CategoryHot Tips

Trish Deseine

Trish Deseine has taken France by storm.  In just six years she has scaled the heights of culinary endeavour in France with a series of lavishly illustrated books that have captured the imagination of food fans and critics alike.    She has been described as a “phénomène editorial” by French Elle and “the new queen of French cookery book publishing” by L’Express.
In France, the ultimate chauvinistic country, it is highly unusual for a woman to have such a dramatic effect on domestic cooking especially when not even French.  Trish is Irish – in other words, an outsider has taken on the most sophisticated, competitive and macho field, and won over a nation with a simple no-nonsense approach to everyone’s most basic need.
The appeal of Trish’s cooking is that it is like real life – she admits to shifting from triumph to disaster all the time.  She knows that not everyone owns a Magi-mix, few have the time or inclination to make stock from scratch, and fewer still have a garden bursting with herbs.  It’s these ‘limitations’ that Trish works around.  No one suffers from cooking crises of confidence while reading Trish Deseine.  But everyone swoons as she describes the joys of cooking with huge pats of butter and full cream.
Trish Deseine was born in Belfast in 1964 and went on to read French and Linguistics at Edinburgh University.  Trish moved to Paris in 1987 where she worked with the fashion retailer French Connection.  She married in 1990 and worked for the Northern Ireland Tourist Board as Southern European Marketing and Press Executive for eight years.
In 2000, she set up Au Comptoir des Chefs, a business to sell her favourite product – chocolate.  So successful was this venture, that publishers Marabout commissioned her to write a book, the result, Petits plats entre amis (2000) won the prestigious Ladurée and Seb prizes, sold over 100,000 copies and has since been translated into five languages.
Her second book Je veux du chocolat (2002) now translated into 7 languages, won a World Gourmand Award and sold over 300,000 copies.  Subsequent books including Fêtes Maison (2003) about ultra-modern party food themed by colour; J’en veux encore (2004) on food for children; and Du caramel plein la bouche (2005) a celebration of all things caramel, have all been best sellers.   Her small format books – Trifles, Best of Chocolate – and Bonbons Forever have become hip that they sell alongside clothes by Nicholas Ghesquière and Alexander McQueen in Paris’ most fashionable boutique – Colette.
Her latest book has instructive chapters such as ‘Shops Wisely’, ‘Knows her Classics’, ‘Steals from chefs’ and ‘Rises to the Occasion’, this book will both charm and inform.  Trish teaches us how we can take a feuille out of the archetypal French woman’s livre  from the classic dinner party recipes to the latest trends as well as how to tackle difficult ingredients such as truffles and lobster.   An affectionate but unsentimental, irreverent but non-patronising cookbook – a fresh new talent who deserves to be better known in her home country , now that I’ve found one of her books I’m desperate to find the others.
Coincidentally Trish called in to the school recently and I’ve managed to persuade her to come and teach a course here in September.   Here are some recipes I’ve enjoyed.

Lamb Spare Ribs with Méchoui flavours – Travers d’agneau façon méchoui


Le méchoui, or kharouf machwi in Arabic, is a traditional North African way of slowly roasting a small animal (goat, sheep or lamb), flavoured with spices and basted constantly, over a wood fire on an open spit.   It is a popular way of feeding the multitudes at large French summer gatherings.  This is my quick-fix version.

For 4-5

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Pinch of saffron strands, optional

Harissa Paste, to taste


I kg of lamb ribs

Grind together all the ingredients except for the lamb ribs, using a pestle and mortar or in a mini food-processor.  Smear the paste all over the lamb and leave it to absorb the flavours for an hour or so.

Heat the grill of your oven to hot or set up your barbecue, and cook the meat for 20-30 minutes, turning it regularly.

Serve with fresh salad vegetables or taboulé

Baby Leek and Reblochon pie – Tarte au poireaux et reblochon


This also works well with baby red onions or spring onions

For 4

About 20 baby leeks

4 squares of ready-rolled puff pastry – about 15 x 15 cm each

1 ‘ ripe’ reblochon cheese (or you could use camembert, or saint nectaire or anything creamy or pungent

4 tablespoons crème fraîche

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4

Blanch the leeks in boiling water for about 5 minutes.  Drain and cool.

With the tip of a sharp knife, but without cutting through the pastry completely, score a square about 2cm in from the edge of the pastry for each piece.  This will make the sides puff up more when cooking.

Slice the cheese finely and set the slices in the centre of each pastry square.  Spread the crème fraîche over the cheese and then set the leeks on the cream, lining them up evenly – cut off their tops if they are untidily reaching over the edge of the pastry.  Season with salt and pepper and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the cheese bubbling into the cream.

Serve with a crisp salad.

Pigs cheeks braised in cider – Joues de porc braises au cidre


For 6-8



2 tablesp olive oil, plus extra for frying

50g butter

1 kg pig’s cheeks

4-5 shallots

750ml dry cider

200g button mushrooms

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-based casserole with a lid.  Brown the meat with the shallots for a few minutes, then pour over the cider and scrap the bottom of the pan to deglaze, bring to the boil and cover.  Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes.

Some 20 minutes before serving, fry up the mushrooms in a little olive oil and add them to the casserole.

Serve with fresh ribbon pasta.



Nougat and honey ice cream – Nougat glace au mile


For 6


50g whole blanched almonds

30g whole hazelnuts or walnuts

30g pine nuts

50g candied fruit, such as cherries, orange and lemon peel, and angelica, plus extra for decoration

3 egg whites

2 tablespoons runny honey, preferably a flavoured one such as lavender, rosemary or thyme

300ml very chilled whipping cream or whippable double cream

For the coulis:

300g fresh or frozen raspberries

75g sugar

Roughly chop the nuts and the candied fruits.  Try to vary the size of the pieces, and leave some whole.

Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Heat the honey in a saucepan until it caramelises slightly.  Pour it hot onto the egg whites then whisk for a further 2 minutes.

Whip the cream until it is stiff, add the nuts and fruit and fold the mixture gently into the beaten egg whites.

Pour the whole lot into a small loaf tin or a silicone mould and freeze for at least 12 hours.

Cook the raspberries with the sugar to a jam-like consistency.  Cool completely before serving with the nougat.

Exotic Fruit Crumble – Crumble aux fruits exotiques


For  8-10



1 pineapple

40g butter, cold and cut into cubes

3 bananas

2 mangoes (frozen and peeled)

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons rum

For the crumble:

125g plain flour

125g cold butter

125g brown sugar

80g dessicated coconut


Peel the pineapple, take out the hard middle part and cut it into chunks.   In a saucepan, melt the butter and cook the pineapple for about 10 minutes.   Add the bananas and mangoes, cut into thick slices.  Add the vanilla seeds,the sugar and a little water if the fruit looks a bit dry.  Generally the moisture from the mangoes is enough.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Put the flour, butter, brown sugar and coconut in the bowl of your food-processor.  Mix until the crumble forms.  It should look like coarse breadcrumbs.  Keep an eye on it in case it becomes lumpy.  Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Mix the rum into the fruits.

Butter a gratin dish and sprinkle some sugar into it.  Put the cooked fruit in and cover with the crumble.   Cook for about 30 minutes until the crumble is golden.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Foolproof Food

Chocolate Pizza – Pizza au Chocolat

For 6



1 ready-made round pizza base

Dark chocolate spread, or Nutella

Dried and sugared fruit (candied orange peel, dates, candied pineapple…..)

Fresh fruit (clementines, pineapple, apple……)

Pine nuts, toasted

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6

Unroll the pizza base onto a baking tray and cook it for about 5 minutes until it starts to crisp up.

Remove from the oven and spread with chocolate.   Dot the candied and fresh fruit over the pizza.   Sprinkle with pine nuts and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until the chocolate and fruit are hot.   Serve the pizza straight from the oven.

Hot Tips

Trish Deseine will be Guest Chef at Ballymaloe Cookery School for a 1 day Course on Monday 15th September – Tel 021-4646785



As part of Fairtrade Fortnight and to highlight Midleton’s move to become a Fairtrade town, two cocoa bean farmers from Ghana will visit Midleton today – the growers are members of a cooperative whose cocoa beans end up in the Divine chocolate range. The Fairtrade producers will be at the entrance to Hurley’s Super Valu from 10.30-12.00 today Sat 8th March.   Sample some of the best chocolate with a clear conscience and enjoy the festival atmosphere with attractions for children and ‘real’ bananas walking through the Farmer’s Market. 


 Patrick’s Day Dinner at La Fromagerie in London

Thursday 13th March 2008 at 7.30pm Moxon St.

We thought we would start the celebrations a few days early in preparation for the St Patrick’s Days parade The evening begins at 7.30pm with aperitifs including Black Velvets, followed by a dinner of fine Irish fare including Irish smoked salmon with Potato Pancake & Ryefield fresh goats cheese, followed by Irish Spring Lamb Stew with Colcannon. For dessert we will be making Irish whiskey soaked Portercake Icecream. Finishing with a tutored tasting of Irish cheeses with Patricia. If you still have space after all that, maybe an Irish coffee to finish? Tickets to this four course supper incl. wines £70.00 pp.
Please telephone the shop to make a reservation: 0207 9350341 or download a booking form

A Fondue Party to Feed Friends

A fondue party – sounds very sixties, but it’s a terrific way to entertain – so easy to prepare, interactive and lots of fun. A melting Cheddar Cheese fondue is comforting and irresistible. The classic is made with a mixture of Gruyere and Emmental, with some dry white wine, Kirsch and potato flour – easier to achieve in Austria or Switzerland than over here. 

However, one can make a delicious Cheddar cheese fondue in minutes. Place yourself strategically at the table, because if you accidentally drop your bread into the pot, you must kiss the person on your left.

A fondue set is not completely essential but its much easier and more glam if one has a set complete with burner, fondue pot and long handled forks. It will last for years and can be whipped out at moment’s notice when you want to feed lots of hungry friends with the minimum of fuss and bother.

The process is simple, just grate the cheese, crush garlic, chop some nice fresh parsley, have a pot of Ballymaloe country relish or a homemade tomato chutney and drop of dry white wine at the ready.

A Fondue Bourgignon is a different process, the meat, succulent cubes of beefsteak are cooked at the table and then dipped in a variety of sauces – garlic mayonnaise, horseradish sauce, béarnaise sauce would all be delicious.

Cubes of lamb also work well, served with an onion sauce and perhaps an apple and mint jelly. You’ll need lots of ventilation for fondue bourgignon and be careful to transfer the meat onto your plate, rather than eat off the fondue fork which can be blisteringly hot. 
Another of my favourite suppers, but not exactly similar is Raclette. For this you will definitely need a Raclette set to melt the slices of special Raclette cheese to scrape over your cooked potatoes, an accompanying green salad and perhaps a few pickles are all that are needed.

Chocolate fondue is rich and decadent, you’ll need lots of fruit and how about some squishy marshmallows to dunk in the last of the chocolate – sublime and so easy.

Ballymaloe Cheese Fondue

Myrtle Allen devised this Cheese Fondue recipe made from Irish Cheddar cheese. It's a great favourite at Ballymaloe and even though it's a meal in itself it may be made in minutes and is loved by adults and children alike. A fondue set is obviously an advantage but not essential.
Serves 2
2 tablesp. white wine
2 small cloves of garlic, crushed
2 teasp. Ballymaloe Tomato Relish or any tomato chutney
2 teasp. freshly chopped parsley
6 ozs (170g) grated mature Cheddar cheese 
Crusty white bread
Put the white wine and the rest of the ingredients into a small saucepan or fondue pot and stir. Just before serving put over a low heat until the cheese melts and begins to bubble. Put the pot over the fondue stove and serve immediately with fresh French bread or cubes of ordinary white bread crisped up in a hot oven.

Fondue Bourgignon

Serves 4
This meat fondue is fun for a small dinner party.
900g (2lb) trimmed fillet or sirloin of beef cut into 2.5cm (1inch) cubes (just before service)
Garlic mayonnaise 
Horseradish sauce 
Bearnaise sauce 
a selection of freshly cooked vegetables and a green salad

A Fondue set

Half fill the fondue pot with olive oil. Divide the cubes of meat between 4 bowls. Place the fondue lamp on the table, light it and put the saucepan of hot olive oil on top. Provide each guest with a bowl of meat cubes and a plate and 1 or preferably 2 fondue forks in addition to their other cutlery. Each guest spears one cube of meat at a time on their fondue fork and cooks it to their taste - rare - medium, or well done.

Serve the sauces, vegetables and salad separately

Bearnaise Sauce

A classic sauce – also great with a steak or roast beef
4 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
4 tablespoons dry white wine 
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots 
A pinch of freshly ground pepper 
1 tablespoon freshly chopped French tarragon leaves
2 egg yolks (preferably free-range) 
115-175g (4-6 oz) butter approx., salted or unsalted depending on what it is being served with

If you do not have tarragon vinegar to hand, use a wine vinegar and add some extra chopped tarragon. 

Boil the first four ingredients together in a low heavy bottomed stainless steel saucepan until completely reduced and the pan is almost dry but not browned. Add 1 tablespoon of cold water immediately. Pull the pan off the heat and allow to cool for 1 or 2 minutes.

Whisk in the egg yolks and add the butter bit by bit over a very low heat, whisking all the time. As soon as one piece melts, add the next piece; it will gradually thicken. If it shows signs of becoming too thick or slightly ‘scrambling’, remove from the heat immediately and add a little cold water. Do not leave the pan or stop whisking until the sauce is made. Finally add 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped French tarragon and taste for seasoning. 

If the sauce is slow to thicken it may be because you are excessively cautious and the heat is too low. Increase the heat slightly and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens to a coating consistency. It is important to remember, however, that if you are making Bearnaise Sauce in a saucepan directly over the heat, it should be possible to put your hand on the side of the saucepan at any stage. If the saucepan feels too hot for your hand it is also too hot for the sauce!

Another good tip if you are making Bearnaise Sauce for the first time is to keep a bowl of cold water close by so that you can plunge the bottom of the saucepan into it if it becomes too hot. 

Keep the sauce warm in a pyrex bowl over hot but not simmering water or in a Thermos flask until you want to serve it. 

Horseradish Sauce

Horseradish grows wild in many parts of Ireland and looks like giant dock leaves. If you can=t find it near you, plant some in your garden. It is very prolific and the root which you grate can be dug up at any time of the year.
Serve with roast beef, smoked venison or smoked mackerel.
Serves 8 - 10
2 -3 heaped tablesp. grated horseradish
2 teaspoons wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 teaspoon Dijon or English mustard
3 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
8 fl ozs (250 ml/1 cup) softly whipped cream

Scrub the horseradish root well, peel and grate on a ‘slivery grater’. Put the grated horseradish into a bowl with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Fold in the softly whipped cream but do not overmix or the sauce will curdle. It keeps for 2-3 days: cover so that it doesn=t pick up flavours in the fridge.

This is a fairly mild horseradish sauce. If you want to really Aclear the sinuses@, increase the amount of horseradish!

Chocolate Fondue

Serves 6 approx.
8 fl ozs (250ml) best quality cream
8 ozs (225g) milk or dark chocolate or a mixture, chopped roughly
A selection of fresh fruit – bananas, strawberries, raspberries, kumquats, pineapple, mango…..
A fondue set
Bring the cream to boiling point in a fondue pot. Add the chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until it has completely melted. Set the pot on the fondue stove. Serve a selection of fresh fruit in season. Dip the whole, quartered, or sliced fruit into the melted chocolate and enjoy.

Raclette cheese – allow about 6ozs per person
freshly boiled potatoes -3 – 4 per person
Lettuce - 3 – 4 leaves per person
Pickles, optional - 3 – 4 per person
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Raclette Stove
Put the Raclette stove in the centre of the table and turn on the heat. Cut the cheese into scant 3 inch (5mm) thick slices and put a slice onto each little pan.

Meanwhile serve freshly boiled potatoes and crisp lettuce on hot plates to each person. Just as soon as the cheese melts, each person spoons it over their potatoes and put another piece on to melt. Raclette is great fun for a dinner party.

Darina Allen’s back to basics recipe

Home made Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is what we call a 'mother sauce' in culinary jargon. In fact it is the 'mother' of all the cold emulsion sauces, so once you can make a Mayonnaise you can make any of the daughter sauces by just adding some extra ingredients.

I know it is very tempting to reach for the jar of 'well known brand' but most people don't seem to be aware that Mayonnaise can be made even with a hand whisk, in under five minutes, and if you use a food processor the technique is still the same but it is made in just a couple of minutes. 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 your egg yolks, oil and vinegar and it's perfectly possible to make a bland Mayonnaise if you use poor quality ingredients.

2 egg yolks, preferably free range
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of English mustard or ¼ teaspoon French mustard
1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar
8 fl ozs (250ml) oil (sunflower, arachide or olive oil or a mixture) - We use 6 fl ozs (175ml) arachide oil and 2 fl ozs (50ml) olive oil, alternatively use 7/1
Serve with cold cooked meats, fowl, fish, eggs and vegetables.
Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the mustard, salt and the white wine vinegar (keep the whites to make meringues). 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 pace. 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, then whisk in the curdled Mayonnaise, a half teaspoon at a time until it emulsifies again.

Aoili or Garlic Mayonnaise and variations

ingredients as above
1-4 clove of garlic, depending on size
2 teaspoons chopped parsley

Crush the garlic and add to the egg yolks just as you start to make the Mayonnaise. Finally add the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning.

Note: Here is a tip for crushing garlic. Put the whole clove of garlic on a board, preferably one that is reserved for garlic and onions. Tap the clove with a flat blade of a chopping knife, to break the skin. Remove the skin and discard. Then sprinkle a few grains of salt onto the clove. Again using the flat blade of the knife, keep pressing the tip of the knife down onto the garlic to form a paste. The salt provides friction and ensures the clove won't shoot off the board!

Basil Mayonnaise 
Pour boiling water over ¾ oz (20g) of basil leaves, count to 3, drain immediately and refresh in cold water. Chop and add to the egg yolks and continue to make the Mayonnaise in the usual way.

Tomato and Basil Mayonnaise 
Add 1-2 tablespoons of aromatic tomato pureé to the Basil Mayonnaise.

Chilli Basil Mayonnaise 
Add a good pinch of chilli powder to the egg yolks when making Garlic Mayonnaise, omit the parsley and add the basil instead. Great with salads and sandwiches.

Spicy Mayonnaise
Add 1-2 teaspoons Ballymaloe tomato relish to the basic mayonnaise. Add ½-1 teaspoon chilli sauce to taste.

Wasabi Mayonnaise 
Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of Wasabi paste to the eggs instead of mustard.

Roast Red Pepper Mayonnaise 
Add 1-2 roast red peppers, seeded and peeled (do not wash)
Purée the red pepper flesh, add purée and juices to the Mayonnaise. Taste and correct seasoning. 

Wholegrain Mustard Mayonnaise
Add 1-2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard to the basic mayonnaise.

Lemon Mayonnaise
Use lemon juice instead of vinegar in the basic mayonnaise.

Fennel Mayonnaise
Rick Stein introduced us to this delicious sauce. Add 3 teaspoons Pernod and 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fennel bulb to the basic mayonnaise recipe.

Dill Mayonnaise
Served with salmon, prawns….. Add 3-4 tablesp. freshly chopped dill to the mayonnaise.

Darina Allen’s Top Tips

New seasons Goat cheese
We’ve been enjoying the new season’s goat cheese for the past few weeks. Just yesterday Tom Biggane and his son William delivered me two wheels of Clonmore cheese. This semi-hard cheese is made from the milk of their own free-range goat herd, hand-milked by his wife Lena on their farm near Charleville.

This cheese has a delicious mild, goaty aroma, with a wonderful rich depth of flavour – we ate slice after slice Available from Sheridans in Dublin and Galway and IAGO in Cork’s English Market. Tel. 063-70490 for details of a stockist near you.

Our Irish farmhouse cheese makers have done much to change the image of Irish food and brought honour to Ireland for the past 20 years – there are now around 100 in virtually very county in Ireland. They are represented by CAIS, the Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers Guild, whose Chairperson is Mary Burns of Ardrahan, (029-78099). Big congratulations are due to Mary for recently getting the award of Irish Farmhouse Cheesmaker of the Year at the IFEX Exhibition at the RDS.

In Kenmare look out for JAMS Café –
This busy cheerful café just off the main square serves a wide range of snacks all day – salads, hot dishes, juicy sandwiches, an array of tempting cakes, pies and desserts and a choice of coffees.
Leitrim Food Fare 2003, 19th June 2003 12pm – 6pm Bush Hotel, Carrick on Shannon 
Sample and savour the extensive range of wholesome and delicious food produced in Co Leitrim. Cookery Demonstrations by celebrity chef Neven McGuire. 

Coming up soon at Ballymaloe Cookery School
Course Schedule 2003 
Ballymaloe Buffet Course 15-18 June 
Barbecue Course Parts 1 & 2 – 26 & 27 June
A Taste of California 30 June
A Day in Tuscany 1 July

A Family Celebration

This is the Holy Communion and Confirmation season. All over the country excited children and frazzled parents are preparing for the big day. Celebrations seem to gather momentum and become even more elaborate every year, a far cry from my childhood when one came home for a family breakfast of rashers and eggs, shared with grandparents, perhaps a favourite aunt and uncle and a neighbour or two and the godparents. There were presents of course, a little prayer book with a gold and white embossed cover, a little miraculous medal surrounded by a pleated white ribbon and a pretty blue or white rosary beads to treasure as special memento of the day.

The idea of collecting enough money to buy bike or a playstation was a long way off at that stage. 

A special meal to celebrate these special occasions – understandably many people choose to go to a favourite restaurant with family and friends - everyone can relax but if the party of extended family and friends continues to expand, this can prove to be an expensive option, so why not decide to do your own Communion or Confirmation party. With a little planning and some help from the pals it needn’t be a marathon task – no point in being a martyr. Decide on the menu and then delegate – friends are usually delighted to be invited to bring along their ‘signature dish’ or luscious pud.

A family celebration such as this often involves several generations so lets think of having something yummy for everyone.

However, its important to remember it’s a day for the children, not just for adults, so the menu must be designed with that in mind. Choose dishes that can be made ahead and don’t need last minute attention. It’s a neat idea to do a few little bites to pass around when people arrive from the Church. Make some zingy homemade lemonade for the kids (use sparkling water instead of still) and some bubbly for the grown ups.

The canapés could be as simple as really good smoked salmon on brown bread or a tasty pate on crostini,

Dips are also easy to whip up – how about Tortilla Chips with Guacamole and Tomato Salsa, Cumin pitta crisps with Tstatsiki or Hummus bi Tahina.

Both kids and adults love Spicy potato wedges with a garlicy mayonnaise dip.

Kids of all ages love sausages – serve some plain and toss the rest in a mixture of honey, wholegrain mustard and chopped rosemary – simple and lip smackingly good.

For main course – a white soda bread pizza with tomato and mozzarella and pepperoni topping or mushroom and marjoram topping would disappear with double quick speed. Chicken goujons with chips and sweet chilli sauce would get a similar reception from the kids- the grown-ups might even sneak a few. A big bubbly stew with scallion champ or a tagine with couscous, or a chicken and mushroom pie would be delicious and easy to produce.

Alternatively, a poached salmon with homemade mayonnaise and perhaps a few simple salads – tomato and mint, cucumber pickle, egg mayonnaise and potato and chive salad would be light and summery.

For pudding you’ll need to have lots of really good quality ice-cream for the kids and embellish it with a generous bowl of new season Irish strawberries or maybe make a fresh strawberry sauce to serve with vanilla ice-cream. Sticky toffee pudding or a buttery rhubarb tart would be perfect for a cooler day and then there must be a celebration cake or a meringue gateau – how about almond meringue with strawberries and cream.

If all this seems too much like hard work why not find a good caterer to take over and provide the food, or even order the desserts and cake from one of the many little great delis springing up all over the place - see Hot Tips.

Gratin of Chicken and Broccoli

Serves 4-6
This is one of those dishes that can be mouth-watering or a complete disaster. Its success depends on the broccoli being carefully cooked so that it is bright green and just tender.
1 x 32 lb (1.5kg) chicken*, free range if possible
2 carrots, sliced
2 onions, sliced
sprig each of thyme and tarragon
a few peppercorns
2 pint (300ml) homemade chicken stock
1 lb (450g) broccoli florets
4 ozs (110g) mushrooms, sliced
scrap of butter
6 fl ozs (175ml) milk
3 pint (150ml) cream
2 teasp. tarragon or annual marjoram
1 oz (30g) Buttered crumbs, see below
1 oz (30g) grated mature Cheddar cheese
Lasagne dish 10 x 8 inch (25.5 x 20.5cm)
Put the chicken into a saucepan or casserole with the onions and carrots add a sprig of thyme, tarragon and a few peppercorns. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1-13 hours or until the chicken is tender. 

Meanwhile cook the broccoli florets in boiling salted water until al dente (see recipe). Drain and refresh under cold water, keep aside. Saute the mushrooms in the butter on a hot pan season with salt and freshly ground pepper and keep aside also.
When the chicken is cooked remove the meat from one side and carve into bite sized pieces. Keep the rest for another recipe,* or double the rest of the ingredients.

Strain and degrease the cooking liquid, add the cream and milk, bring to the boil, add the tarragon or annual marjoram, simmer for a few minutes, thicken to a light coating consistency with roux, then add the chicken to the sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Butter an ovenproof lasagne dish, put a layer of broccoli on the base, scatter the mushrooms on top and cover with the creamy chicken mixture.
Mix the Buttered Crumbs with the grated cheese and sprinkle over the surface. Reheat in a moderate oven 180C/350F/regulo 4 for 15-20 minutes and flash under the grill until the top is crunchy and golden. Serve immediately.

Buttered Crumbs

3 oz (8g.) butter
2 oz (15g) soft white breadcrumbs
Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the breadcrumbs. Remove from the heat immediately and allow to cool.

Sausages with Honey and Grainy Mustard

1 lb (450g) good quality cocktail sausages

2 tablesp. Irish honey
2 tablesp.Irish grainy mustard (eg. Lakeshore mustard with honey)

Mix the honey with the mustard. Prick the sausages, coat with the honey and mustard mixture, cook in a preheated oven 200C/400F/regulo 6 for 20-25 minutes or until cooked and golden.
Baste several times during cooking.

Home-Made Lemonade

If you keep some chilled 'stock syrup' made up in your fridge all these fresh fruit drinks are simplicity itself to make. They contain no preservatives so they should be served within a few hours of being made. Many different types of citrus fruit may be used.
Stock Syrup
Makes 825ml (28fl ozs)
450g (1 lb) sugar
600ml (1 pint) water
To make the stock syrup: Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes then allow it to cool. Store in the fridge until needed.

4 lemons
2 orange
500ml (16fl oz) approx. syrup
1.4L (2½ pint) approx. water – use sparkling mineral water
sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm
Juice the fruit and mix with the stock syrup, add water to taste. Add ice, garnish with sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm and serve.

Almond Meringue with Strawberries and Cream

We use this all-in-one meringue recipe for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines Day, or simply for a special dessert, its particularly delicious with strawberries, but raspberries, loganberries, peaches, nectarines, or kiwi fruit are also very good.
Serves 6
1½ ozs (45g) whole unskinned almonds
2 egg whites, preferably free range
4½ ozs (125g) icing sugar
½ pint (300ml) whipped cream
½ lb (225g) strawberries
Little sprigs of mint or lemon balm

Blanch and skin the almonds. Grind or chop them up. They should not be ground to a fine powder but should be left slightly coarse and gritty, (you could cheat and use nibbed almonds!)

Mark 2 x 7½ inch (19cm) circles on silicone paper or a prepared baking sheet. Check that the bowl is dry, spotlessly clean and free from grease. Mix all the icing sugar with the egg whites in the bowl, whisk until the mixture forms stiff dry peaks. Fold in the almonds quickly. Divide the mixture between the two circles and spread evenly with a palette knife. Bake immediately in a cool oven, 150ºC/300ºF/regulo 2 for 45 minutes or until crisp. Turn off the oven and allow to cool. The meringue discs should peel easily off the silicone paper.

To assemble

Slice the strawberries. Sandwich the meringue discs together with the fruit and whipped cream. Reserve a little fruit and cream for decoration. Decorate with rosettes of whipped cream and strawberries. Garnish with little sprigs of mint or lemon balm.

Note: If you chill for an hour before serving it will be easier to cut.
The meringue discs will keep for several weeks in a tin.
Basic Beginners Recipe –
Potato Wedges
Roasted Potato wedges with rosemary and garlic. Instead of Rosemary and Garlic you could dip the potato pieces in flour seasoned with Cajun spices or use one of the ready prepared sachets of seasonings for potato wedges which come in a range of flavours. 

2 lbs (900g) old potatoes, e.g. Golden Wonders, or Kerrs pink.
Extra virgin olive oil
12-14 cloves of garlic
Rosemary sprigs
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 200F/100C
Scrub the potatoes well. Cut into quarters or eights lengthwise depending on size. The pieces should be chunky rather than skinny. Put into a roasting tin with the garlic cloves, drizzle with a little olive oil, toss to coat, sprinkle with salt and a few rosemary sprigs. Roast for 20-30 minutes.
Serve with garlic mayonnaise or a sour cream dip or your own favourite dipping sauce. 

Hot Tips

The Emporium Café at Stephen Pearce Gallery, Shanagarry, Co Cork – as well as providing delicious coffee and snacks, Mamie and Elaine also do outside catering, special occasion cakes, tempting meals to take away….021 4646343

Cuddigans Foodstore, Church Street, Cloyne, Co Cork – our much loved Mr. Cuddigan’s butcher shop is now home to Siobhan Cronin’s foodstore – you can buy a range of tasty ready meals all made on the premises – soups, main courses, desserts, cakes, breads and pastries – special orders welcomed – 021-4652762. 

Others to look up - O’Callaghans Deli, Mitchelstown, Cinnamon Cottage – Rochestown, Cork –The Granary, Midleton

Around the Country - Country Choice, Nenagh, Jim Tynan Portlaoise, Goyas in Galway, The Gourmet Parlour, Sligo ….. see the Bridgestone Shoppers Guide for lots of suggestions.

In Dublin –

It’s a Bagel - Pamela Black and her colleagues will cater for a Bagel Party – 01-8740486, 01-2360644 –

The Butlers Pantry in Blackrock – Eileen Bergin and her team supply a wide range of delicious goodies - 01-2885505

Tim Dickson of Hooper Dickson Catering Co caters for Holy Communions and other special occasions – 01-6267349 

Other Dublin caterers - Sarah Peelo at YUZU Catering Tel 01-8349748  Sarah O’Riain 087-2101861, Rachel Hegarty at Personal Chefs – 01-888 1272 

Joan O’Connell – 01-8532063

Coming up soon at Ballymaloe Cookery School –
Simply Delicious Food Fast 26-28 May, Discovering Tapas 28 May, Guest Chef Rory O’Connell 29 May, Taste of Thailand & Vietnam 30 May, Vegetarian 3 June, Sushi 6 June – for details of these and all our courses 021-4646785.  

A book worth seeking out - Eat to Live by Sue Radd and Dr. Kenneth Setchell

Published by Newleaf 2003 in Ireland ‘Its not only what we eat that makes us sick – but what we don’t eat!’
Tel 021-4646785.

Ireland’s first Slow Food Weekend

 Ireland's first Slow Food weekend is coming up from the 28-30th March 2003.
Slow food members, artisan producers and bon viveurs will gather at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery for a weekend of conviviality - Delicious local food, stimulating conversation and fine wines. The latter will be supplied by Febvre who are the proud sponsors of the weekend.
 Febvre & Co.Ltd. are long established and highly respected wine importers based in Dublin. Wine buffs know that Febvre have an extensive range of wines from quality domaine houses. Their list also features wines from Slow Food producers in Italy and France, so this would seem to be the perfect marriage
of two organisations with a similar ethos and philosophy.

Slow Food is an international movement founded in 1989 in Italy by Carlo Petrini, as an antidote to the Fast Food Culture which is fast enveloping the world.

 It is now a ve in 40 countries worldwide with 60,000 members and 500 Convivia (chapters).
Slow food, whose emblem is the snail, has a cultural, educational, charitable and scientific agenda: It counters the degrading effects of industrial and fast food culture which standardise tastes; promotes the beneficial effects of the deliberate consumption of locally grown and indigenous foods; has taste education programmes for adults and children;
works towards safeguarding and promoting public awareness of culinary traditions and customs, supports artisanal food producers who make quality products; promotes a philosophy of pleasure; encourages tourism that respects and cares for the environment and is dedicated to helping those who need assistance.

There are five slow food chapters, (Convivia) in Ireland – West Cork, East Cork, Kerry, Dublin and Kilkenny.
The Convivia organise regular events and meetings for Slow Food members and the growing number of people interested in the slow food philosophy. 

For details visit the Slow Food website The Slow Food weekend starts on the night of Friday 28th March with a buffet supper, featuring the produce of local West Cork food producers who will join us.

Crostini with St Ola’s goat cheese and Tapenade, locally smoked fish, salad of quail with grapes, Gubbeen smoked bacon and hams, Frank Krycwzk’s salami, chorizo and pancetta, lots of salad and organic leaves, followed by
farmhouse cheese and sweet temptations served with Glenilen clotted cream.

After supper there will be lively music from The Cheesemakers, a West Cork group who play cello, guitar and fiddle. On Saturday morning, a restoring breakfast of Macroom oatmeal, Gubbeen, Caherbeg pork sausages, free-range eggs, Clonakilty black pudding, homebaked scones and soda bread, Arbutus
Lodge breads, farmhouse butter, local jams and honey, will fortify participants for the exciting day ahead.

Sadly, those who have booked to on go one of the ‘excursions’ won’t be able to linger over their delicious repast because they will need to pile onto the buses to depart at 10.00am.

There are three tempting Slow Food experiences to choose from –
John McKenna, food writer, will be taking a group to the Farmers Market in the nearby town of Skibbereen and then on to visit Dunworley restaurant for lunch. Chef Otto Kunze and his wife have an organic farm where they produce most of the produce for their unique restaurant.

Food historian, Regina Sexton, will lead a group to visit the unique English Market in Cork city, and then on to the award-winning Café Paradiso, a vegetarian restaurant, for lunch. The chef, Denis Cotter, is the author of two excellent books.
Darina Allen will take a group to explore the Farmers’ Market in
Midleton in East Cork. 

From there on to the seaside village of Ballycotton, to lunch at the Grapefruit Moon Restaurant (voted best newcomer restaurant by Georgina Campbell in the Jameson Guide), where Ivan Whelan will cook a special Slow Food lunch.

All excursions need to be pre-booked because spaces are limited. For those who would rather linger over breakfast, a food lovers guide to West Cork, incorporating a map, is being published as I write, so they can explore at their leisure, and food producers will be waiting to welcome the visitors.

On Saturday night, back at the Celtic Ross Hotel, a Slow Food feast is planned. Rory O’Connell, head chef at Ballymaloe House, has created a tantalising menu, again using an abundance of locally produced food – there will be fun and games and lots of music.

On Sunday morning a variety of workshops, seminars and a market where participants meet the artisan producers and stock up on lots of fresh local produce to take home – there will even be ice packs and suitable packaging available to bring home the goodies.
Sounds like a terrific weekend – for further details contact where you can book on the net, or contact email: or telephone Celtic Ross Hotel, 023-48722,
Lo-call 1850 272737, Fax 023-2348723 

Wild Garlic Soup

Both the bulbs and leaves of wild garlic are used in this soup and the
pretty flowers are divine sprinkled over the top of each soup bowl.

55g (2ozs) butter
140g (5ozs) diced onions
280g (10ozs) peeled diced potatoes
2 cups of wild garlic chopped, use both bulb and leaf
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1.2L (2 pints) home made chicken stock
125ml (4 fl ozs) cream or creamy milk
Garnish: Wild garlic flowers

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes,onion, and wild garlic and toss in the butter until well coated.

 Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and sweat on a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are soft. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a little cream or creamy milk to taste. Serve, sprinkled with a few wild garlic flowers.

Ardsallagh Goat Cheese with Cloyne Honey and Rocket

Serves 2
1 soft fresh Goat Cheese eg Ardsallagh or St Tola
rocket leaves
4 tablespoons pure honey
freshly cracked pepper

Just before serving, chop the rocket leaves coarsely, divide between two white plates. Cut the cheese into irregular cubes about ¾ inch. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the rocket leaves.
Grind on some freshly ground pepper . Serve immediately

Chicken Breasts with Gentle Spices

Serves 6

A gently spiced chicken breast dish made in minutes. Pork fillet or pork leg meat may also be used very successfully. The latter will need longer cooking. Even determined curry haters have enjoyed this deliciously spiced recipe.

6 chicken breasts, free-range and organic
1 heaped teaspoon whole cardamom pods (or ¼ teaspoon seeds)
1 heaped teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 heaped teaspoon whole cumin seeds
30g (1oz) butter
110g (4oz) onions, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
150ml (3 pint) Home-made chicken stock
150ml (3 pint) cream
flat parsley or fresh coriander

Warm the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan for a minute or two, just until they become more aromatic. Press the cardamom pods to extract the seeds, discard the pods. Grind to a fine powder with the coriander and cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar or in a spice grinder.
Melt the butter in a sauté pan, add the onion and sweat over a gentle heat until soft. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper, rub in the ground spices, add the chicken to the onion and sauté gently without browning for 2-3 minutes. Turn each piece so it is sealed all over.

 Add the chicken stock, cover the pan tightly and cook on a gentle heat for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken pieces are cooked but still nice and juicy. 

Remove the chicken to a serving dish and keep warm. Put the casserole back on the heat, add the cream, bring to the boil for 3 or 4 minutes and reduce
a little. Taste and adjust seasoning, add the chicken pieces back into the sauce, allow to bubble for 1-2 minutes, then arrange in a warm serving dish.
Garnish with flat parsley or coriander and serve with Scallion Champ or fluffy rice or orzo.

West Cork Rhubarb Tart

Serves 8-12


225g (8oz) butter
55g (2oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
350g (12oz) flour
450g (1lb) red rhubarb
175g (6½oz) sugar
1 beaten egg with pinch of salt, to glaze

First make the pastry. Cream the butter and sugar together and then add the eggs and beat for several minutes. Mix in the flour, little by little, to form a stiff dough. Chill for at least 1 hour, otherwise the pastry will be difficult to handle.

Roll out half the pastry to about c inch (3mm) thick and line a rectangular tin measuring 7 x 12 inches/18cm x 30.5cm, alternatively use an enamel, tin or pyrex plate.
Slice the rhubarb into 2 inch (1 cm) rounds, fill the tart and sprinkle with the sugar.

Roll the remaining pastry, cover the rhubarb and seal the edges. Decorate with pastry leaves, paint with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven 180C/350F/regulo 4 until the tart is golden and the rhubarb is soft (45 minutes to 1 hour). When cooked cut into squares, sprinkle lightly with caster sugar and serve with Glenilen clotted cream and Barbados sugar.
Note: This tart could also be filled with Bramley apple, gooseberries, Worcesterberries or damsons.

Happy Birthday to the Midleton’s Farmers Market

Today is the first birthday of the Midleton Farmers Market – a whole year has whizzed by since we set up our stalls for the first time behind the court house. After initial discussions about the location with the local community it was set up with the full support of the Chamber of Commerce and the Urban Council. From an initial twelve stalls the market has blossomed and gone from strength to strength. The Country Market joined in from the very beginning.

Farmers Markets are set up for the express intention of providing an outlet for farmers and small food producers to sell local seasonal produce to the consumers who are desperately seeking this kind of food. These markets are different from some of the established markets, they do not sell clothes, cd’s, tools, bric-a-brac… they simply sell local food to local people , the producers themselves or an appropriate representative must man the stall. They enable farmers and food producers to sell their goods locally which benefits both them and the local community. They keep the money circulating within the local area and attract people to adjacent retail businesses. Farmers Markets benefit the environment by encouraging sustainable agriculture and small scale less intensive production. They reduce the effects of the long distance transport of food and the need for excess packaging.

The variety of produce is amazing and of course most abundant during the growing season. As you enter the market area, Mrs. Burns who has been a trader for many years sells a variety of local vegetables, bundles of fresh carrots and turnips…… in season. Wendy English and her mother are next with their table piled high with freshly baked scones, cakes, biscuits, jam and chutney. Next comes Frank O’Neill with a variety of goodies, carrot cakes, delicious little pies, some beautifully grown vegetables from his own garden and little pots of jellies and jams.

The Ballymaloe Cookery School Gardens stall is next, with organic vegetables, lots of free range eggs, brown bread, jams and chutneys. Little bunches of sweet pea, Nora Aherne’s duck, Frank Krycwzk’s salamis, chorizo, fresh herbs, salad dressings, elderflower cordial and occasionally organic free range pork from our own saddleback pigs. Frank Hederman from Belvelly near Cobh has a tempting array of smoked fish, chicken,duck, and mussels. Sarah Mossman swings into action by his side making crepes which literally sell like hot cakes. Fiona Burke who does three markets a week, Macroom and Bantry, as well as Midleton, sells a gorgeous selection of Irish farmhouse cheese, as well as carefully chosen Continental cheese, eg. aged Gouda, Comte, Double Gloucester and some seaweed products, and Fingal Ferguson’s Gubbeen Bacon. Clodagh McKenna from Ballymaloe House has a little stall sandwiched between Fiona Burke and the Yorks. She sells delicious home made fresh pasta, parsley pesto, tomato fondue, toffee apples, brown soda bread and seasonal soups and dressings.

Tim and Fiona York have recently joined the market and sell a tantalizing array of organic vegetables and plants and plan to expand their range. Local cheesemaker Jane Murphy sells a fresh and a mature version of her exquisite Ardsallagh goat cheese – a delicate gorgeous cheese that tastes of the rich pastures that the goats are fed on. The irrepressible plantsman Ted Murphy trades beside her with an colourful selection of pot plants, herbs and flowers. Helen Aherne and Frances Lucey man the Country Market stall brimming with cakes and biscuits and occasionally a few duck eggs and wild mushrooms in season.. David and Siobhan Barry have a truck full of vegetables and fruit. Kate O’Donovan, of the market, sells her delicious homemade marinades, dressings and dips, and Margaret Keane’s quiches, side by side with Marog O’Brien of the Farmgate Restaurant here in Midleton, who sells Declan Ryan’s fantastic breads – soda, yeast and sourdough and some of her own famous chocolate cake. Next comes local farmer Dan O’Neill and his wife Anne. They invested in a refrigerated truck and now sell their organic beef. He responded to the numerous requests for free range organic chickens and now can scarcely fulfill the demand. Oren Little of the Little Apple Co. drive down from Kilkenny every Saturday to sell their cooking and eating apples and delicious apple juice. Chris Cashman’s cakes made with butter sell out in no time and finally Willie Scannell sells his Ballycotton potatoes, he like many others was a victim of the supermarkets’ central distribution policy, now the Midleton Farmers Market allows him the opportunity to sell his potatoes directly to the consumer, his future is secure, and this year he will have a selection of vegetables including lettuce, cabbage, white turnips, radishes and onions. The variety of produce is truly amazing. The market has been enthusiastically supported, not only by the local community, but by the local shops who report an increase in business on market day.

Midleton Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 10am-2pm on Hospital Road.

Ardsallagh Goat Cheese with Rocket Leaves, Roast Pepper and Tapenade Oil
Serves 5
10ozs (285g) Ardsallagh goat cheese (or a similar fresh mild goat cheese)
seasoned flour
beaten egg
flaked almonds
white breadcrumbs
2 large red peppers
Extra virgin olive oil
Tapenade Oil
4 ozs (110g/3/4 cup) stoned black olives
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) capers
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
6 fl ozs (170ml) olive oil
A selection of lettuces and rocket leaves
4 tablesp. (5 american tablesp. + 1 teasp.) extra virgin olive oil
1 tablesp.(1 American tablesp. + 1 teasp.) Balsamic vinegar
1/2 clove garlic crushed
salt and freshly ground pepper
Wild garlic flowers in season

First divide the Ardsallagh goat cheese into 25 balls, chill. Next make the Tapenade oil Coarsely chop the stoned black olives, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Whisk in the olive oil as you whisk and process to a course or smooth puree as you prefer. Coat the cheese in seasoned flour, beaten egg, flaked almonds, breadcrumbs. Arrange in a single layer on a flat plate. Cover and chill well. Roast the peppers in a preheated oven 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for approximately 20 minutes. Put into a bowl, cover the top with cling film and allow to steam for 5 or 10 minutes. Peel, remove seeds and cut into strips. Next make the dressing Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Heat the oil in a deep fry or a pan to 200C Fry the goat cheese croquettes in batches until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper. Toss the lettuces and salad leaves in a bowl with just enough dressing to make the leaves glisten. Divide between the six plates. Put five croquettes on each plate, decorate with strips or red pepper, rocket leaves and a drizzle of Tapenade oil. Scatter some wild garlic flowers over the top and serve immediately

Globe Artichokes with Melted Butter

Whole Globe artichokes are quite fiddly to eat. First you pull off each leaf separately and dip in the sauce. Eventually you are rewarded for your patience when you come to the heart! Don’t forget to scrape off the tickly ‘choke’; then cut the heart into manageable pieces, sprinkle with a little sea salt before you dip it into the remainder of your sauce. Simply Delicious!

Serves 6
6 globe artichokes
2 pints (1.1L/5 cups) water
2 teasp. salt
2 teaspoons approx. white wine vinegar
Melted Butter
6 ozs (170g/) butter
Freshly squeezed juice of * lemon approx.

Some restaurants do very complicated preparation but I merely trim the base just before cooking so the artichokes will sit steadily on the plate, rub the cut end with lemon juice or vinegar to prevent it from discolouring. Have a large saucepan of boiling water ready, add 2 teaspoons of vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt to every 2 pints of water, pop in the artichokes and bring the water back to the boil. Simmer steadily for about 25 minutes. After about 20 minutes you could try testing to see if they are done. I do this by tugging off one of the larger leaves at the base, it should come away easily, if it doesn’t continue to cook for another 5 – 10 minutes. Remove and drain upside down on a plate. While they are cooking simply melt the butter and add lemon juice to taste. To Serve Put each warm artichoke onto a hot serving plate, serve the sauce or melted butter in a little bowl beside it. Artichokes are eaten with your fingers, so you might like to provide a finger bowl. A spare plate to collect all the nibbled leaves will also be useful.

Globe Artichokes with Vinaigrette Dressing
Ingredients as above excluding the melted butter.
Vinaigrette Dressing
2 fl ozs (50ml/) wine vinegar
6 fl ozs (150ml/) olive oil or a mixture of olive and other oils, e.g. sunflower and arachide
1 level teasp. (* American teasp.) mustard (Dijon or English)
1 large clove garlic
1 scallion or small spring onion
Sprig of parsley, finely chopped
Sprig of watercress, finely chopped
1 level teasp. salt
Few grinds of pepper

Put all the ingredients into a blender and run at medium speed for 1 minute approx. or mix oil and vinegar in a bowl, add mustard, salt, freshly ground pepper and mashed garlic, chopped parsley, spring onion and watercress. Whisk before serving. Cook the artichokes as above. Serve little bowls of vinaigrette dressing with the warm artichokes.

Gooseberry and Elderflower Sponge

Serves 6-8

3 eggs, preferably free range
3 fl ozs (75ml) water
8 ozs (225g/1 cup) sugar
5 ozs (140g/1 cup) flour
1 teasp. baking powder
1 lb (450g) green gooseberries
2 elderflower heads
1/2 pint (300ml/11/4 cups) cold water
1 lb (225g/1 cup) sugar
4 fl ozs (110ml/1/2 cup) whipped cream
2 teasp. icing sugar

Separate the eggs. Whisk the yolks with the sugar for 2 minutes in a food mixer and then add in the water. Whisk until light and fluffy, 10 minutes approx. Gently Fold in the sieved flour and baking powder into the mousse in batches. Whisk the egg whites until they hold a stiff peak. Fold them in very gently. Bake in two greased and floured 8 inch (20.5cm) sandwich tins in a moderately hot oven 190C/375F/regulo 5 for 20 minutes. Next make the filling, 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. Fill the sponge with whipped cream and well drained gooseberry and elderflower compote.* Sieve the icing sugar on top before serving. * You may have some over, reserve and serve with cream as a separate dessert.


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