ArchiveOctober 2011

Easy Meals with Rachel Allen

My daughter-in-law Rachel knows more than most what is like to try and juggle work, family and friends. I don’t know how she does it but she is certainly not alone, all over the country there are mums and dads who dash home from work often stopping off to collect the kids from the crèche on the way. There may be time to shop on the way home but often you just need to get dinner on the table fast with whatever you have in the cupboard.

Other times you just want to throw it all in one pot and let it bubble away while you get on with other things and sometimes you don’t want to turn the oven on at all.

A well stocked fridge, freezer and store cupboard makes it all possible and even fun. A few jars of fresh spices, a couple of chilli and a few pots of fresh herbs close to the kitchen door can tart up even the simplest omelette, salad, pasta or potato dish.

I’ve been leafing through Rachel’s latest book ‘ Easy Meals’ which she wrote to share her great standbys for those hectic days when you want to cook a great meal with no fuss.

Rachel has several recipes for hearty one pot dishes that are comforting and filling. I loved the sound of lamb and chicken tagine, sausage and lentil stew, the Spanish pork stew and the beef pie but in this piece I’ve chosen recipes that can be put together really quickly – Carrot and Coconut Soup, Tagliatelle with Bacon, Peas and Mint, Stir Fried Steak with Kale, Hot Buttered Plum Pudding,

I had a really difficult time trying to choose between 6 or 8 really quick and yummy desserts.

Banoffi Pancakes look completely irresistible as are Quick Blueberry Trifles, Quick Fruit Brûlée and Coconut Macaroon Meringue. In the end I settled for Chocolate Marscapone Mousse which takes only 5 minutes cooking time.

There are tons of great ideas in this book which I plan to steal from my lovely daughter-in-law.

Carrot, Ginger and Coconut Soup

Serves 8

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 15–20 minutes

3 tbsp sunflower oil

2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

800g (1¾lb) carrots, peeled and grated

2 tbsp peeled and finely chopped root ginger

(1 pint 9fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp chopped coriander, to serve

* Pour the sunflower oil into a large saucepan on a medium heat and, when hot, add the onions and garlic. Cover with a lid and sweat for 6–8 minutes or until softened but not browned.

* Stir in the grated carrots with the ginger, then cover again with the lid and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.

* Pour in the stock and coconut milk, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2–3 minutes.

* Remove from the heat and liquidise the soup in a blender, or use a hand-held blender, then place back on the hob and heat through again. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a sprinkling of fresh coriander.

Tagliatelle with Bacon, Peas and Mint

Serves 4

Preparation time 5 minutes

Cooking time 10–12 minutes

salt and freshly ground

black pepper

350g (12oz) dried tagliatelle or other pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine

2 tbsp olive oil

200g (7oz) streaky bacon (about 8 rashers), rind removed and cut into 2cm (¾in) dice

300ml (½ pint) single or regular cream

200g (7oz) frozen peas

2 tbsp chopped mint

50g (2oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated

* Fill a large saucepan with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook for 10–12 minutes or according to the instructions on the

packet, until al dente.

* While the pasta is cooking, pour the olive oil into a large saucepan on a medium–high heat and, when hot, add the bacon. (The pan should be large enough to hold the tagliatelle when it is cooked.) Fry for about 5 minutes or until the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden and crispy.

* Stir in the cream and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes, then stir in the peas and keep cooking for a minute or two more or until they are just tender. Remove

from the heat, then drain the tagliatelle and add to the sauce, stirring it in along with the chopped mint.

* Taste for seasoning and serve with the Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

Stir-fried Steak with Kale

Serves 2–3

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 10 minutes

1 tbsp cornflour

3 tbsp oyster sauce

3 tbsp soy sauce

500g (1lb 2oz) trimmed rump steak, cut into thin strips

2 tbsp groundnut oil

150ml (5fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock

100g (3½oz) (prepared weight) kale leaves, stalks and centre ribs, removed and leaves shredded

6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced at an angle

25g (1oz) salted peanuts, roughly chopped, to serve

* In a bowl, mix together the cornflour with 2 tablespoons each of the oyster and soy sauces, then stir in the steak.

* Pour the groundnut oil into a wok or frying pan on a high heat and allow it to get very hot. Tip in the beef slices and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

* Pour in the stock, then bring to the boil and stir in the kale. Cook for 2–3 minutes or until the kale is tender, then stir in the cooked beef and the spring onions. Season with the remaining oyster and soy sauces to taste, then serve with boiled rice and a scattering of the peanuts

Hot Buttered Plum Pudding

4 slices of white bread

50g (2oz) butter, softened

4 plums, stones removed and flesh cut into 5mm (¼in) thick slices

75g (3oz) caster sugar

* Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F), Gas mark 7.

* Remove the crusts from the bread and butter generously on one side. Place, butter side down, in an ovenproof dish in which all the bread will fit in one layer. Use the

remaining butter to spread over the bread, then cover with the plum slices and sprinkle with the sugar.

* Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the plums are cooked and slightly caramelised at the edges. Serve immediately with cream or ice cream, if you wish.

Banoffee Pancakes

It is possible to buy ready-boiled condensed milk, which is sold in jars as Dulce de leche. If you want to make your own, boil unopened tins of condensed milk for 2 hours – I like to prepare a few tins at a time and then keep them in the cupboard where they’ll store for months.


Makes about 10 pancakes

Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 15 minutes

150g (5oz) self-raising flour

1–2 tbsp caster sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

150ml (5fl oz) milk

15g (½oz) butter

To serve

3 bananas, peeled and sliced

Ice cream or whipped cream

200ml (7fl oz) toffee sauce or dulce de leche (or boiled condensed milk) – see recipe introduction

* Sift the flour into a bowl, add the sugar and mix together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk, then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the liquid and mix until just combined. (Be careful not to over-stir or the finished pancakes will taste tough.)

* Melt about a third of the butter (if using) in a small frying pan on a medium–low heat and when the butter starts to foam add generous tablespoons of the batter to the

pan to form 3–4 pancakes. (If you’re using a non-stick pan, then it isn’t necessary to include butter.) Cook for about 2 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes, by which time they should be golden brown underneath.

* Turn the pancakes over and cook until they feel set in the centre and both sides are golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, adding more butter as necessary.

Transfer the finished pancakes to a warmed plate, cover with an upturned bowl or some foil and keep warm in a low oven.

* Serve the pancakes scattered with slices of banana, a few blobs of ice cream or whipped cream and a drizzling of warm toffee sauce or dulce de leche.

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

Serves 4–6

Preparation time 10 minutes – Cooking time 5 minutes

100g (3½oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces, or dark chocolate drops

75g (3oz) caster sugar

2–3 tbsp brandy

2 eggs

250g (9oz) mascarpone

4–6 glasses, cups or bowls

* Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt, then remove from the heat.

* Add the sugar, brandy and eggs and, using a hand-held electric beater, whisk for 5 minutes or until the outside of the bowl has cooled down to tepid.

* Whisk in the mascarpone for a few seconds, just until combined. (The mousse will thicken once the mascarpone has been mixed in.) Divide between the glasses, cups or bowls and serve straightaway or chill to use later.


Today at Midleton Farmers Market – Irish Farmhouse Cheese and Craft Beer Festival –

don’t miss the beer and cheese tastings and a ginger beer making demonstration. 10am to 2pm – 021 4631096 for details.

Self Sufficiency – now is the moment to order fruit trees to plant in a couple of weeks time; apples, pears, plums, blackcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries…plant something for everyone, the children will love them too.

Richy’s Restaurant in Clonakilty have launched two new ‘sub’ food businesses to beat the recession and have created 26 new jobs in the process. Their new outside catering business, Richy’s at Home offers restaurant quality food at affordable prices, for private events. They have also opened the daytime R Café – The Staunton’s Pork Belly Bagette with Apple and Star Anise Puree sounds really delicious.– 023 8821852


Darina Allen’s Cookery Book of the Week – Macarons – Pierre Hermé

Macarons are definitely the ‘new cupcake’ brightly coloured mini meringues sandwiched together with gooey fillings. Famous Patissier – Pierre Hermé’s recipes have at last been published in English and it would be difficult for any book on macarons to surpass this one – the French edition has been one of the most sought after books in recent years, chocolate, praline, coffee, pistachio, fruit, but lots of others, lychee, rose and raspberry, mandarin and pink pepper, balsamic vinegar…Published by Grub Street Press – 2011.


Preserving for The Winter

There’s a frenzy of preserving going on here these days, despite the weather we still have lots of ripe tomato, beets, marrows and over grown courgettes… in the garden plus we are surrounded by wild food. Most of the blackberries have ripened at last, we’ve had a ton of damsons and sloes and there are still lots of elderberries and crab-apples to be gathered for free.

Last week, with my Euro Toques chefs hat on I spoke to students at Cork Institute of Technology about wild and free foods and how to forage for them.

Many of the students, particularly the younger ones were astonished by the wealth of beautiful produce that is there for gathering around the campus, in the park and along the country lanes, in suburbs of the city and along the coast. I spoke about the delights of preserving but one student wondered why one needed to preserve food when the shelves in the supermarkets were laden with produce – a fair comment from a generation who have never known a world when food was scarce or rationed, I can understand how the whole idea seems preposterous.

However these beautiful young people are likely to hear much more about food security and even experience food scarcity in their lifetime so, I urged them to learn the skill of foraging so they can incorporate a least some of the delicious and nutritious foods into their diet and on the menus of the restaurants which many will own in years to come.

Many of their parents will remember collecting wild mushrooms in the fields in Autumn, or gathering hazel nuts, crab-apples and damsons. Some may even have tasted sloe and damson gin made by their grandparents – so I urged them to glean the knowledge and forgotten skills from them while they can.

I brought over 25 plants, berries, nuts, mushrooms, seaweeds and shellfish with me, all of which had been gathered in a couple of hours within a mile of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry.


Watercress, sorrel, chickweed, sweet woodruff, tansy, goosefoot, salad burnet, comfrey, samphire (marsh and rock)

Fruit and Berries

Crab-apples, blackberries, elderberries, sloes, damsons, hazelnuts, chestnuts, Spanish (edible), horse chestnut (not edible.)


Carrageen moss, alaria, bladder wrack, slocan or nori, kelp, dilisk or dulse…

Wild Mushrooms

Chantrelles, yellow legs, girolles, field mushrooms.


Periwinkles, limpets, mussels, cockles, razor clams.

I suggested lots of ways to use each food and also made several recipes. Crab apple jelly is a brilliant recipe to make on its own or a catch all to add all manner of wild fruit and berries to – sloes, damsons, elderberries, haws, rowanberries…The name can be changed depending on the content and a mixed jelly with all or some of the above additions can be called Hedgerow Jelly and very good it is too – better still it can be used as a sweet or savoury condiment and is equally good with scones or roast pork or game. We just had a few wild mushrooms, they are great on buttered toast but they can add excitement to many other dishes. We decided to add them to a frittata, a simple filling recipe that students could easily make on one gas ring. It would serve 6 hungry or 4 ravenous students, also great in a lunchtime sandwich the next day.

I added some chopped tansy to an omelette – the quintessential fast food, normally a French omelette takes 30 seconds to make and maybe forty five seconds of one wants to add a filling. However, mine took about 20 seconds to make such was the intensity of the heat on the state of the art Halygon hob. Needless to say it causes much hilarity and consternation and a red face (mine) when I managed to set off the smoke alarm in the super duper new demonstration area. Anyway despite all that I’m hoping that I managed to whet the audiences’ appetite for foraging and preserving.


Watercress Soup



Wild watercress has more depth of flavour than farmed versions, so see if you can find some. This soup has been a favourite on the menu of Ballymaloe House since it opened in 1963.


Serves 6-8


45g (1 1/2 ozs) butter

150g (5ozs) peeled and chopped potatoes

110g (4ozs) peeled and chopped onion

salt and freshly ground pepper

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

600ml (1 pint) creamy milk

225g (8ozs) chopped watercress (remove the coarse stalks first)


Melt the butter in heavy bottomed saucepan, when it foams, add the potatoes and onions and toss them until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and sweat on a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the watercress. When the vegetables are almost soft but not coloured add the hot stock and boiling milk. Bring back to the boil and cook until the potatoes and onions are fully cooked. Add the watercress and boil with the lid off for 4-5 minutes approx. until the watercress is just cooked. Do not overcook or the soup will lose its fresh green colour. Puree the soup in a liquidiser. Taste and correct seasoning.


Salmon Cooked with Sorrel Sauce


A brilliant little recipe cooked in minutes, given to us by Jonathan Jones of the Anchor and Hope restaurant in London. The sorrel cuts the richness of the sauce on a particularly appealing way.

Serves 8-10

a side of wild or organic salmon – pin-boned and well-trimmed

a little melted butter


freshly ground black pepper

300ml (10fl oz) double cream

dry white wine (optional)

70g (2 3/4oz) sorrel – shredded

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8.


Paint a main course plate per person with melted butter, slice the salmon fairly thinly at an angle, as you might for smoked salmon. Cover the base of the plate with one layer of just overlapping salmon. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bring the cream to boil, season and take off heat. Paint the salmon with melted butter (and drizzle a little white wine over if you like). Place in the preheated oven for 2-3 minutes.

Immediately, stir the shredded sorrel into the cream. Remove the plate from the oven, the salmon should be slightly under-cooked. Spoon a little sorrel cream over the top and enjoy immediately.




Tansy Omelette


A little bit of tansy really wakes up an omelette and might be just the thing to cure a Sunday morning hangover!

Serves 1

2 eggs, preferably free range organic

1 dessertspoon water or milk

1 teaspoon tansy, finely chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 dessertspoon clarified butter or olive oil


omelette pan, preferably non-stick, 23cm (9-inch) diameter

Heat the omelette pan over a high heat.

Warm a plate in a low oven. Whisk the eggs with the water or milk in a bowl with a fork or whisk, until thoroughly mixed but not too fluffy. Add the finely chopped tansy. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Put the warm plate beside the cooker. Have the filling also to hand, hot if necessary with a spoon at the ready.

Add the clarified butter to the hot pan, it should sizzle immediately. Pour in the egg mixture. It will start to cook instantly so quickly pull the edges of the omelette towards the centre with an egg slice or plastic spatula, tilting the pan so that the uncooked egg runs to the sides 4 maybe 5 times. Continue until most of the egg is set and will not run any more, the centre will still be soft and uncooked at this point but will continue to cook on the plate. If you are using a filling, spoon the hot mixture in a line across the centre at this point.

To fold the omelette.

Flip the edge just below the handle of the pan into the centre; change your grip on the handle so you can hold the pan almost perpendicular over the plate so that the omelette will flip over again. Finally, half roll, half slide the omelette onto the plate so that it lands folded in three. (It should not take more than 30 seconds in all to make the omelette, perhaps 45 if you are adding a filling). Serve immediately.



Chocolate and Hazelnut Treats




A terrifically easy cake/biscuit – wild hazelnuts are in season at present so head off with your baskets and have fun gathering nuts.


Makes 24


6 ozs (175g) soft butter

6 ozs (175g) castor sugar

2 eggs, preferably free range

5ozs (150g) self-raising flour

1oz (25g) cocoa

4ozs (110g) hazelnuts, toasted and chopped


Chocolate Icing


5ozs (150g) icing sugar

2ozs (50g/1/2 stick) butter

2 teaspoons Cocoa


11 1/2 x 8 inch (29 x 20cm) swiss roll tin, well-greased


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/regulo 4.


Line the base of the tin with parchment paper.

Put the butter, castor sugar, eggs and self-raising flour and cocoa into a food processor. Whizz for a few seconds to amalgamate. Spread evenly in the lined tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes approx. or until golden brown and well risen. Allow to cool. Meanwhile mix the ingredients for the icing. As soon as the cake is cooled, spread the icing over the top, sprinkle with toasted chopped hazelnuts. Cut into squares.


Remove the biscuits from the tin if keeping for a few days unless the tin is coated with teflon.


Sloe or Damson Gin


It’s great fun to organise a few pals to pick sloes and have a sloe gin-making party. Sloes make a terrific beverage for Christmas presents. Either enjoy it neat or put a measure of damson or sloe gin in a glass, add ice, a slice of lemon and top it up with tonic.

700g (11⁄2lb) sloes or damsons

350g (12oz) granulated sugar

1.2 litres (2 pints) gin

Wash and dry the fruit and prick it in several places (we use a sterilised darning needle). Put the fruit into a sterilised glass Kilner jar and cover with the sugar and gin. Seal tightly.

Shake the jar every couple of days to start with and then every now and then for 3–4 months, by which time it will be ready to strain and bottle. It will improve on keeping so try to resist drinking it for another few months.




Sloe or Damson Vodka


This slips down easily but has quite a kick! Simply substitute vodka for the gin in the recipe above.



In July Peter Shanahan opened an excellent little fish shop and deli

– ‘Fish!’- next to Ryans Service Station at the Ownahincha Cross. Peter sells fish fresh from Union Hall and Baltimore as well as Rosscarbery black and white pudding, Glenilen country butter; Union Hall smoked salmon and mackerel… Contact 0871215248 / /

Local, clean, authentic fresh produce

– that’s what the new Urru Greengrocer in Bandon promises their customers. It’s just a short hop and a skip from the Ruth Healy Urru Culinary Store overlooking the Bandon River.

Run by local food writer Diane Curtin, it provides a platform for local artisan foods I found four old superb varieties of apple, grown by Patrick Murphy from Macroom. Red Windsor, Topaz, Rubenola and Rubenstep and some delicious conference pears from Con Trass in Cahir, Co Tipperary. I was also tempted by beautiful Swiss Chard from Radical Roots in Bandon

A brave move in these recessionary times which deserves to be supported

The Rural Food Skillnet

has a number of courses scheduled for the remainder of the year. Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th Butchery and Small Scale Meat Production with Teagasc in Ashtown and on the Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th of November Farmhouse Cheese Production course in Moorepark. Contact John Moriarty, Project Manager, Rural Food Skillnet. Tel: 068 23429 / 087 2055676

At the National Irish Food Awards

this year, Una’s Pies won all three prizes in the Pies and Quiches category, she was also honoured with the title of ‘Best Artisan Producer’ – a much sought after award. Una’s Roasted Veg with Ardsallagh Goat’s Cheese Pie won gold, her Chicken with Gubbeen Chorizo and Red Pepper Pie won silver her Chicken and Asparagus Pie won bronze. You can find Una at Mahon Point Farmers Market every Thursday from 10am to 3.00pm – contact 087 2859957.

Barrafina London

I’ve had Barrafina Tapas Bar on my London list for ages, but somehow didn’t manage to make it until recently. Everyone I know tells me it’s possibly the best in London – Giles Coran, not given to unbridled praise, wrote in The Times ‘Barrafina is a tapas bar and the best of its kind, the food is fantastic. When they opened in Soho four years ago Sam and Eddie could scarcely have predicted how successful their no-reservations tapas bar and restaurant would be – it’s packed and buzzing all the time, always stylish and lively.’

Having failed to get in a couple of times, I arrived at noon and just managed to ‘bag’ two stools at the bar counter with a perfect view of the busy ‘scene’  and the tiny kitchen at the end.

Basque born Nieves Barragan Mohacho is the head chef of both Barrafina and Fino (another gem just off Charlotte Street in the West End of London) She and her team work magic in this tiny space, this is not complicated restaurant food its gutsy fresh, sometimes delicate, sometimes hearty food that comforts and appeals – I loved it. All round me were regulars some of whom had been eating at Barrafina a couple of times a week for several years – everyone was eager to suggest their favourite menu item that I shouldn’t miss.

First there’s food to eat with your fingers, pimentos de Padron, salt cod fritters delicas, the Spanish equivalent of Devils on Horseback and croquettes.

Then there’s cold meats, fish and shellfish – if you’re lucky there might even be my favourite, razor clams and I had an exquisite sea-bream carpaccio with rosemary oil – a ‘don’t miss’ tip from’ my new best friend’ on my left. The problem is choice, of course there are tortillas, cocos, (little Spanish pizza with spinach, pine kernels and raisins) but then there could be suckling pig or rabbit, a roast cumin rubbed pork with quince. Go with several people so you can share tastes and then you might even have room for pudding – maybe a pot of their classic crema catalona.

I so love living in the country but I found myself envying the guys at either side of me who worked in the high rise offices close by who could look forward to popping in every couple of days – I’ve decided I’m going to try and lure Nieves over to teach a Tapas class at the Ballymaloe Cookery School next year.

Meanwhile Sam and Eddie have decided to share some of their secrets in Barrafina – A Spanish Cookbook published by Fig Tree. Here are some of my favourites.




Delicias by name, delicious by nature! These are the Spanish equivalent of the 1970s English classic ‘Devils on Horseback’, and traditionally come from the town of Elche, inland from Alicante. They differ from their British cousins in being stuffed with almonds and fried until crisp. At Barrafina they serve them with a little watercress salad.


Serves 4 as a tapa


12 Marcona almonds

12 large pitted dates

6 thin slices of smoked pancetta

1 small shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons Moscatel vinegar

a bunch of watercress

Maldon salt

Stuff an almond into the centre of each date. Cut each slice of pancetta in half, then wrap each date with a piece of pancetta and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the rest of the dates. In a bowl whisk together the chopped shallot, olive oil and vinegar. Add the watercress, season with salt and mix well. Heat about 1cm of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and fry the dates on all sides, until the pancetta is brown and crisp. Alternatively you can heat oil to 180°C in a deep-fryer and deep-fry the dates for 30 seconds.

Serve at once, with the watercress salad.


Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce


At Barrafina they use deepwater mussels from theDorset coast. Lightly cooked in this piquant sauce they make a delicious starter, or, with lots of good bread and a little salad, a more substantial meal.

Serves 4 as a tapa

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

500ml tomate frito or passata

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika

600g mussels, cleaned

4 tablespoons manzanilla sherry

4 tablespoons chopped fresh

flat-leaf parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small, heavy bottomed frying pan. Add the onions and thyme and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Put the tomate frito into a medium pan and heat gently until it comes to the boil. Add the cayenne pepper and paprika, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan until it is smoking. Throw in the mussels, discarding any that are not tightly shut or that refuse to close when you tap them. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the sherry, cover the pan, and cook until the mussels have opened. Discard any that remain shut. Add the tomato sauce and cook over a high heat for another minute to thicken the sauce.  Put the mussels and sauce into a serving dish, spoon over the onions and the chopped parsley and serve with good bread.


Chicken with Romesco Sauce


Barrafina’s most regular customer, Mike ‘Mustachio’ Goldman, has eaten there over 500 times over the last three years. He often requests that they feature this dish as one of their specials, as it is a particular favourite of his. Needless to say they often oblige.

Serves 4 as a main

4 x 150g chicken drumsticks

4 x 160g chicken thighs

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

½  recipe quantity of Romesco Sauce (see recipe)


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Put the chicken into a roasting tray. Drizzle it with olive oil, season it with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 30–40 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown.

Gently warm the romesco sauce in a small pan and serve with the chicken.


Romesco Sauce


Romesco sauce is extremely versatile and can accompany fish, meat and vegetable dishes. It comes from Catalunia, and there are many different recipes and variations. Romesco keeps well in the fridge.

Makes enough for 6-8 generous portions

(about 650g)


1 dried red chilli, soaked in

warm water for 2 hours

4 dried choricero peppers (see page 000),

soaked in warm water for 2 hours

5 plum tomatoes

100ml olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 whole head of garlic, halved horizontally

100g blanched almonds

1 slice of good-quality

white bread, about 2cm thick

50ml sherry vinegar


Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Drain the soaked chilli and choricero peppers, then remove the seeds and set aside. Put the tomatoes into a roasting dish. Drizzle them with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the two halves of garlic in foil and add to the roasting dish. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. When cool enough, pop the garlic cloves out of their skins and set aside. Meanwhile, in a separate smaller roasting dish, toast the almonds in the same oven for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned. Be careful – they burn fast! Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small frying pan and fry the bread on both sides until golden brown. Put the chillies, choriceros, roasted tomatoes, garlic, almonds, bread and vinegar into a blender or food processor. Add 100ml of olive oil and blitz until smooth. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and keep in the fridge until needed.


Chorizo, Potato and Watercress Salad


Chorizo is one of those things that while very delicious by itself is best appreciated when combined with something else. This recipe has been on the menu at Barrafina ever since it opened. Indeed, a small riot might ensue on Frith Street if they ever left it out!


Serves 4 as a light main

5 tablespoons olive oil

400g new potatoes, cooked

and halved lengthways

salt and freshly ground black pepper

240g small cooking chorizos

40g butter

4 tablespoons chopped shallots

4 tablespoons chopped fresh

flat-leaf parsley

60g watercress


Heat an overhead grill to medium high. In a heavy bottomed frying pan, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil until beginning to smoke. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook until nicely golden brown. While the potatoes are browning, split the chorizos in half lengthways and score the cut side with a crosshatch about 1mm deep. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Add the butter and shallots to the potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat. Drizzle the watercress with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and serve with the potatoes and the grilled chorizo. You can spoon a little of the oil from the chorizo on to the potatoes for a little extra oomph if you like.


Recipes extracted fromThe Barrafina Cookbook, Published by Fig Tree



Pop-up Tapas. Contact Sinead at Stephen Pearce Pottery in Shanagarry, East Cork to find out when the next Tapas night is scheduled – great vibe and delicious little bites – €2 – €3 each. Bring your own wine – telephone:  021 4646807 – facebook: Sineads at Stephen Pearce.


Exciting workshops and Courses at Seedsavers in Scarif, Co Clare

Sunday 9th October – Fruit Trees – How to Plant and Maintain – half day course

Sunday 16th October – Vegetarian Cookery Soups and Stews

Saturday 22nd October – Cider Making

Saturday 29th October – Full day cheese-making course

Phone: +353 61 921866   Email:  /

Cork Free Choice Consumer Group Event – ‘The Global Food System’ – Modern food production and trade and its consequences for health and the environment with Dr Colin Sage, Department of Geography, UCC. Crawford Art Gallery Café on Thursday 27th Oct at 7.30pm. Entrance 6 euro including tea/coffee.


Butchery & Small Scale Meat Production Workshop Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, in association with the Rural Food Skillnet is offering a two day course demonstrating the butchering of a side of beef, a lamb and a pig into retail cuts for people who are already selling or considering processing and / or selling meat from their own herd. Wednesday 26th & Thursday 27th October 2011 at Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin 15. Phone 01 8059592 – 087 2243712


Sunil Ghai – Ananda Restaurant

We had another terrific guest chef at the cookery school recently, Sunil Ghai is a tall handsome chef from Gwalior but he is firmly established on the Irish Restaurant scene. He was chosen as Chef of the Year in Ireland in August 2009 by Food and Wine Magazine– no easy task at the best of times but even more difficult for a non-Irish chef. It was a very popular choice, he is widely respected and admired by his fellow chefs for his knowledge, affable personality and the food served in the Indian restaurants he is associated with in Dublin.  Some may have seen him on Masterchef Ireland last week.
As you all know I have a deep affection for Indian food, in all its extraordinary diversity, I enjoyed the food at Ananda so much that I invited Sunil to come and teach at the cookery school.
His food is simple and delicious, the recipes work and we can now easily source the Asian ingredients and the fresh spices, tamarind, Kashmiri chilli powder, kolonji seeds, chatt masala and ghee are available in most supermarkets and the growing number of Asian shops.
In Cork city it’s still so worth a visit to Mr Bell in the English market from whom I’ve been buying ‘ethnic’ ingredients for over 30 years.
For fresh spices, it’s difficult to beat Green Saffron for freshness – Arun Kapil now has a mail order list, check out  or seek him out at Mahon Point, Midleton or Douglas Farmers Markets. We all loved the dishes that Sunil cooked for us and I’ve done several since. Aloo Tikka are delicious little potato cakes with a secret filling of peas, fresh ginger and spices, we love them as a starter or they could be a vegetarian main course. Sunil’s version of the classic Rogan Josh is particularly delicious and we absolutely loved the easy peasy Lahsooni Patta spinach with cherry tomatoes and spices and the rice pudding is like none other you’ll ever taste but definitely exotic enough to serve for a dinner party.
Here are some for you to try and if you want to taste the original check out Ananda Restaurant

Sunil Ghai’s Aloo Tikka with Spiced Peas and Sweet and Sour Yoghurt

Serves 4-6

2-3 large potatoes, boiled in their skins
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
1 tablespoon gram flour (optional)

2 tablespoons of oil
1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 green chilli, chopped
110g (4 ozs) green peas, cooked or frozen peas defrosted
20g (3/4oz) chopped raisins (golden)
1/4 teaspoon salt
red chilli powder, to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground dry-roasted cumin seeds
1 tablespoon ghee (or oil),  for pan-frying.

To Serve
250g (9oz) yoghurt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt

Peel the potatoes and once they are cool enough to handle, grate them very finely. Add salt and ghee and knead until properly mixed, add 1 tablespoon of gram flour if too soft and starchy.  Divide it into 12 equal portions and roll each into a small ball.

To make the stuffing.
Heat the pan and add the oil, then add ginger and green chilli and sauté for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the green peas and raisins and all the spices and check the seasoning.

Taking one at a time, gently flatten each ball into a round patty of about 1cm (1/2 inch) thick and place a portion of stuffing in the centre. Fold the edges together very carefully so that mixture does not come out.

Now very gently flatten it into a 5cm (2 inch) patty. Repeat the procedure for all potato balls.

To make the stirred yoghurt.
Heat a pan over a medium heat.  Roast the cumin until really quite dark, grind in a pestle and mortar.  Add 1 teaspoon to the yoghurt with the sugar and a pinch of salt.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Heat the ghee or oil in a non-stick pan over a low heat. Slip in the patties, not too many at a time, into the pan. Fry on both sides until crisp and golden brown, over a low heat, adding ghee if required.

Serve aloo tikka hot with stirred yoghurt.

Sunil Ghai’s Kashmiri Lamb Curry
Rogan Josh
There are various stories attached to this controversial recipe –
Roganjosh is a classical preparation traditionally with lamb but it has versions into chicken, seafood and even vegetables!!   There are various stories about the name of Roganjosh.   Some claim “Rogan” is the red colored chilli oil that floats on the curry gives the name, some has it that violet bark of a Kashmiri tree called “Ratanjog” should be boiled in oil to prepare “Rogan” and then lamb curry made with this oil is called Roganjosh.   Recently, I met up with my Kashmiri friends, I went to school with – there version was – Cocks comb flower (Marwal ka Phool) extract should be used to give characteristic color to this classic preparation.   So, there are numerous stories – to keep it simple, I use a recipe and extract the colour from red chillies & tomato paste to get the right looks for this preparation.

Serves 4

Soak 2 almonds over night

1 kg 2¼ lb) leg of lamb
150 g (5 oz) natural yoghurt – tenderises, gives a sourness
½ g saffron
30 g (1½ oz) almonds, peeled and crushed
100 ml (3½ fl oz) sunflower oil
Whole garam masala
1½ tsp cumin seeds
6 green cardamom
2 black cardamom
1 inch (2.5 cm) cinnamon
8 cloves
1 star anise
2 blades mace
1 tsp black pepper
350 g (12 ozs) onions
50 g (2 ozs) ginger-garlic paste – (2 ½ teaspoons)
10 g (½ oz) red chilli powder – Kashmiri chilli powder
10 g (½ oz) coriander
3 g garam masala
5 g turmeric
60 g (2½ oz) tomato paste
1 bunch coriander leaves
10 g (½ oz) ginger – peeled and cut into fine julienne

Trim the fat from the lamb, remove the bones and cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes.   Whisk the yogurt, add almonds, saffron, salt & half the ginger garlic paste, add the lamb, toss and marinade for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.
Meanwhile pound the whole spices roughly in a mortar and pestle. Peel and slice the onions thinly. Wash & finely chop the coriander leaves, peel the ginger and cut into fine julienne.
Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the pounded spices, and stir while the  spices start to crackle. Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the sliced onions, add 2½ teaspoons ginger garlic paste, stir and cook for about 5 minutes until golden brown .  Add the lamb and all the marinade. Stir and cook on a high heat until the oil separates and the meat is browned & 3/4 cooked. Add the dry spices and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the tomato paste.  Add ½ pint water and salt, bring back to the boil and simmer covered until the lamb is cooked.

* When the lamb is added, lamb will shed the excess of moisture and will cook in its own stock, if there isn’t much liquid in the pan, some water or lamb stock may be added.   Once the meat is browned, it will tend to get stuck at the bottom, one has to keep stirring and scrape the bottom. This is important for the characteristic development of the flavors.
Serve in a warm bowl, garnished with coriander & ginger julienne.
Roganjosh can be served with saffron rice or an Indian bread

Sunil Ghai’s Tadka Dal

Home style lentil preparation
(North India)

Serves 3

This lentil preparation is famous for its unique spicing.   It is highly seasoned perked up with chilli and garlic.   A really easy preparation that needs no forward planning.

300 g (11 ozs) yellow pea split peas or toor / chana lentils
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chopped coriander leaves

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 medium tomatoes, chopped but not peeled
Coriander leaves

In a heavy bottomed pan, cook the lentils with salt, turmeric and 1litre (1¾ pints) of water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are soft and cooked.
In a sauté pan, heat the oil and stir fry the garlic to light brown colour, add red chilli powder, sauté for a minute.   Add tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes and add cooked lentils.   Simmer the lentils for 10-15 minutes and sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

Lahsooni Patta – Baby Spinach Tossed with Tomatoes, Garlic and Fennel.

Serves 4

2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon freshly ground fennel powder
salt to taste
400g (14ozs) baby spinach or destalked spinach leaves
1 teaspoon butter

Heat the oil in the wok over a medium heat.  Add the chopped garlic, sauté for 1 minute, add the tomato halves, then freshly ground fennel, butter and salt. Add the baby spinach leaves and toss quickly for a minute or two – just until they wilt. Serve hot.

Saffron Pear with Saffron Jelly

Serves 10

2 litres (3½ pints/8½ cups) water
750 ml (27 fl oz) sugar
6 green cardamom
1 bay leaf
2 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
10 g (½ oz) fennel seeds
10 pears
Thinly pared rind of 1 orange
4 g (¼ oz) saffron

Boil the water, sugar and thinly pared rind of 1 orange, add the spices and saffron and boil for at least 20 minutes to get the spice flavour in the syrup. Peel the pears, remove the seeds. Add the pear to the syrup and let it boil until the pear gets the saffron coating and the pear is cooked in they syrup but still holds its shape.
Saffron Jelly
1 cooked pear
4 g (¼ oz/1½ leaves) gelatine
150 g (5 oz) pear syrup

Soak 1½ leaves of gelatine in a bowl of cold water.  Use the pear syrup, strain it and puree one cooked pear and add to the syrup bring it to the boil and add the gelatine and set aside for 3 hours until it forms a jelly.

Sunil Ghai’s Marwadi Kheer

Serves 4

Cooking time: 1 hour – this dessert can be made ahead and served warm or cold

50 g (2 ozs) basmati rice, soaked for an hour and drained
1.5 litres (2½ pints) milk
3 tbs whole peeled almonds ground to a paste
2 tablespoons water
100 g (3½ ozs) sugar
50 g (2 ozs) fresh coconut, grated
25 g (1 oz) raisins
50 g (2 ozs) Chironji nuts (optional)
50 g (2 ozs) pistachio nuts cut into slivers
50 g (2 ozs) blanched almonds cut in to slivers
½ tsp ground green cardamom seeds
2 tsp Kewra essence – keeps indefinitely, use Rosewater instead
To decorate:  silver or gold leaf.

Heat the ghee in a pan  Add the soaked rice and cook, stirring all the time for 2 or 3 minutes.  Add the milk and cook over a low heat for an hour until the rice absorbs the milk and the kheer thickens
Stir in the almond paste, sugar, coconut, raisins, chironji, pistachios and almond slivers.  Cook for a final couple of minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the ground cardamom and kewra essence.  Cool and chill.
Serve in individual dishes.
Rice Brulee: Put the rice into ramekins, sprinkle about a generous tablespoon of demerara sugar on top, caramelize with a blow torch.

Piemontese cattle are from the mountainous region of Piedmont in Italy and have less fat, cholesterol and calories than chicken. For those who like really lean meat you can now order Irish Purebred Piemontese Beef from Michael and Mary Fennelly’s farm in Stradbally Co Laois, they will courier it to you. for an order form.

Home Butchery, Charcuterie and Sausage Making. There’s a growing interest among chefs and enthusiastic amateurs for home-curing and sausage making if you’d like to try your hand Philip Dennhardt will take the mystery out of it when he teaches a one day course at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday 15th October, Phone 021 4646785 or book online

Irish Farmhouse Cheese maker wins Supreme Champion at UK Cheese Awards
Kilree goat’s cheese made by Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese was crowned Supreme Champion at this year’s British Cheese Awards.  A record total of 905 cheeses were entered so Ireland has much to celebrate – a further 30 additional Irish cheeses enjoyed success at what is commonly known as the “Oscars” of the dairy world Irish farmhouse cheese plays a fundamental role in the growth and development of Ireland’s artisan dairy sector.  From its beginnings, only 30 years ago, the sector has grown to encompass 47 producers and over 127 individual cheese types.  The sheer breadth of cheese produced reflects the innovation and ingenuity these entrepreneurs offer.

On a recent visit to Dublin I ate at a gastro pub in Stoneybatter called L Mulligan’s Grocer. Kish Fish text them every day to tell them what is fresh and all beef on the menu is grass fed and Irish, their sausages are from TJ Crowe in Tipperary and Jack McCarthy in Cork. Their pork, eggs and chickens are free-range and Irish. They set up a tasting panel of their best customers to decide on the ultimate Irish coffee they plumbed for Bailies Roastery in Belfast and Kilbeggan whiskey from Cooley distillery. They also serve a selection of Irish craft beers and cider. See the menu on their website

Anchor and Hope

The whole gastro pub scene hasn’t quite taken off in Ireland in quite the same way as in the UK where some of the very best food is to be found in comfy grungy pubs often with mismatched wooden furniture and crockery, serving gorgeous non fussy seasonal food. There are many good ones now vying for my few precious meal slots when I’m in London. The Eagle, The Canton Arms, The Earl Spencer, Magdalen Arms, The Anchor and Hope…seven years after it first opened I still totally love the latter.

Jonathon Jones would probably blush to hear himself referred to as the most famous and successful gastropub chef in the British Isles but if anything the description is an understatement. His restaurant the Anchor and Hope pub in South London has won six major awards in as many years and is the darling of every restaurant critic who eats there. In the Times, Giles Coren said: ‘it is the most exciting new restaurant I have been to since I started writing this column.’ In the Sunday Times (the difficult to please) AA Gill raved, calling it: a brilliant restaurant…what you’ve been waiting for. In the Independent Tracey Macleod was no less than enthusiastic pointing out that a succession of amazing looking meals emerged from the tiny, two person kitchen, and nothing we tried fell short of first rate. Matthew Fort also gave it a rave review in the Guardian and on and on.


In his teens, Jonathon Jones hated school and plotted and schemed incessantly to get out. His dad wouldn’t allow him to leave until he came up with an alternative so he decided on the spur of the moment that he wanted to be a chef. His dad thought he’d ‘fix him’ by getting him a job in a tough hotel kitchen in Edinburgh. He hated it but determinedly hung on and insisting he loved every minute! As luck would have it his sister saw a brilliant article in the Financial Times about a restaurant called La Mimosa in the South of France. The owner said her greatest challenge was getting staff to settle out in the wilds coupled with the fact that the French find it challenging to work for a woman. Jonathon loved the sound of what she was doing – beautiful, fresh food simply cooked. He applied for and got the job and was hooked, the rest is history.

So I decided that if we were to offer a gastro pub course at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, there probably wasn’t a better chap to teach it than Jonathon Jones.

He came on Sunday 11th September with none of the cheffy airs and graces that are all too characteristic of many of the new breed of celebrity chefs. Jonathon was really keen to see the gardens and greenhouses and was genuinely excited by the beautiful fresh produce. It’s a great time of the year, the summer vegetables and fruit are properly tasty by now.

The Anchor and Hope menu chalked up on a blackboard in the open kitchen in Waterloo changes twice a day, so naturally reflects the wild food in season. You can’t book but its cosmopolitan clientele are perfectly happy to queue for a sometimes over an hour in the convivial atmosphere. Great beers, fantastic sherry and a cracking wine list help to pass the time.

They’ve built up their reputation for ‘properly good food’ on several fronts, their sharing dishes served family style in the middle of the table are much loved and bring back memories of a time when people sat down around the kitchen table with family and friends to share a simple meal – it might be a shoulder or neck of lamb, a whole duck with peas with a fine potato gratin and a bowl of salad leaves.

Jonathon charmed us all by his love of real food and his effortless skill in transforming cheaper cuts of meat and offal into the sort of gorgeous comforting food that you fight over.

The kitchen at Anchor and Hope is tiny yet every week they buy in whole animals, butcher them themselves and use very last morsel in a delicious way. Jonathon quoted Fergus Henderson of St John “it’s disingenuous to the animal not to value and use every scrap” Sadly these skills are lost in some restaurant kitchens nowadays where many who call themselves chefs do little more than slit the top of a packet or pop a prepared meal into a microwave to reheat. Here are some Anchor and Hope favourites which Jonathon shared with us.


Anchor and Hope’s Beetroot, Horseradish and Watercress Salad


Serves 6-8 as a starter


  • 900g (2lb) small beetroot
  • 4 eggs – soft boiled (cook for 5 minutes, cool and peel)
  • 2 bunches of watercress


Horseradish Dressing

  • ·about 2 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish
  • ·salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ·a little freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ·about 225g (8oz) crème fraíche (we use Glenilen)


For horseradish dressing:

Put the grated horseradish into a bowl.  Season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice; add the crème fraîche and mix to combine.


Take 900g (2lb) even sized beetroots, wash well but do not damage the root, leave about 4cm (1 1/2 inch) of leaf on top.  Cook with a little salt and vinegar in the water, (30 minutes to 2 hours depending on age).  When tender, peel and cut into chunky bite sized pieces.  Dress rigorously with as much of the horseradish as you like, then gently, fold in a bunch or two of washed watercress.  Divide between the plates.  Decorate with soft boiled eggs, peeled and halved.  Serve with crusty bread.


Anchor and Hope’s Slow Cooked Lamb Neck and Gratin of Potatoes with Rosemary and Bay Leaves

Serves 9-10


  • 3 whole lamb necks, usually on the bone – trim off excess fat
  • 4 medium onions chopped coarsely
  • 2 large carrots, cut in chunks
  • 1/2 head celery, coarsely chopped
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) tin of tomatoes
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 500ml (18fl oz) lamb stock or water
  • 62ml (2 1/2fl oz) white wine


To Serve

Gratin of Potatoes with Rosemary and Bay Leaves (see recipe)


Heat a little sunflower oil in a suitable sized casserole.  Season the neck with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook in the oil until nicely browned, remove from the casserole.  Add the peeled and chopped root vegetables. Nestle the lamb neck back in, add the herbs, white wine and tomatoes and enough stock to come 2/3  up the neck. Bring to a boil on top of the stove and put into the preheated oven at 250°C/500°F/Gas Mark 10 to start with and when it’s simmering gently, cover lamb loosely with the lid or parchment paper, reduce the heat to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and cook until completely tender – 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  The meat should be almost falling off the bones.


Cool until next day, remove fat and warm through in a hot oven uncovered before serving.

Serve with gratin of potatoes with rosemary and bay leaves.


Gratin of Potatoes with Rosemary and Bay Leaves


Serves 4


  • about 300ml (10fl oz) each of single cream and milk
  • 2 sprigs rosemary and a couple of crushed bay leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and fairly thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced


  • a gratin dish
  • butter for greasing
  • parchment paper


Then pour into a buttered gratin dish, cover with parchment paper.


Bake in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes. Uncover and brown before serving in a hot oven or under the grill.


Anchor and Hope’s Queen of Puddings with Raspberries or Blackberries


Stewed plums, greengages, apricots or Bramley apples are also good.  Jonathon uses a big dish when making this recipe as individual ones don’t work in his opinion.  Brown bread may be used – it tastes a bit more virtuous!


Serves 8-10


  • 450g (1lb) fresh raspberries or blackberries or a mixture
  • 1.2l (2 pints) full fat milk
  • zest of 1/2 an orange and 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 200g (7oz) soft white breadcrumbs, preferably sour dough (Jonathon uses St. John bread)
  • 100g (3 1/2oz) ground almonds
  • 6 egg yolks



  • 6 egg whites
  • 250g (9oz) caster sugar


To Serve

pouring cream to serve


gratin dish


Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.


Put the milk in a heavy stainless steel saucepan; add the orange and lemon zest.  Add 1 vanilla pod, split and with the seeds scraped out well and included.  Bring to a simmer, add the bread chunks and ground almonds and allow to sit for 5 minutes – it should be the consistency of softish porridge.  Add a little more ground almonds if necessary.


Separate the eggs save the whites in a spotlessly clean bowl.  Whisk the egg yolks into the base and pour into a gratin dish.


Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until just set.    Allow to cool (can be cooked ahead and used next day but not ideal).  Spread the fruit on top.

(Raspberry jam is also good and can be used in the traditional way if no fresh fruit is available)


Whisk the egg whites in a spotlessly clean dry bowl, free of grease and any residue of detergent.  Whisk until stiff, fold in the caster sugar.  Dollop the meringue roughly over the top and spread so it covers the fruit to an even thickness – return to the oven and cook at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes approximately.  It should be crisp on the outside and be marshmallowy in the inside.   Serve with pouring cream.




As anyone who is coeliac, or who cooks for someone who is coeliac, will testify it is challenging producing really delicious, balanced meals. Now help is to hand in the form of an intensive half-day course led by Rosemary Kearney on Saturday 8th October from 2pm to 5pm at Ballymaloe Cookery School – phone 0214646785 to book or online


Rosie’s Farmshop was opened by Rosie Casey last June on her family farm at Poulmucka, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. She sells her own certified organic beef, pork and vegetables. Don’t miss the little teashop where Rosie bakes fresh scones daily and serves teas and Ponaire coffee. Contact 052 6137764


Euro-toques have opened their 21st Young Chef of the Year competition, in association with BIM and Failte Ireland. This competition is open to any chef under the age of 25 who has industry experience. They must be nominated by their head chef or a senior industry chef. The closing date for entries is Wednesday, 12th of October at 3pm. For all the details go to or phone 01 6779995/085 8520760 or email


 A new Urru Greengrocer will open on Saturday 7th October 2011 in Mc Swiney Quay, Bandon, Co. Cork. Nutritionist Lucy Hyland will deliver a “Shop Well, Cook Well, Eat Well – Be Well” nutrition program for Urru shoppers, workshops run at 7.00pm on Tuesday 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th October and cost €80 for all four. To book phone 023-8854731 / 086-8372138,



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