Second helpings from Paul Flynn

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Second helpings from Paul Flynn has just hit the bookshops, a great name for another dollop of tempting food from the Tannery Restaurant in Dungarvan, Co Waterford. Paul says “this book, to me, represents all my ‘uncheffy’ ambitions, with relatively simple food that’s ‘do-able’ at home and hopefully you will have a laugh as well. It features me in all my self-deprecating glory.”

Paul wanted to write and formulate recipes in the same way the way he does every week in the kitchen. Devising the dishes according to what’s in season and available. “I let this and the weather dictate how I structure a dish: cream and root vegetables in the depth of winter; olive oil and tomatoes for the summer months.” Cooking is all about mood and feeling. This time round the book is divided into 12 monthly chapters highlighting the foods which are in season at that particular time. Advice on how to cook these for starters, main courses and desserts is outlined in easy-to-follow format. There are tips for filling the coolbox and picnic basket in July, and for seasonal comfort food in November and December. The emphasis is on ease of preparation for the keen home cook.

Paul has put considerable effort into simplifying his food over the years, emphasising the importance of sourcing really good fresh naturally produced local food in season. He delights in each new discovery and by his own admission is an obsessive collector of cookery books. Occasionally he manages to escape from the stove so the reader who tucks into Second Helpings is treated to hilarious accounts of his adventures in his deliciously self-deprecating style.

So even if you never venture into the kitchen this book will make the armchair cooks and wannabee gourmets among us lick our lips and laugh out loud at Paul’s anecdotes and ‘business insights’. Ken Buggy’s quirky cartoons add a brilliant extra dimension to Second Helpings. Ken, himself a chef and restaurateur, owner of Buggy’s Glencairn Inn in West Waterford, also shares Paul’s delightfully eccentric view of life. Paul himself took the photographs for the book.

Paul spent nine years at the famous Chez Nico restaurant in London, the last five years as sous chef, the youngest in Britain at only 23. In 1993 he became head chef in La Stampa, Dublin, which became Egon Ronay restaurant of the year after two years. In 1997 he opened the Tannery in his home town of Dungarvan, County Waterford. It has received many accolades including Best Restaurant in Munster by Food and Wine Magazine and Jameson Restaurant of the Year 2004. Paul has appeared on RTE television, the Food Channel and BBC and wrote a widely-read food column for The Irish Times Magazine. He is currently working on a new food series for television. His first book ‘An Irish Adventure with Food’ was published in 2003.

Second Helpings – Further Irish Adventures with Food by Paul Flynn published by the Collins Press, price €30.

Here are some recipes from Second Helpings

Cream of Onion Soup with Apple Juice and Thyme

You must try this soup. In the restaurant it’s our fall back soup. If we have nothing else we always have onions. It’s an all-year-round soup, with a texture of a creamy broth. The long, slow cooking of the onions is essential. This brings out the sweetness and concentrates the flavour. The trick is not to colour the onions at all so you need the lowest heat and a lid on top of the lot to trap the steam and keep the moisture inside.
Serves 4-6 as a starter or light lunch

Good knob butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1.5 litres/2½ pints chicken stock (from a cube will do)
100ml/3½ fl.oz cream
glass apple juice (good quality)
pinch English powder or 1 teaspoon prepared English mustard
pinch chopped fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
garlic croutons and grated Cheddar, to serve

Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan with a tight-fitting lid and once it is foaming, add the onions and bay leaf, stirring to coat. Reduce the heat right down, cover with the lid and cook for 30-40 minutes until the onions are golden brown and caramelised, stirring once or twice.

Pour the stock into the onion mixture and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook gently for another 10 minutes. Add the cream, apple juice, mustard, thyme and season to taste. Allow to just warm through and for all of the flavours to infuse. Ladle into warmed serving bowls and scatter over some garlic croutons and Cheddar to serve.

Lemon Roast Chicken with Ginger and Parsnips

This is an adaptation of lemon roast chicken from Peter Gordon’s Sugar Club Cookbook. Its deliciously easy, especially if you use a ready jointed chicken. Serve with some buttered sprouts and mash.
Serves 4

1.75kg/4lb chicken (preferably organic or free range)
pinch ground ginger
120ml/4fl.oz olive oil
1kg/2¼ lb parsnips, cut into 2cm/¾ in dice
1 bunch fresh oregano
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 lemons, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
buttered leeks and mashed potatoes, to serve

Preheat the oven to 220C/450F/gas 7. To joint the chicken, place the chicken breast side down and with the tip of a knife cut round the two portions of oyster meat (which lie against the backbone). Turn the bird over and cut through the skin where the thigh joins the body. Cut right down between the ball and the socket joint, being careful to keep the oyster meat attached to the leg. Repeat with the other leg.

Separate the thighs from the drumsticks but cutting through at the joints. Trim off the bone end from the drumsticks. Turn the chicken over again, breast side down, and using a poultry shears, cut down firmly through the back into the body cavity between the backbone and one shoulder blade, leaving the wing attached to the breast.

Turn the breast with the wings still attached, skin side up. Remove the wing portions by cutting through at a slight diagonal so that some of the breast is still attached to the wing, then cut each one in half again. You should now have eight portions in total – if all this seems like too much hard work simply buy a packet of chicken joints!

Heat a large frying pan. Season the chicken joints lightly and sprinkle over the ground ginger. Add a little of the oil to the heated pan and use to brown the chicken joints all over.

Meanwhile, place the parsnips in a large roasting tin and add the herbs and half the oil. Season to taste and mix well to combine. Arrange the browned leg joints on top and scatter over the lemon slices. Roast for 15 minutes, then add the rest of the chicken joints and drizzle the remaining oil on top. Roast for another 20 minutes or until cooked through and tender – check by piercing the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer. If the juices run clear the chicken is cooked. Serve straight to the table with separate bowls of buttered sprouts and mashed potatoes and allow everyone to help themselves.

Roast Belly of Pork, Beetroot Tzatziki and Rocket

Serves 4
1 large onion, sliced into rings
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh sage, chopped
300ml/½ pint chicken stock
1.5kg/3lb pork belly, rind removed
150ml/¼ pint dry cider
8 whole cloves
pinch ground allspice
pinch ground cinnamon
75g/3oz Demerara sugar
2 handfuls rocket
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Beetroot Tzatziki

3 cooked beetroot, peeled and grated
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and grated
200ml/7fl.oz Greek yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 freshly grated horseradish or 1 teaspoon creamed horseradish
Maldon sea salt and cracked black pepper
Roast potatoes, to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas 2. Place the onion rings in a single layer in the bottom of a roasting tin. Sprinkle over the garlic and half of the sage, then pour in the stock. Sit the pork belly on top, then splash over the cider. Sprinkle over the remaining sage with the cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Season to taste and cover with foil. Bake for 3 hours until the pork is completely tender and very soft, basting occasionally. Remove the foil and sprinkle the Demerara sugar on top. Increase the oven temperature to 200C/400F/gas 6 and return the pork to the oven for 20 minutes or until glazed and golden. Remove the pork to a warm plate and set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes.

To make the tsatziki place the beetroot in a bowl with the apple, Greek yoghurt, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil and horseradish. Mix well to combine, then cover with cling film and chill until needed. This will keep for up to 24 hours.

To serve, place the rocket in a bowl and season to taste, then dress with the red wine vinegar and olive oil. Mix lightly to combine. Carve the rested pork into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with some of the roasted onion rings. Add the beetroot tzatziki to each one with mounds of the rocket salad and some onions from the tray. Serve with a large bowl of roasted potatoes, if required.

Bouillabaisse of Monkfish and Mussels with Chorizo and Parsnips

Paul adores seafood stews. Once you have the base sauce made all you have to do is poach your fish in it. All the flavours intermingle and sparkle. He would serve this with plain boiled rice.
Serves 6-8

Good splash olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g/7oz chorizo, cut into 1cm/½ in dice
250ml/9fl.oz white wine
500ml/16fl.oz chicken stock (a cube will do)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 large parsnip, cut into 1cm/½ in dice
300ml/½ pint cream
600g/1lb5oz monkfish fillet, trimmed and cut at an angle into 3cm/1¼ in slices
2 handfuls mussels, cleaned
400g/14oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
8 piquillo peppers, drained and diced (from a jar – optional)
½ lemon, pips removed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
plain boiled rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan with a lid. Add the onion and garlic and sweat for 3-4 minutes until softened and golden. Add the chorizo and turn the heat up a little to render the oil from it. Watch that the onion mixture doesn’t burn though.

Pour the wine into the pan with the stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any sediment. Bring to the boil and add the rosemary and parsnip. Reduce by a quarter over a gentle heat, then add the cream and drop in the monkfish and mussels, followed by the kidney beans and piquillo peppers, if you are using them. Bring the mixture back to a gentle roll and cook for 5-6 minutes. Season to taste and add a squeeze of lemon juice. To serve, divide amongst warmed serving bowls and serve with a separate large bowl of the rice.

Daffodil Slice aka Lemon Sunburst

Makes about 8-10
150g/5oz self-raising flour
175g/6oz plain flour
325g/11½ oz icing sugar
250g/9oz butter, cut into cubes
4 eggs
325g/11½oz caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
120ml/4fl.oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. Line a 30cm/12in x 20cm/8in baking tin with non-stick parchment paper, leaving a 2cm/¾in lip at the top of the tin.

Place the self-raising flour in a food processor with 150g/5oz of the plain flour, a quarter of the icing sugar and the butter. Whiz until well combined and then spread into the bottom of the prepared tin. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm and set but not coloured.

Place the remaining 25g/1oz of plain flour in a bowl with the eggs, caster sugar, lemon rind and half the lemon juice. Whisk until well combined and then pour over the set biscuit base. Return to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until risen well and golden brown. Leave to cool completely.

Whisk the rest of the icing sugar and juice in a small bowl until smooth. Remove the tray bake from the tin and carefully remove the baking parchment. Spread the lemon icing over the top, allowing it to drizzle down the sides and leave to set, then cut into slices and serve.

Foolproof Food

Brussels Sprouts with Cidona

You might think this is a bit mad Paul says, but try it, he says the sweetness of the drink balances the bitterness of the sprout, thereby making it child friendly. It’s a regular fixture in the Flynn household at Christmas.
Serves 8

675g/1½lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
50g/2oz butter
300ml/½ pint bottle Cidona (carbonated apple drink)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the Brussels sprouts in a pan of boiling salted water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes until just tender. Drain and quickly refresh under cold running water. Place in a bowl and cover with cling film until needed – this can be done up to 24 hours in advance.

Heat a sauté pan and add the butter. Once foaming, tip in the blanched Brussels sprouts and sauté on a medium heat, turning every now and again until they start to lightly brown. Pour in the Cidona, increase the heat and simmer until all the liquid has absorbed into the sprouts, shaking the pan a couple of times. Season to taste and tip into a warmed serving bowl to serve.

Tip – if you can’t find Cidona use 7-Up!

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Darina Allen
By Darina Allen

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