ArchiveMay 28, 2016

Post Litfest

Well, I’ve just put my feet up for the first time in several days – the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine is over for another year. It was quite an event with thousands of people converging on East Cork for the weekend. Over 30 nationalities that we know of and as one hassled visitor complained to me ‘there wasn’t a bed between here and Cork’. Fortunately we found her one but the event certainly created a huge buzz and generated a lot of excitement in the greater area.

There were many highlights…. the thought provoking 15 minute talks in the Grainstore on a whole range of topics. Food in a Warzone with Kamal Mouzuwak from the Lebanon, Seaweeds eat them, meet them with Prannie Rhatigan, Ella McSweeney chaired a panel on Farming the Soil, Prue Leith founder of Leiths Cookery School in London spoke about her life in food. Elizabeth Luard, Sacred Food was also riveting but one of the most thought provoking of all was Professor Ted Dinan of UCC’s talk on the relationship between our gut and our psychological wellbeing. Ari Weinzweig from Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor in Michigan’s talk was entitled ‘A Lapsed Anarchist’, his subject, how to create a successful business and a happy workforce. Many of these presentations will be up on the Litfest website within the next couple of weeks.

The Big Shed where the Fringe takes place was rocking.  The food stalls were specially selected for their ‘great food’.  ‘My Goodness’s Heavy Nettle shot and an Irish take on pupusas made with potato, charlock and wild garlic was a  huge hit as were Ivan Whelan’s sausage, egg and chips. Ivan had three fryers on the go, Choose Your Fat….

Pat Whelan’s dripping, fresh pork lard or sunflower oil for the vegetarians. The homemade sausages, Frankfurters, Bratwurst, and Boorwurst were made by Fingal Ferguson of Gubeen who was doing a beautiful Gubeen plate with  a selection of his cured meats. Back to Ivan, the artisan mustard came from Graham Kearns, Co Meath, the ketchup, sauces and salsas were handmade

The Bloody Mary and Bloody Shame (non alcoholic) made from homemade tomato ketchup caused quite a sensation….

Arun Kapil of Green Saffron also had long queues for Spicy John Dory and salmon with peas and coconut flakes as did The Rocket Man’s falafel pockets. Lolo had his entire family serving crêpes and many other good things. Joe and Sandra Burns Farm Vegetable Chips and much much more…….

The Ballymaloe gang did a brilliant job of giving chefs, speakers and guests a taste of the very best of Ireland. Can you imagine the sun shone on both days with only two thunder showers to remind us of how it could have been….but this column is about food and as ever there were many highlights among the cookery dems at the Cookery School and here are just a few, I’ll share some more with you all in the next couple of weeks.

 

Hot Tips

We discovered lots of new artisan products over the weekend. Graham’s Wholegrain Mustards from Co Meath are quite a find; they are made from a carefully selected brown and yellow mustard seeds and aged for 2½ months to let the flavours develop, the end result is really worth seeking out.

http://www.grahams-condiments.com/wholegrain-mustard/

This is Seaweed

Paul O Connor’s little tins of dried seaweed also caught my eye, great to sprinkle over salads, soups, add to breads….check out his website for the story, www.thisisseaweed.com

Burren Slow Food Festival, 28th and 29th May at the Pavillion, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare

Many highlights include cookery demos with JP McMahon from Anair,  Oonagh O’ Dwyer, Evan Doyle will talk Wild and Slow,  Burren Slow Food Banquet, oyster, wine and stout tastings, whisky and chocolate, champagne and wild salmon and lots more….www.slowfoodclare.com #burrenfoodfest

 

 

Ottolenghi’s Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Kale

Serves 6

Spring Onion Cream

1 head of garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

150g (5oz) spring onions (about 12-14), ends trimmed then sliced in half lengthways leaving 110g(4oz) in weight

1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil

150g (5oz) cream cheese

110g (4oz) soured cream

coarse sea salt and black pepper

Kale

90ml olive oil (3 1/3fl oz)

6 garlic cloves, thinly slices

3 large red chillies, de-seeded and finely sliced

550g (20oz) curly kale, washed though stems removed, cut widthways into 3-4cm (1 1/4 – 1 1/2 inch) slices (450g/16oz)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

 

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7(200°C/400°F fan)

Slice the top quarter off the head of garlic, horizontally, and discard. Place the remaining garlic in the centre of a square of foil, with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Wrap up the garlic, place it on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes until soft. Set aside and, when cool enough to touch, squeeze out the garlic cloves, discard the skin and, using the flat side of a sharp knife, crush to form a puree. Set aside until ready to use.

Place the spring onions in a bowl and brush with the sunflower oil. Sprinkle over 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Place a small griddle pan on a high heat and ventilate your kitchen. When the pan is smoking hot, add the spring onions and chargrill for 5-6 minutes, turning halfway through, until black and burnt all over. Set aside to cool, the finely chop. Transfer the spring onions to a bowl and add the cream cheese, soured cream, and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the roast garlic puree and the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.

Put the oil for the kale into a large sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chilli slices and fry for 4-6 minutes, stirring constantly, until crisp and golden-brown. Add the kale, along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and cook for 3 minutes – you might need to do this in two or three batches – stirring often, until the kale is cooked but still retains a bite. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and serve warm, on a large platter or individual starter plates, with dollops of the spring onions dip spooned on top.

 

Ottolenghi’s Garlic Spiced Farinata with Whipped Butterbeans

Serves 4

Farinata is a flatbread made from chickpea flour, which makes it gluten-free as well as delicious. The edges are dry and crisp, whilst the centre is more soft and squidgy, allowing you to scoop up the topping when you eat it. Start with either tinned or dried butterbeans here, which you then cook. Both work just as well.

200g (7oz) flour (aka chickpea flour)

60ml (2 1/2fl oz) olive oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon sumac

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes

flaky sea salt

 

Whipped Butterbeans

1 x 400g (14oz) tin cooked butterbeans, drained and rinsed (240g/8 3/4oz drained weight)

100g (3 1/2oz) cream cheese

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons for drizzling

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

1 small preserved lemon (10g/1/2oz), flesh and skin finely chopped

Place the chickpea flour in a large bowl. Slowly add 450ml (16fl oz) of water, whisking constantly, until well combined. Set aside for 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 240°C/ 475°F.

Place all the ingredients for the whipped butterbeans in a food processor with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Blitz for 1-2 minutes, until completely smooth and aerated and then spoon into a small bowl. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and set aside.

Add the oil for the farinata to a large iron skillet which will retain the heat well (if you don’t have one use a heavy-based, ovenproof frying pan). Place on a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes, until it starts to sizzle but doesn’t take on any colour. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the garlic out of the oil to a small bowl. Add the sumac, nigella seeds and chilli to the garlic; mix together and set aside.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil left in the pan into the chickpea flour batter along with 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk well and set aside. Tip 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil in the pan out into a separate bowl, leaving 1 tablespoon left in the pan.

Return the frying pan to a high heat and, once the oil starts to smoke, pour in half of the batter, swirling the pan to form an even layer. Heat for 30 seconds, until the batter starts to bubble and then sprinkle over half of the garlic mix. Transfer the pan to the oven for 10 minutes, until cooked through and golden-brown. Use a spatula to remove the farinata from the pan and rest on a large plate. Keep warm (or you can return it to the oven for the last two minutes of cooking time for the next farinata) whilst you cook the second farinata in the same way, using the last tablespoon of garlic oil to do so. Slice into wedges and serve warm, with the whipped butterbeans alongside for spreading over.

 

Claire Ptak’s Rhubarb Ice-Cream

Acidic fruits, such as rhubarb, make great ice-cream flavours, because they stand up to the richness of a creamy custard. If you are making this ice-cream when the trees are still in blossom, throw in a few handfuls of petals (preferably not from the gutter) in place of the vanilla for a heady, honey-like hint. For best results, this should be made in an ice-cream maker. If you don’t have one, freeze the mixture until solid.

For the custard
350g (12oz) whole milk
150g (5oz) caster sugar
4 egg yolks
600ml (1 pint) double cream (a large pot)
1 vanilla pod
a squeeze of lemon juice (if needed)

For the rhubarb
1kg (2 1/4 lbs) rhubarb
180g (6 1/4oz) caster sugar
1 vanilla pod

In a heavy-based pan, warm the milk, caster sugar and vanilla pod, seeds scraped, until just beginning to bubble. This won’t take long, so while it’s heating up, put your egg yolks into a bowl and whisk. Pour the double cream into a large bowl with a sieve resting on top of it and set aside.

When the milk is ready, temper the yolks by pouring a little of the milk into them, whisking as you go. Now pour the tempered yolks back into the remaining warm milk in the pan. Stirring continuously, heat until the mixture starts to thicken at the bottom of the pan. Strain the custard mixture into the cold cream and whisk well to prevent the custard from cooking any further. Cover and put in the fridge for at least 1 hour to cool.

Heat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.

Cut the rhubarb into batons and lay in a baking dish. Coat with the 180g (6 1/4oz) caster sugar and add the vanilla pod, then cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes. Remove the foil then roast for a further 20 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and falling apart. Allow to cool.

Blitz the rhubarb in a food processor, then stir into the ice-cream custard base. Taste the mixture and add a squeeze of lemon juice or a pinch of sugar to adjust if needed. See tip about sweetness.

Pour into your ice-cream maker and churn for about 20 minutes, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for 1 hour before serving.

 

Claire Ptak’s Roasted Squash Cobbler

Serves 6


1 large butternut squash or other delicious pumpkin, such as crown prince (about 1.2kg/2 3/4 lbs)
1 red onion
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
6 sprigs thyme
salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 x 400g (14oz) tin tomatoes, drained
200g (7oz) single cream
10-12 stalks Cavolo Nero, leaves stripped and stalks discarded

 

For the biscuits
140g (4 3/4oz) plain flour
2 tablespoons wholemeal spelt flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
150g (5oz) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes
4 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1 egg, beaten (for coating)

 

Peel the squash, slice it in half and scrape out the seeds and pulp. Lay the squash cut-side down and cut it into 1cm (1/2 inch) slices. Peel and cut the onion into eighths. Spread the squash and onion pieces out on a parchment-lined tray and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the chilli flakes, sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until the squash is tender and the onions are starting to caramelise.

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the crushed garlic. Once it sizzles but before it goes brown, add the drained tomatoes and crush them up a little in the pan. Simmer for about 6-8 minutes, turning the heat down if it bubbles too ferociously. Whisk in the cream. Cut the Cavolo Nero into ribbons and mix it into the tomato sauce. Toss the roasted squash and onions into the tomatoey cream sauce. Turn off the heat and tip the mixture into a large round baking dish. Set it aside while you make the biscuit topping.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425˚F/Gas Mark 7.

In a large bowl, whisk together the two flours, the baking powder and the salt. Use a fork or your fingertips to mix the butter into the flour mixture until it’s the size of peas. Stir in the yoghurt and pat the mixture into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a circle 1.5cm (3/4 inch) thick. Use a 6cm (2 1/2 inch) pastry cutter to cut out four or five biscuits and then gather the scraps to make one or two more biscuits so you have six in total. Place the biscuits on top of the cobbler and brush them with the egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the biscuits are puffed and golden and the cobbler is bubbling away. Serve with a little yoghurt if you wish and a green salad.

Inis Meain

Scoring a couple of nights in Inis Meáin Suites is as good as winning the Lotto as far as I’m concerned.  The rooms book out almost a year ahead and many of the guests are devoted ‘returnees’ so when the bookings open in September you need to be on your mark and ready to secure a booking. Ruairí and Marie-Thérèse de Blacam opened the restaurant in 2007 and suites were completed in 2011.

There are just five, simple and sophisticated each overlooking the dramatic landscape, a patchwork tiny fields surrounded by centuries old stone walls, each its own ancient Gaelic name and many that have never been turned in living memory. This is an Irish speaking community. Inis Meáin, Irish is rich and lyrical, it comes as quite a surprise to hear people speak in broken English just 45 minutes from the mainland.

We were met off the Ros a Mhil ferry by Ruairí, in the cool Inis Meáin ‘mobile’. Somehow we had managed to coincide with the first day of summer. The island was teaming with wild flowers. All along the roadside, there were alexanders, violets, stitchworth.  Between the rocks in the fields, yellow birds foot trefoil, purple cranes bill, pale pink thrift, primroses, orchids, daisies, dandelions and a sea of buttercups and deep blue gentians were peeping up between the crevices in the rocky fields and little meadows. Island cattle, a few sheep and an occasional horse and donkey graze here and there and amble through the narrow gaps in walls, bearna in Irish which are filled with stones to secure the field in the time honoured way.

The air is filled with birdsong and I hear the first cuckoo of the year in the second week of May, is this a record?

The bedrooms are minimally furnished, no frills or flounces just beautiful bed linen and towels and fine toiletries. The cupboards are intelligently equipped with everything you may need, the fridge has several bottles of good wine and apple juice, Dingle gin, Writers Tears whiskey, a bottle of fizz, a packet of fine salami, Oritz tuna, a bar of Bean and Goose artisan chocolate, a couple of Brú craft beer. There are deck chairs and bikes in the porch, an umbrella should it rain, a fishing rod already baited, a torch and several beautiful books on island life.

A totally delicious breakfast arrives into the porch of your suite in a teak box at 7.30am.  You can jump out of bed to watch the dawn or snooze until noon. The insulated Pandora’s box will keep the contents in perfect condition.

The freshly laid eggs will keep warm within their hand knitted Aran cosies. On the first morning, little WECK glass jars, full of diced gravlax, pork rillettes (from their own pigs), granola, natural yoghurt, a little compartment of white and brown soda and a couple of slices of a delicious light fruit cake, chunks of ripe melon, blueberries and fresh mint leaves from the herb garden,  a pot of rich unctuous chocolate. Can you imagine tucking into that breakfast with a fine pot of strong tea or freshly ground coffee. On the second day a whole new choice….

Inis Meáin is the quietest of the three Aran Islands, sandwiched between Inis Mór and Inis Oírr.

Its tranquillity is its charm no ‘hurdie gurdies’ or disco music, no burger and chips here. Hop on a bike and feel the wind in your hair or ramble through the little boreens with your lunch in the back pack which has been thoughtfully delivered at 10.30 of thick lentil soup and focaccia. Feel the pressure of everyday life slip away.

Ruairí de Blacam cooks the kind of food I love to eat, beautiful simple fresh ingredients straight from their little garden and tunnel. Fresh fish and shellfish from the sea, cooked from scratch, no faffing around with foams or gels or skid marks on the plate, just pure fresh flavours, simply cooked. The restaurant looks out towards the Atlantic – the Twelve Pins of Connemara silhouetted in the distance as the sun sets in the West.

A classic carpaccio from dry aged beef and a crab salad with slivers of radish from the garden and wild island flowers were particularly  memorable as was a salad of thinly sliced new seasons red and golden beetroot with crème fraîche, finely chopped chives, wild garlic and herb robert flowers, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

Monkfish with ras en hanout and fennel and orange salad – very good with a bottle of unfiltered dry white wine from Georgia called Pheasants Tears.

It was two years since I’d been to Inis Meáin Suites, Marie-Thérèse and Ruairí have continued to reinvest in their business. Their eggs come from their own hens, the pork from their pigs, wild flowers from the island, flutter over the occasional dish. I particularly remember a hay smoked custard with new season rhubarb covered with primroses that were picked by Ruairí just minutes earlier – where would you get it?

Inis Meáin Suites is the sort of gem that one dreams about discovering but so rarely does.

So even if Ruairí and Marie-Thérèse and Inis Meáin Suites are booked out until the end of the 2016 season, it’s really worth going on a cancellation list which is how I secured my booking this time and if you can’t get into the Suites, there are several other B & B’s on the island and one can book dinner in the Inis Meáin Restaurant.

There are several ferries a day from either Doolin or Ros a Mhil. Aer Arann flies from Connemara Airport, just €49, worth every penny and they need our support. www.aerarannislands.ie

 

Inis Meáin Hay Smoked Custard and New Season’s Rhubarb

 

Serves 6

For the custard
Handful of clean hay
250ml cream
4 egg yolks
20g caster sugar

For the rhubarb (enough for 12)
1 kg forced rhubarb
Zest of 2 oranges
2 split vanilla pods
100g sugar
100ml water

Firstly toast off your hay in a hot oven for 1-2 minutes to enhance the flavours.
Put the hot hay in a bowl and pour the cream over it. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave to infuse for a minimum of 6 hours. When this time has elapsed, pass the liquid through a fine sieve making sure to squeeze as much cream out of the hay as you can.
Discard the hay. You should have about 220ml of cream. Heat this in a saucepan until it almost starts to boil but not quite.

While the cream is heating whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl until smooth. Slowly pour all the hot cream over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook it out over a very low heat continuously stirring with a wooden spoon. When the custard coats the back of the spoon you’re done.

Make a syrup with the water, sugar vanilla and orange zest in a large pot. Clean and cut the rhubarb into one inch dice. Add this to the syrup and cook it out for 4-5 minutes. There should be a little bite left in the rhubarb and I must add that only forced rhubarb will do.

To finish the dish cover the bottom of each bowl with custard. Spoon some of the rhubarb into it and garnish with mint and primroses….

 

Inis Meáin Carpaccio of Beef

Serves 6

 

This the simplest recipe ever.

1kg of prime sirloin(meticulously trimmed)

For the mayonnaise
2 egg yolks
3 teaspoons of strong Dijon mustard
Juice of half a lemon
200 ml sunflower oil
Drop of milk
Salt and ground white pepper
1 plastic bottle

Ask your butcher to cut a piece of sirloin approximately 20cm long. Trim off all the fat and cut in half lengthways with the grain. Wrap in cling film, roll into two sausages, tie the ends and freeze for 1.5 hours. This makes it easier to slice it as thinly as possible.

While your beef is in the freezer make your mayonnaise. Whisk your egg yolks and mustard together adding the oil gradually to make an emulsion. When all the oil is added thin it out the dressing with the lemon juice and milk. Season. The idea is that it will end up as white as possible and runny enough to squeeze from a bottle in a crosshatch pattern. (I normally hate squeezy bottles but this is the original Harry’s Bar recipe so I’ll make an exception!)

Remove the beef from the freezer and with a very sharp knife cut against the grain in very thin slices. Cover 6 plates with the thinly sliced beef. (If you have any beef left over you can grill it for your breakfast the following day). Zig zag the dressing over the meat and serve with some toasted sourdough.

 

Inis Meáin Carpaccio of Mackerel with Ginger and Sesame Dressing

 

Make a note of this recipe to fish out when the first fresh mackerel are available – this is another example of Ruairí de Blacam’s superb, pure and simple dishes. This dressing makes a lot and keeps well.  It is also delicious with noodles or pan-grilled fish.  It is only worth doing this dish if the mackerel is super fresh, less than 5 hours out of the sea.

Super fresh mackerel filleted – 1 mackerel serves 2 as a starter

 

Ginger Sesame Dressing

1250ml (2 pints/5 cups) sesame oil

1250ml (2 pints/5 cups) sunflower oil

300ml (10fl oz/1 1/4 cups) soya sauce

150g (5oz) garlic, microplaned

200g (7oz) ginger, microplaned

250g (9oz) sesame seeds toasted

 

Optional

spring onions, thinly sliced at an angle

coriander leaves

 

Fillet the spanking fresh mackerel and remove all the bones.  Slice each fillet into 1/8 inch thick slices, arrange in a circle on a chilled plate.  Spoon a little dressing over each portion.  Sprinkle with thinly sliced spring onions and coriander seeds.

A little bowl of Periwinkles can be found all along the coast of Ireland yet we rarely find them on restaurant menus. Down on Shanagarry strand, when the tide is out and we turn over the stones we find a whole little clutch of these edible little sea snails clinging to them. I always take the students down to collect periwinkles, to pass on this skill. Make sure they’re a good size when you collect them – if you collect the tiny ones there won’t be any to collect at a later stage, and there’s very little in them anyway.

We find that there are two types of sea snail that grow side by side. The locals call one ‘horse perries’ and always say they’re not edible.

They’re flatter in shape and have mother-of-pearl inside. There are still quite a few people around the coast, particularly older people, who collect periwinkles and sell them to a dealer who exports them to Paris to become part of an assiette de fruits de mer served along the Champs-Elysées!

Take your children or grandchildren with you when you’re foraging for periwinkles. We sometimes light a fire in a little circle of stones so we can cook our foraged feast on the beach. Our grandchildren giggle with delight as they extract the little coiled periwinkles from their shells with pins that have little bobbles on top. There’s a little black disk at the mouth of the shell called the operculum; don’t eat it, just flick it off with your pin. Traditionally they were just winkled out of the shell with a pin, dipped in vinegar and eaten there and then. I also remember them being sold in little paper cornets on the pier in Lahinch, County Clare.

Our meal at Inis Meáin started with a little bowl of fresh periwinkles, cooked in seawater and still warm – they had been picked along the seashore only a few hours earlier – where would you get it….we had a happy interlude winkling them out of the shells with long pins.

 

How to clean periwinkles

Cover with cold fresh water and leave to soak for at least 1 hour, longer if possible. You’ll need to cover the bucket because they make a valiant and determined effort to

escape, which can be a bit unnerving. Discard the water and cook. They are best cooked in seawater.

 

Live periwinkles

Boiling salted water – 4 tablespoons to every 4 pints (2.3litres) water

 

Bring the water to the boil, add the salt and the periwinkles, bring the water back to the boil.   Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, strain off the water and allow the periwinkles to get cold.  Serve with homemade mayonnaise.  Some people love to dip them in vinegar.  Either way you will need to supply a large pin for each person to extract the winkles from the shells.

 

Homemade Mayonnaise

 

Most people don’t seem to be aware that mayonnaise can be made even with a hand whisk in less than five minutes, and if you use a food-processor the technique is still the same but it is made even faster. The great secret is to have all your ingredients at room temperature and to drip the oil very slowly into the egg yolks at the beginning. The quality of your mayonnaise will depend totally on the quality of the egg yolks, oil and vinegar and it’s perfectly possible to make a bland mayonnaise if you use poor-quality ingredients.

Mayonnaise is the ‘mother’ of all the cold emulsion sauces, so once you can make a mayonnaise you can make any of the ‘daughter’ sauces such as tartare, aioli, garlic mayo, dill mayo, wholegrain mustard mayo… Just add extra ingredients as required. Makes 300ml (1⁄2 pint)

 

2 organic egg yolks

pinch of English mustard or 1⁄4 teaspoon French mustard

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

225ml (8fl oz) oil (sunflower or olive oil or a mixture) – we use 175ml (6fl oz) sunflower oil and 50ml (2fl oz) olive oil

 

Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the mustard, salt and white wine vinegar. Put the oil into a measure. Take a whisk in one hand and the oil in the other and drip the oil onto the egg yolks, drop by drop, whisking at the same time. Within a minute you will notice that the mixture is beginning to thicken. When this happens you can add the oil a little faster, but don’t get too cheeky or it will suddenly curdle because the egg yolks can only absorb the oil at a certain rate. Taste and add a little more seasoning and vinegar if necessary.

If the mayonnaise curdles, it will suddenly become quite thin, and if left sitting the oil will start to float to the top of the sauce. If this happens you can quite easily rectify the situation by putting another egg yolk or 1–2 tablespoons of boiling water into a clean bowl and whisking in the curdled mayonnaise, a half-teaspoon at a time until it emulsifies again.

 

Hot Tips

Tacos, Tostados, Quesadillas

We so love Mexican food in all its incarnations. But how irresistible are many of the street foods – tortillas packed full of flavour, served in a myriad of variations, the kind of food you want to share with family and friends at any time of the day.

Street food is an integral part of daily life in Mexico. There are tacquerias all over the country and now there’s a taco craze from San Francisco to Copenhagen. You’ll never be short of friends when you can whip up a few ace tacos, tostados and quesadillas.

But do you know your tacos from your quesadillas, or what makes a good tostado? Darina is on a permanent mission to find the world’s best taco. We’ll have corn and flour tortillas and share our passion for this versatile, universally appealing Mexican food. How about pulled pork or a spicy chicken taco.

Friday June 10th 2.30pm-5.00pm

www.cookingisfun.ie

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