The irrepressible Antony-Worrall Thompson

We have just had the irrepressible Antony-Worrall Thompson here as our guest chef at the school. Antony has a loyal Irish following who came to see him demonstrate some of his latest recipes, including the secrets of GI food.
Well known from his many television programmes Antony is one of the few established chefs who ‘walk the walk’ as well
as ‘talking the talk’. Now owning five restaurants the Greyhound, the Lamb, Barnes Grill, Kew Grill and Notting Grill, he is also passionate about organic farming and rears his own middle white pigs at home in Henley-on-Thames and serves the pork in the restaurants. He also has an extensive vegetable garden producing a variety of fresh vegetables and herbs.

Antony presents six television programmes a week and had to rush back on Friday evening for his regular appearance on Saturday Kitchen in the morning which he has been presenting since 2003. He is the resident studio chef and main presenter for BBC2’s Food & Drink programme and also appears on the ever popular Ready Steady Cook. Earlier this year he was one of the favourite participants in the programme ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’.

Antony has written several cookbooks including the more recent Healthy Eating for Diabetes, and Well Fed, Well Bred, Well Hung – how to buy and cook real meat. The Saturday Kitchen Cookbook, Barbecues and Grilling with Jane Suthering, and top 100 Beef Recipes are all hugely popular. He is currently working on a children’s cookbook and is increasingly in demand by broadcasters to comment on and discuss serious food issues such as diabetes, obesity, nutrition and the eating habits of children.

Here at the Ballymaloe Cookery School we have a special ‘claim’ on Antony as his lovely wife Jay who hails from Dublin was a former pupil of ours who went to work for Antony in London on completion of the 12 week Certificate Course. They live with their two children and an assortment of animals in the countryside on the banks of the Thames. 

As well as his energetic professional lifestyle he manages to find time for his art, antiques, tennis and swimming (he swum the Channel when he was sixteen.) 

Have a look at  to join the awt club or visit the awt shop and catch up with this busy chef at the various events he is involved in.

Spiced Lentil Salad with Prawns and Mint Yogurt
Serves 4
200g (7ozs) puy lentils, cooked until just tender, drained and kept warm
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
20 raw prawns, peeled and deveined, tails intact 
2 handfuls (about 50g/2ozs) baby spinach leaves
100g (3 ½ ozs) green beans, blanched
freshly ground black pepper

Mint Yogurt Dip
2 x 150g (6ozs) tubs low fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons freshly chopped mint

In a bowl, mix the warm lentils, spring onions, vinegar, chilli, ground spices, coriander and 1 tablespoon oil. Add pepper and set aside.

Mix the remaining oil, turmeric and some pepper in another bowl and turn the prawns in the mixture to coat them. Preheat a non-stick frying pan. Cook the prawns for 3 minutes, turning once, until opaque. 

Mix the dip ingredients together.

Divide the spinach between four plates, top with the lentils, green beans and prawns and drizzle with the dip.

Almond and Apricot Pavlova Slice

Serves 8–10
3 tablespoons ground almonds
5 large egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
250g (9ozs) golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon natural almond extract
25g (1oz) amaretti biscuits, crushed
125g (4 ½ oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots, diced

300g (11ozs) low fat Greek yogurt
1 ripe peach, stoned and thinly sliced
1 medium mango, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large orange, segmented and all pith and membrane removed

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a shallow 35cm x 25cm baking tray with non-stick baking parchment to come at least 3cm up the sides.

In a dry non-stick frying pan, toast the ground almonds over a medium heat, stirring all the time until golden.

Whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff then whisk in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, until you have one spoonful left. Mix the cornflour into that and whisk into the egg whites until stiff and glossy. Whisk in the vinegar and almond extract and finally fold in the toasted almonds, amaretti and apricots.

Spread the mixture into the prepared baking tray and level the surface. Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. Cook for 25 minutes until pale golden and crisp on top. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and allow to cool.

Remove from the tray, trim the edges and cut across the shorter side to make 3 equal pieces. Spread each piece with yogurt and layer on the fruit. Sandwich together, press down gently, then cut in slices to serve.

Spicy Pork Ribs

Serves 4
1.5kg (3lbs 5ozs) trimmed pork spare rib chops
chicken stock to cover 
5 x 10p coin sized slices of fresh ginger
2 chillies sliced in half 
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 spring onions, sliced
3 tablespoons soy sauce 
180ml (6 ½fl ozs) ketchup manis
1 egg, beaten lightly
35g (1 ¼ozs) plain flour 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
125ml (4 fl ozs) rice wine 
115g (4 ozs) packed brown sugar 
50g (2 ozs) yellow mustard seeds
3 tablespoons loosely packed chopped fresh coriander 
3 cloves garlic, crushed 
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 
2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes 
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika pepper 

Place the ribs in a large saucepan with the ginger, chillies, garlic, spring onions and soy sauce. Cover with chicken stock and simmer for 1 and half hours or until the ribs are tender. Allow to cool in the stock. Drain and pat dry with kitchen towel. 

Blend 3 fl oz of the ketchup manis with the egg and flour in a large bowl. Add ribs; stir to coat in soy mixture. 
Heat oil in wok or large frying pan; stir fry the ribs in batches until browned all over. Remove and set aside. 

Cook remaining soy sauce and remaining ingredients in wok; stirring until sugar dissolves. Return ribs to wok; stir fry till heated though. 

Serve with steamed rice.

Mackerel or Seabass Flaked with Vegetables and Scrambled Egg

Serves 4
4 very fresh mackerel fillets, pin bones removed
2 tablespoons groundnut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
4 dried Shitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water, sliced
2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, peeled and grated 
1 clove garlic, grated 
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped 
2 tablespoons sake 
2 tablespoons caster sugar 
2 tablespoons mirin
5 tablespoons soy sauce 
4 free range eggs, beaten 
55g (2 ozs) mangetout blanched 
55g (2 ozs) extra fine beans, blanched 

Scrape the mackerel flesh from the skin with a spoon and chop roughly, set aside.

Heat three quarters of the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and carrot and cook without colour for 5 minutes. Add the shitake, ginger, garlic and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the mackerel and cook for one minute until it turns opaque. Add half the sake, three quarters of the sugar, the mirin and soy sauce and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. 

Meanwhile beat the eggs with the remainder of the sake and the sugar, season. Heat a little oil in a wok until very hot, then pour in the eggs and cook very fast until set like scrambled eggs, add the beans and the mangetout. 

Place on a dish and top with the mackerel. Serve with rice if required. 

Asian Chicken and Lettuce Rolls

Serves 4
400g (14ozs) chicken mince 
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely diced 
2 spring onions, finely chopped 
1 garlic clove, crushed 
1 teaspoon grated ginger 
1 teaspoon sesame oil 
25g (1oz) water chestnuts or beansprouts, chopped 
2 tablespoons chopped coriander 
2 tablespoons chopped cashew nuts 
1 carrot, finely diced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce 
2 teaspoons clear honey 
16–20 romaine or cos lettuce leaves 
200g (7ozs) brown basmati rice, cooked, to serve
lime wedges, to serve 

Mix the chicken mince with the chilli, spring onions, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and cook the mince mixture for about 5 minutes, breaking the meat up with the back of a fork until golden brown. 

Add the water chestnuts, coriander, cashews, carrot, oyster sauce and honey, stir to combine and continue to heat until the chicken is cooked through. 
Serve the mince with the lettuce leaves, cooked rice and lime wedges to squeeze. 

Prawns in Chilli Sauce

Serves 4
12 raw jumbo prawns, shell off, tail on 
4 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sesame oil 
2 tablespoons groundnut oil 
4 spring onions, half chopped, half shredded
1 chilli, seeded and cut in fine julienne 
1 tablespoon grated ginger
½ tablespoon grated garlic
1 tablespoon chilli jam or paste 
2 tablespoons coriander leaves
2 tablespoons cornflour, mixed with a little water

For the sauce 
200ml (â…“ pint) boiling chicken stock
4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar 

Toss the prawns with the mirin, seasame oil, salt and pepper, marinate for 20 minutes. 
Combine the sauce ingredients. Place the shredded spring onions and the chilli in ice water. 

Heat a wok then add the groundnut oil, add the chopped spring onions the ginger and garlic and fry stirring continuously for 2 minutes to release the aromas. Add the chilli jam or paste and continue to combine. 

Now add the prawns and cook for 2 minutes, remove the prawns and keep warm. Add the sauce and bring to the boil add the coriander and cornflour paste and cook to thicken. Return the prawns to the pan and heat through. 

Serve immediately.

Spicy Sardines with Chickpea and Avocado Salad

Serves 4
For the Chickpea and Avocado Salad
yolk of 1 hard-boiled egg, sieved
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon small capers, drained and rinsed 
1 x 400g (14 ozs) tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped into chunky dice
salt and ground black pepper

For the Sardines
25g (1 oz) unsalted butter
1 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon coriander, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed with a little salt
1 fresh red chilli, diced
2 shallots, diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + a little extra for drizzling
8 sardines, cleaned, flattened out and backbone removed and washed thoroughly
juice of 1 lemon

To make the salad place the egg yolk in a bowl, beat in the oil and vinegar and stir in the onion, garlic, parsley, capers, chickpeas and avocado. Season to taste.

To cook the sardines heat the butter in a small pan, add the chilli and shallots and cook until softened but not coloured. Fold in parsley, coriander, garlic, chilli, shallots, season with salt and ground black pepper, sprinkle with olive oil and spread over the flesh side of the fish.

Roll up the sardines and secure with wooden cocktail sticks, (ensure that you have soaked the cocktail sticks in water first, to stop them from burning).Place in a pre-heated oven 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and cook for 5-8 minutes. Place the sardines on to a plate and drizzle with oil and lemon juice. 
To serve, place a pile of avocado salad onto each serving plate and place two sardine rolls on top.

Foolproof Food

Baked Apples with Fruit and Nuts

Serves 4
4 large Bramley cooking apples
115g (4ozs) soft dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons sweet mincemeat
55g (2ozs) flaked almonds or chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons raisins
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
apple juice for basting

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Remove the centre core from the apples, leaving 5mm (¼ inch) uncut at the bottom. Run the tip of a sharp knife round the circumference of the apple, just to pierce the skin. This stops the apples bursting in the oven.

Combine the remaining ingredients except the butter and juice, and spoon it into the cavities of the apples, place any excess in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. Place the apples on the fruit in the dish, dot the top with butter and pop in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Every 10 minutes add two tablespoons of apple juice to the bottom of the dish and spoon the juices over the apples. 
Serve piping hot with double or clotted cream.

Hot Tips

Four Rivers Slow Food Convivium
Sunday Slow Food Lunch at Dunbrody, Campile, Co Wexford on 20th May
Wine reception at noon followed by relaxing lunch of local produce. Meet with local growers, farmers, meat producers and chefs from local restaurants. Children welcome. Booking essential. Contact Donal Lehane – Tel 087-6780014, 051-396288

The Ballymaloe Shop at Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry, Co Cork
Has just celebrated 35 years in business – visit the shop for a terrific range of kitchen utensils, pottery, knitwear….. have coffee and cake or a tasty snack in The Café at the Back of the Shop – Tel 021-4652032

The Café at the Stephen Pearce Gallery– Tel 021-4646807
Another place for a treat in Shanagarry – morning coffee, delicious light lunches, afternoon tea – this busy little café is run by Maura Walsh and is highly popular with locals dropping in as well as pottery shoppers.

About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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