The Cow gently licked it all over

Today was a lovely day, a new calf was born in the field behind the Cookery School in full view of the cookery students, most of whom had never even imagined they would witness such a miracle of nature. A beautiful black Aberdeen Angus heifer calf, the cow gently licked it all over and within minutes it tottered to its feet. We called her Easter.

While all this excitement was going on in the field, other students were doing their cooking exam in the kitchen, proving to me that they could cook at least one delicious meal after spending 12 weeks absorbing an avalanche of information on food and wine.

Mid way through the afternoon Olivia Lacey arrived with a huge parcel, other students gathered round, they couldn’t wait to open the box – it was full of their very own cookbook hot off the printing press. The very favourite recipes of the January 12 week Certificate students 2005.

All the students, the office staff, many of the teachers, several of the gardeners and Haulie the farm manager all contributed a recipe. The idea came about just a few weeks ago when Olivia and a few pals were walking along Shanagarry strand as ever discussing food. The talked about their favourite standby recipes for dinner parties, survival food at college – Gran’s yummy choccie cake – they each described their favourite nosh – often forgotten flavours enveloped in nostalgic memories of childhood.

“Wouldn’t it be brilliant to gather all these little gems into a cookbook! , chirped Olivia in her inimitable way, brilliant, but how exactly to go about it. Olivia, whose Mum Nicola Beauman is a publisher with a cult following – Persephone Books, mooted the idea to the rest of the students. Recipes poured in, in every shape and form, everything from Derek’s Hunger Buster to Charlie’s Marshmallow and Digestive Sandwiches, Huw contributed the one and only recipe he knew before he came to the school, William’s Special Tuna Pasta. This was his staple diet at college. Kinue Harada from Tokyo hand wrote her lovely recipe for Sesame Miso Soup. Richard Mills got all nostalgic about his Mum’s meatballs, he had painstakingly written ithe recipe down on a scrap of paper when he was eight and he knew it was still under his bed at home. 

Olivia, also a wizard speed typist typed, Ciara did drawings, Anne Marie Hourihane and Caroline Williams did the layout, and hey presto the manuscript was complete.

Just three weeks ago they contacted Margo McGrath at the Print Factory in Midleton, even though she was frantically busy, she couldn’t resist their enthusiasm and she too performed a minor miracle and produced the adorable little cookbook complete with illustrations in just three weeks, Gill and Macmillan and Kyle Cathie eat your hearts out.

Its full of little gems, some easy peasy, all delicious, they sold like hot cakes for €5 - there are just a few left so if you would like a copy contact the school. I hope it will be the first of many, congrats to all concerned.

Twiglet (for Marmite lovers only)
Very fresh white bread, butter, twiglets, marmite (optional). Apart from the great taste, seriously satisfying texture combo!

Marshmallow and Chocolate Digestive

Sandwich 3 white marshmallows (proper pink will do if no white) between 2 milk chocolate digestives (McVities are best), with chocolate facing inwards. Wrap in tin foil and bake in oven till the biscuits are hot, the chocolate’s melted and the marshmallows are well and truly gooey).

Toasted Mars Bar

Slice a Mars Bar and sandwich between 2 pieces of sliced white bread (pan). Lightly butter the outside and put in toasted sandwich maker. Truly amazing!” Only eat a whole one if you have the hunger and sweet tooth of 10 bears!
Richard’s Lost Recipe – Richard Mills

Meatballs with onions – fried on top of the stove then put on a baking tray.

Long grain rice
Tin of condensed tomato soup
Tin of water

Mix together the rice, soup and water and pour over the meatballs (dried oregano added to this in the 80’s).

I loved this as a kid and consequently every time I came home from university it was proudly presented to me by my Mum. Whereas as a child I could eat three helpings, now I can only manage one.!

Somewhere I have a copy of this recipe that I wrote out on lined paper when I was eight years old.

Baked Bean Cake

by Lucy Goodchild
1 box Rice Krispies
2 bags of pink and white marshmallows (give or take a few – chef’s prerogative)
6 bars of Cadbury’s Caramel bars or similar 

Start by melting the chocolate in a heavy based saucepan on a gentle heat.

Add the marshmallows, mixing continually with a wooden spoon until they are all melted.

Take off the heat and slowly mix in the rice krispies, you won’t need the whole box – you just want them to be ‘stringy’ and covered by the mixture, pour into greased baking tin and chill.

Cut into squares. Drizzle with extra white/dark chocolate if you want to be really naughty.

Yum, but not one for dentists.

Sue-Sue’s Special Brown Bread

– Sue Cogan
2 lbs extra coarse wholemeal flour
8oz pinhead oatmeal
8oz self raising flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon bread soda
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 litre buttermilk
1 extra ½ cup milk if needed

Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and poppy seeds

Will make 3 x 2 lb loaves

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add oil and buttermilk. Mixture must resemble wet porridge. Oil the tins. Spread sesame seed on bottom. Fill tins with mixture. Spread pumpkin seed, sunflower and poppy seed on top. Cooking in oven 200C/400F/gas 6 for 40 minutes.

Turn out on wire rack to cool.

Lemongrass and Ginger Sorbet

- Olivia Lacey
I made this variation on lemon verbena sorbet on the course, on the day after we made Thai curries. It is very refreshing after spicy food.
1 pint water
6oz sugar
2 stalks of lemongrass
2 inch piece of fresh ginger

Cut the lemongrass stalks in half lengthwise. Peel and coarsely grate the ginger. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring slowly to the boil, simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes or until cold. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Sieve and freeze in an ice- cream maker.

My Stepmother Juliet’s Chocolate Mousse – Olivia Lacey
Break a bar of chocolate into a liquidiser or magimix. Put ¼ litre of single cream in a saucepan, bring nearly to the boil and pour over the chocolate. Whizz up until chocolate melts. Break in 1 egg. Whizz again for 2-3 minutes until bubbly. Pour into a bowl, or little coffee cups and glasses, and put in a cool place until set (3-4 hours).

Butterfly Cakes

by Laura Clarke

4oz butter
4oz sugar
2 eggs
6oz plain flour
1 teasp. baking powder
1 tablesp. milk

Beat the butter and sugar to a cream. Add eggs, well beaten, then flour and baking powder mixed, and lastly milk.

Half fill paper cases with the mixture, place on a cold oven tray and bake about 10-15 minutes at 200C. When cool cut a small piece off the top of each, fill with a teaspoon of jam and a heaped teaspoon of whipped cream, cut the small piece in half and stand these on the edge of the cream.

Ki’s Sesame Miso Soup with Tofu

– Kinue Harada
Serves 4
100g sesame seeds
800ml dashi or fish stock
300g soft/silken tofu
4 tablesp miso paste

Roast the sesame seeds. Be careful not to burn the seeds, taking the pan off the heat once the seeds start to pop.

In a pestle and mortar, grind them to a sticky paste. (It should smell wonderfully nutty.) Transfer the paste to a large mixing bowl.

Pour the dashi or fish stock into a pan on a moderate heat. Just before it comes to the boil add the miso paste, stirring until it dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil, add the tofu, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces with your hand.

Serve immediately, garnished with a little chopped spring onion and a little ground sesame according to taste. You can also add seasonal cooked vegetables if you like.

Dominic’s All Purpose Chilli

– Dominic McCartan
This is a version of my vegetarian chilli that I have used to feed myself for the best part of 20 years since I decided not to eat meat or fish. The availability of vegetarian food was limited and therefore this was a dish I created to keep me from starving. It was and still is the most popular dish on the menus in my pubs in Brighton (The Hop Poles and the Eagle), so I hope you enjoy it.
Serves 6-8

3 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
1 large onion about 6oz/220g
2 large cloves of garlic
1-2 good fresh red chillies
1 medium carrot chopped finely
2-3 celery stalks chopped finely
200g of unflavoured GMO free soya mince
1 litre of good vegetable stock, homemade or cubes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon Marmite or yeast extract
salt and pepper
1-2 tablespoons soya sauce or mushroom soya
2 tablespoons freshly ground cumin
2 tablespoons of coriander finely chopped (use stalks). Add more at end of cooking to taste.
1 red pepper and 1 green pepper sliced and chopped
2 cans good quality tinned tomatoes, chopped, or use fresh overripe ones peeled and chopped
1-2 tablespoons of hot chilli sauce to taste
14oz tinned cooked red kidney beans
chopped coriander leaves for final additions.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed large pan and add chopped and crushed garlic, the onion shred relatively coarsely and the chillis finely chopped, along with the carrot and celery.

Allow these to cook on a moderate heat until the onions are nearly soft but still with some resistance. Watch they do not burn and stir frequently. Add the cumin stirring all the time until the aroma rises and the spice has started to cook. You can if you like add a half glass of good red wine at this point and and reduce before adding soya items. Reduce the heat and add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add the hydrated soya, stir well and add the peppers, increasing the heat to bring the chilli to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently to prevent the soya sticking. Once the mixture is hot through, reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook for 40-50 minutes until the mixture becomes soft and deepens in colour. Add kidney beans 5 minutes before the end of cooking.

During this slow cooking you can add some hot chilli sauce to taste if you like it hotter, but do allow the chilli to cook through before being over generous. Also use the soya sauce or mushroom sauce to darken the chilli and provide a little more depth. If the chilli looks a little thin, thicken with a tablespoon or so of extra tomato puree.

Season with chopped coriander leaves before end of cooking time and also check for seasoning. When cooked the chilli should be of a good consistency with plenty of flavour, and taste great.

This chilli can be served with rice, in tortilla wraps topped with guacamole and soured cream, also on a plate of Nacho chips topped with melted cheese. It can also be served as a topping for jacket potatoes.

This chilli is vegan and many people do not realise that there is not a scrap of meat anywhere near it.

It will also keep well in a fridge covered for at least 3-4 days and freezes well. Do not be afraid to experiment with the heat of this dish as you gain experience cooking it, but always hydrate your soya mince for maximum flavour, or the chilli will be thin and uninteresting.

Huw’s Special Tuna Pasta

– Huw Francis
Serves 4

1 packet of pasta/spag
3 tins of canned tuna
clove of garlic
fist full of basil/oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 chilli
2 fl. oz of chicken stock

Boil water in a large saucepan, add salt (1 tablespoon to every 2 pints of water) – cook pasta.

Heat oil in small saucepan. Add garlic and chilli and stir for 30 seconds – add tuna – stir and cook for 5 minutes, add chicken stock and basil – cook for a further 5 minutes – serve with pasta.

An American Chocolate Cake

- Mary Jo McMillin
1¾ oz cocoa powder
1 fl.oz milk
5 fl.oz boiling water or hot coffee
4 oz Irish butter, very soft
3½ oz soft brown sugar
3½ oz castor sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4oz cream flour
tiny pinch salt
½ teasp bread soda

Butter edges of two 7 inch cake tins and line bottoms with Bakewell paper. 
Preheat the oven to 170C.

Put milk in measuring jug, fill to 6oz with boiling water or coffee. Add cocoa and whisk to dissolve, set aside.

In mixing bowl cream the butter with the sugars. Add eggs once at a time, beating well. Add vanilla. Sift together the flour, soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture alternatively with the cocoa liquid in 3 additions.

Divide the batter between the tins. Bake 20-25 minutes or until tests done. Remove from the tins and cool on wire racks.

Sandwich the layers and ice with chocolate ganache:

4 fl.oz double cream
1 teaspoon honey
4oz chopped dark chocolate (semisweet or bittersweet)

Bring cream to a simmer with the honey. Remove saucepan from heat. Add chocolate and stir gently until melted. Cool until thickened enough to spread over cake.
A foolproof chocolate layer cake that is successful on both sides of the Atlantic – a favourite from Mary Jo’s cuisine.

Foolproof Food

Charlie’s Favourite Sandwiches

Fish Finger – classic!

Grill 3-4 fish fingers (crumbed not battered) till nice and crispy, season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Take either 2 pieces of white toast or a very soft white bap and butter both sides. On one put a small amount of Colman’s English Mustard, followed by lashings of mayo (Hellman’s of course – sorry Darina!) and on the other side put a generous amount of Colman’s followed by plenty of ketchup. Put the fish fingers on the ketchup side (v. important). Cover with iceberg lettuce then close the sandwich. Cut or eat whole.

Top Tips

Deasy’s Pub in Ring 3 miles from Clonakilty in West Cork is I’m told worth a detour – friends wax lyrical about Kathleen’s delicious food – menu chalked on the blackboard, candledlit with great atmosphere.

Dutch Masters at the Crawford Art Gallery Cork – 
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see the Dutch Masters, including The Pancake Woman by Rembrandt among the wonderful collection now showing.

Hosford’s Garden Centre, Cappa, Enniskeane, Co Cork, Tel 023-39159
Sunday 10th April 3.00pm – Fruit Growing talk with Michael Brennock (formerly of Teagasc).

Cais Cheese Tasting on Tuesday 14th April in the Cashel Palace Hotel, Main St. Cashel, Co Tipperary. 

11.00am meet the cheesemakers and taste the cheese, lunch and optional tour of Cashel Blue Cheese. This is a unique opportunity to taste a variety of the country’s finest cheeses and meet the people who make them – including some of the original members of the Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers Association and some of the newer cheesemakers. To book a place contact Lucy Hayes, Mount Callan Farmhouse Cheese, Drinagh, Ennistymon, Co Clare – mtcallan@oceanfree.net