ArchiveJune 2015

Family Reunion Weekend

Srikhand - yogurt cheese 04-09

 

Nowadays, in our crazily busy lives, years can flash by in a hectic blur. Suddenly we realize that we haven’t seen or sometimes heard from favourite cousins or even aunts and uncles for years. This came home to me recently when one of my grandsons went to boarding school and found himself sharing a room with a cousin whom he had never met – now they are firm friends. This was a wakeup call – could some of the younger generation pass each other in the street without realizing they were related?

So a few weekends ago, we had a wonderful Family Reunion Weekend – I invited my immediate family of course siblings + spouses and their children, uncles, aunts,  1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins and some as the saying goes ‘once removed’. We had a ‘whale of a time’.

People started to arrive on Saturday from as far away as Bermuda and Dubai and of course from all over Ireland and the UK.  We’d arranged for a Kids tea for the under 10’s followed by a treasure hunt around the garden. We gave everyone a name badge so they could identify each other or at least attempt to at a glance – at least 25% of people at the reception didn’t know each other.

The Welcome Reception was lively and convivial, when we went in to dinner, everyone was instructed by ‘bossy me’ to sit beside someone they’d never met before or at least hadn’t seen for ages.  It was so fun, not an awkward second.

A few weeks earlier we’d asked people to rummage round in boxes in the attic for old  photos, many responded and so we had an intriguing collection pinned up on a long noticeboard in the hallway. We had a stack of pencils so people could identify their younger selves or siblings, relatives or neighbours. The party also prompted several families to speed up work on the Family Tree, something we tend to be totally disinterested in until we get a bit older. My children were intrigued to learn about my O’Connell and Tynan ancestors and the colourful clan they have descended from. People chatted and chatted until after midnight, the youngsters bonded and went to the local. On Sunday morning, there was an option to see our tiny Jersey herd being milked, feed the calves and pigs, feed the hens, collect the eggs….

From 10am onwards we had a breakfast brunch, not a rasher or a cornflake in sight but lots of homemade muesli and granola, a compote of new seasons rhubarb, bowls of steaming Macroom oatmeal with soft brown sugar and Jersey cream, Labneh with saffron and pistachio, thick unctuous yoghurt and honey, homemade brown soda and Spotted Dog as well as brown yeast bread and crusty sour dough loaves, Jersey butter and lots of homemade jams, marmalade and local honey. Then there was a beautiful board of  Irish farmhouse cheeses, a dish of freshly pulled radishes from the garden and some artisan meats – a simple feast not ‘a fry’ in sight but our second son in law Philip cooked breakfast pizzas in the wood-burning oven with those lovely fresh eggs the children had collected earlier.

After breakfast a nature hunt for the children and a walk through the farm and garden for the grownups or an opportunity to see Clancy making cheese. Then after a spot of visiting we all went for a walk on Shanagarry strand.  The children built sand castles on the beach, decorated them with shells and frolicked in the sea in the shallow waves, others flew kites in the breeze. By late afternoon after copious cups of tea and scones, everyone was saying reluctant goodbyes and resolving to keep in touch. Why not plan a family get together soon, here are some of the dishes we enjoyed together.


Hot Tips

Book of the Week

Vegetarian Cooking Step by Step by Lena Tritto has just landed on my desk. This book is ideal for novice cooks who want to see recipes visually laid out by the step-by-step techniques for every stage of preparation and will be especially useful to students about to embark on their first tentative attempts at cooking away from home. It explains the techniques for using tofu, seitan, tempeh and many other ingredients that may be unfamiliar. As well as being an eminent cookery teacher Lena Tritto is a graduate in Chinese medicine from Tao School in Bologna.  Published by Grub Street.

 

The excellent and much loved Midleton Country Market is moving to Market Green. Every Friday from 9am-3pm you will find lots of homemade breads, cakes, fresh eggs, jams……

 

Middle Eastern Bites – You will find Marguerite McQuaid at the Wilton Farmers Market every Tuesday from 10am-3pm. Her stall is choc a bloc with tempting Middle Eastern food – from falafal to red peper ajvar , flatbreads,  labneh, lovage and raspberry cordial, rhubarb and ginger cordial….all made with fresh herbs,  freshly ground spices…..www.serendipish.ie

 

Spotted Dog

During my childhood, many people in the country were poor, and their daily staple would have been wholemeal bread. White flour was more expensive than brown so white soda bread was considered to be more luxurious – a treat for special occasions. At times of the year when work was harder, such as at harvest or threshing, or maybe on a Sunday when visitors were expected, the woman of the house would add a bit of sugar and a fistful of dried fruit and an egg to the white bread to make it a bit more special. Nowadays, this does not seem such a big deal but back then any money that the woman of the house got from selling her eggs was considered to be her ‘pin money,’ used for little luxuries such as hatpins. Putting an egg into the bread was one egg less that she could sell, so it actually represented much more than it would for us today. This bread was called Spotted Dog, and when it was still warm, she’d wrap it in a tea towel and bring it out to the fields with hot sweetened tea in whiskey bottles wrapped in newspaper or cloth to insulate them. The farm workers would put down their tools and sit with their backs to the haystacks. She’d cut the bread into thick slices and slather on yellow country butter. My memories of sitting down with them are still really vivid. We sometimes make ‘spotted puppies’ which are the same bread,

shaped into 6 rolls and baked for 20minutes.

 

Makes 1 loaf

 

450g (1lb/4 cups) plain white flour, preferably unbleached

1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 level teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

75g (3oz) sultanas (or more if you’d like)

1 organic egg

about 350 – 425ml (12-14fl oz/1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups) buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

 

In a large mixing bowl, sieve in the flour and bicarbonate of soda; then add the salt, sugar and sultanas. Mix well by lifting the flour and fruit up in to your hands and then letting them fall back into the bowl through your fingers. This adds more air and therefore more lightness to your finished bread. Now make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Break the egg into the base of a measuring jug and add the buttermilk to the 425ml (14fl oz/1 3/4 cup) line (the egg is part of the liquid measurement). Pour most of this milk and egg mixture into the flour.

 

Using one hand with the fingers open and stiff, mix in a full circle drawing in the flour mixture from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, but not too wet and sticky.

 

The trick with Spotted Dog like all soda breads, is not to over mix the dough. Mix it as quickly and gently as possible, thus keeping it light and airy. When the dough all comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands. With floured fingers, roll the dough lightly for a few seconds –

just enough to tidy it up. Then pat the dough into a round about 6cm (2 1/2 inches) deep. Transfer to a baking tray dusted lightly with flour. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross on it, letting the cuts go over the sides of the bread. Prick with knife at the four triangles. Put into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Cook for 35-40 minutes. If you are in doubt about the bread being cooked, tap the bottom: if it is cooked it will sound hollow. This bread is cooked at a lower temperature than soda bread because the egg browns faster at a

higher heat.

 

Serve freshly baked, cut into thick slices and smeared with butter and jam. Spotted Dog is also really good eaten with Cheddar cheese.

 

Srikhand

 

Serves 8-10

 

2kg (4 1/2lb) thick homemade yoghurt (see recipe) or Greek yoghurt

generous pinch of saffron strands

1 tablespoon warm water

1/4 teaspoon roughly crushed green cardamom seeds

225g (8oz/1 cup) caster sugar

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) coarsely chopped pistachio nuts

 

muslin

 

Put a square of muslin into a bowl.  Pour in the yoghurt, tie the ends and allow to drip overnight (save the whey to make soda bread).  Transfer the dripped yoghurt into a clean bowl.  Infuse the saffron in a tablespoon of warm water in a small bowl.  Stir into every last drop into the yoghurt.  Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods.  Crush lightly, add to the yoghurt with the caster sugar, mix well.  Turn into a serving dish.  Chill.  Sprinkle the top with roughly chopped pistachio nuts and serve.  Delicious on it’s own but also memorable with Summer berries.

 

 

Pea and Coriander Soup

 

This utterly delicious soup has a perky zing with the addition of fresh chilli.

 

Serves 6 approximately

 

1lb (450g/4 cups) peas (good quality frozen are fine)

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

5 ozs (150g/1 cup) onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 1/2 pints (900ml/3 3/4cups) home-made chicken stock

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) approx. chopped fresh coriander

salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

 

Garnish

softly whipped cream

fresh coriander leaves

 

Bring the chicken stock to the boil.

 

Melt the butter on a gentle heat add the onion, garlic and chilli.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and sweat for 3-4 minutes.  Add the peas and cover with the hot stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-8 minutes.  Add the coriander and liquidise.  Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar, which enhances the flavour even further.  Serve with a swirl of softly whipped cream and a few fresh coriander leaves sprinkled over the top.

 

 

A Selection of Devilled Eggs

 

Devilled eggs are having their moment in the spotlight once again. The Green Table in Chelsea Market in New York served a selection of 4 on their lunch menu as the star item

 

 

Makes 8

 

 

4 free range eggs

2-3 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped Chives

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

 

Lower the eggs gently into boiling salted water, bring the water back to the boil and hard boil the eggs for 10 minutes in boiling water, drain and put immediately into a bowl of cold water.  (Eggs with a black ring around the yolk have been overcooked). When cold, shell, slice in half lengthways. Sieve the yolks, mix the sieved egg yolk with mayonnaise, add chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste. Fill into a piping bag and pipe into the whites. Garnish with a sprig of parsley or chervil and serve on a bed of wild watercress leaves.

 

 

Country Relish Eggs

 

Makes 8 halves

 

As above, add 1 tablespoon of sieved Ballymaloe Country Relish to the sieved egg yolk with the mayonnaise. Season well taste for seasoning.

Decorate with a sliver of gherkin and a cheeky chive.

 

Kalamata Eggs

 

Makes 8 halves

 

As above and add 4 black Kalamata olives stoned and finely chopped to the sieved egg. Continue as above. Decorate with a sliver olive and a sprig of chervil.

 

Anchovy Eggs

 

Makes 8 halves

 

As above – add 2 – 4 finely mashed anchovies and 2 teaspoons of finely chopped parsley to sieved yolk and proceed as above. Garnish with a sprig of fennel and a fennel flower if available.

 

 

 

Wasabi Eggs

 

Makes 8 halves

 

Add ½ teaspoon of wasabi puree to the sieved egg yolk with the mayonnaise, taste and correct the seasoning. Garnish with wild garlic or chive flowers in season.

 

To Serve

 

Choose rectangular plates if available. Arrange a few wild watercress leaves on the plate and top with four devilled eggs of different flavours. Garnish each and serve with brown yeast bread.

 

 

 

Roast Rhubarb

VVC

 

900g (2lb) rhubarb

350g (12oz/1 1/2 cups) sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400F/Gas Mark 6.

 

Slice the rhubarb into 2 1/2cm (1 inch) pieces and place in a medium size oven proof dish.  Scatter the sugar over the rhubarb and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes approximately depending on size, until the rhubarb is just tender.

 

 

 

Honey & Co.

Honey & Co

 

We’ve christened Itamar and Sarit from Honey & Co, because they are just that. We’ve had them here at Ballymaloe Cookery School all weekend. On Saturday they taught two classes and charmed the audience with their easy manner and utterly delicious food. They cooked many of the favourite Middle Eastern dishes from Honey & Co, their tiny restaurant in Warren Street in Fitzrovia. It seats just 24 people and snugly at that but serves about 150 who come for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8.00am-10.30pm.

Sarit Packer has been cooking and baking since she was five, trained at Butlers Wharf and at the Orrery under Chris Galvin, where she learned, amongst other things, to make Pâte de fruits, which up to then was her sole ambition in life. In her spare time she sleeps. Itamar Srulovich born and raised in Jerusalem. Cooking since the  age of five and leaving a great mess  in the kitchen ever since, he trained on the job in various places in Tel-Aviv. He prefers eating to cooking and sleeping to both, he is very happily married to Sarit.

They serve a lot of iced tea and homemade lemonades at Honey & Co. This orange blossom one is a particular favourite. Sarit tells us that “what we’re about is homemade flavours” and it just struck me that so many of the restaurants that people love nowadays in particular in London and New York are about homemade flavours. There’s of course are Middle Eastern and there are some dishes that they simply can’t take off the menu,  falafel and their cherry pistachio cake.

Spices, dried mint, tahini and sumac, zaltar and pomegranate molasses are very important in Middle Eastern food but we can get all these ingredients fairly easily now both in ethnic shops, supermarkets and of course mail order. Ottolenghi has a brilliant mail order service http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/.

Mableb was a new ingredient for me, it’s made from ground up cherry stones and gives a bitter almon flavour to cakes and cookies.  It too is available by mail order. It’s a bountiful time in the farm and in the gardens. Itamar and Sarit were so excited by the quality of the beautiful fresh produce. We had lots of fresh peas, courgettes and their flowers, broad beans and the first tiny cucumbers. A joy to eat and cook with.

Observer Food magazine awarded Honey & Co Newcomer of the Year in 2013.  They have just celebrated their third anniversary so Pam baked them a gorgeous 3 tier cake embellished with roses, raspberries and spun sugar. Somehow in the midst of all they wrote the Honey & Co cookbook which was published by Salt Yard Book Co in 2014 to huge acclaim.

Both Sunday Times and Fortnum and Mason awarded Honey & Co Cookbook of the Year 2015 and just last night they won the UK Food Writers Guild, First Cookbook Award.

This is another restaurant to put on your London list and don’t forget to tell them that you made the discovery in the Irish Examiner.

Here are some of the dishes that enchanted us all from their course but there’s plenty more gems in their cookbook.

 

Hot Tips

East Cork Slow Food

Don’t’ miss Tara Shine’s Head of Research and Development at the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice,  inspirational talk on Sustainability and Climate Change at the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Tuesday June 23rd at 7pm.

Phone 021 4646785 for details.

 

Long to Grow your own Organic Vegetables – yes you can…..

Susan Turner, Head Gardener at the Ballymaloe Cookery School will provide you with the necessary skills to develop sustainable organic growing techniques. In one busy day, she’ll cover successional sowings, attracting beneficial insects and pest control, crop management, feeding regimes & harvesting organic year round crop production……..

You’ll also enjoy a delicious lunch with seasonal organic produce from the farm and gardens and the opportunity to exchange ideas. Susan’s many fans will confirm that her courses are dynamic and inspirational and tailored to every level, from novices through to avid gardeners.

Students who wish to continue learning from Susan can progress to our Organic Horticulture: Autumn Harvesting & Winter Crops course later in the year.

Shanagarry Pottery Câfe – pop in when you are visiting the pottery.  Christine Crowley (ex Ballymaloe Cookery School student) has taken over for the summer. She’s a beautiful cook and is open seven days a week for brunch, light lunches, sweet treats and delicious freshly ground Golden Bean coffee. Her small daily menu of yummy local produce also includes one her Middle Eastern favourites. Monday to Saturday 10-5pm, Sunday 11-5pm

Phone number 021 4646807.

 

Orange Blossom Iced Tea 

 

1.5 litres (2 1/2 pints/6 1/4 cups) water
2 Earl Gray tea bags

300ml (10fl oz/1 1/4 cups) base sugar syrup, 6 fl ozs might be enough, add more if necessary
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
4 springs of fresh mint
1 orange, cut in thin slices, skin and all

Bring the water to a boil in a pan, add the tea bags and stir around. Turn off the heat and leave to steep for 15 minutes.

Remove the tea bags, add the sugar syrup and blossom water and stir to mix. Decant into a bottle or jug and push in the mint sprig and orange slices. Place in the fridge to cool entirely. Serve with loads of ice.

Pimp your tea – crush some fresh mint leaves at the bottom of a lowball glass, add a shot or two of rum, top up with ice and iced tea and lots of ice.

 

Sugar Syrup

200g (7oz/scant 1 cup) sugar

200ml (7fl oz/scant 1 cup) water

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) glucose or honey

 

Mix everything together in a small pan and bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.  Leave to cool, then transfer to a clean bottle or other container and store in your fridge for up to a week.

 

Yemeni Style Falafel 

 

Itamar is a quarter Yemeni on his grandfather’s side.  This falafel is a tribute to that heritage, and it is great – the traditional Yemeni combo of coriander, cardamom and garlic makes it super-vibrant in colour and flavour.

 

1/2 onion (approx. 60g/2 1/4oz)

1 clove of garlic (peeled)

250g (9oz) soaked chickpeas (125g (4 1/2oz) dried)

1 green chilli, seeds and all

3 springs of parsley, picked

1 small bunch of coriander (about 15-20g/1/2 – 3/4oz), leaves and top part of stems only

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom pods

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) garam flour (use plain if needs be)

1 teaspoon baking powder

 

To make the falafel

If using a meat grinder.

Use the coarse grinder blade if you have one we find it gives the best texture.  Cut the onion and garlic into dice so that you can easily feed them through the grinder.  Mince the chickpeas, onions, garlic, chilli and herbs into a bowl.

Add all the spices, salt, flour and baking powder and mix well to a very thick mass.

 

If using a food processor.

Start with the onion, garlic, chilli and herbs and pulse them to chop roughly, then add the chickpeas and blitz until everything becomes a thick paste with small, even-sized bits.   You may need to scrape the sides down and blitz for another pulse or two to make sure that everything is evenly chopped, but do not overwork.  The best way to check whether it is done enough is to scoop up a small amount and squeeze it together in your palm – it should hold its shape.  If it falls apart, return it to the processor for another spin.  Tip the mixture into a large bowl, add the spices, salt, flour and baking powder and mix until all is combined well.

 

Preheat the deep fry 170C/325F.

Test the oil temperature by placing a small piece of bread or falafel mix in the hot oil – as soon as it starts to bubble up and float, you are ready to go.

 

You can shape the falafel mix in a few different ways:

Use damp hands and make little balls or torpedo shapes or you can simply drop in spoonfuls of the mixture for free-form falafel.  You want to be making them about the size of a walnut, no bigger, so that they cook through and crisp up at the same time.

 

Carefully place the falafel in the oil – don’t overcrowd the pan and fry until the exterior is browned and crisped (about 2-3 minutes).  Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil and repeat the process until you have fried them all.

 

Serve immediately with tahini (see recipe).

 

 

Tahini 

 

The quality of your tahini depends hugely on the type of tahini paste you use.

We use Al-Yaman from Lebanon which is delicious, but if you are lucky enough to find any of the Palestinian varieties, especially the Prince and Dove brands, you are in for a treat.  As a rule, you are looking for something from Lebanon, Palestine or Turkey.

We make our tahini in a food processor, as it gives a smooth, airy, mousse-like texture, but you can achieve good results with a bowl, a spoon and some wrist action.

 

Makes about 240g (8 3/4oz)

 

125g (4 1/2oz) tahini paste

1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced

a pinch of salt, plus more to taste

juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste

about 120ml (4 1/3fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) water

 

Place the tahini, minced garlic, salt and lemon juice in a bowl or food processor, add half the water and mix. It will go thick and pasty but don’t fear – just continue adding water while mixing until it loosens up to a creamy texture. Don’t be tempted to add too much water as the mixture will go runny, but if this happens, you can always bring it back with a little extra tahini paste. Taste and adjust salt and lemon to suit your taste buds.

 

Note

You can keep tahini in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, but it will thicken and the flavour may need adjusting with a little more salt and/or lemon.  As a result we think it’s best to make it and eat it the same day – fresh is be


Lamb Siniya

 

Serves 4- 6 as a main course

(there is not much meat but the topping is quite rich)

 

Make this instead of a Shepard’s` pie next time you buy lamb mince for dinner.

 

1 small cauliflower, broken into florets (approx. 350g/12oz florets)

1 litre (1 3/4 pints/scant 4 1/2 cups) water

1 teaspoon salt

 

For the Lamb

2 onions (approx. 200g), peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt

500g (18oz) minced lamb

1 teaspoon coarsely ground fennel seeds

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) bahart spice mix (see recipe)

1 tablespoons (1 American tablespoon and 1 teaspoon) tomato purée

 

Tahini Topping

200g (7oz) yogurt

200g (7oz) tahini paste

2 eggs

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon and 1 teaspoon) lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-2 tablespoons (1 1/4 – 2 1/2 American tablespoons) pine nuts

 

To Serve

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon and 1 teaspoon) chopped parsley

 

Place the cauliflower in a saucepan with the water and salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 5-6 minutes until the florets is soft.  Drain and place in a shallow saucepan or casserole about 22cm (8 3/4 inch) in diameter.

 

Fry the onions on a medium heat in a frying pan with the oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt until the onions start to go golden.

Add the minced lamb and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, increase the heat to high and use a spoon to break up the meat into little pieces.  When the lamb starts to brown, sprinkle on the ground fennel and baharat spice and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the tomato purée and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes, then spread all over the cauliflower in the casserole dish. You can prepare this stage up to a day in advance – just cool, cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 (160 Fan)

 

Mix all the topping ingredients together apart from the water and pine nuts.  If the mixture is very thick, stir in enough of the water to loosen slightly – the consistency should resemble thick yoghurt.

 

Spread the topping over the lamb in the dish.  Sprinkle the pine nuts all over and bake in the centre of the oven at for 15 minutes or until the tahini looks set and slightly golden.

 

Sprinkle the parsley and serve.

 

Baharat – Savoury Spice Mix 

 

This, like its namesake in our kitchen, is the backbone of everything we make and, like its namesake, has endless depth and beauty, and improves almost anything.

You can use ready-made baharat spice mix instead or Lebanese Seven Spice which is sold in most large supermarkets – it will taste slightly different but will still be tasty.

 

1 dried chilli

3 teaspoons coriander seeds

4 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons ground pimento (all spice)

1 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

 

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 (170C Fan)

 

Crack the dried chilli open and shake out the seeds.  Place the deseeded chilli on a baking tray with the coriander and cumin seeds and roast for 6 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool entirely on the tray.   Crumble the chilli between your fingers, then grind all the roasted spices to a powder.  Mix with the dried ground spices and store in an airtight container.  It will keep for 6 months, but ideally use within 2 months for the full effect.

 

 

Cherry, Pistachio and Coconut Cake

 

This was the first cake I made for the restaurant.  We wanted something that would sit on the bar counter and just make people stare.  It has been with us from the first day and I have a feeling it will stay there until the end.  We do vary the fruit on top, so we use red plums or yellow plums or raspberries, but really the cherries are the best version.  The contact between the cherries and the green pistachios, and the addition of mahleb to the cake batter, together create something electric. It is such an easy recipe to follow, I am sure it will become a huge favourite in any household.

 

Makes a 22cm (9 inch) diameter round cake

 

100g (3 1/2oz/scant 1/2 cup) sugar plus 20g (3/4oz/scant 1/8oz) for the topping

90g (3 1/4oz/scant 1/2 cup) light brown sugar

180g (6 1/4oz) ground almonds

30g (1 1/4oz) ground pistachio

45g (1 3/4oz) desiccated coconut

50g (2oz/1/2 cup) self-rising flour

a pinch of salt

1 teaspoon ground mahleb

150g (5oz/1 1/4 sticks) butter – melted

3 eggs

300g (12oz) cherries

50g (2oz) rough chopped pistachios for the topping

 

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 (170C fan).

 

Lightly grease the cake tin with butter.

 

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Pour over the melted butter and mix in the eggs, spoon the batter into the pre-greased tin and smooth down.

 

Remove the stones from the cherries – you can do this with a cherry stoner or by just pulling them apart and popping the stones out with your fingers. I like to do this over the cake tin, so that any juice drips onto the cake and adds colour.  Drop the pitted cherries onto the batter and sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining 20g (3/4oz) of sugar and the roughly chopped pistachios.  Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes, then turn the cake around and bake for a further 8-10 minutes until the cake  between the cherries goes all golden.

 

Allow the cake to cool in the tin, as it needs time to settle, then gently remove by running a knife around the edges.  Covered well, it will keep in the fridge for up to a week (not much chance of that happening), but for the best flavour, allow it to return to room temperature before eating.

 

 

 

 

Midleton Farmer’s Marketing: 15 Years

Cucumber,-Radish-Mint-Salad

Great excitement in Midleton on the Bank Holiday weekend. The Midleton Farmers Market was joyfully celebrating its 15 year anniversary. Nationwide, broadcast directly from the Park Hotel where they linked directly on the SDN line to Bloom least anyone should imagine it was ‘all’ happening in Dublin.

Brenda Donohue, interviewed Sandra and Joe Burns about the vegetable crisp business they have started on their farm in Killeagh to add value to their produce. Jo, is son of the legendary Mrs Burns who was a well-known trader long before the Farmers Market started.

Local celebrities, The Crystal Swing band drove all the way from Letterkenny through the night to meet Brenda who had heard news of  Dervla marrying a local farmer in August.

Brenda was hugely impressed by the vibrant Midleton Farmers Market in full celebratory mood with bunting, balloons, face painting and lively music provided by Trí na Ceile from Killeagh.

Several of the original 12 stallholders that started the market on the June Bank Holiday weekend in 2000 are still trading. Ted Murphy, a stalwart of the market from the very first day was there as was Frank Hederman artisan fish smoker from Belvelly near Cobh. Willie Scannell whose flowery Ballycotton potatoes are much loved by his ever growing band of loyal customers.  Fiona Burke’s stall with a beautiful selection of Irish farmhouse cheese and Jane Murphy’s Ardsallagh goat’s cheese are still part of the market. So too are David and Siobhan Barry’s seasonal vegetables with a much larger selection than on the first day. Toby Simmonds of The Olive Stall was also there at the outset and his stall also trades beside the market.

The Midleton Farmers Market soon became the yard stick by which other markets were measured. Stall numbers grew and it quickly became oversubscribed with many farmers and food producers clamouring to be part of a business model that was clearly an excellent prototype.

Other Farmers Markets were established around the county and country (160 at last count) enabling local people to buy fresh local food in season from those who produce it, going some way towards realising my dream of a Farmers Market in every town in Ireland. It is now well proven that a successful Farmers Market in a town not only brings extra business overall but also food tourists (of which there are an ever growing number) but also positive publicity which benefits everyone in the community.

John Potter Cogan who initially approached me after the vegetable processing plant Frigoscandia had closed was a vitally important part of the initial impetus. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce who with the Midleton Town Council had the vision to see that a Farmers Market (which by the way was quite a revolutionary initiative at that time and even considered by many to be a retrogressive step) would be a positive initiative for the town.

There are now 27 stalls soon to be 33, the variety of produce is absolutely tantalizing from artisan bread, vegetables, herbs and fruit in season, organic produce, local honey and oysters, fresh fish, wild mushrooms, home baking, cordials and pickles, gluten free treats, foraged food, smoked fish and homemade pate, shellfish, heritage pork products, local ducks, chickens and eggs, farmhouse cheese, pies, freshly made salads, chocolate and long queues for freshly made coffee. Market goers can enjoy a pizza straight from Simon Mould’s wood burning oven, a BLT or pulled pork sandwich from Woodside Farm and much much more. The Farmers Market provide a livelihood for many, an opportunity to buy local food from small production systems and an alternative shopping experience for families who wish to engage directly with those who produce the food they buy to nourish their family at a time when a growing number of people realise that our food should and can be our medicine.

Congratulations to everyone at Midleton Farmers Market. The heading of an article by Joe Duggan in The Irish Examiner on Tuesday June 6th 2000 was ‘Market Heralds A New Era In Direct Selling of Natural Produce’, I’m proud to have been a little part of that initiative.

 

Hot Tips

Find of the Week

Rosscarberry has a new restaurant in a familiar venue. The Pilgrim’s Rest has simply become Pilgrims serving a “seasonally crafted ever changing daily menu”. I got a tip off only a few days after Sarah Jane Pearce and Mark Jennings (from Café Paradiso and The Ethicurean in Bristol) had taken over. It was well worth a detour.  Five of us went for lunch and virtually ate our way through the menu, particularly delicious was Tatsuta age (sweet chicken) with chilli mayo, spiced carrot dip, hazelnut duukah, flax crackers, pickled mackerel, creamed beetroot, parsley, radish……

An exciting young team – watch that space

Tel: (023) 883 1796 www.pilgrims.ie

 

Do not miss dinner at Good Things Café in Durrus on Friday June 19th – a feast of seasonal produce cooked beautifully by Carmel Somers.

Tel: 027 61426 www.thegoodthingscafe.com/

 

Another exciting date for your diary …..Listowel Food Festival from June 18-21 2015. An eclectic programme again this year with foraging, markets, cookery demos, dinners…..the website www.listowelfoodfair.ie is choc a bloc with info.

Midleton Farmers Market Art Competition

 

Congratulations to Aoife Rice from Cloyne National School, the overall winner of the 15 Year Midleton Farmers Market Anniversary Art Competition to paint a picture of your local Farmers Market or market stall.

Castlemartyr National School also got honourable mention for their beautiful collage of paintings.

 

 

Naranjan Kaur McCormack’s  Barbecue Spare Ribs

Serves 8-10 people

 

There are dozens of variations to this recipe, every Chinese chef would have his very own favourite recipe for barbecue ribs. Some of the recipes call for the ribs to be par-boiled prior to being cooked. Some recipes call for the ribs to be roasted in an open roasting tin and some recipes call for the ribs to be roasted in a tinfoil parcel.

 

This recipe is one that I have found to be very successful and simply delicious.

This is of course a very popular starter in many restaurants in the West.

When serving barbecue ribs as a starter, always provide a “finger bowl” to wash fingers as the only way to enjoy  these ribs is to eat with  your fingers.

 

2 racks of Woodside Farm pork spare-ribs

2-3 heaped tablespoons ‘hoi-sin’ sauce

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon finely shredded ginger

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + teaspoon) chinese rice wine / sherry

¼ level teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg

A pinch of Chinese 5 spice powder

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) honey

Garnish

With lettuce, peppers and slices of lemon

 

Using a very sharp knife, slice the rack of ribs into individual pieces, if the ribs are rather small

then you would be advised to slice the ribs in two’s, otherwise the meat on the ribs tend to dry

out a little on roasting.

 

Shred the ginger very finely, and crush the garlic. Place all the pork ribs, ginger and garlic together into a very large bowl and add the sherry , nutmeg and the 5 spice powder and mix together. Then add the’ hoi -sin’ sauce and mix thoroughly.

Line a large roasting tin with tin foil, leaving the tin foil to extend generously out over both ends. Layer the spare-ribs into the tin foiled roasting tin. Fold over the tinfoil, making a loose

parcel and roast the pork spare-ribs in a preheated oven 200C/400F/regulo 6 for approximately

one hour.

Then open out the tin foil parcel and baste the ribs. Leave the foil open and return the ribs to the

oven for about 10 minutes. Then glaze the ribs with the honey and return to the oven for

another 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot garnished with lettuce, peppers and lemon slices or wedges.

 

Telephone Woodside Farm 087 276 7206

 

 

 

Ballycotton New Potatoes Cooked in Seawater

We’ve just had the first of the new potatoes – try cooking them in seawater amazing.

Serves 4-5

 

2lbs (900g) new potatoes e.g., Home Guard, British Queens (the variety we grow is Colleen)

2 pints (1.2 litres/5 cups) seawater or 2 pints (1.2 litres/5 cups) tap water plus 1 teaspoon salt

a sprig of seaweed if available

 

Bring the seawater to the boil. Scrub the potatoes. Add salt if using tap water and a sprig of seaweed to the water, and then add the potatoes. Cover the saucepan, bring back to the boil and cook for 15-25 minutes or until fully cooked depending on size.

Drain and serve immediately in a hot serving dish with good Irish butter.

 

Note

It’s vitally important for flavour to add salt to the water when cooking potatoes.

 

 

 

Cucumber, Radish and Mint Salad

Love this simple little salad with the first of the new seasons cucumber, radish and mint.

 

Serves 6-8

 

1 cucumber

2 bunches radishes

salt and freshly ground pepper

extra virgin olive oil

freshly squeezed lemon juice

lots of flat parsley sprigs and mint leaves

 

Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then in half again.  Cut into 2cm (3/4 inch) slice at an angle.  Trim the radishes and cut into similar size pieces, mix with the cucumber.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Toss gently, add lots of flat parsley and fresh mint leaves.  Taste and correct seasoning, add a little honey if necessary.

 

06/05/2015 (SH/DA) (15483)

 

 

 

Ballymaloe Green Gooseberry and Elderflower Tart with Elderflower Cream

 

I’ve chosen to use green gooseberries and elderflower in this recipe, but the filling changes with the season. We always have a fruit tart of some kind on the sweet trolley at Ballymaloe, and it reflects what is in season at that time. Sometimes we add some spices, fresh herbs or wild flavours like the elderflowers in this recipe – whatever complements the fruit.

 

Serves 6–8

 

450g (I lb) sweet shortcrust or flaky pastry for the base

700g (11⁄2lb) green gooseberries

150g (6oz) white or golden caster sugar (or more, depending on the tartness of the gooseberries)

2 elderflower heads

1 organic egg for egg wash

 

Elderflower Cream

300ml (10fl oz/1 1/4 cups) whipped cream

1-2 tablespoons (1 1/4 -2 1/2 American tablespoons) elderflower cordial

 

25cm (10in) Pyrex or enamel plate

 

Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/ gas mark 7.

 

Roll out half of the shortcrust pastry and line the plate. Trim the edges. Top and tail the gooseberries and pile them up on the plate, leaving a border of 2.5cm (1in). Pick the elderflower heads off the heavy stem and lay them over the gooseberries. Sprinkle the sugar evenly on top.

 

Roll out the remainder of the pastry a little thicker than the base, wet the border around the gooseberries with a little egg wash or water, and press the pastry lid down onto it. Trim the pastry to within 1cm (1⁄2in) of the rim of the pie. Crimp up the edges with a sharp knife and then scallop them. Make a hole in the centre to allow steam to escape. Egg wash the surface. Roll out the trimmings and cut into leaves and decorate the top of the tart, egg wash again.

 

Bake for 35 minutes, then turn down the heat to 180°C/ 350°F/gas mark 4 for a further 30 minutes. Test the gooseberries are soft by inserting a skewer. Sprinkle with fine caster sugar, serve with soft brown sugar and elderflower cream.

 

To make the elderflower cream.

Add the elderflower cordial to the whipped cream, stir gently, taste and add a little more if necessary.

 

 

This Has Been A Wonderful Week

High-Res Image (1)

 

This has been a wonderful week, I found myself giving heartfelt thanks to the good Lord and Mother Nature several times over. We had the first new potatoes of the year, with butter made from the cream of our small Jersey herd and Achill sea salt, the first broad beans of the season, in their furry pods and a few days later the first peas, how exciting is that! We ate them freshly picked straight out of the pods, just like our greedy grandchildren and then to cap it all we had the first fresh mackerel of the year today all the way from Knockadoon. Beautiful, fresh food in season and not a ‘best-before’ date in sight – come to think of it most ‘real’ food doesn’t come wrapped in plastic with a sell-by date on it anyway.

This is a fantastically exciting time of the year for gardeners and any of us who grow a little of our own food, suddenly after the hungry gap between the end of winter  and the first of summer produce, gorgeous vegetables and herbs are bursting out of the ground. If you haven’t already started to grow something, dash off to your local garden centre and buy a few packets of seeds or seedlings all ready to grow – virtually every Farmers Market sell a variety of vegetable plugs ready to plant into the ground and you don’t have to have a farm or even a large garden. You’d be amazed how much you can grow in containers, tubs or on your balcony, a raised bed or otherwise. I recently saw three rows of beautiful lettuces, salad leaves and spring onion growing in an old drawer and a virtual garden in an old enamelled bathtub. In the US the Grow Food Not Lawns Movement continues to gather momentum – check out their website www.foodnotlawns.com that’s just one of a tonne of different initiatives worldwide, GIY Ireland continues to inspire. Their latest initiative launched at the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine in conjunction with Cully and Sully to encourage people to grow food in their offices had an enthusiastic response.  A brilliantly simple concept that’s got hundreds of people growing peas for the first time.

Peas are a particularly brilliant crop to grow, you can eat them at every stage, pea shoots and flowers in salads, the tendrils called ‘wizards whiskers’ can garnish a plate, the young peas of course so sublime when eaten less than 5 hours after being picked after that the sugars turn to starch, another reason to grow your own , because it’s almost impossible to buy peas that fresh. The pea pods make a delicious soup and when the crop goes over the remaining  peas can be dried and kept for winter use.

Every guest chef who came to the Litfest salivated at the selection of vegetables, salad leaves and fresh herbs in the cookery school gardens (open to the public every day 11am-6pm). Here are some of the delicious ways they incorporated them into their dishes including April Bloomfield’s carrot leaf pesto, a brilliant new discovery for me.

 

Hot Tips

Don’t miss the brilliant little Cottage Market in Ladysbridge on Sunday mornings from 10.30am to 12 midday. Food stalls of course but also crafts, knitted animals and toys, handmade jewellery, vintage clothes, flowers and plants, local honey, home baking, a fun children’s play area, an exercise class to lively music…..and pop around the corner to see Ladysbridge GIY allotments, a brilliant community initiative, every village should have one.

While you are there swing by Carewswood Garden Centre, pick up some vegetable plants and don’t forget to check out the café, a big favourite in the area and justifiably so. www.facebook.com/pages/Carewswood-Garden-Centre-Cafe

 

Ballymaloe Cookery School Garden Workshop

People come from far and wide to see the formal herb garden at Ballymaloe Cookery School but don’t let that intimidate you.  Every cook should have a little herb patch preferably close to the kitchen door. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, herbs grow happily even in the smallest of spaces, in a variety of containers even in and out through your flowers in a herbaceous border. On Monday June 15th from 9am-2pm you can learn how to design a herb garden from our highly acclaimed head gardener Susan Turner who will illustrate the best way to design a herb garden. She’ll give lots of practical advice and suggestions on how to grow herbs year round, propagate from seed and cuttings and much more…lunch is included. Booking essential 021 4646785 or www.cookingisfun.ie.

Artisan Salami

The number of new food start-ups is astonishing, almost every week.  I hear of a new artisan product but it’s also terrific to celebrate the originals. At Fiona Burke’s Strawbale Cheese stall in Midleton Farmers Market alongside a choice selection of Irish and continental craft cheeses, I recently came across Olivier Beaujouan’s handmade garlic salami and chorizo from Castlegregory in Co Kerry, so good in natural casings with a wonderful artisan quality.  Tel: 066 713 9028

Fiona’s got a new project at the moment a Little Red range of creams made from natural organic ingredients including 90% carageen moss, cocoa butter and beeswax from West Cork.  www.littlered.ie


 

April Bloomfield’s  Crushed Spring Peas with Mint

 

April Bloomfield considered by many to be the best woman chef in New York was absolutely enchanting. She cooks beautiful fresh ingredients but with a charming twist. This recipe comes from her new book A Girl and her Greens.

 

“As a girl in England, I always loved mushy peas, whether they were made the real way—from

a starchy variety of pea called marrowfat that’s dried, then soaked—or dumped into a pot straight from a tin. Nowadays I prefer this mash made from fresh, sweet shelling peas—a twist on the

British classic, which actually takes less work to make than its inspiration. It’s wonderful spread in a thick layer on warm bread or as a dip for raw veg, like radishes, carrots, and wedges of fennel.”

 

Makes about 2 cups

 

2 cups fresh peas (from about 2 pounds pods)

1 ounce aged pecorino, finely grated

1½ teaspoons Maldon or another flaky sea salt

1 small spring garlic clove or ½ small garlic clove, smashed, peeled, and roughly chopped

12 medium mint leaves (preferably black mint)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Scant 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more for finishing

 

Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to a coar e puree, about 45 seconds. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and roughly stir and smoosh a bit so it’s a little creamy and a little chunky. Season to taste with more salt and lemon juice—you want it to taste sweet and bright but not acidic.

 

From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. Copyright 2015 April Bloomfield. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

 

 

Allegra McEvedy’s Broad Beans Braised in their Pods

 

Allegra McEvedy witty self-depreciating style hides a true talent for cooking wonderfully tasty non intimidating food that you’ll enjoy eating with family and friends, here’s a brilliant way to enjoy the tiny season’s broad beans, pod and all. This recipe comes from her book  Bought, Borrowed and Stolen

 

“This is a fabulous standard in Morocco, though you need to do it with youngish broad beans at the beginning of the season (i.e. June/July) as the pods are too tough to stew down to the desirable softness with old ones.

It feels kind of like cheating (in a good way) to bypass first the podding, then all that shelling usually done with broadies.”

 

Serves 4-6 as a side dish. A 10 minute make, then half an hours cooking.

 

100 ml (3 ½ fl oz. / 11/25 cups) extra virgin olive oil

400g (14 oz) broad beans in their pods

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 whole chilli, dried or fresh

1 400g (14 oz.) tin tomatoes

small handful mint, finely chopped

squeeze of lemon

S & P

 

Rinse the beans, trim them and slice the pods diagonally into oblique oblongs about 5cm long.

Heat the oil in a wide pan.

Sauté the beans in the pan along with the garlic, onion and chilli for a few minutes, then cover and cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes

Stir in the tomatoes, mix well and season enthusiastically.

Pour in 500 ml (18 fl oz / 2 ¼ cups.) water, turn up the heat, put on a lid and bring to the boil.

Once boiling, turn down and simmer for 15 minutes.

Take off the lid and let it continue bubbling down for another 15 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce a bit.

Turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before stirring in the mint and lemon juice and having a final taste for seasoning. Serve warm, not piping hot.

 

From Bought Borrowed & Stolen by Allegra McEvedy

 

 

 

April Bloomfield’s Pot-Roasted Artichokes with White Wine and Capers

Serves 4 to 6 as a side (accompaniment)

 

One of the reasons I go giddy about springtime is artichokes, particularly the small ones with tips closed tightly, like a flower at night. Some home cooks are reluctant to fill their totes with artichokes, they’ll need to be turned—the barbed leaves plucked off and the other inedible bits trimmed away. I quite like the process. It’s meditative and satisfying once you get the hang of it. In this dish, the fleshy artichokes get browned and crispy tops and look like strange, beautiful roses. The acidity in the white wine cuts through the rich, dense veg and, along with the salty pops from the capers, highlights the artichokes’ unique herbaceousness.

 

50ml (2fl oz/1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil

1.6kg (3 1/2lbs) baby artichokes (about 18)

2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons Maldon or other flaky sea salt

350ml (12fl oz /1 1/2 cups) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

1 heaping tablespoon drained capers

a five-finger pinch of mint leaves (preferably black mint), torn at the last minute

 

Heat the oil in a heavy pot (wide enough to hold the artichokes with room to spare) over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke.

Stand the artichokes cut sides down in the oil, wait a minute, then reduce the heat to medium-low, sprinkle in the garlic and salt, and cook, without stirring, just until the garlic turns golden and smells toasty, about 3 minutes.

 

Pour in the wine, cover the pot, and cook, without stirring, at a vigorous simmer until you can insert a sharp knife into the thick artichoke bottoms with barely any resistance, about 25 minutes. Five minutes or so before they’re fully tender, scatter on the capers and cover again.

 

Uncover, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the liquid to a boil.

 

Cook until all the wine has evaporated (the bubbling sound will become a sizzle), about 3 minutes. Add the mint and keep cooking the artichokes in the oil (it’s OK if a few of them tip over), until the cut sides of the artichokes are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent the artichokes from getting too dark.

 

Arrange the artichokes prettily on a plate, and scoop the capers, oil, and slightly crispy mint over top. Serve straightaway or at room temperature

 

From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. Copyright 2015 April Bloomfield. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

 

 

April Bloomfield’s Roasted Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto and Burrata

 

If you can get your hands on burrata—a really special cheese, like delicate mozzarella with a creamy center—then you’re already most of the way toward a great dish. In the spring, I’ll serve burrata with Snap Pea Salad; in high summer, I’ll pair it with slices of ripe tomato, good olive oil, and flaky salt. When summer fades, I crave burrata with roasted carrots, a pairing that’s less common but no less worthy of your attention. The two are like good mates, each helping the other along: the sweetness of the carrots sets off the tanginess of the cheese; the cheese’s tanginess makes the carrots tastes even sweeter. Pesto made from the carrot tops adds color and salty, herbaceous wallops throughout the dish.

 

Serves 4 to 6 as a side (accompaniment)

 

20 small carrots (the size of pointer fingers), scrubbed well but not peeled, all but 1cm (1/2 inch) of the tops removed and reserved

3 tablespoons (4 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon plus a few pinches of Maldon or another flaky sea salt

225g (8oz) room-temperature burrata, drained

about 2 1/2 tablespoons (3 American tablespoons) Carrot Top Pesto (see recipe)

a five-finger pinch of basil leaves, torn at the last minute if large

3/4 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon) lemon juice

 

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 500˚F/260°C/Gas Mark 10.

 

Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons) of the oil into a heavy ovenproof pan big enough to hold the carrots in a single layer. Set the pan over high heat and bring the oil to a light smoke. Add the carrots, sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of the salt, and turn the carrots to coat them in the oil. Cook, turning over the carrots occasionally, until they’re browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Pop the pan in the oven and roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the carrots are evenly tender, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of your carrots. Let the carrots cool slightly. Halve the burrata and arrange the halves on a platter. Arrange the carrots on the platter so they’re pointing this way and that. Add the pesto here and there in little dollops.

 

Pluck enough 5-7.5cm (2-3 inch) delicate sprigs from the reserved carrot tops to make about 45g (1 3/4oz/1 1/2 lightly packed cups) and toss them in a bowl with the basil. Whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons) of the oil with the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt in a small bowl until the mixture looks creamy. Use a little of the lemon dressing to lightly dress the carrot top–basil mixture, sprinkle on a little more salt, and toss well. Arrange the mixture on top of the carrots and burrata. Drizzle everything with the remaining lemon dressing and serve.

 

 

From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. Copyright 2015 April Bloomfield. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


Pan-grilled Mackerel with Bretonne Sauce

 

This is a master recipe for pan grilling fish.

The simplest and possibly the most delicious way to cook really fresh mackerel.

 

Serves 6

 

12 fillets of very fresh mackerel (allow 6ozs (175g) fish for main course, 3ozs (75g) for a starter)

seasoned flour

small knob of butter

 

Bretonne Sauce

75g (3ozs/3/4 stick) butter, melted

1 eggs yolk, preferably free range

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (We use Maille Verte Aux Herbs)

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) parsley, chopped or a mixture of chervil, chives, tarragon and fennel, chopped (mixed)

 

First make the Bretonne Sauce. Melt the butter and allow to boil.  Put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the mustard and the herbs, mix well.  Whisk the hot melted butter into the egg yolk mixture little by little so that the sauce emulsifies.  Keep warm, by placing the Pyrex bowl in a saucepan of hot but not boiling water.

 

Just before serving, dip the dry fish fillets in flour which has been seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper. Shake off the excess flour and then spread a little butter with a knife on the flesh side, as though you were buttering a slice of bread rather meanly. When the grill is quite hot but not smoking, place the fish fillets butter side down on the grill; the fish should sizzle as soon as they touch the pan. Turn down the heat slightly and let them cook for 4 or 5 minutes on that side before you turn them over. Continue to cook on the other side until crisp and golden. Serve on a hot plate with some Bretonne sauce spooned over the top or serve in a little bowl on the side.

 


Sugared Strawberries with Mint

The Irish strawberry season is now in full swing. The early variety have been grown in a tunnel or greenhouse and irrigated hence their size. A little sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice, shredded mint adds an extra oomph to the berries.

 

Serves 12-16

 

450g (1lb) strawberries

freshly squeezed lemon juice

caster sugar

fresh mint leaves

 

To make the sugared strawberries.

Remove the calyx from the strawberries.  Slice lengthwise into a bowl.  Sprinkle with a little lemon juice and caster sugar to taste.  Add some shredded fresh mint leaves.  Taste and tweak if necessary.

Serve with vanilla bean ice cream. A little strawberry coulis would also be delicious with this.

 

Strawberry Coulis

450g (16oz) fresh strawberries

70g (2 1/2oz/1/2 cup) icing sugar

lemon juice

 

Clean and hull the strawberries, add to the blender with sugar and blend. Strain through a nylon sieve.  Taste and add lemon juice if necessary, it should taste deliciously bitter sweet.  Store in a fridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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