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.

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

 

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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

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

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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 www.ramen.ie

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

http://www.foodstyle.ie  and jettevirdi.com

 

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

http://www.atasteofdonegal.com/

 

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

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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.

 

Note

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

 

Dressing

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)

 

 

BBQ

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 www.ballymaloecookeryschool.ie 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.

Get http://www.discoverloughderg.ie/atasteofloughderg/

 

 

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

sawdust

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 (www.nesbits.ie). 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

 

 

Anchoide

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.

The National Organic Centre

July 12th, 2015

The National Organic Centre in Co Leitrim is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  The original concept was the vision of Rod Alston, one of Ireland’s organic pioneers who still lives close by.  It was he who asked me to join  the Board of the Organic Centre in 1995, which I did for a number of years and I’ve been a patron ever since.

Recently,  we packed up the van and drove north to Rossinver, passing through 10 counties on the way,  Cork, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath, Leitrim, Cavan and home via Sligo. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday and yet again we were reminded of the beauty and variety of our Irish landscape.

Loveliest of all, were the buttercup meadows of Leitrim, Roscommon and Sligo – a heavenly sight and  rare in our neck of the woods where fields of nitrogen boosted rye grasses are more the norm.

Over the years, The Organic Centre has gradually established itself and built up the fertility of the soil in a 19 acre block of very marginal land close to Rossinver.

There are extensive herb and vegetable gardens, as well as fruit orchards with 50 native Irish apples, pears, plums and cherries specially selected to thrive in the north east.  There’s  a brilliant Horticultural Community garden scheme where local people can use the facilities, both raised bed and tunnels and tap into the considerable expertise of the Organic Centre team to grow some of their own vegetables, fruit and fresh herbs. For every hour they spend in the garden they donate an hour’s work to the Organic centre and help to pot up and plant seedlings for sale, a brilliant and mutually beneficial concept.

They run a year long Organic Horticulture Full-time Fetac Level 5 course and regular short courses on a variety of topics from Willow Workshop,  Home Preserving, First Aid from the Garden, Fermented and Cultured Food, Grow Your Own Fruit, Building a Cob Oven,  Foraging for wild herbs and plants …. Hans’ wife Gaby also runs courses on Fermentation, Cheesemaking and Sourdough. It’s quite remote but certainly worth the detour and there’s a little café where you can get a cup of tea or coffee http://www.theorganiccentre.ie

We were close to Blacklion so we couldn’t pass up Neven Maguire’s kind invitation to dine in his restaurant.  It was packed with glamorous diners in celebratory mood. Many had booked months ahead to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary and weren’t disappointed by the highly skilled and exotic food that Neven’s chef  Glen Wheeler and his talented young team prepared for dinner.

Many were also staying overnight in one of the nineteen bedrooms in Mc Nean House and the Neven’s lovely cookery School is next door. Neven’s combined enterprises highly enhance the image and prosperity of  Blacklion whose inhabitants are understandably proud of Neven’s many achievements. http://www.nevenmaguire.com

On our way home we swung by Sligo where three of our past students have cafes, and bakeries.

Catherine Farrell & Annette Burke at Gourmet Parlour in Bridge Street are celebrating 25 years in business, this year makes me feel old…… There was a queue when we arrived. The shelves and display case were packed with delicious cakes, bread and plump sandwiches and there was a queue. The kitchen works through the night to supply the demand and a new café is planned at the Cooloney roundabout. http://www.gourmetparlour.com

David Dunne of Café Knox in O’ Connell Street also gets great reviews but doesn’t open on a Monday so we headed for Sweet Beat on the corner of Bridge Street. Carolanne Rushe and her sister Deirdre and Simon the barista, were all beavering away in the recently opened Café that’s causing quite a stir in Sligo. There are just three tables on the ground floor but many more upstairs.

The fresh plant based salads and drinks are wooing vegetarians and everyone else besides.  http://www.sweetbeat.ie

We also picked up a pot of Wildwood honey from Tir na Nóg health food shop one of the first to be established in 1980.

Sligo is a buzzy, business town with lots of small shops and I was delighted to find that Cosgrove’s grocery shop was the same as ever, packed with produce with sausages and salami  hanging enticingly from the ceiling

 

Hot Tips

In response to many requests we’ve scheduled a week long ‘total immersion’ course at Ballymaloe Cookery School from Monday July 27th to Friday July 31st for those who would like to explore the organic farm and gardens as well as participate in both demonstration and hands on classes. You will learn how to cook many exciting dishes for family, friends and entertaining  but also how to sow a seed, the basics of organic growing and how to make compost. How to make your own homemade butter, cheese and yoghurt from the milk of our small Jersey herd. We’ll make sourdough and several other breads, pickles, jams, preserves……

We’ll spend lots of time in the kitchen but you’ll also help to pick vegetables and forage in the early morning and weather depending we may even go fishing……check out the details on the website www.cookingisfun.ie

 

How about this for a great idea …..Book-ears is a uniquely designed range of ‘book ears’ that save you from having to fold over the corners of a page. Orla Kerr, Bobby’s sister, came up with this brilliant concept. Each little cardboard sleeve is kept in place by a magnetic strip with enough space to write recipe notes or comments. See www.book-ears.com and amazon.co.uk.

 

How to Cook Well with Rory O’ Connell

Rory O’ Connell’s TV programme created lots of excitement, so why not come and meet him in person from 29th-31st July.  In this 2½ day course Rory will teach you simple but essential skills to transform you into a truly good cook. At the heart of his approach are good ingredients, carefully prepared with an eye to detail that will make your dishes a success, See the website www.cookingisfun.ie for the details.

A Slow Food Pop Up Dinner at the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Sunday July 12th. Drink Reception at 6.30, dinner at 7pm. Our current 12 Week Certificate students will cook a ‘dream feast’….. Proceeds of the evening will go towards the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project.

Tickets €45.00. Booking Essential.

Phone 021 4646785 or email sharon@cookingisfun.ie for the details.


 

Neven’s Prawn and Avocado Wrap

Serves 4

 

100 g (4oz) mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil

½ lemon, pips removed

1 large ripe Hass avocado

4 large deli wraps or soft flour tortillas

50 g (2 oz) wild rocket

200 g (7 oz) large cooked, peeled prawns

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Place the mayonnaise in a bowl and add the chilli sauce, basil and a good squeeze of the lemon juice. Season to taste and mix until well combined.

Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone, then cut into slices and place in a bowl. Drizzle in a squeeze of the lemon juice to prevent it from discolouring. Heat a heavy-based frying pan. Heat each deli wrap or soft flour tortilla for 30 seconds on the frying pan, turning once.

Spread the flavoured mayonnaise all over each of the heated wraps or tortillas and stack the rocket, avocado slices and prawns down the centre. Season to taste and roll up to enclose the filling.

To serve, cut each one on the diagonal and arrange on plates or wrap in greaseproof paper to pack for lunch boxes.

 

The Nation’s Favourite Food by Neven Maguire

 

 

Neven’s Chicken Tikka Masala

 

Serves 4

 

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

Knob of butter

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

5 cm (2 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated

100 g (4 oz) tikka masala curry paste

200 g (7 oz) canned chopped tomatoes

250 ml (9 fl oz) coconut cream

150 ml (¼ pint) chicken stock or water

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into thick strips

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

200 g (7 oz) natural yoghurt, extra to garnish

Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish

 

Saffron Rice

1 teaspoon saffron threads

Knob of butter

350 g (12 oz) basmati rice

6 green cardmamom pods, cracked

 

Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy based pan with a lid. Add the onions, garlic, chilli and ginger and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat, until soft and lightly golden. Stir in the tikka masala paste and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste. Add the tomatoes, coconut cream and chicken stock or water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until reduced by half and thickened.

 

Tip in the chicken strips and yoghurt and stir well to combine. Bring back to a gentle simmer, then cover with a lid and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is nicely reduced and the chicken is tender.

 

To prepare the saffron rice, place the saffron threads into a small bowl and pour over a little boiling water and leave to infuse. Melt the butter in a large heavy based pan with a lid. When it’s just starting to foam, tip in the rice and cardamom. Stir the rice for 2 minutes over a medium heat and season with a little salt. Pour over enough boiling water to cover the rice by 2.5 cm (1 inch), bring to  a simmer and put on the lid. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, then  pour in the saffron, including the water that it’s been soaking in. cover the pot again and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the rice is just cooked but retains some bite.

 

To serve, spoon the chicken tikka masala into warmed serving bowls and put the saffron rice into separate bowls. Add dollops of yoghurt into each bowl of chicken tikka masala and a good scattering of coriander leaves to garnish.

 

The Nation’s Favourite Food by Neven Maguire

 

Roast Summer Veg with Pearled Barley from the Sweet Beat Café in Sligo

 

Carol-Anne Rushe loves to serve this salad as part of our daily ‘Super Salad’ plate with our spicy hummus, onion pickle, sprouts and seeds.

It’s perfect for bbq season or feeding the family something light and healthy for a summery dinner.

 

Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a side dish

 

500g Pearl Barley

2 Zucchini

1 large Aubergine

2 red peppers

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

pinch black pepper

 

Dressing

 

30ml balsamic vinegar

90ml extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of black pepper

 

handful of coriander, chopped,

handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

Pumpkin seeds

 

Put the barley into a saucepan, cover with three times the amount of cold water and bring to the boil. simmer for 30 minutes.

Chop the veg into bite size chunks and place in a roasting tray with a drizzle of sunflower oil, thyme, paprika, sea salt and black pepper.

Roast in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.

When the barley is done, drain and rinse with cold water. Toss the dressing through and mix with the vegetables.

When it is cool, add in the chopped herbs and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Serve at room temperature.

 

Almond-Hazelnut-Praline-Cake

Gourmet Parlor Praline Cake

 

Serves 10 approximately

 

6oz (175g/1 1/2 cups) flour

5 1/2oz (160g/scant 3/4 cup) sugar

3 eggs

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

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) praline powder (see below)

 

Praline

6oz (175g/3/4 cup) sugar

6oz (175g) skinned hazelnuts or unskinned almonds

 

Praline Butter Icing

7 tablespoons (9 American tablespoons) water

8 tablespoons (10 American tablespoons) sugar

5 egg yolks

1/2 lb (225g/2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened and creamed)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

4 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) praline powder (sieved praline)

 

2 x 7 (18cm) inch cake tins                

 

First make the praline.

Combine the sugar and nuts in a heavy saucepan. Put over a low heat until the sugar turns caramel colour. Do not stir, carefully rotate the pan until the nuts are covered with caramel. When the nuts go “pop” pour the mixture on to an oiled marble slab, cool. Crush to a coarse gritty texture.

 

Brush the cake tins with melted butter and line the base of each with a round of greaseproof paper. Brush the paper with melted butter also and dust the base and edges with flour.

 

Cream the sugar and butter and add in the eggs one by one.  Beat well between each addition.  Sieve the flour and baking powder and stir in gradually. Add two tablespoons of praline powder. Mix lightly adding milk to moisten if the mixture is a little stiff.

 

Divide equally between two prepared tins.  Bake for 25 minutes at 190°C/350°F/regulo 5. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out and cooling on a wire rack. Reinvert after a few moments so as not to mark the top of the cake.

 

Meanwhile make the butter cream. 

Bring the water and sugar to the boil stirring only until the sugar dissolves. Let the syrup boil to the thread stage (115°C/238°F). Beat the yolks for one minute with an electric beater, add hot syrup very gradually. Continue beating until the syrup has all been added.  The mousse should be stiff and hold a “figure of 8”.  Let the mousse cool.

Beat the butter to a creamy consistency.  Gradually add the cooled mousse to the creamed butter and finally fold in the 4 tablespoons of powdered praline.

To Assemble

Split each cake in half. Spread with praline butter icing. Sandwich together.

Ice the top and sides with the remaining icing. Sprinkle crushed praline all over the top surface of the cake.

 

Praline Gateau

Alternatively for a wider gateau style cake, bake in a 2 x 8 inch x 2 1/2 inch deep (20.5cm x 6.5cm deep) tin.  Decorate with caramel shards or pieces of almond brittle.

 

 

Gaby Wieland’s Meadowsweet Lemonade-Champagne

 

This is a most refreshing summer drink

 

3 ½ litres of water

100g of honey

7 dessertspoons of cider vinegar

40-50 Hawthorn flower tops

(or 100 Dandelion Flowers or 8-9 Elderflower heads in full bloom, 100 red clover flowers, 9 Meadowsweet flowers)

2-3 organic or unwaxed lemons

 

  1. Pour the water in a large jug or pot (ideally earthenware), add the honey and vinegar.
  2. Squeeze the juice from one to one and a half lemons, cut one to one and a half lemons in pieces and add both to the mixture.
  3. Then put the flowers into the jug.
  4. Stir well. Cover and leave in a warm place for 24 hours.
  5. The lemonade is ready after 1 day. Just strain and serve ice cool.

 

Note

To make champagne, leave flowers to ferment in the liquid for another 2-3 days. Then strain and bottle in champagne bottles with secure corks or use other strong bottles. Leave for a minimum of 4 weeks. The taste even improves after a longer period of time. Best before 1-2 years. You can mix the champagne with apple juice, mineral water or add orange juice ice cubes.

 

Tip

You can reduce the amount of honey when you make red clover lemonade.  Adjust to your taste!

 

 

 

 

School Tour – June 2015

July 4th, 2015

D-Fish-Chips

Just back from another action packed school tour. On every 12 Week Certificate course we take the students on a fact finding field trip to stimulate ideas on how they might use their hard earned cooking skills to earn their living in a fun and creative way. Food is the main driver of the Irish economy at present where there are a myriad of options to add value to basic raw materials.

We started shortly after 8am, everyone was in high spirits. What is it about a school excursion that makes us all revert back to our carefree childhood temperament? First we visited Shanagarry Smokehouse where Bill Casey told us about how he decided to start a smokehouse when he was made redundant in the early 80’s. His smoked salmon is sold not just in the local area but also to several top chefs around the country and occasionally overseas.

Next we visited Philip Dennhardt’s Saturday Pizza factory ingeniously converted from a disused shipping container. An inspirational project which made many students realise that thinking creatively one can get into business and comply with the regulations without huge overheads.

Then we all piled into the bus and headed for Mahon Point Farmers Markets. It was already buzzing when we arrived at 10 o’ clock, 50 plus stalls each manned by a super creative food producer, all entrepreneurs who think outside the box to identify an opportunity. Annie Murphy’s chickens were roasting to perfection on a spit, beside her Simon Mould was turning out irresistible pizza. As ever the O’ Driscoll brothers from West Cork had a long queue for their freshly caught West Cork fish.  Maurice Gilbert from Ballyhoura was doling out tastes of his apple juice combos. Close by Marcus Hodder tells me his new salted caramel affrogato ice cream is proving to be a big hit.

Silvia and Olga from La Cocina have an irresistible display of Spanish treats, the students in particular love the custard tarts and want to know if I know the secret. Chocolate Cake Pops, lollipops, goat’s milk, raw food, home baking, cured meats, free range pork, organic fruit and vegetables…….

Now, since my last visit Rachel McCormack is making a variety of beef and chicken broths, Pho and pad thai that’s really causing a stir. This market continues to surprise and delight and the originals like Arbutus breads are still innovative and tempt us with their new creations.

Then it was on to Fermoy Cheese where Frank and Gudrun Shinnick and their team of international apprentices make a whole range of delectable farmhouse cheeses from the milk of their Friesian herd.

After a picnic and cheese tasting, we headed to visit Willie Drohan, who produces Comeragh Mountain lamb on his farm not far from the spectacular Mahon Falls. He told us the story of how he and several neighbouring farmers rear this distinctive lamb now much sought after by the top chefs. They lamb graze on deer grass, wild sorrel, tormentil and on other wild herbs on the commonage.

Next destination was Nude Food in Dungarvan. Here we were met by Louise Clark and Lucy Whelan. Louise lead us through the restaurant into her garden behind where broad beans, courgettes and a myriad of fresh herbs were flourishing. Louise is a charismatic speaker who shared her story with us all.

Our last stop of a brilliantly stimulating and enjoyable day was Dungarvan Brewery. Claire Dalton and Cormac O Dwyer showed us around explained and simplified the brewing process, the ingredients needed and the bottling system. His sister, wife of  Tom Dalton the other brewer in the business organised a tasting of the Dungarvan beers, all with local names, Helvick Gold Blond ale, Copper Coast, Mine Head, and I particularly enjoyed the Black Rock stout.

Traditional bottled conditioned beers are the USP of the Dungarvan brewing company which gives the craft beer a unique flavour.

 

Hot Tips

Sushi made Simple

Join our 12 Week Certificate students and allow Shermin Mustafa to demystify this jewel of Japanese cuisine. Whilst so many of us love eating sushi, making it for the first time can be intimidating particularly as it’s common-knowledge that sushi chefs train for years to master the knife skills and presentation needed to create world-class sushi.

This course takes the mystery… and stress… out of making sushi, Shermin will start by explaining the ingredients, basic equipment and techniques required, giving you the confidence to serve it to guests at home or in a restaurant.

During this half-day course she will show you how to make at least eight different types of sushi as well as sashimi.

Students will have the opportunity to taste all the dishes prepared during the demonstration.

Wednesday July 15th at the Ballymaloe Cookery School 9.30am-2pm

Phone 021 4646785 or www.cookingisfun.ie for more information.

 

The cake making craze continues unabated. If you are really into spectacular results Decobake has 5 shops around Ireland. They also have a wonderful website with a good delivery service.  All you need for cake baking and decorating from edible gels and paste, dust and glitter, sugar craft, novelty cake tins and much much more….

Check out the website www.decobake.com

 

Shanagarry OOOBY little summer market has started again. Every Sunday morning the group sell their seasonal produce, preserves and home baking on the wall outside Shanagarry Church. A brilliant idea that could be replicated throughout the country. Tel Mary Griffin on 0876175985 or email oldroadpainter@msn.com for the details.

 

East Cork Slow Food Event

Camilla Plum from her organic Danish Fuglebjerggaard Farm will give a short cookery demonstration at the Ballymaloe Cookery School  on ‘Danish Family Cooking’, on Wednesday July 8th at 7pm.

Telephone 021 4646785 for the details.

http://www.fuglebjerggaard.dk/english

 

 

 

 

Fish in Beer Batter with Chips and Tartare Sauce

Dungarvan Brewery can be contacted on  058 24000

 

Serves 8

 

Fish and chips became famous because they can be utterly delicious.  The fish needs to be spanking fresh, the batter crisp, the potatoes a good variety and most importantly the oil needs to be good quality.  In Spain and Greece olive oil is frequently used, but sunflower or arachide can be excellent also.

8 very fresh fillets of Irish cod, haddock, plaice, or lemon sole

 

Beer Batter

250g (9oz) self-raising flour

good pinch of salt

110ml (4fl oz) beer

175-225ml (6 – 8fl ozs) cold water

 

Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl.  Make a well in the centre and gradually whisk in the beer and water.

 

Chips

8-16 well-scrubbed unpeeled potatoes

 

Garnish

1 lemon

 

Accompaniment

Tartare Sauce (see recipe)

 

First make the batter.

Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl.  Make a well in the centre and gradually whisk in the beer and water.

 

Cut the potatoes into chips (5mm/1/4 inch approximately – frites size), basically any size you fancy (remember the bigger they are the longer they take to cook.  Jumbo’s need to be blanched at 160°C/320°F first and finished at 190°C/375°F).

 

Heat the oil in the deep-fryer to 180°C/350°F, add in the chips. Make sure they are absolutely dry (don’t cook too many together).  Cook for a few minutes until they are just soft, drain.

 

Dip the fish fillets in batter, allow excess to drip off, lower gently into the oil, shaking the basket at the same time.  Cook until crisp and golden, drain on kitchen paper.  Increase the heat to 190°C/375°F. Put the chips back in and cook for a minute or two until really crisp.  Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt.

 

Serve the fish and chips immediately, either on a plate or in a cornet of newsprint.  Serve with Tartare Sauce.

 

 

Tartare Sauce

 

A classic Tartare Sauce, great with deep-fried fish, shellfish or fish cakes.

 

Serves 8-10

 

2 hardboiled egg yolks

2 raw egg yolks, preferably free range

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

300ml (10fl oz) of sunflower or arachide oil plus 50ml (2fl oz) olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped capers

1 teaspoon chopped gherkins

2 teaspoons chopped chives or 2 teaspoons chopped spring onions (scallions)

2 teaspoons chopped parsley

chopped white of the 2 hardboiled eggs

salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Sieve the hardboiled egg yolks into a bowl, add the raw egg yolks, mustard and 1 tablespoon of wine vinegar.   Mix well and whisk in the oil drop by drop, increasing the volume as the mixture thickens.  When all the oil has been absorbed, add the other ingredients – capers, gherkins, chives or spring onions and parsley.   Then roughly chop the hardboiled egg white and fold in gently, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and add a little more vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice if necessary.

 

 

 

 

Shanagarry Smoked Wild Irish Salmon with Arjard and Pickled Red Onions

 

Wild Irish salmon is a now a rare treat, as for the last couple of years we have managed to get a small number from fishermen on the Blackwater river. We treasure each one and eat some fresh, cure and smoke some ourselves or give them to Bill Casey, our local smoker, to smoke for us. We hot- and cold-smoke the salmon and teach the students both methods of preserving. For this recipe we use cold-smoked salmon, but flakes of the hot-smoked variety would also be delicious.

 

Serves 4

 

175–225g (6–8oz) cold-smoked wild Irish salmon,

cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes

 

For the Pickled Red Onions

225ml (8fl oz) white wine vinegar

110g (4oz) granulated sugar

pinch of salt

3 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick, broken

1 dried red chilli

450g (1lb) red onions, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandolin

 

For the Arjard (cucumber salad)

2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways

1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced into rings

1 green chilli, deseeded and sliced into rings

4 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons water

6 tablespoons malt vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cucumber, quartered lengthways and thinly sliced

 

To Serve

chervil sprigs and wild garlic or chive blossom in season

freshly ground black pepper

 

To make the pickled onions, put the vinegar, sugar, salt and spices in a heavy-bottomed pan and bring to the boil. Put in one-third of the sliced onions and simmer for 2–3 minutes or until they turn pink and wilt. Lift out the cooked onions with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a 350g (12oz) sterilised jam jar with a non-reactive lid. Repeat with the rest of the onions, cooking them in two batches. Top up the jar with the hot vinegar, put on the lid and set aside to cool overnight. Once cold, store in the fridge.

 

To make the Arjard, put all the ingredients except the cucumber in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3–5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cold, pour the marinade over the slices of cucumber and set aside to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

 

To serve, arrange the cubes of salmon on a plate, add some Arjard and some pickled red onion and scatter over a few sprigs of chervil, wild garlic or chive flowers. Finish with some freshly ground black pepper over the top.

 

 

 

Comeragh Mountain Lamb with Cucumber Neopolitana

 

Martin Drohan can be contacted at tel (051) 291 533

 

1 leg of Comeragh mountain lamb

 

Gravy

600ml (1 pint/2 1/2 cups) homemade lamb or chicken stock

1-2 teaspoons freshly-chopped herbs  parsley, mint, thyme or rosemary, chives…..

a little Roux

Sea Salt

 

Garnish

Sprigs of fresh mint and parsley

 

 

If possible remove the aitch bone from the top of the leg of lamb so that it will be easier to carve later, then trim the end of the leg.  Score the fat lightly.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and roast for 1 1/4 hours approx. for rare, 1 1/2 hours for medium and 1 3/4 hours well done.  When the lamb is cooked to your taste, remove the joint to a carving dish.  Rest the lamb for 10 minutes before carving.

 

De-grease the juices in the roasting tin, add stock, bring to the boil and thicken with a little roux if desired.  Just before serving, whisk in some knobs of butter to enrich the gravy and add some freshly-chopped herbs.  Serve with Cucumber Neapolitana (see recipe).

.

 

 

Cucumber Neapolitana

 

A terrifically versatile vegetable dish which may be made ahead and reheats well. It is also delicious served with rice or pasta.  It makes a great stuffing for tomatoes and is particularly good with Roast lamb.

 

Serves 6 approximately

 

1 organic large cucumber

15g (1/2oz) butter

1 medium onion – 110g (4oz) approximately, sliced

4 very ripe Irish tomatoes

salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

65ml (2 1/2fl oz) cream

1 dessertspoon freshly chopped mint

Roux

 

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, when it foams add the onion. Cover and sweat for 5 minutes approximately until soft but not coloured.

 

Meanwhile, peel the cucumber, cut into 1cm (1/2inch) cubes, add to the onions, toss well and continue to cook while you scald the tomatoes with water for 10 seconds.  Peel the tomatoes and slice into the casserole, season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar. Cover the casserole and cook for a few minutes until the cucumbers are tender and the tomatoes have softened, add the cream and bring back to the boil. Add the freshly chopped mint.  If the liquid is very thin, thicken it by carefully whisking in a little roux.  Cucumber Neapolitana keeps for several days and may be reheated.

 

 

 

 

 

Roux

110g (4oz) butter

110g (4oz) flour

 

Melt the butter and cook the flour in it for 2 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally.  Use as required.  Roux can be stored in a cool place and used as required or it can be made up on the spot if preferred.  It will keep at least a fortnight in a refrigerator.

 

 

 

 

Ballyhoura Apple  and Custard Tart 

 

This tart is delicious made with Ballyhoura Red of Gold apples.  Pears, gooseberries, apricots, rhubarb and plums are also good and the custard could be flavoured with a little cinnamon instead of vanilla if you want to ring the changes.

 

Serves 10-12

 

Pastry

225g (8oz) plain flour

pinch of salt

175g (6oz) butter

1 dessertspoons icing sugar – where does the icing sugar go into the recipe?

a little beaten egg or egg yolk and water to bind

 

Filling

2-3 golden delicious apples

300ml (10fl oz) cream

2 large or 3 small eggs

2 tablespoons castor sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4-6 tablespoons apricot glaze (see recipe)

 

1 x 12 inch (30.5cm) tart tin or 2 x 7 inch (18cm) tart tins

 

First make the shortcrust pastry.

Sieve the flour, salt and icing sugar into a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour and then rub in with your fingertips. Keep everything as cool as possible; if the fat is allowed to melt, the finished pastry may be tough. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, stop.

 

Whisk the egg or egg yolk and add some water. Using a fork to stir, add just enough liquid to bring the pastry together, then discard the fork and collect it into a ball with your hands, this way you can judge more accurately if you need a few more drops of liquid. Although rather damp pastry is easier to handle and roll out, the resulting crust can be tough and may well shrink out of shape as the water evaporates in the oven. The drier and more difficult-to-handle pastry will give a crisper, shorter crust.

 

Flatten into a round, cover the pastry with clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour. This will make the pastry much less elastic and easier to roll.

 

Line a tart tin (or tins), with a removable base and chill for 10 minutes. Line with paper and fill with dried beans and bake blind in a moderate oven 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, paint the tart with a little egg wash and return to the oven for 3 or 4 minutes.  Allow to cool, then paint the base with apricot glaze.

 

Peel the apples, quarter, core and cut into even slices about one-eight inch thick. Arrange one at a time as you slice to form a circle inside the tart, the slices should slightly overlap on the inside, fill the centre likewise. Whisk the eggs well, with the sugar and vanilla extract, add the cream. Strain this mixture over the apples and bake at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, for 35 minutes. When the custard is set and the apples are fully cooked, brush generously with apricot glaze and serve warm with a bowl of whipped cream.

 

Note

The apricot glaze here is essential for flavour not just for appearance.

 

 

Apricot Glaze

 

350g (12 oz) apricot jam

juice of 1/4 lemon

2 tablespoons water.

 

Makes 300ml (10fl oz) approximately

 

In a small stainless steel saucepan, melt the apricot jam with 1 – 2 tablespoons of juice or water. Push the hot jam through a nylon sieve and store in a sterilized airtight jar.

Melt and stir the glaze before use of necessary.

 

Family Reunion Weekend

June 26th, 2015

Srikhand - yogurt cheese 04-09

 

Nowadays, in our crazily busy lives, years can flash by in a hectic blur. Suddenly we realize that we haven’t seen or sometimes heard from favourite cousins or even aunts and uncles for years. This came home to me recently when one of my grandsons went to boarding school and found himself sharing a room with a cousin whom he had never met – now they are firm friends. This was a wakeup call – could some of the younger generation pass each other in the street without realizing they were related?

So a few weekends ago, we had a wonderful Family Reunion Weekend – I invited my immediate family of course siblings + spouses and their children, uncles, aunts,  1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins and some as the saying goes ‘once removed’. We had a ‘whale of a time’.

People started to arrive on Saturday from as far away as Bermuda and Dubai and of course from all over Ireland and the UK.  We’d arranged for a Kids tea for the under 10’s followed by a treasure hunt around the garden. We gave everyone a name badge so they could identify each other or at least attempt to at a glance – at least 25% of people at the reception didn’t know each other.

The Welcome Reception was lively and convivial, when we went in to dinner, everyone was instructed by ‘bossy me’ to sit beside someone they’d never met before or at least hadn’t seen for ages.  It was so fun, not an awkward second.

A few weeks earlier we’d asked people to rummage round in boxes in the attic for old  photos, many responded and so we had an intriguing collection pinned up on a long noticeboard in the hallway. We had a stack of pencils so people could identify their younger selves or siblings, relatives or neighbours. The party also prompted several families to speed up work on the Family Tree, something we tend to be totally disinterested in until we get a bit older. My children were intrigued to learn about my O’Connell and Tynan ancestors and the colourful clan they have descended from. People chatted and chatted until after midnight, the youngsters bonded and went to the local. On Sunday morning, there was an option to see our tiny Jersey herd being milked, feed the calves and pigs, feed the hens, collect the eggs….

From 10am onwards we had a breakfast brunch, not a rasher or a cornflake in sight but lots of homemade muesli and granola, a compote of new seasons rhubarb, bowls of steaming Macroom oatmeal with soft brown sugar and Jersey cream, Labneh with saffron and pistachio, thick unctuous yoghurt and honey, homemade brown soda and Spotted Dog as well as brown yeast bread and crusty sour dough loaves, Jersey butter and lots of homemade jams, marmalade and local honey. Then there was a beautiful board of  Irish farmhouse cheeses, a dish of freshly pulled radishes from the garden and some artisan meats – a simple feast not ‘a fry’ in sight but our second son in law Philip cooked breakfast pizzas in the wood-burning oven with those lovely fresh eggs the children had collected earlier.

After breakfast a nature hunt for the children and a walk through the farm and garden for the grownups or an opportunity to see Clancy making cheese. Then after a spot of visiting we all went for a walk on Shanagarry strand.  The children built sand castles on the beach, decorated them with shells and frolicked in the sea in the shallow waves, others flew kites in the breeze. By late afternoon after copious cups of tea and scones, everyone was saying reluctant goodbyes and resolving to keep in touch. Why not plan a family get together soon, here are some of the dishes we enjoyed together.


Hot Tips

Book of the Week

Vegetarian Cooking Step by Step by Lena Tritto has just landed on my desk. This book is ideal for novice cooks who want to see recipes visually laid out by the step-by-step techniques for every stage of preparation and will be especially useful to students about to embark on their first tentative attempts at cooking away from home. It explains the techniques for using tofu, seitan, tempeh and many other ingredients that may be unfamiliar. As well as being an eminent cookery teacher Lena Tritto is a graduate in Chinese medicine from Tao School in Bologna.  Published by Grub Street.

 

The excellent and much loved Midleton Country Market is moving to Market Green. Every Friday from 9am-3pm you will find lots of homemade breads, cakes, fresh eggs, jams……

 

Middle Eastern Bites – You will find Marguerite McQuaid at the Wilton Farmers Market every Tuesday from 10am-3pm. Her stall is choc a bloc with tempting Middle Eastern food – from falafal to red peper ajvar , flatbreads,  labneh, lovage and raspberry cordial, rhubarb and ginger cordial….all made with fresh herbs,  freshly ground spices…..www.serendipish.ie

 

Spotted Dog

During my childhood, many people in the country were poor, and their daily staple would have been wholemeal bread. White flour was more expensive than brown so white soda bread was considered to be more luxurious – a treat for special occasions. At times of the year when work was harder, such as at harvest or threshing, or maybe on a Sunday when visitors were expected, the woman of the house would add a bit of sugar and a fistful of dried fruit and an egg to the white bread to make it a bit more special. Nowadays, this does not seem such a big deal but back then any money that the woman of the house got from selling her eggs was considered to be her ‘pin money,’ used for little luxuries such as hatpins. Putting an egg into the bread was one egg less that she could sell, so it actually represented much more than it would for us today. This bread was called Spotted Dog, and when it was still warm, she’d wrap it in a tea towel and bring it out to the fields with hot sweetened tea in whiskey bottles wrapped in newspaper or cloth to insulate them. The farm workers would put down their tools and sit with their backs to the haystacks. She’d cut the bread into thick slices and slather on yellow country butter. My memories of sitting down with them are still really vivid. We sometimes make ‘spotted puppies’ which are the same bread,

shaped into 6 rolls and baked for 20minutes.

 

Makes 1 loaf

 

450g (1lb/4 cups) plain white flour, preferably unbleached

1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 level teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

75g (3oz) sultanas (or more if you’d like)

1 organic egg

about 350 – 425ml (12-14fl oz/1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups) buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

 

In a large mixing bowl, sieve in the flour and bicarbonate of soda; then add the salt, sugar and sultanas. Mix well by lifting the flour and fruit up in to your hands and then letting them fall back into the bowl through your fingers. This adds more air and therefore more lightness to your finished bread. Now make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Break the egg into the base of a measuring jug and add the buttermilk to the 425ml (14fl oz/1 3/4 cup) line (the egg is part of the liquid measurement). Pour most of this milk and egg mixture into the flour.

 

Using one hand with the fingers open and stiff, mix in a full circle drawing in the flour mixture from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, but not too wet and sticky.

 

The trick with Spotted Dog like all soda breads, is not to over mix the dough. Mix it as quickly and gently as possible, thus keeping it light and airy. When the dough all comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands. With floured fingers, roll the dough lightly for a few seconds –

just enough to tidy it up. Then pat the dough into a round about 6cm (2 1/2 inches) deep. Transfer to a baking tray dusted lightly with flour. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross on it, letting the cuts go over the sides of the bread. Prick with knife at the four triangles. Put into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Cook for 35-40 minutes. If you are in doubt about the bread being cooked, tap the bottom: if it is cooked it will sound hollow. This bread is cooked at a lower temperature than soda bread because the egg browns faster at a

higher heat.

 

Serve freshly baked, cut into thick slices and smeared with butter and jam. Spotted Dog is also really good eaten with Cheddar cheese.

 

Srikhand

 

Serves 8-10

 

2kg (4 1/2lb) thick homemade yoghurt (see recipe) or Greek yoghurt

generous pinch of saffron strands

1 tablespoon warm water

1/4 teaspoon roughly crushed green cardamom seeds

225g (8oz/1 cup) caster sugar

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) coarsely chopped pistachio nuts

 

muslin

 

Put a square of muslin into a bowl.  Pour in the yoghurt, tie the ends and allow to drip overnight (save the whey to make soda bread).  Transfer the dripped yoghurt into a clean bowl.  Infuse the saffron in a tablespoon of warm water in a small bowl.  Stir into every last drop into the yoghurt.  Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods.  Crush lightly, add to the yoghurt with the caster sugar, mix well.  Turn into a serving dish.  Chill.  Sprinkle the top with roughly chopped pistachio nuts and serve.  Delicious on it’s own but also memorable with Summer berries.

 

 

Pea and Coriander Soup

 

This utterly delicious soup has a perky zing with the addition of fresh chilli.

 

Serves 6 approximately

 

1lb (450g/4 cups) peas (good quality frozen are fine)

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

5 ozs (150g/1 cup) onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 1/2 pints (900ml/3 3/4cups) home-made chicken stock

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) approx. chopped fresh coriander

salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

 

Garnish

softly whipped cream

fresh coriander leaves

 

Bring the chicken stock to the boil.

 

Melt the butter on a gentle heat add the onion, garlic and chilli.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and sweat for 3-4 minutes.  Add the peas and cover with the hot stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-8 minutes.  Add the coriander and liquidise.  Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar, which enhances the flavour even further.  Serve with a swirl of softly whipped cream and a few fresh coriander leaves sprinkled over the top.

 

 

A Selection of Devilled Eggs

 

Devilled eggs are having their moment in the spotlight once again. The Green Table in Chelsea Market in New York served a selection of 4 on their lunch menu as the star item

 

 

Makes 8

 

 

4 free range eggs

2-3 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped Chives

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

 

Lower the eggs gently into boiling salted water, bring the water back to the boil and hard boil the eggs for 10 minutes in boiling water, drain and put immediately into a bowl of cold water.  (Eggs with a black ring around the yolk have been overcooked). When cold, shell, slice in half lengthways. Sieve the yolks, mix the sieved egg yolk with mayonnaise, add chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste. Fill into a piping bag and pipe into the whites. Garnish with a sprig of parsley or chervil and serve on a bed of wild watercress leaves.

 

 

Country Relish Eggs

 

Makes 8 halves

 

As above, add 1 tablespoon of sieved Ballymaloe Country Relish to the sieved egg yolk with the mayonnaise. Season well taste for seasoning.

Decorate with a sliver of gherkin and a cheeky chive.

 

Kalamata Eggs

 

Makes 8 halves

 

As above and add 4 black Kalamata olives stoned and finely chopped to the sieved egg. Continue as above. Decorate with a sliver olive and a sprig of chervil.

 

Anchovy Eggs

 

Makes 8 halves

 

As above – add 2 – 4 finely mashed anchovies and 2 teaspoons of finely chopped parsley to sieved yolk and proceed as above. Garnish with a sprig of fennel and a fennel flower if available.

 

 

 

Wasabi Eggs

 

Makes 8 halves

 

Add ½ teaspoon of wasabi puree to the sieved egg yolk with the mayonnaise, taste and correct the seasoning. Garnish with wild garlic or chive flowers in season.

 

To Serve

 

Choose rectangular plates if available. Arrange a few wild watercress leaves on the plate and top with four devilled eggs of different flavours. Garnish each and serve with brown yeast bread.

 

 

 

Roast Rhubarb

VVC

 

900g (2lb) rhubarb

350g (12oz/1 1/2 cups) sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400F/Gas Mark 6.

 

Slice the rhubarb into 2 1/2cm (1 inch) pieces and place in a medium size oven proof dish.  Scatter the sugar over the rhubarb and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes approximately depending on size, until the rhubarb is just tender.

 

 

 

Honey & Co.

June 22nd, 2015

Honey & Co

 

We’ve christened Itamar and Sarit from Honey & Co, because they are just that. We’ve had them here at Ballymaloe Cookery School all weekend. On Saturday they taught two classes and charmed the audience with their easy manner and utterly delicious food. They cooked many of the favourite Middle Eastern dishes from Honey & Co, their tiny restaurant in Warren Street in Fitzrovia. It seats just 24 people and snugly at that but serves about 150 who come for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8.00am-10.30pm.

Sarit Packer has been cooking and baking since she was five, trained at Butlers Wharf and at the Orrery under Chris Galvin, where she learned, amongst other things, to make Pâte de fruits, which up to then was her sole ambition in life. In her spare time she sleeps. Itamar Srulovich born and raised in Jerusalem. Cooking since the  age of five and leaving a great mess  in the kitchen ever since, he trained on the job in various places in Tel-Aviv. He prefers eating to cooking and sleeping to both, he is very happily married to Sarit.

They serve a lot of iced tea and homemade lemonades at Honey & Co. This orange blossom one is a particular favourite. Sarit tells us that “what we’re about is homemade flavours” and it just struck me that so many of the restaurants that people love nowadays in particular in London and New York are about homemade flavours. There’s of course are Middle Eastern and there are some dishes that they simply can’t take off the menu,  falafel and their cherry pistachio cake.

Spices, dried mint, tahini and sumac, zaltar and pomegranate molasses are very important in Middle Eastern food but we can get all these ingredients fairly easily now both in ethnic shops, supermarkets and of course mail order. Ottolenghi has a brilliant mail order service http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/.

Mableb was a new ingredient for me, it’s made from ground up cherry stones and gives a bitter almon flavour to cakes and cookies.  It too is available by mail order. It’s a bountiful time in the farm and in the gardens. Itamar and Sarit were so excited by the quality of the beautiful fresh produce. We had lots of fresh peas, courgettes and their flowers, broad beans and the first tiny cucumbers. A joy to eat and cook with.

Observer Food magazine awarded Honey & Co Newcomer of the Year in 2013.  They have just celebrated their third anniversary so Pam baked them a gorgeous 3 tier cake embellished with roses, raspberries and spun sugar. Somehow in the midst of all they wrote the Honey & Co cookbook which was published by Salt Yard Book Co in 2014 to huge acclaim.

Both Sunday Times and Fortnum and Mason awarded Honey & Co Cookbook of the Year 2015 and just last night they won the UK Food Writers Guild, First Cookbook Award.

This is another restaurant to put on your London list and don’t forget to tell them that you made the discovery in the Irish Examiner.

Here are some of the dishes that enchanted us all from their course but there’s plenty more gems in their cookbook.

 

Hot Tips

East Cork Slow Food

Don’t’ miss Tara Shine’s Head of Research and Development at the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice,  inspirational talk on Sustainability and Climate Change at the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Tuesday June 23rd at 7pm.

Phone 021 4646785 for details.

 

Long to Grow your own Organic Vegetables – yes you can…..

Susan Turner, Head Gardener at the Ballymaloe Cookery School will provide you with the necessary skills to develop sustainable organic growing techniques. In one busy day, she’ll cover successional sowings, attracting beneficial insects and pest control, crop management, feeding regimes & harvesting organic year round crop production……..

You’ll also enjoy a delicious lunch with seasonal organic produce from the farm and gardens and the opportunity to exchange ideas. Susan’s many fans will confirm that her courses are dynamic and inspirational and tailored to every level, from novices through to avid gardeners.

Students who wish to continue learning from Susan can progress to our Organic Horticulture: Autumn Harvesting & Winter Crops course later in the year.

Shanagarry Pottery Câfe – pop in when you are visiting the pottery.  Christine Crowley (ex Ballymaloe Cookery School student) has taken over for the summer. She’s a beautiful cook and is open seven days a week for brunch, light lunches, sweet treats and delicious freshly ground Golden Bean coffee. Her small daily menu of yummy local produce also includes one her Middle Eastern favourites. Monday to Saturday 10-5pm, Sunday 11-5pm

Phone number 021 4646807.

 

Orange Blossom Iced Tea 

 

1.5 litres (2 1/2 pints/6 1/4 cups) water
2 Earl Gray tea bags

300ml (10fl oz/1 1/4 cups) base sugar syrup, 6 fl ozs might be enough, add more if necessary
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
4 springs of fresh mint
1 orange, cut in thin slices, skin and all

Bring the water to a boil in a pan, add the tea bags and stir around. Turn off the heat and leave to steep for 15 minutes.

Remove the tea bags, add the sugar syrup and blossom water and stir to mix. Decant into a bottle or jug and push in the mint sprig and orange slices. Place in the fridge to cool entirely. Serve with loads of ice.

Pimp your tea – crush some fresh mint leaves at the bottom of a lowball glass, add a shot or two of rum, top up with ice and iced tea and lots of ice.

 

Sugar Syrup

200g (7oz/scant 1 cup) sugar

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

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) glucose or honey

 

Mix everything together in a small pan and bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.  Leave to cool, then transfer to a clean bottle or other container and store in your fridge for up to a week.

 

Yemeni Style Falafel 

 

Itamar is a quarter Yemeni on his grandfather’s side.  This falafel is a tribute to that heritage, and it is great – the traditional Yemeni combo of coriander, cardamom and garlic makes it super-vibrant in colour and flavour.

 

1/2 onion (approx. 60g/2 1/4oz)

1 clove of garlic (peeled)

250g (9oz) soaked chickpeas (125g (4 1/2oz) dried)

1 green chilli, seeds and all

3 springs of parsley, picked

1 small bunch of coriander (about 15-20g/1/2 – 3/4oz), leaves and top part of stems only

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom pods

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) garam flour (use plain if needs be)

1 teaspoon baking powder

 

To make the falafel

If using a meat grinder.

Use the coarse grinder blade if you have one we find it gives the best texture.  Cut the onion and garlic into dice so that you can easily feed them through the grinder.  Mince the chickpeas, onions, garlic, chilli and herbs into a bowl.

Add all the spices, salt, flour and baking powder and mix well to a very thick mass.

 

If using a food processor.

Start with the onion, garlic, chilli and herbs and pulse them to chop roughly, then add the chickpeas and blitz until everything becomes a thick paste with small, even-sized bits.   You may need to scrape the sides down and blitz for another pulse or two to make sure that everything is evenly chopped, but do not overwork.  The best way to check whether it is done enough is to scoop up a small amount and squeeze it together in your palm – it should hold its shape.  If it falls apart, return it to the processor for another spin.  Tip the mixture into a large bowl, add the spices, salt, flour and baking powder and mix until all is combined well.

 

Preheat the deep fry 170C/325F.

Test the oil temperature by placing a small piece of bread or falafel mix in the hot oil – as soon as it starts to bubble up and float, you are ready to go.

 

You can shape the falafel mix in a few different ways:

Use damp hands and make little balls or torpedo shapes or you can simply drop in spoonfuls of the mixture for free-form falafel.  You want to be making them about the size of a walnut, no bigger, so that they cook through and crisp up at the same time.

 

Carefully place the falafel in the oil – don’t overcrowd the pan and fry until the exterior is browned and crisped (about 2-3 minutes).  Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil and repeat the process until you have fried them all.

 

Serve immediately with tahini (see recipe).

 

 

Tahini 

 

The quality of your tahini depends hugely on the type of tahini paste you use.

We use Al-Yaman from Lebanon which is delicious, but if you are lucky enough to find any of the Palestinian varieties, especially the Prince and Dove brands, you are in for a treat.  As a rule, you are looking for something from Lebanon, Palestine or Turkey.

We make our tahini in a food processor, as it gives a smooth, airy, mousse-like texture, but you can achieve good results with a bowl, a spoon and some wrist action.

 

Makes about 240g (8 3/4oz)

 

125g (4 1/2oz) tahini paste

1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced

a pinch of salt, plus more to taste

juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste

about 120ml (4 1/3fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) water

 

Place the tahini, minced garlic, salt and lemon juice in a bowl or food processor, add half the water and mix. It will go thick and pasty but don’t fear – just continue adding water while mixing until it loosens up to a creamy texture. Don’t be tempted to add too much water as the mixture will go runny, but if this happens, you can always bring it back with a little extra tahini paste. Taste and adjust salt and lemon to suit your taste buds.

 

Note

You can keep tahini in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, but it will thicken and the flavour may need adjusting with a little more salt and/or lemon.  As a result we think it’s best to make it and eat it the same day – fresh is be


Lamb Siniya

 

Serves 4- 6 as a main course

(there is not much meat but the topping is quite rich)

 

Make this instead of a Shepard’s` pie next time you buy lamb mince for dinner.

 

1 small cauliflower, broken into florets (approx. 350g/12oz florets)

1 litre (1 3/4 pints/scant 4 1/2 cups) water

1 teaspoon salt

 

For the Lamb

2 onions (approx. 200g), peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt

500g (18oz) minced lamb

1 teaspoon coarsely ground fennel seeds

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) bahart spice mix (see recipe)

1 tablespoons (1 American tablespoon and 1 teaspoon) tomato purée

 

Tahini Topping

200g (7oz) yogurt

200g (7oz) tahini paste

2 eggs

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

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-2 tablespoons (1 1/4 – 2 1/2 American tablespoons) pine nuts

 

To Serve

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon and 1 teaspoon) chopped parsley

 

Place the cauliflower in a saucepan with the water and salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 5-6 minutes until the florets is soft.  Drain and place in a shallow saucepan or casserole about 22cm (8 3/4 inch) in diameter.

 

Fry the onions on a medium heat in a frying pan with the oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt until the onions start to go golden.

Add the minced lamb and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, increase the heat to high and use a spoon to break up the meat into little pieces.  When the lamb starts to brown, sprinkle on the ground fennel and baharat spice and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the tomato purée and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes, then spread all over the cauliflower in the casserole dish. You can prepare this stage up to a day in advance – just cool, cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 (160 Fan)

 

Mix all the topping ingredients together apart from the water and pine nuts.  If the mixture is very thick, stir in enough of the water to loosen slightly – the consistency should resemble thick yoghurt.

 

Spread the topping over the lamb in the dish.  Sprinkle the pine nuts all over and bake in the centre of the oven at for 15 minutes or until the tahini looks set and slightly golden.

 

Sprinkle the parsley and serve.

 

Baharat – Savoury Spice Mix 

 

This, like its namesake in our kitchen, is the backbone of everything we make and, like its namesake, has endless depth and beauty, and improves almost anything.

You can use ready-made baharat spice mix instead or Lebanese Seven Spice which is sold in most large supermarkets – it will taste slightly different but will still be tasty.

 

1 dried chilli

3 teaspoons coriander seeds

4 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons ground pimento (all spice)

1 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

 

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 (170C Fan)

 

Crack the dried chilli open and shake out the seeds.  Place the deseeded chilli on a baking tray with the coriander and cumin seeds and roast for 6 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool entirely on the tray.   Crumble the chilli between your fingers, then grind all the roasted spices to a powder.  Mix with the dried ground spices and store in an airtight container.  It will keep for 6 months, but ideally use within 2 months for the full effect.

 

 

Cherry, Pistachio and Coconut Cake

 

This was the first cake I made for the restaurant.  We wanted something that would sit on the bar counter and just make people stare.  It has been with us from the first day and I have a feeling it will stay there until the end.  We do vary the fruit on top, so we use red plums or yellow plums or raspberries, but really the cherries are the best version.  The contact between the cherries and the green pistachios, and the addition of mahleb to the cake batter, together create something electric. It is such an easy recipe to follow, I am sure it will become a huge favourite in any household.

 

Makes a 22cm (9 inch) diameter round cake

 

100g (3 1/2oz/scant 1/2 cup) sugar plus 20g (3/4oz/scant 1/8oz) for the topping

90g (3 1/4oz/scant 1/2 cup) light brown sugar

180g (6 1/4oz) ground almonds

30g (1 1/4oz) ground pistachio

45g (1 3/4oz) desiccated coconut

50g (2oz/1/2 cup) self-rising flour

a pinch of salt

1 teaspoon ground mahleb

150g (5oz/1 1/4 sticks) butter – melted

3 eggs

300g (12oz) cherries

50g (2oz) rough chopped pistachios for the topping

 

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 (170C fan).

 

Lightly grease the cake tin with butter.

 

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Pour over the melted butter and mix in the eggs, spoon the batter into the pre-greased tin and smooth down.

 

Remove the stones from the cherries – you can do this with a cherry stoner or by just pulling them apart and popping the stones out with your fingers. I like to do this over the cake tin, so that any juice drips onto the cake and adds colour.  Drop the pitted cherries onto the batter and sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining 20g (3/4oz) of sugar and the roughly chopped pistachios.  Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes, then turn the cake around and bake for a further 8-10 minutes until the cake  between the cherries goes all golden.

 

Allow the cake to cool in the tin, as it needs time to settle, then gently remove by running a knife around the edges.  Covered well, it will keep in the fridge for up to a week (not much chance of that happening), but for the best flavour, allow it to return to room temperature before eating.

 

 

 

 

Midleton Farmer’s Marketing: 15 Years

June 13th, 2015

Cucumber,-Radish-Mint-Salad

Great excitement in Midleton on the Bank Holiday weekend. The Midleton Farmers Market was joyfully celebrating its 15 year anniversary. Nationwide, broadcast directly from the Park Hotel where they linked directly on the SDN line to Bloom least anyone should imagine it was ‘all’ happening in Dublin.

Brenda Donohue, interviewed Sandra and Joe Burns about the vegetable crisp business they have started on their farm in Killeagh to add value to their produce. Jo, is son of the legendary Mrs Burns who was a well-known trader long before the Farmers Market started.

Local celebrities, The Crystal Swing band drove all the way from Letterkenny through the night to meet Brenda who had heard news of  Dervla marrying a local farmer in August.

Brenda was hugely impressed by the vibrant Midleton Farmers Market in full celebratory mood with bunting, balloons, face painting and lively music provided by Trí na Ceile from Killeagh.

Several of the original 12 stallholders that started the market on the June Bank Holiday weekend in 2000 are still trading. Ted Murphy, a stalwart of the market from the very first day was there as was Frank Hederman artisan fish smoker from Belvelly near Cobh. Willie Scannell whose flowery Ballycotton potatoes are much loved by his ever growing band of loyal customers.  Fiona Burke’s stall with a beautiful selection of Irish farmhouse cheese and Jane Murphy’s Ardsallagh goat’s cheese are still part of the market. So too are David and Siobhan Barry’s seasonal vegetables with a much larger selection than on the first day. Toby Simmonds of The Olive Stall was also there at the outset and his stall also trades beside the market.

The Midleton Farmers Market soon became the yard stick by which other markets were measured. Stall numbers grew and it quickly became oversubscribed with many farmers and food producers clamouring to be part of a business model that was clearly an excellent prototype.

Other Farmers Markets were established around the county and country (160 at last count) enabling local people to buy fresh local food in season from those who produce it, going some way towards realising my dream of a Farmers Market in every town in Ireland. It is now well proven that a successful Farmers Market in a town not only brings extra business overall but also food tourists (of which there are an ever growing number) but also positive publicity which benefits everyone in the community.

John Potter Cogan who initially approached me after the vegetable processing plant Frigoscandia had closed was a vitally important part of the initial impetus. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce who with the Midleton Town Council had the vision to see that a Farmers Market (which by the way was quite a revolutionary initiative at that time and even considered by many to be a retrogressive step) would be a positive initiative for the town.

There are now 27 stalls soon to be 33, the variety of produce is absolutely tantalizing from artisan bread, vegetables, herbs and fruit in season, organic produce, local honey and oysters, fresh fish, wild mushrooms, home baking, cordials and pickles, gluten free treats, foraged food, smoked fish and homemade pate, shellfish, heritage pork products, local ducks, chickens and eggs, farmhouse cheese, pies, freshly made salads, chocolate and long queues for freshly made coffee. Market goers can enjoy a pizza straight from Simon Mould’s wood burning oven, a BLT or pulled pork sandwich from Woodside Farm and much much more. The Farmers Market provide a livelihood for many, an opportunity to buy local food from small production systems and an alternative shopping experience for families who wish to engage directly with those who produce the food they buy to nourish their family at a time when a growing number of people realise that our food should and can be our medicine.

Congratulations to everyone at Midleton Farmers Market. The heading of an article by Joe Duggan in The Irish Examiner on Tuesday June 6th 2000 was ‘Market Heralds A New Era In Direct Selling of Natural Produce’, I’m proud to have been a little part of that initiative.

 

Hot Tips

Find of the Week

Rosscarberry has a new restaurant in a familiar venue. The Pilgrim’s Rest has simply become Pilgrims serving a “seasonally crafted ever changing daily menu”. I got a tip off only a few days after Sarah Jane Pearce and Mark Jennings (from Café Paradiso and The Ethicurean in Bristol) had taken over. It was well worth a detour.  Five of us went for lunch and virtually ate our way through the menu, particularly delicious was Tatsuta age (sweet chicken) with chilli mayo, spiced carrot dip, hazelnut duukah, flax crackers, pickled mackerel, creamed beetroot, parsley, radish……

An exciting young team – watch that space

Tel: (023) 883 1796 www.pilgrims.ie

 

Do not miss dinner at Good Things Café in Durrus on Friday June 19th – a feast of seasonal produce cooked beautifully by Carmel Somers.

Tel: 027 61426 www.thegoodthingscafe.com/

 

Another exciting date for your diary …..Listowel Food Festival from June 18-21 2015. An eclectic programme again this year with foraging, markets, cookery demos, dinners…..the website www.listowelfoodfair.ie is choc a bloc with info.

Midleton Farmers Market Art Competition

 

Congratulations to Aoife Rice from Cloyne National School, the overall winner of the 15 Year Midleton Farmers Market Anniversary Art Competition to paint a picture of your local Farmers Market or market stall.

Castlemartyr National School also got honourable mention for their beautiful collage of paintings.

 

 

Naranjan Kaur McCormack’s  Barbecue Spare Ribs

Serves 8-10 people

 

There are dozens of variations to this recipe, every Chinese chef would have his very own favourite recipe for barbecue ribs. Some of the recipes call for the ribs to be par-boiled prior to being cooked. Some recipes call for the ribs to be roasted in an open roasting tin and some recipes call for the ribs to be roasted in a tinfoil parcel.

 

This recipe is one that I have found to be very successful and simply delicious.

This is of course a very popular starter in many restaurants in the West.

When serving barbecue ribs as a starter, always provide a “finger bowl” to wash fingers as the only way to enjoy  these ribs is to eat with  your fingers.

 

2 racks of Woodside Farm pork spare-ribs

2-3 heaped tablespoons ‘hoi-sin’ sauce

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon finely shredded ginger

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + teaspoon) chinese rice wine / sherry

¼ level teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg

A pinch of Chinese 5 spice powder

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) honey

Garnish

With lettuce, peppers and slices of lemon

 

Using a very sharp knife, slice the rack of ribs into individual pieces, if the ribs are rather small

then you would be advised to slice the ribs in two’s, otherwise the meat on the ribs tend to dry

out a little on roasting.

 

Shred the ginger very finely, and crush the garlic. Place all the pork ribs, ginger and garlic together into a very large bowl and add the sherry , nutmeg and the 5 spice powder and mix together. Then add the’ hoi -sin’ sauce and mix thoroughly.

Line a large roasting tin with tin foil, leaving the tin foil to extend generously out over both ends. Layer the spare-ribs into the tin foiled roasting tin. Fold over the tinfoil, making a loose

parcel and roast the pork spare-ribs in a preheated oven 200C/400F/regulo 6 for approximately

one hour.

Then open out the tin foil parcel and baste the ribs. Leave the foil open and return the ribs to the

oven for about 10 minutes. Then glaze the ribs with the honey and return to the oven for

another 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot garnished with lettuce, peppers and lemon slices or wedges.

 

Telephone Woodside Farm 087 276 7206

 

 

 

Ballycotton New Potatoes Cooked in Seawater

We’ve just had the first of the new potatoes – try cooking them in seawater amazing.

Serves 4-5

 

2lbs (900g) new potatoes e.g., Home Guard, British Queens (the variety we grow is Colleen)

2 pints (1.2 litres/5 cups) seawater or 2 pints (1.2 litres/5 cups) tap water plus 1 teaspoon salt

a sprig of seaweed if available

 

Bring the seawater to the boil. Scrub the potatoes. Add salt if using tap water and a sprig of seaweed to the water, and then add the potatoes. Cover the saucepan, bring back to the boil and cook for 15-25 minutes or until fully cooked depending on size.

Drain and serve immediately in a hot serving dish with good Irish butter.

 

Note

It’s vitally important for flavour to add salt to the water when cooking potatoes.

 

 

 

Cucumber, Radish and Mint Salad

Love this simple little salad with the first of the new seasons cucumber, radish and mint.

 

Serves 6-8

 

1 cucumber

2 bunches radishes

salt and freshly ground pepper

extra virgin olive oil

freshly squeezed lemon juice

lots of flat parsley sprigs and mint leaves

 

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then in half again.  Cut into 2cm (3/4 inch) slice at an angle.  Trim the radishes and cut into similar size pieces, mix with the cucumber.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Toss gently, add lots of flat parsley and fresh mint leaves.  Taste and correct seasoning, add a little honey if necessary.

 

06/05/2015 (SH/DA) (15483)

 

 

 

Ballymaloe Green Gooseberry and Elderflower Tart with Elderflower Cream

 

I’ve chosen to use green gooseberries and elderflower in this recipe, but the filling changes with the season. We always have a fruit tart of some kind on the sweet trolley at Ballymaloe, and it reflects what is in season at that time. Sometimes we add some spices, fresh herbs or wild flavours like the elderflowers in this recipe – whatever complements the fruit.

 

Serves 6–8

 

450g (I lb) sweet shortcrust or flaky pastry for the base

700g (11⁄2lb) green gooseberries

150g (6oz) white or golden caster sugar (or more, depending on the tartness of the gooseberries)

2 elderflower heads

1 organic egg for egg wash

 

Elderflower Cream

300ml (10fl oz/1 1/4 cups) whipped cream

1-2 tablespoons (1 1/4 -2 1/2 American tablespoons) elderflower cordial

 

25cm (10in) Pyrex or enamel plate

 

Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/ gas mark 7.

 

Roll out half of the shortcrust pastry and line the plate. Trim the edges. Top and tail the gooseberries and pile them up on the plate, leaving a border of 2.5cm (1in). Pick the elderflower heads off the heavy stem and lay them over the gooseberries. Sprinkle the sugar evenly on top.

 

Roll out the remainder of the pastry a little thicker than the base, wet the border around the gooseberries with a little egg wash or water, and press the pastry lid down onto it. Trim the pastry to within 1cm (1⁄2in) of the rim of the pie. Crimp up the edges with a sharp knife and then scallop them. Make a hole in the centre to allow steam to escape. Egg wash the surface. Roll out the trimmings and cut into leaves and decorate the top of the tart, egg wash again.

 

Bake for 35 minutes, then turn down the heat to 180°C/ 350°F/gas mark 4 for a further 30 minutes. Test the gooseberries are soft by inserting a skewer. Sprinkle with fine caster sugar, serve with soft brown sugar and elderflower cream.

 

To make the elderflower cream.

Add the elderflower cordial to the whipped cream, stir gently, taste and add a little more if necessary.

 

 

This Has Been A Wonderful Week

June 6th, 2015

High-Res Image (1)

 

This has been a wonderful week, I found myself giving heartfelt thanks to the good Lord and Mother Nature several times over. We had the first new potatoes of the year, with butter made from the cream of our small Jersey herd and Achill sea salt, the first broad beans of the season, in their furry pods and a few days later the first peas, how exciting is that! We ate them freshly picked straight out of the pods, just like our greedy grandchildren and then to cap it all we had the first fresh mackerel of the year today all the way from Knockadoon. Beautiful, fresh food in season and not a ‘best-before’ date in sight – come to think of it most ‘real’ food doesn’t come wrapped in plastic with a sell-by date on it anyway.

This is a fantastically exciting time of the year for gardeners and any of us who grow a little of our own food, suddenly after the hungry gap between the end of winter  and the first of summer produce, gorgeous vegetables and herbs are bursting out of the ground. If you haven’t already started to grow something, dash off to your local garden centre and buy a few packets of seeds or seedlings all ready to grow – virtually every Farmers Market sell a variety of vegetable plugs ready to plant into the ground and you don’t have to have a farm or even a large garden. You’d be amazed how much you can grow in containers, tubs or on your balcony, a raised bed or otherwise. I recently saw three rows of beautiful lettuces, salad leaves and spring onion growing in an old drawer and a virtual garden in an old enamelled bathtub. In the US the Grow Food Not Lawns Movement continues to gather momentum – check out their website www.foodnotlawns.com that’s just one of a tonne of different initiatives worldwide, GIY Ireland continues to inspire. Their latest initiative launched at the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine in conjunction with Cully and Sully to encourage people to grow food in their offices had an enthusiastic response.  A brilliantly simple concept that’s got hundreds of people growing peas for the first time.

Peas are a particularly brilliant crop to grow, you can eat them at every stage, pea shoots and flowers in salads, the tendrils called ‘wizards whiskers’ can garnish a plate, the young peas of course so sublime when eaten less than 5 hours after being picked after that the sugars turn to starch, another reason to grow your own , because it’s almost impossible to buy peas that fresh. The pea pods make a delicious soup and when the crop goes over the remaining  peas can be dried and kept for winter use.

Every guest chef who came to the Litfest salivated at the selection of vegetables, salad leaves and fresh herbs in the cookery school gardens (open to the public every day 11am-6pm). Here are some of the delicious ways they incorporated them into their dishes including April Bloomfield’s carrot leaf pesto, a brilliant new discovery for me.

 

Hot Tips

Don’t miss the brilliant little Cottage Market in Ladysbridge on Sunday mornings from 10.30am to 12 midday. Food stalls of course but also crafts, knitted animals and toys, handmade jewellery, vintage clothes, flowers and plants, local honey, home baking, a fun children’s play area, an exercise class to lively music…..and pop around the corner to see Ladysbridge GIY allotments, a brilliant community initiative, every village should have one.

While you are there swing by Carewswood Garden Centre, pick up some vegetable plants and don’t forget to check out the café, a big favourite in the area and justifiably so. www.facebook.com/pages/Carewswood-Garden-Centre-Cafe

 

Ballymaloe Cookery School Garden Workshop

People come from far and wide to see the formal herb garden at Ballymaloe Cookery School but don’t let that intimidate you.  Every cook should have a little herb patch preferably close to the kitchen door. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, herbs grow happily even in the smallest of spaces, in a variety of containers even in and out through your flowers in a herbaceous border. On Monday June 15th from 9am-2pm you can learn how to design a herb garden from our highly acclaimed head gardener Susan Turner who will illustrate the best way to design a herb garden. She’ll give lots of practical advice and suggestions on how to grow herbs year round, propagate from seed and cuttings and much more…lunch is included. Booking essential 021 4646785 or www.cookingisfun.ie.

Artisan Salami

The number of new food start-ups is astonishing, almost every week.  I hear of a new artisan product but it’s also terrific to celebrate the originals. At Fiona Burke’s Strawbale Cheese stall in Midleton Farmers Market alongside a choice selection of Irish and continental craft cheeses, I recently came across Olivier Beaujouan’s handmade garlic salami and chorizo from Castlegregory in Co Kerry, so good in natural casings with a wonderful artisan quality.  Tel: 066 713 9028

Fiona’s got a new project at the moment a Little Red range of creams made from natural organic ingredients including 90% carageen moss, cocoa butter and beeswax from West Cork.  www.littlered.ie


 

April Bloomfield’s  Crushed Spring Peas with Mint

 

April Bloomfield considered by many to be the best woman chef in New York was absolutely enchanting. She cooks beautiful fresh ingredients but with a charming twist. This recipe comes from her new book A Girl and her Greens.

 

“As a girl in England, I always loved mushy peas, whether they were made the real way—from

a starchy variety of pea called marrowfat that’s dried, then soaked—or dumped into a pot straight from a tin. Nowadays I prefer this mash made from fresh, sweet shelling peas—a twist on the

British classic, which actually takes less work to make than its inspiration. It’s wonderful spread in a thick layer on warm bread or as a dip for raw veg, like radishes, carrots, and wedges of fennel.”

 

Makes about 2 cups

 

2 cups fresh peas (from about 2 pounds pods)

1 ounce aged pecorino, finely grated

1½ teaspoons Maldon or another flaky sea salt

1 small spring garlic clove or ½ small garlic clove, smashed, peeled, and roughly chopped

12 medium mint leaves (preferably black mint)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Scant 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more for finishing

 

Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to a coar e puree, about 45 seconds. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and roughly stir and smoosh a bit so it’s a little creamy and a little chunky. Season to taste with more salt and lemon juice—you want it to taste sweet and bright but not acidic.

 

From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. Copyright 2015 April Bloomfield. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

 

 

Allegra McEvedy’s Broad Beans Braised in their Pods

 

Allegra McEvedy witty self-depreciating style hides a true talent for cooking wonderfully tasty non intimidating food that you’ll enjoy eating with family and friends, here’s a brilliant way to enjoy the tiny season’s broad beans, pod and all. This recipe comes from her book  Bought, Borrowed and Stolen

 

“This is a fabulous standard in Morocco, though you need to do it with youngish broad beans at the beginning of the season (i.e. June/July) as the pods are too tough to stew down to the desirable softness with old ones.

It feels kind of like cheating (in a good way) to bypass first the podding, then all that shelling usually done with broadies.”

 

Serves 4-6 as a side dish. A 10 minute make, then half an hours cooking.

 

100 ml (3 ½ fl oz. / 11/25 cups) extra virgin olive oil

400g (14 oz) broad beans in their pods

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 whole chilli, dried or fresh

1 400g (14 oz.) tin tomatoes

small handful mint, finely chopped

squeeze of lemon

S & P

 

Rinse the beans, trim them and slice the pods diagonally into oblique oblongs about 5cm long.

Heat the oil in a wide pan.

Sauté the beans in the pan along with the garlic, onion and chilli for a few minutes, then cover and cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes

Stir in the tomatoes, mix well and season enthusiastically.

Pour in 500 ml (18 fl oz / 2 ¼ cups.) water, turn up the heat, put on a lid and bring to the boil.

Once boiling, turn down and simmer for 15 minutes.

Take off the lid and let it continue bubbling down for another 15 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce a bit.

Turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before stirring in the mint and lemon juice and having a final taste for seasoning. Serve warm, not piping hot.

 

From Bought Borrowed & Stolen by Allegra McEvedy

 

 

 

April Bloomfield’s Pot-Roasted Artichokes with White Wine and Capers

Serves 4 to 6 as a side (accompaniment)

 

One of the reasons I go giddy about springtime is artichokes, particularly the small ones with tips closed tightly, like a flower at night. Some home cooks are reluctant to fill their totes with artichokes, they’ll need to be turned—the barbed leaves plucked off and the other inedible bits trimmed away. I quite like the process. It’s meditative and satisfying once you get the hang of it. In this dish, the fleshy artichokes get browned and crispy tops and look like strange, beautiful roses. The acidity in the white wine cuts through the rich, dense veg and, along with the salty pops from the capers, highlights the artichokes’ unique herbaceousness.

 

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

1.6kg (3 1/2lbs) baby artichokes (about 18)

2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons Maldon or other flaky sea salt

350ml (12fl oz /1 1/2 cups) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

1 heaping tablespoon drained capers

a five-finger pinch of mint leaves (preferably black mint), torn at the last minute

 

Heat the oil in a heavy pot (wide enough to hold the artichokes with room to spare) over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke.

Stand the artichokes cut sides down in the oil, wait a minute, then reduce the heat to medium-low, sprinkle in the garlic and salt, and cook, without stirring, just until the garlic turns golden and smells toasty, about 3 minutes.

 

Pour in the wine, cover the pot, and cook, without stirring, at a vigorous simmer until you can insert a sharp knife into the thick artichoke bottoms with barely any resistance, about 25 minutes. Five minutes or so before they’re fully tender, scatter on the capers and cover again.

 

Uncover, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the liquid to a boil.

 

Cook until all the wine has evaporated (the bubbling sound will become a sizzle), about 3 minutes. Add the mint and keep cooking the artichokes in the oil (it’s OK if a few of them tip over), until the cut sides of the artichokes are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent the artichokes from getting too dark.

 

Arrange the artichokes prettily on a plate, and scoop the capers, oil, and slightly crispy mint over top. Serve straightaway or at room temperature

 

From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. Copyright 2015 April Bloomfield. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

 

 

April Bloomfield’s Roasted Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto and Burrata

 

If you can get your hands on burrata—a really special cheese, like delicate mozzarella with a creamy center—then you’re already most of the way toward a great dish. In the spring, I’ll serve burrata with Snap Pea Salad; in high summer, I’ll pair it with slices of ripe tomato, good olive oil, and flaky salt. When summer fades, I crave burrata with roasted carrots, a pairing that’s less common but no less worthy of your attention. The two are like good mates, each helping the other along: the sweetness of the carrots sets off the tanginess of the cheese; the cheese’s tanginess makes the carrots tastes even sweeter. Pesto made from the carrot tops adds color and salty, herbaceous wallops throughout the dish.

 

Serves 4 to 6 as a side (accompaniment)

 

20 small carrots (the size of pointer fingers), scrubbed well but not peeled, all but 1cm (1/2 inch) of the tops removed and reserved

3 tablespoons (4 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon plus a few pinches of Maldon or another flaky sea salt

225g (8oz) room-temperature burrata, drained

about 2 1/2 tablespoons (3 American tablespoons) Carrot Top Pesto (see recipe)

a five-finger pinch of basil leaves, torn at the last minute if large

3/4 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon) lemon juice

 

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 500˚F/260°C/Gas Mark 10.

 

Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons) of the oil into a heavy ovenproof pan big enough to hold the carrots in a single layer. Set the pan over high heat and bring the oil to a light smoke. Add the carrots, sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of the salt, and turn the carrots to coat them in the oil. Cook, turning over the carrots occasionally, until they’re browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Pop the pan in the oven and roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the carrots are evenly tender, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of your carrots. Let the carrots cool slightly. Halve the burrata and arrange the halves on a platter. Arrange the carrots on the platter so they’re pointing this way and that. Add the pesto here and there in little dollops.

 

Pluck enough 5-7.5cm (2-3 inch) delicate sprigs from the reserved carrot tops to make about 45g (1 3/4oz/1 1/2 lightly packed cups) and toss them in a bowl with the basil. Whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons) of the oil with the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt in a small bowl until the mixture looks creamy. Use a little of the lemon dressing to lightly dress the carrot top–basil mixture, sprinkle on a little more salt, and toss well. Arrange the mixture on top of the carrots and burrata. Drizzle everything with the remaining lemon dressing and serve.

 

 

From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. Copyright 2015 April Bloomfield. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


Pan-grilled Mackerel with Bretonne Sauce

 

This is a master recipe for pan grilling fish.

The simplest and possibly the most delicious way to cook really fresh mackerel.

 

Serves 6

 

12 fillets of very fresh mackerel (allow 6ozs (175g) fish for main course, 3ozs (75g) for a starter)

seasoned flour

small knob of butter

 

Bretonne Sauce

75g (3ozs/3/4 stick) butter, melted

1 eggs yolk, preferably free range

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (We use Maille Verte Aux Herbs)

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) parsley, chopped or a mixture of chervil, chives, tarragon and fennel, chopped (mixed)

 

First make the Bretonne Sauce. Melt the butter and allow to boil.  Put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the mustard and the herbs, mix well.  Whisk the hot melted butter into the egg yolk mixture little by little so that the sauce emulsifies.  Keep warm, by placing the Pyrex bowl in a saucepan of hot but not boiling water.

 

Just before serving, dip the dry fish fillets in flour which has been seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper. Shake off the excess flour and then spread a little butter with a knife on the flesh side, as though you were buttering a slice of bread rather meanly. When the grill is quite hot but not smoking, place the fish fillets butter side down on the grill; the fish should sizzle as soon as they touch the pan. Turn down the heat slightly and let them cook for 4 or 5 minutes on that side before you turn them over. Continue to cook on the other side until crisp and golden. Serve on a hot plate with some Bretonne sauce spooned over the top or serve in a little bowl on the side.

 


Sugared Strawberries with Mint

The Irish strawberry season is now in full swing. The early variety have been grown in a tunnel or greenhouse and irrigated hence their size. A little sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice, shredded mint adds an extra oomph to the berries.

 

Serves 12-16

 

450g (1lb) strawberries

freshly squeezed lemon juice

caster sugar

fresh mint leaves

 

To make the sugared strawberries.

Remove the calyx from the strawberries.  Slice lengthwise into a bowl.  Sprinkle with a little lemon juice and caster sugar to taste.  Add some shredded fresh mint leaves.  Taste and tweak if necessary.

Serve with vanilla bean ice cream. A little strawberry coulis would also be delicious with this.

 

Strawberry Coulis

450g (16oz) fresh strawberries

70g (2 1/2oz/1/2 cup) icing sugar

lemon juice

 

Clean and hull the strawberries, add to the blender with sugar and blend. Strain through a nylon sieve.  Taste and add lemon juice if necessary, it should taste deliciously bitter sweet.  Store in a fridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post-Litfest

May 29th, 2015

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We’re all still on a high from the Litfest. Apart from all the antics and stimulating talks, forums and panel discussions in the Grain Store and Big Shed, there was also a packed schedule at the Ballymaloe Cookery School with three and sometimes four events running simultaneously. This week I want to share some of my personal highlights.

However, I had exactly had the same frustrations this year as before, having invited many more of my food heroes to Ballymaloe. I simply couldn’t get to many of the concurrent events but did get fantastic feedback. Allegra McEvedy has a cult following for her wholesome and gutsy food and her irreverent style further endears her to her fans. She gave a cookery demonstration of some of her best loved dishes.  The response to her delicious food was overwhelmingly delightful.

Arun Kapil told the fascinating story of Green Saffron and his book Fresh Spice in a packed Blue Dining room. A little while later multi award winning, Kevin Thornton spoke to a rapt audience about his travels in Ethiopia – the photographs in his book all styled and taken by Kevin himself showed another hugely creative side of this enormously talented chef.

Still staying with our Irish stars, Hugo Arnold and Leylie Hayes of Avoca gave a riveting three hour cookery demonstration of some of the iconic dishes that has made Avoca such a huge success. Later Jack Monroe, who shot to fame a number of years ago when she started a blog ‘A Girl called Jack’ on feeding herself and her son on £10 sterling a week. This was an interactive cookery demonstration where people could bring a child along free of charge.  Jack’s writing style is chatty and entertaining. Her food brilliantly creative and delicious, illustrates how well you can eat on a miniscule budget when one have the cooking skills to transform a few inexpensive ingredients into a yummy meal.

Charlotte Pike, one of our past 12 Week Certificate students taught a Fermentation workshop and packed a ton of information into a short time. Her fourth book FERMENTED will be published by Kyle Books on August 27th 2015.

Here’s some of the delicious new recipes from the chefs…

 

Hot Tips

Find of the Week

A new artisan bacon from the Baltimore Pig Company in West Cork. I picked up a packet of dry cured rashers at Glebe Garden Shop in Baltimore. They had been cured in molasses and black pepper and smoked over hardwood. No nitrates, no preservatives so the bacon was the natural colour rather than a bright nitrate induced pink. Looking forward to visiting the farm on Rath Hill near Baltimore. www.thebaltimorepig.ie

 

Organic Chicken:- It becomes increasingly difficult to find an Irish organic chicken. We now bring our organic chicken from Wexford where Mary Regan and her family rear chickens and a few Aylesbury ducks on their 17 hectare organic farm near Enniscorthy.

They have an on-farm abattoir so they can look after the birds from chicks to the table. The birds are ready for the table at around 12½ weeks as opposed to 28-32 days in intensive production systems. Needless to say the cost of caring and feeding the free range birds with non GM organic feed over that extended period is reflected in the price, but in organic chicken you are also paying for what’s not in it!

Mary Regan Organic Produce 087 668 2461

 

Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich from Honey & Co in London cooked a lunch at Ballymaloe House during the Litfest. The flavours thrilled the guests and frustrated those who couldn’t get tickets. But the good news is Sarit and Itamar are returning to the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday June 6th to give a one day course. Their restaurant Honey & Co is one of London’s most talked about, we love their fragrant Middle Eastern food packed with vibrant flavours.

Booking essential 021 4646785 or www.cookingisfun.ie

 

 

Avoca Multi-Seed Bread

 

180g (6 1/4oz) plain flour

310g (11oz) coarse brown flour

50g (2oz) bran

25g (1oz) wheat germ

2 1/2 heaped teaspoons baking powder

1 level teaspoon salt

100g (3 1/2oz) mixed seeds (sunflower, poppy, sesame, linseed, pumpkin), keep back 10g (1/2oz) to sprinkle on top of bread

50g (2oz) sultanas

50g (2oz) semi-dried apricots, chopped

1 generous tablespoon treacle

600-700ml (1 – 1 1/4 pints / 2 1/2 -3 cups) of milk

 

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

 

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add the treacle and enough milk to make a moist dough, like stiff porridge.  Place the bread dough in a greased 900g (2lb) baking tin, sprinkle with the 10g (1/2oz) of mixed seeds you kept back and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until bread has risen, then reduce temperature by 10 degrees and continue cooking for a further hour. The bread should be well browned and sounds hollow when turned out of the tin and tapped underneath.  Leave on a wire rack to cool.

 

This bread is delicious served with either sweet preserves or equally nice with good cheese, smoked fish or charcuterie. Best eaten on the day it is made but delicious toasted on day 2 or 3.

 

Copyright Leylie Hayes & Hugo Arnold

 

Avoca Beetroot Falafel

250g (9oz) freshly grated raw beetroot

200g (7oz) cooked chick peas, coarsely blitzed

75g (3oz) minced mild white onion

40g (1 1/2oz) light Tahini

2 large cloves of garlic crushed

50g (2oz) gram flour approximately

20ml (3/4fl oz/scant 1/8 cup) sunflower oil

generous teaspoon of cumin seeds

generous teaspoon of coriander seeds

freshly chopped coriander leaves to taste

 

Warm the cumin and coriander seeds on a dry pan for a few minutes until they release their natural fragrance. Grind them in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar.

 

Place the beetroot, chick peas, onion, Tahini, garlic, oil, coriander and spices in a large bowl and mix well. Season the mixture generously with salt and freshly milled pepper.  Add just enough gram flour to bring the mixture together to a consistency that will hold its shapes when rolled into little balls.

 

To cook the falafel, either deep fry in a deep fat fryer or alternatively shallow fry in a little sunflower oil until lightly browned and then transfer to a moderate preheated oven for 10 minutes.

 

A simple Tzatziki to serve with Falafel

Grate a whole cucumber, and place in a colander or sieve, sprinkle with a little sea salt and allow drain for around 20 minutes. Press the cucumber against the side of the sieve to extract as much excess moisture from it as you can. Then place in a large bowl mix with 125g (4 1/2oz) thick Greek style yoghurt, 1 clove of crushed garlic, some freshly chopped mint and a little freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.

 

Copyright Leylie Hayes & Hugo Arnold

 

Jack Monroe’s Garlic Jam

This started out as a curious thought in the back of my head – I know garlic softens and sweetens the longer you cook it, so could I make garlic jam? I scribbled some notes based on what little I know about jam making, dug out an old onion marmalade recipe to use as a rough guide, and promptly forgot all about it.

Then last weekend, I acquired some beautiful purple garlic bulbs, and the garlic jam pondering resurfaced… I spent a pleasant Sunday evening peeling and slicing 40 cloves of garlic, and ended up with 2 jars of this sweet, punchy, unapologetic condiment – I’ll be serving mine on toast with freshly sliced ripe tomatoes, or with buttery sautéed mushrooms, or dolloped on the side of some roast chicken…

Makes 2 small jars

350g (12oz) garlic cloves
a little oil
300g (10oz/1 1/4 cups) sugar (I use caster)
70ml (2 3/4fl oz/generous 1/4 cup) white wine vinegar
70ml (2 3/4fl oz/generous 1/4 cup) white wine
6 thyme stalks, picked

Wash and rinse your jars and lids, and pop them on a baking sheet in a low oven, around 120°C/250°F/1/2 Gas Mark will do. Bake them for 10 minutes to sterilise them, then turn the oven off – without opening it – until you need the jars.

Peel and slice your garlic cloves and toss into a heavy-bottomed pan with the oil. Bring to a very low heat to soften for 10 minutes – don’t allow them to brown or burn. (if you find peeling the cloves hard work, chop the top and bottom off and drop them into a jug or bowl of boiling water. Allow to soak for half an hour – they should slip right out of their skins).

Pour over the vinegar, wine and half the sugar, and bring to the boil. Toss in the thyme leaves and reduce the heat back down to a simmer. Simmer for a further 15 minutes to soften, then mash with a masher to break up into small pieces.

Add the remaining sugar and stir well. Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 5 minutes, stirring well to stop it sticking to the bottom. Add a splash more wine to loosen if necessary.

Remove from the heat and drop a teaspoon of the jam mixture onto a saucer. If it starts to set around the edges, it’s good to go.

Remove the jars from the oven – with a tea towel or cloth as they will be hot!

Pour the jam carefully into the warm jars, and balance the lid on top to cool. Once cooled, label and seal the lids, and store in the fridge or in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Taken from A Girl called Jack by Jack Monroe

 

Jack Monroe’s Peanut Butter and Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Here I have brought together two of my favourite cookies into a classic combination of peanut butter and jam. My small boy loves making the thumbprints in these and spooning in the jam, and it’s a happy rainy-day activity to do together – although having such tiny little thumbs, he does his with a teaspoon!

Makes 12 cookies

50g (2oz/1/2 stick) butter, plus extra to grease the baking sheet

2 tablespoons caster sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons crunch peanut butter

8 tablespoons self-raising flour (or 8 tablespoons plain flour and 1 level teaspoon baking powder or bicarbonate of soda), plus extra to dust your hands

4 tablespoons jam

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, and lightly grease a baking sheet in preparation.

 

Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon until softened and well combined. Add the egg yolk and the peanut butter, and mix until the peanut butter is evenly distributed through the mixture. Spoon in the flour and stir to make a soft dough.

 

With lightly floured hands, break off a walnut-sized piece of dough. Place on the prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork.

 

Repeat with the rest of the dough. Using your thumb, or a teaspoon, make a deep well in the centre of each flattened ball of dough – the cookies will flatten and spread out slightly as they cook, so don’t be afraid to dig in!

 

Melt the jam slightly in a microwave for 30 seconds on a low setting, then spoon a little into the centre of each cookie.

 

Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden.

 

Tips

Try different flavour combinations, such as grated white chocolate in place of peanut butter and lemon curd instead of jam. Or try dark chocolate with blackberry jam for a dark, delicious “Black Forest gateau” version.

Serve the cookies warm from the oven with a scoop of frozen yoghurt – try making your own Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Yoghurt

Taken from A Girl called Jack by Jack Monroe

 

Allegra McEvedy’s Lombo di Maiale alla Spiede

God bless the peasant farmers that came up with this, a supper of pig and fat and salt and sticks that reeks of rustic. We had it in a little local restaurant up in the hills around Florence, not far from the quarry where Michelangelo cut his teeth, not to mention some rather fine marble.

 

This dish isn’t the healthiest thing you’ll ever eat, but it may well be one of the yummiest. The authentic fat to use is a block of Lardo di Colonnata, a salted pork fat cured with rosemary, which if you ever come across it is a must buy situation. A kilo block of Lardo is one of the more treacherous illegal imports I’ve brought home, but it goes a long way and made me happy for a good couple of months. Probably the best substitute is a piece of fatty pancetta, heated in a frying pan so that the fat melts, topped up the amount needed with olive oil. Or even a block of lard, but I’d add a bit of extra virgin olive oilin there for flavour, as this dish is all about flavourful fat. And if you really don’t want to use animal fats you can use just olive oil, but I’d be inclined to say in that case this recipe is not for you.

Rosemary from the garden is ideal as it has woodier stems – better for supporting the weight.

 

Serves 4 and takes half an hour at the beginning, then an hours marinate then 20 to finish it off.

 

2 pork tenderloins, each weighing around 400g (14oz) (trimmed weight)

salt and pepper

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 long, woody stems of rosemary (around 30cm/10.5 inches each)

big splash extra virgin olive oil

250ml (9fl oz/generous 1 cup) melted piggy fat from lardo, fatty pancetta or good old fashioned lard though if you manage to find lardo, which is possible, then you’ll need to start with around 400g (14oz) and skin, trim and cube it before melting (or you can go for a combination of pork fat and extra virgin olive oil)

salt

1 ciabatta, about 270g (9 3/4oz)

 

Strip the leaves from the rosemary stems, just leaving a bushy tip on each one and finely chop the leaves.

 

Cut the tenderloins into slices about 3cm (1 1/4 inch) thick (to make about 16 pieces) and marinate them in the extra virgin, half the garlic and half the chopped rosemary for about an hour or so.

 

Once the meat has had as much marinating time as you can afford it, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400º/Gas Mark 6.

 

Heat the pork fat in a small pan and gently fry the rest of the garlic and rosemary leaves with a good seasoning of salt (you won’t need any salt if you’ve managed to get hold of lardo).

Season the tenderloin pieces with salt and pepper.

 

Cut the ciabatta into chunks about the same size as the pieces of pork – you’ll need 20 pieces.

Dip the pieces of bread into the melted fat, pressing each one down so that they really soak it up, and as you do this thread the bread and meat alternately onto the rosemary sticks: five bread pieces and four pork pieces per stick, each one starting and finishing with a piece of bread.

 

Line them all up on a baking tray, spoon over any leftover fat and put into the oven for 12–15 minutes.

 

Leave to rest for a couple of minutes, then carefully lift them onto a suitably gorgeous serving dish and pour over any juices that have come out of the meat. Serve with wedges of lemon and a plain tomato salad, as in no dressing or seasoning – there’s enough grease and salt going on already!

 

Taken from Bought, Borrowed & Stolen by  Allegra McEvedy