ArchiveMay 2012

‘Offaly’ Good!

I, of course love vegetables and fresh salads and could certainly live on them without feeling even remotely deprived. Having said that I am totally not a vegetarian – I love good meat and fish, however I am not interested and I certainly don’t feel comfortable eating either meat or fish that has been reared in cramped, inhumane conditions all for the sake of providing cheap food.

Every animal and bird deserves a noble end. If we kill an animal for food then we should at least do them the honour of using every possible bit, served up as a nourishing celebration in a restaurant or on the family table. Every scrap from the nose to the tail can be utterly delicious once we understand how to cook the cheaper cuts and the ‘variety meats’ as Americans delicately call offal. The latter is so inexpensive every butcher in the country has a surplus because so many people are squeamish about unusual bits of animal. The mere mention of offal has many people wrinkling up their noses in disgust. We don’t know what we’re missing. If you feel brave enough to try something other than the recognisable prime cuts – this is the very best time of the year, for lambs kidneys, sweet breads and liver so chat up your local butcher. Lambs are still young and milk fed so the offal is sweet, tender and mildly flavoured. Sweetbreads are even less familiar but soooo delicious. They can be either the thymus or pancreatic gland (maybe you don’t need to know that!).  Isaac’s Restaurant in Cork city has been serving them on their menu in recent weeks much to the delight of some Californian foodie friends. Canice Sharkey kindly shared his recipe with me.

Food costs continue to rise yet we still waste more food that would feed whole nations. Seeking out offal is one good way to live better for less.


Lambs liver with Crispy Sage Leaves


Serves 4-6


1 lb (450g) lambs liver

white flour seasoned with a little salt and freshly ground pepper

1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)

olive oil

12-16 fresh sage leaves


Cut the lambs liver into slices (1cm) thick.   Dip into seasoned flour and pat off the excess.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan, add the crushed garlic if using and cook for a few seconds and then add the slices of liver.   Sauté gently for 2-3 minutes on each side, remove while they are still slightly pink in the centre.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, add the sage leaves and allow to sizzle for a few seconds until they crisp.  Pour the oil, juices and sage leaves over the liver and serve immediately.


Isaac’s New Season Lamb Sweet Bread Salad


Serves 4


250g (9oz) lamb sweetbreads


1 small carrot

1 onion

2 celery stalks

25g (1oz) butter

bouquet garni

600ml (1 pint) homemade chicken stock (see recipe)


seasoned flour

beaten egg

fresh fine white breadcrumbs


Rustic Potatoes (see recipe)


Hazelnut Oil Dressing

3 tablespoons hazelnut oil

1 tablespoon wine vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


A selection of mixed green leaves


50gr roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts

1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley


To prepare sweetbreads.

Put the sweetbreads into a bowl, cover with cold water and let them soak for 3 hours. Discard the water and cut away any discoloured parts from the sweetbreads.


Dice the carrot, onion and celery and sweat them in butter; add the bouquet garni. Then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.


Poach the sweetbreads gently in the simmering stock for 3–5 minutes or until they feel firm to the touch. Cool, then remove the gelatinous membranes and any fatty bits carefully.  Press between 2 plates and top with a weight not more than 1kg (2lb) or they will be squashed.

When cooked leave to cool. Then slice length ways and toss in seasoned flour, beaten egg and fine breadcrumbs.


Next make the dressing.


Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl.


Next make the rustic potatoes (see recipe).


To Serve

Pan-fry the sweetbreads in olive oil and a little butter, till golden brown, very important that they are crispy and take on an almost nutty flavour.


Toss the salad in the dressing – just enough to make the leaves glisten.  Divide between the plates the potatoes and roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts. Place the sweetbreads on top (allow 3-5 pieces per person) and sprinkle with lots of freshly chopped parsley.


Rustic Potatoes with Rosemary


Serves 4 approximately as a main for 8 for a salad


900g (2lbs) old potatoes

3-4 tablespoons extra Virgin olive oil

rosemary sprigs

1-2 cloves chopped garlic, optional

sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Wash and peel the potatoes and dry well. Cut in 2cm (3/4 inch) cubes.  They need to be even otherwise they will cook unevenly.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan over a high heat, add a few sprigs of rosemary and the potatoes.  Toss to coat the potatoes. Cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes, tossing regularly, not too often or they won’t get golden brown and crusty.  Towards the end of the cooking time add the chopped garlic and toss with the potatoes but be very careful not to let it burn or it will ruin the whole dish (add more olive oil if necessary). Serve in a hot serving dish with a few fresh sprigs of rosemary sprinkled over the top.


Salad of Warm Sweetbreads with Potato Crisps, Anchovies and Wild Garlic


Sweetbreads are definitely a forgotten treat. The salty tang of the anchovies in this recipe gives another dimension and adds lots of complementary flavour without compromising the sweetness of the sweetbreads.


Serves 4


4 lamb or 2 veal sweetbreads

1 small carrot

1 onion

2 celery stalks

25g (1oz) butter

bouquet garni


600ml (1 pint) homemade chicken stock

a selection of salad leaves (little gem, oakleaf, sorrel, watercress and wild garlic leaves and flowers)

plain flour, well seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper

beaten organic egg

butter and oil for sautéing


For the Dressing

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1⁄4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and freshly ground pepper


To Serve

homemade potato crisps (see recipe)

4 anchovies

wild garlic flowers (or chive flowers depending on the season)


To prepare sweetbreads.

Put the sweetbreads into a bowl, cover with cold water and let them soak for 3 hours. Discard the water and cut away any discoloured parts from the sweetbreads.


Dice the carrot, onion and celery and sweat them in butter; add the bouquet garni. Then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.


Poach the sweetbreads gently in the simmering stock for 3–5 minutes or until they feel firm to the touch. Cool, then remove the gelatinous membranes and any fatty bits carefully.  Press between 2 plates and top with a weight not more than 1kg (2lb) or they will be squashed.


Prepare the salad.

Wash and dry the lettuces and salad leaves and whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.


Slice the sweetbreads into escalopes, dip in well-seasoned flour and then in beaten egg. Sauté in a little foaming butter and oil in a heavy pan until golden on both sides.

Toss the salad leaves in the dressing, divide between 4 plates and lay the hot sweetbreads and then potato crisps on top of the salad. Sprinkle with chopped anchovy and wild garlic flowers or chive flowers and serve immediately.


Homemade Potato Crisps or “Game Chips”


Making crisps at home is definitely worthwhile – a few potatoes produce

a ton of crisps and nothing you buy in any shop will be even half as delicious. A mandolin is well worth buying for making crisps – but mind your fingers! When these are served with roast pheasant they are called game chips.


Serves 4


450g (1lb) large, even-sized potatoes

extra virgin olive oil or beef dripping for deep-fat frying



Wash and peel the potatoes. For even-sized crisps, trim each potato with a swivel-top peeler until smooth. Slice them very finely, preferably with a mandolin. Soak in cold water to remove the excess starch (this will also prevent them from discolouring or sticking together). Drain off the water and dry well.


In a deep-fat fryer, heat the oil or dripping to 180ºC/350ºF. Drop in the dry potato slices a few at a time and fry until golden and completely crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat until they are all cooked.


If they are not to be served immediately, they may be stored in a tin box and reheated in a low oven just before serving.


Butterflied Lambs Kidneys with Rosemary


Serves 4 as a starter, 2-3 as a main course


In season: best in late spring early summer


8 lambs kidneys

8-16 tough rosemary sprigs, stripped of most of the leaves but leave the tip intact

salt and freshly ground pepper

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped


8 flat mushrooms

4 slices country bread


Remove the skin from the kidneys just before serving. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Cut from the base, open out, but keep attached at the top so they are butterflied. Remove all the core, skewer each kidney with one or if necessary two rosemary sprigs. Season both kidneys and mushrooms with salt and freshly ground pepper. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped rosemary. Grill or pan-grill the kidneys and mushrooms on both sides until cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Serve on toasted country bread.


Lambs Liver with Beetroot


Serves 4


Alistair Little introduced me to this delicious combination.


1 lb (450g) Spring lamb’s liver, cut in (1 cm) slices

15g butter

seasoned flour

1 lb (450g) cooked baby beetroot

16 fl ozs (475ml) homemade chicken stock

5 fl ozs (150ml) cream

salt and freshly ground pepper

a squeeze of fresh lemon juice



coarsely chopped parsley


Serves 4


Cut the beetroot into (5 mm) thick batons.  Toss the liver in well-seasoned flour. Melt the butter in a hot frying pan, and as soon as it foams add the liver in a single layer.  Seal quickly on one side then on the other. Transfer to a plate. Deglaze the pan with stock, boil for 1-2 minutes, add the cream and beetroot, and allow to bubble for a few minutes until the beetroot heats through. Taste and add a squeeze of freshly squeezed lemon juice if necessary. Return the liver to the pan and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately on hot plates.


Gluten Free Cooking with Rosemary Kearney Part 1 – half day course ideal for those on a gluten-restricted diet who face the dilemma of longing to taste ‘real’ food. You’ll learn about a whole range of tasty and easy-to-prepare dishes including gluten free sweet and savoury pastry, crackling salmon with coriander pesto and gluten free raspberry muffins. Suddenly cooking for coeliacs will become a pleasure not a chore. Lots of advice on alternative suitable ingredients and lots of baking tips will help take the mystery out of successful gluten-free cooking. Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday 9th June 2012 at 2:00pm to 5:00pm €115.00 – 021 4646785

London 2012

It’s difficult to see any signs of a recession in London, every restaurant seems to be full, and many now have a ‘no-booking’ policy so a convivial queue forms round the corner for a table in the hottest spots. On a recent fleeting visit, I ate in a little place called Duck Soup in Dean Street in Soho. Little plates that can be shared or polished off greedily alone. I love this way of eating, it’s an opportunity to taste a wide variety of dishes from the menu. The cod’s roe with scallions and marjoram was simple and moreish and I also loved the roast onions with Labne and my interpretation is below.

We crossed the road to Quo Vadis and ordered an indecent number of mouth-watering desserts all in the way of research.  I’m sort of over sticky toffee pudding but I have to say Jeremy Lee’s version is the best I’ve tasted, the sauce was dark and treacly, I suspect lots of muscavado sugar, it came with brown bread ice-cream, shortbread with marmalade and lemon curd was also ridiculously good as was a chocolate and coffee tart. The blood orange and Campari sorbet was so welcome after all that. I love both Jeremy and his food and if you are in London I suggest you try to get in, not easy because Quo Vadis has had so many great reviews but it’ll be worth the wait. Pissarro on Corney Road in Chiswick is also getting rave reviews and I also had a delicious lunch at Rochelle Canteen in Arnold Circus, Shoreditch. Breast of lamb with anchoïade and mussels with monks beard or agretti were delicious; the latter is the hottest vegetable in London – I’m going to try to grow it this year because I can’t seem to source it over here.

Round the corner in Shoreditch is Leila’s Café and Grocery Shop which continues to be one of my favourite haunts –simple, real and so chic.

This time I went in search of Press Coffee Roasters in Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. Just like Brooklyn, Shoreditch and Hackney are all about galvanise and graffiti and recycled furniture but there is so much happening. This little café roasts its own beans and has a short black board menu – sandwiches, a couple of cakes, date and pistachio biscuits and few other good things.

The coffee is fantastically good, worth the search alone – a few doors down the road is a shop called Labor and Wait which stocks all the classic kitchen equipment you thought had disappeared, plus traditional Guernsey jerseys, antique French flour sacks, enamel pie dishes…


Look out for Food Lovers Guide to London by Jenny Linford.


Campari and Blood Orange Sorbet


Serves 10 approx


1 1/4 pints (700 mls) of blood orange juice

2 fl oz (50ml) Campari

12 ozs (350g) castor sugar



mint leaves

1-2 blood oranges


Mix the orange juice and Campari with the sugar, and Campari stir to dissolve.

Taste add more sugar if necessary


Make the sorbet in one of the following ways:

Pour into the drum of an ice-cream maker or sorbetiere and freeze for 20-25 minutes.  Scoop out and serve immediately or store in a covered bowl in the freezer until needed.


Pour the juice into a stainless steel or plastic container and put into the freezer or the freezing compartment of a refrigerator.  After about 4 or 5 hours when the sorbet is semi-frozen, remove from the freezer and whisk until smooth; then return to the freezer.  Whisk again when almost frozen and fold in one stiffly- beaten egg white.  Keep in the freezer until needed.


If you have a food processor simply freeze the sorbet completely in a stainless steel or plastic bowl, then break into large pieces and whizz up in the food processor for a few seconds.  Add one slightly-beaten egg white, whizz again for another few seconds, then return to the bowl and freeze again until needed.  Chill the serving plates or bowls.


To Serve

Segment the oranges for garnish.  Scoop out the sorbet and serve in chilled bowls or plates.   Garnish with blood orange segments and fresh mint leaves.


Roast Onions or Banana Shallots with Labne Cheese and Herbs


Serves 6 as a starter


8 onions or banana shallots

Labne (see recipe)

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves

some thyme leaves and thyme flowers

sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

rocket or watercress leaves sourdough


6 slices of grilled bread

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6. Roast the unpeeled onions or shallots until soft. This can take anything from 30 to 45 minutes depending on size.


To serve, split each soft onion lengthwise and arrange two halves on each plate, skins still attached. Put a blob of Labne on top of each. Scatter with coarsely chopped herbs and thyme flowers. Serve with grilled bread.


Soft Yoghurt Cheese – Labne


This is so easy and wonderfully impressive, use whole-milk yoghurt to make a creamier cheese.

Line a strainer with a double thickness of cheesecloth. Place it over a bowl. Pour in the yoghurt. Tie the four corners of the cheese cloth to make a loose bundle.

Suspend the bag of yogurt over a bowl to allow it to drip for 8 hours. Remove the cheesecloth.  Refrigerate until needed in a covered plastic container.   There are lots of ways both sweet and savoury to use Labne, it’s great with Summer berries or a compote of fruit or add some fresh herbs to make your very own homemade cheese.


Breast of Lamb with Anchoïade


A simple way to turn a very cheap piece of meat into something delicious.


Makes 12–16


900g (2lb) lap of lamb or trimmings from the streaky end of a rack of lamb

plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper

organic egg, well whisked

fresh white breadcrumbs




180g (4 3/4oz) of tinned anchovies drained of any excess oil

3 good sized cloves of garlic

50ml (2 fl oz) good quality red wine vinegar

750ml (1 pint 7floz) of vegetable oil

water for thinning


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/ gas mark 4.


Cut the lamb into pieces about 7.5cm (3 inch) wide and 10cm (4 inch) long (size isn’t crucial here, but they shrink as they cook so don’t cut them too small). Dip each piece in well-seasoned flour, then in beaten egg and finally into breadcrumbs. Transfer to a roasting tin and cook in a single layer for 30–45 minutes, depending on size. They should be crisp and golden. Turn once or twice during cooking so they crisp up evenly on each side.


Meanwhile make the anchoïade.


Put the anchovies, garlic and vinegar into a food processor, puree to a smooth paste.

Very slowly start to add the vegetable oil in a slow stream as though you were making a mayonnaise. (The anchovies act as an emulsifier in the same way as egg yolks in mayonnaise and as a protein, will emulsify the oil). Be careful and keep a close eye as the anchoïade starts to thicken. If you feel it becomes too thick, add a little water. This will do two things; it will thin the anchoïade, and will also stabilise the emulsion too which will stop it from splitting.

Serve the lamb on hot plates with a few rocket leaves and a bowl of anchoïade.


Shortbread with Lemon Curd and Seville Orange Marmalade


Makes 40 biscuits approx.


This is my interpretation of Jeremy Lee’s delicious pudding.


8 ozs (225g) soft butter

4 ozs (110g) castor sugar

10 ozs (275g) self-raising flour

grated rind of one lemon or orange


1 pot Seville orange marmalade

1 pot homemade lemon curd

8oz mascarpone

4fl oz whipped cream

1 tablespoon caster sugar or more to taste


First make the biscuits, cream the butter, add in the castor sugar, sifted flour and grated lemon or orange rind and mix just until it all comes together. Alternatively, place all four ingredients in the bowl of a food mixer and mix slowly until all the ingredients come together. At this stage the dough can either be used right away or put in the deep freeze or kept in the fridge for up to a week.


When required, bring up to room temperature and form into balls the size of a large walnut. Flatten them out onto a baking sheet using the back of a fork dipped in cold water. Allow plenty of room for expansion.


Bake in a preheated oven – 180°C/350°F/regulo 4 for 10 minutes approx. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Cool on a wire rack.


To assemble

Mix the mascarpone with the cream and a little sugar to taste. Put the biscuits on a dessert plate, top with a blob of mascarpone and a generous spoonful of Seville orange marmalade, sandwich with another biscuit. Top that with a blob of mascarpone then drizzle with homemade lemon curd and add another biscuit to complete the double decker. Repeat with the others. Jeremy doesn’t go in for lots of folderdolls, but you could garnish them with a few sprigs of sweet cicely if you like – either way it’s a delicious combination.


If you have been bitten by the GIY (Grow it Yourself) bug, there’s no time to waste. I’ve been leafing through the Brown Envelope Seed Catalogue of organic seeds, it’s unbearably tempting. Madeline McKeever and her team deservedly won the prestigious Belling  West Cork Artisan Food Awards Newcomer Award last year for her contribution. The seeds are organic – lots of heirloom too.

Afternoon Tea and Cakes course at Ballymaloe Cookery School – Learn how to bake several irresistible cakes, Auntie Florence’s crumpets and the secret of the Ballymaloe sandwich chest. Wednesday 23rd May 1:00pm to 5:00pm – lunch included. 021 4646785 to book.

Don’t miss the South African Braai at the Grain Store on Sunday 27th May, 5.00pm. – Ted Berner of Wildside catering will cook many good things on the barbeque while Niels Verburg, of Luddite Wines, Bot River and Walker Bay, South Africa will give a tutored tasting of his award winning wines, and olive oil. There will be a glass of South African sparkling wine on arrival and local musicians will entertain us as we taste and sip. Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry, Co. Cork, Ireland Tel: 021 4652531

Sheridan’s Cheesemongers are hosting the third ‘Irish Food Festival’ at Virginia Road Station in North County Meath on Sunday 27th May at 10am to 6pm. Over sixty of the best food producers in Ireland will take part. There will also be workshops for kids and adults, fair-games, kid’s entertainment and live music. This year there will also be a Slow Food youth area; focusing on school and third level students. Contact Kevin or Frank 0469245110.

Ginger Pig

There’s a butcher shop in Moxon Street in London called The Ginger Pig, it’s one of five branches which have opened in the greater London area since 2007.

Like many of the new generation of butcher shops they only sell meat from rare and traditional breeds, grass-fed, naturally reared, dry aged and well hung.

The meat costs considerably more than the perfectly trimmed meat in the local supermarket but customers for the Ginger Pig are for looking for a different thing. They are the growing number of people who want to eat less but better meat and are prepared to pay for it even in a recession. They are also seeking out the cheapest cuts and really enjoy cooking them in the time honoured way, some slowly but others like bavette very fast, this cut is the new ‘lamb shank’ and is featured on virtually every cool menu in London – sometimes called onglet. It is usually marinated, then pan grilled very fast and cut across the grain while still rare and juicy, it has a fantastically beefy taste so often missing from the supposedly choice cuts like fillet or tenderloin.


In New York, new butcher shops continue to open, on my last visit I popped into Dickerson’s Butcher Shop in Chelsea Market, Meat Hook and Marlow and Daughters in Brooklyn, the same ethos run through them all, humanely raised, pasture fed, free range meat


The butchers also have the skills to make p̢t̩, terrines, pies, rillettes, salumi so they can use every single scrap of the animal which every butcher knows is virtually the difference between profit and loss Рthe jam on the sandwich.


Beef dripping and lard are sold proudly and believe me lard and not just any old lard is the next big thing but the pigs must be the traditional breeds, Red Duroc, Gloucester Old Spot, Tamworth and Saddleback with a decent layer of good nourishing fat.


Most of these butcher shops also offer butchery classes all of which are oversubscribed. They also sell free range organic chickens, reared for at least seventy five days and often over a hundred days depending on the breed. No dodgy chicken fillets of no fixed abode tossed in sweet and sour sauce or patent spices heightened with flavor enhancers. In Ireland we can produce outstanding meat but we need to separate the wheat from the chaff, tell the story and have the courage to charge more.


On top of the counter of the Ginger Pig in Moxon Street there were three ribs of beef; one dry aged and hung for 35 to 40 days, a second for 30 days and the third for 27 to 28 days.

Each had a dark crust on the cut side as well-aged meat naturally has and Ginger Pig customers understand and are happy to pay extra for because of the flavor.

The beef comes from Tim’s own farm in Yorkshire, Longhorn, Shorthorn and Belted Galloway.


Tim Wilson and others like him are leading us ‘back to the future’ and it’s no bad thing.


Here are three recipes taken from the Ginger Pig Meat Book by Tim Wilson and Fran Warde, published by Octopus Books UK.



Ginger Pig Hungarian Pork Goulash


It’s important to add some belly of pork to this dish, as the fat is needed to add moisture and richness to the sauce.


Serves 6


Takes 3 hours


1 tbsp olive oil

1.25kg (2lb 12oz) shoulder of pork, diced

300g (10½oz) belly of pork, skinned and diced

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

½ tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp caraway seeds

freshly ground black pepper

sea salt

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

320g jar peeled, roast peppers

1 bunch of chives, snipped

4 tbsp soured cream


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof

pan and fry the meat until brown on all sides, then add the onion and garlic and sauté

for 3 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, caraway and seasoning, mix well and cook for a

further 4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and top up with just enough water to cover the

meat. Bring to a boil then place in the oven to cook for 2 hours.

Drain the jar of peppers, cut them into thin strips and add to the goulash, stir through

and cook for a further 30 minutes. Add the chives and serve the goulash topped with

soured cream and bulgur wheat or rice.


Ginger Pig Rillettes of Pork


In the past a whole pig would be killed by a smallholding and all the meat was butchered, cooked or cured. Rillettes are a great way of using some of the belly. Compressed into a jar, then covered and sealed with hard fat, they will keep for months. Before refrigeration, this was a very popular method of preserving part of the pig.


Serves 4–6


Takes 5 hours


50g (1¾oz) pork or goose fat

1kg (2lb 4oz) skinless pork belly, cut into cubes

300ml (½ pint) white wine

2 garlic cloves

2 sprigs of thyme

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 onion, chopped


Melt the fat in a heavy-based pan, add the pork and cook over a very low heat for 15

minutes; do not allow the meat to brown. Drain off and reserve the excess fat. Add the

wine, garlic, thyme, seasoning and onion to the pan, cover and simmer very gently for

4½ hours, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if needed. Cool a little, then mash with a fork, breaking up all the meat (if you prefer a smoother result, place in a food processor). Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon and compress very tightly into an earthenware or glass pot, which has been scrupulously cleaned with boiling water. Melt the reserved fat and pour it over the top, completely sealing the meat. This is best left to improve for at least a week and can be kept for up to 6 months if it is well sealed with fat and contains no air pockets. Enjoy with crusty bread, piquant cornichons and crunchy lettuce.


Ginger Pig Sausage Roll


A real, good British sausage roll is hard to find so we decided to make our own. We sell an awful lot at lunchtime.


Makes 8


Takes 2 hours, plus chilling

Place the minced pork and pork fat in a bowl and mix together, then add the

breadcrumbs, 125ml (4fl oz) water, the herbs and seasoning. Mix with your hands until

evenly blended. Set aside. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Melt 50g (1¾oz) of the butter and mix with the salt, vinegar and 230ml (8fl oz) ice-cold water. Add to the flour and mix to a smooth dough. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.

Place the remaining butter between two sheets of Clingfilm and roll out to the thickness of your finger. Roll out the pastry to a rectangle just over twice the size of the butter. Place the butter in the middle and wrap by making an envelope with the pastry, totally encasing it. Roll out again to a rectangle the same size as it was before the butter was added, then fold 3 times, like a letter. Roll out once more, turn 90 degrees and fold 3 times again. Wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Repeat the rolling and folding four more times, adding a light dusting of flour each time, and chilling after each repetition. (In total, the process should be performed five times.) Leave to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roll the pastry out to approximately

41x26cm (16x10in). Work the sausage meat into an even, long roll and place along the

length of the pastry. Brush the exposed pastry with egg, then roll over and crimp the

join together with a fork. Cut into 4 sausage rolls. Brush the outside with egg, place on a

baking sheet and cook for 50 minutes.



Hot Tips


The Art of Running A Restaurant – a new class at the Good Things Café & Cookery School, Durrus, Co. Cork,– 6 days of hands-on training in a restaurant environment. Monday 11th to Saturday 16th June, 2012. Cost: €1,500 including accommodation, knives and personalised chef’s jackets. To book, contact Carmel Somers Tel: 00 353 27 61426 Email:


Riesling is the new Chardonnay!  On Thursday 17th May there’s a one-off opportunity to meet three famous Riesling winemakers: Tim Adams – Clare Valley, Australia, Carl Ehrhard, Rheingau, Germany and Severine Schlumberger, Alsace, France at Ballymaloe House. The session will be chaired by wine writer John Wilson.

After the wine-tasting, enjoy a Slow Food Summer Plate from local food producers. This is priced separately from the wine-tasting and all proceeds will go to East Cork Slow Food Educational Project. Phone 021 4652531 to book.


A great little find in Dublin – Just popped in to a cute little café called Brother Hubbard at 153 Capel Street last week. Garrett Fitzgerald and Jim Boland opened only at the end March.  They make everything themselves even their own homemade orange and lemon barley water and raspberry, apple and rose lemonades. Beautiful quality cakes and biscuits, tempting lunch time salads and sandwiches, a short menu with carefully chosen produce. Lino Olivieri supplies the extra virgin olive oil, teas from Wall Keogh, direct trade coffee from 3SE, Dan Hegarty’s Farmhouse Cheddar…Contact 01-441 11 12


I love the sound of seagulls calling, squalling, squabbling and chasing each other for fun or a wriggly fish – reminds me of holidays in Tramore as a tiny child, ice-cream cornets, sand buckets, little fishing nets, picnics by the Metal Man…

I’m in Cornwall for a few days, staying in an enchanting little fishing village called Mousehole, which we quickly learned is pronounced ‘ Mousel’ after we asked directions to Mouse Hole and got the same sort of amused looks that tourists to these parts get when they ask for cob (Cobh) or Yoo-gal (Youghal).

Cornwall is an enchanting place, I love any excuse to meander through the narrow lanes or lie on the beaches or potter through the pretty villages.

This time we were on a mission – to christen our part Cornish grandson, now a feisty two year old. The christening of a spirited two year old is no mean feat at the best of time so much to our immense relief, the ceremony went off almost without incident apart from three distinctly audible ‘NOs’ during the sprinkling of water from St Levan’s Well ‘in the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost’.

After the ceremony we sipped a little fizz to celebrate and then drove down the hill to Porth Curno beach, one of many truly beautiful beaches in Cornwall – rock pools, golden sand, clear blue sea with little waves, lots of seashells to decorate sandcastles.

I decided to walk along the National Trust path on the cliff top to Penberth, a little secluded cove where a celebration lunch awaited.

Cornwall is still fiercely nationalistic, the Cornish pasty is alive and well and much loved. Cafés and tea shops and farm shops vie with each other to serve the best cream teas. Rodda’s clotted cream with its thick crust on top is to die for and in Cornwall is eaten at every excuse, spread on toast underneath marmalade or slathered on saffron bread and of-course as part of the famous cream teas.

Bridget Hugh-Jones Jasper’s paternal Grandmother makes the best Bakewell tart I have ever tasted; she served it warm, of-course with clotted cream – divine. She sweetly gave me the recipe which I share with you. Her chocolate and ginger bombe, scattered with crunchy praline was the pièce de résistance of the christening luncheon.

This is one the loveliest times of the year to visit Cornwall.  The countryside is beautiful; the Maybush is already in flower, lots of wild garlic, bluebells, raggedy robin and gorse in full bloom, but the thousands of summer visitors have not yet descended. Mousehole, a few miles from Penzance is one of the most enchanting fishing villages, a labyrinth of narrow laneways and passages, higgledy-piggeldy houses, with casement and dormer windows, half slated, white washed walls with little gardens full of geraniums and pink valerians and daisies growing out of the crevices. Lots of B&Bs, cafés, galleries, English pubs, fish and chippers, ice-cream parlours and gift shops to explore. We stayed in the Coastguard Hotel overlooking the bay, a new acquisition of Charles Inken and his team who own Gurnards’ Head, a pub with rooms just twelve miles away on the other side of the peninsula. We had a fantastically good dinner there one evening.  One of the highlights was vichyssoise of alexanders with horseradish cream and pea-shoots and mackerel with new seasons asparagus, tri-cornered leek (allium triquetrum) and pennywort (umbilicus rupestris).  When I saw the blackboard outside which says ‘Can you forage or grow for us?’ I knew I was on the right track. The head chef Bruce Rennie and his team make full use of local wild food in season.

Cornwall is still looked on as a disadvantaged area but as in other challenged areas people are immensely creative and entrepreneurial.

As you drive through the country side, many farms and cottages have a little stand outside with an honesty box selling plants, cut flowers, jam and preserves or home baking. I bought a lovely little bunch of exquisitely scented violets for fifty pence, pinned them to my lapel for the christening and sprinkled them into the green salad  later – delicious, waste not want not!


Bruce Rennie of Gurnards’ Pub Grilled Mackerel with English Asparagus, Three Cornered Leek and Pennywort


Serves 6


6 fresh mackerel fillets, pin-bones removed

18 spears asparagus, prepped


extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon

stems and flowers of three cornered leek (allium triquetrum)

pennywort leaves (umbilicus rupestris), washed



Season each side of the mackerel with salt and place on a lightly oiled tray skin side up.

Drizzle the top of the fish with a little olive oil and place under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes until the fish is just cooked and the skin has started to get crisp. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Meanwhile, cook the asparagus in boiling salted water until just tender.

Remove the asparagus from the water and divide between 6 plates.

Place the mackerel on top of the asparagus. Chop the three cornered leek (allium triquetrum) stalks into small batons and dress the plates with these, the flowers and the pennywort leaves (umbilicus rupestris),

Drizzle the mackerel cooking juices around the plate and serve immediately


Bridget Hugh-Jones’ Bakewell Tart


Serves 8


75g (3oz) butter

175g (6oz) plain white flour

30g (1 ¼ oz) caster sugar

1 beaten egg with a couple of tablespoons water mixed (you won’t need all the water)


4 to 6 tablespoons of homemade raspberry jam

3 eggs

the weight of 3 eggs in caster sugar, butter, ground almonds

a few drops of almond extract



25g – 35g (1 – 1 ½ oz) flaked almonds to scatter over the top


9 inch tart tin, preferably with removable base.


First make the pastry.  Sieve the flour and the sugar into a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour, rub in with the fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg with 2 teaspoons of cold water and add enough to bind the mixture. But do not make the pastry too wet – it should come away cleanly from the bowl. Flatten into a round and wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll out thinly on a lightly floured worktop and use it to line a 9 inch (23cm) tart tin. Line with kitchen or greaseproof paper and fill to the top with dried beans. Rest for 15 minutes in the fridge.


Line the tart tin with short crust pastry and spread the base generously with raspberry jam.  Cream the butter, add the caster sugar and continue to beat until soft and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs one at a time and then stir in the ground almonds and a few drops of almond extract. Spread this mixture evenly over the jam in the tart tin. Sprinkle the top with flaked almonds and bake in pre-heated oven at 180°C/350°F/Mark 4 for about 40 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then remove to a wire rack and serve with preferably Cornish clotted cream or softly whipped cream.



Bridget Hugh-Jones Chocolate and Ginger Bombe


Serves 10 – 12



1 jar of ginger conserve

450ml (16 fl oz) double cream

50g (2oz) dark chocolate




50g (2oz) caster sugar

50g (2oz) flaked almonds


Chocolate Icing


100ml (3 ½ fl oz) double cream

100g (4oz) dark chocolate


2 lt Pudding bowl and plastic bag


Cut open a large plastic food bag and use it to line the pudding basin.

Tip a jar of ginger conserve into a bowl and stir to break it up a bit, then lightly whip the cream and chop 50g (2oz) dark chocolate, gently fold both into the ginger conserve until the mixture is evenly flecked.  Tip into the lined bowl and smooth over the top.  Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours, overnight is better.

Put the caster sugar into a heavy bottomed sauce pan and cook on a gentle heat without stirring until it caramelises to the colour of a conker.  Remove from heat and quickly stir in the flaked almonds.  Tip out onto a lightly oiled baking tray or a piece of foil. Leave to cool. When cold and set, break the almond caramel into unevenly sized small pieces with a rolling pin.


Pour 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) double cream into a small sauce pan over gentle heat, add 100g (4oz) dark chocolate broken into pieces, stir gently until the chocolate has melted.  Then leave to cool until thickened to a spreading consistency.


When the ice-cream bombe is frozen, turn onto a chilled plate and quickly spread  the chocolate icing over the top and sides as evenly as possible – it will set as soon as it touches the ice cream. Scatter the almond praline over the bombe and press lightly to make it stick on then return to the freezer until needed.  Remove to the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving otherwise it will be difficult to slice.


Dust with a little icing sugar and serve in thick wedges.


Hot Tips
Learn how to make your own cheese. Spend the day on Corleggy Farm, Belturbet, Co Cavan. with Silke Cropp on Sunday 6th May 2012.  Learn the art of cheese-making and take home your very own kilo of cow’s milk cheese. Full day including lunch €150 or €250 for two people. Contact Silke at to book.

A Slow Food Celebration of Local Food at Marco’s Pizzeria, Midleton on Tuesday 22nd May at 7.30pm. Meet local food producers, taste their produce, hear their story. Dinner €35.00. To book phone Marco and Caoimhe Brouwers – 021 463 30 30

All proceeds to the East Cork Slow Food Educational Project.


Date for your diary – Coffee Morning at Ballymaloe Cookery School in in Aid of Self Help Africa on Friday 25th May 2012 – hosted by Darina Allen 021 4646785.


Wine Event at Ballymaloe House on Thursday 17th May – Riesling wine presentation with three winemakers from Riesling growing regions of the world – Tim Adams – Clare Valley, Australia, Carl Ehrhard, Rheingau, Germany and Severine Schlumberger, Alsace, France and chaired by wine writer John Wilson. €25.00. Stay on after the wine-tasting to enjoy a Slow Food Summer Plate from local food producers at €35.00 a head. This is priced separately from the wine-tasting and all proceeds from this will go to the Slow Food East Cork Education Project. Phone 021 4652531 to book.


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