian has moved into the Nørrebro area,  another area where few people ventured to open Baest, serving a selection of house made charcuterie and sourdough pizza bases cooked to order in the wood burning oven. The bakery next door is called Mirabelle, selling Christian’s sourdough breads, the best homemade croissants and pain au chocolate in town.

Summer had come to Copenhagen that weekend after a disappointing summer so the beautiful lean,  young (and old) Danes were out in force on their bicycles. On Saturday I attended a spectacular tasting of natural wines of which more another week.

On Sunday evening the celebration party in the Nørrebro Park got underway. Christian had invited an amazing line up of his friends from the “world of gastronomy” to cook his favourite street food from a circle of food trucks in the park.  Rosio Sanchez and Renè Redzepi  dished out fantastically good tacos, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken fame cooked up hotdogs with a choice of three delectable homemade sausages, Matt Orlando of AMASS cooked fried chicken to die for, Mehmet Guhrs from Mikla in Istanbul where I had a superb meal earlier in the year served braised lamb lavash from a little barbecue, Kobe Desmeraults of Inde Wulf made us shrimp croquettes and bakers extraordinaire Chad Robertson and Richard Harte from San Francisco  spread butter and ciccioli on delicious Tartine bread  while the band played wild and wonderful music.

Can you imagine having a little card to wander from one food truck to another to be served street food by many of my food heroes and one was more delicious than the next, Christian’s beef tartare…. Rosa tacos.  I had already sought out her little food stand, Hija de Sanchez  down by the Torvehallerne on Saturday afternoon. Her tacos are insanely good and her avocado ice cream with condensed milk drizzle and dried raspberries are work jumping on a plane to  Copenhagen for.


photo 1 (21)

While you are there, go along to Atelier September on Gothersgade and order their avocado on rye, thinly sliced, sprinkled with finely chopped chives, espelette pepper, a whisper of lemon zest and a few flakes of sea salt. I also had iced matcha tea and pink grapefruit Tokyo style with a little shredded mint, a perfect refreshing little plate on a summer Sunday. But most refreshing of all was an hour long  canal and harbour boat trip, a touristy pursuit that is so worth making time for and a perfect way to see this beautiful maritime city.


Hot Tips

See you at the Waterford Harvest Festival today and tomorrow. Talks, walks, cookery demonstrations, food and wine tastings, GIY Growfest, Rory O’ Connell and I will be doing a dem at 12 today in the Grow HQ Kitchen in the Blackfriars


The East Cork Business Alliance, based in Midleton, is in the final stages of publishing the East Cork Food Producers Guide. There are a few spaces available so if you are a small producer in the area and would like to be part of the initiative, contact Redmond on 087 779 9874. The guide will cost €2 and proceeds will be donated to East Cork Meals on Wheels.


Rory O’ Connell will host a pop up dinner, ‘Fish on Friday’, 18th September in the B8 Bonded Warehouse, Cork. Follow the link for bookings


The native Irish oyster season has just opened, these delicious briny oysters are only in season when there is an R in the month. The flavour can be distinctly different from one bay to another, so it’s a particular treat to find a restaurant that offers a parallel tasting of say Dungarvan, Galway Bay and Sherkin Island oysters.


Grab an Autumn break before Winter sets in – my recommendation this week comes from my sister who loved Pax House in Dingle, a bed and breakfast with 15 rooms. John O’ Farrell is a brilliant host, delicious breakfast, spectacular views and lots to do.

Check it out.


Midleton Food and Drink Festival is on today. The main street will be choc a bloc with local food and drink producers, food tastings and demonstrations. Check out for the details.


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Avocado on Rye

Inspired by the dish I ate at Atelier September in Copenhagen


Serves 1


2 slices of rye bread

1 Haas avocado

Chives, finely chopped

Espelette pepper

Organic lemon

Sea salt flakes


Spread the slices of rye bread with a little butter. Half and stone the avocado. Remove the skin, scoop out the avocado. ?? very thinly and place one on each slice of bread, sprinkle generously with finely chopped chives and a little espellette pepper. Grate a little lemon zest over each one and sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on top. Serve immediately on a small white plate.



Salt Baked Celeriac with Olive Butter


Serves 4


1 celeriac

Extra virgin olive oil

Coarse Salt


100 g (4 oz) Kalamata olives, stoned

25 g (1 oz) butter

Small basil leaves


Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3.


Scrub the celeriac well, dry carefully. Brush with a little olive oil.  Put in a deep ovenproof casserole or small roasting tin, sprinkle with coarse salt and bake in the preheated oven until tender, 3 – 3 1/2 hours.  Cool, remove the celeriac and brush off the salt.


Meanwhile stone and whizz the olives with extra virgin olive oil to a very smooth paste.

To serve heat the olive paste and whisk in some butter. Peel and slice the celeriac thickly, cut into uneven chunks. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of  olive paste onto  a small plate. Arrange 3 or 4 pieces of celeriac on top .

Drizzle with a couple of blobs of olive paste. Top with a few small basil leaves and a few flakes of sea salt. Serve.



Avocado Ice Pop with Condensed Milk Toffee and Dried Raspberries


Makes 8-10 ice pops


Avocado Ice-cream

Serves 6-8 depending on accompaniment, makes 1 litre (1 ¾ pints)

What a surprise – this delicious ice-cream can be served in a sweet or savoury combination.


350g (12 oz) ripe avocado flesh (3-4 avocados depending on size)
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (from a lemon not a squeezy bottle)
350ml (12fl oz) whole milk
110g  (4oz) castor sugar
225ml (8fl oz) cream


Condensed milk

Lollipop sticks

Dried raspberries

Chilled plates


First make the avocado ice cream. Scoop the flesh from the ripe avocado into a blender; add the lemon juice, milk and sugar, whiz until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cream – mix well to combine. Taste and add a little lemon juice if needed.

Freeze in a sorbetiere or ice-cream maker, it won’t take as long as other ice-creams – maybe 15 minutes.

Pour into popsicles moulds. Cover and insert the lollipop sticks. Freeze. Put the condensed milk in a saucepan, cook to a golden caramel colour. Cool.

To serve, take a chilled plate, lay a square of waxed paper on top. Slide the ice pops out of the mould, lay on the plate. Drizzle with condensed milk toffee and sprinkle with dried raspberries. Serve.


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Grapefruit Tokyo Style with Mint


A rediscovery so simple but a deliciously refreshing plate


Serves 2


1 juicy pink grapefruit

Fresh mint

A little sugar, optional


Cut the top and bottom of the ripe pink grapefruit. Cut off the skin and pith, then remove the segments with a sharp knife. Cut each segment into uneven angular shapes. Arrange on a white plate. Sprinkle with a little shredded mint and a tiny bit of sugar if a little tart.

Serve immediately.



Brioche Doughnuts


Brioche Dough

Granulated Sugar




Brioche is the richest of all yeast dough’s.   It can often seem intimidating but this very easy version works well and we have written it so that the dough can rise overnight in the fridge and be shaped and baked the following morning.

We always serve them warm from the oven with butter and homemade strawberry jam.


Makes 15-20 individual brioches or 2 large ones


25g (1oz) yeast

50g (2oz/1/4 cup) castor sugar

65 ml (2 1/2 fl ozs/1/4 cup) tepid water

4 eggs

450g (1 lb/4 cups) strong white flour

large pinch of salt

225g (8oz/2 sticks) soft butter


Sponge the yeast and sugar in the tepid water in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Allow to stand for five minutes.   Add the eggs, flour and salt and mix to a stiff dough with the dough hook.


When the mixture is smooth, beat in the soft butter in small pieces.  Don’t add the next piece of butter until the previous piece has been completely absorbed.  This kneading stage should take about half an hour.


The finished dough should have a silky appearance, it should come away from the sides of the bowl and when you touch the dough it should be damp but not sticky.

Place it in an oiled bowl, cover and rest it overnight in the fridge.


Next day pinch off ½ oz pieces, roll into a long strip and twist two pieces to make a garland. Pinch the ends together. Allow to rise on floured cloths.

Meanwhile heat oil in a deep fry. Cook one at a time until puffed and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and toss in coarse sugar – don’t eat too many, difficult because they are irresistible.


The Humble Spud

October 3rd, 2015

I’m absolutely thrilled to read about big plans to give the humble spud a make-over, a one million pound boost to be precise. This is big – a collaboration between Bord Bia, Department of Agriculture, Ireland’s potato industry, The British Potato Council and the EU.

Everyone concerned has become increasingly dismayed by the 25% drop in potato consumption in the past decade. Sales to the under 45’s account for an even more dramatic drop of 33%.  Even though the potato is inextricably linked with Irish food culture our national love affair with the spud has been waning for quite some time.

Many young people have ditched the ‘unsexy’ potato in favour of ‘cooler’ carbs like rice and pasta but prepare to be dazzled – the humble spud is about to get a full-on makeover.  The campaign sprang into action on October 2nd – National Potato Day with a ‘cheeky’ potato character and a saucy line ‘Potatoes – more than a bit on the side’.

The quality of much of the Irish potato crop dipped dramatically in the 1980s as the Irish potato growers boosted crops with nitrogen in a frantic attempt to compete with the cheap imports from Cyprus where the climate lends itself to higher yielding varieties.

The result was a larger, watery, potato with poor keeping quality. Spud lovers felt cheated and bewildered. Was it any wonder then that many hitherto devotees turned to the more reliable and for many more convenient fast food.  The reality is that if we want beautiful Irish floury potatoes as we remember them, we need to pay more because the varieties are naturally low yielding.

Potatoes were also damned as fattening, a complete and utter myth which badly needs to be dispelled.

Instead we need to ramp up the message that potatoes are a fab ‘superfood’, the only one that can sustain life, remarkable for both its adaptability and its nutritional value.  As well as providing starch, an essential component of the diet, potatoes are rich in vitamin C, high in potassium and an excellent source of fibre.  In fact, potatoes alone supply every vital nutrient except calcium, vitamin A and D.  The easily-grown plant has the ability to provide more nutritious food faster on less land than any other food crop, and in almost any environment.  So easy to grow yourself – you don’t need a farm or a garden, we’ve had fun showing school kids how to plant potatoes in old hessian sacks and willow baskets and even galvanised dustbins. I’m not so keen on the rubber tyre tower, somehow I’m suspicious that some of the toxins could leach into the soil, hopefully I’m wrong.

Digging a stalk of potatoes is pure magic for anyone from the Minister of Agriculture to my 12 year old grandson, all those beautiful earthy jewels where originally you planted just one potato. And from the cook’s point of view, potatoes are phenomenally versatile. As we all know they can be boiled, steamed, roast, fried, grilled, and deep fried. They take on a myriad of flavours and herbs, spices, chilli, but and it’s a big but you really have to source carefully. As ever, I seek out traditional varieties that are suited to Irish growing conditions usually lower yielding – varieties like Homeguard, British Queens and Sharpe’s Express in Summer and Golden Wonders, Kerrs Pinks and in Winter we also love the waxy Pink Fir apple. Michael McKillop of Glens of Antrim potatoes tells me that he will have new season Lumpers in the shops within the next couple of weeks. We choose blight resistant varieties because as organic farmers we don’t wish to spray – we have had considerable success with early crops of Colleen and Orla. Santé, Setanta, Rudolph and Cosmos have given delicious main crop results.



Hot Tips

Check out the cool Food Truck parked outside the Ballymaloe Cookery School every Sunday from 11am-6pm.  Julia and Igor serve up simple and delicious Eastern European food – Shashlik, Chinahi, & Granny Pancakes. You can choose from small bites or main plates, or just sit and enjoy a coffee. Combine it with a visit to our gardens and Celtic Maze – a perfect way to spend a Sunday!


Make your way to Dingle this weekend to catch the Dingle Food Festival – there are taste trails, cookery demos, workshops, wine tastings, food markets, charity cook off and lots lots more…. is choc a bloc full of info……


Philip Dennhardt’s Saturday Pizzas from the wood burning oven here at the Ballymaloe Cookery School have a cult following, want to know the secrets? Sign up for Philip’s three hour, Pizza Masterclass on Friday 9th October.  All the basics will be covered from choosing the ingredients, making the dough, getting the best results from your oven, lots of delicious toppings – the classic Margherita, Pepperoni and Calzone and contemporary pizzas – think Shrimp with watercress and homemade dill mayo, caramelized red onion and salsa verde, homemade cottage cheese with mint……

Good to Know: Philip will be cooking pizzas for the duration of the class, so there will be lots of sampling. for more information about Philip and Saturday Pizzas, read our interview with him on The BCS Blog


Jordan Bourke is another young Irish chef who’s really making waves in the UK. His new cookbook Our Korean Kitchen which he co-wrote with his wife Rejina Pyo is creating quite a stir. He will teach a Guest Chef course at the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday 10th October.

This is Jordan’s third book. The Guilt Free Gourmet and the Natural Food Kitchen were also bestsellers.

Jordan is an experienced Korean chef having learned from the masters in Korean restaurants and home kitchens. Korean food is really having its moment and we’re all totally hooked.

In this course Jordan will share some of his other favourite recipes a delicious Moroccan harira soup; crab cakes with saffron aioli as well as Korean bibimap; and a gorgeous Almond, Coconut & Date cake with Rosewater and Cardamom and much more……see for the details.



Homemade Potato Crisps or Game Chips


Potato crisps can be nutritious as well as delicious. It’s definitely worthwhile to make them yourself– a few potatoes produce a ton of crisps and nothing you buy in any shop will be even half as delicious. A mandolin is well worth buying for making chips – but mind your fingers!  When these are served with roast pheasant they are called game chips


Serves 4


450g (1lb) large, even-sized potatoes

extra virgin olive oil or beef dripping for deep-fat frying



Wash and peel the potatoes. For even-sized crisps, trim each potato with a swivel-top peeler until smooth. Slice them very finely, preferably with a mandolin. Soak in cold water to remove the excess starch (this will also prevent them from discolouring or sticking together). Drain off the water and dry well.


In a deep-fat fryer, heat the oil or dripping to 180ºC/350ºF. Drop in the dry potato slices a few at a time and fry until golden and completely crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat until they are all cooked.


If they are not to be served immediately, they may be stored in a tin box and reheated in a low oven just before serving.



Aloo Tikki (Potatoes and Pea Cutlet)

Aarudhra Giri from Tamil Nadu in India made this delicious pea and spicy potato cakes for us – they’re now a firm favourite.


4 potatoes, boiled and peeled

150g (5oz) green peas, boiled

1 onion, finely chopped

3/4 green chilli

3 teaspoon ginger grated very finely

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) fresh coriander, chopped

1 level teaspoon cumin powder

1 level teaspoon coriander powder

1 level teaspoon chilli powder

salt and pepper to taste


To Serve

Mint and Coriander Chutney (see recipe)


Fry the onion in a little olive oil until golden.


Mash the boiled peas and potatoes with the other ingredients.


Form small balls with the dough, roll it in some flour and line them in a tray. Keep this in the fridge until you are ready to serve.


Just before serving, heat olive oil/ sunflower oil in a frying pan and shallow fry them until golden.


Serve with mint and coriander chutney


Mint and Coriander Chutney


1 bunch of fresh mint

1/2 bunch of fresh coriander

1 red onion, chopped

1 green chilli, chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

a pinch of sugar

salt to taste

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) natural yoghurt


Blitz everything in a liquidiser until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.



Papas Bravas


Serves 10-12 as a tapa


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 red chilli, chopped (with seeds)

1 x 400g (14oz) tin of tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon homemade tomato purée

2 teaspoons paprika

salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

extra virgin olive oil

900g (2lbs) potatoes (e.g. golden wonder) peeled or unpeeled, which ever you prefer

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

sea salt


To Serve

Aioli – homemade mayonnaise with crushed garlic and chopped parsley to taste


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan.  Add the chopped garlic and chilli and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the chopped tinned tomatoes, tomato purée and paprika.  Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar.  Simmer for 5-8 minutes or until slightly reduced.


Meanwhile, heat 1 inch (2 1/2cm) olive oil in a frying pan.  Dice the potatoes into 1 inch (2 1/2 cm) pieces.  Dry on kitchen paper.  Cook the potatoes in the hot oil until light golden brown in colour and tender all the way through.


While the potatoes are cooking, liquidize the sauce and add the sherry vinegar.  Return to the pan.  When the potatoes are cooked, remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.  Season lightly with some sea salt.


Heat the sauce, taste.


Serve the potatoes on a plate, drizzle with the sauce and a good dollop of aioli.



Potatoes with Smetana and Dill from Transylvania


We ate this simple potato salad in the courtyard restaurant of Hanul Cetatii, Saschiz in Transylvania.


Serves 6


6-12 freshly cooked potatoes, depending on size

salt and freshly ground pepper


Smetana (sour cream) (or crème fraîche)

lots of chopped dill and dill sprigs


Peel and cut the freshly cooked potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and chopped dill. Toss.


Serve on a platter, drizzle with smetana or crème fraîche and lots of dill sprigs over the top.



Claudia Roden’s Potatoes with Chorizo


This is an earthy, strongly-flavoured dish that is served as a first or main course. By tradition the potatoes are cut only half way through with a wide knife then snapped open by twisting the blade. This is meant to release more starch so as to make the sauce thicker and to allow the potatoes to absorb more flavour. Small pork ribs, shallow-fried or roasted in the oven are sometimes added to make it a more meaty dish.


Serves 2 as a main course


1 large onion, chopped

3 – 4 tablespoons (4-5 American tablespoons) olive oil

200g (7oz) spicy chorizo (fully cured or semi-cured cooking type) cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) slices

2 garlic cloves, chopped

500g (18oz) new potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5 – 4cm (1- 1 1/2 inch) pieces

1/2 – 1 teaspoon sweet pimentón, or sweet paprika (optional)



Sauté the onion in the oil over low heat in a wide frying pan, stirring often until it is really brown – almost caramelised – about 20 minutes. Add the chorizo and garlic and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Put in the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, turning them over.


It is usual to add pimentón, but I do not add any when there is enough pimentón from the chorizo. Add salt and pour in enough water to cover. Simmer over low heat for about 25 – 35 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the liquid is very much reduced, turning the potatoes over if necessary so that they are well cooked right through. You should be left with a sizzling sauce that coats the potatoes and chorizo slices. If there is too much liquid, increase the heat towards the end to reduce it.



  • Chop 1/2 a green and 1/2 a red bell pepper and put them in when the onion is soft and continue to cook until lightly browned.
  • Add 1 peeled chopped tomato to the onions when they are brown
  • Put in a whole dried or fresh chilli pepper


September 26th, 2015

Fermentation, the hottest ‘new’ trend in food for the past few years is gradually becoming main stream as the word gets out that fermented foods are one of the easiest ways to enhance our gut flora. So if you haven’t already started to experiment, now could be the time.

Our Western diet is sadly lacking in fermented foods but many popular foods are in fact fermented including yoghurt, beer, salami, vinegar, fermented black beans, tempeh, miso….

Problem is some of these foods like yoghurt are so hugely processed and sweetened and refined that there’s very little value left.  In fact there’s quite a school of thought that would argue that they are downright damaging to one’s health rather than beneficial.

So avoid hugely processed food totally, I can’t be stronger than that but as time passes I am increasingly concerned  that there’s a real and growing problem. The number of people I encounter on a daily basis who have  a number of intolerances or allergies or worse still a combination is truly alarming. People are confused and in some cases down right desperate trying to find and choose foods that they can eat without ill effects. Many are see-sawing from one ‘super food’ or whacky diet to another grasping at straws. Well for what it’s worth here’s my advice which of course you are welcome to take or leave, agree or disagree but it comes from my observation over 50 years or more, 31 of which I’ve been running a cookery school where students come for both short but also three month courses, from a wide range of ages, backgrounds and nationalities. The number of students arriving with allergies and intolerances has skyrocked in recent years. While they are with us, they have the option to eat raw butter and drink raw organic milk and thick Jersey milk yoghurt. Those  with wheat intolerance (not coeliac)  seem to be able to eat totally natural sourdough bread made with organic flour without ill effects. Several who couldn’t tolerate eggs seem to be able to enjoy our free range organic eggs; Vegetarians decide to try meat when they know the provenance.

Those with gut problems of which there seem to be alarming numbers nowadays, report a dramatic improvement in their condition when they eat natural yoghurt made with no additives.

So what’s going on, this is simply my observation or anecdotal evidence of little or no value in the scientific world but research is urgently needed. Can it be that increasingly people are allergic to the process rather that the initial natural food, certainly there’s enough anecdotal evidence to make it worth investigating. Sadly unless there’s a perceived commercial benefit it’s difficult to get a research project going nowadays.

Meanwhile, we can all take back power over our food choices and start to ferment some simple foods at home.

Here at the Ballymaloe Cookery School we’ve been offering three Fermentation courses a year and the fascinating journey continues. Each new class builds on the previous one as we experiment more and our knowledge deepens.

If you are beginning your journey, a brilliant new book Fermented by Charlotte Pike , a beginners guide to making your own sourdough, yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and more has just been published by Kyle Books. I so wish the book had been available when I was starting, clear, concise and confidence boosting.


Hot Tips

Learn how easy it is to make many of your own fermented foods at home on Wednesday 14th October at the Ballymaloe Cookery School. From kefir to kombucha; German sauerkraut to Korean kim chi, krauchi ….learn how to make and look after these superfoods, as well as discovering a selection of our favourite recipes that use them. If you grow your own produce you will discover myriad ways to preserve the bounty of your harvest and enjoy it through the winter. This course will familiarise you with a wide variety of fermented foods and you will get to see and taste them for yourself. for further information

Taken from Fermented, by Charlotte Pike. Published by Kyle Books. Photography by Tara Fisher.




Kimchi is an essential component of Korean cuisine, as it is served with almost every meal. It is still made in the autumn, in a UNESCO-protected process called Kimjang, when families come together to make their own recipes, which are passed down through

the generations. With many regional differences in ingredients and methods, making and eating kimchi is a firm part of Korean heritage. My recipe is for a slightly sweet, tangy kimchi with a crunchy texture. I prefer to thinly slice the cabbage, but you could chop it into chunky pieces if you wish. Personally, I like everything cut up quite small.



825g total weight of organic white cabbage, thinly sliced and Chinese leaf, cut into 5cm chunks, using more or less of each, as you prefer

50g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated

6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

50g fresh red chillies, such as fresno or serenade, thinly sliced (leaving the seeds in)

3 organic carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

1 bunch of organic spring onions, thinly sliced

400ml fish sauce

65g palm sugar

zest and juice of 2 limes

200ml filtered water

you will need a 1.5-litre glass Le-Parfait-style jar with a rubber seal, sterilised


Place the cabbage, Chinese leaf, ginger, garlic, chillies, carrots and spring onions in a large mixing bowl and mix well together with your hands until evenly combined. Transfer the mixture to a 1.5-litre jar.

Add the fish sauce, sugar, lime zest and juice and water to a jug and stir to dissolve the palm sugar. Pour into the jar, stir well with a wooden spoon or

spatula and press down any vegetables that are poking out of the liquid. Close the lid and set aside to ferment on the kitchen worksurface for at least a week. When the kimchi is ready it should smell strongly of its component ingredients, but not be unpleasant. It won’t change drastically in appearance, but the vegetables will soften a little.

The kimchi keeps for up to 2 months in a cool, dark place. Once opened, store in the fridge and eat within a month.



Ensure the vegetables are submerged in the brine at all times to inhibit mould from forming on the surface.


Korean tofu stir-fry with kimchi


This stir-fry is Charlotte’s version of a classic Korean dish known as Japchae. It uses sweet potato noodles, which are an important staple in the Korean diet, and which are gluten free. Often called glass noodles, as they become clear when cooked, they are quite neutral in flavour and have a rather moreish sticky texture.



200g marinated tofu, cut into 1.5cm cubes

50g sweet potato noodles (available from

ethnic food shops and online), or vermicelli

200g baby spinach leaves, stalks removed

4 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon caster or light brown soft sugar

1½ tablespoons sunflower oil

1 bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced

200g shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 small carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

1 courgette, cut into thin matchsticks


toasted sesame seeds

4 heaped tablespoons Kimchi


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C electric/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment. Arrange the tofu cubes in a single layer on the baking tray and bake for 20–30 minutes or until golden, firm and crisp around the edges.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and set aside.

Place a large wok over a high heat. Add the sunflower oil and allow it to heat for a minute. Put in all of the remaining ingredients, except for the noodles and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes. Add the noodles and continue to stir-fry for a further 2 minutes or until they are heated through.

Serve the stir-fry in large bowls, topped with the baked tofu. Finish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a generous spoonful of kimchi on top.


Coconut Milk Kefir



2 tablespoons milk kefir grains (available  online)

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

you will need a 500ml glass Le-Parfait-style jar with a rubber seal, sterilised


This kefir is delicious made with coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. Coconut milk can be fermented using milk kefir grains. It can be enjoyed as a thin, pouring yogurt for breakfast, or as a drink. To use milk kefir grains to ferment coconut milk, you’ll need to do a cow’s milk ferment first with your milk kefir grains and repeat this process once every four ferments to keep your grains healthy and active. There’s no need to rinse your milk kefir grains once they’re fermented; use them as they are. The milk kefir grains will eat the lactose in the milk, meaning that anyone suffering from lactose intolerance should be fine with this. If in doubt, you may be best sticking to a powdered starter culture to ferment coconut milk.

Put the milk kefir grains and coconut milk in the jar, stir well with a wooden spoon and close the jar. Place in the fridge to ferment for 12–24 hours. The coconut milk kefir should thicken slightly, and the milk kefir grains may multiply slightly. Strain through a nylon sieve and drink as it is. Start with a glass of up to 150ml initially. Best served chilled.




Kraut-chi is a popular hybrid of German sauerkraut and Korean kimchi. It sounds a bit odd, but it is a lovely blend of flavours and textures and is extremely versatile. It makes an excellent side served with salads, omelettes or all manner of spicy dishes.



300g organic white cabbage, very thinly


1 bunch of organic spring onions, thinly sliced

2 organic carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

2cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and

finely grated

4 teaspoons sea salt

1 red chilli, finely chopped

2 tablespoons Water Kefir

you will need a 1-litre glass Le-Parfait-style

jar with a rubber seal, sterilised


Place all the ingredients in a large ceramic or glass mixing bowl and toss together with your hands until all the ingredients are well combined. Pack into a 1-litre jar, pressing down well to pack the vegetables in. Close the lid. Set aside on the kitchen worksurface for 5 days. After this time the kraut-chi will smell lightly vinegary and the vegetables will have softened a little. The kraut-chi will keep for up to 2 months. Once opened, store in the fridge and eat within a month.


Kombucha is a delicious fermented sweet tea. It is made using a scoby (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast), which can either be bought or passed on from a friend. The scoby looks most unusual, but it produces the most delicious drink that is lightly effervescent and tastes of apples.

You will need a small amount of kombucha to start a batch, so this is a great recipe to do with your friends and share amongst one another.

Scobies can be peeled in half, or cut into quarters and pieces.



2 heaped tablespoons black loose-leaf tea

(I use English Breakfast)

200g organic cane sugar

1 litre boiling water

1 litre filtered water

1 scoby or scoby piece (available online)

250ml Kombucha (available online, or from  a friend)

you will need a 3-litre glass Le-Parfait-style jar with a rubber seal, sterilised


Put the tea, sugar and boiling water in a jug and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside to infuse and cool to room temperature. Strain the tea into a 3-litre glass jar and add the remaining ingredients. Stir well with a wooden spoon and then fasten the lid.

Set aside to ferment on the kitchen work surface for 5 days, after which time the kombucha will smell appley and lightly vinegary, and look clearer and more orange in colour. I prefer to drink the kombucha at the younger stage, after 5 days, however you can leave it to ferment for up to 2 weeks if you wish. You will find that the flavour will become progressively more vinegary and effervescent the longer the kombucha ferments. I recommend starting by drinking a 150ml glass (no larger) of kombucha. Reserve 250ml of the kombucha to make a second batch.


Flavoured Kombucha

Once you’ve perfected making kombucha, you can start experimenting with different flavours. Pour off 1 litre of kombucha into a clean glass jar and stir in the flavouring

of your choice. Set aside to ferment on the kitchen worksurface for 12 hours. Drink as it is, or strain. Best served chilled.



1 litre fermented Kombucha


EITHER 3 large hibiscus flowers

OR a few sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm

OR 2 teaspoons dried chamomile leaves


TIP: You can leave the lid on or off the bottle as it ferments. It can be more effervescent if the lid is fastened.


Mary Keane

August 29th, 2015

IMG_2065 (1)

Just heard the sad news of Mary Keane’s passing. Mary was often referred to as John B Keane’s wife as indeed she was for 47 years until his death in 2002 but Mary was a legend in herself. I only met her a couple of times but each encounter imprinted itself on my mind and I felt so fortunate that our paths had crossed. Mary had a wonderful way with words, I loved the colloquial language she used and how she seems so totally happy and confident in her own self and place. You might say, Well of course,  but it was an extra intangible something that was both inspirational and endearing and a rare enough quality.

In 2009 I had a wonderful morning with Mary learning how to make traditional Listowel Mutton Pies.  I was in the town for the annual Food Fair and of course strayed into the legendary family pub, I fell into lively company and we took to discussing food, local butcher turned bookie, Eric Brown regaled me with stories of the beef and kidney stew and the hare soup his mother used to make after the local coursing meeting. He taught me a new technique of skinning rabbits and slipped me a few tips for the next race meeting. Then who should come to the scene but the matriarch of the Keane dynasty, the doyenne of mutton pies herself, she being the winner of the Listowel Mutton pie competition in 2007, an accolade she was very proud of.  A spirited exchange took place between Mary, her son Billy, Jimmy Deenihan and several other punters about the traditional mutton pie. It was wonderful stuff, everyone had an opinion but what was most thrilling for me was the discovery that the pie tradition is still alive and well in Listowel, Co Kerry. I wished I’d had a video camera to record this exchange. I was still thinking about it when I woke the following morning, so on impulse I picked up the phone and asked Mary to show me herself – I thought the worst she could do was say no if it didn’t suit her. She was still in ‘her nightdress’ and  hadn’t even had a cup of tea when I rang but she said she’d do her best to find someone to stand behind the bar while she ran out to the butcher to get some mutton, “I have the self raising flour and the margarine but I’ll need a drop of buttermilk”

We met in the little kitchen behind the pub around 11am.  All the ingredients, plus salt, ground white pepper and a rolling pin were laid out on the table. Mary had already started to chop and was sharpening a knife on a fragment of whet stone as I arrived. She put me to work right away “Cut the meat cut into tiny cubes, not more than 1/8 of an inch” There was a mixture of shoulder, lap and shank in what we had. The chopped meat went into a green Tupperware bowl and was seasoned liberally with salt and finely ground white pepper. Next the pastry, Mary put about 1 ½ lbs self raising flour into a bowl, a pinch of salt and enough buttermilk to mix. It was more like bread dough really than a pastry. Mary gathered it all together, then kneaded it for a minute or two, before rolling out to a thickness of about ¼ inch with the wooden rolling pin. Then she took a saucer out of the cupboard and used it as a template to cut out rounds of dough

Mary was taught how to make traditional pies by her mother in law, Hannah Purtill a member of Cumann na mBan, who lived in a house in Church Street. One at a time each circle of dough was rolled into a thinner round. Mary put a generous half fistful of mutton into the centre, brushed the edges with buttermilk and then pressed another round onto the top, the edges were pressed together to seal and then pricked with a fork 4 or 5 times.

By now the oven had been preheated to 230°C (450ºF) so the pies were baked 3 or 4 at a time on a baking tray – we made 8 in all.

According to Mary, the tradition of pie making in Listowel came about because the women wanted to go to the races, they didn’t want to be deprived of their fun so they made a ‘blast of pies’ a few days before the famous Listowel races. The way Listowel mutton pies are eaten is unique.  The pastry is quite robust because of the small proportion of shortening to flour, not at all fragile. A big pot of mutton broth is made from the bones with maybe an onion or two added. On race day, the pies are slipped, a couple at a time into the pot of strained broth. They simmer away gently for 15 or 20 minutes and are then served into wide shallow soup bowls with a ladle full of hot broth on top. They are eaten with a spoon and a fork and some extra salt and pepper if you like.

Mary told me that her pies were never quite right for John B, “he was always cribbing that the pastry was always a bit too thick or too thin, not like his mothers”, so eventually she said “Well you can try your hand at it yourself.” So for a whole day before race week in Listowel, in the little kitchen behind the pub, ‘I’d put a bib on him’ and we’d cut up the meat for the pies to have a supply for the pub for race week’. Can you imagine the chat and banter while the two of them made pies together – wish I’d been a fly on a wall?


Listowel Mutton Pies


Despite the fact that mutton is having a terrific revival in the UK it is still very difficult to find mutton in Ireland so use hogget instead (the name for more mature lamb between Christmas and Easter.)


Makes 8


450g (1lb) mutton or hogget–a mixture of neck, shank and scrag end buy a bit more to allow for trimming.

lots of salt and ground white pepper



900g (2lb) white flour

½ teaspoon salt

110g (1/4lb) Stork margarine or butter

850ml (1½ pints) buttermilk


Mutton Broth

2-2.5kg (4-6lb) mutton or hogget bones approximately

3-4 large onions, peeled and quartered

a couple of carrots, stalks of celery, parsley stalks, a couple of sprigs of thyme and pepper. OR a stock cube, which Mary occasionally uses.


First prepare the lamb. Trim off the fat and any gristle or membrane. Cut into tiny pieces (roughly 1/8 inch) and put into a shallow bowl. Season well with salt and ground white pepper (the kind that comes in a little cardboard shaker). Toss to make sure the meat is evenly coated.

Then, make the pastry. Put the flour into a bowl. Rub in the margarine or butter, add the buttermilk and mix with your hand to a firm dough, similar though drier than the texture of white soda bread. Mary kneaded the dough for 30 seconds to 1 minute to firm it up. Divide into two pieces. On a floured board, roll the pastry out as thinly as possible, to about 5mm (¼ inch). Mary used a saucer as a template and cut out 8 circles. Take one round and roll it out a little further to thin the pastry to approximately 2-3mm (1/8 inch).  Put a good half fistful of seasoned mutton or hogget into the centre. Brush the edge of the pastry with a little buttermilk and cover with another round that has also been rolled to 1/8-inch thickness. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork, then prick the top several times.

Preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF/gas mark 8. Meanwhile, continue to make the remainder of the pies. When the first four are ready, cook on a baking tray in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. Check occasionally and reverse the tray from back to front if necessary. Meanwhile, continue to make the pies until all the pastry and filling is used up. Cool the pies on a wire rack. At this point, they can be kept wrapped for several days or frozen for later use.

Meanwhile make a simple mutton stock.

Put the mutton or hogget bones into a deep saucepan, add a couple of peeled chopped onions, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1-1½ hours. Strain. Mary said she adds a couple of stock cubes to add extra flavour but if you would rather not, I suggest adding a few thickly sliced carrots and a few sticks of celery, a sprig or two of thyme, some parsley stalks and maybe a sliced white turnip, if available, to add extra flavour to the broth.

Strain and taste, add salt and pepper to correct the seasoning. Save until needed. The broth will keep in a fridge for several days or may be frozen.

To serve the mutton pies – bring the broth to the boil in a deep saucepan, drop a couple of meat pies into the broth. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Transfer each pie into a wide shallow soup bowl. Pour a ladle of mutton broth on top. Eat with a fork and spoon and extra pepper and salt, depending on your taste.


Kerry Pies


Mutton pies, made in Kerry, were served at the famous Puck Fair in Killorglin in August and taken up the hills when men were herding all day. The original hot water crust pastry was made with mutton fat but we have substituted butter for a really delicious crust.

Serves 6


1 lb (450g) boneless lamb or mutton (from shoulder or leg – keep bones for stock)

9 1/2 oz (275g) chopped onions

9 1/2 oz (275g) chopped carrots

1 teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1/2 pint (300ml/) mutton or lamb stock

2 tablespoons flour

salt and freshly ground pepper


Hot Water Crust Pastry


12 oz (340g) white flour

6 oz (170g) butter

4 fl oz (100ml) water

pinch of salt

1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt to glaze


2 tins, 6 inches (15cm) in diameter, 1 1/2 inches (4cm) high or 1 x 9 inch (23cm) tin


Cut all surplus fat away, then cut the meat into small neat pieces about the size of a small sugar lump. Render down the scraps of fat in a hot, wide saucepan until the fat runs. Discard the pieces. Cut the vegetables into slightly smaller dice and toss them in the fat, leaving them to cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove the vegetables and toss the meat in the remaining fat over a high heat until the colour turns. Stir the flour into the meat. Cook gently for 2 minutes and blend in the stock gradually. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Return the vegetables to the pan with the parsley and thyme leaves, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and leave to simmer, covered. If using young lamb, 30 minutes will be sufficient; an older animal may take up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile make the pastry. Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Dice the butter, put it into a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Pour the liquid all at once into the flour and mix together quickly; beat until smooth. At first the pastry will be too soft to handle but as it cools it will become more workable. Roll out to 2.5mm/1/4 inch thick, to fit the tin or tins. (The pastry may be made into individual pies or one large pie.)

Fill the pastry-lined tins with the slightly cooled meat mixture. Make lids from the remaining pastry, brush the edges of the base with water and egg wash and put on the pastry lids, pinching them tightly together. Roll out the trimmings to make pastry leaves or twirls to decorate the tops of the pies, make a hole in the centre and egg wash carefully.

Bake the pie or pies at 200C/400F/regulo 6 for 40 minutes approx. Serve hot or cold



Kerry Yellow meal Griddle Bread


Mrs McGillycuddy of Caragh Lake in Kerry described this griddle bread to me. It dates back to the middle of the 19th century. Two different grades of yellow meal can still be bought in Foley’s grocery shop in Killorglin so obviously it is still used in this area.


Serves 4


4ozs /110g yellow meal

good pinch salt

¼ teaspoon bread soda

6 fl ozs (175ml) buttermilk


griddle or 10 inch (25.5cm) non stick pan

Put the yellow meal, salt and sieved bread soda into a bowl, add the buttermilk and beat well with a wooden spoon.

Heat a griddle until hot.(I use a non stick pan.) Pour the  batter onto the griddle and cook until crisp and golden underneath about 4 or 5 minutes. Turn over carefully and continue to cook on the other side, cut into four. Serve warm with country butter. This is very good served with crispy bacon for breakfast or supper.


Traditional Kerry Apple Cake


Makes 25-30 pieces


450g (1lb) plain white flour

175g (6oz) butter

2 teaspoons baking powder

175g (6oz) castor sugar

3 free range eggs

225ml (8fl oz) milk

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


2 cooking Bramley apples


Baking tin 30x20cm 7.5cm deep (12x8in 3in deep)


Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

Peel, core and chop the apple into 5mm (1/4in) dice. In a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour. Add the baking powder, castor sugar, diced apple and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.  Whisk the eggs with a cup of milk in another bowl.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon, the mixture will be a soft texture.  Pour into the greased and lined roasting tin.  Bake at 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for 35 to 40 minutes or until the apples are soft and the top is golden brown.  Dredge with soft brown sugar while hot, cool and serve.


Hot Tips


Date for your Diary

Diana Dodog, winner of the 2014 Irish Masterchef, will host a Five Mile Dinner at Dunowen House, Clonakilty on Wednesday 9th September at 7pm. Champagne cocktail on arrival followed by a  five course meal featuring local produce.

Dinner €60 per person. Contact or tel: 023 886 9099


One of my favourite Dublin eateries Brother Hubbard on Capel Street is now open in the evenings from Wednesday-Saturday. They are offering a Middle Eastern Feasting Menu featuring a vegetarian mezze platter to share, choice of main dishes and a dessert platter….

Brother Hubbard are also planning a separate evening concept for Sister Sadie next month.

Updates on twitter @brother_hubbard, facebook and Instagram brotherhubbard#MiddleEastFeast


Honey & Co. Baking

August 15th, 2015

Honey & Co. baking book, Saltyard

You all know that I’m fans of Honey & Co., a teeny weeny but soon to be bigger restaurant in London. Sarit and Itamar have been over to us twice and we love their simple homesy Middle Eastern food.

Not sure how they do it but they’ve just come out with a new cookbook, their second in less than 12 months.

Their first, Honey & Co won the Sunday Times and the Fortnum & Mason cook book of the year awards.

This one is on Baking “our day is marked by what comes out of the pastry section, and there’s always something good on the way: sticky cherry and pistachio buns in the morning: loaf of rich dough rolled with chocolate, hazelnuts and cinnamon that comes out of the oven fresh for elevenses. Lunch is a crisp, crumbly shell of pastry filled with spiced lamb or burnt aubergine, and at teatime there are cookies, cheesecakes, fruit cakes – so many cakes that it’s hard to choose one. After dinner there might be poached peaches with roses or something more traditional – sweet and salty Knafe drenched in orange blossom syrup.  There’s something sweet, something in the oven for everyone, all day long – welcome to Honey & Co”.

So it’s not all cakes and sticky buns, there are good things for breakfast, elevenses, lunch, teatime and dinner and even some pretty irresistible suggestions for after dark.

At present the restaurant in Fitzrovia has just 10 tables it’s what you might call cosy, some of their customers come in several times a day. The downstairs kitchen is also tint, how five chefs and three pastry chefs, three kitchen porters and seven waiters and Louisa in the office, co-exist and run up and down the stairs is an astonishing feat in itself.

They are all united by a love for food, a zest for life “even though its only part of what we do the pastry section is the backbone of the operation the driving force and the powerhouse . What baking requires represents everything we want our staff to have and our customers to feel – consideration, concentration, experience, patience, of course, but also a lot of passion, greed, an eagerness to please on an industrial scale and a great big heart. Our days are governed now by the rhythm of the pastry: weighing, mixing, kneading, shaping, baking, chilling, glazing, serving.

Of course it’s not just sweet, there’s an excellent chapter at the beginning of the book on ingredients and particularly the quality of the ingredients for baking, the butter, the cream, the sugar and flour, the vanilla, the chocolate, the nuts, the gelatine. They quite rightly emphasize the  quality you choose has a major impact on the end result, a fact oft forgotten in our quest for the cheapest ingredients nowadays.

If we’re going to spend time in the kitchen, the end result might as well be as delicious as possible and of course on the quality of the ingredients and the recipe. There’s lots to tempt us in Honey & Co Baking Book by Sarit and Itamar published by Saltyard Book Company


Hot Tips

It’s Blueberry Time –

Irish blueberries are in season and in abundance this year so for goodness sake, check the label and don’t bring home blueberries that have travelled thousands of miles from Chile or Peru. My seven year old granddaughter Amelia made the most delicious blueberry pancakes for breakfast this morning from blueberries that she and her brother and sister had just picked in the blueberry patch. – They are made in minutes – here’s the recipe:


Amelia’s Blueberry Pancakes

Makes 12


110g (4ozs/1 cup) self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

25g (1oz/1/8 cup) caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 egg

110ml (4fl ozs/1/2 cup) milk

50 g (2 oz) blueberries

drop of sunflower oil, for greasing


Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the sugar and salt and stir to mix.  Make a well in the centre, crack in the egg and whisk, gradually drawing in the flour from the edge.  Add the milk gradually, whisking all the time, to form a smooth batter. Fold in the blueberries gently.

Lightly grease a frying pan and warm it over a moderate heat.  Drop 3 tablespoons (3 American tablespoons + 3 teaspoons) of the batter into the pan, keeping well apart so they don’t stick together. Cook for about 2 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface and begin to burst and the drop scones are golden underneath, then flip them over and cook on the other side for a minute or until golden on this side as well.

Remove from the pan and serve warm with butter and a sprinkling of caster sugar. (If you wish, wrap the drop scones in a clean tea towel to keep warm while you make the rest.)


Taste of West Cork Festival events are now up on the web – what a line up. You’ll need to be pretty snappy to get a table for Andy McFadden of L’ Autre Pied and Luke Matthews dinner at the Mews in Baltimore on Friday 11th September . Tel: 028 20572

But they’re just two of the star attractions. There are lots of other options Derry Clare, Carmel Somers, JP McMahon…..check out


Date for your diary: Slow Food Galway will visit Galway Goat Farm on Sunday August 23rd at 12 noon. There is a tour of the farm and cheese and yoghurt making followed by a delicious lunch. For more information contact Kate O’ Malley or 087 931 2333





This recipe makes twice the amount you need for a single batch of burekas, but it is a versatile dough that freezes well, so it is worth making the full amount and keeping some for another day. If you prefer, you can halve the quantities; the only problem

you face is halving an egg. The best way is to crack it into a little dish, whisk well and then use half. Use the remaining beaten egg to glaze the pastry before baking.

Waste not, want not. Made throughout the Balkans, burekas are savoury pastry parcels with different fillings, often potato, cheese or meat. The pastry varies as well, from short and crumbly to layered and crunchy, like filo or puff, or even doughy, more like bread

rolls. For home baking I have found none better than this, the pastry dough that will change your baking life – our famed ‘dough number 4’. It is easy to make, failsafe and extremely tasty. At Honey & Co we use this for a few of our breakfast

bakes, and it is great for canapés and pies. Alternatively, you could buy ready-made puff pastry and just make the fillings. It is cheating but the burekas will still be delicious, and no one need know. You can prepare your burekas in advance and

freeze them; just remember they need to be thawed before baking so that the filling is nice and hot by the time the pastry is cooked. The fillings here are a few tried-and tested suggestions. If you experiment with different fillings, be sure to over-season

slightly, to make up for the fact that they will be wrapped in pastry.


Makes about 1kg

500g plain flour

½ tsp caster sugar

1½ tsp table salt

1 tsp baking powder

250g cold unsalted butter, diced

125g full fat cream cheese

1 egg

125g/ml double cream


Place all the ingredients in a mixer bowl with a paddle attachment or in a food processor and work them together to form a nice smooth dough. (You could of course do this by hand, in which case you will need to rub the butter into the flour and other dry ingredients before mixing in the cream cheese, egg and double cream.) The idea is to keep everything cold and not to overwork the dough – you want some flecks of butter running through, as this will result in a lovely flaky texture once baked. Form the dough into a ball, press down to flatten it, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. You can prepare the dough up to 3 days in advance of baking – just keep it wrapped in cling film in the fridge until you need it.

If you are making a full batch but only need half for now, divide it in two, wrap both pieces in cling film, then put one in the fridge and the other in the freezer. It keeps well for up to a month; simply thaw before rolling and filling.


Lamb lahma with pine nuts & cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, peeled and diced

500g lamb mince

2 tbsp baharat spice mix

2 tbsp tomato purée

60g tahini paste

50g/ml water

a pinch of table salt

10 cherry tomatoes, quartered

50g pine nuts


Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on a high heat, then add the diced onions. Sauté until they are soft and starting to colour (this will take about 8–10 minutes), then add the minced meat. Keep the heat high and mix the meat around vigorously to break it into little pieces. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the spice mix and continue cooking until the meat has browned (this should take about 5–6 minutes). Stir in the tomato purée and cook for another 2–3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary, then remove to a bowl to cool a little. Mix the tahini paste with the water and the salt, whisking it until it becomes smooth. Place a spoonful of tahini in the centre of each dough disc and spread it around a little. Cover with the cooked lamb, then top with the cherry tomatoes and pine nuts. Carefully lift each lahma onto the preheated tray and bake for 8–10 minutes. We like to serve this with extra tahini dip and a fresh tomato salad.

12/8/2015 (CS) (18509) Home & Co The Baking Book


Poached Peaches with Rose Jelly & Crystallised Rose Petals

We make this dessert in summer when peaches and roses are in high season. Since finding a constant supply of good unsprayed roses can be tricky, all our staff are under clear instructions to loot whatever gardens they have access to, so everyone comes to their shift bearing gifts of roses for Giorgia.


For the poached peaches

200g caster sugar

200g/ml water

some strips of peel and the juice of 1 lemon

some strips of peel and the juice of 1 orange

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp rose water

4 flat white peaches

50g/ml vodka

For the jelly

160g/ml peach cooking liquid

3 gelatine leaves (or the appropriate quantity for about 330g/ml liquid, according to the manufacturer’s instructions)

160g/ml cold water

1–2 tsp rose water


For the crystallised rose petals (if you like)

1 egg white

caster sugar

fresh garden roses


To elevate this dessert to something heavenly

a good splash of sparkling wine for each plate


To poach the peaches, place all the ingredients apart from the peaches and vodka in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Score the skin at the base of each peach with a little cross to just pierce the skin but not cut through the flesh. Once the liquid is boiling, place the peaches in it and cook for 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and use a slotted spoon to remove the peaches to a bowl. Once they are cool enough to touch, peel off the skin; it should come away easily. Return the peeled peaches to the cooking liquid in the pan and bring to the boil again. Once it has come to the boil, turn the heat off (if the peaches you are using are very hard, you may want to cook them for 2–3 minutes before turning off the heat). Add the vodka, then leave the peaches and their poaching liquid in the pan to cool. While the peaches are cooling, strain 160g/ml of the poaching liquid into a small bowl (leave the peaches in the remainder). Soak the gelatine in cold water (follow the manufacturer’s instructions), then remove, squeeze out the excess water and add the gelatine to the hot poaching liquid to melt. Once it has melted, stir in the cold water and rose water. Pour into four individual moulds and place in the fridge to chill until the jelly sets. This will take at least 2 hours and anything up to 5 hours, depending on the gelatine used. If you are crystallising the rose petals, start by mixing the egg white with a pinch of sugar in a small bowl. Tip some caster sugar into a shallow saucer or dish. Dip a petal in the egg white mixture, then in the sugar, coating both sides. Lay the petals on a wire rack or a tray lined with baking parchment and leave to crisp and dry –this will take at least 6 hours, and up to 8 if the room is very cold. You can then keep

Makes 4 portions of the lightest, prettiest dessert them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, but make sure not to refrigerate as they will soften. When you come to serve, the best way to get the jelly out of the moulds is to find a bowl that the jelly mould can fit into easily and to fill it with boiling water. Dip the mould in the hot water for 2 seconds and remove, then use your finger to pull the jelly a little to the side. This will allow air to come between the jelly and the mould; if you then flip the mould onto a serving plate, the jelly will slide out. Repeat with the other jellies. Place a peach at the side of each jelly and pour over a little of the cooking liquor. Then just splash with some sparkling wine and garnish with the rose petals, if using.

12/8/2015 (CS) (18506) Honey & Co The Baking Book


Courgette, Golden Raisin & Pistachio Cake

At the end of our street is the head office of Caprice Holdings Ltd, the group that operates some of the best and glitziest restaurants in London. Alvin and Kate work there, and treat us as their canteen. We know Alvin’s weird coffee order, and that Kate will have hot chocolate in winter and sparkling lemonade in the warmer months. They are both great lovers of cake, and whenever there is a birthday in the office we get an order for one with some silly writing on it – ‘Cheers, all the best’ or ‘Shiiiiiiiit’ – often private jokes that only they understand. This cake is their absolute favourite (they have a horrible nickname for it – ‘the green goddess’ or ‘green velvet’), so this recipe is for them, in the hope that they will never bake it themselves, but instead keep on coming to us for it.

Makes 1kg (2lb) loaf

60g pistachios

175g self-raising flour

a pinch of table salt

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground star anise

200g light brown soft sugar

50g caster sugar

175g/185ml olive oil

2 eggs

60g golden raisins

3 courgettes, unpeeled but trimmed,

grated (200g)

zest of 1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5. Butter a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin and line the base and long sides with a sheet of baking parchment, allowing a little overhang at the sides. Once the oven is hot, roast the pistachios for 8 minutes. Keep them whole and leave to cool a little. Mix the flour, salt, ginger and star anise together and add the pistachios. Place the sugars and oil in a large mixing bowl (or you could use a machine with a whisk attachment if you are super-lazy) and whisk together until combined. Whisk the eggs in one at a time and keep whisking until you have a lovely emulsified texture, a little like mayonnaise. Now add the rest of the ingredients, get rid of the whisk and use a large spoon or spatula to fold and combine to an even mixture. Transfer the cake batter to your lined loaf tin and bake for 35 minutes. Turn the tin around so that it bakes evenly and leave for a further 15–20 minutes. The end result should have a lovely springy feel. Allow to cool in the tin before removing. This will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days and for up to a week if you store it in the fridge.

12/8/2015 (CS) (18507) Honey & Co The Baking Book

Annual Long Table Dinner

August 15th, 2015



We had our annual Long Table Dinner in the glasshouses a couple of weeks ago. It was completely sold out with a waiting list of people eager to come if there was a cancellation, even at the last minute. Six nationalities travelled here for it: English, South African, American, French, Swiss… as well, of course, as a large Irish contingent.

It was heaven sitting at a long table in the midst of the tomatoes and runner beans.

This is always a wonderful time of the year here in the Cookery School gardens, with everything looking lush and luxuriant. But I love the excuse of an event to polish everything up an extra notch.

Preparation starts several months ahead. After the early potato crop has been harvested, we plant grass seed in a couple of bays of the greenhouses. This lush lawn creates a beautiful green carpet for the Long Table Dinner. The field kitchen in the neighbouring bay was beautifully screened off with fresh beech branches and willow lattice.

For the past couple of weeks there has been a frenzy of activity – with Rory O’ Connell testing and tasting dishes made with the seasonal summer produce. A few students from the summer Twelve Week Course had asked to stay on to help at the dinner. They loved the experience, and being able to see the behind the scenes preparation, cooking and serving of a summer feast for a hundred people.

The weather forecast was pretty grim, so we all held our breath but despite our apprehension, we were fortunate with the weather. About an hour before the guests arrived there was the sort of sudden downpour that we’ve become accustomed to this “summer”. But after that it was blue skies all the way.

Guests started to arrive at 4pm and Sommelier Colm McCann and his team had some cava with elderflower or rhubarb cordial and fresh mint lemonade ready for the guests. Emer and Pat grilled sourdough bread and topped it with heirloom tomatoes and basil, or scrambled organic eggs dotted with Ballycotton lobster.

We welcomed the guests and thanked them for supporting the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project – and explained we are saving up to convert a disused shipping container into a prototype teaching kitchen for local schools to teach their pupils how to cook the produce they grow in their school gardens.

After the aperitif and nibbles, the guests walked through the organic farm and gardens. We explained that the Cookery School and farm are completely integrated: the School is our indoor classroom, we use the farm and gardens as an outdoor classroom. We showed them the photovoltaic system that generate electricity for the School, even on dull days, and the student beds where local children learn how to sow seeds and grow vegetables and herbs. Many were also fascinated by the dairy, where our Jersey cows are milked and the butter, buttermilk and yoghurt are made.

We wandered down through the herb garden, the wild flower meadow, and the vegetable and fruit gardens, arriving at the glasshouse just minutes after 6pm.

At this time of the year it looks like the Garden of Eden with kiwi and passionfruit overhead, and a wonderful variety of aubergines, sweetcorn, chilis, salad leaves, peppers, beans, heirloom tomatoes, beets, zucchini … as well as peach, fig, nectarine, pomegranate and grapevines around the edges – so beautiful.

The Gardeners were playing trad music as we arrived to add to the magic.

People took their seats. It was all very convivial, as is the nature of Slow Food events. There was no seating plan, so people could mix and mingle and make new friends.

And then the feast began. Here’s the menu Rory eventually chose, illustrated by Lydia Hugh -Jones (




We started with a Garden Leaf and Herb Flower Bouquet with Almond and Marjoram, Grape and Elderflower Mist served in little glasses, which had been assembled minutes earlier from the freshly picked leaves.

There was lots of freshly baked Ballymaloe Brown Yeast Bread and Jersey butter from the farm. The flavour of homemade butter was a trip down memory lane for many guests.

The second course was served family-style, the guests helped themselves and each other to:

  • Beef Carpaccio with Horseradish and Tarragon
  • Sushi Rice with Smoked Ballycotton Pollock and Ruby Beetroot
  • Hot Smoked Wild Blackwater Salmon in Oeufs Mimosa
  • and Mustard Seed Pickled Cucumbers.

The main course was also sensational, in the words of the guests around me: Grilled Breast of Nora Ahern’s Duck with Stonewell Tawny Cider, Roast Nectarines and Mint.

Rory had also braised the duck legs and wings with Indian spices, Llewellyn’s balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. That dish too was enthusiastically received., here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it yourself.The Jersey butter and sea salt on the table embellished the floury new potatoes, a variety called Colleen, and the green beans which had been dug and picked not more than a half an hour before dinner.

Next the cheese course:  Labne made with dripped natural yoghurt, served with Radishes, Savoury, Highbank Orchard Apple Syrup and Homemade Cheese Biscuits.

Then pudding, which was quite simply irresistible:

  • Compote of Cherries with Kirsch
  • An Iced Sandwich of Peach, Raspberry and Buttermilk
  • And Crème Brulee peppered with Mark Kingston’s Single Estate Coffee

Needless to say, everyone had to have a taste, or rather several, of everything.

The music played on, and then there were JR’s raspberry marshmallows, candied chocolate orange peel, biscotti, and madeleines, still warm from the oven. Served with coffee and fresh herb tisanes. A real celebration of the food from the farm and gardens and local area and the blessings of Mother Nature.


Hot Tips

Clever and delicious ways to preserve your glut……

Hans Wieland will teach a Home Preserving course at the Organic Centre in Co Leitrim on Saturday August 29th  He will cover a wide range of methods to store and preserve your surplus garden crop from drying, fermenting, storing and freezing…. for more information


Date for your Diary:

A Taste of  West Cork (4th-13th September).The 10 day festival will include an open air street food market, food demonstrations, tastings, interactive workshops, cookery competitions….


-SAVE OUR SMALL SHOPS, support them or loose them. The whole country seems to be gone discounter mad, seems like people can’t talk about anything else- BMW’s, Merc’s, Audi’s, Toyotas, MIni’s, all lined up outside filling the boot with the latest bargains, but remember as the ad says when there’re  gone there’re gone and when there all gone there all gone…. Is this the kind of Ireland we want ? Remember we can all make a difference to our local town and community by how we CHOOSE to spend our euro….


Slow Food is an international organisation with members like you and I in over 150 countries world wide. If you are interested in food and food issues it’s really worth being a member to link into the global network. There are 15 Convivia (chapters) in Ireland. For further details on how to become a member check out



Carpaccio with Rocket and Parmesan


Carpaccio is the ultimate recipe to make a little beef go a very long way. This sophisticated dish was invented in Harry’s Bar in Venice and named for Carpaccio, the great 15th century Venetian painter. There are many variations and this one is inspired by a version served at the Cipriani Hotel.


Serves 12


1 lb (450g) fillet of beef, preferably Aberdeen Angus (fresh not frozen)

fresh rocket or arugula leaves – about 5 per person depending on the size

6-7 very thin slivers Parmesan cheese per person (Parmigano Reggiano is best)

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Extra virgin olive oil or Mustard Sauce (see below)


Mustard sauce

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) sugar

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) wine vinegar

1/4 pint (150ml/generous 1/2 cup) light olive oil or sunflower oil

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) grated fresh horseradish

1 generous teaspoon chopped parsley

1 generous teaspoon chopped tarragon


If you are using Mustard Sauce, make it first. Put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the mustard, sugar and wine vinegar and mix well.  Whisk in the oil gradually as though you were making Mayonnaise. Finally, add the grated horseradish, chopped parsley and tarragon. Taste and season if necessary.

Chill the meat. Slice the beef fillet with a very sharp knife, 1/3 of an inch thick. Place each slice on a piece of oiled cling film or parchment paper, cover with another piece of oiled cling film or parchment paper. Roll gently with a rolling pin until almost transparent and double in size. Peel the cling film or parchment paper off the top, invert the meat on to a plate, and gently peel away the other layer of clingfilm or parchment paper.


Arrange the rocket leaves on top of the beef and scatter with very thin slivers of Parmesan over the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with the Mustard Sauce or with very best extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.


Note: Rocket and Parmesan Salad served without the carpaccio but drizzled with extra virgin olive oil is a very fashionable starter and very addictive it is too.


Wine Suggestion A full bodied red  eg. Sassicaia from Tuscany


24/06/2008 (JJ) 1876



Cherry Compote


450g (1lb) cherries

110g (4oz/1/2 cup) caster sugar

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) kirsch

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) lemon juice


Place the cherries, sugar, kirsch and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cover and place on the gentlest heat. The sugar needs to melt and the cherries need to cook and soften slightly. This takes about 20 minutes by which time you should have a lovely cherry compote with ruby coloured syrup.


Duck Legs Braised with Indian Spices and Llewellyn’s Balsamic Vinegar

Serves 4 – 6

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon ground cumin seeds

1 tablespoon bright red paprika (not smoked)

1 tablespoon ground coriander

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 ½ teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons sunflower oil

6 duck Legs and 6 duck wings.The thighs cut in half, wing bones and drumsticks trimmed of knuckles). Dry the prepared duck legs thoroughly. Yields 21 pieces

1 level teaspoon brown mustard seeds

¼ teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds

15 curry leaves (optional)

2 medium onions thinly sliced

2 tablespoons finely grated ginger

6 cloves of garlic crushed to a paste

2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

80 – 100 ml cider vinegar (Irish Balsamic Vinegar)

1 teaspoon salt and more to taste

1 tablespoon sugar


Mix the turmeric, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper and garam masala in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy casserole. Add the dry duck pieces skin side down and cook until hazelnut brown. Turn and repeat on the other side .Remove from the casserole.

Add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and allow the mustard to pop, a matter of seconds. Now immediately add the curry leaves and sliced onions and cook until the edges of the onions are lightly browned. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the spices and cook over a gentle heat all the while stirring for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes to slightly soften. Scrape the bottom of the pan as you go. Add the browned duck pieces, vinegar, salt, sugar and enough water to barely cover the duck, sir all to gently mix. Bring the contents of the casserole to a simmer and cover. Cook at this gentle simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook at a simmer for a further 30 minutes occasionally stirring and scraping the casserole bottom.

By now the sauce should have reduced and thickened slightly.

Taste and correct seasoning.  Serve with boiled rice or new potatoes. French beans or spinach are also a perfect accompaniment.



A Midsummer Night’s Dream

August 1st, 2015

It’s become a bit of a tradition at the Ballymaloe Cookery School for the students to do a fundraiser during the term to support the East Cork Slow Food Education Project. We’ve had all kinds of events including a sponsored foraging walk over the cliffs at Ballycotton, and a pub quiz in the Blackbird. In recent times, a Pop Up dinner in the Garden Cafe at the Cookery School has been the most popular choice also chosen by this term’s students. Their theme was ‘A Midsummer Night’s Feast’. They drew up exciting and elaborate plans, divided the work between them and for the past few weeks they have been researching, planning and testing with youthful enthusiasm and terrific gusto. They read Shakespeare’s classic play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream several times over – and an Indian student from Mumbai read passages from the play at intervals during the meal in his charmingly dramatic way.

They planned the menu – incorporating as many fresh local foods as they could and seasonal produce from the farm, gardens and greenhouse. The succulent lamb for the main course came from Frank Murphy’s butcher shop in Midleton. They even picked the organic rose petals from the water garden and dried them for the spectacular dessert.

On Saturday and all of Sunday they worked with military precision. The teams were cooking all day having loads of fun. The bread makers started at 5.30 am on Sunday and made four lovely breads which were served with Jersey butter  fresh from the dairy.

They hung beech leaves and wild clematis from the rafters and did a paper installation that looked like fluttering birds over the doorway. The design team chose to transform the dining room into a midsummer forest scene and went off foraging round the gardens to find all sorts of summer foliage and blossoms.

Three long tables were laid with starched white linen table cloths. They had fresh banana leaves from the greenhouse down the centre as a runner topped with mossy logs wound round with the creamy white fragrant blossoms of philadelphus – mock orange – which scented the air so beautifully.

The Strawberry and Mint Cocktail and a Passion Fruit and Mango Non-Alcoholic Cocktails were both irresistible and they made a beautiful ice bowl full of roses to hold the ice.

Candles and twinkling night lights were lit in the conservatory and a student played the piano serenading the guests as they arrived. A Swedish student where midsummer night is a traditional celebration, had shown some other students how to make little herb and flower wreaths for the waitress’s hair.

The delicious canapés created set the scene: Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese and Cucumber; Indian Spiced Potato Cakes with Mint and Yoghurt Raita and Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Tamari Dipping Sauce  got an overwhelmingly positive response and there were gasps of admiration when the guests saw the transformation of the Cafe.


The beautiful summer starter incorporated beetroot in three ways: Chilled Beetroot Soup, Beetroot Carpaccio and Beetroot Jelly and Sour Cream.



The main course was the culmination of much thought and experimentation. Slow Roasted Shoulder of Lamb with Carrot Puree, Mashed Potato and an Apple and Mint Gel. It was much enjoyed; I’ve rarely seen so many plates with not a morsel left behind


The desserts Feta and Honey Cheesecake, Raspberry Spuma, Chocolate Soil and Meringue Shards… got compliments from every table.


All the students had been invited to enter a competition for the best midsummer night’s dream confection – it had to have some kind of flower connection – meringue lollipops, chocolate bark, rose petal cake, tarts and cupcakes there was scarcely a rose left in the garden after the event!

Some of the students had done a little cooking before they came to the school, a few having worked in professional kitchens. But many had scarcely made toast before they joined us 10 weeks ago – so we were bursting with pride at what they had achieved, having done all the planning and cooking, themselves, a view shared by the guests. They created a truly magical and memorable evening, a huge thank you to all involved.


Hot Tips

Great News! Ramen has opened its latest restaurant in Midleton. John Downey a past Ballymaloe Cookery School student and his chain of restaurants serving Thai food fast have been a great hit in Cork. Now he’s expanding again to Midleton’s Distillery Lane. Make sure to check it out if you are nearby

Roof Top Popups By the Creatives

Event stylist Jette Virdi and chef Johan van de Merwe love connecting people to each other and to their surroundings through the medium of food. In a new project taking place in late summer 2015, the pair are inviting Dubliners to see their city from a different perspective through a series of rooftop dinners.

Over the last three weekends of August 2015, Jette and Johan will combine their skills and take over three rooftops around the city. Jette will create a bespoke design for each venue whilst Johan will wow diners with a menu that reflects the best of local produce. Welcomed by cocktails crafted by Anna Walsh (Irish Bartender Champion 2015), guests will then be taken through a wonderful 4 course dinner all for €45.

Join Jette and Johan on the following dates:

14+15 August

21+22 August

28+29 August

Tickets @ €45 per person

Tickets: form Eventbrite Roof Top Popups  and


Date for your Diary

Head for beautiful Donegal on the Wild Atlantic Way. The Donegal Food Festival runs from August 28th-30th, lots of cookery demos, cook offs, tastings, cheese masterclass, menu planning, seaweed masterclass….and lots lots more


Chilled Ruby Beetroot Soup with Beetroot Carpaccio


The students served this soup in small bowls with slivers of raw beetroot, a beetroot jelly made from the beetroot pickling liquid and sour cream.


Serves 8


800g (1 3/4lb) whole beetroot

225g (8oz) chopped onions

50g (2oz/1/2 stick) butter

salt, pepper and sugar

approx 1.2 litre (2 pints/5 cups) of light chicken stock

150ml (5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) pouring cream

300ml (10 fl oz/1 1/4 cups) natural, unsweetened yoghurt

4 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) of chopped chives and chive flowers if available


Wash the beets under a cold running tap with your hands being careful not to break the skin. Leave the little tail on and about 5cm (2 inches) of the stalks intact so as not to allow the beets to bleed.


Place in a saucepan that they fit snugly into and cover with boiling water. Add a pinch of salt and sugar. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer until the beets are cooked. The cooking time depends on the size and they can take anything from 20 minutes for tiny little beets to 2 hours for larger ones. They are cooked when the skin rubs off really easily. Don’t use a knife to test if they are cooked, as this will also cause bleeding.

While the beets are cooking, melt the butter and allow to foam. Add the onions, coat in the butter, cover tightly and sweat very gently until soft, tender and uncolored.

When the beets are cooked, peel, chop coarsely and add to the onions.


Add just enough boiling chicken stock to cover and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for just 1 minute.


Now purée to achieve a smooth and silky consistency. Allow to cool completely. Add yoghurt and a little cream to taste. Check seasoning adding a little sugar if necessary.

Serve chilled with a swirl of yoghurt and lots of chopped chives and a few chive flowers if available.



Meringue Lollipops


Makes 8-10


4 egg whites

8 ozs (225g/generous 1 cup) castor sugar


Naural pink food colouring

Flat timber lollipops sticks


1-2 teaspoons Rosewater (optional)


Preheat the oven to 110°C\225°F\regulo ¼.


Put the egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl of a food mixer.  Break up with the whisk and then add all the castor sugar in one go.  Whisk at full speed until it holds a stiff peak 4 – 5 minutes approx. Add a few drops of colouring and rosewater to taste (strength – varies, depending on the brand). Stir carefully to mix.

Meanwhile line 1 or 2 baking trays with parchment paper.    Lay the lollipop sticks well apart on the tray, pipe a solid circle of meringue about 12 mm in diameter on top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until they can lift easily off the parchment paper.   Allow the meringue lollipops to cool on the trays.

Serve with a bowl of cream.



John Pollard’s Potato and Buttermilk Dinner Rolls


Makes 30 x 90g (3 1/2oz) dinner rolls


350g (12oz) of riced steamed potatoes (a floury type of potato is best – Golden Wonder or Yukon Gold)

150g (5oz/1 1/4 sticks) soft butter

425ml (15fl oz/scant 2 cups) whole-milk buttermilk (37°C/99°F)

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) of castor sugar

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) of best quality honey

2 large eggs (room temperature)

3 teaspoons of salt

18g (3/4oz) dry yeast

880g (1lb 15oz/scant 8 cups) strong white flour (bread flour; will require the addition of more flour (up to 220g (7 3/4oz/scant 2 cups) depending on the type of potato used and humidity of day)


Boil or steam the potatoes until soft, peel and push through a ricer.

Transfer into the bowl of a mixer.  Add softened butter which will melt into the warm potatoes as you mix with a dough hook for 1-2 minutes.


Meanwhile, warm the buttermilk to 37°C/99°F, add to the potato.


With the machine running, add 2 large eggs, 1 tablespoon of castor sugar, 1 tablespoon of honey and 3 teaspoons of salt.


Add the dry yeast to the mixture and continue to knead for 1-2 minutes.


Allow to stand for 5 minutes and then gradually mix in 880g of strong white flour using dough hook. Add additional flour until the dough comes away clean from the mixing bowl (dough will be moist and will not clean completely from bowl surface depending on the type of potato used).


Continue to knead dough by hand, adding additional flour if necessary. Dough will be silky soft and light when hand kneading is finished (approximately 7 – 10 minutes).


Return the dough to a lightly oiled food mixer bowl and cover with cling film.


Allow to rise to double the original volume at room temperature (1 – 1 1/2 hours).


Deflate dough and shape into well formed 90g (3 1/2oz) rolls. Arrange on a buttered pan leaving approximately 2-4mm (1/8 – 1/4 inch) between the rolls to allow for rising.


Allow to rise into a continuous pan of rolls over a 1 1/2 hour period (rolls should double in volume and keep finger imprint when rise is finished).


Transfer the risen rolls into a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes. Spray the base of the oven and sides with water.

The tops of the rolls will be well browned at the end of baking. Check that rolls are thoroughly baked and remove pan to cooling rack.


Brush the tops with melted butter immediately after removal from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.


Note: if you can only find low fat buttermilk, add 50ml (2fl oz/1/4 cup) cream to compensate.


20/7/2015 (SH) (John Pollard – 12 Week May 2015)



Aaru’s Aloo Tikki

(Potatoes and Pea Cutlet)


Makes 10 small cutlets


Extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

4 potatoes, boiled and peeled

150g (5oz) green peas, boiled

3/4 green chilli

3 teaspoon ginger grated very finely

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) fresh coriander, chopped

1 level teaspoon cumin powder

1 level teaspoon coriander powder

1 level teaspoon chilli powder

salt and pepper to taste


To Serve

Mint and Coriander Chutney (see recipe)


Fry the onion in a little olive oil until golden.


Mash the boiled peas and potatoes with the other ingredients.


Shape the dough into small balls. Roll them in some flour and arrange them on a baking tray. Refrigerate.


Just before serving, heat olive oil or sunflower oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Shallow fry on both sides until golden.


Serve with mint and coriander chutney


Mint and Coriander Chutney


1 bunch of fresh mint

1/2 bunch of fresh coriander

1 red onion, chopped

1 green chilli, chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

a pinch of sugar

salt to taste

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) natural yoghurt


Blitz everything in a liquidiser until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


17/7/2015 (SH) (18423) Aarudhra Giri (12 Week May 2015)

Aarudhra comes from Tamil Nadu in India. These potatoe and pea patties were a big hit at the Midsummer Feast – she sweetly shared the recipe with us all.

Summer – A Wonderful Time of Year

August 1st, 2015



What a wonderful time of the year, I know the weather hasn’t been great but the garden is bursting with produce and I feel truly grateful to mother nature and our ace team of gardeners for sowing seeds, tending the plants and harvesting baskets full of beautiful things for us to enjoy and nourish all those around us with fresh wholesome healthy food. Meanwhile I’ve started another book – can you imagine! It’s not as if the world needs another Darina Allen cookbook but still I’ve got to write this one before I hang up my apron.

We still haven’t settled on a title  but it goes something like this, “Forget about all those crazy diets, just grow some of your own food, bring it into the kitchen and cook it, then sit down around the table and enjoy with family and friends”.

There are not too many problems and ills that can’t be solved in this way not to speak of enhancing the quality of the entire family life. Unless you have planted a potato yourself. It’s hard to describe the excitement and anticipation one feels when you dig the first of the new potato you planted  months earlier.  Picking them off the supermarket shelf, all scrubbed and clean doesn’t give anything like the same satisfaction plus you know exactly where they were grown and how….

Food labels are pretty selective yet none are yet required to tell you how many sprays and pesticides the crop has had but when you grow your own you know the provenance. Another bonus of growing your own is that you can get several dishes from just one vegetable take radishes for example, the fresh young leaves (as well as the radish itself) are delicious in salads and can also be cooked – they’re particularly tasty in radish leaf soup.

Beets are the same, we grow three varieties, Bolthardy, Chioggia with its candy striped flesh and gorgeous Golden Globe which is just that, can you imagine a salad of these with their contrasting colour and sweet beety flavour.

Again we enjoy the roots but also the stalks, just cooked simply in a little lightly salted water and tossed in olive oil. The young leaves are delicious in salads and the older ones cook down to a tender nourishing green, akin to spinach.

Zucchini or courgettes are either a feast or a famine, we’ve got lots and lots at present. Delicious raw or cooked – another that gives you three options, even four if you can’t keep up with the picking. Their flavour is at best at its sweetest when they are picked between 5-6 inches in length – the larger they get the more diluted the flavour becomes but even though there are lots of good things to do with oversized courgettes its best to keep on top of the  picking otherwise the plant will put all its energy into the big ones which diminishes the crop.

Of course the beautiful yellow blossoms also are edible. Tear them gently apart  to perk up an a green salad or stuff them to make fritters. It’s traditional to use the male zuchhini flowers rather than the female flowers which produce the zucchini. Most people are unaware that the leaves are also edible. They  make a delicious and nourishing green vegetable cooked in a similar way to spinach or kale or add to a bean stew or tomato fondue. In Italy they call them Cimi di Zucca.

I’d love to have any extra tips you gardeners have for the parts of the vegetables normally disregarded or what others consider to be weeds – chickweed, sheep’s tongue, sorrel, dandelions.  If you can grow and cook, it’s amazing how well and cheaply you can live and how cheaply you can make delicious meals and nourish your family.


Hot Tips


Marsh Samphire

look a little like mini cactus (without the prickles) and are also known as Glaswort is now in season. It is a succulent that grows in the salt marshes close to the sea and looks like tiny cactus though it’s not in the least prickly. It takes just 3-4 minutes in boiling water to cook, drain, toss in a little melted butter and serve with some wild Blackwater salmon or summer plaice for sublime seasonal treat.


A Walk in the Park

I’ve always loved St Anne’s Park in Dublin’s Raheny and the beautiful rose Souvenir de St Anne’s which seems to flower throughout the year.

However, there’s another reason to ramble through nowadays. Michelle and Liam Moloughney of Moloughney’s in Clontarf has paired up with  Michelle’s sister Angela Ruttledge of Woodstock in Phibsborough to open Olive’s Tearooms– a teashop and café in the Red Stables building open for breakfast and lunch every day and the kids are raving about the ‘jammy dodgers’


Blackwater Café

We hear terrific reports about the new Blackwater Garden Café just outside Youghal. Next time you are browsing the Garden Centre take a moment to enjoy a cup of coffee in the Café. The simple, fresh local food, is cooked  by Anne McKenna – soups, sandwiches, cakes and scones.

Open every day 10am-5pm.

Tel 024 927 25



Large Courgette, Chickpea and Kale Curry


Serves 6


900g (2lbs) overgrown courgette (zucchini) or marrow

200g (7oz) kale or spinach leaves

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

1 onion (175g/6oz), peeled and chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2 1/2cm (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

400g (14oz) tin of chopped tomatoes

400g (14oz) tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained

400ml (14fl oz) tin coconut milk

200ml (7fl oz/scant 1 cup) vegetable stock or water

handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

lemon juice to taste


Peel the courgette or marrow, remove the seeds and cut into 2 1/2cm (1 inch) pieces.


Destalk the kale or spinach.  Wash and chop the leaves roughly.  Keep aside.


Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a wide saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the cumin and mustard seeds and allow to heat up for 1 minute – the mustard seeds will pop.  Add the onion, stir and fry until tender – approximately 5 minutes.   Add the garlic, chilli, ginger, freshly roasted ground coriander and turmeric and stir for a further minute.  Add the courgette or marrow, chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock or water.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bring to the boil then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Finally, add the coconut milk, chickpeas and kale or spinach leaves.  Cook until the courgette or marrow and kale (or spinach) is tender.


Stir in the fresh coriander, taste, add freshly squeezed lemon juice and correct seasoning.



The courgette or marrow could be replaced with butternut squash.


29/7/2015 (SH) (18473) (DA/SH)



Penne with Beets, Greens, Goat Cheese and Walnuts


Serves 6


4 cooked beets (beetroot) diced into 7mm (1/3 inch)

350g (12oz) Swiss chard or spinach

225g (8oz) penne

50ml (2fl oz/1/4 cup) olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) tarragon, freshly chopped

110g (4oz) soft goat cheese

150ml (5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) cream or crème fraiche

salt and freshly ground black pepper


To Serve

40g (1 1/2oz) walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) snipped flat parsley


Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil (8 pints/4 litres/20 cups), add 2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) salt and the penne, stir, bring back to the boil for 4 minutes.  Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan tightly and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente.


Strip the leaves off the beetroot, slice the stalks of the beetroot and then the stalk leaves into 1cm (1/2 inch) but keep separate.


Heat the oil in a sauté pan.  Add the garlic and pepper flakes, stir for a few seconds then toss in the beet stalks.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, add the diced beets and leaves, stir and cook for a couple of minutes until the leaves are wilted.


Drain the pasta well.  Add to the pan, add the tarragon, the crumbled cheese and cream or crème fraiche.  Season with lots of salt and pepper.  Taste, I sometimes add a pinch of sugar depending on the sweetness of the beets.


Turn into a hot bowl.  Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and flat parsley.

Serve immediately.


13/4/2015 (SH) (17563)

Cimi di Zucca

Courgettes, Leaves and Flowers


Makes 6


4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 large scallions, use white and green parts, cut at an angle

1 lb (450 g) potatoes, peeled and diced

4-5 zucchini, grate at an angle

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

¼-½ teaspoon chilli flakes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lb (450g ) courgette shoots and tender leaves

A handful of orso


3-4 zucchini blossoms

1.8 litres (3 pints) vegetable or chicken stock or water

Lots of marjoram


Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the sliced scallions, potato and  zucchini dice, garlic and chilli flakes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss and cook gently while you chop the leaves, add to the base with a handful of  orso, cover with hot stock or water. Bring to the boil for 5 or 6 minutes or until the pasta,  potato is cooked. Add chopped marjoram, taste and correct seasoning.

Ladle into deep soup bowls and top with a slice of grilled sour dough rubbed with a clove of garlic. Sprinkle a few zucchini blossoms over the top, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve as soon as possible.


29/07/2015 (CS)  (18464)


Shaved Radish and Beetroot Salad

This is such a beautiful salad and made in minutes – also keeps the growing raw food affieciados happy.


Serves 4 as a starter


8 radishes, French breakfast

1 red beetroot

1 yellow beetroot

1 Chioggia beetroot

a few sprigs flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

golden marjoram and chervil



6 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) Forum Chardonnay white vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Make a dressing with the oils, vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.


Just before serving, wash the radishes and beets. Shave thinly on a mandolin. Toss the lot with the parsley and dress lightly.

Arrange slices of beetroot and radish overlapping haphazardly on white plates. Drizzle with a little dressing and top with a few rocket leaves and golden marjoram and chervil.


29/7/2015 (CS) (18465)




July 18th, 2015

Smoked Pollock with Roast Peppers and Marsh or Rock Samphire (1)


A breakfast picnic on the cliffs at Ballyandreen, a feast in a wildflower  meadow, a flask of strong tea and scones with a dollop of jam and cream on the Comeragh mountains or just the smell of a couple of lamb chops sizzling over the coals on a BBQ in the garden, it’s all about the sheer giddy joy of eating outdoors.

When I go fishing, I love to bring a smoking box. Spanking fresh mackerel are irresistible to eat, just pan grilled but I also love them  ‘warm smoked’ with a dollop of dill mayo or pickled beetroot and horseradish cream.

It’s so easy to do; you don’t even need a special smoker, an old biscuit tin works fine.  You’ll need some sawdust and a rack inside so the smoke can circulate around the food. We adapt a wire cake rack and that lasts for years, we’ve just replaced a rectangular biscuit tin that we’ve been using for over 5 years.

Pollock too, is transformed in the warm smoker. We love to serve it with marsh samphire and roast sweet red peppers at this time of the year.

Most people will have a barbecue of some type or other. Nowadays the gas ones are super convenient but I still love to cook over charcoal or wood. Admittedly it takes longer and considerably more skill to get the heat right but for me the flavour is immeasurably better. I love to order a couple of 1 ½ inch thick T bone steaks of well hung, dry aged beef from Frank Murphy in Midleton. Salt it well for at least 30 minutes and then dab dry. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and lots of freshly cracked pepper, then slap it on the rack over the hot coals. I sear it on both sides then barbecue for about 15 minutes and allow it to rest for a further 10 minutes or so. This resting period allow the juices to redistribute evenly through the meat. Then I cut the juicy, succulent meat off the bone and into slices across the grain. Absolutely delicious on a salad of rocket leaves with smoked potatoes or indeed wedges with Aioli or Béarnaise sauce.  Smoked tomatoes are also great and easy to do as you can see from the recipe below.

If you’d rather do mackerel on your barbecue, one of the easiest ways is to season the dry fish fillets well, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Lay them side by side on a wire cake rack, pop another on top and lay the lot on the barbeque about 4 inches from the glowing coals. Flip it over after a few minutes and just cook until the flesh is opaque. Serve immediately with a little green gooseberry sauce or a simple  harissa butter. Divine.

Or you can cheat and just simply gut and leave the fresh mackerel whole (of course you can chop off the head and tail if you’d rather). Season well, pop a sprig of dill and a blob of butter inside and wrap it well in a loose tin foil package. It will only take about 5 minutes to cook and you’ll have lots of buttery juices to mop with crusty bread or new potatoes. A simple parsley or nasturtium  butter is great with that if you can’t find green gooseberries.


Hot Tips

Feel Good Food: Let’s Cook; Debbie Shaw, our resident Naturopathic Nutritionist  has planned another 1½ day ‘transformative’ cookery course. You’ll also learn about raw food and fermentation, the whole idea is to equip you with the skills and delicious recipes to maximise nutrition and healthy gut flora.  Debbie’s witty practical approach demonstrates how, just a couple of simple changes to our daily routines can result in long-term health and vitality. Debbie will incorporate lots of fresh produce from the Ballymaloe Cookery School Organic Farm and Gardens – you can also expect some Middle Eastern and Asian flavours to perk up your day.

Visit for details.


The Mews in Baltimore – Word is spreading fast about the delicious exciting food that’s emerging from Luke Matthan’s kitchen at the Mews this summer.

He and his friends James Ellis, front of house and Robert Collender, responsible for the wine list and cool menu design have an impressive pedigree. Between them, this terrific trio have a had experience in The Harwood Arms, L’Autre Pied and Bentleys in London as well as Etto and Forest Avenue in Dublin. The no choice menu, changes daily, three starters for sharing, one main course and several desserts. We greatly enjoyed carpaccio of mackerel with roast gooseberry, warm lobster with wild garlic mayo, chicken wings with broad beans, Walsh’s succulent lamb with homeguard potatoes and Lisheen Salad and several very moreish desserts.  Simple, delicious food made from beautiful fresh local ingredients. These boys are not just ‘talking the talk’.  Between them, they are creating a memorable dining experience. Book ahead. Open Tuesday-Saturday 6pm to late. Tel: 028 20572


The festival season is in full swing but you might want to check out A Taste of Lough Derg, a summer-long programme of food events taking place in villages and towns on the shores of Lough Derg in Co. Clare, Galway and Tipperary. Enjoy BBQs, cookery courses, chocolate making with artisan chocolatier Patricia from Wilde Irish Chocolates, foraging, bread baking, beekeeping, tips on using and preserving your harvest, cheese-making tips and tastings too. The highlight is the Tipperary Food Producers Long Table Dinner taking place on 19 August at Cloobawn Quay where everything served comes fromTipperary.




How to Smoke Mackerel, Chicken Breast or Duck Breast in a Simple Biscuit Tin Smoker


This is a simple Heath Robinson way to smoke small items of food. It may be frowned upon by serious smokers, but it is great for beginners because it gives such quick results. The fish, duck or chicken can be smoked without having been brined, but even a short salting or brining will improve flavour – 15–20 minutes should do it. Leave to dry for approximately 30 minutes before smoking.


mackerel or duck breast or organic chicken breast


1 shallow biscuit tin with tight-fitting lid

1 wire cake rack to fit inside

pure salt or 80 per cent brine


Place a sheet of tin foil in the base of the biscuit tin and sprinkle 3 or 4 tablespoons of sawdust over it. Lay the fish or meat on the wire rack skin-side upwards, then cover the tin with the lid.


Place the tin on a gas jet or other heat source on a medium heat. The sawdust will start to smoulder and produce warm smoke that in turn both cooks and smokes the food. Reduce the heat to low. Mackerel will take about 8–10 minutes. Duck or chicken breast will take 20–30 minutes, depending on the size. Leave to rest before eating warm or at room temperature.


Alternatively, you could buy a simple smoking box from a fishing store or hot-smoke in a tightly covered wok over a gas jet in your own kitchen.




How to hot smoke fish

You don’t need any special equipment – even a biscuit tin will do.

Lay the fish fillets flesh side up on a tray, sprinkle the unskinned Pollock with salt as though you were seasoning generously.


Leave for at least an hour but not more than 3 hours. Dry the fillets with kitchen paper, place on a wire rack and allow to dry in a cool, airy place for 30 minutes approximately. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sawdust (we use apple wood) on the base of a rectangular biscuit tin or smoking box ( Put a wire rack into the tin and lay the fish, flesh side up on top. Put the box on a gas jet over a high heat for a minute or so until the sawdust starts to smoulder. Cover the box. Reduce the heat and smoke for 6-7 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to sit unopened for 5 minutes.


Remove from the box and serve as you like.


Smoked Pollock with Roast Peppers and Marsh or Rock Samphire

Marsh Samphire is in season in July and early August.  Rock Samphire may be substituted in Spring and early Summer (April to July) before it flowers.  Failing that blanched and refreshed French beans or asparagus work well.


Serves 8 as a starter


1-11/2lbs (450g- 700g) warm smoked Pollock

4-5ozs (110g- 160g) marsh samphire

2 red and yellow peppers

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Roast the peppers in a hot oven, 250C/475F/Gas Mark 9.

Put the peppers on a baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes until the skin blisters and the flesh is soft.


Put a wire rack over a mild gas jet, roast the pepper on all sides. When they are charred, remove.  When roasted, put pepper into a bowl, cover tightly with cling film for a few minutes, this will make them much easier to peel. Peel and deseed and cut into strips.


Next cook the samphire.

Put the samphire into a saucepan of boiling water (not salted), bring back to the boil and simmer for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain off the water (refresh in cold water if serving later).Toss in extra virgin olive – no salt because samphire has a natural salty tang.


To Serve

Divide the smoked pollock into nice flaky pieces, arrange on a serving platter with strips of red and yellow pepper and sprigs of samphire on top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground pepper and a few flakes of sea salt.


Barbequed Mackerel in Foil Green Gooseberry Sauce


Salting fish before barbequing enhances the flavour tremendously.  I like to serve mackerel with the heads on, but if you are a bit squeamish remove them before cooking.


4 very fresh mackerel

sea salt

olive oil


Gut, wash and dry the mackerel and cut about 3 slits on either side of the back with a sharp knife.  About 15 minutes before cooking sprinkle the fish lightly with sea salt inside and outside.  Put a sprig of fennel in the centre and a knob of butter if you like.  Wrap in foil and seal the edges well.*


Put on the barbeque and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side depending on the size.  Serve with a segment of lemon and let each person open their own package.  There will be delicious juice to mop up with crusty bread or a baked potato.


* The mackerel could be prepared ahead to this point and refrigerated until needed.


Serve with Green Gooseberry Sauce


Green Gooseberry Sauce


Use the tart hard green gooseberries on the bushes at the moment, they make a delicious sauce.


10 ozs (285g/2 cups) fresh green gooseberries

stock syrup to cover (see below) – 6 fl.ozs (175 ml/3/4 cup) approx.

a knob of butter (optional)


Top and tail the gooseberries, put into a stainless steel saucepan, barely cover with stock syrup, bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit bursts.  Taste.  Stir in a small knob of butter if you like but it is very good without it.


Stock Syrup

You won’t need all the syrup so save for other uses. It’ll keep for months in the fridge.

4 fl ozs (120ml/1/2 cup) water

4 ozs (110g/generous 1/2 cup) sugar


Dissolve the sugar in the water and boil together for 2 minutes.  Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator until needed. Stock syrup can also be used for sorbets, fruit salads or as a sweetener in homemade lemonades.


Barbequed Toonsbridge Haloumi


Large fresh vine leaves

Toonsbridge Haloumi, Goat cheese, Feta, Gruyére, Emmenthal, Cheddar, Mozzarella, cut into ¼ inch thick slices


Tomato and Chilli Jam or Sweet Chilli Sauce


Wash and refresh the vine leaves quickly and dry with kitchen paper.


To Assemble

Take a vine leaf, put a piece of cheese in the centre of the ‘veiney’ side.  Fold over the edges to make a parcel, put the parcel on a second vine leaf and wrap tightly with the seam underneath.  Grill over the heat until the cheese starts to melt inside, about 5 minutes on each side.  Unwrap and eat.  Serve with crusty bread and tomato and chilli jam or sweet chilli sauce.

Note: The leaves may be eaten or discarded


Barbequed Steak with Roast Red Peppers, Anchoide and Rocket Leaves


Serves 6


3 x 175g (6oz) t-bone steaks, 1½ inch thick

1 garlic clove

salt and freshly ground pepper


a little olive oil


3 red fleshy peppers




2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tins good anchovies

1 egg yolk

juice ½ lemon

200 – 250ml (7-9fl ozs) extra virgin olive oil

1 – 2 tablespoons hot water


To Serve

Rocket leaves


To prepare the steaks, about 1 hour before cooking, cut a clove of garlic in half and rub it on both sides of each steak. This simple step intensifies the beefy flavour. Then grind some black pepper and lots of salt over the steaks and sprinkle on a few drops of olive oil. Turn the steaks in the oil and leave aside. Score the fat at 2.5cm (1 inch) intervals.


Next roast the red peppers.

Preheat the grill or better still use a charcoal grill or barbecue.  Grill the peppers on all sides, turning them when necessary – they can be quite charred.  Alternatively, preheat the oven to 250°C/475°F/regulo 9.  Put the peppers on a baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes until the skin blisters and the flesh is soft.


Put them into a bowl and cover with cling film for a few minutes this will make them much easier to peel.


Pull the skin off the peppers, remove the stalks and seeds. Do not wash or you will loose the precious sweet juices.  Divide each into 2 or 3 pieces along the natural divisions.


Have the barbeque ready, the coals should be glowing. Season the steaks with a little salt and put them down onto the hot rack. Cook on one side for 5-6 minutes then turn over and cook to desired doneness.

When cooking a steak, also turn it over onto the fat side and cook for 3–4 minutes or until the fat crisps up nicely. Put the steaks onto an upturned plate; allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.

resting on another plate and leave them for a few minutes in a warm place.


Meanwhile make the anchoide.  Put the garlic, anchovies, egg yolk and lemon juice into a food processor, add the oil gradually as if making a mayonnaise.  Thin to required consistency with hot water.

Transfer the steaks onto hot plates. Cut off the bone and into thick slices.

Serve on a bed of rocket leaves, roast red peppers, rocket leaves and a little drizzle of anchoide.