Ann Mulligan has wanted to run a B&B in Ireland as long as she can remember. As a child in Wenatchee in Washington State, she was surrounded by family who loved to cook. Ann’s grandmother’s cooking was legendary and her dad was a chef for many years. He too encouraged her to cook with stories of the kitchens where he worked. Mum was an especially good baker who welcomed an extra pair of hands in the kitchen.
By the age of eight Ann could make a mean scrambled egg, when her baby brothers gobbled it up appreciatively she was hooked. Cooking became a creative outlet. Soon she was making jams, preserving fruit and vegetables and cooking dinner for the family.
Ann’s husband Jim is originally from Dublin but lived in the US. He and Ann came on holidays to Ireland every year since 1975 and fell in love with Dungarvan and the surrounding area. They decided they wanted to live here and searched for a site on which to build.
During one of the holidays in Ireland she had chanced upon the Ballymaloe Cookery School and eventually enrolled in January 2000. After three busy months she was ready to open her B&B near Dungarvan, in Co Waterford.
Ann and Jim have just four rooms but their guests return over and over again for the warm welcome and for Ann’s delicious food, so last winter she put pen to paper and wrote the Irish B&B Cookbook, a charming collection of the favourite recipes that have delighted guests at An Bohreen. Lots of breakfast and dinner ideas which let others into the secret of why this little guesthouse is so successful. www.anbohreen.com
They have received the AA 4 diamonds award and the AA Super Supper, their accommodation is listed in Bridgestone’s 100 best places to stay in Ireland.
Ann uses local ingredients with a dash of ingenuity such as fish from Helvic Head, Irish Farmhouse Cheese and Murphy’s stout – to give her visitors a genuine taste of Ireland. She believes that cooking seasonal food is essential for flavour – no amount of spicing or splashing with sauces can replace fresh taste.
Here are some of Ann’s tempting breakfast dishes.
The Irish B&B Cookbook by Ann Mulligan, published by Mercier Press.
An Bohreen Nut Granola
Makes about 1350g /50oz
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)
300ml /12 fl oz honey
200ml/8 fl oz sunflower oil
455g/16oz oat flakes
200g/7oz barley flakes
200g/7oz wheat flakes
115g/4oz rye flakes
140g/5oz toasted and chopped hazelnuts
225g/8oz toasted sunflower seeds
225g/8oz toasted pumpkin seeds
55g/2oz chopped dried apricots
115g/4oz chopped dates
115g/4oz of either pecans or walnuts (or some of each) toasted
225g/8oz combination dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried cherries
Combine the honey and oil in a small saucepan – warm just enough to melt the honey. Whisk the honey and oil together.
Combine the flakes in a large bowl. Pour the honey-oil onto the flakes and stir well to mix.
Spread the flakes onto 2 or 3 baking sheets. Bake in an oven at 180C (350F) for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently. Toast the grains but do not roast the grains. Cool, stirring frequently to evenly mix the grains. When cool add the fruit and nuts. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 1 loaf
Preheat oven to 200C (400F)
285g /10oz coarse wholemeal flour
170g/6oz strong white flour
2 heaped tbsps oat bran
1 tsp salt
½ tsp bread soda, sieve into flour
2 tsps soft brown sugar
2 tbsps sunflower oil
Oil a 9x5x3-inch bread tin. Place all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk together the buttermilk, sunflower oil, and egg. Pour the mixture into the well and mix thoroughly. The mixture should be wet and sloppy. Pour it immediately into a prepared bread tin. Cut a deep slit down the centre of the batter – this lets the evil fairies out.
Bake for approximately 60 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Cool on the wire rack. If a softer crust is desired wrap the bread in a clean kitchen towel when removed from the oven, then cool on a wire rack.
Whiskey Seville Orange Marmalade
Makes 2-3 litres/64-96 fluid oz
900g/32oz Seville Oranges
1600ml/64 fl.oz water
1800g/64oz granulated sugar
50ml/2 fl.oz Irish whiskey
Wash the oranges and lemon to remove any wax. Cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Remove the pulp with a dessertspoon. Combine the pulp and pips in a muslin cloth and tie into a ball. Place the ball in a large bowl and cover with water. Let stand while cutting rinds.
Cut each rind in half, then place on a cutting board and slice thinly. Put into a bowl with the pulp ball, add the remainder of the water and soak overnight.
Pour the contents of the bowl into a large pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 hours or until the peel is soft when squeezed gently between your fingers.
Squeeze the liquid from the muslin ball into a pot. While cooking, warm the sugar and jars in the oven. Add the warmed sugar to the pot and stir well to dissolve.
Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook until the marmalade is set. Add whiskey if desired.
Test the jam by dropping a bit of jam onto a chilled saucer, popping it into a freezer for a minute, removing it and pushing the jam with your finger. If it is set, the jam will wrinkle when it is pushed. If not, cook it gently for a few minutes and then re-test.
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Makes 2-3 litres/64-96 fl.ozs
1350g/48oz granulated sugar
Cut the rhubarb into ½ inch pieces. Place these pieces in a large bowl, cover with 455g/16oz of sugar and let stand for 2 hours.
Crush the berries and place them in a large pot. Add 455g/16oz of sugar and stir to combine. Add the rhubarb mixture, then cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring the mixture to a rapid boil and cook until it is thick. Test the jam by dropping a bit of jam onto a chilled saucer, popping it into the freezer for a minute, removing it and pushing the jam with your finger. If it is set, the jam will wrinkle when it is pushed. If not, cook it gently for a few more minutes and then re-test.
Pour the jam into clean hot jars. Wipe the top of each jar with a clean wet cloth to remove any splatters. If you are using lids, place them in a saucepan with boiling water, boil for one minute and then place onto the jars. Tighten the lids and leave to rest. The jars should make a popping sound as they seal.
Store in a dark, cool place.
455g/16oz aged Irish cheddar cheese
1 tbsp butter
200ml/8 fl oz Murphy’s stout, or a pale stout of your choice
½ tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of cayenne
2 vine ripened tomatoes
Brown bread, sliced and toasted
Grate the cheese.
Over a low heat melt the butter in the top of a bain-marie or double boiler. Add the cheese, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. As the cheese begins to melt, slowly add the stout. Again, stir constantly to obtain a creamy texture. Add the dry mustard, Worcestershire, and cayenne. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
Toast the bread, place some tomato slices onto it and spoon the cheese sauce over the top. Garnish with finely minced chives or parsley.
If bain-marie or double boiler is not available place a glass bowl over pan of boiling water and proceed. Do not allow bottom of bowl to touch hot water; or mixture will cook, not melt.
Sausage Breakfast Bread Pudding
Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
455g/16oz bulk sausage meat
400ml/16 fluid oz milk
1 tsp dry mustard
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced fine
1 tsp rubbed sage
6 slices white bread, crust removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
4-6 mushrooms, diced
170g/6oz grated cheddar cheese
Cook the sausage meat in a frying pan, and use a wooden spoon to break the sausage into smallish pieces. Drain the pieces on a paper towel and set aside.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the milk, mustard and sage. Whisk to combine.
Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Cover the bottom with bread cubes. Sprinkle the sausage meat over the bread, then the apple, mushrooms and finally the grated cheddar cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the contents of the baking dish. Cover the mixture with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Bake uncovered at 180C/350F for 40-50 minutes or until the centre tests done, when a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Garnish with a grilled tomato.
Cheese Blintzes with Apple Sauce
Batter for blintz:
Pinch of salt
75-100ml/3-4 fl oz milk
40g/1½ oz butter, melted
455g/16oz cottage cheese
1 egg, beaten
¼ tsp cinnamon
55g/2oz caster sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tsp lemon zest, finely grated
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
455g/16oz cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
55g/2oz sugar, or to taste
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp water
Place all the ingredients for the cheese filling into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Keep in a refrigerator until needed.
Place the apples, sugar, cinnamon and water into a saucepan. Cover with a lid and cook on low temperature until the apples cook into sauce consistency. Check to prevent sticking. Chill until needed.
Place the flour and salt into a food processor. Combine the egg, milk, and butter in a mixing jug, then pour into a processor with the motor running and process until the mixture is smooth.
Heat a crepe pan over medium heat, and then brush with a few drops of oil. Pour 55g/2oz of the batter into the pan (or enough to cover the bottom). Tilt the pan to evenly distribute the batter. When the blintz looks solid and pulls away from the edges of the pan (blintz will not be totally cooked, just solid enough to handle), turn it out onto parchment. Place 1 tbsp of the cheese filling into the centre and fold over the opposite sides, repeat with the other two sides. The blintz should look like a rectangular envelope. Set them aside, cover with damp tea towel, repeat cooking process – the batter mixture should yield 8 blintzes.
To complete cooking – heat 150ml/6 fluid oz of oil in a deep-sided pan, oil should cover blintzes and fry them until they are golden brown. Drain the blintzes on kitchen paper and serve with apple sauce on the side.
Cork Free Choice Consumer Group next meeting on Thursday 14th April at 7.30pm at Crawford Gallery Café, Emmet Place – Fresh Indian Spices and other Indian Foods with Arun Kapil of ‘Green Saffron’ – Learn how to use them in authentic, traditional family recipes. €6 admission including tea & coffee.
Corned Mutton –
If you’re tiring of the usual meats, how about some corned mutton for a change. The tradition is alive and well in the English Market in Cork – go upstairs to the Farm Gate Café where Kay Harte serves the most delicious corned mutton – Kay poaches the mutton and serves with caper sauce. Traditional butchers, Paul and Alan Murphy, a father and son duo in the Market, corn the mutton specially for her. Congratulations to both Kay and the Murphys for reviving a Slow Food tradition.
Launch of Slow Food Bantry –
To celebrate the launch of Slow Food Bantry join An Afternoon Tea Party at Organico Café on Sunday 20 th April from 3-5pm – Guest speakers Myrtle Allen, Giana Ferguson and Martha Cashman. Tickets €10 (concessions for children), available from Organico Café, O’Connor’s Seafood Restaurant, Westlodge Hotel and Val Manning’s Emporium. For more information contact Organico Café, Glengarriff Road, Bantry, 027-55905, www.slowfoodbantry.com
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