Home Cooking

H

It’s all about home cooking these days, encouraging busy people to readjust priorities around food and how we feed both ourselves and our families.

Thomasina Miers, Tommi to her friends is an enchanting bubbly cook from the UK who cofounded the hugely popular Mexican restaurant group Wahaca in London. In 2002 she came here to the school to do a 12 Week Certificate course when as she said herself she was at a ‘bit of a crossroads’. She fell in love with Ireland, embraced country life and grasped every opportunity to learn new skills. She headed off to West Cork to meet the artisan producers and spent many happy months absorbing knowledge about cheese making, charcuterie and farmers markets from the inspirational Ferguson family at Gubeen. She is The Guardian’s Weekend Cook and somewhere in the midst of all her many awards and accomplishment, she won Masterchef 2005, has done lots of TV and to date has written five bestselling cookbooks. Her latest Home Cook is the one she’d enjoyed writing even more than the other. It’s jam packed full of the kind of food she loves to cook for her lovely husband and three little dotes.

“When I sat down to write this book, I wanted to gather together the recipes that have meant the most to me over the years. They include family favourites, versions of dishes I grew up with and those that I love to cook for my husband and children. There are recipes that have been the biggest hits when feeding friends as well as exotic recipes that I’ve picked up on travels. There are some that I have created on the hoof and others inspired by my much loved, dog eared collection of cookbooks.”

Tommi is yet another crazily busy mum who is doing her best to balance her hectic schedule with feeding herself and her family healthy wholesome seasonal food. She believes in having a well-stocked store cupboard, lots of spices and her beloved chilli to add oomph to simple vegetable and pasta dishes.
She too found it difficult to make sense of the confusing and conflicting messages on what constitutes healthy wholesome food – but now years later she’s developed her own food philosophy simply and easy to employ and guilt free.
She know the importance of shopping for great fresh ingredients, she has learned the skills of prepping methodically like a masterchef (doesn’t have to take longer) and the relaxing effect of spending time cooking in the kitchen after a busy day in the city and the sheer joy of sitting down with her family and friends around the kitchen table. Check out Home Cook and prepare to be inspired. Here are a few recipes to whet your appetite.

HOT TIPS

Support Cork Penny Dinners Fundraising night ‘Mum’s Dish 2017’.
A cookery demonstration with several chefs including Bryan McCarthy from Greene’s restaurant, Ali Honour of Ali’s Kitchen, Ciaran Scully of Bayview Hotel and many more…. will cook some of their favourite dishes while you sit back with a glass of wine and nibbles. Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 7.30pm. The Hospitality Suite, Irish Independent Park (Musgrave Park), Cork.
Tickets are €25.00 and available www.mumsdish2017.eventbrite.ie.
Contact Grace Coffey for further information gcoff30@yahoo.ie

Just Cook It!
Join us on Monday 10th April 2017 at the Ballymaloe Cookery School for an afternoon of fun – cook a couple of delicious seasonal dishes with the guidance of our experienced tutors followed by a relaxed and informal meal.
www.cookingisfun.ie for further information.

Brand Storytelling: The Foundation of Your Growth Strategy
The ability to communicate an authentic and engaging brand story is a powerful component of any business’ growth strategy in the evolving marketplace for food and drink. Join Taste Cork on Tuesday 7th March at the Macdonald Kinsale Hotel from 9am to hear from our guest speakers including Conor Pope, Sinead Hennessy, Caroline Hennessy, Justin Green ….Booking Essential, contact Rebecca O Keeffe rebecca@tastecork.com

Thomasina Miers’ Beetroot and Fennel Seed Soup with Ginger and Crème Fraîche

Feeds four – six

For the Soup
6 medium beetroots
3-4 floury potatoes (about 500 g)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
A few pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
1.5 litres chicken, beef or vegetable stock

For the crème fraîche
Large thumb size piece of fresh ginger, peeled
250 ml crème fraîche
Finely grated zest of 1 lime and juice of ½ lime

Top and tail the beetroot, rinse the top stalks and any leaves in cold water, roughly chop and set aside. Scrub the beets and potatoes clean and roughly dice the beets (I always use rubber gloves for this to avoid pink stained fingers). Peel the potatoes and dice into the same size as the beets.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a casserole over a medium heat and add the onions, fennel seeds and chilli. Sweat for 8 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the garlic and vegetables. Cook the vegetables in the oil for about 5 minutes, stirring them to coat in the spices. Season generously with salt and pepper, pour in the stock to cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, by which time the vegetables should be completely soft. Blitz with a stick blender and adjust the thickness by adding more water, or simmering to reduce and thicken.

Meanwhile grate the ginger into the crème fraîche. Add the lime zest and juice and season with a pinch of salt.

Just before serving, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and sauté the beet tops for a few minutes until just soft and hot. Season with a pinch of salt. Serve the soup in warmed bowls with a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of the tops. It is delicious right away but improves substantially if you can rest it overnight; mostly I am too impatient.
Home Cook published by Guardian and Faber Publishing
Photography by Tara Fisher

Thomasina Miers’ Pomegranate Chicken Thighs with Red Quinoa Salad

Feeds four
For the Chicken
1 garlic clove
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
Pinch of black peppercorns
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra to fry
Squeeze of lemon juice
6 boneless chicken thighs
Seeds form ½ small pomegranate

For the Quinoa Salad
125 g red or white quinoa, rinsed
2 handfuls of gently toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
¼ red onion, finely chopped
Seeds from ½ small pomegranate
1 celery heart, finely sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely diced
½ bunch of parsley leaves and stalks, finely chopped
2 large handfuls of mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

Place the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt and crush to a paste. Add the cumin seeds and peppercorns and crush them too, then stir in the molasses, oil and lemon juice. Transfer to a large bowl, then add the chicken thighs and rub the marinade into them thoroughly. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile prepare the salad. Place the quinoa in a pan with a few pinches of salt and cover with 180 ml of boiling water. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15-17 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain in a sieve, then sit the sieve on top of the hot pan and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to steam dry for at least 10 minutes.

Combine the remaining salad ingredients in a bowl (except for the oil and lemon juice) and lightly season. When the quinoa has steamed dry, fluff it up with a fork. While still hot, pour over the oil and half the lemon juice, mix well and season lightly. Combine with the other salad ingredients, squeeze over the remaining lemon and mix well. Set aside.
Add a small splash of oil to a lidded frying a pan and place over a medium high heat. Season the thighs with a little salt and ad d them skin side down to the pan when hot. Fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden and crisp. Turn them over once more, add the pomegranate seeds, any marinating liquid and a splash of water. Cover, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes until cooked through (the juices should run clear when you insert a skewer). Uncover and leave to rest for 3 minutes.
Cut the thighs into thirds and sit them on top of the salad, spooning over the cooking juices and cooked pomegranate seeds.
Taken from Home Cook by Thomasina Miers, published by Guardian and Faber Publishing
Photography by Tara Fisher

Thomasina Miers’ Honey and Walnut Tart

Feeds eight to ten

For the pastry
130 g butter, chilled
50 g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
225 g plain flour, plus extra to dust
¼ teaspoon fine salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling
200 g your favourite local honey
60 g dark muscovado sugar
40 g soft light brown sugar
100 g butter
¼ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon lemon juice
350 g shelled walnuts, two thirds bashed into rough crumbs, the rest left in halves
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

To make the pastry, blitz together the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse in the flour and salt until just combined then briefly beat in the egg. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead to bring together, working it as little as possible. Shape into a disc and roll out onto a lightly floured surface to 5 mm thick and large enough to generously fit a 23 cm loose bottomed, fluted tart tin. roll the pastry around the rolling pin, then lift and unroll it into the tin. press the pastry well into the sides and corners of the tin using your knuckles. Cover loosely with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6 and place a flat baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

Line the pastry with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Slide the tart tin onto the heated baking sheet in the oven and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans, trim the pastry with a sharp knife and bake for a further 7 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 180C/gas 4.

Meanwhile gently heat the honey, sugars and butter in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the mixed spice, vanilla, salt, lemon juice and crumbled walnuts. Stir in the beaten eggs until the mixture has emulsified and spoon into the baked tart case. Top with the whole walnuts and slide back into the oven for 20-25 minutes until nut brown and set. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.

Serve in slices with softly whipped cream or ice cream

Home Cook by Thomasina Miers, published by Guardian and Faber Publishing
Photography by Tara Fisher

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Darina Allen
By Darina Allen

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