CategorySaturday Letter

School Lunches

What a crazy busy week it has been for the mums (and dads) of Ireland who have been dashing around trying to get the kids organised for the big back to school adventure, a mixture of emotions…. For those whose littles dotes are going to school for the very first time, the whole experience is a major jolt for both the parents and child. For those with older children, it’s often a mixture of ‘glad and sorry’.  Back to the predictable routine of the school term has its advantages but then there’s the challenge of school lunches and the ever growing pressure to come up with healthy wholesome nourishing delicious food that they will actually eat rather than swapping with a classmate for a coke or junky bar.   Even more importantly food that’s cool but doesn’t make them appear nerdy….

Unquestionably school lunches have come a long way since a slice of Easy Singles in squishy sliced pan was the norm and tempting as it may be try to avoid that processed ham too.  I continue to check in with my grandchildren and their friends to find out about current trends and comforting favourites.

Without getting too technical about it, growing children need lots of variety – protein, carbohydrates, calcium, vitamins, minerals and iron.  Boys particularly have an enormous appetites. The more biodiversity in their diet, the healthier their gut, flora and the brighter they’ll be……lots and lots of research is linking a healthy gut with our mental health and overall well-being.

Fingers of cheddar, carrot, cucumber, wedges of watermelon, apple, orange, nectarines….  Irish pears are in season now as are plums.  Fruit, particularly chemical free fruit, is expensive I know but so is a visit to your overworked GP so let’s focus on making sure every bit of food they eat is ‘medicine’.  As my mother regularly reminded us, if you don’t put the money and effort into putting pure nourishing food on the table, you’ll give it to the doctor or the chemist…..

Many children have become much more adventurous in their eating habits, their tastes are more eclectic and they tend to also enjoy spicy and robustly flavoured food.  Here are just a few ideas to whet their appetites but I’ve also decided to include one lunch box recipe in my column ever week between now and Christmas and I’d love your feedback.

Let’s begin by thinking beyond the standard sliced pan (my views on that are already well known).  A little loaf of soda bread, either brown or white could be mixed by a five year old, poured into a tin and baked but there’s a range of flat breads, tortillas and pittas on the shelves of virtually every shop to use for wraps, burritos, tacos, quesadillas and tostados.  Rolls and baps of every shape and form.  Try to find artisan bread, Arbutus Bakery now sell their extensive range of breads not just at a variety of Farmers Markets and small shops around Cork and county but are far away as Dublin.

A few ideas…..

Hoagies can be both veggie and non-veggie, Bowl food is all the rage, Invest in a bowl with a clip on lid, rice, bean, lentil or noddle bowls are super versatile and can include all the food groups.  Tacos are so hot now – a different filling for every day of the week.  Once you’ve made your first batch, sushi, particularly the cling film sushi or nori maki rolls are a doddle to make – tasty, nutritious and inexpensive.  A simple egg, mayo and chive or scallion salad is always a favourite and eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients.

So here are a few suggestions to get started.  Run them by your children and choose the ones that appeal.  Add some homemade lemonade or better still get them started on kombucha or water kefir.

A little White Soda Bread Loaf

You can make white soda bread in the round traditional way or like this in a loaf tin which is more convenient for slicing or sandwiches

450g (1lb) white flour, preferably unbleached

1 level teaspoon teaspoon salt

1 level teaspoon breadsoda

sour milk or buttermilk to mix – 425ml (15fl oz) approx

oatmeal, sesame seeds or kibbled wheat (optional)


1 loaf tin 13x20cm (5×8 inch) approx.

Sunflower oil to brush the sides and base of the tin


Preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8.

Sieve the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre.  Pour most of the milk in at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, but not too wet. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured worked surface.  Scoop it into the oiled tin, sprinkle with oatmeal and sesame or kibbled wheat seeds if you enjoy them. Place in the hot oven immediately turning down the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6 for 45 minutes. Remove from the tin and return the bread to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes or until fully cooked.  If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: if it is cooked it will sound hollow.


Italian Hoagies

A hoagie is also known in the US as a sub (submarine sandwich) a torpedo, a hero, a grinder or Italian sandwich.  It’s basically a long roll filled with a variety of cooked or cured meats, cheese, vegetables and sauces or relishes.  If pickled vegetables don’t appeal, then egg mayonnaise and chopped scallions or chives and maybe a few slices of beef tomato or cucumber would also hit the spot nicely, either way season it well.
Makes 2
7-8 tablespoons giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables – see recipe)

2 soft sub rolls, split lengthwise

2 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise (see article Saturday, 4th June 2016)

2 large ripe tomatoes

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons approx, crisp lettuce, shredded

extra virgin olive oil


Chop the giardiniera and mix with the mayonnaise in a bowl.

To Assemble

Split the rolls lengthwise.  Spread a layer of the giardiniera mixture evenly over the base of each roll.  Top with a layer of thick juicy tomato slices.  Season with flaky salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper.  Lay an even layer of shredded iceberg or little gem lettuce on top and sprinkle on a little of the giardiniera pickle juice and a drizzle of olive oil.  Press the other half piece of bread on top, tie with a piece of raffia – wrap tightly in parchment paper.


Makes 2 medium Kilner jars


140g (scant 5oz) dairy salt

cold water to cover

1 celery stalk, diced into 7mm (1/3 inch)

1 cup of tiny cauliflower florets

1 cup carrot, and diced into 7mm (1/3 inch)

1 red or green pepper, seeded and diced into 7mm (1/3 inch)

75g (3oz) green olives, stoned, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon dried oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped

2-4 jalapeno peppers (seeded and thinly sliced) OR1 teaspoon chilli flakes

225ml (8fl oz) white wine vinegar

225ml (8fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Day 1

Dissolve the salt in the water, add the diced celery, carrots, tiny cauliflower florets, pepper, olives and thinly sliced fresh chilli if using.  The vegetables should be covered in the brine.   Cover and refrigerate overnight.


Day 2

Drain and rinse the vegetables in cold water and drain again.  Mix the oil and vinegar with the chilli flakes (if using), marjoram and freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer the vegetables into 1 or 2 sterilised Kilner jars.  Cover with the pickling liquid.  Allow to marinade at least overnight but the giardiniera will keep for weeks and get better and better.

Note – a cup measure equals 225ml (8fl oz)

A Rice Bowl with Avocado, Radishes, Spring Onions, toasted Almonds and Flat Parsley

This is a delicious combination but just a suggestion, the base can be well seasoned egg or rice noodles, lentils, beans, quinoa, orso , freekah depending on taste and the toppings a combination of what s in the fridge and in season


Makes 2
2 cups cooked Basmati or Jasmine rice



3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Flakey sea salt and freshly ground pepper


1 ripe avocado

4 radishes, sliced thinly

2 slim spring onions, thinly sliced

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon toasted almonds or hazelnuts, halved or coarsely chopped

50g (2oz) cooked meat (optional)

flat parsley sprigs and a few tarragon leaves if available


Sprinkle the dressing over the rice, toss, taste and divide between two bowls. It should taste highly seasoned. Top with diced cold beef, lamb or chicken, or cooked or smoked fish, if using.


Then peel, half and slice the avocado, arrange on top of the bowls.  Sprinkle with the sliced radish, spring onion and meat or fish if it’s included. Drizzle with a little more dressing.  Scatter with toasted nuts, flat parsley and tarragon sprigs.  Taste and correct the seasoning, cover and keep cool until ready to eat.

Sweet Potato Wedges
Serves 4


2 sweet potatoes (approximately 450g/1lb in weight) (orange fleshed, if possible)

2 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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

Wash the sweet potatoes and cut them into quarters, put into a bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and turn into a roasting tin.   Bake for 10-15 * or until just tender turning once until completely tender and lightly golden.


Yoghurt and Ballymaloe Relish Dip

To make a dip, mix some thick natural yoghurt with Ballymaloe relish and a little chopped parsley to dip wedges into – delicious!


Peanut Butter, Bacon and Banana Burrito

Sounds like an odd combination but it’s delicious and also nutritious.


Makes 1


1 wrap or flour tortilla

2-3 tablespoons organic peanut butter

2 crisp streaky rashers

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped, optional

a little honey

1 banana


Spread peanut butter over the tortilla.  Scatter with slivers of crisp streaky rashers and a little chopped parsley if you like. Drizzle with a little honey.  Peel a banana and lay on one side.  Tuck in the edges and tightly roll into a wrap.  Eat soon.  Alternatively, roll the wrap up loosely but peel and add banana just before eating.


Favourite London Eating Places

A reader texted me recently to ask for my ‘London List’. Another asked “Any chance you’d do another piece on your favourite London eating places”. I realised that its quite some time since I devoted a column to my new finds. We’re so fortunate to be so close to London – a mere 50 minutes hassle free hop from Cork or Dublin.

For those of us who are connected to the restaurant scene it’s a big bonus to be so close to one of the most exciting food capitals in the entire world. I pop backwards and forwards regularly for meetings and events so I use each of these opportunities to try out new places. Hence I’m regularly asked for my list of favourite cafes, restaurants and cocktail bars.

One of my most unexpected discoveries is called The Other Naughty Piglet. The name is super cute, not normally a good sign and then there’s the location, right in the centre of the Theatre District. The restaurant is upstairs above the lobby in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Palace Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue in The City of Westminster.  While I was climbing the grim, blingy marble staircase I was convinced that what lay ahead would be disappointing. I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

The original, Naughty Piglet, co-owned by Joe and  Margaux Aubry Sharratt  is a Brixton hotspot that serves seasonal and creative small plates alongside a great list of natural wines. It ticks all my boxes and  I particularly remember a Datterini tomato salad with frosted feta, micro greens and togarashi.  The latter is a Japanese condiment also known as Shichimi made up of seven spices. A typical blend might contain red chilli pepper flakes, Japanese peppers, roast orange peel, both black and white sesame seeds, hemp  and poppy seed, ground ginger and nori seaweed. If you haven’t already got it in your cupboard look out for it next time you go shopping.  You’ll find yourself reaching for it regularly to add oomph to grilled meats and seafood, noodles, salad dishes and even soups. At The Other Naughty Piglet, the chef sprinkled it over the tomato salad but the other bit of magic was the frozen feta grated on, at the last minute, altogether a delicious combination.  Burratta with chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream, crumbled honey comb and salted caramel were also particularly good. Pop this place on your London list and also check out Over Under Coffee in 181A Earls Court Road, a local community focused café that serves exceptional coffee and nutritious, simple and delicious food. Over Under Coffee are getting ready to open a second branch in October in the Ham Yard in Soho. Check out the breakfast sandwiches and avocado toast.

Bao started life in Netil Market close to the Broadway Market in Hackney serving fluffy white steamed buns filled with braised pork, sprinkled with peanut powder – you can’t imagine how delicious this Twainese street food tastes, always a long queue for Londons’ equivalent of David Chang’s Korean version of Momofuko which became a cult food item in New York.

It’s not that easy for market traders to make the transition from street stall to bricks and mortar. They often lack the staffing and accounting skills. The founders teamed up with Trishna and Gymkhana  (also add to your list) to launch the new establishment at 53 Lexington Street in Soho – can’t book but brave the queue and it can be an hour long but it’s worth it…..

In Shoreditch, out in Hackney, in East London there are several gems. Pidgin has been making waves serving a four course menu that changes every week, all the best places have an interesting natural wine list.

Many of the most exciting new restaurants are tiny – sometimes as few as 5 or 6 tables, owned by eager young chefs and cooks who are still fizzing with  enthusiasm and hungry for success. These are the ones I seek out but I often lose interest when I hear they have opened their third or fourth place.  Some succeed in keeping up the standard but they are few and far between. So you’ll need to travel out into the less gentrified suburbs where rents are lower to find the rising starts, check out Som Saa, Oklava, Kiln and Clipstone and another of my absolute favourites Padella.

Check out Legs– a tiny neighbourhood wine bar in Hackney, open just for dinner (and lunch on Saturday and Sunday) as I discovered after I’d schlepped the whole way out for lunch – simple beautiful British food, small plates, worth a detour and there’s more…..

Hot Tips
Ballymaloe Garden Festival
Get Gardening and Seed Saving

Don’t miss the Garden Festival at Ballymaloe from 2nd and 3rd September 2017. There will be a variety of talks, demonstrations, entertainment and shopping offers a bumper crop for garden lovers, seasoned experts, late bloomers, families and foodies. Entry fee is €8 and children under 12, go free.

FEAST Supper with Rory O’Connell at Ballymaloe House
Thursday 7 September – €75 pp
Rory O’Connell is hosting a special 4 course seasonal supper at Ballymaloe House as part of FEAST: Midleton Food & Drink Festival 2017. The evening will start with a cocktail designed by Irish award winning mixologist Andy Ferreria served in the Ballymaloe walled garden.

Taste of West Cork Festival
Don’t forget the Taste of West Cork Festival from 8th-17th September 2017. Check out Guest Chef Danni Barry from EIPIC in Belfast. Danni will cook dinner using the freshest and most seasonal produce at Glebe Gardens in Baltimore on Monday 11th September. €70 including wine pairings. Booking Essential. Tel: 028 20579.

Pilgrims Restaurant and Doswell Gallery join forces….begin the night with aperitifs, drinks and art at Doswell Gallery, then move to Pilgrims Restaurant for a five course tasting menu. Thursday 14th September. Tel: 023 8831796, booking essential.

A Date for your Diary:- Guest Chef Gillian Hegarty, past student and teacher at the Ballymaloe Cookery School and most recently Head Chef at Ballymaloe House will host a demonstration at Fernhill House, Clonakilty on how to prepare and use fresh herbs in canapés and cocktails. There will be a three course seasonal menu (waiting to find out if Gillian is involved with the dinner). Thursday 14th September, 023 8833258, booking essential

Home Butchery, Charcuterie and Sausage Making Demonstration with Philip Dennhardt
There’s a growing interest among chefs and enthusiastic amateurs for home-curing and sausage-making , a subject we’ve become more and more absorbed by in the past few years as we continue to learn and explore the rich traditions of many countries including – France, Spain , Italy, Germany, Poland …..During this one day course you will learn how to butcher a side of pork from nose to tail, identify the cuts and learn about the technique involved to dry, curing…. and learn how to make four different types of sausage and salami, chorizo, frankfurters, beerfest sausages, brawn………taste and enjoy
Saturday September 9th 2017, 9.30am-5pm,

Labneh with melted red peppers, garlic, anchovy and sumac

Serves 4

8 tablespoons labneh
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tabs extra virgin olive oil garlic
2 large organic red peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch strips
4-6 anchovies,
Salt and freshly ground pepper
A fistful of fresh mint leaves,

Heat the oil in a wide sauté pan, add the sliced garlic, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sliced peppers, season with flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Stir to coat, cover and cook on a gentle heat until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Taste, correct seasoning and transfer to a bowl. Fold in the halved and quartered anchovies if using,
To serve, Spoon two dollops of labneh into the centre of a medium sized plate to form a high mound, spoon a generous helping of the pepper mixture on top, sprinkle with fresh mint leaves and a generous dusting of sumac on top. Serve with grilled or fresh sourdough or a flatbread.

Datterini tomatoes with frosted feta, micro greens and torgorashi

A fresh and delicious inspired by a small plate I enjoyed at The other naughty piglet in London.

Serves 4

30 ripe but firm Datterini or other sweet cherry tomatoes,
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4ozs Feta cheese, frozen.
Extra virgin olive oil
Micro greens, both green and red,

Slice the tomatoes in half, both ways. Season with flakey sea salt and freshly cracked pepper,
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of freshly squeezed lemon juice, toss gently. taste and add a little sugar or honey if necessary. Arrange a little mound of tomatoes on a plate. Grate some frozen feta over the top, add a sprinkling of gorashi and top with some snipped micro greens. Serve ASAP.

Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream with Crumbled Honeycomb

Vanilla Ice Cream (see recipe that appeared on Saturday August 19th or on the website

Chocolate Ice Cream, see recipe

4 tablespoons sugar
8fl oz (225ml) water
4 free range-egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pints (1.1L) whipped cream
4oz (110g) plain chocolate
2oz (50g) unsweetened chocolate

Makes about 500 g (1lb 2oz)

85g (3 1/4oz) Duchy (or good quality local) honey
180g (6 1/4oz) liquid glucose
400g (14oz/1 3/4 cups) castor sugar
100ml (3 1/2fl oz/scant 1/2 cup) water
15g (3/4oz) bicarbonate of soda

1 Swiss roll tin – 20 x 30cm (8 x 12 inch)
parchment paper or silpat mat

First make the ice cream. Dissolve the sugar in the water, bring slowly to the boil and simmer until the syrup reaches the ‘thread stage’ (it will look thick and syrupy and when a metal spoon is dipped in, the last drops will form thin threads). Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks until white and fluffy, when the syrup is at the correct stage pour the boiling syrup gradually onto the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Continue to whisk until the mixture is a thick white mousse – add the vanilla extract. Melt the two kinds of chocolate in a bowl over simmering water or in a very low oven. Cool slightly, add some of the mousse from one bowl to the chocolate and stir quickly, add more and then mix the two mixtures thoroughly, fold in the softly whipped cream. Pour into chocolate cases. Cover and freeze.

Next make the honeycomb. First loosen the honey and glucose syrup by dipping their containers in warm water, then weigh out into your saucepan. Then add the sugar and water and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Gradually raise the temperature of the pan’s contents to 150°C (300°F).

Carefully sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda into the pan. The contents will fizz up like lava from the underworld, but don’t be alarmed, this is what puts the tiny air bubbles into the honeycomb. Stir the mixture to make sure all the powder is incorporated, then pour it out onto your silicone sheet (or baking tray). Leave to set for at least 30 minutes, then break the brittle mass into small pieces.
To serve:- remove the ice creams from the freezer at least 30 minutes ahead. Scoop out a quenelle of vanilla and another of chocolate ice cream and arrange side by side on a chilled plate. Crumble the honey comb over the top and serve immediately. Continue with the remainder of the plates.


Inis Meain Suites

Every now and then there’s a moment, a milestone which can indicate the end of an era…
For me a recent experience in a West Cork village was just that. I popped into the shop to buy a carton of buttermilk to make a loaf of soda bread, I searched the shelves to no avail and when I inquired at the till the lovely lady told me whimsically, “ah sure, there’s ‘no call’ for that, sure no one around here bakes a ‘cake of bread’ any longer.” It was just a small thing but I was always reassured by the presence of buttermilk in local shops, an indication that the tradition of baking a loaf of soda bread was alive and well in the parish. It’s a long time since one could buy an entire sack of flour in a village shop but it’s still possible in the one and only shop on Inis Meáin which hopefully indicates a rich baking tradition among the islanders. We certainly enjoyed Marie-Thérèse De Blacam’s  delicious brown soda bread at Inis Meáin Suites on a recent visit.
The food in the little restaurant there is pure and delicious, home grown vegetables, herbs and flowers from the garden, a taste of the produce of the island and the local coastline. The Inis Meáin Suites are booked up almost a year ahead but the good news is that the restaurant is now open to non-residents from Wednesday to Saturday. ( ) Some of the stand out dishes on the menu during our recent stay were mackerel carpaccio with an Asian dressing, thinly sliced raw mackerel caught a few hours earlier in the crystal clear waters off the coast – utterly sublime. I can’t understand why we don’t see more fish crudo on our restaurant menus. The squid with black squid ink mayonnaise was also super delicious, as was the beetroot salad served three way and a plump tender lobster claw with aioli and rocket leaves. All simple, elemental cooking made with superb fresh produce – no foams, gels or skid marks on the plate – just beautiful fresh flavours and simple presentations, a breath of fresh air.
Well, back to bread, many of you already know how to bake but for those of you who don’t, let me tell you how easy it is to make a loaf of soda bread, made in minutes and out of the oven in little more than 30 minutes. So next time when you need bread, just turn on the oven. You wouldn’t have found your car keys and be back from the shops by the time its baked and cooling on a wire rack, filling your kitchen with the irresistible smell of crusty homemade bread that you can guarantee will nourish your family. I include treacle bread and white soda bread for you to try.

Hot Tips
Want to take the mystery out of cooking Seafood. Due to popular demand the seafood course for seafood lovers by covering all the basics: how to recognize really fresh fish, scaling, filleting, skinning, general preparation….
Using a variety of eclectic recipes we demonstrate how many of the best fish dishes can be cooked literally in minutes. Simple pan-grilling is an essential technique, while poaching, baking, deep-frying, steaming, salting and pickling all enhance the flavour. Sauces, salsas and flavoured butters, which subtly complement the fresh taste of fish, are an integral part of this course.
There are two practical sessions, which means you’ll have an opportunity to test out some of the recipes you have learned. Incidentally, the fish you’ll be using is really fresh. We buy from the boats at nearby Ballycotton Harbour as well as from Kenmare Bay. Whether cooking family meals or entertaining at home, this course will get you hooked on fish!
September 6th – 8th 2017,
Indian Summer Supper Club at O’ Connell’s Restaurant in Donnybrook. If you are on a skite in Dublin today make sure you check out O’ Connell’s Restaurant. Alison O Reilly, Masterchef 2017 contestant has put together a 4 course menu inspired by fresh flavours and vibrant colours from the East. Dinner is €55 per person and include a raspberry and mint prosecco on arrival. Phone 01 269 6116 or follow the link for more information.

Electric Picnic from 1st-3rd September 2017 in Stradbally, Co Laois.
Don’t miss Theatre of Food. Join the most talented food lovers in Ireland get all funky, all weekend long. From Assassination Custard to Rosanna Davison, from Finn Ní Fhaoláin to Fintan O’Toole, from drum supremo Ralph Rolle to sushi supremo Takashi Miyazaki, Theatre of Food presents a mind-expanding, mind-altering concept of what Irish food is all about. It’s all about fun, fantastic food and drool some drinks. Come along and meet Ballymaloe’s Rory O’Connell. Let April Danann of Rebel Foods and Dearbhla Reynolds of The Cultured Club expand your consciousness with their bubbling ferments. There will be music, there will be dancing and speed tasting of great wines of the world with Pascal Rossignol and Beverley Matthews of L’Atitude 51. Paul Flynn from The Tannery will be celebrating 20 years of Waterford’s most iconic restaurant, whilst Ivan Varian and Jonathan McCrea will show you once again just how strange the science of food can be…….lots lots more.

Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites
Cáca Treacle (Treacle Bread)
Makes 2 x 1lb loaf tins
This is an adaptation of  Marie-Thérèse mother’s recipe.

160g self raising flour
320g wholemeal flour
40g wheatbran
40g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower & linseed)
half teaspoon bread soda
pinch salt
1 egg
400ml buttermilk
1 dessertspoon treacle

Preheat oven to 210 degrees celcius and grease tins
Mix dry ingredients together by hand in big bowl and make well in centre
Mix egg, buttermilk and treacle together, pour half of liquid mix into dry ingredients and mix lightly by hand
Pour remainder of liquid in and mix very lightly by hand.
Put mixture into tins and bake in oven for 30/35mins turning midway for even baking. Tap bottom for hollow sound to test.
Turn out onto wire rack to cool
Copyright Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites

White Soda Bread
Soda bread only takes 2 or 3 minutes to make and 30 – 40 minutes to bake. It is certainly another of my ‘great convertibles’. We have had the greatest fun experimenting with different variations and uses. It’s also great with olives, sun dried tomatoes or caramelized onions added, so the possibilities are endless for the hitherto humble soda bread.

1 lb (450g/4 cups) white flour, preferably unbleached
1 level teaspoon teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon breadsoda
sour milk or buttermilk to mix – 12-14fl oz (350-400ml) approx.

First fully preheat your oven to 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8.

Sieve the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre. Pour most of the milk in at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well floured worked surface. WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS. Tidy it up and flip over gently. Pat the dough into a round about 1 1/2 inches (2.5cm) deep and cut a cross on it to let the fairies out! Let the cuts go over the sides of the bread to make sure of this. Bake in a hot oven, 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8 for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes or until cooked. If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: if it is cooked it will sound hollow.

Inis Meáin Squid Ink Mayonnaise
This is pictured with line-caught baby squid, grilled courgette from the garden, and wild and cultivated island flowers

Serves 12

1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 egg yolks
300ml sunflower oil
50ml extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste
8 x 4g sachets of squid ink

Crush garlic and whisk together with the mustard and egg yolks. Combine the oils in a jug and slowly add to the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously to create an emulsion. When all of the oil has been added, whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt. Whisk in the squid ink until you get a jet black mayonnaise

Harvest Relish of Beetroot & Tomato
This is pictured with butter-steamed golden beets and rocket flowers from the garden with pantelleria capers. We make this large batch of this delicious relish with any beetroot and tomatoes left in the garden at the end of the season and preserve it in jars for the following season.

10kg beetroot
10kg tomatoes
20 sprigs of thyme
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1.5kg brown sugar
800ml red wine vinegar
200ml balsamic vinegar
10 red onions, chopped
2 sticks of horseradish, finely grated

Roast the beetroot in a large baking tray at 200 degrees Celsius for approximately 1 hour until soft. When cold enough to handle, peel and coarsely blend in a magimix, and put into a large pot.
Half the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Mix lightly with the thyme leaves, olive oil, salt and pepper and roast on a large baking tray at 200 degrees Celsius for approximately 30 minutes. Coarsely blend in magimix.
Put all the pickle ingredients except for the horseradish in a large pot and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and mix in the tomatoes and horseradish.
Gradually add the tomato pickle to the beetroot until you get a consistency and flavour that you are happy with.
Jar up your beetroot relish and any excess tomato pickle and put away for the winter!

Inis Méain Vanilla Flapjacks (Flapóig Fanaile)

These flapjacks were thin and crisp and altogether were more delicious than the version I’ve been making myself for years. Thank you Marie-Thérèse and the Inis Meáin team for sharing.

Makes 48 flapjacks

650 g butter
2 dessertspoons golden syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
900 g jumbo oatmeal or gluten free oatmeal
450 g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Get two trays and a large mixing bowl.

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pot and add the vanilla extract. Mix the oatmeal and sugar together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into the tin, spread evenly and use a fish slice to flatten the surface well.
Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, turning the tray after 10 minutes. Check every 2 minutes after 15 minutes as they can burn easily. Cook until golden brown. Remove from the oven; place the tray on a wire rack for 3-4 minutes to cool slightly. The flapjacks need to be tended to once they come out of the oven. Cut the biscuits in a grid of 6 by 4 within 5 minutes of coming out of the oven. After a further 5 minutes once the butter has solidified slightly more but not too much use a fish slice to place flapjacks on a wire rack to cool.
Once set place in a tin lined with a sheet of greaseproof paper to store.


It’s unbelievable how quickly fermentation and pickling have become mainstream. At a dinner recently I was sitting beside a teacher from a local school who was waxing lyrical about his jars of sauerkraut and kimchi and the health benefits. Readers will know I’m not a fan of sell by dates and best before dates for a variety of reasons not least the fact that they have inadvertently served to disempower us, as more and more shoppers have come to rely on them rather than their common sense to judge whether food is safe to eat. My advice used to be, examine it, smell it, taste it but you can hear it – throw it out – no longer the case now as our bottles and jars of fermented food bubble away in the pantry and Bubble Shed.
A few weekends ago our fermenting team including my daughter in law Penny Allen, our dairy queen Maria Walsh and some friends drove all the way to Rossinver in lovely Co Leitrim to attend a fermentation course. They are all fermenting nerds with quite a bit of practical experience under their belts but they returned on a bubble of excitement having spent the weekend at a brilliantly run and deeply informative event, a ‘Weekend of Fermentation Madness’. A Fermentation Dinner at Sweet Beat in Sligo kicked off the event organised by Gaby and Hans Wieland from the Organic Centre.
There is unusual agreement that our modern diet is causing many challenges not least the gut problems that so many people are troubled with these days, partly as a result of eating a cocktail of highly processed foods. Ted Dinan, Professor of Psychiatry and a Principal Investigator in the APC Microbiome Institute at University College Cork, has done very interesting research on the connection between the gut biome and our mental health.
More recently, Dan Saladino of the BBC 4 Food Programme did two segments on the indigenous Hadza tribe who live in remotest Tanzania. They are virtually the last remaining hunter-gatherers on earth. They live on seasonal berries, roots, wild honey and the occasional feast of roast porcupine. Interestingly their gut biome on average is 40% richer than any of the rest of us. They grow no food, raise no livestock and live without calendars or rules. Their rich store of gut bacteria is of huge interest to the world of science and medicine. We can’t easily achieve that complexity on modern diets but we certainly can enhance our gut flora by changing our diet to predominately fresh naturally produced real food and include some fermented foods on a regular basis.
Sauerkraut is super easy to make as is this quick kimchi recipe given to me by David Tanis. There are several books to start you on your journey and watch out, you can get properly hooked on the ‘bubble thing’. Look out for Fermented by Charlotte Pike and more recently Ferment, Pickle, Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska-Poffley which teaches you how to preserve foods using ancient methods of fermenting, pickling, drying and recipes to enjoy them in.

Quick Scallion Kimchee

Makes 2 cups

Although the classic long-fermented cabbage-based kimchee is fairly easy to make, it does take time. This version with scallions is ridiculously simple and ready in a day or two. I learned how to make it from my friend Russell, a Los Angeles–born cook whose Korean mother made it throughout his childhood. Russell serves it to accompany perfectly steamed rice and simple grilled fish, a lovely combination. I like it chopped and stirred into a bowl of brothy ramen-style noodles, or tucked into a ham sandwich.

4 bunches scallions
2 teaspoons salt
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon) raw sugar or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 cup Korean red pepper flakes
3/4 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon) toasted sesame oil
3/4 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon) toasted sesame seeds
3/4 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon) fish sauce
3/4 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon) rice vinegar

Trim the scallions and cut into 7.5cm (3 inch) lengths. Put them in a glass or ceramic bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and let stand for 10 minutes.

Mix together the garlic, sugar, ginger, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, sesame seeds, fish sauce, and rice vinegar. Add to the scallions and toss well to coat.

Lay a plate over the bowl and leave in a warm place (at least 21°C/70°F) for 24 hours. Or, for a stronger-tasting kimchee, let ripen for up to 72 hours. It will keep for a month, refrigerated.

“Excerpted from One Good Dish by David Tanis (Artisan Books).
Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.”

Penny’s (Sauerkraut) Kraut-Chi

At its basic sauerkraut is chopped or shredded cabbage that is salted and fermented in its own juice. It has existed in one form or another for thousands of years and sailors have carried it on ships to ward off scurvy because of its high Vitamin C content. The basic recipe for sauerkraut is 2 tsp of Maldon sea salt to 450g (1lb) of cabbage. Any other vegetables in season can be added once they are finely sliced or chopped. Avoid potatoes as they can become toxic when fermented. Weigh the vegetables after slicing and calculate the amount of salt needed. Below is a recipe we enjoy.

Makes 1 litre/900g (2lbs) approximately

500g (18oz) organic cabbage – red, green or a mixture, finely sliced
150g (5oz) onion, finely sliced
2 green peppers, finely sliced
150g (5oz) carrots, grated on a coarse grater
1 chilli, finely chopped
4 teaspoons Maldon (or similar) Seasalt

1 x 1.5 litre (2 1/2 pints) Kilner jar or crock

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pack into a large jar or crock. Pack a little at a time and press down hard using your fists, this packs the kraut tight and helps force water out of the vegetables.

Cover the kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the jar or crock. Place a clean weight on top (a jug or container filled with water works well). This weight is to force water out of the vegetables and keep them submerged under the brine. Cover the top with muslin or a light cloth to keep out flies and dust. Press down on the weight ever few hours to help extract more liquid from the vegetables. The liquid should rise above the vegetables. If the liquid doesn’t rise above the plate level by next day, add some salt water (a basic brine is 2 teaspoons of salt mixed in 600ml/1 pint/2 1/2 cups of water) to bring the level above the plate.

Place in a cool area and allow to ferment for 4-5 days. At this stage the kraut is ready to eat. As you eat the kraut make sure the remainder is well covered in brine by pushing the vegetables under the brine and sealing well. It will keep for months, the flavour develops and matures over time.

Charlotte Pike’s Homemade Coconut Milk Yoghurt

Makes 400 ml (approx.)

1 x 400 ml tin of full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons agar agar flakes

Digital Thermometer

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and warm over a very low heat until it reaches exactly 46˚C. Remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle the agar agar flakes over the surface and whisk in thoroughly. Continue to whisk over a moderate heat for 5-10 minutes until the agar agar flakes are dissolved. Set aside to cool.

After 30 minutes, whisk again vigorously to bring the yoghurt to a smooth, even texture, as lumps can form as it cools. An electric hand whisk or food processor is ideal to use here. Pour the mixture into a clean earthen ware or glass bowl. Cover the bowl with clingfilm, allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.

Once the yoghurt has set, spoon it into clean glass, plastic to ceramic jar, put on the lid or cover with clingfilm and transfer to the fridge. Consume within 5 days.
Taken from Fermented by Charlotte Pike

Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska Poffley’s Whey Fermented Muesli

Prep Time 10 minutes
Ready 8-10 hours
Makes approx. 300 g (10½ oz)

3 tablespoons oats (rolled or porridge)
3 tablespoons millet flakes
3 tablespoons spelt flakes (rolled)
3 tablespoons quinoa flakes
2 tablespoons hazelnuts (whole or chopped into large chunks)
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon cranberries
1 tablespoon sultanas (golden raisins)
1 tablespoon flaked almonds
150 ml (5 fl oz/2/3 cup) whey

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl or a large 700 ml/24 fl oz jar. Add the whey, then cover the bowl or jar with kitchen paper, a lid or a plate.

Leave to soak for 8-10 hours or ideally overnight in the fridge. This muesli will keep for up to 24 hours.
Note: other ingredients can be added including roasted buckwheat or rye flakes, walnuts, sunflower seeds and raisins.

Taken from Ferment Pickle Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska Poffley

Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska Poffley’s Baby Courgette Kimchi

Prep 20 minutes
Ready 3-4 days
Makes approx. 500 ml/18 fl oz jar

8-9 baby courgettes
60 g (2¼ oz/¼ cup) coarse sea salt

1½ bunches of spring onions or 1 leek, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
1 cm (½ inch) piece of ginger, skin scraped off and grated (1 teaspoon)
7 tablespoons Korean chilli flakes or dried chilli flakes
1 -2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Cut the courgettes lengthways 3-4 times, but don’t cut them all the way through. Rub the salt into the cuts.

Place the courgettes in a bowl and pour in enough water to cover. Leave to soak for 1 hour, and then rinse them well.

Place all the ingredients for the paste in a bowl and mix with a fork.

Work the paste into the cuts in the courgettes, and then pack the courgettes upright in a large sterilised jar and seal with a lid.

Leave to stand at room temperature overnight, then transfer to the fridge and leave to chill for 2-3 days before eating. This can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Taken from Ferment Pickle Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska Poffley

Water Kefir

With Water Kefir you can turn sugared water into one of the most vibrant, probiotic-rich drinks you can make at home!

2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) water kefir grains
2-3 tablespoons (2 1/2 – 4 American tablespoons) organic raw cane sugar
4 unsulphered dried apricots or other dried fruit.
Approximately 1 litre (1 3/4 pints/scant 4 cups) of water – must be free of chemicals
Slice of unwaxed lemon

It is important not to use any metal utensils or brewing vessels while making Water Kefir.

Stir the sugar into approximately 250ml (9fl oz/generous 1 cup) of hot water until it dissolves, then add remainder of cold water and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Place the water kefir grains into a 1 litre jar, pour in the cooled sugar water, and drop in the dried fruit.

Cover the jar loosely with a lid, or with a cloth secured with a rubber band to allow air in but to prevent stray debris from spoiling your water kefir. Allow the water kefir to ferment for 2 to 3 days. The longer it ferments, the drier and less sweet it will become.

When the water kefir acquires a flavor that suits you, strain it using a plastic strainer into a jug. Discard the dried fruit (or eat it) but reserve the water kefir grains which can be immediately reused or stored.

While the water kefir can be enjoyed as it is, after its initial fermentation, you can also ferment it a second time. Secondary fermentation allows you to flavor the water kefir, and the secondary fermentation process, which occurs in a tightly capped bottle allows carbon dioxide to develop, producing a fizzy water kefir.

Transfer the bottles of water kefir to the fridge to slow down fermentation and enjoy

Second Fermentation
After transferring you water kefir into a bottle add a handful of one of the following to your taste.

• fresh or frozen raspberries
• fresh or frozen strawberries
• several crushed mint leaves and juice of 1 lemon
• 10-12 dandelion flowers in full bloom
• 6-8 elderflowers or a large handful of elderberries

Leave to ferment for another 12 – 24 hours with a lid on. It’s a good idea to release pressure every so often particularly if your kitchen is warm as secondary ferments have been known to explode! Keep tasting to understand when your ferment is ready to your liking.

Caring for your Kefir Grains
Water Kefir grains are alive being a Scoby (Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts) and therefore require looking after to ensure they produce the best kefir for you.

Occasionally it is beneficial to give your grains a mineral feed.

Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska Poffley’s Fermented Hummus

Prep Time 15 minutes
Ready 10 hours
Makes 250 ml/9 fl oz jar approx.

250 g (9 oz/1½ cups) chickpeas, cooked
1 small garlic clove, sliced
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 2 lemons
60 ml (2¼ fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
150 ml (5 fl oz/2/3 cup) whey or water kefir

Blend all the ingredients, except the whey or kefir, in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Add the whey or kefir and mix well.

Cover and leave at room temperature for about 10 hours, then transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge.

Use within 3 days.

Taken from Ferment Pickle Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska Poffley

Hot Tips

We love West Cork Food. Walking Clonakilty Food Tour takes place every Friday from June – August, rain or shine, taking in some of the most iconic of local food producers in Clonakilty. The tour weaves a tale of history and tradition alongside innovation and community where good food is at the heart of the charming town. A chance to meet the producers in person, hear about their own personal food journey and taste their beautiful food. Cost is €45 per person. Book online
Yet another food festival – there are now so many it can be difficult to choose. The Enniscorthy Rockin’ Food Festival, 4th, 5th and 6th August 2017 (August Bank Holiday Weekend). The Food and Craft element of the Festival takes place on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th August 2017.

Artisan Food, Craft & Beer Markets, Free Live Music, Family Fun and so much more.

Padella in London

At present, London is certainly one of the most exciting food towns on the planet. Last time I was over, even with so much choice I happily queued for lunch outside a restaurant called Padella on the edge of Borough Market. They don’t take bookings, yet people are prepared to stand in line each day and have done so for several years because the food is so, so good, simple and delicious. The queue moves pretty quickly and there’s a jolly camaraderie between the expectant diners. The food was absolutely worth the wait, no twiddles or foams or skid marks across the plate, just gorgeous simple Italian food made from exquisite ingredients.
This restaurant is owned by Tim Siadatan and is a sister restaurant of the slighter posher Trullo on Paul’s Road in Highbury East.
The young people who cook in these restaurants are super passionate about seasonality, quality products and provenance and they are not just talking the talk, they absolutely walk the walk.
It’s the kind of food I love to eat, so can you imagine how delighted I was to discover that Tim Siadatan has just published a cook book, simply called Trullo. I’m certainly not the only person who’s excited about this book. Jamie Oliver, Fergus and Margot Henderson of St John and Canteen, Sam Clarke of Moro, Anna Jones and Nigel Slater have all added their names and quotes to the back cover and that’s not a given, I can tell you……
Tim Siadatan influences are obvious in the food he serves proudly and enthusiastically. He spent time honing his skills in many of the kitchens of the above mentioned chefs plus at the River Café. All these places have the same ethos. They fully understand the importance of cooking according to the seasons, being sustainable, and really understanding where the produce comes from.
As I flicked through the pages of Trullo, lots of recipes made me want to dash into the kitchen….
I’ve chosen chilled almond and Charentais melon soup a riff on the Spanish classic Ajo Blanco, is a divine summer starter, cool and fresh – go easy on the vinegar…..
We recently reared a batch of our own organic chickens for the table so I used the plump legs in Tim’s recipe for roast chicken thighs and nduja with rosemary potatoes and anchovy mayonnaise.
Even if you can’t find or source nduja (try Fingal Ferugson of Gubbeen products,, the combination of crispy chicken and anchovy mayo is particularly appealing.
I regularly try delicious new ways to enjoy the bounty of green beans we have throughout the summer season. Loved this recipe for stewed bobby beans – see what you think.
A big roasting tin of potatoes, red pepper, anchovy, olive, chilli and rosemary also drew gasps of admiration when I took it out of the oven – a supper dish on its own but also irresistible with a fine roast or grill.
Affogato (vanilla bean ice cream with a shot of espresso) is one of the best things in the world but you have to try this raisin and Marsala version. If that doesn’t appeal, the Trullo book has several other sublime ice creams. Anyone for honeycomb and stem ginger, hazelnut or salted caramel ice cream….. Trullo published by Square Peg

Hot Tips
Grow your own Vegetables. During this intensive session Susan Turner, Ballymaloe Cookery School Head Gardener will cover compost making and soil management, crop rotations for weed control, disease prevention and soil management, vegetable varieties and successional crop production, saving your own vegetable seeds, harvest management -how to deal with gaps and gluts….
Monday August 14th 2017,

Eatyard, the permanent street food yard on South Richmond Street in Dublin, will once again pop up at Beatyard in Dun Laoghaire on August 5th and 6th, with over 100 food vendors, demos, food competitions, cooks and stands. Craft beer fans can get in the carnival spirit at Brewtonic Carnivale, and 10 cocktail and wine bars will also roll into Tippletown for the weekend.

Richie Scott Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition is at Ballymaloe House until end of summer. Each Tuesday and Thursday Richie will give a complimentary tour and tell you all about the sculptures and artists displayed in the open air on the grounds of Ballymaloe House. Meet at 6pm from the terrace at the front door – all welcome. Tel: 021 4652531 for further information.

Ballymaloe Grainstore presents a screening of the documentary film, Food Evolution, which explores the controversy surrounding genetically modified food on Sunday August 6th at 8pm followed by Q & A with the director Scott Hamilton Kennedy and Darina Allen. Tel: 021 4652531 for further details.

Trullo’s Roseval Potato, Red Pepper, Anchovy, Olive, Chilli and Rosemary Al Forno

The potatoes won’t get crispy because they absorb all of the flavours they’re hanging out with, but they do get wonderfully gooey and sticky.

Serves 4

2 red peppers
olive oil
6 Roseval red-skinned potatoes, skin-on and sliced 2cm thick
3 whole salted anchovies, washed and de-boned (or use 6 good-quality fillets)
24 green or purple olives, de-stoned
½ red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked
200ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar
40g unsalted butter, cubed
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 190˚C/gas mark 5.

Blister the peppers, ideally on a charcoal grill to get a smoky flavour, but if not, over a naked flame on a wire rack or using metal tongs – keep rolling them around until they’re blackened all over. Put in a bowl and cover tightly with cling film: it will inflate like a hot-air balloon. Wait until it deflates, then peel the peppers while they’re still warm (this makes it much easier). Discard the seeds and thinly slice. Put a glug of olive oil in a small saucepan and cook the peppers for 20 minutes on a low to medium heat.

Line a large, high-sided roasting tray with a thin layer of olive oil, then with parchment paper (the olive oil makes it stick down). Add all the ingredients (including the peppers), except the butter. Season with a big glug of olive oil, salt and a good smack of pepper, mix together and roast in the oven for 35 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add the butter and roast for a further 5 minutes. The potatoes should have absorbed most of the liquid but have a shimmering viscous sauce.
Taken from Tim Siadatan, Trullo The Cookbook

Trullo’s Roast Chicken Thighs and Nduja with Rosemary Potatoes and Anchovy Mayonnaise

Serves 6

2 tablespoons nduja
8 Maris Piper potatoes cut into wedges
4 sprigs of rosemary
6 garlic cloves, smashed
Olive oil
18 chicken thighs (3 per person)

For the Anchovy Mayonnaise
2 free range or organic egg yolks
3 salted anchovy fillets, finely chopped
400 ml groundnut oil or other neutral oil
1 teaspoon red vinegar
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

Put the nduja in a bowl, add a splash of hot water and mix to loosen.

Put the potatoes, rosemary and a sprinkle of salt in a pan and cover with water. Bring up to the boil then drain immediately. Let the potatoes completely steam dry then coat generously with olive oil and mix together. Heat an empty roasting tray (large enough to hold the potato wedges in a single layer) in the oven for 5 minutes, then take it out and add olive oil so that is about 3 cm deep. Add the potatoes, rosemary and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the potatoes on the top shelf of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until crispy, stirring from time to time.

While your potatoes are roasting, heat a large frying pan on a low to medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and , working in batches, colour them in the pan until golden then transfer to the roasting tray.

Put the chicken on the lower shelf of the oven and roast for the remaining time of the potatoes (roughly 30 minutes). Add the nduja for the last 15 minutes of cooking and muddle it all around.
To make the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks and anchovies in a bowl and whisk. Slowly start pouring in the groundnut oil in a thin stream while whisking, continue until it has emulsified (all come together in a single mass) at which point you can start pouring a little faster – not too quickly though, otherwise it will split! Add the red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the chicken and potatoes on platters in the middle of the table with a green salad.
Taken from Trullo The Cookbook by Tim Siadatan

Trullo’s Stewed Bobby Beans

Bobby beans are a fatter, more robust version of a fine green bean and grace us around the summer months. You could use fine green beans if you can’t get bobby beans.

Serves 4

A glug of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ red chilli, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 anchovy fillets
2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped and seeds discarded
2 kg bobby beans, stalks discarded

In a pan big enough to fit all the ingredients, heat a good glug of olive oil on a low heat. Add the garlic, chilli, oregano and anchovy and fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue frying for 15 minutes until everything is broken up into a happy mush.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and season with salt. Add the beans, cook for 7 minutes and drain.

Add the beans to the mushy tomatoey goodness and stir. Cover with parchment paper or a lid and cook on a low heat for 35-40 minutes, stirring from time to time – add a splash of water to avoid it becoming too dry. Season with salt and pepper.

Taken from Trullo The Cookbook by Tim Siadatan

Trullo’s Marsala and Raisin Affogato

Serves 6

50 g raisins
100 ml Marsala, plus 50 ml for soaking the raisins, plus extra chilled in the freezer for serving (optional)
335 ml double cream
200 ml milk
1 vanilla pod, slit in half lengthways
8 free range or organic egg yolks
100 g caster sugar
6 espressos or strong filter coffee

Soak the raisins in 50 ml Marsala for at least 1 hour.

Put the cream, milk and vanilla pod in a pan and bring up to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and doubled in size (4-5 minutes). To temper the eggs, pour a small amount of the hot cream and milk mixture into the whisked eggs. Then pour this egg mixture back into the pan of hot milk and cream. Simmer on a low heat, stirring continuously for 5-6 minutes until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon without dripping off. Take care not to over heat the mixture and scramble the eggs. Add the Marsala and strain through a fine sieve into a chilled container (ideally set over ice) and cool and chill as quickly as possible.

Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s guidelines. In the meantime, strain the raisins and squeeze out any excess liquid (this prevents the ice cream from going frosty) and fold them into the churned ice cream. This will keep in the freezer for 2 days.

Serve in ice cream bowls, with a shot of espresso poured over each portion – plus a little bit more chilled Marsala if you’re feeling fruity!

Taken from Trullo, The Cookbook by Tim Siadatan


There was a bit of a caffufle in the UK recently when a little five year old was left in tears after she was fined €150.00 for setting up a lemonade stand at the end of her street in East London. The plan was to sell little glasses of lemonade to people attending the Lovebox Festival in nearby Victoria Park. It brought a broad smile to the punters faces but after half an hour or so, not one but four over enthusiastic council enforcement officers approached her little table, accused her of trading without a licence and issued a fine to be paid wthin14 days. The poor little frightened mite and her dad packed up the stall and she sobbed all the way home.
However, her father while acknowledging that she possibly should have had a permit wrote about the incident in the Telegraph. Other papers picked it up, the fine was withdrawn and the council apologised for being too heavy handed – a happy outcome on this occasion, but one wonders how it would have panned out if Dad had not been a journalist…..
I’m all for encouraging young people or indeed anyone for that matter with a spark of entrepreneurial spirit to have a go. My children and now some of my grandchildren come up with bright ideas from time to time and it adds an element of fun during the long summer holidays.
Amelia, Jasper and India made some blackcurrant cordial to sell at a local Farmers Market, they not only learned how to make the cordial but also how to string black currants and sterilise the bottles. They also made and hand wrote the labels. Most of all they learned that it’s jolly hard work but they had so much fun and loved the praise and encouragement they got from the customers who so generously bought their delicious vitamin rich cordial. Wee buns or little cupcakes are always a sure seller. Start with a good recipe and of course use butter and other good ingredients so they taste delicious and are as nutritious as possible.
The old reliable choccie rice krispies are also a perennial favourite particularly when made with a good chocolate rather than the well-known brand of cooking chocolate; add a few raisins to boost the nutrients.
Popsicles are also super easy to make and both children and adults love them.
If you have a waffle iron, a bowl of batter can be made in minutes and customers can choose a range of toppings. Even easier are drop scones, this is a recipe everyone should have pasted to the inside of their kitchen cupboard. The batter can be whisked up in seconds and once again they can be embellished with sweet or savoury toppings and can be served hot off the pan but are also delicious cold.
Even if you don’t decide to set up a stall each of these recipes are little gems to add to your repertoire or to start a recipe folder.

Flowery British Queens
We are so fortunate to have a few dedicated potato farmers who still grow some of the traditional varieties, Home Guard, British Queens, Kerr’s Pinks, Golden Wonders. I picked up a bag of superb British Queens in Baltimore recently grown by Cha Holmes of Ballyalla near Skibbereen, “locally grown and seaweed fed”. Tel: 086 831 8609.

Irish Blueberries Now in Season
Juicy fat blueberries are now in season so be sure to check that you are buying Irish. I’ve got a few punnets of beautiful Derryvilla blueberries from Portarlington in Co Offaly but you’ll also find them from Rose Cottages at Midleton and Mahon Farmers Market and also at some West Cork Farmers Markets. Tel: 057 8642882.

Blackcurrant Cordial

This concentrated blackcurrant cordial, packed with vitamin C, is delicious diluted with sparkling or plain water or sparkling wine. It keeps for several months in a cool place.

1.1kg (21⁄2lb) organic blackcurrants
about (51⁄2lb) sugar
white wine vinegar

Boil the blackcurrants and 4 litres (7 pints) of water together in a stainless-steel saucepan for 15 minutes. Strain and add 13 parts of sugar to every 15 cups of liquid (we use a 225ml/8fl oz cup). Add 1 cup white vinegar and boil for 3 minutes. Pour into sterilised bottles and seal well. Dilute with water to taste.

Blackcurrant Popsicles

We use all the summer fruits, raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants with combinations like blackberry and sweet geranium, redcurrant and strawberry, peach and raspberry, raspberry and basil. In Winter we make a variety of citrus pops including blood orange and tangerine. They are loved not just by children but people of all ages, and I particularly enjoy serving them at the end of a dinner party.

Makes 6

450g (1lb) blackcurrants
syrup (see below)

150ml (¼ pint) water

Pour the syrup over the blackcurrants and bring to the boil, cook for 3-5 minutes until the blackcurrants burst. Liquidise and sieve through a nylon sieve. Add 150ml (¼ pint) water. Allow to cool.
Pour into popsicle moulds, cover, insert a stick and freeze until needed. Best eaten within a few days.


275g (10oz) sugar
300ml (10fl.oz) water

To make the 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.

Blueberry Muffins

Blanaid Bergin my sister makes the yummiest muffins – seemingly in minutes.

Makes 8

In season: year round

225g (8oz/2 cups) white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 level tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) baking powder
140g (5oz/1/2 cup) caster sugar
75g (3oz/3/4 stick) butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
170ml (6floz/3/4 cup) milk
110g (4oz/1 cup) blueberries or raspberries

1 muffin tray lined with muffin papers

Preheat the oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 4-5. Sieve the flour, salt, baking powder in a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Combine the beaten egg, vanilla extract and milk and add to the dry mixture. Combine with a fork to give a wet consistency. Fold in the blueberries or raspberries gently. Spoon into the muffin cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well-risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar.

Aunty Pam’s Krispie Buns or Mini Rice Krispie Cakes

Makes approximately 48 mini cakes or 12 – 15 large muffin size

100g (3 ½ oz) milk chocolate
75g (3oz) Kellogs Rice Krispies

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering but not boiling water. Gradually add the rice krispies careful not to break them up too much. Spoon a heaped teaspoon into mini muffin cases. While they are still soft, gently press in a Smartie or Jelly Tot. For an extra surprise, pop a Smartie or Jelly Tot in the bottom and fill with rice Krispie mixture. Chill in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours and serve on a pretty cake plate.

Mini muffin tray and mini muffin coloured cases.

Mary Jo’s Waffles

Makes 12

Mary Jo McMillan worked with us at the Cookery School on several occasions – she was a passionate and perceptive cook. This is her recipe for waffles which I enjoy much more than mine.

175g (6ozs/1 1/2 cups) white flour
15g (1/2oz) sugar
a pinch of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

50g (2ozs/1/2 stick) butter, melted
350g (12ozs1 1/2 cups) milk, slightly warmed
2 eggs, free-range and organic if possible, separated

75g (3ozs/scant 1/2 cup) of batter for each waffle.

Preheat waffle iron. Sieve all the dry ingredients into a deep bowl. Make a well in the centre. Mix the warm milk, melted butter and whisk in the egg yolks. Pour the milk and egg yolk mixture into the well in the dry ingredients. Stir together to form a batter. Whip the eggs whites stifly and gently fold into the batter. Heat the waffle iron. Pour a 75g (3oz/scant 1/2 cup) ladle of batter onto the iron. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until crisp and golden on the outside.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve hot in a variety of ways both sweet and savoury.

Waffles with Fresh Fruit and Berries

Ripe berries of all kinds, strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, boysenberries, sliced peaches, nectarines, apricots and bananas are all delicious with waffles. Pile the fruit on top of hot waffles, or serve it on the side of the plate. A blob of softly whipped cream doesn’t go amiss!

Waffles with Bananas, Toffee Sauce and Chopped Walnuts

2-3 sliced bananas
Toffee Sauce (see recipe)
110g (4oz) coarsely chopped walnuts

Toffee Sauce
110g (4oz/1 stick) butter
5oz (150g/scant 3/4 cup) dark soft brown Barbados sugar *
3oz (75g/scant 1/2 cup) granulated sugar *
225g (8oz) golden syrup *
225ml (8fl oz/1 cup) cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the butter, sugars and golden syrup into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt gently on a low heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from the heat and gradually stir in the cream and the vanilla extract. Put back on the heat and stir for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is absolutely smooth.

Put some banana slices on top of the waffles, pour Toffee Sauce over and sprinkle with the coarsely chopped walnuts.

Top Tip

Toffee Sauce is also delicious with ice-cream. It will keep for several weeks stored in a screw-top jar in the fridge.

Good things to serve with waffles:
Crispy bacon and honey or maple syrup
Crispy bacon and slices of Gruyére or Emmental cheese
Crispy bacon with sliced banana
White peaches with raspberries

It’s Such an Exciting Time in Food…..

It’s such an exciting time in food and even though the figures for obesity and Type 2 diabetes continue to increase expedientially, there are real grounds for optimism as growing numbers of young and not so young, don their lycra and take to their bikes or run or swim or even walk. I’m a fan of the latter and greatly enjoy a bit of hill walking every now and then. Most gyms are oversubscribed and despite my pessimistic prediction that Operation Transform would never catch on, it’s been the biggest success and has got many couch potatoes off the sofa and transformed them into messianic walkers or bikers.

So much to be encouraged about, not just here in Ireland but there also appears to be a global grassroot movement who really want to take back control over their food and their lives. Millennials, many of whom, are hugely successful with high powered jobs in the city are beginning to ask themselves searching questions. In the midst of all the pressure and traffic jams, there’s the nagging thought, ‘there has to be more to life than this’…..

So some at least (and the numbers are growing) are finding solace in the joy and satisfaction of growing some of their own food – instead of planting flower beds, they are sowing vegetables and herbs, seeds, planting a few apple trees, a cherry, a few gooseberries and blackcurrants and are like children in a toy shop when their produce is ready to eat. A decade ago 70% of all seeds were flower seeds now vegetables seeds are outselling flower seeds by 78% to 22% and the graph keeps climbing.

In the US, the Grow Food not Lawns Movement continues to grow as does GIY here om Ireland. Cully and Sully’s program, Give Peas a Chance in conjunction with national secondary schools had entries from 7,000 students, 3,000 teams, a fifth of secondary schools and was won by the St Augustine’s in Dungarvan. Their teacher Margo McGann and David McCarthy told us about the excitement it generated among her class, the parents, fellow teachers and how the whole school is basking in the warm glow of success and will now further develop a school garden with the prize they won and continue to teach the children how to grow vegetables and fruit – many of the children have already encouraged their parents to start a vegetable garden at home, the very best use of pester power.

The craving to reconnect with how food is produced and to relearn skills is particularly evident in the response to a new course we introduced onto the Ballymaloe Cookery School curriculum this year. A Six Week Sustainable Food program where the participants learn everything from how to sow a seed, plant a seedling into the ground, how to milk a cow, make butter, cheese, yoghurt , keep chickens for eggs and the table. They learn how to rear heritage pigs, butcher, bake breads, forage, preserve, ferment, make charcoal and cook and address a number of food issues. The course filled in a couple of weeks and was oversubscribed by 100%+, six nationalities – how interesting is that…..many of course, will return to their former careers, several have already bought some land or will now begin to cultivate their gardens or at least plant a window box depending on their situation but whatever their future path life will never be the same. In their own careers, each have a skill set that I couldn’t even begin to aspire to but you can’t imagine the joy they are finding in learning these basic life skills and baking their first loaf of bread or roasting a free range organic chicken…..
In this column, I include a few of the recipes they have learned to make from scratch over the past six weeks.

Hot Tips
Check out the Carlow Garden Festival, 21st July – July 30th 2017. A full program of tv and radio gardeners, international garden designers, tree trails, garden visits, free events, workshops….

Irish Street Food Awards. We are looking for the best street food dishes in Ireland with the winner going on to represent Ireland in Berlin in the Autumn. European Street Food Awards Final. Applications and nominations are now open at to any street food vendor trading in Ireland. Closing date July 7th 2017. For more information contact Ali Dunworth on 087 4144288 or

Midleton Farmers Market
Check out Michael Barrett’s lobster sandwich and oysters at the Midleton Farmers Market, every Saturday 9.30am-2pm

Caramelized Carrot, Beetroot and Apple Salad with toasted sesame seeds

A couple of bocconcini make this salad into a more substantial lunch
Serves 6

600g young carrots, with a little green top
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
Extra Virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
450g beetroot, cooked and peeled
1-2 dessert apples, unpeeled and coarsely grated or julienned
25g pumpkin or sesame seeds
Watercress, purslane and chickweed or a mixture of interesting leaves and ‘weeds’
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 230C/mark 8
Scrub the carrots, dry, split in half lengthwise, if too big. Put into a large bowl, add the thyme leaves, drizzle with the olive oil and honey, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, toss gently to coat.
Spread out in a roasting tin. As soon as you put the trays into the oven reduce the heat to 200C/mark 6.

Roast for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally until the carrots are almost tender and caramelized at the ends and edges.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Just before serving, toast the pumpkin or sesame seeds on a dry pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, you’ll need to keep tossing them or they’ll burn on one side and become acrid and bitter.
Cut the cooked beetroot into wedges or chunks depending on size.

Make the dressing – Whisk the lemon juice, oils and honey together, add the thyme leaves, keep half the dressing aside.

Grate the apple on the coarse side of a box grater, directly into the rest of the dressing. Toss, taste and correct seasoning.

To serve
Arrange a few sprigs of watercress, chickweed, and purslane on each plate. Whisk the dressing.
Sprinkle over the carrot and beets. Taste, it should be nice and perky. Divide them between the plates. Spoon some grated apple here and there, sprinkle with toasted seeds and serve with crusty bread.

Rory O’ Connell’s Salad of Beetroot with Raspberries, Honey and Mint

Serves 4

2 cooked beetroot, peeled and very thinly sliced on a mandolin
24 raspberries
16 small mint leaves
olive oil
lemon juice
Maldon sea salt
cracked black pepper

Divide the sliced beetroot between 4 white plates.

Cut some of the raspberries in half lengthways and some in cross section slices, and scatter over the beets. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Dress the salads with a drizzle of honey, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle on the tiny mint leaves and serve.

I sometimes place a few teaspoons of thick yoghurt or labne on the salad when assembling.

Kohlrabi or White Turnip and Coconut Curry

Serves 4-6

225g onion, peeled and finely chopped
25g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
700g kohlrabi or white turnip, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon roasted and ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
seeds from 8 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
20g 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 tin chopped tomatoes
400ml vegetable stock or water
200ml 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 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.

Maunika Gowardhan’s Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

This was recently voted in a survey as one of people’s top ten dishes to eat on their bucket list! Murgh Makhani which is basically tandoori chicken in a buttery sauce, is an all-time Indian favourite.

Tandoori Chicken
2.5cm (1 inch) piece of fresh root ginger
4 garlic cloves
1 green bird’s eye chilli
2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons gram (chickpea) flour
1 teaspoon mild paprika
1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder (or a little more if you’d like it spicy)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of crushed saffron
450g (1lb) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt to taste
butter for basting
1 teaspoon chat masala
juice of 1/2 lemon

To Serve
salad and chutney

Tandoori Chicken.
Put 5-6 wooden skewers in water and leave them to soak.

Put the ginger, garlic and bird’s eye chilli into a wet grinder or mini food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. Set aside.

Put the yoghurt in a bowl. Add the gram flour and mix well to get rid of any lumps and create a thick, paste-like consistency. Add the ginger-garlic paste, the paprika, chilli powder, garam masala, coriander, cinnamon, saffron and salt. Stir well, then add the chicken, mixing well to make sure the pieces are coated in the thick marinade. Leave to marinate for 2-3 hours or preferably overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat the grill until medium-hot.

Shake the excess marinade off the chicken pieces and thread them onto the skewers. Place them on a wire rack and grill on the top shelf for 15-20 minutes, turning the skewers every 5 minutes and basting with melted butter until the meat juices run clear. The chicken should be cooked through and slightly charred around the edges.
If you wish, the tandoori chicken can be served at this point just as it is – over parathas sprinkled with chaat masala and lemon juice along with a salad and mint and coriander chutney.
However, to make an authentic butter chicken, serve with the gravy (see recipe).

Murgh Makhani Gravy

1 1/2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons) unsalted melted butter
6 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2.5cm (1 inch) cassia bark
4 cloves
1 onion (about 50g/2oz), finely chopped
1 heaped tablespoon ( 1 1/4 American tablespoons) grated ginger (made from 8cm/3 1/4 inch) fresh root ginger
2 green bird’s eye chilliest, slit lengthways
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder or mild paprika
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons (4 American tablespoons) tomato purée
150ml (5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) double cream
2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) honey
1 tablespoon ( 1 1/4 American tablespoons) kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaf)
salt to taste
chopped fresh coriander to garnish

Top Tip
Crush the dried fenugreek with your fingers before adding to release the aromas in the curry.

Place a deep saucepan over a low heat and add the butter. When hot, add the cardamom pods, cassia bark and cloves. Fry for 20 seconds, then add the onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes over a medium heat until it takes on a light brown colour.

Add the grated ginger and bird’s eye chillies. Fry for a further minute, add the chilli powder and garam masala, stir for 20 seconds and add the tomato purée. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes. Now gradually add the double cream, stirring continuously to mix it with all the spices. Simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the honey and fenugreek. Season to taste and add 50ml (2fl oz/1/4 cup) water.

Add the cooked chicken pieces and simmer the curry over a low heat for 6-8 minutes.

Garnish with coriander and serve with naan bread.

Pork Osso Bucco

This recipe is also lovely made with lamb or rosé veal shanks. The leftover meat and juices are delicious over pasta.

Serves 8

4 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, sliced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 red peppers, seeded and sliced
2 yellow peppers, seeded and sliced
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
1 x 400g (14oz) tin of chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) sweet or smoked paprika
900ml (11⁄2 pints/3 3/4cups) homemade chicken stock
16 thick slices of pork shanks (you’ll want 4 shanks for 8 people, ask the butcher to saw them into thick slices for you or do it yourself)
seasoned flour
450ml (16fl oz/2 cups) dry white wine
300ml (10fl oz/1 1/4cups) sour cream
about 50g (2oz) roux
lots of flat parsley

a cast-iron or heavy roasting tin

Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas Mark 3.

Heat 2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) of olive oil in a casserole, add the sliced onion and garlic, toss, cover and cook over a medium heat while you prepare the peppers. Add the peppers and continue to cook until the onion and peppers are soft. Add the bay leaves, thyme and chopped tomatoes with their juice. Add salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika. Stir, then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, heat another 2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) of extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan. Toss the pork in seasoned flour. Sear the meat a few pieces at a time, and add to the tomato base. Deglaze the pan with white wine and bring to the boil.

Dissolve the caramelized meat juices in the wine. Add to the casserole.
Cover and cook gently for 2–2 1⁄2 hours.

When the meat is almost falling from the bones, remove the pork from the casserole and set aside. Skim the fat off the cooking sauce, add the sour cream, bring to a boil
and thicken lightly with roux. Taste and correct the seasoning. Return the pork shanks and their juices to the sauce. Bubble over a medium heat until the meat heats through.
Taste and correct the seasoning.

Transfer to a shallow serving dish. Scatter with lots of flat parsley sprigs and serve with noodles, rice or mashed potatoes. Serve one small and one large piece of shank per person.

Jacob Kenedy’s Blackcurrant Leaf or Meadow Sweet Panna Cotta

Panna cotta (‘cooked cream’), normally, is a somewhat bland vehicle for fruit or sauce. Here infused with blackcurrant leaves (which magically have more aroma than their fruit, that comes later in the year), it becomes the star attraction. Something of a charlatan, I actually prefer to make my panna cotta without cream at all, replacing it with yoghurt – both for a lightness of taste, and reduction of guilt.

Serves 4

3 sheets gelatin (2.5g each – ‘standard’ size)
400ml (14fl oz) whole milk
1 vanilla pod, split
25g (1oz) fresh blackcurrant leaves (or, equally lovely, fig leaves) or meadow sweet flowers
100g (3 1/2oz) caster sugar
150ml (5fl oz) double cream (or 200g/7oz Greek yoghurt)

To Serve
Optional: Blackcurrant Compote (see below)

Bloom the gelatin in cold water.

Bring the milk to a boil with the vanilla pod, and take it straight off the heat. Allow it to cool to about 70oC/158˚F, then add the blackcurrant leaves (or meadow sweet flowers if using). Keep it around 60-70 oC/140-158˚F (put over a low flame briefly if it cools below) for 5-15 minutes, and taste to judge when the infusion is correct (too long and it starts to taste bitter, too short and it will be bland).

When you’re happy, strain the milk and, while still hot, add the sugar and the bloomed gelatin. Stir to dissolve. At room temperature, stir in the cream or yoghurt and portion into glasses or moulds.

Serve turned out onto little plates, just as they are or with a spoonful of blackcurrant compote (see recipe), which though not seasonal can be made using frozen berries and not much sugar.

Blackcurrant Compote

350g (12oz) fresh blackcurrants, strings removed

Stock Syrup:
50g (2oz) sugar
50ml (2fl oz) water
Put the blackcurrants into a stainless steel saucepan, cover with stock syrup. Bring to the boil and cook until the fruit bursts – this will take about 4 to 5 minutes.

Jacob Kenedy, Bocca di Lupo (LitFest 2017)

Vegan Cookery

Recently, I’ve had several requests for vegan recipes as the interest in a vegan life style gathers momentum. The increase in numbers continue to confound the sceptics. There are a variety of reasons why people decide to embrace a vegan diet. For many, it’s a combination of concern for the environmental impact of many of our food producing systems and animal welfare issues.

So what exactly is the definition of a vegan, some would say it’s an extreme form of vegetarianism. The Vegan Society define veganism as “a way of living which seeks to exclude as far as possible and practicable all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”.

Most vegans will also avoid the use of all personal household products tested on animals and avoid buying all animal derived products such has leather, fur and wool. So strict vegans will not only avoid fish and meat but also butter, honey, eggs and even some wines which may be cleared with egg white. Some vegan cheese contains casein which is not acceptable to vegans. So creating a balanced diet can be deeply challenging and I personally have a concern about ‘dairy delights’, faux franks’, ‘mock meats’ and many of the substitutes.

Vegans need to have a real understanding of nutrition to ensure a balanced diet and to avoid deficiencies such as B12 which is only found naturally in animal products.
Many new cookbooks are hitting the shelves – Aine Carlin from Derry in Northern Ireland. Her cookbooks, The New Vegan and Keep it Vegan published by Kyle Books are favourites of many.
A new book entitled Vegan Recipes from the Middle East, written by Parvin Razavi has just landed on my desk. It’s full of really appealing recipes from Iran, Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey and, as a dedicated carnivore friend once remarked about the food at Café Paradiso in Cork – “you wouldn’t miss the meat”. It was of course meant as a compliment but it may sound a bit offensive to vegans.

Parvin Razavi is a new name on the culinary scene but certainly one to watch. She was born in Iran and spent her early years by the Caspian Sea and in Teheran before her parents moved to Europe. Many of the Middle Eastern recipes she’s created and shared are super simple and can actually be prepared in less than half an hour. That’s worth checking out. Parvin also has a blog Thx4cooking. By the way Grub Street publishers have a whole range of vegan cookbooks, check them out

Garden Workshop:- Designing a Herbaceous Border. During this half day course Susan Turner, Head Gardener at the Cookery School and Ballymaloe House will discuss general layout, good plant choices for a long season of interest with vibrant colour combinations and contrasts in texture and form, combining structural plants, underplanting and extending the season with annuals, self-sowers and interplanting with bulbs, seasonal maintenance to include pruning, dividing the plants, weeding techniques and tools, staking and mulching…… Coffee on arrival and light lunch. Monday July 10th

Kilmore Quay Seafood Festival, 6th -9th July 2017. Harbour food stalls, singing, dancing, seafood platter competition, family fun events…..proceeds raised from the festival will support local projects in the area. 25 minutes from Wexford Town
The Garden Café Shack at the Ballymaloe Cookery School has reopened for the summer. Check out gardencafetruck. Short menu of fresh food from the farm and gardens and delicious homemade cakes and biscuits.

Harmony in Food and Farming, a two day conference organised by the Sustainable Food Trust from July 10th and 11th in Wales. Wide range of panel discussions on farming, food, ecological and environmental issues, eating as an agricultural act… Adele Jones – +44 (0) 7909588681

Parvin Razavi’s Caramelised Fennel with Fennel Seeds and Barberries

Preparation time: 20 minutes

5 tablespoons olive oil
2 bulbs of fennel, cut lengthways in ½ cm thick slices
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon barberries
1 tablespoon fresh mint
Pomegranate seeds to garnish

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Put the fennel in the hot oil, sprinkle with sugar, salt, pepper and fennel seeds and fry until golden brown.

Serve the fennel on a plate and grate lemon zest on top.

Serve garnished with barberries, pomegranate seeds and mint.

Taken from VEGAN Recipes from the Middle East, Parvin Razavi, published by Grub Street, London

Parvin Razavi’s Roasted Almonds

Preparation Time:- 10 minutes

250 g almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch of sugar
1 pinch of chilli
1 pinch of ras el hanout

Mix the almonds well with the other ingredients. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and spread the almonds on top. Carefully roast in a preheated oven at 180C/250F/gas mark 4 for 5 minutes.

Taken from VEGAN Recipes from the Middle East, Parvin Razavi, published by Grub Street, London

Parvin Razavi’s White Bean Hummus

Preparation Time:- 15 minutes

400 g tin white beans
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pinch of paprika
1 pinch of ras el hanout
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper
3-4 tablespoons water

Strain the beans and puree all the ingredients together in a blender.

Season well to taste.

Taken from VEGAN Recipes from the Middle East, Parvin Razavi, published by Grub Street, London

Parvin Razavi’s Tabouleh with Pomegranate Seeds and Apple

Preparation time: 15 minutes

1-2 tart eating apples, diced
2 spring onions, sliced into rings
1 pomegranate seeds removed from the fruit
1 teaspoon sumac
2 tablespoons roast pine nuts
50 g mint, chopped
50 g parsley, chopped
1½ level teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and season with the lemon juice and olive oil.

Steep for 30 minutes and then enjoy.

Taken from VEGAN Recipes from the Middle East, Parvin Razavi, published by Grub Street, London

Parvin Razavi’s Soya Yoghurt with Cucumber, Rose Petals and Sultanas

Preparation time:- 15 minutes

1 cucumber
500 ml soya yoghurt
5 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 handful of sultanas (approx. 25 g)
Rose petals to garnish

Coarsely grate the cucumber, season with salt and leave for 10 minutes. Then squeeze out well by hand and put in a bowl.

Mix the soya yoghurt, cucumber and mint in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish prettily with sultanas and rose petals.

Tip:- a small clove of crushed garlic can be added, according to taste.

Taken from VEGAN Recipes from the Middle East, Parvin Razavi, published by Grub Street, London

Barbeque Fare

Despite the crazy changeable weather, we’re having fun cooking on the barbeque. We fire up the grill at every opportunity, have to say that even though the flavour of food cooked over charcoal or wood is far more delicious, the gas Barbie is mighty tempting,  particularly when you want to snatch a moment between the showers.

Not the same magic of course as cooking over fire but one needs time and a deal of advance planning. This group of 12 Week students built a ring of fire on the gravel in the courtyard with some large rocks. They’ve had some super fun sitting around the camp fire cooking up big pots of stews or just grilling. It’s all the more exciting because they collect their own timber, (they walk around the farm with  a wheelbarrow to stock up with lots of wood and twigs that have fallen from the trees. They couldn’t raid the wood shed so instead they’re having a bit of gas practicing sustainability.  Double bonus, clearing up and free timber.

There’s something about cooking over fire that seems to connect with our inner ‘hunter gatherer’ and it particularly appeals to men, even wily chaps who can’t boil an egg for themselves, fancy their chances on the barbeque, the aroma of the good food sizzling on the grill certainly fuels the appetite. Steaks and chops, sausages and chicken breasts are still the favourites but don’t forget vegetables and of course fish. We’ve been catching some fresh mackerel and pollock in Ballycotton and cooking those on the barbeque – wow, how delicious….

Sauces, are super important for a barbeque. Some béarnaise with steak or a punchy mustard aioli add magic to a simple steak.  Romanesco sauce is addictive with grilled chicken thighs and of course a good barbeque sauce is always a favourite.

We also love our new seasons, onions split in half, tossed in a little extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and grilled. They char deliciously on the outside and become melting tender and sweet. A little zucchini either whole or thickly sliced are also great, sprinkle  them with chopped marjoram. Young beets can be wrapped and roasted and buried in the coals or just grilled. But best fun of all is barbequed pizza, you’ll need a Weber type barbeque with a lid to cook them properly but it’s a really easy way to feed lots of people deliciously in a short time. An accompanying salad and a glass of something delicious is all that’s needed.


Hot Tips

Give your teenager a gift for life – a Transition Year Cookery Course. In just five days beginning on Monday 24th July 2017,  students will learn a variety of skills in both demonstration and hands on cooking sessions. Homemade bread, jam, soups, yummy starters, main courses, desserts, biscuits and even a cake or two plus how to make butter and yoghurt from our own Jersey cow’s milk and cream. Students will also have a guided educational tour around our organic farm, gardens and greenhouse. They will also have the opportunity to learn about the hens, pigs, chickens and livestock and herb and wild food garden on the Organic farm. 021 4646785.  Limited Numbers.


Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks with Romesco Sauce


Romesco Sauce is a Spanish sauce, a mixture of peppers, garlic and nuts, sweetened and sharpened with tomatoes and lemon juice.


Serves 4 as a main


4 x 150g (5oz) chicken drumsticks

4 x 160g (5 1/2oz) chicken thighs

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) olive oil

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 recipe quantity of romesco sauce (see recipe)


20g (3/4oz) toasted flaked almonds


Light the barbeque or preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.


Put the chicken in a roasting tray.  Drizzle it with olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook either on the grill or in the oven for 30-40 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.


Gently warm the romesco sauce in a small pan and serve with the chicken, with the toasted almonds sprinkled over the top.


Romesco Sauce


Serves 12


1 head of garlic

4 – 6 tablespoons (5 – 7 1/2 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

2 slices slightly stale country bread

75g (3oz) almonds, preferably Marcona

3 large very ripe tomatoes or 15 ripe cherry tomatoes

1 large or 2 small red peppers

flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper

lemon juice to taste

7 tablespoons cold water


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


Trim the top off the head of garlic to expose the bulbs. Wrap in a little tin foil parcel but allow space to pour in about a dessertspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Pinch in the top to close. Cook on the barbeque or in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the garlic cloves are soft and squishy.


Cut the crusts off the bread and fry in extra virgin olive oil until golden brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper and put into the food processor.


Fry the almonds in the remainder of the oil until golden (add a little more oil if needed), add to the bread.

Half (or quarter) and deseed the pepper, put into a bowl.

Half the tomatoes around the equator, add to the peppers in the bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with flaky salt and freshly ground pepper, spread in a single layer in a baking tray and roast in the preheated oven until the tomatoes are soft and peppers are catching at the edges, 30 – 40 minutes. Allow to cool.

Add the tomatoes and peppers to the bread and almonds in the food processor. When the garlic is soft remove the skins and add to the mix. Whizz, taste, correct the seasoning and add lemon juice to taste. Add enough water to thin to a soft consistency. Delicious.



Mustard Aioli

 Makes 300 ml (½ pint)


2 egg yolks, preferably free range

1-4 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar

8 fl ozs (225ml/1 cup) oil (sunflower, or olive oil or a mixture) – We use 6 fl ozs (175ml/3/4 cup) sunflower oil and 2 fl ozs (50ml/1/4 cup) olive oil, alternatively use 7/1

2 teaspoons of freshly chopped parsley (optional)

1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard


Serve with cold cooked meats, fowl, fish, eggs and vegetables.

Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the crushed garlic 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. Add the chopped parsley and mustard.  Taste and add a little more seasoning and vinegar if necessary.


If the aioli 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 aioli, a half teaspoon at a time until it emulsifies again.


Chargrilled T-Bone Steak with Chimi Churri Sauce or Bernaise Sauce


Serves 6

2 x 750g (1 1/2lb) t-bone steaks, a good 2.5cm (1 inch) thick

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



Chimi Churri Sauce

 Chimi Churri sauce is a hot perky sauce from Argentina.


Serves 6-8

Makes 225-255ml (8-9floz/1 cup) Chimi Churri Sauce


50g (2oz) flat parsley leaves

4 large cloves garlic peeled and crushed

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) water

100ml (4floz/1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil

50ml (2floz/1/4 cup) red wine vinegar

1 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 chilli seeded and chopped or 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes



Or Bernaise Sauce, see recipe


First make the chimi churri sauce.

Chop the parsley finely with the garlic and water. (Alternatively, whizz in a food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl until well pulsed) Transfer to a bowl. Whisk in the oil and vinegar gradually. Add the red onion, chilli and salt. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.


Drizzle the steaks with olive oil.  Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.


Grill over hot coals for about 6 minutes each side for rare, 8 minutes each side for medium rare or 12 minutes each side for well-done.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.


To serve, remove the bone to release the meat.  Cut the meat across the into 5mm (1/4 inch) slices.  Serve hot drizzled with chimi churri sauce or with a dollop of Bernaise.


Bernaise Sauce


The consistency of Béarnaise sauce should be considerably thicker than that of Hollandaise or beurre blanc, both of which ought to be a light coating consistency. If you do not have tarragon vinegar to hand, use a wine vinegar and add some extra chopped fresh French tarragon.


Serves 8–10


4 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) tarragon vinegar

4 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) dry white wine

2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots

pinch of freshly ground pepper

2 organic egg yolks

110g (4oz/1 stick) butter

1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) freshly chopped French tarragon leaves


Boil the first 4 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 (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) of cold water immediately. Pull the pan off the heat and leave to cool for 1 or 2 minutes.


Using a coil whisk, 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 (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) 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 all the butter is added and the sauce is a thick coating consistency. It is important to remember, however, that if you are making Béarnaise 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 Béarnaise 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 bowl over hot but not simmering water or in a Thermos flask until you want to serve it.


Serve Béarnaise Sauce separately.

Pan-grilled Spring Onions


I’m absolutely not a gadget person so I tend to keep kitchen equipment to essential to avoid clutter, however one good buy in my book is what we call a pan-grill. This is a black ridged cast iron pan which I find gives a super result for vegetables, fish meat and polenta. For me its one of the few bits of indispensable kitchen equipment.


Serves 6


18 Spring onions or scallions

3 tablespoons  olive oil

sea salt


Wash the spring onions, trim the root ends and cut into 6 inch (15cm) lengths approx. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and toss on a preheated pan-grill.  Cook on a medium heat until golden on one side, turn and allow to cook on the other side. Serve hot as part of a vegetable plate with grilled fish or meat.

Note:- if the onions are large split in half lengthways and cook until well charred on each side, they become delicious sweet and tender.


Chargrilled Pizza Margherita


Possibly the most traditional and universally popular pizza in Italy. As this pizza is basically cheese and tomato it is crucial your tomato sauce has a really supper flavour.


Makes 1


150g (5oz) pizza dough (see recipe)

175g (6 oz) mozzarella cheese

3 tablespoons (3 American tablespoons + 3 teaspoons) olive oil

4 tablespoons (5 American tablespoons) tomato fondue (see recipe)

1 dessertspoon (2 American teaspoons) freshly chopped annual marjoram

1 tablespoon Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano is best), freshly grated


Slice mozzarella and sprinkle with the olive oil.


Roll out pizza dough to 30cm (12 inch) rectangle or circle, about 5mm (1/4 inch) thick.  Brush both sides with olive oil.


Gently place dough on the grid in centre of the barbecue, directly over the heat for 2-4 minutes, until the bottom if the crust is well marked and browned.  Turn upside down.

Arrange the grated Mozzarella over the cooked side of the crust, within 2.5cm (1 inch) of the edge. Spread the tomato fondue over the top. Sprinkle with the freshly grated Parmesan.   Season very well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Return pizza to the centre of the cooking grate and cook with the lid closed until bottom is well browned, toppings are warm and cheese is bubbly, about 5-10 minutes.

Sprinkle the freshly chopped marjoram on top serve immediately.


 Chargrilled Broad Beans

One of the simplest most delicious ways to enjoy broad beans – I also cool on the cold plate of my ancient Aga.

6-10 freshly picked broad beans, per person

flaky sea salt

extra virgin olive oil


Pecorino Romano, optional

Heat a pan grill over a high heat. Lay the pods directly onto the pan in a single layer – allow to colour on one side, 2-3 minutes, flip over and cook on the other side. Serve on a hot plate with a little bowl of extra virgin olive oil, some flaky sea salt for dipping.  A few crumbs of Pecorino Romano are a delicious accompaniment.


New Season’s Summer Food

It’s been a busy week, just doing the final corrections for my next book, Grow, Cook, Nourish…. Every time I think we’re there, another list of queries come winging their way by email. This book has been over two years in the making and may just be the most important book I ever write because I’m encouraging people to think about growing even a little of our own food. Once you experience the magic of harvesting something you grew yourself and then prepare and enjoy it, you’ll be hooked, not to speak of the joy and health giving properties of freshly picked food.

This really hits home at the moment when I’m picking new season’s broad beans and peas, it’s a Zen like experience and then we sit around the kitchen table shelling the peas and unzipping the broad beans to retrieve the little treasures from the velvet lined pods. Every supper or dinner party starts with a preparty get together with the guests. I pour a glass of wine or cordial and then we all sit around shelling, podding and gossiping in a blur of nostalgia, recalling childhood memories. For some it’s the first time they have ever podded a broad bean or shelled a pea, an American visitor to the school recently asked me what the fresh peas were and when I showed him how to open the pods he tasted a fresh pea for the very first time in his life – his eyes were as big as saucers and he suddenly said, maybe if I grew these I could get my kids to eat some vegetables at least – what a revelation.

This is not the first time I’ve been asked how to shell peas. Peas are so worth growing for the home gardener because one can eat them at every stage, the pea shoots, flowers, ‘wizard whiskers’, as the tendrils are called. The peas can be eaten at mange tout stage and then of course the peas and the pea pods can be used for a soup.

In Rome, the arrival of the first broad beans are considered to be the harbinger of Spring. Both at home and in local trattorias people sit around the table in little groups podding broad beans and flecking out little chunks of pecorina romana, a sharp salty sheep’s milk cheese that contrasts deliciously with the sweet tender broad beans. The season starts earlier than ours, so Fave e pecorino are often enjoyed for Easter Sunday breakfast with crusty bread and a special pork fat studded salami called corallina, a delicious ritual that has endured.

We also love to dip each bean in a little extra virgin olive oil and a little flaky sea salt.  As the season progresses the skin thickens and the sugars turns to starch, so at that stage the broad beans are best double peeled. It’s very easy to over cook them, they just need to be cooked  in boiling salted water for a minute, then drained and refreshed in cold water, then popped out of their shells and continue with the recipe. Gorge on both peas and broad beans while the season lasts.

In last week’s column I mentioned a pea mousse but it didn’t make it into the text because of space restriction so here it is. It is a delicious summery little starter. Hope you’ll also find time to make and enjoy this green gooseberry and elderflower tart and elderflower fritters from the fluffy blossoms that are adorning the hedgerows all over the country at present –


Hot Tips

A Farmers Market near you

Killavullen Farmers Indoor Market is located on the grounds of the Nano Nagle Centre. Raw Milk and Yoghurt, Hegarty’s Farmhouse Cheese, Free Range Rare Breed Pork, Jams, Chutneys, Cordials, Arbutus Bread, Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables, Home Baking, Gluten Free Baking, Crafts, Flowers……on Saturday 17th June and every fortnight,  just 10 minutes from Mallow on the N72, 10.30am to 1pm.


New on the scene:-  The Cottage Market at the CreameryYard in Kildorrery, Cork has a great selection of vegetables, free range rare breed, smoothies, preserves, cordials and flowers. Fortnightly Saturday market from 11am to 2pm, ten minutes from Fermoy and Mitchelstown, next market 24th June, 8thJuly…..Phone Ciaran Cotter on 086 376 1816 for details.

Pilgrims Restaurant

Swing off the main road in Rosscarbery up to the charming villagesque Pilgrims restaurant – lots of small plates and some foraged ingredients and lots of imagination combine to create a memorable experience. Tel: 023 8831796 or

East Cork Slow Food Summer Pop Up Dinner.  Our 12 Week Certificate students at the Ballymaloe Cookery School on Saturday June 24th cook up a feast from the organic farm, gardens and glasshouses, fish from nearby Ballycotton and meat from our local butcher. Tickets €40.00 for Slow Food members and €45 for non Slow Food members. Booking Essential on 021 4646785 or


No Dig Gardening Workshop with Charles Dowding

Another opportunity to learn the principles of ‘No Dig’ gardening. Charles Dowding has been advocating the ‘No Dig’ technique since 1983 when he started a market garden. His original methods give superb results.  In our experience here at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, we have healthier crops, higher yields and about 80% less weeds – so what’s not to like about ‘No Dig’. We were deeply sceptical at first but have become big converts.  His recent course was oversubscribed and got a brilliant response. Charles will teach another one day course on Monday June 19th. He has written nine books and appears on radio and TV including Gardeners World. He teaches extensively both at home and abroad.  Monday June 19th 10.00am to 4.30pm Tel: 021 4646785

Taste of Dublin in the Iveagh Gardens is on this weekend, June 17th and 18th. Plenty of cookery demonstrations, tastings, market stalls, food and wine pairings, whiskey and craft beer tastings.


Risi e Bisi


Comfort food at its very best, a heavenly way to enjoy some of your precious fresh peas.  Young shelled broad beans can also be added.

Serves 6 -9


2kg fresh young peas (podded weight approx.2 lbs)

1 kg broad beans (podded 500 g approx.)

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

125g butter, softened

3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1.75 litres homemade chicken stock (see recipe)

200g onion, finely chopped, we use our new season’s spring onions

300g risotto rice

110g Parmesan, freshly grated


Pod the peas and save the pods.  Bring a large saucepan of water (4.8L) to the boil, and add 2 tablespoons of salt.  Add the pea pods and cook for 5 minutes.  Then scoop them out.  Put through a mouli, with a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water.  Blanch the peas in the boiling pea pod water, drain and add to the pea-pod pulp.  Next bring the water back to the boil, add the broad beans and cook for one to 2 – 3. Drain, refresh and shell.

Season with lots of freshly ground pepper and add 45g of the butter

Put half into a food processor and pulse.  Return to the whole peas.


Heat the stock. Taste and check for seasoning.

Melt half the remaining butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Gently fry the onion until soft and just beginning to colour.  Add the rice, stir to coat each grain with butter and cook for 2-3 minutes.  When the rice is opaque, increase the heat to medium and start to add the hot stock ladle by ladle, adding the next only when the last of the stock  has been absorbed.  Stir continuously.  After 10 minutes add the peas and parsley, continue to cook until the rice is al dente – about 10 minutes.

Finally, stir in the remaining butter, and most of the Parmesan.  Taste and correct seasoning.  Serve immediately in deep wide soup bowls, with a little more Parmesan sprinkled over the top.


Pea Mousse with Pea Shoots, Radishes and Shrimps

This is my interpretation of a delicious starter dish that I ate recently at a restaurant in London. It is exquisite made with fresh peas but I have to admit, I have also made it with frozen peas and the result has been pretty delicious.   We use the beautiful little shrimps (palaemon serratus) from Ballycotton but it’s also good without them.

Serves 6


500g fresh peas

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

1 gelatine leaf

150ml water

Salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

100ml of softly whipped cream

1 tablespoon chopped mint



50g fresh peas, blanched and refreshed

A mixture of French Breakfast and Cherry Belle radishes

Tender fresh pea shoots

75 – 100g small pink shrimps (palaemon serratus), cooked

Extra virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt


Bring 150ml fresh cold water to a fast rolling boil, add salt. sugar and peas, return to the boil for 2-3 minutes, drain, save the cooking water, and refresh the peas under cold water.

When cold, whizz to a smooth puree with 100ml cooking water. Push through a nylon sieve into a bowl, chill.

Soak the gelatine in cold water, allow to soften for 4-5 minutes, drain, then dissolve the softened leaf in a tablespoon of hot water. Add the pea puree gradually then cover and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until just beginning to set. Fold in the softly whipped cream. Divide between 6 wide soup bowls, cover and allow to set.

Meanwhile, trim and slice the radishes lengthwise and put into iced water.

To Serve:

Put the peas into a bowl, add the peeled shrimps and the pea shoots. Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil, a few flakes of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss.

Top each mousse with a generous portion, scatter 5 or 6 slices of radish over the top, add a couple of drops of extra virgin olive oil and a few flakes of sea salt and serve.


 Chargrilled Peas


Serves 4-6


Peas cooked in this way are super delicious and totally addictive


450 g (1 lb) fresh peas, about 88 pods

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt


Pop a pan grill on a high flame. Toss the pea pods in a very little extra virgin olive oil and some flaky sea salt. When the pan is very hot, lay the pods in the pan in a single layer, allow to colour from the grill, 3-4 minutes,  flick over and char on the other side.


Taste, add a little more salt if necessary.

Put the pod between your teeth and enjoy the peas as they pop out…..


Ballymaloe Green Gooseberry Tartlets


Makes 36 tartlets approximately


1 quantity cold cream pastry (see recipe)

450g (1lb) green gooseberries (topped and tailed)

caster sugar


Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.


Using plenty of flour roll the cold pastry to a thickness of 2mm (1/8 inch). Cut the pastry with a 7.5cm (3 inch) round cutter and use the disks of pastry to line a standard flat based bun tray.


Cut the gooseberries in half and arrange 6-7 halves on each disk of pastry. Place a rounded teaspoon of caster sugar on top of the fruit in each tartlet. Bake the tartlets for 15-20 minutes or until the sugar begins to caramelise and the pastry is a golden brown colour. Remove the tartlets from the bun tray while still hot – use a palette knife for this – and place on parchment paper which has been sprinkled with caster sugar.


These tartlets are best served warm.


Cream Pastry

Sounds scary but this pastry is really delicious and flaky


This pastry keeps in the fridge for up to 6 days.


110g (4oz/1 stick) cold salted butter

110g (4oz/1 cup) plain flour

150ml (5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) cold cream
Sieve the flour into the bowl of an electric food mixer. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour using the paddle attachment until the mixture forms a coarse texture (slow speed and then a little faster).  (DO NOT over mix, if you do the mixture will form a shortbread like ball! Pour the cold cream into the coarse mixture and mix on a low speed until a smooth pastry forms. Wrap the pastry in parchment paper and chill overnight.

Always roll cream pastry straight from the fridge. If the pastry comes to room temperature it will be too soft to handle!


Elderflower Fritters


These are very easy to make, very crispy and once you’ve tasted one, you won’t be able to stop! Serve them with the Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote, below. Serves 4


110g (4oz/1 cup) plain flour

pinch of salt

1 organic egg

150ml (5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) lukewarm water

8–12 elderflower heads

caster sugar

sunflower oil for frying


Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and drop in the egg. Using a whisk, bring in the flour gradually from the edges, slowly adding in the water at the same time. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180°C/350°F. Hold the flowers by the stalks and dip into the batter (add a little more water or milk if the batter is too thick). Fry until golden brown in the hot oil. Drain on kitchen paper, toss in caster sugar and serve immediately with gooseberry and elderflower compote.




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