October 31st, 2015

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Halloween in the US is almost as big a deal as Christmas, I’ve just recently come back from Chicago and although it was several weeks before Halloween the celebrations had already begun. A whole series of spooky events were planned throughout the month of October. Tickets for the Haunted Halloween Ball were in hot demand, the Guide to Chicago Haunted Houses was flying off the shelves. There were drive-ins spooky movies with promises of the terrors and chills of Halloween. The Club Zone was offering a Freaky Deaky Halloween Express shuttle, the mind boggles!  Halloween costume stores were doing a roaring trade in scary gear for both adults and children alike. Pumpkins were piled high and kitchen shops were finding it difficult to keep up with the demand for cookie cutters. Everyone is in to it….a far cry from apple bobbing and barmbrack.

In honour of Halloween every year, Daley Plaza turns into  Franken Plaza. The Art Institute of Chicago, the most prestigious art museum in the country hosts a Halloween Gathering with lots of ghoulish things to do including kids costume parade, mask making, zombie dance. There’s Boo! at the Zoo with a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, a haunted hayride and even a creepy carousel. Well that’s all very exciting but this is a food column so what were they eating. It’s not just the restaurants and câfes that are in on the food. The excitement of Trick or Treat is in its second year. There is no end of ideas for fun and frightful Halloween recipes, scary spider web muffins, witches brew, devil’s food twinkies, dracula’s brains, dragon’s blood,  jelly, pumpkin pies, pancakes, soups……Here are some ideas to amuse and tempt you. Happy Halloween.


Hot Tips

Mahon Point Farmers Market was buzzing when we visited recently. A brilliant selection of fresh naturally produced local food in season and beautiful fresh fish from West Cork and Ballycotton. My new find was Wild Atlantic Way products. I loved the dried mint and bladderrack ‘tea’, seagrass, garlic butter and seaweed oils.  Zita also does a range of seaweed salts in cute little pots and tells me the nori and seasame  is particularly delicious over steamed rice. The dried nori seaweed is also being snapped up by vegetarians to top up their Vitamin B 12 and calcium. Zita has a passion for the sea so this is her inspired project to enable her to live close to the shore and harvest the sea vegetables sustainably.



Have you come across the Little Milk Company’s, organic cheddar cheese – it’s very good.  The milk from  of 10 organic family farms in Munster and Leinster is used to make a range of cheeses, check it out – wwwthelittlemilkcompany.ie

Barranstook House, Cappagh, Co Waterford. Tel: 058 685 55


Fiery Pumpkin Soup

Serves 6

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

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) Thai green curry paste

900g (2lb) prepared pumpkin ( peeled, seeded and cut into 2cm (3/4 inch) chunks) – a medium pumpkin weighing about 1.6kg (3 1/2lb) will yield approx. 900g (2lb) prepared pumpkin

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

1 x 400ml (14fl oz/1 3/4 cup) can coconut milk (we like Chaokah brand)

salt and freshly ground pepper

palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce to taste

50-75ml (2-3fl oz) cream

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) Thai basil, shredded or fresh coriander leaves



crème fraîche

Thai basil or fresh coriander leaves


Sweat the onion slowly in the oil until soft but not coloured, about 10 minutes.  Add the Thai curry paste and continue to cook over a low heat for 2 minutes.  Add the chunks of pumpkin, chicken stock and coconut milk, bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper and simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat.  Taste and correct seasoning.  Balance the sweet, sour and salty flavours by the judicious additions of palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce.

Reheat the soup and add the cream, Thai basil or fresh coriander just before serving.  Ladle into warm soup bowls and serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche and some Thai basil or fresh coriander leaves.


Apple Brack

(Irish Traditional Cooking revised edition)

This is brack recipe is from Phyl O’Kelly who was a much-loved cookery writer in the Irish Examiner newspaper for many years.


Makes 2 loaves

450g (1lb) cooking apples

225g (8oz) sugar

225g (8oz) butter

1 level teaspoon bread soda (bicarbonate of soda)

2 large eggs, beaten

350g (12oz) plain flour or half and half plain and wholemeal flour (which is even nicer)

2 teaspoons mixed spice

225g (8oz) raisins

225g (8oz) sultanas

110g (4oz) cherries

110g (4oz) chopped walnuts


2 loaf tins, 900g (2lb)


First soak fruit in hot tea for 1½-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 3. Grease and line the loaf tins. Peel, core and slice the apples and stew them carefully with the sugar and a tiny drop of water, stirring frequently to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. When cooked, add the butter and stir until melted. Set aside to get cold, then stir in the bread soda (bicarbonate of soda), eggs and sieved flour and mixed spice. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 prepared tins and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 1¾–2 hours.


Dracula’s Brains

Flavour popping corn with grated cheddar, mustard and cayenne pepper then shape into ‘brains’ and serve at Halloween as part of a spooky spread!

Makes 12


1 1/2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons) vegetable oil, plus extra for shaping

125g (4 1/2oz) popping corn

400g (14oz) grated Cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

few pinches cayenne pepper

1 egg white


Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Tip in the popcorn, cover and shake the pan to coat the kernels. Cook over a medium heat until the corn stops popping, about 5 minutes, shaking the pan every so often. Take off heat and sprinkle with a little salt.

Put the Cheddar cheese, mustard and pepper in a small pan and heat gently until melted and bubbling.  Whisk the egg white lightly and add to the cheese mixture.  Drizzle over the popcorn and mix well until completely coated.

Rub hands with a little oil and quickly grab handfuls of popcorn and squeeze into brain shapes. Place on a tray lined with parchment, then leave to cool. Cover with cling film until ready to eat or store in a jar – you can make a few hours before serving.



Halloween Spider Web Cupcakes

Makes 12

200g (7oz/1 3/4 cups) white flour

25g (1oz) cocoa powder

1 level tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) baking powder

150g (5oz/generous 1/2 cup) caster sugar

75g (3oz/3/4 stick) butter

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

175ml (6floz/3/4 cup) milk

50g (2oz) chocolate chips

1 cupcake tray lined with paper cases


Preheat the oven at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder in a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Combine the beaten egg, vanilla extract and milk and add to the dry mixture. Combine with a fork to give a wet consistency. Fold in the chocolate chips gently. Spoon into the cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well-risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.


Chocolate or Orange Buttercream Icing

110g (4oz/ 1 stick) soft butter

225g (8oz /2cups) icing sugar

25g (1oz – 1/4 cup) Cocoa Powder (or 2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind)

1 – 2 tablespoons (1 – 2 American tablespoon + 1 – 2 teaspoons) milk

Cream the butter until smooth, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder and add to the butter. Beat well. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Ice the cupcakes, decorate them and have fun – enjoy!



White Icing

350g (12oz) icing sugar, sifted


To make the icing, add enough water to the icing sugar to make a spreadable icing.


Black or Orange Icing

6 tablespoons (7 1/2 American tablespoons) icing sugar, sifted

a few drops of water

a few drops of black or orange food colouring


Mix the icing sugar with enough water and a few drops of chosen food colouring to make a spreadable consistency.


To decorate the cupcakes.

Ice the top of the cupcakes with the white icing.

Place the black or orange icing in a paper piping bag and draw circles on the white icing.  Using a cocktail stick, drag from the centre outwards and inwards to create a spider web effect.


Halloween Cookies


Halloween Cookies

Makes 40 depending on the cookie cutter size


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

65g (2 1/2oz/generous 1/4 cup) caster sugar

65g (2 1/2oz/generous 1/4 cup) light brown sugar

110g (4oz) golden syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

370g (13oz/generous 3 cups) plain flour

1 teaspoon bread soda (bicarbonate of soda)


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

In a large saucepan, melt the butter, caster and brown sugar, golden syrup and vanilla extract and gently together.

Sift the flour and bread soda into a large bowl.  Add the melted butter and sugar mixture to the flour.  Mix together and knead for a few minutes until it comes together.

Flatten the dough slightly into a thick round.  Wrap in cling film and chill in a fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge, dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough to about 5mm (1/4 inch) thick.

Using Halloween cookie cutters (or cut into tombstones), cut out shapes and transfer to a baking trays and cook in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes depending on the cookie size.  Allow the shapes to firm up for a few minutes on the tray before removing to a wire rack to cool.


Cookie Tombstones

Halloween Cookies (see recipe)



110g (4oz) dark chocolate, 52%

50g (2oz) white chocolate


Melt both chocolates in separate bowls over a saucepan of simmering water.

Dip the tombstones in the dark chocolate, place on bakewell paper and leave to harden.

When set, use a paper piping bag and place the melted white chocolate in it and pipe ‘boo’; ‘RIP’ on the dark chocolate (tombstone).

Game: New Ways To Prepare, Cook & Cure

October 24th, 2015

Kyle Game


The game season is in full swing and at last, game is losing its reputation as a luxury food, eaten only in grand country houses. Snipe, wild duck, shovler, mallard, teal, widgeon, wood pigeon, partridge and woodcock are already in season. The pheasant season opens on 1st November to 31st January.


Even if you don’t know a hunter, Marks and Spencer, as well as other supermarkets and farmers markets are beginning to sell game birds, one can experiment, escaping the tyranny of eternal chicken breast, farmed salmon and steak, the seemingly compulsory trinity of offerings on virtually every restaurant menu.


Now that pheasant and venison, at least, are more readily available, let’s become more adventurous. There’s so many more ways to cook game other than roasting and many more exciting accompaniments than gravy and bread sauce, much as I love them both.


Virtually every country has game so it’s worth checking out recipes from around the globe. Introduce other techniques, other flavours, and a variety of wild berries, spices, dried fruit, pickles and herbs.


My favourite new book on game was written by Phil Vickery and Simon Boddy who wrote it with the express intention of introducing new ways to prepare cook and cure game. It’s like a total breath of fresh air and whereas they celebrate time-honoured traditions it’s choc full of new recipes you’ll really want to cook and lots of excellent general knowledge about different type of game – plucking, hanging seasons. The evocative photos are by Peter Cassidy.


Here are a few recipes from “Game, New Ways to Prepare, Cook and Cure” by Phil Vickery and Simon Boddy courtesy of the publishers Kyle Cathie.


Hot Tips

Bees are under threat around the globe from a variety of diseases – colony collapse, the varoa mite….beekeepers tell me that the pollen from ivy flowers help keep the bees healthy throughout the winter months so resist the temptation to pull down the ivy, remember its’ beneficial for the bees.



Using social and therapeutic horticulture to benefit people with learning disabilities….Thrive the UK’s leading charity are teaching a 2 day course on 2nd and 3rd November at the Cork Association for Autism. Phone Emma Hutchinson at the association 086 7888 241 or email horti@corkautism.ie for more information or http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/therapeutic-horticulture-course-tickets-18733647845 to book a place.


Popcorn Pheasant with Spicy Dipping Sauce


On the face of it I know it sounds a bit weird adding condensed milk, but trust me it works. I picked up the idea when I was in America, and even using such a small amount really helps the flavour of the finished dish. To me, it’s no different than marinating chicken in yogurt to tenderise it. Frying pheasant would never have been entertained when I was a young chef, but I think it does the job of sealing in the juices of this very low-fat bird very well.


Serves 4

Preparation: 40 mins

Cooking: about 20 mins


rapeseed oil, for frying

2 medium pheasant breasts, boned and skinned

3 tablespoons condensed milk

2 tablespoons cold water

2 medium eggs, lightly beaten

salt and freshly ground black pepper

a pinch of chilli powder

½  teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons cornflour

200g (7oz) fine-ground cornmeal or polenta



350ml (12fl oz) shop-bought mayonnaise

2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh red or green chilli

3 teaspoons Dijon mustard

finely grated zest and juice of 1 large unwaxed lime

2 large spring onions, roughly chopped

4 teaspoons chopped gherkins

3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

100g (3½ oz) roasted red pepper (jarred are fine), finely chopped

4 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

4 teaspoons sugar



Pour 1cm rapeseed oil into a frying pan and heat to roughly 175°C.

Cut the pheasant breasts into 2cm cubes, removing any sinew from the fillet and inner breast.


Combine the condensed milk with the water and eggs in a bowl and season well with the pepper, chilli powder and cumin. Beat together well.

Dust the nuggets of pheasant with the cornflour, then drop into the egg mixture and coat well. Repeat the same process with the cornmeal or polenta ensuring the nuggets are coated well.


While the oil is heating, mix all the ingredients for the dipping sauce together in a serving bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper.


Fry the pheasant in small batches for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown.Drain well, then sprinkle with a little salt

Serve hot with the dipping sauce separately.



Rich Venison Sauce with Pappardelle


Pappardelle pasta is made for big, rich and delicious sauces like this. Once the meat is nicely browned, just simmer gently until you have a wonderfully coloured deep-flavoured sauce. Don’t rush it – just let it simmer away. It’s that simple!


Serves 4


Preparation: 20 mins

Cooking: about 1 hour


4 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

500g (18oz) minced venison

300ml (10fl oz) red wine or port

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons tomato purée

10g (½oz) good-quality beef stock cube, crumbled

300ml strong game stock or chicken stock

400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes in juice

4 tablespoons cold water

2 teaspoons cornflour, mixed with the water

salt and freshly ground black pepper

500g (18oz) cooked pappardelle pasta


Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onions and garlic and cook for 10 minutes until slightly browned.

Add the mince and break up well with a wooden spoon. Then cook over a high heat for a few minutes, stirring well, until all the moisture has evaporated and the meat and veg are starting to brown well.


Add the red wine or port and reduce right the way down until you have only about one-third of the original volume.


Next, add the oregano, tomato purée, beef stock cube, stock, tomatoes and their juice and water, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 35–40 minutes.


Stir in the cornflour mixture and cook until slightly thickened, then season well

with salt and pepper.


Serve spooned over the warm pappardelle.



Warm Roast Duck with Broccoli, Radishes & Anchovy


I know you’re thinking this sounds a bit odd, but trust me – it works. The balance here is between the saltiness of the dressing and the richness of the pink-cooked wild duck. Oddly enough, the intense fish flavour works well in this dish and has become a favourite of mine. It also goes well with roasted saddle of hare.


Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

Preparation: 10 mins

Cooking: 20 mins, plus resting


2 wild duck crowns, twin breasts on the bone, wishbones removed

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 salted anchovy fillets, finely chopped or mashed to a paste

3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

a pinch of sugar

15g  (¾oz) rocket, finely chopped

2 tablespoons cold water

500g (18oz) broccoli, trimmed, leaving a few leaves – split any thick stalks so that all are about the same width

150g (5oz) radishes, finely sliced on the diagonal


Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.


Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan.


Season the crowns inside and out with salt and pepper, then place skin side down in the hot oil and cook for 2–3 minutes until they start to colour. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 8 minutes.


Meanwhile, put the anchovies, herbs, extra virgin olive oil, sugar and salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk together.


Turn the duck skin side up and cook for a further 4–5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for at least 15 minutes.


Add the rocket to the anchovy dressing and mix well with the water.


Cook the broccoli in a saucepan of salted boiling water until just tender. Drain well and keep warm.


To serve

Arrange the warm broccoli evenly on four plates and sprinkle with the radishes.

Carefully slice down either side of the breastbone to remove the four breasts from the crowns and then slice each breast at an angle. Dab the cut duck meat on a piece of kitchen towel to remove any excess blood.


Lay the duck meat over and under the broccoli, then spoon over the dressing.



Roasted Teal with Pickled Autumn Raspberries


The raspberries must be very ripe and full of flavour for this dish to work successfully. The pickle is a very light one, and the berries are perfect to eat after just a few hours. Adding a touch of raspberry liqueur to the finished sauce gives it a sweet, fruity edge that goes perfectly with the teal.


Serves 4

Preparation: 35 mins, plus cooling

Cooking: about 45 mins, plus resting


2 tablespoons any oil

4 Teal ducks, dressed and wishbones removed

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 celery stick, chopped

2 star anise (optional)

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

50ml (2 fl oz) dry white wine

300ml (10 fl oz) strong game stock  or chicken stock

a pinch of sugar

2 teaspoons ice-cold unsalted butter

50ml (2 fl oz) framboise liqueur


Pickled raspberries

200g (7 oz) fresh autumn raspberries

100ml (3½ fl oz) fresh apple juice

3 tablespoons runny honey

2 tablespoons sherry or

balsamic vinegar

2 pinches of salt

a pinch of freshly grated



Pickled raspberries

Put the raspberries into a small ceramic bowl or glass preserving jar.


Put all the other ingredients into a stainless steel saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.


Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then pour over the

raspberries and leave to cool to room temperature. Serve after an hour or two or pop in the fridge where they will keep for a week or so but will lose a little colour.



When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8.


Heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan. Season the teal well inside and out, then place breast side down in the hot oil and cook for 2–3 minutes until well sealed, ensuring that both breasts are nicely coloured. Turn the birds over so that they are sitting on their backs and transfer the pan to the oven for 10 minutes.


At the 10-minute point, check to see if the birds are well coloured but not

overcooked – the breast meat should still be slightly soft when lightly pressed.


Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the birds to a warm tray, turning them back onto their breasts. Loosely cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes.


Transfer the birds to a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, slice through the skin where the leg is attached to the breast, then pull the leg back on itself so that the ball and socket joint pops open and carefully pull the leg away. Carefully slice down one side of the breastbone, continuing to cut right along to the wing, then cut through the wing joint. Tease the flesh away from the crown and gently pull the breast meat away. Repeat on the other side. Cover the legs and breast meat with foil and keep warm while you repeat with the other three birds.


Place the frying pan back on the stove and add the shallots, garlic, celery and star anise, if using.


Chop up the carcasses into small pieces, add to the frying pan and cook over a fairly high heat for about 10 minutes until the bones and veg have taken on some colour.


Add the vinegar and boil rapidly over a high heat until almost all evaporated.


Add the wine and boil, scraping off all the lovely caught bits from the pan.


Pour the contents of the frying pan into a small saucepan, add the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, skim and simmer for 10 minutes.


When ready to serve, strain the stock, season well with salt and pepper and add the sugar. It should be well reduced by now. Add the butter with the framboise and swirl in to give the sauce a nice shine.


Place the roasted teal (you may have to flash it through the hot oven) in a hot serving bowl and pour over the well-reduced sauce. Serve with the pickled raspberries.


8/10/2015 (CS) (18591)

Taken from Game by Phil Vickery and Simon Boddy



Kyle Game

Roast Snipe with Beet Curry & Crème Fraîche


These tiny birds are delicious; Clarissa Dickson Wright reckoned

they were tastier than woodcock! They are not often seen on menus these days, possibly because chefs think they aren’t worth the trouble. Well yes, I sort of agree with that, but once prepared and cooked they make a fine meal – it just depends on how many you can eat! The sweetness of the beets in this dish offsets the

curry spices and crème fraîche. Forget the knife and fork and pick the birds up to eat – all you need is a bib.


Serves 4

Preparation: 20 mins

Cooking: about 35 mins in total, plus resting


4 tablespoons any oil

4 snipe, drawn and cleaned,

heads removed

salt and freshly ground black




2 tablespoons any oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black onion

(nigella or kalonji) seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek

1/4 teaspoon dried chilli with


1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons tomato purée

200ml (7 fl oz) game stock or chicken stock

500g (18 oz) cooked beetroot, any colour, cut into 5  mm (¼ inch) cubes



150g (5 oz) thick crème fraîche

a few sprigs of fresh coriander



Heat the oil in a saucepan, add all the spices and cook over a low heat for 1-2



Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for about 4-5 minutes until they start to

take on a little colour on the edges.


Stir in the tomato purée and stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes

or until reduced to roughly half the original volume.


Add the beetroot and cook again gently until the stock is well reduced and coating

the beets nicely but not too thick. Check the seasoning and adjust if needed.



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


Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan.


Season the snipe all over with salt and pepper, then place one side down in the hot

oil, transfer to the oven and cook for 5 minutes.


At the 5-minute point, remove the pan from oven, turn the birds over onto the

other side and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.


Remove the pan from the oven; cover the birds loosely with foil and leave to rest in

a warm place for 10 minutes.


To Finish

Gently reheat the beetroot curry, trying not to break the beets up too much.


Remove the pan from the heat, add about 50g of the crème fraîche and swirl

through. Keep off  the heat.


To serve, place the snipe in warm bowls and spoon the curry alongside. Finish with

a few sprigs of coriander and a small spoonful of crème fraîche on top of the



8/10/2015 (CS) (18592)

Taken from GAME by Phil Vickery and Simon Boddy



October 17th, 2015

Lingonberries grow in the Scandinavian countries, right? Well guess what they also grow very happily here in Ireland in the Bog of Allen in Co Offaly side by side with blueberries. I got some precious punnets of them recently and made a tart lingonberry sauce and some preserves and desserts. So this has been a terrifically exciting week experimenting with a new ingredient or at least new to me in its fresh form. I hadn’t’ realised quite how versatile they would be. A pot of lingonberry jam or sauce adds zing to lots of both sweet and savoury dishes. Swedish pancakes with lingonberry sauce and some sour cream was a big hit and of course their fruity bittersweet flavour complimented and cut deliciously through the rich gamey flavour of a haunch of venison. The Swedes also love lingonberries with meatballs and fried herring, austrians pair it with schnitzel. Lingonberries can be enjoyed with a variety of breads, muffins, scones, smoothies, salads and a myriad of desserts. They naturally compliment duck, goose, pork and game.

So what do Lingonberries look like? They are small bright red berries, grow on low semi evergreen bushes the same type of acid soil that blueberries love.

They are grown commercially in Sweden as well as in the wild in Swedish forests and throughout the Nordic region and are ripe from August to late October.

They also have the bonus of being super nutritious and have both antioxidant and antibiotic properties. In fact, surprise surprise they are being hailed as yet another ‘superfood’.

Recent research at the Lund University in Sweden concluded that mice fed on a high fat diet including 20% of the tart red lingonberries gained no more weight that those on a low fat diet and had blood sugar and insulin readings similar to the low fat mice.

Lingonberries naturally contain high level of pectin so jams and jellies set easily and are literally made in minutes.

Lingonberries have many names, cowberries, foxberries, whimberries, wolfberries, partridge berries, red whortle berries, dry mountain cranberries, cranberries….they are of course related to cranberries and blueberries.

Jars of lingonberry jam are available from IKEA and some other speciality stores but none are as fresh and vibrant as what you make yourself in small batches in a matter of minutes.


Hot Tips

Savour Kilkenny Festival of Food, 22nd-26th October. The programme has just landed on my desk, once again packed with an array of interesting and innovative food events – cookery demonstrations, tastings, debates, workshops, food and wine events. www.savourkilkenny.com

The first ever Garden Trails of Ireland national conference is at Inis Beg near Baltimore on 24th October 2015 from 10am-4pm. Speakers include Gerry Daly and Jane Powers. See www.westcorkgardentrail.com for the details.


Deelish Garden Centre close to Skibbereen are expecting lingonberry plants in very soon, check out their range of rare edible plants – aronia (the chokeberry), quince and apricot trees, myrtus luma, edible berberis, elaegnus…… www.deelish.ie.


Save your own fennel pollen, the delicious anise flavoured fairy dust so beloved of Michelin starred chefs. The flowers are now ready. Tie them in bundles and hang upside down inside a brown paper bag. Then store the pollen in a dark glass jar. Sprinkle over pan grilled fish and enjoy.

Wild hazelnuts are now ripe, so head for the hills and collect the tiny sweet nuts, don’t bother with the nuts that stubbornly refuse to budge from their husks, you’ll find that they are ‘blind’ (empty). Hazelnuts are high in monosaturated fat, Vitamin E and minerals copper and magnesium….


Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberry Preserve and Sour Cream


Blueberries or Autumn Raspberries are also delicious here.


Serves 6 – makes 12 approximately



6oz (175g/generous 1 cup) white flour, preferably unbleached

a good pinch of salt

1 dessertspoon (2 American teaspoons) castor sugar

2 large eggs and 1 or 2 egg yolks, preferably free range

scant 15fl oz (450ml/2 cups) milk, or for very crisp, light delicate pancakes, milk and water mixed

3-4 dessertspoons (6-8 American teaspoons) melted butter


Lingonberry Preserve, see recipe


8 inch (20.5cm) non-stick crêpe pan


First make the batter.

Sieve the flour, salt, and sugar into a bowl, make a well in the centre and drop in the lightly beaten eggs. With a whisk or wooden spoon, starting in the centre, mix the egg and gradually bring in the flour. Add the liquid slowly and beat until the batter is covered with bubbles. (If they are to be served with sugar and lemon juice, stir in an extra tablespoon of castor sugar and the finely grated rind of half a lemon).


Let the batter stand in a cold place for an hour or so – longer will do no harm. Just before you cook the crêpes stir in 3-4 dessertspoons (6-8 American tablespoons) melted butter. This will make all the difference to the flavour and texture of the crêpes and will make it possible to cook them without greasing the pan each time.


Heat the pan to very hot; pour in enough batter to cover the base of the pan lightly. A small ladle can be useful for this, loosen the crepe around the edge, flip over with a spatula or thin egg slice, cook for a second or two on the other side, and slide off the pan onto a plate. The crepes can be stacked on top of each other and peeled apart later.

Fill with lingonberry preserve and sour cream. Enjoy.


Camilla Plum’s Shaken Berries


A Nordic way of preserving Summer fruits.


Redcurrants, blackcurrants, lingonberries, white currants, ripe gooseberries…are delicious preserved in this way. They keep forever!

Eat with cheese, venison, pork, melon…


Fresh ripe redcurrants (preferably organic)

60% fruit to 40% sugar or more to taste.


Put the fruit into a glass Kilner jar or jars, add sugar and stir well so the berries are bruised. Cover and keep in a cool place or refrigerator.



Lingonberry Preserve


Makes 5 small jars (200ml/7 fl oz)


1 kg (2¼ lbs) lingonberries

225 ml (8 fl oz/1 cup) water

500 g (1 lb) sugar


Pick over the lingonberries in a saucepan or strainer. Run them under the cold water tap to rinse.

Put into a stainless steel saucepan with the water and sugar. Stir over a medium heat, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the berries have burst and are soft. Pour into small sterilized jars, cover and refrigerate and enjoy throughout the Autumn and Winter with game, goat cheese, crêpes, potato pancakes….



Lingonberry Juice


Makes 2 pints approx. superfast, to make and a terrific base for drinks or cocktails


1 lb (450 g) fresh or frozen lingonberries

2 pints (1.2l) water

6-8 ozs (175-225 g/¾-1 cup)  sugar


Put the fresh or frozen berries into a small stainless steel saucepan with the water (you may need to pick them over, discard any bad or damaged berries)

Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes until they burst and soften. Crush with a potato masher. Pour into a jelly bag and allow to  drip into a nonreactive stainless steel or delph bowl. Return the juice to the saucepan, add sugar, stir to dissolve. Bring back to the boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour into sterilized bottles, cool and refrigerate until needed.


Note: Sweeten the pulp and enjoy with game



Swedish Lingonberry Cocktail


Makes 2


2 fl ozs (50 ml) Aqvavit or vodka

2 fl ozs (50 ml) lingonberry juice

1 fl oz 25 ml) Grand Marnier

1 fl oz  (25 ml) lime juice


Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled, strain and pour into martini glasses.



Lingonberry Lemonade


Serves 4


2 fl ozs (50 ml) lingonberry juice

2 lemons, freshly squeezed juice

850 ml (1½ pints/4 cups) sparkling water

Lots of ice

Fresh mint leaves


Mix all the liquid together. Taste and tweak if necessary. Serve over ice and add a few fresh mint leaves.



Lingonberry Sauce



Serves 4-6


A simple, delicious sauce which is unbelievably quick to make. It goes well with lamb, guinea fowl, ham and pâté de campagne. Fresh or frozen redcurrants may also be used.


100g (3 ½oz/1/2 cup) sugar

125ml (4 1/2fl oz/1/2 cup) water

150g (5oz) fresh lingonberries


Remove the strings from the lingonberries if necessary.


Put the sugar and water into a saucepan, stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil.  Toss in the lingonberries, bring back to the boil, cook uncovered for 4 or 5 minutes or until the berries burst and soften.  Serve hot or cold.


Tip: Keeps for several weeks in a covered jar in the fridge and may be reheated gently.


Lingonberries freeze brilliantly just pop them into the freezer in the punnet and then transfer to a plastic bag.



When using frozen lingonberries the quantities are as follows:

175g (6oz) lingonberries

75 g (3oz/1/2 cup) granulated sugar.


Place the lingonberries in a saucepan with the sug

Trip to Wales

October 10th, 2015

Abergavenny is a sleepy little town in South Wales with four or five charity shops, a few fried chicken joints,  several Indian and Chinese restaurants, the usual estate agents and fashion shops and of course a Tesco and Aldi….

I’d been looking forward to my visit but as I ambled up the Main Street on Friday evening, the market was just closing up for the day and somehow it all seemed pretty lack lustre. I was over in Wales for the Abergavenny Food Festival, it was scheduled  to kick off that evening with Xanthe Clay of the Telegraph interviewing Tom Kerridge of the Hand and Flowers in Marlow, a pub with food so yummy that Michelin has just awarded it a second Michelin star. It was a cracking good interview, Tom has a wonderfully self deprecating wit and perfectly pitched comic timing… He used to be a very chubby chef but has recently lost an undisclosed number of stone though a rigorous swimming regime and forfeiting the booze. Hundreds queued to nab early copies of his second book ‘Tom’s Table My Favourite Everyday Recipes’, which was released especially for the evening. There’s a year long waiting list to get a weekend table in the Hand and Flowers but you could also try Coast his most recent pub with more great grub just down the road. I haven’t managed to get there yet but it’s definitely on my list…

The Speakers Dinner was in the St Michael’s Centre, a rather lacklustre venue but Jane Baxter of wild Artichoke Catering Company cooked a magical multi course dinner. Look out for the column she shares with Henry Dimbleby in the Guardian every Friday.  A plate of Welsh charcuterie, arancini with truffles, crab with artichokes, tandoori lamb with, melt in the mouth meringues with a blob of cream and candied rhubarb, homemade fig rolls…….

Well, here’s the surprise, I was up early on Saturday morning, the sun shone and by 9.30 the whole of Abergavenny was totally transformed and throbbing with energy and excitement. Hundreds of food stalls lined the streets and lanes; the beautiful market building was adorned with coloured ribbons and huge fantastical goats, sheep and pigs made by local women dangled from the high ceiling. I did my cookery dem in the Priory and then dashed from one place to another signing books, doing a ‘rant’, trying to taste as many delicious things and attend as many events as possible. I managed to get to Claire Ptak’s cookery dem and learned the secret of the best selling Blondies at Violet cakes in Hackney. I also managed to catch Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully’s jam packed Masterclass where they shared secrets from their new book of recipes from Nopi restaurant in Warwick Street In London.

Over the years, Abergavenny has also been a place of pilgrimage for foodies for another reason, Franco Taurasi’s food at the Walnut Tree just outside the town drew people from far and wide, I’d never been there and even though Franco has now retired, Shaun Hill is at the helm and cooking refreshingly simple flavourful food. I was longing to go but it was of course booked out so I naughtily just turned up and they sweetly gave me a table, I had a truly delicious dinner with hare for the main course which Shaun tells me are very plentiful in his area of Wales.

On Sunday morning, I managed to meet the wasabi grower Tom Amery from Devon www.thewasabicompany.co.uk and taste some delicious Welsh cheeses, I also linked up with the Trealy Farm charcuterie family and Hodmedod’s  who grow a range of heirloom peas and beans in Norfolk and the guys from Halen Mon who make those beautiful pure salt crystals in Angelsea.  They’ve added excellent black pepper to their range now also.

Coed Canalas was another find, an exceptionally good range of sticky, dark, bitter Seville orange marmalades, pure honeys, maple syrup and Sicilian olive oil. I also bought a bottle of Ponzu now being imported from Japan by the Wasabi company and a bottle of superb argan oil.

I needed to leave at noon to catch a flight from Cardiff but I managed to get to see the Helmsley sisters doing their dem in the Masonic Hall, Well now, these girls are seriously impressive, apart from being gorgeous, they’ve taught themselves how to cook, have absolutely no time for that low fat nonsense, love butter, lard and liver, they’re crazy about vegetables and the cheaper more flavourful cuts of meat. They  did magic with a spiralizer, a gadget to make spaghetti and all manner of frills and ribbons of courgettes, squash, carrots, peppers cucumbers…… I am totally anti gadget but I was so impressed that I shot off to the Cooks Gallery kitchen shop to buy one and schlepped it all the way home.

Here are some of the good things I learned how to make over the weekend at the Abergavenny Food Festival.  Look out for it next year; it’s a fantastic gig in an otherwise sleepy Welsh town.  http://www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com/


Hot Tips

Join blogger Lucy Pearce and some of our 12 Week Certificate students on Saturday October 17th for ‘Get Blogging’. Join her on a whistle-stop tour of the food blogging world and see what’s hot, and what’s not, right now. You’ll see just how diverse food blogging is, and how to find your niche! www.cookingisfun.ie


Spooky Kids in the Kitchen over Halloween will be an action packed day. Lots of fun and lots of Halloween favourites including yummy roast pumpkin to illustrate that pumpkin is not just for Jack O’Lanterns, a delicious soup and witches  bread, spider web cupcakes, ghost meringues and lots more……kids will spend a busy morning cooking in the kitchen  before enjoying their home cooked lunch. Then we’ll wrap up and head off outside to feed the hens, see the vegetables growing in the glasshouses and marvel at the magnificent pumpkins of every shape and size.  Minimum age 8 years. www.cookingisfun.ie


Don’t miss the Burren Food Fayre running from 24th-25th October. Lots of walks, talks, cookery demonstrations, food workshops, meet the growers, sample their produce… and lots lots more. http://www.burren.ie/events/burren-food-fayre/ details will go online soon.

On Saturday 17th October The Organic Centre in Leitrim is teaching a one day course Growing in Polytunnels – An Introduction.

Hans Wieland will talk about ground preparation, growing systems and crop rotation, soil fertility management, how to erect a tunnel…




Lamb Cooked in Milk with Fennel


3 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tbsp fennel seeds, ground

3 tbsp parsley, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

1 kg lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut in to large 5-6cm chunks (leg can also be used)

1tsp salt

700ml milk

200ml double cream

1 tbsp chopped fennel tops, wild fennel or dill

Ground black pepper


Mix together the fennel, parsley and garlic.


Heat the olive oil in a large pan until hot and brown half of the lamb.


Remove the lamb from the pan, turn down the heat and the add fennel, parsley and garlic. Cook gently without colouring.


Add the remaining lamb and brown in the fennel paste.


Return the rest of the lamb to the pan with juices and salt well.

Add a little of the milk using it to scrape any residue from around the pan.


Add the rest of the milk and cream and bring to a very gentle simmer.


Cover with a round of kitchen paper and leave just simmering for 1- 1½ hours until the meat is tender.


Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and put to one side covered.


Reduce the pan juices on a high heat until slightly thickened and pass through a sieve


Return the lamb to the pan with the smooth sauce , season and sprinkle with chopped fennel/dill.


Jane Baxter

Taken from Riverford Book (Everyday and Sunday)

28/9/2015 (CS) (18564)


 Courgette and Manouri Fritters Tomatoes with Wasabi Mascarpone and Pine Nuts

Courgette and Manouri Fritters

Makes 12 fritters, to serve 4, or 24 smaller fritters, to serve 8 as a snack


3 medium courgettes, trimmed and coarsely grated (580g)

2 small shallots, finely chopped (50g)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

finely grated zest of 2 limes

60g self-raising flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2½ tsp ground coriander

1½ tsp ground cardamom

150g manouri (or halloumi or feta), roughly broken into 1–2cm chunks

about 150ml sunflower oil, for frying

coarse sea salt and black pepper


Lime and cardamom soured cream

200ml soured cream

5g coriander, roughly chopped

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime


Mix together all the ingredients for the soured cream sauce in a small bowl, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a grind of black pepper. Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.


Place the grated courgettes in a colander and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside for 10minutes, then squeeze them to remove most of the liquid: you want the courgettes to keep a little bit of moisture, so don’t squeeze them completely dry. Transfer to a large bowl and add the shallots, garlic, lime zest, flour, eggs, ground coriander, cardamom and a grind of black pepper. Mix well to form a uniform batter,

then fold in the manouri cheese gently so it doesn’t break up much.


Pour enough oil into a large frying pan so it rises 2–3mm up the sides and place on a medium heat. Once hot, add 4 separate heaped dessertspoons of mixture to the pan, spacing them well apart and flattening each fritter slightly with the flat side of a

slotted spoon as they cook. Cook for 6 minutes turning once halfway through,

until golden and crisp on both sides. Transfer to a kitchen paper-lined plate and keep somewhere warm while you continue with the remaining two batches.


Place 3 fritters on each plate and serve at once, with the sauce alongside or in a bowl on the side.


30/09/2015 (CS) (18566) NOPI by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully




Tomatoes with Wasabi Mascarpone and Pine Nuts


Serves 6


250g mascarpone

1 tbsp wasabi paste

10g chives, finely chopped

10g tarragon, finely chopped

1 spring onion, finely sliced (20g)

2 banana shallots, thinly sliced widthways (100g)

2 tbsp Pedro Ximénez sherry

vinegar (or another good-quality sweet sherry vinegar)

1 tbsp olive oil

1kg mixed tomatoes, cut into a mixture of slices and wedges, 1cm thick

20g pine nuts, toasted

5g mixed basil leaves (plain, purple and micro-basil) or just plain basil, to garnish

coarse sea salt and black pepper


This is all about the tomatoes, so get as many different varieties as you can: red, green and yellow; baby plum, cherry and vine. They also look great if they are not cut in uniform fashion: smaller tomatoes should be halved, while larger ones should be cut into wedges or sliced. You can prepare all the elements for this in advance – the wasabi and herb-filled mascarpone, the pickled shallots, the chopped tomatoes, the

toasted nuts. Just keep them separate and put the dish together just before serving. This developed from a dish which Sarit Packer developed with Scully for the breakfast menu when NOPI first opened, when the wasabi mascarpone was served with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Yotam brought in the tomatoes and the dish was reborn and shifted on to the summer lunch menu. It works well as part of a spread of salads or alongside some simply cooked fish or meat.


Place the mascarpone, wasabi, chives, tarragon and spring onion in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well and keep in the fridge until ready to use.


Place the shallots in a separate bowl with the sweet vinegar, oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and keep in the fridge until ready to use.


To serve, divide the mascarpone between the plates and spread it out to form a thin layer. Place the tomatoes on top, followed by the pickled shallots.


Sprinkle with the pine nuts, then scatter over the basil leaves, tearing the larger ones as you go. Season with 1/3 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and serve.


30/9/2015 (CS) (18567) NOPI by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully


Claire Ptak’s Butterscotch Blondies


Blondies have the texture and richness of brownies, but without the chocolate – hence the name. I have snuck in some chunks of milk chocolate here, but the body of the blondie tastes like treacle.


Makes about 16 blondies


350 g unsalted butter, softened

320 g plain flour

1½ teaspoon baking powder

1½ teaspoon sea salt

3 eggs

400 g dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

200 g butterscotch milk chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces


Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas 3. Butter and line a 23 cm (9 inch) square cake tin with parchment paper so that it comes up the sides of the tin.


Gently melt the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Set aside and cool slightly.


In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder, then stir in the salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until frothy, then whisk in the melted butter. Fold in the dry ingredients until just mixed, then fold in the chocolate pieces. Pour into your prepared baking tin.


Bake in the middle of the oven for about 35 minutes. A skewer inserted should come out slightly gooey. Leave to cool completely in the baking tin, then cut into smallish squares. These are rich!


30/9/2015 (CS) (18568) The Whoopie Pie Book by Claire Ptak


All In The Cooking

October 7th, 2015




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot Tips

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

Tel: 057 864 2882


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

www.cookingisfun.ie for more information.


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


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


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




To make 4 ozs short pastry

4 ozs. flour

Pinch of salt

2-3 ozs. butter  or margarine

Cold water


2 tablespoonfuls jam



2 ozs. butter or margarine

2 ozs. castor sugar

1 egg

3 ozs. flour

A little grated  lemon  rind

A little water

1/4 teaspoonful baking  powder




Jam Sauce

½ pint  water

Strip  of lemon  rind

2 tablespoonfuls jam

1 teaspoonful  cornflour

1 dessertsp. lemon  juice

1 teaspoonful  sugar


To make the short pastry.

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

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


To make the tart filling

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


Next line the tart plate.

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


To make the Jam Sauce

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

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



1 lb. mixed dried fruit                                 1 lb. flour

1/2 pt. cold tea                                            1 egg

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

2 teasps. baking powder

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




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

Sugar, if liked

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



Queen of Puddings


1 ½ ozs. Breadcrumbs                       ½ pint milk

½ oz. butter or margarine                  1 level tablespoonful sugar

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


1 tablespoonful raspberry jam                   1 white of egg

2 ozs. castor sugar

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

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




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

Salt  and  pepper                              2 ozs. chopped onion

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

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




October 6th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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


photo 1 (21)

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


Hot Tips

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


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


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


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


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

Check it out. http://www.pax-house.com/


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


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Avocado on Rye

Inspired by the dish I ate at Atelier September in Copenhagen


Serves 1


2 slices of rye bread

1 Haas avocado

Chives, finely chopped

Espelette pepper

Organic lemon

Sea salt flakes


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



Salt Baked Celeriac with Olive Butter


Serves 4


1 celeriac

Extra virgin olive oil

Coarse Salt


100 g (4 oz) Kalamata olives, stoned

25 g (1 oz) butter

Small basil leaves


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


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


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

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

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



Avocado Ice Pop with Condensed Milk Toffee and Dried Raspberries


Makes 8-10 ice pops


Avocado Ice-cream

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

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


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


Condensed milk

Lollipop sticks

Dried raspberries

Chilled plates


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

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

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

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

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


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Grapefruit Tokyo Style with Mint


A rediscovery so simple but a deliciously refreshing plate


Serves 2


1 juicy pink grapefruit

Fresh mint

A little sugar, optional


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

Serve immediately.



Brioche Doughnuts


Brioche Dough

Granulated Sugar




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

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


Makes 15-20 individual brioches or 2 large ones


25g (1oz) yeast

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

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

4 eggs

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

large pinch of salt

225g (8oz/2 sticks) soft butter


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


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


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

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


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

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


The Humble Spud

October 3rd, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Hot Tips

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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



Homemade Potato Crisps or Game Chips


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


Serves 4


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

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



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


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


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



Aloo Tikki (Potatoes and Pea Cutlet)

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


4 potatoes, boiled and peeled

150g (5oz) green peas, boiled

1 onion, finely chopped

3/4 green chilli

3 teaspoon ginger grated very finely

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

1 level teaspoon cumin powder

1 level teaspoon coriander powder

1 level teaspoon chilli powder

salt and pepper to taste


To Serve

Mint and Coriander Chutney (see recipe)


Fry the onion in a little olive oil until golden.


Mash the boiled peas and potatoes with the other ingredients.


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


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


Serve with mint and coriander chutney


Mint and Coriander Chutney


1 bunch of fresh mint

1/2 bunch of fresh coriander

1 red onion, chopped

1 green chilli, chopped

juice of 1/2 lemon

a pinch of sugar

salt to taste

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


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



Papas Bravas


Serves 10-12 as a tapa


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 red chilli, chopped (with seeds)

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

1 tablespoon homemade tomato purée

2 teaspoons paprika

salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

extra virgin olive oil

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

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

sea salt


To Serve

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


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


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


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


Heat the sauce, taste.


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



Potatoes with Smetana and Dill from Transylvania


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


Serves 6


6-12 freshly cooked potatoes, depending on size

salt and freshly ground pepper


Smetana (sour cream) (or crème fraîche)

lots of chopped dill and dill sprigs


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


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



Claudia Roden’s Potatoes with Chorizo


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


Serves 2 as a main course


1 large onion, chopped

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

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

2 garlic cloves, chopped

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

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



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


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



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


September 26th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hot Tips

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

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




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

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



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

50g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated

6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

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

3 organic carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

1 bunch of organic spring onions, thinly sliced

400ml fish sauce

65g palm sugar

zest and juice of 2 limes

200ml filtered water

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


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

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

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

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



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


Korean tofu stir-fry with kimchi


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



200g marinated tofu, cut into 1.5cm cubes

50g sweet potato noodles (available from

ethnic food shops and online), or vermicelli

200g baby spinach leaves, stalks removed

4 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon caster or light brown soft sugar

1½ tablespoons sunflower oil

1 bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced

200g shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 small carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

1 courgette, cut into thin matchsticks


toasted sesame seeds

4 heaped tablespoons Kimchi


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

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

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

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


Coconut Milk Kefir



2 tablespoons milk kefir grains (available  online)

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

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


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

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




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



300g organic white cabbage, very thinly


1 bunch of organic spring onions, thinly sliced

2 organic carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

2cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and

finely grated

4 teaspoons sea salt

1 red chilli, finely chopped

2 tablespoons Water Kefir

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

jar with a rubber seal, sterilised


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


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

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

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



2 heaped tablespoons black loose-leaf tea

(I use English Breakfast)

200g organic cane sugar

1 litre boiling water

1 litre filtered water

1 scoby or scoby piece (available online)

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

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


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

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


Flavoured Kombucha

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

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



1 litre fermented Kombucha


EITHER 3 large hibiscus flowers

OR a few sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm

OR 2 teaspoons dried chamomile leaves


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


Mary Keane

August 29th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Listowel Mutton Pies


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


Makes 8


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

lots of salt and ground white pepper



900g (2lb) white flour

½ teaspoon salt

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

850ml (1½ pints) buttermilk


Mutton Broth

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

3-4 large onions, peeled and quartered

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


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

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

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

Meanwhile make a simple mutton stock.

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

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

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


Kerry Pies


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

Serves 6


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

9 1/2 oz (275g) chopped onions

9 1/2 oz (275g) chopped carrots

1 teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

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

2 tablespoons flour

salt and freshly ground pepper


Hot Water Crust Pastry


12 oz (340g) white flour

6 oz (170g) butter

4 fl oz (100ml) water

pinch of salt

1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt to glaze


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


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

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

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

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



Kerry Yellow meal Griddle Bread


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


Serves 4


4ozs /110g yellow meal

good pinch salt

¼ teaspoon bread soda

6 fl ozs (175ml) buttermilk


griddle or 10 inch (25.5cm) non stick pan

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

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


Traditional Kerry Apple Cake


Makes 25-30 pieces


450g (1lb) plain white flour

175g (6oz) butter

2 teaspoons baking powder

175g (6oz) castor sugar

3 free range eggs

225ml (8fl oz) milk

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


2 cooking Bramley apples


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


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

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


Hot Tips


Date for your Diary

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

Dinner €60 per person. Contact bookings@dunowenhouse.ie or tel: 023 886 9099


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

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

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


Honey & Co. Baking

August 15th, 2015

Honey & Co. baking book, Saltyard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hot Tips

It’s Blueberry Time –

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


Amelia’s Blueberry Pancakes

Makes 12


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

1 teaspoon baking powder

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

pinch of salt

1 egg

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

50 g (2 oz) blueberries

drop of sunflower oil, for greasing


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

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

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


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

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


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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Makes about 1kg

500g plain flour

½ tsp caster sugar

1½ tsp table salt

1 tsp baking powder

250g cold unsalted butter, diced

125g full fat cream cheese

1 egg

125g/ml double cream


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

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


Lamb lahma with pine nuts & cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, peeled and diced

500g lamb mince

2 tbsp baharat spice mix

2 tbsp tomato purée

60g tahini paste

50g/ml water

a pinch of table salt

10 cherry tomatoes, quartered

50g pine nuts


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

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


Poached Peaches with Rose Jelly & Crystallised Rose Petals

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


For the poached peaches

200g caster sugar

200g/ml water

some strips of peel and the juice of 1 lemon

some strips of peel and the juice of 1 orange

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp rose water

4 flat white peaches

50g/ml vodka

For the jelly

160g/ml peach cooking liquid

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

160g/ml cold water

1–2 tsp rose water


For the crystallised rose petals (if you like)

1 egg white

caster sugar

fresh garden roses


To elevate this dessert to something heavenly

a good splash of sparkling wine for each plate


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

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

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


Courgette, Golden Raisin & Pistachio Cake

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

Makes 1kg (2lb) loaf

60g pistachios

175g self-raising flour

a pinch of table salt

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground star anise

200g light brown soft sugar

50g caster sugar

175g/185ml olive oil

2 eggs

60g golden raisins

3 courgettes, unpeeled but trimmed,

grated (200g)

zest of 1 lemon


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

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