ArchiveJune 2016

Felicity Cloake A-Z

A for almond, B for blue cheese, C for caramel, D for dumplings, E for eggs, F for fat and so on. Felicity Cloake’s new book, The A-Z of Eating are all themed around Felicity’s favourite ingredients. A pretty novel approach at a time when it’s difficult to come up with something new and catchy but Felicity is definitely one to watch. She writes for the Daily Mail, the New Statesman and the Guardian, was named Food Journalist of the Year. She also carried off the New Media of the Year Award in 2011.

Each chapter opens with a fascinating introduction to the ingredient, blending history, food sciences, sharp insights and top tips. She assumes a certain basic knowledge. This book won’t teach you how to fry an egg or make hollandaise. “It’s for those brave souls who feel they have a fairly firm grasp on the basics, those who know it’s easier to make tomato sauce than to go out and buy a jar, for whom fish holds no fear and baking birthday cakes is a cause for celebration, not panic – in other words, people who can already cook”.

She encourages us to slip out of our well-worn culinary grooves and to cook beyond the most obvious possibilities for some of our favourite ingredients.

Apart from recipes to impress there are lots of tempting ideas to try for utterly delicious midweek suppers. Felicity also urges us cooks to make our lives easier by stocking our kitchens with a few bits of natty kitchen equipment.

Measuring spoons, cheap, last for ever and essential for accurate baking. She’s right, ordinary kitchen spoons vary widely in size.

A stick blender, less of an investment than a stand mixer and super useful for everything from homemade mayonnaise to soups, sauces, smoothies, whipping cream.

A cooking thermometer, Felicity poses the question – why faff about trying to guess the temperature of oil or caramel or whether your Sunday roast is rosy pink or well done in the centre. Digital varieties with a probe on a lead are most practical. I still like to teach people how to judge without any props but these inexpensive thermometers are brilliantly handy and eliminate the guesswork.

An oven thermometer is another must have, few ovens are the same temperature from top to bottom and cooks very often blame themselves for inconsistent results. This little gadget will take away the guilt and empower you to get the serviceman around.

Finally a decent food processor, they don’t come cheap but I certainly bless the person who invented this robust time saving gadget on a daily basis.

If you don’t yet have a food processor put it on your wish list, let it be known among family and friends.

Few bits of kitchen can transform your enjoyment of cooking like a food processor; laboursome tasks are literally done in seconds rather than minutes or even hours.

Here are a few of the recipes that caught my eye in the A-Z of Eating by Felicity Cloake published by Penguin Random House.

Under Z for zest, I found peach and mozzarella salad with lemon zest and basil. Under U for umami, another little gem, courgette. T is for toast, lots of ideas here for our favourite comfort food, I choose salmon and coriander tartare and in the year that’s in it Tricolour jellies, a delicious green, white and gold jelly made with basil, mozzarella and tomatoes and finally under I for ices an easy-peasy banana and peanut butter ice. There’s tons more but I’m sure these ideas will whet your appetite

 

 

Felicity Cloake’s Salmon and Coriander Tartare with Avocado and Wasabi Cream on Toasted Rye

 

Serves 2

 

1 ripe Haas avocado

2 teaspoons wasabi paste

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon soy sauce (preferably Japanese)

1 salmon fillet

A small bunch of coriander, chopped

A handful of pea shoots

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

A dash of pumpkin seed, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

2 slices of dark rye bread

 

Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone, and then scoop out the flesh into a small bowl. Add half the wasabi along with the lime juice and soy sauce. Whiz until smooth (or mash as best you can, if you don’t have a stick blender), then taste and season. I like to add the rest of the wasabi, but you may not.

 

Skin the salmon if necessary, and then cut into small dice. Put into a small bowl with the coriander, season well, and toss together with the pea shoots, pumpkin seeds and a dash of oil.

Toast the bread until crisp, then spread with the avocado and top with the salmon and pea shoots. Eat immediately.

 

 

Felicity Cloake’s Courgette Fritters with Bagna Cauda Hollandaise

 

Serves 4 with extra sauce

 

450 g courgettes

2 spring onions

50 g plain flour

50 g dried breadcrumbs, preferably panko

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

A whole nutmeg, to grate

1 egg

Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

Oil, to fry

 

For the Sauce

3 fat garlic cloves

10 anchovies, rinsed if packed in salt

100 ml olive oil

3 egg yolks

150 g cold butter, cubed

 

Coarsely grate the courgettes into a colander in the sink. Salt lightly, toss and leave to weep while you make the sauce.

Roughly chop the garlic and anchovies and mash together into a smooth paste. Heat a splash of oil in a small frying pan over a lowish heat and gently fry the mixture until the garlic just smells cooked. Scoop out of the hot pan so it doesn’t continue cooking.

Heat the olive oil to warm. (I put the jug into a saucepan of hot water) and boil a small kettle of water. Put the egg yolks into a pan with 1 tablespoon of cold water and the butter and set over a low heat. Stir continually until the butter has melted and emulsified into a smooth, thickish sauce, then gradually but vigorously whisk in the warm olive oil. Turn up the heat slightly and whisk until thickened. If it threatens to separate, whisk in a little of the boiling water from the kettle, which should bring it back tougher. Once thickened, stir in the anchovy and garlic and set aside somewhere warm while you make the fritters, whisking it occasionally (I sit the pan in the larger pan of warm water previously occupied by the jug of oil).

Squeeze the courgettes well. Finely slice the spring onions, and then put in to a large bowl with the courgettes, flour, breadcrumbs, chilli flakes and a pinch of nutmeg. Briefly beat the egg and mix in along with the parsley.

Heat enough oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat to shallow fry – if you only grease the pan, your fritters will be soggy. Once the pan is hot enough that a courgette strand sizzles as it hits the oil, add the mixture in spoonfuls, flattening out as you do so, and fry in batches until golden brown on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper, then serve with the sauce.

 

 

Felicity Cloake’s Peach and Mozzarella Salad with Crispy Lemon Zest and Basil

 

Serves 2

 

1 large unwaxed lemon

6 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 fairly ripe peaches or nectarines

1 ball of buffalo mozzarella

4 sprigs of basil

 

Peel the zest from the lemon in strips, keeping them as thin as possible to avoid the bitter white pith. Scrape any pith off the peel with a sharp knife, then cut the strips into long thin lengths. Put a plate lined with kitchen  paper by the hob.

 

Heat the oil in a small frying pan and when hot fry the zest for about 30 seconds, until just beginning to crisp and colour. Use a slotted spoon to scoop on the paper to drain, and allow the oil in the pan to cool.

 

Juice the lemon and whisk the cooled oil into 2 tablespoons of the juice. Season to taste.

 

Slice the peaches and divide between two small plates in a circle. Sprinkle with a little dressing, then tear the mozzarella over the top. Spoon over a little more dressing, season and sprinkle with the lemon zest strips and torn basil leaves to serve

 

 

Felicity Cloake’s Tricolore Jellies

 

Makes 6

 

Familiar flavours – the tang of tomato, the creaminess of mozzarella the sweet pepperiness of basil – cast in a new and unexpected form: miniature jellies.

 

These can be made a couple of days in advance which is always handy – and though it looks like you’ve gone to great effort, the work involved is minimal and basic.

 

For the tomato jelly

600 g ripe tomatoes, halved or quartered

1 small garlic clove, crushed

100 ml tomato juice

¼ teaspoon sugar

2½ gelatine leaves

Neutral oil, to grease

 

For the Mozzarella panna cotta

1 burrata (you won’t need all of it)

100 ml whole milk

1 gelatine leaf

 

For the basil jelly

1 lemon

40 g fresh basil leaves, plus a few extra

1½ gelatine leaves

 

For the tomato jelly, whizz up the tomatoes and garlic with the juice, the sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Line a sieve with muslin or a clean tea towel, set it over a large bowl and pour in the tomatoes, then gather up the sides of the material over the tomatoes and secure the top of the bundle with an elastic band. Suspend this above the bowl and leave to drain for at least 3 hours, squeezing the bag occasionally to help it along.

 

Once you’ve drained off most of the tomato liquid (you should have about 300 ml – if it’s significantly less, top up with tomato juice; if more, make the excess into a Bloody Mary shot), soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water until soft and crunchable. Meanwhile, bring the juice to a simmer in  a small pan. Squeeze out the gelatine and stir into the warm juice until dissolved.

 

Grease six small dariole moulds, or small glass dishes if you don’t’ want to turn them out, and divide the tomato mixture between them. Chill until set.

 

When the tomato jelly is beginning to set, measure out 75 g of the burrata, making sure you get a good lot of the cream inside. Finely chop the solid skin. Put into a small pan with the milk and a generous pinch of salt and heat gently, stirring once warm to encourage the cheese to melt. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in cold water until soft. Once the dairy mixture is smoothish, squeeze out the gelatine and stir into the milk, then allow to cool to warm room temperature, stirring occasionally. Pour over the back of a spoon on top of the set tomato jelly (to stop them merging) and refrigerate.

For the basil jelly, bring a small pan of salted water to the boil and prepare a large bowl of iced water with the juice of the lemon squeeze into it. Blanch the basil for 15 seconds, then scoop out into the iced water. Reserve 180 ml of the blanching water, and allow it to cool slightly.  Meanwhile, soak the gelatine as before. Stir it into the warm blanching water and allow to cool, stirring occasionally, then drain and roughly chop or coarsely puree the basil and stir it inot the gelatine mixture with a pinch of salt. Pour on top of the panna cotta and refrigerate until set.

Turn out onto plates if you’re feeling brave, or serve in the dishes, with a basil leaf on top, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some toasted ciabatta.

 

 

 

Felicity Cloake’s Simple Banana and Peanut Butter Ice

 

This is so unbelievably creamy that you won’t miss the dairy one bit – the peanut butter is optional and be left out or substituted with honey, chocolate spread or chips, nuts, spice, maple syrup….ideal for children and best eaten as soon as it’s made rather than frozen.

The bananas must be really ripe or they won’t be sweet enough

 

Serves 2-4

(2 greedily, 4 more moderately)

4 very ripe bananas

2 teaspoons peanut butter

Handful of salted roasted peanuts, to top (optional)

 

Peel the bananas, chop into even slices and freeze for at least 3 hours.

Put into a food processor and whiz until smooth and creamy (you’ll probably need to keep sticking a spatula in to stop it clumping into large frozen balls, but it will happen, I promise).

Add the peanut butter, or any other flavourings, and a pinch of salt and whiz to incorporate. Serve with a few roughly chopped peanuts scattered over the top, or indeed a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce.

 

HOT TIPS

Garden Workshop: Successional Sowings and Summer Harvesting

 

On Monday June 27th Susan Turner of Ballymaloe Cookery School gardens will teach a one day gardening course on successional sowings through the summer. Susan will cover organic year round crop rotation, crop management, feeding regimes and harvesting, best methods to attract beneficial insects and pest control…..9.30am-5pm

There will be coffee on arrival and light lunch included. www.cookingisfun.ie

 

Discovering Tapas

 

Some of the most fashionable and hip tapas bars have popped up in LA, San Francisco, New York and London

Why? Because tapas offers a unique combination of taste and convenience making them perfect for home entertaining. There are literally hundreds of tapas and pinchos: classic tortilla a la patata, shavings of Serrano or lberico hams, chorizo with fino sherry, salt cod fritters with piquillo peppers, albondigas, bonita with anchovies, prawns with chilli and sea salt, pinchos moranos, queso con membrillo…….. On Wednesday June 29th, Darina Allen has chosen some of the favourite tapas collected during her visits to Spain over the years. www.cookingisufn.ie

 

Summer Food Festivals are in full swing.

Catch the Westport Food Festival this weekend, one of the best. Mushroom foraging, a Food Village showcasing local products, hourly cookery demonstrations and family fun set against the backdrop of Croagh Patrick. www.westportfoodfestival.ie

 

Become a BBQ Hero

Host a fun event this summer that also raises money for a great cause.

The Marie Keating Foundation needs you to host a fundraising BBQ this summer with your friends, family or workmates. It doesn’t matter when you host it, how many people you invite, or if you’re a good cook. All that matters is that you and your friends are coming together to help  a worthy cause. Register online http://www.mariekeating.ie/bbq to get your ‘starter pack’

 

Bountiful Season

 

 

For those of us who love to grow some of our own food this is the beginning of the bountiful season where each meal begins with a ‘oops’ in my tummy and a feeling of delight at the first radishes, first new potatoes, the first beets, the first fresh green peas, the first cucumbers and most amazing of all the first little cherry tomatoes, the earliest ever.

My fussy little grandchildren run in and out of the rows of peas and broad beans picking, choosing the fattest pods, the greenhouse is their greengrocer. This is where food comes from as far as they are concerned, not off a supermarket shelf. They pull the carrots out of the ground, run them under the tap and munch them, there and then. They show their friends excitedly how to pod the broad beans, pluck them out of their furry nests and nibble them fresh out of the pods. Every day is a new thrill for them.

The Cookery School students too are enchanted by the abundance of fresh produce. Several planted a little veg plot in a raised bed, 5 or 6 weeks ago and are astonished to be harvesting produce from them already. Others have box gardens with lettuce, little carrots, fresh herbs and radishes on the window sills of their cottages. It’s like magic and remember if you teach someone how to sow a seed to grow some of their own food, you change their life – and no you don’t need to live in the country or a farm or even have a garden. All you need is a container, could be a seed tray, an old box or even a drawer, a seed, light and water and hey presto you can grow on your window sill, balcony, roof, up walls, down walls, in your back yard……

In fact, it’s happening already everywhere. ‘Grow Food not Lawns’ is a big movement in the US now. www.growfoodnotlawns.com

There’s a huge grass roots movement , an explosion,  urban farming and gardening from Manhattan to Tokyo. It’s literally a worldwide phenomenan, as more and more people want to take back a little control over the food they eat.  The call for a new type of agriculture and sustainable food production system grows ever louder.

We also had the first of the kohl rabi recently, they all seem to be ready at the same time, so we were frantically testing recipes so we wouldn’t waste a single scrap.

Not sure if you know them, they look like ‘sputnicks’ with stalks and leaves growing haphazardly from the sides. They too are edible. The kohl rabi itself tastes like a mild white turnip and is delicious either raw or cooked.

Here are two of the recipes we particularly enjoyed.

We also use both the stalks and the leaves of the young beets, they are so delicious, just chopped and cooked in boiling salted water. Stalks first for a few minutes, then add the leaves for a few a minute or two more.  Drain very well, then toss in butter or extra virgin olive oil. One of the best greens of all, but we also made a beetroot stalk soup and a separate beetroot leaf soup. One was a grey/green the other pinky red, both were so delicious we will definitely make them again.

For a little bit of fun, we poured some of each into a soup bowl so we had two distinct colours and an impressive cheffy presentation. But think of it, when you grow your own beets one has three vegetables rather than just the one. The beet greens and stalks are normally just chopped off and disregarded in the current retail system. Another compelling reason to have a go at growing your own.

Hedgerows all around the country have fluffy white elderflower and the green gooseberries are prefect to use so don’t miss the magical combination, delicious on their own or with panna cotta, ice cream, carrageen moss….a flavour combo made in heaven.

Another reason to give thanks to Mother Nature and the gardeners….

Cabbage-Salad-Raisins-Mint
Cabbage-Salad-Raisins-Mint

Kohlrabi or White Turnip and Coconut Curry

 

Serves 4-6

 

225g (8oz) onion, peeled and finely chopped

25g (1oz/1/4 stick) butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

700g (1 1/2lbs) kobhrabi or white turnip, peeled and cut into 2cm (3/4 inch) dice

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground coriander

seeds from 8 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed

20g (3/4oz) fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

sea salt and black pepper

1 x 400g (14oz) tin chopped tomatoes

400ml (14fl oz/1 3/4 cup) vegetable stock or water

200ml (7fl oz/scant 1 cup) coconut milk

handful fresh coriander leaves

 

Rice and Naan bread

Mint or coriander yoghurt

 

Melt the butter and the oil in a wok, add the onion and sweat over a gentle heat until soft and translucent.  Meanwhile, prepare the kohlrabi, add to the onion and cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes.

 

Stir in the mustard, cumin and fennel seeds and cook for 2 minutes, careful not to brown the seeds or they will become bitter.  Add the ground turmeric or coriander, crushed cardamom seeds, ginger, garlic and chillies and cook for 30 seconds.  Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the chopped tomatoes, stock or water. Bring to the boil and and simmer for 20 minutes, then add the coconut milk and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the kohlrabi is tender.  Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. Pour into a hot serving bowl, scatter with coriander and serve with rice, naan bread and mint or coriander yoghurt.

 

 (Recipe adapted from www.hellomagazine.com)

 

Kohlrabi, White Cabbage and Cranberry Slaw with Herbs and Sesame Seeds

 

Love this salad which we borrow from Yotam Ottolenghi – the pickled ginger provides a zesty burst of flavour.

 

Serves 4

 

3-4 kohlrabi bulbs

200g white cabbage

25g parsley, chopped

25g dill, chopped

25g tarragon, chopped

70g dried cranberries

2 teaspoons pickled ginger

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

120ml lemon juice

2 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons sesame oil

4 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons nigella seeds

salt and black pepper

 

Peel the kohlrabi, slice thinly and cut them into matchsticks. Quarter, core and slice the cabbage across the grain as thinly as possible.

 

Put into a large bowl, add all of the other ingredients, mix well.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, taste and tweak if necessary

 

 

Beetroot-Soup-Chive-Cream
Beetroot-Soup-Chive-Cream

Beetroot Soup with Chive Cream

Serves 8-10

 

In Season: Summer & Autumn

 

900g (2 lb) young beetroot

25g (1oz/1/4 stick) butter

225g (1/2lb) onions

salt and freshly ground pepper

1.2L (2 pints/5 cups) homemade chicken or vegetable stock approx.

125ml (4fl oz/1/2 cup) creamy milk

 

Chive Cream

125ml (4 fl oz) sour cream or crème fraiche

 

Finely chopped chives

Wash the beetroot carefully under a cold tap. Don’t scrub, simply rub off the clay with your fingers. You won’t want to damage the skin or cut off the top or tails because it will ‘bleed’ in the cooking.  Put the beetroot into cold water, and simmer covered for anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on the size and age.

Meanwhile chop the onions, sweat carefully and gently in the butter until they are cooked.   The beetroot are cooked when the skins will rub off easily.

Chop the beetroot and add to the onions. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. * Put into a liquidiser with the hot chicken stock. Liquidise until quite smooth.  Reheat, add some creamy milk, taste and adjust the seasoning, it may be necessary to add a little more stock or creamy milk.

Serve garnished with little swirls of sour cream and a sprinkling of finely chopped chives.

Watchpoint: careful not to damage the beetroot during preparation or they will bleed

 

Golden Beetroot Soup

Use the golden Chioggia beetroot variety in the recipe above.

 

Chilled Beetroot Soup

Proceed as in the master recipe above to *. Liquidise with just enough stock to cover. The mixture should be smooth and silky. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Fold in some cream and yoghurt.

 

Serve well chilled in small bowls with little swirls of yoghurt and finely chopped chives.

 

Elderflower Cake with Green Gooseberry Compote

 

12 ozs (350g) soft butter

12 ozs (350g) castor sugar

4 eggs, preferably free range

12 ozs (350g) self-raising flour

 

Elderflower Syrup

2 heads of elderflower

2oz (50g) castor sugar

¼ pint (150ml) water

zest and juice of one unwaxed lemon

 

We used a round tin with slightly sloping sides – 1½ (4cm) deep, bottom diameter 8½ in (21.5cm), 9½ (24cm) across top,  well greased, but a regular 9 in (23cm)  round cake tin will be fine.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/regulo 4. Put the butter, castor sugar, eggs and self-raising flour into a food processor. Whizz for a few seconds to amalgamate. Spread evenly in the well buttered tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour approx. or until golden brown and well risen.

Meanwhile make the syrup.  Put the sugar and water into a saucepan over a medium heat.  Stir until the sugar dissolves, add the elderflowers, bring to the boil for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and add the lemon zest and juice.  Leave aside to cool.  Strain.

As soon as the cake is cooked, pour all the syrup over the top, leave to cool. (see note at end of recipe)

Remove the cake from the tin and serve with Green Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote and softly whipped cream for dessert.

A slice of the cake on its own with a cup of tea is also delicious.

Note: If you are serving the cake on its own, only pour half the syrup over it.

 

 IMG_4036

Green Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote

 

Serves 6-8

 

2 lbs (900g) green gooseberries

2 or 3 elderflower heads

1 pint (600ml) cold water

1 lb (450g) sugar

 

First top and tail the gooseberries. Tie 2 or 3 elderflower heads in a little square of muslin, put in a stainless steel or enamelled saucepan, add the sugar and cover with cold water. Bring slowly to the boil and continue to boil for 2 minutes. Add the gooseberries and simmer just until the fruit bursts. Allow to get cold. Serve in a pretty bowl and decorate with fresh elderflowers.

 

Hot Tips

Só Sligo Food Festival

If you are in the North West, don’t miss Só Sligo Food Festival. Lots of exciting things that include foraging walks, pizza making for the kids, Irish Stew Championship…one of the highlights is the

Irish Fermentation Festival as part of Só Sligo Food Festival.

On Sunday June 19th, at the Organic Centre in County Leitrim

from 2pm there will be cookery demonstrations, talks, tastings and make your own fermented foods. JP McMahon, Prannie Rhatigan, Gaby and Hans Wieland and many others are participating on the day.

www.theorganiccentre.ie or tel: 071 985 4338

Slow Food Mayo

It’s all happening in the North West. Slow Food Mayo have a convivial day out on Thursday June 23rd beginning at 12.30pm with a tour of Mescan Brewery, a tasting lunch at The Tavern in Murrisk, Co Mayo and seaweed foraging along the coast of Clew Bay.

Tel: 098 64060 www.slowfoodireland.com

World of Coffee comes to Dublin, June 21st – 22nd 2016

The World of Coffee comes to Dublin featuring a coffee symposium, sustainability forum, world barista championship, educational and workshop seminars, world brewers cup…..www.worldofcoffee-dublin.com

Litfest 2016

They’ve all gone back to their respective countries now but it was such a buzz to have so many diverse top chefs from all over the world with us here at Ballymaloe for the Litfest.

Many like Frances Mallman, Eric Werner and Mya Henry from Mexico had never been to Ireland before. Neither had Cortney Burns and Nicolaus Balla from Bar Tartine in San Francisco. They are the pair who are passionate about fermented foods and have been rediscovering and experimenting since 2011. They gave a demonstration to a packed room of students eager to discover or to relearn the simple skills of one of the earth’s most natural processes. The interest in fermentation has become intense now that so many people have gut problems and realise that there is a connection between a healthy gut, the brain and our general wellbeing.

Katie Sanderson of the Dillisk Project also focused on fermented food.

She and Jasper O’ Connor  just two of the bright and brilliant new generation of young Ireland chefs who are passionate about fresh seasonable produce from the land, sea and the wild.

Ottolenghi was back this time with Ramael Scully, his business partner in the hugely successful NOPI restaurant in Warwick Street in London. They gave a super entertaining action, packed dem of recipes from their new book NOPI.

Claire Ptak, the gentle pastry queen from Violet Cakes in London’s Hackney enchanted her audience with a selection of the handmade cakes and cookies that make her little café famous. She used a variety of flours, spelt flour, oat flour, buckwheat flour, wholemeal spelt, kamut flour….. many suitable for those with a gluten intolerance. Her book published by Random House is called The Violet Bakery Cookbook.

Frances Mallman, the King of Fire from Argentina has a cult following all over the world ever since he appeared on The Chefs Table on Netflix. People flew in from Japan, Australia, the US, Spain the UK to see him. He cooked over ‘live fire’ in 5 different ways. Griddle, ashes, hung, iron cross, grill… He cooked dry aged ribs of beef from the farm, organic chickens, brined and stuffed with lemon and marjoram, a whole lamb, asador was also cooked to perfection. He went to the greenhouses and picked and collected a variety of fresh lettuce, vegetables spinach, swiss chard, kale, carrots and beetroot made them into a long roll and cooked them side by side with sweet breads on the plancha, an 8ft x 4ft metal plate. He told us it was his first time to try this vegetable roll but he was so moved by the beautiful fresh, new season’s vegetables that he wanted to cook them. The word had got out that he was starting at 4am so about 10or 12 enthusiasts turned up to watch him build the fires and start to get the lamb and joints of meats on cooking.

By noon, the  meats were cooked to perfection and I mean perfection, not an easy task but a skill honed over 30 years and Frances says he’s only beginning a journey of relearning how to cook over live fire as our ancestors did. He served several sauces to complement the meats, chimichurri, salsa criolla…

Frances loved the beautiful walk along the cliffs at Ballycotton, sea pinks and wild flowers in bloom and sky larks singing. He, like so many of the others long to return to Ireland.  We were so fortunate the sun shone, just two showers over the week end to remind us of what the weather could have been like. All the chefs and food writers were blown away and envious of the quality of the food from the land, sea and wild that we can produce in this country. They return to their country with a pen in their hand to spread the word of what’s happening on the food scene in Ireland.

Eric Werner and Mya Henry from Hartwood charmed their fans with the story of the restaurant they set up along a jungle road on the Carribbean sea in Tulum. The menu they write daily from the food of their gardens and neighbouring Mayan farms and the fish that is spearhunted by local fishermen. They consider sustainability first and foremost in their work and in every decision in the restaurant. Here again everything is cooked over wood fire and people travel from all over the world for the experience.

 

Hot Tips

East Cork Slow Food Event

Seventh generation miller, Robert Mosse from Kells Wholemeal will tell the story of their family mill in Bennettsbridge, County Kilkenny and explain the process and tell us all about the grains and flours at a time when there is a growing interest in different types of flour. Lots of samples of baked goods to taste. Don’t miss this fascinating evening.

Wednesday June 15th at 7pm at the Ballymaloe Cookery School

Tel: 021 4646785

Kaffir Lime Plants

Keen cooks should make a dash for Deelish Garden Centre outside Skibbereen. They have kaffir lime plants for sale as well as many other choice plants for adventurous chefs.

Tel: 028 21374

Charles Dowding of No Dig Gardening fame in Shepton Mallet, Somerset is coming to the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday June 18th.  I was so inspired by his garden in Alhampton when I visited last year that I invited Charles to teach a course here. We have been experimenting ever since with the No Dig method on the farm and in the gardens with very encouraging results.

In this one day workshop, Charles will share his skills, experience and passion for this alternative way of growing. Participants will also see a slide show of the spectacular results in his own garden which continues to be a work in progress.

www.cookingisfun.ie

 

Elderflower

Elderflower is in bloom all over the countryside, make syrups, fritters, cordial, elderflower champagne.

 

 

Francis Mallmann’s Whole Boneless Rib Eye with Chimichurri

Serves 20

I usually cook roasts on the bone because I like the way bones gently conduct heat into the meat. But when you slather a coating of chimichurri on a boneless rib roast, the result is the most heavenly crust you can imagine. Just keep an eye on the cooking time and the internal temperature. Since all ovens vary, the timings given below are just guidelines that you may need to adjust in your own oven.

 

1 boneless rib-eye roast, 6-10 lbs

Coarse salt

2 cups chimichurri, or more if desired (see recipe)

6 bay leaves

 

Preheat the oven to 450F, with the rack positioned in the lower third of the oven.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with coarse salt and coat on all sides with half the chimichurri (reserve the rest for serving). Scatter the bay leaves over the meat. Place on a rack in  large roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350F and roast for approximately 10 minutes more per pound for rare (120F). transfer to a carving board and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

Carve the beef and serve with the remaining chimichurri.

 

For the Salmuera

 

Makes about 2 cups

 

1 cup water

1 tablespoon coarse salt

 

Chimichurri

1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled

1 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves

1 cup fresh oregano leaves

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

 

To make the salmuera, bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the salt and stir until it dissolves. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Mince the garlic very fine and put in a medium bowl. Mince the parsley and oregano and add to the garlic, along with the red pepper flakes. Whisk in the red wine vinegar and then the olive oil. Whisk in the salmuera. Transfer to a jar with a tight fitting lid, and keep in the refrigerator. Chimichurri is best prepared at least 1 day in advance, so that the flavours have a chance to blend. The chimichurri can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 to 3 weeks.

 

Bar Tartine’s Green Chili Fisherman’s Stew

Serves 4 to 6

55g (2oz/2 cups) packed fresh flat leaf parsley leaves

2 litres (3½ pints/8 cups) fish stock

2 teaspoons filtered sunflower oil

2 small sweet white onions, thinly sliced

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

115g (4oz) hen of the woods or oyster mushrooms, stemmed

1 x 225g (8oz) fennel bulb, halved, cored, and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons Hatch or other green chile powder (any green chilli powder is fine)

450g (1lb) skinless sturgeon, carp, or catfish fillets, cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) pieces – use Hake

115g (4oz) young collard greens, stemmed and torn into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces

60ml (2 1/2fl oz/1/4 cup) fish sauce

12 oil packed anchovy fillets, minced

1 lemon, halved

green onions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced, for garnish

fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

freshly ground black pepper

 

In a blender or food processor, combine 40g (1 1/2oz) of the parsley leaves and 480ml (2 cups) of the stock and puree until smooth. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the remaining stock to a simmer. Heat a medium sauté pan over the medium heat until a drop of water flicked onto the surface sizzles gently on contact. Add the sunflower oil to the sauté pan and then immediately add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, fennel and 1tsp of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the chile powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the simmering stock along with the fish pieces, collard greens, fish sauce, anchovies, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Simmer until the fish is cooked and the collards are tender, about 5 minutes. Note that the carp and catfish are more delicate than sturgeon. They will fall apart if cooked for more than 5 minutes or if stirred too vigorously. Stir in the pureed parsley mixture and remove from the heat.

Ladle the stew into individual bowls. Tear the remaining parsley leaves directly into each serving. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to each bowl and garnish with green onions, parsley and pepper. Leftover stew will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

 

Katie Sanderson’s Peas, Summer Kale and Dashi Broth

I tend to use Dashi as the basis for stews and soups now over vegetable stock. I like the lightness and that I’m getting seaweed into my tummy.

 

2 onions

40g (1 3/4oz) ginger

2 cloves garlic

olive oil (a fair bit)

300g (10oz) Cavolo Nero – alternative is perfect

600g (1 1/4lb) peas (fresh or frozen)

1.2 litres (2 pints) Dashi (see recipe)

salt and pepper

 

Garnish

pea shoots

 

 

Japanese Kombu, Irish Kelp, Alaria (Wakame)

 

dried Shitake (optional)

1 litre (1 3/4 pints) of water

 

First make the dashi.  Place the cut up seaweed in the cold water and allow to steep for half hour, place on a gentle heat for approx. 20 minutes not letting the temperature rise above 60˚C/140˚F.

Or

Prepare dashi the night before by leaving seaweed in room temp water and allowing to steep overnight. This will keep in your fridge for 3-5 days.

Next, sweat your onions, garlic and ginger in your olive oil in a medium sized pot. Once the onions are translucent and cooked, add the kale and cook further for about a minute or so. Lastly add your peas and then dashi and leave on medium heat for about five minutes.

Season with lots of salt and pepper.

In a high speed blender whizz 3/4 of the mixture and pour back into your pot.

Grate some roasted walnuts on top (looks like Parmesan)

Serve warm with pea shoots.

Note: Dashi is a type of cooking stock that is sometimes considered the backbone of Japanese cuisine. I personally think it’s about time that we started incorporating it more into our diets too. It’s the simplest way of extracting the flavour of seaweed, an instant pick me up and a great source of iron and nutrients.

By cutting the seaweed up there is an increase of approximately 35per cent more umami and very obviously a greater tasting stock. Don’t wipe the white-ish powder off the seaweed. Seaweeds are a great source of Glutamic acid and thus naturally occurring MSG. (that’s what the white stuff is).

Japanese kelp is different to the types we have along our coastline, Dillisk is considered better alternative then Irish kelp for making broth BUT picking seaweed and using it in the kitchen is really an amazing experience. Tasting the Irish sea is always WIN.

 

Claire Ptak’s Rhubarb Roulade

 

Rhubarb is a great match for sweet meringue. This version is really easy and quick to make, as the meringue and rhubarb can be baked ahead.

For the meringue
4 egg whites
250g (9oz) caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoon cornflour

For the rhubarb
500g (18oz) rhubarb, topped and tailed
1 vanilla pod
100g (3 1/2oz) caster sugar
zest of 1 orange
a splash of orange blossom water
500ml (18fl oz) double cream
2 teaspoons  caster sugar
2 tablespoons rhubarb syrup, from roasting

Heat your oven to 160˚C/325˚C/Gas Mark 3.

Butter and line a 20x30cm (8×11 inch) Swiss roll tin with baking parchment, so the paper is coming right up the sides.

Put the egg whites in a squeaky-clean mixing bowl and, using an electric whisk, beat into soft peaks. Add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time with the whisk running, until all the sugar is incorporated and you have soft, glossy peaks. Fold in the vanilla extract, vinegar and cornflour. Spread into the lined tin, then bake for 30 minutes until it has formed a crust on the surface. Let it cool in the tin

Arrange the rhubarb in a baking dish, and top with the vanilla pod (seeds scraped), sugar and orange zest. Cover the dish with kitchen foil and roast for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and roast for a further 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the orange blossom water.

Separately, pour the cream into a large bowl and whisk until it is just thickening. Do not overwhip it, as it will continue to thicken as it rests. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons roasting syrup from the rhubarb.

To assemble the roulade, transfer the meringue from the tin on to a work surface. Spread with the cream, leaving a small border around the edge. Top with the rhubarb, then roll tightly away from yourself. The edge of the meringue should be at the bottom of the roulade for a prettier finish.

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