ArchiveJune 2011

New Voices in Food – James Ramsden

Past students of the Ballymaloe Cookery School do a variety of things, some work as chefs or cooks in restaurants, gastro pubs, yachts, ski chalets, catering businesses or as personal chefs. Some do Farmers Markets, B&Bs, delis, or pop up restaurants… Others blog or write food articles.

James Ramsden from Yorkshire, who spent 12 weeks with us in 2004, has had a fun time using his cooking skills. In 2009 he launched the Secret Larder Supper Club in London with his sister. He has written about food and cookery for The Times, The Guardian, Sainsbury’s Magazine and was chosen as one of the ‘40 Bloggers who Really Count’ by The Times May 2010. He’s totally passionate about food and has been chosen as an exciting, irrepressible New Voice in Food, published by Quadrille; James is also one of a generation of sophisticated 20 and 30 somethings, many of whom, despite being bang in step with current trends, are hesitant to cook anything more demanding than pasta.

In his first book – Small Adventures in Cooking – the influential food blogger and pop-up supper club host aims to get his peers out of their culinary rut and to start experimenting with recipes that are delicious, unexpected and simple. I’ve just chosen a menu from the book that is perfect for this weekend.

James Ramsden’s Crisp Salad of Chicory, Pickled Radishes and Apple

Serves 4

2 heads of green chicory

1/2 a red onion, peeled and very finely sliced

100g (3½oz) pickled radishes (see below)

a bunch of coriander

a handful of mint leaves

juice of 1/2 a lime

1 tbsp fish sauce

3 tbsp groundnut oil

a pinch of sugar

salt and pepper

1 apple

Wash the chicory and remove the outer leaves. What you do next is up to you – you can either pull the lettuce apart and serve the leaves whole, tear the leaves by hand or slice the as thick or thinly as you like. Whatever you choose, keep the leaves in iced water until ready to serve.

Put the red onion and pickled radishes in a bowl and stir to combine. Chop the coriander and mint and add to the bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, oil and sugar and season with salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, thoroughly dry the chicory leaves and add to the radishes and onion before grating in the apple. Toss through the dressing and serve immediately.

Tart – Add some raw grated kohlrabi to this salad. Kohlrabi is a relation of the cabbage, but is milder and sweeter.

James Ramsden’s Pickled radishes

Makes a few jars’ worth

250ml (9fl oz)   white-wine vinegar

3 tbsp caster sugar

2 cloves

500g (18oz) radishes, halved

Put the vinegar, caster sugar and cloves into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat to a simmer. Add the radishes to the pan, turn off the heat and leave to cool. Store in sterilised jars.

James Ramsden’s Lamb Kebabs

The human race, you’ve probably noticed, is quite fond of stuffing bits of meat between pieces of bread. At their best, kebabs sit proudly at the top of the sandwich hierarchy – soft, ever-so-slightly pink hunks of lamb prodded generously into soft, warm pitta and licked with garlicky mayonnaise and chilli. The flatbread here is very easy to make, but by all means buy a few pittas to save time if you like.

Serves 8

250g (9oz) thick natural yoghurt

2 cloves of garlic, peeled
and crushed

juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed

2 sprigs of rosemary, needles picked and finely chopped

salt and pepper

olive oil

1kg (2¼lb) lamb leg off the bone, cubed and trimmed of any excess fat

a clove of garlic, crushed

5 tbsp mayonnaise (preferably homemade)

For The Flatbreads

300g (10 ½ oz) strong white bread flour

140g (5 ¼ oz) plain flour

1 tsp yeast

1 tsp crushed fennel seeds

1 tsp salt

200ml (7fl oz) warm water

4 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp thick natural yoghurt

Serve with any or all of the following:

• chilli sauce

• 1/2 a small white cabbage, finely shredded

• 1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced

• 2 carrots, grated

• 1 iceberg lettuce, finely sliced

Mix the yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, cumin seeds and chopped rosemary in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and loosen with a glug of oil. Coat the lamb in the yoghurt mixture and leave to marinate for 1–2 hours. While the lamb marinates, make the flatbreads following the instructions opposite.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7. Tip the marinated lamb into a roasting tray in an even layer and put in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, get a griddle or frying pan hot over a medium-high-heat and, one at a time, cook the breads for 2 minutes a side, keeping warm in a clean tea towel. Turn the heat down a notch if the breads are burning.

Remove the lamb from the oven and rest while you finish off any breads that remain. Stir the crushed garlic through the mayonnaise and serve with your chosen accompaniments. Let your guests fashion their own kebabs, stuffing the breads with the lamb, garlic mayo, chilli sauce and vegetables.

TART – Add a scattering of pomegranate seeds to the kebabs.

TWEAK – You can play around with the spices you add to the flatbread dough. Coriander seeds, cumin and chilli flakes all work well.

TOMORROW – Make coleslaw by mixing any leftover shredded white cabbage, red onion and carrot with the garlic mayonnaise.

To make the flatbreads

Combine your dry ingredients in a bowl before adding the water, oil and yoghurt and mixing together. Knead on a clean, floured surface until smooth and elastic. Divide into 8 pieces and roll out the flatbreads thinly. Leave to rest for at least half an hour, separated by sheets of baking paper.

James Ramsden’s Five-spice chicken wings

Chinese five-spice is a handy condiment for the cupboard. Its aromatic qualities transform the simplest cuts of meat into something spectacular, and make your kitchen smell better than the streets of Chinatown. Chicken wings are cheap, too. You can usually find them in supermarkets; otherwise give your nearest butcher a call a day in advance and I imagine he’ll practically give them to you (though don’t quote me on that).

Serves 10

4 tbsp Chinese five-spice powder

3–4 tsp hot chilli powder

4 tsp runny honey

4 tbsp soy sauce

4 tbsp olive oil

a few drops of sesame oil

salt and pepper

2–3kg chicken wings

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

In a large bowl, mix together the five-spice, chilli powder, honey, soy sauce and olive and sesame oils. Season with salt and pepper and toss in the chicken wings, coating thoroughly.
Tip into a roasting tray or two and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. They’ll be cooked in less time if you’re desperate to eat, but ideally you’d give them time to get good and sticky. Serve with paper napkins.

TART – Garnish the wings with shredded spring onions and red chillies.

TWEAK – Instead of five-spice, use a couple of tablespoons of crushed Szechuan peppercorns – they make your mouth go numb in the most pleasing of ways.

James Ramsden’s Chocolate and Fennel Brownies

A good brownie recipe is an invaluable thing. They have the ability to lift the blackest of moods – all at once soothing and indulgent. For those eight seconds you spend cramming it into your mouth, the world seems like an all-right place. If serving as a pudding then these are excellent with some good-quality vanilla ice cream, though I’m as fond of them as a snack with a glass of milk.

Makes 24 brownies

400g (14oz) unsalted butter, cubed

400g (14oz) dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), smashed to pieces

6 eggs

500g (18oz) caster sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

250g (9oz) plain flour

2 tsp fennel seeds, roughly crushed

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Line a 30cm x 20cm x 5cm baking tray with greaseproof paper. It helps to rub it with the butter wrapper first to make the paper stick.

Put a saucepan of water on to boil and place a heatproof bowl on top. Turn the heat down to low, tip the butter and chocolate into the bowl and leave to melt. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar together with the vanilla extract until light and pale.

Once melted, cool the chocolate for a few minutes before whisking in the egg mix. Fold through the flour and fennel seeds and scrape into the baking tray. Put in the oven and bake for 25–30 minutes before removing and leaving to cool.


Tart – Add a couple of handfuls of white chocolate buttons to the cake mixture before baking. You can also add crushed nuts as well, walnuts being the classic choice.

Tweak – Instead of fennel, add a couple of handfuls of frozen raspberries to the brownie mix.

Tomorrow – These will keep in a tin for a few days, and they also freeze very well.

James Ramsden’s Chocolate, Chilli and Cardamom Tart

Drop any preconceptions that I have completely lost the plot here and please have a go at this tart. It will knock your socks off, and your guests will think you’re a total wizard.

Serves 8

1 x basic homemade shortcrust pastry or 300g ready-made shortcrust pastry

3 eggs, 1 beaten

250ml (9fl oz) double cream

125ml (4fl oz)   whole milk

2 tbsp caster sugar

200g (7oz) dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)

100g (3 ½ oz) milk chocolate

10 cardamom pods

1/2 tsp hot chilli powder


200ml single cream

Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out the pastry. Line a 25cm tart tin with the pastry and prick all over with a fork. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes (or the freezer for 10). Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

Line the pastry shell with baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Discard the baking paper and beans and brush the pastry all over with the beaten egg. Put back in the oven for 5 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and turn down to 160°C/Gas 2.

Meanwhile, put the cream, milk and sugar in a medium saucepan and whisk over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to just below boiling point and remove from the heat. Break the chocolate into pieces and stir it into the hot cream, leaving to melt completely. Lightly crush the cardamom pods and remove the little black seeds. Crush these in a pestle and mortar and add to the mix along with the chilli powder and a pinch of salt. Finally, beat the remaining eggs and stir into the mix until glossy. Tip this into the tart shell and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until set.

Remove and leave to cool completely before serving with the single cream.

TART – Add the zest of an orange to the chocolate. If feeling more ambitious, you could stew some cherries in Kirsch and serve them alongside. Popping candy sprinkled over the tart is quite amusing.

TWEAK –To save time you could always buy ready-made (and even ready-rolled pastry). Avoid the ready-baked tart shells, though, which are mostly terrible.

TOMORROW – This tart will keep happily in the fridge for a few days.


The 63rd Dunmanway Agricultural Show will take place on Sunday July 3rd 2011, at Dromleena Lawn (Racecourse) Dunmanway. The show will incorporate a farmers’ market and craft fair with a local West Cork flavour. Contact Kitty Cotter 0862782413

Look out for fresh gooseberries at the Farmers Markets – for making jam, compotes, crumbles, puddings…Enjoy them while they are at their best.

Scrumptious Salads and Sandwiches – Half Day Course with Darina Allen at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Thursday 28th July 2011 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm. 021 4646785.

Glenilen Farm have recently taken a stall at Mahon Point Farmers market. They bring in fresh milk from their farm in Drimoleague every Thursday which they sell in   refillable one litre glass bottles. Try their strawberry and yogurt smoothies and also pick up some country butter /

Father’s Day

 The way to everyone’s heart is as ever through their tummy, it’s Fathers Day tomorrow so lets show our love and appreciation and celebrate with a slap up meal for our bestest Dad – what’s his favourite?

In a quick vox pop around here nine out of ten licked their lips at the mention of a juicy roast beef with all the trimmings – lots of crispy roast potatoes and gravy. Several asked for a bubbly cauliflower cheese or French fried onions and surprise, surprise, apple tart was the top favourite pudding! It even beat lemon meringue pie into second place. Also mushroom soup which several people said they’d like to start with.

If little ones would like to help how about some choccies. These fruit and nuts are made in minutes provided you can resist eating them yourself – a little added crystallised ginger makes them even more delicious – Happy Father’s Day.

Mushroom Soup


Serves 8-9

Mushroom soup is the fastest of all soups to make and surely everyone’s favourite. It is best made with flat mushrooms or button mushrooms a few days old, which have developed a slightly stronger flavour.

450g (1 lb) mushrooms (flat mushrooms are best)

110g (4 ozs) onions

25g (1oz) butter

salt and freshly ground pepper

25g (1oz) flour

600ml (1 pint) milk

600ml (1 pint) homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock

Rinse the mushrooms quickly under cold running water. Chop the onion finely. Melt the butter in a saucepan on a gentle heat. Toss the onions in the butter. Cover and sweat until soft and completely cooked. Meanwhile, chop up the mushrooms very finely.* Add to the saucepan and cook on a high heat for 4 or 5 minutes. Meanwhile bring the stock & milk to the boil in a separate pan. Stir the flour into the onions and mushroom mixture and cook on a low heat for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then add the hot stock and milk gradually, stirring all the time. Increase the heat and bring to the boil.  Taste and add a dash of cream if necessary. Serve immediately or cool & reheat later.

Tip:  If you can’t be bothered to chop the mushrooms finely, just slice and then whizz in a liquidizer for a few seconds when the soup is cooked.  Be careful not to overdo it, this soup should still have a coarse texture. Stalks may also be used. Mushroom soup freezes perfectly.

Watchpoint: Bring the milk to the boil otherwise it may curdle if added to the soup cold.

Traditional Roast Rib of Beef with Horseradish Sauce, Gravy and Yorkshire Pudding


Few people can resist a roast rib of beef with Horseradish sauce, Yorkshire pudding, lots of gravy and crusty roast potatoes. Always buy beef on the bone for roasting, it will have much more flavour and it isn’t difficult to carve.

Prime rib or wing Rib of Beef on the bone (well hung)

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Serves 8-10

1 pint (600ml) stock (preferably homemade beef stock)

Roux (optional)

Horseradish Sauce (see Examiner Saturday 4th May 2011)

Yorkshire Pudding (see recipe)

Ask your butcher to saw through the upper chine bone so that the ‘feather bones’ will be easy to remove before carving.  Weigh the joint and calculate the cooking time (see below). Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/regulo 9.  Score the fat and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Place the meat in a roasting tin, with the fat side uppermost.  As the fat renders down in the heat of the oven, it will baste the meat.  The bones provide a natural rack to hold the meat clear of the fat in the roasting pan.  Put the meat into a fully preheated oven, after 15 minutes turn down the heat to moderate 180C/350F/regulo 4  until the meat is cooked to your taste.

 There are various ways of checking.  I usually put a skewer into the thickest part of the joint, leave it there for about 30-45 seconds and then put it against the back of my hand, if it still feels cool, the meat is rare, if it is warm it is medium rare, if its hotter

its medium and if you can’t keep the skewer against your hand for more than a second then you can bet its well done. Also if you check the colour of the juices you will find they are clear as opposed to red or pink for rare or medium.

If you own a meat thermometer that will eliminate guesswork altogether but make sure the thermometer is not touching a bone when you are testing.

Beef is rare at an internal temperature of 60C/140F

        medium        “          “         70C/155F

        well-done     “          “         75C/165F

When the meat is cooked it should be allowed to rest on a plate in a warm oven for 15-30 minutes before carving, depending on the size of the roast. The internal temperature will continue to rise by as much as 2-3C/5F, so remove the roast from the oven while it is still slightly underdone.

Meanwhile make the gravy. Spoon the fat off the roasting tin.  Pour the stock into the cooking juices remaining in the tin.  Boil for a few minutes, stirring and scraping the pan well, to dissolve the caramelised meat juices (I find a small whisk ideal for this). Thicken very slightly with a little roux if you like.  Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper if necessary.  Strain and serve in a warm gravy boat.

Carve the beef at the table and serve with Horseradish sauce, Yorkshire pudding, gravy and lots of crusty roast potatoes.

Roasting Times:

Since ovens vary enormously in efficiency and thermostats are not always accurate and some joints of meat are much thicker than others, these figures must be treated as guidelines rather than rules.  The times below include the 15 minute searing time at a high heat.

Beef on the bone:

Rare        10-12 minutes per 1 lb (450g)

Medium      12-15 minutes per 1 lb (450g)

Well-done   18-20 minutes per 1 lb (450g)


 Beef off the bone:

Rare        8-10 minutes per 1 lb (450g)

Medium      10-12 minutes per 1 lb (450g)

Well-done   15-18 minutes per 1 lb (450g)

Yorkshire Pudding


Simply irresistible with lots of gravy, I cook individual ones which I’m sure would be very much frowned on in Yorkshire but if you want to be more traditional cook it in a roasting tin and cut into squares.

Serves 8-10 approx.

4 ozs (110g) flour

2 eggs, preferably free range

1/2 pint (300ml) milk

1/2 oz (15g) butter, melted

Sieve the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre of the flour, drop in the eggs.  Using a small whisk or wooden spoon, stir continuously, gradually drawing in flour from the sides, adding the milk in a steady stream at the same time.  When all the flour has been mixed in, whisk in the remainder of the milk and the cool melted butter.  Allow to stand for 1 hour.

Grease hot deep patty tins with pure beef dripping or oil and fill half full.  Bake in a hot oven 230°C/450°F/regulo 8, for 20 minutes approx. 

French Fried Onions


Serves 6

1 large onion


seasoned flour 

good quality oil or beef dripping for deep-frying

Slice the onion into 1/4 inch (5mm) rings around the middle. Separate the rings and cover with milk until needed. Just before serving heat the oil to 180°C/350°F. Toss the rings a few at a time in lightly well seasoned flour. Deep-fry until golden in the hot oil.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.

Lemon Meringue Pie


This is the yummiest lemon meringue pie I have tasted.

Serves 6

4 ozs (110g) white flour

2-3 ozs (50-75g) butter

pinch of salt

1 egg yolk (keep white aside for meringue)

2 tablespoons cold water approx.

Lemon Curd


4 ozs (110g) castor sugar

2 ozs (50g) butter

finely grated rind and juice of 2 good lemons

2 eggs and 1 egg yolk (keep white aside for meringue)


Make meringue with

2 egg whites, preferably free range

4 ozs (110g) castor sugar

7 inch (18cm) round tin preferably with a pop-up base

First make the pastry.

Sieve the flour with the salt, cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour with the fingertips. Keep everything as cool as possible; if the fat is allowed to melt the finished pastry may be tough. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, stop.

Whisk the egg and add the water. Take a fork or knife, (whichever you feel most comfortable with) and add just enough liquid to bring the pastry together, then discard the fork and collect it into a ball with your hands, this way you can judge more

accurately if you need a few more drops of liquid. Although rather damp pastry is easier to handle and roll out, the resulting crust can be tough and may well shrink out of shape as the water evaporates in the oven. The drier and more difficult-to-handle pastry will give a crisper shorter crust.

Cover with cling film and chill for half an hour if possible, this will make it less elastic and easier to roll out. Line the flan ring and chill again for 15-20 minutes, line with paper and fill with dried beans. Bake blind for 25 minutes, 180°C\350°F\regulo 4. The pastry case must be almost fully cooked.  Remove paper and beans, paint with a little lightly beaten egg white and put back into the oven for 5 minutes approx.

Meanwhile make the lemon curd.

On a very low heat melt the butter, add castor sugar, lemon juice and rind and then stir in well beaten eggs. Stir carefully over a gentle heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Draw off the heat and pour into a bowl (it will thicken as it cools.)  Fill the pastry case with the lemon curd mixture.

To make the meringue – whisk the egg whites in a perfectly clean dry bowl, until they begin to get fluffy, then add 2 ozs (50g) castor sugar and continue to whisk until they form stiff peaks, fold in the last 2 ozs (50g) castor sugar and then either pipe or spread over the lemon mixture with a spoon. Turn the oven down to 130°C/250°F/Gas Mark 1/2 and bake for about 1 hour until the mixture is crisp on the outside. Serve warm or cold. Alternatively cook at 210°C/410°F for 7 minutes.

Note: do not whip the egg whites and make the meringue until you are ready to use otherwise if it sits around it will loose volume.


Choccie Fruit and Nuts


Makes 35 approximately

225g (8ozs) best quality dark chocolate

110g (4ozs) plump raisins

110g (4ozs) hazelnuts

25g (1oz) crystallised ginger

Put the hazelnuts into a moderate oven, 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 – 20 minutes or until the skins loosen.  Remove from the oven and rub off the skins in a tea towel.  Return the skinned hazelnuts to the oven and toast until golden.  Cool and cut in half.  Cut the crystallised ginger in 3mm (1/8 inch) dice.  Melt the chocolate carefully in a bowl over simmering water or in a very low oven.  Stir the toasted hazelnuts, raisins and crystallised ginger into the chocolate.  Cover a tray or baking sheet with silicone paper and drop little heaps of the mixture neatly onto the paper from a small teaspoon.  Don’t make them too large because this mixture is quite rich.  Tidy them up a little if necessary. 

Allow to set hard in a cold place, preferably not in the fridge or they will loose their sheen.  When set, peel them off the paper and put them into brown chocolate paper cases.  Pack them into a pretty box or basket.

You will find a delicious Apple Tart recipe on the Ballymaloe Cookery School website.



The Avoca Garden Café in Wicklow was awarded Bord Bia’s Just Ask! Restaurant of the Month, June 2011. Visit Avoca Garden Café this month and catch the end of Wicklow’s Garden Festival from Saturday 11th to Sunday 19th June; it features thirty-two beautiful private gardens, each with their own unique theme and design.

Stephen Pearce recently opened a tea-room at his pottery workshop in Shanagarry, Co Cork. They have installed an Astoria espresso machine and make the best cup of coffee I have had in ages. Colleen Curtis from California bakes gorgeous fresh cookies, brownies, muffins… The caramelised apple muffins and lemon curd muffins are to die for! Colleen also makes a fresh pot of soup daily that they serve with homemade focaccia. They are open 7 days a week, 10am – 6pm Monday through Saturday 12pm – 6pm Sunday -021 4646807


The Naked Table project comes to Ireland – on Saturday 25th June people from across Ireland will make a Charles Shackleton designed table from locally harvested Irish Oak during a day long event at the Fruitlawn Garden, Abbeyleix, Co Laois. In the evening the tables will be placed end to end in the 80ft long hornbeam tunnel where a feast of local produce will be served. This is part of the Fruitlawn Garden Open Weekend from Saturday 25th to Sunday 26th June 2011.

Sushi gets the ‘thumbs up’ from cardiologists and nutritionists – not least because it is based mainly on fresh fish, seaweed, vegetables and rice, but it is also low in fat and high in minerals. Learn how to make Sushi with Shermin Mustafa at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Wednesday 6th July from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. 021 4646785.

Elizabeth David Summer Cooking

I’ve got every single book that Elizabeth David ever wrote, in my library. She was unquestionably one of the most superb cooking writers of all time and if I had to choose just one book from the close to 2,000 volumes I have in my library it would have to be French Provincial Cookery. The original paperback is in a seriously distressed state but I also have a hardback copy in slightly better ‘nick’,

Elizabeth David lived and cooked in France, Italy, Egypt and India, learning the local dishes and experimenting in her own kitchen.

He first book Mediterranean Food was published in 1950 followed by French country cooking in 1951 and in 1954 after a year of research in Italy, Italian Food arrived on the shelves followed by Summer Cooking in 1955, French Provincial Cooking in 1960 and Spices, Salts and Aromatics in the English Kitchen in 1970. For thirteen years she had a wonderfully stylish kitchen shop on Elizabeth Street in London but in 1973 she severed all connection with the business trading under her name and concentrated on study, research and experiments for English Bread and Yeast Cooking for which she won the 1977 Glenfiddick Writer of the Year Award.

An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, a selection of her journalistic work, was published in 1984. She died on 22nd May 1992 and was justifiably honoured with many awards including an OBE. Several books have been published posthumously and if you haven’t already got at least one of her books on your kitchen shelf look out for the new attractively priced hardback editions published by Grub Street Press.

Summer Cooking might be just the one to choose – gorgeous, simple, timeless recipes – here are few to whet your appetite.

Elizabeth David’s Cream of Green  Peas Soup

3lb green peas,

a few lettuce leaves,

a small slice of ham,

2 or 3 spring onions,





Put the shelled peas in a pan with all the other ingredients except the butter. Cover with 3 pints of water. Boil until the peas are quite soft and sieve. See that the seasoning is right, heat up and before serving stir a lump of butter and a scrap of fresh mint into the soup. A little cream added to the soup while it is heating is an improvement.

Elizabeth David’s Pork And Spinach Terrine

Pates and terrines have become, during the past decade, so very much a part of the English restaurant menu as well as of home entertaining that a variation of formula would sometimes be welcome.

At Orange, that splendid town they call the gateway to Provence, I once tasted a pate which was more fresh green herbs than meat. I was told that this was made according to a venerable country recipe of Upper Provence. The pate was interesting but rather heavy. I have tried to make it a little less filling.

Here is the result of my experiments:

1lb (450g) uncooked spinach, spinach beet or chard,

1lb (450g) freshly-minced fat pork,

seasonings of salt, freshly milled pepper, mixed spices.

Wash, cook and drain the spinach. When cool, squeeze it as dry as you can. There is only one way to do this – with your hands. Chop it roughly.

Season the meat with about 3 teaspoons of salt, a generous amount of freshly-milled black pepper, and about ¼ teaspoon of mixed ground spices (mace, allspice, cloves).

Mix meat and spinach together. Turn into a pint-sized (550ml) earthenware terrine or loaf tin. On top put a piece of buttered paper. Stand the terrine or tin in a baking dish half filled with water.

Cook in a very moderate over (170°C/ 330°F/ Gas Mark 3) for 45 minutes to an hour. Do not let it get overcooked or it will be dry.

This pate can be eaten hot as a main course, but I prefer it cold, as a first dish, and with bread or toast just as a pate is always served in France.

The interesting points about this dish are its appearance, its fresh, uncloying flavour and its comparative lightness, which should appeal to those who find the better-known type of pork pate rather heavy. You could, for example, serve a quite rich or creamy dish after this without overloading anybody’s stomach. 

Elizabeth David’s The Quintessential Summer Dish Poulet a l’Estragon

A simple version of chicken cooked with tarragon, one of the nicest of chicken dishes, and essentially a summer one, as it can be successfully made only with fresh tarragon.

Work a tablespoon of chopped tarragon leaves with 2 oz of butter, season with salt and pepper and stuff a 3lb roasting chicken with this mixture. Cook the chicken in butter in a thick covered casserole. The bird should be laid on it’s side, not breast upwards, and should be turned over half-way through the cooking and basted now and again with the tarragon flavoured butter which comes out of it.

When it is tender remove to a serving dish and stir into the juices in the pan a walnut of butter worked with a teaspoon of flour. When this has amalgamated, add ¼ pint of cream and 2 tablespoons of chopped tarragon. Bring to the boil and when it has thickened pour it over the chicken. Serve with Piperonata and new potatoes. 

Elizabeth David’s Mushrooms Cooked in Vine Leaves

Many people who have a vine growing in their gardens will be glad to know of this excellent dish.

Blanch about a dozen vine leaves in boiling salted water. Drain them and arrange them in a heavy, shallow baking dish which has a well fitting cover. Pour a film of olive oil over the vine leaves and fill the pan with cleaned whole flat mushrooms (the great point about this dish is that the vine leaves make cultivated mushrooms taste like field mushrooms) Add a little salt and pepper, 3 or 4 whole cloves of garlic, a little more olive oil and cover the mushrooms with 2 or 3 vine leaves. Put the cover on the dish and cook in a slow oven for about 35 minutes to an hour, according to size of the mushrooms. Remove the top covering of vine leaves before serving.

Tinned plain vine leaves (not to be confused with rice stuffed vine leaves – examine the tins carefully before you buy them. The ones containing stuffed vine leaves usually have a picture showing the little rolls or parcels, while the plain leaves bear a label showing a branch of the vine) in natural juices or a very mild brine are imported from Greece. They are to be bought in many delicatessens. For the above mushroom dish they do very well. No blanching is necessary. Simply rinse the requisite number under cold water. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days

Elizabeth David’s Iced Strawberry Fool

1lb strawberries,

3oz sugar,

¼ pint double cream.

Sieve the hulled strawberries. Stir in the sugar. Add this puree gradually to the whipped cream, so that is quite smooth. Turn into a shallow chrystal or silver dish and put in the refrigerator for several hours, if possible underneath the ice-trays, so that the fool gets as cold as possible without actually freezing. It is important to cover the bowl, or everything else in the refrigerator will smell of strawberries. 

Elizabeth David’s Cream Cheese with Angelica

To 1 lb of cream cheese add 3oz of sugar, the beaten whites of 2 eggs and as much chopped angelica as you like.

Put into a muslin and leave to drain in a cool place for a few hours. Turn out onto a dish and serve with fresh cream.

A cool and fresh looking dessert for the weeks before the fresh fruit comes in.


Body & Soul – the ‘Best New Festival of 2010’ – returns this June 18th and 19th in the gardens, winding pathways and woodlands of Ballinlough Castle, Co Meath. An eclectic mix of live electronic, world music and acoustic acts, holistic arts, green crafts, a secluded Soul Kids garden, art installations and bubbling hot tubs in the forest. Along with Ted Berner of Wildside Catering, the Queens of Neon will create the most magical of dinner dates celebrating Irish wild foods and will cater for two hundred people in four sittings with an impeccable five-course meal including bubbly and wine for €55. The enchanted forest setting of Ballinlough Castle will act as a dining room for a lavish setting with crisp white linen, porcelain, silver table-wear under the Midsummer stars. To book festival, camping and banquet tickets


Feel Good Food for Summer with Debbie Shaw 1 Day Course Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday 18th June 2011 from 9:30am to 5:00pm for anyone who would like to feel more energetic, youthful, healthy and happy. Learn how to make simple, satisfying and energising recipes with fresh, mouth-watering flavours from the Mediterranean, Asian and Middle Eastern kitchen, and can be easily introduced into any daily cooking routine.  021 4646785

The Ginger Pig – Tim Wilson

The craving, particularly among young people, to relearn almost forgotten skills continues to gather momentum. Butchery courses in London, New York and San Francisco all have waiting lists. The participants don’t necessarily want to be butchers, they simply want to understand what it takes to produce, butcher and make the best use of meat. One of the cult figures and exemplars of the trade is a farmer and accidental butcher called Tim Wilson who is the owner of the Ginger Pig Butchers Shops in London. He is unquestionably one of the most respected meat producers in Britain. His shops have received many accolades and prizes, including Best Food Producer in the Observer Food Awards. The Ginger Pig’s shops stock meat almost exclusively from his three Yorkshire farms. Tim says ‘There is no great secret to what we do; we simply raise the best animals, in the happiest of circumstances, on the finest stretch of the Yorkshire Moors we could find.’

His four butcher shops have a cult following. There were all opened within the last 15 years when many others were closing. They just sell well hung meat and poultry from breeds native to the British Isles. No dodgy chicken fillets here or relabelled pork, bacon or turkey – just real meat of impeccable provenance, sometimes from rare breeds.

After fifteen years in business, Tim has teamed up with Fran Warde to write the Ginger Pig Meat Book. This book is a meat manual for the inquisitive domestic cook. The word ‘provenance’ is thrown about a lot these days with regards to the food we eat, and with very good reason, as it means ‘to know the origin, source, birthplace, roots, pedigree and derivation.’ All these things are vital for us to know about every piece of meat we buy.

You’ll find out how meat changes through the seasons and what is best to cook at each time of the year. You’ll also learn about the different cuts of meat what they should be used for in your kitchen.

The Ginger Pig Meat Book is beautifully designed and produced, printed on good paper with wonderful photographs by Kristin Perers, diagrams by Pene Parker and published by Octopus. It would restore your faith in the meat business.


Tim Wilson’s Pork fillet with New Season Rhubarb

Think of this as a more exciting twist on pork with apple sauce. The tangy,

sharp flavours of the rhubarb perfectly complement the sweet pork to make

a delicious and very simple dish.

Serves 4

Takes 45 minutes

1 tbsp olive oil

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

650g (1lb 7oz) pork fillet

1 sprig of rosemary

175g (6oz) new season rhubarb

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Put the oil in a roasting tin and place

in the oven for 3 minutes. Season the pork, place in the hot oil, roll to coat, add the

rosemary, then cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn and cook for 10 minutes more.

Cut the rhubarb into 4cm (11/2in) lengths, then add it to the roasting tin with 100ml

(31/2fl oz) water. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the pork is cooked through and the rhubarb is tender. Remove from the oven, keep warm and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Slice the pork into chunky, juicy rounds and spoon over the soft rhubarb and its juices.

Tim Wilson’s Oriental Pan-Fried Goose Skirt with Crunchy Salad

This cut is usually cooked slowly, but can also work well cooked as below. Remember to allow the meat to rest, so the muscles can relax. Goose skirt (also called onglet) is a very textured cut of beef that is known for its flavour and can be a little tough for some, but after searing on a high heat, relaxing and slicing thinly, it never seems to fail my family.

Serves 6

Takes 1 hour, plus overnight marinating

For the goose skirt marinade

4 garlic cloves, crushed, then peeled

100ml (31/2fl oz) soy sauce

5cm (2in) fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1–2 red chillies, deseeded and finely diced

freshly ground black pepper

900g (2lb) goose skirt

For the dressing

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

juice of 2 limes

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed, then peeled

For the salad

115g (4oz) bean sprouts

1/2 Iceberg lettuce, shredded

1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and finely sliced

1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and sliced

6 spring onions, sliced

leaves from 1 bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

85g (3oz) cashew nuts, roughly chopped

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together and marinate the goose skirt in the

fridge for 24 hours, or for as long as possible, turning and basting frequently. Barbecue or griddle on a high heat for 4 minutes on each side for rare, 5 to 6 minutes

for medium, or 6 to 8 minutes for well done. Brush with the marinade while cooking.

Remove, keep warm and rest for 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the bean sprouts, lettuce, red pepper, cucumber and spring onions

in a large bowl and toss. Sprinkle with the coriander and cashew nuts.In a bowl, whisk the sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, chilli and garlic for the dressing.

Cut the beef into ribbons and arrange over the salad, drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Tim Wilson’s Seared Feather of Beef

This is an almost unknown, secret steak. There are only two small feathers on each carcass, and they come from the inside of the shoulder blade. They are good value and deliver a depth of flavour with a good texture. They really only need quick flash-cooking, otherwise they toughen, so take care.

Serves 2

Takes 5 minutes

beef dripping or olive oil

2 feather steaks

mustards or Horseradish sauce  to serve

Heat the fat in a frying pan or griddle over a medium-high heat and, when hot, sear the steaks for 2 minutes on each side. No longer, please. Remove and rest the steaks for 2 minutes in a warm place. Serve with your favourite mustards or with Horseradish sauce.

Horseradish Sauce

This is a fairly mild sauce.  If you want to really clear the sinuses, increase the amount of horseradish!  Serve with roast beef, smoked venison or smoked mackerel.

Serves 8 – 10

3 – 6 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

lots of freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

8 fl ozs (225ml) softly whipped cream

Put the grated horseradish into a bowl with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar.  Fold in the softly whipped cream but do not over mix or it will curdle.  The sauce keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days, covered, so that it doesn’t pick up other flavours. 



Terroirs on Morehampton Road – I can’t remember how many times I’ve thought as I sped past Terroirs ‘that shop looks interesting, must stop, have a look one day!’ Well I did just that last week and it really is. Apart from a fantastic selection of wine and sherry the shelves are full of beautifully chosen French ‘things’ from Albert Menes sardines in olive oil and mustard to Michel Cluizel chocolate, pottery from the French Alps, tea towels… on and on go the temptations when we are supposed to be into thrift. I have to say I succumbed to a few little treats – great place to find a beautiful present from Irish Voya and Graine de Pastel soaps to roasted pine nuts and far beyond. 01 667 1311

Monique McQuaid runs the Cookery School at Donnybrook Fair which offers a brilliant line up of cookery courses and guest chefs. I was deeply envious when I heard that Fergus Henderson from St John restaurant in London had been there. There are lots of other exciting courses and guest chefs coming up. Monique is now the Cookery Writer for Image magazine. 087 9792107

Energise your life and feel healthier and happier by joining nutritionists Debbie Shaw and Linn Thortensson on Saturday June 11th 9:30am to 4:30pm, at the Montenotte Hotel, Cork City for a one-day wellness programme which covers healthy eating for permanent weight loss; spring detox; energising super foods and delicious family-friendly recipes; eating for allergies; and de-stressing techniques. Cost €110 (€10 euro off if you bring a friend!), including recipes, notes and lunch. Tel: 086-7855868 or email:

Pizza Masterclass with Philip Dennhardt – learn to make the perfect pizza with Philip on Friday 10th June, 2:00pm to 5:00pm Ballymaloe Cookery School – 021 4646785.

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